flightmum











So, it’s been almost six months since I blogged. I just ran out of time for this activity. I had a choice to either spend what little spare time I had to blog after the kids went to bed, or to do laundry. After a few days of the kids running around buck naked, I knew I had to return to becoming a dazzling laundress instead of a famous blogger. But I had hoped that I’d come back to writing again eventually because I enjoy composing (I hope) witty and thought provoking words and, well, gosh darn it,  I like the attention of my followers.  Plus, my aunt told me that she likes reading my stories and that I am talented. Thanks,  Auntie.

So, I am back. Not sure what kind of schedule I will keep. Might write again tomorrow or in six months time. Who knows. We shall see.

To the meat of my blog:

I flew with a husband and wife team. They were so adorable.  They buddy bid to fly together on as many flights as possible.  Their children have grown up and moved away and they are a few years away from retirement. They drive in to work together and bid to fly to fabulous destinations with long layovers. Essentially,  they are getting paid to have several mini holidays together every month. This month alone,  they have ‘vacationed’ in Santiago and Bejing.

When their daughters were younger,  they would choose to work opposite shifts so someone was always home with the girls.  They did this for many years.  Working opposite days could really take a toll on a marriage.  It’s a gamble and doesn’t always turn out for the best. Look at all those movie stars married to each other, who take turns going away on set and making films while the other stays home with the kids. Conscious uncoupling, I tell you. Otherwise known as Splitsville. See, same could happen to the flight attendant power couples, except for the three million dollar paychecks.

I know another airline couple who decided to work opposites to raise their kids. Well, eventually they got used to their own time alone with the children and didn’t know how to be a couple anymore. Now, they still bid opposites, but the kids live with mum half the week while dad flies and vice versa.

Anyway, back to the love birds, they were so sweet and still very much in love after all these years. They were a pleasure to work with. They shared their stories with me about their doctor and pilot daughters. Ironically, their life story goes as follows: two flights attendants met, married and had two daughters. One daughter became a doctor and married another doctor. The other one became a pilot and married another pilot! Maybe that is the secret of a strong marriage…marrying someone with the same profession as you,  as they will be very understanding of your job constraints and the unusual hours you work.

Perhaps it’s true: Birds of a feather flock together. 

 

 



{September 27, 2013}   No Fighting in the car!

It all started one weekend  this summer when we were invited to join another family at their cottage. How was I going to entertain three children on a three hour drive?  Since we don’t believe in dvds and Ipads in the car, I had to come up with a back up plan.  There’s only so much window gazing and I-Spy games we could partake in before we all get a little stir crazy.

I remember almost 5 years ago,  I jumped in the car for a five hour drive to visit my family with my then 5 month old, and 4 and 6 year olds. I borrowed from the library countless annoying Robert Munsch audio books to keep my older two entertained. Halfway through the drive, we stopped at McDonald’s for lunch and to let off much needed  steam in the play area for my boys, while I fed my baby daughter. We all survived that trip.

So, cottage bound,  we stopped at the library and armed ourselves with as many audio books as we could manage. The three hour car ride literally flew by. It was so quiet in the car as all four of us were mesmerized by the characters’ voices. We enjoyed a mystery story plus some classics by Roald Dahl including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and James and the Giant Peach. These stories captivated the almost 5 year old all the way up to the 39 year old. Now that’s impressive!  

I loved listening to these books. I don’t get a chance to read ‘kids’ books anymore.  My older two read on their own and I read smaller books to my youngest. 

Anyways, we got hooked!  Now, where ever we go, whether it is a 5 minute drive or 1 hour journey, we listen to our stories. We have read everything from ‘The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar’ by Roald Dahl, to ‘Cool Zone with the Pain and the Great One’ by Judy Blume, to R.L. Stine’s Rotten School series (The Big Blueberry Barf Off…how can you go wrong with a title like that) and ‘Henry and the Clubhouse’ by Beverly Cleary.

The kids are enjoying authors that I read when I was a kid. I borrowed some more audio and regular books from those classic novelists. My 8 year is enthralled with those characters and is reading books that he used to be intimidated by. I couldn’t be happier. 

One book in particular,  Henry and the Clubhouse’ was written in 1962. Cleary’s writing was true to her era and I envy the freedom that her characters enjoyed in their every day life. Eleven year old Henry gets a job as a paperboy delivering newspapers and builds himself a backyard club house in his spare time. He is responsible and respectful to the adults in his life.  In one scene, the mother exclaims that she was starting to get worried about Henry one Saturday after he was out playing in the neighborhood for the last eight hours. Not once does Henry ask to play the Wii or IPad. Sigh.

