Tag Archives: Family

NFred: Totally Bananas.

Holy crap on a cracker, how the heck are you?

I know, it’s been forever since I’ve written ANYTHING and I appologize. To say that my life has been totally bananas since the end of January would be an understatement.

Here’s a run down of what’s been going down with NFred;

asshat

  1. The Toy Shop where I worked for over twelve years closed its doors at the end of January. It’s sad and I miss my work family dearly. I knew my location was closing since September, so it wasn’t a shock, but it was a long drawn out process of repeatedly telling customers the sad news. It was also exhausting trying to keep my rage in check when asshats asked strangely personal questions about my future and demanded to know what was on sale. One asshat in particular singled me out to explain to his five year old grandson why I was closing his favourite store. I explained to the little guy as best I could through clenched teeth while wanting nothing more than to yell at Asshat Grandpa that it wasn’t MY decision. The high point of having the store close occurred when I got to fulfil my life long dream of cracking a beer IN THE SHOP once we closed the door for the last time. Dreams do come true, kids!

    tea-snob

  2. I took a few days off after the store closed and then returned to start work at a different Toy Shop location downtown. A thriving store in a distinguished neighbourhood with full shelves and zero asshats asking about the closing of my former location. The staff was lovely and I fell in love with a hipster tea shop on the same street that converted me into an obnoxious tea snob. I was happy to work there. Sure the commute sucked and I was nervous about being far from my diabetic son, but I was cautiously optimistic. Until…

    pump-up-the-jam

  3. On February sixth, my son made the switch from injections to an insulin pump to help better manage his diabetes. The first couple of days were a total gong show. Soaring high blood sugars followed by random lows. I had taken the week off work to help my son adjust to his new life and I’m so glad that I did. I wasn’t prepared for how much work the switch would entail. Waking up every two hours at night to test his blood sugar, weighing every single piece of food that he was going to put in his mouth, doing more math than I’ve ever done in my entire life to figure out carb counts , writing countless emails to his school to make sure they knew how to keep him alive. Exhausting. Things are slowly starting to fall into place, but I quickly realized that I needed to be closer to my son. My old Toy Shop was a five minute drive from my son’s school. In an emergency, I could get there quickly. The downtown Toy Shop was far, too far for me. Call me a Helicopter Mom or a Worry Wart or a Nervous Nelly if you please, but when it comes to my son’s health, I put him first. Always. So I made the agonising decision to resign from the Toy Shop so that I could be closer to my boy. It sucks. I’m sad. The Toy Shop was a huge part of my life, but in the end, I know I made the right decision.

    nfred-bum-wiper

  4. In my sleep deprived delirium, I accepted an offer to work at a ridiculously adorable preschool in my neighbourhood. I am officially a Teacher’s Aid and have found myself the ever elusive Monday to Friday, nine to five job that is the unicorn of the retail world as those hours just don’t exist! I work with kids aged fifteen months to three years old and feel that a more fitting job title would be Professional Snot Wiper, Bum Changer and Toddler Herder. I had my first day last week and survived. A child even told me that I was beautiful. Will this be my forever career? I have no idea, but for now it works and I’m happy.

Holy Hell! I sure can ramble on about myself. If any of you are still reading and haven’t lapsed into a coma, this is the part where I talk about the future of What NFred Said.

nfred you need to write

I love this blog with all my heart. It’s like my fourth child. Fingers crossed, now that life is settling down a smidge and I have snagged myself regular working hours, I can FINALLY devote more time to writing. My problem has always been that I have more ideas than time. I hope to get on a permanent writing schedule soon. I’d also like to clean my disgusting home, get into shape, win a million dollars and find a cure for diabetes, but I’m taking it one day at a time.

Thanks everyone for reading. I hope all of you are having a splendid 2017. I promise I won’t be a stranger. Let’s chat soon, okay?

Until next time,

NFred.

 

 

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NFred’s Day Off.

meow

Days off are weird.

Especially when all your kids are at school and your husband’s at work and you’re alone in your home.

It’s blissfully silent, but weird.

I work on Saturdays and have Sundays and Mondays off. So this morning, I got the kids ready for school, put them on their bus and came back home. No running off to work or hockey or playgroup or the park or the grocery store. No rushing to get dressed or showered. I just came home, ate a bowl of Cheerios, read some celebrity gossip on my computer and had an extra cup of coffee.

