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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Telepathic Conversations: the 1920s edition

My children are special. Very special. They also have special superpowers. Together they share the ability to speak to each other telepathically. I can't hear them, but I can imagine the conversation.

"I say old chap, what's with the funny expression?"

"Well, o sister of mine, I was just thinking how nifty it is that you get to go to preschool. Me? I'm stuck with our wet blanket of a mother all day. She's a regular Mrs. Grundy, I tell ya. I can't wait until I can ditch the old bag and have a whole morning to gallivant around with my chums."

"School is pretty swell. It's the bees knees! Lots of books and toys. Plus there is a cup of juice at snack time, something mother would never let us drink. Your turn will come though."

"Will it? What do I need to do to get into that joint of yours?"

"I don't rightly know! One day they just took me to school. It did kind of happen around the same time I stopped napping. Maybe that was why?"

"And how! That's the ticket. All I have to do is stop napping and then I can go to school too. I think I will start right now! Well... maybe I'll take a little snooze in the stroller after we drop you off at school. I mean, gosh, I have been up since before 5 am. I could do with a little shut eye. But only as long as mother keeps walking. As soon as she stops I will be awake and raring to go."

"Attaboy! But what about the old bird? She's going to want you to nap this afternoon. She is always mumbling something about a 'break'?"

"Let me deal with the Jane. I have just the plan. A little hysterical crying, some pounding on the door to my room and a few nipple bites and she'll be throwing in the towel so fast that I'll be in preschool before I know it. I tell you, she won't try more than twice to get me to sleep. I'll show her who's the big cheese."

"Now, don't take any wooden nickels! You want to get out of your nap but you don't want to push her over the edge. Not completely."

"I'm no hood, I know what I'm doing. And once the deed is done we can spend the afternoon playing. Toss the ball around, play with your doll house.."

"No, not my doll house. It's an orchid!"

"Sure, sure. Whatever you say tomato....at lest until you aren't looking..."

Monday, September 28, 2009

Mousies

It wasn't until this weekend that I realized the girl has imaginary friends. Her mousies have been around for a while now, but I had never thought of them in that way before. Probably because she talks more about them than to them.

"My mousies don't like pizza" she'll say when I announce what I am serving for dinner that night. Or when I moan about my foot hurting she will respond with "my mousies hurt their arm last week but it is okay now". Her mousies seem to be a way for her to process the events occurring around her and to provide an opinion or comment on them. Not her own of course. Her mousies.

The first time I remember hearing about the mousies was at the park last spring. I was putting the boy in one of the baby swings when she walked over to the other swing and declared "I'm going to push my mousies in this swing".

I'm not certain where the mousies came from. She has one stuffed mouse that was a gift from my dad and step-mom but she rarely plays with it. She had watched Ratatouille for the first time in the Spring but she is pretty clear on having mice and not rats. For which I am thankful. For some reason imaginary mice friends are much more acceptable to me than imaginary rats. Shudder.

Last week I happened to ask her how many mousies there were. "Seven" she said. The next time I asked her the mousies were up to eight. i refrained from enquiring if a new friend had joined them or if a baby mouse had been born. We seem to be holding steady at eight.

I am curious to see what happens with these mousies of hers. I never had any imaginary friends. At least I don't remember any. But I think these mousies are good for her. They let her pretend and imagine. They let her relate to us as the voice of authority on the desires of her mousies and not just our daughter.

Yes, I like the mousies. I like hippo too. And I am very thankful that we only have a houseful of imaginary animals.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Two points to the boy

The boy has now decided that he likes baths. This occurred sometime last week when his sister was in the bathtub and he decided he wanted to climb in and join her. Fully dressed. Once he was in the tub they played and splashed and were adorable to point of disgustingness. Seriously, I wish I was even a tenth as cute as they are.

His typical response at the sight of a bathtub full of water has been to cry and scream so I have no explanation for the complete and sudden reversal in attitude. Maybe he suddenly realized that water is fun? Maybe he decided that if it was something the girl does he wants to do it too?

Since then he has had two more baths that he has thoroughly enjoyed. In fact, when the husband took him out of the tub tonight he cried and tried to hurl his little body over the edge and back into the water. Instead of him screaming as we carried him towards the bathtub he screamed as I carried him back to his room for bed.

