Posts Tagged With: motherhood

I’m going to stop

For a long time, I didn’t watch the news.

For a long time before that, I did. It was the 10 or 11 o’clock precursor to bedtime. It meant the end of the day; time to see what had happened in the world, in the country, in the neighbourhood. Then, a few years ago, I had a baby. I think that’s when I first stopped watching the news — new baby, no sleep, oddly timed feedings/pumpings, etc., etc. Then when I tried to go back to it I could no longer stomach it. It was bad news most of the time and it really stressed me out. So I stopped.

I did alright without watching the news. If there was something big happening I was sure to hear about it anyway, whether it was on the radio in the car, in the schoolyard, or on the tv at McDonald’s. HardWorker still watched the all-day headline broadcast channel before she left for work or before bed, ostensibly to check the weather or the traffic. Whatever I did happen to see annoyed me no end and it wasn’t just the content. Not a single commentator seemed able to read the sheets that were in front of them without stumbling over names, dates, locations, or the basic tenets of the english language. They make me crazy. I try to stay away from it if at all possible.

I found I was able to stay fairly stress free (news-wise) and life was good. Facebook was something I had discovered and joined years ago (after abandoning my mySpace page) and I enjoyed keeping up with family and friends from around the globe. New babies, vacation pictures, familial losses, even making new friends; it was all at my fingertips. I even joked with other school parents at SCC meetings that if the news wasn’t accompanied by kitten videos on Huffington Post it meant nothing to me. Then it all changed. People started regarding the Huffington Post as a real “newspaper”. The major networks all have Facebook pages, as do all of their regional stations. All the Posts and Times and Gazettes are there as are numerous weekly or monthly magazines. People quote Twitter on their FB pages and link to just about everything that gets published anywhere. It’s too much. Too much to read. Too much to follow. Too much to click through.

It’s too much. Sensory overload. And let me tell you, I barely link any of my accounts, I don’t check my mail every hour, and I’m only on Twitter about once a week. I HAVE A FLIP-PHONE. That’s right. I HAVE A FLIP-PHONE. I do not receive badges, banners, or updates; do not get pinged every time a new e-mail comes in; no swish or chirp when someone tweets something. It doesn’t seem to matter. When I do check Facebook there is invariably some new horrible thing that is being shared by everyone I know. When Hardworker comes home and asks, “Did you hear about …?” I have to say that I did. Whether I wanted to know about it or not. Apparently we no longer have the option of not watching the news.

Well, folks, I’m taking it back. I’m going to stop watching. Stop reading. Stop scrolling. Stop clicking through links. I’m going to stop. I know that some people will think this is no way to live in this day and age. They will call me names and tell me I’m part of the problem. I’m telling you this is the only way to live in this day and age. If I don’t stop I won’t survive.

So yeah, I’m going to stop.

 

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Categories: family, friendship, media, NaBloPoMo, NaNoPoblano, Uncategorized, words | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

new year

As the new school year fast approaches (tomorrow!!) I see all sorts of “advice” or “rules” posts and articles that people have written for their children. Some are gender specific, some are grade specific, some are neither. Mine is BoyGenius specific. You might find some nuggets of wisdom in it, you might not.

My dear son, as you start this next chapter in your academic life as you head into grade 5 (seriously!??!) there are some things I want to tell you; some things you need to know. Guess what —- they are not much different than the things I told you at the start of last year, or even throughout grade 4, or 3. Take them to heart, or at least try to remember little snippets of them now and again:

