A movie, a book, a meal, and a mantra

This is not a fluffy collection of happy go lucky recommendations. I would not suggest some of these to those who are prone to the sads. These are things I enjoy, you may not. I mean, it is only four topics deep so just let a duck quack if you catch my drift.

Movie: The Sunset Limited

For those who love theatre or just great acting performances, this Cormac McCarthy written juggernaut is as introspective as it is thick. Samuel Jackson is the Preacher who has just saved the life of a suicidal Professor (played by Tommy Lee Jones) and as the characters names go, so does this unflinching gem. If you are in the mood for theological think piece on the status of existence and secular morality, then peel back your brain and dip it into this juicy sauce. You can find it on Crave and can sign up for a month for free.

Runner up: HBO’s The Newsroom (3 seasons). What can I say, I love me some journalistic nostalgia porn.

Book: World War Z

This is a bit of a cheat because I’m going to suggest the audiobook version. This currently topical (save for the animated dead) collection is an immersive ear worm. I wouldn’t call it background noise because the subject matter is so enthralling, but you can totally do some menial chores or rebuild your seawater desalinator while listening to Max Brooks’ (Mel’s kid) post zombie war first-person geographical history. Ok, yes, the stories are great and the style of the book is very original but I’m can hear you asking, “Trent, why should I listen to a great series of anthropologically fictitious yarns when I could just read the book?” Good point faceless individual. I will answer your question with a question, can you make your brain words sound like F. Murray Abraham, Alan Alda, Mark Hamill, Denise Crosby, Nathan Fillion, Alfred Molina, Kal Penn, Becky Ann Baker, Simon Pegg, Jürgen Prochnow, Rob Reiner, Henry Rollins, Jeri Ryan, Martin Scorsese, Paul Sorvino, and John Turturro (amongst many others)? If yes, do you do birthday parties? If no, get your hands on the audio book.

Runner up: K is for Knifeball (gotta have a parent relevant portion somewhere in this post right?).

Meal: Spaghetti and meat sauce. Serves 4.

Meatballs are all the rage, I know ok? Get off my face about it. But my favourite comfort meal is as simple as falling off a very angry horse made out of fire.

Ingredients: 1 pound of meat (turkey/beef/chicken/veggie alternative). 1 can of tomato sauce. 1 can tomato paste. 4 cloves of garlic. 1 bell pepper. 2 stalks of celery. 1 small onion. 1 teaspoon salt. 1 teaspoon pepper. 2 tablespoons brown sugar. 4 servings worth of spaghetti (or seashell pasta if you are going to get fucking fancy).

Directions: Throw the meat and the diced garlic and diced onion into a pan and brown it all up. Then, throw the rest of the shit in there and smoosh it all together letting it simmer while you are cooking your pasta. Serve it with a side salad of your choice or eat it by itself like a barbarian (my fave). Put it into your face cave. Chew. Repeat.

Runner up: Mix two types of cereal together and pretend nobody has ever done it before. Talk openly about how astonishingly brilliant you are.

Mantra: The universe is indifferent so make the best of now because you are the only person who can do it for you.

Runner up: You are where you should be.

My Emotions

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Stitched by my love bug, Elizabeth Wilkie.

Note: I haven’t written anything in a while. This will probably answer why. If not, then I am ok with that and you and us and all.

A lot of kiddly things written focus on children’s emotions. How to deal with them, how to embrace them, how to talk about them, etc.

I find dealing with mine and the effect they have on them more challenging.

I’m going through some shit. We all are. But right now, my three and five year old are front row center to the trauma that I’ve finally come to acknowledge. Fun fact: I’ve started healthily (?) dealing with my emotions at the age of 44. I’m 44. Anyway.

My children watch me cry, melt down, become opulent, become broken, build myself back up, apologize, rinse, repeat. Elizabeth and I talk. We converse. We ruminate. The kids sponge.

I’m a bit of a mess. I’m getting on the other side of it (I think), and the kids are along for the ride because they are my family and I love them and I don’t want to hide real feelings from them and my partner agrees. I’ll leave that there and move on.

What Elizabeth and I have figured out is, do not hide from them. They are real, they are big, they are valid. They sometimes consume you. They sometimes tsunami you. It is what you do, when you can, that defines you.

