Don’t Read This. Seriously, Stop Right Here. Just Keep Scrolling.

I bet you don’t respect authority either. Oh well, your funeral. That’s if you die of boredom. Or banal cuteness. You might actually enjoy this post if you have a subscription to Reader’s Digest. So this blog belongs to me. Most of the time I make funny with the haha. On occasion, I write endearing things about my beloveds on it. But that’s rare. Most often I use it to gently insult my mother. Because she’s the one who taught me how to laugh at myself.

Anyway, the primary readers of this blog are – my parents, my grandparents, and my son’s Godparents. All of them asked about our Halloween. So as a show of how much I love them, here is our Halloween in full. (Oh also Sula and her Mom read this blog. They would also want to know about our Halloween.)

Last year we had a German au pair who had never trick or treated before. Hence why for the first time ever, I went all out with family costumes. Tex paid a Kijiji seller fifteen dollars and in exchange we got our son an Olaf costume. Janey went as Elsa and I made myself an Anna costume. It was fabulous. It was the most elaborate costume I had ever created. Which is to say not elaborate at all but I put in effort so that was a change. I offered to make Tex a Kristoff costume at the same time, because we were in a city so I could buy items like costume materials. He declined.

This year, with only two and a half weeks until Halloween, Tex comes up to me and says “I want to be Kristoff”. People, we have lived three months without a bathmat because you can’t buy them here. The likelihood of me being able to procure the materials for a Kristoff costume without making a four hour round trip to the next large city over, (Well largeish. Ok small, it’s a small city.) was next to zero. However Tex never asks for things and he really wanted to participate in Halloween. So I sent him to the mall with a list. He returned without fake fur. Not surprising.

Two days and two dollars later, after a visit to the local second hand store, I found a teddy bear. (The secondhand store is only open certain days of the week hence the wait.) I gutted that stuffed animal like a fish. I chopped it into pieces and sewed the bits as fur trim to a jacket Tex had bought when we were first dating. Then I added piping, and made him boot covers so he’d have the requisite pointy ice seller toes. Also, I made a lantern that actually lit up for our “sleigh” which was our bike.

Tex looked awesome. Mini-Tex looked adorable. I looked well, Ok. And we borrowed a stuffed reindeer toy from my in-laws to act as Sven.

The day of, Tex had the afternoon off, so we spent our son’s nap rushing around, filling water bottles, preparing dinner for the road, affixing reindeer to the front of our bike, changing bike lights over so that we would be more visible and so forth. It took two and a half hours, but eventually we were all dressed and ready. I had four layers of long underwear up top and three layers on the bottom. I was plump. But warm.

We had everything together; we were all set for the best Halloween ever. All we needed was our Olaf. But he was sleeping. So Tex and I busied ourselves with filling the candy bowl, tidying up the house and looking at the clock going “How is he still sleeping?”

Readers, until that day, I didn’t know someone could sleep belligerently; it was like Mini-Tex was trying to miss out on Halloween. Finally, it got to the point where we were going to be late for trick or treating at the mall, so Tex and I did the unthinkable- we woke a sleeping child.

Because we’re obsessive parents who both need to bear witness to our offspring’s joy, we woke him up together. “It’s Halloween! It’s time to go trick or treating! It’s time to hug the blow ups!” Mini-Tex had been waiting A MONTH AND A HALF to hug all the inflatable decorations around town. Over the past month, we had put 200 kilometers on our bike and spent countless hours pedaling out of our way so he could see the blow up monkey, the blow up dragon, the blow up Jack Skellington. And every single time we saw them, our almost three year old asked “Can I hug them?” at which point we’d answer “On Halloween.”

To say Mini-Tex was excited was an understatement. But he was also very very sleepy. He stood straight up and then promptly did a face plant back into the bed. Tex grabbed him and popped him on the potty. We started both dressing him and undressing him together. It was like an instructional video on tandem helicopter parenting.

Within three minutes our Olaf was dressed and in the sled. Despite still waking up, he would yell “Jump Sven!” at random intervals. He would only call me “Anna” and his dad was “Kristoff”. It was quite possibly the best day of his life.

While riding to the mall to trick or treat with the other little people who go to bed before seven pm, we became aware that there were houses that had waited until the last possible moment to put up their decorations. Meaning that we hadn’t seen their magnificent inflatable decoration arrangements.

“Do we want to stop?” asked Tex. And so the blow up decoration love fest began. Mini-Tex was elated, he finally got to hug every pumpkin bearing Minion, every giant cat, every spooky ghost. The first house we stopped at had four blow up decorations. We stopped at two more houses before the mall until I got panicky that we would miss seeing all of our friends whom I had made arrangements with to meet.

