There is no HO HO HO in Halloween

There is no HO HO HO in Halloween

I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid back when the earth was cooling, we dressed up as nasty witches or snow white for Halloween. The fanciest we ever got was cutting holes in a bed sheet and shouting “trick or treat” while trying to see through the ever shifting fabric and fogged up glasses. Flash forward 30 years or so, the world of Halloween costumes have changed a whole lot. Young girls have precious little to choose from that isn’t streetwalker chic. Teens are invited to Pimp and Ho parties. AAAARGH!! Parents of little girls now have to wade through teeny tiny little bits of fabric labelled “sexy police woman” or “red hot firefighter babe”.  For 6 year olds. Much has been made of this appalling trend, and I am so glad to see parents everywhere are speaking out. I would like to add this perspective to the public conversation of sexual Halloween costumes for children. There is an organization called Children of the Street Society  which has made some strong points on the topic. Here is a quote from a notice that went to schools in their area: Halloween is fast approaching and we’re once again reminding parents and schools about Halloween costumes which glamorize human trafficking, gangster life and sexual exploitation. Sexual exploitation and human trafficking are devastating forms of child abuse. Dressing up as a “pimp” or “ho” glamorizes the sexual exploitation of children and youth, an issue which has been likened to modern day slavery. Youth are lured into exploitative situations for a variety of reasons including false promises, gifts, addiction and coercion. The reality of their situation falls far short of the image that is portrayed in the media. Rather than a glamorous life style, the victim faces multiple barriers and challenges including addiction, mental illness, homelessness, sexually transmitted infections, barriers to employment and long lasting trauma from physical, emotional and sexual abuse. With the increase in online activity, more youth are vulnerable to exploitation and recruitment. Statistics show that 1 in 5 youth are sexually solicited online and 75% do not tell a parent. Executive Director Diane Sowden says, “Sexual exploitation and human trafficking are crimes that rely on individuals being unaware or misinformed on the issue. Wearing Halloween costumes that stereotype or make light of these harmful forms of exploitation, only contributes to the problem.” The message is simple: it’s not socially acceptable to dress up as a ‘pimp’, gangster, or sex trade worker this Halloween. Glamorizing or normalizing the sex trade and gangster life, adds to the false perceptions of these harsh realities. Surely we are more creative than putting a 10 year old in a sexy flight...
My Hair Dresser Thinks I Am Cantankerous Old Doll

My Hair Dresser Thinks I Am Cantankerous Old Doll

Everybody under the age of 30 looks 12 to me. Honestly, are there even any actual adults working in banks or stores anymore? Even the dude selling me a car doesn’t look old enough to vote. Being on the cusp of the jaunty decade that will be my fifties, I understand, at least theoretically, that I look my age. It’s not like I have any horse anesthetic injected in my forehead crinkles, nor is there any bit of me worth tattooing. (I understand you need at least a few square inches of taught skin for the artist not to produce a Salvador Dali creation that jiggles when you walk.) So really, I get it that the under 30 set views me as practically a geriatric. I don’t have any real issue with being viewed as old and harmless. There are advantages to being a stealth 30 year old in a 50 year old costume. For instance, when I ask for help carrying a heavy purchase from some young buck at the hardware store just so I can look at his ass, he has no idea of my ploy. Dirty old ladies are real, just ask my friends. Where the friction point between generations is for me, a late Gen Ex, and my Millennial hairdresser (or is it stylist, I am never sure) is my haircuts. When my usual hair artist went on maternity leave, I kind of bounced around trying to find a new home for my locks. Apparently, there is nobody over 40 doing hair, so I went with a series of young people to see what new style I could rock the world with. I mean these youngsters set the standard for music, social media, fashion and coffee shops… can they not help one grouchy old girl with her hair? I started with an appointment at a local trendy salon. I was assigned to this diminutive hottie from the Philippines.  He had funky hair and was not afraid of multi coloured spikes. He had promise. As he stepped on his stool and put the cape over my head, it felt like Edward Scissorhands was grooving through my hair. This was going to be the one… I knew it. Alas, it was a mediocre haircut and I waddled out of the salon with no spikes of my own. Apparently I am not spike worthy. The next three young women disregarded my requests for interesting colour combinations and a modern cut. Nope, I left all of their salons looking like Mama from the Carol Burnett Show. I used some decidedly unladylike language each time I grumbled my way into the car. Have I gotten to the point where I...
The Front Seat Smackdown

