London Calling

One of the reasons we chose Paris as it is a great, central jumping off point to explore Europe. Pretty soon after our arrival to France we were already off to another country. Jolly Old England.

Just a quick stop at Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross Station

Since we would be away for the kids’ birthdays, we offered each of them the chance to choose a place to spend their day. The Big Kid chose London! Nowhere near a chore for us, we were very happy to make the trip over on the Eurostar train. What a pleasure. Quick, convenient and so much easier than flying. We need to figure out trains in North America like they have in Europe.

London is always a rush. First of all, haven’t you heard? Boris Johnson has declared Covid over in London! Hurrah! (Fact check: I think he said we need to learn to live with Covid and that technically its not over, but that doesn’t read as well.) The day we arrived the mask mandates and vaccine passes were eliminated. We still prefer to wear masks but wow, its amazing to be out and see so many maskless faces.

After checking into our hotel, the Little Kid was absolutely floored when they bumped straight into their favourite actor from their favourite TV show. Hannah Waddingham, Rebecca from Ted Lasso, was absolutely gracious and lovely when the Kid said “hello”. She even got teary eyed when the Kid explained that Rebecca was their favourite (and not the expected Keely). A little while later, the Kid almost imploded when they spotted another one of their favourite comedians and authors, David Walliams (Little Britain) just outside the Hotel. What a day! Guess which city is now their new fave?

The Kid and Hannah

We took advantage of the fleeting sunny skies and took a walk to Buckingham Palace – poor Liz wasn’t there, she was convalescing from ye olde Covid at Windsor Castle. Sadly nor were any of her bear-skinned Beefeaters. Just some normal looking cops with automatic weapons. So much for Pomp and Ceremony.

Heading back to the hotel amid much “my feet hurt” and ”I’m tired”, we made a little detour to Savile Row to see the famous Apple Records offices, now home to Abercrombie & Fitch. After devouring Get Back on Disney+, Mom and Dad were happy to see the site of The Beatles last concert, even though the kids were pissed that the walk was taking longer than planned.

For dinner, we were booked at one of Yotam Ottolenghi’s restaurants, NOPI. I’m a BIG fan of Ottolenghi’s many cookbooks and was excited to visit this bustling and sparkly London restaurant. The food was great, tried a lovely wine from Georgia (the country not the state) and I even got completely wigged out in the bathroom which is a mini hall of mirrors and I couldn’t find my way out. If you go – please check out that bathroom and let me know I’m not losing it. Thanks, you’re great.

Day 2 in London was POURING RAIN. Oh, and the Tube was closed due to a strike. Fun. We managed to get a black cab and ventured out to see The Tower of London. With the traffic, we managed to make the trip in about 45 minutes, only twice as long as usual. Our cabbie was a fantastic wealth of knowledge – as London Cabbies are known to be. He gave us all sorts of intel on the rigorous testing process these people must pass to get their license. Incredible. They need to know every street, every landmark, every hotel (big and small). They need to know multiple routes to anywhere. All memorized. You’ll never see a GPS in a black cab. AND these folks are their own boss. They have to buy their cabs on their own at a cool £75,000. Monsieur Le Cabbie also gave us the best tip ever, with the incredible traffic jam in the city, he suggested we take the City Cruise along the Thames back to Westminster which was a total WIN! The moral of this story is – when in London skip the Uber and take a Black Cab.

In the cold rain, The Tower of London was a bit of a bust. So we decided to do the SPEED TOUR. Luckily, between the weather and the Tube strike, we were able to walk straight in to see The Crown Jewels. Another little wander around the White Tower and then off we went to hop the boat and back to the hotel. The Crown Jewels are impressive, but pretty fucking weird in 2022. Knowing most of the jewels were the plunder of war and colonialism AND such an ostentatious public display of unreasonable wealth seems pretty tone deaf in our awakening culture. Since when have the monarchy been ”with the times”, I guess.

Yeah, no, for sure, no.

We booked to visit The British Museum the following day. I just couldn’t shake the thought that we were going to see a bunch of stolen loot. After seeing the Haida and Nisga’a Totem Poles from Northern BC, I definitely had the creeps viewing all these wonderful and amazing treasures that were plundered. One thing is definitely true, the Colonial British were more than just robbers, they were fucking hoarders!