  • don’t be afraid to be smart; don’t be afraid to let your smarts show
  • be respectful of others; friends, teachers, administrators, coaches
  • have fun — in the classroom, on the playground, at lunch
  • don’t let your smarts or the silliness and fun get in the way of learning
  • try not to be too frustrated when you realize that others don’t know the things you do or don’t think the way you do
  • don’t be rude
  • try to keep focused on the task at hand — if you can’t, then try to figure out why and if there is something you can do to make it better; if you need help with your focus, don’t be afraid to ask
  • stay true to yourself; you are a sweet sensitive boy with a fantastic understanding of “fairness” — please don’t give that up, as hard and as heartbreaking as it may seem to hold onto
  • come to me; remember that you can tell me anything and I won’t ever love you any less
  • if something is keeping you from learning and/or doing your best let your teacher know; if it’s the teacher, let the Mama know; marks and grades are far less important to me than you might think — you learning and loving it much more so
  • eat all of your lunch
  • write as neatly as you can
  • if you are bored please tell someone other than your friends, like me or Mommy or your teacher
  • you have every right to question anything you are being taught; please just remember to be polite and respectful when you do so, especially if pointing out mistakes or misinformation to your teacher
  • remember, Mama welcomes the dreaded “note home” from the teacher so never let that scare you
  • you and I together, kiddo, are a force worth reckoning with; I will advocate for you until the cows come home — maybe even after that — probably, yeah
  • practice your times table
  • if something or someone makes you feel uncomfortable, walk away; don’t let people suck you into doing stupid things — we’ve talked about this, remember? (Mike Hunt is not a real person. My apologies to all of the real Mike Hunts out there.)
  • keep climbing trees
  • I love you, so does Mommy
keep climbing, baby!

keep climbing, baby!

Wow, that turned out to be a long list, a lot of advice. Like I said, at least try to remember snippets of it here and there. Sure, it’s all important, but if you have this list then you don’t need to memorize it. Neither do I.

(I reserve the right to modify, expand or shrink this list at any time now or in the future, in perpetuity and forever, to infinity and beyond.)

Categories: family, parenting, Uncategorized, words | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

love, and circles

I wrote this in December 2013. For some reason I never published it. Maybe I thought it wasn’t finished. Maybe I just forgot. Maybe Christmas happened and who knows what else. I read it today, and I liked it. Just the way it is. I don’t know. Maybe I’ve got circles of friendship on my mind.

***********************************************************

 

I am sick. It started with a feeling of just not being well, that achyness that comes with a fever. BoyGenius has had a cough for over a week already, but we had managed to avoid the stomach bug that had hit our and other area schools very heavily in the last three weeks, so I felt lucky to only be getting a cold. Ha! Within 12 hours I had such a cough that I was sure I had dislocated at least 6 ribs. Then the coughing sent my stomach into spasms and I was throwing up 2-3 times a day. BoyGenius’ cough became a bit more prevalent, then his whole thing morphed into more of a standard runny-nosed cold.

This journey began on Wednesday evening for me and I think today is Saturday. This afternoon I started having sneezing fits, dizziness, and excess tension in my jaw. But hey, my ribs are much better!

I don’t mind the whole cold/virus thing. Really. I drug myself up, use the neti pot and the peppermint oil, drink plenty of fluids, nap, watch movies with the boy and wait it out. Usually. But it’s, what, 4 days ’til Christmas? I was going to head up north to bring my mother down to our house on Thursday. Then Friday. Hasn’t happened yet. Cleaning the house in anticipation of her arrival hasn’t been finished yet, either. Oops.

There has been much couch-laying. There has been very little cooking. There has been even less cleaning. There has, however, been time to peruse e-mail and facebook. There have been lovely posts and messages from friends far and wide, new and old. There has been love, and there have been circles.

Circles? Yeah, circles. You know, people used the term “circle of friends” long before those Mexican folk-art candle holders became popular. Way back before they had “networks” they navigated. Circles are cool. I have many different circles of friends. Some of them are old (and even broken) like Stonehenge. Some are like satellites orbiting around a centre. Some are unexplained like crop circles. Some overlap in areas like venn diagrams. Some are loops, hoops or bangles, linked like chains or singular like in carnival ring-toss games.