The Front Seat Smackdown

“Oh for shit’s sake, will you two knock it off?!” “But Mooooom… she ALWAYS gets the front seat!” And 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . . we count down to older sister eye rolling followed by the smackdown with a rapier sharp-cut to the solar plexus, gutting her little brother. Now she is mad, and he is crying inconsolably in the back seat – and we aren’t even out of the driveway. I need some help with this “front seat privilege” issue. The boy has recently become heavy and tall enough to technically be allowed safely in the front seat of our airbag enabled vehicles. The girl is a solid 20 pounds over the safety weight and is very tall for her age at 13. She has had front seat exclusivity for over a year.  He feels he should be able to step into his birthright and have it at least half the time. There was peace in the land until recently, because he would never consider breaking the laws of the land when I told him the police would give me a ticket for letting somebody too light in the front seat. I hooped myself with that one. Here is the groaning conundrum: She is older, well behaved, a straight A student, helpful and generally owns her position as queen of the house, but a good Queen, more like Elizabeth, not like Maleficent. The boy is, um . . . harder to raise. He argues about every . . . single . . . fucking . . . thing. With me, with his Dad, and particularly with his sister.  He fights getting out of bed in the morning for school, and it seems like a continuation of the hairy fit he threw when he had to go to bed the night before. Every night, every morning. This is the kid who loses a full wheelbarrow of privileges at least once a week. There are days when he is lucky he gets to eat with the family and not out in the dog house. When it comes to the car, it would gall his sister, and frankly, me, to relegate him to anything but the trunk on some days. I have been letting him have the front seat when she isn’t in the car with us. Maybe that established the wrong precedent by giving him a taste of the throne of power. Either way, we seem to be locked in this endless debate and I am tempted to let her drive so I can curl up in a fetal ball in the back seat and we can just ride in silence. Three years . . . in three short years we will hand her a set of...
The 12 Weeks of Christmas for Underachievers

The 12 Weeks of Christmas for Underachievers

You read it right, there are actually 12 weeks of jingle, plinky, sparkly, ring-a-ding holidays. Don’t believe me? Okay, I get it, but we need to stop denying Christmas creep. It starts early in Fall and builds its nefarious and stealthy steam for 12 whole weeks. Week 1 through 3: Sneaks up on us every darned time. These start in October, when Christmas people are digging out strings of lights waiting for the Halloween people to be done with it. This is also the period when large retailers start the subterfuge of small sections of shimmery crap that harks of herald angels. They think they are being subtle. except Costco, they sold out of shiny balls in August. Weeks 4 through 6: While veterans are being remembered and the weather is starting to turn, Christmas creep is happening full on. The stores unapologetically roll out row after row of chocolates in shiny packages, fully decorated fake trees and spinning snowmen dancers on little wind up stands. Neighbors hang endless sparkling strings of those hideous icicle lights and compete to see who can have the most inflatable happy Santas on their front lawns. Weeks 7 and 8: Are deadly. You think you still have time, but you don’t. Every store is playing an endless loop of “Come All Ye Faithful” by Gloria Gaynor (I don’t care if she didn’t do that song, you get the point). Parking spots at the mall are getting scarce and nice little old ladies are clobbering each other over the last wonk-wheeled cart. All the chocolate you bought in week five for “presents” is gone, and now you have to shop for replacement gifts and new pants. Then weeks 9 and 10 come crashing in like a tsunami of underachiever eggnog. Friends have their trees up, and you can’t even find the damned wrapping paper. It doesn’t really matter, because you don’t have much to wrap anyway. Your shopping list is on scraps of paper mixed in with candy wrappers scattered around bins of holiday decorations still dusty from the attic. The bins are just sitting there… judging you. Christmas party invitations long ago accepted now require clothing that fits. Your choices are: go to the party looking like you crammed yourself into a sausage casing, or stay home swearing a blue streak while putting up your Christmas tree. Both options end in alcohol and bad food choices. In comes week 11 in a blur of grumpy store clerks, flyers in the mailbox insisting that the after Christmas deals will be AMAZING and trips to stores that have nothing. This is the week when you take the basic decorations out of those damned bins, and...
Tend to Your Titties Ladies

