Thursday, May 31, 2012


There are several things I am quite accomplished at (don't worry, this isn't shaping up to be a post about how awesome I am- but I am).

One thing I'm good at is baking. I enjoy baking. Baking relaxes me. I will attempt to bake most anything (in fact I want to make a baked Alaska this summer).

Two, I'm really good at reading. Constantly. I can tune out 3 fighting children and read quietly by myself without hearing a thing. I'm real good at that.

Three, being by myself. I am really good at being alone. I get much more accomplished when I don't have a gaggle of children following me.

Four, though I'm awesome at being alone, I'm even better at being around people. Children specifically, I enjoy hanging out with children (not that I would be able to do it for hours every day as a job, but I can do it for a weekend or an evening). Mind you, I'm good at that because I will feed a kid anything. Chocolate syrup on rice krispies and fruit leather? If you'd like, sure I'll give that to you. You aren't my kid, and I don't have to put you to bed. There's a reason kids love me. I am not a very good grown up.

And finally, number five in the list of things I'm good at, touching my tongue to my nose. That's not super impressive, and I'll never get anywhere because I knew how to do it; but nonetheless, it's a talent I possess in abundance.

Now, a skill I've had cause before to suspect (but which I've never really considered at great length) might be lacking something is my (self) hair cutting abilities. I can cut YOUR hair just fine. I possess eyes, and a steady hand. In fact, I've given my husband a mullet (intentionally, and at his request), I've also cut friend's hair and childrens' hair several times without any complaints. So, obviously it's not my scissor skills that are the problem.

It's my judgment. I have poor judgment. I gave Brat a trim tonight before I put her to bed. I should have cleaned up immediately, and put the scissors back where they belonged. I didn't. I left them in the washroom to be picked up when I was alone.

Except that when I picked them up when I was alone, this thought FLEW into my head, "Gee. It's been quite some time since your hair was trimmed. You've done that before. Just tip your head over and lop the end off your ponytail."

And without any further thought, that's what I did. Only then did I remember that I hadn't brushed my hair out, so it was hanging at all different lengths. So, I had to wet it, brush it and try to level it out.

It took 25 minutes, but I got the back of my hair even (well, even enough- no one ever sees my hair down). Then, as I stared at the mirror, this thought rushed through, "You haven't had bangs since 1997. You should see if they look good on you still*." And once again, without further thought, or consideration, I took the razor and began layering in bangs. Luckily they aren't heavy, or chunky or straight ruled across. But still. Bangs?

The question could be "What was I thinking?" But the truth of the matter is "I wasn't."

I didn't think it through at all.

I didn't think this through any more than I thought through putting a water balloon in my grandfathers' bed when I was 7 or 8 years old, spending the summer in South Carolina with my grandparents.

So when Soph said, "I bet it would be funny if we hid a water balloon in gramma and grampa's bed, and when they got into bed, it'd break." I laughed.

Now, Soph probably wasn't serious; but we had a great laugh. And I (henceforth to be known as "Queen of Forethought and Filtering") decided to go ahead with the plan. It was fool proof.

Grampa always sits in the same spot when he gets ready for bed at night. Always. Without fail. The same exact spot.

So I filled a balloon with about a litre and a half of water, and placed it in that spot on the bed. I rumpled the covers, like Soph and I had been playing there, and left the room.

I did it just after lunch. And Soph and I went about the rest of our day with glee, and joy and with typical childlike attention spans, forgot about the balloon by dinner time.

Gramma and Grampa tucked us into bed that night. Me, in the bed with wee doggie sheets, and Soph tucked up with the lambs. They gave us our kisses and left the room. That's when we remembered the water balloon- Soph and I stared at each other giggling.

Not a full minute later, Grampa (who never cussed because it "sounds low class and unintelligent") was at full roar. Curse words I hadn't even heard before that night. Rage. Pure, almost unintelligible, rage.

I looked over at Soph, all the blood was gone from her face. And she was creeping lower and lower under her blanket. I was frozen. I remember holding my breath.

The door to our room flew open, smashing into the wall, I'm pretty sure it took two tries to open because it bounced closed again after the first crash- but I could be mistaken (I'm not).

