Thursday, November 26, 2009

And So It Begins

I knew that when Jill started school she wouldn't just be bringing home stories of her daily adventures. There would be new germs, new friends, and new words.

I just wasn't as prepared as I thought I was for the new words.

Since starting daycare and school she has taken to kicking me out of the family. She is no longer my friend, and yesterday I was told that I could live in the bushes all by myself because I was making such naughty choices.

Then she said she was going to kill me.

Apparently that is my line. I only knew it once she had crossed it.

After I regained some control over myself I talked to her about that.

Yup, she understands what dead means. Kind of.

She tells me that the bad pirates at school say those words.

The bad pirates, it turns out are some of the boys in her class who spend a part of their outdoor time trying to get the kitties and the babies. Sometimes they are good pirates who are protecting the kittens and babies, but most of the time they are bad pirates.

I learn from my daughter that when you are being bad, those are the things you say, just like the pirates.

Why oh why is she so literal?

One phone conversation with the teacher later I hope to hear less about the bad pirates and more about the good pirates.

And never to hear those words come out of my babies mouth again.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Mommy's Numbers

Before I had kids I liked to do ... stuff. Go to movies, read books, play video games. Stuff.

I still like video games. I have a Nintendo DS.

Well this is actually my second. The first one I had was proudly delivered dripping wet to me about a year ago by a beaming little girl who announced "Mommy, I washed your numbers!".

I got new numbers the next Christmas.

These stay away from all water sources.

Jillian named them numbers because the games she always watched me play had numbers flashing across the screen.

I also have a game called letters, one called Luke, another called cards. You get the idea.

Jillian has her own games to play on my numbers. Pony numbers and Wally numbers.

Neither game has any numbers in it.

Caitie associates sleep with my DS. This could be because when I put her to sleep I place her in her crib and then I sit on the floor while she goes to sleep. It started as part of the "No Cry Sleep Solution" where you slowly move yourself out the door over a few nights.

I needed something to do while I waited for Cait to sleep and for me to slowly inch my way out of her room.

I started to bring my numbers to play while I sat. Now Cait associates the glow off the screen as a soothing sleep aid.

I need to play my games or Cait can't go to sleep. See? It isn't my choice!

I probably don't need to sit in her room anymore while she goes to sleep.

But I do need to play my numbers so I will stay with her for a little while longer.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Trouble with Life

The trouble with life is that it just keeps happening.

It never slows down when you want to savour the moment or speed up when you need a moment to be over.

All of a sudden I look and I haven't written anything in a month. How did that happen?

Well there was work. And Cait was sick with croupe. And there was work. And Jill's ballet started. And I got a cold. And there was work. And Rob had that business trip thing. And there are only a few hours each night to be together before collapsing in bed.

That is all fine, but this was supposed to be my thing. My thing that made sure I took time out to just reflect and be still.

I do solemnly swear to try to make time for me.

Let's see how that goes!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

My New Plan

Among the reasons I love Facebook are the ideas that get shared.

A friend from University updated her status by saying that she was making tomorrow night's dinner far to late in the evening.

Tomorrow night's dinner.

Revolutionary idea!!

I tried it. It was great!

I made a stew and when I got home (okay when my SIL got here because I was so late) the pot of stew was put on the oven to heat and ... boom! dinner is served.

I am going to try this more often. Make a sauce in the evening, cook the pasta when I get home.

Cook the chicken in the evening, steam the veg when I get home.

It puts a smile on my face just thinking about it.


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Apple Picking

We took the kids to an apple orchard today.

The same apple orchard that my parents took me to when I was their age.

We went with my brother and his family. Our kids are all the same age and I just love spending time with them, as it is rare and precious.

Jill has been excited about this trip all week (about the maximum amount of lead time I will give her for an event of this nature!). She was buzzing the whole time. There wasn't a single part that she didn't think was the greatest thing ever.

Watching her was the greatest thing ever.

She picked apples off the trees, let her uncle help her climb a ladder to pick one off the top, left the ones with holes in them for the caterpillars, and never stopped grinning.

She made a mental list of all the things we have to make with the apples that we picked. Pie, sauce, cake, crumble....

She picked an apple off the tree and ate it. Best apple ever.

Cait loved walking in the long grass. She let her daddy hold her up to the tree so she could pick an apple. I have no idea how many she ate. I do remember the sound of her laughter as she and Rob threw apples in a game of catch with the orchard dog.

Best game ever.

Jill played in the hay pile with on of her cousins while Cait discovered why you shouldn't eat cow corn with the other.

They both loved the corn maze and I loved the seriousness of the older kids as they protected us from bug-a-boos with their corn swords.

This will be a family tradtion, like it was when I was growing up.

I have no idea what I am going to do with 10 pounds of apples.

I don't care though. I was ready to pick 30 just to keep watching the kids today.

Any one want pie?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Nuckin Futs

Jillian is going to an alternative school.

