Monday, October 20, 2014

I'm Still Considering Going Bald.

The thing about lice is that if you don't get in there and scrape the little buggers out, you never get rid of them. You have to confiscate soft toys, pillows, and blankets. You need to clean coats and hats. If one little egg survives that toxic shampoo, or the nit comb, you're in for round two.

Which is (sort of) okay when it's on the kids, because the grownups deal with it. A parent or caregiver (in my house, me) sits there and breaks their back picking the dreadful little beasts and their million eggs out of a kid's hair.

Usually, there's the unspoken knowledge that one person is in charge of this kind of stuff. It's usually the person who is more skeeved out by the idea of tiny bugs feasting on his/her children's scalps, because this person is not content with cursory glances. This person needs to check every single strand of hair. Multiple times.

I'm sure I've said before that Kee hates having her hair combed it. HATES it. Every morning, we go through the same argument when it's time to comb her hair then she gives in, but rails against the injustice of it while I tidy her hair into a braid.

I was dreading having to go through her head over and over again. 

You know what saved me? Netflix. Seriously. My daughter submitted to over twelve hours of hair combing, checking, washing, and more checking because I let her watch two seasons of Scooby Doo! Mystery Incorporated.

Luckily, we only needed Scooby, but I had a whole backup playlist, just in case. 


What happens though, when that person who does all the checking and obsessing gets it?

I asked Husband to check me that first night. He proclaimed me clear. I didn't believe him. I trust him, but dude doesn't always notice the dishes need doing, or the laundry needs folding; and my head was still itchy.

I called my sister. She found a bug almost instantly, but only a few nits. I used the shampoo on myself the same time I did Kee. Then I checked her head again, and found some more live ones. What the eff, dude. New supplies were in order. I got Husband to check me again.

This time he found a bug. "Is this one?" he asked, holding it out to me. So innocent. "Yes," I replied. "Any bugs that you find on my head should absolutely not be there." Time for a different shampoo.

I had my sister check me again. I had my mum check me. I had my Husband check me again, more thoroughly. After treating my head three times, after wearing a shower cap constantly for an entire week, after changing all of our bedding every day for that week, after being cleared by three different sources; I finally believed them.

What I really need though, is a way to check my own damn head.

*Luckily (knock wood, toss salt, spit &whistle, etc...) Beege never did get them. She wore a shower cap the whole week in the house, and avoided Kee and I like the plague.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Picture Day.

On Beege's first picture day, I sent her off to school with elaborately braided hair, there were flowers tucked in, just so. They matched the pretty red velvet dress that set off her hair brilliantly. (She started school after lunch, so that kind of thing was totally do-able.)

I found those photos in a box this week, as I was (yes, still) unpacking, and it occurred to me that, although they are lovely pictures, that is not what my child really ever looked like. I think from now on, I'd like pictures of my actual kids, not pictures of my kids as "carefully groomed child 1 and 2." So when they asked what they should wear for picture day, I told them to pick out their favourite outfit.

Beege picked her "Math is Beautiful" shirt, and a pair of pants I'd made her. I hugged her and told her that the outfit was "so totally her", and she grinned a big goofy grin that I hope makes it into the picture too. We braided the front of her hair over to the side, and left the back free.

Picture day is the only day I will let them go to school with their hair down, because I'm completely paranoid about lice.

Kee picked little capri pants that I've never seen before and a frilly shirt. Also totally her. This year's pictures are going to be awesome.

Usually she pitches a fit while I'm braiding her hair in the morning. She screams and cries before I'm even touching her. She mightily objects to this year's french braids, even though that was the deal for growing her hair out. Today however, it being Picture Day, she wanted fancy hair just like Beege's.

Beege was getting antsy at the door. She was all ready to go, and hates being made late by her sister, who doesn't really seem to care whether she's on time. Luckily Husband hadn't left for work yet, so I sent them on their way, telling them I'd bring Kee along when I was finished her fancy hair.

As I combed her hair into sections, I saw something move on her head. Somehow, I decided it was a fruit fly. "Why do you have a fruit fly on your head?" I asked, laughing. Then I saw another one. And another one.

"Looks like you're staying home with me today!" I said brightly, my skin crawling. "You can watch a movie, and mummy's going to comb your hair, okay?"
"I get to watch a movie?" she asked skeptically, furrowing her brow.
"Yup!" I replied, as cheerfully as I could, while twisting my hair into an unforgiving knot at the back of my head.

