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Here’s why we were late for lunch, Grandma …

By Juli

9:28 AM: Me, to my children: “Okay, Guys. You both need to get dressed. We’re leaving for Grandma’s house just after 11 AM.”

Children go into their room. Sounds of laughter and playing.

9:42 AM: Walk into room. Both children are still in pyjamas, but now they are sprawled on the floor playing with toys. UPDATE: Room is now a huge mess.

Me: “KIDS. You need to get dressed. I just did the laundry and there are TONS of clean clothes in your closet. Please. Get dressed.”

9:56 AM: I am now dressed, with hair and make-up done. Walk into children’s room. Children are still playing atop the giant mess of toys, only they have removed their pants. UPDATE: No pants.

Me: “Kids. Get DRESSED.”

10:02 AM: Return to the room realizing that I have to be actively involved, or they will never get dressed. 6-year-old is still pantsless with her pyjama shirt on. 8-year-old’s shirt has migrated to the top of his head, like a headdress. UPDATE: Headdress.

Me: “KIDDDS. Get your clothes ON. Please!”

10:04 AM: Start focusing on the 6-year-old. While I try to focus her she is flitting around the room like a hummingbird, showing me various uninteresting things. “S,” I say, “Choose some clothes.” “Which dress should I wear, Mama? Which one is more beautifuller? This one or that one?” “That one.” I say, pointing to a random dress. “Well, atchally I choose THIS one,” she says, predictably choosing the other one. Each time she flits past me I attempt to loop the dress over her head… eventually I snag her. The other one breezes past, naked bum exposed. “A!” I say to him, “Underwear!” “Can I wear tights, Mama?” asks the 6-year-old.  Yes. Whatever. Other child’s underwear: on. Tights: applied to legs. Older child has disappeared. UPDATE: ONE CHILD DRESSED! Other child MIA.

10:17 AM: Look for other child. Oh, he’s in the living room. His headdress has now migrated back on to his body as a pyjama shirt and he is standing still, staring at the computer screensaver. “A,” I say, “Underwear!”

10:22 AM: 8-year-old has made it back into the bedroom, but is now fixated on watching a spider on a web outside the window while he continues to wear no pants. “A! Get dressed!” I say. “But I’m cold!” He says to me. UPDATE: Child is now starting to realize the ill-effects of remaining half-naked all day. This knowledge has not translated into the logic that if he gets dressed he may start to actually be un-cold.

10:29 AM: There is a sighting of shorts! Coming back from downstairs I see that the 8-year-old has not only applied underwear to his body, but he is holding shorts in his hand! Unfortunately he is using them to hit his sister with, but progress is progress! Also, the shirt has made it back into headdress position. “A!” I say, trying another tactic, “Great job getting your underwear on! Now you just need to finish getting dressed –  you can do it!” UPDATE: Underwear applied. PJ shirt as headdress. Shorts being used as a weapon, but present nonetheless! Starting to feel hopeful!

10:45 AM: Find 8-year-old sitting at kitchen table wearing shorts and nothing else. He and sister have been making a “video” with their camera. Am forced to watch video, which is mostly blurry images of the two of them shouting nonsense words and filming pictures they have drawn. It turns out that there are two videos, each over 4 minutes long. While “watching” videos I realize that there is rain pelting against the windows. “A,” I say, “Maybe you should wear pants instead?” “I AM wearing shorts!” He says. “No, PANTS, not shorts,” I say. “Oh.” He says, “But I’m cold!” UPDATE: Child is wearing underwear and shorts, and the logic that pants might increase warmth escapes him. No shirt, no socks. Video(s!) uninteresting.

10:52 AM: Begin writing blog post about impossible morning. 8-year-old observes title. “It’s about getting kids dressed …” he says. And with that he disappears into his room and comes out with pants, a shirt and socks on. UPDATE: Blogging really works!

10:56 AM: Suggest that each child should get a sweater to wear. 6-year-old brings out too-small, mismatched sweater – it’s not worth the battle to try to convince her not to wear it. Help her get it on. 8-year-old: “I don’t even need a sweater!” Me: “Do me a favour – step out on the porch and tell me if you still don’t think you need a sweater.” 8-year-old goes outside, shrieks, comes back in and puts on a sweater. UPDATE: I am always right.

So it ended up taking an hour and a half, but we are all finally ready to go to Grandma’s house.

Except now I really need a nap.

The final result.

The final result.

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Reasons I Love My Kids’ Father this Father’s Day

By Juli

It’s Saturday night, and tomorrow is Father’s Day, so that means it’s time for me, Juli, to start thinking about Father’s Day. Thank goodness for elementary school because the crafts and cards are all taken care of. All that’s left to do is this blog post list listing the reasons I appreciate my baby-daddy, Spence.

Caution: this list might get a bit steamy, so be warned. This ain’t your grandmother’s baby-daddy appreciation list: Continue reading

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I’ve Potty Trained Four Kids, and Here’s What I Know

By Jac

I’m delighted to report that my youngest daughter is completely potty trained. That is, she wears underpants all the time and I rarely have to remind her to go. So this means that I am DONE WITH DIAPERS for the first time in over eight years! Considering that she’s my fourth child, I feel I’ve learned a few things about potty training. Here’s what I know:

(NOTE: I’m not talking about that thing where you get your baby to use the toilet at four months or whatever. I have no experience with that and I have done no research, and I’m already finished potty training so you don’t have to teach me about it. It seems to me like it would be a ton of work for the parents for a very long time … but if you swear by this method, you’re welcome to tell my readers about it in the comments. But it’s not what I’m talking about here.)

