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Friday, July 31, 2009

Raising him

We didn't find out the sex of either of our babies until they were born. I am usually an anal-retentive planner who doesn't like surprises but about this I was shockingly relaxed. I think I wanted that moment. The one where the baby is born and a cry goes up in the room about the sex of the baby. "It's a boy!" or "it's a girl!". There is a joy in that. Plus I was also hoping that the anticipation of finding out the sex of the baby would help keep me motivated during labour. Mostly it did. I remember thinking once during labour with the girl that if I knew the sex of the baby I could just stop all of this. The baby could just stay inside, thank you very much.

Since we didn't know the sex of the baby during my first pregnancy there was a lot of discussions about names and baby stuff, but also about how we would raise a girl or a boy. I bought a copy of Free to Be You And Me and The Paper Bag Princess in order to be prepared to indoctrinate a child of either gender. We talked about not letting the child watch TV, succumbing to gender stereotypes and acceptable behaviour. All those things that fly out the window once you realize that you just need twenty minutes to yourself, your boy has a serious and spontaneous love of balls and that sometimes it is better to pretend you didn't see the pushing.

Secretly, I was a bit scared about the idea of having a son. I felt like I would know how to raise a girl. I had been a girl! I could understand the social pressures, the hormones and the thought processes of a girl. I was worried that I wouldn't know what to do with a boy.

Apparently I wasn't the only one thinking like this. A few months into my pregnancy a very close friend wrote to me in an email that she couldn't see me as the mom of a boy. That she couldn't see the husband and I being the parents of a son.

My first reaction was to be hurt and offended. For all I knew the baby I was carrying was a boy. I couldn't believe that she would say such a thing.

Sitting at my desk at work I tried to see past the words she had written and think about what she had meant. I tried to do this in order to understand her and not react back in anger. I finally came to the conclusion that what she had meant was that we didn't seem like the kind of parents of boys that she was used too. It was a long time later that I realized the issue was not if the husband and I would be good parents to a son but that my friend had a particular idea about how a son should be raised based on her own experiences. And that her experiences and my expectations of boys are different.

Yes, neither of us play organized sports or even watch organized sports on TV. We don't care about cars or motorcycles or boats. Much of those "boy" interests aren't ours. The husband would rather read a book than do much else, can spend hours playing computer games and used to like Dungeons and Dragons. He is not a "guy's guy". If he was I probably wouldn't have married him. He is the kind of guy that will carry his daughter's pink plastic purse at the park just because she asked him to and lavishes his kids with kisses and cuddles regardless of where we are or who is watching.

When I had calmed down I sent an email back to my friend. I said that we would raise a great boy. We would raise a boy that all the girls want to date. We would raise a boy that knew how to respect women, treat them appropriately and value them. We would raise a boy whose interests would also be ours, just because they were his.

Now we are raising a boy. More importantly we are raising him. Whoever he is and whoever he wants to be.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Opps

So if you subscribe you may have just received a draft copy of a post I was working on. I was trying to finish it when the boy woke up. I thought I could spell check it while he played but he got a hold of the mouse and somehow posted the draft.

What am I going to do with this kid!

Tell me what to read

My list of bookmarked blogs in getting longer and longer. I find one I like and bookmark it. Sometimes I go back to it, sometimes I don't. I need to organize it better, maybe do some purging.

Before I do, tell me one blog you think I should be reading. What is the blog you read everyday? I will check it out and include it in the giant blog clean-up I hope to do this weekend. Any topics are welcome. I am a well-rounded gal so go ahead and challenge me.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Conversations with the girl

Scene: Circle time at playgroup. All the parents and caregivers sit in a circle with children in their laps. The boy sits in my lap. The girl hangs off my neck.

All: Old MacDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O. And on his farm he had a ...

Playgroup leader: What kind of animal did he have?

Little boy: A horse!

Playgroup leader: A horse.

All: And on his farm he had a horse. E-I-E-I-O. With a neigh neigh here and neigh neigh there, here a neigh, there a neigh, everywhere a neigh neigh, Old MacDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O. And on that farm he had a ...

Playground leader: What kind of animal did he have? She looks at the girl.

The girl: A minnow!

Playgroup leader: What did she say?

The girl: A minnow!!

Me: She said a minnow.

Playgroup leader: Oh. Okay. A minnow.

All: And on his farm he had a minnow, E-I-E-I-O. With a ...

Playgroup leader: A glub glub here ...

All: A glub glub here and a glub glub there, here a glub, there a glub, everywhere a glub glub, Old MacDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O.

And the winner is......

Donna has won a tulip hat in the size and pattern of her choice from Sew Fierce. Random.org was working in your favour Donna. Congratulations! I am emailing you now.


If you didn't win and are finding yourself consumed with envy then check out Sew Fierce Couture Clothing on Etsy and buy yourself, I mean the girl in your life a hat.


Thank you Stephanie for asking me to host this giveaway. Your work is so beautiful.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Meltdown

I like the word meltdown. It makes me think of a big bowl of vanilla ice cream sitting on the kitchen table slowly melting until a hand grenade is tossed into it and it explodes in a fiery rage.

The girl had one of those today. A meltdown. Thankfully not a hand grenade.

As often happens, this incident involved sharing. Sometimes the girl can be quite good at sharing. If the other kid has something she wants the girl will be quite happy to share anything of hers in order to get it. That is her strategy with the boy anyway. I like to think of it as the bait-and-switch sharing technique. She has probably patented it already.

Today we went to the park with her toy push car. Normally I don't like to take toys with us to the park because there have been sharing problems before. The rule around here is if we take it to the park it gets shared with the other kids. In fact, that is pretty much the park rule. We share with the other kids and they share with us.

The girl isn't really into that. It took about three weeks to convince her that we should bring the sand toys with us to the park. Any previous attempts had resulted in copious amounts of tears. Copious. Finally I brought her around by explaining that the sand toys were for the boy to play with. Somehow that made everything okay.

But today she wanted to take the car with her to the park. I said that she would have to share the car with the other kids if we brought it. She said, direct quote from her I swear, "I can share. I am good at sharing". So I let her bring it. My mistake.

As soon as we entered the park a little boy came racing towards us at full speed from across the basketball courts. He climbed right onto the car, which the girl had been pushing from behind, and started to peddle away. The girl was actually okay with this. She happily pushed him and the two motored on together. When a second little boy joined them things got a little more complicated. The two boys wanted to go off together with the car and the girl still wanted to keep pushing. There was some disagreements. I tried to mediate the whole thing, offering up suggestions like "why don't you both push with one hand" or "how about taking turns pushing". The girl started crying as one of the boys started edging her out. As I reminded her that we had to share our toys at the park and that she would get her turn she let go of the car and the boys took off. She started crying even harder.

