Thursday, January 31, 2008

Good Good Whole Wheat Cupcakes

I had an I Don't Know How She Does It moment the other day. I read the book ages ago; it has been long enough that I don't remember all that much about it other than it was a very funny story about a working woman trying to be an ubermom.

Someone recently mentioned the scene from the book where the mom has to bring something to a school bake sale and, because she has more pride than time, she buys the goodies and then "distresses" them to make them look homemade. (You can read that excerpt
here.)

One day this week I was asked to bring cupcakes for Boychild's class. I love to bake and I do a pretty good job of it, but it never for a moment occurred to me that I would make 24 wholesome cupcakes from scratch for this particular event. Instead, I headed straight for the cake mix section and got
rainbow chip with matching icing (yum!), nifty celebratory muffin cups and some animal sprinkles for added sugar. They looked quite pretty when they were all done (thanks, Betty Crocker). At one point I giggled a little at the thought of what I could do to "distress" these cupcakes (would taking a nibble out of some of them count?), but decided not to disguise my store-bought creations. What would be the point? We're talking five- and six-year-olds here. They're usually not looking for "fancy" or demand that their cupcakes contain wheat germ.

The Big Day dawned bright with...sheets of ice, gale-force winds and blowing snow. It was a snow day, but the schools were open for brave or idiotic souls who chose to navigate the icy streets and biting cold wind. Usually we walk to school, but because I didn't think the muffins would survive a trip stashed in the bottom of Girlchild's stroller I had arranged to snag the van from Groom-boy and drive to school that morning - and that was before I knew the weather report.

That's when BFF called. Would I like her to pick up Boychild and take him to school on her way to work? We've done this before and it's sure nice to avoid the drama of stuffing a not-always-compliant two-year-old girl into a snowsuit first thing in the morning to "help" walk her brother to school.

I almost said yes. Then I remembered the cupcakes. How could I hand over my pretty little cakes to another mom to carry proudly into the Kindergarten room? Egad! Everyone might think SHE had baked those lovelies!

Instead, because Groom-boy ended up being home sick anyway and I wouldn't have to cart Girlchild along in the storm, I opted to pick up BFF's little guy and brave the wild weather to hand deliver my yummy little cupcakes. Another defining moment in motherhood - check.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Just Call Me "Shifty"

Back about a million years ago I got into an, ahem, argument with a school chum. It dissolved into a cat fight - I mean - a lively discussion about various personal attributes. Ahem. Yes. Anyhoo, at one point she accused me of being "socially inept."

You know how sometimes something someone says really sticks with you whether it is valid or not? Well, for some reason this particular comment has a way of poking at me from time to time, especially when (like most normal humans on the planet) I inadvertently make some sort of social blunder, like pick my nose in public - I mean - forget someone's name or neglect to make a proper introduction or
accidentally insult someone's outerwear or whatever.

So the other night there was an open house for potential new students at Boychild's school. Boychild has been home sick all week, and I saw this as an opportunity to pop over and grab some homework and check in with his teacher. We had a nice chat about how his reading is coming along. We wandered into the hallway, where some other school-types were milling about, and continued to chat about Girlchild's Triumphant Arrival to school not this fall but next.

By this time I'm standing across from a giant display covered in photographs from Boychild's class. I'm chatting with the adults, but my eyes keep shifting over to the display. Eventually I realize how idiotic it is that I'm not making good eye contact with the people to whom I am speaking - my gaze flitting back and forth and my attention obviously diverted. Feeling flustered, I cut and run, announcing I should be heading home.

I relay this story to Groom-boy later, and he thinks I am pretty funny (funny haha or funny strange?). It is funny because, as he pointed out, all I really had to do was say, "My! What a lovely display!" and turn the conversation toward the board so I could take a look at the photos, which I never really got to examine. Instead, which of the following impressions do you think I left:

a) My, what a strange, shifty-eyed woman. Someone call security.
b) Is she about to steal something? Someone call security.
c) Do we even have security at this school?

d) Is she lying to us about the fact she has a daughter who will start school in a couple of years?
e) Boy, is she ever socially inept, just like that girl said she was 15 years ago.
f) Is this open house over yet? The visitors are getting weird.
g) Hey! I like her hat!
h) Helloooo? Over here! Hey! Lady!
i) Is there something wrong with the display?

j) Somebody check her bag.

