flightmum











{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…

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{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!

 



{April 8, 2013}   Freedom Flight

As a mum, it goes without saying that my kids (especially when they were young), preferred me to do things for them or sit next to them. As opposed to their father.  My younger kids constantly fought over who got to sit next to mum at dinner time. When they woke up in the morning, they’d crowd me in bed while my husband had half the bed to himself. I’d tend to have two children sandwiched around me and one child with the coveted position of lying ON me. Their dad is a good sport about all this. He knows the kids love him immensely.

I don’t know if the kids gravitate towards me because of the mother/child bond OR because of the irregular hours I work. They never know when I will be available to kiss them good morning or tuck them in at night. Their dad always had more regular hours.

Anyway, no complaints.  I am very lucky. 

Many years ago,  my husband and I and our two boys were trying to fly home on standby. (Our daughter was just a figment of our imagination). The passenger agents called our name but said she only had 2 seats available and did we want to take them? We only needed 3 seats as our youngest was 18 months and would have been lap held. I asked if I could sit in the flight deck and she replied with an affirmative. My husband and I discussed the different options.  Basically,  we could pass on the seats and wait half the day in the airport for the next flight.  Or, I could sit in the flight deck while my sweetie sat with our 3 year old and a laptop held 18 month old for a five hour flight. It was a no-brainer. Ha ha.

We decided to go for it and boarded the aircraft. There were some tears as I headed left towards the cockpit and the kids and husband went right towards their seats. My husband gave me a brave smile and off they went.

I strapped myself into the jumpseat and waited for take-off. Once airborne,  I explained to the pilots that my husband and young sons were stuck in the back, while I got to have adult conversation.  We all had a good chuckle. All of a sudden,  I had a drink and a newspaper in my hands. It was a very relaxing and carefree flight…one I wouldn’t have had in the back of the aircraft with two little boys vying for my attention. It was a shame about being separated…but that is the sacrifice I made for my family that day. You’re welcome.



{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. 

 

 



et cetera