I don't think I am an alternative mom.

We had our first parents meeting at the school tonight. I just don't get it. I want the same things for my kid, really I do, but I just want it without all the granola.

I promised the principal I would stick it out. I don't mean by keeping Jill in the school longer, I am comfortable with her in the school. I mean me being involved.

She is looking for parents to support the 'other' view of alternative education. Not the view that thinks their kids are at a free private school.

That is a big view to support. I will do it because I want the school to succeed and grow. I know of families who pulled their children out at the last minute because of the overwhelming attitude of some of the parents.

I believe one family referred to it as the 'freak show'. I didn't argue.

As long as this is the right place for Jill it will be the right place for me. If her needs change .....

Saturday, September 12, 2009

One Down

I just finished my first week back at work.

My biggest struggle has been dinner. I was a huge fan of my slow-cooker .... until it broke.
Now I am a huge fan of anything quick. On the advice of a loving aunt I am going to try some frozen dinners. They heat up quick, are portion controlled and more healthy than most of the other things I can choose for a quick meal (like ordering in, or picking up at a drive-through).
I am sure I will get it under control as the year goes on.

If it wasn't so hard to find something we could all eat (see previous posts) then it might be ok, but I can't make noodles and sauce every night, I will go nuts.

I am going to have to menu plan. I am not good at planning. I am not good at menus.

I look in the cupboards and figure something out. Tonight, for instance, was rice casserole. Brown rice, frozen veggies, can soup sauce and cheese. The only problem with that on a school night is it took 50 minutes to cook - 20 for the rice and 30 in the oven.

As far as I am concerned at the moment pizza is the perfect meal. Bread, veggies, meat, cheese. As happy as that would make me to have pizza every night for dinner, I am not sure what the Ministry of Health would have to say.

Yes I am. They don't like that idea.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Where on Earth?

Jill was an easy toddler in some ways. Because she is actually 35 and only living in the body of a small child, she understood certain rules seemingly without effort. Only with Cait do I realize that that was not completely normal.

Cait puts things in her facial orifices. I have found banana stickers in her ears, pencils being stuck up her nose, and you name it in her mouth.

It is the mouth one that bothers me the most.

If it is small she has put it in her mouth. What really gets me is how much stuff have I missed? How many tiny princess shoes have I not fished out? How much money is sitting in her belly?

I started to write this because I had to fish another penny out of her mouth. I don't know where she finds them. Maybe she goes digging in the couch cushions for stuff to munch on. As I was typing I noticed though that she was being unusually quiet. I asked her what was in her mouth and she took off down the hall at top speed. I was finally able to dig a piece of cardboard out of her. Where on earth did she find that? I don't see anything with a bite missing from it.

Jill never did this. We told her that mouths were for food and that was it. We told her toilets were for pee and poop and toilet paper and that was it.

Oh, you know where I am going with this :)

So far we have been able to catch her in time and we make a habit of keeping all doors closed, but we have come close to finding all sorts of what-not floating in the toilet. Any suggestions? Any one else go through a 'can I flush it down the toilet' phase?

She keeps us on our toes. And looking up her nose.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Borrow Toys

A while ago I hinted that our place was overrun with toys. It wasn't an exaggeration. Quite the contrary.

When Jill was 9 months old a television show came and did a living room makeover for us. Why? Too much kid clutter.

Times that by 3 years and 2 kids.

We are blessed. Truly. Our children want for nothing. It is exactly what Rob and I wanted when we talked about having kids. It was also the running thought during many a hard decision that we had to make. We wanted to be able to give our kids everything they needed, as well as a good chunk of what they wanted.

One of the ways I thought to do that was by applying to be a toy testing family for a national parenting magazine.

We were accepted and from the time Jillian was 6 months old we have been receiving and testing toys a couple of times a year.

Since my immediate family has moved back to Ottawa our toy schedule has increased a bit.

It is great. We get as many (or as few) toys as I feel we can reasonably test in a three month period. There is paperwork to be done, but that is a minor piece for me. Quite a major one for the woman whose job it is to oversee all of this, collect the data, analyze it all and make the toy recommendations, but for me, it is a small piece.

The girls get to test new toys. Some aren't even available at toy stores yet. It is all geared to the Christmas toy shopping spree and the magazines articles about the year's best toys.

It's pretty cool.

This year we tested 35 toys. We live in shoe box of a condo. Some of the toys were quite large. That is why this is quickly becoming one of my favourite times of the year.

Donation time.

The catch to being a testing family is that you have to commit to donating all of the toys to charity once the testing period is over. That is the highlight for me. The girls get to play with great new toys, then they learn lessons on charity and giving.

Right now I make all the choices about where the toys will be donated to. My hope is that as they get older they will start to make the choices. For now, they come with me for drop-offs because I want them to see where the toys are going and who they are helping.