Oh wait, I think I know why he likes the bath so much now. After his experience a few nights ago, I do believe he has decided that nothing beats the feeling of pooping in a bathtub full of warm water. He may even have set himself a goal of pooping in every bath he takes. If he could count I would think he was keeping score.

I wonder if he gets bonus points if his sister is in the bath with him?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Guests

Any new thing that disrupts the girl's routine is like a pebble thrown into a pond. It appears to sink straight to the bottom but in reality those ripples are deep and far reaching.

Grandma is at our house right now. This means that our house is neat and clean, we have good food to eat and our life feels, momentarily anyways, less chaotic. But. I love having her as a guest but there is a but.

But the girl is having trouble sleeping and she is, shall we say, more energetic. Okay, fine. She's crazy! Yesterday after picking her up from school she started crying. She cried all the way home. (I almost left her by the side of the canal when we were walking and she was crying and whining.) She cried once we were at home. She cried and cried and cried and was inconsolable.

It seems like whenever someone comes and stays with us, and not just Grandma, she has trouble sleeping while she gets used to them being in the house. She also becomes less like herself. This adjustment is difficult. For everyone.

That is why I have come up with the perfect solution. Instead of Grandma coming to stay and everyone having to deal with the adjustments that entails, Grandma should just never come and visit. Instead she should live in our basement. We'll even finish it for her.

I think this is win-win.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Green pepper

I bought three green peppers at the farmer's market last weekend. My plan was to cook them in a stir fry. I do love my stir-fries. Some veggies, tofu and a sauce of vinegar, soy sauce, sugar and fresh basil. Yum.

(On a side note the girl loves her stir-fries too. At a playgroup this morning we all went around the circle saying what our favorite food was. Lots of cake, pizza and, what was that, stir fry. Yes, that's right, the girl said her favorite food was stir fry. The other parents laughed but I felt a bit smug. She even likes to make stir-fries in the play kitchen at her preschool. I think a play wok may be in order.)

I only ended up using two of the green peppers in the stir fry I made on Tuesday night. The pan was already full with peppers and zucchini. I figured I would save the last pepper for snacks the next day. When I went looking for it on Wednesday to add to the pizza I was making for lunch I could find hide nor hair of it. I searched the fridge from top to bottom and even started taking things out of the fridge in my search to find the missing pepper. Finally, and only because it was lunchtime and I needed to get some food on the table before the kids started chasing me with forks, I gave up on the pepper.

I never would have found it.

As I sat nursing the boy before his nap this afternoon, I glanced into his cupboard. Tucked on top of a bag of clothes he has grown out of on the bottom shelf in his cupboard was the pepper. From my vantage point across the room I thought I could see teeth marks in the pepper. I can't be sure though because I forgot the pepper in his room.

It's been there for a day or two already. What's one more?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The birthday season

Today is the end of the birthday season in our house. It started with the girl, continued with the boy and ends with me. Today is my birthday.

Last night at dinner I reminded the girl that it was my birthday the next day. I asked her if she remembered how old I was going to be. We had talked about it a couple of times but I didn't actually expect her to remember. "Thirty-three" she said. Yup, she remembered! We were so surprised that the husband and I both started clapping. I am sure she now thinks that thirty-three is a special number. I really hope it is.

I think this is shaping up to be the best birthday since having kids. The first birthday I celebrated by having two couples over for ordered-in Vietnamese food. The five week old girl took turns laying in my arms while we ate and sitting in her bouncy chair. The second birthday my sister and brother-un-law babysat the girl while the husband and I went to Le Nordik and then out for lunch. Spending some time together, away from home and all the chaos, was wonderful. I don't even remember my last birthday. The boy was three weeks old then. Did we have a dinner? Did I get presents? No idea.

This morning the birthday celebrations started as soon as I walked downstairs. The girl handed me a card she had made and everyone started singing happy birthday. Presents were opened immediately as we sat on the living room couch. The husband bought me two things that I think are going to help me get through the winter. A very lovely yoga bag off of Etsy (a good way of motivating me to keep going!) and travel mug from Starbucks. Coffee and yoga. Two things I can see relying on more and more.

Yes, I am sure that this is going to be the best birthday ever with kids. Or, at least a better day than yesterday. I'll settle for that.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The moral of the story

I try to see the positive in a situation. I really do. I try to learn from my experiences and take away at least some grain of wisdom for the next time.

