Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Another morning

This morning it was pouring rain. I watched my husband leave, knowing he wouldn't be back until after eight tonight. I looked over at my daughter eating her cereal, my heart filled with apprehension.

But. But . . .

We have yet to turn on the TV.

Instead, we built a long, snaking train track. We coloured a picture, glued together some toilet paper-roll binoculars, and made a butterfly covered in pom-poms.

We threw a wet cloth up at the ceiling in my bedroom to remove some of the high cobwebs, the room filling with laughter.

We jumped in front of the mirror - faster and faster - until we just had to collapse on the floor.

We took turns giving each other haircuts with imaginary clips and orange spray. Then she asked for four ponytails, and let me put them in her hair.

Then we went out for lunch for at the Pizza Hut buffet and had a delightful time.

Some mornings are hard. But then there are the ones like today.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

And that was just the morning

First, the cleaning service - whose office can never tell me what time they will arrive, although it tends to be mid to late morning - actually woke us up this morning.

Will and I jumped out of bed, passed my husband a robe so he could move modestly from the shower to the bedroom, and holed ourselves up in the basement to watch Shrek. All we had to eat was one nutrigrain jam bar between us.

As much as I detest cleaning the house, and as terrible as I am at it, I am considering breaking up with "the mawlies" as Will calls them. They were in and out in just over an hour, and although the house is passably clean, I don't think it's clean enough for what they charge. Really, I just need a regular cleaning lady, but I'm too paranoid to bring someone into my house from a kijiji ad, and I'm having a hell of a time trying to find a referral.

Next was the battle over going upstairs so Mama could take a much-needed shower. In the midst of the cajoling (mine) and refusing (hers), she hit me. We had a very serious talk about hitting, and Will was informed that if she hit Mama again she was going into time-out.

There was more cajoling and threatening (both mine). It has recently dawned on me that my now standard "If you do not come here by the time I count to three I will bring you here myself" probably won't work when she's 9, but I'm not sure how to adapt my arsenal of consequences, especially when we are trying to just. get. moving. But that was cut short when halfway up the stairs she hit me again, so into time-out we went.

After that detour, I actually got a shower (with Will in tow), and all was well until we got dressed and were both suddenly ravenous and miserable. Will couldn't fathom that this horrible feeling was hunger and refused all offers of food. My fuse was even shorter than usual until I realized that something in our stomachs would make us both calm down.

A little apple juice gave Will enough sugar for her to articulate a desire for "peanut butter jam, please." That gave me enough time to reheat some spinach lasagna for myself.

A walk around the block led to nap time and finally - finally - a cup of coffee.

The end.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

So. The cottage.

My father-in-law is not a talkative man. He is content to sit quietly at his computer or on the couch, or make his way alone as the rest of the group walks ahead. But every time we get together there is a moment when he clears his throat, takes a sip of his coffee or tea and announces, "So."

We have determined that one of several things may follow. A story about his childhood in India (So. We forgot to tie up the ox in front of the school, and he just found his own way home.) A discussion about politics or religion. Comments on the current state of the extended family. Some information about a new scientific or technological discovery (So. What is so special about this i-phone?)

Now it's my turn.

So. The cottage.

Looking at these pictures a few days after being home - our wonderful home with its hot shower, comfortable beds, fresh smelling furniture and bug-free ceilings and walls - I can almost remember the whole experience washed in the idyllic light of the sunset.

But dear god, it had its moments.

Forget about the mosquitoes and the spiders (which had mostly been killed by the time we arrived, or I wouldn't have slept even the little I managed) or the smell of the couch, which literally made me gag when I moved to be closer to the light. Forget the tension between my sisters-in-law, one of whom loves to cottage and cannot under any circumstances stop talking, and the other who arranged for a return to civilization a day early but could not go out for ice cream without scrutinizing the nutrition chart with her oldest daughter. (Newsflash: there is nothing low in calories or fat at the DQ. If you are looking for the item with the lowest caloric content, however, my mother-in-law found - and ate it: a pineapple sundae.)

