Monday, January 19, 2015

And Then We Played Backgammon.

I will admit, that it is partly my fault. And certainly, partly Husband's fault. We tend to cave. We're cavers. There, I said it. Sometimes, after half an hour of being whined at, I hang my head and say, "fine. FINE. Have a cookie." Or play on the computer, or watch TV, or whatever it was that I said no to, for whatever reason I had.

Kee is exceptionally good at wearing me down. And she knows it. And since we've been cavers, she also knows that the chances are pretty darn good that if she keeps at it, she will get what she wants.

"Please mummy? Please? Pleeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaase?! But mummy, I really want [insert thing I've already said no to five times]! PLEASE! PLEASE!" And then she'll fall on the floor and sob, or maybe crawl into my lap and stare at me with watery eyes and a quivery lip. She follows me if I try to leave, she will scream if I manage to ignore her, she will take a breather to let me think that I've won and then come back at me. She's got it down to a science.

And it sucks, because I have to make her do things herself, no matter how much easier it would be to keep doing everything for her. I need to help her be more self sufficient FOR HER, no matter how much easier it would be to cave. She's six though, so she does not see it that way. She's not worried about being away from home on her own for the first time and being able to make toast without burning it, or keep from shrinking all her laundry, or clean a toilet properly. I realise that's getting way ahead of myself, but when she asks me to do things like brush her teeth for her, it's hard not to.

I have been trying to put my foot down lately. It's hard though, to put my foot down with the trembling lip and blankie clutching.  I'm a marshmallow. I really need to work on that.

Anyway. On Saturday, we had a bit of a break through. She asked me to make her breakfast. I said no, because it was the weekend, and I like to make them do it themselves on the weekend because it doesn't really matter if it takes forever. They know where everything is, and they can reach it all. She took a deep breath and started crying.

"Kee," I said, pulling her onto my lap, "you need to learn to make your own breakfast. That's why Daddy and I put the cereal and the bowls in the bottom cupboard, so that you could do it for yourself."
"I KNOW how to make breakfast," she said, glaring indignantly at me.
"Then what's the problem?"
"I don't WANT to! I want YOU to do it!"
"I need you to do some things for yourself, kid. You're a big girl now. You can't cry every time I say no to you about something. I'm not going to change my mind and say yes, and it's a waste of both our time for you to follow me around yelling at me. And you know what? If you start doing things like making your own breakfast, and putting away your own laundry, and cleaning up after yourself, then I'll have more time for things like playing with you and your sister. So I'm going to be ignoring your tantrums, okay?"
She looked at me for a minute, then dried her eyes and said, "okay."

About ten minutes later, I went into the kitchen, and there was Kee, very proudly standing beside the kitchen table where she'd set out two bowls of her 'wonderful breakfast recipe', which consists of Cheerios and corn bran squares, and two glasses of water. "I made your breakfast!"

Seriously? Best breakfast ever.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Oppressive Inertia

That's the only way to describe it. This heavy feeling that has pushed me down into a nest of blankets on the couch, staring blankly for hours in the general direction of the Friends marathon that's been happening on my TV.

It's getting harder and harder to open my eyes in the morning. Getting the girls out the door without screaming at them is becoming even more of a challenge, and I honestly can't tell you the last time I had an actual conversation with anyone. I have projects that I should be doing. Manuscripts I should be reading* and revising, costumes I should be making... rooms that I should really, really be cleaning. But each day, no matter what my intentions were as I saw the kids down the street, I find myself shaking off a stupor at the end of the day when the alarm tells me it's time to pick them up again.

And every day, I feel more and more useless. Which just pushes me farther down into the blankets.

So today. Instead of letting the feeling that I am letting down everyone I know with my inaction, I am forcing myself. I am ignoring the siren call of that warm couch piled high with blankets, and forcing myself to write. To read. To make that present that I've been meaning to make since October**.

I don't care how pregnant Rachel Green is, I'm getting stuff done today.

*I'm lucky enough to be one of the beta readers for my friend Lesley's second book "The Queen's Viper", and I haven't been fulfilling my duties. Her first, "Growing a Rainbow", her preemie son Torran's birth story is available through Aquhorthies Publishing.
**It's coming, Sunshine, I swear!

Monday, December 29, 2014

There's Always Tea.

There is something about all of us being home at the same time that makes it impossible to write. It may be the complete and total lack of more than five minutes of quiet. Or the fact that there are three other people who want to get on the computer. Today, miracle of miracles, I managed to get on here before anyone else is even up. Which, now that I think about it, is going to be a HUGE problem next Monday - it's 9:08.

Am I a terrible person to admit that, as much as I love my family, I'm missing the structure that comes with a work/school week? Meh. I'm terrible then. Seven more days of chaos, then back to a schedule! Of course, there are challenges when they are in school too (says the lady whose kids are late half the time even though they live ACROSS THE STREET!).

There's the wrestling them out of their beds at 7:00, the begging them to please put clothes on (why is that so hard?), struggling to make lunches interesting so they'll at least eat part of it, the daily finding of the (hopefully finished) homework, and the fruitlessly searching for something that everyone will actually eat that has at least some nutritional value for dinner.

