The Results May Vary

Observations from my Mixed Up World

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A Parent’s Review of a Fashion Fundraiser

Milo’s modeling/talent agency participates in an annual fund raising event put on my Club Roma here in the Niagara area.  It was pretty exciting that Milo was chosen to be one of the kids in the show.  So of course as good parents, we bought tickets for Maya and ourselves to attend.  I’ve got to say that I have no problem dropping $150.00 to support breast cancer screening but I can’t help but think that we made out like bandits.  It was one of the most exciting evenings I’ve spent in a long time.

The Geoffrey Chapman Agency brought out 65 models, including about 20 kids aging from infants to teens, and put on an incredibly edgy and entertaining show.  They used acrobats to walk amongst the models, flipping, jumping and even walking on their hands all the while holding signs identifying the shops that sponsored the show.  I had dropped Milo off about 1 in the afternoon and the show began just after 9pm.  They must have practiced for hours and it really showed because I couldn’t see a single misstep.  How they ever sat on 20 kids and another 45 models for 8 hours I have not idea.  I don’t like to sit on my 2 kids for even half an hour!

The meal was really superior.  It started with a traditional antipasto plate, then fresh made lasagna.  This was followed by a super stuffed chicken breast, rosemary roasted potatoes and a tossed greens salad.  The dessert was red velvet cake – which I didn’t know had cream cheese icing until I took that first succulent bite.  I ate it all and some of Maya’s.  And I hate dessert generally.

It would not be right to finish without some praise for Maya.  She sat and ate through a 3 hour dinner with no fuss.  It was an amazing feat for a 5 year old and I didn’t mind the 27 trips to the bathroom.  The exercise helped work off some of the cake.

Here’s a photo of Milo on the catwalk.

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then Maya Dropped the F-Bomb!

It’s been just under 24 hours and I’m still waiting for Family and Children’s Services to come and take the kids away.  No, there were no attempted murders.  Neither did I attempt to abandon them alongside a country road.  Oh no.  We had one of those lovely visits to Grandma’s house that witnessed some bold language.  The kid of language that kids shouldn’t know, let along use correctly at my in-laws house.

My wife’s parents are the most generous and kind people I know.  They are immigrants to Canada and have been in the country for quite some time.    They are also pretty socially conservative.  I’ve occasionally been amazed that they can make a right hand turn since they are so far to the right already.  But I digress.  My father-in-law will sometimes swear when I am around.  Mostly because I am a bad influence and when he does swear, it is just like a schoolboy getting away with being naughty.  I’ve heard my mother-in-law very rarely say “shit.”  The entire family cringes when this happens and looks around for an escape route.  I can distinctly recall both occasions I witnessed her say “Fuck.”  I truly believe that both times she was fully ready to commit murder and do the hard time.

So that was the scene yesterday evening, very Emily Post, when Maya flew into a rage because she felt I wasn’t listening to her attentively enough.  She stormed off down the hallway shrieking over her shoulder at me “You never listen to me.  I hate you.  I wish you weren’t my fucking father.  I hate you.”  There were stunned looks from Grandma and Grandpa and luckily for me, my wife wandered out of the bathroom into Maya’s path.  She took the needed corrective action and then walked calmly into the living room, looked at her mom and dad and asked “Still think she’s a total angel?”

We’ve been trying very hard the past few weeks to help, direct, motivate, assist and basically not kill Maya as she deals with anger issues.  I think that Milo went through a phase when he was struggling to contain his anger but he didn’t have Maya’s ability to make it very personal.  We keep on keeping on.  And wait for the knock on our door.

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Drama at Play Practice

Today was Milo’s usual play practice and I dropped him off as usual.  It was a regular day and I had no idea of the scene that would greet me at pick up time.  I wandered in and couldn’t see Milo anywhere.  Of course, I had Maya glued to me because she hadn’t bothered to pee at Starbucks and was now hopping up and down uncontrollably.  We found Milo and his teacher as we walked over to the bathroom.  Milo sitting in a chair crying and the teacher working, ineffectively, to console him.

I pushed Maya into the bathroom and asked what the problem was?  It seems that some of the other boys in the play had been razing Milo over his small stature.  It is a fact that he is small.  His sister at 5 weights the same and is almost the same height.  He is peeved at me because I make him sit in the booster seat riding in the car for safety reasons.  Even he admits that he’s short.  Today the problem is not just that he is short but he is short and in the play, he has the part of a Yeti.

I’ve seen the material for the costume and I have this feeling he is going to look a lot like a Shih-Tzu .  It’s all shaggy and warm.  He’ll look pretty cuddly.  So the boys were bugging him and then worse, the girls started in too.  The teacher wanted me to know that she wasn’t ok with the situation and she planned to have a talk with the group at the beginning of the next practice.  We took some deep breaths and went home.

