Wednesday 30 November 2011

Because You Asked For It: Let's Get It On

Source: Canadian

Explain this to me!

My husband is driving me batty with his "the kids have to learn to go to bed on their own" basically he wants to say, "go to bed" and they just do, without complaint, or without wanting us to spend some time with them.  GAWD!

So, I tried to say to him, "why is it that our children are expected to sleep alone, not have some cuddle time with one of us, but YOU need ME to sleep with?"

Suddenly I am married, and I never get to sleep alone again? My husband is needier than my kids!  W T H???  He says he can't sleep very well if I'm not here....BUT he expects our kids to just "figure it out".....

Personally I think he is spending less time with our kids because his work hours are longer, and he's devoted to the gym 6 days a week, that spending time with them is irritating to him....

I don't get his logic.

                                                                             By Daisy's Mum

Dear Daisy's Mum,

Do you like music?  I do.  I just thought it would be nice if the two of us could have a little music while we discuss your husband.  Hold on a sec, 'kay?

Now we'll just let that play in the background while I talk.

So like, I have no idea what is wrong with your man.  I mean, what healthy, virile, gym-going fella wouldn't want to sit around waiting for his wife to tell stories and cuddle or pass out from exhaustion with his kids?  What does he expect?  For them to just "go to bed" when they're told, without cuddles or complaint, like he (and probably everyone he ever knew) did when he was a kid?  GAWD!

He says he doesn't sleep well without you.  What on earth could YOU be doing for HIM that would help him sleep, and why is he entitled to it but not your kids?  Selfish!  As if his sleep is more important than the children's!  Why, they are young and growing!  What's he doing?  Working long hours to support his apparently single-income family?  W T H???

Like, all of a sudden you're married and your husband just expects you to be in his bed every night?  When do you get to sleep alone, huh?  Although, I'm a little confused.  Do you want to cuddle with your kids at bedtime or do you want to sleep alone or what?  Whatever it is, I'm pretty sure your husband is an asshole.

Worst of all, he is spending what little free time he has escaping from his family to go to the gym!  That, to me, is very disturbing.  Of all the places he could be going to escape his family; the club, the strippers, the racetrack, he chooses the gym!  And then that bastard comes home to you all fit and wants you to cuddle with him!

I don't get his logic, either.

                                                                                                  Mommy Rotten

(Music from the incomparable Marvin Gaye)

Tuesday 29 November 2011

Did You Forget Your Password?

I'm slow to keep up with the times.  Last night Daddy helped me finally set up my online banking after I bitched at him for not printing a receipt the last time he borrowed my bank card.  I hate not knowing my balance but I've been afraid of convenient technology after a bank machine ate my paycheck once and I had a minor panic attack over it.  Ever the gentleman, he basically did most of the work for me.  All I really had to do was enter a password.

My go to password is something that is really easy for me and only me to remember.  I picked one so embarrassing that wild horses could not induce me to tell anyone what it is, and so weird that no one would be likely to guess.  So once that was done all we had to do was to go through the superfluous step of dreaming up a password retrieval question.  Daddy was kind enough to read some out to me.

"How about 'What is your grandmother's middle name?'"

"I don't know.  Holy shit.  I don't know my Gramma'a middle name!  What is wrong with me?  Wait.  Does she even have a middle name?"

"Okay, so that's out."

"No really, I have her birth certificate somewhere.  Hold on."

"Why do you have her birth certificate?"

"Because she's old.  It's like an historical document or something."

"What about 'What is your Mother's middle name?'"

"Here it is.  See!  No middle name."

"Uh...your Mom's middle name?"

"Margaret.  After my Grandmother.  Hey, wait!  It says here her name is actually "Maggie".  I don't even know her name!  How do I know anything any more?"

"You know what?  Let's try something else.  'When is your wedding anniversary?'"

"When is our wedding anniversary?"

(Looking uncomfortable) "Okaaay.....'What were your wedding colours?'"

(We stare blankly at each other.  We got married on our front lawn.)

"'What is your song?'"

(More blank stares)

"How about 'Where did you first meet each other?'"

"Oh my God, we are the worst kind of people!  (Sigh)  What's the next question?"

"'What is your childhood phone number and area code?'"

"Huh.  Of all things, that is something I know."

Monday 28 November 2011

Naming John Smith

It seems everyone these days wants a unique name for their kid.  Having grown up in the generation of Jason and Jennifer I can understand that.  I remember thinking how annoying it must have been to constantly go around tagging an initial to your name in an attempt to be distinguish yourself from four other kids in your class.  One classroom I was in had a Jen B, a Jenn D, a Jen F and a Jenni H.   People want their own sense of identity.