(I should say that we know these boys and see them a lot at the park. Often the girl plays quite happily with them.)

No other parents were around. It was just me and the girl standing on the basketball court. I picked her up and carried her to the picnic table to talk about sharing and how she would get her turn soon. Poor thing. She was very upset. I told her we could go home. No, she wanted to stay.

Finally the mom of one of the two boys came over and asked if the girl was crying because they had taken her car. Uh, yes. I can get them to give it back she said. She called the boys over and offered them Popsicles. They quickly abandoned the car. Now the girl was upset about the car having been taken and having to sit next to the two boys eating Popsicles. I started to feel sorry for her at that point.

I managed to guide her away from the Popsicles eating boys and towards a park bench. We talked about the sharing and about going home. Through the tears that had returned she said she wanted to stay at the park. I suggested covering the car with our towel so that no one would see it and want to play with it. For some reason the sight of the towel draped over the car increased her hysterics.

At this point her sobs were loud and her voice louder. Other parents started looking. I just smiled. The boy was at home with Grandma, thankfully because if he had started his sympathy crying at that point, which he sometimes does, I would have been turning on the waterworks too.

When she started demanding snacks between her bouts of crying I thought, okay I have got to get you home somehow. I managed to persuade her that we could go home and get snacks and then come back to the park. Really, I had no intention of heading back if she was still in that state but I would have said anything to get her home.

As luck would have it the husband arrived home from work just as she and I sat in the living room entering into negotiations about returning to the park. No "hi honey, how was work" from me. I gave him a run down and left the girl in his care.

I needed a spoon for the bowl of ice cream that had exploded in my face.

Dad, this post is for you.

Monday, July 27, 2009

July 27th, 2009

I was supposed to return to work from my maternity leave today but I'm not.

At the museum the girl said "when I grow up I want to be a bird".

The boy used his push-along walker to cross the room. One hand on the walker and one hand in mine.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Picture day

Just like picture day at school we all dressed up in clean clothes, brushed our hair and posed nicely for the camera. Well, some of us did. Some of us tried to wriggle out of my arms, said she didn't want her picture taken and hid her smile behind a red toy bucket. Oh, did I say her?

Overall the girl and boy did very well. They patiently tolerated some direction from their parents and our photographer Shawna and as long as we kept them moving their interest was largely sustained. We took some photos in the backyard and the girl's room (which has the best light in this old house) but most of the photos were taken at the park. Considering how much time we spend there I think it was a perfect location. There were photos of us in the sand, on a bench, on the grass and hiding in the little playhouse. The last shot was timely because it was at that moment that the sky opened up and the rain poured down. We all had to make a mad dash for the house.

The girl actually did much better than the first time we took some family photos with her. She had just turned one and we went to the home of a (different) photographer to have some black and white shots taken. Perhaps if she had liked the photographer things would have been different but she didn't. I was convinced that after the one hour shoot there would not be one good picture. She spent the entire time trying to break free from whoever was holding her and crawl for the door. Apparently the photographer thought the same thing because she told us that she had never shot a more challenging subject. Gee thanks, now let me write you a check. Amazingly enough the photos turned out great. I attribute it to the girl being so photogenic.

This time the girl and boy both seemed comfortable with the photographer. She had already taken some family photos of us back in November when the boy was two and a half months. I was so glad that she could come back again because photography is not my strong suit.

I have managed some good pictures, some fine pictures of the kids but that is due to pure dumb luck. I find that by the time our little digital camera takes the picture the kids have already moved on from whatever cute vignette I was hoping to capture. If I am lucky I have snapped something else that is cute. I have a lot of photos of random body parts and backs.

I am also hoping for a few good pictures of all of us from today, including Grandma who is visiting. There aren't a lot of pictures of all of us. Usually the pictures are of the kids, and sometimes the husband, since I am the one behind the camera. While that is mostly because I am the one who remembers to pull out the camera there may be a little bit of me that is hiding from the lens. Just like when I hear my own voice I feel like the image I see in the picture isn't me. I don't look like that, do I?

Where are the braces? Where is the perm? Where are the large oversize glasses? Hmm, maybe it is a good thing I am old and that the days of school pictures are behind me.

Update: Perfect time to mention that the lovely photo in my header was taken by Shawna. As if I could take a photo like that!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

More about me

Because I don't talk about myself enough I was happy to do this meme from Jessica at This Is Worthwhile.

1. Who is the hottest movie star?
Jennifer Garner. I was a big Alias fan. Plus she seems nice. Like the kind of mom I would talk to at the park and she wouldn't look down on me because I just wiped the boy's nose with my shirt. There is no higher praise than that.

2. Apart from your house and your car, what's the most expensive item you've ever bought?
The single Chariot stroller we bought before the girl was born. With no car that was our deluxe means of transportation for her. It was a lifesaver on really cold winter days when I didn't want to take her out in a carrier. We still have no car but we have since upgraded to a used double stroller. It cost about as much as the new single.

Girl eating a pizza lunch after her school birthday. This was before she had a hat that fit her and so she was wearing mine. I liked the juxtaposition of the stroller behind her.

3. What is your most treasured memory?

Introducing the girl to her brother. We had just arrived home from the hospital (grandma driving in case you wondered) and the girl was across the street at the park with my sister. By the time they got home I was upstairs in our room with the baby waiting for them. I was so excited for the girl to meet him. He was only a few hours old and she went right up to the car seat he was still in and squatted down beside him. I was so in awe of what I was seeing I didn't know until later that the first thing she said to him was "hello little baby".


4. What was the best gift you ever received as a child?
A porcelain musical doll. The base could be wound and the small doll would turn in circles while the music played. It was a thank you gift after being the flower girl in a wedding. This was one of the few objects to survive my teenage purge of all "baby" things.


5. What's the biggest mistake you've ever made?
There have been a few good ones, usually because I didn't listen to myself, my intuition. So my biggest mistake has to be not listening to myself.

6. Four words to describe yourself
Shy, cautious, hopeful, grateful

7. What was your highlight or lowlight of 2008?
Welcoming the boy into our family. The pregnancy was hard and life with two kids can sure be a challenge sometimes (see pretty much any other post) but I love them fiercely! The boy is such an amazing kid. Just like his sister.

8. Favorite film?
Muriel's Wedding. I saw it when I was eighteen and it just spoke to me. I laughed, I cried, I understood trying to figure out who you should become.

9. Tell me one thing I don't know about you?
I met the husband in London, England when I was nineteen. I was from Manitoba and he was from Ontario. Yup, had to go oversees to get me a Canadian boyfriend.

10. If you were a comic book or cartoon character who would you be?
Josie from Josie and the Pussycats. She was sweet, a good friend and always seem to have it together.