Whatever they look like, you know what these circles do? They link us together. They carry us — our similarities, our differences, our likes and our dislikes, and most importantly, our feelings — so that we can share our lives, our loves and our hardships with one another. They let love spread out like ripples (hey, those are circles, too) and when my ripple circles meet your ripple circles they intermingle and can even send brand new ripples even further out.

Categories: family, friendship, parenting, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

wisdom on a tuesday

I don’t often do this, but I am sharing a blog post I read over at Renegade Mothering. It’s important, it’s real and it’s something you should share with your friends. It’s brilliant, really. I get it. I think you’ll get it.

Oh, and, it made me cry. And laugh, too. Give it a look and tell me what you think.

 

The No-Bullshit, No-Drama, Friendship Manifesto

 

Thanks for reading.

Categories: friendship, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

“it hurts”

“It hurts!” BoyGenius is holding his head, crying, sitting in front of the toilet, and between sobs he’s wailing “it hurts.” In his wretched, pitiful little voice I hear myself at the same age and I feel as helpless as my mother must have felt back then.

BoyGenius went up to bed at 9pm and awakes around 12:30am, the night leading up to Mothers’ Day, with a migraine. I can’t actually do anything to help him. Oh, I try. I give him a gravol and an ibuprofen even though I know it’s too late for them to help. I give him a cold washcloth and do most of the holding of it as it rests on his forehead. I tie his hair back into a loose ponytail so it doesn’t get covered in the vomit that will inevitably come. I murmur “I know, baby, I know,” as if hearing that between his own “it hurts” will be of some comfort.

And it’s true. I know. I have migraines. They started when I was about 7 or 8. BoyGenius’ started when he was 6 or 7. He got them from me. I got them from my dad. Dad got them from his mother. I don’t know which of her parents my grandmother got them from. My brothers were mostly spared, SkinnyGuy not really having any and BlueEyes suffering only once or twice. My cousins from my dad’s side got off scott-free, but their kids managed to keep the generational hand-me-down going.

But I digress. I manage to convince my little bundle of misery that we should move to the bed; it’ll be much more comfortable than the bathroom floor and I’ll have a bucket handy for the vomit that will inevitably come. I try to get him to lay still but he keeps twisting back and forth holding his head tight and sobbing. “It hurts. Oh. Owwwww. It hurts.” At one point he’s knocking on his head with his knuckles and I’m almost ready to take him to the ER. Then the inevitable happens. It comes in waves, with head pounding the whole time, 5 minute breaks in between, head still pounding for the most part. About half an hour into it the ibuprofen comes up, still a perfect little caplet form. I try to give him the benefit of my 40 years of experience with this beast and get some ginger ale into him. He doesn’t yet understand that the throwing up doesn’t stop just because your stomach’s empty. Doesn’t yet know that ginger ale coming up and out tastes infinitely better than bile. He also doesn’t know that those little breaks in the throwing up are a particularly cruel joke. You just about manage to doze off. There seems to be a lull in the pounding, even. Maybe it’s over. You open your eyes or move a toe or just blink. BLAM! Jackhammer starts and you better sit up quick ’cause here it comes again.

At about 1:15am he bolts up and heads to the bathroom. I take off after him and see that he’s sitting on the toilet. I put the bucket beside him and rewet the facecloth so it’s nice and cold. I notice he’s falling asleep, trying to rest his head against the seat lid behind him. He drifts off for a few seconds but that heavy-head-jerk (you know the one) wakes him back up. He takes the washcloth and wedges it between the base of his skull and toilet seat lid as a kind of pillow and catches a few winks. I ask every once in awhile if he’s ready to go back to bed but he keeps saying no. I talk him into believing he’s done on the toilet and direct him back to the bedroom. The bucket is still handy but I know that if he’s been able to get off the bed and into the bathroom and back to bed without having to throw up then that part’s over.