Grampa was standing in the hall outside the room, trying to lever himself into the room by the doorway. The reason he couldn't get into the room was Gramma, she was behind him, her arms wrapped around his waist. She was leaning backwards and using her feet on the door's frame to brace herself.

Grampa was shouting, "WHICH ONE? WHICH ONE? WHICH ONE?" over and over, and looking from me to Soph and back again at me. I'm positive he knew full well which one of us had done it. He might have suspected it was Sophie's idea, but he knew right away I was the only one shortsighted enough to actually have done it.

Gramma said once, years later, "It was like looking at my US flag. Red, white and blue. Grampa was red from screaming, Soph was white as a ghost in terror; and Sarah had stopped breathing altogether-  her eyes were big and blue and her lips were purple."

After Gramma and Grampa left the room that night, I remember sitting there, looking at Soph, thinking, "I am going to be in so much trouble tomorrow."  I wasn't. My grandparents are incredible and simply dried the mattress and told us not to pull such stupid stunts again. And over the years, this story has been told over and over, with more laughter than I ever would have suspected all those years ago.

I wish someone could dry my hair so I'd be off the hook for these bangs- and I could laugh about it instead.

I still might not think things through as thoroughly as I should, but at least some of my decision making skills have improved. Apparently, the self hairstyling department isn't one of those things I've learned to keep a handle on.

* This is the actual word I remember thinking to myself. "Still" as though, for one millisecond, I hadn't ever seen my own grad photo of myself with bangs. Looking like a dufus. So I don't know why my subconscious used the word "still" to convince me.  Yes, I do know why. My self conscious Sarah, a snarky bitch apparently, is sitting back and laughing at stupid regular conscious Sarah who is still gullible in the extreme.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


As I was standing at the fridge, hastily eating a popsicle not two minutes ago, I began looking at the school calendar for the month of June.

School trips, great. Exams, fine. Text book return dates, got it. Uniform fittings, already done.

Then I saw the K-6 PD day. Yup. Perfect. K-6. Both Bugs and Brat fall in the K-6 scheme.

But then I realized something that may well have traumatized me for life (or at least until this orange popsicle melts into my keyboard and I have something else to worry about).

In four weeks school is over. Bugs will come home with his report card, and in it will be his classroom assignment(s) and teacher(s) for next year. HUH?!?!?!

What?!?!?! How is it possible? He's in junior high next year? Next year? No. That's not right. I'm barely 31, how can I possibly have a child in junior high? How? I'm not old. I'm not. I keep saying it inside my own head.

I'm not old. "NOT OLD!" I say again- this time I said it out loud. It's true I'm not old. I won't even be 32 until after he's in junior high.

But my boy isn't a baby anymore either. PUKE. (Yeah, I used every single font alteration I could think of to illustrate that word. Your point?)

There. I was afraid of that. I yarped in my own mouth a bit just now.

Gah. That's horrid. That's it. I demand a time machine. I wish to go back in time at least four years (just me, not the rest of them, I am not starting this "diaper/ pregnancy/ not old enough to babysit yet" nonsense all over again).

But now that I'm mulling it over, it's not too bad. Bugs will be old enough to babysit about halfway through the summer. That means free time for me...

Hmmmm. Okay, I guess it's alright that he's getting a bit older. He can stop right after he's old enough to babysit though. That's where I draw the line. I simply REFUSE to have a child getting ready for college or university (or life) in 6 years.

 In six years, Monster will be in Gr. 1. And Brat will be going into junior high, and I'll be in the exact same mindset then, I'm sure of it.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

You Just Don't Want To!

My lovely little children, demonic monstrosities from a hell dimension that they are, have sicked me up. Again.

Or maybe it was my darling husband. Again.

I don't know which one is responsible. I also don't care which of the jerks did it. All I know is that I want a) relief from this and b) retribution.

I don't know how to achieve either.

Tylenol hasn't helped. Advil hasn't helped. Naproxen hasn't helped. Not a damned thing has helped.

Hot shower? Tried it. Popsicles? Tried them too. Temporary relief at best- and false hope at worst.