Of course when we got to the mall, I didn’t recognize any of Mini-Tex’s friends and we just wandered around hugging the decorations. Tex took Mini-Tex to exactly one store to trick or treat and there was an over eager salesperson who jumped in our path so she could place candy into our son’s decorative pumpkin basket.

Then, on our way out, one of the best moments of the night happened; Mini-Tex’s best friend’s family appeared. His best friend was dressed as a ninja turtle. However the friend’s little brother who Mini-Tex also plays with, was also dressed as Olaf. The kids were delighted. Mini-Tex was over the moon. The eighteen month old who was also dressed as Olaf was vaguely confused and overwhelmed. It was fantastic.

Because all of you are gluttons for punishment, I’m going to continue writing about our Halloween. But in another post, because even my family and dearest friends can only take so much banal storytelling.

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I’m Not Usher, But These Are My Confessions – Liquor in the Morning and Glory Moments of Parenting

Sometimes I Just Leave My Toddler Lying In The Middle of The Floor

Can we all just acknowledge that snowsuits are like one piece bathing suits for babies- impossible to get on, painful to remove and God help you if nature calls? Anyway so Mini-Tex has this routine of falling asleep in his stroller and then I half lift, half drop the stroller on its way up the stairs into the house, park him in the entranceway, without throwing on the brake because that would wake him up, so I hope that there isn’t an earthquake while he naps, otherwise the stroller might roll across the hall and down the stairs. Also, Mini-Tex sleeps in his snowsuit because removing it is next to impossible and I always feel like I’m about to break one of his tiny arms in the process, but I prevent him from overheating by turning down the heat. I then curl up five blankets and make believe that I’m in Siberia, I would do a Russian accent to help sell the idea but I’m atrocious at accents.

For the most part, my son and I had both accepted this new sleeping arrangement. Then it snowed. Like apocalyptic Siberian Russia snow. There was so much snow that the stroller was an impossibility. But staying home was not, because I’m addicted to the grocery store’s contest so we needed to buy pickles and detergent. That’s when I broke out the sled. Mini-Tex thought it was pretty great, and like clockwork he fell asleep as we turned the corner down our street. As I lifted him out, he kind of woke up. He was still tired in that “I’m just so warm in this one-piece-oversized-down-filled-bathing-suit-strait-jacket-thing kind of way” so I laid him on the floor. And he just stayed there. Didn’t say anything, so I walked away, and his eyes kind of closed but not all the way. So I left Mini-Tex awake on the floor, then I picked up my two year old, French, trashy magazine and read for a couple of minutes before checking to determine that he was out. And I left him there, sleeping in the middle of the floor. One of my finest hours as a parent.

I Call It “Baby Fetch”

Listen, sometimes, you just need a minute. Occasionally it’s to make coffee and you hand your child a package of fire engine stickers which ends with tiny fire engine sized carpets after your child sticks the entire sheet to the rug and in attempting to remove the stickers you create fire engine shaped bald patches in the rug and a handful of fuzzy, miniature carpets. Other times, well, you’re out of stickers, so you get creative. Baby Fetch was invented while I was trying to write a letter, Mini Tex wanted to play soccer. Instead I threw his beach ball as far as I could and he ran after it. In between throws I’d pen a handful of words. I regret nothing because Mini-Tex is going to show that Golden Doodle who’s boss at the park this summer.

At This Point In The Winter, I’m Debating Wrapping Him In A Couple Of Duvets And Calling It A Day- Obviously I’d Make His Head Stick Out, So I Don’t See The Problem With This

We’ve agreed that snowsuits are winter’s answer to one piece bathing suits? Uncomfortable, only used a couple months of the year and wearing them during your teens will get you laughed at etc. My biggest beef with snowsuits is that I don’t know where my baby ends and the snowsuit begins. Problematic from the point of view of “Are you cold?” randomly fondles the snowsuit, “Oh you’re just fine”. When really your baby’s hand is an ice cube but you can’t find it in the endless folds of fabric.

The worst example of this was the ten minutes that Mini-Tex spent with two legs shoved into one pant leg of his snow suit. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why the snowsuit wasn’t fitting properly and then when I finally realized the problem, I was so fed up with the entire business that I needed a break. So I left Mini-Tex lying in the middle of the floor with his little legs pinned together while I regrouped in the bedroom upstairs and debated a ten AM vodka shot because we’ve established that I’m an awe inspiring parent. One would think that I’d realize that an entire pant leg was just fabric but nope, because snowsuits take your children and make them significantly larger. It’s like taking a small European child and making them North American in five minutes or less.

I would say if you must judge me, bring me hard liquor first, or offer to dress my son for playing the snow.