His little body is exhausted. He says his head still hurts but I can tell that even that is subsiding. He’s no longer rocking back and forth in agony. He’s able to close his eyes peacefully, no longer squeezing them shut against the pain. For this I am thankful. I breathe a little easier. I have been through this all before, from both sides, and I know that I will be here again. I know that I will feel just as helpless the next time a migraine makes itself at home in my house; less so if it’s my turn.

As I sit beside BoyGenius in the wee early hours of Mothers’ Day, watching over him, waiting to hear deep, even breaths replace the ragged, raspy ones from earlier I can’t help but think of Sheila and Kate, two moms whose blogs I read/follow, who have known much greater anguish than what I have gone through tonight. I don’t know them personally, face to face, but I know their stories. I send love and strength out through the universe to both of them.

It’s Mothers’ Day. BoyGenius gets up at about 7:30am. He tells me he’s fine, heads downstairs and lets me sleep. Life is good. I am thankful. Again. And again.

Categories: family, parenting, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

birthdays

How special are birthdays to you? How long do your celebrations last? The thought of birthdays has been on my mind lately since so many of my friends and family have October birthdays. Best month of the year!

I like to celebrate for about a week. It’s only fair, sometimes my birthday falls in the middle of the week. Hard to go for dinner and drinks on a school night. I like the idea of getting together with friends and having a night out. Other than that, I don’t make too big a deal. Except for the fact that it’s my birthday. And it goes on for at least a week.

I told my mother last week not to worry that she hadn’t posted her card for me yet. That it didn’t matter if it got here on time. She begged to differ. She says it’s one of the most special days there is; after all, it’s the day she had her only daughter. From a parental point of view I get it. I understand what she’s saying. I feel the same way about BoyGenius’ birthday. He deserves to know that his birthday, the day he was born, was the best day of my life.

When it comes to my own birthday I don’t care so much. It’s no big deal. HardWorker and I decided a long time ago that we wouldn’t buy each other gifts because a) we usually buy ourselves what we want when we want it and 2) we don’t really know for sure what we would get because a) … and so on and so on. My brother SkinnyGuy used to bring me a cake at work. My brother BlueEyes used to be away a lot (flight attendant) but he would make a big deal when he came back: snacks from Japan, wine & chocolate from Germany, sweaters from Peru. My mom and dad would mail cookies to the office. That’s right. I was special. I am special.

feel the love!

So anyway, tomorrow is my birthday. I’ll be another year older but that’s a good thing (just think of the alternative!). I’ve got things I hope to accomplish in my new year. Some of them will need to be addressed this month still/already. I won’t feel any older, I don’t know if I’ll feel any wiser; but I will be glad I’m here, able to share another year with my son, my partner, my mother, my brother, my cousins and their children and grandchildren, my childhood friends, my work friends, my new friends, all their children, my online friends & their children, and all the friends I have yet to meet; allowed to enjoy the sights and sounds of the world around me; gifted with the privilege of feeling the love and joy that I have to offer bubble up inside me and vibrate out to the universe.

Categories: family, friendship | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

conversations?

Conversations in my head
Discussing things we’ve never said

Do you have conversations in your head? Are they conversations with yourself? Mine aren’t. Not usually anyway. They are actual conversations with other, real, people. People that I never seem to find the time to actually talk to. Sometimes they are rehashing snippets of conversations we have had, or started and didn’t finish. Sometimes I like them, sometimes I don’t. I get to say the things I want to say, without worrying about time constraints or little ears listening in from around the corner. The other half of the discussion doesn’t always go as I would hope. Truly. I don’t have them just say the things I want to hear. Well, okay, sometimes I do, but sometimes I am my own worst enemy playing devil’s advocate.

My biggest problem with conversations in my head is that when I actually see the person I’ve been “talking” to I can’t remember if we’ve already discussed something or not. It drives me nuts .. more nuts than I already am. The conversations in my head aren’t helpful and are a huge waste of time. Sometimes I write in my head as well. And that doesn’t work out either. Not really. There are always things that pop into my head and I know I should write it down or type it out because when I try to do it later I won’t remember what it was or exactly how I worded it. But the problem with that, of course, is that I’d be jotting stuff down all day and be getting nowhere at all with my list of chores.

