Saturday, August 8, 2009

Goody it's Saturday

Food for thought. Why is it that one of the first questions people ask me about the new countries I frequent or reside is, "What's the food like?"

Montenegro was all meat, fish and potatoes. Rich and delicious and all natural. But every restaurant serves the same damn thing and it got so boring after a while. And they really have no concept of sauces over there. Meat is served as is.

Then we came to Sweden where it's also a lot of meat, fish and potatoes. But here it's all about the sauces. Everything's smothered in something it seems. And hey, I'm not complaining. Sure the food is highly processed, sprayed with God knows what and chemically enhanced but the sauce hides all that ickiness.

And then there's the candy. Every grocery store, corner store and even store, stores have rows and rows of candy. Sweet, sour, salty, chocolaty, hard, soft, sticky, crunchy C-A-N-D-Y. It's no wonder the Swedish word for candy is "Goodis". Swedes love their candy and you'd think they'd all be porkers for it. I guess all that bike-riding keeps the natives slim. Plus, there's a phenomena I've just discovered: Candy is bought and eaten ravenously on Saturdays.

On Saturday you see the kids of all ages lining up to fill their empty Goodis bags with candy from each of the rows of candy-filled buckets. They march to the check-out loaded down and pay whatever it is they charge per kilo. They rush home to fill their special candy bowls, also marked "Goodis" and pig out until it's all gone. Then the wait is on again...7 more sleeps till more Goodies.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Dearest Mommy Bloggers

I love being a Mom. Here are a few things you should know about me and my now 3 year old:
1. I was never a baby-wearer
2. I tried breastfeeding only to have to stop after 3 months due to short milk supply
3. I vaccinated my child
4. My child sat in a forward-facing stroller (studies have shown it increases stress in babies?)
5. Among other things, he eats chocolate, ice cream, cookies and occassionally stuff from a can
6. I use(d) disposable diapers
7. My baby didn't "sign"
8. He watches movies (I've lost count of the number of times he's seen Ice Age or Finding Nemo or INSERT DISNEY MOVIE)
9. He drinks juice, a lot of juice (though I have been trying to cut back)
10. He's had some form of childcare since he was 3 months old.
11. I have been known to bribe my child to do my bidding.

I appreciate all of you who have done the opposite of all of the above and I've learned a lot about parenthood from your thoughtful, educated words and posts. But if you've come here to learn about the latest baby wearing sling, research on vaccinations or recipes for homemade, eco-friendly baby food, it's time to click "Next blog". I don't subscribe to any particular parenting philosophy either.

I'm just a Mom enjoying the journey and learning as I go. Come along for the ride. You're sure to find something to make you nod knowingly, giggle, gasp or gag. None of us are perfect. We learn from our own upbringing, each other and from the plethora of information readily available thanks to the Web.

I feel honoured to be a part of the mommy blogosphere. J

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Of Berries, Bowls and Grass

So I have the boy home for 2 weeks with me while he transitions between old, summer and new daycare. Finding it hard to concentrate on this post as So You Think You Can Dance is on...

Anyhoo...what to do with a super active 3-year old who recently decided he was soooo over naptime! Not that I’M on vacation...still trying to hit the computer to keep up with email, writing press releases and doing all the household stuff. Boy it’ll be a nasty two weeks. Watch out men...the claws are coming out and there will be wounds...

Not sure what inspired me...likely came from a place of pure desperation. No longer could I let the son sit through another showing of Horton Hears a Who, gulping down his nth juice box...the pangs of guilt and echoes of “Bad Mommy” were too hard to ignore. I hauled out three plastic kitchen bowls, filled them with water, sat them on the deck with the newly purchased bag of dinosaurs and let him at it. Add a handful of some nameless edible berries growing on a tiny tree in our backyard and you have a recipe for a good hour of fun.

Pretty amazing how the simplest everyday items thrown together can entertain. And the shiny and expensive bicycle with training wheels sits in the storage space.

Does potty training EVER end? Six months ago I was SuperMom (in my own mind), having successfully trained my two and a half year old to poo and pee on the potty seat on the toilet. Ok, so it was an excrutiating week of him perched comfortably on the toilet, me ass on bench in front of the toilet and both of us reading and singing. Both of us waiting, him patiently and me not-so-patiently for the sound of a tinkle or a plop. Not without its challenges, we made it through sheer perseverance and determination. There have been, are and continue to be some notable setbacks. His bladder and bowel seem to be direct lines to stress for him, so accidents coincided with major changes in his life. We also figured out that his potty seat (the kind that fits under the toilet lid) is like a security blanket or a dodo. We literally have to cart the thing around with us everywhere we go. Forgetting it, even 15 minutes into a drive, results in a U-turn.

That said, someone’s Wee Wee (yes, we call it a wee, wee not a penis, sorry) is growing and when he really needs to GO, potty seat or not, it’s everywhere BUT in the toilet. So the time has come for the little boy to learn to peepee like a big man. To make a long story short, little man is traumatized at the sight of making a MESS. So attempt #1, which again, went everywhere but in the toilet, resulted in something much worse than a wee mess...a complete meltdown.

