Tag Archives: holidays

I would like to check one bag and one child please.

We’re getting ready to remove ourselves to our holiday residence at my in-law’s house. On the way, I’ll be stopping briefly in Chicago. I’m very excited! There’s a lot to do before we leave. My daughter and I head out on Friday, my husband the 18th, and the cat, sadly, has to stay home this year. Poor cat.

I didn’t bother decorating since we’re leaving so soon, but I did put up some christmas lights. A certain kid loves them, asks me to turn them on a lot. I usually ask her to do something for me and then I’ll turn them on. That’s where we are these days, EVERYTHING is a negotiation.

I’m worried about the airports and the cars, the new beds and the restaurants. She’s a different kid since we last went anywhere else, she understands more, but her patience is maybe a bit less and she’s far less containable. I’ve been so very lucky with her on airplanes that I’m starting to fear that the other shoe is about to drop. Will this be the trip where TSA has to pry my 2 year old from a plastic tub? Will the passengers on this flight be staring at me with the “oh god, make it stop” faces? Will this be the trip where my ipad battery dies the moment we get into the car?

All these very real fears of parents all over haunt me.

As much as non-parents like to believe that a) travel is just for them and b) all children can be brought down from the throes of meltdown, I have some bad news for them. Kids go places. Especially on the holidays. They have every right to be on the plane as any other ticket holder. (The logic that some adults have that adults are worth more than kids baffles me.) Kids have complex and shaky emotional scaffolds, they haven’t learn to repress, delude, and compensate through years of turmoil and boredom like adults have. If one prefers to see it in a positive light, they are more honest. Loudly honest. So, not all bad behavior by kids on planes can be stopped with any simple procedure. If the parent isn’t even trying, that’s one thing, but we like to hear our kids scream even LESS than strangers do. Trust me.

Anyway, I’m hoping I can negotiate my way from here to there with my 2 year old. I have an arsenal of stickers, apps, videos, and snacks with which to bargain. And if all else fails, I suppose I could tell her Santa’s watching…

Knock, knock, is it candy again?

The trick-or-treating went down. My daughter’s first time. Her costume looked great, she looked adorable. We met up with some friends and started going door to door around 6:30pm. After about 5 doors, my 2 year old was like “I got this.” She went up to all the subsequent doors with her little felt pumpkin bag outstretched and waited for the candy magic.

I’m not even sure she knew it was candy. I think she was just enamored with the fact that she got to go up to all these decorated, lit-up doors, where mostly-delighted grownups were giving her something. I had to start carrying her up and down front stoops so that the older kids in our group didn’t spontaneously combust from having to wait for such a small person to keep up.

A few times, she even tried to say “trick-or-treat!” It came out more like “ti-taa!” I’ll take it.

Some of the kids in our group were collecting for the Children’s Hospital. Their mom was carrying their boxes because they were slightly heavy and she didn’t want the kids to have both their candy and coin boxes. The kids would just ask at the door if people were interested in donating to the hospital, if they were, mom brought the box up. The little girl asked one resident if she would like to donate, and she said “I would, how do I do that?” The little girl replied “you give money!!”

But this gal’s best line of the night? We were getting towards the end of our trick-or-treating and we got to a house where the lady came to the door and said “I’m sorry! I’m the terrible person who didn’t buy enough candy, I’m all out!!” And this little girl goes “how COULD YOU?!!”

Hilarious kid.

Some random person on the sidewalk gave us a Anti-Halloween color pamphlet. It outlined the evil ways of the druids and how they are controlling us now with Halloween. Say no to treats and and yes to Jesus, appears to be the thesis. I think Jesus would love mini kit-kats…

My daughter was very cute, very sweet, got a big bag of candy, and then asked to go home. While we were getting on the subway, she proceeded to have the biggest meltdown in recent history. I guess the halloween spirit finally awoke her inner demon. She was in such big trouble that she had to go straight to bed when we got home.

