post

Which Super Hero Wears What Underwear?

If you  have kids at home who love super heroes, beware. These guys are kinda weird – the super heroes, not the kids. They’re supposed to be above and beyond normal beings. Stronger, better, smarter. You’re probably wondering what’s the difference between that and moms, right? Well, the difference is they have secrets that Moms don’t. Some pretty surprising, if not a little . . . strange.

How do I know all this? It started with a very straight forward quiz that my daughter saw online, “Which Super Hero are you?” It sounded innocent enough so when she begged me to take the quiz, I thought nothing of it. A few minutes later, she was done and announced proudly which of the million unrealistic characters with impeccable hair and flawless skin she was. I was a little surprised to hear that she was akin to Batman, given that she’s a girl. But let’s not be gender-funny and stereotype our daughters into thinking they can’t be Batman if they want to. Whatever.

“Mom, why don’t you take the quiz?” she asked

“Okay. Ask me the questions” And that’s when it started to go all weird. After a few normal questions, like “Are you strong?”, “Do you like fighting?”, came this, “Do you wear thongs?”, followed by “Do you wear push up bras?”

I didn’t think this was too appropriate for kids. But that’s not the weirdest thing about this quiz. No, what’s really comical is that if you answer “Yes” to both questions, you are akin to Wonder-Woman, which is a total joke given that her costume consists of larger than life panties. And – I can’t know for sure, but these boobs don’t look real to me. Or if they are, there really is no need to push them up. Now, here’s the interesting fact: if you answer “Yes” to thong and “No” to push up bras, you end up being like Superman. Superman wears thongs. And it must be true, because it’s on a quiz on the internet.

FYI, Batman isn’t into that S&M stuff. He wears no push up bra, and no thong. Just plain ol’ whiteys. Well, now you know.

Speaking of gender stereotype, why is it that the quiz asks about push up bras and thongs, and not about whether you wear butt enhancing cuts, or package busting pouches? Oh yes, it’s a real thing. Go check out underwear for men websites if you don’t believe me .

Anyway, all this is BS, we all know super heroes aren’t real. Plus, I gotta go. Gotta spin three times in a telephone booth so I can be all dressed and dolled up for the day. And to the nasty voices who are thinking, “I know that Nadege-woman, she never looks as neat and well put as WonderWoman”, I say this: When is the last time you saw a telephone booth, huh? So cut me some slacks!

Who would have thought?

 

post

When Chaos Runs In The Family

Know what this is?

bday

This is a birthday card, meant for me. No, it’s not my birthday. I already have far too many of those every year. But it is my birthday card that I got for Valentines. By accident, may I add.

The story is, I was tidying up my son’s bedroom yesterday. I don’t do that too often, because the simple act of stepping in the bedroom is both heroic given the sheer number of obstacles littering the floor, and depressing, because said floor is barely visible. But occasionally, I feel brave, I feel indestructible, I feel like nothing is gonna set me back. So I go in there, with a big trash bag, and rid the drawers, book shelves, and other surfaces of their pile of junk.

As I opened one drawer, I found a sealed envelope, with my name on it. My first thought was to put it back and stop snooping in my kid’s room. what if it was a secret Valentines card he was planning on giving me later? I dismissed this idea right away, because I know my kids. The only surprise I will get from them today is the look on their face when I actually tell them that YES, Valentines IS today. So I opened the card and there it was. A birthday card, from my husband to me. Unfortunately, there is no year on it so we don’t know whether it’s from last year, two, three, or ten years ago.

There’s also no plausible explanation as to why my son would have a potentially ancient birthday card for me, written by my husband, in his drawer. All my husband could come up with was, “I must have put it in his bedroom for him to sign and then I forgot about it”

Still, that doesn’t explain why the card would have made its way in a drawer. Nobody puts stuff in drawers, except me. And I am positive I didn’t put my own birthday card in my kid’s drawer.

I guess sometimes, chaos cannot be explained by anything other than, “It’s an utter mess”

post

Nutella: The Cure To Everything

Warning: this post is about medical stuff and science. Although it might not be what you want to read from a blog that’s supposed to be relaxing and not headache inducing, you will learn valuable information that will change your life. So if I were you, I would put my glasses on and take notes . . .

