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Posts Tagged ‘Habits’

Renting A Video Is So Last Week

April 5, 2012 2 comments

Friday nights mean a lot of things to different people – clubbing, high calibre reality television, Quidditch, poker – pick your poison. At one time in my life, Friday’s meant parties, dates, and the heady possibility of sleeping in on Saturday. But introducing children to my life has effectively squashed those options, making room for new traditions and more family-friendly rituals. Friday nights have evolved into family movie night, alive with the possibility of escaping to the wintry depths of Narnia, the vestiges of piracy in the Caribbean, or perhaps days gone by in Hollywood or Hogwarts.

I like doing errands almost as much as I like scrubbing toilets, but going to fetch our Friday night movie is one errand I enjoy: my store of choice is located next to the liquor store, a marriage of convenience if there ever was one. One competent double play – wine, video – guaranteed a night of fun. But recently, as I pirouetted towards the video store entrance, singing that annoying song “It’s Friday, Friday, Gotta get down on Friday,” I came face to face with an Out of Business sign.

I was stunned. To ensure this wasn’t some sort of hoax I pressed my face to the glass, and sure enough the shelves were empty, workers already in the process of dismembering the counter where I used to stand and make small talk with the red-shirted employees.

This, on the heels of my other neighbourhood video store going bust a couple of months ago. I’m officially in no man’s videoland. It is the end of an era, before I was ready to be done with the era. As I did when the bootcut leg gave way to the skinny jean, I am recoiling and resisting, lingering in my outdated video sense.

I know there are alternatives. I simply don’t like them as much as my weekly jaunt to the video store. My cable company provides a video on demand service, but the selection is paltry and depressing. People are buzzing about Netflix, but gathering the family around our Mac isn’t enticing, and our Wii is hooked up to an old t.v. in the basement; switching it seems like too much work (and likely impossible). I bought my husband Apple TV for Christmas, but it’s not up and running – something to do with the seventeen remotes we have for our main television. (Whoever set up our system never heard of KISS – keep it simple, stupid.)

It’s not like I’m resistant to change. When winemakers ushered in perfectly acceptable vintages with twist-off caps, I barely batted an eye. I gladly sign up for a web-chats with my bank rather than wait on hold for a live person. Volleyball did away with side-outs, and I sucked it up. I roll with the punches pretty good, for the most part.

But the death of the video store has caught me with my boot-cut pants down. I’m aghast and dismayed, not to mention video-less. If video killed the radio star, then who, in turn, killed the video? Netflix, I’m looking at you.

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Consistently Inconsistent

March 27, 2012 6 comments

If I were to pluck a parenting book off a shelf, I’d wager there’s something between those pages about the importance of consistency. As in, you should react roughly the same way in similar situations. As in, the same rules should roughly apply for each member of the family. Roughly, right?

It sounds simple on paper, yet is astoundingly difficult in practice. When it comes to parenting, the only thing I am consistent about is being inconsistent.

I ruminated on this when I woke up clinging to the edge of our king size mattress, as my seven year-old lay stretched out like a snow angel in the middle of the bed, and my husband clung to the opposite side. We had been militant about not bringing our first and second children into our bed, lest it become a habit. Yet our third child lands between our sheets on a nightly basis, and we barely bat an eye. (We were right about one thing: it is habit forming.)

We barely recognize ourselves, and hardly know how we got here. Are we simply too tired of resisting? Are we susceptible to her status as our baby? Or have we simply relaxed our views on co-sleeping? Probably a little of each.

When my oldest child was two, I enrolled her in swimming lessons, gymnastics, preschool, and skating lessons. For the skating lessons, I recall dressing her like she was about to summit Everest, and then watched her crawl – CRAWL – around the ice with a marker in her hand, colouring on the ice, for twenty minutes. The dressing up and dressing down took longer than the lesson itself. It was ridiculous in so many ways,  but to be fair it was as much about me getting out of the house than about her learning double axels.

In comparison, my third child has recently taken her first set of swimming and skating lessons at the tender age of seven, and only because she begged me. The reasons for this one are more obvious: I’ve learned that until a certain age, these activities are useless, and I’m already too busy driving my other children around.