You Are Aware Of How Rude It Is When You Stare At My Burgeoning Winter Babies, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, Right?

Jeremiah and Ezekiel are my fat babies- I made them out of chocolate brownies and Nutella. I swear that there is some sort of biological response that FORCES everyone to stock up on adipose for the cold months. Sometimes, one can avoid it, for example last winter, I spent a lot of time strapping my tiny toddler baby to my back, throwing a parka rated for -40 Celsius over the both of us and traipsing about our rough northern town. Something about regularly hauling around almost a quarter of my body weight prevented me from putting on excess weight.

This winter? Not so much. For starters, my baby is a baby no more; he’s all but outgrown his carrier and can no longer fit comfortably in the parka with me. Meaning that going out involves shoving Mini-Tex into HIS parka, a garment he loves, and by loves I mean despises with the wrath of a thousand shrieking toddlers, if my son knew what matches were, he’d play with them in an attempt to rid the world of his evil blue snowsuit. As you might imagine, getting a disgruntled two year old into a full body parka is a challenge, one that ended with me receiving a black eye after a particularly forceful headbutt earlier this winter.

Even our ever hopeful, ever perky, twelve year old babysitters won’t take on the task- and they are up for anything. Consequently, my son and I have spent a lot of time inside. Like a lot a lot. During the day, I gaze out onto the snow covered mountain top that is our view and think “someday” and then I eat some goldfish crackers and wonder when I developed a mommy butt.

Once upon a time, when I spent my evenings doing, well to be honest I can’t remember what I actually did in my late twenties but rest assured it wasn’t singing “Old MacDonald” over and over a thousand times while I cooked dinner, anyway, once upon a time, when I was young, well youngish, during the winter, I’d name the winter weight on my butt. The belly pooch was “Jeremiah” after an obscenely attractive model that I once dated. And bringing up the rear was Erasmus. It’s been a number of years and one child since then, so I’ve since accepted my new posterior which moves both side to side AND somehow back to front. There’s a lot more butt which extends beyond my hips, thus allowing the forward and backward motion. At least that’s my personal theory on my newly mobile bum.

In light of the fact that this newly shaped butt is unlikely to go away, I’ve ceased calling it names, especially one so unfortunate as Erasmus. But in the meantime, the front of me is looking so large, that Jeremiah now has a twin- Ezekiel. And I’d prefer if everyone would stop looking at them, or at least stop caressing them and asking about my “good news”.

Man-Eating Fire Trucks, Unpredictable Horses of Satan and Other Forms of Childhood Entertainment

There’s a saying that “It takes a village to raise a child”. I firmly believe in this adage, particularly when visiting places like indoor carnivals, hence how we ended up with a four to one ratio of adults to toddlers last month. In our motley crew was; myself (obviously), Tex, my Dad and best of all Clark’s chosen godparent, my old friend Gordy.

After a visit at my Dad’s, we decided to spend the day at an indoor fair. Is there a better place for children? Rides? Check. Animatronic dinosaurs? Check. The biggest indoor playground one could imagine? Check. An endless line up of quarter and loonie operated machines to climb on? Double check.

This place is truly a child’s dream. Six months ago when I visited my Dad, the three of us had spent an afternoon at the carnival and it was fun. Unfortunately, Mini-Tex, my son is a toddler and a super cautious one to boot. Given that Mini-Tex is becoming more of a riot and more independent with each passing day, I had high hopes for yesterday. That said, my little boy darts, and also requires a fair amount of reassurance, hence the excessive adult entourage. I figured I could comfort from one side, Tex would be the other half of a toddler reassuring sandwich. My Dad could take pictures and enjoy watching and Gordy would be on hand to catch him if Mini-Tex tried to pull a toddler Houdini.

It was a great plan. Truly I was destined for the toddler mothering championships. And then we walked in; the first thing Tex, Mini-Tex and I saw was a giant animatronic elephant. Mini-Tex LOVES elephants. He adores pictures of elephants, he kisses his stuffed elephant, he enjoys acting like an elephant with his little friends at the library once a week. However, the enormous trumpeting elephant at the entrance to the indoor fair solicited a “No thank you, no thank you” when we got close. Same for the animatronic Santa wishing him a Merry Christmas.

No matter, we rushed up the escalators to meet Gordy and my Dad. My father had thoughtfully purchased ten tickets while he awaited our arrival. “Let’s go on the carousel” he suggested, anxious to start enjoying some awesome Grandpa-grandson bonding time while galloping on wooden horses. Mini-Tex likes horses because of where we live, he sees them regularly. My son even does a spot on impression of a horse’s whinny. Essentially, he’s a total horse fan. With eyes as big as saucers, Mini-Tex approached the stopped carousel. The attendant had just closed the gate but we ushered our little guy forward, eager for him to watch the ride and get in line. Then the carousel started to spin, Mini-Tex’s brow furrowed in horror as he realized what we were pushing him towards. “No thank you, no thank you” he cried scrambling to climb up my body and away from the out of control carnival ride that was clearly going to end in his death.