There is another character,  Ramona, Henry’s pesky five year old neighbour who follows Henry around on his paper route. At one point, Henry tells Ramona to go home and she does as she is allowed to walk on her own as long as she doesn’t cross any busy streets.  My almost 5 year old is not even allowed to play in our front yard unsupervised! 

I think the kids ‘back then’ has a more fun childhood. More freedom=more fun.

This summer, when my kids were complaining that they were bored playing outside, I told my eldest that when I was his age, I would have been so happy to be able to play outside all day. He retorted: Ya Mum, but you didn’t know any better. You didn’t have computers or anything better to do.

He has a point, but…



{May 14, 2013}   Love You Forever

When I was pregnant for the first time, I received a Robert Munsch book at my baby shower from my aunt.  It was called ‘Love You Forever’. My aunt wrote a lovely message in it which included: Once you are a parent,  you will truly understand the words and meaning. 

I heard through others that the book was a real tearjerker. That night, I decided to test it out. With my baby boy tucked safely in my womb, I read the book from cover to cover. Hmm. Nothing. No tears. Ha! I knew I was tough.

In the book, the mum sings a specific song to her son from the day he was born until he becomes a new dad himself.

 

I’ll love you forever,

I’ll like you for always,

As long as I’m living

my baby you’ll be.Image

 

After my son was born, I read him the Robert Munsch book and couldn’t get through it without choking up. I chalked up the tears to baby hormones.  

Ten years later,  I have read the book many times over to my three children and I still can’t get through it without waterfalls. No baby hormones to blame.

Last night,  I tried reading the book to my daughter using silly voices to stave off the tears.  We laughed. My method worked…almost. I guess I am soft after all.

 

 

 

 

 

 



{May 12, 2013}   Mum appreciation day

I remember when I was a kid, I’d ponder out loud why there couldn’t be a kid’s day. I mean,  there’s a mother’s day and father’s day,  so it made perfect sense that there should be a day dedicated to kids, right? My mum explained that every day is kid’s day. How right she was!

I had a really good mother’s day today, I have to say. I am lucky enough to get breakfast in bed every year on the big day, where my sons take my meal and drink order and deliver it to my bed. Delivery with a smile. Then they salivate while I devour my eggs. After that,  my special day is pretty much over. It’s back to making lunch and wiping bums.

But, this year, my day kept on givin’. I got the customary yummy sunny side up. Then, I got to go back to sleep! (hooray). Afterwards, I got in the car and was told to keep my eyes closed. That’s really hard to do when you’re driving. But I managed to keep them closed the whole time.  Did I mention that my husband was driving? After parking, I put my life in my kids hands as they blindly led me to our next adventure.  To my surprise,  we were to have lunch at our favourite Irish pub. Irish coffee, anyone? As you can imagine, with three young children,  we rarely go out to restaurants as we have been banned by most of them in a ten mile radius. 

Then home for  a quick four hour game of Monopoly where nobody cried or fought or whined. It was a magical day after all. 

Bbq for dinner rounded out the perfect day. Didn’t cook one meal or wash one dish all day long. ( I did wipe one bum). Still…BEST MOTHER’S DAY EVER!

 



My four year old daughter loves wearing dresses.  She also loves when her and I dress alike. She’s insisting that we wear dresses everyday.  Except there’s only one problem with that. She looks way cuter in her outfits than me. She weighs about thirty pounds. I weight at least 100 pounds more than that (and then some). 
I need to lose some weigh. At least 10 pounds. Okay. Maybe fifteen.

Already, my darling daughter is competing with me. She asked her father, “Who looks prettier in their dress? Mummy or me? That was a tricky one to answer diplomatically. My husband said: Mummy, because she’s my wife. My daughter’s lower lip trembled. My husband said both of us were the prettiest. She was okay with that answer.
The truth is: She is beautiful. And I’m okay with that.



{March 13, 2013}   Like gag me with a spoon

A couple of nights ago,  I threw up many times.  I started my evening just not feeling quite right and was pretty sure that at some point,  I was going to puke. Normally, I would do just about anything not to upchuck: plead with a higher power, sell my first born (no wait, maybe my second) or anything else I could think of. This time, I was at peace with the imminent vomitus. 