Today I learnt that you should never tell another mom how much you love staying at home with your children. Because after you do your day is going to suck.

It will suck in the way that your three year old decides to have a nap but your one year old won't. In the way that you will try on and off for over two hours to get said one year old to nap. Instead, your one year old will rub his closed eyes and snuggle against you only to turn on you moments later screaming and wiggling like a wild pig, pointing frantically at the door to his room. It will suck so bad that you will put him in his crib, close the door and climb under the covers where you will call your husband and ask him to come home. You will suddenly be so exhausted and tired that you would happily trade your children for a weeks worth of sleep.

And all because you told another mom how much you loved to spend your days with your darling children. Oh, and maybe also because the boy had a whole thirty minute nap in the stroller this morning at 8:30 am.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The people in my neighborhood

The park is pretty much our second home. We go there instead of hanging out in our small backyard. We have our birthday parities there. We meet friends there. We make friends there. I love the park.

I feel like it is our park. But of course it isn't. It is also their park. It is the park of people I don't know. People who aren't there when I am. People who frequent the park in different shifts than I do. (I'm on the 9 am -noon and 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm shifts.)

Part of the impetus behind our Fall party in the park yesterday was to meet other families who use the park. To build some community between all of us. So that the next time we are at the park at the same time we will remember we've met before and will talk like old friends.

The party came about because a bunch of parents were talking about starting a parents group for the park. A group that would organize fun activities for the kids, strengthen connections between parents and advocate the interests of parents to the overseers of the park. We are getting closer to establishing this group. In the meantime we went ahead and threw a party.

A handful of us cobbled together the necessary components for a party. One mom brought paints and apples for fall-themed crafts. I ran the scavenger hunt that had kids searching the park for hidden construction paper leaves to stick on a paper tree. MamaMimis brought her son's basketball hop and a basket full of balls. Another mother lead a creative and interactive outdoor drama class. Frugal + Urban was the official greeter and made sure all the parents felt welcome and that their kids joined in. People brought snacks and the Second Cup next door to the park donated coffee.

The party was a success. We had over thirty kids, some I knew and some I didn't. With our limited promotion we were all very pleased. There is already talk of a winter party with sleds, snowman and snow painting. I can't wait.

Oh, and in case you are wondering the girl had a blast. She may have been momentarily disappointed to find out that there was no cake and ice cream at this party, but she recovered quickly when she saw her friends. I think my highlight of the morning was reenacting a very spirited version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears for her and four of her friends. There is nothing like running as fast as you can away from five two-to-four year olds pretending to be bears intent on eating you.

The boy was not as happy. With four (yes FOUR) new teeth breaking through he has been miserable these last few days. He ended up missing half of the party because he was napping when it started and left early for another nap. Poor little guy.

Lucky for him there will be more parties in the park.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Fall Equinox

If you live in Ottawa and want to help us celebrate the arrival of Fall please join us for a little party at St. Luke's Park (Elgin and Frank) from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm tomorrow Saturday, September 19th. Some of the park parents are organizing the party and we will have snacks, crafts, a scavenger hunt that I need to go finish prepping for and some drama games for preschoolers.

It should be a great time! If you can't join us, I am sure I will have one or two stories from the morning to share. At least.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Monkey see, monkey do

He watches her. He watches and copies her. He learns from her. He wants to do what she does.

He climbs over the couch cushions lying on the floor and into the belly of the couch. She is sitting there reading, surrounded by books. He picks up a book too and sits beside her. He pretends to read.

From his perch on my left hip he leans away from me to grab a marker from inside her bucket of art supplies. He watches her as she sits at the kitchen table and moves her paintbrush across the white paper. I place him down on the floor with a scrap of paper I have ripped of from the roll. The cap still on the marker he drags it back and forth drawing a picture of his own.

One hand on the back of the chair and the other on the little table he pulls himself up onto the seat. He pauses for a moment before lowering himself down to a sitting position. He grabs one of the wooden dolls on the table in front of him. He moves the doll from the bed to the table to the chair and back again. He dances the doll in and out of the dollhouse.