We had originally thought it was about peeing standing up. We were wrong. Little man discovered in the last day or so the joys of the great outdoors and “Mama, peepee on the GRASS”. At first, we were elated. “Look, he’s peeing standing up!” And then I recalled an episode of Super Nanny with some bat shit crazy kids, one of whom (around 4) refused to pee in the toilet and only peed in the bushes. No WAY was I going to be THAT Mom. Look, I’m already THAT Mom on a lot of fronts so I don’t need another notch in my Tsk, Tsk Mommy utility belt.

So today after a few pees outside, lamely justified by the fact that we were INDEED outside, I dug my heels in. When little man asked to “Peepee in the Grass Mommy” while inside, I took the little prince by the hand and led him to the throne room. Me kneeling on the bathroom floor, him standing on the IKEA bench, trying to step off, protesting with grunts and words, trying to hold IT in. At this point I’m supporting most of his weight and am sweating so profusely that hubby started opening and closing the bathroom door quickly to fan me off. “Just like on the grass. You can do it. Good boy.” At this point the team of us are in there trying to talk him down and the pee out. It was bad.

And just when I was about to run for the grass, a glorious stream...You never heard two big people make such a fuss over urine before, trust me. Our little Prince’s last words before lights out tonight were, “Bravo me”.

We’ll keep you posted. Pic coming for this post once i find the doohickey that connects my mobile to my laptop

Monday, August 3, 2009

7 Secrets to a Happy Marriage

Hubby and I will be married for seven years tomorrow. Yup, I’m all stocked up on calamine lotion in case I need to douse him with it to relieve symptoms of itching! Wow, 7 years of...

bliss, fighting, vacations, separations (as in business trips, not actual on-the-way-to-divorce separations), fighting, bliss, hand holding, other intimate things, eating, housework, drinking, loving, celebrating anniversaries, motherhood, fatherhood, fighting, longing, moving, more moving, ok: country hopping, fireworks, public holidays, birthdays, friendships, fighting , kissing, hugging, strangling, dishware throwing, swimming, laughing, socializing, dinner parties, pretending you didn’t fart, blaming farts on the dog, dressing up, getting dressed, undressing, fashions, cleaning up vomit and poo, foolishness, stupidity, growing, ageing, deaths, births, presents, more presents, surprises, crying, supporting, stroking, doing dishes, doing more dishes, dancing, doing INSERT HOUSEHOLD CHORE, hair styles and colours, pets, in-law, out-laws, Vegas, Italy, Dominican, Montenegro, Croatia, Serbia, Ontario, Nova Scotia, PEI, Sweden, Vegas, airports, airport pick-ups, airport drop-offs, so many countries and cities, learning, working, pretending to be working, faking headaches or stomach cramps or INSERT SYMPTOM, pretending to be asleep, gaining weight, losing weight, gaining weight but pretending to have lost weight, gossiping, placing bets on how long your friends’ marriages will last, swearing and always, always, praying...and everything in between, for better or for worse...from that day forward, seven years ago.

So after all this, I figure I’m an expert at marriage. Yup. Have marriage problems? Drop me a line. I should hand myself a degree. Maybe I’ll whip up a quick one using PhotoShop and frame it. Here they are, the 7 Secrets to a Happy Marriage, in no particular order.

1. Never go to bed angry. Go to bed with a smile on your face as you plot how to make your spouse pay for the mistake he just made, and the duration he will pay for said mistake.
2. Share the housework equally. When that doesn’t work and his dirty socks are still at the end of the bed, just do it all yourself and play martyr.
3. Listen and respond thoughtfully to your partner’s needs. I heard what you just said and I am thoughtfully pointing out that the suitcases are in the hall closet.
4. There is no “I” in Team. But there IS an “I” in Idiot.
5. Pay your partner a compliment each day. “This is good but could use more cumin” is called a backhanded compliment and could result in the back of my hand coming into contact with your face. “You look thin in that dress” implies that I look like a lardass in every other piece of clothing I own and warrants an extremely expensive shopping trip for a new wardrobe of thin clothes.
6. Take some time out to rekindle the spark each week. Setting fire to the stash of love letters from old girlfriends he kept all this time does count.
7. Make sure your partner gets time for themselves. Privacy in the bathroom, running to the store to get milk, taking the garbage out and SLEEP do not count. Oh and neither do weekly weight watchers weigh-ins or time at the gym. Neither does surfing questionable websites. Yeah, I know the signs: Sudden increase in mouse clicking, rapid screen flashing, fast-talking while mouse clicking and screen flashing and pathetic, but often successful, attempts at distraction, “Is that the baby I hear?”

Disclaimer: Not my Real 7 Secrets. I don’t have 7 Secrets. I don’t even have 1 Secret. But I’m still happily married after 7 years, so I (we) must be doing something right. Please don’t call me or write me with your marital woes. The only certificate I’ll be Photoshopping is one that says, “We made it another year”. We’ll let you know if we ever figure out how we keep making these milestones. Happy Anniversary My Love and Here’s to Another 7! xoxo