Race me, mommy

August 6, 2009

You know that feeling of absolute frustration when you’re trying to get the kids moving so you can get out the door, and they just aren’t motivated to stop playing and get ready? My favourite response to that situation is to challenge them to a race. And after eight years of that trick, they still fall for it.

My kids are old enough to get themselves dressed, brush their teeth, slather on sunscreen and pull together what they need for a day at camp. But they’re lazy, and most mornings it’s a struggle to get them to move. But for the last two mornings in a row, I challenged them to get ready faster than me, and they bought it.

Let’s face it, I don’t care if they’re fast, just that they do it. I let them win every time. I just can’t beleive they’re still suckers for that old, “let’s race” game. But they are, and it still works. They hurry to get ready, I can go back to a normal pace, and then we’re all ready on time.

Of course, the key here is to have them race me, not each other. Because I don’t mind losing, but boy, do they ever have a fit if one of them should lose to the other!


Teacher gifts

June 22, 2009

It’s the last week of school, which means my kids have one party and field trip after another, with nary a moment of learning to be found. But hey, they’re still at school all day and I still get to work, so for that I’m grateful.

But it’s also the time of year when we mommies have to thank all the people who have taught our kids over the year. Some are easy, like thanking the daycare staff and the classroom teacher. I usually do gift baskets for them, so there is lots of little things in it and is easy to share if there are more than one teacher to be thanked (did I mention daycare?).

But it’s all the other teachers that always trip me up. Do I have to thank the kindercare teacher who is there over lunch, or just the one who stays in the afternoon once class for the kids who attend pm kindergarten starts and only the kids from am kindergarten remain? Do I have to give a gift to the piano teacher?

What about the gym teacher? I don’t even know her name, but my kids have gym twice a week at least. And the librarian. Do I thank her? What about the music teacher?

I find end-of-school-year gifts harder to figure out than the Christmas tipping season. I got six gifts this year for all the teachers of my two kids, but I just know I’m going to hurt someone’s feelings by forgetting them.

Another modern mommy dilemma..

The self-satisfaction of a bicycle commuter

June 1, 2009

Two days a week I work at a client’s office in Burnaby, and now that the weather is nice, I’ve been biking there and back at least once a week. And aren’t I proud of myself!

I am, really. It is so much easier to get a workout in this way, when it’s on my way to something I have to do, rather than trying to carve out special time to go to a gym or for a run or something. And I feel strong and healthy having used my own power to get to work. I’m part of the cycling crowd. In fact, this morning the bike roads were packed. At one red light I counted 11 cyclists waiting for our turn to proceed.

So I’m among the lycra-wearing, strong-thighed, environmentally conscious commuters. I could have taken a bus and still felt a little more smug than those single-person-in-cars commuters, but biking makes me even more smug.

I know, I’m full of myself and shouldn’t be allowed to mix in company that doesn’t buy organic vegetables at farmer’s markets and doesn’t use only BPA-free plastics.
But if you knew me, you’d laugh at the image of me joining those ranks. Because I’m not really one of them. OK, I do own lycra shorts for biking, but I’m short, overweight, have asthma and puff up every incline I have to walk, let alone cycle. But those are all reasons why I need to take every opportunity to get exercise (that and my inability to walk away from a plate of brownies!). So in the summer, I cycle anywhere I can that doesn’t involve too many hills.

And the fact that it lets me feel a bit more self-righteous probably helps my self esteem, which probably helps my health and encourages me to exercise more. But it doesn’t help me maintain self-control when confronted by the dessert tray.

My little league games

May 31, 2009

This is my third year coaching little league, but the last two were in T-ball, so this year in Minor B ,things really stepped up a notch competitively. My team is very good, but keeps having heartbreaking moments that cost them the win. One missed pitch after three foul balls. A pop fly catch that is caught but falls out of the mitt. An amazing hit by my team that the other team luckily catches in the air. Or like today, when we played an awesome game, were winning 7-1 going into the last inning, got two outs right away, then a couple teeny errors and the other time somehow scores seven runs to win the game.
OK, it’s my son’s team, but this year, I’m really feeling that these are my plays, my wins or my losses. I’m probably too invovled, and taking it all too personally. I spent a bit of extra time with my son before the last game working on his hitting. And when he hit a double, an amazing line drive right past the right fielder, I felt proud. Like it was my hit. Well, it was kind of, wasn’t it?

I think because the level of play is so stepped up this year, all us coaches are feeling this. But everytime my heart rises and falls with a win or loss, I think perhaps I ought to detach myself. And I will. Just as soon as the playoffs are over.

They didn't miss me

May 31, 2009

I came back last night from a three day trip to Portland, and no one missed me. Well, no one at home at least.

I was on a business trip, but I kept all day Saturday to myself to explore the city and have a bit of me-time. And I flew back just before dinner last night. My husband seemed to have worked overtime while I was away to be super-fun dad, so when they all picked me up at the airport, they were much more interested in telling me about all the fun they had with dad rather than being excited I was back.

Part of me is thrilled they had so much fun, and that my husband was so capable. But most of me wanted them to miss me terribly, unable to live without me.

Of course, in the three days I was away the kids didn’t eat a single vegetable and stayed up more than two hours past their bedtimes. And no homework was done, no piano practiced. But they had fun.

And frankly, I didn’t miss them either, so I guess we’re even. And no guilt about being away, so maybe I’m the worser parent. No that anyone is assigning blame, of course. 😉

A new dinner and they ate it!

May 26, 2009

Sometimes I think being a parent would be so much more enjoyable if I just never had to get my kids out the door or feed them.

Now don’t get me wrong, I just love cooking. And I’m pretty good at it. I like flavour, I enjoy tossing a bit of this and that together, and I like exploring new cuisines.

But finding meals my whole family will eat, that are healthy, and (for me) low in fat, well that’s a whole new kind of torture.

My husband and I have an agreement, whereby he cooks dinner twice a week. Those two days are the ones where I work at a client’s office in Burnaby, so getting home with enough time and energy to make dinner is hard. But when he cooks, we get frozen meats. He’s become a regular at M&M, and our small freezer has several boxes of frozen breaded chicken or fish or meatballs. He does add a veggie on the side, and the kids do eat it usually without complaint, so I guess I shouldn’t whine. But it’s not meals I would serve myself.

Over the years, trying new things and making my family eat them (I have never and will never make separate food for anyone and if they don’t like it, tough) has led me down some strange paths. Who knew they’d love chickpea curry? Who knew they’d hate lasagna?
Tonite was a new adventure. I found a weight watchers recipe for Spanakopita — spinach/feta pie — which I have always loved. It looked easy enough, so I tried it, not sure how the boys would react to spinach. It even turned out just like the photo!

But lo and behold, they ate it. The little wasn’t a huge fan but he loved the phyllo. And the big guy wanted seconds.

Still, life would be a lot easier if we could just stay home all the time and never eat.