These are just the tips on my parenting iceberg. There are so many other examples – I can’t recall one time I have punished kids number two and three beyond telling them not to do something. Yet my first child has had so many time-outs it rivaled her time-ins. We have reels of videos of our oldest saying her ABC’s before she was two, but I had to give my second child a crash course on them the day before she started kindergarten.

With each child I’ve birthed, my parenting persona has done a triple toe loop. My over-bearing grip loosened with my second child, and then relaxed almost completely with my third. I’m inclined to blame it on my laziness, but I see it happening in families around me as well: generally speaking, parents chill more with each passing baby.

I once read a book about how your birth order affects your personality, suitably titled Birth Order and You (there was no chapter about being the ninth child, however, so no clues into my own quirks and oddities – judging by my own parenting, it’s amazing I was even named.) Otherwise, it was strangely accurate in its depictions of oldest, middle, youngest, and only children – I recognized a few of my siblings, and lots of my friends, in its characterizations. It’s fair to assume these personality traits are borne from the expectations and treatment by their main influences, their parents.

So I’m part of a predictable trend that creates headstrong firstborns, peacekeeping middle children, and smart but spoiled youngest children. (As my baby hogs my pillow, I detect a slight smile on her slumbering lips, and although my shoulder is killing me, I don’t dare change positions in the event that I wake her.) At least there is comfort in numbers.

Do you fit the birth order stereotypes? And if you’re a parent, have you unwittingly changed your tactics as your herd has grown?

Freak? Or Minimalist?

January 10, 2011 5 comments
Parking garage

Image via Wikipedia

I am a bit of a freak.  I’m just realizing that my ex-boyfriend, so long ago, was right all along (but this was the only thing he was right about).

I have some peculiar tendencies which I had thought made me original, but in fact they make me just peculiar.

Christmas decorations make me claustrophobic.  Even knowing I have boxes stashed away with ribbons and lights and stale gingerbread men missing limbs makes me uneasy.  I realized when I swept up the last of the pine needles from the tree that must have been cut in June and took my first full breath of pine-free air that it wasn’t the shopping I abhorred as much as the infringement on my personal space.

When faced with abundances, I turtle.  I can’t eat at buffets, and I run screaming out of Sephora and never EVER shop at department stores.  I once drank only grapefruit juice during a trip to Vegas with my parents when faced with buffet after buffet.  They thought I had an eating disorder until I enthusiastically dug in to my plane food.  And need I explain Sephora?  Surely everyone feels the same waves of panic when presented with endless walls of makeup, or in fact any display of makeup with more than lip gloss?  I’m sweating just thinking about it.

When faced with underground parkades (the Canadian term for parking garage, did you know?), the only question is do we really need to park?  Whatever errand I’m running, friend I’m meeting, broadway show we’re going to is immediately in question when I’m behind the wheel and a parkade is involved.  They terrify me.  No matter how short my car, and how many times I have been there, I am convinced my car will hit the roof.  If you’re my friend and I’ve parked in one of these in order to see you, I must really like you.  This is the real reason I live in Suburbia: a distinct lack of parkades.  If you google ‘parkade syndrome’ you will find a picture of me.

And where to begin with Disneyland?  I will only say that everyone should be wary of a place that bills itself as the happiest place on earth; very wary.  This is a whole other blog for another day.  My children didn’t win the lottery of mothers, needless to say.

I previously thought everyone felt this way about all these issues and continuously lied, but I noticed people taking half a step back from me when I described my joy at taking my tree to the chipper.  My friends look at me quizzically when I suggest I just circle the block rather than enter the parkade.  I’ve met normal people – adults, no less –  who claim to LOVE Disneyland (I immediately think: liars!).

Putting two and two together, maybe I really am a freak, and not just the cool minimalist I prefer to label myself.  My oddities are not something I can seek a prescription for, yet if left unchecked could become exaggerated in my old age, leading people to whisper about that strange reclusive cat lady.

Who’s kidding who, if I can’t stand pine needles, imagine cat hair.  And they’re already whispering.

Look! Below is a nice little blank form where you can write what makes you a freak original too.  It might work like a confessional, where the instant you write it you will be exonerated from your freakiness.  Or it might not, and your friends might start avoiding you, so use at your own risk.