Standing at the bottom of the slide he tries to claw his way to the top. Gripping the blue plastic sides of the slide he propels his legs forward, willing them to carry him up up up. He yells at me to hold his hands, now outstretched, and help him to reach his destination.

Just like his sister.

Monday, September 14, 2009

A letter to the boy

Happy birthday!

I can't believe you are fifteen already. The years sure have flown by. It seems like just yesterday that you were a little baby learning to walk and talk. Wandering around in your red diaper. Playing cars with your sister. Making your dad walk up and down our street at 1 am in an attempt to get you to sleep.

Oh, how I miss those days. As a birthday surprise I have decided to try to recapture some of those special times. For the next week I will be waking you up each night by standing in the middle of your room crying. Loudly. I will crawl into bed with you and thrash about until you want to abandon your own bed. I will pretend to fall asleep only to wake you with my laugh just as you start to drift off. This may go on for twenty minutes or three hours. It will be entirely at my whim.

Really, those were special, special times. I am so very excited to be sharing them with you.

All my love,

Mom

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Today

I am hot. The air is heavy with moisture that clings and drips off my body. I breath deeply, inhaling the eucalyptus scent. My lungs are full of the dampness but I push through, willing myself to relax and embrace the humidity.

When I can stand it no longer I signal to my friend. Through the billows of steam we walk towards the door and the coolness of fresh air.

*

I watch the large white cloud as it slowly enters into my narrow line of vision. From deep within the hammock I stare in amazement at the size of the cloud. I watch it drift.

I raise my head in order to try to determine the path it is taking. Thinking that it will soon consume the blue of the sky above me I lie back. As the hammock sways I watch it skirt around my line of sight before it disappears.

*

The girl shakes her new piggy bank, making the three pennies inside jump up and down. She is in love with her new piggy bank.

Do you want to take the money to the bank and save it? I ask her as we begin to play pretend.

Yes! she says.

Or, I suggest, do you want to take your piggy bank to the store and spend the money?

I want to go to the store she says.

What kind of store will you go to?

A money store! she exclaims.

What will you buy there? I ask her.

More money! she says joyously.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A weekend away

It is a weekend away for me. Away from the kids, if not the city. Today and tomorrow I have, and will, spend hours away from them. More hours away then I have yet to spend since the boy was born.

Earlier this week a tweet went out from @Sherriemae23 looking for people to work her Wee Welcome booth at the Baby Boom show here in Ottawa. I saw Sherrie's tweet when it was RT (retweeted) and responded right away. I thought, why not? Do something different, have a break from the kids and make a little money. Sounds good to me.

I enjoyed myself today, despite standing on my feet for close to eight hours. I got to take bathroom breaks, wander around and chat to other adults. It was enjoyable to be "working" even if I wasn't back at work. Really, it felt more like an extended social hour as I handed out ballots for a free draw and encouraged parents to enter their kids in the photo contest. I also had a chance to meet Cherie-Lynn and watch her work her photography magic on the babies and toddlers who happily or not so happily posed under their parents direction.

(I should note that every other parent at the show should be thrilled that I didn't bring my kids because they are obviously the cutest and would win any cute kid contest. And I am being completely unbiased in that assertion.)

I managed not to spend all the money I earned while at the show. I did break down and buy some laundry detergent for our cloth diapers and a new red cloth diaper for the boy. Overall though I was quite impressed with myself. The fact that I was surrounded by hundred of cute and functional diapers and I only bought one shows real determination. I think that it helped that I was distracted by the funky pair of black babylegs I also bought. What can I say? Everyone knows that urban babies wear black and he is an urban baby.

I could easily spend all the money I earned today on the kids. But I won't. With my maternity leave now over we are living on one salary and managing just fine, but there isn't a lot left for extras. So while I could save the money for the new car seat the boy needs, I am going to blow it all on me. I need extras too.

Tomorrow a friend, another mom from the park who has kids close in age to mine, and I are going to indulge ourselves in a morning at Le Nordik spa followed by lunch. I could not think of a better way to spend the day or treat myself. I plan to sit in the sauna until my skin starts to crackle and my nostrils start to burn. I will lie in a hammock under the sunny sky. I will pretend that I don't feel uncomfortable wandering around in a bathing suit and try not to run from the steam room straight into the pool. I will enjoy myself. An added bonus will be the chance to talk to this new friend without kids interrupting us or throwing sand at each other.

