Sunday, December 28, 2008

Pee Eye See You

"Kids, your dad got a job in Winnipeg, so we're moving". I'm not sure what the exact words of that conversation were or when in the grand scheme of things it took place, but I was somewhere in the first half of grade 5. And although I had lived in Winnipeg before, I had lived in small town Pinawa since I was 2, so I didn't remember life any other way. I do remember being excited to move to the "big" city where most of my extended family lived...and where there were malls that contained more than a post office, pharmacy, bank and The Bay (which was 2/3 grocery store and 1/3 everything else).

If you don't know Pinawa, Manitoba, it was built around a nuclear power plant where pretty much one or two members of every household worked. That one member was my dad, with my mom working at the bank in the mall. Everyone knew everyone else, and nobody's door was ever locked. I remember once when my parents decided to become "Block Parents" and listening my mother explain how important it is for kids to have somewhere safe to go if they got lost or needed help. I laughed and said that's silly, no one can get lost in Pinawa, and you could go to any house if you needed somewhere safe.

Although my trips to Winnipeg were always fun, and I never had reason to doubt that I'd like life there, I knew I was going to miss my friends. With only 7 girls in my class we all got along as a tight little gang of friends, trying to find our way amongst all the boys (I think there were 20 or so of them). I knew I'd especially miss my best friend Jenny, who I spent hours playing Barbies and whatever else with.

After all was said and done, we moved, and in February, right in the middle of grade 5, I started at a new school in the big city. I was terrified, standing there at the front of the class on display as the teacher introduced me. At recess, no one spoke to me. At lunch a girl named Lindsay came over and we talked and I thought "Finally! A friend." But I quickly learned that Lindsay was the class outcast and even talking to her made me an outcast by association. Lindsay and I got along okay, but she was a little strange and I wouldn't say we had lots of fun together. And not having anyone else as a friend was hard. I remember the culture shock of a whole new world. Small town living had left me a little naive, and when kids at school were talking about sexual terms and phrases I had no idea what they were talking about...even when I was teased for my last name. That summer, Lindsay and her mom moved away and I never heard from her again. I hate to admit it, but I was glad. I started grade 6 with no friends once again.
One fall day at the bike racks after school, another girl and I had the same bike, and as it turned out we lived close to each other. I'm so glad Jennifer took a chance at becoming my friend. After that, Jen invited me into her circle of friends, her family and her church. In the end, God's timing was perfect, Jen and I are still friends, and at that church my faith grew and took shape into a friendship with God, and I met my future husband. I don't regret the tough friendless times, because I know they both made me grow and they helped pave the way for so many of those friends that I hold dear as well as my marriage, which I know is a precious gift. I never regret leaving that small town which was all I knew, because when I see the ravages of teenage boredom in a small town among my former peers, I wonder if I too would have turned to drugs, alcohol or suicide.

As long as that blog was, I was really writing because of a whole other event in my life, which has stirred up so many feelings from grade 5. Tomorrow I start a new job. I've worked on the Children's Hospital surgical and burn unit since I was a student more than 10 years ago. I've made so many friends doing a job that I love. But for some reason I felt an urging to move and learn, so I applied for a job in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). I wasn't even sure if I would take the job when I faxed in my transfer form, but I was soon cornered by the Unit Manager who offered the job without me even having the benefit of time to waste thinking about it while there were interviews. And now after the mandatory 4 weeks notice, here I am on the eve of my new job. It's only for a year during someone else's maternity leave, and I've floated to PICU a few times before and always enjoyed working there (even though I haven't taken care of the really sick kids on ventilators yet). Over the next couple months, I'm going to be buddied with other nurses, and spend some days in a classroom learning the things I don't yet know, so I needn't worry about my skills or about killing anyone. But once again, I'm 10 years-old with butterflies in my stomach hoping that someone will like me. I have the urge to bake something to win them over...but then I think I'll look like I'm trying too hard. I'm trying to figure out which uniform to wear, wishing I had the time for a haircut and eyebrow wax. Trying to figure out what to pack for lunch...certainly not the leftovers from tonight's fish supper. I can't stink up the lunchroom on my first shift. Here I am, that awkward girl inside me panicking and screaming "why would you do this to yourself again?". But you know what they say, no pain, no gain.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Silly rabbit, Christmas isn't just for kids.

