hospitals, concerts gone wrong, and stockholm

hi. here i am again. caught up on paperwork and reports. surprise file audit? bring it on!

so. let’s talk about the hospital.

it sucks. it smells. the food is something to be desired.

we won’t talk about the specifics but just before christmas kid #1 had to spend a week there being the bravest of brave kid i’ve ever seen. this kid endured 3 spinals, countless needles, iv’s, and peeing in a bottle, or portable urinal. whatever. now this is the kid who was once asked to leave a flu clinic because just the idea of having a shot was enough to propel him into fits of anxiety and there were concerns that he was terrifying the other children. fair enough. similarly we are not allowed to talk about body parts around him, god forbid he might have to envision the sight of blood. but the kid’s obsessed with zombies. go figure.

back to the hospital.

it would be helpful if the dietary staff could please explain to me their reasoning for preparing food in the manner in which it becomes unrecognizable.

also, doctors. what the f***? bedside manners also to be desired. don’t ask my kid which family member he prefers over me (gramma). and i am not an idiot so don’t treat me like one. on the contrary i have several useless degrees and know stuff. and why the comments about how terrible i look? my kid is sick, right? and i have slept here multiple nights without showering in the adjoined bathroom because i am terrified of stepping on germs. also i am plagued with worrying about my kid. so that.

obviously he’s alright now and thankfully was home for christmas. so that was good. but also that meant that he was well enough to show up to his school christmas concert in which i had to endure multiple groups of kids singing holiday songs in french which i failed to understand. and then kid #1’s class came on stage.

let’s back this up.

post that day of school kid #1 began harassing me for a santa hat with bells on it because apparently this had become a thing amongst his classmates. so fine. i piled everyone in the car to go in search of a santa hat with bells on it. because i am the best. also, because i’m the best, i agreed to let him wear a hoodie over his nice shirt so long as he promised to take it off prior to going on stage. what i did not mean was to unzip it and let it hang off his shoulders like a slob on stage. next to all of the other well-dressed children. i glared at him. he glared back at me. my mother tried to remind me that he was alive. as in a ‘pick your battles’ type reminder. i told her that this was not an excuse for looking horrid and disobeying your mother.

and then. oh then.

some horrible nameless child whom i have since come to despise decided to elbow kid #1. which pissed kid #1 the hell off. who then retaliated and elbowed him back. harder. and back and forth and so on. and then the teacher must have gotten wind of this in which case kid #1’s singing came to a halt as he began violently gesturing towards the other kid, clearly attempting to signal that what was going on wasn’t his fault.

i was embarrassed. i was ashamed. i wanted to hang my head and crawl into a hole under my chair. and also the other kid was much better dressed than he was.

the teacher later told me that it looked like i could use a vacation. obviously.

christmas was toy laden but otherwise uneventful.

on new year’s eve we went sledding and i promised the kids they could stay up until midnight.

side note, kid #1 has finally figured out that you do not in fact turn into a pumpkin if you stay awake past midnight. he is mere weeks away from being 8. 

regardless, at 11:40 i gathered everyone into my bed to discuss resolutions for the coming year. which it would appear no one understood.

me: so resolutions are when we make goals, or things we hope to accomplish in the new year.

kid #1: oh. ok. well then i want to have a resolution to get to more levels in minecraft.

me: that’s not really what i was talking about.

kid #2: i want to eat more treats in the new year.

husband: i think your resolution should be to drink less wine.

me: you can’t have a resolution for someone else. that’s not the way it works. and besides, i don’t actually drink that much.

husband: hmmm…

me: well we have 3 kids unless you haven’t noticed. and anyway doesn’t anyone want to know what my resolutions are?


me: you know what? nevermind. you guys suck.

kid #3: mama! booboo!


and those were basically our holidays.

and now comes the part where i get to share my love of stockholm artist ingela arrhenius with you.