My throat feels like I ate a brick, chased it by chewing lit cigars and swallowed really old bong water (not that I would know anything about that). My body aches, I have a manic depressive fever that comes and goes with insane, completely unpredictable randomness. And I can't hear out of my left ear. WTF? What kind of sickness did they give me? It's like some horrid cross between a viral strep infection and a inner ear gnome who eats crackers on my ear drum.

Obviously, my family will be 'ground' zero for the next global pandemic of  'feeling crappy' (without having something curable). Complete chaos reigns in my living room right now, because I feel too icky to fix it.

This is balls. I'm going to start sterilizing myself after every form of interaction I have with any of these people. I'll put my universal precaution skills to the test. Glove up to tuck them in, wash my hands after hugging them, and changing clothing before leaving their bedroom.

Not that I'm complaining (yes, I bloody well am). I love them. Very, very much. But I am sick of being tired, sick of being achy and sick of being sick.

My momma called tonight, and when she found out I was home from work, we chatted for a very brief time (because my damned throat was too sore to talk to her). And I suddenly remembered being sick, at age 9, with the chicken pox.

And I remember SCREAMING at her (as a 9 year old), "You know how to make me feel better! You just don't want to!"

And now, looking back on it, she probably did know how to cure the chicken pox, but letting me suffer was the only form of retribution she could exact from a 9 year old.

I hope my kids get sick again, so I can withold a vital cure, like oatmeal baths. That'll learn them.

Monday, May 28, 2012

I miss Tubby's.

The Grove.... The Grove Pub and Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Oh, what to say...

 Uppity service. Under-seasoned, over-priced food. Beer is beer.

What is that word I like? Oh, yeah, that's right. Unimpressed.

I've been there once before, just after lunchtime on a Friday. The service was terrible- with as many servers/ bartenders as customers and we still never got refills. The food was sub standard and underseasoned then.

But then, I started thinking, maybe I just don't like it because I LOVED Tubby's Pizza and Charlie O's. Maybe I was biased.

I decided after work last night (9:30 pm on a Sunday) that I would swing over, have a beer and re-try the fish and chips ($17 a plate) because I was pretty disappointed last time when I ordered them.

So, I opened the bar doors. I walked within an arms' length of a waitress talking to a table of men. She looked RIGHT at me. Then she went to another table of men, left, brought them drinks. Left. Brought the first table (of men) drinks again. Left. I waited a full 10 minutes before I walked up to the bar and asked if it was bar service (it clearly wasn't, but I wanted to point out that I knew they were ignoring me).

The girls (there were 2 bar staff there) both looked at me like I was rude for interrupting them. When I asked if I could order a drink and look at a menu, they both were like, "Yeah, of course."

Well, how would I know that, since neither of you acknowledged me for the last ten minutes? Oh, wait, I'm a woman by myself, and you only appear to notice men who's wallets you want into....

Anyways, I decided on a pint and to try the fish and chips- maybe the last time I had it, it was just an 'off day'.

Well, it wasn't. At least it didn't take 40 minutes this time though.

The fish was slightly soggy. The batter was flavourless, lacked crunch and needed salt so badly.

The fries were fries. What else could I possibly say about them? I don't eat ketchup- I think it's gross, and I still put it on their fries. Because they didn't have any flavour either.

So, a pint and a plate, and it came to $23.50- not too bad, and the waitress who took my table ended up being pleasant enough.

But I won't be back. The initial lack of service, and the only barely palatable food just make me miss Tubby's more and more.

At least at Charlie O's when the server was rude (which happened occasionally), she was flat out rude- not just snobbish and uppity. But that's what happens when you hire for looks rather than skills.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

There I am.

This song pulled my heart out and wrung it completely dry. What would I do without them here to keep me awake? Every single line in the song resonated so deeply for me.

Where Am I- by Tara MacLean

My favourite lines are:

"Birthday parties. Bedtime stories. And I haven't slept through the night. Where am I?
Between the breakfast and the bandaids, bathtime and the braids- it's up to me to keep you alive. Where am I?"

One of the best songs about being a mother that I've ever heard. Love it.

There is no standing ovation for being a mother, and it is constant. And I almost always have at least one minute every day where I look around and say, "Where am I? What was I doing?"

And yes, when I look into their eyes, there I am. That's what I was doing. And what I'm doing I'm doing well.

