Posted by: Hannah | 07/15/2014

rainy day survival

It’s a rainy week in Halifax, which means all daycare providers have to step up their game.

Yes, it’s warm enough to play outdoors anyway, and yes, there is a certain amount of that. But on sunny days it’s not uncommon for us to spend all of the morning & half the afternoon outside. Even the hardiest child is not going to play in the rain for that long.

Anyone who says “puddle jumping!!” with manic cheerfulness has never taken more than one kid out for that activity. One kid in a puddle will wade, maybe jump a little bit, possibly get wet socks if their boots aren’t the best.

Seven kids in a puddle looks like the ending of Waterworld, minus jetskis.

The last time I took them out puddle-jumping, I ended up doing two loads of laundry afterward. I had to wash the girls’ hair. The dog needed a full-body wipedown.

It’s a ton of extra work, is what I’m saying. Sometimes you have to do the cost / benefit analysis. If an activity that takes half an hour of actual fun requires 2+ hours of clean-up afterwards, it may not be your best option.

Yesterday was not a good day. Everyone was cranky, overtired, off their schedules, and foul. We didn’t experience the day, we survived it. Like passengers on a cruise ship that picks up Norovirus. By the end we were all exhausted, we smelled bad, there had a been a lot of tears and no one wanted to discuss it ever again.

Today we were all determined to have a better time – me included. So we had circle time, wherein we each get a turn to tell the group a little story, and then we sing some songs.

Arthur told me that he’s reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and that Harry sleeps in a cupboard under the stairs, which he couldn’t picture because what on earth is that?? So I pointed out that I have a cupboard under the stairs, although it’s really more of a utility space and houses the water pump & treatment system. Also spiders. The boys insisted on getting a tour of the dank hole and they were duly impressed.

Ron likes to throw curveballs at me when we sing “Old MacDonald” (think “pterodon”) so today I tried to add enough extra interest to keep him on track.

Me: Farming’s a tough business, so Old MacDonald sold the farm and bought a zoo! Today we sing with zoo animals!
Kids: YAY!!
Me: Old MacDonald had a zoo, E-I-E-I-O! And on that zoo he had a…
Ron: RETICULATED PYTHON!!!
*sigh*

After circle I lied and told them the walls were looking kind of bare since I’d taken down the last batch of art. (They are, but here’s a confession – I like them bare. It helps the space we’re in feel less claustrophobic to me. However, needs must.) Arthur and Ron made me a huge mural of a spinosaurus and a t-rex fighting while an asteroid hurtles toward them. The littles learned how to peel the backs off stickers and spent a blissful half-hour covering pieces of paper with them. And Harry drew several panels of Angry Birds.
My walls are very violent now.
After circle I coached them on how to construct a massive fort with the nap mattresses, the kitchen table, and a stack of old sheets. Within minutes they were pretending it was an airplane. Then the airplane was being used to transport “petraceratops” (I eventually figured out they meant “protoceratops” which then necessitated an explanation of the prefix “proto” because LEARNING, guys.) Then the airplane was attacked by pirates. Pirates who (apparently) needed to be shrieked into submission.
I held it together until about 1pm. By then, I was done. My ears were actually ringing. Naps weren’t happening because the big boys would not be quiet. The living room looks like a tornado hit, I needed to make a lasagna because that seemed like a good idea back on Saturday when I planned the week’s menu… I cracked.And I did what any sensible, responsible, 36 year old mother of three does when she can see the end of her rope and it’s a foot above her head.

I called my mommy.
Now I only need to survive until Saturday morning – then I load up my kids and drive them to her house. And leave them there. For, like, 30 hours.
You ask me what I’m going to do with all that time, and I tell you frankly that I have no idea.
But whatever it is, it will be quiet.
Posted by: Hannah | 07/09/2014

healthy me, 2.5 month check in

Project Healthier Me check in, after 10 weeks.

Right off the bat, I’m going to tell you my current weight… because I want to be free from worrying about it, and if I’m keeping it a Big Secret I’m still letting it rule me.

As of this morning, I weigh 185lbs. When I stopped stepping on the scale out of sheer horror, I was a few pounds over 200.

There. Done. Moving on.

I found a substitute for frozen pineapple, for the smoothies. Frozen mango is readily available and I’ve always preferred it to pineapple anyway, so boo-yah! I’m eating all the mangoes. Delicious.

Total weight loss is around 15 pounds, give or take. Last week I tried of a pair of pants that haven’t fit since before George was born and GUESS WHAT I AM WEARING THEM RIGHT NOW. And they are actually fitting comfortably, not cutting into my stomach or leaving a button imprint next to my bellybutton. I’m also back into my pre-George Fancy Expensive Bra, which makes me very happy indeed, because the ill-fitting crappy Victoria’s Secret one I bought in desperation before Blissdom last year was giving me the sads every time I put it on.

