Google+ Bree Bronson's Babies: November 2012

Friday, November 30, 2012

No ads please

Merry bloody christmas
Ads never used to bother me. I had a "no ads please" sign on my door that kept most of the spam away and the rest I happily discarded. I've never thought that the pile of colourful paper would have anything of value to offer to me. Quite the opposite; I've always thought they are just an attempt to direct my consuming habits (which they of course are) and nothing else. So when some of my friends would cut coupons and choose where to eat or shop based on the offers I always announced how happy I feel to be able to go where ever I want. I have always been quite stubborn about this because I truly think that if an ad makes be buy something it might not be the thing I truly want or need. I might end up buying something I regret in no time. On the other hand, I find it really valuable if a friend or someone else whose opinion I trust recommends a product or service.

When Son was born the art of personalized advertising started to open up for me. Just a couple of days after we arrived home with him from the hospital the samples and "invitations" started pouring in. My immediate reaction was disgust. I had just given birth to my first child and felt mentally extremely vulnerable wanting to do exactly the right thing about everything. Thousands of questions were circulating in my mind and I was hugely unsure about myself and my fresh motherhood. That was the moment that diaper manufacturers, baby food manufacturers and children's book clubs chose to tell me how they "want my child's best". I was stunned.

I ended up buying very few of the products that I received advertising for. Instead I continued to be disgusted. Now towards christmas there are again hundreds of businesses that want my "children's best". We receive those ads directly with mine, Husband's and the kids names. I throw them into the recycle bin directly.


The kids can come up themselves what they want for christmas. And mad men behind the toy catalogues can go to hell.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Have a cookie

Photo: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angry_Birds
Daughter was the crankiest little girl yesterday. Nothing would do for her and everything was wrong. After some time I realized that she hadn't really slept well, she had eaten quite poorly and she was slightly fluish as well. Not the nicest combination, and with a vocabulary of couple of dozens of words it's no wonder all she could say was AAARGH.

I'm often having hard time not to laugh when the kids are moody. They don't know what to say or do so they express themselves with funniest ways. And after a proper meal or some sleep the world turns into a better place again.

But you know what, adults are no better at this. If I'm tired or hungry I hate everything and everybody. Husband can turn into a real mean machine if he comes home from work late after a tough day. And we so called grown-ups don't always even recognize the state of body better than the kids do. Snappy Husband can say he's absolutely not hungry and it's just me who's being a bitch if I ask him whether we should do the groceries today. I've learned already how it goes. Nowadays I just tell him to have a cookie. Usually he does.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Where are YOU from?

Me as a 1-year old
I've been blogging for about a month now. In case you're wondering why, this might explain a bit. I've loved it: I can write about whatever I want and suddenly I have a whole new getaway for myself. I feel like I can be a bit better person thanks to this new rabbit hole I can vanish in. When I come out again, I've got much less negative stuff on my mind.

I took a festive look at my blog's all-time statistics and noticed that I'm not totally alone here either. I've noticed sometimes that there's been visitors from a little bit here and there. I haven't realized though that you people come all together from nine different countries. At the moment. (I had to edit this post in the middle of writing because a new country popped in the stats.) Here's the current readers combo in order of amount of pageviews:


United States
Finland
Germany
United Kingdom
France
Italy
Ireland
South Korea
Canada

You go girls! I'm so happy to have you here! Or are you all girls? I don't know a thing about you except from the countries you read this blog from. I must say I'd really like to know who you are and what do you think about the stuff I write. The reason why I'm so dead curious is that no-one has ever commented anything.

So be the first one and say something! And if you make a wish about a possible topic, the blogger fairy can make it come true.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Little boxes

We have just moved. Or actually: I counted that I have moved 8 times since 1999 when I first moved out from my parents. That's a whole lot of moving, I think. On top of that comes moving in and out some boyfriends.

I hate moving (who wouldn't). Especially with small kids it's truly agonizing. Before moving into our current house we lived almost 8 months out of suitcases and moved two extra times because the house was under renovation. I can't find words to describe the chaos. Half of our stuff is still missing and the other half is something I'd like to get rid of.

The cherry on the top was that the last three months before the renovation was finalized we lived with my parents. They were extremely nice to let us stay there and we didn't have to pay any rent. I remembered soon though why I moved out in the first place thirteen years ago. See, whatever I did was wrong in Mother's eyes because I would do it differently than her. I soon realized that I can't do laundry or the dishes (there's a dishwasher but I operated it *all wrong*), take care of kids or even make a sandwich to Son. Mother must be wondering how I'm still alive after thirteen years on my own. Things went much better when I learned to do everything like Mother wanted.