I am liking this time for me. I am liking the idea of time for me. As bad as I can be at making it happen, now that it has happened it will surely have to be repeated soon.

Best of all I know that everyone was fine with out me. Oh, they were all thrilled to see me come home. The boy walked down the hall towards me, arms outstretched, as soon as I walked in the door. Crying for me to pick him up and put him to bed. The girl ran to me for hugs. But without me around they still had fun, had lunch and dinner, had time to get very very dirty. They even managed to discover that the boy does not like goats.

But that is a story for another day.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Flat tire

We were headed to the children's garden this morning for an outdoor playgroup and tomato-eating-off-the-vine session when the stroller got a flat tire. All of a sudden I noticed that the left back wheel was not rolling as smoothly as it should. The wheel (a bike wheel) was totally flat.

With the kids squeaking in the stroller, I pulled off the sidewalk to figure out what to do. We were half-way to the garden but I didn't think that the stroller wheel could handle being pushed there and home. Or that the girl would be happy to walk that far.

Luckily I had remembered to bring the cellphone with us today so I called the husband for advice. My brain was not processing what to do very well. With the boy strapped to my back (I had also thankfully remembered my carrier) and the girl walking beside me I pushed the stroller towards home while waiting for the husband to pick up his phone. In his infinite wisdom he suggested I take the stroller to the bike shop right around the corner from where I was standing.

That is why I married him. He is smart like that.

As we waited for the light to change the friends we were to meet up with at the garden came upon us. Seriously, I was having some excellent luck today. Well, except for the wheel being punctured. Still, their arrival helped keep the girl entertained while I dealt with the very helpful people from the bike shop. Out on the street the sale clerk from Cyco's changed the punctured tire while the boy watched from my back. It was the best $12 I have spent in a long time.

What I have taken from all of this is how difficult it can be for me to think about what to do in a situation when I am in the situation. All I could think about was getting the stroller home and what a struggle that would be. How we would need to buy a new tire and how expensive that would be. My tunnel vision was in full force.

Sometimes the best thing for me to do is just ask other people what to do. They may seem things more clearly then I do. Like the husband. However, while the husband had the right idea this time, I am still right 94.5% of the time.

I want to make it cleat this hasn't affected my average.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Dinnertime

The doorbell rings. I rush to the front door and find everyone huddled in the doorway. As soon as she see me the girl cries "Mommy" as if she hasn't seen me in years. She rushes into my arms and clutches me tight. She then turns towards the kitchen yelling "I'm hungry! I need dinner". As if we haven't fed her in years.

In the husband's arms the boy frantically waits his turn for me. His arms reach out and he leans towards me assuming I will catch him. As he sees his sister running to the kitchen he starts to yell. "Nanna, nanna, nanna" he shrieks. "I guess he is hungry too" I say.

Nanna. It has come to mean not just banana but all food. He shouts it when he sees anything he wants on the dinner table. He shouts it when he wants to eat. He shouts it way more then he actually says mama or da.

I dish our dinner onto the plates waiting on the counter. The boy walks purposefully to his highchair. He grabs the legs and tries to pull himself up. He tries very , very hard to climb the foot and a half into his chair. "Nanna, nanna" he yells.

Time to eat.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Rant

I am not feeling like myself today. I feel like me from six, seven months ago. Okay fine, two, three months ago. When I was crazy and irritable and impatient. I thought that me was gone but she seems to be back with a vengeance.

I'm not sure why. I do have some theories.

One, I am now getting too much sleep. My body can't handle the fact that I actually get six or seven hours of sleep most nights. It is like my body is angry to have been without sleep for so long and now that it is getting some sleep it is angry it isn't getting more. Most mornings I wake up exhausted and cranky. I want naps everyday. I want to sleep for days. And when I do go to sleep I sleep like the dead. I often don't hear the kids when they wake up in the night, which means the husband has to go and check on them. About the only thing that will wake me up is loud shouting and profanity right underneath our window from the University partiers on the way home from the bars.

My other theory is that the boy's decreased interest in breastfeeding is messing with my hormones. I still haven't gotten my period yet and was kind of hopping that I wouldn't get it until after I weaned him. It didn't come back until two months after I weaned the girl. Which was totally awesome. I don't really want it back, thank you very much. My periods make me crazy. Crazier.

