The not so nice things my son has said to me since going to school

Please don’t take this post as an attack against our school system, socializing children or any other parent, but my son has learned some wonderful insults since being surrounded by other kids while at school.

When Crazy started school at two and a half (a post for another time, I am still having trouble with this) he was not very verbose. He had a limited vocabulary, little understanding of his emotions and he had a wicked temper that he expressed through hitting or temper tantrums, ahh, those were good times.

School, while a complete shock to his system, did force him to learn to communicate more effectively. Now when he is angry with me rather than hitting me, the table, the wall or throwing himself onto the floor like a loon, he gives me his evil eyes and spouts out the meanest thing he can think of. Sometimes it’s so freaking cute that I have trouble keeping a straight face, sometimes it makes me worry as to WHY this is an insult, but it almost never makes me mad, because well, it’s soooo much better than the violent explosions he used to have.

So here are the insults my son has thrown at me (please note these are all translated from French because Crazy is still mostly refusing to speak English)

* “Gerber Baby” – picture a tiny blond three year old shouting this at you in the same tone an adult would tell some one to eff-off and try not to laugh. I suspect this became an insult because all the kids at school are “big kids”, so calling each other a baby, even if it is the cutest of the cute babies hits at their gentle little egos right where it hurts.

* “Thief” – I assume this comes from any number of television shows or movies where the bad guy is a thief, I choose not to reflect on this further.

* “Nasty girl” – I hate this one, because the emphasis is on girl, not nasty, as though the real insult is that I am a girl. When directed at Hubby, it is just “nasty”. I don’t know how or why being a girl is a bad thing in my sons head, but I will be working toward just being called nasty.

* “You aren’t my friend anymore” – At their tender age of three if they are friends for an entire day I suspect that is considered a long term relationship. What I love best about this one is that he did think of me as his friend. I hope it will last.

He has also learned a lot of nice things too, like “you are pretty” and “you can hold my teddy bear (when I am tired)” and the best of all “I love you.”

What are you favourite pre-school insults?

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I have something profound to say

I am sure if I really thought about it, I would find something profound to say. I feel like it is in there, but I just can’t reach it. The only thing that comes to mind right now is how difficult I find it to leave only one space after a period when I am typing.

I started typing on an actually typewriter when it was necessary to put two spaces after the period to make sure it was visible. What I have learned recently, following a heated debate on the differences between French and English punctuation, is this double space is no longer required with all our funky word processing applications and therefore no longer considered correct.

But I seem unable to adapt to this. I took my first and only typing class when I was 16 and have thanked my high school for making this available ever since. Being able to type quickly without looking is a lifesaver, okay, more accurately a time saver, so far no one has ever put a gun to my head and said if you can’t type 60 words a minute you are dead.

I can draft up a term paper, a document, an email, a blog post in a fraction of the time it takes the two finger typers, leaving me more time for my obsessive compulsive reading and rereading of whatever I just wrote to make sure everything is just how I want it.

At 16 my fingers learned how to type and I haven’t really ever thought about it since, they pretty much do their own thing. So now, when they need to relearn to not double tap the space bar after a period, I suddenly understand first hand the phrase you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

So, anyway, I am sure I have something profound to say, I just wish I could find it. Space space

My new definition of futility

Until today, I thought the most futile thing I have ever done was to shovel in a snowstorm.  Yes, I have done this….more than once, and yes I grew insanely frustrated and yes I continued.  I knew it was useless, but a part of me deep down really thought I could beat the storm.

But now  I know compared to what I am facing now, the snow storm was easy.  I work for a software company, a mainly French software company.  The first thing to know about French software companies is that it is believed that developers can do everything and everyone else pretty much sucks at their job.

I am not a developer, I am not in the development organisation, I am in the customer facing side of the company.  I have to deal with real people who have real problems when trying to use our glorious products.  While I am willing to and often do debate the qualities of developers vs non-developers at length, there is one area where I can assure you our non-English speaking software developers do not excel and that is writing user manuals.  They may be able to write the most effective, efficient  and useful piece of code known to man, but they are not gifted at writing about how it works.

Of the more than 500 products that our company offers, it would seem the product I work on is in the small 1% where the developers write the user manuals rather than having a trained technical writer managing this task.  Add to that the fact that there are more than 50 teams of developers that work on my product (yes, this is a freaking massive company) and approximately 700 user manuals, you can imagine the state of affairs.

Since taking over my current team, it has been my personal battle to change this process and hand over these very important documents to a technical writing team.  I have been here for three years, I have 1 technical writer, part time and I still haven’t taken ownership of the documents, so every change we make needs to be validated by the owners.

Our part time, wonderfully talented technical writer spent a week updating a set of the manuals…one week.  To do this, he had to review the current documents, learn about the product, test it, and re-write the manuals. When we sent it off for validation, are you sitting?  I think you should be sitting for this, they, the experts on the product, the ones who have more knowledge in their pinky fingers than I have in my whole brain said it would take them a MONTH to validate.  Not a month in elapsed time, which I wouldn’t find surprising, after all it is July and it is France and as everyone knows this entire country shuts down between June 30th and September 1st, but no, it was in effort.  They actually claimed that it would take them 4 times longer to validate the updates than it took us to make them.

Futility: trying to convince a French developer that someone, somewhere, might be able to do something better.

PS: Yes Hubby, you too fall into this category.

PPS: I am probably breaking some part of my contract right now by writing this, so shhh, don’t tell anyone I said any of this.