We don't get to pick our own names but we do get to pick our kids' names.  Some of the names I have seen floating around out there give me the impression that some people are having babies just to be able to name them, like they're an accessory.  Most parents I know personally are just looking for a normal, nice name that isn't likely to be shared with ten of their classmates.  But then these are my friends and I have certain standards.  I too, shared these same goals when trying to name my kids.  (Sigh) I failed.

Our real last name is one of the most common surnames in English speaking culture and so I felt some pressure there to not turn my kid into a "John Smith".  Unfortunately my favourite name in the world since I was a little girl had been in the top five of my generation.  It was one of a few reasons my family gave for not being particularly enthusiastic about it.  But when Frick came and they got to attach the person they loved to the name, they got to love the name as well.

A quick Google search revealed that it was in the top 20 and therefore pretty common but I consoled myself with the fact that it was no longer in the top five.  I had only named him "Bob Smith" and that was somehow better because I still got to use my favourite name and who knew if and when I would have another kid?

But then came Frack.  I had already used up my favourite name and the thing is, I am very bad at coming up with names.  Like, I can do okay if it's for comedic purposes but I really shouldn't be allowed to name people who are ever expected to be taken seriously.  It's very lucky for our kids that they aren't girls or they would have been screwed.  Before we knew we were having another boy I was coming up with stuff like "Morag" and "Eugenie" and while I might be crazy enough to like these names I know better than to saddle a kid with them.  With boys it seems I only err on the side of being unimaginative.

I began to develop a romantic association with Frack's name because I read it in a book.  And before you bust me for pretentiousness understand that it was a children's book.  Daddy and I went over many, many names and there was just no other name I liked so well.  The more I advocated for this name the more attached I got and I soon began to love it as much as I ever loved Frick's name.  Daddy's only objection was its overwhelming popularity.

I groaned when he showed me the statistics.  I had fallen in love with "John Smith".  Pregnancy hormones do interesting things to my brain, though.  When I get a notion about something I hang on to it with everything I've got and get insistent to the point of belligerence over it.  I just had to have this name for the baby and one way or another I was going to get it.  I even conceived ridiculous fears that some other pregnant woman we knew might snatch the name up before us.  I know.  I'm ashamed of myself.

And then I suffered the naming hangover.  For a long while after Frack's birth I cringed.  I cringed every time a mother scolded her John Smith at the park.  I cringed every time I had to admit I had picked the most popular baby name of the year Frack was born like some mindless trendy sheep.  I cringed at the strong likelihood that there would be a boy in his class with the same first and last name.  But there was no turning back.  Not for anyone.  Frack had John Smith written all over his face from the moment he was born.  Rarely has anyone suited their name so well.

And so I did what any reasonable person would do.  I found ways to justify my choice.  For example, my married name has lent me a new kind of anonymity I hadn't experienced before with my difficult to spell maiden name.  It is impossible to Google me.  There are thousands of women with my name on facebook.  I kind of like it.  It means getting lost in the crowd.  It means personal privacy.  And even though I grew up in a generation that did not electronically document every bad decision they ever made, I recognize the value of that kind of thing not being available to the general public.  The way I see it is that, ultimately, my lack of imagination will be saving my boys from their own stupidity.

And really, when you're a mom of boys, that is all you are required to do.

Wednesday 23 November 2011

Exorcising My Couch

I have a better picture but I can't find my cable.
I got a dog!

What does that have to do with possible demons in my couch?  I'm getting to it, just be patient.  I'm pretty fucking happy about this dog right now.  I named him "Fry" and I don't mind saying his real name because he's a dog and I'm not particularly worried about protecting his identity.  Also it took me long enough to come up with "Fry", I really don't want to have to go through the work of dreaming up another name.  Also it goes well with my kids' fictional names.

Anyhoo, Fry has fleas (ugh!) and I am currently in the process of sanitizing and de-flea-ing my entire house.  We have hardwood floors and haven't owned a vacuum cleaner in about ten years.  And because a vacuum is a crucial tool for flea elimination.....I got me a new vacuum cleaner, too!

What does a vacuum cleaner have to do with possible demons in my couch?  Why, it allows me to exorcise them of course!

I never gave the couch much thought until we had Frack and he started walking.  As soon as he was able to walk he had the kind of freedom that allowed him to jam unspeakable things deep into the recesses of my couch.  Up until then, I had found my broom to be a perfectly adequate weapon against household dirt.  But my broom was no match for Frack and his unholy Cheerios.  I tried not to think about it every time I sat on the couch and that slightly cheesy odour would poof out in an almost imperceptible little cloud.  Every day I did the best I could to rid the area under the couch cushions of all debris with the broom, but then Frack would jump on the bare couch and whole new colonies of Cheerios would come tumbling out.