After calling the school to let them know she wouldn't be in, I  texted Husband to melodramatically inform him that we had an infestation on our hands, and he needed to bring supplies. Then I got down to work. While waiting for him to get home with the lice treatment, I stripped all the beds, bagged all soft items, took everything to the basement, and started up a scalding hot load of towels. Anything that may have touched a head was suspect.

This beautiful, clean, shiny hair? Apparently, lice paradise.

By the time he got back, it looked like the bedrooms had never been lived in. Kee was happily sitting on a stool in front of me watching Scooby Doo while I meticulously checked tiny sections of hair, scraping the nits off individually with my fingernails and dropping them into a cup partly filled with tea tree oil.

Despite my best efforts. Despite the braids, despite the preventative spray, despite the lectures about not sharing hats. Lice. On my kid. Who I had snuggled in the middle of the night after a bad dream. I had fallen asleep with my head on the pillow next to hers, murmuring that it was only a dream and Mummy was there. My scalp started prickling.


To be continued...

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Already Looking Forward to Next Year.

The first year I went to Blissdom, I was terrified. It was an entirely new thing for me.

Last year, I went again, and I wasn't quite so nervous. My goals changed from "don't crap your pants and pass out" to "talk to at least three new people, attend at least one party." It was easier the second time around, and I'm pleased to say I met my seemingly small goals.

This year? This year was fun. My goals? Stop focusing on my anxiety long enough to actually learn some things. And go to all the parties*.

The first people I met at Blissdom 2012; reunited.

Tara at Don't Lick the Deck, was one of the very first people who spoke to me at my first Blissdom, and I was lucky enough to snag her as my roommate. Christa from Christa Clips, who huddled with me in a corner at that first Blissdom was actually running mini sessions this year!

Kyla (Mommy's Weird), Elan (Schmutzie), and a new friend, Courtney (Moonsoar).

Lesley (who spoke at this year's "Power Hour") was one of those new people I spoke to last year, as was Sunshine, and I was thrilled to have them right next door. I didn't manage to hang out as much as I would've liked with Kyla, but I did hug her pretty much whenever I saw her, and she didn't seem to mind.  

Really, the list of new people I met, and the ones I was happy to see again, is pretty damn long. It's funny how these people, who you talk to on Twitter, who you connect with through blog comments, who you only manage to see once a year, can get to be such good friends.

Sunshine, Lesley, Tara, Jenn and Marya

The sessions I went to ranged from ethical discussions, to how to write for magazines, to how to pitch to work with companies**. I got to listen to some amazing people tell their stories. The funny thing about Blissdom, and I've heard other people mention it as well, is that it's all a blur. The experience is so full, that it's still untangling itself in my head weeks later.

I must've come away with something though, because as soon as I got the lice situation under control, I sat down and sent off my first pitches. Whether I hear back or not... well, the fact that I even hit "send" is a big step for me.

Elan, Natasha, and my long time buddy, Katie.

I try to set a goal after Blissdom. Something that I want to accomplish before I meet all these fantastic people again next year. Just one, and it doesn't have to be big. The first year, it was just talk to people on Twitter so I had people to look out for once I got there.

Once again, among all the other things I took away with me, I heard this message; the only thing that is really in my way is me. I think it's finally starting to sink in. So, this year's goal? Write.

Sit down, shut up, and write.

*The parties this year were AMAZING! The #TBT party on Thursday, sponsored by Kahlua included a giant bouncy game of Twister, Huge game of Connect Four, a giant spread of 80's candy and comfort food, and air brushed tattoos. 
The Friday night party sponsored by Lentils was beyond fabulous. There were carnival games, entertainers, wine tasting booths, and mounds of carnival food. 

**Speaking of which, I want to thank the sponsors of Blissdom Canada. Without them, this wonderful chance for these talented people from all across the country to connect in person wouldn't be possible. There are just too many to name here, but a complete list can be found on the Blissdom Canada site.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Yes, but...

So. I got home from Blissdom 2014, where I had a marvelous time with new friends and old, to two sick kids and a lice infestation.

