And A Pocketfull Of Kryptonite

Tonight, I have a stomach full of saddness.

Today, my daughter and I were playing some game on the floor; race cars or choo-choo's, I'm not sure. This little game turned into the Big Hug game and the Big Hug game turned into the Eat The Baby game and a few toddler tenderloin bites later, Eat The Baby turned into Tag You're It and Tag You're It turned into You Can't Get Me and everyone knows that You Can't Get Me leads directly to TickleMania 3000, duh.

Basically, we went from DefCon 1 to DefCon 5 in the course of 30 minutes, and what comes up is going to come down with nauseating consistency.

Halfway through TickleMania 3000, the laughter turned to tears. Big, fat, green crocodile tears. The kind of tears that only come when the kid knows they've had enough, but doesn't really want to have had enough, but honestly just can't take anymore. Inner conflict = Fake Cryfest. Fake Cryfest can go one of two ways around here; I get annoyed as all fuck and huff out of the room or I try to divert from the whining to something totally different. Depends on the day, really. Today was Good Mom Day so I went with the latter.

You know, the thing with having older kids and younger kids is that in between those kids, I've found myself forgetting the really good tricks that I always kept rolled up under my t-shirt sleeve. Like the time I couldn't get 3of3 to open her mouth so I could brush her teeth, and right before my fucking head exploded 1of3 came in, took the toothbrush from me, turned her to him and started to sing, "The roof...the roof...the roof is on fire!" and she opened wide and laughed and I wondered how the hell I'd forgotten that little trick along the way. I also oozed pride from every orifice on my body because I taught my son a parenting skill, and he remembered it. Because, really, I don't get many good mom moments, and I have to hold onto them when they come.

My point is that I've forgotten a lot of things that I know for a fact I've already figured out how to do seamlessly, like deflecting a strung-out kid from a near-meltdown. I held her in my arms, watching her tears quickly turning from fake to oh-so-very-real, knowing I had less than a minute to make this better or reap the thunder, and I did the first thing that popped into my mind.

I started to eat the sad out of her.

Yes, maybe not the brightest idea, since Eating The Baby was the game that got us in this mess in the first place, but I was under pressure. I started to look for her sadness. I checked under her chin, I sniffed in her armpits, I prodded her legs, and I couldn't find it. She told me to stop it. I looked in her eyes, her ears, her nostrils, her mouth, but it wasn't there. She said I wasn't her friend anymore. I pulled up her shirt and peeked into her belly button. Maybe?  She did not smile. I sniffed. I wiggled my nose in there. I FOUND IT. She stuck her fingers in my eyeball. And you know what I did? I sucked that sadness right out from her belly button while she tried so hard to whine about it.

When I got all the sadness out, I looked right at her and she got her Very Determined Face on and said, "Stahhhhhhp it, mawwwwm." And then I chewed that sadness up, took a great big fake swing of water, and gulped that sadness right down into my tummy. Yeah, she totally laughed. And then I let her peek in my belly button to make sure the sadness was trapped in there and couldn't bother her anymore today, and then we made more than a few poop jokes and we got on with our day.

And tonight I sit here with a stomach full of sadness and I don't think I've been happier about anything in a really long time.

When Good Neighbors Go, Um, Er, Gooder?

In my inbox this morning, courtesy of my lovely neighbor Andrew who tries very hard to avoid public forums, and will now probably hate me:
Exterior establishing shot.  A hot, dry sunny day on (the street I live on).
3of3 runs with a little soccer ball towards a tall, bald man watering his dahlias.

3of3: Anjou! I want to play with you!  We can chase the ball.  Don't touch it.

Andrew: Okay, I won't touch it. I swear.

3of3: Let's go, Anjou.

The intrepid duo run up (said street).

Andrew: You must miss your mom.

3of3: No.  She's in Chicago.

Andrew: So, if she were in another city would you miss her?  Like New York?

3of3: No, she's coming back in two minutes.

Andrew: In a few days?  Next week?

3of3: Two minutes.  Next week.

Andrew: I don't think you understand time, 3of3.

3of3: Oh my god!  Two minutes, Anjou.

Ask A Stupid Question

My sons have always been completely unable to estimate. When they'd ask what time it was, and I'd say that it was quarter after 4, they'd go look at the clock and say, "Mom! It's 4:12!" I'd explain that yes, I know it is, but that I was rounding up and they'd say, "But it's FOUR TWELVE, MAWM." Which all sounds fairly cute, until you repeat that 15 times a day, every day, and factor in pocket change, meal portions and legos.

Needless to say, I spent a good deal of their formative years banging my head against walls.

My children are just literal children. They're not one for the imaginationy games, they don't make up stories or have friends no one but they can see. They read non-fiction books for the first seven years of their lives. They are dry.

And then the girl showed up with her fake make-ups and her basket full of her brother's old halloween costumes and she brought imagination into this house. Her best friend in the whole world, the one she spends hours a day on the phone with, is Sonic The Hedgehog. Her babies all have names and favorite foods. She insists on tea parties. She lives in this world that none of us know anything about, her head in the clouds and her feet in the mud, and oh my god, it's so fucking cute I could die.

Except you know I didn't dodge the reality-bullet with this one, oh no. It just showed up somewhere else.

I've never been one for giving my children many options in life, but I do allow them to dictate their own days to a degree. For example, if they're really, really misbehaving, I'll ask them if they are going to stop or if I am going to have to stop them, and then make them chose. If they stop, great; happy fun time can continue but if they chose to make me stop them, I do exactly that. And once I have, we talk about appropriate punishments. I ask them what they'd do, if they were me, and we come to an agreement. Maybe that makes me a shitty parent, but I think it makes more of a point if they have to come up with it. I think that's part of the punishment, that it drives the point home when they're the ones making the point. It also makes the whole thing less powerless for them, which is nice because I have no desire to be a dictator. They all have to grow weird, dark moustaches and wear polyester brown pants and, ewww.

