Wednesday, January 27, 2010

MY WIFE, THE ENABLER

I love my wife.
She's everything I ever coveted in a woman - the symbolic class beauty who never knew I existed in high school but with whom I now share my life. She's drop dead gorgeous, smart, funny and confident enough in herself as a wife, mother and woman not to get hung up on defying traditional domestic role models. (It helps a lot that I do the dishes and the laundry.)
She's also an enabler.
When we got up this morning, Danielle announced to me that she was giving our 8 year old son, Charlie, a "mental health" day away from school. Charlie requested it, and what else was Mom going to say after she gave the 10 year old, Sam, his own mental health day earlier this week?
I tend to go with the flow and stay out of these things, because I'm not so old that I can't remember what it would have meant to me if my mother had told me I could take the day off from school, even if I wasn't sick. That's like Christmas without the tree.
But I also know children (I have four of them) and their gift for manipulation, and the boys play Danielle like a fiddle. A mental health day here and there probably isn't going to affect their eligibility for an Ivy League education (that ship sailed when I quit my relatively high-paying job) but the mental health days are only a symptom of a broader malaise.
The boys are both registered to take the bus to school. Neither one of them ever busts their balls to get to the bus stop on time, though, because they know Mom will drive them to school, whether or not she had time to put on pants and/or underwear. That's a dangerous proposition for a woman who frequently drives around on "empty," a wing and a prayer.
By her own admission, Danielle is not a cook, and I'm here to confirm it. Supper at our house on any given night could be frozen pizza, Frosted Flakes, Oreos, Eggos or any combination of the aforementioned. I think the last time we had fresh vegetables was 2006. That's not teaching the children a great deal about the importance of proper nutrition. I suppose I could do the cooking, but the last time I tried, the pork chops came out of the oven grey, and Charlie gagged and cried.
"Bedtime" at our house is 8:30 in theory, but that's a guideline at best. Last night, even the two year old was still up at 9:45, lying in bed with Charlie and me watching the U.S. 101st Airborne battle the Germans at Eindhoven on Band of Brothers. Again, I could have taken the parental initiative, but we're talking Band of Brothers, Operation Market Garden, WWII, the Big One. If that's not "me" time, what is?
Don't even get me started about the Tooth Fairy, who leaves five dollars(!) per tooth. I don't think my whole upper or lower plate got me five bucks when I was a kid. Do the math: at three children still at home, 5 dollars per tooth and 20 primary teeth per head, that's...(hang on a minute while I access the calculator on my desktop)...300 dollars. Hello?! Unemployed husband to Tooth Fairy: that's money we could be frittering away on food and shelter. I'm not saying leave them a ball of lint or dead bugs under their pillow, but cripes, we're not exactly the Rockefellers here.
So the Bird children muddle on towards an uncertain future, randomly taking days off school when they're not missing the bus with impunity, and being rewarded with inflated payoffs for teeth that are probably falling out prematurely because of poor eating habits.
But there's one thing at our house that is non-negotiable, and that's unconditional love and support for each other, regardless of circumstances (like quitting your relatively high-paying job). The rest is just details, and as long as we have each other's back and the Tooth Fairy gets with the program, we'll figure it out.

23 comments:

  1. Tears of laughter as usual Ted. Thanks for another great beginning to the day. P.S Danielle is a very lucky woman

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  2. Saying things like that is gonna have half your fans offering to come over and cook you all dinner.....

    Brings back memories though, I was older than your boys when Dad needed to shift gears and find a new job. He went back school for a year.

    -Chris

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  3. Nice piece Ted - enjoy the couch tonight!

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  4. Good one Ted! I was informed by my 9 yo recently that indeed a tooth had gone up to $5 according to some other 9 yo at school AND that there were now gifts also ie: a gold charm bracelet for being such a "big girl" as to actually drop some dental!I resolutely refuse to pay that.Re: Danielle's cooking or lack thereof, are your kids 'picky'? cause i gotta tell you nothing takes the wind outta your culinary sails easier than repeatedly having someone say ick or as in Isaac's case, gagging every night as we tried to enforce 'try just one bite'
    Keep em coming!

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  5. My kids got lots of mental health days. (hey, what adult has not called in sick when they are not - when you are sick you GO to work, sick days are for relaxing!) I hate cooking, your suppers sound delicious! My three kids bankrupted me during tooth fairy years. One is now out on her own with an excellent job and her own condo, the second is on his way to becoming a Police Man and the third will graduate with honours from high school in June.....Love+support=well adjusted kids....You guys sound like you are doing a fine job!!!

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  6. Sadly $5 is the going rate per tooth and $10/hour for a babysitter.
    Do the calculations on that one! Kid loses a tooth, you go out for supper with the spouse, pay the sitter........ouch!

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  7. The fact that Mrs. Bird is okay with you posting her foibles on a blog shows what support you have and how strangers opinions don't mean much!... Cool.

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  8. Ted youve described almost
    every mainstream family in montreal,
    me I can cook, but prefer restaurants in the
    winter cause im bored of pork chops,
    girlfriend cooks, but by the time we get together I tell her not to cook,we can get some
    fajhitas..but she is a good cook..

    as for my daughter she decides her own
    mental days of school or job hunting
    which are, the time of the month,stay out late..headaches and anything else that comes
    to mind...and as she got older didnt like anything..so she just makes her own now and
    is happy with that..

    guess lots of us are in the same boat..
    work,home..during the week and just doning fine....

    Brian.

