Saturday, 25 July 2009


Just got back from the posh supermarket across the road.  The monsters and I were on our way back from a giant outdoor sand pit and hence the fact that we were now in an indoor, civilised environment was utterly lost on them.

They began by bouncing their giant, red plastic ball down the bread aisle, and as I struggled to grab the necessary sundries as quickly as possible I was aware that I had lost both of them - though faint echo's of 'Oh My!' and 'Oh Dear!" were recognisable as evidence that some customer or another was being whacked in the head by said ball.

I located them - predictably - in the bakery section, where Egg was trying to hustle me for a giant pack of super duper triple chocolate cookies and Dumpie was staring in awe at a blueberry muffin roughly the size of his head.

It was a firm "No" on both counts (the monsters are on a sugar fast until further notice).   Yesterday  while I was in the change room of a store, Egg helped himself to EIGHT free cookies, subsequently hit me up for an ice-cream cone which I had promised, then proceeded to spaz out in a way more akin to a chimpanzee in a zoo than a human child.  

On the way back up in the lift, Dumps pressed the alarm button (again) and I shamefacedly had to answer, "Sorry - it was a mistake!" to the security personnel who answered the distress call.

I'll tell you what - another day like today and I'll be looking to go on the 'Meds'.  The husband, when hearing about my day, helpfully suggested that a few cages might be in order.  

Now there's a thought...

An Ode to My Daily Cuppa(s)...

I don't know what I'd do without my daily coffee(s).  If last summer's Caffeine Theme was Second Cup's 'Skinny Vanilla Bean Latte' (ooohhh how I love that drink...I still have it but more sparingly) then this  year's is Tim Horton's large regular and french vanilla - mixed half and half.
I've even bought their brown branded plastic travel mug because it's so kitsch it's cool.

It's what gets me out of bed in the mornings when I awake to cartoons blaring throughout the condo at some ungodly hour before 7am.  But hey - at least we've moved on from 4am wake-ups.

Coffee is crack for Mum's.  It fuels a day's worth of whines, tantrums and nappie changes.  It gives you a bounce in your dejected motherhood shuffle.  It changes your "I can't take another minute of this" into "Okay just one more"...

I've even started drinking coffee in the early evening to ensure that I stay awake until after the monsters have gone to bed...which these days is anywhere from 8pm - midnight.

I've had three today.  I wonder if tomorrow will be a Four Cup Day.  Maybe it's time to up the ante...

Friday, 24 July 2009

Rain Rain Go Away...

Today has been a trying (and tiring) day.  Pouring rain cascading outside the manifold windows of my dad's 36th floor condo this morning was a bad omen.  Maybe it was something in the air, but the monsters were incorrigible today.  Numerous spills on white carpets, tantrums too numerous to mention, and a total lack of disregard for authority (mine I mean) meant that today is drawing to a close not a moment too soon.

The monsters have taken to doing improv gymnastics on my father's treadmill - hanging upside down like little primates and laughing with glee at the look of horror on my face as I panic, envisioning permanent spinal damage. 

Dumpie has had five (count 'em) outfit changes today...the laundry basket heaving and a quickly diminishing wardrobe at the mercy of a snack-frenzied toddler.  

Egg cannot understand why I scream and holler when he plays ball in the apartment. Apparently all the glass vases and other breakables are mere knick-knacks to his unseasoned eye.

I have taken to slipping off downstairs to the gym each day for a brief respite from the drain of single parenting - pounding out my frustration on the dependable old elliptical machine.

At this rate I'll have shot nerves, crazed eyes but hard thighs by the end of the summer...

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

"Dumps on the Loose"

On Sunday, at a lovely barbeque which the in-laws put on for myself and their various assorted kids and grandkids, Dumpie was caught attempting to toss their 20 year old geriatric 'kitty-cat' in their brand new, salt-water swimming pool.

Luckily disaster was averted as I fortunately happened to glance over just as Dumpie was stumbling to the edge of the pool with the large, mostly blind cat, tight in his clutches.  I made it just in the nick of time.

Shortly thereafter Dumpie was successful in tossing a metal, decorative cat, roughly the same size as himself, over their balcony onto the hot tub.  His 'Gramps' was not amused.  A short while later, despite several preemptive warnings, a big red ball also came sailing over the rails, only to land on a beautiful flowering plant.  Oh dear.

The swimming pool was a hit though, and little Egg made me very proud when he tentatively jumped off the 'diving rock' into the scary deep end with only a pair of bright plastic water wings and an obliging uncle waiting to catch him - standing between him and immanent death. Brave little soldier....seems as though all the encouraging applause and courage-bolstering 'shout outs' did the trick and gave him that little bit of extra 'ooomph' to just go for it.