Husband didn't have a blast at my parent's place either so he finished the renovation quite rapidly. After this eighth move I'm now thinking of living here for some time. We returned the moving boxes yesterday, the same boxes that I have borrowed at least five times already. I hope not to see the little boxes again very soon. After the huge renovation we have pretty much all we need in the house so we don't need to move soon either. And my parents are helping with the kids a lot because they live basically next door.

Eight moves in thirteen years. Is that normal? And I ended up next door with my parents. Is that common? I think I should blame myself at least partly: who else than a restless soul moves that often? Maybe I shouldn't have returned the boxes at all.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Pink ladies

I mentioned that I run. That obviously means I spend a lot of time in running clothes. I pick up Son from daycare daily so that I run there and back so I'm even kind of representing myself in them. I've always loved clothes and had my own, picky style which has made me import most of what I wear from different travels.

First I thought that good running shoes would be all I need. They took me a long way for sure but, of course, the more I ran the more I started wanting proper gear in the clothing area as well. So I headed to a large sports store to buy stuff that would allow me to run through the autumn months.

Instant problems.

Once the friendly lady started showing the shirts and pants she thought would suit me I had to stop her immediately: I don't want anything pink please. I don't mean the light baby pink colour but the bright pink I think is also called fuchsia. Almost neon-red to me. I'd already noticed that all ladies running shoes were pink. Other running gear made no exception to that. After leaving out all the pink stuff in the store there was't much left. All of it was black. So the goth girl out there running is me.

So I've tried my best to avoid pink running gear. With good luck you can find something nice like this:




















This is ok as well:


This I can somehow live with (especially if I run somewhere where I need to be seen well):


But this:



GIVE ME A BREAK! And why I bought it? There were no options. I really needed long, warm running underwear. Every single piece of them: pink. This really makes my day every morning when I put it on.

And poor Daughter isn't better off. Pink, pink, pink. I recycle most of our children clothes with my friends and I'm more practical than picky. So as long as she doesn't care she gets to wear what we get for her. And I'm doing my best to minimize the Miss Piggy effect.

Now may I suggest something to Adidas, Nike, Puma, Asics, Icebug and all other manufacturers that consider chicks like me as their target group. Check out the stuff Cedella Marley designed for the Jamaican olympic team. It is just the coolest I've seen.



So THIS is what I want to look like when I run:

Photo: Globalgrind.com



Sunday, November 25, 2012

A girl in da house

Serving the second generation
I didn't play with dolls as a kid. I really don't know why. I had dolls, I didn't dislike them, but I just didn't play with them. I didn't play too much with other girls either but spent quite much time by myself building Legos. Not surprisingly I didn't turn out to be a great caretaker when I grew up. I can't imagine being a nurse or working at a kindergarten. For me working with processes and systems has always been more natural. And I still don't play with other girls that much.

For some reason I expected Daughter to be like me. First she showed indeed some similar qualities being a fast as lightning, cheerful terminator. But then she found a doll. She had gotten one for her first birthday and soon afterwards she realized how much she liked it. Suddenly she was carrying the doll everywhere hugging, feeding, changing nappies and putting it to bed. I was amazed: we have a girl in the house! (And she's the only one of her kind in here.)

When I realized what a great nanny Daughter is I gave her my old doll as well (it's in a brilliant condition because I didn't let my Sister play with it either). And Daughter is happier than ever. She has twins now!

Note to self, lesson million in parenting: although she's a girl, it doesn't mean she's like me. It can also mean she really is a girl.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Good company

Photo: wikipedia.org
I had a rare treat yesterday. I was home alone in the evening. After getting all the work done I had planned I felt a bit strange. No-one pulling my sleeve, no Husband sitting on the sofa. Then it struck me: I can do whatever I want!

After getting used to the thought of being alone I wanted to do so many things I didn't know where to start. Finally I spent a long time in hot sauna and took all the time in the world afterwards to blow-dry my hair. I ate, opened a bottle of red wine. Just when I sat on the sofa with a gigantic bowl of ice cream and thought of watching a no-brainer documentary on TV...Husband came home.

