Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My rocker kids

We've created monsters in our house. Or maybe we've proved that kids don't only want to listen to The Wheels on The Bus all day long.

My kids like AC/DC and Guns 'n Roses.

It started in the summer with Austin. I'm not sure I even remember how or why, but AC/DC's Thunderstruck was on and Austin liked it. He started singing along. And Ryan taught him to make the rock 'n roll sign. And for days, he'd go around the house singing 'Thunder....nah nah nah nah nah nah....Thunder'.

And so, Alex picked it up.

Then, a few weeks later, the kids and I were driving home from the grocery store and Guns 'n Roses' Paradise City came on the radio. And Austin pipes up from the back seat: "I like this song!".

The next day, he was playing by himself in his room and singing: "Take me down to the Paradise City where the grass is green and the girls are pretty. Oh won't you please take me home."

I laughed out loud.

And what was even funnier was when Alex picked it up a few days later. Except she has it down pat to include the 'yeah yeah' at the end of the chorus. And she likes the song so much that several times a week she asks to hear it. Or randomly starts singing it from the back seat of the car.

And so, between her Guns 'n Roses obsession and her AC/DC obsession, we seem to have a genuine rocker chick on our hands. And then, as we were going through a bag of hand-me-down clothes, we found this shirt:

And she's in heaven.

Although, since it's a hand-me-down shirt from a friend of mine, I guess I'm not the only mom with a three-year-old rocker chick!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pour your heart out: Just the thought of it makes me anxious

I've been home full-time for three and a half years now. Since Alex was born. For the first year, I was on maternity leave -- meaning (for my U.S. readers) I was collecting EI payments and was on leave from my job. After the year was up, I never went back. It was a long and complicated story as to the various reasons I never went back, but suffice to say, I haven't worked in an office in 3 and a half years.

Instead, I plunged myself in to full-time educator, entertainer, snuggler and bum wiper. Oh yeah, and part-time freelance writer and editor. That line between part-time and full-time sometimes blurs and I find myself working a silly amount. But other times, I have no work on the go and I have lots of time to just spend with the kids.

I never really had a concrete plan as to how long I would stay home. I figured I'd definitely stay until Austin was in JK (that's come and gone) and most likely until Alex was in Kindergarten. Then, I figured, at some point around then, I'd go and find another job.

But working for myself has been both rewardig and profitable. And I'm only doing it part-time. The possibilities open up dramatically when I think about when I can actually work on a more full-time basis.

And the possibility of that terrifies me.

You see, unlike Austin who spent last year and this year in half-day Kindergarten -- starting full-time school in Grade 1 next September -- Alex will be going to full-day Kindergarten. All the schools in Ontario are changing from half-day to full-day for 4 and 5 year olds by 2015 and our school is changing in September. So suddenly, two years earlier than I expected it -- I'm going to have no kids from 8:30 until 3:30 every single day.

Did I say that that terrifies me.

Part of it is just not wanting to change -- I like being with my kids every day. And I like the fact that I get Austin every afternoon still. And the idea that I can now have 6 to 7 hours EVERY SINGLE DAY to work, instead of only an hour and a half when they're both in school (Kindergarten and preschool) and many evenings and weekends is something I rejoice at. But is also causing me a lot of anxiety.

What if I can't get enough work to fill all of my hours. What if I find myself for days and weeks at a stretch with no work. That's the nature of contract work -- you work when there's work, and you don't when there isn't. And if I go through great stretches with no work, what will I do to fill my days in a quiet house? And that's the second downside to working for yourself (the first being when there's no contracts, there's no paycheques), there's no colleagues to work with -- no water cooler to chat at. Just me, my basement office and my laptop.

Will I like it? I don't know. Will I be able to get enough work to transition from part-time to almost full-time? I don't know. Will I prefer to go back and work for a company and go to an office every day? I don't know. Will I continue working from home and try it out once the kids are both in schol? Yes. Because doing this gives me the flexibility to take my kids to school every day and pick them up every day -- and just be with them a little bit longer. But is the whole thing making me anxious a whole year in advance? Absolutely.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pour Your Heart Out: A terrible disease

I've been reading Shell out Things I Can't Say for months. If you don't read her, check her out. And every Wednesday, she runs a meme called Pour Your Heart Out -- where you get to write about whatever you want, no critical comments allowed. I've thought about writing for months -- I've even started a few posts but never finished one. So here I am, trying again.

My grandmother has Alzheimer's Disease.She's 97 years old. So your first thought may be along the lines of "well, she's 97, she's lived a good life" or "wow, she's 97 years old!". And both of those statements are true. She has lived a good life and wow, she is 97. But no one, regardless of their age, should have to go like this.

Until two years ago -- at the age of 95 -- she lived by herself in the upstairs of a Duplex in Montreal. Her two sons (my dad and his brother) lived in other cities. And she was doing fine. But then she started to forget things, and started to make odd statements (and I don't need to go into details) and my dad and his brother became concerned. So, she moved to Ontario and in with my parents -- but before long, she moved to a retirement home and now a nursing home.

And since she moved into the nursing home in the winter, I feel like she's been deteriorating rapidly -- but maybe it's just because we didn't see her a lot during the disease's onset. I saw her less than two weeks ago for the first time in almost two months (her nursing home is an hour and a half away from my house so it's not an easy trip to make without pre-planning). She recognized me but never once said my name. In other words, she doesn't remember it. In August, when I last saw her, she knew my name. And at Easter when I saw her, she knew my name and that Ryan was my husband. This time, she didn't remember my name and wasn't quite sure who Austin was. He was such a good kid -- wanting to come with me to visit her -- and it broke my heart to have to explain to a five-year-old that although she'll be happy to see you, she might be 'silly' and not remember your name. And she didn't. But he took it in stride -- better than I did I think.

And when we talked about his sister, Alexandra, with her, she had no idea who she was or that she even had a great-granddaughter. And yes, she's met my daughter many times.

Soon will come a time when I go visit where, not only will she not remember my name, but she won't remember who I am. And I'm not sure I'm ready to deal with that yet.

Back in January of this year, she was hospitalized for pneumonia And although she was already visibly suffering affects of the disease, she was still very chatty and cognitive of her surroundings. And I sat for about 45 minutes and chatted with  her. It was an odd conversation in that, some moments were very clear, and other moments we were talking about how she forgot to call her office and tell them she wouldn't be in that day. But we talked.

And in a way, I think I might have said goodbye to her that day. Because now, when I visit her, it makes her happy -- because she's always happy to see people -- but it's not entirely her there anymore, it's the disease.

And this disease is a terrible way for a person -- any person -- to end their life. It robbing her of 97 years of memories, and leaving memories for the rest of that we'd rather forget.