You Know It’s Time For Your Children To Move Out When…

A little prelude to this post. My children are 21, 20, and 18. The all still live at home. And they ALL sleep naked.

Now, you are probably wondering how I know this. Simple, both of my sons think that the second floor of our shared abode is something like “Bob And Babette’s Bare Bottoms Nature Reserve”. I am constantly telling them to “shut their bedroom doors until their penises are put away”. And my daughter, that was one embarrassing “I went into her room one night to look for a pair of nail clippers, and she was asleep with the blankets askew” moment. Not an experience I hope to recreate any time soon.

Yes, as I move through this journey called parenthood, I know that a change is on the horizon. I’ve witnessed this kind of thing before.

You Know It's Time For Your Children To Move Out When... | TheFurFiles

For example, when my oldest son was almost three, I knew that things needed to be different when he came up to me in the grocery store and said – in a voice deeper than my husband’s – “I need a nurse.” I knew right then and there that it was time to cut him off from breastfeeding. Yeah, I was one of those hippie mothers who nursed her babies almost until they could ride a two-wheel bike without the training wheels. My girlfriend buried her placenta in her backyard. At least, I didn’t do that.

Also, I knew that it was time for my kids to move into their own rooms – are you surprised that we practiced the “family bed” as well, probably not – when my husband could barely walk from having to sleep on the floor for nearly five years. And today my children are totally independent, so what if none of them know how to turn off the lights, do the dishes, or take the G.D. bus.

Just so you know, from the time my children were infants until they were preteens, we lived in a very Bohemian, student-centred community. Think Jesus Christ Superstar and Wanderlust but without the religious overtones, the singing, or the free sex. It was actually a wonderful place to raise kids – very supportive. And it probably completely explains why my offspring are profoundly comfortable with their own bodies, which in this rather uptight world, I believe is quite refreshing.

I still think it’s almost time for them to fly the coop and find their own places to live, though in the imagined words of Stephen Gaskin, (founder of the modern-day American commune The Farm), “I wouldn’t be mad if they decided to move in right next door, or if they wanted to buy one giant family complex where we could all live happily together because love is love and love brings the world together and I love them”. I just want to be able to lock my section of the house at night and keep them out of my kitchen. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

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A Few Simple Questions Can Tell You A Lot About A Person

You can tell a lot about a person by how they answer certain questions. Consequently, I thought you might want to learn a little more about me. I know I always want to learn more about myself, like who doesn’t? So I took part in this random questionnaire that I found on the internet. And then I got a few of my family members to do the same. Weirdness ensued.

Here are the questions:

Grab the book nearest to you, turn to page 48, and find line 4. What does it say?

It’s a quote from the play Salomé, written by Oscar Wilde – “I am amorous of thy body, Jokanaan. Thy body is white like the lilies of the field…There is nothing in the world so white as thy body. Suffer me to touch thy body.” Hot turn-of-the-century stuff.

Stretch your left arm out as far as you can. What can you touch?

“Xtreme Monkey” Gym Rings, a very large book about voodoo, and an empty truffle wrapper.

Before you started this survey, what were you doing?

Eating raw broccoli, a tomato, and baked salmon dipped in Sriracha sauce. Oh, and I ate that truffle as well.

What is the last thing you watched on TV?

Some movie with James McAvoy. I fell asleep.

If you became a multi-millionaire overnight, what would you buy?

A place in the Caribbean for all of my family and friends to come and visit. I would design it myself. And a cat and dog sanctuary for unwanted and/or abused pets.

Tell me something about you that most people don’t know.

I nursed all of my children until the day they turned three, no more, no less.

If you could change something about your home, without worry about expense or mess, what would you do?

Easy. I’d rip out all the windows and make them bigger, and I’d install a sleeping porch. That’s it.

What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning?

I wonder if any cats have pooped or barfed on the floor during the night.

Think fast, what do you like right now?