Instead of tagging some of my favorite bloggers I challenge everyone reading to pick one of the questions and leave your answer in the comments. And I mean EVERYONE. If I don't finally get a comment from my dad and stepmom I am suspending Skyping privileges!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Things I am doing on a Friday night

I was checking out This Is Worthwhile (whose meme I am drafting and will post later this weekend) and came across a link to BlogHer@Home (http://www.blogherathome.com/). If you are looking for something to do right now check it out!

As part of the live feed it was mentioned that BlogHer'10 will be in New York City. New York City! That is my kind of town. So, impromptu decision. I consulted with the husband, who was already in bed, and bought myself a full pass to the conference. I heard that it sells out quickly so I had to move.

I am very excited and also shocked. I guess I am coming off the blogging high from last night. Lots of thoughts still going through my head: I hope I am still blogging next year, what about the kids, maybe the husband and I can go together and make it our ten year anniversary celebration.

More importantly, will I see you there?

(Sorry, having trouble with my links!)

Last night

Last night I attended Blog Out Loud. I even read something. Actually, I read my favorite post. This is a post for the girl, one I want her to read when she is older so that she will know how much I love her. Because I do. I may complain, I mean speak honestly about my life at home with two kids but there is nowhere else I would rather be. It is hard sometimes but sometimes life is hard.

Last night I had the chance to hear some amazing bloggers read their work. It was nice to be able to put faces to blogs. I am excited to spend some more time checking out their blogs and the blogs of some of the attendees. I only wished I hadn't been so shy and spoken to more people. Yes, I can get up in front of a crowd and read but I am too shy to introduce myself in person. That is part of the conundrum that is me.

Last night Lynn did an amazing job organizing and hosting the event. I want to thank her for letting me read. And for telling me that I am a writer in addition to being a blogger. That is what I want to be.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Me

Amy from Muddy Boots put out a challenge to post a picture without makeup or hair that has been styled. That is an easy one for me! And I don't really think the side braid in my hair counts as styling my hair because it has been in for two days and is half falling out.

What was harder was figuring out the laptop camera. I had never used it before and didn't even know how to find it. Thank you Google! I guess I could have taken a picture with the camera and then uploaded it but I am pretty lazy. As you can see from my appearance below. Thankfully you can't see the lunch stains on my shirt. Phew.



This is the first picture of me on my blog. I guess I can't hide anymore.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Don't forget

If you haven't already, don't forget to enter the giveaway to win a girl's tulip sun hat from Sew Fierce. It would be great for your daughter, granddaughter, niece or as a gift for a friend's little girl. They may even look as cute as my girl does in it.




If you live in Ottawa don't forget to come out to Blog Out Loud on Thursday, July 23rd from 7 - 10 pm at the Raw Sugar Cafe. It is a great chance to hear some local bloggers read their favorite posts. I am excited to be reading my favorite post and meeting up with some of the people whose blogs I read. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Naked Chef

Jamie Oliver has nothing on the girl. He may be cute but there is nothing cuter than an almost three year old standing naked on a kitchen chair stirring a bowl of zucchini muffin batter. Wearing one green band-aid on her arm and a red one on her stomach.

Of course she didn't start off naked. The boy was having a nap and we were running low on snacks so I suggested we whip up some muffins. The last batch of muffins we made (banana in case you were wondering) was a big hit with the boy who is now eating wheat but not egg whites or dairy. This meant that I was looking for a vegan recipe. I had no luck finding a vegan zucchini muffin recipe so I made this one but replaced the eggs with some little travel containers of blueberry-applesauce that the girl doesn't like. It was that or water. We are running low on groceries.

The girl was having a grand old time baking, especially once the sugar got added to the batter. Thwarting my attempts to reduce her sugar intake by halving the sugar called for in the recipe (yes, I have turned into my mother on that one) she just started to eat it straight from the measuring cup and bowl when she thought I wasn't looking.

"Can I eat this?" she asked. "No" I said only to notice her licking her fingers when I returned from the cupboard with the baking powder and salt. Honestly I don't mind if she sneaks a little sugar because it really is only a little bit and she gets such joy from the illicitness of it all. It is when I find myself saying "don't lick your feet" that I realize I have to keep a closer watch on her and the sugar. The girl had spilled some of the sugar while she was pouring it into the mixing bowl and it had settled on the back and seat of the chair. She must have realized what that strange texture on her feet was because there she was sucking it off of her toes. She was pretty committed to that sugar because I had to ask her twice.

(It was definitely one of those moments where I couldn't quite believe the words that were coming out of my mouth.)

We had almost finished mixing all the ingredients together when I heard an "uh oh" from the girl. As any parent knows those are not words you want to want to hear. Especially from the child themselves. While washing her hands the girl had started to pee. All over her dress, the kitchen chair and the rug below. It was totally my fault because she hadn't peed the last time I had her sit on the potty and then I had just lost track of time. She is really doing quite well and only has the occasional accident, but I guess there is nothing like the thrill of zucchini muffins to distract her from asking for the bathroom.

So there we were in the kitchen, one of us naked and the other laughing. Now if only I could get her to actually eat the muffins.

Don't hate me

Don't hate me but the boy slept from 7 pm until 5 am last night. The girl slept from 7:30 pm until 6:30 am. In case you don't know what this means it means that I slept for EIGHT straight hours for the first time since I got pregnant with the boy.

I feel awesome. I feel like I could do anything. I should probably go buy a lottery ticket.

Monday, July 20, 2009

He likes to move it, move it

The boy is on the move. Sometime during the sickness induced delirium of the last few days the boy figured out how to take a few assisted steps. I may have witnessed those first few steps. I don't remember.

Today, though, he blew me away with the ease with which he walked. Each hand clutching one of mine he took step after step after step. At the park he walked a good five feet before deciding that it would be faster to crawl. And he needed to move fast because he was after the basketball someone had left unsupervised. That boy sure loves his balls (pun intended).

I am excited and sad about this new step at the same time. Walking makes him a toddler. When he stands up on his own and looks at me with that satisfied smile on his face I can't help but think where did my baby go? In some ways I have been looking forward to him getting older (sleeping longer stretches, playing with his sister, talking, amusing himself) but now that it is here I am sad that I didn't take the time to enjoy his babiness just a bit more.

Not to be outdone the girl has also stepped up her walking. No longer as content to sit back in the stroller and watch the world go by, she now wants to walk everywhere. I am seriously in awe of how far she can hoof it. Today we walked for a good half-hour and about fifteen blocks down a busy street. I anticipate the walks will take longer once she realizes that the brightly coloured store we passed sells candy. We may have to stay on the other side of the street.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

I don't eat you, why are you getting me sick?

This is one of those times when being vegetarian doesn't make a difference.

