Category Archives: Jac

Kid-Approved Birthday Cake in Ten Minutes for Ten Dollars

By Jac

My personal experience with baking is that it’s usually a lot of work and a lot of mess for something that is either gone immediately or could be bought at the store with a lot less hassle. But I do understand that for children and birthdays, having a cake is essential. This is especially true for my second daughter, whose personal “love language” is candy. This year, her party fell at a busy time for our family, but I definitely did not want to let her down, so I reused an idea I first used at her third birthday. We were both happy with it both times, so I thought I’d share. Get ready to be super impressed with my extreme skills. My extreme finding-a-shortcut skills. Continue reading

Automatic-Flush Toilets are the Worst

By Jac

We went on a road trip this summer, which meant 24 hours of driving, but much more than that when you factor in stops with four children. We knew that taking kids on a trip like this would be a challenge, but for the most part it went better than we had expected. Except, of course, for one fairly significant problem.

We gave it a good try, really, but it turns out that we can’t ever go on a road trip again. Or out in public, really. Because going out in public means using public washrooms, and we are done with those. You see, we’ve met our nemesis, and we admit defeat. I simply cannot experience this public menace even one more time, at least not until my kids are much older. I’m speaking, of course, of the automatic-flushing toilet. Continue reading

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

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

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

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

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

Five mom things that happened on my birthday

By Jac

*The above Birthday-cake photo credit goes to my friend Maria. I stole this picture off her Instagram, where it was captioned: “Today is my birthday. Another year older, guys. And yes I made my own cake.” Happy grown-up birthday, Maria. You’re a good Mom.

It was my birthday a few weeks ago. I really didn’t care much, of course, because I was turning 34 which didn’t feel particularly note-worthy, and because I just really don’t pay much attention to birthdays anyway. Besides, I was leaving for a lovely kid-free holiday a few days later, so I knew I would have more than enough special me-time very soon. Besides, I’m not exactly new to parenting, so I know that a parent’s birthday is never actually about the parent. It turned out that this birthday was exceptionally not about me. Here’s some things that really happened on my most recent birthday. Continue reading

I Don’t Feel Bad About Missing My Kid’s Birthday

By Jac

Three more sleeps. That’s how long I have to wait until my husband and I leave for a week-long, kid-free vacation. Seven nights with just the two of us, while his parents stay at our house and look after our children. I keep thinking about that moment when I arrive at my gate at the airport, and I have made it through security and checked my luggage and found my gate … and then I’m done. I will pull my book out of my bag, and I will start to relax. I can’t wait.

But because I am a normal human mother, I of course feel a bit guilty. Continue reading

Five Toddlerisms You Should Know if You’re Looking After My Kids

By Jac

My husband’s parents are coming to look after my children for a week while I go on a much-needed, super exciting, delightfully relaxing vacation with my husband. I’m very confident in my in-laws’ abilities to care for my kids, and I know that my kids love their Oma and Opa, so I won’t really be too worried about my kids while I’m gone. However, over the last few weeks as I’ve been mentally preparing for this trip, I keep noticing things my younger children say and do that would be completely confusing to someone who isn’t with them all day long. Because toddlers make no sense. So this post can act as a translation guide for my in-laws. Thanks so much, you two! And … ummm … good luck? Continue reading

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