In silence.

I’ve been fantasizing of these days all to myself for over ten years and now that they’re finally here, I’m surprised at how frazzled I feel. In my head, I convinced myself that I would use my seven hours of child free time to accomplish great tasks. I’d clean my dirty house, get in shape and obviously write the next great Canadian novel. But in reality, I seem to be sitting on my couch, watching cat videos on my computer. As the minutes tick away, I feel increasingly guilty that I’ve wasted my day when I could have accomplished something, anything, more profound than sitting on my ass.

Since school started, life has been bananas. I’m working full time, the kids are all back into their various activities and my old schedule that I lived and breathed for the past three years has totally gone out the window. If my life were a person, she’d be an overzealous personal trainer screaming at me constantly to GO GO GO while I fumbled gracelessly trying to keep up.

But don’t for one hot second think that I’m complaining. I love my crazy life. And obviously I’m going to have a hard time adjusting to this whole concept of a day “off”. For a whole decade I full time momed and part time worked. If I wasn’t at work I was with my kids and vice verse. No wonder I’m all in a tizzy. The concept of a “me day” is totally foreign.

It’s now twelve-thirty and this is what I’ve done with my day so far;

  1. Got out of bed.
  2. Made three lunches.
  3. Did a “ballet bun” to the exact specifications of my four year old daughter using both the yellow and the blue sparkly bobby pins that took her a solid ten minutes to find in her room.
  4. Argued with my seven year old about brushing his teeth.
  5. Walked to the bus stop.
  6. Embarrassed my ten year old by insisting that he kiss me before getting on his bus.
  7. Walked back home.
  8. Ate breakfast.
  9. Sat and stared at my computer.
  10. Felt guilty about sitting, decided to try and fix my vacuum.
  11. Failed at fixing vacuum.
  12. Cleaned the kitchen instead.
  13. Went to the bathroom TWICE sans interruption.
  14. Cleaned out my front hall closet. Got Eminem’s song by the same name stuck in my head.
  15. Answered two emails.
  16. Sat back down.
  17. Started writing.

Now that I see those seventeen things staring back at me from my computer screen, I guess I have accomplished a few tasks today. Maybe I should give myself a break, cut myself some slack and use these precious hours to recharge for the week ahead? I don’t know where my constant need to “do something” came from, but I think it’s time I learn to say NO NO NO to the constant GO GO GO of my life…at least on my day off.

It’s almost one o’clock.

Two and a half hours before the kids get home.

I think my next task will be eating a sandwich. After that, maybe some more sitting followed by a lot less guilt.

Thanks for reading my gibberish,

NFred

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Sex Ed with NFred.

When I think back about the Sex Education that I received in grade school, I vaguely remember giggling while labeling fallopian tubes and testicles and penises on endless photocopied sheets.

I remember in grade six, a nurse taught us instead of our teacher. One lesson was about Toxic Shock Syndrome and it horrified my eleven year old self to the point that it turned me off tampons for life.

As a nineties kid, if I had any questions about sex, it’s not like I could just hop on my computer and ask Google. Most of what I learned about sex was from deep conversations with my friends behind the portables at recess. This is probably why I thought that oral sex was the act of “talking about doing it” until grade eight.

In grade nine sex ed, I remember having to watch a video of a woman giving birth. Upon it’s completion I vowed to never have children. That same year, our female gym teacher showed us her used IUD, passed out expired condoms and revealed that she used spermicidal jelly as both contraception and hand cream.

There’s been a lot of talk about sex ed this week in the Canadian media as the province of Ontario has just updated their sex ed curriculum for the first time since 1998. Starting in September 2015, this new curriculum will be taught in all Ontario schools.

If you have a lot of time on your hands, feel free to peruse the new curriculum for grades 1-8 here;

http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/curriculum/elementary/health1to8.pdf

Grades 9-12 can be found here;

http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/curriculum/secondary/health9to12.pdf

If you would like a quicker overview of what will be taught grade by grade, The Toronto Star published a helpful article here;

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2015/02/23/what-ontarios-students-will-learn-with-the-updated-sex-education-curriculum.html

After perusing the curriculum, reading several opinion pieces online, chatting with other parents and having a deep conversation with my best friend who happens to be a grade seven teacher, I have come to the conclusion that I totally support the new sex ed.

