The Supers

The Supers
Our growing superfamily

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Living with Terrorists

Feeding children is difficult. Rather, feeding children WELL is difficult. It turns out those naughty little people do not tend to like foods that help them grow and be strong. I have (many) memories of sitting at the dinner table hours after everyone left, staring miserably at a plate completely cleaned off except for one unfortunate pile of peas. Or broccoli. Or string beans. As a parent I smugly predicted that if I didn’t force my children to eat they would just go ahead and eat those things. Because before I had kids I of course presumed I had some sort of magic child-rearing abilities that it turns out I do not happen to possess.

So my kids don’t eat dinner. Well, about six nights out of seven they don’t eat dinner. Every once in a while they like to throw me for a curve and eat a meal I’ve prepared, but it’s always random what it’ll be. Like one day it was chicken, and Marcus was declaring, “This is the best food I’ve ever tasted!” but it was the same darn chicken I had made last week that he met with a full-fledged tantrum. I don’t try to make special meals for the kids because I’m pretty certain that the food is not the issue. I just don’t know what the issue is. Our rule is that as long as they try everything on their plate, they can listen to their own bodies (yeah right) and decide when they’ve had enough. That being said, we will not offer snacks in the evening. We do save their dinners so if they’re really hungry later they can eat those. After they go to bed, the dinners are cleared and we start fresh the next day.

Marcus has not had dinner in four days.

I generally make dinner for the family and then go exercise, eating my meal when I return. Skyler has taken to returning to the table while I’m eating and trying to beg off my plate, but when I put her plate in front of her she will eat. So at least 2/3 of my children are fed.

I tend to eat quite a bit of food, partly because I’m breastfeeding and partly because I’m super-active. So at some point after I’m done my dinner, I tend to get a little snacky. I want some frozen raspberries, or some tortilla chips, but I wouldn’t feel right hauling out a snack in front of my starving little children and munching away while they salivate all over themselves. Sometimes I’ll sneak into the kitchen and try to cram a few morsels in my mouth before I hear the little feet approaching, or I’ll try to get into the chips without crinkling the bag too loud, but invariably I hear, “Mommy, what are YOU having?” So now I have to wait until all the terrorists are sleeping before I can have my snack. Sometimes I’m so hungry I kiss them goodnight and head straight to the kitchen. Then Skyler gets up to go pee and she comes into the kitchen to tell me and looks up and sees me frozen, deer in the headlights, with a mouth crammed full of food, a bag of tortilla chips in one hand and a container of hummus in the other. It’s hard to say “Okay, go ahead honey,” with a mouth full of chips. Darn hard.

I think the hardest part about the dinner dilemma is if we have evening plans. If we don’t make sure the kids are fed we have to deal with terrorists, and nobody wants to deal with terrorists in public. They cannot be reasoned with. They utter threats. They explode in well-populated areas. Make no mistake, when Marcus does not eat dinner, he is not a peach. He turns into a full-on nutjob. And if I suggest he eat some food, he flips out. Because he is so obviously NOT HUNGRY. So then, if the kids don’t eat their dinners, they can’t go out. But see, that’s a problem too because we don’t want to feel like we’re “tricking them” or “blackmailing them” into eating. We would really like those kids to get it into their own heads to hop up to the table with smiling faces and EAT THE DARN FOOD I HAVE LOVINGLY PREPARED FOR THEM!!! And I will not make turkey dinner seven days a week just to see that happen.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

To Gift, or MY Preference: Not To Gift

This is going to sound kind of scroogey. Okay, a LOT scroogey. Let me preface this entry by saying I LOVE Christmas. It is one of my favourite times of year. I love almost everything about Christmas—the baking, buying gifts for my kids and other people’s kids, seeing family, all of it. Well, most of it. Every year we have the same dilemma, and every year we are left with no answer.