How do people with children, with families, ever get to have real conversations with other people? It’s not the idle chit-chat at the grocery store or in the drive-thru. I don’t mean about what to make for dinner or how many bags of yard waste you gathered and put to the curb on the weekend. I mean a real, heart-to-heart, “these are my hopes and dreams” conversation. The kind of thing you have a best friend (or maybe a spouse) for. If  you can’t even find the time, let alone the right time, to talk to the one person that you can talk to about this stuff — then what?

Conversations in my head
Discussing things we’ve never said

Categories: Uncategorized, words | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

what if I’m wrong?

What if I really don’t know what I’m doing? Am I a good mother, a good parent? Am I giving BoyGenius everything he needs to get by in life, to survive, to thrive, to become a sensitive, caring adult?

I try to give him what I think is right, to teach him how to behave, how to think for himself. I think I’m allowing his self-confidence to grow while holding him tight enough to still feel connected. Every once in awhile I wonder if I’m doing the right thing(s).

Should I be cutting the crusts off of BoyGenius’ sandwiches or should I be making him eat them? Should I leave the mushrooms or the stuffing off of his plate because I know he doesn’t like them or should I keep serving him everything we have even though I know he’s not going to eat it?

Is it wrong that BoyGenius watched Irish movies with me (“they sure say ‘fook’ a lot!”) when he was 3 or 4? Should Scott Pilgrim vs. the World have become his favourite movie at age 6? How do I know? Does he know there are ‘bad’ words? Yes. Does he use them? No. Is it wrong that BoyGenius tried to explain the facts of life to his school friend at age 4 (“isn’t that right Mama, the girl has the seed and the boy has the egg?”)? Sure, he was a little mixed up but boy was I ever proud of him for being on the right track!

Are HardWorker and I giving him the best home, the best family? Is it right that I’m not working? Should our home be immaculate? Does he have too much stuff, too many toys? Is he eating enough fruit and veg; too much cheese? Does he drink enough milk? Should he be outside more? Is it wrong to let him play at the park every day after school? Do we stay too long or not long enough? Are we eating too late because we stayed at the park or went to a friend’s house? Should dinner be ready every day at 5pm even though HardWorker doesn’t make it home until 6:30 or later? Should I wait and start dinner when we’re all here? Does consistent bedtime leave room for any negotiation or is it a hard and fast line?

Should I be at the school more or less? Do I know my child well enough to know which teacher will give him the best opportunity for learning? I think so. Should I be ensuring that he gets placed with that teacher or should I always wait and see and let him tough it out if it’s not a good fit? (Having been through a horrendous time in grade 1 I know what my answer to this is.)

… yes, he actually IS sitting on a twig …

BoyGenius has broken his arm 1-2 times (depends on which Dr and which x-ray you see). Should I stop him from jumping off the swings or should I demonstrate the proper take-off and landing techniques? Is there anything wrong with letting him climb trees? I know he sits on tiny little branches that look like they won’t hold a squirrel let alone a 60+ pound boy but he rocks that perch like it’s a lounge chair! He climbs the soccer goals (sans nets) on the local field and then shimmies along the cross bar and back, then hangs upside down and waves before flipping back up and sliding down using a combination koala grip/firefighter style. Just about every time we pass the baseball diamond in the schoolyard he’s climbed up to the top of the backstop in a matter of seconds. “How does he get up there?” “Is he allowed to climb up there?” “Why do you let him do that?” “What if he falls?” These are questions from kids; the parents just shake their heads. If I ask him not to go too near the edge where the fencing is loose, he listens. If I ask him not to attempt the open crossing between the top of the backstop and the neighbouring fence he listens … most of the time. Mostly what I tell him is to be careful. He is. What I told him originally was “go ahead and climb, pretty soon your feet won’t fit in the chain link and you won’t be able to get a grip.” Was that not the right thing to do?