Ummm, ummm, ummm, Sriracha sauce and Justin Timberlake. He’s hot.

What are your best physical features?

My eyebrows, and the arches of my feet. If I do say so myself, the arches of my feet are pretty darn sexy.

____________________________________

So what did I learn about myself from taking this quiz? I’d say – that I have a problem with enclosed spaces (true), that I’m definitely a romantic (also true), that I love animals (totally true), and that I’m a bit of a total frickin’ weirdo. My husband would vehemently agree with that last statement.

A Few Simple Questions Can Tell You A Lot About A Person | TheFurFiles

As for the other members of my family, their answers weren’t all that interesting. They did a lot of mumbling about lying in blankets and watching Million Dollar Listing because I forced them to. What I learned about them? They are a bunch of big babies who whine a lot. And truth be told, they are all kind of boring.

My husband did say that he has 3.5 cats. I thought that was interesting since the rest of us in the same household have four. I guess he considers Jackson only half a cat. Figures since the two of them don’t get along very well.

On a final note, my younger son answered that he thinks most people would be surprised to know that he actually has a heart. I’m surprised by that too. What I’m not surprised by however is the fact that the first thing he thinks about when he wakes up in the morning is girls, though he didn’t say “girls” exactly. He said the word that rhymes with “sussy”, hence the reason why I’m not sure he has a heart.

Next time I’ll know to keep the questionnaire stuff all to myself. There are just some things a mother does NOT need to hear about.

Thanks, I Get It Now Corey Hart

This is how my brain works…

The other day, I heard about Cory Monteith’s death. They said it happened because he did heroin and then drank alcohol, or because he drank alcohol and then did heroin – either way, it’s a lethal mix. Sad story, for sure. I still don’t like Glee.

Then I thought, Cory Monteith – Cory, Cory, Corey – like Corey Hart? Both Canadian. And no, we don’t all name our kids that here in Canada. At least, I didn’t. I did know a Cory/Corey once back in high school though.

Anyway, thinking of Corey Hart made me wonder about that damn sunglasses’ song. I’ve never quite been able to figure it out.

So I called Corey up – Corey Hart, not Cory Monteith obviously – and I asked him. He’s not famous anymore. I knew he’d take a random call.

We didn’t chat for long. I got right to the point. “I get the beginning of the sunglasses’ song, Corey – ‘I wear my sunglasses at night, so I can, so I can watch you even breathe your story lies’…or whatever. It’s just the rest of it that sounds fucked up to me. Can you sing it again, and this time, make the words more clear?”

Canadians are obliging, so he did.

Thanks, I Get It Now Corey Hart | TheFurFiles

“Ahhh, I get it now,” I replied, feeling much better. I then went on to make dinner untormented for the first time in over twenty-five years.

End of story.

NOTE: For any person who actually thinks I called Corey Hart to ask him such a silly question, thereby insulting him and making light of his entire music career – and there WILL be a few of you (Donna) – well, I didn’t. It’s a joke. Lighten up.

___________________________

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Parenting Is Hard, Like “Trying To Squeeze Water From A Stone” Hard

Sometimes, I want to wring my eighteen-year-old daughter’s neck. Sorry daughter, but you were there the other night. You probably wanted to wring mine as well. Yes, we were having one of those discussions that went from a simple disagreement, to a full out scream-fest.

I find that one of the most challenging parts of raising teens and young adults is that they don’t always do what you tell them to do, like that’s a surprise.Parenting Is Hard, Like "Trying To Squeeze Water From A Stone" Hard Sometimes | TheFurFiles

As parents, we have our children’s best interest at heart. I’m always saying this, especially to my daughter. “Do you think I”m trying to ruin your life? Why would I want to do that? I only want you to be happy and safe, and if I can pass along some of the lessons I’ve learned over the years, then I will.”

But we all know that people have to learn things on their own. You can only say, “Eating an entire bag of grapes will give you uncontrollable gas/if you drink a whole bottle of vodka by yourself, you might end up puking your guts out/you’re probably going to want to wear a coat out there in the minus thirty degree weather…” so many times.

