The Public Pee Pee

I do not dig germs.  I am almost a germophobe – ALMOST.  Public bathrooms make me squeamish even under the best possible circumstances (ie: freshly cleaned, no other participants in the communal etc) but the minute you add a toddler into the equation, shit just got real.

I am quite sure that any other visitor to any ladies room where Shorty #2 and I have made a visit would think I am COMPLETELY off my rocker.  From the minute we enter until at last we walk out, I throw a non-stop barrage of don’t-touch-thats, don’t-look-in-theres and don’t-sit-anywheres.  All of this could simply be avoided by the use of haz-mat suits but since those are not commonplace in the shopping mall/ restaurant/ airport we are visiting we’ll just have to do our best with toilet paper and hand sanitizer.

Why is it that bathrooms, especially public bathrooms are such a fascination for a toddler?  I know, I know.  I get the humour behind poop, bum and fart jokes but honestly, the depository for feminine products is not a cool mailbox. “IT’S GROSS” I scream the minute a finger goes near the lid.

And don’t even get me started on the automatic flush toilets.  Why do they insist on flushing when you sit down rather than stand up?  For a Shorty, the moment when they, at last are able to sit on the toilet after all the running and rushing across the aforesaid public place to find the bathrooms (which are always conveniently located at the other end of the mall).  Imagine:

Shorty #2: “I have to go.”

Me: “Are you sure?”  *This is always necessary as many public bathroom visits are merely sightseeing tours into the unknown.

Shorty #2: “I gotta go BADLY.” (She crosses her legs.)

Me: “OK, lets go”

Shorty #2: “I can’t hold it.”

Me: “HOLD IT.”

And then I scoop her up and hightail it to the loo.  We get in breathless and dancing, waiting for a stall that is not either occupied, pre-fouled and/ or unflushed.  Finally, we make it in.  Every centimetre of exposed toilet seat covered with paper (for protection) and the Shorty is raised up to take her place on the throne – just in time for the automatic flusher to let ‘er rip.  Shorty shrieks thinking her little bum is about to be sucked down the drain.  Tears, turmoil and fear stop the bathroom experience in its tracks!  Then you get to dry your hands in the supersonic tornadic hand dryers from hell.  The whole mess is terrifying really.

Not to mention the problem of scale.  At home we are outfitted with step stools and special toilet seats to help with the necessary *ahem* ergonomics of a two year old using a toilet.  In a public potty, all bets are off that the angles are right and you’re lucky to not end up with pee shooting out of the toilet at YOU.  No kidding.  This happened.  In a restaurant.  On my designer shoes.  It was awesome (in a not very awesome way).

So the morale of the story?  Do anything and everything you can to HOLD IT ’til you get home!

 

Going Diaperless

Woohoo!  #2 is on the potty training kick FOR REALS!  I am so freaking excited.  Can you tell?  No more diapers, no more wipes and for the LOVE of GOD – NO MORE STANKY DIAPER CHAMP.  That thing was a blessing when we were dealing with tiny little baby poops but it is no match for what a toddler can throw at it.

I’m a big believer in letting the kid decide when its time to go diaperless and #2 is finally there this week.  After 6 months, she’s keen to wear the Minnie Mouse panties and be free.  She’s just 3, but she’s pretty good at knowing when she needs to “go”.  Last night she kinda forgot and we had a major accident.  Lovely, charming, delightful – poop everywhere!  Yet, we shall persevere.  We will endure and stand up to these messy incidents looking ever to the future and a diaperless lifestyle.  One where there’s no need to carry a diaper bag.  One where a cute clutch purse is all I need to carry on an outing with the whole family.  How exciting!!!

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Don’t get me wrong.  I loved the baby times.  I remember those days of breast feeding and high chairs, baby gates and bottles fondly.  But the day that I was able to pack up all the gear – necessary and TOTALLY unnecessary and share it with a friend expecting her first little bundle, was a day I will never forget.  We cleared out half of our storeroom in under 10 minutes.  Yippee!

I know, I know.  It goes fast.  I shouldn’t wish for time to move forward and live in the now.  I do.  I am.  But man, the clutter of baby gear is one aspect of parenthood that I am happy to bid a fond farewell.

Hot for Teacher

The British Columbia Teacher’s Federation are on strike.  What does this mean?  I’m not totally sure.  The Union has begun rotating strikes  and in retaliation, the provincial government has locked them out.  School is still in session – for the most part – but it means that we have occasional school closure days (at least two so far) and that the teachers cannot be in the classroom outside of regular school hours.

This is a prickly issue – the teachers are looking for a pay raise, reasonable class sizes and other important things.  The cash strapped government continues to run school boards at a deficit each year further cutting back an already lean public school system.  So what next, who pays the price?  This generation of kids does.  The kids getting ready to write exams and graduate (although exams and graduation ceremonies are still on the books for now), the kids struggling with their education that need the extra care helping hand.  This issue has been dragging on forever it seems.  Just two years ago the teachers were forced to take job action for an entire school year.  That issue was resolved and the teachers came back so how could we possibly be back here again just two years later?