I want to be happy

I am stuck in a rut right now, a rut of frustration, and everything makes me angry.  I started this blog when I was in this exact same state; I was intending to write to help release some of this frustration onto the unsuspecting readers of the internet, rather than the unfortunate souls around me. In the last few days, I started at least three drafts of angry posts, but I wasn’t able to finish them and I couldn’t understand why. So I did a little soul searching and learned a lot about myself.

First, I want to be happy, I don’t want to dwell on the unpleasant.  This surprised the (pick your favorite four letter word) out of me.  Because I tend to plan for the “worst case scenario” in all situations at all times people, including myself, tend to think I am a very negative person.  I can be quite creative when I start to consider the what ifs of a situation and I go to great lengths to avoid the most improbable outcomes.

Second, I discovered I have no interest in trying to make other people feel angry and frustrated, which again surprised me.  I really thought I was part bitter old lady who likes to spread unhappiness on the world.

Finally, when I dove deep into my psyche, I landed on the dominant reason why I didn’t finish those angry posts.  I am just not ready to expose to the world my real level of tolerance for other people/things.  This would make me look bad, and I’m far too vain.

So the conclusion, I want to be happy and we’ll just leave it at that.

Day 1….

This was my first day in the office without The Boss. With all this freedom, I could have done anything, and I chose to make a cardboard version of him and put it behind his desk.  The Google, one of my co-workers, helped me with my creativity, as well as the picture taking and texting that followed asking The Boss to chose his favourite variation of cardboard-boss.

Not only did I get to have lots of interesting conversations with the various people who questioned my sanity, I also got to hear the random bursts of laughter from people in the hallway who walked by his office. All in all, I feel like I accompolished a lot today, oh and I got some work down too.

I also want to give a shout out to O, thanks for being on holidays so I could steal the tape off your desk.

With or without Hubby? My split personality.

Daily Prompt: Party Animals (?)
People have asked me if getting married changes you.  For me, it created my split personality. I have one personality when Hubby is around and one when I am on my own.  I know that sounds weird and unnatural, but I assure you both personalities are me.  I can’t fully understand why or how this is true, but I need both.
I need the quiet (relative to the other personality, not relative to normal people, in all situations I am loud), calm, homebody that I am when I am with Hubby.  I need the woman who uses her kids as an excuse to shy away from social interaction when at parties and is always the second one to leave at the end (late beginning for others) of the night. I can’t be the first to leave, that would make me/us stand out too much.
But I also need the slightly wild, mildly out of control person who dances like a fool and drives up the energy of a party when Hubby is not around. I need the person who closes the bar and makes friends in the bathroom and hopes the night will never end.
This split personality happened so naturally, without judgement or issues in our relationship, Hubby is calm and shy and when I am with him, I feel comfortable being quiet (again, relative to personality number 2).  When he is not around, well, the crazy is free to roam. This contradiction has always existed, but with Hubby in my life, each personality has their own time-slot now. By the way, nobody has ever asked me if getting married changes you, I just needed an opening line.

What is wrong with underpants?

I love to take pictures, mostly of my kids but the last few months I have been unable to take any pictures of them in our home.  Why you ask (or maybe you didn’t but I am going to tell you anyway) because my son has developed a deep seated hatred of underpants.

When a “normal” person walks in the door, they remove their shoes. Crazy, however, sits down and removes his shoes then stands up and removes his pants and underwear, leaving them neatly at the door to be put back on again when we leave.

So the question is, what is wrong with underpants?

We initially thought he did this because he was hot, but the t-shirt stays on. Plus we are super attentive to the over-heating signals in Crazy, so we can say with high confidence, the removal of the bottom half of his wardrobe is not due to the temperature.

Then we thought maybe his underpants were too tight, and it was causing him pain.  We went up a size, but when we did he didn’t have to take them off anymore because after three steps they fell to his ankles regardless.

I also started to wonder if perhaps our choice in underwear wasn’t “cool” enough, but come on, he is 3, even I was having trouble taking this possibility seriously. All the same, we tried a variety of different styles (briefs, boxers, boxer briefs) and patterns (cars, tractors, planes, Cars, Toy Story) and it didn’t seem to make a difference.  While we still hadn’t solved the great underwear mystery, I was relieved that my son was not bowing down to peer pressure and the need to conform at his preschool age.

We had a lot of trouble with toilet training this boy, so at first it didn’t really bother us that he was bottomless because less underwear meant less mess when there were accidents and frankly speaking when we didn’t have the added step of removing the underwear, there were often fewer accidents.  So maybe that’s it, the boy doesn’t want to miss out on valuable play time by having to spend a few extra minutes pulling down and pulling up pants when he needs a potty break.

But the hatred of undergarments seems to go way beyond comfort or playtime.  We have a rule; Crazy is not allowed on the balcony unless he is wearing underpants.  We figure (hope) the neighbours have no interest in seeing toddler junk flying about so if he wants to be outside…underpants.  Usually fun with the outside toys wins out, but he has a long internal debate at the doorway before finally deciding.  So playtime vs underpants is not a given.

We are fresh out of ideas on why this boy has such a strong desire to be free to the world and for now I will just have to settle for less pictures.

UPDATED: Hubby had the genius idea to ask Crazy flat out why he doesn’t like underpants, how it never crossed my mind to do this is still baffling me, and Crazy answered “I dunno” with a shoulder shrug.  So yeah, that didn’t help either.