That is why we call them 'borrow toys'. We are just borrowing them to play with for a bit until they go to their real homes.

We just did a day of donation drop-offs.

Our place looks great! We not only took this years testing toys, but all of the baby toys that Cait has outgrown. It didn't just make a dent, it made a canyon.

A canyon that was quickly filled by other toys, but at least they aren't all over the living room anymore. They are all put away.

All but 2 boxes, one for Jill and one for Cait.

Let's see how long we can keep it this way!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I have a tummy ache.

Cait is slowly (very slowly) adjusting to daycare.

Jill is in her element.

Off to sleep and I hope to feel better tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Just What I Thought

I really like being back at work.

Ok, so I bawled my eyes out this morning when I dropped Cait off. I cried again when I told Rob about it. And again when I picked her up and heard she had a rough day.

But I really like being back at work.

Jill is doing great, she is a daycare superstar. She started with full days and loves it. She asked me today if I would pick her up a bit later then yesterday so she wouldn't miss free play and snack. She has even made a new friend.

I don't worry about how Jill is doing.

I worry about Cait though.

Through the worry and pride I really like being back at work.

I like organizing the paperwork and labelling the books. I like sorting the toys and setting up the centres. I like talking with my colleagues.

I have been doing a lot of that last one!

I know that Cait will settle in. I know that Jill might have some rough patches.

Same for me.

Ask me again next week if I still like being back. I have only gone 2 days, I think I might still be in the honeymoon phase!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Back to Business

So after 17 months of being at home I am going back to work tomorrow.

We went back to school shopping today (well school shopping for Jill seeing as this is her first time going to school). Apparently Jill grew 3 feet over the summer because any pants that fit her in June are now culottes and her belly is poking out of every shirt she owns.

It may not surprise you to know that Jill is very particular about the clothes she wears.

She doesn't like pockets, she won't wear any pocket-pants. She doesn't like certain colours. She doesn't like certain fabrics.

She likes what she likes.

Fortunately we found a lot of things she likes. The only contentious piece is the fall coat that I picked out for her. She rightly informed me that just because I like it doesn't mean she will.

She'll wear it. She'll have to, it's going to get cold.

I got a new coat too. And some shirts. I am happy!

Jill decided that the dress we got today would be her new 'brave dress'. Her current brave dress is a pink dress that doesn't fit her. The spaghetti straps have fallen off and are poorly tied together. She has to wear a shirt and pants under it if she wants to leave the house.

She wears this dress whenever she is feeling anxious about something and needs to be brave. She wore to her first day of camp. She wore it to the doctor. She wore it to a first play date with a new friend.

Some kids have blankets, mine has a dress.

So we got a new brave dress. It is sitting on her shelf all ready for tomorrow.

Tomorrow she is going to daycare for the first time. I was going to transition her in slowly, like I am with Cait. Jill looked at me funny and asked "Why?". She pointed out that we didn't transition to summer camp, or pre-school, or anything else. She just wants to start daycare and be done with it.

I told her that we would all take Friday off and be together for the day. She thought about that and then asked if she could go to daycare instead. Even at 4 she seems to know herself better than most adults do.

I will take her to daycare on Friday because the day at home is really for me. I want one last day home with my kids before everything changes.

I am proud of Jill that she knows what is best for her. She does do better in a program. She thrives on routine. She beams for circle time. She is going to do great.

I think I need a brave shirt ('cause I don't wear dresses). I am only needing to be brave about going back to work having the girls in daycare, but that's enough.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Big Decisions

Grilled steak or mini-burgers?

That is my big decision right now.

Life is good. If that is the biggest thing I have to worry about then that 'aint too bad!

Tomorrow I am hosting Wine Club (this month's theme: food pairings) for the first time at my place and I don't know what to make to pair with the Grenache that I chose.

I decided to make some tapas to go with the Rose we will be starting with, but I'm just not sure about my main.

Jill is super excited. She had me make a sign for the door that says "Ladybug Butterfly Restaurant". She is so excited for all the ladies to come over (all 4 of them!). I believe she has a fancy dress party dress all picked out.

This evening we had a conversation (when she should have been sleeping) about making menus for our guests. Chef Flower (Jill) was telling me, Chef Hummingbird, that Sous Chef Texas Pete (Rob) couldn't tuck her in because we hadn't finished making decisions about the menus yet.

I think she is looking forward to this.

Having a group of (relative) strangers coming over for a dinner party has given us the excuse we needed to start purging. So much purging. I have already taken almost all of the Testing Toys and infant toys to school to be donated. That made quite a large dent. I went through boxes of stuff that were piled in the corner of our room and found the special children's books I had set aside before Jill was born to keep them safe. That was almost 5 years ago. At least I found them!

I found notebooks from University. The notes weren't all that interesting, but the doodles in the margins make quite the commentary on my mental state 11 years ago.

I found all sorts of what-not that I remember feeling very strongly about keeping at that time. I don't remember why I felt that way though. So I threw most of it out.