Tend to Your Titties Ladies

Boobs Tits Jihooblies Tatas Fun bags Sweater Puppets Also a source of endless anxiety. It all started as we went through puberty. I don’t know about you but I kept wondering when they would be done growing. Are they stopping now? Or how about now? Or maybe now that I can no longer see my feet… maybe? They seemed HUGE and, as it turns out, they actually were huge. Carrying around this new front end load took some getting used to. Then over time, we figured out their power didn’t we? Everybody likes boobs. Even gay guys think boobs are fun. For many of us, the fleshy milk dispensers get handed over to the little humans we grew in our bellies. Those who breastfeed have different timelines for how long they are willing to have a little latched on suckerfish. The rule applied by women in my family has always been that breast feeding ended promptly at the first bite. Time for a sippy cup of warm milk and coffee kid, you are done. Then when the ravages of aging and childbearing are finally done with the girls, they are often nothing more than a wizened shell of their former selves. Like an aging prize fighter, they need to step out of the ring and retire… no longer powerful, we tuck them into sensible bras and sweatersets. And THAT is when we start to realize that maybe we have taken them for granted. Maybe we didn’t think to do self exams for lumps and bumps. I mean after breastfeeding, you get a little sick of hauling them out all the time. Who could blame a girl for not wanting to explore the damage in the light of day? But face it we must. Good health is our job as Moms. In ourselves, our kids, the sweet dope who fathered them, our own parents  – we care about everybody. But we usually worry more about them than ourselves. Here is the thing. They need us to be around. Their worst nightmare is losing us, even more than our own fears of illness in our loved ones. Here comes the sermon: If your health care professional says it is time for the annual mammary squish, do it. PAPS and squishes are no fun, but suck it up princess. Put on your big girl panties and make an appointment. Frankly my hair appointments take up more time than a mammogram, yet I find time for a full cut and colour every 8 (ahem maybe 6) weeks. An annual poke and peek is no big deal. Big or small, saggy or fully paid bolt-ons, they all need to be tended. Get your lady...
I Lost My Fitness Tracker in a Chip Bag

I Lost My Fitness Tracker in a Chip Bag

You know those digital bracelet fitness thingies that everybody wears? The ones that are connected to social media like an umbilical cord? I can’t find mine. I have a feeling it might be at the bottom of a chip bag, covered in shame crumbs. It is unfortunate that I wasn’t wearing it today though, because it was a banner day for exercise, yet sadly I have no proof. My tracker overlord of exercise measurement was not on me to bear witness on the internet. My day of fitness started early this morning. I executed a leaping sprint to the toilet that would have registered as 467 steps on my tracker as I waited for the bathroom doing the pee pee dance. Then, I completed the equivalent of a 200 meter hurdle race to the coffee machine. Gracefully jumping clear of school bags, laundry piles and dogs, I was first to the machine today. I earned another few dance steps toward my total as I celebrated in front of the fridge. I got the last of the milk bitches! Later in the morning, when I paced furiously in front of my wardrobe for a good ten minutes, I would have registered a maxed out heart rate on my tracker, as well as 270 footsteps and stretches trying on clothes that had shrunk in the dryer. Screw you dryer. Later on, I had a doctor’s appointment so off I went, excited for coffee shop at the hospital where they had plenty of milk for my giant cup of brew. Then I spent 20 minutes driving around trying to find a parking spot, thus getting my optimum heart rate back into the zone again. My tracker would have credited me for a god damned 5k run considering the vein that was bulging out of my temple as I screamed in my head. Then, if you can picture the fact that parking spots numbered 1 through 300 are pretty freakin’ close to the main doors, also picture my car not anywhere near those spots. No, I ended up driving to the outer limits of the known universe before I found the Holy Grail:  the last parking spot in ten acres of stalls. It was number 919, three lots over and up the hill. I spotted it, but so did the little old dude in a hat in his cream Caddy. We made hostile eye contact. I revved my engine, he flapped his gums in shock for a quick second and revved his. His hesitation cost him. I hammered onto the gas pedal, flew up to his bumper in a game of parking lot chicken and screeched into my spot. More heart rate points...
Women of Turkey – Pack Your Bags and Come to Canada

