Sunday, June 28, 2009

Things I learned this weekend

1. Being stuck in a traffic jam that isn't moving at all makes me claustrophobic. As my sister put it, it makes you want to abandon the car and just start running up the highway to escape.

2. People who drive on the shoulder during a traffic jam, thereby impeding access for emergency vehicles, are fucking ridiculous. What if someone had a heart attack in your car, and the ambulance couldn't get to you because you were blocking the road with your sense of entitlement and deep held belief that you deserve to get in front of all of these other cars?

3. Blending up fresh herbs with some garlic, lemon juice and olive oil makes an amazing condiment. (Thanks to my BIL for that one.)

4. Even if one's toddler falls asleep late every. freaking. night. this does not mean you can delay her bedtime. Just no.

5. If you have insomnia, a little strip of melatonin is a wonderful thing. Unless you are going to be jarred awake every hour by a disoriented toddler. Just a warning.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Losing my "time out" virginity

I am a little giddy.

I put my child in time out for the first time ever tonight, and it actually worked.

She decided to yank my hair - which hurt - and I told her to stop. Then she yanked it again, and I started to yell (trying to restrain that impulse). Then she did it again. I looked her in the eye and threw down the gauntlet.

"If you pull my hair again you are going into time out."

Her eyes grew wide and she immediately said, "No." I'm not sure how she even knew about time out. We definitely haven't talked about it.

She stroked my hair and looked at me. I gave her a final warning. "Remember, if you pull my hair you are going into time out."

She waited, just a moment.


"Okay. You are going into time out."

This was a good one for me. I wasn't at all stressed or angry by the situation, and could handle Will crying and yelling "No! No time out!"

I pulled out a chair in the dining room and placed her on it. "You need to stay here for one minute." I walked away into the kitchen.

Of course she got off and ran to me.

I put her back on the chair. "You need to stay here. For one minute."

We did the back and forth dance a few more times. This was where I got a bit anxious. She was overtired and should have been in the tub. What if she never stayed on the chair?

Then on the sixth or seventh return, she stopped crying and sat.

I walked into the kitchen, turned away from her, and watched the clock. I could hear her mumbling "Mommy . . ." under her breath. After about a minute and a half, I went back to the chair and crouched in front of her. She gave me a big smile.

"Why did you have to sit in time out?"

"Pull Mama's hair."

"That's right. Are you going to pull anyone's hair again?"


"Good job."

She gave me a big hug.

I think I did a pretty good job myself.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

That's my girl

Sitting in the bathtub, she holds each of her three ducks under the water, letting them take a drink.

"Blue: Daddy duck. Yellow: Mama duck. Small: Baby duck."

The three crabs make up a similar family, but she inserts her name onto the baby crab.

Then she gets to the turtles.

"Daddy turtle. Daddy turtle. Baby turtle." She holds them up for me to see. "Two Daddy turtle."

Sounds right to me.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Still summer, despite the weather

So far, today has been the least summery day this week. But that didn't stop us from behaving as though the sun was shining and we were on our way to the beach (or at least a picnic).

I have come to the realization that a one-litre water bottle is too big for me. It makes me feel guilty when I don't finish it, and it is way too big to carry on our excursions, so I end up without water when I really need it. So after music class, we headed to the outdoor store to get me a new Laken. Will has been loving her "happy monsters" Laken a lot, so we picked up a new green one for her too, with frogs on it.

Summer also requires a good hat, and now that Will has four (hopefully preventing us from being anywhere without one) I realized that I need at least one that I'm not embarrassed to wear. Surprisingly, my choice is a baseball cap (so much for the hair) from Life is Good that says "Hello Sunshine." Loved it and bought it, but couldn't quite justify wearing it out in the rain.

Then we drove through the rain to our local strawberry farm for a quart. Strawberries are my absolute favourite. (I still can't get over the year I actually missed the whole harvest. Seeing the fruit at the market without a chance to stop, and going the next week to realize that had been the last of them. Awful.)

Apparently Will has quite a taste for them too, since we ate almost half the container on the ride home, sun nowhere to be found, singing along to a song about "sand in my sandals."