So I don’t think  this was bullying.  I was bullied as kid and I hated it.  I hate bullies too.  Mind you my big mouth and intolerant attitude didn’t help me make lots of friends either.  By grade 4, the only thing faster than my mouth were my feet.  I knew 20 different ways home with many places to hide.  I think that the kids in the play were just bullshitting Milo and didn’t know they’d hit a sore spot.  But I don’t like the idea of the teacher having an announcement and telling the group to be nice to Milo.  I worry that hangs a big sign around his neck saying “I have buttons and when you push them, I go nuts.”  I don’t want him set up to be bully bait.  Since I was bullied myself, I’ve learned to be very careful about letting people know what gets to me.  Showing weakness is like playing with pit bulls wearing pork chop cologne.  Everywhere, always and without exception.

I’ve worried about Milo because he gets upset easily but in the past, he’s been such a popular kid (amazing to me, a kid that had therapy because I had no friends) and popular kids don’t get bullied. (usually.)  Fast forward to this afternoon and I had a chat with him.  I encouraged him to try to deal with things on his own before he rushes to get adults involved.  This idea created some discussion between my wife and I.  As a teacher, she sees and hears a lot more about bullying than I do.  She’s worried, rightfully so, that Milo will think that he has to deal all on his own and end up scared, messed up or worse.  I agree that you need to let adults know about bad situations, but an inner city schooling taught me that you need to show and know you can deal with things on your own because sometimes there are no adults around.  In the end, I went back to Milo and discussed that I wanted him to try to deal with teasing on his own but that didn’t mean he was on his own.  I always want to know if he is having problems, I told him.  Sometimes I will help him find solutions and sometimes, I will solve them for him.

Funny, I didn’t think that this quiet, rainy day would have such depth.


One of the Things that Got Daddy in Trouble

I see your moistness beckoning

me, to bring my lips to taste your wetness.

Oh, the first taste makes my tongue

twitch, your salty metallic taste teases me

to drink more and more.

The heady rush of your flavour,

drinking you in I burn inside

while I slide deeper into you and you

into me.  Heady, burning rush.

Oh Martine-i,

you’re so bad for me, and

yet you leave me thirsting for more

and more.


The Easter Bunny Lives in Barrie: Travel Log 1

We went to visit my sister and her family for the Easter Weekend.  The odd thing is that we did it knowing that with everyone coming, the adults would be outnumbered 7 to 5 by the kids.  The little beasts ages ranged from 13 down to Maya who is five.  Girl to boy ratio was 4 to 3.  The actual bed spaces to persons ratio was 6 spaces to 12 persons, so the kids had to sleep on the floor in a pile of blankets and pillows much like a litter of puppies.  Oh well, more’s the fun.

Now it is 2 hours to Barrie which should be a dream trip compared to going to my mom’s place which is a staggering 5 hour marathon of pain and despair.  I figured that we were on the right track as we left.  Both I-Pods were fully charged, Milo had his headphones, stuffed animals and blankets were available and I had taken, confirmed and reconfirmed the Tim Horton’s orders for breakfast prior to leaving the driveway. I was smart enough not to comment aloud or even think to myself that things looked promising.  Why tempt the universe?

Tim Horton’s (a donut/coffee shop dominant in Canada) is less than 5 minutes away.  After handing out the bagels and drinks to everyone, my shining outlook began to falter.  I had previously been unaware that it was a form of child abuse to provide a bagel to Maya where the top and bottom halves were placed back together like a cream cheese sandwich.  Nor was I aware that to suggest to a five year old that they could take one hand and lift the top half of the bagel from the bottom half was akin to asking her to compose War and Peace while hopping on one foot whistling “When the Saints go Marching In.”  I was educated appropriately, I assure you.

Suitable chastened, we made it to the highway while bagels were consumed in a more or less quiet but more and more messy fashion.  That’s ok, when I drive I only look forward.  As the amusement of breakfast wore off, I suggested a traveling game that has worked for me in the past.  Each occupant of the vehicle was to look out the windows and search for orange cars.  There is a scarcity of them in Ontario so it requires a certain concentration and vigilance.  I’ve made the game non-competitive as the player needs to show the car to the others and no points are awarded.  I’d not counted on the fact that Milo looks forward out the front window to search out cars.  Maya on the other hand, looks out her window as exactly 90 degrees to the path of travel.  Suffice to say, Milo has an advantage.  The perception of how unfair his advantage was became clear to me as the volume of protest rose and rose and rose and rose.  The game was called on account of driver deafness.

I’m sure that there were other challenging moments in the car, but I’ve blocked them from my memory.  God only knows how pioneers ever made those months long treks in covered wagons.  I’d have strapped the kids to the oxen and left them to the elements.

There will be more stories of Easter Weekend forthcoming.