1. Bribery works: Continue reading

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Reasons my daughter won’t wear that

By Juli

Lately my five-year-old daughter has become increasingly picky about her clothes. This is made exponentially more frustrating by the fact that I continue to buy her cute clothes that she will never wear, it is getting harder and harder to get her out the door on the morning, and also, with what she ends up wearing, the teachers at her school probably think that she is homeless.

I have stooped to bribing her to put on the odd Christmas or Easter dress, but for the most part, she lives her life looking like a Rainbow Brite bag lady, slummin’ it up all over the place, and she loves it. When I ever so gently (or ever so forcefully) attempt to choose her clothes for her, here are some of the very REAL reasons that she has given me for why she could never wear the things I have chosen: Continue reading

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How the Light Gets in; Thoughts For My Perfectionist Child

By Jac

I see you there, crumpling up the paper when your crayon accidentally goes outside the lines. I see you struggling with your math homework, so frustrated because this doesn’t come as easily to you as the reading and the science, and that means you hate it. I hear you banging on the piano keys when a song is just too hard to learn. I hear you yelling at your little sister when she doesn’t play the game the way you think it needs to be played. You want to get it just right, don’t you? You want whatever you’re doing to be perfect, and you get so disappointed and annoyed when the vision in your head doesn’t match the reality. I know you, my love, and I know that it’s so frustrating for you when things don’t go right, when you are not living up to your own very high expectations for yourself. And I see how you feel such regret and sadness when you lose your temper and hurt someone else in the process.

I have news for you, though, and you may think it’s bad news. Continue reading

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I threw a Star Wars Themed Birthday Party …

… Because I forgot to set a low bar for the future. I mean, really. When G said she wanted a Star Wars themed party and that she’d already mentioned it at school and some of the kids were really excited about it (“I said I MIGHT have a Star Wars party, Mommy. MIGHT!”) I decided to just invite her whole class of 20-ish children. What else was I supposed to do? Invite only the girls to a Star Wars party? I know Star Wars is for everyone and lots of girls are Star Wars fans, but that just seemed like it would be a bit of a disappointment for some of the boys G is friends with. I didn’t want to invite just a few kids, because some of my daughter’s best friends don’t care about Star Wars … so how do you choose who to invite? So I figured that it would just be fun for everyone to host a short, Saturday, no-meals necessary, low-pressure birthday party. And then we genuinely did have a pretty good time planning it, and the party itself was great, thanks to the fact that I coaxed a few of my friends and my Mother to stay and help run it. Continue reading

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Please Let Me Celebrate Mother’s Day

By Juli

A lot of tough emotions come up around Mother’s Day. Many people have a really difficult time when Mother’s Day comes around, for very good reasons. They can have lost their own mother, or one or more of their children – or lost the ability to be a mother. Some women have struggled with fertility issues for years, so mother’s day really pokes them in a sore place, emotionally. They may have a strained relationship with their own mom, or have faced abandonment from her. It is my utmost intention to be as gentle as possible to all people on Mother’s Day, knowing that it can be a dark day for some people, a day when they need gentleness, a day of mourning. For some, Mother’s Day is a bittersweet day, full of complex emotions. They may have both things to celebrate and things to mourn. Perhaps they have some children here on earth, and some in heaven, so they only get to hug half of their children on Mother’s Day. Continue reading

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On Waiting for the Perfect Photo Moment

By Jac

In my upstairs hallway, I have a lovely framed family picture. It was a winter photo shoot, so there is snow in the background, and the girls are wearing adorable boots and shawls, and I’m wearing a sweater and looking happy, and my hair was cute that day. There’s just one problem. There are only two little girls in this picture, and I have four children. It’s just that I’ve been waiting for a good time to organize another family photo. When there’s no baby, when I get a haircut, when someone’s bangs grow out, when Anton decides family photos are a good idea.

But I’m realizing that that time will never come.

There will never be a moment when everyone in a family of six is simultaneously looking their best. Continue reading

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Winning the Sun Run

By Juli

I am not a Runner. I should clarify that I define a “Runner” as someone who does it at least semi-regularly, and somewhat enjoys it. I don’t really enjoy running for the sake of running, and this is largely to do with my huge sense of practicality. If I have somewhere to go, yes, I could run there, but it is faster to take the car. Also, usually where I have to go is to Costco to get groceries, and that involves having something to transport them with. Thus it never usually seems like a good idea to run.

But when I heard back in February that my workplace was sponsoring a corporate team to do the Vancouver Sun Run, a 10 kilometre run through the streets of downtown Vancouver, I thought — hey! That might be fun! Also, I realized that I would get a free shirt out of it, and that they would be paying for it (there’s the appeal to the practical side) and I was quite sure that by April I would be fit as a fiddle based on my strict regimen of occasional yoga and sneaking my kids’ Easter candy, so I decided that of course I should run the Sun Run! In fact, it made no sense NOT to! Continue reading

Podcasts Make Me a Better Parent

By Jac

When I was a kid, the radio was often on in my house. My mom was not really into music, but she did enjoy talk radio. This was especially true on days when there weren’t many people home and my mom was cleaning. To this day, if I pop by on a house-cleaning day, my mom will be listening to something as she works, only now it’s usually an audio book on her iPad that she pauses when I arrive.

I must take after her because I have recently discovered the 2016 version of talk radio: podcasts. Only they are better than the radio because they can be so much more specific. Imagine your favourite morning DJ’s doing whatever it is they do that you like best, and I guarantee you can find a podcast just like that. I like comedy podcasts, interesting interviews, the day’s news highlights in 10 minutes, investigative journalism, story-telling … there’s something for my every mood. Continue reading

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