This morning, she sorted her candy and kept some pieces for herself (that will be heavily pilfered by her dad and I) and set aside most to “donate” to the grad student lounge at the law school, where it will “fuel” the “quest for knowledge” of “passionate” and “bright” students. Right.

I hope everyone had an excellent Halloween. Or Unbirthday. Whatever you’re into…

Lucky Memorial Day

Usually, I’m never able to celebrate a traditional Memorial Day since my husband and I always go away that weekend for our anniversary. This year, his presence was requested at some terminally boring conference, and since he’s never one to say no to the opportunity to make his resumé look even MORE academic and esoteric, he’s off to someplace I have no desire to go. So instead, I’m on my own trip. Next year, he owes me big time.

Today, I got a very traditional Memorial Day, which seems appropriate, given that Memorials typically are traditional by nature. I got up, walked over to the small-town parade that was happening, let my daughter wave her little flag, watched all the neighbors setting up their camp chairs, and tried to find a shady spot to stand while we waited for the action. The parade was heading our way in minutes. It was all over in about 10 minutes, which is great, because that’s just about all the parade I can handle.

There was the old-dudes-in-uniform portion, the “old cars” portion, the school marching-band portion, the fire trucks portion, the kids clubs, the kids on bikes, and then the people-riding-horses portion to bring up the rear. It was charming. I pondered how old your car has to be to qualify for these types of events. Could you enter a 1986 Civic?

We visited the ancestors on the way to see the relatives (my sister likes to use these terms interchangeably). My mom, sister, daughter, and I planted some flowers in front of the headstones for my grandparents, and two of my aunts whom I never met. Our other ancestors seemed to have been previously-flowered so I just washed their headstones off and watered the plants. My daughter liked running around the cemetery and playing in the dirt, but it was REALLY hot, so we kept our landscaping pretty simple.

We all went to my great-aunt and uncle’s for dinner. They have a very nice pool. We ate potato salad, swam, my sister and I were called each other’s names a few times, my daughter made friends with a three-legged cat that apparently belonged to the neighbors… It was the usual.

That cat was seriously cute. He just hobbled along and was so sweet to my kid. She kissed him on the nose about 7 times. That has to be super lucky, right?

When we got home, she played in her kiddie-pool for awhile, we planted some more flowers, ate ice-cream, and went to bed.

I think our ancestors would be proud.

Dear Dads, Let’s Talk About Mother’s Day…

(To be left open on your desktop or boldly printed and left on top of the remote.)

Dear Dads,

Please don’t phone it in on Mother’s Day. I know you think that it’s just one more holiday invented by the “card companies” to reap untold profits, but really, if you don’t buy a card, you are cleverly subverting their plot and can STILL make the mother of your offspring feel appreciated. Make a card. How hard is that?

Furthermore, you know how you feel like you have to give up stuff for your kid(s)? Well I’ll tell you, when you become a mom, one day you wake up and realize that you are doing hundreds of jobs. You are teacher, chef, doctor, nurse, tutor, maid, manager, secretary, accountant, umbrella carrier, and more to these little ones. Moms give up millions of little things regularly because their kid(s) need them to do something, give them something.

So how about you give her one of those little things back? Time to herself, a night to get dressed up and go somewhere without having to worry about childcare, a little splurge present if you can swing it, flowers you know she loves but would never buy for herself, a little precious spa time? And even if these things don’t seem like her, if you know her, you know there’s certainly something she’s been missing. Figure out what it is and provide it. Ask her BFF if necessary. Just don’t flake out and go “I didn’t know what to get you.” I hear way too many sad tales of woe where moms go unappreciated day in and and day out and hope that just MAYBE on Mother’s Day they’ll get a little something special. They get their hopes up and are crushed when nothing appears. It’s inexcusable. Get something. Do something.

And for the love of god, let her sleep in.

That is all.