The sum total of this rant is that I am struggling with the kids today. Things that I could normally handle are making me want to cry and scream. When the boy fell asleep in the stroller on the way home from a playgroup and woke up as soon as we walked in the house I lost it. I sat in the middle of the kitchen floor and sobbed. The girl came up to me and asked me what are you feeling? I told her I was feeling sad. She hugged me. The boy came over and hugged me too.

I just want today to be over. I will let the girl watch some tv and the boy play with the pots and I will muddle through. I will try to be nice to them and myself.

Rant done.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Yoga class

The girl and I took a yoga class together yesterday. It was the girl's first yoga class. Given her love of yoga I thought she would love the class. She did like it. For the first half anyway. By the end of the class she was in my arms crying.

Maybe it was her, maybe it was me.

I was close to calling off the whole thing before we even left the house. I wanted to walk the couple of blocks to the yoga studio because I didn't know if there would be anywhere to leave the stroller. She wanted to take the stroller. I said no. Hysterics followed. Then she wanted to take the wagon. I said no. More hysterics. I asked her if she wanted to stay home. She said yes then no, so we went to yoga anyway.

Things improved once we got to the class. She sat on her mat watching the few other kids that were there. The girl looked awfully cute in the blue leotard I had bought second hand and some leggings. Her blond pigtails all wavy from having been in braids for so long.

She really seemed to enjoy the first half of the class. She did most of the poses, she had an excited expression on her face. We pretended to be butterflies, gorillas and giraffes as part of the warm up and she played right along. In fact, she was happy to answer all and any questions the teacher asked. She was also happy to make suggestions of different poses we should be doing, like penguin or lion.

This is where I feel like things are my fault. I asked her a number of times to be quiet so the teacher could talk and to just listen. I don't know if that was what made her lose interest in the class or if she just got tired or if an hour was too long for her. But she stopped participating, wanted a snack and became whiny.

Guilt. After the class I worried that I had ruined it for her. I want her to be excited and exuberance about things, about life. I want her to ask questions and have ideas. I just wasn't sure how to balance that with the class setting. I am okay with her yelling out answers to the teacher and making suggestions but I wasn't sure if the teacher was. Or the other parents. The teacher seemed to have a routine she was following. I didn't want us to be responsible for disrupting the class.

Today I am still feeling upset when I think about it. Upset that I may have taken some of the joy out of the class for her. Upset that I was not more relaxed and okay with her being herself during the class.

Maybe this is more about me than her. My inability not to follow rules, schedules. I don't like feeling that order has been disrupted. That I have disrupted it.

Maybe, instead of practicing yoga, I need to be practicing acceptance.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Balloons

When I walked into her room she was standing at her window. "Balloons" she said, pointing at the sky. There framed between two maple trees was a red and white striped hot air balloon. "You're right" I said as I watched it drift across the sky.

"Balloon! Stop!" the girl cried as it disappeared from view. "Balloons don't stop" I said. "They keep going".

It was a year ago during the last hot air balloon festival that the boy was born. I could see half a dozen of them cross the sky as I lay in the hospital bed, the boy in my arms. My mother-in-law made a joke that the balloons were sent up to celebrate his birth. She took a picture.

Despite the fact that he just turned one this week, I am only now feeling the magnitude of the year passing. He is not a baby any more. Gone is the wee little one whose nose took up a third of his face. No more tiny hands and feet. No baby smells. I knew from watching the girl that he would grow too quickly and so I tried to stay present and enjoy his babyhood while I could. Sometimes I was successful but I often I was too tired, too overwhelmed.

I would like to have that baby back for a little while. Just a few hours. I could give him some cuddles. Stoke his hair. Marvel at his beauty.

Then I would want my big guy back. The past year has shown me who he is and taught him so much. He walks everywhere on his own now. He feeds himself with a spoon. He cradles the phone against his head and says "hi". He makes "rrrmmmmm" noises as he pushes a car across the floor. He gives me kisses by pressing his open mouth against my cheek. He learnt to nod his head during a recent 2am snack time. He pretends to wipe my nose with a Kleenex. He happily lies across the body of our cat, nuzzling his head into the cat's fur.