Resistance was futile.

When Daddy called me to ask my opinion about vacuum cleaners because he was in the store buying one, I got so excited!  I might be the last woman in this century to get excited over a vacuum cleaner, but I was perfectly willing to let this be my Christmas present this year.  And when Daddy came home with that Dirt Devil you would have thought it really was Christmas the way the boys reacted.  They immediately fell to pretending the hose, nozzle and extension were bazookas and flame throwers.  After explaining some of its features to me, Daddy announced, "Let's try this baby out!" and then did a few sweeps over the floor before I siezed it from him.

"Oh no you don't!  I've got plans for that."


"I want to get that bad boy into the couch.  It's my hope that I will be able to find and kill the Queen Cheerio.  It's our only hope if we want to destroy the hive."

Vacuum cleaners have improved a lot since I last owned one.  The second-hand Hoover I used to have in my college days did an okay job for its time which was, basically, to suck up the lightest of dirt, dust and hair and then kind of spray it out behind you in a fine, even, misty distribution.  You might get about 20% of whatever it sucked up by accident into a flimsy paper bag that was sitting inside of a flimsy canvas bag.  Oh and good luck, by the way, remembering what make, model and size your cleaner uses when you're at the store trying to buy refill bags.  All it was really good at picking up were long pieces of string that would jam up the works so that you couldn't use it at all until you sat down to untangle the whole damned mess.  This required me to meticulously inspect my floors and removing anything at all that might offend the sensitive digestion of old Herbert (my little nickname for the useless piece of shit).

These days vacuum cleaners have hermetically sealed, re-usable plastic chambers that can be emptied and cleaned with a freaking HEPA filter locking that shit in.  When I put the hose down the couch it immediately sucked up a spoon and a (Canadian) dollar!  Compared to Herbert, the Dirt Devil had the sucking power of deep space.  I had half a mind to use it to suck the fleas right off the dog.  (Don't worry I did not vacuum my dog.)

So I got right in there with the vacuum but after about ten minutes I was still sucking up crap from the same square foot of couch.  It was like there was some kind of wormhole to the Cheerio-And-Whatever-Crap-They-Take-Prisoner Universe in there or something.  It sucked out socks, underwear, puzzle pieces, playing cards, junk mail, half-eaten granola bars, cookies, crackers, dinky cars, blocks, alphabet magnets, poker chips, transformers, lego and of course Cheerios.  So many damned Cheerios in varying states of decay.  Oh my God!  The Cheerios!

My kids were going apeshit with excitement.  Those Cheerios were putting up a pretty good fight.  And then Frick started laughing and chanting: "The power of Christ compels you!  The power of Christ compels you!" finding it deliciously funny even though he has never actually seen "The Exorcist".  He got the line from an episode of Family Guy.  I'm not sure that's better.

It was late and there was no way I was going to finish anytime soon.  I decided to turn in and get a good night's sleep so I would be refreshed for battle in the morning.  It took me most of the next day and emptying the chamber about four or five times but after all that work I finally rid myself of the evil in my couch.  Exhausted, I wiped the sweat from my brow and declared in the soft southern tones of Ms. Zelda Rubinstein (aka. Tangina)

"This couch is clean."

Or is it?

(photo from

Tuesday 15 November 2011

The Talk: Scrotum. It's a Funny Word.

Last week I related my experience trying to explain vagina to my then three year old son.  I thought that was hard because he was having difficulty understanding alien junk.  Turns out that was nothing compared to his next question.

A few months after our vagina talk, I'm sitting on the couch enjoying my morning coffee and reading a book.  Frick is playing with his cars on the floor next to me.  All of a sudden he gets up and approaches me,

"Mommy, can I ask you a question?"

(Not looking up from my book) "Shoot."

Frick drops his pants and grabs hold of his penis.

"I know what this is for (shaking his penis at me) but what is this for?"  And with that he reaches under and grabs his balls to illustrate what he means.

OMG!  I almost spit out my coffee.  A couple of things are going through my head once I get over the initial shock: 1) I know that as a responsible parent I am supposed to answer this question in a matter of fact tone using words he can understand, and 2) Scrotum is way too funny a word for me to be able to say it out loud.  It's just one of those silly words guaranteed to cause hysterical giggling on my part.  "Vagina" was kind of difficult but "scrotum" would be downright impossible.  My brain begins searching through, and then rejecting, almost my entire mental Rolodex of synonyms for "scrotum" in an attempt to select a term I could use with a straight face.