I hear so many people say "Christmas is for the kids". I can see how people can think that, especially for those who Christmas is more about traditions and celebrations than God. I know I shouldn't be surprised at the feeling that Christmas is just another day to dress the kids up and give them stuff (I wonder if the pagans are as disappointed at what we've done to their Halloween). After all, try finding a box of "holiday" cards in Walmart that actually say "Merry Christmas". A few years back at work, the annual Christmas tea was replaced by the winter something or other tea. I respect those who celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanza and whatever else their beliefs lead them to, but I'm more than a little saddened by the all the people out there who celebrate "Christmas" that are totally missing the point. It's so easy to get swept away, even as a christian, in the shopping and baking and get-togethers. It's disheartening to watch Jesus be pushed out of the way to make room for traditions and celebrations. At the same time I want to have some traditions with my family. I want my children to appreciate the birth of Christ as the center of Christmas, but at the same time I don't want my boys to grow up resenting our faith for spoiling the "festivities". And I must say it seems so hard to juggle both sides of this season.
Unfortunately, the children get more excited at the gifts beneath the tree than the reason for the star on top. I've been trying to spend as much time talking and reading to my kids about the first Christmas (and why we celebrate this miracle every year) as we spend making the actual Christmas preparations. But the abstract birth of our Saviour two thousand years ago can't compete with the concrete pile of gifts with their names on them or even the invisible scent of gingerbread baking. This morning I was up at 4am and couldn't sleep. I went out into the living room and picked up my bible. It felt so wonderful to just have some quiet time with God, and I walked away from that experience understanding that my children may be too young to be able to realize the depth of the importance of the real Christmas, but I am not, and if I can give Jesus center stage amidst all the flurry of shopping and wrapping and baking, then my children will grow up seeing that, and hopefully He will be more important to them once they can fully understand. I know that it is still important to tell my boys about Jesus' birth and how it is the reason for the season, but I now realize that what is more important is my example.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Lunch is the most important meal of the day.

Thirty-two years ago today someone very special was born. I first met her in grade 7 homeroom. She was blond, quiet and so short that she fit under my chin (which considering that I am only 5'2" means a lot). Soon after that we both happened to be hanging around the school at lunch while everyone else went to McDonald's, and we ended up sitting in the gym bleachers watching intramural sports and breaking all the rules by eating in the gym...well, maybe not all the rules, but the one about "NO EATING IN THE GYM" (we were quite the rebels). I remember how easy it was to talk to this girl who I'd only just met. I remember being surprised at how much this "quiet" girl could talk. I remember how talking to her put me completely at ease...unfortunately it put me so much at ease that I forgot the necessity of covert eating in the gym and got busted by the gym teacher when he saw my granola bar. I got kicked out of the gym, but Susi came with me and we got to finish both our lunch and our conversation elsewhere.

The years went by and we grew up (well Susi grew up, I merely got older- so now we're the same height). We spent few lunch hours apart in junior high, even fewer apart in high school. In university we'd trek across campus to find a quiet alcove, stairwell or hallway to eat our lunch.

Yes, Susi and I have done a lot together more than just lunches. Through school, youth group, sleepovers (including some midnight baking sessions), summer camp, ski trips (now, there was a disastrous lunch -for Susi at least, but now she checks expiry dates on all convenience store sandwiches), trips to the mall, and just hanging out at one of our houses, I've learned that Susi is the best girlfriend a person could hope for. She has always been an example of what being a friend is all about, but I think I learned the most from our lunches together. If I forgot my lunch, she would not offer half her sandwich, she would feign satiety and offer her whole sandwich . Then she'd offer her cookies, and whatever else she had. One year for my birthday, she carried custom-made donuts (she worked at one of those smoky donut shops) around in her bag all over campus until lunch when she pulled them out, compete with candle. Who knew that my dream donut of a chocolate-filled maple dip with sprinkles would be so disgustingly sweet. I've always looked forward to lunches with my dear friend, where I can speak my mind where I'm not only heard by the best listener I know, but I'm validated by her gentle words.

Now our shared lunches don't happen nearly often enough and are usually spent making sure our combined 5 children (soon to be 6) are getting their nutrients. But I know when I need a friend, she's just a phone call away. Happy Birthday Susi! Let's do lunch soon.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Not yet 2 and already a Fashionista!?!