And again yes, I liked the song so very much that I went and bought it.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Summertime fun.

I love summer.

I love the sounds of summer.

I love the long days, the warm evenings, the cool nights. I just plain love summertime.

I love to swim, and to spend hours down by our pool with the kids. Letting them swim in the summer sun, play with friends, have frozen fruit kabobs.

The smell of their skin after a day of sun and sunscreen. The way it makes them happy to play in the water with each other.

Going to my fathers' cabin out of the city for a couple nights, and that feels like a holiday. Staying up late and talking while I toast my feet over a bonfire that is too big.

Using the BBQ to cook everything- even when that is slightly unreasonable. Having a crab bake with friends, making huge vats of potato salad, and ribs and pineapple delight (I'll leave a recipe on my "Cookies" page- my gramma used to make it, it's so easy, and sooooooo good).

The fact that this year my son is in football, and we'll get to go cheer him and his teammates on during his practices and then during football games. That Monster will be having her very first swimming lessons at the YMCA (I think it's incredibly important that children learn early to swim independently so they don't drown). The fact that Brat will get to do swimming, and gymnastics and have sleep overs.

All in all, on this fine May day, I can't wait for summer. Because after summer is fall. And the only season I love more than summer is fall. Happy days. Enjoy your summer, enjoy your fall. Enjoy ALL your days.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

On A Scale of 1-4....

I did an interview for CBC Radio One yesterday- a segment about the proposed/ impending changes to the way Kindergarten to Grade 6 student report cards are written.

Under the new standard, the children will no longer be marked on the old "A, B, C, D, and F" or any other of the myriad ways each catchment and district have been using. Instead, they are going to forge ahead with the 1-4 scale.

The reason I was interviewed is that this 'new' system is the system my childrens' school uses. I've been trying to figure out when to high five and when to lecture for the last 7 years.

Because giving a kid an "A" is generally assumed to be 85% or better. Not much to whine about there. "B" meant 70-84% which again isn't terrible (but isn't really very good either), "C" was 60-69% and "D" was 50-59%. An "F" meant, "Don't go home tonight."

So, the first time I saw this 1-4 system, when Bugs was in Kindergarten, I remember thinking, "Okay, so 4 is an A? Wait... No... 4 is 80% or better? So, 3 is 60% or better? 2 is 40% or better? 1 is straight up fail?" Then when I saw some 1's... HOLY my head almost fell off. I mean, my son was reading, doing math, counting, how could he be failing anything at all (okay, I totally understood the 'Doesn't listen or follow instructions= 1').

How? Oh, because the 1-4 system DOES NOT correspond to a particular grade. It's arbitrary. Not based on marks at all. I call 'baloney'. Teachers work damned hard to put a curriculum together, to learn each students' particular learning curve and needs. So, why are they putting teachers and parents over a barrel like this?

"Better self esteem" I saw from one woman interviewed for the trash mag that passes as a paper here in town. Geez lady, if your kid can only get self esteem from not hearing that they aren't doing well in a particular subject, then you have larger problems than a kid who isn't doing so well in school. I didn't always get A's. Or even only B's. There was some subjects I just didn't do so well in (Calculus and I go WAY back; but that bitch and I don't talk anymore).

So my point was this, "Sure, change the ratings, make them whatever the heck you like. Letters, numbers, symbols. It comes down to the same damned thing. We are going to push our kids to do their best, to try their hardest and support them when they don't do as well as they'd hoped. But, for Heaven's sake, don't hog tie teachers and parents with a scale that has NO VALUE. If it is completely subjective then a teacher who gives 3+'s instead of 4's is asking her kids to work harder than someone who gives out 4's. And that's not fair to the teachers, the students or the parents."

This is the first year that Bugs has received both a numerical value (percentages) along with his 1-4 rating. This is the first year his report card has actually mattered. Up until now, the report cards have just been props I took with me when I talked to the teacher at the parent/ teacher interview. That interview is the important part, that's the part where the teacher can tell you exactly what your child needs to work on, and what they are doing fantastic in.