Scrotal sack.  Nutsack.  Nuts.  Balls.  Stones.  Gonads.  Nards.  The beans.  Bollocks.  Cojones.  Nuggets.  Family jewels.  Package.  Manjigglies.  Testes...

How was I ever going to be able to explain this?

Meanwhile my son stands there, his junk in his hands, waiting patiently for me to finish having what must have looked like a mini-stroke.  I stall for more time by getting him to put his pants back on.  My response?

Summoning every ounce of self-restraint, I somehow manage to say the word "testicles" without stammering or giggling and then launch into a ridiculous analogy of a "Little Swimmer Factory"  that was closed for business now but that would open up some day so he could make babies.

"Mommy, I can't make babies.  Vaginas make babies."

"No, Mommies and Daddies make babies together.  A Mommy needs the Daddy's little swimmers to make a baby."

"But how does she get them out?"

"They come out of your penis."

(Horrified) "What!?!"

And he listens with growing shock and dismay as I calmly explain the mechanics of baby-making.  I can see the wheels turning as I talk, contemplating the significance of what I am telling him.

"And that means you and Daddy...?"


"And that I...?"

"Uh huh."

"And some day I'm gonna...?"

"You'll want to.  When you grow up you'll like doing that and that's normal."

"No way.  No way am I ever going to want to do that!"  And then, clearly having had enough, he stalks out of the room shaking his head and muttering, "Huh uh.  No way....just,  ew!  Man!  In my house!  Some people."

Friday 11 November 2011

Because You Asked For It: He's a Screamer

Source: Toddlers are fun

Screaming When Excited

My son is 25 months old and such a healthy, happy, bright boy.  He is full of energy and gets super excited, especially around his cousins.  When we spend time with my cousin (shes pretty much a sister to me, so we say our kids are cousins as well), my son gets super excited and screams out of excitement.  This doesn't bother me.  He is happy, having fun with his cousin.  What is the big deal right?

My cousin, however,  thinks he shouldn't scream and constantly tells him "no screaming".  It makes me feel extremely uncomfortable I honestly don't see the big deal.  They are 's why he shouldn't scream.  I understand that screaming in a public, especially indoor locations is wrong and he doesn't normally scream then anyways.  Should I be teaching him not to scream altogether?

Or cut back on our playdates, at least at her house?  On the other hand, my sister-in-law doesn't mind the screaming from her kids (my niece and nephew) or my son whatsoever!  Just wanted to get some advice from other parents and here what everyone thinks!

                                                                              by Leyla

He's just super-excited!
Dear Leyla,

Why is your cousin so mean?  Doesn't she understand that your healthy, happy, bright boy is only full of energy and super excited because he is playing with her kid?  It seems pretty ungrateful of her to be constantly telling him to stop screaming in her house when it's only because he's so super excited to be there.  What's the big deal, right?

Who wouldn't want to try and carry on a conversation with a couple of screaming toddlers running around?  It's the most joyous sound in the world!  Besides you're not in "a public".  Even your 25 month old realizes this.  No, he's a good boy and he's thoughtfully reserving his shrill, migraine-inducing screams of joy for your cousin.  Who, by the way, shouldn't even be bothered by it.  After all, it honestly doesn't bother you or your sister-in-law whatsoever!  Just what are you supposed to do?  Teach him to not scream altogether?  Sheesh!

I'm afraid the only solution is to not just cut back on the playdates, but cut them out completely.  It's sad to lose a cousin so close you think of her as a sister, I know, but you've already sat there and done nothing while she constantly tried to get him to be quiet.  And you felt extremely uncomfortable while she did it.  What else could you possibly do?  How anyone who has children can be so unreasonable about the ear-splitting racket they make is beyond me but I guess that's just the way she is.

                                                                                       Mommy Rotten

Wednesday 9 November 2011

The Talk: Let's Talk Vagina

A lot of people have a lot of different philosophies about how to handle The Talk with their kids and I'm not here to say one is better than the other.  Whatever philosophy you have it is probably ridiculous because nothing feels sillier than trying to explain sex to your kids no matter what.  For me The Talk is not just one excruciatingly awkward informational hour but a painfully ongoing conversation that sometimes borders on the inappropriate.  And what better way to handle my parenting PTSD than to use it as blogfodder?  And because this Talk is an ongoing conversation I can probably stretch it out over a few posts.

And so I present to you the first instalment of The Talk: Let's Talk Vagina

It all began at the tender age of 3 1/2 when Frick was trying to figure out the differences between boys and girls.  It was very confusing for him.  Every time he thought he had it there turned out to be some kind of exception.

