Monday, June 30, 2008

Spills and Thrills

I often get frustrated with my 6 year old son Nic for the amount of times he spills things. From chocolate milk all over his shorts at an early morning eat-out breakfast, to the last precious sips of my much needed glass of pinot.

But he's 6. He doesn't do these things on purpose.

He also likes to engage in another kind of spill - the kind that catapults him onto a hard surface when he's on a skateboard, two-wheeler, or inexplicably, even just sitting quietly on the kitchen bench. So, it wasn't really surprising that our outing to a neighbourhood roller skating palace (why are they always palaces?) produced a large number of wipe outs, stumbles, and banana-peel-butt-cracking falls. With each one, he was determined to get up, shake it off, and carry on careening around the rink. All in the pursuit of having fun.

After the alarming roller skating, we headed home to find my teenage son deeply engrossed in the Euro Cup final. In the spirit of family unity, I decided to watch a bit (me and television sports are like peanut butter and chardonnay, an unnatural combination). At first, I was shocked at the number of real injuries the players seemed to be taking - curled up on the ground, heads held in anguish - until I watched some of the supposed painful incidents on the slow motion replay. These "elite athletes" were the antithesis of the "suck it up and shake it off" attitude I had seen my 6 year old display. On purpose. Divas and divers, almost all of them (except the guy with the bleeding eyeball).

If that's what being a world class athlete requires, I think we'll stick to my original strategy of moving my kids around to different sports the minute they show any proficiency. Seems to take the fun out of it.

And did I mention the bleeding eyeball?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

What's in a word?

I'm co-writing/editing a book with a fantastic New Zealand author, Kathy Fray. Kathy's book "Oh Baby...Birth, Babies & Motherhood Uncensored" (published by Random House) was a huge success down under and now we're bringing it to the North American market. I met Kathy through a website I write for in Kiwi-land, called "Mums On Top", and its very funny editor, Marilynn McLachlan, author of "The New Parent Code". Part of what I'm doing with Kathy is "Americanizing" the language, which has been very interesting and Kathy and I have been having fun with the differences between the cultures and the terminology.

For instance - did you know that in New Zealand, you have to sign a form at the hospital if you DON'T want to take your placenta home with you? I spoke to an ob/gyn friend of mine here, who has birthed thousands of babies, and she said she has never ONCE been asked to "set one aside." Don't get me started on the "Placenta Helper" jokes.

I was reading through a chapter yesterday which spoke about the after effects of a Caesarian section, which we in Canada call either a Caesarian, a section, or a C-Section. In NZ, they use the term "Caesar", which naturally had me thinking of a celery laden, clamato juice and vodka combo. So when Kathy spoke about women having a hard time sitting down, or standing up, especially once they'd had a Caesar, and even worse when they'd had two, I thought, yep, me too. Out of my four kids, I've only had one "Caesar", but I've made up for it with the other type, which explains my stumbling about from time to time.

Check out Kathy's website - she's got some terrific stuff there.

Monday, June 23, 2008


Tomorrow I'm going to be taping an episode of Much More Music's show "Listed", where we'll be counting down the Top 20 "Celebrity Babymakers". So excited about this - for a few reasons, not the least of which my so-called trash reading of Star Magazine and Perez Hilton's website can now technically be called research.

I have the inside scoop on who they believe wins the #1 spot - and some surprising choices along the way as well.

My biggest challenge will be to tape the show in my messy home office and manage my two teenagers (who alternate the two refrains of "Mom can I borrow the car" with "Mom can you drive me somewhere" with alarming frequency now that school has ended) while restraining my 6 year old from jumping unexpectedly on camera, as he is prone to do. I'm also half expecting my 9 year old to throw up all night and have to miss one of the last precious days of school as well. It's nothing if not "real" around here...unlike, I suspect the role-model celebrity parents we'll be talking about.

Check my website under "Where's Kathy" for showtime listings.

In the meantime, send me your number one pick for Celebrity Babymaker.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Little Bit of Bribery Goes a Long Way

This afternoon I taped a segment for the Slice TV show "Til Debt Do Us Part". They brought me in to speak with a Dad who was going through a tough time with disciplining his 2 1/2 year old. Oh, it wasn't the disciplining part per was sticking to the punishment and not caving with a guilty present afterwards. Maybe manageable when they're this young and a "My Little Pony" will do the trick, but not so cute when they're 14 and they want a real pony, or 16 and they want something with real horsepower. Dads have a tough time dealing with their daughter's pouts - too bad it doesn't work when Mom does it.

He was also having trouble dealing with his daughter fighting with her 1 year old brother. I probably wasn't much help when I admitted that one of the nicest parts about being out taping this show was that I wasn't at home listening to my 14 year old and 16 year old fight.