Those of you that know me know that I may have some issues about power and control. As in, I like to have power and control. Over everything. I don’t like things to change around me. I like to have a schedule. And I don’t. Like. Surprises. This may be why I absolutely abhor exchanging gifts for Christmas. I know, I know, you’re thinking, “Well aren’t you just the Grinchiest McGrincherson around?!” But let me explain, there’s a weird and twisted logic that accompanies this most unfestive sentiment. You see, if I could send out a pre-Christmas memo with an itemized list of EXACTLY what I want/need and received only items from the list, I would probably enjoy receiving presents. Sometimes people do get me presents that were on my mental checklist, and I do enjoy those presents. But I do not like receiving things that I do not want. Because I am cheap. Not making the connection? When I receive a gift that I don’t want, I look at that gift and think, “Man, I could have used that money to buy something on the LIST.” I’m sad for the loss of the money I never actually had. The worst part is if somebody buys you a present that is close but not exactly what you wanted because then you are forced to settle for the thing and will NEVER be able to get the one you actually wanted because you are already in possession of the very near replica. This is so not in the spirit of Christmas. I’m almost ashamed to be telling you this. BUT because I’m such a nitwit at receiving presents, I do the honourable thing. I opt out. I let all adults know beforehand that I do not want to exchange gifts. I LOVE buying gifts for kids because I know what they want and I know that they’ll like what I get them. I do not have that confidence in picking out presents for grownups.

Now, you may wonder why this odd compulsion precludes me from GIVING presents. The answer is simple—I agonize at not having the other person’s pre-Christmas memo. I would be mortified to buy somebody something that IS NOT ON THEIR LIST. I will happily make little gifts with my kids so that they have something to exchange but I’m not going to go out and spend money on something that will end up in somebody’s junk drawer or worse.



I know, I tell myself the same things. It’s shameful.

So last year we let everybody know that we would not be exchanging presents. And then everybody bought us presents anyway. That’s fine, if that’s what you have to do to feel good at Christmas, I don’t want my grinchiness to kill your buzz. Just know that if you buy me a present at Christmas, it’s for you, it’s not for me. And it may end up going to charity.

This year if you would like to exchange presents with me you will need to send me your itemized pre-Christmas memo by November 15th. I will reciprocate the memo with makes, models, and the names of appropriate retailers. Either that, or we can just skip the entire gift-giving fiasco and enjoy a little Christmas nog together. Feel free to spoil the kids rotten however, because they apparently DIDN’T inherit my OCD. Yet.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Poor Sport

I was a poor sport when I was a little kid. I was the kind of kid that would pitch a big fit if I didn’t win a board game. My family had a choice: either let me win, don’t let me win and deal with the noisy consequences, or don’t play games with me at all. So they let me win. I think they did, for the most part. And I turned out okay—a bit competitive but I don’t necessarily see that as a bad thing. Competition is healthy and fuels progress. Or something.

The problem is, I’m still competitive as a parent. If my kid is the best behaved kid, then I win, right? And if I don’t make a big deal of it, if I just demurely smile and accept the kudos, then I am a good sport and I’ve played the game fairly. So you can imagine my absolute horror in discovering that my son is a poor sport. Publicly. Like, as in, in front of everyone.

We went to Oliver Woods park for a soccer class today. Before class we played on the awesome playground and we were having a great time. Marcus made a little friend and I knew the mommy from StrongStart so her and I chatted a bit, and it was nice. When it was time for class I called Marcus and he came right away, because he was excited for soccer. The other mommy commented on what a good listener he was (Me: 1, Her: 0), and I told her, “Well, he’s just excited for soccer.” See: demure. That should get me bonus points. Her guy was having a fit about going inside, but I’ve seen so many of those fits that I didn’t think anything of it. She seemed stressed, managing with her baby and her angry little man, so I sidled up to her and told her that my four-year-old could be a terror. I told her about the stuffie down the toilet. And I told her about the testosterone thing. A dad there joined in and commented on what a terror HIS four-year-old girl could be. The mommy didn’t seem to be feeling much better, but at least she knew she wasn’t alone.