Is it okay to let him grow his hair long or not? Does it matter that he mismatches his socks on purpose (but has a method to it)? Should I care that he likes to wear his shirts inside out every once in awhile? Does the fact that I let him do all of these things make me a good parent or a bad one? We never wore our clothes inside out … we probably would have been told not to, but I don’t believe the thought ever occurred to us in the first place. We climbed trees. We jumped off swings (when we weren’t hanging upside down from them). Were my parents good parents? Looking back, I’d say yes and I’d say it wholeheartedly without hesitation. Did I ever give it any thought when I was a child? No. Did we fight with them because they didn’t let us do things? No. Did we ever question whether they knew what they were doing? No. Did they ever question if they were doing the right thing(s)? I don’t know. They didn’t ever seem unsure or confused. I’ll have to ask my mom about it sometime.

BoyGenius is a caring, sensitive, loving child. He isn’t just smart, he’s clever and witty and sometimes eerily aware of things I don’t think he could possibly know. He scares me. Well, I don’t know if that’s quite right; his future scares me. What if I make the wrong decision about letting him stay at a birthday party by himself? What if he loses his grip while sliding down the banister? What if I’m not teaching him the right things? What happens when he gets picked on for having two moms instead of everyone thinking it’s cool? Who am I to have made that decision about having a baby? What if something happens to me? Should he know that I get scared, get sad sometimes? Or should he think that I have all the answers? Should I be teaching him to love fully and completely and unconditionally even if it hurts? Or should I teach him to protect his heart?

What if I get it wrong? What if I’ve been wrong all along?

Categories: parenting | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

the needle shot

The needle shot. That’s BoyGenius’ term for the euthanasia of our cats. He has been through 3 needle shots in the last 4 or 5 years and now we are facing our latest. Schmu (short for Schmusekatze … or snuggle cat) is just shy of 19 yrs and is rapidly slowly approaching the end of her beautiful life. She’s been a great cat, still is, really.

Schmu and her magnificent tail.

Schmu has been with me since she was about 4 weeks old, having been left on a co-worker’s front porch with no note, no blanket, no family history .. just a small cardboard box. One of “my” cats (that’s a whole ‘nother story) had recently had a litter and we were just at the end of getting her 6 kittens adopted to good homes, so I said ‘sure, I’ll take her,’ when another co-worker who was going to take this little orange fluff-ball in was unable as he was about to jet off on vacation. She arrived, Minou sniffed her a tiny bit, figured she was good enough and promptly allowed Schmu to nurse. Schmu got a mom and Minou got a little extra time to feel needed.

This little orange baby soon became everyone’s darling. She has been a “neighbourhood” cat everywhere we have lived, with many people offering to keep her whenever we moved. She has twice, in two cities, been christened Buttercup by little girls who fell in love with her. She knew my very first cat ever, Schnucki, and my brother BlueEyes. Schmu crawled up my mother’s arm and curled around her neck for a nap while my family was celebrating my 29th birthday, the last one I would have with BlueEyes. My mom has never really been a cat person, but gets along just fine with Schmu.

