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Posts Tagged ‘funny’

Today my daughter presented me with this cup of carefully planted dandelions (the cup was packed with soil) and, holding her bent arms in close to her body with fists clenched tight, she told me that “the flowers are captivated by the dirt.”  Captivated?  Oh! She meant captured, held in place…

I put the cup on the table and swooped down to give her a great big hug and kiss.  “Thank you, sweetheart!  They’re beautiful!”

And, using a surprising new phrase for the third time today, she replied, “No problation, Mummy.”

Oh, would that time could stand still and my daughter stay lovely like this forever!

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The snow, which has held us captive for over a month now, is slowly beginning to loosen its grip at last, revealing random patches of bare ground where the grass appears so yellowed and flattened in submission that one wonders that it will ever come back to life.

“Weather’s turning,” M observed as we pulled into the driveway.  “We’d best get some of that trimmed back now before Spring hits in and it all goes crazy again.”  This garden had taken us by surprise last year: the shrubs grew alarmingly fast, the ornamental trees at the back had seemed to double in size in one summer, and the grape vine had threatened to push its way right through one window.  This year, we had decided, we’d be on top of it.

Almost immediately we got in the house, the girls wanted to go out again.  They also know the snow is disappearing and are desperate to spend every day it’s still here enjoying it.  But getting them out there is a chaotic process that I don’t enjoy: changing into jeans, jumpers, coats, scarves, finding hats and wayward gloves, digging out socks, fighting reluctant boots…  There is tripping, falling, stuck zippers, shoes on wrong feet…   I slunk down to the family room and left M with the madness, with the good excuse that my ankle was hurting — which it was — but also with the enormous relief that I did not have to be on duty today.  The noise and chaos was just more than my head could bear today.

Eventually the din died down , and then I heard the door shut and the house fell quiet.  I sat for a moment and soaked it in.  Quiet.  Nothing.  Silence.  Even better than the silence of a nap, because that might be rudely broken at any moment.  This was the sure silence of emptiness, something I hardly know any more, and I was going to enjoy it.

Tea first.  A silent house called for a cup of tea.  And then, perhaps I would write an email to an old friend.  I smiled to myself — this was going to be really nice.

I had been sitting at the computer for only a few minutes — my thoughts only just beginning to gather — when the house rumbled for a moment.   Startled and not quite knowing what to think, I just stopped still, fingers suspended over the keyboard.  It came again, the whole right side of the house rumbling and shaking and sounding like it was about to come down.  I grabbed my coat and hobbled out the back door.

The girls stood with the neighbour-kids in a semi-circle around M, who was crouched by the side wall at the base of the grape arbour and cutting through the main vine with the electric reciprocating saw from his truck.  The arbour was shaking violently, the vine was resisting as much as it could.  I cleared my throat.

M looked up and grinned, proud of himself.  “I’m nearly done!” he announced, and pointed to the vine on the other side of the arbour.  “I’ve got through that one already, and I’ve done all the smaller ones on this side.  Just this last one to go.”  And then he spotted the shock on my face, and his grin slid away.

“Ohhhh…” he began, and the shape of the word lingered on his lips for a moment.  “Oh, I thought we’d agreed on this.  We… we had discussed this, hadn’t we?”  He pressed his finger to the trigger of the saw, and it whirled a little, hesitantly.

We had, but my recollection was that we’d settled on perhaps digging up the vines and moving the arbour, and then we’d left the matter unsettled…  His recollection, my recollection…  Husband-wife miscommunications are the stuff that marriage is made of.

“I’ll… um…  I’ll leave this for now, shall I?” he said, a bit sheepishly.  And then pointed to the sagging limbs on the snow-battered lilac tree.  “Should I…  well, how about those?  Should they come down?”  I nodded, and he turned away from the vine — a stay of execution at the last moment — and headed for the lilac.

The children had wandered back to the snow, all but the neighbour boy who, at the age of nine, had spotted the undercurrents in our conversation and was now watching me intently to see where this would go.  I looked at him and smiled.  “Jay, when you get older and get married… and you think you know what your wife wants you to do…  just be sure to go back and double-check with her, ok?  And then… double-check again.”  I winked at him, and he laughed.

And I turned and went back into the house, where everything would be quiet.

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Mid-morning yesterday, my mother brought me a cup of tea, and my daughters brought their beaming smiles.  “Mummy! Mummy! We’ve made you a card!”

Ah, now, this is what you want when you’re not well — a nice cuppa, delivered to your bedside.  And this is what you envision when you become a mother — the glowing faces of your children as they bring you their home-made Get Well cards.

I looked down at my card, my mother-heart warmed with love.  I looked again.  Was… was this card threatening me?  This is what my children were giving me?!?