He was supposed to be at a christmas party. I was expecting him around 1 or 2 AM. It turned out he had skipped the party because he had a big argument with his dad. So he had worked until 10 PM after which he drove back home. And he was angry. Oh boy, he was angry. So much for the peaceful me-time. Donald Duck is back in the house.


Friday, November 23, 2012

The sophisticated laugh

Photo: homersimpson.es
 I've always been a friend of sarcastic and a bit twisted humor. I'm laughing my butt off when watching The Office or United States of Tara. Not so much when Mr. Bean comes along. Quentin Tarantino's movies have always made me laugh big time in the middle of all the slaughtering. Rob Schneider - not so much. I've always thought that my humor is somehow...adult.

But now. The kids have changed this too. I guess I have to create the comedy in my life from where I can in the middle of all dirty nappies and food-throwing but quite often I find myself thinking "seriously, am I laughing at this?". And yes, I am. I'm worse than Bart Simpson. I have the funniest time when Daughter tries to wipe her butt (she can't, her arms are still too short). I'm biting my toung when Son rushes to the toilet shouting "I have fart in my butt!!". And in the evening when the kids are asleep we have a huge laugh at all this with Husband.

I've also noticed that my humor is nowadays sometimes a bit ill-willing. I'm amused when I should be greatly compassionate. When Son tried to flatter a girl three times his age (seriously) and the girl just suddenly left. When Daughter is hugely angry at something that doesn't go as planned and lectures her Duplos. And I try my best to keep a serious face in front of the kids.

I don't know if it's just me and whether my humor will recover. Or is there a comedy rehab I should visit? Just in case? So the kids won't end up being ashamed of me when they start liking Tarantino and the Coen brothers.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Montezuma's revenge part 2

Montezuma (or Moctezuma) was an Aztec emperor who was killed by the Spanish conquerors. A story tells that the Spanish got hugely stomach sick under their travel and still today tourists that get traveler's diarrhea in Mexico are said to have caught "Montezuma's revenge".

Now the mighty Mexican has come up with a new, equally frightening thing. I visited a local eco store here in Helsinki and got to taste something that is called "Chilli&Lime chocolate snowballs: a smooth milk chocolate chilli&lime truffle wrapped in a thin white chocolate shell". Oh. My. Goodness. They're so good. The first taste is sweet, then the lime kicks in and finally the chilli. Anyone who likes any of the ingredients: taste them. I took one, then (making sure nobody was watching) couple more. And bought a box of them as a present to my friend. This was five days ago, now the whole box is gone. So much for that present.

Thanks a bunch, Montezuma's Chocolates.
Beware these!


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Whose money

Being a home mom isn't really a big cash cow to a job. In Finland we're quite well off though: a parent can stay at home with the kids without losing her job until the youngest child turns three. And there's some financial support from the society as well. But still: now that Daughter is over 1,5 years old I get around 500 Euros per month. That's basically nothing. After all the necessities I have to buy there's no money left for myself.

Husband, on the other hand, goes to work and gets his salary and bonuses. Sure enough, he gets to pay most of our bills and groceries as well but we have never had a common bank account for the family's expenses. I've suggested it, in vain. This makes Husband an ultimate financial king in our family. And me - I feel like a teenager who needs to beg money from the parents for every movie or new pair of socks.

Possessing the majority of family's funds actually gives Husband a position to decide about surprisingly many things: when do we go to the grocery store, where do we travel (if we do) and all in all what is necessary to buy and what's not. And we do not always agree. As I told you, Husband wanted a snow thrower. I thought it was unnecessary and stupid. At the same time Son needed a new bed, he'd grown out of the old one. I wanted to get him an expensive but a stylish one which can be converted for example to a loft bed easily. One that he could take with him when he moves out one of these days. Husband thought it was unnecesssary and suggested a 50 € bed from Ikea.
In these situations I can either shut my mouth and let Husband decide, whine and beg or somehow find the money myself. The last option won this time. Just guess how happy Husband is, I could see it in his face that he thought I made the stupidest purchase ever. I didn't remind him of the snow thrower, I'll save it for later in case the conversation continues.

I'm wondering how other parents solve the financial dilemma. I mean really, what do you do so that another of you (read: the mom) doesn't feel like a slave worker? And how do families solve the puzzle of taking care of small kids in other countries than our small happy Finland? Does the mom always lose her job if she stays at home?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Wanker

Party party
I went out with Best Friend on Friday. We do that as often as we can and it's one of those things that keep me sane. Our lives are at similar stages so we never run out of topics to chat about. And we chat a lot.