This same behaviour however, had the opposite effect on the Dumps a short while later when a in impromptu 'potty performance' went the way of the dogs.  A lovely state of the art model had been dug out from under the sink upstairs, and brought down outside in the hopes that a certain little someone might be enticed.  At the first sign of Dumps crouching on it we all jumped to our feet and began idiotically clapping and yelling encouragement.

At first humiliated, his expression then changed to one of extreme grumpiness.  Pissed off, he promptly got up off the little white seat, stomped off, and for the rest of the evening the potty lay abandoned in the corner and was not mentioned or even glanced at again.

I suspect there it shall stay for the foreseeable...unloved, unwanted and depressingly pristine.  I continue to spend an absolute fortune on training pants ('training' my arse!) and a great amount of my daily quotient of waking hours on wiping down a dirty bottom.  

Different continent...same deal.  Some things never change...

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Sleep Deprivation and Depravity: The Link Explored

Negotiations between hostile two and five year olds can often try the most patient of parents. When you are me however, and find yourself a mere three more whines away from total meltdown (um...and let me clarify that's MY meltdown by the way) it's hard to play 'perfect mummy' and too easy to give in to 'mad mummy'.  And by that I mean 'mad' as in crazy - not angry.

When you add severe jet lag to the equation, there's no telling what you are capable of.  

(It's pitch black outside...a cozy deep sleep is interrupted by a horrible sensation in your ear.  You are jolted awake to find your toddlers fingers crammed right up into your ear cavity, wiggling around and likely doing permanent damage to your hearing...)

(Dumpie) "Mama get up!  Get up Mama!"

(Mama) "Dumpie stop it!  Ow!  Don't!"

(Dumpie)  "Me no tired.  Me bored...." 

(Mama)  "Go sleepy Dumpie it's the middle of the night..."

(Dumpie)  "Me hungry me want treat"

(Dumpie then takes his little fingers and using them like a medieval torture device, pries open one of Mama's eyes, brushing the actual eye ball in the process...)

(Mama)  "URGHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!   

So yeah, I've got to work on the tolerance thing.  I've also got to learn how to train my children to respect my nocturnal needs.  

Add that to the list of:

Must train children to eat more vegetables and less 'nannies'...must teach Egg not to ask the age of every middle aged or over person he meets...(must kindly ask Egg to also refrain from giving his opinion about how close immanent demise is to those balding, sprouting white hair, or walking with some effort)...must implore Dumpie not to shriek when scary, moustachioed ladies come up close for a kiss...must train children not to beg for food (or money) from strangers...

(Note: must also train Mama to take more interest in improving parenting skills as opposed to scoffing 'Smartfood' by the bucketload whilst sneakily watching dvd on laptop while children run wild around her...)

Friday, 17 July 2009

"Katie Price and the Killer Harmonica"

So we arrived safely here in Toronto, and much as I'd like to have a good and proper old moan about the 8 hour journey in the air with the monsters on my own...I really can't.  Shockingly, it was the best flying experience I have had with my two little men yet.  

Now, by no means am I saying that it was pleasant, non-eventful, or even encouraging.  No. That wouldn't be truthful.  But I didn't at any point have to nip off to the toilets and pop a quarter that's a pretty good indication non?

Not that there weren't frequent, numerous (well actually too numerous) toilet visits.  Dumpie got it in his head quite early on that he rather enjoyed hanging out in the loo, and thus, deviously conspired to spend as much of the next 8 hours in there as is humanly possible.

Luckily we were sat next to the loos.  Unfortunately they stank.  Luckily I brought enough nappies for the three major 'accidents' of the stinky variety which occurred.  Unfortunately he became transfixed with the loud toilet, the hand pump of scented gel wash and the manifold rolls of loo roll, paper towel and other things in there that are clearly geared toward the interest of a 2 year old.

It would start with the persistent tugging of my sleeve, a grimace, and a moan of, "Mama me sick.  Me throw uuuuuup."  

So I'd grab the stinky chicken under the arm, elbow people out of the way apologetically, then spend the next ten minutes or so in the tiny cubicle with him as he giggled, showed no signs whatsoever of being ill anymore and then to appease me, would do a half-hearted spit in the metal bowl before washing his hands for the fourth time with much glee.

I wouldn't be exaggerating if I confessed that we probably spent a good 1/4 of the flight in there (much to the consternation of the other passengers).

No, what really made the flight bearable and so unlike our last, was the fact that they miraculously gave us bulkhead seats, and being a new plane, there was TONS of room and hence Dumpie was able to jump up and down, deriving much amusement from the new, touchscreen media players.   At one point he even made a makeshift bed for himself on the floor amongst all the spilt apple juice and abandoned Hula-Hoops, and gave me a half-hour of unadulterated peace in which i was able to almost watch part of a bad Hollywood movie ("He's Just Not That Into You"...trite trash but a novel experience to actually 'watch' something).

