No errand is quick, because toddlers.

Earlier today, my three year old son pooped his pants in the middle of a clothing store.

Fortunately, the mess stayed within the confines of his pants, but still – my kid shit in a store, without warning, despite the fact that there was a public washroom several meters away. WHY? Because he can.

The fallout was as such: I had to get a key to the store washroom, strip my child of his dirty clothes, and then clean his body using 1-ply toilet paper, paper towels and cheap industrial soap. It was not pretty, or efficient.

So then he was clean – but he was naked from the waist down, in a public washroom. Oh, and I had a pile of poop-covered clothing folded up carefully beside the toilet. What to do?

I noticed that the small garbage can beside the sink had JUST been changed, and the bag was completely empty – perfect. I bagged the dirty clothes, happy to have that taken care of, and then turned back to my naked son. So naked. Why didn’t I have snow pants on him?!? I could have at least put those over his naked legs and dashed to the car. Should I wrap him in my coat and run? Nope, because he’d be naked, gross and freezing in his car seat for the 15 minute ride home. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, potty training is torture. My daughter never did anything like this.

After banging my head on the concrete wall for a minute (or considering it, at least) I stuck my head out of the bathroom and discreetly waved a cashier over. “Hiiiiiii,” I started awkwardly, and then dove in. “So, my son pooped in your store and his pants are ruined so I stole your garbage bag and now he’s naked, basically, and I need to get him home. Can you please grab me those sale sweatpants in a size 4 and I promise I’ll pay for them on the way out?”

The woman smiled, completely unfazed. “Sure!”

Thank EVERYTHING this was a children’s store. What if I were in a grocery store or a Starbucks or somewhere else that doesn’t sell tiny pants? I honestly would have put a plastic bag under him and driven home as he was, in his own filth. Or taken him home clean but naked. What do you even do? I keep a change of clothes in the car, but he’d used them at school that morning and the car was across the parking lot. How prepared do I actually need to be on a simple trip to ONE STORE? How many damn pairs of pants does one carry around on a given day? More than two, apparently.

I changed him into the brand new pants, went up to the cash register and paid for my purchases, and booked it out of there. It definitely wasn’t a first for them – their calmness proved that – but it was a first for me, and I was done. SO DONE.

So what is the moral of this story? Nothing. I learned nothing, he learned nothing. I got a coffee on the way home, and felt better, and with any luck, there will be no public shitting tomorrow. Here’s hoping. To a new day, and the weekend – cheers!

 

This is how you know it’s true love.

In my experience, parenting is best described as a constant flood of emotion that hits you in the face while you attempt to navigate through adult life without completely losing your shit. Repeatedly. Forever.

Besides the overwhelming love, joy, excitement, guilt (GUILT!!!) and anxiety that marks motherhood, there are the small, daily struggles to traverse not only your own feelings, but your children’s. Example: it’s 8:00 am. Your kid doesn’t want to wear shoes. The clock is ticking, you’re tired, everything is stupid, and you want to scream…but instead, you take a deep breath, calmly remind him that it’s winter, and put his damn shoes on again while HE screams, because he’s three and still figuring out his ever-changing world. Or maybe you do scream, because HOW MANY TIMES A DAY DO I HAVE TO PUT ON YOUR DAMN SHOES, I JUST PUT SHOES ON YOU TWO MINUTES AGO, WHERE IS THE OTHER SHOE NOW, aaaannnnd we’re late again.

In other moments, parenting is about turning things you hate into things you love, because your children need you to. Case in point: this morning, I spent an hour standing at the bottom on a hill, shivering in the frigid wind while my feet slowly transformed into blocks of solid ice. I hate winter, I hate the cold, I hate everything that doesn’t meet the scenario in my biodome post from last week. Honestly. But I was there, hating every second but loving it all SO MUCH, because this:

SNOWBEAN

My almost-5 year old just started her second year of snowboarding lessons, and it’s amazing to watch. She’s a natural talent with no fear – which terrifies ME, of course – and her joy on the hill is palpable. And so I stand there, wanting to die because of the cold, and never wanting to leave because she’s in her element and it fills my heart. When the class ended and the other kids raced off toward warm cars and hot chocolate, she begged to do one more run. She’s a maniac in the best way, and I love it.

So I’ll continue to freeze at the bottom of the hill, and curse internally and dream of a world wherein my kids choose warm-weather activities, but truly, I will never be happier than when I’m watching her glide across the snow with a huge smile on her face. Because if anyone can get me to willingly spend my weekends doing something I hate, it’s my kids. (Just as long as they don’t ask me to eat bananas. I won’t do it.)

Biodomes & Other Miracles

I am the type of person who belongs in a climate controlled dome. Not your traditional humid, rainforest-themed, tourist attraction biodome, but a comfortable bubble wherein the temperature ranges between 5 and 25 degrees celcius on any given day. Enough to mimic the change in seasons, but not so much that anyone has to shovel out their car, or sweat just by standing outdoors.

I am not a fan of extreme temperatures. I am not a fan of extreme anything, really – is it possible to be passionate about moderation? Because I kind of am. I want sunshine, but not extreme heat. I want a fluffy dusting of snow on Christmas Day, but only that day, and without all of the ice and wind. I want a burrito, but just a regular, non-extreme burrito. You know? Forget all of the excess that America tells we desire (#goals?) and take it down a notch, back to awesome. Yes, a tasteful amount of just about anything is what I’m after. (Except for caffeine. I will load up on that shiz until the day I die.)