The Big Kid chose London because she wanted to see the show Six. A modern re-telling of Henry VIII’s 6 wives and their stories. Brilliant. She loved it, we loved it. It was a fun night out. We were in a theatre seeing live music and performance and it was fantastic!

Our last night in London we had dinner at the buzzy and delicious La Petite Maison. Great food, great restaurant, quick seating – so eat fast! My former boss introduced me to LPM years ago and its still the same busy place with great Southern French food. But really, eat fast. The Maitre ’D came to let me know what we needed to chop chop with the veal chop as he needed the table back tout de suite. Bien sûr, Monsieur.

Before hopping the Eurostar back to Paris, the sun managed to make an appearance in time for our departure. So my Monsieur and I took a walk through Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens with a stop at the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain – unique and pretty like she was – and at the Albert Memorial – grand and splashy like he was?

You can call me Al

And just like that, 3 days in London done and dusted. Our first side trip from Paris was in the books (and now on my blog) and we are getting our travel legs back. We managed to do the trip with 3 small carry- ons and one bigger suitcase (to carry all the London shopping back to Paris as well as our quickly-becoming-redundant Covid safety kit).

On the train, I was happy to hear the Little Kid say ”I can’t wait to get home to my own bed.” They were talking about their Paris bed. I’ll take that as a small win 🙂

Parlez-vous anglais?

When we chose Paris as our home base, there was some reasoning behind it. Its a city I know reasonably well after years of business travel here. I also studied French in school up until university so I have a basic understanding of how to speak the language. Plus Paris is fairly centrally located within Europe and well, its FUCKING PARIS!

Every time I come here, I realize what a load of bullshit my French language education actually was without ever immersing myself. Its VERY clear that the hours Mme Sharon spent hammering the Notre Père (Our Father) into my head were absolutely useless in trying to explain to the pharmacist that Monsieur has terrible acid reflux and what could she recommend to help. The conversation went like this:

Pharmacist: Bonjour Madame

Me: Bonjour Madame. Vous m’aidez? Mon Mari a une problème avec son éstomac. Avez-vous un medecin pour lui assistez? (“Hello Ma’am. Can you help me? My husband has a problem with his stomach. Do you have a doctor for you to help him?” I was trying to ask for medicine.)

Pharmacist: 😳

Me: Ummm, Notre Pere? Qui est aux cieux? (“Ummm, Our Father? Who art in heaven?”)

Pharmacist: 😐

Me: Que ton nom soit sanctifié? (“Hallowed be thy name”)

Pharmacist: Ahhh???

Me: Que ta volonté soit faite sur la terre comme au ciel? (“Here on earth as it is heaven”)

Pharmacist: Ummmm….🥴

Its mostly ok, I think. The Parisians are being extremely generous in encouraging me in my french speaking. However, I know that they are just being kind. I’m sure that my tenses are all over the place and that I’m telling people we’ve lived here for 4 months instead of we ARE going to live here for 4 months.

Just the other night, in one of these tight quartered cafés, the kid dropped something under the table and cracked their head on the way back up. I felt quite proud of the fact that I managed to ask the waitress for a napkin full of ice. I was certainly successful in asking for ice cubes (glaçons) instead of ice cream (glacé) – common mistake I make. However, I’m pretty sure I told her that the kid had broken (casser) her head instead of hit (frapper) it, which probably explains why she brought les glaçons tout de suite.

Hopefully, in a few more weeks I’ll be a lot less wobbly and more able to communicate. In the meantime, merci beaucoup Mme Sharon, FOR NOTHING! At least I won’t look like a chump when we visit any churches.

The kid BEFORE the “frapper”

Get Into the Groove

It has taken me a while to get back to the blog. We’re starting to settle into our new Parisien lifestyle, but it is with heavy hearts and watchful eyes.  To say the war in the Ukraine is unsettling is an understatement.  I’ve been labouring on how to write a silly blog about our adventure while the world has been thrust into such fear and uncertainty.  The suffering in the Ukraine is devastating and is front of mind for us every day.  We set the intention for peace and for the greater good of humankind to prevail.  So please know and remember this as you read my posts, that we are not turning a blind eye to this on-going tragedy.  Here, I’ll keep it light and (hopefully) funny because we all need to find some levity from time to time.

