I live within 30 minutes of the Smiths Falls Hershey Factory.
It's ALL GOOD at the Hershey Factory.
Witness my favourite, the 5lb bag of bars deemed "Not Wrap Worthy". Full of almondey goodness. Mmm... discarded chocolate.
Thank you Blackbird!
Continuing with the freaky "What Chantal and Her Daughter Meghan Think Spring Smells Like" show...
While we lived in the Burbs, Spring smelled like dogshit. Noticeably and even tolerably. I'm sure you can all agree. Out here on the farm? Spring smells like something else entirely.
Meghan was outside on the deck practicing jump rope like the adorable almost 5 year old she is. She poked her head in and said:
"Mommy. At our old house you could smell alot of dog poo. Like really. I think it was Kabiza (former neighbour's dog). She must have pooped alot in the winter and then the snow melted and the poo melted and it smelled. Right now I smell cow poo. Lots of cow poo (from the farmer next door). I think I like the smell of dog poo better. Why do you call poo "shit"? Oh Mommy. Mommy. Remember that day I said my pajamas smelled like "ass"? Remember how funny that was? Remember you laughed Mommy?"
And I did. I laughed again. And then John laughed and said "How did we get here?" (In a good way.)
Yesterday I had a meeting. A bonafide "business meeting". I wasn't someone's mother. Someone's wife. Someone's daughter. For about 15 minutes I was just me, Chantal. I had an opinion and it mattered and the other person was genuinely interested (and invested) in what I thought. How cool is that?
I've been a stay at home Mom since the summer of 1996 (even though Kristyn was not born until December). That is also same month I got married and the month we began our pursuit of John's business dream. He wanted to become totally self-sufficient and have a business that worked for him. It took a long time and it sucked alot, but he did it. Actually, that's not true, WE, did it. We sacrificed a lot for the sake of getting where we are today. We had our four children very young. We saved money, spent money and learned from mistakes. We bought houses and sold houses and adjusted to the change each new one brought with it.
So where are we today?
A great place. Our youngest child is 3. We have a business that on many days can basically run itself. John works from home. That in itself is a big deal. It affords us some luxuries that are really advantageous to me. The biggest of which is that we can switch gears a bit and focus on something I want to do. I am at a point now where I can take some more time for myself and, dare I say it, consider my own career path. At 30 years old, I am finally starting to think about my own career. It gets me all giddy inside, the thought of doing something I find interesting and making money.
And so, before this meeting, of course one of the kids was sick and not able to go to school. My first "business meeting" and it looked like I would either have to cancel or take her with me. Both so not cool. In the end, we came up with a plan leaving Meghan in the very capable hands of her father. She was not happy. She was sick and she wanted Mommy. For the first time in her life, Mommy just couldn't be there. While she was crying about this, Erin came in the room and said "You're going out? Where are you going?" She was on her way to school for chrissake! What did it matter where I was? It didn't. The point, to her, was that I would not be home, waiting for her to come home.
A wide range of emotions went through my head. Not least of which was wanting to yell out "Come on all of you! You've had me to yourselves for TEN YEARS! It's my turn. Deal with it!" Of course, this wasn't the first time I had left them but it almost seemed as though they knew that this time had the potential to have me away from them a whole lot more. There is nothing wrong with that and I don't feel selfish for wanting to start my life at this stage of the game. How I inpart on them that being away from them a little more, doing my thing, will make me a better Mom is beyond me. I almost don't want to have to justify it to them.
This whole process makes me feel guilty, like I'm letting them down. Then I get angry that I feel that way. I'm excited at this opportunity, but they have a hard time letting me leave. Even if I'm just leaving for soccer at least two of them yell out "You're leaving!? Where are you going?". Like I belong to them. Do you know how suffocating that feels? I don't want memories of leaving them for an evening to include having to pry them off my legs and saying "Get back in the house!" That's not fair to me and it's not fair to them.
I sure could use some words of wisdom I guess. I can tell you all about birthing babies, breastfeeding and childrearing. I can give you the rules of soccer and how to train for an upcoming race. I can tell you how to sneak vegetables into your kids food. But fuck if I can tell you how to transition myself like this.
Why don't I take signs as they come? I think the fates were trying to tell me that I would be too tired and bitchy to play soccer at 9pm on Saturday. The day was really busy and by the time the curtain went up on Erin's dance showcase*, I was yawning. My mother complained and made me cranky. First the music was too loud and she couldn't hear the tapping of the shoes. Then the music was too soft and she could hear the girls shoes sliding on the floor during a ballet number. By intermission I was spent, but I had to leave to play my game.
I was off in some other world and it showed. Even my coach mentioned at halftime that I wasn't myself. How do you tell your very male, former NHL playing coach that you're a bit lazy cause you just started your period? You don't. Cause he'll laugh at you and you will deserve it. My fuzziness caused us to lose our first game this season and that bit the shit.