Yesterday morning, it was cold in the GTA. I woke up, cursed the weather and the season and the fact I have to wake up unnaturally because society/my children make it so, and got out of bed. I showered and dressed and got my kids ready for school, which requires enough skill and patience to warrant some kind of award, probably, and eventually made it to my car.

Because I have a three year old son and a four year old daughter, my car is actually a sweet, functional minivan that is typically filled with abandoned socks, shoes, toys, food wrappers, school art projects, and coffee cups. It’s a thing of beauty, and I say that genuinely. Having a van is something you dread and then immediately love, in my experience. I CAN TAKE ON THE WORLD IN MY 9 YEAR OLD MINIVAN.

Anyway, it was cold and horrible and I quickly discovered that my van was frozen shut. As in, I could not pry the doors open for the life of me. And so, while my children ran around the frigid driveway, I spent a stupid amount of time trying to get into my car so I could take my kids to their schools, grab a coffee, and rush back home in time to take a conference call and edit a few documents before school pick up #1. My life is SUPER glamorous, I know.

With some effort, I managed to get the drivers side door open, and was able to turn on the car and blast some heat. Shortly after that, I was able to pry one of the side doors open, loading my kids into their car seats by essentially tossing the smaller one over the bigger one and then stretching my arms well past a healthy distance in order to buckle the smaller one in while he screamed, because I wasn’t using the right door. And because he’s three. ‘This is SO DUMB,’ I muttered, causing my four year old’s eyes to widen. ‘MOM! Don’t use bad words.’ Wait, she really just called me out for saying ‘dumb’? Because the words IN MY HEAD were a lot worse.

All of this time, there was a beeping noise. A loud, obnoxious, unexplained beeping that I’d never heard before, piercing my already stressed-out, pre-coffee brain with an insistence that almost drowned out the sounds of my cold, angry children. WHAT THE EFF WAS THE BEEPING? I didn’t know, but nothing stopped it. Logic told me that it had something to do with the van, probably the doors, but honestly, wtf do I know about my van? Prior to The Great Suburban Move of 2013, I lived in the city and walked everywhere. Cars are still foreign to me, like the Star Wars movies, and peeing alone. This whole day was destined to be a fail.

Then magically, I found the right button, and the beeping stopped. The doors went to manual mode, and allowed themselves to be heaved open. My kids got to school (late), my conference call was a success, and my coffee tasted like the holy water that it was.

Why does this matter? Because biodomes, clearly. I am not made for winter (or mornings, realistically). It is not a wonderland. The moment that New Year’s Day ends and regular winter begins, it is a hellish season of punishment that we can’t possibly ALL deserve. And it goes on forever. And ever.  Endlessly. But then it DOES end! And then it’s perfect, suddenly, like an gentle, placid angel of neutrality. Until it’s too hot, and we all die, like the dinosaurs.

 

Published: Our Homes, Winter 2016

OurHomes

Happy Friday! Can I self-promote already? Because it’s happening.

One of my favourite editorial clients is Our Homes Magazine, with their beautiful photography, contemporary layouts and interesting, relevant content. I often write for their Oakville edition, but last issue, I contributed two articles to the Vaughan/King Township edition of the print magazine. Here are some links, if you’d like to check it out:

A home and builder profile on a spectacular, custom-designed estate home: Versailles Inspiration – Our Homes Magazine, Winter 2015 (Vaughan Edition)

I want all of these doors, please: Knock Knock – Our Homes Magazine, Winter 2015 (Vaughan Edition)

Now I’m off to dream of new hardwood floors, textiles and paint…

Accidental Resolutions

I am not one to make resolutions for the new year. Sure, I’ve made half-ass attempts in years past, but truly, it’s not something I have ever done with any sort of conviction. Yes, I should go to bed earlier and swear less and not drink so much coffee – I know that. Logic tells me that those are good ideas, and theoretically, I completely agree. But I fucking love coffee, and I suck at sleeping, and a new calendar year doesn’t really change any of that. You could call me lazy, or stubborn, or whatever you will, but I like to think I’m just confident in who I am as a person: a tired, over-caffeinated monster with the mouth of a sailor. Please, love me!

So yeah, there were no resolutions made here. It would actually make a lot of sense to assume the opposite – after all, I am a compulsive list-maker and goal-setter with a penchant for living in a romanticized, dream-version of my life six months from now (my house will be so much cleaner and my kids will be sleeping better and my career will be UNREAL and also, I look amazing). But nope. Not my thing, guys.

Instead, I like to set goals constantly, spreading personal failures throughout the year like a handful of terrible, soul-sucking confetti that rains down when you least expect it. SURPRISE! That thing did not go as planned, did it? Ahhh, well. At least there’s coffee.

But then, there are the successes – the goals you reach or even exceed, the achievements that fill you with pride and drive you to do more, and be better, and keep going. It all balances out, more or less. And, if your romanticized dream world of six months down the road is to be trusted, everything be will PERFECT really soon. Right?

So writing here isn’t a resolution for the new year, but it is undoubtedly a resolution. It’s easy to lose your voice when you write for so many others, but in keeping a space for my own thoughts, I hope to preserve some of the emotions, convictions and reactions that drive me every day. Failures, successes, mountains of things that are only adequate, but mean so much more – here we go.

(Oh, and self-promotion. There will be some of that, probably, because bills, bills, bills.)