Tuesday, 22 January 2019

The Indoor Snowball Fight

For the most part, our kids are great.  I know everyone says that about their kids and they would probably be right.  There's definitely something special about our kids though.  Thing 1 and Thing 2 have an amazing bond with each other that I pray never goes away.  Even at 6 (and 1/3!) and 4 and a half, they still don't fight or even get on each others' nerves.  These kids can entertain themselves for hours on end down in the basement without so much as the TV on.

And this is how today's story begins.

Just after Christmas this year, the four of us spent a few days in Niagara Falls.  It was a remarkably mild and snow-less December, so we lucked out with the weather and managed to walk around Clifton Hill and the boardwalk with relative ease. 

Two full days in a hotel room with your kids, no matter how pleasant they are, is still a very long time.
This is why, when we returned home after the trip at 11:30 am, we sent the kids downstairs to play with their new toys and hid upstairs for a few hours.  And by a few, I mean five.  Now we made dinner early and yelled down that it was on the counter if they were hungry, so as to not feel entirely neglectful.   Otherwise, they were on their own.  And their they stayed and played until 5:00 in the evening when I heard Thing 2 crying.

I ventured downstairs to see what happened and noticed both kids were in the bathroom with the door mostly shut.  Upon entering, I discovered why the kids had been downstairs for so long.

They were having a snowball fight. With spitballs.

The bathroom was a war zone of wet toilet paper balls plastering the walls and floors.  The toilet and sink were backed up.   Wet rolls of half used up toilet paper littered the floor.  God I wish I would have taken a picture.  Thing 2 had stopped crying by this point, but now they pair of them were scared.  The realization that they were in trouble had just hit the pair of them.

After making them help clean it all up (which took all of five minutes) , repercussions had to be handed out.  Thing 2 was sent to bed at 5:30 for her part in the TP massacre.  She's a tough one to punish as she cares not if you take away toys or cartoons.  She slept until 8 the next morning.

Thing 1 on the other hand cares deeply for his Lego and his Beyblades.  The mere threat of removal of either can motivate him to do just about anything.  So his punishment was the dismantling of one of the Lego vehicles he had received for Christmas and had promptly built Christmas morning. He was utterly devastated. 

But really, if that's all the trouble they can muster up in over 5 hours left to their own devices, I'll take it.

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

The Threshold of Hell (or, Flying with Kids)

I don't know why we do it.  I don't know why any parent with young kids does.  It never turns out great in the end, but we all try it at least once:  The Family Trip.

Our kids are generally pretty good.  They can eat at restaurants without making a scene or forcing us to bust out tablets.  They can ride in cars without much complaining or frequent needing  pit stops.

In light of this, we decided plane travel would be fun.  If you've never had the pleasure or flying with kids, I urge you to keep it that way.  It's not, and never will be, a good idea.

They really should just ban kids under 10 from non-emergency plane travel altogether.  Nobody wants to be around your kids on a plane.  They fidget.  They whine and cry. They require frequent trips to that tiny, disgusting airplane bathroom.  If you've never had to help a kid with their pants or wipe their ass in a vertical coffin before, trust me, you aren't missing a thing.  Travelling with two kids?  Double the fun.

Think flying in the middle of the night makes sense because they'll just sleep the whole time?  Dead f-ing wrong.  In fact it's about a million times worse because they're overtired and you're tired and no one gets any rest of sleep.  New colouring books last about 3 minutes on a five hour flight.  The in-flight movie is almost never worthy of a 5 year old's attention.  Especially if you're on a crappy Sunwing flight where the tiny screen flops down every 3 rows and the one in front of your seats is out of order.   

In summary, the flight makes you need the impending vacation more than anything else in the world.

Oh, and if you kids happen to have a dairy allergy, bring enough snacks for a three week trek through the jungle.  Everything on a plane but the saltine crackers has bloody cheese in it.

For our trip, we landed at about 8pm in Punta Cana.  It was raining.  It was another hour to the resort via shuttle.  The kids thought it was a riot to fly down the highway in only big person seatbelts.  It scared the living shit out of me.

Fun fact: When you get to a resort after 9pm, there's no welcome cocktail. 

God I needed that cocktail.

They somehow lost a wheel  on our stroller while in transit.  If you have never tried pushing a 30 pound kid in a stroller with a missing wheel,  I don't recommend adding it to you bucket list.