So that was a bust. No matter. His Daddy needed coffee so Tex and Gordy ventured off in search of caffeine while my Dad, Mini-Tex and I looked at the forty foot T-Rex which was flanked by a ten foot baby T-Rex. Ever the optimist, my Dad said “What about the hot air balloons?” During our last visit, Mini-Tex had clung to me like a terrified baby spider monkey on this ride. We got into line. No protests. We entered the ride. Mini-Tex stayed silent. We boarded our balloon and all was well. Up and away we went, spinning around and around with me using dance training skills to spot the purple slide in an effort not to puke. My Dad was delighted and pointed out dinosaurs and sights to my son.

Upon exiting, we spotted Gordy and my husband. I remembered that there was a quarter operated fire truck about ten feet away so we all walked there. I carefully explained that Mini-Tex loved these machines but only if they didn’t move. An important point for my Dad, who competes for “Grandpa of the Year” constantly, and would have loose change at the ready in no time flat.

Mini-Tex was enthused at the idea of riding his own fire truck, having seen an actual fire truck outside of our house a month ago, but unbeknownst to us, a kind stranger had deposited change into the fire truck and left it for the next person to enjoy. With wonder in his eyes, Mini-Tex clambered into the front seat, smiling an actual smile rather than the uncertain, fearful expression he had been wearing since we walked in. And then he pressed the big green flashing button, all at once the truck sprang to life, moving back and forth. Mini-Tex froze and then lunged for my arms. Desperate to help, Gordy stood by the truck touching it “It’s all right Mini-Tex, look I’m having so much fun!” When Mini-Tex was unconvinced by this display, Gordy folded his adult male sized self into the truck and rode the bucking quarter machine, “This is fun, wheeeeeee!” Best godparent in the world, right there. But Mini-Tex was still skeptical and furthermore, my son extrapolated that if THIS machine moved, all the others did too, so from then on he kept a wide berth between himself and all the unpredictable helicopters, jeeps, zebras, tigers and racecars in the event that they too began moving on their own. So that was a win.

Still, we forged on, determined to make a magical afternoon for my toddler. Mini-Tex loved watching the triceratops and brontosaurus as we made a beeline for the train. Unfortunately, the train was closed for maintenance, but just beyond the station, was another dinosaur! Win! Or a win until the dinosaur roared loudly and scared the living daylights out of our meek little boy. Again, ever the supportive godparent, Gordy started petting the dinosaur and cooing to it about how it was such a nice dinosaur. No dice, Mini-Tex was not going to be swayed- this was clearly an evil, boy-eating dinosaur and possibly the others were too.

We decided to give the carousel another try. In the face of rogue fire trucks, and vicious dinosaurs, by contrast, the carousel now seemed tame to Mini-Tex and he willingly walked onto the ride with me. My Dad was ecstatic and immediately whipped out his camera to document the entire experience. I chose, what I felt was the gentlest looking horse, and just as I went to lift Mini-Tex onto it, came the stream of “No thank you, no thank you, no thank you” before giving way to a terrified screech when his pleas didn’t work. My Dad and I sat on the sleigh. Mini-Tex clung to my front, white knuckling it for all three turns while Tex and Gordy looked on from the outside, waving vigorously each time we past, in an attempt to convince Mini-Tex that this was fun.

Last, we tried the enormous playground. Gordy was going for broke with the whole “Best Godparent Ever” idea and waited at the bottom of the slide for twenty minutes so that when Mini-Tex’s little head popped up at the top of it, he could encourage him to slide down. SPOILER ALERT- it wasn’t successful but man did Gordy try. My son actually enjoyed himself though; he met a six year old girl who wanted to be his friend. She kept shoving him aside and lightly trampling him but in the grand scheme of how his day was going- escaping death by fire trucks, dinosaurs and rabid horses, it seemed like the lesser of all the evils so Mini-Tex accepted being squished and pulled like a champ.

At this point, Mini-Tex was fading fast and using his Dad as a pillow, so we called it a day. Although the day could reasonably be called an exercise in terrorizing your child, personally I would classify the day as a success; super fun for me and I was reminded how much my family and friends love me and the lengths they are willing to go to support both me and Mini-Tex. As it happened, the next day, Mini-Tex was telling everyone about the “big, REAL dinosaurs” he saw to anyone who would listen, so it might not have been a total parenting flop.