We have the swine flu. At least we think we do. According to the Internet research the husband did we do. And in the opinion of the dad at the park we spoke with this afternoon, who spent a few hours online trying to figure out why his family was so sick, we do. I am going to do a self-diagnosis and say we do.

We have all the symptoms. A running nose and bad cough that turns into a hacking cough and sore throat. (Right now it feels like there is a tennis ball in my throat and every time I swallow I want to scream.) A loss of appetite and headache. In the husband's case he has an earache. Crankiness, irritability and grumpiness. Okay, those last ones aren't really symptoms but that is how we are all feeling.

I have to admit, I thought the kids were just fighting off a bad cold and the husband was just being a suck. Because he has a tendency to be a big suck when he gets sick. Then I got sick and I realized this is awful, horrible and more than just a regular cold or flu. It just doesn't seem to go away.

The kids have both been sick since last Tuesday. Today is day five and we are only seeing slight improvements in the two of them. The boy's cough is a bit better but the girl sounds like she is smoking a pack a day. She woke up at 5 am this morning coughing and then couldn't get back to sleep. Still, it was much better than the 4:30 wake up yesterday.

Our coping mechanisms the past few days have involved lots of tv time for the girl. We usually try to limit how much she watches but with her exhaustion, our limited energy and the need for her to be quiet while her brother naps, it is a bit of a free-for-all. Thankful the husband got a new Franklin video from the library and downloaded some Backyardigans episodes before all this happened so we are set.

The hardest part of all of this is that the kids just aren't themselves. They are both so unhappy and clingy. The girl is throwing tantrums I didn't even know she was capable of. There is usually at least one a day that I wished I had video taped. But at least she doesn't look all glassy eyed anymore. It is actually more worrisome when she becomes docile and obedient. Then I know she is really sick.

I am missing the real girl and boy a bit. I will not miss these sick versions off themselves once they are gone! In his moment of looking on the bright side the husband has commented how easy everything will seem once none of us is sick anymore. Like a walk in a park that is no longer infested with killer bees.

I am looking on the bright side too. Getting sick means that I can cancel my dentist appointment for tomorrow morning. It would be very wrong to subject the poor, innocent staff at my dentist office to this debilitating and horrific flu. I could never live with myself if I responsible for getting them sick. Yes, cancelling is really the noble and safe thing to do. It has nothing at all to do with the fact that I have an intense hatred/ deepening phobia of visiting the dentist. Not at all.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The cycle of friendship

I used to struggle with the end of friendships. I would get sad that someone had left my life and wonder if I had done something different, been someone different they would have stayed. I thought the ending was all about me. Maybe it was sometimes. But sometimes people just lose touch. Sometimes people chose to leave you. Sometimes you are the one walking away.

The older I get the more I am willing to let friendships end. I don't feel the need to hold on to them just because. Because once upon a time we were young together or went to school together or hung out together. I figure that who I am now and who I was then are not the same. I am thankful when my friends change in ways that are compatible with the new me. If they don't, I silently thank them for the time we have had together and open my life to be filled with new friends.

Becoming a parent has changed many of my friendships. After the girl was born I didn't have a lot of time or energy to invest in other people. I was too busy figuring out what I was doing to look beyond the baby in my arms. People had to be happy with a quick email or occasional phone call. Some were, some weren't. It made me realize that some friendships were based on my giving and their taking (a bad habit I will admit to). With a whole new world in front of me I came to realize those were not the people I wanted sharing in this new life with me. We said goodbye.

In their place I found new friends, other parents with similar approaches to parenting and values. They and their kids helped me learn about the kind of mother I want to be. With my second pregnancy I found it hard to keep in touch with many of these friends. Not because I didn't enjoy them or want to be around them but because work, my pregnancy and family took precedent over any friendship. At the end of the day any time I had was spent with the girl, the husband and myself.

Since the birth of the boy I have slowly been building friendships, reaching out to old friends and making new ones. At first my friendships were based on location. If you went to the park, our playgroup or the girl's school then I would be happy to see you and excited to visit. For the first few months that was enough. Then I began to schedule monthly dinners or play dates with friends I didn't end up running into. We would mark it in our calendars and not think about it again until the date rolled around.

It feels good to reconnect with people. To unravel myself from the cocoon I lived in during my pregnancy and those first few months with the boy. To rediscover myself in these new and old friendships.

I know that with good friends it doesn't matter if you lose touch. It can be two months or two years since you have last seen each other. With good friends you could have changed or not changed, but you will both just pick up where you left off. There is no because with these friendships. There is just you and the friend together at the park with your kids and her kid, playing in the sand and splashing in the pool (except the boy who still hates the water). And if she happens to tell you that the girl is very well behaved even though the girl screamed during lunch when you tired to cut her watermelon and looks like a zombie since she has been awake since 5am then you know she is really a good friend. One you shouldn't let go.

If I was on Twitter

I am starting to see the attraction of Twitter. I could have shared this with you at the time.

At park. Girl dumped bucket full of cold wading pool water on boy's head. Neither wearing bathing suits.

Probably better that I'm not. The world isn't ready for 24/7 with the girl and boy. I barely am.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A little giveaway talk

No, not about my giveaway. (Which you should enter if you haven't already) This is about a giveaway at one of my favorite blogs, Emily's Latest. Emily posts daily listings of giveaways that Canadians can enter. This is very usefully for us giveaway addicts because a lot of giveaways are only open to the US. I like to check her blog everyday although I am very behind, embarrassingly behind in entering giveaways. I will never win anything at this rate and the girl so likes to get packages in the mail.

Emily is hosting a giveaway for Affordable Baby Organics. One reader will win an organic cotton onesie and matching organic cotton knot hat in apple green. Affordable Baby Organics has some onesies in fabulous colours like maroon and papaya, which would be great for the boy because I am tired of all the dark, boring boy colours I come across. What I really like though is the reversible eyes of the world organic baby sling. Because I really need another sling/ carrier (read that last sentence with a lot of sarcasm).

To enter you have to blog about Affordable Baby Organics and mention about your favorite products. Hence this post.

Another reason I like Emily, who is also a talented artist, is because she was actually reading my blog and commenting back when the only other people reading were my family and Stephanie. Who's giveaway I am hosting. So go enter.

A first

I wasn't blogging when the girl was a baby or a toddler. How I wish I had been because there are so many things that I thought I would never forget that I have already forgotten. I am pretty sure her first word was "mama" but I can't remember how old she was when she said it. I think she was eight months old when she started crawling but I can't be sure. Why didn't I write this stuff down? Or maybe I did and I just can't remember where?

