Monday, 31 December 2012

Let it Snow

What is more frustrating, two 16 month old toddlers going stir crazy because they can't get out with all of the snow we've been getting or physically dealing with an insane amount of snow when you have no front lawn to pile it on?  There is no correct answer to this question other than that when combined- we are trapped in a house, surrounded by snow and over hyper children who act like caged dogs who just want to get out and run around outside while walls of snow quickly build.*

Miss Molly attempting a climb onto the table/ fall onto the floor.

A few days ago, Boxing Day to be precise, right before the "big snow fall of 2012" we arrived home from our annual post Christmas Marlies hockey game all set to put the rambunctious bundles of joy down for a long winter's nap.** Once the kids were secured in their cages cribs we collapsed onto the couch hoping to marathon out on some TV series we'd acquired over the holidays. Within five minutes of alone time our power went off.  About an hour later, still without power, I called my parents to see if they could find out what was going on.

Apparently some idiot decided to do some afternoon holiday drinking and driving, fortunately he only hit a hydro pole.***  Two hours into the black out I was convinced that the temperature in the house had plummeted drastically to 12 degrees and imagined us being snowed in with two little babies as the first flakes of snow began to fall.  I'm a big 'what if' kinda gal and our cupboards weren't stocked for the several days without power that I imagined.  Chris, however, was realistic and wasn't  going to be defeated by my repeated suggestion of packing up and going to my parents house for an overnight.  All of the family time surrounding Christmas had been nice, but he was looking forward to an evening in just the two of us, enjoying our glut of DVDs and some drinks.  With the power out, I had a compelling argument: the thought of toddlers and candles terrified us both.  Just think of all the, "Oh my God Jack, why are you on fire?" or "Molly, why are you trying to eat candle wax?" moments we'd have to endure.

Thankfully, the power came on after hour three and there was minimal time of trying to prevent our children from burning the house to the ground.  The temperature had actually only dropped by about one degree and I was mocked for my paranoia.  It also turns out that the snow storm didn't impact everyone's mobility.  Someone was able to get out in the cold, get drunk and throw up fluorescent orange into our freshly plowed snow bank before we even woke up the next day.  I wonder if he was on foot because he'd just lost his drivers license?

Jack playing with my house keys while Chris shovels even more snow.

*Except with significantly more barking and biting.
**The hockey game perfectly coincided with nap time, so the last half of the second period and entire third period were a little bit dicey - Miss Molly and I walked a lot of laps around the arena while she screamed and I tried to comfort her by singing Miss Molly Had a Steam Boat and Molly's Lips in a loop.  Jack just fell asleep quietly on his father's shoulder while Chris watched the game.
***  Apparently said driver tried to make a get away on foot - he was apprehended by police almost immediately.

Monday, 24 December 2012

All I Want for Christmas

People spend a lot of time trying to find the prefect holiday gift, but what about the perfect holiday movie?  I have 5 that it just doesn't feel like Christmas without, so if you have some time over the next few days to check out any of the following Christmas Specials I highly encourage the following (in no particular order)  I also welcome any suggestions...

The Grinch Who Stole Christmas - 1966
For those who need a story with a moral in the end....I also think the fact that Molly looks like a brunette Cindy Lou Who makes this story a little more heart warming than usual this year.

Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer - 1964
For traditionalists who like their men and reindeer sexist and their abominable snow men with a heart of gold.  I also revel in the fact that the explorer Yukon Cornelius is drunk the entire movie

Elf - 2003
The new classic...a romantic comedy meets good old fashioned cheesy New York Christmas Story.

Frosty the Snowman - 1954
I've already told you about the drinking game...This is a great classic and only a half hour long.  

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation - 1989
John Hughes answer to a Christmas Movie (I guess Home Alone also counts), but this one is better.  I fell in love with this movie when I went to see it for Girl Guides for our Holiday Party and never looked back.

As for us and Christmas - I think we're ready...

 We wrapped the minions errr gifts...*
We trimmed the cupcake tree**

And Most Importantly: We chilled the wine!

Happy Holidays to you and your family!

*Please note: wrapping your children in cellophane may be funny, but it probably isn't the best parenting.
**Did I make those myself?  No, but they were hand purchased at Loblaws with love and care.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Cat's in the Cradle

I've often joked that my oldest kid is Chris, but that's not technically true.  My oldest kid is an 80 year old grey and black tabby cat named Pan.*  Pan is the only roommate who made the cut having lived in every one of my four "grown-up" homes.**

About 14 years ago I fell in love with this little polydactyl kitten who had mittens for front paws.  The day I picked him up from the litter, on a whim, I decided that he should also have a friend.  The owner of the cat pointed at a little grey kitten and told me that he was smart: the first cat to be litter trained so I grabbed him too.  Try as I might my mittened cat, Monsieur Remy Dupompeneau,*** was never really my cat.  He was an independent wild child who bolted for the great outdoors when ever he could, running away four times, until 2006 when he ran away and didn't return.  Pan is not wild, he is smart, loyal and neurotic and has been by my side (literally) since the 1990s.  He generally acts more like a dog than a cat, so we've coined him a cog.