I have trouble sleeping. I cry a lot. I need more hugs and snuggles. I tell people I love them more (only the ones I actually do). I have more anxiety attacks. I deal with them better now. My counselor thinks I use sarcasm as a sword and I think her face is made of farts (unsarcastically). I love my wife more than I ever had yet I am scared that I can’t fully let her know how much because I’m a fucking broken hurt machine that thinks it can pretend it is not.

I tell my kids, subtly, why I’m upset. When they offer me hugs, I scoop ’em large. I try not to yell. I talk to them not at them. I treat my mental health like a broken arm. I’m ok with my broken arm, don’t touch it. YOU TOUCHED IT TOO HARD.

And here I am.

Emotions are real, just like food, or rain, or the flu. If something is in your heart, talk about it freely and honestly. Those who love you will get it. Those who don’t are lucky to hear you talk about it with honesty. Be true to what you are going through, it is the only decent thing you can do. With that said, failure is a test and failing is fine as long as you try to figure out what it all means. If you can’t, ask someone. Also: fuck the haters and those who diminish your feelings. They will someday regret the fact that they decided that emotions are something you can intimidate into healing. Anyway.

I hold my kids longer. I love them muchly. I snuggle them more. I sneak some sleep snuggles from Elizabeth when I can but sometimes it is tough because there are two other awesome humans there that I have to snuggle around. It is tough being the best snuggler, right Elizabeth?

Anyway, hope your holidays didn’t suck. Stay rad you fucking monsters.

Sidenote: I’m off all social media. Elizabeth and my councilor agree that it is not good for me. I can’t fix the world by yelling into the void. Memes are gonna meme. That’s how shit be. Email me or text me. Or don’t. Stay way rad. 

 

Happenstance Happy Dance

Picking up the littlest from daycare the other day provided me with a healthy reminder to check my assumptions.

“Before you check out, I have an incident report to review with you.” the daycare employee said to me.

Oh shit. Oh shit. Oh shit. My brain screamed. I turned my head. I squinted at the little one. I braced myself for the bad news I could sense was coming. I prepared to remind her of all of the do’s and don’ts and consequences we had reviewed with her brother the evening prior.

“Unfortunately one of your daughter’s little friends got upset at her today and bit her.”

Say what?

I must have look confused or concerned, probably because I was confused, very very confused.

“Oh, she’s ok. It just left a little mark and I…”

My brain was having trouble keeping up after having hit the assumption brakes so darn hard.

“It was not my daughter that did the biting?”

“No.”

“That’s awesome!” I responded with, perhaps, a little too much exuberance.

Discovery. It is so much better to be responsible for the bitten than the biter. I guess, this may only apply when kids are involved. I am sure the same rules don’t apply to zombies or cannibals.

I tripped over my words trying to explain my overwhelming enthusiasm for my injured child.

I shared the incident report I had received the day before.

I told her about “people don’t bite people.”

I left the daycare feeling awesome. My kid wasn’t the biter.

I am still winning, and as my little one someday recaps that day her mom did a happy dance after she had been ‘gravely’ injured at a childminding institution, hopefully someone will remind her that our experiences and responses are relative and you never know why or how or what causes a reaction in someone else.

We are beautifully unique and sometimes finding out your kid wasn’t the biter is the best possible news.

Xoxo,

Mrs Undad

Aka proud mama of a not the biter and a recovering biter

People Don’t Bite People- This Kid, Take 2

Today I had reason to check out Lisa Wheeler’s People Don’t Bite People.

Of course I did, that’s the exciting part of climbing a parenting hurdle. Just when you think you’ve secured the guide wires, everything shifts.

Every night this week I have arrived just as the daycamp counselors are preparing Bean to wait in an administrator’s office. I have arrived, out of breath, with an exhausted, and dirty, toddler in one arm, and my identification clutched tightly in my opposite hand.

On day one I broke Bean’s heart because they had prepared him for the toys he would play with while he waited to be picked up, and my showing up just in time threw a totally not fun wrench into the mix.

On day two Bean queried why he is always the first to be dropped off and the last to be picked up.

On day three, as I raced to the sign out table an incident report sat waiting for me.

My first thought was that I had been written up for always arriving just as after care is ending.