We have rented an apartment in the 2nd arrondissement, tucked into a small side street behind Blvd des Italiens and nestled between The Opera, The Bourse and Palais Royale.  The apartment is on the 4th floor of a Haussmanian building with (thank Oprah!) an elevator.  It’s a cute little elevator and it took us about 4 trips to get the aforementioned 11 pieces of luggage to our 4th floor enclave. The 5 flights up to our place is a bit of a workout, however it helps accommodate my pain au chocolat habit.

Monsieur and I made our first trip to the local grocery to stock up.  Unlike our typical Vancouver shop with stops at the Whole Foods and the Shoppers and the Save On, we visited the local G20.  A grocery store which is about 1/10th the size of our Whole Foods yet had just about everything we could need.  No longer blessed with our SUV and easy underground parking, this new grocery experience would be an experiment in how much we could actually carry the 2 blocks back to our place and stuff into the teeny elevator.

Armed with a rolling basket, we started our shop.  As the basket started to quickly fill I began to calculate the combined strength of Monsieur et moi.  Guess what, it’s less than you think.  And there, in the last aisle, le vendeur uttered the most beautiful words I’ve ever heard, “Un livraison, madame?”   My jet-lagged, Canadian-self squeaked out a “Non, merci.”  I’m delirious and overly polite not wanting to inconvenience this lovely French man, but I am clearly not very smart.  And then, like a lighting bolt all my 12+ years of French education and 2 solid years of Duolingo came flooding back to me. Wait, what?  Livraison = Delivery!!!! Here we are with all these groceries and 2 block walk and I’m saying “Non, merci” when the guy wants to deliver it to me?  “Oui monsieur, un livraison s’il vous plaît.”

So we began our check out and my knight in shining armour started to pile the bags of groceries into a shopping cart.  He then walked with us the two blocks back to our apartment and safely delivered us to the elevator door.  What an angel, sent from the heaven of the G20 stockroom to help us in our hour of need.  What a win!  

The haul from the G20

As with most AirBnbs, there are always things we need to make it feel more like home.  Like scissors.  Why are there never any scissors in an Airbnb?  Or just one cutting board and a frying pan with every layer of teflon scored away by lazy renters like us?  I wish Paris had a Winners.  Everybody loves a Winner! Or so they say.  Being the noobs (ask a person under the age of 16 what this means if you don’t know) that we are, we headed to the kitchen department at Galleries Lafayette and paid through the nose for decent spatula and some tea towels.  We also stumbled upon very mobile Granny Grocery cart, which I will argue is the best €80 I’ve ever spent.

L’Éclair de Génie at Galeries Lafayette

On our continued mission of filling the fridge we spent a lovely morning on the Rue Montorgueil, an incredible market street with beautiful fruit stands, cheese shops and patisseries.  One of which is Stohrer. A gilded beauty the size of a walk in closet that has stood in this exact spot since 1730. Nicolas Stohrer former pastry chef to the former King of Poland, was brought to Paris by Marie Leszczynska who married Louis XV, presumably when she couldn’t find a decent Rum Baba.  We picked up some of my Monsieur’s favourite, Millefeuille.  Verdict was a thumbs down when compared to the same from Cafe de Paris.  You’d think that if they’ve been around since 1730, they’d have it nailed by now.

We also found a fantastic gluten free bakery called Copains just off the Rue Montorgueil at 60 Rue Tiquetonne. You’d never guess that every loaf and pastry in the place is sans gluten. We picked up some yummy babka and a boule with figs and walnuts that is killer.

The kids have been outfitted with some new clothes, mais bien sûr.  The options just outside our door are endless as they find their feet in the fashion capitol of the world.  Monsieur and I have also picked up some new comfy, yet stylish sneakers to accommodate the 12,000+ steps a day we seem to be clocking.  Another excellent way to allow that addiction to pain au chocolat.

We’ve walked around The Louvre, through Place Vendome, up Rue Faubourg Saint Honoré past the Embassies and the Élysées Palace, down Avenue de L’Opera and along the Rue des Rosiers.  We’ve eaten éclairs and croissants, croque monsieur and soupe a l’oignon, macarons and millefeuille, falafels and tagines and we’ve only just begun!  Now that our blisters have healed and we’re managing our indigestion, we’re ready for many more great days in Paris!

Nous Sommes Arrivés!