Random Tiny Strangers’ Sharts And Other Revolting Revelations In My Life

Mini-Tex is approaching the two year mark. Which means potty training. Only not actually because we’re spending the next six months bouncing around the country and the one thing that’s crazier than trying to potty train a small person is trying to do it on the run. At some point, likely during a summer, ideally before he’s twelve, we will attempt to potty train Mini-Tex. At this juncture however, we are going to be content just having a potty.

Or at least we would have been if we had a potty. As it was, this morning we didn’t. This isn’t a problem for most people because they

A) Live in a place where they need more than just their fingers and toes to count their neighours.

B) Live in a place where the only store isn’t the “Super Val e Mart”

C) They’re not insistent on buying all children’s goods second hand.

As it is, I live in a place that makes Dog River from Corner Gas look big. We are F  A   R from everything. We are two hours away from a large pharmacy let alone a children’s store, and we are four hours away from a major centre where second hand children’s stores are found.

As luck would have it, Tex was traveling on an overnight jaunt to the big smoke for work. On his last trip, he secured not one, not two but, three pairs of dinosaur pyjamas. An article of clothing our son had been begging for for the past six months or so. Tragically, I forgot to ask my husband to pick up a potty.

Thus today, when Tex was all set to travel back home and just sent a cursory “So do we need anything from the city?” text to me, expecting to hear crickets in return, I jumped on my phone. “Yes” I hastily replied “A potty”.

Ironically, one of my favourite character traits in Tex is his desire for everything to be spotless. While I am perfectly happy to wallow in my own personal gime, I would prefer that my living quarters are relatively clean. Tex cleans items and places that it would never occur to me to clean- ever. For example, the cup holder in the car. To me, it’s a spot that just becomes progressively stickier over the course of your car’s life. My view of a microwave is that it’s something you use and slop stuff on, until you move houses at which point, you receive a shiny new microwave to splatter with spaghetti sauce. And as for under the couch? Well I’m small, so not only is there no need to move said heavy couch, but it’s also verging on impossible, so the dust bunnies can procreate, colonize and form their own society there as far as I’m concerned.

Tex, on the other hand is a completely different story. When we first met, he was horrified by the shortness of my showers. At one point, he asked whether he could wash me, and it wasn’t in a sexy way (for the record I said “No”- Tex scrubs his skin like he’s Cinderella and removing every iota of dirt is his only shot at attending the ball). My pans, which were thoroughly abused and not well scrubbed in their previous existence with just me, have a new lease on life. And our car receives a twice yearly detailing that would probably cost hundreds if done professionally.

This was the man I sent to choose a second hand potty.

Now I should state, as grimy as  I am, I have limits. And I also keep the well being and personal tastes of other’s in mind. Hence, when I donate an item to Goodwill or what not, I will wash it thoroughly first. And if I don’t feel I’m up to the task of washing it, I’ll kindly ask Tex. Meaning that, if I were to donate a potty, it would be clean. That said, upon buying a used children’s potty, I would immediately scrub it (or let’s be honest ask Tex to scrub it) regardless of the state it was in.

Anyways so away Tex goes to the second hand children’s store. “What kind of potty?” he asks me. “A boy potty” I type back, hoping for something with either cars, fire engines or dinosaurs on it, Mini-Tex’s three interests at the moment. Tex shoots me a photo back “It’s Elmo, all the other ones are for bigger kids to sit on the toilet.” “Awesome” I reply.

I thought that was the end of it. But oh no, Tex arrives home, and cleans the living daylights out of the Elmo potty with bleach until it sparkles even brighter than when it came off the factory conveyor belt. Then Tex, who loves putting batteries into items almost as much as he loves cleaning, demonstrates the piece de resistance. With the juice from two double As, the tiny potty makes flushing sounds.

“You did so great” I said, hugging my husband tight, “I’m sure this was the best one there.” “Well” confesses Tex “there were other boy ones but they had little kid sharts all down the sides.” He didn’t need to say anymore, I tried to suppress a grin picturing my husband eyeballing random tiny stranger sharts on Lightning McQueen potties.

I have a really nice husband. In the grand scheme of gross, awkward shopping trips, I think this one even tops the time that my Dad had to pick up a year’s supply of birth control for my sister. After calling all around the city, he found a store with a large enough supply. Upon entering, the cashier yelled out “Hey it’s the Yasmin guy!” Embarrassing, but not quite as bad as having to pick between plastic seats coated in the sharts of toddlers.