A first did happen just the other day and I found myself thinking "aha, I have to blog about this. I don't want to forget about this?". It wasn't what you would think of as a typical first: counting, writing letters, heading off to school. No, nothing like that. But it was pretty exciting to me. It was her first taste of Nutella.

I have always had a soft spot in my heart for Nutella. The first time I tried it I was in high school. Such yumminess wasn't really allowed in our house because of the sugar content (I had the mother that automatically halved the sugar in any cookie recipe) but a friend always had it stocked in her kitchen. This friend's father was German and Nutella somehow counted as a healthy snack in his way of thinking. So not only was I in love with Nutella for it's hazelnut/ chocolate taste but because it also had a foreign, exotic air.

On Tuesday a sample of Nutella arrived in the mail. (Okay, I actually had to go to the Nutella website and order the samples but same difference.) I was excited but since the girl likes to open packages I managed to refrain from ripping it open and devouring it immediately. Once she saw what it was she wanted to try it of course. So I let her. Let's just say that she likes Nutella almost as much as I do. Maybe even more.

I spread some of the Nutella on two crackers for her. The first cracker she ate sitting at the kitchen table. She was very gleeful. In what I can only describe as earning major mommy brownie points I even made her some freshly squeezed orange juice because the Nutella packaging had a glass of orange juice on it, we didn't have OJ and she was very insistent that she needed it to go with the "nuela". She drank the juice with a purple plastic straw.

She ate the second cracker sitting on the floor. I guess "ate" is a bit misleading. In reality she licked the second cracker clean. She asked if she could lick the knife I had used to spread the Nutella on the crackers. I said no. She stuck her fingers into the little Nutella packet to remove the last little bits the knife had missed. I asked her not to eat with her fingers.

I think another lifelong Nutella fan has been created. She even wanted to eat the second package that had arrived in the mail. I said we would save it for a special occasion. "Like my birthday?" she asked. "We could take it to my birthday party and share it with everyone!" she exclaimed. I told her that was a nice idea, but that we could eat it ourselves later.

I haven't told her yet that it is no longer in the kitchen cupboard where she saw me hide it out of her reach. Later that night, after a long evening, I opened up that second package and spread it all on some pita bread with strawberry jam I made last summer. Yum.

She is going to be disappointed. I will have to go out and buy a full size jar of Nutella. For the girl, of course.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Again

Least you think I am sleeping like a log now that the husband has taken over night parenting duties of the boy, I am here to set you straight. With the boy being taken care of by the husband I am now responsible for the girl at night. This often involves the occasional drink of water or problem with blankets. (The girl likes to lie in bed and just call out for us. It is both a blessing and a curse that she hasn't realized yet that she can get out of bed, open the door to her room and come to ours.)

Last night though both kids decided to be sick. Yes, I am convinced it was a conscious decision on their part. They probably had another one of their telepathic conversations and decided I was getting entirely too much sleep. And why have a rational, sane mom when they can have one with an eye twitch that is prone to crying outbursts. I tell you, those kids!

Shortly before bed they both started coughing and we started repeatedly wiping their noses. This new cold of theirs made sleeping difficult. They were both happy enough to fall asleep but neither seemed to be able to get comfortable enough to stay asleep. I was with the girl in her room until almost one. She would fall asleep and then wake up moaning and crying, sounding as if she was being tied to some sort of medieval torture rack.

Finally she fell asleep and the boy was still up. The husband could get the boy to drift off to sleep in his arms but he would always wake as soon as he was put into the crib. The husband put in a valiant effort. Nothing was working. So I broke down. I took the boy to bed with me and nursed him to sleep.

What does this mean for our night weaning? I think we will have to see how the boy sleeps tonight and how he responds to the husband's attempts to get him back to sleep. If it doesn't seem to be working I will probably just take him to bed with me again. I can not deny him comfort from me when he is sick. And he has been wanting me, mostly me all day. However, once he has shaken this cold back he will go to daddy and back I will go to the land of nod. I hope.

Wish us luck.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sew Fierce Review and Giveaway - ENDED

I am very excited to be hosting a giveaway. Not just because I love giveaways and I love sharing, but because this giveaway is good. By good I mean that if you don't win you will probably be so mad at me that you will stop reading my blog. I am willing to risk it.
Stephanie is the creative force behind Sew Fierce. Steph lives in California and in between raising two young girls (the cute ones modeling all the clothes), she runs her own business selling amazing handmade clothes and accessories for babies and kids. She also sells her Sew Fierce Couture Clothing on Etsy.

I have been following Stephanie's blog A Pocket Full Of Buttons almost since the beginning of my blogging adventure. I like to craft vicariously and her beautifully designed kids clothing captured my imagination. One day she posted about her new pretty tulip sun hats and I realized that my problem about what to do with the girl's big head was solved.

After much deliberation I bought the girl the tulip hat in the cupcake pattern. It was a hard call between the cupcakes and the strawberries/ cherries but the girl loves her cupcakes. The hat was so reasonably priced ($10 US) that even with shipping and the exchange rate I felt like I was getting a deal. Steph was a pleasure to correspond with and shipped the hat to me very quickly.

I am in love with the cupcake hat. It is so cute and unlike anything else anyone else is wearing at the park or the girl's school. I appreciate that because when I am scanning around looking for her it can be annoying that three other little girls are wearing the same hat. That was what happened with the last hat she grew out of.


The girl wearing her cupcake hat, rain boots and a mismatched outfit I credit the husband with.


I also like that it is handmade and in buying it I am supporting another mom, another family. While she may live on the other side of the continent, buying handmade gives me a sense of community. My community just happens to be very geographically dispersed!

When I emailed Steph to tell her how much I loved the hat she asked me if I would like to do a review and giveaway. Um, yes! Steph kindly sent me a second tulip hat that is part of a new line she is creating. The girl was very excited with this new hat, pulling it out of the package and proclaiming "now I have two hats!". She examined it and said "it has flowers on it. It is for summer." Off she went in her new hat.



A close up of the girl's new hat.


While the cupcake hat is pretty much as cute as they come, the new hat is classy. Made with two different flower patterns in complimentary green and blue colours this hat just felt more refined to me. It is the kind of hat that a little girl could wear to a wedding or a family reunion and you wouldn't have to worry about ruining any pictures with bright cartoon characters. It is the kind of hat that you could easily dress up for any occasion. It also looks just as good paired with mismatched shorts and t-shirt, two pink bandages and a thick layer of sun screen. In case you are wondering.



I have no idea how Stephanie takes such great pictures of her girls because my girl would not stand still. She was running and jumping and croutching. This was the best front view of the hat I could get.


Stephanie would like to give you the chance to win one of her pretty tulip sun hats from her Etsy store. You can select between the small hats (size A) or the large hats (size B).


To enter: Visit Sew Fierce and leave a comment here telling me what caught your eye or which hat you would choose.