Tonight he was coming out of his room with the husband as I reached the top of the stairs. Dressed in his two piece blue pajamas, a toothbrush in one hand, he toddled over to me and lifted up his arms. Once I picked him up he turned his body back towards his doorway. "Da" he said, letting me know that it was time for me to put him to bed.

Balloons and babies. They don't stop. They only keep going.

Fantasy

I fantasize everyday. Not about sex, shoes or an exotic vacation. I fantasize about a new double jogging stroller. One with a foot and a half mental divider between the two kids.

Don't get me wrong, our stroller is good. It is a double bike stroller that we use with a jogging wheel attachment. This means that the wheels are large and perfect for pushing through snowbanks in the winter. The sides are enclosed and there is a heavy plastic cover I can pull down over the front. It is a perfect stroller for us in the winter since we don't have a car and walk everywhere.

The problem, and sometimes it feels like a colossal problem, is that the kids sit next to each other in the stroller. There is no divider between them, nor are they in individual seats. They are nestled snugly against each other in the belly of the stroller. While it can be very sweet to see them all squished together it is becoming more of an issue as the boy gets older.

The boy has just realized that sitting next to his sister means that he can play with his sister. He can grab her hair and pull at it. He can reach for her snacks. He can kick his legs at her. He can rest his head against her shoulder while he sleeps. Today I had to stop the stroller a number of times because the boy's hand was touching the girl and she was not happy about it.

Of course, the boy isn't the only one doing the touching. The girl will tickle him, push him and grab things from him. The first time I realized that we may have a problem on our hands was last month. When I became concerned that the kids were entirely too quiet inside the stroller, I peaked in and saw the boy asleep, his head leaning on the girl. She had her arm wrapped around the top of his head. All very lovely. Until I realized that she wasn't gently stroking his neck with her fingers. She was pinching him.

So I fantasize. Every time I put them in the stroller and go for a walk I fantasize about a new stroller. I can't decide if it is worth finding a new stroller, probably a used stroller, or if I should just tough it out. Maybe they will like being cuddled so close together during the winter. Maybe by next spring the girl will want to walk everywhere. Maybe they will realize their deep and all consuming love for each other and stop driving each other crazy.

Maybe.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Crayola Trinity

Scissors, paint and glue.

On the way home from playgroup at the children's garden this morning we stopped at a friend's house. They had been away for the joint birthday party and the girl's friend wanted to give her a gift. It was a thoughtful gift. A gift that reflected the girl's love of drawing and colouring and crafting. A gift that is now hidden on top of our refrigerator.

The gift was a large carrying case full of Crayola crayons, pencil crayons, paint tubes, stamp markers, glittery glue sticks and scissors. The girl wanted to open everything immediately once she received it. She didn't care that we were standing in the middle of a residential street. She wanted it open and she wanted to draw. I made her wait until we got home.

The boy was asleep by the time I pulled the stroller up in front of our house. I unloaded the girl and all our gear before bringing the boy inside. I even got the girl upstairs and left her as she headed to her room with the open bucket of Crayola goods. Much to her dismay I left without opening each of the individual packages. I thought she would be happy with the box of crayons that I knew she could open herself. No. Just as I settled the boy into his crib I heard her yelling like a banshee for me to come and open it up!

I did. I opened up everything. She was so excited and wanted to start drawing on her construction paper right away. I was smart enough to take away the paint and glue since I didn't want it to get on her bed. I should have just hidden them right then. Unfortunately I did leave her with the scissors.

Not that I realized anything was amiss at first. I should have. She was much too quiet. I had the opportunity to clean the kitchen a bit and grab a snack before she started yelling for me to come and get her from her room. Right away I noticed the cut up purple construction paper on her bed. I did not notice that she had cut her hair until we sat together on the couch a few hours later. "Did you cut your hair?" I asked. "Yes" she said.

My guess is that she picked up the scissors in her right hand and then cut a chunk of hair out of the top of her right pigtail. At first I thought that some of her hair must not have been pulled through the elastic all the way and that was why it was sticking up near her head. It looked like a tiny bundle of straw.

