Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Bottle confusion

It was December 27th at my inlaws' house, and my brother-in-law was getting my five-year-old nephew ready for bed. He came into the kitchen, took a bottle of milk out of the fridge, heated it up in the microwave and took it to his five-year-old son.

My husband and I looked at each other. There were no words.

Then my brother-in-law came back into the kitchen with the bottle of milk, still full. I breathed a sigh of relief. Clearly my five-year-old nephew did not still take a bottle. With a nipple. No way.

Then we watched my brother-in-law take the top off the bottle, stir in some hot chocolate mix, and put the nipple back on.

When he came back the bottle looked like this:

I don't even know what to say.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

From our house to yours

Wishing you a merry little Christmas.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Ornament Roundup

During one of the many evenings it took to trim the tree this year, my husband asked me where we got "this ugly plastic violin."

He may not have actually said "ugly," but it was carefully present in his tone, just in case the ornament was not a dollarama special sent in a Christmas package from my parents one year. It wasn't.

I love finding old ornaments and remembering where they came from, and the stories or people I associate with them. In fact, whenever I go somewhere interesting I always look for an ornament to commemorate the occasion. I'm still surprised at how often there are not any available. (Tanglewood, I'm looking at you.)

Here are a few of my ornaments and a little bit of their stories.

The previously mentioned plastic violin. I picked out this violin one afternoon when I was six years old, and my first tooth fell out into the A&W hamburger (plain) I was eating. I hated the fact that I was losing my teeth. I refused to do anything to make them come out faster. And when my tooth finally came out during lunch with my dad, I was inconsolable. Hence, an ornament buying trip where I chose this one for myself (I was an avid novice violin player in the school music program) and one for each of my younger siblings. I think it's beautiful.

I got this Shakespeare (along with a palace guard and Queen Victoria) in England during my trip to Europe in the summer of 2006. I had always wanted to go, and finally planned my solo journey that summer, passing through all the places I had most wanted to see: London, Paris, Venice, Rome; and meeting up with my dad in Amsterdam. The trip was amazing in so many ways. I found out I was pregnant with Will while I was in Paris. My dad was able to take me to the place where he was born in the Netherlands, and even introduce me to some of my Dutch relatives. Of course, ornaments were only available in England and Holland, so my tree is devoid of a Mona Lisa or a pope.

My uncle (or "Unc" as we always called him) was my parents' best friend since before they were married. When I was very small - maybe 2 - he took a teaching position oversees at a military base in Germany. He brought me back this ornament, and it was one of the ones I was able to reclaim from my parents' tree a few years ago. Unc passed away suddenly about a year ago, so although this ornament has always been special to me, it means even more now to see it hanging on my own tree. One day I hope it will give me an opening to share some of my memories of Unc with my daughter.

My husband and I found this ornament in Nova Scotia in the summer of 2003. He had been accepted to medical school in Albany, NY, and we decided to take a road trip to that city to find him a place to live, and then continue travelling to the East Coast. Again, we visited places in Canada I had always wanted to see: Prince Edward Island with all of its "Anne of Green Gables" lore, Halifax and the beautiful Cabot trail. He and I had spent a lot of our relationship dealing with living apart long distance, not to mention in secret from his family (a post for another day), but it was during this trip that we knew we were really in this together. A year later we "came out" to his family, and a year after that we were married.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snowblower etiquette?

It's 9:15 pm and there is a strange man snow-blowing our driveway.

Or maybe he's not a strange man. He could be our next door neighbour, or someone hired by our other "eccentric" next door neighbour, since I know he started there first. But I'm afraid that he will catch me peeking out the window. If I notice what he's doing (or he sees me noticing), isn't there some rule that says I should go out and thank him? Or chip in with a shovel?

After 25 centimetres of snow, I'm not complaining. I am very grateful that tomorrow morning will not be spent digging ourselves out. But is this normal neighbour behaviour? I just assumed that everyone minded his or her own business, shovelled his own walk, picked up her own prunings.

Maybe that's just me? Have we moved to an actual community? And are we supposed to be reciprocating somehow?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The most unlikely of places

Despite the fact that between us, Will and I are taking a cornucopia of drugs:

we actually had a really fun time at the mall today. I know. It's one week - exactly - before Christmas. And our coughs that won't go away have been diagnosed as respiratory infections. Even then.

What made all the difference was renting one of those car-strollers at the customer service desk. Will loved being in it, and loved seeing other kids zooming by in theirs. She was happy for the entire time it took to get all her father's Christmas presents and one for my mother.

I also had a brilliant moment as we cruised the chaos of the food court: there is a restaurant at the back of Zellers. Beautiful. It was just Will and me and a few elderly couples who were clearly regulars. (Waitress: Can I get you your tea? Older lady: I think I'll have diet coke today. Waitress: Good thing I checked!)

Then I let my happy child run up and down a few ramps in the mall, and we turned in the stroller and headed home. She even fell asleep on the way (and stayed asleep for an hour after I put her in her crib).

