July 16, 2017

Too hot to handle.

Karl's parents came to visit last week. They were here for five days. Karl's parents and I don't really have a lot in common. That's a lie, actually. We all really enjoy time to ourselves and watching TV.

Their visit actually went better than expected. Karl's mom and I went out together a couple times to run some errands and do a little shopping. We've never done much together, so it was fun to go to Old Navy and contemplate buying matching shirts. (It's cool, we live two provinces away so our paths don't cross very often. We can get away with. Except that once she realized we were looking at the same shirt in the same colour she was no longer interested. I choose to believe it's because she didn't want to be hampered by the comparison of who wore it better. Just roll with me on this.) We went to Chapters, Michael's, Winners, and we sat outside the closed knitting store and wept bitter, fibrous tears that we couldn't go in. We had a really nice time.

My father-in-law got a minor bout of stomach flu that I refuse to call food poisoning and take responsibility for so he missed out on the morning we went to the farmer's market. It was a very authentic experience and culminated in buying deliciously overpriced apple bread and my MIL getting excited about Saskatoon berry jam and hemp hearts. I even bought myself a homemade marshmallow for $1. It was delicious, but I'm thinking the lemonade I washed it down with may have induced Type 1 Diabetes.

The only downside of the visit, aside from the possibility that I unintentionally poisoned Karl's dad, was that, as you may recall, our air conditioner decided to call it a day. Thankfully, it chose the middle of a heat wave to do so and timed it perfectly for their visit. We got it fixed the day after they left.

The thing about extreme heat is that I hate it. I do not do well in anything but moderate temperatures. I was not my best self. We were all melting. My coconut oil was so liquid I thought it might turn into a gas. I was worried about the physical well-being of the chocolate in our house. Did you know that if your chocolate starts to melt you have a solemn duty to eat all of it? That's not actually true, but I decided that I'd pretend it was anyway. Thankfully things never got that dire, but it was touch and go for a while.

I was really looking forward to showing my in-laws how good a house I kept, cleaning the kitchen every night, baking delicious desserts, and meal planning like a boss. Instead my energy level was akin to a sloth and we just barbecued everything. Even using the microwave felt like it warmed the house up and let's not even talk about the necessary evil of using the coffee maker.

Not only did I fail to impress with my domestic abilities, our fridge decided that it, like the air conditioner, had lived a good life and just couldn't handle it any more. It was a hard week for our milk. I'm also glad that Parker doesn't fully understand how horrible the milk I accidentally gave him yesterday was.

Karl's parents left Tuesday, my mom flew in 13 hours later, and we got our new AC unit installed the next day, a week earlier than anticipated. I'm not saying I screamed "God bless you" into the phone when they called to ask if they could come a week early, but I'm not saying I didn't. But I did make them cookies.

We went to a memorial/family picnic yesterday in honour of my great uncle. It was a big day that involved little in the way of naps for either kid, so they were both in bed and asleep an hour earlier. It was magical. Naturally Karl and I celebrated by leaving Mom with the sleeping babies and my Netflix password and went to Lowes, where we bought the cheapest fridge they had. We date night so hard.

The new fridge is currently sitting in its packaging next to our table waiting for its moment to shine. Apparently it needs to sit upright for 24 hours after being on its side or it might spontaneously combust, so it's just taking up space like a fancy new conversation piece that's very big in Europe.

We were lucky enough that our tax returns this year worked out to be almost exactly what we needed to cover the costs of the new AC and fridge. There was just enough left over to include the $100 in steaks we splurged on ordering from my mom's cousin. God provided for our needs before we were even aware of them and He said, "Let them eat steak."

July 05, 2017

Vacations with kids are like vacations from sanity.

We went on a mini vacation for Canada Day. June was a painfully busy month for us, with something happening every weekend that meant we didn't get to spend any Saturdays together as a family and Sundays are always busy. We were tired, forgetting what it meant to spend proper time together without other commitments, and I was looking forward to napping on our 7 1/2 hour car ride to Edmonton to visit Larissa's family. Somehow I always forget that children don't like to nap in the car as much as I do.

Last week Parker skipped a nap and I almost kicked him out of the house. I contemplated going back to work then and there. Sorry, Molly, maternity leave is getting cut short. He napped the next day, though, so I forgave him and gave him a terrible haircut instead. I didn't mean to, it just sort of happened and, really, I'm punishing myself more than anything. I'm the one that has to look at him all the time.

When we left Friday morning we got the kids up an hour early so we could make it to the doughnut shop in Edmonton before they closed. Naturally that led to two overtired children that screamed for a solid hour before our first stop. One would start to calm down just in time for the other to start up and they'd feed off each other's cries. Nothing gets your heart rate going in the morning quite like two kids having a scream-off.

We had a great time with our friends, having one last Alberta hoorah before they move next week. We ate doughnuts, went to the zoo, visited IKEA, and played games. It was wonderful, with one small exception that's about two and a half feet tall and suffers from some serious bedtime FOMO.

At home Parker doesn't always want to go to bed at designated sleep times. I get it, I'm a lot of fun to hang out with and he just wants to keep the party going. Unfortunately for him, I take sleep very seriously. Very, very seriously. This sometimes leads to him resisting sleep times and me walking away with my figurative fingers in the air to have my own party without him. Basically what I'm saying is, Parker screams and for the most part I just let him.

While we were away, Parker decided he didn't want to nap. Forget that he hadn't gotten much sleep on our way there, he just really didn't want to miss the fun party. On Saturday, the day he walked around the entire Edmonton Zoo, we eventually we got tired of his screaming and let him skip his nap.