We made it. Armed with PILES of Covid related required paperwork, we have landed in the City of Light. On a typical gloomy Parisian day (City of Light might be a misnomer), we arrived. Proud of the fact that we managed to do it with 7 checked bags, 4 rolling carry-ons, 3 backpacks and a chic French tote (mais bien sûr). I don’t think we forgot anything… except for the things we forgot. Oh well, its not like there isn’t anywhere to shop in Paris. Likely the subject of a blog or seven for another day.

Our flight arrived inexplicably hour early, it was still dark! We were so early we were ahead of our ground transport and apartment rental people, so there was some hurry up and wait moments. But we’re in Paris, so what!

Anticipating some hairy jetlag with the 9 hour time difference, we pulled out all the stops on the international traveller’s playbook on how to ward it off; get out in the sun (remember gloomy day), walk, eat at the mealtimes of where you are (not where you came from). We walked ourselves along Blvd des Italiens and in the glow of the gilded Opera and found a lovely table at the Café de la Paix. In my rusty French, I asked for a table for 4 in the bistrot, but then I fucked it up when I agreed to the restaurant where the menu was more foie gras than frites. However, DO NOT FRET, Parisian waiters are amazing and Hervé saved my ass by accommodating us with chicken nuggets and club sandwiches if we agreed to some bougie appetizers. The sacrifice! Norwegian smoked salmon with the cutest little loonie (if you know, you know) sized blinis and yummy French onion soup (here, we leave the French out of it because well, duh). The reason for our stop however is the house made pastries and Monsieur’s love of the millefeuille. Everyone was happy! Plied with carbs, caffeine and sugar, we headed out into Les Grands Boulevards. Fast forward just 15 minutes and the sugar crash started right in the middle of the Nespresso store line up.

By 4pm CET, we hit the inevitable wall and needed to be horizontal. First rule of Jet Lag Club is, of course, we never talk about Jet Lag Club. The second rule of Jet Lag Club is DO NOT NAP. A nap will fuck it all up. Trust. However, we’re running on about 2 hours sleep in the past 24 hours and everyone is a little frayed. So we nap. BUT only for 20 minutes max. It was hard. Not like really hard because we’re on sabbatical in Paris, but you know, hard. I like to think that I am a smart cookie, so I made dinner reservations for our first two evenings so we had an obligation to get up, get showered and get moving.

Now, because I’m not ALWAYS a smart cookie, I made us a dinner reservation in a tourist trap. Dumb. It was fine, but the steak was dry and the waiter was an ass. Whatever, we’re in Paris! If you’re wondering, it was Le Grand Colbert, famous for the final scene in that Diane Keaton/ Jack Nicholson movie Something’s Gotta Give. Yeah, Something’s Worth Skipping.

Post dinner, I promised the kids a surprise. I took them on a little walk. It was after 9pm, dark and I forgot that Parisian parks have gates because THEY LOCK THEM. Fortunately we were not inside at the time, but it did foil my plan of the first stop on our walk. The Palais Royale was locked but we made our way down the colonnade along the side by the shops. I promised the kids that just beyond the fence is a beautiful park with a fountain. They were suspicious. We kept walking down to the Rue de Rivoli and by now I was working very hard to convince them that where we were headed was worth it. They weren’t so sure.

We crossed the Rue de Rivoli and through the archway of the Place du Carrousel at the Louvre. We came through and there it was, Paris at its very best. The Pyramid by I.M. Pei on one side and the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel on the other and just beyond, The Eiffel Tower. And like I planned it, just a minute later the Eiffel Tower started its sparkly show. What a win! I was a hero! In that moment, I was the smartest mom EVER! I am aglow, sparkling from the inside out just like that gorgeous monument, until 10 minutes later and people’s feet are sore and we’re exhausted and we can’t seem to find a good spot for an Uber pick-up and its taking too long.

Les Enfants et La Tour Eiffel

Eventually, we make our way to our new home away from home and climb into our new/ someone else’s beds, plied with melatonin and ready to dream about our first day in the City of Light.

Back in The Room

Well… I’m back baby! Its been a minute. Life’s been a roller coaster and lots has happened since my last post. But suffice to say, its a whole new world for The R&R Mom. The kids are big – I officially have a teen and a pre-teen now so this blog is less about their antics and more about mine so if you’re looking for breastfeeding tips, keep on googling. This is not the Mom Blog you’re looking for.