Often, I’m not even trying to teach anyone a lesson. I just expect common courtesy, like that’s such an unreasonable thing for which to ask.

So when my daughter was going out with her friends the other night, I said – like any good mother would – “Call me and let me know what time you’ll be home.” That’s the reason she has a damn cell phone.

Her response – “I’ll try to remember.”

I was hoping for more like, “Sure mom. No problem.” But with my daughter, nothing is ever that simple.

“Make it a point to remember,” I said, snarling slightly. “And how are you actually getting home? Do you need a ride?”

“We’re taking the bus.”

“Whatever you do, stay together as a group. Don’t walk anywhere by yourself.” I remind her of this every single time she goes out. It is paramount in my mind, especially right now as they just found a woman’s body in the bushes very close to our house. As I write this, the police are still investigating the incident. It doesn’t matter. A woman is dead, and you can never be too cautious.

And that’s part of the reason for the scream-fest. A scared parent can be a very animated parent. But you know how young people are. They have no sense of mortality. I get it. I was the same way once. It’s not the easiest thing in the world to handle when you are a mother though.

This whole situation with my daughter brings to mind a few moments in the past when I’ve tried to give her advice, and she hasn’t listened. There have been a few times when things have gotten pretty screwed up too. I don’t ever want her – or any of my kids – to get hurt, but there comes a point when they have to make their own decisions. I can’t be there to hold their hands, and tell them what to do for the rest of their lives, can I? Or can I… [sly smile] An image of her locked in the basement came to my mind just for a split second. Nah, she’d whine and demand things too much.

It’s so hard as a parent to see your kid mess up. There have been a few occasions when I’ve just wanted to smack someone upside the head and say, “I told you so.” But then, what good would that have done? None, except to make me feel better, hence the reason I left out the smack but still said the words.

Anyway, the other night ended with me shouting, “Just call me. Don’t forget.” That’s what I said as I dropped her off at her friend’s house. Well, those might not have been my exact words. My EXACT words were more like, “You’d better fucking call me, or you can start looking for a new place to live. Start right now, in fact. Maybe Angela’s mom will let you live with them.” I was mad. And mad me doesn’t mince words. And I know that if my daughter moved in with Angela (not her friend’s real name, but close) that she’d be home faster than a cat getting caught in the rain. Once and for all, maybe she’d appreciate what a great family she has.

A mother can dream.

____________________________________________

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Happy Mother’s Day, Or Something Like That

I never planned on having kids. It was never a dream of mine as a girl or a teenager. I wasn’t getting married either. But then I met my husband, and it all changed.

I Am Mother - Hear Me Roar, And Sometimes Sputter For Help | TheFurFiles

Since that first little head squeezed his way out of my vagina, I’ve stayed-at-home, worked part-time, and gone back to school twice. Except for the occasional meltdown – OK, frequent meltdown – I’ve been lucky. Everyone has been healthy (knock on wood), they’ve all done well at school, and for the most part, they are caring human beings. We’ve never really experienced too many bumps in the road – not big bumps anyway. That doesn’t mean however, that it’s been easy. I’ll never forget the first time my kids had to go to daycare/the after-school program. Whooosh, they were NOT happy. My daughter especially.

“Remember when you sent me there?” my daughter says every time we drive past the dreaded Children’s Castle Daycare. (We still live in the same neighbourhood.) I’d gone back to school for the first time to study architecture. She was four. I don’t think it was as bad as she makes it sound. It’s just that it was such a huge change for her. “Yeah, I hated that place,” she says. “They made us do the weirdest things, like they told us that we couldn’t have our dessert unless we ate all of our sweet pickles. And then they made us brush our teeth by swishing milk around in our mouths. Doesn’t milk have sugar? It’s probably why I had so many cavities as a kid.”