That is what compels me, as a parent, to say to Bugs, "Listen Mr. B says you've been having trouble handing things in? What can we do to fix that? Is it your organization, or are you having trouble with the work?" And he says, "Yeah, I lost the papers in my locker." So I look in the locker, and am so appalled I just shut the door again, and say, "Clean that crap out of there and you wouldn't lose your homework in it."

But, now I can evaluate- with actual effectiveness- how my child has done each semester in school. And I can rake him over the coals if I need to, or tell him how awesome he is and what a good job he's doing (which is all I've ever had to do anyways- lucky me).

Monday, May 14, 2012

Thank You Time Magazine.

Thank you Time Magazine.

Thank you for starting yet another round of "Mommy Wars". Thank you for making what is a natural, and beautiful process into something seedy and gossip worthy. Thank you for making being a mother just a little bit harder for all of us this particular Mother's Day.

Thank you. And suck my t**.

Will I nurse my children until they are 3, 4, 5, 6 or even 7 years old? No. But I won't do it, because the girls chose to wean themselves. Not because I believe it's gross or wrong. It's not. It's a natural process.

And for anyone who thinks it's "wrong to sexualize a child"- get a grip. There is nothing overtly, or covertly, sexual about nursing a child. Nothing (even if the mother on the cover of Time Magazine was beautiful).

And for anyone who says it's 'unnatural'- well, if it were 'unnatural' there would be a shelf life on how long breasts produce milk after a child is born. There isn't- which means it's not unnatural.

For anyone who says it 'emmasculates' or causes little boys to be effeminate- L.O.L. Seriously. Laughing. Out. Loud. Here's something for you to mull over:

In the Northern communities here in Canada, and surely some parts of Alaska (not to mention third World countries), children are regularly breastfed until they are around 7 years old. Yes. And it is for a practical reason- there is little fresh milk to be had, and what milk is available is simply too expensive to buy. And in third world countries- well, it's all the nourishment those mothers can provide.

Statistically, look at the health and fitness of the grown children in Aboriginal communities who were nursed 'too long'.

Statistically, they have healthier body image, body weight, eating habits and emotional stability than many of the children weaned 'appropriately'.

Not only do many of the young boys of the North West Territories (Nunavut, and Iqaluit too) nurse until they are older, they are nursed that way when the girls are given bottles soon after birth. The Aboriginal women know the benefits (and don't give two shits about the science- since they've done things this way for a thousand years) of nursing the young boys as long as possible. It helps their boys grow stronger, develop solid muscle tone, fight infection, lower rates of cancer, and maintain a good familial bond. It helps their young boys grow into healthy men.

Men who can hunt, fish and trap successfully enough food to see them and their families through another winter. So, yes, naysayers- I guess you're right. Those Northern Aboriginal men are 'femmy'.

Right. I'd put $100 up on the side of a man who hunts to feed his family, against a redneck from Texas (or any damn place at all)- and then just piss myself laughing when the "Indian" out shoots the redneck every time.

Why don't I believe I'll see any of THIS in your article?

Because you are only trying to sensationalize the topic, to make breastfeeding mothers the topic of ridicule (again). Well, forget it, I've just decided I WILL NOT read your article. I won't even read your magazine again. You've managed to take yourselves from being something most consider somewhat 'literary' to being entirely too much like the "Enquirer". Well done Time Magazine.

For the record, out of my three children, my girls were breastfed, and my son was bottle fed. I support whichever way a mother feeds her children. Whether that's boob, bottle, supplementary system or simply rice cereal. To each their own- and bugger anyone who doesn't like it.

And what would I say to anyone who has an opinion on how a mother 'should' be feeding her children? Get. Fucked.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Open Adoption Roundtable #38: What I want to say to you on Mother's Day.

From the Open Adoption Bloggers: Roundtable #38:  What I want to say to you on Mother's Day.

Write to someone else in the adoption constellation (someone specific or a general group). What do you want to say to them on Mother’s Day?

HARD. Hard. Hard. This hurts. And maybe it should. Maybe this is something I've needed to 'say' - even though I don't think you read my blog.

 I love (and hate) Mother's Day. Sometimes I feel like it should be about me, not you. Sometimes I know it's about both of us.

So, this is how I feel about Mother's Day- right now. But it still hurts come Sunday morning.