Her only moment of panic was when I pointed out Santa, and she had flashbacks of her very brief and unhappy stint on his knee the other day. She kept pointing and saying, "No! No! Oh no!"

Santa from a distance. Happy toddler during the Christmas shopping rush. This captures the magic of the season for me.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

My community

To the woman entering the Winners store:

Thank you for telling me that the stroller-cart I was pushing was not allowed to leave the store. The flashing lights and the alarm had not tipped me off.

To the old man with white hair and a limp (but no red suit):

Please do not tell my daughter not to touch the Santa statue unless you work in the store. For your information, she was touching his plastic hand very gently.

From the lady in the waiting room at the imaging clinic:

"I just really have a problem with artificial trees. Do you mind switching places with me?"

No, I do not.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Turn your head 45 degrees

Last night I started feeling weirdly dizzy and a bit nauseous after dinner. Since it clearly wasn't an issue of low blood sugar (turkey enchiladas - yum!) my husband diagnosed me with either a migraine aura or an inner ear disturbance.

There are definitely some benefits to having a family doctor, well, in the family. But it is a little disconcerting when he uses the Internet to pull up the step-by-step instructions for the Epley maneuver, in order to see if he can correct the problem.

"I hope you don't use a manual like this with your real patients."

"Wait! Let me just try the Dix-Hallpike."

After one of each of the maneuvers, some advil and a pepcid (and quickly turning off the blasphemous Anne of Green Gables: A New Beginning) I started feeling normal again.

I didn't even need to take any Bonamine.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Great Canadian

When we went to tell my grandmother that I was pregnant with Will, my dad brought along a cake for the occasion.

My grandmother still lives on her own, about an hour away from my parents, who take her to doctors' appointments and get her groceries and help her wash her hair. She has an apartment filled with dolls, from porcelain faces to a talking Caillou. Her name is Bernice, but she has always gone by Judy. To avoid confusion, she often signed the back of pictures with captions like "Judy (BM), Greece 1971."

There is a lot of history between her and my mother (her daughter), not all of it positive, and much of it involving my role as the first granddaughter, but over the last few years I have watched my mom step up and do what she had to do.

It was December 2006 and we were sitting in her small apartment when my dad brought out the cake. It had white frosting with a message written in red letters. She took a quick look at the top: "Merry Christmas!"

My dad pressed her further. "No. Read it more carefully."

"Oh, all right. 'Great. . .' Oh! 'Great Canadian!'"

Then my mom jumped in. "Read the cake, Mother."

"All right. All right. 'Great . . . Grandmother.'" She snorted. "Well, the only way I would be a great grandmother was if Lasha was pregnant!"

We are taking Will for a Christmas visit to the "Great Canadian" tomorrow. So far, every time we visit, she wants to examine Will's toes. Luckily her great-granddaughter loves to take her (own, and others') shoes and socks off.

May 2007

February 2008

I'm sure I will have another sock removal, "look at these cute toes" picture after the weekend.

Trust me

Going to the 24-hour Walmart at 11pm may seem like a good idea at the time.

You probably know this already, but: it's not.

Beat the crowds? I saw a woman entering the store attached to a tank of oxygen. Not to mention the 75 extra staff they seem to have working the overnight shift, most of whom are blocking the aisles as they unpack more and more product.

Sure, I got the gifts I was looking for and a few stocking stuffers, but I didn't feel any sense of Christmas glee. Or even a brief sensation of freedom, coasting down the aisles with only my Kate Spade bag to keep me company.

It was just kind of pathetic.

But tomorrow is the day. After a week in progress, we will finally finish trimming the tree and putting up the decorations. And then I won't have to go searching for some elusive spirit of Christmas because it will be right here.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Shhhh! And Hallelujah!

I backed myself into a corner today. The delivery people called to find out a good time to come by with our new vanity and cabinet (now, that's service. Don't they usually call and tell me a 10 hour window or something? Yay Rona!) and I told them "anytime this afternoon is fine."

Forgetting, I guess, that every time I try to just put Will down for a nap it ends in tears for both of us and me driving out for a shot of tequila (okay, a skinny cinnamon dolce latte, but still). In short, she is either strolled or lately, with the cold, driven around until she falls asleep. I can transfer her out of her coat and into her crib without a problem, so the epic battle of wills has not been worth the trouble.

Until today. I realized that I could not take her out for a drive as the delivery truck could come at any time. So after changing her diaper, I told her it was time to put on some comfy pants, read a few books and then have a snooze.

She's asleep.

It took forty-five minutes, and a couple of transfers between the rocking chair and the crib. And then suddenly, she was letting me rub her back, and a few minutes later she was asleep.

Now I just have to decide if I should let the delivery people take the vanity upstairs, if she happens to still be sleeping when they arrive.

I have to say, the victories are just as sweet as the failures are demoralizing. But I'd better get some lunch in case this only lasts 20 minutes.