MKS

PS: If you need some examples of what NOT to do, here’s a nice article from the Globe and Mail: “What Not to Get Mom”

Easter Eggs


I have been preparing eggs for the Easter egg hunt I’m hosting tomorrow for one of my playgroups. I suddenly panicked today that I didn’t have enough eggs and ran out to get more. I tried to remember how I felt about the contents of Easter eggs at events I went to as a kid and whether or not I found them disappointing. I have this complex that all the kids are going to open the eggs they found and go “Really, lady? This is so lame.”

I vaguely remember going to egg hunts at my tiny township’s park, where the eggs contained tickets that you could trade in for prizes at the end and sometimes quarters. The prizes mostly consisted of small plastic toys. I don’t remember being let down by this, but who knows, maybe I had artificially low expectations?

I told my husband a couple weeks ago that I had thought about posting this egg hunt to another playgroup’s facebook page, but had decided against it since I didn’t want to have so many kids that I wouldn’t be able to make enough eggs. He said “yeah, you’d have to boil a lot more eggs.” I replied “What? Come again?”

Apparently, he had to hunt for hard-boiled eggs as a kid. Bwahahahaha.

But it’s okay. I don’t feel that bad for him, since his childhood was pretty much filled with any toy he could have possibly wanted, according to all reliable accounts.

On Easter, I always woke up to an excellent basket of chocolates and gifts hidden in the most sadistic way. And the older you got, the harder the search and the less hints provided. And we always dyed eggs, with relative seriousness. I remember my cousins battling it out for who got multiple-hours-long access to specific colors so that they would achieve rich colors (NB: Brown eggs are best for this.) My grandmother was always so pleased at our egg-based artistic accomplishments. Most of my memories of Easter involve her in some way, so while I miss her all the time, I am most aware of it when I look at my Easter eggs and wonder if anyone else will ever truly appreciate the fine craft of a egg that’s been held steadily, while partially submerged, in several different colors, for a very long time.

This will be the first year my toddler gets to dye her own eggs. I fully expect to appreciate them, hastily dipped, cracked, and muddied with colors as they may be. I’m sure my grandmother would have loved them too.

You can keep your Santa – Ded Moroz comes to our house!

Maybe you are all sick of holiday-themed everything. In which case, I am here to inform you that you are completely and utterly wrong for not extracting the last drop of holiday cheer out of the  Costco-sized Bailey’s bottle (or whatever Costco-sized alcoholic beverage is your poison) for as long as you can into the rest of the winter months.

The commotion and the gift-giving and the being in a festive mood and the abundance of days off from work makes me forget about the coldness and dreariness of winter (well, OK, it’s nice here in California, but you know, comparatively. Plus, I totally used to live in Chicago and before then, RUSSIA! It was frigid!)

So in that spirit, let me tell you that for Russian kids (yes, even the Jews), a white-bearded dude in a sleigh made his rounds on New Year’s Eve. His name was Ded Moroz [Grandpa Frost] and instead of a decrepit old Mrs. Clause, he had a snow princess riding shotgun; furthermore, the sleigh was pulled by three white horses and instead of creeping in through a dirty nasty chimney, he used the front door, thankyouverymuch.

Best of all, Ded Moroz totally got all of his gifts on after-Christmas sales, which made him particularly jolly.

Above, please note my son showing off his pride-and-joy, courtesy of Ded Moroz.

Happy, Merry January! Ho Ho Ho! Can we just pretend it’s still the holidays? Pretty please???

Ho ho ho, bitches.

We went out with friends for dim sum today. It was really good. And much cheaper than NYC. I was digging out cash for the bill when my friend said “it’s $25.” I only had $10, which I handed over and told her I would run over to the ATM. She looked confused and said “I meant $25 total.” Wow.

Anyway, I had some very tasty things that I don’t know the names of. My daughter had noodles, which are her carbohydrate BFF. She figured out how to climb out of the highchair. Meal over.