Know what was worse? I took a ball to the face. Not just a little tap. A bonafide, breakaway, her full quad muscle into it, ball to the face. I've some nice black eyes and I can't breath out of one nostril. I got right back up and yelled "I'm okay! Play on!" and then fell down. That had to be funny to see. I finished the game, nothing is broken and Motrin makes it good, so I'll the deal.
Despite all this it's a beautiful Spring day and I checked in on Maricar to see that's she's knocked up. That beats my black eyes for sure.
There once was this girl ... (Okay, not a girl really, she's almost 31 and needs to accept that.)
Anyhow, this girl, I mean woman, I mean Mom to four kids, was doing okay. Her cycles tended to be a bit long and that sucked. It sort of wreaked havoc on everyone around her as her hormones went a bit nuts every 30th day. The havoc often lasted for ten days and caused friends and family to run in the opposite direction. It wasn't too bad and it could have been worse. At least it was predictable.
But see, predictable is not a word that this girl should have counted on. Oh no no no.
Because said girl would think she was in a comfortable pattern. She would not stress on the thirty-first day because she was secure in her knowledge that she had at least another ten days. She would feel free to plan what was to be, so far that year, the busiest day ever. This day would include two dance classes, a birthday party, a dance showcase and a 9pm soccer game. Fun stuff. Busy. Good busy.
Yes, good busy. Of course, until said girl is driving to dance class and starts to feel a bit iffy. Guess what iffy turns out to be? Day one of her next cycle. I know you know what that means.
Fuck shit fuck.
Good thing I let John talk me into this little item at the Hershey Factory.
Yes, that is a five pound bag of chocolate bars with almonds.
No, I won't share.
I love this idea from Blackbird.
Here's a wee peek into my wonderful (mostly) country life. Still getting used to saying that.
The kitchen window is my favourite spot in the house. It's bright and warm and where I spend most of my time. I can see the entire panoramic view of our back property from here. And the kids when they're playing outside. It's my ideal kitchen window.
Also included in the link to the window are photos of Spring on the farm and how "Spring" equals "Mud". Much fun for the kids. Very dirty for me.
Alex's speech therapy takes place at a local hospital*. If you've been to a hospital in the Ottawa area in the last 18 months or so, you've seen the many signs that request you use antibacterial hand rinse before entering. Follow? Good.
This hospital is no different. In their tiny little main hallway they have an eighty year old volunteer manning a station. As you pass her she taps the dispenser and "requests" you use it for patient safety. From this hallway we go straight into the basement, near the laundry room and boardroom. We do not go near the patient rooms.
The first time we were there I politely told the woman we would wash our hands with soap and water in the bathroom. We were in a rush so we zoomed past her.
This week, she saw us coming and blocked our way in! She basically demanded we use the Purel. I know it's hard to picture an eighty year old woman as a force to be reckoned with, but dude, I was scared.
Let me stop here and say that I don't have anything necessarily against Purel, but I don't use it and I don't use it on my kids. I think it has it's place, but have you seen what's in it? Here's why I didn't want to use it today:
A) My kids know how to wash their hands and they use soap and water.
B) Because we all wash our hands often, our hands tend to be dry, and have you ever used Purel on dry or cracked hands? It stings something fierce. Also, I have a terrible habit of picking my cuticles and that doesn't just sting, it fucking burns, burns, burns.
C) Flat out demanding me to do something is pretty much a guarantee that I will fight you on it. I've been known to resist doing things I know damn well are good for me just because someone told me to do it. If she was standing there with a huge sign that said "Purel will kill you!" I might just bathe in it.
Once again I told her we'd wash our hands in the bathroom as I pointed to it. We were within sight of the can, so she could watch us go in and later smell our hands if she wanted to! She wasn't having it until I said "The smell makes my daughter sick to her stomach and she cries." Since she knew she couldn't argue with me, she let us by, but gave me a scowl.
As we left I asked our pathologist if there is an alternate entrance to the building in case she has security on our tail next week.
(**Notice I didn't say Almonte, so that you won't think this is the hospital here. Or maybe it is and I'm justing saying "local" to mess with you. Or maybe it's Perth or Carleton Place or somewhere else that has a small hospital... I need to put down that can of coke)
Just now Alex pulled a new bottle of Tums from the counter. He said "What dis, Mommy?"
I said "It's for sore tummies."
He said "Me ha a sow tummy!"
I said "That's for Mommies and Daddies, these are for little kids." and I pulled out a bottle of Tic Tacs we keep for the girls when they try to get out of going to bed with "tummy aches".
"Me need one of dose! Fo me sow tummy."
So I gave him one. He took it in his hand, lifted his shirt and placed it on his belly. I think I startled him with how loud I laughed. Moments like that make me forget that he was up at 4am and he peed on my foot while sleepily aiming for the toilet.
It started off as just every few weeks or when my Mom was here. Then every few days to see what I had missed. You know, just in case my Mom forgot to tape it and I could tell her what happened.
Now it's every day and I can't stop. I don't want to stop. 4:30-5:30 is "go watch TV in Mommy's room, this one is MINE" time.