We thought we booked a 5 star hotel.  This hotel was actually a 4 on the sign.  I wouldn't have given it a 3.  Our room smelled like pee pee.  The beds were at least as old as me and had definite bows to them.  The room faced the bar area where the party was happening.  We were all miserable.  And starving.

Food options at a shitty resort at 10pm?  Cold french fries and cheese pizza.  Fries it was.

After a fitful night of "sleep" in our oh-so-comfy beds and soothing bass-thump, I headed down to the front desk  the next morning and moved us the hell out of there and to the five-star next door.  Adios amigos.

After that the trip was pretty great.  

By the way, if you do ever happen to want to take a voyage into hell's half acre with your kids, use the covered airport parking lot.  Best $200 bucks we ever spent.  When you get back into Toronto in the middle of January at 2am, you want that minivan of awesomeness close by and not buried in snow in some park 'n' fly lot you have to take a shuttle to.  Trust me on that one.

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

The Rafting Trip

Here's the tale of our family's fabled rafting trip down the Grand River.

One day this summer, we decided to purchase an inflatable raft from Canadian Tire.  It was on sale and looked like it would make for at least one fun family afternoon.

We were wrong.  Well, not entirely.  It did end up being pretty funny, just not for the reason we thought.

It was a very hot and humid summer here in Southern Ontario, and nothing beats the summer heat like being around the water. We picked a particularly clear and hot Saturday to try out the new raft.  We parked the Van of Awesomeness (for details on said van, see:  http://mysahdexistence.blogspot.com/2016/08/the-minivan-of-awesomeness.html ) about 9 km down the river, and drove the car back to town. A lofty goal indeed, but it's a pretty free-flowing stretch of water, so I thought it was doable. A two hour trip or so. That was Mistake #1.

We parked the car near a canoe put-in and unboxed the raft.  That's right, we never checked to see if we'd actually all fit in this thing. That was Mistake #2. We blew it up and discovered that, despite having a weight limit of like 450 lbs., this thing could barely fit me, let alone my wife and the two kids as well. Crap.

Speaking of crap.  I have inadvertently taught my six year old the word crap.  I must have described dollar store Lego as crap one time, because now every time he sees building blocks in stores without the Lego logo on it, he loudly and proudly proclaims to his sister that it's Crap Lego.  Oops.  At least he has the right context.

But I digress.

Despite the size of the wee raft, we decided that since we were there, we all just go out on the water for a few minutes, just to say we did, then head back to shore and drive back to get the Van.  We squeezed in, me at the stern with Thing 1 sitting on my legs, facing Thing 2 with mommy sitting not at the bow, but on the inflated bow.  Man, I wish we had a camera on us that day.
With much effort, we pushed out, my ass dragging along the rocky shore until we got to deeper water.  Deeper as in about a foot and a half deep.  Being the hot summer that it was, we failed to realize that the water level would be extremely low.  Mistake #3.  The current was moving despite the shallow water and we started drifting, rather slowly, downstream.  So we went with it.  Mistake #4.

Maybe a kilometer or so down the river, it happened.  My ass dragged across a jagged rock and pop! went the middle of the three air chambers. The raft could no longer handle the weight of us all and we started taking in water, much to Thing 1's absolute horror. My wife hopped off the front  into the calf deep water and he started freaking out, yelling something that sounded remarkably like, "SHIT, SHIT, SHIT, SHIT".  I'll blame my wife for that word.

It was then my turn to get out, having to throw one leg over top of the panicking child and more or less roll into the water.  Another missed photo opportunity I'm sure.  Between my gracefulness and his sheer terror, my wife is now laughing so hard she has tears rolling down her cheeks.
Luckily, the raft has a tow rope on the front and enough air left in it for the kids to stay in and not have to walk all the way back to the car.

They got ice cream on the way home for that one. 

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Back to school..and blogging

So, it's been a while.  I can give you any numbers of excuses as to why I haven't been blogging, but they'd all be pretty lame.  Truth is, life just got in the way.  But anyway, I'm back to entertain you for five minutes each week or so.  How lucky you are!

I've actually had a number of people come up to me in the past year or so asking why I don't post anymore. 