I decided to leave it there, sticking out of her pigtail. I was partly too nervous to take out the elastic and see exactly how much hair had been cut away. The other part of me wanted the husband to see it. Even though I took a picture, I still wanted him to witness it for himself. It would have been smarter to have removed the hair immediately. By bath time raspberry juice and melted Popsicle made it impossible to remove the cut hair that was now matted down and clumped with the rest of her blond hair. We had to take the scissors to it ourselves in order to cut away the clump.

The discovery of the cut hair happened after I had left her on the floor of the sunroom happily playing with her gift. She was fascinated by the five paint tubes. When I looked over at her after a little more kitchen cleaning (with two kids there is always kitchen cleaning) she had squeezed multiple colours of paint all up and down her legs. Even her feet were decorated. There was much sighing on my part and protesting on her part that she wouldn't do it again. I still tided up all the art supplies and put them back in the container. I wiped off as much of the paint as I could. We moved on to other things.

Except that later I needed to keep her occupied while I dealt with a dirty diaper. And I was sure that she wouldn't dare paint her legs again. Not after the talk we had had. True to her word she didn't. When I came back in the room she had decorated her legs and arms with the coloured, glittery glue.

More sighing, more protesting. Everything went back in the container and the container went on top of the fridge. The girl assured me that it wouldn't happen again. I do believe her. I don't think she will cut her hair, paint her legs or try to adorn herself with glittery glue for awhile. I'm not worried about that. I'm worried about what else she could possibly do.

Scissors, paint and glue.

Google Reader

I am in love with Google Reader. Now that I have moved on over to it I am enjoying the ease with which I can find out which of my favorite bloggers has a new post. But, and here's the but, it has made me a lazy reader. I find myself scrolling through posts on my Reader, skimming and moving on to the next one without clicking onto the blog and leaving a comment. That makes me feel bad. I love when I know that people have visited me and have left me a comment. I assume other bloggers do too.

Please know that I have probably read your blog even if I haven't left a comment. I am going to try to be less lazy. If I don't find myself making the effort to leave more comments I am going to have to give up google reader.

*gasp*

Hopefully it won't come to that.

Please don't ask me if Twitter has decreased my posting frequency because I really can't give up Twitter.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Second first day

The girl started back at her pre-school today. We have been talking about it for the last week, trying to prepare her and ease the transition as much as possible. To my surprise the transition seems to have gone seamlessly. She was happy to see her teachers again and ran off into her classroom. I think she waved goodbye to me.

In order to leave I had to pick up the boy, who I think would have happily stayed himself, and carry him out of the classroom. I felt a little sad as I walked to the cloakroom to pick up my bag. Sad that next year she would be starting kindergarten and doesn't that just make her such a big kid. Sad that soon enough the boy will be starting pre-school too. The days may be long but the years are starting to go quickly.

In fact the whole thing seemed a little uneventful. I was expecting it to be a little more like last year. She started pre-school last January as soon as she turned two and a half. I was so happy that they had the space to let her start mid-year, but soon I was wrestling with whether or not we should pull her out. She cried every time we dropped her off and picked her up. Sometimes she cried in her classroom, asking for me. She had never been away from me or the husband before so it really was a big transition. She was often fine once school was underway but it took about two months before she could go the whole morning with out crying.

Today she told her teacher when we arrived "I'm not going to cry at school". In fact, before we left this morning before she said to the husband "I don't want to be at home, I want to be at school". She was a little edgy when I picked her up after school but I attribute that more to her waking up at 4:30 am this morning than anything else. The early start to the day was likely due to her excitement about school, which is kind of sweet. Of course I can say that since I got to sleep in while the husband got up with her.

No, I think the girl is going to be okay. She knows the routine, she loves her teachers, everything about the school is amazing. I have no worries about her at all.

Now I just have to figure out what to do with myself while she is at school. One kid for only three hours? It's almost too easy.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

ONE

September 1, 2008
6:47 AM
7 lbs 15 ozs

Monday. Labour Day. My due date.

I was huge. I had expected him to come early. He felt late to me but he was right on his time. We looked out the window and saw half a dozen hot air balloons in the sky celebrating his arrival.

We didn't have a name. We thought, speculated the baby would be a girl. Surprise. He was named the next day at home when we proposed a name to the girl and she repeated it easily and perfectly in her two-year old voice.

What a lovely surprise.




(You know I am not responsible for this gorgeous picture. Shawna took it at our family photo shoot. I AM responsble for his gorgeousness.)