I'm not a big follower of trends, mostly because whenever I see one, I think "I could never pull that off!". But, as a teen my room was strewn with clothes, not because I took off my dirty clothes and dropped them on the floor (because I had a laundry chute for that), but rather, my room was a pile of clean, but rejected clothes. Every weekend night and many weekday mornings I'd try on clothes, not like something about them, and take them off, adding them to the pile of clothes to be put away later. I never thought this part of history would repeat itself until my children were in their teens, and I hoped...nay, dreamed that maybe because I have boys, the cycle would end with me. But life never happens as we expect.

With Luke there would sometimes be some bargaining to get him to pick a shirt and pants that he was happy wearing and that made me happy because they didn't totally clash (I have OMD, but more about that later), but there were few battles. We are now going into hours 2 of today's Let's get Toby dressed battle, in which I'm taking a short blogging break to try to regain some sanity and perspective.

Like I mentioned before, I have what I call OMD - Obsessive Matching Disorder. My bra and panties have always matched (that is, as long as I've been wearing a bra). Back in the day of scrunchies I had an entire drawer full so that I always had one to wear that matched. Even when I'm sick, my clothes may be stained with vomit, but you'd better believe that they match. I'd rather have my hands pulled up into my sleeves with frostbite nipping at my fingers than to wear gloves that clash with my jacket. It's a disease. I know it's unreasonable, but it's like I can't help myself.

On days like today when there are more dirty clothes in the hamper than clean clothes in the drawers, Toby is my OMD shock therapy:

This shirt?
How about this one?
Look at this one? It has an alligator on it!
You could wear this red one...just like Luke's red shirt.
Okay, why don't you just pick one out of the drawer?
Come on, just PICK one!
Let's try pants first then, do you want to wear jeans?
Okay, put these ones on.
Which ones do you want?
(Puts them on)
No they're not too small, let's get a shirt...
(Pulling the pants off) No, No No!
Okay, how about sweatpants?
and on the story goes...

I no longer care if Toby's clothes match, and frankly this morning I no longer care if he has clothes at all, but it's rather cold outside to be streaking, so I guess we're stuck at home until I get the laundry done for him to pick out something he does like.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

I personally would have stuck with "Trick or Treat"

Yesterday was Halloween. I was working for the first time since the kids were born. I had debated on trying to trade a shift to get the day off, but realized that since there would be many Christmases where I'd have to work, and it wouldn't be possible to find someone to trade that shift, I didn't want to take the chance that the boys might get the idea that Halloween was more important than Christmas. I had hoped that I'd manage to get home in time to see the boys in their costumes, but by the time I left work and called home, they were no longer cowboys. So I had to rely on the pictures that Bruce took.

Well as I predicted it would be a bit of a fight to get Toby into costume because he didn't remember the whole you get candy for dressing up thing (but apparently he snapped out of his crying tantrum as soon as Bruce gave him a piece of chocolate). The boys looked pretty cute in the pictures of them in their cowboy duds, and that made me even sadder to have missed it. Then, Bruce got Luke to tell me what he taught him to say at the door when trick or treating, but it was hard to understand with his mouth full of chocolate. So Bruce showed me the video...

Needless to say, I thought it was cute, but I was a little disturbed. Yes, I guess shouting 'trick or treat' is actually quite rude, and if you think about it really is a threat, but it`s been tempered by years of tradition. However, 'give me all your candy and no one gets hurt' while holding a gun is slightly more threatening. As a mother, I can`t help but worry that some little old lady is still annoyed at the rude young cowboy that showed up on her doorstep demanding candy. As a father, my husband was proud of teaching his son something so "funny".
I'll never understand men.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

My Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
like my droopy eyelids that always make my eyes looks closed when I smile, and the fact that I cannot stay awake for an entire DVD movie.
courage to change the things I can;
like allowing my son to mix play-doh colours even though every fiber in my being screams when I see him squishing them together and I have to resist the urge to yank the glob of doh out of his hands and separate it back into its original colours.
and wisdom to know the difference...especially when my husband points out that it doesn't have to be that way.

Living one day at a time;
but meal planning one week at a time, so I don't have to run to the store every day.
Enjoying one moment at a time;
because when the boys are grown I will miss the days of sitting together reading the same book over and over again...(even though I will probably still have the words memorized)
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace,
and a necessary part of parenting, (which rarely involves peace, even in the bathroom);
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
and sometimes rotten children
as it is, not as I would have it;
not forcing my neuroses on my family, but allowing them to enjoy life
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
(which is so hard for a stubborn person such as myself to do)
That I may be reasonably happy in this life,
so long as my bra and panties always match,
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next,
when none of my compulsions will matter.

