Thursday, January 22, 2009

My Life In Numbers

My life is that of an ordinary mom. Here is what an average day consists of:

2 loads of laundry
1 running of the dishwasher
10 times telling Matias to be careful around the baby
15 times saying, “please stop yelling and use your inside voice”
3 bottles of milk to prepare
5 meals/snacks
3 cups of coffee (more on a bad day)
5 dirty diapers
8 dressings and/or undressings of uncooperative children
20 minutes spent chasing around children who don’t want to change their pants, put on socks, or shoes, wear jackets, or hats, or change into pajamas
12 toys I trip on
15 “car crashes” in my living room
8 toddler-preschooler "disputes"
3 wardrobe changes
10 screams/prolonged bouts of crying (mostly Joonas’)
72 kids books on the living room floor (I counted!)
3 toy repairs
2 tantrums
2 spills of milk or food
8 “negotiations” with a 3 year old
5 hugs
2 I love yous
12 funny things my 3 year old says
20 laughs
3 kisses
25 smiles
3 readings of “Peek-a-Moo”, the latest favourite
1 walk outside stopping to look at every rock, leaf, twig, bug, fire hydrant etc etc

Sunday, January 18, 2009

When I am an old lady...

When I am old, I shall wear long flowing caftans and elastic waist pants. I shall read all night and sleep until noon. I shall drink coffee and tea without abandon and eat ice cream and peanut butter. I shall not worry about calories or fat grams or the size of my rear.
I shall have lunch with those who are my friends and not even waste a coffee on those who are not. I shall have people over even if my house is not spotless and use my very best dishes. Even on a Wednesday.
I shall not worry about what others think of me. I shall say what I think and not care about political correctness or subtlety or useless chitchat.
I shall travel to all the places that fascinate me and not feign interest in the ones that don’t. I shall wake up each morning glad to be alive and ready to try something new.
I shall go to concerts and lectures and plays and walk out if I am not enjoying myself.
I shall buy myself flowers. Fresh ones. Every week.
I shall get my hair dyed whenever I want and not worry about making the colour last. I shall have regular massages in my own home. I shall take everything that requires ironing to the dry cleaner. I shall dance in the street and sing in the store. I shall play the piano and go to Spain to brush up on my Spanish. I shall burn candles when I want to, even if it’s summer.
I shall take classes on cake decorating, sushi-making, writing, Italian, yoga, painting, photography and whatever else captures my fancy. I shall not thereafter feel any pressure to decorate a single cake, make a single sushi roll, write a single letter, speak any Italian, do any yoga, paint any pictures or photograph anyone. Unless I feel like it.
I shall meet with my book club which we shall rename The Broads of Bibliophilia. I shall order all the books I want from Amazon to come straight to my door. I shall read all those books that sit on my bookshelf waiting: War and Peace, Don Quixote…
I shall not call my kids and/or grandkids with annoying questions or to tell them the minute details of my elderly life. I shall not expect to be visited, but shall be happy and content if and when I receive visitors. I shall not judge others, but give them the freedom to be themselves.
When I am old, I shall be me. But better.
PS. The picture is of my late paternal grandmother. She was an awesome lady.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” ~G.K. Chesterton

If G.K. Chesterton was correct, then there isn’t much high level thinking going on these days. The simple act of saying “thank you” seems to be dying and it really bugs me. I have purchased gifts for birthdays, baby showers and retirements. I have wanted to buy the gifts and have put (at least some) thought into buying them. To have the gift never even acknowledged, let alone thanked for is rude and inconsiderate. Finnish people are especially lacking in this area, but then their whole thank you card philosophy is different. In Canada, when you send a thank you card for a wedding gift for example, you mention the specific gift and how you will use it. In Finland, you DO NOT mention the gift because that is considered rude. Why? I have no idea!! I have actually received Finnish “thank you” cards where the couple did not even sign the card. Just a picture and two words of text: thank you. How personal and full of thought (not).
Of course here in the land of Hallmark, there is sometimes a tendency to go to the other extreme. There are cards for every conceivable (and inconceivable) occasion. Sorry about your bad hair cut, congratulations on your dog's first birthday...there are probably even “thank you for the thank you” cards. But I still find that preferable to the silent treatment of the ungrateful. Anyway, even in Canada, despite the plethora of cards available, thank you is becoming a foreign concept. Not only do people not send cards, they don’t even verbally say thanks. A phone call or even an email is the very least you could do when you are in a debt of gratitude.
I am no model for anything, but I really try hard to say thanks when I am given something or someone helps me out. In fact, I make it a point to send handwritten cards whenever possible. Obviously I sent out thank you cards for our wedding presents, baby shower presents, and baby gifts. But I also hand wrote cards for all the “teacher gifts” I received. Even if I hated the gift, I wanted the student (family) that gave it to me to feel like I appreciated the thought and the gesture behind the gift. I guess that’s what it boils down to for me-showing your appreciation for another person. Thank you for thinking of me and spending your money on something you thought that I would like. Or, thank you for being so thoughtful as to do “x” for me, or to make “x” for me. Like G.B stern says, “Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone.”