Friday, April 24, 2009

Playing in the Neighbourhood

I want to know what happened to all the safe and friendly neighbourhoods of our childhood (that would be the 70’s and early 80’s if you’re all wondering). Now a days, we have to deal with scheduling ‘playdates’, making sure the kids call when they’ve arrived at the house they’re playing at (which happens to be only six houses away), continuously checking on the kids when they’re outside to make sure they’re still there.

When I was growing up, we lived along the coastline so I had the train tracks and miles of beach as my ‘backyard’. I remember leaving my house when I was about 6 - 7yrs old to play, and then I would find myself very far away from where I started. I’d wandered down the train tracks or beach, head down, checking out this and that. I’d see a pretty stone or shell and continue to look for more, when I finally put my head up and realized where I was, I would turn around and slowly meander back. There never seemed to be an issue of pedophiles or ‘creepy people’ in those days. There was this park that I’d go to ALL the time and it was probably a good four blocks away – I would walk, bike or roller skate there BY MYSELF!

My husband too, grew up in a town of 10,000 and was kicked out of the house with his siblings after breakfast and not allowed back in till lunch time or dinner time. They all played in the yard, street, other kids’ yards, in the neighbouring field, at the park – you name it, they were there. All his mother had to do when it was mealtime was stand on the front porch and call their names, and they would all come running. All the kids would play together little ones and older ones – together. There wasn’t ever anyone left out like there is today.

It’s a shame to call over to a friend’s house and have the parent say, “Sorry, but Susie Q already has a playdate friend over; maybe another time.” What is wrong with this picture? Are we setting our kids up to fail? Our kids aren’t going to learn how to solve problems within groups because they aren’t placed in those situations anymore, now they spend more time playing with one or two others not the whole neighbourhood.

Now, if my kids aren’t where I last saw them or I can’t hear them nearby, I will panic a bit and maybe even start calling the neighbouring kids’ houses to see if my kids ended up there. I have had to train my children to let me know if they’re going to someone else’s house so I don’t worry. It seems sad that the children of today don’t have the freedom of play like we did growing up.

I understand that neighbourhoods are vast and spread out now, and sometimes your child’s school friends are in the next neighbourhood so they need to be driven over, but seriously, most families live in neighbourhoods with other children in them. Can we not trust our neighbours anymore? Have we become impatient with other neighbours or their children?

I just wish we could all be watchful parents from a distance, and let the kids play in the block together, knowing that just because I can’t see or hear my children, they are safe and being checked on by another caring parent or neighbour. It’s just about knowing who lives in the neighbourhood and keeping a watchful eye on anyone that doesn’t look familiar.

Maybe someday. . . .

Friday, April 17, 2009

Inside Out

Today was Opposite Day at school for my kids. They were supposed to dress any way that was opposite: black/white, upside down/right side up, backwards/forwards, inside out/right side in, old/young, plain/fancy - I'm sure you get the idea.

My older child (Miss Smarty Pants) said to me: "Well, if its opposite day and we normally wear clothes, why don't I just go to school WITHOUT clothes on then?" Well, darlin', it doesn't really work that way. . .

So, they both decided to wear their clothes inside out; pants inside out so the pocket flaps are showing (its gonna make it a little more difficult to go to the washroom, but they don't know that yet), and shirts with seams and tags showing. I must say that I laughed out loud when I looked at my two girls with their clothes on this morning. It actually looked like they dressed themselves today. I can't imagine what people will think as they drive by the school today not knowing about this special day - all the kids wearing an arrangement of chaos.

Should be lots of laughs at the school today! *LOL* Fun times for all!

At least they will be able to wear their clothes again before getting washed. . .

Monday, April 13, 2009

Recovering from PMDD

I recently diagnosed myself with PMDD (pre-menstral dysphoric disorder) and went to my doctor armed with all my research and list of symptoms. It seems that we all need to "pre diagnose" before going to a doctor these days. Are doctors just too busy or are there too many illnesses out there now? PMDD is a relatively new disorder that alot of doctors don't understand yet. Anyhow, my doctor prescribed that I go on the 'pill' again - YAZ to be exact. Well, I have to say that I feel like a new woman again. It really is totally amazing at the difference in mood I am now experiencing. Let me explain how I got to this better and much more wonderful place.

I had been feeling 'not right' ever since having children - about 6yrs or so. I hadn't paid much attention to how the moods cycled until just recently, but looking back, that's exactly how it was. I would feel pleasant for about two weeks in the month and the other two weeks - watch out! I would be crabby, owly, bitchy and down right mean - it was PMS on steroids! I hated everyone and everything - including my children and husband. That really is not a very good way to raise a family. I would yell (at the top of my lungs) at my kids for various unimportant issues, then hide in the bedroom crying in horror at my outrageous behaviour. I was the one in serious need of a MAJOR time out, not my kids. I couldn't stand to be around my husband; just his breathing would piss me off. I couldn't stand to be around my own self. Kinda crazy heh? Well, I literally thought I was going crazy in every way.