I shouldn’t have been surprised about my upset tummy,  as in the last month,  both my daughter and middle son had their turn with the stomach flu. 

I went to bed early,  waiting for that feeling to arrive. Sure enough, at about 10:30 pm,  I calmly got out of bed and waited for the action to start. About a minute later, it was showtime. It was violent. Everything came up. I didn’t look at IT as I kept my eyes closed. But, I am pretty sure my stomach content was empty. I wiped my mouth, washed my hands and went back to bed. 

Instead of wallowing in self-pity and questioning, ‘Why me?’, I lay in bed and admired my son and daughter who had recently encountered the same kind of night as I just had. Throwing up sucks. I HATE it. I know no one really likes it but I REALLY REALLY hate it. But, my children were so brave when it was their time of need and threw up like champs.  Okay, my son did declare once that he was dying, but other than that, they were true puking warriors.

I knew, from watching my children do the deed, that I’d have  at least 2 or 3 more puking fests before I could retire from that chapter for the time being.

Sure enough, not soon after, vomit number two was rearing its ugly head and once again I made it to the porcelain bowl with plenty of time to spare.  As I had suspected, there was no food left in my stomach but my body tried to bring whatever up it could anyway. As my stomach was convulsing,  I was thinking how amazing my body is that it could do that. I was in awe of the act of puking.

Vomiting is the act of forceful expulsion of the content of your stomach; up through the esophagus and out through the mouth or nose. There is actually a spot in the human brain stem called the vomiting centre. This part communicates to the rest of the body that it needs to vomit. It sends a message and soon after, the abdominal muscles begin to contract, forcing the stomach contents out. Vomiting must run its course. Isn’t the body so fascinating!

Anyway,  sure enough, I had to get out of bed a few more times before I was able to get some shut eye at around 3:30 am. 

As interesting as this all is, I hope not to experience the amazing abilities of my vomiting centre for a very long time.



{March 12, 2013}   March Madness

Last month, my mum invited the kids and I to come visit her during our spring break when the kids would be off school. Talked it over with the hubby, and we decided it was a good idea, even though he had to stay behind and work. 

Since we exclusively fly standby (get on the plane only IF there are empty seats available),  I tried to pick a time and date to travel that OTHER passengers wouldn’t necessarily want to travel. I picked the Sunday right after school ended as I had to work around my boys’ hockey games. Big mistake!  Every province has their spring break during different weeks. So, even though most people going on holidays would probably have gone away already, Sunday was a BUSY travel day, because a whole other province was rushing home after their week off!

The flights looked terrible and were oversold for the whole day, but, I decided to go for it anyway.  I figured, other passengers might misconnect their flights and we might get lucky. After all, SO MANY of my flights that I work are forecasted to be full, but we end up having empty seats. You never know!

After hockey, off we went to the airport with fingers crossed and lots of snacks, books and electronics. We missed the first flight. No problem.  Off we went to sit at the next gate. No luck. I felt good about the third flight as it was a much bigger aircraft.  When we didn’t get on, I heard the gate agents saying that NO  (cons) employees got on that flight except the two that sat in the flight deck.  Didn’t get on the next flight either.  Started to get nervous. The thought of being at the airport (again) for twelve hours by myself with 3 children for a one hour flight, mind you, did not really appeal to me…let’s be honest.

Thankfully,  the children were well behaved.  Perhaps they saw my crazy look and knew that they better not upset mummy, or else there would be he’ll to pay.

As we were walking to our NEXT gate, a man stopped me and said that I was very brave to be flying standby with three young children.  I agree and added, ‘or perhaps stupid’. Anyway,  off we went and waited once again for our names to be called. My kids were starting to get a little antsy by now. Who could blame them?  I was too. When I approached the gate agent once again and inquired about whether he thought we had any hope of getting on his flight, he rudely answered: No cons are getting on. That was it for me. I was tired. I wanted to go home.

I broke the news to the kids, but mentioned that we’d try again the next morning. Perhaps the flights would be better.

When I got home, I checked the flights to my destination for the next day, and they were just as bad. I called my mum and explained the situation.  I couldn’t stomach spending the whole day in the airport again, so we brainstormed and came up with the idea that I’d wake up early and drive the 5 hours to her home (10 hours round trip with a 9,7 and 4 year old. Gulp). 