It felt good.

We are also moving the kids toys out of the living room so we can pretend that your lives don't normally look like a Toys R Us that just got hit by a tornado.

I looks good.

It will all get moved back soon enough, but that's ok with me. Talk to Rob, he might feel different about it!

Grilled steak.

There, nothing left to decide!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Whole Story

My children took some work and intervention to be here. There were teams of doctors, reams of needles, and lots of tears.

Jillian's story is fairly uneventful. 4 cycles, 2 drugs, 1 miscarriage, and a beautiful baby girl.

Cait's story is a tad more complex. Most of the time I don't think about it.

That's a lie.

I live it every day. It just doesn't always bubble up to the top.

Cait fell on her head the other day (she's a climber) and we ended up taking her to the Kid's Clinic to get checked out. There was a terrible med student doing our visit. I didn't mind because at that point I knew that Cait was ok and in no danger of a closed head injury or concussion. I actually found the struggling resident a little amusing as she fumbled along with the exam.

When the doctor came in for the consult she was told that "After an uneventful pregnancy, labour and delivery this 15 month old ..."

That was when I started laughing.

There was nothing uneventful about Cait's pregnancy. Labour and delivery were fine (C-section) but the post part was rough too.

Do I have to tell Cait the whole story? We plan to tell her the highlights version when she is older, but not all the gritty details. Will this continue to be a vital part of her medical history? When will it cease to be important? Will she, as a woman, have to retell this story every time she meets with a new doctor?

No one asks me what my marks were in kindergarten. They don't even want to know what they were in university. There comes a point where it just doesn't matter anymore. Does the same apply to birth stories?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Don't Mock Me

I like reality TV.

There I admitted it.

I have been known to watch entire episodes (ok fine, seasons) of Survivor, The Hills, Hells Kitchen, the Amazing Race, ...

Like you don't watch them too.

They are like my soap operas. An alternate reality so foreign from my own that I can't help but become totally absorbed.

When reality TV first hit the airwaves (although you can argue that it has been a part of the television medium since the first signal was broadcast) I actually called Rob from an airplane to make sure that the VCR was set to record Survivor. Who does that?

My viewing has been greatly diminished since the arrival of Jill and Cait, but I just can't seem to help myself from sneaking away to get a dose of it. This evening I left Rob with both girls so that I could watch Chef Ramsey hurl insults at contestants and kick one off the show. I know that if I want to watch great chefs cook I could watch Top Chef, or even Iron Chef. But they lack a certain appeal.

Call it the 'Jerry Springer Factor'.

I try to have a moral compass for my viewing, but there seems to be a direct correlation between how trashy a concept is and how many people want to watch it.

Jill's school would like to do a Rose Ceremony (don't even get me started with Jill's school, I am sure there will be a rant or two to come) at the start of each year and all I could think of was the Bachelor.

I much prefer the Bachelorette!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

When Did That Happen?

When you hold a new born baby they worm their little hands around until they find some skin, even just a tiny bit of it, that they can press their palm to. They are calmed and feel whole again.

My girls seem to view my body as an extension of their own. And it is, that is how they started. One body became two, and then was one plus one.

Cait still holds onto me like we are part of the same being. Jill doesn't.

When did that happen?

When did she start to realize that we are not pieces of the same whole? When did she start to see that she was whole unto herself?

I know that it is just an illusion that we are separating. Lacan made a name for himself trying to explain how we are all fooled.

So why does it make me feel so sad when I notice it? Why do I find myself in search of Ojbet Petit a?

My pride at her growing up always seems to have the flip side of mourning the passing of what was.

I love the age she is, but I miss the age she was.

I haven't started this journey with Cait yet, but I know it is coming.

Good thing they are such great kids and get more amazing each day!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Great Hair Day

With all the humidity and heat my hair has been a frizz factory. It is hard to manage at the best of times, but I have no clue what to do with it in this weather.

Jillian has never looked more radiant.

She is the only person I know whose hair looks better in humid weather.

They curls are tighter, it looks shinier, it bounces better.

It's not fair.

She's cute and she has great hair.

Lucky kid!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Play Dates

Let's start by being totally honest.

Play dates are for me, not the kids.

Oh sure, the kids have a good time. They play and run and do all those things that little kids are supposed to do when playing with a friend. They trash the place with their toys. Remnants of snack are found in many little corners. They learn (sometimes very loudly) about sharing and cooperating.

But most importantly I get to sit and talk to another adult. We watch the kids and play along for some of the time, but we also get to chat. Usually about our kids. But it is so therapeutic. I have so much fun!

This will change as the girls get older and start to have their friends over without parents.

Now when I want to get together with a friend it is under the guise of a play date for my kids. We meet at a park or at one of our homes. It is all about socializing our children ... ha!

It is really all about socializing me :)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


I was watching my girls playing at the beach today.