Let's hope it was g. Sigh. Nerd.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I Love My Mommy and Daddy

I am a lucky, lucky girl.

When I first moved back home after finishing university it was akin to dragging Britney Spears off to rehab. "Don't make me go back to that boring little town!" I wailed so loud it probably still echoes through the hills.

That was almost 15 years ago (aaaaack!), and my perspective has changed dramatically. Now that I am married and have two little kids I can't really imagine being anywhere else at the moment. It's home. It's groom-boy's home. We know the place and the people. More than that, though, our families are here.

I wouldn't be able to do what I do without having our parents nearby. Mom watches the kids a couple of mornings a week so I can work from home and groom-boy's folks usually contribute another half-day. Besides all that, Boychild and Girlchild have great relationships with their grandparents, and that is important to us.

Here is a special example of why it is so nice to have family nearby. I talk to Mom almost every morning on the phone. Today I was lamenting that with Boychild home sick again (poor guy - it has been five days) Isobel and I were starting to feel a little cooped up. I was also mentioning how many other people are sharing my sentiments about having irreconcilable differences with the
month of January. In fact, many conversations I have had and many blog postings I have read by other mommies tread upon this theme or on the need to unplug, get some perspective or get some counselling. It's a bit uncanny.

Anyway, after I spoke to her I glanced at the newspaper and was about to get motivated to start laundry and shovel through last night's supper dishes (yuck) when who should show up at the door unexpectedly but my Mommy!

"You take Girlchild and go out and do something for a while," she said. I protested, citing my dirty kitchen, but she insisted.

And so we did because, for a change, the sun was shining. We toddled downtown to a gift store and got some cards we needed. Then we shovelled the driveway. By the time we got back inside (about 45 minutes later), Mom had cleaned up my horrid kitchen - even though I told her not to. She's cute that way.

What a nice treat! It is something that wouldn't have happened if I lived hours away.

A little bit later I wandered over to the computer because I am currently obsessed with checking e-mail and blogs (another symptom of this January thing I think) and found a lovely message from my Dad saying he is enjoying my blog. Since I am uncontrollably vain and thrive on praise, his e-mail made me extraordinarily happy. (Read: Leave comments! I love 'em!)


These happy things combined with sunshine and fresh air (and I'm sure that extra Vitamin D tablet didn't hurt) have made the blehs subside for today. How many more days until spring?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

January Woes

Sunshine. Beaches. Fields of wheat waving in a warm breeze. Flowers. Robins singing. Bees buzzing. Sitting under the blossoming apple tree.

Ahem. Sorry about that. I was just trying to concoct warm happy thoughts to put me in a better frame of mind for writing my so-called lighthearted blog. Really, though, I'm feeling just plain bleh.

It appears to be an epidemic as there are copious long faces around these here parts. For we sun-deprived more-northern types on the planet, by the time January rolls around there seems to be a plague of blehs going around, not to mention all the viral and bacterial nasties that accompany the winter season. The news heralds
Jan. 21 as the most depressing day of the year. For me, the whole of January tends to be a fairly steady funk.

I think part of it is a hangover from the Christmas festivities. My freelance year-end deadlines and the end-of-semester marking I have for my courses tend to put me in overdrive in December. Throw in Christmas, New Year's and some family birthdays in early January and it makes for hectic to the power of ten. No spare time.

Then, suddenly, it's over. No holidays. No major festivities. Work slows down to manageable again. I'm no longer running like a cat with my tail on fire and, instead of rejoicing in this and
living in the moment like I said I was going to do, I feel as if I should be doing "something" urgent. I feel anxious about it. It seems to take my brain a looooooong time to wind down from super-silly-crazy hectic to normal.

I think many folks are in the same boat, especially when combined with the diminished sunlight at this time of year. Maybe I have undiagnosed
seasonal affective disorder. I like winter, at least I tell myself I do, but there's definitely a hermit living inside me at this time of year. Even though I promote getting outside and express joy when we have snow because we can go sledding or snowshoeing or skating or build snow things in the backyard, I don't do much of it. Bad Mommy. Take those kids out to play more! It will make everyone happy. Alas, Boychild is home sick and Girlchild still naps and that means it won't be this afternoon, so good intentions get postponed for yet another day.