The R&R Mom took a step away from the Music Business in February 2020. I thought I was taking a break so we could finally fulfill our lifelong dream to travel for a year. And then Covid happened. So like every single other person in the world there was a change in plan. Fast forward to February 2022 and we are now packing up the kids and and all our home schooling accoutrement and we’re leaving for 7 months. We had to settle for a little less than a year, as again like everyone else, we were forced to change plans on the fly (Covid you saucy minx). But here we are, just over 24 hours from departure and it is interesting. There’s a to do list that seems to be growing rather than shrinking and I’m kinda freaking out. We are post Covid recovery, we picked it up on leg 1 of our trip to Hawaii and were forced to stay for two extra weeks (sounds like a super awesome situation but it was a tad hairy and stressful), so we’re feeling more optimistic taking our boosted selves abroad at last. It doesn’t change the fact that I am of course analyzing and re-analyzing the whole thing over and over hoping we’re doing the right thing. My feet are pretty fucking cold right about now. But we shall persevere.

Why are we running away from home you ask? Well, we need a change of scenery. Honestly, who the fuck doesn’t right now. We are grateful for that opportunity. But we also have been planning it for a while. We’re desperate to immerse ourselves in other countries and cultures. For me, I’m trying to decide what I want to be when I grow up. I’m hoping travel will help me figure that out.

Where are we headed? Again, Lady Rona has been the boss of us so we decided to try and keep it relatively condensed to Europe and parts of Africa. The shorter timeline (we want the kids to be back for school in the fall) and ever changing travel restrictions made us decide to keep it relatively geographically compact. Paris will be our home for the next 4 months and then we’ll adopt a more vagabond approach travelling around Europe and Africa more after that.

How are we doing it? Well, that’s a blog for another day. But the Mr and I have been manifesting this dream for years and are grateful we can finally do it. Luckily my years routing concert tours proved helpful in routing our grand tour too. Years of being on the road has been an invaluable tool in helping us decide where to go. We are also homeschooling our kids. Covid helped us prepare for that a little bit. Feel free to share any tips or ideas for us. We’re also open to any travel recommendations – bring ’em on!

Now as we get closer to departure day, its time for me to start packing the bags. Our house is a hot mess with piles collecting everywhere of things to not forget. The anxiety is in high gear as I try to warm up these feet and get ready to start our adventure. Wish us luck and we’ll keep you posted as we make our progress.

Four People. Seven Months. Three Seasons. Seven Bags.

UnSocial

The past 8 weeks have been a bit of a drag.  Lots of travel for both me and the Mr (mostly separately) coupled with holiday prep and an unending schedule of stuff to do has left me feeling depressed, stressed, overwhelmed and full of self doubt.  I was wracking my brain trying to get to the root of all this unpleasantness.

I love Christmas.  I love the noise and the chaos and the Christmas songs.  The hustle and bustle can be overwhelming but the end result is always my favorite so I knew it couldn’t be that.  Job stress – sure, thats a constant, no avoiding that.  Kid stress – also, ever-present.   Trump.  Yeah, probably.  I mean who isn’t stressed out these days reading the news.

Then it hit me.  Its my phone.  Its my beloved electronic leash that is ALWAYS within reach.  Its the pinging and the beeping and the tweeting and BBC News theme going that is making it all seem so crushing.

F***ing Facebook and all its ads and snoopy bulls**t.  Instagram filters that make us look 20 years younger – except with an perennial f***ing flower halo.  Rants on Twitter that prove someone’s complete idiocy in a mere 140 characters.  And don’t even get me started on Snapchat.  I have NO f***ing idea what that is supposed to be.  (A younger Millennial friend once explained to me that it’s like the Tooth Fairy – it only works for people under a certain age.  Amen because I haven’t a clue how all that swiping is supposed to work).

Its been weighing me down.  A deep sense of FOMO that perhaps things were happening in the world that I needed to know about.  I thought it was important to keep up with the developments in world news.  Sure, I would capture all of this knowledge from my Social Media circles.  I would read about the loss of loved ones to an old school friend that I haven’t spoken to in 25+ years.  Relentlessly sharing Missing Person reports for people I don’t even know.  Reading about terrible days of others or worse seeing the dreaded one sentence post about how something awful was happening to them but no details at all, #FML – what does that even mean?  See its all worry we internalize.  I wonder if they found that poor little kid in Kansas.  I better check Facebook and see.