-Reinhold Niebuhr and Tanya

Thursday, October 2, 2008

How does that saying go? You give a boy a fish, he eats for a day....

...give in to that boy's supermarket tantrums, he eats for a lifetime???

Like many moms, I try to do my grocery shopping sans whining mouths and small hands reaching from the cart to pull things off the shelves. For those mothers who lug their kids to grocery, department and clothing stores every time they go, I salute you. For me, I try to plan my meals and grocery shopping so that as many of those dreaded trips are during hubby's days off. But until I learn how to make a casserole solely out of assorted condiments and over-ripe bananas, some days we simply need to go buy food. There are also those occasions where everyone is home and occupied, when I believe I'm home free, and just as I'm grabbing my purse to head out, Luke inevitably spots me, and so starts the, bargaining. It's still better shopping with only Luke in tow, at least I don't have to constantly tell Toby to sit back down, before he takes a header of the cart. But like all who have gone before with a preschooler adds up to a lot of "I want that"s. Unlike all who have gone before me, shopping with Luke would not be easier if I could manage to avoid the junk food aisles...we'd have to avoid the condiments, the deli, the produce and most importantly the fish counter. I realize that Luke enjoys sauces to dip his food, as most preschoolers do, and I even don't mind giving into the odd request for mock chicken or a pepperoni stick.
I'm sure you're all thinking "why would a child wanting fruits and vegetables be a problem?" Well, it's not that he wants carrot sticks or a different kind of apple...that I could understand. No, the screams from our cart are "I WANT AN ARTICHOKE!!!". I've given in and bought eggplant (which he didn't eat), brussell sprouts (which he didn't eat), dragon fruit (which he didn't eat), and so on. I've repeatedly been burned on produce like kiwis, avocados, green beans and parsnips which I seem to continually buy only for him to spit out with disdain. I'll admit, as we speak, there is a kiwi in my fruit basket headed for such a fate. But I wouldn't know what to do with a fresh artichoke...the only kind I've ever used are the jarred artichoke hearts...but the peppers are right by the artichokes, so I can't seem to avoid them, and the inevitable begging, which escalates to whining and then turns to yelling.
Remember I said "most importantly the fish counter"? Yes, there are things more embarrassing than a tantrum over an artichoke. Maybe he's watched the IMAX's "Deep Sea" one too many times, maybe it's because I used to stop at the fish counter and show Luke the live lobsters and crabs whenever we'd go to a store selling shellfish. But now, as we walk in the door Luke starts asking to go to the fish counter. Our regular grocery store doesn't have tanks with live shellfish thankfully...but it does have rainbow trout. Small and with head still intact must be what's so appealing, but that doesn't ease the embarrassment of a 45 pound, red-faced monster screaming "I WANT RAINBOW TROUT! I WANT RAINBOW TROUT! I WANT RAINBOW TROUT!!!!!" as he is dragged to the checkstands to pay for the food we do need. He used to eat salmon and pickerel, cod, and even halibut on occasion, but in the past year, the fish I serve tends to get pushed around the plate, so you can see my reluctance at buying the elusive Rainbow Trout. Last month, while I was sitting planning meals and making my grocery list I asked Luke what he wanted for meals that week. He diplomatically said rainbow trout, so although we had steaks marinating for supper, I added it to the and turf. We stopped at the fish counter, where I requested the smallest rainbow trout available. Before it was wrapped I asked the man to hold it up so Luke would actually believe me when I said we had a trout in the cart. The man, quite amused (possibly remembering me pulling a screaming Luke past his counter on previous visits), hammed it up, making the Mr. Trout swim through the air for a while before parcelling it. Although there was still an artichoke request logged that day, it was quickly quelled by threats to release his catch of the day.

