Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Real Poop

Anyone with young children knows that any conversations which revolve around "bathroom talk" are just the best. As much as we try to steer the conversation away from the poop and the pee, it's pretty much a lost cause. My son Nicholas likes to substitute the word "poo" for almost everything. "What do you want for dinner Nic?" I'll say. He'll answer "What do I want for poo?" Makes no sense but he kills himself laughing. He even sings "Doncha wish your girlfriend was hot like poo?"

So imagine his delight when I met up with a friend with her kids and took him to poo mecca yesterday...yes that's right, the zoo. Forget the lions, the tigers, the cheetahs (their poo is too small) - check out the rhinos, hippos, and wild boars. "That poo is like a coconut!" They just couldn't get enough of the different types, imagining who had to clean it up, what it smelled like...which led me to come up with a great idea for anyone wanting to invest in a kids entertainment venture. "The World of Poo". Build the venue in the shape of a toilet, create interesting display areas, and instead of a machine that says "Coffee" (aka the Science Centre), how about one which eloquently demonstrates flatulence? You could charge a fortune.

Now I've got to let the plumber in the door to install my new (you guessed it) toilet. The sight of the old one at the curb already has Nicholas in stitches. No shit.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Just do the math...

I sometimes feel that having four children is a lot. In fact, when we're down to just two kids, (as we were this weekend) my husband and I often say "what do people with two kids do all day?" We're half we are well aware that it's all relative. When you have four kids, two is easy. When you have two kids, one is easy. When you have none... ONE (especially the first one) is REALLY hard.

The relativity hit me this weekend as I found some quiet time (only two kids in residence, remember?) and watched the classic movie "Yours, Mine, and Ours" with Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda. He had 10 kids, she had 8, and not only were they madcap enough to get married, she got pregnant (the logistics of finding time alone to begin with are truly boggling). Of course they all lived happily ever after - it was more a fantasy movie rather than a romantic comedy. Even their teenage son was pleasant.

Flash forward to me, yesterday, at Staples, pulling together school supplies for my kids (only four of them, not 19) it occurred to be while advising my nine year old that $12 is too much for a pencil case, that relatively speaking, I could handle this. Most of the time.

But if you live in the Toronto area, tune into Breakfast Television this Friday morning to see Alyson Schafer talking about "Mom Overboard", the theme of the Babes & Tots Show I'll be participating in on Tuesday, September 2nd in Mississauga. Yes, September 2nd...the first day my kids will be test driving those overpriced pencil cases.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Where's my gold medal?

Here's a sneak peak at my September Funny Mummy column. Think most Moms can probably relate.

Faster, Stronger,...Quieter?

Like many, I’ve watched the Olympic Games and have been impressed by the strength, stamina, and relentless effort and energy of the athletes in Beijing. However, it made me think about how today’s Moms compete at an Olympian level every day, in many challenging and sometimes stupefying physical efforts. Take, for instance, the following events I myself personally competed in during the past week:

• Hurdling: We’ve running 10 minutes late for a doctor’s appointment, and due to an unfortunate incident involving fighting siblings and an errant softball throw, I’m jumping over knapsacks, skateboards, laundry baskets, and assorted rubbery clog shoes to get to the family room, retrieve the crying child’s favourite blankie (which will cure the pain of course) and get back out the door before the doctor decides to punish ME for being late…for once.

• Sprinting: Yep, that’s me, running through the aisles of the grocery store. Bought all the ingredients for my daughter’s special dinner, but forgot her favourite topping – get out of the way old lady I need to get to the sour cream and back again before the cashier abandons my order (yes those are my kids wandering the parking lot – I was only supposed to be five minutes!)

• Long Distance Running: “Long”, being a virtual thing. Yes, the 1000 meters to the park seems like 10,000 when towing along a screaming six year old who desperately needs to go pee but simultaneously doesn’t want to leave his friends on the jungle gym.

• Long Jump: From one side of the family room to the other just in time to catch the spilling chocolate milk from hitting Daddy’s precious rug.

• Water Polo: More like Water Haul-O, an annoying and exhausting event created by Dads which involves inexplicably picking up and hurling young children from one end of the pool to another. Oh, where’s Dad? Resting his weary arms at work while I pick up the slack (a.k.a. the kid). Again! Again!

• Beach Volleyball: Yes there’s nothing quite so attractive as watching a mother of four in an ill advised bikini, leap about on the beach trying to wrestle the Monsters Inc beach ball from a teasing teenage brother and return it to its rightful teary younger sibling.

• Javelin: This wasn’t a physical sort of javelin throw attempt, rather a metaphysical or “shooting daggers” style of competition which took place during a fight between my two children while other pleasantly disposed children played like lambs at a public swimming pool.