For additional entries do one or all of the following:
- Follow Capital Mom
- Follow A Pocket Full of Buttons
- Follow Steph's giveaway blog Mama's Empty Pockets
- Blog about the giveaway and link back to this post and Sew Fierce

The giveaway will end at midnight on July 28th, 2009. I will contact the winner via email and the winner will have 72 hours to respond or a new name will be chosen. If you don't have a blog you can still enter but please leave an email address where you can be contacted.

The giveaway is open to Canadian and US residents.

Good luck!

Hey you Ottawa mamas

If you are looking for something fun to do on a Monday morning, the Centretown Community Health Association is hosting some fun in the park on a rotational basis between St.Luke's park and Dundonald park. We stumbled on it yesterday and the painting, crafts, books, balls and Frisbees were enough to keep the girl occupied for a good hour and a half. I think she would have kept going if they hadn't had to leave.

Next Monday they will be at Dundonald (Somerset West at Bay) between 9:30 and 11:30 am. The following week they will be at St. Luke's (Elgin at Frank). Maybe we will see you there.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Something's gotta give

I was just managing, trying to hold it together and get through the nights. The boy has consistently been up at least twice a night these past few months. I would take him to bed with me the first time he woke up and nurse him back to sleep in our bed. The second time I would just roll over and nurse him. If I was lucky he would quickly fall back asleep. Sometimes I wasn't lucky.

Monday night pushed me over the edge. The boy was up six or seven times that night. The next day I was a mess. In my calmer moments I was frustrated. In my worse moments I was filled with anger. Angry with the boy for not sleeping through the night on his own. Angry with almost everything the kids did. Angry at myself for not coping better, for struggling so much.

I made it through Tuesday night, hopeful that things would improve. I felt better, more positive the next morning. Wednesday night was long and hard and once again I was a mess. This time I was beyond angry. I was despairing. I was empty. Something had to give. I was afraid it was going to be me.

When I spoke to the husband Thursday afternoon he was worried enough talking to me that he came home. We spent hours talking about what to do. Obviously the status quo wasn't working but I still needed to be convinced to make a change. That is the problem with exhaustion. You lose all perspective and can't see beyond that moment.

Finally a decision was made and I am grateful to the husband for making it. We decided that the husband would take over night parenting duties for the boy. What this meant for me was that I would stop night nursing. It was a hard decision to make, I struggled with feelings of guilt but I was at the wall. I was more than at the wall, I was in a brick cage with a cement floor.

The first night was difficult. The husband was able to resettle the boy easily each time he woke until 3:30 am. That time the boy finally realized that he wasn't going to be taken to our bed, that he wasn't going to see me. He cried for an hour and a half. I could hear him through the wall. The husband was amazing and kept cuddling him and singing to him until the boy finally fell asleep. The second and third night the boy woke numerous times but each time the husband was able to settle him back to sleep without any crying. I hope tonight will be even better.

I think that ten/eleven months is my limit for night parenting a baby. I went through these same feelings when the girl was this age and the husband had to take over night parenting then too. I comfort myself with the knowledge that she is a great kid and it didn't do her any harm.

This has been my journey this past week. I was afraid to say anything sooner. I wanted to wait and see how we were coping and managing. But I also wanted to share it with you.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

A weird day

It was one of those days where you wonder what has happened to your children and which planet the replacements are from. In the best possible way.

This morning the girl sat quietly on the couch and played by herself for over an hour. In case you missed what I just wrote I said OVER AN HOUR. That never happens. Ever. In the history of her life I don't ever remember her playing by herself, or even playing quietly, for that long. We kept checking on her by peaking our head into the living room just to make sure she was okay. There she was sitting on the couch surrounded by a menagerie of stuffed animals, all of them tucked under a blanket. That this happened while the boy was napping was a bonus.

At the farmer's market the girl announced that she had to pee. Oh, oh I thought. Usually those words, at least when we are out, mean that she has just peed. We had been sitting in the rain eating pad Thai at a picnic table while the husband and boy bought some groceries across the street, but I quickly managed to lock up the stroller with all our purchases and rush her into the building where the bathroom was located. I was pleasantly surprised, okay shocked, that she hadn't yet peed. We spent some very productive time in the bathroom and both of us were very proud of her accomplishment. It was a big step to remember to tell us that a pee is coming when we are out in the world and having fun.

I put the boy down for his afternoon nap and the husband put the girl in her room for her "quiet time". I have given up on the girls naps, figuring that it is worse on me to push it because they don't happen anyway. Today Hypnos, the Greek god of sleep, sent us some love because both kids napped for two and a half hours. Yes, I said TWO AND A HALF HOURS. The boy has never had a nap that long, never ever ever. For them to sleep for so long at the same time was like being given some very expensive gift I didn't even know I wanted. I celebrated by napping.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Cannibals

The lesson I learnt last night was not to jump out into an empty doorway screaming "boo" shortly before bed. Despite the fact that the girl and I had been playing at being bears and running up and down the hallway chasing each other, hiding from each other and then roaring, the girl was unprepared for my surprise. The result was a torrent of hysterical tears. Much comforting in my lap was needed to rectify the situation.

The girl had been playing in the boy's room while the husband got him ready for bed. In continuing with the bear theme I thought it would be funny to hide and have her come and find me, only to then jump out and surprise her. I should have taken closer note of the whine in her voice when she asked "where's mommy?". Instead, I stood outside the door laughing in anticipation of the fun to come.

When the girl finally recovered she seemed to need to talk through the whole experience. Once we were all in her room she wanted to be the bear and scare me. This involved me standing very still while she walked right up to me and roared. Not very scary, definitely no element of surprise there, but I could see where she was going with it.

This morning we had to play again. She was a little braver this time. We took turns coming in and out of the room and roaring at each other. The boy found it quite funny.

Tonight before the kids were herded upstairs to get ready for bed the girl informed me that we would be bears and that she would come and scare me. She did. Then she and I were both bears and we scared the husband. After that she, I and the husband were all bears and we scared the boy. Finally we were all bears.

"But who are we going to scare" the husband and both asked.

"Madeline" she said. (The girl loves to read the Madeline books. Somewhere along the way Madeline has also become her "boss").

"Where is Madeline?" I questioned.

"She is hiding behind the rocking chair" the girl answered.

Quietly the three of us tiptoed over to the rocking chair in our bedroom, the boy was crawling off in his own direction, and yelled boo.

"We scared her" I said.

"Yes", said the girl. "Now let's eat her!"

Just like that we went from a family of vegetarians to a bunch of wild cannibals. We did manage to stop the girl before she ate Miss Clavel.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Totally techically challenged

I don't really know how to do much with this blog (I am not even going to try to learn HTML) but I finally figured out how to load a picture. Yup, I am slow like that. But the husband is playing video games and the kids are sleeping (can I get a yay!) so I figured I could dedicate some time to it. Next I want to learn how to get a label cloud and move to three columns. Any tips are welcome.