As different as night and day, they both had such an amazing time.

Jill tore right into the water, running at full speed into the waves squealing at the top of her lungs. She danced and jumped in the water, her smile leading her into each new crest.

Cait scrunched her nose up at the water and toddled back up the beach to dig in the sand. As she played she noticed the way each grain of sand felt as it rolled onto her hand, foot, knee. When she did come to water she would not go any deeper than her toes. When the wave splashed up her leg she cried out and turned back up the beach.

I loved seeing the joy in Jill's whole being as she dove and splashed in the water. She dug in the sand filling a bucket and turning it over to make a castle. Three seconds later she was tromping right through her castle a delighted giggle bursting from her.

At these times I see her as still such a little girl. Her chubby little knees. Her belly that still holds a bit of its roundness. In these moments I think that maybe I expect too much from her. Behaviour that is still beyond what she can do.

Cait sat on my lap (she was not going any closer to the water than she had to be) and played with the muck. She was fascinated by how it moved and glooped off the shovel. She needed to taste it (twice) and see what it felt like when it was rubbed on her arms, legs, face, belly.

She is slow and methodical. She really takes the time to experience each new thing. She dug her toes into the sand and spent the longest time watching the water lap at her leg and swish the sand around her ankle. She tested pulling her foot out just a little and then sticking it back in the mud. I could see the sand moving above where her foot and I knew that she was feeling the sand and water squish through her toes.

This is my idea of heaven. Sitting in the sun watching my daughters play and be themselves. Watching and sharing in the pure bliss of having fun.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


It is 2 am and I am in the midst of an "In The Night Garden" marathon with Cait. I don't know why she isn't sleeping. Her tooth broke through last night. She is full of Tylenol. It is late. She should be sleeping.

Or at least I should be sleeping.

Earlier, while trying to settle her, she just kept calling for Gay-Gay and pointing to Jill's room. We tried to tell her that Jay-Jay was asleep.

As we all should be.

She was having none of it. She was awake and there was something of vital importance that she had to share with her sister.

I believe this to be my favourite part about having 2 kids. They love each other.

They really love each other. They want to see each other first thing in the morning. They love to make each other laugh. They like to hold hands while sitting in the car.

Jill and Rob went out a few night ago. Cait started to cry. She was inconsolable. When she calmed down a bit all she could do was point at the door and call "Gay-Gay" over and over. She was upset that her sister had gone out and left her behind.

When I pick Jill up from camp she gives me the biggest grin and then looks around me, trying to find Cait.

I just had to pause from my typing because Cait was running full tilt down the hall toward Jill's room. I guess she wants her sister to watch the funny show too.

Yes, I left Cait sitting in her armchair watching TV while I type a blog entry. Like I said, I try, but I am not always her best Mum.

I want my girls to grow up to be best friends. I know that they will have their rough patches. I can see the start of it now. "She touched my toy", Cait wailing because Jill is 'helping' her change locations.

I have every faith though, that in the end, this bond will hold them together. They will continue to want to share things with each other. They will continue to love each other.

And now a message from Cait:

bdhfhhasxxdx bn jgn jmjmmmmmmmdfj hngnm gm mffffffffffbhurj kjgjrhik3qa6vu5tdcjxi

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Say Cheese!

The great part about extended family is everyone spending time together and learning that they are a part of something bigger then just themselves and their nuclear family.

The best part about having the youngest kids in the family is the ability to glean and learn from the more experienced parents. "Did So-and-So ever do this?" "Oh really, at about the same age?" "How long did the phase last?"

We were trying to take a picture today of everyone in R's side of the family. The last time we had a chance to do this Cait wasn't here so this would be the first portrait of all the Ds.

Jill refused to join in. She was adamant that she was not going to be photographed. She would stand behind everyone, but there was no way she was going to be seen.

Amidst my mortification at her blunt refusal to be a part of this special picture was the memory of my nephew doing something very similar at about the same age. I remember him being very clear that there was no way anyone was going to take his picture ever again.

I looked over at him standing front and centre with a big smile glued to his face.

I tried to trick her into my arms on the fringe of the gathering assuring her that we were too far to the side to be in the picture.

She didn't fall for it.

I promised to Photoshop Jill into the picture later.

Friday, August 14, 2009


I know that sleep is something that all parents complain about. At the moment we don't have it too bad. Both kids sleep through the night ... once they fall asleep.

When Jill was a baby she woke every 45 minutes for the first year or so. Sometimes she would stretch it out to 90 minutes.

That slowly got better as she got older, but she is a night owl.

I am not.


For the longest time she was going to sleep between 11 and 1 and sleeping until 8 the next morning. Slowly but surely we got her going to bed between 8:30 and 9:30.

That was when she was in pre-school every morning. Once that ended, so the sleeping.

Cait has always been a decent sleeper. She had the usual newborn adjustment period, but now at 15 months she will go to sleep at 8:30 and sleep for 11 or 12 hours.