Wouldn’t it be great if one medicine could cure most daily ailments? No need to wonder whether to consult, what to do. Just take the magic pill and all is better. Well, such thing exists, in the form of this . . .

nutella

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before you dismiss this as total nonsense, just hear me out. I did extensive research, in the form of eating a lot of the stuff myself, and have found that it is a wonderful remedy for the following:

  1. Feeling down. You know, when you want to do nothing other than lie on the sofa and feel sorry for yourself. We all agree that’s not good for you. Nutella can really help because, although you will still feel sorry for yourself, you’ll have to get off the sofa and grab a jar and a spoon. If that’s not a step in the right direction, then I don’t know what is.
  2. Feeling too skinny. Yes, that’s a problem that some people have. And it’s not nice! But thanks to Nutella, you can move on. Because there will be no such emotion if you keep your pantry well stocked.
  3. Feeling too fat. What the heck! Have another dip. What difference will a spoon of Nutella make in the big scheme of things, huh?
  4. Struggling with a diet? Don’t beat yourself up. Step 1: Eat the Nutella without the bread. Step 2: Stick with step 1 for a while, until your body gets used to it. Step 3: I wouldn’t cut on the Nutella because you might experience withdrawal syndrome. Instead, just suppress the spoon and stuff your face in the pot. Don’t feel bad, that’s why they make the maxi jars.
  5. Feeling old. YES, you think I’m crazy, but listen. If you really, really, really eat a lot of it, you will get a lot of zits that can only be mistaken for juvenile acne. Who gets juvenile acne? Teenagers? Ha! You are welcome . . .
  6. In addition to these undeniable health benefits and moral boosters, Nutella also sorts out all your cooking headaches. You can serve Nutella for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It spreads on everything, bread, crepes, fruits, even on the palm of your hand. It’s got proteins, skim milk (in case you are worried about calories), hazelnuts which are known for their many benefits, like, making Nutella taste good.

The only slight downside to Nutella is that it talks. I swear, whenever I pass my pantry, I can hear it say, “Eat me! Eat me!” Sometimes, I hear it at night as well, but I am telling you, it’s well worth getting up for.

I love you, Nutella. I love you.

 

post

Syria: Someone Extraordinary lives Near You . . .

And I am lucky that I get to meet a lot of them!

This week, I want to put the spotlight on Laila Extraordinaire! That’s not her last name, but it might as well be.

I don’t remember how Laila heard about our work with the Syrian families. I just remember her email, modestly asking what she could do to help. She came to a tutoring session to meet everybody,  and let me tell you this: inside her petite frame with a sweet voice lies a hurricane of kindness. Storm Laila had been unleashed and life was never gonna be the same for a lot of us.

Within a few days, she was tutoring a whole family, advocating for the kids in school, talking to the teachers. Thanks to her, a little girl was able to celebrate her birthday with her classmates, like all the other children. Another was able to practice and take a test. A guy needed help to start his job? No worries, Laila was there with her contacts to make that happen. Funds needed to be raised to pay for tutoring? Bam! Done!

Which makes me wonder: how many Lailas are there?

I must admit I am a little envious of her stream of positive energy. And I wish that the world had more Lailas.  All the work she does is having a major impact on the people she is supporting. And what’s more, she does all this selflessly, doesn’t expect acknowledgment, or reward, AND she always has a smile on her face. I am not even exaggerating one bit. Such person exists.  If there ever is someone who is sent by the Gods, this is as close as we are going to get.

You know the saying that goes something along the lines of, if you change the life of ten people, you can change the world. Well, Laila has revolutionized the world, over and over. And she is not done!

I could never find the right words to tell Laila how grateful I am that our path have crossed, so I just want to say, from the bottom of my heart: thank you for being you.

 

thank-you-944631_640

post

Set Your Priorities Right

I think I am finally working out what’s going wrong in the way I handle life. And that’s no small achievement! After so many years of being late everywhere, never having time for anything, I have narrowed down the source of all my problems: I need to set my priorities right.

I think that generally speaking, women are over-achievers. We want to be CEO of some major corporation, take pride that we are living in a show house, raise our children all by ourselves, and have neighbors dribble with envy: “how does she fit it all in? How can she have the time to play with her kids, walk the dog (oh yeah, I forgot to mention, we are also the proud owner of a great dane), and her car isn’t even dirty!”