* * * * * * * * * *

Edited to add: 35 minutes. I'm a little disappointed. I had it in my head that if she fell asleep in the crib she would sleep a lot longer. Sigh.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Stuffy noses and leaky pipes

After mocking the neti pot and wondering who would actually use one (other than my husband's rather eccentric cousin), he came home from work with this:

If the drug reps are foisting these on family docs, they must think there's a market for them, right? But I still can't quite imagine it.

In other news, we picked out a new vanity and cabinet for our main bathroom a couple of days ago, and they weren't ordered a moment too soon. Last night as I was brushing my teeth, water started gushing out of the pipe below the pedestal sink. I thought it just might be something that had come loose, but apparently the pipe has completely split.

I guess we are not waiting until after Christmas for our new bathroom installation. We're off to choose our hardware and paint tonight. Let's hope our "guy" is available soon, like this week sometime.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Decking the halls

Our trip across the border was (mostly) a success. Just before leaving in separate cars, my friend and I realized we could easily move Will's car seat next to her daughter's - and that made the trip a lot more fun.

The girls were amazing, despite only taking tiny catnaps between shops. We got a tonne of adorable baby/toddler clothes, and I found this:

I knew I would know the wreath I wanted when I saw it. And there it was, in the seasonal section of Target, just like I suspected. I almost went with the full-sized version of this one:

Neither my friend or husband were convinced about a wreath made completely out of bells, but I'm not sure. I think it might be nice on another window, or inside somewhere. Oh well. I will have to be happy with this ornament.

The only downside to the trip was getting pulled in at the border to pay duty. This never happens to me. Ever. And the border guard was just being a dick about it. He didn't even ask for our passports, just pulled out his yellow pad. You'd think he would have a bit of compassion for a couple of mothers travelling with tired, fussy babies. I hope our hundred bucks was worth it.

Still, the decking of the halls has begun. We are planning to pick out the tree tonight (the cats will be thrilled, as usual). Then we just need to find a good seasonal home for this guy:

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Brown paper packages sealed up with tape

Early this morning, there was a big box on the front steps, the first of (several) deliveries of Christmas presents I've ordered for Will. I love online shopping, not least because it gives me the joy of opening packages (before organizing and wrapping them up to be put under the tree, of course).

The box was filled with wooden toys from my new favourite company: Melissa and Doug. I saw some of their chunky wooden puzzles in a shoe store a few weeks ago, didn't buy any, and have been thinking about them ever since. Will has one fuzzy farm animal puzzle that she is just starting to be able to figure out on her own, and I wanted to invest in a few more. I picked out a chunky safari animal puzzle and a vehicle puzzle that makes sounds (sirens for the fire truck, that sort of thing). I also really like one chunky insect puzzle that is out of stock. (Will is really into animals, bugs, cars and trucks at the moment, not to mention "owwwls.")

The puzzles arrived and they look amazing. I also got a wooden shape-sorter cube and it looks perfect. Then we were playing with the farm puzzle later this morning and I noticed that it, too, was made by Melissa and Doug. So these should be a big hit.

And they don't only make puzzles and shape cubes. Today we went to our usual kids' hair salon to get Will's hair fixed (we took her to a new local place that definitely was not geared towards toddlers. "I just need her to hold still so I can do her bangs." Um, yeah. She's 20 months old).

(And yes, Will has enough hair that it is totally worth the money to take her to a real kids' place. Really.)

Anyway, the kids' salon was selling a tonne of Melissa and Doug toys. Not the insect puzzle unfortunately, but an amazing collection of wooden stamps with washable ink. Will absolutely loves getting a stamp on her hand at the end of her music class. She talks about it all week, and waits with her hands out at the end of each class. So this should be a lot of fun - hopefully most of it on paper!

I'm also waiting for the "Touch the Art" board books that have been shipped. I hope they are as cool as they look: making Van Gogh's bed and brushing Mona Lisa's hair.

Then today I found the best. deal. ever. For months I have been looking for a hooded towel to fit a growing toddler (with lots of hair). Right now I need two towels, and it is a very awkward process to get Will and her hair dry before bed. At the home show I fell in love with the hooded towels from Dwell. But they are fifty-one dollars. Each. And as much as I loved them, I just couldn't justify the expense.

(I also hesitated on a sale that had the towels at half-off on their website, and by the time I decided to go ahead, the sale was over. That was terrible.)

Apparently I am still registered with their site from that fiasco, because today I got a "family and friends" coupon worth 25% off (CODE FF2008 if you are interested). So I decided just to order the bloody towel.

I had the pattern I wanted in my basket, and then decided to check the sales. There it was, the alphabet towel I orginally wanted, for twenty-five bucks. After the coupon, I purchased the exact, perfect dwell towel that I wanted (for my darling daughter) for just over twelve dollars.

Twelve. bucks.

For Dwell.

I can't wait to open that package.