And here’s why…

1. Kids are stupid. In 1998 there was no Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. There was barely any internet. If you went to a party and did something stupid, like I did many times, the worst thing you’d have to deal with were some bad hangovers and being the target of relentless teasing by your friends.  There was no permanent photographic evidence that ended up on the world wide web for anyone and everyone to scrutinize. Part of the new sex ed curriculum is teaching kids as early as grade seven the dangers of “sexting”. I think this is an extremely important addition. In a perfect world, twelve year old kids wouldn’t have cell phones or tablets or Facebook pages. But this is not a perfect world. Kids have very easy access to very grown up things. I don’t want to be the kind of parent that insists that just because my child doesn’t have a cell phone that he doesn’t know what it means to “sext” someone. I don’t want to be the kind of parent that thinks that my child would never look up porn on the internet. Kids are as naturally curious as they are stupid. They really don’t understand that whatever they put online stays there forever, whether it be a nudie pic, a rude comment or an offensive joke. As parents, we need to have conversations at home about the impact of their online footprint. Having these conversations in the classroom will help arm our children with even more knowledge, and the more knowledge they have, the more prepared they’ll be to make wise online choices.

2. It’s not 1950. In the new sex ed curriculum, children in grade three will learn about same-sex relationships. What do I think about this? IT’S ABOUT FREAK’N TIME. I’ve read some pretty disgusting online comments by parents who are downright outraged that their precious little angels will be learning about homosexuality. What’s the big deal? Are these parents living in the 1950’s? Here’s the thing, the more we talk openly about the different kids of relationships, the more “normal” it will become to have two moms or two dads or two moms and three dads or one mom with six cats and a llama. Families come in all forms. One is not better than the other. This is something that our children need to be taught. Why? Because this is how homophobia ends.**** NFred drops imaginary microphone.

3. Let’s talk about sex, baby. When my oldest son was about five, he asked me constantly how a baby got inside a mom’s belly. He would ask me at the park, the grocery store, at family gatherings. My standard answer was, “a daddy puts a baby in a mommy’s tummy with love.” I knew he wasn’t buying the explanation of a magical love baby because he continued to ask. One night when he was getting ready for a bath, he asked me again. I took a deep breath and told him the whole penis in vagina truth. When I was done, he silently got in the bath, looked at me and said, “I always thought that a mom ate a baby and that’s how it got in her belly.” As a parent, my first sex chat with my child was pretty awkward. Over the years, it’s gotten much easier. I’ve ditched the magical love baby stories and have answered all of their questions in an honest and age appropriate manor. This is exactly what the new sex ed curriculum aims to do. The more safe spaces we provide for our children to talk about sex, the better equipped they’ll be to make the right choices in the real world. And if we show our kids that sex isn’t a taboo topic, the more likely it will be that they will grown into confident, body positive young adults. And who wouldn’t want that for their kid?

 

Thanks for reading Sex Ed with NFred. What are your opinions on the new curriculum? I’d love to hear them!

 

In closing, please enjoy this classic Salt N Pepa Jam. It’s been in my head all week!!!

Until we meet again,

NFred.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Science of Momification

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Every Thursday, my children take swimming lessons.

I think learning to swim is pretty important.

One day, my kids will be reckless teenagers who will no doubt want to do stupid things with their friends like jumping off cliffs into small bodies of water or going skinny dipping in the middle of the day or sneaking into public outdoor pools after hours. How lame would they look doing all that in life jackets? Hence swimming lessons.

Not only are swimming lessons cost effective and only half an hour long, the people watching is top notch. I try to pay attention to my kids as they practice their front crawl and back floats, but I get easily distracted. I’m fascinated with watching all the moms at the pool. There are so many different kinds! Loud ones, quiet ones, funny ones, scary ones.

Based on the observational data that I’ve collected, I’ve started a classification of swimming lesson moms. The scientific community is dubbing it “Momification” and are quite excited by my findings. Please enjoy them below…

 

NFred’s Momification Of Swimming Lesson Moms

 

#1 The Proud Mom – This mom was precious. I could see the sheer joy on her face as she watched her little angel wade into the pool. She had a perma smile plastered on her face and her eyes were glued to her child. Thoughts of this being the first step in her child’s journey to becoming the next Micheal Phelps danced around in her mind as she chronically waved and cheered for her little champion swimmer.