Parenting theory is really a great thing.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Books, books, and more books

Today I went to Book Expo Canada, this year as an attendee and to hang with my publisher, Key Porter. I wasn't signing books this year, but there were great authors who were. The longest line up? For Emily Giffin, with her new book "Love The One You're With". Her line started two hours before the signing time, and from a distance she looked lovely and had her fans enthralled. I also picked up a new book from Rebecca Eckler, her first foray into youth fiction, called "Rotten Apple" (I'll have my 16 year old review that one for you), and a new one from recent Silver Birch Award Winner Helaine Becker "Science on the Loose"

I went with a friend who belongs to my book swap club (about ten of us, we all read about a book a week), so the next meeting should be fun. It involves wine.

I needed to pick some up for myself - I need even more quiet reading time now that my oldest has just secured her driver's license and the refrain of "Mom, can I borrow the car?" has already reverberated around my head more times than I can count. And I thought toddlers were hard.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Girl Power

I recently linked up with Girlphyte CEO Sue Van Der Hout - who is a total hoot - and have been writing articles for her women-powered and empowering website, She's going to be taking it to a whole new level this fall with the launch of, and I'm happy to be going along for the ride.

Yesterday I spent an hour at Sheridan College's impressive broadcast studio, with her managing editor, Sherine, and we taped an interview on my thoughts about what makes a woman successful, and how women measure success (I think it's quite different than the way men do). This interview, and a new article I'm writing on that difficult decision about returning to work after having a baby, will be in their fall launch.

All this, after spending the morning doing my monthly "Family Expert" spot on Rogers TV in Kitchener. For the second time I brought my 6 year old son Nicholas on air with me (just call me Dina Lohan...) and this time he actually talked on camera - and grabbed his crotch at the same time. It was delightful. I'm not sure how far down the camera pans, but I'm hoping it didn't catch me batting away his hand as he talked about his favourite family dinner traditions. I suppose for a young boy (and maybe some older ones), reaching down and finding that "It" is still there, is their definition of success.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A Double Life

Mostly my schedule is full of all of the things a typical Mom of four finds her time filled with. Exciting, exciting things like track meets, hockey games, soccer practices, violin lessons, (hey even a teenage driving test), blah blah blah. But last week I got to put on my writer hat and visit Niagara-on-the-Lake to review the play "The Stepmother". Awesome. Not just the play, but getting out and being an adult with a close friend. A few cocktails, a matinee and a quiet dinner withOUT our combined 7 children...what could be better. We almost ran away entirely.

We couldn't decide where to go for dinner, and indicated to an older lady that we would just ask a concierge, meaning we'd barge into a fancy hotel and get some free advice. But she said "Oh you brought your own concierge? How nice." As if...but it was nice to dream for a minute (until my daughter called me complaining about her brother hogging the television and insisting on my coming home early to practice parallel parking). Find your dream minutes - that's all they last.

My review of the play, and my day in NOTL will be published in a summer edition of The Good Life magazine, out locally in Mississauga and Oakville, but available online on my website "articles" section as well.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Funny Haha, not Funny Strange

I've just found out that I am the winner of the 2008 Barbara Novak Excellence in Humour Writing Award, given by the Professional Writers Association of Canada, for a piece published by Today's Parent, called Dinner Diaries. This is the second time I've won the award (the first in 2006), so the next time my kids say "You're so NOT funny Mom" I'll just hold up the plaques. That'll show 'em...

(Okay maybe I'm a bit strange too)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Sex, Scrubs, and Casseroles

First the sex, of course. Last night I went out with my good friend and sex expert Josey Vogels and heard all about her new CBC Radio Summer Series, "Between You and Me". With her trademark candor and husky laugh, you've got to tune into to hear the sexiest show on CBC. It starts airing Thursday, June 26th at 9:30 a.m., and every Thursday after that, with repeats on Saturdays at 4:00 p.m., or as a podcast on

Josey and I were having a Girls Night Out at the Stillwater Spa in Toronto (thanks to our producers at Birth Days), where we ordered up a "Citrus Twist Scrub". It was more like a horizontal shower and weirdly disturbing. They need a new copywriter for their brochures. And we needed a glass of wine on the rooftop at the Park Hyatt. Kids? What kids?

The casserole? I'm just hoping someone will give me inspiration for yet another family dinner. In fact, I'm thinking of putting out a cookbook myself and calling it "Just Get the F'ng Dinner On The Table". Whadda ya think?

Monday, June 2, 2008

It's All About the Guilt

Ask any Mom whether she feels guilty...and you'll get a resounding "YES!" without even probing into what she feels guilty about. It's about the kids, the work, the house, the body, the husband, the's all there. Part of the reason we're all feeling so guilty is because we're all so busy and feel like we don't get it "all" done. I do believe you can "have it all"...but just not in one day. And yes I'm feeling a little guilty for telling my 6 year old this morning that he should move out if he doesn't like the way I do things around here.

A few months ago I hooked up with my buddy Erica Ehm to film some "Mommy Rants" for her Yummy Mummy Club TV program. Click here to tune in on my latest, which talks about my approach to offloading some work...and some guilt.