Being unable to resist eating fresh strawberries is one of the best things ever, and totally worth ruining a yellow t-shirt because you need "another one." Pleeeeeeze?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

One, two, three . . . shake!

For a long time, Will would only count to "two."

Then she suddenly started counting to "five," then "six," and if you gave her "seven" she could get all the way to ten.

Now she's on some sort of a loop.

My favourite part is when she starts shaking her booty against the screen door. That's the way to count, baby.

Friday, June 12, 2009

And they weren't even ladybugs

After nap this afternoon, Will and I made a trip to the "pajama store," aka the new Carter's/Osh Kosh outlet on our side of the border.

The selection of PJs was a bit disappointing. I was hoping for more footless, one-piece jammies, but the summer stock for toddlers was purely tops and bottoms. The girls' pants also tended to be that slippery faux-satin material, so after choosing one pair with an apple motif we wandered over to the other side of the store.

An act which caused one of the sales associates to rush over in a panic.

My daughter had already spotted a pair covered in brightly coloured bugs (the shirt declared, "don't bug me!"), and we were trying to decide between a crocodile and a dinosaur when the clerk made it over.

"Um. Hi! Has she seen the ones . . . " She gestured to the girls' side of the store. "There are lots of pajamas over there. You know. Too."

"You mean on the girls' side?"

"Yes! The girls' side." She seemed relieved that I knew why she was upset. "She would probably like them. They are really cute."

Will, meanwhile, had chosen her favourite pair. "Crocodile! And bird! Yellow bird!"

"I think she likes these ones."

I almost bought a package of boys' briefs just to make her fear a little more for my child's gender identity, but thought it might be a bit much. Will liked the purple ones better, anyway.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I wish I had a picture of this

Last night as I was puzzling over "The Real Housewives of New York," waiting to see how the women would respond to the presence of someone's husband at "girls' night," Will woke up. She has impeccable timing - waking up just as we are thinking about going to bed, but before we have managed to brush our teeth. Anyway.

My husband went up to try to comfort her as I tried to catch some of the dinner party drama. Will was having none of that. Her cries were pitiful, and when I went in to her room to help, she was pointing desperately at her eyes.

Usually, if her eyes are "itchy" I blow in them lightly and all is fine. But this time, she was pointing and crying for her "glassicals."

She loves her sunglasses, especially when it's "too bwight," but at this point it was midnight in a room lit only by a night light.

"Do you really want me to get your sunglasses?" I asked.

"Yes. Glassicals."

I found the sunglasses downstairs and brought them up to my snuffling daughter. She put them on and immediately calmed down. That's when I started laughing. The image of her sitting in her bed in pajamas and sunglasses was hilarious.

Kids are a real trip.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Will vs the Chicken

We visited Riverdale Farm this week and a good time was had by all. Will and her best friend were able to run free, while their moms got to catch up with our old friend and boss from our days working at the CNE (but that's another story).

Will also had her first close encounter with a free-range chicken.

Oh look! A chicken!

Do you see me? Beside this bird!?

Come back!

Where are you going?

I think the chicken is "all done."

Mom! I'm all done too.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Under stress, I always put on my shoes

The sign on the table read, "Call me about the bowl outside by the laundry room."

I peered out the door. Our biggest stainless steel mixing bowl was out on the side deck.

Him: You know how, when the cats are acting weird, it's important to take them seriously?

Me: Yes . . .

Him: Well, when I came downstairs this morning, both Pasha and Oliver were staring intently under the sideboard.

Me: . . .

Him: And then Pasha went under there and rooted around for a bit, and when she came out she had a mouse in her mouth.

Me: Oh my god! Like in Troy!

Him: She started batting it around and throwing it up in the air.

Me: Ew!

Him: Then it would escape and she or Oliver would chase it and catch it.

Me: <a variety of gasping and gagging sounds>

Him: And it was 6 in the morning and I was trying to get ready for my meeting, so I grabbed that bowl and an empty cereal box, and I somehow manoeuvred the mouse into the bowl. Which I put outside.

Me: I'm going to see if it's still in there.

Him: I don't think it could get out.