 

#2 The Unable To Cope Mom – This mom just can’t deal with the fact that her child has graduated from parent and tot lessons. She finds it ridiculous that she can’t physically get in the pool with her child. He’s only three! He could drown! What if he has to pee? Needs to blow his nose? Chokes on water? Is too cold? Gets hungry? WHAT IF HE NEEDS HIS MOTHER AND SHE IS WAY OVER IN THE SPECTATOR AREA?!?!?!?!?! This mom breaks protocol and no doubt pisses off pool staff by staying right at the edge of the pool during her child’s ENTIRE lesson! This poor child is never an arms length away from his mother and will most likely become a skydiving instructor or a stunt man or a professional race car driver out of spite.

 

#3 The Tuned In Mom – This mom spends her child’s entire lesson with a screen in her face. Weather it’s her phone or a tablet or a laptop, this mom doesn’t blink until her child’s lesson is over. Is she working? Playing Candy Crush? Looking at porn? What is so fascinating on her electronic device? I can only assume that she’s reading my blog, in which case, carry on Tuned In Mom…carry on…

 

#4 The Mom Who’s Given Up – This mom has several children in and out of the pool. Her children who are not swimming run a muck all over the place like feral cats. They climb on chairs and up walls and roll around on the floor. They bump into people. They are irritating as fuck. AND MOM DOES NOTHING. NOTHING. She just sits there, with a blank look on her face. I sort of feel bad for her. I think she needs a foot rub and a shot of vodka and a good cry. It must be hard to be surrounded by devil children.

 

#5 The Loud Mom In The Change Room – This mom is also known as, The Yeller. “Jordyn, Jordyn, JORDYN!!!! GET CHANGED! TAKE YOUR SHOWER! WHAT WERE YOU DOING OUT THERE? GRRRR! YOUR SOCKS ARE WET! BARK, BARK, WOOF, MEOW!” Okay, she doesn’t really make animal sounds, but she might as well. She is constantly on her kid’s case for the most redundant reasons. “WHY ARE YOU WET? GOBBLE! OINK! MOO!”

 

#6 The Bikini Clad Mom – This mom is the only mom in the parent and tot class that dons a bikini. I’m conflicted about her. On the one side I want to give her props and be all like you go girlllllllllllll and applaud her confidence for showing off her non photoshopped mom body. On the other side I want to yell at her, “WHY ARE YOU WEARING A STRING BIKINI TO A PARENT AND TOT CLASS????” This suit left nothing to the imagination. Her boobs were like SHABAM! right in your face. I couldn’t look away. Part of me was jealous, the other offended. Being a woman is complicated. It comes with so many conflicting emotions…

 

#7 The Mom With An Adorable Baby – This mom had a ridiculously adorable baby. This baby was so chubby and content and smiley that I had to look away. Then I looked back and the baby was smiling AT ME and I felt a slight pang in my ovaries. Then I had to look away again and nonchalantly punch my ovaries until they remembered that we are DONE having babies. Would it be creepy if I just asked this mom if I could cozy her baby and maybe smell it’s scrumptious little head and tickle it’s perfect little tummy? STOP IT OVARIES, STOP IT NOW.

 

#8 The Very Well Dressed Mom – Seriously, this mom was gorgeous. Her hair was perfectly blown out, her makeup was flawless, her clothes were tailored to perfection. She must be an interior decorator or a fashion designer or a model or a robot because she’s ALWAYS amazingly put together and polished. She makes me roll my eyes at myself in disapproval over my own ensemble of ill fitting mom jeans and a tshirt with a glob of jam smeared on it from breakfast.