Sure, I've spent the last few days washing and boiling everything, and spent hours and hours hunched over children picking bugs off their heads. Yeah, I've been hauling bedding and towels back and forth to the washing machine pretty much incessantly. Okay, I've been wearing a shower cap for three days and am seriously considering lighting my head on fire if this latest round of lice melter doesn't work.

But this is happening on my kitchen counter, so I'm pretty happy. 

I'll get back to you about all the fun I had at Blissdom. I've got to throw in another load and re-check a kid right now.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Monday, September 29, 2014

50 Things You Never Knew You Wanted to Know.

There's been a lot going on around here lately. You know how it gets when there's so much to write about that it's hard to focus on just one thing? That. Lucky for me, my friend Lillian at It's a Dome Life tapped me for one of these list things. It is incredibly long.

1. What are you wearing?
At the moment, pajamas. Actually, usually, it's pajamas. Or yoga pants. I'm an embarrassment to my mother. 

2. Ever been in love?
Yes indeed. Currently, I'm in love with my husband, my children, and this new sweater I just got that's like a big cozy blanket. 

3. Ever have a terrible break-up?
One of those awful sit alone in my room in the dark and sing all the songs that used to be about "us" while sobbing into his sweater that I found under my bed? Hasn't everyone?

4. How tall are you?
5'5". I come from a family of 6 footers, so as far as I'm concerned, I'm tiny. 

5. How much do you weigh?
The average weight of a woman my age, with two kids, who constantly wears pajamas. 

6. Any tattoos?
Nope. I never found anything I wanted permanently, or that could make me overcome my paralyzing fear of needles. 

7. Any piercings?
Considering the whole needle thing, you wouldn't expect so, but yes. Two in each ear, and I used to have one in my nose, but let it grow over after my (then) newborn painfully yanked it out one too many times.

8. OTP (One true pair, favorite fictional couple?)
Ron and Hermione.

9. Favorite Show?
My favourite show changes every other week. Right now it's Community, mostly because I'm binge watching it with Husband, and I love laughing with him.

10. Favorite Bands?
Hmmm. I will always love Great Big Sea. Tragically Hip. Bobs and Lolo, who are peppy and educational without being manic, have a special place in my heart. The Peyote Kings were awesome (and had a totally crush-worthy bass player). The Interphase Project.

11. Something you miss?
I miss swimming. I haven't been in forever. 

12. Favorite Song?
"Happy" by The Interphase Project*. (Which came out way before Pharell's did. Just saying.)  I'm also very fond of "Stagefright" by David Hein.

13. How old are you?
Younger than I feel, but older than I look. (Definitely older than I act.) 

14. Zodiac sign?
I am a peace loving, balance finding, Libra.

15. Quality to look for in a partner?
Patience and understanding are really important to me. I can be a lot to put up with. A sense of humour helps too.

16. Favorite Quote?

17. Favorite Actor?
I actually don't think I have one. Although, if pressed, I will say that I've liked Steve Carell in everything I've ever seen him in. So him, I guess? Oh, and Mindy Kaling. Love her. Amy Poehler. Tina Fey. Chris Pratt. Most of the cast of Parks and Rec. See what I mean? I can't pick just one.

18. Favorite Color?
Again, situational. More often than not though, it's the colour that the world turns just before full on sunset. That warm friendly orange. 

19. Loud music or soft?

20. Where do you go when you are sad?
Depends whether I want to wallow or get over it. I wallow in my bed, curled in a ball with the covers over my head. I get over it outside. 

21.  How long does it take you to shower?
5 minutes. 

22.  How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?
5 minutes. But only if it's just me. If it's me and the girls, it takes an hour and a freaking half. 

23. Ever been in a physical fight?
Just once. It sucked, and I've avoided them ever since. 

24. Turn on?
Quick wit.

25. Turn-off?
Bad grammar.

26. The reason I started blogging?
I was incredibly lonely, home alone with a toddler and infant, in the middle of winter.

27. Fears?
Ohmygoodness, where to begin? Clowns, snakes, fish, needles, the dark, axe murderers, failure, meeting new people, success, horror movies with children in them... 

28. Last thing that made you cry?
Someone was mean to my daughter.

29. Last time you said you loved someone?
About five minutes ago. I hand out "I love you"s pretty regularly around here.

30. Meaning behind the name of your blog (Just a Mum?)? 
I was out at dinner with some people and someone asked me "...and what do you do?" I answered that I was pretty busy being a mum at the moment. They snidely replied "JUST a mum?" There's a post around here somewhere about that... hang on... ahh, here it is.

