A small gesture

This is the story about a girl, a loud, smart, driven girl. She was not bossy, she was a natural leader. She was not a cry baby, but she owned her emotions. When she walked into a room, she turned heads, mostly because she usually tripped or walked into the door frame and swore loudly, but that is beside the point.

She was not perfect, she had no fashion sense (seriously, as a teenager she wore her fathers 30 year old clothes, which ironically were in better shape than anything she had bought), she had little control over her personality flaws (I consider the compulsive need to correct imprecise statements a personality flaw) and interpersonal communication was a skill learned later than the average girl.

But, she worked hard, and put all her energy, thoughts and time into growing her mind, scholastically, emotionally, and creatively. As soon as she saw her own reflection, she would disappear into a story in her head and act out a scene of grave importance, it didn’t matter that it was dinner time and her family was staring at her blankly. (FYI – kids who do this are super cute…except when it is bed time or when trying to go anywhere on time).

This girl grew into a woman. A loud (yes, still loud), clumsy (it actually got worse) and extremely principled (no…not stubborn, principled) woman.

The woman moved to France and in doing so was forced to learn a new skill; the ability to survive in an environment where she was first and foremost a woman, a characteristic that redefined all of her other qualities in the eyes of those around her.

As luck would have it though, she met a French man, the perfect man for her. He was a man who liked to cook delicious food, a man who did laundry and dishes, a man who loved to spend time with his children. This man is probably the reason the woman did not end up in prison for inflicting violence on the ass-backwards sexist dillholes she encountered on a near daily basis or against the kind-hearted lovely gentlemen who were never properly educated to see a woman as an equal.

This woman tried for years to move the world around her in a direction where she could just be herself, and failed miserably on many occasions. But she never gave up hope and never stopped trying. She changed tactics, perhaps learned to be more discreet and less bulldozer-y, but she never gave up.

Then one day, she tried again, she dove down deep inside her to build up the courage to say something that might cause ripples. She asked quite simply to be treated equally to all the men around her; she asked for a handshake; she asked to avoid the physical invasion of her personal space that is the custom in France, “the bise”.

She asked quite simply for the right to choose those with whom she was intimate rather than have intimacy forced upon her. She asked to not start the day, the meeting, or whatever with being reminded that she was different, not equal, separate, apart.

In the grand scheme of things, she asked for something that has absolutely no cost, but provides infinite value. She asked for something small, inconsequential really, and this tiny infinitesimal request was met with shock. SHOCK?!?! Not shock because the gentleman suddenly came to the life altering realisation that OF COURSE setting women apart and invading their personal space in a professional environment could potentially make a woman feel uncomfortable. It was more closer to shock that a woman could dare to break protocol, shock that in civil society a woman could dare to challenge centuries old etiquette.

After the stunned silence, the moment passed and life went on..possibly more easily because while this woman may be a woman, she was also a Canadian, and they know nothing of etiquette.

Random act of kindness, again!

So, since accusing my dear friend of trying to kill me well over a year ago now, I have started to actually enjoy running. In February for example, I ran a total of 39.5 km (thank you smart phone and running app, seriously, how did people run back when they had to use an actual paper map to find out how far they ran). I fully realise that in a month, I still ran less than a few of my friends do in a few hours when they run their “marathons”, and it took me WAY longer, but whatever, that’s pretty awesome for someone who thought running = death not so long ago.

Today, I went for a long run, which in my world meant 11 km, which is the longest I have ever run in one go. Yes I got lost, but that’s not why I ran so far, I would have run just as far not getting lost, but it would have been WAY more boring.

In any case, just as I was finishing up km 9, I was half way up a killer hill, trying to give myself the force to keep going, and a random dude out washing his car lifted his head and said “Bravo”.

I don’t know if he knew how much I was suffering at that point, I mean I wasn’t hiding it, I was dripping with sweat, my face was probably a solid cherry colour and plastered with an expression of pure pain and suffering, but still, maybe he didn’t know. But man, THAT was exactly what I needed to keep going. A smile broke across my face, I thanked him, and I even found a little left over energy to speed up a bit (and before anyone even thinks to comment, it was not a young little hotty , it was a middle-aged, slightly over-weight kind gentleman who took pity on a struggling wannabe athlete).

I gracefully (at least that is what I choose to think I look like when I’m jogging) finished my last 2 km, drank 2 liters of orange juice mixed with water (see Dad, I do listen to you), and stretched for nearly 40 minutes. I didn’t necessarily need to stretch for that long, but I was a little terrified that if I sat down, I may cease to be able to get back up again (Barney running a marathon anyone?).

In any case, thank you random dude for your kindness, and I’d also like to thank a dear friend who is doing this insanity tomorrow for giving me the willpower to run 11 km…in  a row…without stopping (okay, I stopped once to look at a map, I got really lost).

 

 

 

Too much TV?