My mother chuckled a little under her breath and shrugged her shoulders.  “They told me what to write and I just wrote it…”

E2 had disappeared, but now I heard her footsteps on the stairs. Clomp clomp clomp. Her face was again that wide grin — so pleased to see her mummy after a whole morning without her — and she held in her little hands a plate of carefully laid-out, half-smooshed grapefruit pieces.  My breakfast, from my lovely daughter!

“Oh, thank you, sweetheart!  Is that for me?”

Her brow furrowed and she looked suddenly surprised.  “No! It’s for me!”  And she leaned onto the foot of the bed, setting the plate down heavily and spilling grapefruit juice onto the comforter.

I sighed.  She dug into her fruit.  And then looked up and beamed that grin — that grin that melts her mother’s heart — as juice ran down her chin.

And I remembered what all mothers learn quickly and must never forget:  children bring an abundance of love… but there is very, very little sympathy.

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When we first moved into this house, we debated about ripping the carpets up and finishing the hardwood floors.  I knew they were diamonds in the rough.  I wanted to do it — really, really wanted to do it — but everyone else was against it.  M thought we didn’t have the money to spend (and, to be fair, he was right).  My dad couldn’t understand why I didn’t want to “just move into the house and enjoy it, as he would.  And my mum was adamant that hardwood floors are so much harder to keep clean than carpet (but the truth is she just doesn’t much like hardwood).

In the end, I listened to none of them, and I have never regretted it for a minute.  Not only because they are gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous.  And not only because I realised with hindsight that, with her allergies and asthma, E2 probably would have suffered a lot more with carpet in her room than she is with that nice clean hardwood.  And not only because there were quite notable decreases in M’s migraine and sinus problems first when we moved to the States and changed to forced air heat, and then yet again when we moved to this house with its hardwood throughout.

No… no… not just for all those reasons.  No, I was so glad that I had decided to go ahead and rip out the carpets, to listen to my gut and get the hardwood finished all though the house…  I was so glad today, as I followed a little trail from one room of the house to another…  A little trail of neat little brown plops of poo — one every few feet — which led me through three rooms and finally ended at a pair sagging, straining training pants, filled way beyond their capacity, employed far beyond their remit, by a little girl who had completely forgotten that she wasn’t wearing a nappy and is now supposed to use the toilet instead.

I lifted her in one swift motion and deposited her — clothes, socks, training pants, and all — straight into the bathtub, and ran downstairs to quickly collect the plops before someone else unknowingly squished them underfoot.  And, as I gathered them up easily with a damp cloth and some disinfectant — to the panicked howls of  “But Mummy I am still wearing my clothes!!!” — I thought back to my mum’s argument…

When she said carpet was easier to keep clean, she was never imagining this.

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…I laid in the near-dark, feeding E2 down for the night, her little body curled into mine, and me drifting in and out of semi-sleep as she fed…   I pulled the covers a little tighter over the two of us, and allowed myself to drift back into sleep for a while longer…

Yada yada yada.  Thanksgiving was on Thursday and, let me tell you, I love me some Brussels sprouts.  Love ’em.  Ate tonnes of them.  A-a-and they’re still working their way through my system.

So, tonight,  as we lay on the bed, I curled my sleeping daughter into me and gently drifted off… once again, that most perfect, peaceful moment…

And then I trumpeted so loudly that I scared myself bolt upright.

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In the bookstore today, I spotted a woman whose shape astounded me.  It wasn’t so much the size of her — she was overweight but not really all that fat in most places — but that her arse was like nothing I’ve ever seen.  It was disproportionately large to her body but, more than that was the fact that, instead of sitting wide and low like almost anyone else’s bum would, it sat high, impossibly high…  weirdly high…  The top of it jutted out at a right angle from her back like some kind of fleshy bookshelf, and the lower portion of it actually angled up on a diagonal to reach it.  From the side, her bum was distinctly triangular.  It was simply one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen and I had to force myself not to stare.

Turning away, I threw my focus into hunting for the book I’d come in for and the girls lingered at my feet, perusing the shelves for something colourful and interesting.  Not finding it, they began to wander, and I let them go to the next aisle and then the next, happy that I could keep my eye on them over my shoulder.

I found my book, and opened it.  They found a step-stool — the kind with a trefoil shape and little kick wheels that they always have in libraries — and sat down on it together.  E1 pulled out a book, and began “reading” it to her little sister.  I could hear her voice and see the top of her curly head, and so turned back to my book.

“Where did you get those curls?”  It was a man’s voice and, when I turned around, I realised it was the husband of the woman whose shape had so perplexed me.  E1 answered him, something I couldn’t make out, but it would be one of her standard answers — she gets that question every time we go out.  I turned back, but kept them in corner of my eye.  He said something else to her, and she answered him, and his wife came over to join them.  I flipped the pages of my book.

And then I heard E1 start to speak and, somehow, I knew what she was saying before she’d even got past the first four words.   “Why do you have…”  My heart stopped.

No!

No!