In the end, I got some kind of virus and ended up throwing up all night long instead, so that killed that plan. But, I did fly out of the small downtown airport and finally made it to grandma’s 24 hours late. 

 

 



{March 4, 2013}   Gift cards – good or bad?

My children were lucky enough to get a few gift cards as presents over the holiday season. We just spent them recently. 

I love watching my kids making the very important decision of what to buy. If it’s MY money,  they want everything in the store. “Please, Mummy, can you buy it. I LOVE IT!” But, when it is THEIR money,  they are a lot more choosier.  They will pick something up that they are considering purchasing and I ask them if they think they really will use/play/read it. They usually put it back down. Then they browse for a long time before they finally choose something.  My daughter usually chooses her prized possession  pretty quickly.  I guess as a four year old,  she satisfies easily.  My sons take longer. They have lived through the disappointment of a shiny new toy that only holds their excitement for a few days before it is quietly discarded into the basement, never to be played with again. They want to BELIEVE that there is something in the toy/book store that they can buy and love forever. I want to believe it too. Maybe, just maybe, this item will be played with over and over again. But, unfortunately, it’s usually not the case.  Regardless,  they take their shopping challenge very seriously. It teaches them to make a good decision about what they really want. If in a week’s time, they don’t like it, they only have themselves to blame. It also teaches them about taxes. I tell them that even though they have $25 to spend, they need to choose something a little cheaper as they have to save a few dollars for taxes, which launches me into a short discussion about sales taxes and the government and finishes off with bumpy roads and welfare.  I think they got it. 

I grew up indoctrinated NOT to give gift certificates (as they used to be called) as presents because that is the lazy person’s  gift and not very thoughtful or creative. So, I’ve rarely given them in the past. But, I LOVE receiving them! I think if you read between the lines of that life lesson, it is more about you not wanting the other person to know EXACTLY how much you spent on their gift. What if it wasn’t enough,  and you look too cheap? Or, if it was TOO much,  and now you’ve raised the bar. You can’t win. 

I think gift cards ARE thoughtful. I like to pair it with a small chosen gift to combat the life lessons of my formative years. Everybody wins! I say, bring it on!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some more toys to bring down to the basement. 

 

 



{February 27, 2013}   I am not a thief.

Friends of mine just had their second baby girl.  I love buying baby gifts. But, it’s difficult to buy a special gift for that same gendered baby.  I want it to be meaningful and/or practical.  So, off I go shopping with a couple of ideas in my head.

I went to several stores,  but nothing grabbed me. Finally,  I went into a specialty baby store, hoping to hit the perfect baby gift jackpot. I nodded hello to the only sales clerk in the shop and proceeded to browse  with my four year old daughter.  She was about to put her dirty boots on a kid sized chair when both myself and the sales guy reacted at the same time.  Disaster averted. 

Every time I took two steps to look at something new, the sales rep took two steps towards me. He had his eyes on me the whole time. Finally I walked the length of the store and continued up the other side.  Sales dude stayed on ‘his’ side of the store, but again, every time I took a step, he did too. It was weirding me out.  Finally, I couldn’t help myself and I said: Do you think I am going to steal something?  He replied ‘No’ but continued his behaviour.

 Even if I had LOVED something in the store, I wouldn’t have bought it because of him.

I wasn’t dressed like a total hobo! Does he do THIS to everyone?

Anyways, off to find the perfect gift… More specifically,  to BUY the perfect present. 



{January 21, 2013}   My anorexic 4 year old daughter

At what age can a child be diagnosed with anorexia?  My daughter just does not like to eat! Yes, she has energy and is growing.  But she is SO stubborn when it comes to food. It’s impossible to get her to eat when she decides that she does not want to.  Maybe it’s because she is my third child and I have no fight left in me, which explains  why she ALWAYS gets away with eating so very little.

My first born son has always been such a good eater from the day he was born. In the past, when my friends had had trouble getting their child to eat their dinner,  I used to smugly think that I was SUCH a good  parent. I mean, look at my kid eat! And, even today, at almost 10 years old, he out eats my husband and I, and you can still see his ribs sticking out of him! (For those who know us, my husband and I LOVE eating!) Nothing like one of your children humbling you. Maybe I am NOT such a great parent after all!

But, the truth is, you cannot and should not judge a parent’s abilities (or lack thereof) based on one or two parenting episodes. Unless of course they involve  letting the kid play in the middle of a busy road or sharing their bong with their toddler,  but I digress…

 

 



et cetera