And it's another cloudy day. Sigh.

Maybe I'm subconsciously susceptible to thinking I have to feel this way at this time every year. I dunno. Do you loathe January, too?

Friday, January 18, 2008

Growing Up Together

When I was six years old, my best friend who lived next door moved away. I don't remember much about being six, but I sure remember that. I was so very sad. I can still see them driving away down our street, waving to my parents and me until they were out of sight. I cried. I remember going inside and feeling empty and lonely.

Colleen was a few months older than I was and she was beautiful. She had long, straight brown hair that she wore in two braids and the prettiest skin - pale and smooth and without a blemish - that I thought was so lovely compared to my freckles. We played many games together, from the standard hide-and-seek, hopscotch and skipping to elaborate pretend games involving princesses and princes and horses that we staged with the other neighbourhood girls. We would traipse around our yards draped in our blanket gowns. I thought we would grow up together.

Her dad was a police officer and they were transferred so far away that we couldn't even visit. They left a few weeks before my birthday, and Mom let me open my present from Colleen early to try to cheer me up. She was my first pen pal and we wrote letters for years.

My parents are still in that house, and I lived there from the time I was three until university (and then for a couple of years after I graduated). In all of that time, there was never another family in the house next door that had kids. It changed hands a few times, and when I was growing up I always hoped for another Colleen, but it was not to be.

Why am I rambling on about this melancholy childhood memory? It's because I just found out our neighbours are moving; the lovely family next door. They have two little boys: the oldest is a year and a half younger than Boychild, who is six, and the youngest is six months younger than Girlchild, who is two. Boychild and Neighbourboy have spent hours and hours and hours playing together in our adjacent backyards and in each other's playrooms. We all kinda thought they'd be growing up together.

Our neighbours moved in about six years ago and we have watched as they toiled relentlessly on their older home to improve it and make it just the way they wanted it to be. They have done a lovely job and their pride in the house is evident. Nevertheless, plans change.

It makes us sad to lose such nice neighbours. They won't be going far, not like Colleen and her family; just a few kilometres away. Still, it's not quite walking distance. We won't be able to chat over the back fence or just wander into each other's yards for a lemonade. Perhaps I should just tell them I've been thinking it over and have decided that, sorry, they can't move. Do you think that would work?

We haven't told Boychild yet. When we do, I'm pretty sure I'll know just exactly how he feels.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

An Essay on Not Writing about Belly Button Fluff

I have been writing a weekly column for the local newspaper since the mid 1990s. Regular readers will agree some weeks are better than others. Sometimes it is a struggle to come up with something witty, clever and fun for the space.

Writing the column is fairly easy once I get going. Coming up with the idea is not always so. Once I stumble upon something brilliant (er, whatever) I can usually pound out the verbiage in short order. Getting to that point, though, can take the whole week and sometimes I am staring at the computer screen with little beads of sweat forming on my crinkled brow as the clock tick tick ticks in the background and the deadline looms. The column was originally named "Past Deadline" to denote an afterthought on whatever is happening in life. Sometimes, though, my submissions have been pretty close to being literally late.

Generating ideas can be tricky business. That's why I love writing this blog. My aim is for it to be entertaining for people to read without being a journal of serious introspection on belly button fluff (although I'm sure that would appeal to someone out there - ugh). Mainly the blog is also giving me a chance to record some of the random thoughts that plop into my brain. Sometimes I can expand on these thoughts and turn them into a column.

My long-term writing goal is to someday see some novels on a shelf with my name on them (and I don't mean on the inside cover with a sticker that says "This book belongs to _____________"). This dream is on the back burner at the moment as I work on projects that actually pay the bills, at least while the kids are small and my time is pressed. (I know, I know. Having more time later is a bit of a fantasy - although when they're both in school full time I should be able to squeeze more work into my day.)

The other reason the dream is on standby comes back to ideas. I have some vague notions, but these days my head doesn't swim with fictional storylines the way it used to. I would walk to and from school (elementary, high school and university) and my brain would be alive with characters and plots. I wrote short stories all the time. I was bursting with ideas for novels.