Women of Turkey – Pack Your Bags and Come to Canada

(This post contains swear words and feminism, not to mention a shot at politicians, so if you are thin-skinned, move along, there is nothing to see here) Can somebody please do something about these misogynist old crinkle dicks in positions of power? This asshole, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has said women cannot be treated as equal to men. He has accused feminists of rejecting motherhood. “You cannot put women and men on an equal footing,” he told a meeting in Istanbul. “It is against nature.” He also said feminists did not grasp the importance of motherhood in Islam. His Deputy Minister, a gold-plated limp pecker of a man,  Bülent Arınç  said “women should not laugh in public in Turkey” in a speech on moral corruption in the country. He goes on to say: “Where are our girls, who slightly blush, lower their heads and turn their eyes away when we look at their face, becoming the symbol of chastity?” Are you kidding me with this shit? These two jokers run an entire country that (presumably) has women in it. It has girls and teens who are being raised in this land where the most “powerful” people want to take their person-hood away. These abominable man-shits want to send a message to other menfolk that oppression is okay, that a perceived lack of chastity is grounds for abuse. It is 2016. These repugnant swine are so convinced of their antediluvian viewpoint that they feel free to spout this shit on international media. They preach their oppressive doctrine and do not show so much as a dribble of shame. And people actually go along with this shit. Sadly, these two are among a tragic number of similar thinking leaders in many countries. You find these assclowns everywhere. It is like they come oozing out of the same stinking sewer of hate, consumed with vagina-phobia. Our mysterious place threatens them, but really they want in so badly that they must punish us for making them thirst for it so hard. We push babies out of our dark places, so there must be some evil power in that six square inches of real estate. And biology says they can’t have it. In the minds of these fanatics, vaginas must be cast down and shamed to remove their power. The rest of the world’s possessors of soft clams between our legs often feel helpless to fix such an enormous and pervasive problem. But we need to help our sisters. Maybe we should do what the world always does and set up a hashtag in protest. Maybe #realwomanlaughyouasshole or #wearelaughingatyourtinydick. Maybe we could encourage women in oppressed countries to sneak up behind these pontificating blowhards at public rallies to pants them. When...
Children are Tiny Brain Invaders

Children are Tiny Brain Invaders

Children are like tiny human sniffer dogs that can sense your every weakness and flaw. When they find that deep dark character issue or emotional damage that you carry, they capitalize on it like ants at a picnic. They know the exact wrong thing to say, at the wrong time. For instance they somehow know precisely what you think of your Mother-in-law and how much you fear the dentist even if you hide those things very well. Got issues? Ya,  then those are the ones the children focus upon, talk about or replicate with an exactitude that is unnerving. Don’t know what I mean? Here, let me give you an example. If you have social anxiety that shames you… shabam…. one of your kids will come up with those precise behaviours no matter how well you have hidden your stuff. They will do it with flair like they are wearing a big fat neon sign that says “Hey look at what my Mom passed on to me!!”. Trying to hide your fear of spiders? Then it is guaranteed that Junior is totally going to collect spiders. Conversely, he might make a fool of himself at one of those annoying “pet the arachnid” birthday parties by squealing in terror. Time to share your Atavan with that child. Either way, whatever you have going on, they know about it. If you are so tired you can hardly cope, they get needy. (So do dogs and husbands by the way, it is their super power).  Whatever you like least about yourself will bubble up in at least one of your children… guaranteed. It is like a rule or something. I still remember one of my parents telling me they couldn’t stand the way I talked… now I realize it was because I emulated the asshole in the house pretty accurately. How do they know? How do they see your soul? How come my inability to do basic math exists in my child? Is it genetics? Is it quiet unspoken cues that we give them? No… it is the fact that they are evil mind reading little energy leaches… they see your heart, and they will reach in and pull it out… I am going to make myself a tin foil hat and hide in the closet.   This post ran originally on...
My Son is Going to Military Boarding School