When we have a girls' night out we normally go to a nice restaurant for a dinner - such luxury when all we do on a normal day is serve small people - and maybe a drink afterwards. We tend to choose places where we can talk without shouting at each other over the music so a cosy pub was our choice this time.

It's been ages since someone tried to hit on me in a bar. I really can't tell when it's happened last time, not that I've gone out a lot either. But sure enough, on Friday we heard a sudden "suri to interubt ya gals" (the guy turned out to be Scottish) from the other side of the table. The two guys had been sitting there for a while and obviously didn't mind our wedding rings. I can't put a finger on what exactly triggered the she-devil out of me but I couldn't keep my mouth shut when the Scot tried to be funny:

- "It seems like you're angry at your friend when you talk, what has she done to you?" (He didn't understand Finnish I guess)
- "Yeah, I can't stand her guts, she's so annoying. Luckily she doesn't speak any English." (Best Friend's English is better than mine)
- "??!!??"
- "Come on, she's my best friend. I love her."

Luckily he didn't get angry, but after that Scotland's gift to the world didn't want to talk to me anymore but tried to impress Best Friend instead. It was ok to me and I followed the conversation trying to understand his accent.

I guess it was first when I told him he looked like Richard Hammond and sounded like Colin Farrell when he got a bit angry. I was told that I'm a wanker. I told him to bring subtitles with him next time.

Monday, November 19, 2012

A bit longer

After some wondering we decided with Husband that I'll continue being a home mom for still some time. You never know, maybe we'll get a third child, and Daughter is still quite small too. It was't actually an easy decision for me especially when they called from work and asked whether I'd come back when Daughter turns two.

You know, I'm lonely. Bloody lonely. When I stayed at home with Son first I thought it would be easy to hook up with other moms at playgrounds or different activities. Would be lovely to have grown-up company. I'm talkative, shouldn't be a problem. Wrong. I realized very soon that I have absolutely nothing in common with the other females sitting by the sandbox. The kids of course, but that made a nice conversation for 30 seconds. First I tried to chat about something else to make friends. Bad idea. I somehow managed to find moms whose only feature was motherhood. We just were from different planets.

Another thing is that I constantly get the impression that Husband values my input to zero. He'll say things like "how can you be tired, you can do whatever you want all day long and the kids basically take care of themselves". I confronted him about this when we were discussing whether I'd still stay at home with the kids and he assured me how very important my work is. But his chauvinistic attitude can still be seen between the lines. Or more visibly. So it's actually quite unclear to me whether Husband appreciates the hard work I'm doing.

So I've noticed recently that I miss work. I miss talking and working with adults, being appreciated for what I do, receiving some positive feedback every once in a while and earning money of my own.

Bloody hell, what did I promise?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Good wife

 I own a small apartment in Helsinki where I had a nice, young couple as tenants. After two years they moved out as they wanted to buy an apartment of their own. When I visited the place to see what it looked like after they lived there, the interior was just jaw-dropping: the whole design was true super romantic Laura Ashley style, something I would never create myself. They (ok let's face it: she) had done a good job though. Every detail was carefully planned and done with great devotion.

My first thought when I saw the place was somewhat surprising: what a great wife she must be! She seemed like just the type of woman who will wake her husband up in the morning with fresh coffee, a newspaper and home made croissants. And sure enough: when they moved out, she handed me a bottle of home made blackcurrant liqueur as a memory.

Thank you, you sweet lady! It's such a pity you moved out! And sir, make sure to keep her happy, there ain't no many girls like that. At least not in our house, haha.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Middle finger

There are days when I feel like a complete loser. Everyone hates me, I can't do anything right or at least it's not enough. On one of those days I came across this:


This is bloody brilliant. Many times I have realized that people around me are actually acting like assholes and I don't deserve it.

So hello world, I'm trying my best here to please you! If I'm not succeeding today so go to hell by all means!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Learning to love

Helsinki City Run 2012
I mentioned earlier that I put on some weight during my pregnancies. Mildly put. I realized very soon after Daughter was born that minimizing my candy consumption wouldn't do the 28" waist wonder for me. Sports would if anything.