That’s more than I bargained for when I signed on to the ‘Book 10 years ago.  At the time I thought, wow that will be fun to check on old school friends.  Like a virtual reunion.  But now the whole thing is a mess and I don’t think I can take it anymore.  I want pictures of people’s kids and to see what they are up to.  I’m not down with any more creepy ads that are sent to me based on an algorithm that’s spying on me.  I don’t want to read my friend’s comments on other people’s pages.  That’s none of my beeswax, see?  I don’t want to see political news posts that are nothing more than bold faced lies of propaganda.

However, I’m also clearly a junkie.  How do I get off this merry-go-round?  Cold turkey?  Maybe just wean myself off and keep Instagram since its the least offensive?  Can I de-activiate the Live feature so I don’t have to keep refreshing?

This lame bullsh**t has turned us all into voyeurs and its giving me the creeps.  I actually woke up on Christmas morning and worried about my pyjama choice in order to present the best possible Social Media presence… just in case someone posted a shot of me mid-coffee and Baileys.

Enough is enough.  I’m too old to put up with this nonsense and at the end of the day its all just making me sad.  Either that or I’m peri-menopausal.  I’ll let you know which.

XO

The R&R Mom

 

 

To Sheetcake or Not to Sheetcake

I woke up the other morning feeling like a complete poop emoji.  I dragged myself out of bed, gulped down a cup of caffeine and forced myself to do some yoga.  I started with a 20 minute session, then upped it to a 30 minute session, then googled the 20 minute session again and did that instead.  When I was done, I got back to my bedroom to make the bed and seriously had to talk myself into NOT getting back in.

What’s wrong with me?  Why do I feel so crappy?  Is this what midlife is all about?  Is it all down hill from here?

Then it hit me.  That morning, the first thing I did when I opened my eyes was grab my phone.  Before I could even focus, there were a pile of news alerts.  It was Vegas.  Mass shooting.  I clicked open and flipped through the news pages and social media.  Of course, The Dinglenuts of the United States had already said like 7 stupid things about it.  It is horrible.  Shocking.  Maddening.  All of it.

And that my dear friends, is why I’m so freaking tired.   I don’t even live in the US, but as a Canadian we are inextricably linked to whatever happens south of the border, so we sit and watch in helpless, abject horror.

What can I do to help?  Give blood – well, I’m thousands of miles away so that won’t do any good.  Call my Congressman to lobby for Gun Control – remember, I’m Canadian.  We already have that here.

Its not just Vegas.  Its everything.  Every day, every week there is something new to worry us.  Something new clogging the news feeds that at any given time would make us shake in fear.  White supremacy?  Deadly Hurricanes?  Massive Earthquakes?  Mass Killings?  THERMONUCLEAR WAR???  See.  You want to go back to bed too.

The blessed news media does a good job of stoking the fire of worry.  The 24 hour news cycle only thrives when there is news to report, people only watch it when its titillating.  Death and destruction.  Political battles.  These are the things that the news media lives for.  Hollywood couldn’t write it better.  Its no longer Walter Cronkite keeping you objectively informed, The Fourth Estate providing the check and balance for those in power.   Its now produced entertainment with studios full of talking heads looking for ratings.

Its all so exhausting.  I just want to follow Tine Fey’s lead and Sheetcake EVERY DAY, ALL THE TIME.  Just dig into that thing like an ostrich burying my head in buttercream goodness.  I feel helpless and sheetcaking feels like the most ideal diversion, unless you want to chip and wine because for the record, I’d be ok with that too.  Otherwise what can I do?  I’m one woman in a small corner of the world with a family and a job.  I can’t drop everything to go protest every monumentally bad development that’s happening in the world right now.  Who will hear my small voice through the din?

But we have to, don’t we?  We have to stand up and say something.  March, yell, fight the bad guys.  If you do it too, then maybe our voices together can be made louder.  We have to for our families, for our kids, for our world.  Generation X hasn’t had much to fight about in our lifetime, but now we do.  Love must conquer hatred.  Peace must win over conflict.  Humanity must defeat greed.  How?  I have no idea.  But we have to try.  I’ll just start now by saying we all deserve a brighter future than the one being so poorly negotiated on our behalf.  We’ve got this.  Lets do it and I love you.