This current subsided when all those crevices in my head were filled with other work-related thoughts, but a small fire still burns - and the embers are great for roasting marshmallows. Eventually I'll stoke that fire.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Another Unscripted Moment

Every once in a while it becomes apparent I spend too much time either talking to little people or meandering around in my head and not enough time conversing with grown-ups.

Here's a recent example. There are probably lots of other ones, but my short-term/long-term memory (okay, memory in general) is on the fritz, I think because I have too many things to remember.

This example falls into the category "Try Not to Blurt." Blurting is okay if you are a kid; not so much when you are, allegedly, a grown-up.

I was talking to a mom who lives nearby. Our boys are in the same class and we often walk to and from school together. Sometimes the kids play after school and the other day, when she was at my house, a big button fell off her coat. Groom-boy found it in the backyard and I returned it to her a few days later when we were picking up the boys. She was telling me about how she's had to sew several buttons onto this particular coat because they keep popping off.

I sez, and here you will see why I am a professional communicator, "Yeah, I had a coat that did that all the time, too. Of course I was a student and I didn't pay much for it."

Read: "That's one cheap coat you've got there, ma'am."

I totally did not mean to suggest the coat was crummy. It's a spiffy coat! Sigh. She was gracious. I was oblivious. We continued chatting as we started the trek home with the boys. I didn't really think about what I had said until later that night when, for whatever reason, I was remembering our conversation. Oh. My. Gawd.


It's probably a good thing I am not in the diplomatic corps.

So when I saw her today and pointed out my blurt, she laughed and claimed she hadn't noticed it. She's very sweet. I'm very idiotic.

I think certain social skills with adults are rusty due to the fact I am being held prisoner in my own home - I mean - since I am a work-from-home-mom. I also think part of my trouble is I am a writer, not an orator. As such, I usually have the opportunity to consider my words. I'd probably fare better if life were scripted - or would I? Perhaps I'd spend less time with my foot in my mouth, but then what would I blog about?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Return of the Banshee

A while ago, I wrote about how Girlchild (she who is most definitely two) had started a freaky new trick that involved a someone-is-sawing-my-arm-off kind of screaming at bedtime and naptime. You can read about those good old days here.

It was, as predicted, a fairly short-lived phase. Once groom-boy and I stopped running into her room breathlessly fearing the worst and ready to bludgeon some armed torturer, she got tired of yelling. After about a week life returned to its non-shrieking normalcy - whatever that is.

Well, guess what? The banshee's back and she's as bloodcurdling as ever.

Bedtime used to be my absolute favourite time of the day because I knew I would soon have some quality time to spend with my computer - I mean with myself or with groom-boy. Seriously, though, as fine as the quiet time is, I love bedtime for the ritual of it. We started developing a good routine with both kids when they were babies and it is a lovely time featuring a nice bath, cosy PJs, a bit of milk for Girlchild, brushing the teeth, a few stories, tuck in, kiss kiss, good night. It's all so warm and sweet and innocent and aw shucks hot chocolaty.

I miss those days.

We're at the stage with Girlchild where she bucks every routine. She doesn't want to get into the tub and then she doesn't want to get out. She sometimes struggles over donning her diaper and fights the PJ choice. If there's time for two stories she'll pick six. Now she insists upon reading them to me (which is actually kind of cute). Then we struggle over brushing teeth. Then we have to decide which books and friends will join her in her crib. Oh, did I say "we" and "decide" in the same sentence? Silly me.

By the time I dole out hugs and kisses, say goodnight and close the door I feel as if I have run a mile while having an argument, which actually isn't saying much since I'm so out of shape. You get the idea, though.

Then the screaming starts. (Not mine, hers - although I'm tempted.)

It can be for various reasons - a drink, another hug, to retrieve dropped books, to "snugaminute" (which is hard to resist), but it sounds as if she is being hung upside down by her toenails. We usually end up making at least a couple of return visits. Our responses have varied from complying with her request to merely peeking in the door and telling her "goodnight" again to doing the old timer trick (waiting five minutes, ten minutes and so on before going in).


That girl has stamina, though, not to mention lungs, and the sitting-it-out strategy isn't working so well this time. Groom-boy and I have often commented - rather - shouted to each other over the noise that we expect her head is spinning around in circles and perhaps we should have the exorcist on speed dial. She is LOUD! And a bit scary, too.