That’s what we all want. And occasionally, we think we know someone who has that, making this unachievable goal even more convoluted. “If she can do it, why can’t I? What is so special about her that some divine intervention grants her 30 hours in a day?”

Well, I’ll tell you what it is. Nobody gets an extra few hours in the day. Moreover, people like me who loves sleeping are at a clear disadvantage, but if we set our priorities right, we can definitely do it.

So I’m going to share my method with you. Ready? This is the point where you life changes for ever . . . You are welcome . . .

First, set a list of the things that you need to achieve in a given day. In an ideal world, if you (1) get up in a good mood,  (2) have nobody to bug you, (3) are going to be successful in everything that you do, what would that list look like? I know I lost some of you at (1), but try to keep up, okay?

Next, scrap the first and last task on your list. You are bound to fail the first one given that you haven’t had any coffee yet. As for the last one, who expects you to achieve anything after such a long day?

Then break down each task into three or four steps. And scrap at least two of them.

I just saved you half a day to do whatever the heck you want.

Here is an example of how to set your priorities right . . .

Slide2

Original crazy list of unachievable goals

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slide3

Crazy list broken up into more unachievable steps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slide4

TADAAA!! Et Voila!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

post

Doing Laundry: Las Vegas Or Russian Roulette

Who could have thought that washing a few dirty clothes could trigger such high emotions! I don’t know about you, but for me, on occasions, doing the laundry is more exciting that winning the lottery. Likewise, I can fall into the depth of dark thoughts and full blown depression just by opening the washing machine. And here is why . . .

I never bother checking pants pockets before I wash them. I hear some of you screaming, “Are you crazy?”, and I get it now. Believe me, I do. But up until yesterday, I thought you were the crazy one: why would anyone want to waste more time with such a boring chore? Sure, I have washed my fair share of candies, and gums. But fortunately, they stay well wrapped so that never caused any major drama. I also don’t bother asking anyone to check their pockets before throwing clothes in the dirty basket. For starters, nobody listens to what I say anyway, so what’s the point? More importantly, I have a rule, which is, “Whatever I find in your pockets when I do the laundry belongs to me”. This rule is supposed to be an incentive for my kids (and husband) to make sure they don’t leave any valuables. But of course, it doesn’t work, because like I said, nobody cares. For once, I couldn’t be any happier that nobody listens to me. So far, I have washed, ironed and kept a good two hundred dollars that had been left  inside pockets. Repeatedly. Clean, free money. That’s not quite as good as having money growing on trees, but close enough!

So knock yourselves out, people! My husband doesn’t want to take me to Vegas (explanatory note: he thinks I have an addictive personality and will gamble until I lose the house . . . pfff . . . who cares about the house . . . ) but I don’t need to.  Every time I put a load in the washing, it’s like winning a (small) jackpot.

Except, yesterday. Yesterday was a turning point as far as laundry goes.

It started like a pretty normal day: screaming match to get the kids at school on time, walking around bedrooms and picking up dirty clothes from the floor while swearing under my breadth that nobody cares, loading the washing machine, and getting on with the rest of the day. WAKE UP!! I am done with the boring bit. Now it’s two hours later, the washing is done and the dryer has just called me, “Ding! Come and get your surprise! What will you find today? 50 bucks? candies?”

Nope. Instead, what I found is this:

pants

 

 

 

 

 

 

And not just on my kid’s pants, but all over my nice, light colored, clean yet trashed load of laundry. And let’s not forget the dryer: beautifully lined with red ink that cannot be removed. Trust me, I tried!

I did chew my son’s ear off when he came back home. All he said was, “If you were not forcing me to go to school, this wouldn’t happen!” I have nothing to say to that . . .

 

post

Syrian Families: Sometimes, It’s The Little Things . . .

As a mom, I never want my children to feel they cannot be part of something. I want them to belong and not experience any kind of rejection, especially in the school environment. My kids know this too well and have learnt how to use and abuse my weakness. If they want something, all they have to say is, “But Mom, everybody’s got it” and I just melt. Sure I’ll argue a bit, and pretend I don’t care what other parents do. But the truth is, no kid of mine is going to sit something out if I can help it.