 

I Was Told There Would Be No Math…

Every Mom Blogger on the face of planet Earth has written a post like this.  So I probably shouldn’t, but its my Blog and its my brain so I’m going to do it anyway…

I’ve been a Mom for almost 11 years now.  Every day that I delve deeper into Mom-hood, I realize how little I actually knew about being a Mom beforehand.  I mean, I knew the basics and I felt relatively prepared for the role but there is A LOT of shit that no one tells you.  Moving past the heartfelt homemade papier mache Mother’s Day gifts and those snuggly quiet moments with Les Petites, there are a lot of get your hands dirty times that are sort of glossed over when we look back on our Mothering histories.

Like breastfeeding.  Everyone tells you how much you HAVE TO DO IT.  Absolutely no one, like ever, tells you how freaking hard it is.  Even if its all going well, the milk is flowing and the little bundle is latching.  The trials and tribulations of the simple act of feeding your child are the stuff of nightmares for every new mother, even when she’s on baby 2, 3, 4, or whatever.  NO ONE tells you that your baby will lose weight after they’re born and that you need to get them eating tons to gain it back.  NO ONE tells you that you will be judged by every nurse, family member – hell STRANGER passing by that you are doing something wrong.  Don’t give formula!  Your baby is too skinny, give formula.  Drink beer.  Don’t drink beer.  Hold the baby like this.  No like this.  She has gas.  He has colic.  And that’s just one aspect of being a new mom.  I’m not even going to talk about poop… for anyone.

As your kids grow older, new fresh surprises creep up on you.  Things like math homework.  Sure, doing homework with your kids is an expected thing.  But seriously, someone even breathes “place value” and I get the sweats.  Think think think… how does place value work?  How the hell do I explain it?  No wonder parents get called out for doing their kids homework all the time.  Teaching cranky and hungry kids new math is another spine chilling nightmare.  Enjoy your newfound power struggle.  Like getting them to bathe and eat vegetables isn’t hard enough?

We all know now that being Mom equates to more dishes, more groceries and piles and piles of laundry.  Some of the latter being so dirty and smelly you need a shower after sorting it.  Much of it is freshly laundered only returned to the hamper by your young one in lieu of actually putting it in the drawer.  Proximity to the laundry that smells like the depths of hell necessitates yet another load to fluff and fold.  Good times.

And all the toilet flushing.  So much toilet flushing.  Why didn’t anyone tell me that as a mother of potty-trained plus kids I should allot several minutes each week to flushing toilets that other people haven’t flushed.  Why?  Add in another time allotment for toilet paper roll replacement.  This is not so bad since you can multi-task this while you visit the loo (you know, those 2-3 minute windows each day when you get a chance to be alone… if you’re lucky).  You know this because you are the only one who changes the roll so you are bound to be the one who has to change it.   You just need to pray that someone has left a spare roll behind for you…

Busy is a Four Letter Word

Yesterday I was driving behind a man wearing an enormous hat.  This hat was so big that if it had been yellow, I would have expected him to be followed by a curious little monkey.  He was stopped at a green light, waiting for the left.  The light turned yellow and he continued to wait.  Then red, still waiting.  Perhaps his monkey was curious about something that required his attention in lieu of actually watching the road!  I sat behind him, silent screaming “Goooooooo!!!” all the while watching the clock clicking ever closer to Nanny departure time. It occurred to me, there are people in this world who are not always in a hurry?  What in the hell does that feel like?  I honestly can’t remember.

I have a faint recollection of those pre-kid Saturday mornings of leisure.  Before we had grass to cut and swimming lessons to attend.  Should we go out for breakfast or eat in?  Should we take a walk or go shopping?  How about an impromptu drive to the mountains for the day?  Choices, options, whimsy!  Oh my!

Now I feel that I’m always on the sprint but someone keeps moving the finishing line.  Geez dude!  Don’t you know you’re not supposed to sprint a whole marathon?

Weekday mornings we used to drink our coffee, read the paper (now that’s called “looking at your phone” for those of you born after 1995) and eventually get ourselves to the office with plenty of time to spare.  With kids added to the equation and there is now seemingly never enough time. 

It’s like the scene where the Wicked Witch of the West turns over the hourglass and I, like Dorothy, only have an hour before those creepy flying monkeys will tear me to shreds for the ruby slippers (for the record, if those are Louboutin ruby slippers the f$&@ing monkeys are going to have to pry them from my dead feet).  We race through the morning chaos with the sceptre of the school bell hanging over us like that green crone with an aversion to water. 