My stamina is really improving. My new personal-best walk distance with the dayhome kids is 4.5km – and I’m carrying a toddler in a backpack plus pushing one in a stroller. I sweat, but I don’t want to die, or anything. I’m also mowing the lawn a lot faster than I used to and I seem to be able to carry more bags of groceries into the house at once.

My skin is clearing up – I didn’t realize how many adult zits I was actually getting until I wasn’t getting them anymore. I still get headaches when the barometric pressure changes rapidly, and during Shark Week, but they can be chased away with one extra-strength Advil instead of the two three as-many-as-it-takes I was used to.

I am much better able to have treat foods in moderate amounts. This has never happened to me in the history of ever so I’m still sort of surprised at my restraint. (I’ll have a cereal bowl of tortilla chips instead of a whole bag of sour cream & bacon Ruffles, for example).

I’m down to two cups of coffee a day, max. Some days I only have one.

I don’t need my mid-afternoon cookie or chocolate treat anymore.

I had a major breakthrough on Sunday. Ron was invited to a friend’s house for the afternoon, and the friend’s mom invited me as well for “a cup of tea and a swim!” (their house is right on the lake). I had only met her once, very briefly, at a birthday party last fall. Normally the idea of appearing in front of Another Adult Human in my bathing suit would have sent me right off a cliff of shame, but one of my main motivators for this whole process is to be more present and fun for my kids. What kind of parent would I be if I sat on the shore? So I put on my bathing suit and went swimming. It was great. We all had a nice time and are making plans to do it again.

It was all very freeing, and then I read this article by Jenny Trout, a novelist I love very much, called “I Wore a Bikini and Nothing Happened“. Instead of shriveling into a little ball of second-hand terror I thought huh, I haven’t worn a bikini since I was a teenager but I always thought they were much more comfortable than one piece suits. I could do that. I should order one for next year. Not because I think I’m hot, or anything, but because I’m feeling healthier and happier than I have in years, and I kind of want to celebrate.

 

Posted by: Hannah | 07/07/2014

silver-haired princess

We all went to Ron’s baseball practice tonight.

One of Harry’s teammates was there; his little sister is the same age as Ron, so our two families cross paths a lot. We parents sat shivering on the bleachers – in the wake of tropical storm Arthur, it’s been quite chilly in Halifax – while the little kids hit the field and the older boys wandered off on some covert mission.

I was idly watching all the action on the field when I noticed Harry and his buddy… and they were talking to girls.

Now, I’m not going to read too much into this, because they are nine year olds. But at that distance, it was like looking through a lens that sped up time about five years. The body language was more teen than little kid. The girls were flipping their hair a lot. The boys were being less gormless than usual. I’m sure that close up the illusion wouldn’t hold, because I’m guessing their conversation was the totally innocent chatter of classmates who haven’t seen each other for a week – but still, it kind of rattled me a little.

I nudged Michael right away and hissed look, I’m pretty sure Harry and Friend are trying to flirt with those girls! Look at that! and he rolled his eyes at me. BUT I KNOW WHAT I SAW. Time makes you bolder / children get older / I’m getting older, too, is what I’m saying.

Within a few minutes they were all playing catch on the sidelines, and just like that they were nine year olds again. And yet. They aren’t little kids anymore. They’re all nearly as tall as I am. Harry twisted his ankle today and while I was wrapping it for him I noticed that his feet are like grown-up feet now – nearly as big as mine, bony and long, with the same crooked toes that my brother has. When he was a baby I used to pretend to nibble on his little wee toes! He does not have those toes anymore.

***

Ron had three invitations to playdates yesterday. THREE. I’ll be lucky if I get three invitations to social events in a six month span. He took a hardball to the nose the other day and when I offered to hold him in my lap with an ice pack he looked at me like I had two heads and said no thanks, I’ll just lie down in my room with a book. Tonight at dinner he told me the pork satay was lovely, really and asked if I’d done something different with the rice because it tasted better than the last time. He doesn’t need any help at bathtime anymore and he got a buzz cut for summer against my objections because it just makes sense, Mom. My head won’t get all sweaty now.

***

George didn’t nap yesterday or today, with no real ill effects. At the lake he kept running into the water at top speed yelling “CANNONBALL!!!” and he keeps pulling his hand out of mine when we walk together. He doesn’t want his stuffie giraffe that plays soothing nature sounds at bedtime anymore, preferring instead an old CD of classical lullabies that he calls his “sleepy music”. He has opinions about his clothes and is starting to reject the Sandra Boynton books in favour of longer stories with more advanced vocabulary.

***

It’s all hitting me, suddenly. I love that they are growing up, turning into their own people that don’t need me every minute of the day. As cheesy as it sounds I really do feel privileged to have a front-row seat to this whole process. It’s fascinating and terrifying and wistful all at once.

But man. Kids. Slow down a little, okay? Mama can only handle so much at once.

 

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