The beauty of this blog

Yesterday was a hard day. I struggled to keep going and keep it together. Then I sat down here, on the couch, with the laptop and wrote. The act of writing, of thinking what I wanted to say and trying to articulate how I was feeling, was like an antidote. I was able to acknowledge it all, let go of it and move on. By the time I closed the computer I felt better.

We all have those moments, those days where we are overwhelmed. I have a lot of those since becoming a parent. I am thankful for this place I can come and write. And I am thankful for you. Thank you Julie and Beth for your comments last night. You were both so kind.

This is why I blog.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

He speaks but doesn't sleep

Last night the boy woke up at around 10:30pm. The husband went into his room to see if he could settle the little one back to sleep. Sometimes that works, sometimes that doesn't. It didn't work. Instead the boy started crying and yelling. Through the wall and over the baby monitor I heard "maam, maam". My heart expanded. He was calling me. He wanted me.

Lucky for the boy I was feeling so much love for him then and as I took him to bed with me because by the time morning rolled around I was feeling anything but. Instead I was frustrated, angry and irritated. He had been up six, or was it seven, times during the night. Each time I would nurse him back to sleep. Every time I tried to take the boob away, thinking that he was asleep already, he would howl and moan. It was a long night.

I had come to accept that he is up at night. At ten months he still wakes twice a night, never sleeping more than three or four hour stretches. I can manage that. What I can't manage is a repeat of last night.

Today has been a long day. Already tired to begin with, when I couldn't get the boy to sleep for his morning nap I was close to the breaking point. He would fall asleep in my arms only to wake whenever I put him down in the crib. I managed to bundle the two kids in the stroller and we headed out in the pouring rain. With a chai latte for me and a muffin for the girl I pushed the stroller and cried.

I am trying to be the parent I want to be, but I feel like I am failing miserably. My temper has been quick to flare and my patience short. I feel like the girl is bearing the brunt of my moods. I have had no time today for her usual almost-three year old antics. I want to be able to talk to her and teach her through these situations. Instead, if I have to tell her one more time not to push her brother I may scream.

I am very frustrated with the boy for not sleeping for me, either last night, this morning or even this afternoon. He did finally fall asleep in the stroller and the husband manged to get him down for a nap when he came home early from work sick. But why won't he sleep for me? And how do I cope?

I love the boy, I cherish him, I usually enjoy him. It touches me that he has been saying my name today "maam, mam" and reaching for me. But, honestly, I would rather that he sleep.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Unabashad joy

The boy is a pretty happy kid. As he should be. We love him like crazy, shower him with kisses and hugs and try, always trying, to be present and responsive in how we parent him.

No matter what we do though, it seems to be the little things that bring the boy the greatest joy. Like:

- Anything his sister does. The other day, as I nursed the boy on the couch with his sister sitting beside me, the girl started to blow kisses on his legs. Each time he would pull away from my nipple just enough to smile, and sometimes giggle, before he would latch on for more. This went on and on, the two of them playing. The way he laughs for her is different, deeper somehow than how he laughs for anyone else;

- A slice of watermelon. I bought a quarter of a watermelon at the local deli the other day and the boy could not get enough. He tried to pick up the entire piece but had to give up once he realized that it was too heavy for him to lift. He managed to lean down and nibble at it a bit. Finally I broke off a large chunk of the fruit. He happily sat and mauled it until watermelon juice and pieces covered his once clean shirt; and

- A green punching balloon. At least I think that is what it is called. It is a large green balloon with an elastic attached to one end that allows you to hit. The girl got it in a loot bag at the birthday party we went to a few weeks ago. The boy had seen it before yesterday, had in fact played with it. But it was only when I pulled it out of his closet where I had hidden it before his nap that I saw a look of pure unabashed joy, almost ecstasy on his face for the first time. His whole body quivered with excitement as if to say "that is the thing I have been looking for my entire life". He stretched out his arms in an impatient "gimme, gimme, gimme" motion. He grunted for it, telling me to hurry and give it to him, now, right this instant, before he has to live another moment without it. When I handed it to him I swear he sighed.

A virus

The bug that had the boy throwing up last week has been making it's way through the house. After the boy finally stopped vomiting, six times in four days, I got sick. I spent one morning last week being violently ill.

When I get sick I get bitter. My feeling is that I have already done my share of throwing up, thank you very much. If anyone in this house has to be upchucking I think it should be the husband. I did my part when I threw up every morning for nine weeks when I was pregnant with the girl. The sad part is that really wasn't even too bad. It was much worse when I was pregnant with the boy. Then I was throwing up in the early evenings which meant anything I had eaten for lunch or an afternoon snack was making it's way up.

(If you are looking for a good place to throw up in downtown Ottawa, let me know. I had to stop at a lot of places on my way home from work. I recommend the main floor bathroom at the Lord Elgin Hotel.)

The husband woke up feeling sick today. He decided to stay home and rest. I really hope he feels better soon. But I kind of hope that he throws up too.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Talking telepathically

My children are special in many ways. One of their most interesting skills is the ability to speak to each other telepathically. Let's listen in.

"How do you like your dinner?"

"Blech! Quinoa and swiss chard soup. Yuck! All I really want to eat is a piece of bread and butter. Or Cheerios. Usually if I complain long enough they will break out the cereal so I don't go to bed hungry."

"Man, I can't wait until I can eat bread. I am sick of eating baby food and cereal. The worst is the stuff mom makes herself. Why does she even bother?"

"You know, I think I am done with dinner. I'm just going to tell them that I am really tired and want to go to bed."

"But it isn't even 6:30 yet, will they believe you?"

"They will if I say it over and over. What are you going to do?"

"I think I will just keep spitting out the banana mom offers me and then maybe scream for a bit."

Later

"Are you asleep?"

"No. Are you?"

"No, I'm downstairs with mom. She tried to put me to bed. I counter with a fun game where I push her boob away whenever she offers it. That lasted awhile but then we stopped. I guess I won! I thought you would be asleep by now?"

"Nah, once dad put me in bed I realized that I wasn't really tired."

"Is that you I hear yelling?"

"Yes. I am trying to convince him that I should be awake. He doesn't seem to be listening very well! What are you going to do next?"

"Mom will probably try to take me back upstairs soon. I might nurse for awhile but then I think I will try doing some yelling too. Maybe twenty minutes or so. You have inspired me."

"Awe. I guess that is what big sisters are for. To teach you things. You know, it is pretty awesome having a brother. I wonder if we can convince mom and dad to have another kid".