When Hardworker and I moved to our present town, into our current house, Schmu ingratiated herself to the neighbours (almost all of them). She would head into one neighbour’s garage and wind herself around his legs while he worked on his table saw, finishing one project or another. He was amazed that she wasn’t frightened off. She would terrorize this same neighbour’s cat every morning at 5:30 by sitting outside and taunting staring at this big mean indoor cat (we wondered for years just what meeting she was late to every morning!); she did head into their house a couple of times, just to see how far she could take it. One Monday afternoon while I was on the phone with my mom, there was a knock at the door. An elderly couple stood on my front step; the little old lady had Schmu in her arms. “Is this your cat? .. The neighbours at the end of the street said she lived here.” We had been away for the weekend and Schmu had refused to come in before we left. Upon our return on Sunday evening, we were a little bit surprised, but not overly concerned when she didn’t come running home right away. Apparently, she had been with this couple, around the corner from us, all weekend. She visited them often, they said, and had her own little spot in their living room. They were very happy as they had fairly recently lost both of their elderly cats. Schmu kept checking in with them for the next year or so, until the wife had died and the husband sold their house. When I was working and commuting by public transit Schmu would walk me to the bus stop on the corner of our street every morning. Remarkably (or not so much for her) she would be waiting at the same corner every evening when I got off my bus from the train station. I thought it was so sweet how she knew when I would be home and that she would come meet my bus. “She must really love me and miss me terribly,” I thought. One day I drove to the train station instead of taking the bus. As I pulled up to the house somewhat earlier than my usual arrival time, Schmu came walking down the driveway, meowing her apparent irritation at my untimely appearance. By the time I had gotten out of the car, she was gone. I looked around, and saw a woman petting her and chatting with her at the end of the driveway. “Is this your cat?” she asked. I said yes, and told the woman her name. “She’s so sweet,” she said. “She meets my bus every afternoon and walks me home.” So much for my ego.

a boy and his cat

When BoyGenius was a couple of months old, I walked into the master bedroom one day and noticed an odd smell. Not a good one. A little investigation led me to the cats sleeping on the bed and a little further checking revealed a large open sore at the base of Schmu’s tail, on the underside. She hadn’t said a word. I took her to the vet and in my post-pregnancy hormonal haze listened while the vet explained that the best option was to amputate her tail, load her up with antibiotics and hope for the best. Or we could always leave the tail, do the rest and hope for the best. Problem being that where the injury was, there isn’t any flesh to fill in, just skin and it was long gone. I cried, I called HardWorker and cried some more. “She loves her tail, she plays with it all the time!” We have open-riser stairs and Schmu would lay on a step, curl her tail around from the back and act surprised when the tip of it showed up in front of her, then proceed to chase it around and around. Without ever falling. (Our boy cat Riley could never master this .. he came up from the basement in embarrassment a few times, having fallen through the upper stairs.) The tail came off, she was fine. She got a new “bad” rep in the neighbourhood — ‘don’t mess with her, she gave up her tail to survive!’

For a few months now she has been yelling at us instead of meowing. Deaf as a post. She can’t even seem to feel the vibrations of our footsteps anymore. She still gets up (and gets us up) in the wee hours of the morning, wanting “breakfast” and to get outside. Breakfast is in quotes because she won’t eat more than the tip of a forkful of wet food at a time .. if you put more in her bowl it just goes to waste even when she returns to it in a matter of seconds. She won’t touch it again. She loves her treats but it’s the same story: if you put too many out they will sit and sit … until you pretend to be putting new ones out while you’re just re-piling the leftovers. She can only pick the treats up off the carpet, not from a dish or the tile floor. She cannot sit comfortably, walks very stiffly and loses her balance quickly if she shakes her head. She will no longer allow us to brush her (something she used to love) and is unable to groom herself properly so her lovely soft fur is matted in clumps, which she will pull off and eat. She wants to go out, steps outside and turns right around, crying at the door to come in.  Once in she looks around, wonders how she got there and turns to go back out, then starts the entire process again. She has started to miss the litter box every now and then, or just ignore it completely sometimes.

It has taken me months to make the call. I have an appointment tomorrow at 5pm. My heart is heavy and my head hurts.

all images in this post are copyrighted 2012 – just another s-a-h-mother

today’s post is brought to you by the letter C
Categories: family, friendship | Tags: , , , , , , | 10 Comments

childhood revisited

As I watch my son roll down a 50-60 degree decline, onto the tarmac at the bottom, I am reminded of the games we used to play when I was a child. Things were different then. Or were they??