I take for granted sometimes that my old tricks are going to work on the new kid, the one who hasn't been here for a decade and doesn't know the rules of engagement, and occasionally, in her big-eyed curly -haired cute ways, she reminds me.

Like the other day when I was out front, trying to get her to come inside while my neighbor was talking to me. I told her to come inside. I asked her to come inside. I bribed her to come inside. I demanded she come inside. She totally didn't come inside. I finally looked at her and said, "Dude, am I going to have to smack your bottom or not?" and she thought about it for a full minute before she said, "Um....not" and wheeled away on her tricycle.

Because that was a dumb question, that's why. Because she doesn't know that when mom says "smack your bottom", the situation has gone from mild annoyance to DefCon 4 and it's time to run, not walk, but run in the direction mom is asking you to. My neighbor looked at her, looked at me, and Fell. Over. Laughing. I joined him. All he could say was, "At least she answered your question, eh?" and all I could do was hang my head because yeah, I've totally seen this before. We have achieved Literal Speed, and it's going to be another bumpy ride.

Funny, but bumpy.

A Time It Was, And What A Time It Was

Meet T-Dog.


T-dog is 3of3's best friend.  He's Brazilian and has the world's most perfectly beautiful accent.  He's all boy.  He's a goofball.  I love him almost as much as 3of3 does.  Almost.

Just Like The Movies

We play outside together every day from 4 until 5:30.  He's taught 3of3 to say the letter L and she's teaching him to ride a scooter.  They go spider killing together, they go on spooky walks together and they occasionally sit on park benches like bookends.

Getting To Know You

My next door neighbor, my best friend in Vancouver and the mother of my sons' best friend, is moving away in August.  We are all heartbroken.  I almost looked into moving, too, because I honestly can't imagine what I, and we, will do without her, and them.  But you know what?  Each door that closes opens a different window, and I think it's 3of3's turn to make an old friend.  

Happiness Is A Red Blowpop

And I think we've found him.

At Least It's Not Teletubbies This Time Around

We've had some unusually nice weather here in Vancouver, and by that, of course, I mean we've had some nice weather and that is unusual.  Friday was a Pro-D day at school, and it was actually warm, so the entire neighborhood came out side.  We've got my three kids, my neighbor's three, the three two houses up, the two two houses down, the one across the street, two more next to them, two more next to them, two three houses up from them, and four behind me.  That's a lot of kids.  And they all were outside.  

Everyone came out with their bikes and their scooters and their trikes and their ripsticks and proceeded to tear it up.  3of3 and I went outside, and as I sat on the curb watching everyone she started trying to ride her brother's Razor scooter.  Except she barely has enough of a center of gravity to run, so things were not going well for her.

And that's when I decided it was time for the kid to get her first bike.

We went to Toys R Us and parked outside were a stack of 12" bikes that looked perfect.  They were light blue with light pink accents and some of those tassle things on the handbars.  They weren't excessively girly, but just girly enough that the little Jewish boy up the street wouldn't think Santa had finally come around and left him an extremely late Christmas present.  So I went right over to them, thinking I'd just grab one and be done with it, and that's when I realized that they weren't exactly the kind of sturdy I'd like to strap my only-begotten daughter to in traffic, so we went in.

Friday was evidently British Columbia Bike Buying Day.  Big fun, no whammies.

Every bike they had was either made of PVC and pipe cleaners or was drowning in Bratz.  I found a really awesome orange scooter, but she was having none of it.  And by none of it, I mean she was screaming at the top of her lungs and throwing herself on the floor, shouting, "I CAN'T WIKE A NEW BIKE!!!!"

This is where I should have dropped everything and walked out the door, but I was determined to get this kid outside playing with the kids in the 'hood, so I ended up grabbing the first well-built bike of proper size and specification that I could find a moderately matching helmet for (and goddammit, why didn't they make Paul Frank helmets and pads when my boys were little?  I swear, you people get all the cool stuff these days) and making a run for it.

We arrived home, I pulled out my toolbox, poured a drink, and got started on this.
So ready to make this sucker my bitch.
About 30 minutes later, I ended up with this.
Pretty sure that's coated in Princess vomit.
Holy Gender Neutral FAIL, Batman.

That is a Sleeping Beauty bike with a silver Disney seat and Disney Princesses helmet and elbow pads.  There's even a Princesses bell on the handlebar and a detachable Sleeping Beauty purse on the front, and the whole thing is lacquered in a super-water resistant layer of princess vomit.  I swear, it was the only acceptable thing they had.  Really.

I got done assembling it, tossed her on it and the thing didn't ride.  The problem lay in the one part of the bike that came pre-assembled, and so I pulled out my big guns and took the whole thing apart down to the screws and put it all the way back together.  And I FIXED it.  I felt really big and bad a tough and  all, "Who needs a man, yo?  I can assemble a bike and change my own oil and have sex with myself if I absolutely have to.  I am WOMAN!" and then I realized that I'd assembled a Sleeping Beauty pink glitter-ridden 12" bicycle.  

So it goes.

Anyway, she's ridiculously cute on it and I have grainy proof with terrible audio and you can see that proof filmed on my Blackberry thanks to the magic of YouTube.  Which we didn't have when my boys were little, either, you lucky bastards.