my knowledge of sweden up until reading the girl with the dragon tattoo triology was that it appeared to have a proverbial hot-person factory responsible for pumping out blonde-haired, blue-eyed uber-people. and that it was cold. and that they ate herring and meatballs and lingonberries and designed furniture. and that it’s claim to fame was ikea. and ingela arrhenius as far as i’m concerned because i love art and i love things for children and i love items that combine the two.

and incidentally want to plaster my walls with this parisienne themed poster she’s come up with through omm design.


and also these similar ones for good measure.



omm products, which can be purchased at stores worldwide, hosts a number of other ingela arrhenius-designed items including adorable melanin plates that my kids won’t manage to be able to break even if they huck them across the room at me.



and various matryoshka sets. kid #2 is all about these things since she likes arranging EVERYTHING (read: cups, bowls, blueberries, raisins…) into families. and why not a family comprised of randomly chosen animals?


fern living also carries exclusive ingela arrhenius-designed products out of their european stores, although they ship worldwide. like these pillows.



and wallpaper (oh how i do love wallpaper…)


i’ve also discovered la marellea french company who will ship to me, i mean others, and carries ingela arrhenius goodies such as puzzles packed in suitcases


and notebooks.



and remember how i went through that whole sewing phase? well if i ever feel inspired to do that again i will head on over to liandlo which carries ingela arrhenius-designed fabric and children’s clothing made from it.



nice, right?

here she is, hard at work, being much more creative and talented than i will ever be.


ever. ever. ever. ever.

which is why i just get to write about stuff.


the geekiest kid on the block

jaden (kid #1) says “welcome back to school!” or i said it. whatever.


so this morning kid #1 headed off to his first day of grade 2 with his new lego bag. although school was only on until noon, he insisted on bringing a few essential items with him. these included a pair of scissors, 4 non-sharpened pencils, and an archie comic. just in case. i no longer fight the urge to convince him otherwise. if he wants to be weird he can totally do that. his weirdness is just a thing now.

and so is lego. this house is inundated with lego. we are a smaller version of legoland. recently i gathered up random pieces of lego in a big garbage bag. this amounted to 25lbs worth. i know because i weighed it. he didn’t even notice. this is how dire the situation has become. this is also what happens when you are the first grandchild.

the other night we went to the movies and saw the trailer for the lego movie. he was jumping up and down in his seat and begging me to take him. which of course i will because lego minifigures and stop-motion animation are awesome things and put together they are awesome awesomeness. also the slightly daft main character emmett is played by chris pratt, or the also slightly daft andy on parks and recreation. i love that show! i have just finished watching the fourth season and miss my friends leslie and crew so very much. i think about them a lot. i really do miss them. 

ok, so the other day i stumbled upon citizenbrick where i assume that the geekiest of geeky geeks love to shop for one of a kind lego. this is the real deal. forget the usual batman and star wars sets, how about a breaking bad lab set?


oh wait. nope. can’t purchase that one. a crystal meth making lego lab does not fall into the appropriate toys for kids category. maybe on my desk at work? probably not that either. but isn’t it amazing?!

how about zombies for kids? i think that’s okay. even two year-old kid #2 stumbles around with her arms out and head cocked mumbling that she wants to eat our brains. yup. zombies are terrific! for everyone. and through citizenbrick you can custom order yours. an adorable zombie baby is also available for purchase. that’s right. i said it’s adorable. and it totally is.




cute right? moving along…

i get lego. i am just as good at putting lego sets together as i am at jumping hurdles but i understand the allure. what i don’t understand fully is minecraft which has taken over kid #1’s life and my computer. the entire aim of the game is to make block structures as shelters to protect yourself from monsters or to create imaginary worlds for yourself. i would say it was the video game equivalent of lego but kid #1 says i don’t understand the complexity since i’m not a gamer. because he is. apparently. the concept seems pretty cool to me in theory, but the game itself makes me dizzy. also i don’t understand the technical bits or how many of one item i need to purchase another and why the minecraft guy steve rides a pig. anyway, this thing is HUGE. as in, every kid i come in contact with is obsessed with this game. they talk about creepers and iron ores and diamond pickaxes and i sit there remembering that the last video game i played was donkey kong 2.