It hurts because I do the 'work' day in, day out. I hold Bugs' hand when he's throwing up with his fevers, or when he wakes up scared. I work HARD to be a mom. I sometimes get only an hour of sleep before I have to climb out of bed and make lunches, get dressed, go to work, come home make dinner and keep Bugs (and the girls) clean-ish looking, make sure he does his homework, get him back and forth to his activities.

Being a mom is hard. Being a 'mom' is something so important and yet so intangible. Sometimes, honestly here, I feel like I am the "only" mom. Sometimes I know I am not his only mom. 

Oh, those 'only me' days aren't often; BUT, they are the days when you haven't called him in weeks- then you call him from the bar so your friends hear you saying, "I love you and miss you soooo much." Or, when you tell him calling is too expensive- and he hears "I'm not worth it to her. But going to the bar and taking 100 pictures to post on facebook is." Or, when you used to tell him you'd be here, then not show up for hours- and lie to your family about it. Or skip picking him up completely because you'd rather go to a party with Scott. On those days, I never, ever, felt you were his "mom". Not even a bit. You had given birth to him, and that was special, but on those days, I did not feel you gave him the respect a mother would give to her children. You didn't treat him as though he mattered to you at all. 

Then there are the days when I KNOW you are a mother, and how hard it was being pregnant and 19. How scary it was raising a child for two years (even with total support from your parents and D's- it couldn't have been easy). Giving birth. Trying to breastfeed. Those are not things that can be dismissed- even when I disagree with so much that came afterwards.

So Mother's Day hurts. And it's hard. The only things I ever want for Mother's Day are craft made by the kids. I want someone to think I am special enough to sit down and help the children make them for me, to honour how difficult it has been, how hard I work, and what a good mom I am. And often, no one does. But year after year, your mother helps Bugs make you something. Year after year, you receive a gift in the mail, a gift I wish I could have. A gift I would be thrilled to have (not that I don't like perfume or cards and crap like that). A gift I'm not convinced you give two flying effs' about. 

The last time Bugs made me something, was a necklace that said " I LOVE MOM" on it. I wore it for two whole years, never once taking it off, because I loved it, and it reminded me of him. I would still be wearing it if the leather hadn't gotten so weak I was afraid it would break. He made you something similar a year later with my help, for Christmas, and you didn't ever wear it. Because it didn't match your outfits. I remember the day, you said, "You always wear that? Really? I haven't worn mine- the soccer balls look funny with all my earrings. hahahahaha."

So, Mother's Day is a day that hurts; because I wish you put as much energy into showing him how much you love him, as you do towards convincing your friends you love him. It's a day that hurts because since you've moved to Scotland- you have gone through so many phases of trying and then not trying that leave Bugs hurting and waiting, and hurting and waiting. And he loves you, and I love you.

So, I love Mothers' Day; because we are both an integral part of him, of who he is, and we both matter, and I'm glad for the days when we can all hang out together and go swimming in the summer. I love Mother's Day, for all the times we've sat up laughing on the phone over something completely unrelated to our child. For all the times we've spent hours hashing out what we think is best for Bugs.

So, Happy Mothers' Day to both of us- for all that you did, for all that I do. For all that we do together to raise a healthy, happy, well adjusted young man.

Eat Your Dinner.

What's the point in yelling at a kid? What's the point in insisting a child eats ALL their dinner? What's the point in forcing a child to look 'neat and tidy' all day long?

I'll tell you something, something I'm not ashamed of. I don't yell very much. Well, okay, I certainly shout a lot from one room to the next, "Stop hitting please" and "Please stop yelling!" (I see the irony of that statement given my typical volume levels). I will snap some mornings, "Get your shoes on. NOW! It's time for school." "You have three minutes to get dressed. Then I am going to start taking away privileges." And so on, various other normal 7 am statements. But, if I have to be at work at 9 am, I generally try to leave the house no later than 8 am. That gives me a full hour to drop a baby off at daycare and drive 7 minutes to my workplace. I leave that early because I got in the habit when Bugs was little.

He took FOREVER to do any-damned-thing at all. I was furious one of 'those' mornings, and I was shouting at a 3 year old because he wanted to do up his seat belt himself. And I didn't feel like I had three minutes to let him do it. And I stopped and thought to myself. Three minutes? I'm screaming over a seat belt? That's wrong. Something is wrong with me.