Image result for the mask you like me gif

So here goes  my attempt to reclaim my former blogger glory. And by glory, I mean the 60 to 80 blog views I used to get.

The reason I have all this free time to write again is because Thing 2 has started junior kindergarten!  As I stood there this morning watching her walk in the front door with the rest of the JK's, I of course uttered the words "FREEDOM!".  When I looked around though, I seemed to be the only one not bawling my eyes out.  What kind of father am I?  Not even a little sad to see his youngest leave him for good.  I'll tell you what kind of father I am: A proud one.  She walked through those gates like she owned the place.  Not even a moment's hesitation or mournful look back to me.  She was ready.  Truth is, she's been ready for at least two years.

Do you want to know what I hate about back to school though?  Not the endless facebook posts from all my friends of their kids back to school photos, because they're all so damn cute. It's those stupid signs each kid is holding.  Not only that, but the fact that I have to do it too.  Last year I wrote it on white paper with black marker. Simple and to the point.  But oh the shitstorm I took for that.  You got Pinterest giving all these parents stupid ideas with elaborate signs all decked out with f-ing tassles and glitter.  Hell, even the craft store Michael's had a sign making workshop that I didn't sign up for.  I got hell from my wife too for that.

So a mom friend of mine graciously gave my some extra premade signs that they were giving out at the grocery store.  The problem?  They're printed over a forest green background to make it look like an old chalkboard.  Forest f-ing green.   Do you know what you can use to write on shiny forest green paper?  Sweet nothing.  I tried white crayons, killed two gel pens and even tried chalk.  Nothing worked well.  By the second kid's sign, I was literally scratching through the green to get to the write underneath.    

Didn't think that through too much, did you Loblaws?

Until next time, folks!  Now, I just have to remember how to publish the blog...

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Do You Believe In Ghosts?

Thing 2 is a character.  At just over two and a half years, she blows my mind every day with something she says or does.  Just the other day she informed me that a wooden puzzle piece she found on the floor in our bedroom "belongs downstairs".  Belongs? Where did she pick that up from.  I'd expect something more along the lines of "this goes downstairs", but "belongs"? She slays me.

So, did you ever have an imaginary friend growing up? I never did, so I don't know if kids actually see something that others can't.  But what if those friends aren't imaginary?  What if some kids are simply clairvoyant and are talking and playing with a ghost of some sort?  It is widely believed, by those who believe in the paranormal, that kids are more sensitive to such things.

Now I'm not really here to get into a big conversation about the existence of ghosts, it's just a thought.  It's also a segue into Thing 2's friend Charlie. Now Charlie, according to my daughter, is a ghost.  She sees lots of ghosts, but Charlie is the mainstay.

None of these ghosts are malevolent, mind you.  It's usually just Charlie who hangs around in her closet most of the time.  But every night, we have to tell Charlie (and sometimes others) to go home before she goes to bed.  We have to ask her where he is in her room and speak to him directly saying, "Charlie, time to go home to your mommy.  It's time for supper. See you tomorrow!". After which, she goes promptly to sleep.

In the morning, usually 13 to 14 hours later, she will come down and announce that she had a "big, big nap" and "No bad dreams".  Now if we forget to show Charlie the door, Thing 2 always seems to have bad dreams.  

Coincidence?  I think not.

So last week, Charlie accompanied us all on a hike in the woods.  The terrain was muddy because of the big snow melt and still a bit icy in places.  Thing 2 was holding my hand as Thing 1 held my wife's. Thing 2's other hand held Charlie's. When we came to a spot where we had to step over a fallen tree, she informed me that she couldn't hold my hand because she had to hold Charlie in her arms to help him over...

They didn't make it and they fell face-first into a pile of mud.

Thanks a lot, Charlie.

Hey look at that, I didn't make up a word today.  Good for me.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

The Holidays

Ah the holidays. A time where you get to spend more time as a family, a time when routines get messed with, and a time where at least someone in the house gets sick.  This year, it was me first and my wife second.  The kids?  They managed to stay remarkably healthy.  That's right, the walking cesspools of germs that they are skate away from the holiday season unscathed while I spend three days of the week leading up to Christmas alternating between chills and sweats and my wife, bless her, spends all of Christmas Day barfing every hour, on the hour, beginning at midnight.

Other than that though, Christmas was awesome.