The lowest point was when I had to carry a literally kicking and screaming Will from the beach to the car and then in to the house. That was made a thousand times worse by the sister-in-law who stared into the car at the screaming child and then refused to just go when I gestured to her, and the grandmother who kept asking Will if it was she who was crying, as I carried the snuffling child up the stairs, or the children who kept coming into the room to ask why she was crying, why?

That happened on the second day, and we learned. It's good to prepare a 2-year-old for your departure from the scene before you even get out of the car, in case you were wondering. And things got better.

Will had an amazing time "with all the cousins!" They ran and played, and I was comfortable - sometimes - with her even out of my sight. She loved being surrounded by her grandparents and aunts and uncles. She adored going to the beach. She was generally pleasant and friendly even with delayed naps and bedtimes, and it was so much fun hearing her talk to other people.

So. It turns out I'm not much of a cottage person. I'd like to come back from the beach to a room with a freshly made bed and clean towels.

But. I'm still very happy that we had this chance to be together.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Splish Splash

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Clearly, Will and I got a little wet today.

After running errands in zillion degree humidity (the first real humid days of this cold and wet summer), lunch and a nice nap, we decided to hit the splash pad. For the first 20 minutes it was great fun. Will even got doused with water from one of those swinging buckets and she loved it.

There was a dark cloud that started creeping closer, but it didn't seem like it would actually do anything. I even called my husband so he could stop by on his way to his evening clinic.

Well. Just as the first raindrops fell, Will decided she wanted to play on the equipment nearby. After climbing into (thankfully) the smaller kids' apparatus, it started to pour. Since she was already wet, I didn't really think much of it. Just a passing summer shower, so we played on.

Suddenly I saw Will's feet fly up in front of her and she was almost flying towards me down the slide. Luckily I caught her at the bottom of her slippery fall, and she was more frightened than injured. By the time she got calmed down, the rain had almost stopped and she wanted a swing.

Well. A few minutes into that swing and the skies just opened. The rain was pouring down in sheets, and there was thunder and lightening. We ran to the car and climbed into the front seat, watching the flood in front of us and laughing. We decided we get ourselves home - soaked though we were - and get ourselves warm and dry once we were there.

If the goal was to cool off with a little water fun, we definitely succeeded.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Phone message, painstakingly transcribed

Hi guys. This is just your neighbour next door. I just wanted to tell you I had hosed down your car yesterday. I didn't ask because you weren't there and I probably shouldn't have done it but I wanted to see if my tree or your tree and how much came on by the next morning. It was just a slight experiment. So I do apologize for not asking permission to hose off your car. But I wanted to see what the difference was between what went on my car and what went on your car. And which tree was doing the worst drop. Because it's real sticky stuff and it's never lasted this long before. It usually lasts a couple of days and it's gone, but it's been going on for about three weeks now. Anyway I hope I didn't offend you, I just wanted to make sure that, um, you know I did that little experiment so I could see which tree was the worst, and they are both the same. But I wanted to-- Anyway-- Thanks! Sorry to bother you. All right. Bye!

I'm not sure if this is better or worse than the time she let herself into our backyard to pick up our branches. Either way, I think it's spelled c.r.a.z.y.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Still my baby

Out for a walk after lunch, she tripped on a crack and skidded into the sidewalk. Wailing, she demanded that "Mama hold the me" so I scooped her up and she wrapped her arms and legs around me like a monkey.

At home, she cried over the antiseptic spray - "No poly! No poly!" - and kept crying even while declaring that "bandaid make boo-boo much better."

I sat on the edge of my bed and held her, and suddenly she found that spot on my shoulder that she loved as an infant. She curled up tight as a bug, still able to snuggle against me, despite her dangling limbs.

Her cries turned to gulps, then shudders as she drifted into sleep. I pushed myself back into a pile of pillows, and she burrowed even deeper into my chest. Slept.

The same weight of my baby, bigger now. My body still able to offer her comfort, help her drift into sleep.

I couldn't move. I didn't want to.

I wished someone was there to capture this moment in a photograph.

Squinting at our reflections in the closet mirrors, it looked almost the way I remembered.