Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Not in a box, not with a fox

Once upon a time, I thought Playskool and Fisher Price had the market cornered on young children. They convinced me to part with Mr. T's hard-earned money because surely my children would be stimulated by brightly coloured playthings and spend hours amused and entertained.

And in some cases, they were right. But only when the toys in question played the most mind-numbingly annoying sounds that the kids loved to repeat over and over and over again, until I was convinced that even Nickelback would be preferable background noise. I was sure that as they got older, simple things like tissue paper would no longer entertain them as easily as it did when they were still under a year old.

That shows you just how much I really know about kids (which, if you read this blog on a regular basis, you know is very limited). The best toys I've gotten for my kids recently have come from Costco and the liquor store (there's a proud parenting moment for the baby books). No, it's not a seven-foot tall dollhouse, an economy pack of 4,600 stickers or a nice sauvignon blanc, but rather the boxes I carry our goodies home in.  Shooter and Little Dude will spend hours, hauling favourite toys in and out, pretending it's a car or a restaurant, or even just settling in to read a book.**

This must be somewhat of a relief  to Mr. T, because if the economy tanks and he ever finds himself out of a job resulting in the loss of our house, our kids will likely be satisfied living in the very best Hewlett-Packard has to offer.

At the very least, maybe this new discovery means we can finally part with the cat keyboard that plays La Cucaracha. 

 I am aware this is actually a cooler and not a box. Apparently Coleman also knows my kid better than Crayola.

**Disclaimer: This type of imaginative play is not the work of my stellar parenting. I can only assume they saw it on Sesame Street or Bubble Guppies.

This post is part of #iPPP (iPhone Photo Phun), hosted by Greta from Gfunkified and Robin from Farewell Stranger. It's a weekly link-up that requires nothing more than a blog post with a photo from a phone camera (any phone camera, not just iPhones). They want to see your funny, your yummy, your heartfelt, your favourite phone photos of the week. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Somebody get me a muzzle

I"m generally a peacemaker. I hate conflict and confrontation and typically reserve it for really important issues like discrimination and people who pay money to see Justin Bieber in concert.

Tonight when Mr. T got home from work, he took our pre-kid "kid" and one of our real kids out for a walk. At the bottom of our hill, he saw a woman walking her own dog. Hers was not on a leash. Calgary has bylaws dictating dogs must be on a leash when in public space, except for off-leash parks, which this one was not. He politely - because he didn't want our dog to hear him speak rudely - informed the woman that our area is not an off-leash one and advised there's an off-leash park roughly a five minute drive from where we live. She argued that she always has her dog off leash and never has an issue. To which he replied that is irrelevant - her dog should be on a leash.

A bit of back story - last summer, Mr. T was nearly taken out by an off-leash dog in an on-leash area, when it ran between his legs during a training run. He was less than polite with the owner in that instance.

Today, the woman left in a huff. A couple minutes later, when Mr. T and my four-year old made their way back up the hill, they were met with an angry man (whom shall be known henceforth as Angry Man). Angry Man greeted him warmly: "You have a problem with my dog? Why don't you put your f---ing kid on a leash." IN FRONT OF MY CHILD. It went swimmingly from there.

To Mr. T's credit, he kept his cool in front of Shooter. I'm glad it wasn't me, because while we often joke that I'm the nice one in our relationship, I would place my bets on Angry Mom over Angry Man.

Like any person born and raised on evangelical sermons, I can narrow my argument down to three points:

* No dog can ever be assumed completely safe. Even if they aren't an obvious danger, chasing other dogs or people/runners, prevents other potential hazards. And as a wise friend pointed out, a child at eye level with a larger dog may be perceived as a threat if the dog doesn't like the eye contact. Which an owner might not know if their dog hasn't spent time around smaller children.

* There are days I would consider putting my child on a leash or, at the very least, in a dog cage, but child services has some pretty strict rules about that. Or so I'm told. Also, I've been informed that children and dogs are different. So there, Angry Man.

* Keep your cool in front of my child. No one gets to call her my "f---ing kid' except for me, in my head. Hours and hours of drug-free labour, tantrums and Elmo sing-a-longs  at least give me that right.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Friday would never do this to me

Here we are, 13 days into 2014. and I'd love to say I'm doing something inspiring and resolution-worthy tonight. Like running 12 km or organizing our pantry (the idea of which has really just become a bad joke around here). But Mr. T and I are parked on the couch watching Brew Dogs.

More accurately, he is watching Brew Dogs and I am tuning in randomly, wondering why the hosts are visiting an old folks home and trying to convert the elderly into craft beer drinkers. Isn't that called coercion, and essentially one step away from getting them to sign over their life savings? 

He says potato, I say unlawful. 

Tonight, I'm couch-bound because I'm grumpy. And I'm grumpy because it's Monday.

I always thought Monday unfairly had a bad reputation, but lately, she's been fighting for her Most Hated title.

In the past 15 hours since I reluctantly untangled myself from our duvet and set two feet on the floor, the following has happened:

* Little Dude teethed on a pack of Via instant vanilla latte in Starbucks before I could stop him. 

* A freak blizzard prevented me from making the drive to Costco, as planned.

* The wind and snow caused Shooter to slip and fall while walking to the car at preschool pick-up and sparked a meltdown that would terrify Gordon Ramsay.

* Little Dude removed his boots and socks on the drive home, and while I was stuffing his feet back into them, he swung one newly booted foot up and caught me in the mouth.

* Shooter was still really pissed about her wet pant legs and thought the people nine houses down should hear her discontent.

* My Yak Trax are broken and I haven't replaced them yet, so safely running on unshoveled sidewalks wasn't an option for stress relief.

* Did I allude to all the snow?**

**I have lived in Calgary for 32 years and I have not acclimatized to our weather. I'm actually a Hawaiian woman named Ailani trapped in a cranky Canadian's body. I also really enjoy Mei Tais. All the signs add up.

On a somewhat related note, a mouse committed suicide by climbing into the barbecue on the right a few weeks ago. I think we can safely assume the winter got to him too.

And suddenly I can no longer remember the reason I'm so angry. Because it's winter in Canada or because it's Monday?

Whatever. I'm positive that if this were Thursday, it would have been sunny all day, the sidewalks would be clear, and I would not have a fat lip right now.

Come on Tuesday. You have All Day Happy Hour written all over you.