We dragged ourselves and the assembly of kids with us down to the Complex Desjardins (mostly like a mall, with a really big atrium), which had a Christmas Village set up inside the lower level. It’s pretty nice. It has a play area with squishy shapes for toddlers, a reading circle area with books, a maze with slides at the end, and HUGE inflated slide for bigger kids. Everything is arranged to look like “North Pole-Elf Village” buildings. My daughter played in the reading area quite a bit with some older girls who pretty much thought she was there to be their little doll. And there was Santa Claus, of course. When we got there, he was still on his “lunch break.” I’m assuming this Santa was actually eating lunch, because hey, this is a classy joint. They hire sober Santas.

We played for awhile and then got in line to see the Big Man. Of course, this is when my kid gets cranky and sleepy. After about 7 years of bouncing and singing, she falls asleep (may have actually only been 10 minutes). I held her sleeping while the line sllllooowwwllyyy trudged along. After 45 minutes, it was our turn. Still sleeping.

So I told Santa, “I’m going to hand her over, if she wakes up, oh well.” He was understanding. I guess it’s in his job description. I put her in his arm and she wakes up, looks at me, smiles, looks around, stretches a little, and then looks up and who’s holding her.

This is the photo I got 1 second before she made the face of total shock and started crying.

To be fair, she literally woke up on his lap, which my sister said must be like some horrible morning in Vegas. I am pretty sure she would have been fine with the whole Santa’s-lap thing otherwise. Kids can have pretty unpredictable reactions to Santa, but I had faith she’d be okay.

It was not to be. She looked at him like he was a grotesque monster, cried, reached for me, and as soon as I took her back, she was fine. My timing was lousy.

I had one more errand to run before we went home, and that went much worse. Let’s just say that I’ve had a lot of health insurance paperwork catch-22’s in my life, but this was the clear winner. I have never had a doctor’s office tell me I had to PAY out-of-pocket for them to LOOK UP A CODE NUMBER for my last visit (a diagnosis code) so that I can get reimbursed from my insurance. The receptionist was stone cold. She did not care at all that this was unfair. She did not care that I had actually asked for this code AT my last visit, and was told at that time that no such code existed. She did not acknowledge my cute, awake baby who was trying very hard to get her attention. Festive spirit, lady, after an hour in line to make my kid cry, I needed that.

Novembering

So it begins.

I knew summer was over and was really getting into the swing of fall, but now it feels like it’s almost winter. I remember the winter seeming to last forever last year, possibly because I had a newborn and so the cool September and October weather seemed wintery to my protective-maternal side. But I’m bracing myself for the long ride again. Winter around here seems to go on well into April.

The coats and hats and mittens have been unearthed. Close-toed shoes have been newly acquired. There may not be many more days that we can go to the playground for long stretches of time and so I’m already mentally preparing alternatives so that we do not go mad trapped in the house every day. Last winter, my daughter was just a tiny baby so she didn’t care too much about WHERE she was as long as I was there and giving her all my attention. Now, she wants 99% of my attention and a lot to do. Possibly with new friends. Possibly with large areas in which to run around. Also shoes.

On more fun note, I’m thinking about my thanksgiving menu. My mom and her husband are going to come visit us and while they probably do not expect “thanksgiving dinner,” we still have to eat something so I may as well find some fun new recipes to make. I should also mention that planning ahead is practically necessary, since we’ll have mostly vegetarians, one person who cannot eat any dairy, one person who won’t eat anything unhealthy and will probably bring her own quinoa (they have it here, mom, really), and one person who will throw everything on the floor.

The ladies over at Rants from Mommyland call it the “death spiral,” that moment you hit Halloween and watch all your time and energy get sucked into holidays and projects. I guess it hits the parents of school-kids harder. But I agree that there is a definite momentum and the to-do lists get pretty intimidating as November trudges on. I haven’t just started my November to-do list by copying over the 6 as-yet-incomplete things from October and adding 3 more things. And then the toddler deleted my sticky.

Happy November.