“OK, I get it,” I always reply. “I feel guilty enough about the whole thing.” And I did feel guilty sending her there. I mean, who wants their babies to be unhappy? It was a struggle between doing something to better myself, and being there for my children every second of every day. Looking back, I’m glad I did what I did. I agree with whoever said that a person has to be happy with themselves in order to be a good parent. Besides, my kids got (and get) more of me than most.

Being a mother is tough, no doubt. It pulls a person in so many different directions. It can make you happy, sad, frustrated, embarrassed, and both angrier and more full of joy than you ever thought possible. And tired. Did I mention just how tired being a mother can make you? Like exhausted. Like completely spent. Like almost unable to function. Like you’ve been hit a truck, and dragged down the road about a hundred miles, and then run over – back and forth, back and forth – a few times, tires marks (gauges really) on your chest, your limbs are all broken, your face is pretty messed up from being scraped against the gravel, like you are pretty much unrecognizable as even a human… OK, OK, you get the picture.

Anyway, yeah. Happy Mother’s Day to all!

Are You Or Are You Not An Asshole?

One of my main goals in life is to raise my children NOT to be assholes. I know, that sounds pretty weak, and I should probably set my sights higher. I figure I have to start somewhere though, and on days when I’m feeling really frustrated with everyone – LIKE TODAY – I’d be happy with the bare minimum.

It’s hard to tell sometimes if I am succeeding. They trick me. Sometimes they do things that are really sweet and nice, and then two seconds later, I think I’ve spawned the sons and daughter of Charlie Sheen, like when did we sleep together? As if.

Anyway, I made a test to find out if they are or are not assholes. It is pretty simple. There is only one question. They should be able to handle it. If they answer the right way, then I’ll know that I haven’t completely failed as a parent, and it will make me feel marginally better.

TheFurFiles Personality Test: Are You Or Are You Not An Asshole? | TheFurFiles

If you saw a kitten huddled near an abandoned truck in a very scary industrial part of town where there were NO houses for miles, would you…

  1. Pick it up gently, cradle it in your arms and say, “It’s OK, little one. I’ll take good care of you.” After which, you’d bring it home, and you’d either keep it and raise it like it was your very own child, or you’d find a loving owner for it – someone like David Suzuki, Jane Goodall, or Ian Somerhalder. Of course, it goes without saying that the day after finding it, you’d take it directly to the vet to get it a clean bill of health. Or would you…
  2. Spit on the ground beside it and say, ” Life sucks, don’t it?” And then keep right on walking, probably off to harass a few prostitutes and/or light a few random fires.

If you answered b) (or worse) you are going straight to hell. Plus, you have terrible grammar. You can no longer be my child.

OK, so this is what happened. I sent the test to my kids via Facebook. Two minutes later, I got a message from my almost 20-year-old son that said, “If you are trying to find out if I’ve had sex, I have. Get over it. I wouldn’t be mad if you bought me a pack of condoms either. You don’t want to be a grandma just yet, do you?”

Awesome.

As for the other two, I remembered that my daughter and I aren’t even friends on Facebook. She blocked me. Hence, I must’ve sent the test to someone else. Probably my aunt.

And my oldest son? Well, he has a big show this week. He is busy losing his bloody mind somewhere in the basement.

I still haven’t gotten my answer to that asshole question yet have I? Therefore, I’ll do with this what I do with everything else – I’ll answer it myself. The answer is most definitely a). At least, I know that I am NOT an asshole.

Now, don’t bother me. I’m putting my head down on the table. It’s been one hell of a long day.

_______________________________

For a real personality test, check out the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator Assessment. Without a doubt I am an ENFJ (otherwise known as “The Giver”) – which means my main interest in life is giving love, support, and a good time to other people. Wow, my children have me pegged, and no one even had to tell them.