She doesn't like to go to sleep if Jill is still up. Jill is always still up.

Right now it is 10:10. Jill has been in her bed for over 45 minutes. She has had 3 potty runs, 2 living room escapes, 4 calls for more stuffies, 1 screaming for no reason bout so we will come running. Now she is into the drinks and snacks portion of her nightly performance.

"I am starving. I am so thirsty. Just a splash of water. Please!" (we do make sure that she is well fed and watered before she goes to bed).

"My body is empty" is what she is currently shouting at me from her bed.

I know she is tired. I can see it in her face and in her behaviour. She just won't give in.

Cait had fallen asleep at 7:30 and then woke up at 9 with a huge grin feeling just peachy after such a great nap.

I know that once we get back to school routines that both girls (and Rob and I) will start to sleep better.

I guess what I am trying to say is I am tired. And it doesn't look like that is going to change tonight.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Cait has little treasures that she likes to carry with her. Lately she has been storing them in a play stroller that we have been testing (more on that later).

She pushes this little stroller all over our place, smashing into walls and getting stuck in corners. She doesn't seem to mind, it is full of her treasures.

Tonight when I went to tidy it up I found the following items:
  • her doll, Tidoo
  • a plate and spoon from the play Cafe
  • a wooden block
  • a stuffed cupcake from her picnic basket purse
  • a pair of J's socks (can't figure that one out, but there is usually a pair tucked away somewhere)
These are the things that she holds near and dear. These are her lovies. If there had been an empty Tim Horton's cup lying around that would have been in the stroller too. She has loved those brown coffee cups since she was born.

She doesn't have a blanket or a stuffie that she has bonded with. Just this odd little random collections of things that, when all together, seem to have great meaning to her.

She cracks me up!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Some Days ...

I was not any one's best mum today.

Some days are much harder than others. I can't seem to find the rhyme or reason in what makes a good day and what makes others so so hard.

We started off great. I was expecting some issues as our super exciting plans had been cancelled last minute.

Instead of going to the amusement park on the Island with her best friend, something she had really been looking forward to, she was going to camp.

Not that going to camp isn't great, it just isn't as great as a ferry ride, roller coaster, carousel and picnic lunch.

That wasn't the hard part. Getting her out of the freezing cold splash pool at 5:30 was the hard part. I had timed it so we would be back in time for dinner (her mood seems to be directly tied to her belly), but I couldn't get her out of the water. There was a friend there, and that was fun. There were other kids there, and that was fun.

They were all long gone before I could drag J out of the water.

It didn't help that I had a migraine too. I thought that getting out in the sun and having the girls be busy would help. It did. They had a great time.

Coming home was not great. Being at home was not great. When R got home it got better because I got out.

Like nothing had happened, she was so sweet with her Dad. All smiles and hugs.

She did calm down. So did I. We both apologized for our poor behaviour.

Tomorrow is a fresh day, a fresh start.

Tomorrow there will be no splash pool in the afternoon.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Toppler Phase

When J was starting to walk I called the doctor and asked if it was possible to receive an acquired brain injury from falling and walking into walls repeatedly.

As I watch C collect bruises all over her body (mostly on her head) I wonder if I should call the doctor. Then I hear the laughter in my memory in response to the first time I asked that question and decide against picking up the phone.

She looks like a UFC fighter. At the moment she is sprouting a bruised cheek, matching goose eggs on either side of her forehead, 2 scraped knees, one scraped elbow, a bruise on her hip and new one on her back that I just noticed this afternoon.

At least the black eye has faded.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Growing Up

Tomorrow is J's birthday party. It is 2 weeks after her actual birthday because, I have discovered, that having a summer birthday makes it very hard for people to come to a party.

This is her first friends party. It is very exciting for her. It is a princess/ prince/ pirate party ("because not everyone likes to be a princess" she said) and her costume has been sitting out all week.

We have gone over and over the guest list. Why is this person not coming? Are you sure that one is?

She helped put all the loot bags together and chose the colour for each friend's label.

She helped make and decorate all of her cupcakes for the party.

This morning she helped me shop for all of the last minute things we needed. "Why do we need olives? Kids don't like olives." It is hard for a 4 year old to understand that at some point in your life your taste preferences shift from sugar and candy toward more refined flavours, like say, hummus with some olives on the side. "That's disgusting, I won't eat it".

We have a pinata for her. She loves pinatas. She insisted that we get one for R's birthday. When he got home from work that night there was a large Batman bust hanging from the ceiling and a little girl bouncing out of her skin with a bat waiting to get at it.

I wonder how she will react when she sees her pink crown pinata tomorrow?

This is another milestone on her path. Her birthdays are no longer about me and R celebrating the day we became parents. They are about J celebrating another year of her life.

It is about her and her friends playing and having fun. Before I know it my name won't be on the invitation list.