True, we didn’t have video game systems – but we did spend time at the arcade. True, we only got 3 channels on the television up until I was in about grade 4 – but once mom went to work so she could pay for cable, well then we got 13 channels! True, cartoons were only shown early on Saturday or Sunday mornings – except for The Flintstones; they were on every day at lunch. True, there weren’t any “kids’ networks” to monopolize our viewing time – but we did schedule our homework around the ABC After School Special on Wednesday afternoons, The Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday nights and Sonny & Cher, The Hudson Brothers and Carol Burnett.

children at play

We played tag, both the frozen and regular varieties. We played hide & seek. We played Cowboys & Indians. We played badminton, frisbee and touch football. We played marbles (we usually called them alleys). We played Red Rover and British Bulldog. We played baseball or 21-up. We played on snow-hills and in vacant lots, we hiked across town to “Duck’s Pond,” we climbed trees and tried to swing on vines and once we discovered that those vines weren’t the same kind Tarzan swung from we brought rope with us. We hung upside down from the swings and walked from one end of the teeter-totter to the other. We tried desperately to swing so high and fast that we’d be able to go all the way around the top bar (someone had seen someone else do it one time, don’t you know). We rode our bikes, no hands, with the front wheel turned backwards. Standing. Downhill. We rode double and triple (and we didn’t have helmets). We skipped rope, although I never did manage to get more than two jumps in on double-dutch. We swam every day as soon as the weather permitted.

I grew up in a small town, huge backyard, empty fields across the street and next to us, trees for climbing right outside my door, pathways from the edge of our property right down to the lake. The lake was home to the main town park, complete with climbing apparatuses, swings, teeter-totters, merry-go-rounds and fast metal slides. BoyGenius is growing up in a “town” with roughly 80,000 more inhabitants than mine had. There are no vacant lots or empty fields nearby, unless you count the baseball or soccer fields at his school. We have pathways from almost the edge of our property right down to the lake. There are playgrounds along the way but these days you are hard-pressed to find a merry-go-round or a teeter-totter. The school playground is bordered by a small forested area – most of the neighbourhood kids play in there on a daily basis. BG loves to climb trees and the baseball backstop; heck, he’ll climb walls if he can get a foothold. He’ll swim in any body of water that holds enough volume to cover him. He hasn’t quite mastered my technique when jumping off the swings (the one that totally gives you the feeling of flying), but he’s trying. He brings vines home from the forest, hoping to find a way to attach them to trees so he can swing from one to another, like Indiana Jones.

So it would seem that our childhood pastimes are not completely divergent although there are some marked differences. BoyGenius and his friends play tag; sometimes it’s just like what we played and sometimes it’s just a little bit different in that they play it in the forest, combine it with hide & seek and call it manhunt or mantracker. They will play regular hide & seek as well.  The frozen tag they play can be a bit different as well – one version is called graveyard and doesn’t involve any running around  … no movement at all, actually. Cowboys & Indians – well, you’re not allowed to play that anymore are you? I haven’t seen anyone playing marbles in at least 20 years. Neither Red Rover nor British Bulldog are allowed in schoolyards anymore so none of the kids today even know about them. If there are ever snow-hills in the schoolyard the children are not allowed on them. Pick-up football or baseball games have been replaced by organized soccer and t-ball. We don’t let our kids bike all over town or slosh around in duck ponds in hopes of catching tadpoles or snapping turtles. That’s if you could even find a duck pond these days.

As I watch my son roll down that steep hill, I remember doing the same. I remember the feeling and I remember that I loved it. I know that I will have to work with him to perfect his mid-swing takeoff, and work on his landing so he doesn’t break his arm again. And I know that he shares my love of that completely dizzy feeling you get from turning and spinning, arms straight out, in a wide-open field until you can’t even keep yourself upright and fall flat to stare up at the cloud-spinning sky above.

Do you see memories of your own youth in the games your children play?

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