anyway, i am always on the look-out for gifts for kid #1 that will impress him. not in the “wow, mom just got me a million dollar piece of lego” way, but in the “my mom finds the best stuff for me” bragging to his friends type of way. so when i found minecraft gear on thinkgeek i was super proud of myself.

diamond sword and pickaxe anyone?


what about steve and creeper masks? (these ones totally weird me out and i worry about them being able to get through the front door)


i haven’t seen these items in stores which makes me believe that i could totally get away with having them gifted by santa. who else but the elves would be able to mind-numbingly and ocd-inducingly paint such perfect pixels?

7 year-old kid #1 believes in santa you ask increduously? you bet. he’s the smartest dumbest kid around. geeks are weird like that right? say it’s so.

but this kid takes it a step further in the gullible category. i used to have this thing when kid #1 was two where i would say that if kids stayed up past midnight they would turn into a pumpkin. as in the vegetable. because i am a fun person, and also a mean one, i kept an orange marker hidden in the bathroom. at my convenience i would secretly colour a part of my face to freak him out into going to bed. and it worked. every single time. and now he is 7. and it still works.

a couple of weeks ago he told me that he had googled whether kids really do turn into pumpkins at midnight and found no evidence. oh, but i am a crafty mother. i simply told him that google would never allow pictures of kids as pumpkins or information about it on the internet because it would scare little kids. he was all like “yeah, that’s fair”. and that was the end of it. also he is convinced that if you accidentally do turn into a pumpkin because your mother has forgotten to put you to bed in time (it is always MY fault), then you can be rolled to the emergency room where a doctor will provide you with an orange onion pill to restore you to your human self. i am embarrassed on his behalf.

but geeks will rule the world right? there’s hope out there yet?

i suppose kid #1 is just different. like ash fox.

this is ash and he’s different.


he wears a tube sock as a bandit hat. he considers himself an athlete as does kid #1 (more on that in a bit). and he is jason schwartzman’s character in wes anderson‘s stop-motion animation movie adaptation of roald dahl‘s fantastic (that sentence is ridiculously full of awesome links so check them out)

as meryl streep’s proclaims, “we’re different. him especially”. meaning ash. and kid #1.

kid #1 is about as obsessed with this movie as i am. i suppose when you recognize yourself in someone you just go with it. he longs for his name to be ash. and for a bandit hat. and this, which the elves may or not make for him.


it’s a pin. for his athletic wear. and by ‘athletic’ he means he can ride a bike (“look mom! i’m coasting because i’m an athlete”) and swim without drowning. plus he’s in martial arts classes but that doesn’t necessarily reflect ability.

kid #1 rolls his own way but this fall he decided he wanted to play soccer. “soccer’s a team sport” he was reminded the other day. “i kind of just want to wear the uniform” he responded.

either way, fantastic is my movie recommendation for kids who will probably not grow up to have desk jobs. they’ll be job pioneers. they’ll rule the world. they might even be spies.

but before moving on, isn’t this wes anderson ‘the life acquatic of steve zissou’ inspired mobile amazing?


i thought so.

but on jobs, kid #1 plans on being a spy. and on making fancy cakes on the weekend for a hobby (he’s a weekday spy apparently). currently he is super secretly immersed in this book


he loves it. i think. because i am not supposed to know when or where he is reading it. also, i bought the book for him.

if anything, the book is teaching kid #1 to be an even bigger geek. he now carries a little notebook with him at the park and sneaks around corners in the most obvious ways. he has also requested a small mirror but i am not to know why.

and so it is.

when you have a kid you get what you get. and i got the geekiest kid on the block.

actually, i got the coolest kid on the block. and i’m pretty happy about it.