Me and Pan many, many moons ago....I can see by the clock that it's 2:30AM

My Cat During My Pregnancy:
Pan had always been the Panthor to my Skeletor and thought that aliens were invading my body and decided to fight back.  He hated everything to do with me, avoided me at all costs until night time when he would jump on me while I slept and pee all over my legs.  One of the first things that our nurse practitioner told me when I found out I was pregnant was to avoid cleaning the cat litter since cat urine isn't good for pregnant women****, so I started having some panic attacks when he decided that I was a human fire hydrant.  So we locked him out of the bedroom every night after the fifth offence.  Panthor got depressed about his banishment from the bedroom, started tearing out his own hair and spent all of his time sitting atop the fridge (Snake Mountain) glaring at us and tearing out more hair. We took him to the vet, ran a series of tests and got him some medication for his nerves and antibiotics for the giant bald spot/sore he'd created on his side.

The Third Trimester:
As we prepared for the arrival of Molly and Jack we set up the nursery months in advance, giving our sensitive creature a chance to adapt.  We filled the cribs and car seats with balloons and aluminium foil so he never got in the habit of sleeping in the minions cribs or car seats.  Unfortunately he was still spending a significant amount of time glaring at us from the top of the fridge.

Newborns & Pan:
Finally Molly and Jack arrived and it was as if our cat had returned, he was mildly curious about the babies, but generally chose to visit us when they were asleep.  As the minions got older they became more and more obsessed with the cat.  One of Jack's favourite games is to pet Pan or to push him around the house in a giant empty diaper box.  He barely meows when Jack's "Gentle Touch" is more like a round of Ultimate Fighter than acceptable cat affection.  He has never tried to climb into their cribs, bassinets or been aggressive in any way - even when he probably should.  Unfortunately from time to time he'd obsessively pick at one of his back paws, which we mistakenly took for neurosis rather than a purely medical issue.

Pan and Jack

Last month I was unable to treat his paw at home with rubbing alcohol and polysporen as the swelling on his hot spot had gotten out of control.  So we opened up our wallets, let out a big sigh and went to the vet thinking that we'd get some more antibiotics and stress medication.  It turns out this hot spot was not a result of low self esteem, it was a tumour. We completed a series of tests to see if the tumour had spread to lungs, impacted blood or kidney functions (it hadn't) and started saving up money like crazy while we tried steroids and a topical spray to keep the tumour from growing.  Over the next few weeks the spray and steroids appeared to work like tumour fertiliser and the growth doubled, maybe tripled in size.  We jokingly called Pan "Crang" because it looked like there was a giant brain on his foot, but silently worried if we'd be able to afford to get him in on time.

Yesterday Pan had a successful operation to remove his tumour and one of his toes.***** He's recovering well, despite being on a lot of pain medication, is confused as to why a 16 month old little boy keeps on squealing in delight while charging him and that he can't run away quite like he used to.

Thank you to everyone at Renforth Veterinary Clinic for your amazing services and helping keep the oldest member of our family with us.  Long live Pan(thor)!

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*14 year old -
**I don't know if the first two places where I lived from ages 21-25 technically count.  The amount of sugar cereal, popsicles, diet coke and vanilla vodka consumed in those apartments was neither healthy nor adult.
***Because he was Cajun - I told you already I was drinking a lot of vodka.
****To this day Chris still believes this was an excuse I used to get out of chores.
*****What is the opposite of a polydactyl cat? Antidactyl cat?  I think we'll just call him Hobbles.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

The Night Santa Went Crazy

A few nights ago Molly looked at me and said what I thought was, "Sara".  I asked her to repeat it and was slightly disappointed to learn that she wasn't saying my name, she was saying "Santa".  The next day she said it again.  So I asked her where Santa was.  She toddled across the living room and gave her Elmo chair a giant hug.*

Then at daycare we were presented with Christmas themed "art work" from the minions: a reindeer formed out of painted hand and foot prints.  "30 painted infant hands and feet, all in one room together!" Another mother shuddered in horror when she saw her son's painting.  Chris laughed like Beavis**and said, "So much painted chaos." happily while the other mother looked at Chris like her was as nutty as a fruitcake.***

More art work for the time capsule

On another note, I got so excited while shopping at Walmart **** when I discovered something on sale for Chris for Christmas that I sent him off to find discount baby wipes while I cashed out and bought his present without him noticing after having him toss me the box of wipes while I waited in line.  Unfortunately, I was so busy trying to be stealth that I forgot about the old man style moccasin boots for Jack***** that were hanging from the back of his stroller and successfully shoplifted them from the store.  I was on the escalator to the parking garage when I realized my error and returned to cash despite Chris's comments about Walmart being an evil corporation and his insistence that I was "home free".******   Walmart - your security sucks...I successfully made it out and back into your store with "stolen" shoes and your two security staff didn't even notice and I looked really guilty on my way back in.