I know you feel the same. No mother wants their kids to be left out. Our Syrian moms don’t want that either. Yet, whenever a school activity is organized, it’s nearly impossible for their children to participate, because nobody can explain to the parents how to be a part of it.

But all that was before. Before Wafa made sure this wouldn’t happen again. The thing I love most about Wafa is that she gets sh*t done! If you tell her you need something, then consider it sorted. Nothing stops Wafa until she gets results. And that is that!

When she heard that kids were being excluded from certain aspects of school life because they and their parents didn’t understand what was expected of them, she set off on a mission. She established communications with the teachers, and the parents. If one needed to tell something to the other, they would text Wafa with their questions,  documents, or requests. Wafa would translate, and help both parents and kids complete whatever would need completing.

Next week, some schools are going to make gingerbread houses. A fun, creative and social activity that nobody should miss. Our Syrian little friends now have all the equipments they need: candy canes, gum drops and other yummy treats. They will fully participate, like all the other children, and will have a blast decorating their own little house. Thanks to Mrs G, the teacher, who sent her instructions so that Wafa could translate them. Thanks to the Syrian moms, who got in touch with one another to see who had received the same document and explained what they needed to do. Thanks to Wafa who went above and beyond and bought all the supplies.

It might not sound much. But sometimes, it’s the little things that make you feel  you belong.

ginger ginger1

 

post

Popularity Contest: Mom Vs Dad

One of our kids is accusing us of liking the others more when it comes to buying presents. And he is outsmarting us every single time we try to reason with him. If we argue that they are getting the same thing at the same age, he argues that it’s not about age, it’s about grades. And vice-versa. Basically, we never win. Parents: 0 – Kid: 1 million points. These arguments usually end up with him slamming a door, screaming, “It’s not fair!”, my husband rolling his eyes, and me, sitting on the sofa, replaying the last decade to see what on earth gave him the idea that we have preferences. These “events” usually happen around Christmas or birthdays.

This year, kids have been writing their Christmas lists early, because it would seem that demands are very specific and require some planning – Well, good luck with that! The only one who’s really supposed to write a list is my daughter, but we ask her brothers to do one as well in order to encourage her. Normally, whenever we ask them to do something for their sister (like dress up for Halloween, go to bed early, read a book), we are met with much resistance and defiance. But when it comes to Christmas lists, nobody complains.

Once they were done with their lists, they checked out one another’s list. My “least favorite child” (it even hurts to write it) as he has labelled himself, had some major issues with what his brother had written, and started along the lines of, “It’s not fair, why should he get the latest electronic gadget when I didn’t get it when I was in his grade?”

I am never ready for that, so I always try to use logic and common sense to diffuse the argument. This time it ended up with him stomping to his bedroom with a, “You’re a horrible mom”, so I suppose I didn’t win that one. Yet again.

My husband called foul mouth tween back in the room and decided it was time to get a few things straight. So he explained to him that one  needs to look at the big picture,

“Maybe your brother will get something earlier than you did. But let’s not forget that I have been spending most of my week ends with you only, whereas your siblings are with Mom. So if you are looking for fairness in each individual action, maybe I should split my time equally between the three of you”

In essence, what my husband said to him was, “Spending time with Dad is a rewarding experience.  Spending time with Mom is lame and boring. And as of now, it is officially used as punishment: stop being so annoying or you’ll spend your week end with Mom.

I am literally speechless . . .

masks-833421_1280

post

You Are Un-Be-Lie-Va-Ble!

What’s the difference between men and women? What sets us apart so much? What’s personality vs gender? Well, I’m not going to launch into a loooonng blog about how men might be physically stronger (debatable) but women are superior in every other way – no argument about that. Only kidding, this is not a feminist post. There is no need to burn your bra after reading it.

No, seriously, men are great. But there are things about them that we, ladies, just cannot get on the same page of. It’s not that they are right and we are wrong, because I am not writing a sic-fi post with a totally unrealistic plot. It’s just that we are not wired the same way. Let me illustrate with an example.

Whenever I do something to irritate my husband – which I can’t understand for the life of me when that would ever happen, but apparently I do (pffff), he goes, “You know, you are un-be-lie-va-ble”. Right after, I launch into this long, angry tirade. “What do you mean? I don’t think I’m being unreasonable. You are the one who doesn’t get it. Blablabla….” With a lot of gesture, some screaming and occasionally, some door slamming. I mean, it’s pretty theatrical, but I’m French and that’s what we do.