Her brother, Vern, who is a newly minted six-year-old, says we should go in, tell her we're going to get what she wants and then never come back and she'll fall asleep while she waits. Uh huh. I'm afraid to try it due to the psychological implications: "And they NEVER came back," she'll be telling some therapist in 20 years. "I waited and waited for my sippy cup, but they NEVER brought it." I also suspect someone this fiery is unlikely to just drift off to sleep while waiting. You never know, though. Sometimes Vern has her pegged. He also has to try to sleep through the Din That Never Ends, so I feel for him and applaud his efforts to find a solution.

Hopefully this little bump in the bedtime routine will iron itself quickly like the last time - and before we all go deaf.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Who's in Charge Here?

Every once in a while I'm zapped back to my own childhood shenanigans with my younger brother as I listen to Vern and his little sister:

"Stop copying me!"

"I'm telling!"
"Maaaaaawm!"
"You're not the boss of me!"

Sometimes I sit on the couch amid the din and think, "Oh my God. I am the adult here. How the heck did that happen?" Occasionally I feel as if I am in some sort of coma or dream and I wonder how I got here - to the point of being a so-called "grown up." I keep expecting my own Mom and Dad are going to wander in at some point and say, "Alright! That's enough of this racket! If you two don't cut it out you'll both be going to your rooms!"

But they don't come. It's up to me and Groom-boy to provide the standard clich├ęs. I tell my parents about these echoes of my childhood and sometimes they laugh out loud. When I think about all the squabbling they endured between my brother and me I don't blame them for finding it amusing. I would, too, and sometimes I do. In fact, I always laugh when I say, just for the fun and sheer nostalgia of it (although the kids don't necessarily know that): "Stop crying or I'll give you something to cry about."

Does anyone else ever wonder about this thing called "being a grown-up"?

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Welcome to the Strip Club

At our place things are a bit, well, not like a nursery school.

I work from home. Although I tend to schedule work around being a mom (i.e. when my mom, in-laws or hubbie can watch the kids or after they go to bed), I can be pretty preoccupied by times.


Vern and Girlchild have always been pretty good at independent play. I know I can send a quick e-mail or make a phone call while Girlchild plays nearby with her puzzles, for instance. I am also one of those moms who leaves the TV on a lot. My six-year-old is skilled on the computer and has lots of different games - most of which are educational, some of which are just, well, good guy/bad guy stuff. It keeps him occupied when necessary.

Is this ideal? No.

Fantasy: I would be content to do crafts and go to playgroups and participate in clubs and sports all the time. We'd eat the perfect food, exercise together as a family, have a clean and tidy house, exceptionally well-behaved children, would watch a video once or twice a week and leave the TV off otherwise, would have no computer games and I would be fabulously happy and content mama with nary a thought about a different career (not to mention no need for the extra cash).

Reality: I have a bit of a non-mom-related career - although it is part-time and from home - which keeps my brain happy but means the TV does some babysitting, the house isn't always clean and is rarely tidy, sometimes the food comes from boxes or a take-out menu, and Mommy gets preoccupied and snappish and tired. Mommy doesn't really feel cut out for the playgroup set anyway.

The point is, sometimes I'm pretty insecure about what's going on at my house, which I know is totally ridiculous, but hey. Whaddyagonna do. I'm starting to get the sense a lot of mamas feel the same way.


The other day the neighbours' son came over to play with Vern. Neighbourboy, who is about a year and a half younger, is a big Vern fan. The two of them are great buddies who spend a lot of time together outside, especially in warmer weather. It's nice to have a next-door neighbour with young kids. Their other son is about the same age as Girlchild.

Our neighbours have a nice parenting style. They do lots of fun things with the kids and frequent playgroups, concerts, skating, swimming, etc. I know the TV isn't on as much in their house, for sure.

The other day, when it came time for Neighbourboy to go home, he was pretty sad about it. He wanted to stay. His mama managed to effectively diffuse the situation and things ended happily. Later she said to me, "He just loooooves to go to Vern's house. You have so many great things there!"