That night, he raged a bit at bedtime but went down relatively easy. I tiptoed downstairs to check on him and Molly and stepped on a noisy toy. There is nothing more heart-stopping than trying to spy on your freshly sleeping child and having animal noises come from the vicinity of your feet. When I picked up the toy I set it off again. I hustled as quietly as possible out of the room to get rid of the offending so I could try one last time to look at the kids. I put the toy down on the chest freezer only to have it slide off and start making noise again the moment I opened the door to sneak back in. At that point I gave up. Either the kids were asleep or dead because they didn't react and it was out of my hands anyway.

The next day we tricked him and did some driving around right at nap time. He slept for 45 minutes in the car. Not great, but better than nothing. We figured he'd sleep like a boss that night. We were so very wrong.

On our last night there Parker decided he was done with the playpen. So done, in fact, that he taught himself to climb out of it and stand, screaming, at the door to the room he was sleeping in (the living space of our friends' vacant suite). He's a resourceful child so he managed to lock himself in a couple times, but thankfully there was a spare key. It funny and sad all at once when your tired but raging child keeps locking himself in a room he's trying desperately to escape from.

I was not ready for the stress of a rabid toddler. Hell hath no fury like the uncaged two year old that knows you're hanging out without him. I won't go into all the details, lest you think I'm a really terrible parent, but I'll just say that nothing we did could soothe him or coax him to sleep. After three hours of his raging (I cringe just remembering it) he didn't pass out in front of the door, so we gave in. I, like the United States of America, have a policy not to give into terrorists but I would like to see any president, past or present, stand up to my son longer than I did. 

We brought him upstairs to happily terrorize our card game. Eventually I ran out of steam and we all went to bed. And when I say "we all" I'm obviously not including Parker in that because it was only 11:30. Karl let me sleep (or try to) while Parker played in the main room and he lay on the couch. Finally, at 1 a.m. Parker literally fell over and passed out. Only, of course, to climb out of his playpen at 7 a,m, and scream at me through our closed door.

I decided we were never taking him anywhere again, at least not until he was out of his crib in 3 - 4 years. Then I remembered that we've got plans for a month and a half from now. As tempted as I was to cancel all future holidays with children, someone reminded me that sleep sacks are great containment devices. 

I was desperately hoping that Mr Playpen Houdini wouldn't use his newfound skills to ruin my life at home but, sure enough, Monday night he got out of his crib shortly after I put him to bed. 

I didn't cry, I just shoved him in a sleep sack, sent Karl to the store to buy more, and have since invested in stocks in them. I'm happy to say that Parker is now lovingly contained in a pink floral Aden & Anaias number because that's all they had at the store. It certainly brings out his eyes, though.

Parker also picked a great time to need to sleep in a blanket bag because our air conditioner died on Monday and our house is hotter than the face of the sun. But he's still in his crib and that's all that really matters.

June 08, 2017

Mary, did you know?

Mary, what was it like to be the mother of Jesus? What was it like to carry the son of God in your womb for nine months? Did he kick you in the ribs? Did he press down on your bladder so that every time you stood up you had to excuse yourself? Was your pregnancy easy or were you sick for the whole nine months? Did you gain a lot of weight, or carry it all in your stomach? Did you get cankles? Did that little baby keep you awake at night, rolling, hiccuping, and kicking when you were trying to sleep? When did you first realise you loved him?

Was it excruciating giving birth? The conditions certainly weren't ideal, and there was no anaesthesiologist to give you an epidural, but did you feel like your insides were being set on fire? Did you have back labour? Did you tear horribly? Did your highly favoured status allow you any relief from the physical agony of childbirth or was it a long labour followed by many hours of pushing?

Mary, I doubt the songs are true, and I'm sure your baby did cry. Anyone would, entering the world in a dirty, cold and smelly stable. I think he did cry, Mary, because he was a human baby boy. I think if you didn't feed him on time he cried. I think if he was too hot or cold he cried. He wasn't a colicky baby, though, was he? 

Mary, I suspect that sinless little boy you gave birth to was easy to sleep train, wasn't he? He only woke up at night to eat when he needed it, and I'm sure he had a sweet little smile for you when he did. (Unless you took too long.) Did Jesus nurse well from the beginning? Did your nipples crack and bleed? How often did your baby boy throw up on you? Was it easy to burp him or did you have to get creative? Did he cry when he was overtired? Did he need extra snuggles to help him through teething pains? Did he ever pull on your hair while nursing or scratch your chest with his little fingernails?

When he was a toddler, did Jesus ever need to be told something more than once? Did he ever forget an instruction or rule, or was his young memory already perfect? Did he like all the food you put in front of him and eat it without complaint? Did he sometimes wake up with the sun for no reason, or did he sleep a proper amount and wake up when it made sense? Did he cry when he skinned his knee?

Mary, did you know what you were getting yourself into when you decided to have other children? Did you have any idea what trials were in store for you? Did you even have the slightest inkling what it meant to be the mother of a sinful toddler?

Mary, were you surprised when your children bit you while they nursed and laughed about it? Were you prepared to become a canvas for your children's flung food? Did you know the agony of disobedience? Were you ready to watch your seemingly innocent babies turn into wicked people? Could you pinpoint the moment when they started actively sinning?

Mary, did you know how hard it would be to have more than one child? I'm sure you never had to tell Jesus to stop hitting his siblings, but were you ready to watch your other children fail where your first succeeded? Did you feel like a bad mother for not raising a family of perfect children? Did you forget Jesus at the temple because your other misbehaving children were taking up the rest of your time?

Mary, did you know?