"Girls have long hair and boys have short hair, right Mommy?"

"But what about Gramma?  All your Grammas have short hair and they're girls."

"Oh.  Right.  Ummm, boys wear pants and girls wear dresses?"

"I'm wearing pants right now."

"Oh.  Girls have boobies?"

"Girls don't get boobies until they grow up and we don't wait until they're grown up to know they're girls."

"Well then how can you tell?"

"Because boys have a penis, like you do, but girls have a vagina."

"A va- What?!?  No they don't!  They have a penis!"

"No, they don't.  I don't have a penis!"

"Yes you do!  I've seen it!"


"But I don't have one!"

"Yes, you do!  It's a hair penis!"

Oh boy.  It's really amazing how a blank slate of a brain will interpret information sometimes.  Apparently Frick's young mind needed to interpret my pubic hair as a "hair penis" because that was the only thing that made sense to him.  Explaining this was going to be tricky.  Also, I really needed to trim my lady garden.

"No honey, that is not a penis.  I have a vagina.  It's very different from a penis and it is what makes me a girl."

(Skeptical) "No.  Penis."

In this moment I am mentally struggling to find some way to explain this to Frick so that he will not only understand but also be convinced.  The only thing I could come up with was to show him a picture.  I was pretty sure my pregnancy book had diagrams in it so I told him to sit tight while I went to find the book.

Utterly unconvincing.
Frick easily understood the penis diagram.  That was familiar.  But the diagram for the vagina, with the uterus and ovaries made absolutely no sense.

"You do NOT have that!  You're tricking me!"

"I do.  You just can't see them because they're inside of me."

"Penis!  Hair Penis!!!"

Once Frick gets an idea in his head, his brain locks onto it like a pitbull.  You almost have to pry the idea out of its stiff dead jaws.  Diagrams were not going to cut it.  He was going to have to see the real thing.  There was nothing else for it.

I sure as hell wasn't going to show him mine.  Besides, he'd apparently seen it before and that's what got us into this mess in the first place.  I knew all I would get from the internet was porn.  So there was nothing left but whatever was in my pregnancy book.  And all of those vaginas were in various stages of childbirth.


.... at least they left no room for ambiguity.

After possibly traumatizing my son with these graphic, but thankfully black and white (and therefore artistic) photos of babies emerging from vaginas, he no longer doubted.  He was quiet for a moment.



"I'm glad I'm a boy!"

Friday 4 November 2011

Because You Asked For It: Paternal Play

Source:  babycenter

Why do you think so many mothers don't play with their kids?

Whenever we go to the park I see Dads playing with their kids; Kicking a ball around, shooting hoops, chasing, etc.  The most I have ever seen a mom do is push the swing or wait at the bottom of a slide.  Why don't more women get actively involved playing with their kids (I don't mean in place of peer play).


Dear letsplay,

To answer your question, letsplay, I guess dads are just better parents than moms.  Because we're a bunch of lazy bitches and dads aren't.  But you know while we are noticing how gender plays a role in parenting style why stop at the park?  There are all kinds of gender differences to be explored.

For example, why is it that whenever there is a baby to be gestated and then squeezed out of a ridiculously tiny opening I only ever see the moms doing the real work while the dads are just standing nearby?  Why is it that moms are the only ones with chewed up nipples, and most of the time it's the moms getting up at 3 in the morning to clean the baby's explosive shit?  You know, the kind that shoots straight up the back and then ends up all over the walls of the crib and the bedding and (Oh, Dear God!) in their mouths?  I have almost never heard a guy talk about that morning because he slept through the event while his wife donned the haz-mat gear and took care of it.  Because even in this age of equality, somehow we women are still the ones taking care of the shit.

And what's with the single parent families?  Whenever I see a single parent family it seems like the parent is always a mom.  I wonder why that is?  Why is it that dads are much more likely to run out on their kids than moms?  And since father absence is such a big contributor to poverty I can't imagine that this makes things easy for the moms.  Maybe that mom standing at the bottom of the slide is a fucking hero for bringing her kid to the park instead of catching up on some much needed sleep from struggling to survive.

Maybe the answer to your question is that those dads you see kicking balls and shooting hoops are trying to compensate for the fact that all those other douchebags are making them look bad.  Maybe they are trying to give their hard working wives some peace and quiet by tiring out their kids.  Because they're nice like that.  Because they get it.

You see, these are the questions you should really be asking.  Or, here's a thought, spend more time playing with your own kids.  That way you'll be too busy to notice whether or not anyone else is as awesome as you.

                                                                               Hope that clears things up for you,

                                                                                                  Mommy Rotten