When I sit down to spend some time in front of the TV, the purpose is quite clear, I want to relax or zone out or just wash the day off. I do not want to think, learn, discover or spend any energy whatsoever. As such, my taste in television programming is quite simple, it must be pointless (this is the most important characteristic), it must be funny, it must not contain any moral lessons, it must not make me feel a single emotion and it must be, well, entertaining. If it gives me hope that good will conquer over evil as well, I’ll allow it.

So, what fits into that criteria?

A lot of really stupid shows, a few sit-coms and a few silly crime shows (not serious crime shows like CSI or extra stupid crime shows like CSI Miami..seriously, when I heard the phrase “He’s got a pulse, quick give him CPR” I gave up on that one completely).

Right now, the crime TV  has taken over (Castle…it’s only Castle) and Hubby and I have been watching that quite frequently. But I’ve started to notice a few small side effects to this genre.

First, when I go to the beach (in February…yeah that’s right family, you are suffering through -27C and 40cm of snow and I’m at the beach), and there is something floating in the water, my first thought is “dead body” rather than “drift wood”.

Or, when I am at a childrens park with my kids and I see something hanging in a tree, my first thought is “dead body” rather than “some kids lost sweater”.

Basically, with my poor eyes, everything I can’t see clearly at first sight is “dead body”.

Second, when I’m out jogging and I hear gun shots (these were actual gunshots not my overzealous imagination; some dumbass hunter was a little too close to our park), my first thought is that if I get hit with a stray bullet, I’d better send a text message to my husband to tell him asap what happened so that when the hunters come to “cover up” their mistake and kill me and then hide the body, Hubby knows to keep digging.

I may be going out on a limb here saying that that may not be what typical people call normal thoughts.

Third, I’m now suspicious of everything, and I mean everything…nothing is what it seems, everyone is lying and it’s all just a big conspiracy. I’m also terrified of ever being alone and having no alibi for whatever crime someone is going to frame me for. It’s exhausting living in this constant state of fear. Also, just to please O, when I went to bed last night, there was something scary creeping along in the hallway, and I started to freak out so Hubby turned on the light (smart man) and it turned out to be a fly.

So with all these insights, changes in my mental state, and complete exhaustion from living in a constant state of fear, will I stop watching crime TV? Probably not, Castle is a really good show.

 

Seriously????

I often have a lot of words to say regarding the drivers with whom I share the streets around here.
I sometimes want to ask them why they think 1 minute (and sometimes even 10 seconds) of their life is so much more important than my or my child’s entire existence. I mean seriously, is it necessary to speed up at a cross walk to get through it before we start to cross? Is it necessary to drive 70km/h in a school zone?

I sometimes want to find out why motorcyclists think it’s a good idea to hang out in my blind spot, or why the cars behind me think that if they drive on my bumper I might go faster. It’s a 30 people, and it’s probably a 30 for a reason..hey look, there is a children’s playground.

I sometimes want to know why they think they are the only ones to notice there is a traffic jam, and why they think honking is going to help? Honking is for safety dudes, the horn was not installed to communicate your angry feelings at the world.

I have lots of words, that sometimes I unfortunately say out loud, triggering a lot of questions from the back seat (don’t worry Hubby, it’s nothing profane).

But sometimes I am left without words…because I cannot contemplate the beginning of a question to understand what goes through people’s minds.

Im promtu traffic jam this morning.

Im promtu traffic jam this morning.

Thank goodness my children’s care givers don’t speak English

Spring holidays were over this morning and they went out in style. When I left the house at 7:50, both kids were barely awake and both were still in their pyjamas (knowing they need to leave the house at roughly 8:10).

My kids spent last week with their father visiting their grandparents, which was pretty much a complete and total holiday for me. I had forgotten what it was like to only have to care for myself. I could take a shower without any kids telling me they want food…now, and I could go to bed at night without fear of a little voice waking me up at 3 am because she can’t find her soother in her bed (in fairness to the cute voice, it had fallen out of the bed and I didn’t find it myself until the sun was up). I got up 30 minutes later and drank my coffee sitting down; I could watch the entire set of Harry Potter movies in a single week, because I didn’t have to wait for the kids to be in bed before starting it; I was able to paint the terrace furniture without fear of having paint on child hands and therefore all over the couch, wall, beds, counters etc.

That said, I was quite glad to have their voices fill the apartment again. I was thrilled to get cuddles and kisses. In particularly I was happy to hear my daughters voice. She is learning new words and new phrases at an alarming rate and in the four days that she was gone, I felt that she grew by months.

She also insists on singing her whole life. Sometimes she sings actual songs, like the alphabet song (emenelopy), or some random French song she heard once at a play group. Sometimes she just sings her life, such as “I’m sitting on the toilet and my underwear is pink”.

Yesterday, she suddenly started singing “I’m freaky baby, yes yes” and I am pretty sure my eyes popped out of my head. Naturally she noticed this reaction, I wasn’t quick enough to control my face, so she sang it over and over again trying to get another reaction. I held it together, I didn’t react again until she started the highly inappropriate dance moves, then I burst out laughing. I managed to convince the kids I was laughing at something completely unrelated that I saw out the window; my son was most unhappy he missed seeing whatever was so funny and went on about it for like 15 minutes.