I'm okay at making proper meals for myself, but as soon as you add in the children... it gets tricky. What's the point of making a lovely healthy meal, when someone is guaranteed to tell you it looks like barf and ask for a peanut butter sandwich? Then there's the fact that Husband doesn't get home until it's been cold for at least an hour. It's disheartening, to say the least. At this point, sadly, it's become "dump it out of a box and throw cheese at it", because who cares?  One of my new year's resolutions should probably be to cook healthier food or something.

All that being said - I do have a kitchen tip for you. Don't worry, it's about the one thing I am good at. Tea.

Have you ever made yourself a nice cup of herbal tea, and in your rush to relax and enjoy it, taken a sip and burned half your face off? No? Just me?

Well, anyway, I came up with a solution.

Slice up a lemon, and put the slices in a freezer bag. Lay them flat in the freezer if you can, so they don't freeze together. Once they're frozen, you've got something to bring your drink to a reasonable temperature, and give you a touch of lemon. I've done it with Raspberries and strawberries too, and it tastes good, but it does leave a gross, pulpy mess at the bottom of your cup. Besides, there's something elegant about a lemon in your tea. 
It also saves you from throwing out a dozen moldy half lemons from the back of your fridge. No? Still just me?

Monday, December 8, 2014

Ohmygod, She's NINE.

This weekend, a number of awesome things happened.

First of all, this amazing girl turned nine.

Beege at 1 month.

Nine! This is a fact that I am still trying to wrap my head around.

Her birthday was on Saturday, and in a happy coincidence, we were invited to a Netflix preview event at the Scotiabank Theater downtown. Aside from the main event, there was pizza, candy, colouring, and dancing... the girls had fun, and I didn't have to plan any of it!

All Hail King Julien airs Dec. 19th on Netflix.

If you've been here awhile, you know about my ongoing struggle with the boxes. On Saturday night, a miracle occurred, and now my living room looks like this:

Apparently, the fact that my entire family was coming over for a birthday party on Sunday was just the kick in the pants that we needed to actually do something about them.

(But do me a favour, and don't look in the laundry room, mmkay?)

Friday, November 28, 2014

Saltines are for Sick Days.

This morning, Kee woke me up by wandering into my room with a bucket, and saying "I don't think I should go to school today, Mummy."

I tucked her back into bed, checked to see if she had a fever (not really, but a little warm), and decided to let her stay home. I went downstairs to grab her something small to eat, and she had fallen asleep before I could get back up with some water and a piece of toast.

Beege got off to school, and I sat down to write. About an hour later, Kee came bouncing down the stairs and said "I feel all better, Mummy. Can I watch TV?"

"Well, kid," I replied,  "if you're home from school because you're sick, you rest in your bed. That's the rule."
"Sorry pal. You can have all the books you like, and I'll bring up a workbook if you want."
"I want to go to school then."
"You think you're well enough to go to school? You're still pretty warm, and you look kind of tired."
"Okay then, we'd better get you dressed. Are you sure?"
"Can I watch TV?"
"Okay. I want to go to school then."

Then she threw up in my hand.

She's back in bed with a handful of saltines and a bucket, and (after sterilizing my hand) I'm getting back to my writing.

45,674 words down, 4,326 to go.

Monday, November 24, 2014

No. NO. NOoooooOOOoooo!

Last night Husband and I sat on the couch together and worked on our novels. After about an hour typing away on my laptop, I decided that I'd like to take a break. Maybe watch a show. After checking my word count, I realised I had written almost 2000 words. It was a good place in the story to stop so I figured I might as well finish for the day. I saved, and popped out the USB stick. Then realised that I hadn't properly ejected the USB stick. Husband told me that it was probably fine, so I opened the file again, just to check.

1,785 words.

Do you know that place you go to that is like... past upset? Where there's ringing in your ears,  your eyes go kind of blurry, and you feel like your innards are missing? Shock. I think that maybe I went into shock.

"There are only 1,785 words here."
"What?" my gallant husband asked, looking up from his own novel.
"1,785. Words. That's all that's here," I said, turning to look at him, my eyes wide.
"Okay," he began, very calmly, "you need to click on 'file', then..."
"I need you to do it," I interrupted, with a hint of hysteria in my voice.

I felt entirely betrayed by my laptop. How could you, Penelope*?! Husband put his own laptop down, and I gingerly placed Penelope on his lap. Then I pulled out my iPod and started playing a bubble popping game where you save baby pandas from an evil monkey, and tried to ignore what was happening. Husband put the USB stick back in and clicked a few times. "Hunh," he said, frowning, and continued clicking. "That's weird."

My heart leapt into my throat. 'That's weird' cannot be good. I steadfastly continued ignoring him, and saved baby pandas as tears began to roll down my face. Lost. Gone. Deleted. Disappeared. Down the drain. Departed. Flown. Done.

'That's it,' I thought to myself. 'Done.'

"How many words did you say you had?"
"Almost 39,000," I answered, hope flaring in my chest.
"Ah. Not 37,000?"
"That's where I was yesterday," I said, disappointed yet relieved that anything at all had been found. I can come back from losing 2000. There is still hope!
"Let me try something," he said, clicking and scrolling and doing computery things.
"Okay." I saved another panda.
Long story short; Husband saved the day, because he is a computer magician. He found my files, saved the whole thing in several places (just in case), and then offered to make me tea while I curled up under a blanket to get over my mini heart attack. He is the best person in the whole world, and I need to get him a really really nice present.

38, 785 words down, 11,215 to go.

*Yes, my laptop has a name, and that name is Penelope.