A very astute group of students in Surrey, BC have built a Facebook page calling for a province wide walk out of students on Wednesday to protest being caught in the middle.  Good for them for speaking up because the simple fact of the matter is that most kids are not actually applauding the school closures.  They want to be in school every day getting down to the business at hand – learning.

I wonder if the people handling the negotiations on this issue are listening.

We live in a city where childcare is a complete nightmare.  You can get it – if you’re willing to pay a lot.  If you’re not able to cough up the extra $1500 – 2000 (or more) a month to pay for daycare or a nanny, the options are marginal.  Kindergarten comes on as a great relief for many parents as we trust in the public school system to offer excellent education standards and care for our kids.  What is early childcare and education but a foundation for the future for our little ones.  Its clear that the government are not placing importance on this or are they considering the ramifications for the future.

So what do we do as parents?  Go to public hearings and try and be heard over the din of a very heated debate?  Write letters to the editor (or blogs) that no one who is handling this issue will never read?   I’m tired of government rhetoric and choices made with re-election in mind rather than the greater good.  All I know is that I don’t really want to see the Shorties caught in the middle on this one.

PS – if you like what you read here at The Rock and Roll Mom, please feel free to vote for this blog for the Top Vancouver Mom Blogger Award here: http://vancouvermom.ca/best-of/vancouver-mom-bloggers-voting-2014/

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Get A Move On

Who needs toys when you have BOXES!

Who needs toys when you have BOXES!

I am sure you have been losing sleep, wondering what happened with our house.  You can tell I’ve been kinda busy with this whole moving thing that I haven’t even had a chance to post an update.  Well, the good news is that we sold our house on the first showings.  The fact that we didn’t have to clean the house for multiple showings was a Godsend and I could kiss those buyers for simply saving me from the complete nightmare it would have been to forensically clean the house one more time.  I mean, come on.

So we’re sold, we’re messy and we’re now waiting for the next horror show – the actual move.  Luckily, the purging and storing plan we were on helped a ton so we only have to pack up the remaining half of our belongings.  J has quite aptly pointed out that the Storage Pod we used could now effectively be tossed into the ocean as we have clearly not missed one thing in there.  (Well, I have missed my red jeans.  Those are in there and I wanted to wear them the other day.)  Don’t worry, we won’t actually throw it in the ocean, we’ll just pile it all into the new basement and look at it the next time we move.

All this aside, the nightmare of packing is still upon us.  It absolutely amazes me how many boxes it takes to pack it all up.  Linens and pantry items, clothing and dishes.  Its a lot of stuff that we need to live everyday (ok almost everyday) and when you start pulling it out of the closets and cupboards and putting into boxes its a crap-load.

The actual move begins a week from today.  Will we be ready?  Will everything make it to the new house relatively unscathed?  Will I make it through the process relatively unscathed?  Will our kids make it through the process and not want to kill us at the end?  Ugh.  What were we thinking.  The old house was great, wasn’t it?  Damn you society for making us want to go bigger and better!

Wish us luck.  We’ll probably need it…

 

The Hairy Eyeball

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The hairy eyeball.  Its happened to all of us.  That moment when you catch someone staring at you – the up and down.   My Mom calls it “unzipping”.  My reaction is to always go negative – they must think my outfit is stupid, they notice the chipped nail polish, the zit on my chin, the peanut butter finger prints around my knees, the bad hair day.  Or worse, the way I’m handling my kids, the food in my grocery cart, the difficult business call I am taking on my cell.  I always go negative and assume the worst.

The truth is however, if its me doing the staring its generally positive – a cute haircut, nice outfit or impressive feat of juggling that has caught my attention.  I notice myself doing the staring and feel remorse.  Its at those moments I wish it was socially acceptable to yell at strangers:

“Hey – I love your hair!  Who cuts it for you?  Did you need a flat iron to get that look?”

“OMG those shoes are fantastic.  They look amazing with those pants.  I wish I could pull that off.  Good for you.”

“You are amazing.  You’re carrying your toddler on your shoulders, juggling bags and groceries and are heading home to start cooking dinner.  You are my hero and you deserve a medal!”

I fantasize sometimes when driving the car or pushing the shopping cart that I can hurl these compliments on the unsuspecting women passing by.  Social conventions prevent me from doing so, but next time you see me staring you can be assured that I think you’re awesome!

Honesty is the Best Policy

Check out that poker face.

Check out that poker face.

My 6 year old (aka Shorty #1) has always been brutally honest.  The art of lying has (thankfully) been completely lost on her.  She recently learned that perhaps bending the truth was the ideal way to get out of a sticky situation – but she has a terrible poker face and I can always tell:

Me: “Did you hit your sister?”

Shorty #1: “No”

Me: “Are you sure?”

Shorty #1: “Umm, no.”