We did almost miss the flight though.  After eating lunch we had wandered into W.H. Smith to purchase a few magazines before we boarded.  I was busily scanning the shelves, trying to find a cover that did NOT have a certain page 3 girl plastered all over the front with her gigantic breasts stuffed into something tacky and pornographic.....when....all of the sudden I looked up and SHE was standing beside me...stuffed into something tacky and pornographic....and holding the same magazine as I...muttering to herself and her quickly expanding audience of gaping-mouthed onlookers, "This is all garbage...all lies..."

Well I don't know about that, but she certainly lived up to her deliberately crafted image.  Up close she looked like a transvestite.  (Or is that just me and the fact that I fail to see how one might choose to dress like a frontrunner in a pole dancing competition when one is choosing ones outfit for air travel....?)

Dressed in skintight black tights, her toothpick, liposuctioned legs appeared impossibly bow-legged and totally out of proportion with her barely contained, 'ginormous' mammaries.  She was also freakishly tall on account of her uber-high black patent platform stilletos, and ridiculously matt black hair which stood up a good foot higher than her head in a 'K.D. Lang-ish' coif. 

Egg stood there beside me, staring up at her in awe, momentarily forgetting to beg me for the bag of Maltesers he stood clutching in his left hand.  Dumpie (good lad) didn't have one iota of interest in her, and was merely straining to reach for one of those stupid, over priced kiddie mags with the silly gifts glued on front (and the paper density which ensures it will rip as soon as opened and turn into useless confetti within minutes of handing over your five quid).

The store quickly filled up with celeb spotters and hapless punters and so I made for the check-out with some difficulty.  Ms. Price quickly squeezed in right behind me and ensuring that all eyes were on her, then began a loud, annoying conversation on her mobile with someone who may or may not have been her estranged husband...letting out a stream of uncouth adjectives whilst pouting and prancing in a most nauseating way (can you tell I'm not a fan?)

As a result it took a good fifteen minutes to get to the till and when I finally did, the quiet little man supposed to be serving me had to brought back to the present by the banging of my fists on the counter as he stood staring transfixed by lust at the cartoonish character at the next till. 

All this to say that as we finally exited into the main terminal at last, I saw that beside our flight number the red light was flashing "FLIGHT CLOSING".  Whoops.  I then saw that beside gate 42 it said, "20 minute walk" and then I thought, "Uh oh".

We ran the entire way and miraculously made it.  It helped that the plane was delayed.  It also helped that several other passengers had apparently been in the vicinity of W.H. Smith as well. 

Onboard, shortly after take-off, Dumpie discovered the harmonica which Auntie Mo had kindly packed in his little 'Back-Bag' to amuse him for the plane ride.

Misjudged?  Well...I don't know that the other passengers on flight 849 were particularly enthralled with his random and periodic harmonica playing, but on the other hand he actually wasn't that bad on it so....

(Although in retrospect, I don't think the big black fellow sat behind and to the right of Dumps particularly enjoyed  being 'shot at' for the duration of the flight by the 'harmonica gun' wielded by Dumps, complete with sound effects and mutters of, "I kill you!....I kill you...boom-boom-boom".)

Oh dear.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Here We Go Again...

Sorry for the massive silence this past week...have been dealing with a family health crisis back in Canada and have therefore been expending all energy in just coping with that.  As it happens I am flying back there sooner than planned - tomorrow in fact.

Yep.  I said 'tomorrow' and not 'tomorrow night', significantly highlighting the fact that I shall be taking the monsters on a DAY flight for 8 myself...oh my.

Today of course I'm in total denial...packing frantically and trying to sort out a thousand last minute errands whilst my wrung out brain remembers.  Given the fact that Dumpie is currently on a 'three outfits a day' rotation due to a complete disregard for table manners and penchant for continuous all-day snacking, it's tempting to just toss the entire contents of his wardrobe into a giant holdall and baggage allowance be damned.

Saying that, we're flying Air Canada not a charter, but based on a recent trip with my homeland's prime airline, I can say that sometimes it's hard to tell the difference.  The cabin staff all look menopausal (not that it's a bad thing per se, but it's pretty clear they'd rather be out pottering around in a garden instead of serving smelly foodstuffs and miniature bottles to the great unwashed).  They also, in my experience, seem to suffer from a great lack of humour (or is it just that wry, sarcastic 'British' wit is lost on them?)  

Whatever the reason, I can assure you that it's nothing like those Virgin Airlines commercials out at the moment.  You know the ones:  hot, blond sex-goddesses strutting their stuff through an airport, turning heads and causing all men remotely in the vicinity to adjust themselves and try and shut their gaping mouths...