Jackie's New Shoes
I've decided that the minions have to be at least 12 before Chris tries to impose his Robinhoodesque ways upon the children and that I should probably be the one to teach them about why stealing is wrong.  Until then I can't afford a lifetime Walmart ban, I need the discount baby wipes!

*At least we know she's not colour blind.   
**From Beavis and Butthead, I know I'm dating myself here.
***This type of cartoonish daydream is exactly, one of the reasons, why only one other set of parents at daycare will talk to us.
****I can't believe I just uttered those words!
*****For some reason it's really hard to find size 3 baby shoes that will stay on Jack's feet, I call them old man slippers because they are almost identical to a pair my dad owns and likes so much that he bought a second pair.
******Another reason why the other parents don't talk to us at daycare.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Unsilent Night

Yesterday we received the winter newsletter from Molly and Jack's daycare.  Rumour has it they've been "practising" their Christmas game by unwrapping toys covered in tissue paper.  When I told Chris about this he simply said, "Awww crap.  Now I have to wrap their gifts too."  My concern is what's going to happen to all of the gifts we've wrapped for other people now that they are skilled experts in ripping, tearing, shredding and stripping anything made of paper.* 

Last year they could barely sit upright in their Bumbos while the stared at the Christmas tree** and this year they will be crawling, sidling, forces of wreckage.  I'm wondering if this is the last year that we'll actually be able to Christmas shop for them, in front of them, or if we can continue to get them toys to "share" as presents for the majority of their gifts.*** 

Molly the red nosed reindeer.

So this begs the following holiday questions about the evolution of Christmas amongst children:

When are they old enough to understand the concept of Santa?  Write letters to Santa?  Not be scared of Santa?

When will they be old enough to watch Christmas Specials with us on TV?  I need company while Chris plays the Frosty the Snow Man drinking game.****

When can I take them out to pick out something amazingly hilarious to give to Chris for Christmas that he'll have to use because they are so excited about it? 

At what age do they get so excited about Christmas that they barely sleep, get over-tired and throw temper tantrums all Christmas day? I still do that sometimes...In my family we rotate who gets to ruin Christmas as an ongoing joke, unfortunately it's not my turn this year.

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*Previously they simply dabbled in this destructive art form.
**Jack stared at the Christmas tree, Molly screamed in a fit of colic - Unsilent Night.
***We have learned that it doesn't matter if you have two of everything, the minions will still fight for twin dominance, even if they have two toy phones, making them fight over one just frees up a hand each for slapping, eye gauging and hair pulling.
****You drink every time Frosty says "Happy Birthday", you see the rabbit, or whenever that mean magician says something three times.  I do not recommend or endorse this drinking game...

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Rockin Around the Christmas Tree

My kids are busy.  Just ask Molly, "Just a sec, I'm busy!" is one of the only things she can say.  Essentially the minions get into and try to destroy everything in their path. This is one of the reasons why we were a little concerned about Christmas Decorations this year.*  We had a few goals with decorations this year and being able to display some of our favourite, breakable ornaments without incident** and not having to worry about a giant tree smooshing our children were two of the biggest.

Molly & Jack helping to sort ornaments
This year is the first year in a decade where we won't have a real tree.  At first this made me sad because our house won't smell like a pine air freshener and we won't get to support the boy scouts, but then I realized at the same time that Chris won't be sick with allergies this year and we won't still be vacuuming up pine needles in April, so I'm over it.***

First we purchased miniature (twin) trees from Walmart, ones that are small enough that they can't crush a small child or cat that a small child is terrorising.  Next we tested to see which ornaments were breakable, swallow able, potentially toxic or potentially hurty - anything with those wire hooks was moved up super high.  Whenever we were unsure, our friend T simply handed the ornament in question to one of the minions and said, "Give this a whirl, see if you can break or choke on this" while we supervised.   Some stores are selling non smashable ornaments this year (or maybe this is just the first time we noticed).  These sound appealing, but don't get too excited.  The ones we saw were pretty ugly.  For your information: Jingle bells = chokable.  Also, the jury is still out on what's toxic, only time will tell.

Our breakable ornaments have been hung from the top of our living room window this year.

 Molly's first attempt at knocking down the tree / choking on ornaments.
*Visions of broken ornaments danced around their heads.
**This means no smashy, smashy of cherished favourites or trips to the emergency room because someone decided to shove a glass icicle up his sister's nose.
***I can go to Bath and Body Works and get a candle that will supply my Christmas smell needs.