Me: (opening the door slowly and tiptoeing onto the deck) There's nothing in that bowl.

* * * * * * * * * *

So. A mouse.

I'm actually much better with the idea of mice in the house then, say, spiders. But the idea of mouse is still very different than seeing a live one skittering across the living room floor.

I guess we will keep our eyes open and keep a close watch on the cats, before we do anything rash.

But seriously? When you add in the rats in the park and the baby birds that just hatched next door, I feel like this is turning into a wildlife blog.

* * * * * * * * * *

In other news, I solved the mystery of the wet map.

It turns out a toddler with a heavy morning diaper can make a puddle on the floor through her already wet pajamas.

Good observation skills, Sherlock.

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Mystery of the Wet Map

Will has a giant map puzzle on the floor of her bedroom.

She loves to pull apart the giant foam shapes and then piece them back together. There are lots of animal pictures, not to mention letters and numbers and colours to identify. It's a great area for a big kid diaper change and the perfect place to sit and read while that same kid slowwwwwwly falls asleep.

This morning I found a puddle on the map. On Mali, to be exact, although it was pooling into Burkina Faso and Niger.

I looked at Will. "Did you pee on the map?"

"No. Potty." She led me into the bathroom for emphasis. "No pee map. Potty."

I knew she hadn't actually peed on the potty. She has only done that once before, and she still had her diaper on from last night. So then she couldn't have peed on the map either, right?

Her diaper was soaked through, but even if she had tried to pee on the map, it would have collected in her pajamas, not in a neat little puddle on the map.

It wasn't me. I'm pretty certain it wasn't my husband.

That left the cats. I knew I had been a little lax in cleaning their litter boxes this week. But when I cleaned up the mess there was definitely not that pungent and unmistakable smell of cat pee.


My detective mind went back to Will. Maybe she peed on the map last night? After her bath but before her diaper?

But last night I sat on that map, right near Mali, and read my book. Will got out of bed and walked directly across it to stand on my book. I took her back to bed along the same route more than once, and never stepped in a puddle of wet.

Then what?

Was it really pee, or maybe just water? Spilled or poured from a child's cup with a straw?

I don't think I will ever know.

Monday, June 1, 2009

If you knew the "money" theme song you'd be singing it too

My husband has a thing for Gail Vaz-Oxlade.

She may have even replaced - gasp! - Judge Judy in his adulation, although he has yet to set the DVR for episodes of Til Debt Do Us Part.

If you have never watched the show, Gail works with a couple who is in debt and/or living beyond their means. She first evaluates their finances and lets them know how much they are spending and how far in debt they will be if they continue. Gail then helps them create a budget and makes them live on cash for one month, with a few challenges and life lessons along the way. If they get their financial act together, at the end of the month they receive a cheque for $5000 to help them with debt repayment.

Every time my husband watches this show, he ends up at the computer examining spreadsheets and bank statements. He rants for a while about doing "a real budget," but by the time I have a glass of wine and watch an episode of The Tudors, he's usually over it.

Until this weekend. On Saturday night he found Gail Vaz-Oxlade's blog, complete with her budget worksheets and guide to actually building a *real* budget.

We decided to plug in our real numbers from April to evaluate our own situation.

I do want to say that we are very fortunate that my husband's work is something that shelters us from the ups and downs of the economy. It is because of this work that I have been able to stay at home with Will and make parenting my full time work right now.

That said, we had a sneaking suspicion that our Starbucks habit alone might be something that should be reined in.

Um, yeah.

Food consumption is clearly the major issue for us. We may not go to the movies or, well, anywhere right now, but by god we are masters at picking up Swiss Chalet or Thai food. They aren't even expensive purchases. Just multiple trips to the grocery store or Costco, and excursions to our favourite restaurants or coffee shops.

In the spirit of taking control of this spending (and maybe starting to think about retirement) we have adopted Gail's "cash jar" approach for the month of June.

As of 2:40 pm on June first, I have yet to pull money from any of the jars.

(And I'm totally not counting last night's Superstore run for cereal and a couple of Joe t-shirts cheating. It was still May, after all.)