I like sports, I even used to compete in figure skating as a teenager. But I'm picky. Anything that would require going even near a ball is a no-no to me. I don't like going to the gym. And I'm absolutely no weight lifter, Son's 17 kilos are almost too much for me to carry. I loved going climbing both indoors and outdoors before the kids were born but right now that's a way too time-consuming hobby for me. My sister had recently run a half-marathon and suggested the obvious: start running! It's cheap, fast and sooo rewarding, she motivated me.

I hated the idea. Running was mandatory training when I used to skate and I wasn't even too bad at it. But still: I never liked it. It was boring, not rewarding. In the lack of better ideas I decided to give it a go anyway.

I hated it. I felt like a whale, old grannies in wheelchairs would pass me and after three runs my knee was so sore I could hardly walk. Today I thank my luck I didn't give up. After getting a pair of proper running shoes and dozens of whale runs I actually started to like it. After just two months I ran my first half-marathon. I was stunned.

For anyone who would even consider running I can warmly recommend these:

1. Shoes. Proper running shoes that fit you, your foot and your running style. Get a professional to evaluate what kind of shoes you need (they'll know at a proper sports store). I can't emphasize this enough. Not a peep from my knee after taking care of the shoe issue.

2. Pole pole (swahili: take it easy). Start with walking speed so that you're actually comfortable.

3. Motivate. Need a target to train for? Sign up for a running competition. Brag about it so your friends will come and watch and you'll have to do it. Need concrete tools to keep you going? Get a nice running computer or use a mobile software that'll track your route with GPS and help you keep a training diary (Sports Tracker works at least ok).

I haven't used a personal trainer, at least not yet. Because Sister was right: it became rewarding. My waist size started shrinking, I got faster and more motivated. I started rewarding myself with cool running gear and thinking about another half-marathon. And a marathon. I surprised myself with learning to love it.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Scissor bros

Son fell the other day and broke his pants. Luckily he didn't hurt himself at all. At least this is what I thought had happened.

The same thing happened a week later. Another pair of pants broken at the same spot, Son didn't luckily get a scratch. I was wondering what the little genius is up to in the kindergarten.

The third pair of similarly broken pants was too obvious: they were cut with scissors. Son gladly admitted it when I asked what had happened. Luckily I didn't take up the issue with the ladies in the kindergarten. I would have barked the wrongest tree.

It came up that when Son is visiting my parents my Mother has a habit of giving him a paper and a pair of scissors to play with so she can sit by the computer undisturbed. And when she's not watching...you know.

Geez, Mother! First of all: he's three years old so Son+scissors is a combination to be supervized at all times for the time being. And second of all: do you really need to surf the Internet when the kids are visiting your place? Facebook will still be there a couple of hours later.

We had a good chat about the scissors gate with Son and he seemed to be truly ashamed. I get him, I cut my skirt as well as a kid. Some things you just have to try out. But Mother, what am I going to do with *you*?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Four wheels

My Father, me and a car early 80's
Husband has always had a car. Me, never. I don't want one.

Sure thing, he's from the countryside and I've always lived in Helsinki. The difference is massive and I've always been spoiled with the good public transport here. And now when we moved to the suburb a car is handy quite often.

But. Husband still drove everywhere when we lived in Helsinki city center. The real difference there was the mindset. I've always wanted to build my everyday life so that I don't need to drive. I don't like cars. Husband loves them and is convinced that I need and would like to have one too.

So what does Husband do? He regularly suggests different car models to me: "This one would suit you! You'd like this one. This car's image goes together with your style great! This one is eco-friendly!!" I've told him probably thousand times that *I don't want a car*. No effect.

So what is it, honey? Do I need a ride too often? I'm trying not to. And I really like to walk or take the bus, I'm getting free excercise that way. So the only flat tyre I care about is the stroller's. Those four wheels I can't live without.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The third round

Congrats

After we got our first child the questioning started quite soon: when will he get a sibling? I didn't have a clue and didn't like the topic either. To everyone else it was crystal clear that we would have another child. Then we did. The questions stopped.

See, we now have the usual combo: two kids (boy and girl, such a cliche!), a house, a car. A friend commented after we moved into our new house that the only thing we're lacking is a dog. True. Now everyone's asking when I'll get back to work. I have absolutely no idea, because we would like to have a third child.

My Best Friend is the only one who knows about our plan. She was somewhat surprised and seemed to wonder why. I don't know that one either. If we'll get a third kid it will be hugely interesting to see how people will react to the baby news. Is it one kid too many?