 

This post is dedicated to my mother, who told me not to put up something nice about her even though it’s her sixtieth birthday today. Mom likes to joke that my husband has OCD. Only she doesn’t think that it’s a joke, to which I respond “Our cereal isn’t alphabetized”. That’s totally a criterion from the DSM IV, I am totally up on all things psychology. Also I don’t think people with OCD marry dirt squirrels like me and certainly not dirt squirrels with sweaty runner moms. Happy Birthday Mom, your nice post is forth coming.

 

A Hot Buoyant Mess

I got invited to mom and baby aquafit. Before attending, I figured that it would be something along the lines of mom and baby yoga, wherein a whole bunch of moms stand on yoga mats while jiggling their babies for half an hour and talking about “Namaste”.

I was starting the aquafit class midway through the session, so I had grand plans of arriving early and asking the instructor nicely if I could only pay half of the fee. Mini-Tex of course had another idea in mind, specifically napping five minutes before the exact time that we had to leave. So I rushed around frantically packing what we needed, half-in-half-out of my one piece bathing suit, flashing my neighbours as I rushed past the windows, just in case they needed some more evidence that I’m disorganized and a little white-trash.

Ten minutes later, I woke Mini Tex up, sped towards where I thought the class was, parked, got him out of the car seat, popped him into the carrier and sprinted towards the doors into the church/school/nunnery/all purpose building downtown. Breathless, I bounded towards the security guard and asked where the change rooms were. “You want the Aquatic Center” she told me “it’s on the other end of the building, it’s a ways away. You have to go outside and walk over a block”. Because putting an infant into a car seat takes almost as long, if not longer, than walking any place in town, I ran out the doors and down the street. I entered the Aquatic Center panting and said “Swimming?” to the woman at the desk. “Boots” replied the woman looking pointedly at my snowy footwear. “I need to pay for the class” I added, while removing my rubber boots, which were an inappropriate choice for the weather but I can jump into them, so more often than not I appear at places looking like I’ve been splashing in mud puddles.

“I’m sorry, I meant to get here early to register but we visited the nuns” I explained. “You know the nuns?” the woman at the desk asked. It seemed like an inopportune time to share the story of my accidentally breaking into a nun’s bedroom the day before so I answered succinctly “We got lost”.

The visibly irritated instructor informed me that I was late so we would complete my registration after the class. I bounded into the change room as all of the other moms were exiting to the pool. I pulled out a swim diaper that I had purchased months ago. It was too small and wouldn’t stay on. “It’s fine” I reassured myself aloud, “I’ll just put his bathing onesie over it and it will fit” except that his bathing onesie, size 3-Toddler was too small despite my son being only 9 months old. So doing up the zipper was like closing an overstuffed suitcase, minus putting my knee on my son’s chest to zip it up the last little way. However he was dressed and the swim diaper was in the onesie, so that was all that mattered.

I had put on my suit at the house, so I threw off my clothes like a stripper about to be yanked off stage. Holding Mini Tex like a football, I charged like a running back towards the showers, it was only by virtue of good luck that he was away from the spray and not scalded by the boiling water coming out of the heads as I doused myself. We then sprinted to the pool where the surly instructor told me “Other side” as I attempted to climb down the ladder holding my son.

I had pictured something like mom and baby yoga where moms stand in the pool jiggling their babies talking about jumping jacks. Instead I was met with an unexpected sight of twenty babies in tiny baby boats. They were all bobbing around their moms, sitting in oversized flutter boards with holes cut in the middle to accommodate a fabric baby seat.

I waded over to the instructor, who dropped Mini-Tex into a boat and then started the class. The babies were each given two toys and moms were to hold on to the rope attached to the boat and tow their babies about while they played. Mini-Tex didn’t get the memo about this process, and preferred to chew on the rope, tossing his toys off the side so the instructor had to fish them out of the water while shooting me an annoyed look. So Mini-Tex gnawed on the rope, while riding the waves of the women’s movements and I did aquafit and intermittently chased after the boat when he drifted too far away.

It was awesome, and I loved it. I have grand plans of arriving early to talk with the other moms next week. We’ll see whether that happens or whether I take a wrong turn and pay a visit to the local bait and tackle shop for directions and end up being late, running around like my hot, buoyant mess self.

Traveling Haikus

Squashed tight spaces

Though little I am crushed

In with a baby

 

Babies hate stillness

Discomfort, bedlam follows

Airborne Smarties, toys

 

At least he’s quiet

Quietly throwing objects

Hate me, I chose this

 

Babies shouldn’t fly

People shouldn’t fly period

But babies for sure

 

Even now, still flat

Air travel has crushed me

Junk food, wine, gossip

 

Only a Band-Aid

My two dimensional soul

Formerly 3-D

 

Tired drama queen

Say thanks for the right to fly

Travel is fun no?