Finally. He had won. He had his trout, and surprisingly, he ate some. Expecting a little more peace the following week I zoomed past the fish counter...make that attempted to zoom past the fish counter, only to discover, to my dismay,that I hadn't satisfied the beast, only whet it's appetite. Although...he did do even better with last night's rainbow trout, so maybe I'd better start looking for a good artichoke recipe.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Martha meets Roseanne

At work I have a bit of a reputation. It's a good reputation to have that I earned through years of bringing in delicious baked goods to share with everyone. I love baking....correction, I love baking without the aid of a toddler and a preschooler. Once you have little helpers you need a lot more time, ingredients (because of inevitable spillage) and patience. Although an extra set of eyes (or at least a keen sense of peripheral vision) to make sure those freshly washed hands stay out of mouths, noses and other not so clean places during food handling is also a bonus. Needless to say, in an attempt to keep what's left of my sanity, the frequency of my marches through the tunnels from the parkade toting tins and tupperware has been on a rapid decline since returning from my first maternity leave. But still, the reputation persists...and I can't say I'm sorry about that. Somehow the reputation of being a good cook/baker comes along with the belief that I live in a spotless house with an elegantly decorated living room and a table of fine china and napkins folded into swans. I think people believe that while my rack of lamb is in the oven I sit in my crafting room teaching the children how to embroider their monograms into pillowcases. I do enjoy crafts...although my completion rate shows that I enjoy the idea of crafting more than the actual crafts themselves. So at work, when I make a comment about the mess I choose to call home, I almost always hear one of two comments..."yeah, right..I'm sure it's REALLY messy" (said sarcastically, if you haven't figured that out), or "well, you have kids". Truth be REALLY is messy, and although the toys are new since having children, the general feeling of clutter, mess, and the dog hair tumbleweeds are hardly a new experience for me. If the girls at work spoke to my highschool friends they'd find out how my childhood bedroom was a gigantic pile of clothes, papers and junk - with only the bed clear of debris, and the only visible floor being a small winding pathway past the closet and to the bed. I am simply not a neat, tidy person. I do enjoy disinfecting things and having things clean, and I would also LIKE to put things away so that they're neat and tidy, but I have a hard time putting those wishes into action. So, I am happy to have the reputation of being a Martha, but if anyone were to stop by my house unannounced they'd be shocked to discover I have much more in common with Roseanne...although I don't grab at my crotch in public.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A Life of Frogs, Snails and Puppydog Tails.

Yesterday Luke's friend (and next-door neighbour) came for a few hours. She's a mere 6 months older than Luke and very outgoing, which is good for my little introvert. She loves coming over to play, mostly because ours toys are different, but I also think because Luke lets her be the boss. She flies around the living room from toy to toy, and game to game. When she settles on something, she calls Luke over to do her bidding and play with her. I had a craft at the ready, snakes made out of toilet paper rolls cut and strung together, covered in construction paper and painted scales....yes, not a girly craft, but my first craft choice fell through and this was what I could come up with. From my last visit to her house I learned that she had recently spent birthday money buying toy dragons and monster things that weren't particularly girly, and she had toy snakes at home, so I figured she'd go for it. After the dust settled from her first round at the toys, I showed them the craft. Luke got excited and started to work right away. But he was the only one, she didn't want to make a snake.
"How 'bout we make a hedgehog instead?"
I couldn't figure out how to make some cut up toilet paper tubes into a hedgehog.
"What about making a snail?"
I was puzzled with that one too. So with a promise to Luke that he and I would finish the snake later, we settled on a board game. After that, the flurry of toys resumed.
While I was in the kitchen working on lunch, I was listening and peeking at them playing...
SHE: Let's play birdies
HE: ACH! ACH! (screaming and running around flapping his arms/wings)
SHE: I'm the mommy bird and you're the daddy bird (sitting on a leftover plastic Easter egg)
HE: chomping noises
SHE: what are you doing?
HE: I'm eating you...I'm a bird and you're a dirty worm
SHE: Stop! I'm the mommy bird and you're the daddy bird!
HE: chomping noises
SHE: Don't eat me! I don't want to be a dirty worm! (regathering her composure and changing the subject off worm eating) Look the egg is hatching! (opens the plastic egg and pulls out a Mr.Potatohead ear) Look at the baby chick!
HE: That's not a chick, that's an ear! (my son, always the realist).
A bit of arguing over the identity of the chick/ear ensued, until both lost interest and moved on to something else.
As I stood in the kitchen I realized that as an outgoing (sometimes bossy) girl, I had a shy introverted boy friend that I cajoled into playing house with my cabbage patch kids, and we'd have picnics in the yard as a family, usually ending in me caring for the babies whilst "daddy" climbed a tree. And like an epiphany, albeit an obvious one, I realized the big differences between the sexes have always been and will always be, regardless of the changing roles in society. We were created differently, and despite Luke's love of dressing up in his "dress", I was living in a house of boys, where we have one toy baby as our only doll, who sits in the toy box 99% of the time. I'm not saddened by this enough to try for another baby (it would likely be another boy anyways), but I do have to grieve for the loss of my dream to have a girl who I can do girly things with. I love my boys dearly, and I am teaching them to be men who can cook and bake, and hopefully clean and do laundry, even if they'd rather eat worms than play house.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