When I talked about having a third kid with Husband and Best Friend they both seemed like I was pregnant already. Sure, it has happened fast before but I don't take that for granted. Many things can go wrong and I'm definitely not getting any younger. So suddenly I'm unsure about the whole thing. Nice.

It isn't really helping either that Husband is asking me every other day "Well, feeling anything yet? How about now?" I told him friendly that he will soon feel a kitchen sponge in his mouth if he won't shut up. He was sure I'm pregnant.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Mom looks like a lady

When Daughter was born I was hugely tired and somewhat depressed as well. My Sister came up with a fun idea to cheer me up with and invited me to join her for a visit to her friend who makes gel nails as a hobby.

I loved them instantly. My hands and nails have always been ugly, but with the gel nails my hands looked great and were practically care-free. I kept my nails quite short most of the time but still they looked classy. This was my unnecessary and luxury treat every two or three weeks that I loved. Until she hurt her hand and paused her hobby.

But now:

I strongly recommend this as a treatment or preventive action to bad mood. Note: will work only on needy females!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Dunno

Photo: Suomela.fi

Husband wants a snow thrower. I'm not too keen on the idea (they're noisy and polluting) but he motivated his need  with the exhausting amounts of snow we've gotten the last winters. He's right, there's quite much to shovel on our yard.

So when a gardening chain had a great offer for Father's Day we drove there to see the man machine. We didn't find any. A conversation followed between Husband and an Employee:

H: "I read from the newspaper you have this offer for snow throwers."
E: "We don't have any. No room. Maybe some of our other stores has them."

Right. We drove further wondering why there wasn't any info about where the machines are sold and how the personnel can be so poorly informed and uninterested. At the next store we found the snow throwers but there was no info about how long the offer is valid. Another conversation between Husband and another Employee followed:

H: "Um, how long is the offer valid, there wasn't any info...?"
E: "Dunno."
H: "Oh. I'd like one but we don't have a van right now...?"
E: "Oh. I don't know."

Ladies and gentlemen: that wasn't poor service, that was non-service. How poorly does a chain have to treat its employees so they start treating customers like that?

So Husband will need to settle for a book for Father's Day now. We'll go and wake him up soon with the kids. Hope he likes the book at least.

Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

My traditional hair


I've had long hair most of my life. By long I mean a length somewhere between my waist and hips. I've also cut it twice from that length to an almost boyish cut and had a really short hair in all imaginable colours in between.

My non-average hair (not only long, it's usually been red as well) has often generated comments and many people have (to me) surprising views about it. I've always thought it's fun to hear what people think when they see my head. And, sure enough, the comments build a pattern from country to country.

Here are some of my favourites:

Finland: "You're the Evil Hair Lady"
Kenya: "It's amazing, what's your secret? How come it's so long and healthy?"
Spain: "It's so red!"
Thailand: "It's so soft!"
South America: Nobody cares. They've seen it all.
Italy and the US: "Aren't all Scandinavians blondes?"
India: "Oh, long hair. So traditional!"

Different views on the world, I'd say. Have a nice weekend everyone!

Friday, November 9, 2012

M I N E !


Son and Daughter were having a slight disagreement yesterday:

- "THAT'S MY GIRAFFE DON'T TAKE IT NOOOO!!"
- "NO GIFA MEEAARGH!"
- "MOOOM SHE TOOK MY GIRAFFE! IT'S MINE!"
- "GIFA ME OOGGA BOOGGA MOM!"

Familiar? Thought so too. I read from somewhere that children are "helpful and friendly" by nature. If I'd still remember where that was I would read that aloud to my kids. Ok, I get it, fighting is a way of learning social skills and so on. And sure, very often they're so sweet to each other that my heart melts. But I still find it quite funny that kids don't seem to want to share anything. If Son plays with animals he will absolutely need each and every one of them (we have like 50 at least) and Daughter can't come even near him. And that's all Daughter wants to do at the time.

Then it struck me suddenly: adults are no better. My money, my computer, my house, my car, my phone, my food, my this and that, mememinemine. Where else would kids get that mindset if not from their own parents? I've heard my own Mother talk to the kids tens of times like this: "Don't take that, it's my newspaper. You can't touch my computer!". And so on. Of course the concept of mine, yours, theirs etc. is important so the kids will understand why we can't take whichever car from the parking lot or why we need to go via the cashier in the grocery store. But in general there's a lot of room for improvement! So I made some decisions regarding this:

- I will genuinely try to share more and be helpful so the kids would learn the same mindset
- If the kids can't touch or take something I will come up with a fair explanation: you can't take mom's reading glasses because they break very easily, you can't use dad's chainsaw because it's very dangerous and you will most likely hurt yourself
- I won't use reasonings like "because it's mine" or "because I say so"

Let's see how it works.