• Weight Lifting: No, not my own girth off the couch after watching seven straight hours of Olympic coverage, but the Herculean effort of carrying the Wal-Mart disposable shopping bags which are ubiquitously filled with juice, milk, pop and heavy frozen items. Could they have made these bags any bigger? Can one of you kids get the one full of bread? Sheesh.

My best event is still to come. The High Jump. The one I’ll be doing the morning of September 2nd – the first day of school.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Wee Bit of News

I'm pleased to announce that starting today, you can find my Funny Mummy Files blog on one of Canada's greatest parenting sites and services, My good friend, and the president/founder/human dynamo of Wee Welcome, Maureen Dennis, recently relaunched the site, and it is better than ever.

Wee Welcome's philosophy has always been "Have a baby...and a life" and the site allows new parents to do just that. They've been carrying my Funny Mummy monthly column for years, and I'm proud to have contributed to their guides as well. They have events, news, reviews, products, services, and of course the blogs.

If you need to reaffirm that there is indeed life beyond diapers and drool, get to their site immediately.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Real Life

On Friday we had a photo shoot at my house, for the Frazzled Mom piece. As usual I recruited my children, but as in the life of a real frazzled Mom, had to improvise just a tad. I was down one kid out of the four, and there was a call to "Send in the replacement husband". My real life husband was frantically working so we could get away for the weekend, my editor stepped into the hapless male role and agreed to be background Dad. He even brought his dog - I don't own a dog but a REAL frazzled Mom would, I suppose. Nothing is the way it seems in this photo...but do you think I could talk them into airbrushing a few pounds off?

I need the pounds off after another glorious weekend sponging off yet another set of gracious friends. Started off great with a big win by yours truly at Texas Hold 'Em (nothing like beating two men and your teenage son in one fell swoop), but quickly deteriorated the next night during a rousing game of Tour De Force (a little known but excellent Canadian Trivia Board Game by Charles Templeton and Pierre Burton) where I inadvertently revealed the fact that I couldn't name one tributary river but had no trouble listing the names of John Derek's three wives.

Wish I could airbrush out that knowledge.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Frazzled...or just plain fried.

I'm writing an article this week on the "Frazzled Mom" for a new women's magazine.

It's fun - and funny - because I'm having a heck of a time getting the time to do this piece on, well, myself, in between the half day summer camps, orthodontist appointments, movie theatre drop offs, grocery shopping, birthday present buying, two other articles, a video taping, preparing for fall seminars, scrubbing algae out of pool, writing proposals, editing books...etc etc etc and blah blah blah.

All riveting stuff. The funniest part is that I'm supposed to be finding other Frazzled Moms to talk to as well - and they're too busy to talk to me.

I'm just wondering who's going to have time to read the magazine?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

It was the best of times...

It was the worst of times.

At least that's how I saw our last week in Niagara On The Lake.

The best of times?

1. The play, "Belle Moral: A Natural History", written by Ann-Marie "Fall On Your Knees" MacDonald. Brilliantly written and performed. Everything from a discussion on eugenics to glimpsing the freckly bottom of a leading man.

2. Discovering the Marynissen winery - particularly the 2004 Cabernet Merlot. As good as it is inexpensive.

3. A house 10 minutes walk (and walk we did) from the main street, where my kids became intimate acquaintances of most of the shopkeepers, and the flowers lining the street are beautiful.

The worst of times?

1. Three out of the four kids vomited. Enough said.

2. The 70's movie of Niagara Falls, at the Imax. Full price. Less than an hour long and about as entertaining as a "CBC Hinterland Who's Who" segment. With worse music.

3. The food at Marineland. Aren't we all fat enough? (Sadly, came AFTER most of the vomiting.)

The week long holiday is over - back to work this week - until Friday when we hit yet another OPC. I've already packed the Gravol.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

OPC's, Part 2

My Other People's Cottage tour continues...this week I travelled way, way up north to visit and stay with my Birth Days buddy, Josey Vogels, and her very talented photographer husband, Daniel Parker.

I brought my two youngest kids - aged 6 and 9 - whom I think are the easier two compared to the tantrums and surly attitudes of my teenagers. Clearly, it is a relative sort of "easy" as Josey and Daniel looked a tad worn out as I was pulling out two days later.

Mind you, these two little angels had:

a) put indelible marker stains on their couch
b) set off the car alarm before breakfast time
c) scared the two cats into total oblivion and likely off a cliff
d) hid the remote control for more than 12 hours
e) watched Austin Powers "Goldmember" 14 times
f) got up at 7:30 in the morning, scant hours after we had retired

If you have kids, this list is NOTHING. If you don't, I suppose its SOMETHING.

Listen to Josey on CBC Radio - her new show "Between You and Me" is awesome - Thursday mornings at 9:30 and Saturday afternoons at 4:00. Or visit the website and listen online and check out the bunnies in the photos - they live at their cottage and don't wield markers or remotes in a threatening way.