We're not "Carnies". We prefer the term "Circus Folk"

I've said it before, my home feels like a circus most husband and I transient shift workers, coming and going at all hours. Loading and unloading our children into the roller coaster we call a minivan. Anyone who has experienced my driving can attest to the roller coaster comparison...although I guess roller coasters would be more of a carnival or fair thing, than circus-y...but we do have hyper children screaming, and whining for treats, so I guess a carnival isn't too far off either. But still, the circus is the best way I can think of to describe my household. So I was thinking I could take this metaphor a bit farther and introduce you to my family, although my profile has already touched on it.
My wonderful much as I want to tell you all he's the ring-master, if I had to pick a single title...I think that I picture him more as the strong man. He is the head of the household, but he's a fairly quiet, shy guy, so the title of ring-master seems a little off. But, "Strong Man", that seems perfect. He's great at opening jars and lifting heavy objects, and physically he's the strongest man in the house...but it's much more than physical strength. He's a strong, solid, stable man, which suits my drama queen personality quite well. He's so strong, that having him beside me makes me stronger.
Luke always talks non-stop. If he has nothing better to talk about he just starts a play-by-play of what's going on. That would make him a pretty good announcer, except that I think that in circuses, that job belongs to the ring-master, (which I'm sure he thinks he is). Although lately if you asked him what he is he'll tell you he's the snake charmer, but that's just because he is into a snake phase. But I think he's best suited to being a clown. Dressing up, being funny...yeah, that's long as he's a clown who can talk. He's already so interested when I put on my make-up, so I'd better watch out. He would have to work on overcoming his shyness to be a clown out in public somewhere, but in our circus home, he's a total clown.
There's no humming and hawing over Toby...he's an acrobat. No piece of furniture too high, no high flying move too risky. Unfortunately, he performs without a net. Energizer bunny meets chimpanzee meets mountain goat. Baby-proofing has nothin' on this kid. We're lucky that so far that his only permanent damage is a chipped tooth. Want something guaranteed to make Toby smile no matter how miserable he is?... fling him around, or hold him up by his ankles, or any move like that. If we had a giant cannon, he'd be climbing in it right now.

Nobody knows what kind of dog Rita is. She was found as a starving stray puppy. She's not ferocious, and can withstand being a participant (sometimes willing, sometimes not so much) in both Luke and Toby's performances with surprising poise and patience. She has tiger-like stripes and sometimes has a wild look in her eyes. If she wants something (like breakfast or a trip to the dog park)

she starts growling and howling, although neither could even give the illusion of an untamed beast. But she's our only animal act, so you can enjoy her act, or picket outside our home for having an animal act...although the only animal cruelty here is from Luke wanting to pet her too often, or when Toby tries to ride her like a horse (but to the activists from all the animal groups out there, we stop them as soon as we see it, so please don't start picketing).
ME (a.k.a. TANYA)
I try to stay on top of plucking the odd chin hair I find growing, because I do fear becoming the bearded lady both figuratively and literally. However, I do realize that once most kids become teenagers they begin to gawk at their mother's uncool, "freakish" ways. That and not knowing how hard or fast menopause will hit, I could potentially be the bearded lady in a decade or so, both figuratively AND literally, once the boys' hormones kick in, and mine peter out. Until then, I choose to keep my tweezers handy and enjoy my children always believing that I know everything...or at least something.
Some days in this house I feel like a concession stand worker, trying to "sell" the boys that banana that is fast developing spots..."Bananas heeeerrreee! Get your bananas heeerrreee!", but I can't charge the outrageous prices which makes me more like the cafeteria lady than a concession stand worker.

I guess I'd be best described as the juggling act. No, I can't juggle flaming batons, swords or even bowling pins, but I try to juggle my family and work, and for me that's plenty hard to do.