No matter how much sleep everyone gets, we’re always shaking the kids awake.  I find myself saying things like “Wakey wakey, eggs and bakey”.  I mean c’mon, only someone completely unglued says such ridiculous things! It’s amazing.  We can set out clothes and pre-pack lunches the night before but that hour before school is always a quest for lost library books and show and tell treasures. 

I say the words “eat”, “get dressed”, “where are your shoes”, “yes, you have to wear pants” repeatedly until we are finally out the door.  I think it would be most efficient if I just recorded myself repeating these lines over and over again and just playing them on a loop.  Then at least I’d have time to drink more coffee.

At 8:45am we’re off, if we’re lucky.  I personally think that my speed walking skills since the kids started school are practically Olympic level.  The trouble is that I can only get about half a block when I have to stop and wait for them to catch up.  “Look Mom, a snail.”  IMG_1171

Once the littles are carefully and tenderly deposited at each of their classrooms, I start my day.  Now I really get to train as THE 2020 Speed Walking gold medallist.  If that race is 4 blocks, I will KILL it!  Multi-tasking like any other self-respecting Mom, I email, text and phone call my way back home.  All the while following the walking version of the Man in the Big Hat from the traffic light.  Oh look, he found a snail too.  Seriously dude, you need to move it!

I know you know.  We’re all doing it, except for hat guy of course and all those childless millennials who are binge-watching Netflix.  I binge watch too – between 9-9:30pm every night.  So there.

A Glimpse at The List

We’ve been talking lately about how this time of year can make us Moms nuts.  We all have the internal to do list that is running as a soundtrack to our lives, but at Christmas the list is longer, louder and mega stressful.  Moms by nature suffer from a little ADHD otherwise we’d never be able to juggle it all.  My soundtrack sounds like this today….

  • I need to finish Christmas shopping
  • Don’t forget the teacher gifts for the last day of school tomorrow
  • Don’t forget the co-worker gifts for the last day of school tomorrow
  • Doctor’s appointment for the Shorty at 11.  Pick-up bagels on the way and a gift basket for the awesome staff at the Doctor’s office that we’ve seen a little too much of lately.
  • Wrap the gift for the nanny.
  • I need to sit and check emails.
  • What should I make for supper?
  • What should I make for the pot-luck on Saturday?
  • Ack, will it be snowing when we need to drive up the mountain roads to Squamish on Saturday to catch the Polar Express? (oh yes, this is a thing!)
  • Do I have everything for our post Christmas trip?
  • Order a turkey for Christmas.
  • Plant the tree in the front yard so the city doesn’t fine us for forgetting to do this in the first place.
  • I hope we don’t have too much frost that will kill the tree.
  • I hope it snows on Christmas Eve for the kids.
  • I hope it snows on Christmas Day… again, for the kids.
  • I hope it melts on Boxing Day.
  • I hope it doesn’t kill the new tree.
  • I better schedule that conference call with the record company.
  • What should I make for supper?
  • Did I get the kids the right gifts?
  • Will the kids hate their gifts?
  • Will Christmas be ruined?
  • Don’t forget those last gifts.
  • Did I forget to send my aunts a Christmas card?
  • I need to answer that email about the DVD we’re making.

  • I better call the school to let them know we won’t be back from holiday for the first day after the break.
  • Crap, I forgot to call the school to tell them that Shorty is sick.
  • Oh geez, I hope the rest of us don’t get sick.
  • I need to get groceries.
  • Should I start buying for Christmas dinner, is it too soon?
  • Oh man, is the tree starting to lean?  Is it going to fall over in the middle of the night?
  • When was the last time I watered the tree?  Will it set the house on fire?
  • Check email.
  • What should I make for Boxing Day brunch?
  • What should I make for dinner?
  • Is Shorty #1 ok?  She seemed a little sad yesterday.
  • I should try to connect the charity I’m working with to that foundation I read about online.
  • I better plan a play date for the Shorties for next week.
  • I need to wrap presents.
  • When can I wrap presents?
  • How can I get the Shorties out of the house so I can wrap presents?
  • Maybe we should go out for dinner.
  • Where should we go for dinner?
  • If we go out for dinner with Shorty spread the croup all over the restaurant?
  • I need to do groceries.
  • Oh crap!  It’s snowing…

You get the idea…  And to all a good night.