Friday, 7 December 2012

My Secret Identity

I suspect I write a great deal more about Molly (aka the girl child) than I write about Jack, mainly because she's such a feisty and independent young woman.*  This week I had a meeting with the lead Early Childhood Education Instructor about the minions' adjustment into daycare and how they've been adapting to their new surroundings over the past three months.

Overall they're adjusting well and developing their immune systems, sigh.  The most interesting part of the assessment to me was discussion surrounding Jack and his favourite things to do and play with.  My interview with daycare and some things that Jack has been up to since we returned for our trip have pretty much confirmed to Chris and I that Jack is leading a double life.**

Jack Loves Trucks and Cars
Huh?  Maybe we focused too much on gender neutral toys at home.  I guess I know what's going on the list for Santa.

Jack will Clap Along to Music
But not in front of us.  Apparently the music we play at home doesn't inspire Jack to clap along.  I mentioned this to one of our sitter's L in disbelief and she confirmed that he claps along to music in front of her all the time.  Perhaps Little Wayne is the only person who can motivate Jack to get funky, I just don't know.  We both assumed that he didn't know how to clap, but apparently we were wrong.  Because he's a mistaker.*** 

Jack can be kinda a Jerk
Over the past month Jack has developed a new hobby....Actively stealing toys from his sister, watching her freak out and then giggling hysterically.  This started out at daycare and has now leaked over into Jackie's home life.****

Jack can hold a Grudge (Just like his mom)
For some reason Jack has been furious with Chris since we returned from our trip and now he's giving him the cold shoulder.  When Chris picks him up from daycare he slowly crawls over to say hey, but without the same excitement.  He also actively shows our cat Pan the excitement, affection and enthusiasm usually reserved for Chris.  Both Chris and Pan are unthrilled about this development.

So now we're just waiting for the next update meeting - Maybe we'll find out that he's the head of a baby gang, fluent in several languages or can ice skate. 

*This was an exact quote from one of the daycare workers in the infant room about my 16 month old.  I almost asked, "Is this a nice way of saying she's difficult?"
**Dun Dun Dun....
***  When I was growing up my mother forbade us from calling anyone a liar because she thought it was rude. So we had to call each other mistakers.  Example: As a child my mother told me that an ingredient in bubble bath was shark pee because this entertained her.  She was a mistaker, some might even say a pathological mistaker.
****Where are your glasses now Clark Kent?  You can't keep that secret identity forever.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

The Gambler

When Molly first saw us after our trip to Jamaica she was non-stop giggles for about 15 minutes straight.   Then, Chris flung her up in the air and tickled her after which she immediately threw-up all over me, cause nothing says welcome home like baby vomit on your pants. We assumed that this was due to excitement over seeing her parents after a week without them.  I personally throw up whenever I'm really upset, so I thought it was just a little bit of Molly being the Yin to my Yang.  Unfortunately I was wrong.

Yesterday morning when we were getting the minions ready for daycare I noticed that Molly had a rash on her leg.  I thought it was just dry skin or eczema since my mother had mentioned that they both had dry skin last week during the cold spell.  So we got the kids breakfast, dressed and to daycare while we prepared to enjoy our vacation day of laundry, bowling and brunch.

Within two hours we got a call from daycare.  Molly's rash had multiplied and spread all over her legs, feet and hands.  They suspected Hand Foot and Mouth Disease, so I frantically made a doctor's appointment and assured them, after various Internet research that it was unlikely as there was no fever, lethargic behaviour, vomiting*, or lack of appetite and it was probably just an allergic reaction.  When I hung up the phone Chris said, "If I were a gambling man, knowing our luck, I'd say that she has hand, foot and mouth disease."  I insisted that we didn't know for sure yet, "Don't we?  Don't we?"  he asked.  I said something vaguely about optimism.

After a long wait in the doctor's office, Molly grew restless, so we walked over to the pamphlet wall in the waiting room and I let her select a pamphlet to play with, much to Chris's chagrin.**

Fittingly enough Hand, Foot and Mouth disease is caused by babies putting things in their mouths...Maybe Molly is being ironic?

In fairly short order it was determined that she has hand, foot and mouth disease and will be out from daycare for the next 3-10 days depending on when the blisters pop.***  Like most things that infect the minions the only cure is time, baby Advil and money spent on daycare we don't use.  So today I will spend my last vacation day until Christmas taking care of my little girl while trying to cure painful little blisters with my mind.  We will also hope that Jackie stays well and cross our fingers and wait for the other blistered foot to drop, but then again I'm not a a gambling man.

*We honestly just thought she was excited to see us, yes we are that stupid.
**Seriously, this is what she chose out of a wall of health information.  This kid is comic gold, even when she is sick.