My Son is Going to Military Boarding School

Not really… but he thinks it is a very real possibility. I don’t even know if they have military boarding schools for 12 year olds. If they do, I may need to find one and start the paperwork. As parents, we all hit the wall with our kids… often… we are ploughed under regularly. You think it won’t happen to you, but it does. You talk and cajole and bargain and threaten… to little effect. When your kid is a donkey with an agenda, even the best of parents have their spines ripped out an handed to them. I truly thought we would be at this stage only when one of mine hit their teens. Not so. By the time my boy made it all the way to age 12 without being traded in for a less challenging model, he ramped it up even harder. He is “that child.”  The level of stubborn, un-cooperativeness has been there since his early days. Every single item, chore, obligation or expectation had to be negotiated all along the line, from homework, to bed time, even the consistency of yogurt in his lunch was a point of contention. Picture the scene of a hapless farmer trying to push and pull an ornery pack mule up a hillside. That is our life. We are not wimpy parents either; we’re totally on the ball and delivering consistent rules rewards and punishments. We have one shining example of that in the other kid, so maybe we just got more than we bargained for in the younger one. There comes a time when you have to pull out the heavy artillery. In our plan, we have a sit down meeting with Captain Contrary and lay it out for him. It resembles a formal summit at the dining room table. Picture Dad looking stern and Mom with a file full of official looking papers at the ready. We inform the boy that we are done trying to get him to do the basics. We have had enough of the backtalk and bargaining, the shifting of workload and the overall neglect and the constant forgetting of important tasks. We say “we have looked into schools where they teach all that stuff, and students learn to do it in a scratchy wool uniform.” In addition to academics and grueling phys-ed classes, he would learn valuable life skills such as scrubbing toilets with toothbrushes or sweeping a two-acres marching plaza with a paint brush. They have a great program to keep kids connected with family… meaning they let them come home at Christmas and in the Summer. When I fantasize about this threat conversation that we haven’t actually had, his reaction is instant and full of regret and apology....
In Praise of Grandparents

In Praise of Grandparents

Although many of us have dubious relationships with our parental units, once we have children, some of that changes. Not all of it of course and sometimes the worst bits don’t get better, but we gave them grandchildren, so at some level we become golden. The most perfect of all possible human relationships is that of Grandparent and Grandchild. They love each other for merely existing. They accept each other completely in a state of grace that says “you are perfect in all ways and I will indulge your every whim”. Of course those self same Grandparents sometimes spend an inordinate amount of time telling us what flawed parents we are, or that our children aren’t as well raised as we were. They stand there in their polyester pants gazing disapprovingly into our pantries judging the nutrition of “their” grandchildren. They question our choices and generally make us crawl into the nearest liquor store crying for enough liquid to make it stop screeching in our ears… However, the babies, the grandchildren, the perfect little beings live in the light of beauty and tolerance that we have never seen emanate from the parents. From the perspective of the children themselves, the best Grandparent time is any old time, but maybe if that time is spent at the toy store. They wallow in the sunshine of approval and acceptance with no rules to follow and lots of candy to eat. Really the symbiosis is perfect in every way if the Grandparents are good, and part of the children’s lives. It does give all of us Moms a sense of smug satisfaction to see our parents helpless in the grip of the cuteness of our children as they rule their world. At least I would hope that is how it goes. Families can be whole, or fractured. They can be functional, or not at all. I would hope that every child has somebody who is that perfect love in their life, where the rules are elastic, candy is ok before noon, and the hugs are soft and frequent. Oh and do I have plans when I become a Grandmother…   This post ran originally on...