Remember the old stories of your dad staying up all night Christmas Eve putting together some toy of yours that had 1000 some-odd pieces? Well I have my wife to thank for saving me from this fate.  Thing 2's four foot tall doll house took a full three hours to put together. Luckily, she pressured me to do that a couple days before the big day.  I almost wanted to wait just so I could have such a story to pass on, like some fatherly rite of passage.   I have dumb ideas sometimes.  I probably could have put the damn thing together faster had a had a proper screwdriver. The good one was in a drawer no less than 5 feet from the spot I was labouring on with one of those useless quick-change screwdrivers with all the stupid bits inside.  I found the proper screwdriver days later as we were de-Christmasing the house.

Ever notice that I make up a word in pretty much every one of these posts?

So every year I seem to have a moment where I become a classic Christmas movie dad. There was the time I fell off the roof messing with the Christmas lights à la Clark Griswold.  This year it was George Bailey.  

If you've seen It's A Wonderful Life, (which if you haven't, what the hell is wrong with you?), you'll know the scene where George calls the teacher and gives her shit after Zuzu gets sick when she walks home without her coat done up.  Well I kind of pulled a similar overreaction when I gave the caregivers crap when I picked up Thing 2 from preschool and found her playing outside without a toque on when it was -10 Celsius.  Turned out that was the night I got sick.  Coincidence?

And a final thought: At what point did a Christmas pageant become a winter concert?  When I was in kindergarten in public school circa 1988, we did the full nativity scene (a shepherd à la Linus).  Fast forward to Thing 1's kindergarten winter concert  in 2016 and the word Christmas can't even be uttered.  Instead they performed the Olaf song from Frozen with altered lyrics.  Still cute as hell mind you.  Especially cute since Thing 1 is at least 4 inches shorter than each of the other 63 kindergarten kids and they stuck him dead centre in the front row.  Priceless.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Well That's Shitty

Disclaimer: The following is all about poo.  You've been warned.

I deal with a lot of shit in my line of work.  Not in the traditional sense, as in, my boss is a jerk and impossible deadlines and stuff like that, but in the literal sense.  Cleaning up poo is a multiple-time-a-day undertaking for me. 

Thing 2 poops about four times a day still. Probably due to the amount of fruit and veg she eats.  Thankfully Thing 1 is toilet-trained now, although he hasn't really mastered the whole wiping thing yet, so that's still on my docket.  We have two good-sized retrievers and one small yard. This means daily stoop and scooping as nothing is worse than scraping dog doo out of a tiny kids shoe tread. Not to mention Thing 2 would probably pick it up if I let her.  More on that later. And lastly, the damn cat requires her majesty's sand throne be cleaned on the daily or she threatens to find other elimination quarters. 

In case you lost count, that's crap from five other beings, not including my own.  Good thing my wife is self-sufficient in these matters.

So Thing 2 has developed a bizarre fascination with poo.  If she finds one out in the yard, she crouches down really close to inspect it.  She'll pull a stool up in front of you when you're on the can. And most disturbing of all, she demands to see the contents of her poopy diaper after each change. How weird is that?  I sure hope that's a passing phase.

So let me tell you about the shittiest afternoon I've ever had.  Back in January, three weeks into Thing 1's potty-training, the kids and I venture out  to the library. Within 10 minutes of getting here, I notice Thing 2 smells a bit ripe.  As I take her into the bathroom (which mercifully had a change table), I discover that the diaper has not fulfilled its duty of holding in the contents* . I then quickly discover that I have a total of 4 baby wipes remaining in the diaper bag. This is at least a 6 wiper.  Efficiency is of the utmost importance.

Thing 1 then drops a bombshell on me.  The bomb being in his pants,  in a mostly liquefied form, and it's running down his leg.  Thank the good people at the library for having the facility well stocked with brown paper towel.

Outing over.
As we head in the front door to head up to the bath, we're greeted by Dog #1 who apparently rolled in some other animal's shit undetected before we left for the library.  Not only does he need a bath now as well, but I have to wash whatever he was laying on.

You'd have to clean Porta Potties for a living to top this afternoon.

So the next time you think you're having a figuratively shitty day, just remember, I'm probably having a literal one.

*Check out my  Cottage post for a similar diaper-related mishap: http://mysahdexistence.blogspot.ca/2016/08/the-cottage.html