In the end, I tried to ignore it, cursed Pitbull under my breathe and thanked the heavens that my children’s care givers don’t understand English.

ASIDE: I also learned I need to pay much closer attention to all media that reach my children, radio, iPads, T.V., everything.

Living with a three year old again

After one year, one month, two weeks and one day, I am living with a three year old again. I am also starting to remember what living with a three year old was like the first time around and what motivated me to start venting on the internet nearly two years ago.

Three year olds love random, useless controversy

While sitting in the car going who knows where, a police car drove by us. The 3 year old said (This isn’t verbatim, because it is translated, but it gives the gist of it), “Oh look, a police car, it says pinponpinponpinpon.”

The five year old replied, “No it doesn’t, it says weeooweeoooweeooweeoo”

The three year old disagreed and the two of them had a very heated argument that lasted quite awhile and consisted of mostly very annoying and very loud noises.

While the five year old is going through an I-always-need-to-be-right phase, the three year old is just stirring the pot to piss off her brother and get him all worked up.

Three year olds are stubborn

We came back from Canada on Saturday; the travel and trip were without incident, but naturally the jet lag is less than stellar. We are coping better than usual, but are still insanely tired. The kids have been having frequent crying fits and mild melt downs. Last night the three year old wanted grape juice at dinner, I wanted her to have water. She cried, she screamed, she tried to convince me to change my mind (apparently 30 year olds…okay fine 35 year olds are stubborn too). Finally I asked her if she wanted to go lie in her bed; it wasn’t a threat or punishment, she just really likes to go to bed. Thrice during our trip in Canada she put herself to bed because she was tired. She accepted my offer to go to bed, and promptly fell asleep.

This morning she woke up in great spirits with a great big huge grin across her face. She walked right up to me and said, “I’m drinky, can I have some grape juice please?” (that was verbatim, the kid loves to speak English now after two weeks with the anglophones – especially the super cute anglos who say drinky).

Three year olds mix up language in the greatest ways

The three year olds favourite expression right now is “I love you flat out” (translated), basically, she loves me as fast as she can. Which is pretty fricking cute.

When we got to my dads house, I pulled out a bin of My Little Ponies, which are the shit right now in our house. The three year old rummaged through the bin, ignoring the ponies and pulled out two Barbies from the bottom. She then spent the remainder of our trip in Canada carrying them around everywhere with her calling them her “bandits”.

Three year olds are awesome

The three year old is full of life and energy, she already knows how to charm the wits out of any adult, and she is so much fun. She speaks, with excellent sentences filled with French and English. She expresses herself strongly and is not afraid to show her emotions with all the energy with which she feels them.

She is bright and curious, adores her big brother and is very into cuddling.

She also sleeps through the night (score), she can feed herself and only like 30% ends up all over her face and in her lap. She can dress herself and only gets stuck in her clothes like half the time. She can entertain herself for extended periods of time (score score score) and can sit to watch an entire movie (extra score when on an airplane).

All in all, I’m not afraid of the next year of living with this three year old and I can’t wait to see what she will be in 365 days.

This is a story

This is a story about a girl who was about to lose her mind. She went to her best friend the internet to find a way to stay on the non-institutionalized side of the crazy line.

In the cover of darkness, she started her blog and told no one. She didn’t know what she would write about, but knew she had very little faith in herself to stick to it. After all she gave her blog a time-bound name (seriously, living with a three year would only be valid for at most a year, well two but not consecutively).

She hoped her blog she would go viral and the world would pay her to write for a living. Instead, she discovered (or was reminded) she didn’t know the basics of English grammar and she was adept only at writing about nothing, or more accurately, she had nothing to write about.

In the real world, she was negative, and judgmental, but in the blog world, she was that with a dash of humour. Okay, I’m freaking hilarious in the real world too, so actually, my, uhhh, her blog personality was pretty much spot on.

In an unprecedented manner, she stuck with her blog, making new friends along the way. Well, she made blog friends; those kind souls who liked her posts, and she liked theirs, but they never actually spoke, in fact she doesn’t know any of their real names, but whatever, they are kindred spirits.

She learned more than she ever thought possible , about herself, about her family, about how she sees the world, and she had found a way to escape the “real world” by taking a look at other people’s real worlds. Finding like minded individuals was amazing and comforting and reassuring, but the unexpected score of finding completely unlike minded individuals was just as great.

Now, one year later, she is sane-esque and her blog is still there. The name is now a lie, but it doesn’t matter, the spirit of managing a full time job, two small children, an awesome husband, and the rest of world without going bananas is still real.* She still writes under the cover of darkness, but it is not because of shyness or fear anymore, it is because it is impossible to get anything done while the kids are awake.

This girl’s story continues into its second year and blogging is no longer an attempt at anything, no riches, no miracle drug against crazy (the emotion, not the child), it’s just something she does, like reading, or watching T.V., often instead of sleeping.

The end! The Middle.

* I will be spending the next few weeks analyzing the order of those items and will jot that down as a subject for a future therapy session.