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.