I still feel awful at the possible damage I may have caused to my children for the hateful things I said to them; now I am doing damage control. At the time, I would tell my oldest that I didn't know what was wrong with "Mommy", but I was so sorry. I knew that something was wrong with me but I just didn't know what it was until I started doing research on the symptoms I was feeling.

It's a hard thing to say to your child, "Mommy needs to get some help".

I am definitely in a better place now being on YAZ. It's only been a month, but I haven't had one single "rage" moment and I am able to speak to my children calmly and I enjoy spending time with them now. It seemed like before I would try to control everything around me - kids, husband, life in general; I think it was because I couldn't control my own emotions. But now I am letting go of the reins a bit more. It really feels like the heavy dark blanket has been lifted from my head, letting me see the joy and happiness that has always existed around me.

I feel like I am in recovery and will always take just one day at a time. If I start to see any signs of rage again, I will definitely try something different, but for now things are good.

I will give updates periodically with regard to my progress or if there happen to be any changes.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


What are friends anyhow? Are they people that help, offer advice, stand by you, listen, offer a shoulder, support you? It seems like the whole concept of friendship is deteriorating, or maybe its just that people have not 'learned' how to be a good friend.

Are we just too busy to take the time anymore? I remember when we would get together for coffee just to chat about the week, go over to friends' houses at the end of the busy week to wind down and play games, support each other's endeavours and honour invitations. It doesn't seem like people have the time or interest in building on their friendships. There is more petty "behind the back" talking of others - Wow, I just had a revelation - maybe people are just bored with their own lives and need to talk about others to sound more interesting.

I still have a friendship that I made when I was in Grade 1 or 2. My parents moved me away after Grade 3 and we lost touch over many, many years. Amazingly, we met up again after graduation and have since then moved in and out of each other's lives. She ended our friendship after a man came between us - you know that old story of "he didn't treat me well and I had decided to stay with him". She couldn't stay supportive after that and we didn't speak for three years. I made the first move to mend our friendship and now we continue to weave in and out with moving to different cities and same cities. This is a friendship that will never end because we both value friendships and realize there is a reason we keep connecting even after so many years.

I had a friend a long while ago that, after years of friendship and supporting one another, decided to end our friendship because I was having relationship troubles. Well, six years later, that boyfriend became my husband and we are fairly happy together. Sure we have our troubles and frustrations, but what couple doesn't at some point or another. That friendship has never been resurrected and I'm not sure it ever will be. I have tried to offer amends and initiate a renewed friendship but its just not being reciprocated. The funny thing is she was in the midst of her relationship turmoil and I stood by her side all the while.

Sometimes we need to make our own mistakes (and hopefully learn from them), but through it all we need our friends to lean on.

More recently, I have a friend who, after spending the majority of the year having fun, doing activities and socializing, she said to me, "Well, I don't know when I'll see you next since school is starting and I've got to start working on my business and other stuff - so I guess we'll see you around sometime." What the hell was that all about???!! I am still shaking my head at the lack of social development happening here. When you've made a good friend, the last thing you do is push them away and act like an acquaintance instead. We've never gotten back to the ease of friendship that we had before and I find it ever so frustrating.

I know and am fully aware that we all have busy lives with careers, children and various activities. But seriously, are we all too busy to work on a friendship or two?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Bubble Bubble. . .POP!

Well, the girls have finally discovered how to blow bubbles with their gum. Now they have an obsession with the chewy/sticky stuff. It has always been a bit of a battle with when and where, but it has seriously gone up a few notches since mastering the bubble. Both of them didn't want to give up their magical piece of gum when it came to shower time or even dinner time. It's a pretty funny scene when you see your six year old lathering her head, with gum bits on her lips, and trying to push her tongue through the gum ever so carefully in order to blow a big bubble - in the shower at that. Can you say Valley Girl?

My youngest was asking at 9am if she could "Please" have a piece of gum. Seriously?! Every waking moment now they're hounding me - morning, afternoon and evening. If I allowed them, they would go to bed blowing bubbles. But then morning would be an absolute disaster and well, we're not even gonna go there.

I always wait, in anticipation, of what the next 'obsession' will be - the next 'must have'. Because I know that next week, there will be something new. Stay tuned. . .

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


With the sudden introduction of Spring the girls have abandoned their winter boots, coats and mitts in favour of capris, tank tops and flip flops. I tell them "Girls, its only Spring!" but they don't care as they run past in a flurry of cotton candy perfume and Barbies.

I take a brief moment to watch as they play without a care, and I only wish that I could just play too - instead, my internal chore sargent barks orders:

clean the bathroom! sweep the floors! wash the dishes! do the laundry! pick up kid toys! dust all surfaces! make the beds! tidy, tidy, tidy! don't forget to look sexy for your husband!*SIGH*

Oh, to be a kid again!

Chloe and Megan in the Fall

This is one of my all-time favourite photos that I took a couple years ago now. I think it really shows their fearlessness of the world around them and their genuine joy for life.