I wanted to stop her, but I was too far away.  If I leapt out to quieten her, to slap a hand over her mouth, I’d never reach her in time.  If I’d opened my own mouth to yell, even the sound would get to her too late.  I didn’t know what to do.  I was paralysed… horrified…  frozen,  as she continued.

…a big bum?

I didn’t know what to do!  Should I dash up and usher my child away?  Should I apologise?  Should I leap forward and chastise her?  I didn’t know…  I didn’t know…!

And so, I did the only thing I thought I could do, the thing that came naturally, the first thing that came to my mind.  I did the thing that you would do…  I sank down onto my heels and hid behind the bookshelves.

The lady hadn’t been paying attention, and the man was a bit deaf.  “What did she say?” the lady asked her husband.  He looked at E1 and repeated the question, “What did you say, dear?”  Oh good!, I thought.  Oh good!  They hadn’t heard!  Perhaps she’d forget her question, or perhaps he’d ask another.  Or… someone… someone quickly!  Ask her about her curls!

Whyyyyyy…”  She was speaking very clearly now, very slowly.  She hadn’t forgot her question.  I snuck a look between the books — both the man and woman were leaning down towards her with expectant smiles.

do yoooou...”  She pointed up at the woman.

have…”  I sank back down and put my hands over my face.  There was no stopping it now.  I felt the blood rushing hot to my face.

a BIG BUM?“, with extra enunciation at the end for full clarity.  Oh, to have the floor swallow me up!  Oh, to abandon my children just for this moment!

Hidden away in my shame behind the bookshelf, I suddenly felt a hand on my shoulder, and glanced up to see a woman looking down at me pityingly.  She was biting her lips to keep from laughing out loud.  “There’s nothing you can do,” she whispered.  “Just stay there.  It will all be over in a minute.”

My shame and helpless written all over my face, she continued, “It can’t be helped.  Children just say whatever they are thinking.”  To be fair, it had been what I’d been thinking only moments before.  She was right — I mustn’t be too angry with E1.  And then, as if to try to soften it further, she added, “But she’s got beautiful curls!”

I heard the couple saying something to each other, and then they spoke again to E1.  I make out what was said, but when I glanced between the books again, they had begun to move away.  I stayed crouched behind the shelves and waited for the all clear from the lady still standing by my shoulder.

She drew breath sharply, and then hissed, “They’re coming this way!”  I quickly recomposed myself so as to appear as just another shopper, crouched down to look for a book here on the bottom shelf…  Nothing at all to do with the obnoxious child they just encountered…

I peeped through the books again — they were nearly upon us.  I pulled out a random book and began rifling through it earnestly.  The couple began to round the end of the bookshelf.  I looked up, casually, and smiled vacantly as if I’d never laid eyes on them before.  It had worked — I was home free!

And at that very moment, E1 came tearing around the other end of the bookshelf, ran straight up to me and, throwing her arms around my neck, she yelled, “Mummy!  Oh Mummy!  I did think I’d lost you!”

Sigh.

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One of the suggestions the nutritionist gave us (when once we finally got the insurance company to agree to pay for us to see one, but that’s a different post…) was to freeze cooked meatballs or hamburgers, as an easy instant meat option for E2.  They would have to be made without any egg to bind them, of course, but she reckoned it would work well enough.  I made some the other week, in preparation for our weekend away, and friend them first in canola oil (frying for E2 is good — she needs as many calories as we can give her) and then poured in a bunch of apple cider and let it boil away.  Turns out that ground beef cooked in American (that is, cloudy) cider is absolutely gorgeous.

My mother makes the girls cornmuffins almost every week.  She’s figured out a way to make them without any egg or dairy, and it’s so handy to me to have them in the fridge for last minute snacks.  …And for anytime bribes — it’s amazing what my daughters will do for a cornmuffin!  And the making of cornmuffins is as good for my mum as it is for them — given all of E2’s food issues, it means so much to my mum to be able to help fill her up.

We’d got a late start for home on Sunday and so were belting it back when the girls started asking for dinner.  We didn’t have time to stop… and I had nothing that would give them a proper meal that they could easily eat in their carseats…  What to do?  And then I remembered the little hamburgers still sitting in the food bag, and now nicely defrosted.   Of course, they weren’t so much like hamburgers really, being by necessity bun-less and condiment-less.  And they’d started falling apart when I tried to squish them flat, so their shaped ended up as a sort of midway point between meatball and burger… and oddly familiar.

As I reached back and handed them to the girls, they looked at their strange dinners in confusion.  E1 turned hers over in her hand and asked, “Is it… meat?”

“Yes, sweetheart.  It’s meat.”

E2 held it in her little hand and gamely bit straight in.  When she surfaced, it was with a huge grin…

Meat Muffin!” she annouced with glee, and dug in again.

My poor, sweet, multiple-allergy baby has the strangest diet!  She goes without cookies or cakes or candy, she lives on what most people would called diet food, and she almost never gets to eat out.  And now… now she eats meat muffins!

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