31. Last book you read?
The last book I read was "Loser" by Jerry Spinelli. Before that, it was "File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents" by Lemony Snicket. I read a lot of kids books before I pass them along to the girls so I know what might come up that they'll have questions about. (I also just like YA.)

32. Book you are currently reading?
I usually have a few books on the go, but today, I am actually not reading a single one. I'm actually quite surprised.

33. Last show you watched?
The aforementioned Community. 

34. Last person you talked to?
Kee and Beege. At the same time, because they talk over each other. One was colour theory, and the other was excitement about a contest where you could win a trip for four ("That's ALL OF US!") to Cape Canaveral.

35. The relationship between you and the person you just texted?
My sister, I think. 

36. Favorite food?
"Something saucy, meaty, maybe with noodles... and vegetables." This is what I always ask for when Husband asks what I'd like for dinner, so I'm assuming that's it.

37. Place you want to visit?
That Harry Potter theme park. I really wish I wasn't a muggle. 

38. Last place you were?
The park with the girls.

39.  Do you have a crush?
There's this really cute, kinda nerdy, guy that I like.  He plays bass, and likes the same shows as me, and takes out my recycling every week.

40. Last time you kissed someone?
This afternoon at the park, when Kee bumped her head on the playground equipment. 

41. Last time you were insulted?
Personally insulted? Like, on purpose? I can't even remember. Kee called me a cucumber this morning, but I wasn't particularly insulted.

42. Favorite flavor of sweet?
Caramel. I think.

What instruments do you play?
I don't play anything right now, but I have, at various times in my life, played the following: recorder, piano, violin, and french horn. 

44. Favorite piece of jewelry?
I'm going to go with my wedding ring, because it's the only thing I wear absolutely all the time. 

45. Last sport you played?
Spo..ort? If you're referring to some sort of organised bashing around of a ball or something... uhm... I was on the squash team in high school. 

46. Last song you sang?
Let it Go. Like everyone else in the world.

47. Favorite chat up line?
I don't have one. I'm not the type to approach people with lines. I'm a friend first kind of dater.

48. Have you ever used it?

49.  Last time you hung out with anyone?
I hung out with Husband on the couch and watched Community last night. Does that count?

50. Who should answer these questions next?Kyla at Mommy's Weird, and Tara at Don't Lick the Deck. (Although they're both very busy ladies, and may not have time for this silliness... go check them out anyway, because they're a couple of my very biggest blog crushes.)

*Kyrie Eliason is pretty excellent too. I've got a total crush on the singer on that one.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Where's All The Homework?!

Over the summer, when we were talking about back to school, part of the conversation was about homework. Both of my girls were looking forward to it. We're all a little odd here, but I used to love homework too. I loved all the ruled lines, colourful graphs, and neat rows.

Now that Kee is in grade one, she is finally going to have homework. She's been waiting for so long. When Beege started bringing home worksheets and projects, Kee would sit down with a colouring book or paper so that she could work alongside her. Last year, she took to reading the dictionary so that she could "prepare for all the homework in grade one!"

We decided on where homework would be done, and thought of some strategies to help stay focused. We agreed that a snack would be provided, and that assistance would be available. We bought new pencils to have ready and waiting. 

Sadly, we're in week three, and still nothing. For either of them.

So we've been trying to fill the time we'd earmarked for all that homework with something that seems homeworkish. We've been watching some great movies, and coming up with activities to do surrounding them.

The Lorax is a particularly good one for this, having many themes to discuss; loyalty and friendship, the importance of environmental protection, the slippery slope of greed. Also, it's got some really great songs. We've come up with offshoot stories, drawn our favourite parts of the movie, and talked about the ways that the Onceler could have "biggerred" his business while avoiding destroying the land.

Netflix has a great selection of recommendations this month for getting conversations started.

For the big kids:

And for the little guys:
(My nephew is particularly fond of Signing Time and Thomas and Friends, while my girls still have a soft spot for Super Why.)

Hopefully, some actual homework will start coming home soon, or I'm going to have to start making my own worksheets.

Which actually sounds really fun.

Oooh... I'm going to go do up some comprehension questions...