On the other hand I understand very well a guy I know who was once building a simple outhouse to his summer cottage. Someone tried to help him out but he firmly told him "no" and said it was "his playground". We all need our own space and our own playground. Me too: I like to run. It's my thing and I don't want anyone to wreck it for me.

And then there's another thing too. This blog. I haven't told anyone I'm writing it. And I don't know if I even will. Because it's MINE!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Congratulations

I would like to congratulate Barack Obama. It's good to see You in the White House for some more years. I would also sincerely like to congratulate Mitt Romney on a strong campaign. It's been exciting to follow the situation before the election.

As a friend of bad humor I found this a bit funny though:

May the US and Australia have good following years.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I'm so sorry

I heard that one of my friends has lost her brother. The girl who told me didn't know what had happened. The brother was in his fourties and had a family with three children. I understood why we hadn't seen our friend for a while. Now she wanted to be alone and didn't want to see anyone. I felt bad that I hadn't called more often before this happened.

Then I got an SMS the other day from her: her son's birthday party invitation. Of course we'll go if we just can make it. But how should I act? I'd like to tell her how sorry I am about her loss but is her son's birthday party a right place to take that up? I'm sure they'd like to spend that day celebrating and having fun. And I'm having hard time finding the right words as well. Is a simple "I heard your brother died, I'm so sorry" too harsh? Is it appropriate to ask what happened? Should I call or SMS her before the party and tell how sorry I am? We're rather good friends but still all the options seem somehow inappropriate.

Maybe I should just show this post to her and hope she'll get my message? Anyway, once again: I'm so sorry.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

26 kilograms

Daughter at the age of three hours

When I got pregnant the first time I was sure what kind of expecting mom I'd be: sporty, glowing, active and stylish. And I'd gain 10 kilograms tops. I had always been slim without any greater effort so why expect anything else. When the midwife told me I could gain up to 12 kilograms of weight I was thinking it sounded way too much. Little did I know.

First, when I was about 20 weeks pregnant and had already gained about 10 kilograms, I was horrified and couldn't believe my eyes. ("The scale must be broken.") After 15 kilos I was hugely depressed and felt like my body had betrayed me. After 20 kilos I stopped counting and did my best to forget about the whole thing which I didn't of course. I was swollen, felt horrible, I almost couldn't walk and had contractions, my belly was so huge that bypassers would ask if I was expecting twins and I felt light as a blue whale. No pregancy glow whatsoever. Everything was ok per se, and I felt bad about being so weak and sick when I should have been going to maternity yoga instead. I was on sick leave most of the time and felt bad about that too. It didn't make things any easier that my Mom kept telling me how she "felt greater than ever" when she was pregnant. And of course all my friends who were pregnant looked like movie stars. (I actually felt like hitting one of my friends who gained 6 kilos during her pregnancy and left the hospital in her regular jeans.) I'm still wondering today if I'm the only one who had such crap pregnancies that were still classified as perfectly normal.

When our son was born the extra 20 kilos started surprisingly drop quite soon, and after seven months I was my normal self. Long walks with the pram and keeping on eye on my diet basically did it. It was a huge relief since I had been the same size all my adult life. So no wonder I didn't feel at home at all with the extra kilos. When our daughter was born...well, nothing. I was huge, depressed, and my weight wouldn't drop an ounce. 20 kilograms of extra to carry and I was in horrible physical condition as well. I hated my shape and didn't look myself. The thing that really did the trick for me was that there wasn't one piece of clothing in my closet that would have fit me. I was ashamed.

I guess that's when I bought my first pair of running shoes.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Piss off will you

It's one of those days again: I don't want to get out of bed or out of the door, nor do I want to talk to anyone. The kids seem to fight or be a handful all the time. I bet Husband won't come home before 8 PM. I don't want to cook, clean, do anything. I just tried to make coffee but forgot water.

What is it? Monday? PMS? Darkness? November? Movember?

Maybe I'll just grow a mustache so people will leave me alone. Argh.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Holy crap, Gillette!