At any rate, that's neither here nor there.  I am, in just over 24 hours, about to embark on yet another journey from hell.  Am I petrified?  Umm...utterly so.

See you on the 'other side'...

"Moaning Mum" x

Friday, 3 July 2009

"Excuse Me...Teacher...?!"

This morning I helped out in Eggie's reception class of 30 adorable four and five year olds.  Egg and I spent the first hour flashing huge grins and winks across the room at each other as he sat in a big circle near the teacher and I perched on a tiny chair at the back of the room (is it wrong to be secretly pleased that I fit rather comfortably on it...after all these years?!)

At craft time the children were making little day of the week books, and unfortunately I totally buggered up one child's project by starting with 'Monday' instead of 'Sunday' (whoops).  At Egg's table I must confess that I found it difficult to keep my artistic opinions to myself.  The children were using lots of browns and blacks and grey to colour in their pictures of butterflies and I was constantly trying to thrust aqua and yellow, purples and silvers on them.  They didn't listen.

However this did inadvertently lead to a rather interesting discussion about whether pink is a girl's or boy's colour, and suddenly I understood why little Egg for some time now has declared that pink is no longer his favourite colour - in fact he absolutely loathes it now!  Ah, the terrible peer pressure issue has at last reared it's ugly head and likely won't let go until well into middle age - if even then.  

I brought up the fact that artists have to use all colours to make beautiful creations, and that artists are both boys and girls.  They didn't know what to say to that, so I further explained that boys don't actually have to wear pink clothes but they could still like the colour pink.  The little girl to my left piped up, 'But my Daddy wears lots of pink shirts!"  Ummm.

Unsurprisingly, I got myself into a bit of a jam during outdoor play when I was asked to supervise the building of a big puzzle structure.  Painstakingly slow attempts to coax the children into fitting the giant pieces together themselves led to me shortly taking over the bulk of the project on my own, grunting like a mad woman and barking for new pieces from the children.  I ended up with a most bizarre and skinny, tall structure - not unlike a giant cd case.

The children all wanted to climb inside, and so for reasons still unclear to myself I suggested an impromptu role play game of 'policeman and criminals'.  Several minutes later I heard the teacher clear her throat in abject concern as she took in the scene before her.  

The 'criminals' were badly misbehaving to get into the 'jail' and the 'policemen' were being rather rough with their charges.  Two children had decided to try and escape by climbing out of the top of the structure (well that's what criminals do I guess...I hadn't thought through that angle) and it was just at this moment that the teacher and I realised that not only were the children involved in a socially questionable game, but that the structure was about to collapse! Potentially serious injury appeared to be imminent to both the children falling from a great height and the other unfortunates trapped inside below.  Ooooops.

The teacher and I silently spent the next several minutes dismantling the hazardous and uninspiring structure, while the children stood around solemnly, wondering why their play time had been so suddenly curtailed.  

As I left at lunch the little ones came up and gave me hugs, asking if I'd come back another time. I can't imagine I'll be top of the list for volunteers after today, but I wouldn't be surprised if suddenly there is a sudden burst of children requesting play dates at Jake's house.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Toothpaste and Mangos and Everything Nice...Is What our Boys are Made Of...

Our cleaner 'Ola' is here (did I mention she is da wickedness?!) and I don't quite know what she's going to make of the huge horrible splotches of gooey white mint toothpaste spread all over random pieces of furniture.  Yep, the Dumps has been at it again during a brief moment of unsupervised 'play'.

Two days ago I became rather incensed after spending an hour and a quarter turning the downstairs upside down looking for the telly remote control which had last been seen in the grubby clutches of Mr. Dumps.  Never found it, but yesterday it was mysteriously spotted in the Bran Flakes.

This week has been spent sourcing, splitting and consuming vast quantities of watermelon.  It would be a massive understatement to say that the boys are also partial to a bit of mango. Yesterday at a play date I had to step in when I found Eggie harassing our hostess for her last mango.   I tried fending him off with, "Eggie wait till we get home okay?  We have lots there."  

He (rightly so) caught me out in the lie and stated, "No we don't.  You said you would buy some but you didn't.  I want THAT mango!"  (insert silent but heartfelt parental groan of humiliation and shame...)

At any rate I've remedied the situation by remortgaging our home and going out and buying FIFTEEN delicious honey mangoes today.  Tomorrow I've volunteered (being the second-last mother in Eggie's class to do so...oops) to help out in his class in the much for the voyeuristic thrill of seeing my son in a foreign setting as anything else.

I wonder if I can still fit in those teeny-tiny little kiddie seats?  Should I even attempt it?...