Me: “Do you want to change your answer?”

Shorty #1: “She was bugging me!!!”

I know I should be happy about Shorty’s honesty.  Hopefully she’ll remain a terrible liar into her teens.  That’ll make my life MUCH easier.  The only trouble is that right now, she doesn’t just speak the truth – the kid is BRUTALLY HONEST.

For instance, last night I was bustling around with the usual evening pre-bedtime rituals – kitchen tidying, kid bathing, teeth brushing, vitamin dosing, toilet paper roll changing, blind closing – you know typical mom duties.  All the while counting down the tasks til I could get into my own pj’s and crawl between the sheets.  Shorty stops me and says “Mom, you know you look really old.”

WHAT?  Are you freaking kidding me with that?  I LOOK OLD?

And it doesn’t stop there.  This is the same kid who comes in for a hug and stops, squeezing my belly saying “Mom.  Your belly is sooooo squishy!!”

Excellent.

So, swallowing my pride I take Shorty #1’s honesty and smile, moving on to the next topic of conversation.  I can’t argue with the truth – let’s just hope it lasts.

Doctor Doctor Give Me The News…

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Shorty #2 around 6 months.

Being a parent is probably one of the most terrifying jobs I have ever had (and that includes cocktail waitressing in a dance club).  I thought pregnancy was scary – but for a chronic worrier like me – parenting can be a white-knuckle ride.

For the most part, day to day things can be very easy and calm but when things start to get hairy, look out!  Suddenly one of the shorties tumbles off a chair and develops an immediate goose egg on their forehead.  Or inexplicably, out of the blue a strange rash envelops their little body with absolutely no warning.  Or how about the random limp that comes out of nowhere.

Off to the emergency room for that harrowing ride and even more harrowing wait in the germ filled space.  Much like a petting zoos and butcher shops, emergency rooms is one of the most horrifying places for a germaphobe like me!  Don’t forget to bring the Purell!

We have been incredibly fortunate with our kids that they have been healthy and the little scares have been easily diagnosed and quickly treated.  So count me extremely grateful for that.  Rather, I like to share these moments for the comedic value one might find in laughing at me trying to cope with the situation.

One of my better emergency room stories was with Shorty # 2.  After a rather tumultuous couple of weeks with multiple visits to emerg and a diagnosis of a bone condition in Shorty #1 (that was easily treated and quickly resolved – thank GOD!) we were ready for a little quiet time.  We were on an outing to Science World and #2 needed a diaper change.  Mid-change we discovered many tiny red and blue dots all over her legs.  That was a new one on me and looked concerning enough that we packed off to the walk-in clinic.

It was January – so busy cold and flu season and the wait at the clinic was creeping past the two hour mark.  When J arrived, we talked it over.  We could wait the two plus hours only to be told this was too weird and be sent to Children’s Hospital for another 3+ hour wait.  So I did what any other worried parent would do – I asked Dr. Google.  I typed in red and blue dots – guess what came up… MENINGITIS.  Basically the website said if your child presents with this symptom to head straight for emergency.  So we did.

The triage nurse reassured me after I apologized for coming in (for the record, I always apologize to the triage nurse since our afflictions seem so minor compared to others and I hate to be the person burdening an already over-extended medical system for some frivolous reason. I also apologize to massage therapists for putting my arm in the wrong place and I always thank a doorman for holding the door.  I’m Canadian, what can I say?).  She said I had done the right thing, steering us to the waiting room.  Moments later, I knew she was right when our name was called and we were ushered into QUARANTINE!

That’s when I started to really worry.

In minutes a doctor was at our door arriving before the nurse.  I worried more.  She examined little #2 and explained that yes, it could be meningitis and if it was we would know very quickly as other symptoms would soon follow this strange rash if she was infected.

I was about to panic.

In came the nurse to hook her up to the machines – heart monitors etc.  She checked her vitals and ordered blood work.

Shorty #2 in the Emergency Room

Shorty #2 in the Emergency Room

I looked at J – while I can worry myself silly in these moments, I usually try to hold it together for the sake of the Shorties.  This time he could see that I was starting to come a bit unglued.

Shorty #2 was doing great.  She was thrilled with the attention and particularly liked the cartoons they brought to help pass the time.

After about 3 hours of waiting, with #2 smiling, playing and even napping happily, the Doctor came back for what would be her final visit…

Now, #2 was rather chubby back then in her pre-crawling days.  I think she was about 35th percentile for height and about 85th for weight.  So a little bit round I guess you could say.

Turns out Shorty had a simple case of broken blood vessels.  You see, on our outing that day, I had carried her around Science World in the sling.  This constricted her legs a little bit and caused some blood vessels to break.  “Yes,” the Doctor said, “we often see this with babies of this…stature.”

So in this case, the morale was – better to be safe than sorry and this Mama was nothing but purely relieved and grateful to be headed home with a healthy and happy – albeit chubby – Shorty #2.