I laughed because the first thing that popped into my head was the fact our TV is on a lot and Neighbourboy likes to check it out. "Yes, it must be kind of like going to strip club for him," I said. "The TV's always on, there are computer games, we've got the toy shotgun - woohoo!"

(Yes, the toy shotgun: a Christmas gift for Vern from my mom. Sigh. It's a hit with all the boys, of course. Toy guns are probably a topic for an entirely different post. I warned Neighbourboy's mom about it beforehand. She just laughed. She's so great.)

Despite the fact my house is like a strip club for the 7-and-under set (without the strippers, unless you count the fact Girlchild sometimes likes to stroll around in just a diaper), people keep letting their kids come over, so it can't be too bad. Things definitely aren't perfect around here, but we sure mean well.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Ode to Joy(ce) and Other Bloggers

When I first started reading blogs, and then writing one myself, I spent some time contemplating the nature of the beast. The Internet, after all, seems to swing widely from being so impersonal and far too intimate. I've been trying to keep my own writing light - something I wouldn't be embarrassed about showing, say, my in-laws. So, less about feminine hygiene and more lighter-side-of-life stuff.

I have a few favourite blogs that make me feel as if each post is like getting a letter from a pen pal. They're obviously not to me, personally, but my favourite writers are the ones to whom I can relate to the most. They're the ones I would like to invite over for a good blab session while the kids play and we have a cup of tea or a shot of whiskey, depending.

Today I went to one of my favourites. I've written about her before (I swear I'm not a stalker!) because I think she's just a wonderful writer. Again, today, she penned a post
(this one here) that really touched me. On the one hand, she sounds so tired (been there!) that I wish I could offer to babysit while she takes a nap. Since she lives across the continent that would be tricky, however. On the other hand, she made me and Girlchild laugh and dance today by posting this great song in her blog. Thanks for sharing it, Joyce! What a fabulous find!

Another writer, Mama P/Andrea (of Pass the Zoloft fame), who also writes here at BabyCenter, has a wicked sense of humour and I have been enjoying her blogs immensely. She has a great way of making you feel normal - or at least not abnormal - and she has been wonderful for my self-esteem. Thanks, Mama P!

There are some real gems out there in cyberland, and it can be a great place to visit, for sure. I'm linking these ladies to this blog so you can all share in the fun - I hope they don't mind. Keep up the great writing - and the great parenting!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Six Years Ago Today...

My little man turned six today.

Sometimes - when he's busy pestering me to wait on him hand and foot or talking about farts or whining or running around screaming silly or refusing to wear anything but long johns and an undershirt until we go out - sometimes it's easy for me to forget that for a long, long time I lived and breathed that boy.

There are many days when I'm thrilled to see him off to school and times when I feel as if I am going to blow my top if he says "I'm bored" one more time or if he comes up with another excuse to get out of bed or gives me lip and attitude. Generally, though, when I look at those chocolate brown eyes I melt like an ice cube on a flat rock in July.

My firstborn entered the world at 9 lbs. 7 oz. with no C-section or epidural (roar!). Giving birth to him was truly the most amazing thing I had ever done in my life. What a good baby he was, too. He was very compliant and happy; generally ate well and slept well. In retrospect, I couldn't really have asked for any better, but I worried and fretted and stewed about breaking the baby - this precious bundle that amazed me every day with his very existence. I was one anxious mom for a very long time.

I would spend hours (not consecutive - who has that kind of time?) just staring at this child. When we visited people, part of me really couldn't understand why no one else wanted to just sit around and watch the baby or talk about him incessantly. I was head over heels in love.

I still am, of course. I am a mama bear who would throw herself in front of anything menacing, be it a wild animal, an unruly relative, a freight train or a bully, to protect my boy. It's a scary thing, this kind of love, and it's just as scary how agitated and impatient and unhappy we can be sometimes with those we love the most. This is all part of the live-in-the-moment New Year's resolution. When I think of how I held my baby boy close to me and rocked him and nursed him; when I look into those chocolate browns - it's easy to recapture that intensity and fierceness.