The kids were having a great time with the soccer lesson. But I sensed something coming. I’m kind of like one of those animals that senses the tornado approaching. I wanted to gather in my children and hunker down, but that’s not really protocol for soccer lessons. The teacher announced that we were going to play a game and I could see Marcus’s anxiety rising. He looked up at me, lower lip out just a trace, and said, “Mommy, I don’t want to play the game.” I told him to just watch the game for a minute, and if he wanted to join in, then he could. Hmm, not sure about it, but willing to comply. So the teacher explains that all the children will have a pinny on their belts, and the goal is to pull out each other’s pinnies. If your pinny gets pulled, you just pick it up and put it back in. Easy peasy. Marcus gives me the thumbs up, which temporarily lulls me into a false sense of security. Because sure enough, the moment his pinny gets pulled, he’s crying full throttle, “I WANT TO GO HOOOOOOOME!!!” Uhm. “Marcus, son, I see that you’re really—“ “I WANT TO GO HOOOOOOOME!!!” I got him over to the bench and explained that we would not be going home and I talked about winning not being important and being a good sport, etc. And then I let him sit there sobbing while I helped Skyler play the game. Of course I was horribly embarrassed that my son was the poor sport (Me: 0, Them: more than 0). Sigh. I would take comfort in the fact that at least the other mommy got to see that it was true, other four-year-olds were equally rotten, but then I would have had to acknowledge that she won. Which meant I lost. Double sigh. I wonder where this poor-sportsmanship could possibly have come from?

The fits continued outside the building (“I WANT TO PLAY ON THE PLAYGROUND!”), in the van (“I WANT A SNACK!), and when we got home (“I DON’T WANT TO TAKE A NAP!!!”). All of my children are asleep now. My ears hurt. And my throat, a little, from yelling. I’m not sure who wins this one, but I’m pretty sure it’s not me.

Monday, October 4, 2010



Things are weird right now. Things were so weird that I had to actually stop drinking coffee. My friends, I had worked myself into a frenzy. A hockey-playing, bootcamping, running frenzy that was fuelled with excessive amounts of caffeine and self interest. I knew something had to go, so I chose coffee.

THWAP! That is the sound the drunk robins make when they smash into my beautiful front window. THWAP! THWAP! That is the frequency with which they randomly hurtle themselves into said window. These nutty birds hang out in the tree in our front THWAP! yard and eat the fermented orange berries, which I suspect were poisonous in the first place, and then kamikaze themselves straight THWAP! into my house. THWAP! I can sit on my couch and watch them coming. I think, “Don’t do it man! There’s so much to live for!” but they can’t be dissuaded. Even with the blinds—THWAP!—closed, they persist.

David wants to cut the tree down.

So ya, the coffee thing. I think it’s been about a week now, and I have to say, the frenzy has definitely ebbed. The anxiety has petered down to a light fervour. I’m still massively over-scheduled but I’m so excited about all the things I’ve got going on right now that I’m not willing to cut anything. Bootcamp is awesome, hockey is absolutely amazing, and I like the occasional run on a Sunday afternoon.

Is anybody reading this?

Taking pictures doesn’t help you remember what your kids were like when they were little. I remember Marcus as a baby in theory, but I can’t remember what he felt like, or what he looked like, or what his chubby little hands felt like when they gripped my finger. Videos don’t help either. I only know him the way he is now. Even Skyler, I can’t imagine her any way besides how she is now. Everybody says this time goes by so fast, but this time really does go by so fast. I find it alarming.

I checked tonight. And I skated into another girl and she got a penalty, which was awesome. She skated up to a teammate of mine at the end of the game and said, “You know, I was just standing still!” and I responded, “Ya, I know! I was totally looking down! I ran right into you!” And then I started laughing. It was great. My teammate said, “You’re not supposed to admit that!” Whatever, I wanted full credit for that great play! J