Unfortunately, there had been an incident in the swimming pool. The Bean had coveted a plastic frog already claimed by another camp participant and/or previously stolen from bean. A battle over ownership ensued and Bean staked his claim whilst biting another kid’s face.

Multiple witnesses and the injured party all identified Bean as the face biting culprit.

Bean was beside himself.

He wanted to talk about everything but the face biting.

We had a snack before leaving the YMCA.

We chatted about how we treat others. We discussed he we have to actively ensure we treat others with kindness, compassion and patience. We discussed how physically hurting someone is not an option. We discussed how we can also hurt someone with our words.

What are three things you could have done instead of hurting someone?

  1. Told a counselor that he wasn’t sharing.
  2. Found a different toy to play with.
  3. Not bite-ed his face.

What do you have to do tomorrow?

  1. Apologize
  2. Be kind
  3. Not bite anyone’s face

We headed out to the car. Bean held back.

I strapped his sister into his car seat. He continued to keep his distance. I got down on my knees and held my arms wide “hey, little dude you look like you need a hug.” He came running.

I wrapped him in my arms, tightly. “You know, I love you. Making mistakes happens.”

He leaned in. I carried him to the car and strapped him into his seat. I had him phone his dad. We ran home for a few minutes. Moments later he was out. Tired kids are crazy kids. As his head dropped down I understood so much more about this day.

We headed to the public health clinic for immunizations and then dropped by the library. I stumbled upon Lisa Wheeler’s book. I signed it out.

It is funny, to the point, and does a pretty fab job of reminding little ones that “People don’t bite people. No matter what their mood.”

We read the book twice. By the end of the second reading both kids were totally on top of “Biting is for food.”

So, here we are. Two steps forward. One step back.

Tomorrow is day 4.

We have a pretty detailed plan for tomorrow developed. We are committed to:

  • Not biting anyone
  • Not hitting anyone
  • Not punching anyone
  • And using words to love by.

Bean didn’t think he should have to take a practice run with his sister this evening, but he did.

Thank goodness for hugs, libraries, boundless love and second (hundredth) chances.

Xoxo,

Mrs Undad

Episode 47: Japandrew

Photo by Mr. Andrew Paul

Mr. Andrew Paul came back from visiting the land of the rising sun with a series of very good questions. He thought he’d ask me them. And more!

This episode is powered by ATB and sponsored by the Alberta Podcast Network. Thank you to Andrew Paul and the Edmonton Community Foundation for the recording space and production help. Thanks to Caitlynn Legris for her recording and vocal talents for the new intro intro. Also, many thanks to the super talented Nathaniel Sutton(@defendtherhino) for the use of ‘Fugitive’ as a theme song. Additional danke to Josh Woodward for the background tracks on the ads. And hey, if you like this episode, you could always buy me a coffee.

Also remember to subscribe and rate on iTunes because it is a nice thing to do.

Episode 46: BTS_TWT

The BTS

As a father to two kids who are under five years of age, I need to try new things. So, in this incarnation of The UnDad Podcast, I review several songs by the South Korean super boy band BTS. With the help from Twitter of course.

This episode is powered by ATB and sponsored by the Alberta Podcast Network. Thank you to Andrew Paul and the Edmonton Community Foundation for the recording space and production help. Thanks to Caitlynn Legris for her recording and vocal talents for the new intro intro. Also, many thanks to the super talented Nathaniel Sutton(@defendtherhino) for the use of ‘Fugitive’ as a theme song. Additional danke to Josh Woodward for the background tracks on the ads. And hey, if you like this episode, you could always buy me a coffee.

Also remember to subscribe and rate on iTunes because it is a nice thing to do.

Episode 45: Zoloft

This is a step in the right direction.

This episode is powered by ATB and sponsored by the Alberta Podcast Network. Thank you to Andrew Paul and the Edmonton Community Foundation for the recording space and production help. Thanks to Caitlynn Legris for her recording and vocal talents for the new intro intro. Also, many thanks to the super talented Nathaniel Sutton(@defendtherhino) for the use of ‘Fugitive’ as a theme song. Additional danke to Josh Woodward for the background tracks on the ads. And hey, if you like this episode, you could always buy me a coffee.

Also remember to subscribe and rate on iTunes because it is a nice thing to do.