I'm glad she invited me this year.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


I don't know who is more nervous, me or J.

I am used to getting the back to school jitters. I am not used to getting her back to school jitters.

At least I know what my school looks like, I know where everything in the classroom is. I know all the kids and all the staff. I know what my day will look like because I get to decide the schedule. I know what I am getting into.

She knows nothing. Her school is brand new, we have seen the building, but that's it. Her teacher is brand new, I think I know his name but I am not sure. Her daycare is brand new. We have visited once, but that hardly gets you ready to spend a full day every day there.

I am not sure I will be ok with this. I am not sure that I will be ok with someone else walking her to school. I am not sure if I will be ok not being able to picture her in her classroom, what her teacher looks like. I am not sure I will be ok not being there to read all of her signals that I know so well.

The stoic face, the rigid stance, the little hands tight at her side. The way her lip curls a bit when she is really nervous but trying to be brave.

I have to be at someone else's first day of school. I want to be at hers.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Bottomless Pit

So I wrote about how J barely eats and when she does it is off a very limited menu.

Now I will tell you about the other one.

I will start by letting you know that she is 15 months and 17 pounds. She is only now outgrowing her 6 month sleepers and still wears size 2 diapers. To say she is tiny is an understatement.

It might be easier to list the foods she won't eat seeing as everything else appears to be fair game.

She doesn't like eggs and I have chosen not to give her milk or yogurt as it does funky things to her bowels. She is desperate to try peanut butter (something she will not have for at least another year) and can't understand why she can't have steak with only 6 really usable teeth.

I think that she might be part Hobbit as she seems to have breakfast, then second breakfast. That leads smoothly into snack which is finished nicely by lunch. After second lunch she has a nap. Upon waking she is hungry for a snack. After finishing her dinner (and usually most of J's) she is happy to play for a while before it is time for a snack.

I breastfeed her twice a day. Once when she wakes up and once before she falls asleep. Occasionally (for she is a fabulous sleeper) she will wake up and want to nurse. I am often torn. On the one hand, she doesn't need to nurse during the night. On the other hand, she might really be hungry and I am not making her a sandwich at 3am.

When we go out I really have to think about how long we will be out, what meals we might be out for, how many snacks to pack for C, should I even bother packing one for J, will it be enough food?

I have no idea where she puts it all. I had the doctor check, her legs are not hollow.

I do wonder if she will become a more 'discriminating' eater as she gets older. I hope not. Right now she is my only ally in the kitchen. Tonight was Spanish Rice for us, peanut butter wrap-ups for them.

I am pretty positive she could take down the champ in the Coney Island Hot Dog Eating Contest!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Aaahh, Camp

J started at camp today. She was nervous about it. She entered the room quietly, looking around, holding my hand.

A volunteer came right up to her and showed her her cubby and started her on a colouring project while I signed a form.

Then I left.

That was it. No transition nightmares, no tears, no hesitation.

I held my cell phone all morning waiting for the camp to call.

I went back early to spy on her. She was sitting with all the kids listening to a story. Then the whole little group marched down the hall on their way to the gym. She was holding the hand of the same volunteer right in the middle of the pack.

On their way back up to the room she was walking and chatting with a counsellor. She saw me (ok, I let her see me) and she ran over with a huge smile and hugged me. I told her that she had to go back the room to get her bag and I would see her in two seconds.

"Two seconds? Right Mama" and then gave me a double thumbs up and took off.

When I got to the room she was putting her backpack on. I asked one of the staff how her day had been and she looked at me strangely. I explained that this was her first day at camp all summer and I wanted to know how she did.

With that same strange look on her face she told me that she has been great, no problem. Played well with the other kids, got herself dressed and ready for swimming, followed all directions, was a joy.

"Are you sure it her first day at camp?"

Trust me, I am sure this is the first morning I have not been with her since pre-school ended 6 weeks ago.

On our way out I asked her how her morning was. She told me it was great and she was excited to come back again. "Do you think there will be more colouring? Do you think we will get to go swimming again? I liked climbing Mum, they have a good climber."

Way to go J! I am so proud of her.

Let's see how it goes tomorrow.

Monday, August 3, 2009

We Can't Be the Only Ones

In our bathroom there are two toilet paper hangers. Don't ask. There just are.

We don't use either one of them. They sit bare in the washroom until some kind guest puts the roll on for us.

The reason we leave our paper rolls on the counter is that one too many times I have turned my head for a second only to discover a pile of paper knee deep and one (or two) very pleased girl(s).

I have found a ribbon trail through the house before. Despite what she said, it was not a treasure map.

The little one bats at the rolls like a kitten, delighted that it spins and come apart. She was also very delighted to put it all in the toilet and watch it shrink as it absorbed all the water.

So I say we can't be the only ones. We can't be the only family to leave their toilet paper rolls on the counter, out of reach of curious, devious little hands.