 

#9 The Most Bad Ass Mom – This mom was the epitome of awesome. On the first night of classes, I was confused because she was in a bathing suit and her child was fully dressed. I was like, maybe she’s an instructor or something? Then her child came and sat near me in the spectator area. She got out a book and started reading while her mom waited nervously by the side of the pool where the kids gather before their lessons begin. Then I noticed more moms in swim suits and was even more confused. Maybe they were learning how to be adult lifeguards or something? Then the moms all grabbed pool noodles and very slowly waded into the shallow end. HOLY CRAP! They were learning how to swim!!! How AWESOME IS THAT??? And brave! And gutsy! AND TOTALLY BAD ASS! Then I saw the little girl and her mom wave at each other and I wanted to run into the pool and high five all of those fearless moms!

 

That’s it for my Momification thus far. Luckily for me and the scientific community, swimming lessons run until the spring!

I’m really enjoying the science of Momification because it’s proving my theory that there is no such thing as a perfect mom.

All moms have visible strengths and weaknesses.

All moms are too hard on themselves.

All moms are the shit.

 

Boom.

 

Love always,

NFred

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Bleeding and Cleaning

PERIOD

My five year old son had his tonsils and adenoids removed two weeks ago today.

It’s been a long two weeks of morphine and snot and naps and meltdowns and cabin fever and sleepless nights and cuddles.

To help my son heal from his surgery, he’s been prescribed a heavy dose of TV time. I swear the TV hasn’t been off in over fourteen days. That kid will watch anything and everything. Baby shows, pony shows, cooking shows, he doesn’t discriminate. Like most kids, he loves watching the channels that solely air kids programming. I’ve gotten remarkably good at tuning out the annoyingly repetitive and shrill sounds of the cartoons that he gravitates towards. But yesterday, something on one of his “kids only” channels totally grabbed my attention.

My kids were huddled in front of the TV, zoned out like zombies. I was sitting at the kitchen table,  huddled in front of my computer, also zoned out like a zombie. I don’t even remember what I was looking at, but it probably had to do with cats.

A few moments later, a commercial for feminine hygiene products and the sound of my eight year old son’s super high voice jolted me from my computer coma.

“Mom, Mom, MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM! There’s a commercial for your diapers on TV!”

“Cool”, I replied, totally confused. Why was there a maxi pad commercial airing at four o’clock in the afternoon on a TV channel that catered strictly to children?

I pondered this and then noticed that the following commercial was for laundry detergent.

How odd.

Why not commercials for toys or video games or super delicious sugary cereals?

I pondered some more.

And then everything became clear.

The advertising executives for this particular TV station probably got together for an epic brain storming session over coffee and danishes. They knew they needed to increase viewership, but how?

I bet a very smart man in a very smart suit came up with the very smart idea to expand their advertising to include all the bleeders out there. You know, the moms, sisters, babysitters and aunts of small children who have no choice but to watch crappy kids cartoons when in the presence of their youngins.

I would personally like to thank Mr. Smart Suit for interrupting my precious computer zombie time to remind me of my menstrual needs. I’ve only been a “woman” since I was twelve, so I pretty much have no idea how this whole period thing works.

I also think that it’s awesome and not sexist or a massive generalization at all that Mr. Smart Suit thinks that all the bleeders out there LOVE doing laundry. Oh boy, do we LOVE it! Us bleeders get positively jazzed about new laundry detergent.

It’s all we can think about!

It’s all we can talk about!

It’s our raison d’etre!

How brilliant of Mr. Smart Suit to put both our love of bleeding and washing together in the same sixty second frame.

Bravo!

You know what would be amazing? If I sent my eight year old son to one of those advertising executive meetings and Mr. Smart Suit could answer his questions about why his mother needs special diapers. Mr. Smart Suit just gets me and my needs as a woman and could probably explain menstruation to my son in a way that won’t leave him confused or horrified.

Mr. Smart Suit is so in tune with his feminine side that there is no doubt in my mind that he fully understands everything there is to know about being a woman.

He so gets women, I bet he even menstruates…or dare I say MANstruate?

I wonder what other delightful commercial combinations Mr. Smart Suit and his amazing female intuition will come up with next?

Tampons and toilet cleaner?

Douches and dish soap?

Weight loss and washing machines?

I can’t wait!

As a woman and a bleeder, I feel it’s my duty to thank you again, Mr. Smart Suit.

Thank you for reminding me of my womanly duties.

Thank you for inundating me with your spot on  ideals of womanhood.

Most importantly, thank you for reminding me how much I love to bleed and clean.

THANK YOU.

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