"I bet we could. How could they not want another kid?"

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Girl time

We sat side-by-side in a booth. We coloured the children's menu while we waited for our food. I read to her over and over while we ate. She ate three slices of toast and I ate the rest. We talked and snuggled.

She is beautiful, my girl.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Delusions of craftiness

I want to be crafty, but I am not. A friend taught me to knit and I never finished my first scarf. I took a quilting class and never got around to piecing the quilt together. I did once make a slip-cover for our old couch. That involved draping the fabric over the couch, pinning it and then sewing it together and cutting off the excess fabric.

I think my problem is that I am lazy. I don't have the patience for the precision and attention to detail that is involved in crafting. All the measuring once, twice and three times. I prefer to just wing it. The results are usually not pretty.

Usually "crafts" in our house involve construction paper, crayons and scissors. That sounds more impressive than it actually is. The girl draws on the paper with crayons and then cuts the paper with her scissors. Craft done. But in my search for activities to do with the girl I thought some sewing might be fun. What? Is that the sound of you laughing?

The girl likes the sewing machine. The first time we used it she wanted to sit on my lap and help feed the fabric through. That was fun. Since then she still wants me to sew but she doesn't want to go anywhere near the sewing machine.

Last week we did two projects. The first was a doll sling for a friend of the girl's who will be a big sister soon. I figured this was the perfect thing for me to make because it draws on my strength, sewing straight lines. The sling turned out okay but was a bit wide because I couldn't be bothered to measure and cut the fabric smaller. That is my laziness rearing it's head.

The other project was a crown for the girl. I had seen some at the farmer's market a few weeks ago and thought "I can make that!". Of course I can, I just shouldn't. I cut out some batting and got to work pinning it to some gold fabric left over from the curtains in our bedroom (those were a success because of straight lines and my mother-in-law doing the measuring). Once I started to sew things went downhill. The problem with a crown is that it is pointy and you have to change directions. Lesson learnt. In the end it didn't matter because when the girl saw the half finished gold crown she freaked out and started yelling about how she only wanted the white crown. Yes, the batting is her new crown.

I am beginning to accept that I am not crafty, as much as I want to be. But I like the idea of having handmade things and not just things made in a factory in China. My compromise is to have handmade things that are not handmade by me. The best of both worlds.

Since discovering Etsy last year it has become my go-to place for shopping. Only if I can't find something there will I go to the mall or shop online. I have bought wooden teethers for the boy, jewelry for my sister and mother-in-law, face cream for me, a cape as a birthday gift and tote bags for the girl's teachers. I am currently debating about a wooden dollhouse as a birthday gift for the girl. The paper dollhouse she has is quickly being torn apart.

My last purchase from Etsy was a cupcake hat for the girl (the hat isn't an actual cupcake but it does have cupcakes on it). I bought it from Stephanie at A Pocket Full Of Buttons. Back when the only "mommy" blogs I knew about were giveaway blogs I would often read the other comments after I had submitted my entries and check out blogs based on their names. That was how I found Stephanie. She was one of the first blogs I followed, largely because I liked the post she wrote on blog etiquette and envied her amazing sewing skills. I am currently drooling over her backyard blues garden dress.

(For any giveaway lovers reading Stephanie has started a new giveaway blog with a friend called Mama's Empty Pockets and is giving away your choice of a hat like the one the girl has, a monogrammed bib with two burp cloths or custom embroidered wipes case. I would personally recommend the hat!)

Nope, I am not crafty. But I can bake. Luckily the girl also likes to bake and no precision or attention to detail is required. In fact, I am just happy if some to most of the ingredients make it in the bowl.



Thursday, July 2, 2009

TEN

Little boy, I didn't forget that you turned ten months old yesterday. I was just too busy talking about how much I love Grandma to write about it. And, you know what, you aren't so little anymore.

Almost daily people are surprised when they ask how old you are and I respond. Do you look wise beyond your years? While you are tall for your age I think they are more taken by your lack of a baby face. Gone are the chubby cheeks. In their place is the face of the boy you are becoming.

And the things you can do. Today you were standing on your own, balancing carefully in the sand. You will happily bang any two objects together for what seems like longer than any baby should find amusing. You like to listen to any music, much more so than your sister did. I like the little dance you do where you bop your torso back and forth. Just don't dance like that in high school or you will be dancing by yourself.

My favorite new trick of yours is making the rocking chair move. You have figured out if you grab onto the back of the chair and pull it towards you the chair will move too. Back and forth, back and forth you rock.

I can't wait to see your next trick.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Grandma is a saint

Once the girl started talking the husband decided to teach her how to parrot back certain words or phrases that he thought were funny. He'd say "What's daddy's secret?", she'd say "Ninja". (As if he is a ninja, ha). He'd say "What's soylent green made out of?", she'd say "People". (You have to be into science fiction to get that one). The best of all the tricks he taught her though was to say "Grandma is a saint".

Grandma is a saint. Not in the dead martyr kind of way, but in the kind of way where we would be lost without her. We look forward to her monthly visits with excitement and anticipation. We quickly move out of her way when she sweeps into the house with her coolers full of food and takes over to restore order to the chaos that has developed since she was last here. She does our laundry, organizes the kids rooms (okay, ours too) and helps us get a handle on all the house maintenance that we ignore the rest of the time.

In case you only think I await her visits because of her work ethic, not so! My mother-in-law also comes prepared to lavish these kids with attention and love. As soon as she is in the door the girl is asking her "Grandma, did you bring me a book?". Ha! She doesn't bring just one. She brings a bag full of books and activities to keep the girl amused and buy the husband and I some quiet time. For months the girl thought "an idea" was something fun that came from the closet in the kitchen. Once the girl figured out where Grandma's stash was hidden she would stand by it and look eager as she asked "Grandma, do you have an idea?".

What I really love is how much joy Grandma takes in the kids. She marvels as the boy's standing and his chatting. She takes pleasure in reading to the girl and learning about the new things the girl can do. This past visit she laughed at the girl's excited exclamation of "look, I see pig poo" during out trip to the Canadian Agricultural Museum and shared in her excitement of the horses. Grandma stayed calm and helped me figure out what do when the boy threw up all over himself and his car seat while we were out for a drive down a busy street. The boy must love Grandma too because he kindly refrained from vomiting onto her upholstery.

Grandma leaves tomorrow and I am sad. The help she has given us these last ten months (ten months today!) since the boy was born have been so indispensable. If you had asked us before the girl was born we would have said "no problem, we can do this kid thing on our own". If you had asked us before the boy was born we would have said "um, yeah, we kind of, sometimes need some help". If you asked us now we would tell you that we can't do it without Grandma.

To quote another phrase the husband has taught the girl, "yay Grandma!".