Conversely, whenever he does something to irritate me (too long a list to bother writing), I too go, “You are so UN-BE-LIE-VA-BLE” and get ready for Ze argument of the decade. But my husband just goes, “Thank you, hun. I’m glad you are realizing it” and walks off to do whatever he was annoying me with in the first place. So I follow him around and try super, super hard to pick an argument with him But no luck. All he does is smile at me.  Argghhhh, soooo annoying! What is wrong with this dude?

meditation-909299_1920

post

Plan vs Reality

This morning, I had a plan. A well, laid-out, proactive, no-nonsense plan that would fit all my tasks for the day. I normally don’t bother with organizing anything, but on occasions I have to. Like today. So here was my plan:

6.30: Wake up. See, realistic plan! No stupid impossible get-up-early-and-exercise ridiculous commitment that never happens. I am long done with that!

6.31: Wake up kid 1. Explain to him that yes, he has to go to school again, even though he already went yesterday.

6.50: Argue with kid 1 about putting clothes, shoes and jacket on.  As incredibly as it sounds, my child still doesn’t get why he needs to get dressed in the morning. . .

7.05: Put kid 1 in bus.

7.06: Shower and wash hair.

7.30: Wake up kid 2 and kid 3. Get them dressed.

7.45: Make lunch box while kid 2 and kid 3 have breakfast

8.00: Argue with kid 2 about going to school. It’s okay, it wouldn’t be a normal day if we didn’t . . .

8.05: Drop kid 2 at school

8.10: Finish homework with kid 3.  I admit, we do that in the morning. . .

8.30: Drop kid 3 at school

8.35: Be at my desk and finish my news article, prepare my speech for tomorrow, write a blog, post on social media, photocopy worksheets for French class, call lawyer in France. Estimated time for all this: six hours.

Now, here is what really happened:

6.27: Get up. Yay! A full three minutes earlier than plan. It’s gonna be a good day. . .

6.50: argue wit kid 1. Still good, all going according to plan.

7.05: Drop kid 1 to bus.

7.25: Still waiting for bus. Where’s the bus? Now I have to forego the shower and hair washing.

7.35: Bus has a flat tire. Bummer! Get kid 2 and kid 3 in the car, with no breakfast, some clothes on. Maybe shoes, if they are lucky…

7.40: Shlep all the way to kid 1 school, trying to make it for the 8.00 am bell. Can’t estimate what speed I would need to drive to achieve that, due to caffeine deprivation, but it’s a lot of miles and not enough minutes.

8.10: Spit out kid 1 from car, ten minutes late. Not too bad, considering I was driving without any coffee.

8.45: drop kid 2 fifteen minutes late. Oh, wait. Kid 2 has an urgent question to ask: why is there a pie sale? What is it for? When? And how?

8.50: Promise to buy all the pies in the bloody sale if only she could go to her classroom.

8.55: Try to ignore whaling cries from kid 3 who wants breakfast before he goes to school. Launch into a speech about how unreasonable his last minute demands are, but get an evil look from a mom eavesdropping. Tempted to be rude, but decide to cave in and drive kid 3 home for a speedy breakfast.

9.00: Shovel cereals in kid 3’s bowl while calling the school to advise of our impending arrival.

9.01: Try to think of a clever line to answer school lady question, “Why are you wasting five minutes calling me to say you will be here in two?” Nothing comes to mind. Decide that “clever” and “sensible” are off the agenda today. Yet again . . .

9.15: drive kid 3 to school, who’s supposed to start at 8.15 but guess what? Ain’t gonna happen.

9.20: Prepare a cup of coffee in order to start the day. NO MILK! What the . . . !!!!

9.30: Dash to supermarket, after crying uncontrollably about lack of milk

10.00: No more petrol so stop to refill tank.

10.15: Computer has rebooted automatically so lost newspaper article, photos I prepared for social media and blog outline.

10.16: Go back to bed, cursing that this day is sh..t.

1.15: Get a shower, wash my hair.

Some plans just need a little tweaking . . .

leave-839225_1920