And I decided that day, then and there, if I had to be some place at a certain time, I would figure out exactly how long I needed to get there. Then I would leave a half hour earlier than that. That way, if it takes the kids ten minutes to put coats on, fine. Ten minutes to walk to the car. Fine. Ten minutes to do up their seat belts alone. Fine.

It doesn't always work. Sometimes we do run late- and I do get stressed and snap at them. But once we're underway, and my blood pressure drops thirty points again, I apologize. Because they are just being kids. And they're good kids. And I'm only human (well, I'm an awesome human, but still just a human).

As to whether or not Brat eats her dinner. I. Don't. Care. She is the only one who can tell me how full, or 'unfull' her tummy is. I offer her a healthy meal, and she either eats it, or she doesn't. She has a normal appetite and eats when she is hungry, and not when she isn't. She has a normal, healthy body. Me forcing her to eat when she isn't hungry will teach her to ignore what her body tells her, and force food in, even when she doesn't want it. And I tried that approach once already. It's bullshit and it's stressful for the parent and the kid.

When Bugs was little, we followed what we were 'told' to do by the 'grown ups' and argued with him. Fought and fought and fought with him over his meals. To be fair, he was having more issues than just food, but since THAT was the only aspect of his life he felt he could control, he tried. He would refuse to eat anything homemade. And because his grandparents regularly took him to McDonald's (he had just 'lost' C, so no one wanted to tell him "No, that is not healthy"), or they made him KD, he would not eat anything healthy. Ever. He would intentionally throw up on the table if you tried to 'make' him eat- if you refused to buy him a 'hannaburger' he would vomit at you. That's all kinds of fun.

Eventually, we stopped trying to 'make' him eat at dinnertime. We started to tell him it could be his choice- but that if he didn't eat any of his dinner that night, it would go in the fridge and be his next day's meal. There would be no other substitution later for a "better" bedtime snack. If he got hungry, dinner would be re-served. Eventually, he stopped fighting against healthy food, and began to enjoy his meals. So, when we stopped trying to force, he made the decision- with a wee bit of coercion- to eat his healthy food first. Why didn't I think to let him do that sooner? To choose to eat healthy, by simply REFUSING to allow the fast food at all? Kids won't starve themselves. They'll eat when they get hungry. Just like I do.

My kids are also always messy. Brat's daycare teachers call her the "Disaster bird"- I went to pick her up the other day, she had half of her uniform undone, one leg out of a pair of tights (still wearing the other leg) and one boot on. I can't even discuss her hair. She likes it long, and loose. I can braid it, and spend half an hour fighting with her to get it smooth and flat. The minute she gets to school, she yanks the elastic out anyways. When she dresses herself, she layers like a homeless man trying to stay warm in February. But, she's happy, and she loves the way she looks. Why would I change that? Also, since I rarely brush my own hair, who the Hell am I to say she "must" brush hers?

So, how do my kids look to other people? I don't know. I don't care. My kids know that they are loved. We don't need to fight with them constantly over the small stuff (and thanks Dad), it's ALL small stuff. I will save my arguments for the teenage years, when I will need the energy even more than I need it now.

I could have freaked out last week because the 15 month old was playing with marbles; or yesterday when she picked up a 'throat sized' rock at the sitters- and put it directly into her mouth. I didn't. I trusted her to spit it out once she'd had it in there long enough to realize it didn't taste all that great.

What's the point in freaking out? I don't have the energy to do that. If she'd started choking- I am CPR certified, and have never once panicked under pressure yet. So, the fact that I haven't 'baby proofed' my home doesn't mean I don't worry- it means that I trust my children to listen, to learn, to respect and to stay safe (well, safe enough). And occasionally I do yell. I do shout. When it's warranted- not just because I want to be the boss. I AM the boss- but yelling isn't what gets me that respect- treating my kids with respect is what gets me that respect.

And yes, we tease, we bicker, we argue- but first and foremost is the love. And my kids have better senses of humour than most grown ups I know. So I KNOW I'm doing something right. Eat. That.