 

Your regularly scheduled Unwashed shall return next week. Tragically, passage by plane has all but stolen her will to live.  In the meantime, you can find her convalescing on the couch while her son watches endless episodes of Peppa Pig. Sweet alcohol and pictures of high fashion can be shipped directly to her house. She will answer the door in pyjamas, with wild, unkempt Medusa hair.

Finding Inner Peace with Children: Namest-Hey Put That Down!

Once a week, I attend a class where women stand on mats, jiggle babies and talk about Namaste. It’s called “Baby Yoga”. Because babies need to do yoga because life is hard. Or maybe because moms need yoga, to find inner peace. Regardless, here are instructions on how best to discover calm with a small child.

10:14 – Arrive for the 10:15 baby yoga class. Do a small victory dance over not being late then sprint up the stairs because still need to roll out mat, set up “nest” for Mini-Tex that he won’t use and lay out range of toys for him to ignore.

10:15-10:18 – Shuck off layers and layers and layers of clothing because only crazy people decide to walk in the frigid cold with their babies. Run on tiptoe to not disturb other women who are supposed to be focusing on their breathing but are nursing or swaddling their babies.

10:19- Lie on mat with eyes closed, pretending to focus on breathing but actually listening to Mini-Tex crawl towards a group of unsuspecting three month olds.

10:20- Cock open an eye only to see Mini-Tex playing three month old’s head like a set of bongos. Forget all intentions of inner peace and sprint to move Mini-Tex away from bewildered three month old.

10:21- Am instructed to sit Mini-Tex on lap and do sitting version of cat and cow. The three month olds sit placidly in other mother’s laps. Mini-Tex wiggles his way out of my arms and takes off. Continue doing cat and cow.

10:22 – Inhale, am cat. Exhale, release all tension associated with carrying small person everywhere. Inhale am cat again. Exhale, am cow. Inhale, cat. Exha-where is Mini-Tex? Out of corner of my eye spot him ripping toy out of smaller baby’s hands. Jump up to return stolen plaything.

10:23 – Other moms are windshield wiper-ing knees back and forth. Attempt to convince Mini-Tex to play with toys from home. Mini-Tex has seen said toys and prefers other babies’ toys.

10:24 – Mini Tex takes off, invariably to steal someone’s rattle. Lay back into butterfly pose.

10:25- Feel tension releasing from lower back. Hear noise. Is sound of Mini-Tex climbing all over woman on next mat over. Leap up to move him, feel tension returning as apologize profusely to woman.

10:26 – Carry Mini-Tex to far side of room to area with lots of toys and blankets. Lay back down on mat and lift rear end into bridge pose.

10:27 – Breathe in bridge pose. Close eyes, love bridge pose.

10:28 – Breathe in. Fill self with air. Breathe out, remember how calm feels. Realize Mini-Tex is uncharacteristically silent. Open eyes to see Mini-Tex once more using woman on next mat as jungle gym.

10:29 – Grab Mini-Tex while repeating “Sorry. So sorry” over and over while transporting him back to “nest” next to mat.

10:30- Being in tree pose gives excellent bird’s eye view of Mini-Tex pulling leaves off of nearby decorative tree. Dash to relocate Mini-Tex and save greenery.

10:31 – Lug surprisingly heavy tree into yoga studio bathroom and close door. Mini-Tex has made his way across room and is yanking lamp cord out of wall. Rush to prevent damage to lamp and store it with tree in bathroom.

10:32 – Instructor picks up Mini-Tex and carries him to demonstrate warrior one.

10:33 – Am strong warrior, focus on breathing and keeping knees over big toes.

10:34- Instructor continues to hold Mini-Tex to demonstrate warrior two. Am composed of straight, relaxed lines. Am zen.

10:35 – Mountain pose to chaturanga. Feel peaceful intention slowly returning while instructor wrangles squiggling Mini-Tex.

10:36 – Instructor lets Mini-Tex down to show class proper downward dog. Class follows along. Hear surprised yelp from instructor, look up to see Mini-Tex pulling on her bun as instructor tries to lower to child’s pose. Race to remove tiny baby fingers from instructor’s hair.

10:37 – Place Mini-Tex back in play area at far side of studio. Sit back on mat and rock foot like baby with fingers interlaced between toes.

10:38 – Switch sides to rock other foot and open up other toes. Mini-Tex crawls across room at top speed and grabs hold of curtains to closet, then yanks with all his might. Drop foot baby to catch actual baby.

10:39- 10:47 – Accept defeat and play with Mini-Tex quietly in corner while other women with docile babies in adjacent “nests” do yoga poses.

10:47 – Shavasna.

10:48 – 10:50 – Decide to attempt shavasna pose. Stretch out on mat while Mini-Tex blows raspberries on all available patches of skin.