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  9. Hey Ted, Whatever you guys are doing as a family, sounds like you all have it very 'together'....your kids are lucky that they have a loving mom & dad...who don't sweat the small stuff...better than having a partner who always picks on the kids for seemingly small and unimportant issues...Susan is right...Love + support = well adjusted kids...and I may add...a well adjusted family too....

    Ted, there are so many really simple and easy recipes out there...Soups at this time of year are a no brainer...take some chicken Stock add some carrots, a little celery, parsnip, onion, salt & pepper to taste...at Loblaws or IGA pick up a package of dried soup mix beans....combine it all in a pot...simmer for hours...and presto...your the next Jamie Oliver...If I can do it...so can you....easily man! GO FOR IT...

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  10. I think Danielle and I are related. Seriously. On empty..all the time. Not such a good idea when you are clocking 60 kilometers of a commute each way with two bridges each way. I finally had the opportunity to make supper last night. Fine dining it was - homemade hamburgers. But usually it is soup, eggs, Kraft Dinner, Eggos..

    I give $5 per tooth only because I cannot be bothered to go get change. Once all I had was a $20 but the Tooth Fairy e-mailed her and told her that she had to take $15 and pay for video rentals that weekend and keep the other $5 for herself. You can e-mail the Tooth Fairy at tooth.fairy74@yahoo.ca - he (yes he is a he in our house thanks to the Tim Allen Santa Clause movies) will write back.

    With hockey, karate, dance etc etc. Who has time anymore?? You guys sound totally normal to me.

    As for the kids watching Band of Brothers - I see that as homeschooling.

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  11. I can teach you how to make a mean Guacamole?

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  12. I believe that this is a universal problem. At home my wife is our kids' favorite enabler. However when it comes to enabling me it's a whole other story. I should be so lucky that I would get the same treatment as they do. My wife read my comment on yesterday's blog and was furious that I used it as a forum to bash the Canadiens. But... But... But... no buts. "Not fair!" When my kid came home one day and announced, while holding a can of spraypaint in one hand, that he was going to put graffitis around town she called it "Expressing himself". My comment yesterday she called it "Regressing myself". As all men are I am perfect. I do not enable our kids but I humour them. Humour is the best tool at my disposal when dealing with my kids especially when it comes to using sarcasm. "You need a lift somewhere? Go sit in the car and if in 15 minutes I am not out there come back in to remind me". OOOPPSS!!Gotta go my son just came in the house to remind me that he's waiting for me in the car and that he will never ask me again for a lift. See it works. Thanks Ted for sharing your stories with us. My sincere apologies if I offended anyone (my wife asked me to write that)lol Yvan

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  13. Ted, i love you man. I miss listening to you in the morning. I don't listen to radio anymore i just plug in my ipod and listen to music. Please radio stations hire Ted, so i can tune in to your channel and listen to the best radio person ever.

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  14. ..oh boy
    chom has started a weird/silly news
    segment..
    hasnt that been done before..

    come on bad pete get mad and blast some ramones on the air like Cretin Hop and then you can have a blog like ted...

    its worth it...

    Brian.

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  15. I honestly do not know what goes on in the morning on CHOM because I now listen to Pete Powers on the BUZZ ever since CHOM lost the best radio personality they ever had namely Ted. And Brian I'm with you on the Ramones thing.

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  16. Hello Ted,

    I would like to put your knowledge to the test. Who said the following:

    Atheism is a non-prophet organization
    Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.
    Boycott shampoo! Demand the REAL poo!
    Consciousness: That annoying time between naps.
    Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me, either. Just leave me alone.
    Forget world peace. Visualize using your turn signal.
    I don't suffer from insanity. I enjoy every minute of it.
    Reality is a crutch for people who can't handle drugs.
    You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say will be misquoted then used against you.
    The journey of a thousand miles begins with a broken fan belt and a flat tire.

    Thanks Ted

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  17. A sanity day, Five buck-a-tooth, running on empty, the long lost vegetable and a chorus filled with love... sounds like a fine tune your singing! Just stay in key and the pieces will fall into place.

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  18. Yvan,

    me to Pete powers..Buzz,,just could
    tame down the chillipeppers&likin park every
    15mins..manchester orcestra sounds good - shake it song..

    p.s. Ted ..what the heck is Chom doing now with
    a MERV-MAN...sounds like chom lost more ratings
    and had to get someone to pretend to be TED BIRD,,

    they still are thinking that Talking head are
    fresh alternative/new music..

    yvan..remember in the movie rock n roll high school ..they were strict and the students
    rebeled when Riff Randell spun a Ramones
    Lp..Sheena is a punk Rocker..

    pete powers would play it no matter what..
    choms owners seem to be a bunch of hopeless panzies..what are they afraid of..

    my god i miss BabaBooey..Howard stern..
    what ever people think, no one can forget when he took over Chom..

    as for last comment...

    the habs - Price shit as usual..

    is gainey going to go behind the bench
    like when they got rid of carbonneau


    have a good day..all..

    Brian.

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  19. Ted, this was the best one yet! With two young boys, I know where you are coming from with the $5 tooth fairy bit. I had to give my head a shake when I was informed it is now $5 a tooth and that I need to get with the times.
    A quarter was no worth it, as you can not even make a phone call at a public telephone asit now costs .50. (Do they still actually have Public phones anymore?!)
    I can hardly wait to find out what it's going to cost when they are old enough to head out on their own with their friends. Movie, popcorn, and who knows what else... we may need a bank loan.
    Freedom 55 is a Pipe Dream for our family. Hopefully we can make it to 75!

    Thanks for the blog.

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  20. All we need is love!

    @ Yvan: LOLs I am definately using those for my Facebook status !!!

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  21. Seems you have a good case of "Family Values" right on Birds!

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