Photo: Stylefrizz.com

My best friend told me some time ago that Gillette has the hottest TV commercial ever with Adrien Brody, Andre 3000 and Gael Garcia Bernal. Best friend had sat on the couch with her mouth wide open when the guys had walked in slow motion towards her with their perfectly shaved faces. "It's a-ma-zing!" she sighed.

It took me a long while before I saw the film myself, and I didn't think it would be so special. But sure enough, couple of days ago it got me. Phew, it's jaw-dropping! I've always thought Bernal is hot but here the effect is three-double. And of course Husband was there when the film was on TV and a spontaneous "holy crap!" came out of my mouth. "What?" he asked me. And you know what I replied? I wouldn't have guessed myself either: "Errrr...this commercial must have cost Gillette a fortune!"

I bet it did!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Come home!

The kids have stayed two days at grandparents place. Husband's parents live in the countryside and kids love staying there. They get to drive a tractor and receive all the attention they want. It's been lovely: I've slept, done a huge amount of things in the house, ordered take-away food and eaten it all by myself, trained, had a great evening at friends' place, watched a movie and so on. I can't describe how good it feels to sometimes just sink in my own thoughts without having to cook and change nappies.

Yesterday evening the house started to feel empty. I miss my little monsters. So soon. Today we'll get them home. It's about time!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Made in China?

I expect my kids to behave. They are still very small but I think the good manners must be planted right from the start. I don't demand royal-family-like wonder-child behavior but we say thank you, sorry, please, hello and so on. And one thing is for sure: it's me and Husband who make the decisions, kids will have to obey the rules if they don't want to sit on a timeout. We haven't made a conscious decision about our parenting style but being strict helps us to manage with the daily routines.

And then there's the other thing: I want my kids to realize that certain places and situations call for certain behavior. Of course they need to practice, but our 3-year old is already perfectly capable of understanding how he should behave at a funeral or the circus. We prepare him so he knows what we expect. The 1-year old gets to stay at home quite often still because she's too small to understand and I don't want to ruin anybody's romantic evening at a restaurant with a screaming toddler. I respect other's right to dine in a pleasant environment. I've noticed that with reasonable effort kids will behave and they still seem to love me although I discipline them.

I think I lost a friend because of this thinking pattern. I met a really fun and lively Chinese girl at work many years ago and we hit it off right away. I didn't have kids back then but she's married to a Finnish guy and they have a son who was a toddler when we first met.

We spent often time together which would have been lovely if the little boy hadn't tyrannized every gettogether. He would scream, shout, throw things and call people names. He was happy only if he got everybody's full attention. The parents did next to nothing. I got completely fed up with his behavior when he once ruined a dinner at my place that I had worked quite hard for. He yelled, cried and complained about the food. When I told him he had to wait for others before he could get dessert he called me stupid. He was six years old. The parents did next to nothing. It was a horrible evening and after that our friendship faded. I never told her the real reason because I thought I can't tell anyone how to raise their child especially when I don't have any of my own. Don't get me wrong, I don't blame the boy. I never did. I just wish his parents would have looked in the mirror. If we would have that terrible dinner today, on the other hand, I would discipline the boy myself.

I thought of this Finnish-Chinese family when I saw a documentary about a boot-camp school in China where parents send their poorly behaving teenagers. The school is expensive, the discipline is hard and the teenagers march 40 kilometers a day to learn a better attitude towards their parents, school and life in general. I was stunned and started to wonder where all these bad-behaving kids come from. My own conclusion is that parents are often a bit lazy. Everyone is busy with their everyday life and it's easier just to let the kids do whatever they like instead of making them say hello to the neighbour and making sure that they do their timeout. This problem isn't made in China, just look how busy Jo Frost is. So every time I need to discipline my kids even though I feel like shutting my eyes and ears I think of the screaming, Finnish-Chinese 6-year old boy insulting me. It gives me motivation. I'm no Amy Chua but I hope to find a way in the middle.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

That's beautiful

I'm such a summer person. I love it when it's warm and it's easier with the kids too.

Autumn again is a bit depressing because I know the winter is coming with all the four mandatory layers of clothes to the wee ones. But autumn is so beautiful: the colourful leafs, mushrooms etc. are just breathtaking. Now it's starting to be over and there's just dead darkness left.

That's why I had to stop when I saw this the other day:


Thanks for making my day.