6 Good Things Your Messy House Says About You

When I was a young adult – when my kids were little, before they’d started taking over to the point that I just couldn’t keep up – I was a cleaning fanatic. Nothing could be out of place. I’d run around 24/7 vacuuming this, sweeping and wiping that. Then one afternoon, my friend Paula said to me, “When I die, I don’t want anyone to say that I ‘kept a good house’.”

Her words really hit home. I realized then that I’d been spending a whole lot of time trying to make my world perfect, like who really gives a crap? That day, I changed. (OK, I still vacuum quite frequently.)

Seriously, as long as I’m not as bad as those hoarder people, what difference does it make? I have better things to do.

Et voilà, this list was born…

sixgoodthings

And yes, I CAN rationalize anything.

Now leave that dust behind your bathroom door alone. It’s not hurting anybody. Go and dance around your living room for an hour or two. Here, let me help you…

The REAL Survival Guide To Parenting Teenagers (That Doesn’t Involve Killing Anyone)

We’ve all heard the suggestions on how to get through your child’s teenage years:

Set boundaries. Pick your battles. Know when to get close, and when to back off. It will all be over someday, just hope they make it through alive…

Yeah, yeah, yeah. But nobody ever gives you any REAL help, like any ACTUAL hands-on, idiot-proof advice. Well, not until today anyway…

May I present to you twelve concrete, “these really work, try them” tricks/methods that are guaranteed to help you make it through this game. And believe me, raising teenagers can feel a lot like playing strip poker. It’s only fun if you’ve been drinking… 😉

The REAL Survival Guide To Parenting Teenagers (That Doesn't Involve Killing Anyone) | TheFurFiles

1. Keep some extra cash in the bank for those times when you need to get away, read: when you think you just MIGHT kill someone. Go far, and go for as long as possible. Go by plane, that way it’s harder for them to track you down. It’s also nice to have a little money saved up for when you just want to reward yourself for getting through a particularly hard day by buying a new pair of shoes or some very expensive jewelry. Diamonds make me breathe better, I don’t know why.

2. Get a gym membership, or have some other physical way of relieving stress. This also comes in handy for combating those very blunt and unintentionally (but sometimes intentionally) hurtful comments like, “Wow, do you ever look old. You are turning into grandma,” Or, “Since when do you have a tire?”

3. Have a sock full of batteries on hand for the times you really need to come out swinging. Just kidding, it’s only supposed to be used as a threat.

4. Invest in a stand alone freezer. This is particularly important if you have boys, or if you have children who play sports or are part of any sort of large social group like Girl Guides or Cadets. When they bring their friends over, you’ll be glad you’ve stocked up on Pizza Pockets, otherwise say goodbye to your steaks.

5. Buy Advil because you WILL get headaches.

6. Have some kind of disinfectant to be used on stinky shoes and/or socks. I find throwing things into the wash with a bit of ammonia or colour-safe bleach seems to help. For unwashable items, baking soda usually does the trick. It’s better than nothing. Your entryway or mudroom will thank you, and so will your guests.

7. Get Gravol because someone WILL throw up at some point, most likely from drinking WAY too much alcohol. Probably underage. And probably against your best advice.

8. Have an old blanket in your car for the reason stated above, and for when you are transporting those people home from parties.

9. Put away the good china until your kids move out. and purchase some plastic dish ware.  Teenagers are inexplicably rough on everything – at least mine are – and this will keep you from replacing your dishes every few months. We go through glasses in our house like John Mayer goes through women.

And finally, three things you absolutely MUST have…

10. Condoms. You may not need to use them anymore, but there will probably come a time when you want to hand a few of these out, or slip a few into someone’s purse.

11. A hammer. Yes, teenagers are THAT hard to wake up in the morning, especially after they’ve gone to bed at 3 a.m., which they will routinely start doing around the age of fifteen or so. Don’t you know, Facebook can cause a person to burn through the hours like nobody’s business?

12. Patience, but more importantly, luck. You will need as much as you can get. Seriously – no SERIOUSLY seriously – good luck. You’re gonna need it.