10: 51- 11:05 – Visit with ladies and well behaved babies. Intercept Mini-Tex’s attempts at toy thievery. Apologize profusely.

11:06 – 11:10 – Layer up. Feeling surprisingly exhausted despite not having done any poses.

11:15 – Find inner peace as Mini-Tex falls asleep in carrier during walk home.

How To Differentiate Between Drunken University Students and Mothers

It’s been noted that new parents bare a startling resemblance to inebriated undergrads, the following is a handy guide which characterizes various behaviours to help tell if you are dealing with a tipsy twenty-something or a newly minted parent.

  1. Late nights

Drunken undergrads are known for staying up late, stumbling around and then passing out wherever looks softest. Mothers also are known to host all night parties. This behavior cannot be used to differentiate the two

 

  1. Little Sleep Followed By Excessive Napping

After these all night parties both new parents and fratboys have been known to take naps during the day. Once again, daytime siestas cannot be used as a way to tell between a new parent and a fratboy.

  1. An Excess Of Skin

If you find yourself surrounded by cleavage and boobs there are one of two places you might be; a sorority party or a breastfeeding moms group. Tread carefully, previously the presence of sequins ruled out the latter but since the emergence of stylish nursing tops, this is no longer a reliable way to distinguish between the two populations.

  1. Forgetting Items Everywhere

Misplacing one’s phone and identification is a time honored tradition of both intoxicated students and new moms. If the phone is lying next to a squeaky toy, it is most likely a new parent encounter but there is a trend of students owning dogs so this is not a definitive qualifier.

  1. Traveling In Groups While Engaging In The Same Activity

Undergrads are notorious for running wild in packs; jogging, playing sports or hollering in public places. Likewise, mothers are often found working out in parks as a group or practicing yoga, they have also been known to yell in commercial centers, in particular grocery stores. Thus unless one is standing next to the egg section, it’s questionable whether it is a parent or student meeting.

As evidenced by the lists of characteristics above, it’s almost impossible to tell a drunken undergrad from a new mother. The only truly reliable way to tell if the person sleeping at the park with their breasts showing with no identification or phone, surrounded by other similarly attired people, is whether or not they have a baby.

An Open Letter To The Neighbours: More Cooing Dammit!

I don’t usually rant, but something has been bothering me since October. It was Mini-Tex’s first Halloween, so I dutifully dressed him up, ran him over to a fellow baby friend’s house and together our families Trick or Treated for twenty or so minutes. It was an abysmal failure; virtually every house we visited missed their marks, so I’m composing a letter to improve our experience next year.

Dearest Neighbours,

Thanks you for the sugary sweets, however as evidenced by both the presence and kempt appearance of the four adults in the group, we are both old enough and organized enough to purchase our own. We weren’t there for candy, those Smarties, even if the babies both had teeth would still be a choking hazard. No, we were there so you, our fellow homeowners, could lavish attention upon our babes.

With the exception of one effusive, older woman, all of you failed miserably at the task. Although my hopes are high for each of the neighbouring properties to be sold and a pack of infant-loving, grandmotherly types to descend upon the city, the likelihood of that happening is low. I mean heck, I would have taken a woman with a cookie house who wanted to eat our children as long as she had fawned over them sufficiently first. Admittedly, my false sense of bravado and adventuring comes from the fact that we were traveling with a member of the law enforcement whose home gym resembles Jillian Michaels’.

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I’d like to see the inhabitants of gingerbread homes just try to snack on this woman’s offspring. (Photo Credit : channelguidemag.com)

In lieu of a sudden influx of lovely, little, old ladies, I’ve written out some instructions for next Halloween.

  1. Fling the door open before we arrive on the stoop. This aggressive show of enthusiasm will communicate the extent of your excitement.
  2. Comment about how creative the costumes are, I mean for Pete’s sake, I almost dyed socks with food colouring for this moment!
  3. Hand out one piece of candy. It’s a rite of passage and if you’ve ever struggled to make a baby into a beluga whale by putting their tiny legs into a narrow, flippered tail, you know that a person deserves chocolate afterwards.
  4. Lastly you may choose from any one of the following statements and actions:
    1. “Yours are the cutest babies in the world! I’m going to turn off the lights and take in my pumpkin as this moment is clearly the pinnacle of my Halloween.”
    2. “Hold on, I’m going to chase down the twins from next door who just visited, as you possess the most attractive and adorable children in the world, you should have their candy.”
    3. “Well, having seen the most beautiful babies in the world, my life is now complete and I can die happy.”
    4. Or you can freestyle it with a similar statement of your own- points for originality!

Hopefully this helps to clear up the confusion so we can all have an enjoyable Halloween next year.