The counter method does pose new problems though. If you don't put it out of reach it can get knocked into the toilet, the sink or down the hall. If you leave it on the rim of the bathtub you are just begging someone to wonder whether it will sink or float.

I don't mind the new problems. I really mind the unrolling. So I guess that even if we are the only ones who do this, it works for me!


We have a telepathic understanding of what C wants.

She also has a very specific pointer finger. It is able to target in on exactly what she wants, no questions asked. We call it the "Finger of Doom".

Most of her vocabulary is a variation of the sound 'buh'. It means book, baa, bottle, bye-bye, mine, gimme, now, please, hurry, pick me up, put me there ... you get the point!

She has a name for everyone in the family: Mama, Dada, Gay-Gay, and she calls herself Ca-Ca. Cute, I know.

She recently started doing a wooo-wooo sound for dogs and a tonal variation of the same sound for a siren.

I use sign language with the girls and C has quite a few signs. Her first spontaneous sign was fish, followed closely by elephant (along with an oooo trumpeting sound).

All this to say that she doesn't 'say' much, but she is able to tell us plenty.

Today we were on a family outing. We decided to take the Hippo Bus Tour, you know, the bus that drives around town and then right into the lake? The girls were so excited, J has been wanting to do this for as long as she can remember.

As we are waiting in line to get on the bus/boat they were both running around squealing. All of a sudden we hear C saying clear as a bell "hippo hippo hippo" and pointing to the large purple cast hippo standing guard over the line.

Of all the words. Seriously, hippo? Why not. She was thrilled with her new word and used it repeatedly until she passed out 3 minutes into the tour, not waking until we were all safely off the bus and walking toward a restaurant for lunch.

Hippo. Great word.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

I Guess Maybe

I guess maybe I should let those of you who don't know me know a bit about me.

I live with my husband and 2 daughters.

One is 4 and the other is 1. One looks like me and the other looks like him.

They couldn't be any more different from each other in every way. Any lessons I learned with my first are irrelevant with the second. The only thing that feels the same is the love.

The big one, J, is spirited, intense, smart, and determined.
The little one, C, is calm, methodical, smart, and determined.

Maybe they are a little alike after all.

I want each of them to grow up to be the incredible women that they will be. I know this because they are incredible girls. I know that really I am just borrowing time from them until they venture out on their own, but it feels like my time and I want to hold onto every single moment of it. Ok, that's not quite true, there are some moments I will leave behind. Like the time(s) I lost my cool. But that's all a part of parenting right? The highs and lows? The phases?

All I want to be is their best Mum.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Eating .... or not.

J doesn't like to eat. She doesn't like to eat much. She doesn't like to eat often.

She used to eat noodles and sauce, so I could hide all kinds of things in with the tomatoes. She doesn't eat that anymore. Well that's not true, she will eat it only at Sherway Garden Mall in the food court from one particular vendor.

She will eat fruit. Sometimes.

She has decided that she likes toast with butter. She will eat toast with butter. Sometimes.

She will eat salami, sliced chicken, steak, and shrimp.

She also has a love of anything processed. She loves KD, hotdogs, french fries, Alphagetti, and canned peaches.

Yet somehow she has more energy than many kids I know. She is at the top of her growth chart for height and weight. She is beaming with health and life.

I am sure that one day she will expand her diet. She won't be married and making a dinner of peanut butter wrap-ups with a side of grapes for her partner. Maybe one day she will stop sniffing each new food that she encounters with that little wrinkle in her nose that I just can't resist.

Maybe she gets her food energy from the sun. Maybe there is more nutrients in pancake then I am aware of. Maybe I should just stop worrying about it and be gratefull that she is healthy and strong. Yeah right.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


I couldn't fall asleep last night. I am listening (yes listening, not reading) to My Sister's Keeper. It has been so long since I have read something interesting and engaging (the Twilight Series doesn't actually count as literature) that I find I am unable to get it out of my head.

So last night I listened. For hours.

J woke up first at 4. Then C at 4:15. Then J at 4:45. Then C at 5:10. Then that was it. They were both up. Unfortunately that means that I have to be up to.

Did I mention that I was 'reading' until 2:30am?


They are in such good moods that it is hard to be annoyed for too long. Right now C is eating whatever I put on her tray and J is watching her toast.

J wants to know if the world is awake yet. "No honey, just us" I tell her.


So we are going to see a child phychologist. I just don't know how to handle a four year old who is more savvy then me.

I need help.

She is going off for a visit for a few days so we can talk freely without her littel ears catching every word.

I am nervous. I keep waiting for something to be wrong with my perfect little girl. I keep waiting for the diagnosis.

I knew it: OCD, ADHD, Gerneralized Anxiety, Tourette's, Sensory Integration, ...

She is fine. She is great. She is smart and beautiful and wonderful. She is full of energy and knows her mind. She is going to grow up to be incredible. If I can figure out how to get her there.