Happy birthday and much love to my little man!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Emergency Song

So you know the scene in The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy et. al. emerge from the poppy field and skip up to the gates of the Emerald City? Well, there's this song in the background as they approach this promised land called "Optimistic Voices" (click here and scroll to #39 to hear it). I haven't seen the movie for a good long time (years), but for some reason this song is going through my head and it has been for weeks. I didn't even know until recently what it was called. Here are the lyrics:

You're out of the woods,
You're out of the dark,
You're out of the night.
Step into the sun,
Step into the light.
Keep straight ahead for the most glorious place
On the face of the Earth or the sky.
Hold onto your breath,
Hold onto your heart,
Hold onto your hope.
March up to the gate and bid it open.

There are definitely worse things. Better this than the Death March or the theme song from Barney and Friends or some such thing, right?

Anyway, out of the blue one day I start la-la-la-ing this song in the kitchen because it's going through my head and I hadn't gotten around to Googling the words yet. Spontaneous outbursts start to happen frequently, in fact. Boychild/Vern (I swear I will settle on a pseudonym for him soon) starts asking about it as he hears it more frequently. He decides it is my "emergency song."

I hadn't noticed I was singing it when stressed or anything, but it's quite possible he had. Now whenever I burst forth with ye olde "Optimistic Voices" song, which can be several times daily, Vern asks, "What's the emergency, Mom?" (Usually there isn't one, but it's good to keep people on their toes, right?)

When I finally got around to looking up the lyrics - not to mention the title, I found his assessment to be quite ironic/compelling. I'm thinking of making it my theme song. We should all have a theme song, I suppose.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Gimme Snot, Any Day

A few days ago, Boychild reached a milestone: his first loose tooth.

I felt a surge of excitement on his behalf because Boychild was worried (as he is wont to do). Would it hurt? What would happen? So we had a chat about dental progression and the Tooth Fairy and speculated on how much dough she would leave beneath his pillow when the time came. We also read
Robert Munsch's "Andrew's Loose Tooth." So now he's more excited about it.

Part of me felt a little sad, too, because this - aside from the fact he's growing fast and is probably the tallest kid in his class - is just one more sign my little guy is not so little any more. Sigh....

Notwithstanding the inherent joy and pain associated with this developmental milestone, there's also a tiny problem. I have a bit of tooth "thing."

It never occurred to me it would be a problem when it came to something like Boychild's all-natural, perfectly normal loose tooth, but when he proudly wiggled that little wee incisor my stomach lurched.

Give me snot, puke, poop, frogs, toads, snakes, lizards, goopy swamp muck, gobs of hair in the bathtub drain - any of that is fine. (Okay, well, I get a bit tired of cat poop smears and hairball barf, but it doesn't make me feel ill.) Threaten to damage a tooth or even talk to me about extensive (or mild) dental work and I quickly cover my ears and sing "Lalalalalalalalalala" as loudly as possible. [Insert full body shudder here.]

I swear, if I am ever held captive by anybody and threatened with torture in order that I reveal some sort of vital national secret (yeah, that's likely), all they'd have to do is threaten to throw something at my teeth and I would crumble like dry old parmesan cheese.

I believe this tooth phobia stems from an incident in Grade 6 when I got into a rock-throwing fight with the girl across the street and her friend. It's not as dramatic as it may sound. We were bickering, really, and it was actually just little pebbles and we were kinda sorta just tossing them halfheartedly at each other, but then her friend let fire with one that nailed me right in the mouth and chipped my right front tooth.

In the grand scheme of dental disasters this was minor, requiring only some filing. Nevertheless, I was distraught and my parents were ticked. They had spent quite a lot of cash on various dental appliances to make my gigantic teeth fit into my not-so-huge face. Probably if it had been some sort of non-stupid "injury" instead of a neighbourhood pebble-chucking match it might not have been as big a deal.

Anyway, since then I have been very protective of my mouth. I worry at hockey games that a wayward puck is going to smack me in the mouth - and that's when I'm sitting way up in the stands. I fret when stainless steel utensils fly out of unwieldy toddler hands. When groom-boy talks about root canals and crumbling fillings from years gone by, I feel nauseous.

For Boychild's sake I shall endeavour to put on a brave face and endure the wiggling demonstrations and the imminent loss. I shall gamely beckon Ye Olde Toothe Faerie to visit us. It will be grand. I'll just try not to dwell on it too much. One almost down, a whole bunch more to go....