Wednesday, September 30, 2009

September: a photo essay

There hasn't been a lot in the way of blog posts this month, but that does not mean we haven't been doing things. My hopes for a summer-hot September fell short pretty quickly, and now this last day feels like November (and we discovered this morning we don't seem to have any fall shoes). However, these are the kinds of things that kept us busy this month.

The beach: Labour Day weekend

Our local, historic carousel: still only five cents (!) a ride

Hanging out with her cousin at the Lion Safari

Olympic gold medalist at the downtown kids' parade

First time at the movies as a "big girl." Watched the entire show!

Watching for the next float in the grand parade

Celebrating Eid with a new shalwar kameez

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I knew I looked good in a shalwar kameez, but really

Last night we went to my inlaws' house to celebrate Eid. Whenever we get together with my husband's family, there are a few things we can be sure of:
  1. Nothing will start on time. (At least) one person will be late; therefore whatever we are supposed to be doing will be delayed. At Will's welcoming ceremony, my husband's brother actually left the house to pick up the food at the time the event was supposed to begin.
  2. We will eat, but it will not be until really late. Much later than 2-year-olds should be eating. (Read: bed time.)
  3. We will not leave until late. Very late. Much later than our predetermined "ideal time of departure" and even later than our "absolute latest depature time."
Despite these constants, there are also things we never know until we get there:
  1. What the women will be wearing. This one is stressful for me since I never know whether I should bring Indian clothes.
  2. What we will be eating. My father-in-law's delicious biryani? My sister-in-law's salmon? Take-out from the Chinese restaurant up the street?
  3. Who is actually coming to the event. Often there are cross-border relatives who are held up at customs. Someone who has married into the family may have invited her entire immediate family who live in the same city. At the big events, there is almost always a surprise guest: a cousin who's flown in (or driven all day) with a new baby; a patriarch visiting from India; a new convert who just happens to be marrying someone's daughter.
At dinner last night, my brother-in-law and his family were late, we didn't eat until just before eight, and we couldn't get away until ten.

I brought one of only two Indian suits that I really like, but then received another from my mother-in-law as an Eid gift, so ended up wearing that one. My father-in-law did make an amazing, albeit spicy beef dish that I have no idea how to spell (it sounds like "pa-sun-day"). There were no surprise guests, but we knew ahead of time that my husband's aunt and uncle from India would be there.

The uncle (let's call him "A") is actually my father-in-law's great uncle. My FIL's great-grandfather had a lot of children over a period of at least 50 years. His third wife gave birth to A just a couple of years before my FIL was born - to his granddaughter. Got it? To make things even more confusing, A's wife is my mother-in-law's younger sister. Family relationships in my husband's family are very confusing, to say the least.

So yesterday, we are sitting around the dinner table and uncle/great-uncle A, who is known as both a philosopher and a big talker, announces, "I want to speak to the daughters-in-law."

He points at me and, presumably, my sister-in-law who is sitting nearby.

"Daughter-in-law. How do you spell? D. I. L. You would say that 'dil', daughter-in-law, 'dil'."

Remember that A still lives in India, and speaks with an accent.

"Now in Irdu, what is 'dil'? 'Dil' is 'hot.' Daughter-in-law is hot."

He points at me again.

"To husband. To family. Daughter-in-law is hot. Dil."

I wasn't sure what to say, except "Thank you." I had been worried that my new Indian suit was a bit see-through, but I thought the scarf covered everything. Oh, right. I had taken off the dupatta to eat dinner.

On the car ride home that night, I asked my husband what he thought about the whole exchange.

"Heart." he said. "Dil means 'heart.'"

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sayings that don't make the lack of napping any better

"That looks like a pretty good book."

"Nacho. Pickles Jones. Tinkerbell. Wishbone . . . (22 more names, in order, from her favourite cat book) . . . Tommy. Midnight. Charlotte. Smokey."

"Is it time to get up yet?"

Spelling her name over and over.

"Scratch my back?"

"Mama! Mama! Mama! Mama!"

"Can I flush it down it goes?"

"I go to sleep already!"

"Mama! What are you doin' down there?"

"You're missing the fun!"

"I'm stinky! Mama change me, please."

(Although that last one might explain everything.)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

In summary

-As of two o'clock this afternoon, the house is sealed against mice. It will take 10 weeks for the little beasts to make their way out through the one-way exits (or into the live trap that I have not yet placed down in the basement). It cost an exorbitant amount of money, but the house is now also sealed against bats (the little detail that sold me on the service) and from the looks of the rather unattractive gook that now fills all of the house's exterior crevices, I'm hopeful that it might impede bugs and spiders as well. The workers were very courteous, but did destroy several of my husband's prized perennials, so he wasn't too impressed with that.

-After our one brief victory, potty training (learning?) has completely stopped. Will was so proud of herself, I thought the process would really pick up, but when I read her signals the other night and started leading her towards the bathroom, she FUH-REAKED out. So. Not quite ready, I guess.

-Fall activities are starting this week. So far, Kindermusik with the new instructor seems like it will be good. Will is now the oldest in the class, so has morphed from being the shy quiet child to the star. It would be nice if the class was a bit bigger (there are only five) with a couple more kids her age, but it is good that she has the chance to shine in this new role.

-I'm back on the WW points, hard core. The first few days last week were a lot harder than I remembered, but now I'm back into the counting. I'm remembering some of the tricks, as well as the 10 point dinners that actually fill you up (thank you, president's choice burgers). And I lost 2 pounds last week, so that gives me the push I need to keep going.

-I'm finally watching True Blood, the first season. It is just as good as everyone says it is, and I'm particularly pleased with the way they are using the vampire mythology. A good vampire story has to remain true to the basic tenants of the genre, while making interesting and believable adapations. (Why yes, I am referring to you, Edward, glittering in the sunlight. Just no.)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Nothing says "mommy blog" like potty training and naptime

On Monday, Will and I had a blast painting outside. We also made a huge mess, so I stripped off her clothes and hosed her off before heading inside. While playing in the nude, Will announced, "I have to poo, Mama. The poo is coming!"

I took her over to the potty and asked her if she wanted some privacy (she has always demanded that we not look at her when she's having doing her business) and she shut the bathroom door.

I waiting, a little nervously, wondering what would be waiting for me when the door reopened.

Suddenly, Will called out, "Mama! I see the poo!"

And there it was. We "flushed it down it goes" and celebrated with three (maybe four) smarties. We limited our calls to Daddy and a message for my parents: Hi Manno! Hi Papa! Poo. In the potty. Owls. Bye!"

Of course, lunch in underwear ended in a high chair full of pee. And in the days that followed, the only receptacle for toddler poop has been the trusty diaper.

But . . . I ordered some fancy training pants that arrived today. Will put them on immediately, and was crushed that she had to take them off for her nap so I could wash them. She was so excited that they be wash that she demanded I do so right away - no snuggles as she fell asleep, just wash those underwear so she could wear them when she got up!

For a child who does not go to sleep alone, this is a big deal, even though I can hear her singing at the top of her lungs.

Who knows? Maybe she will actually fall asleep.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Um, no. But at least she's asleep. And maybe she'll still like the training pants . . .

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Mouse 2.0

It's been more than two months since I found the empty mixing bowl on the back deck. In that time and longer, we have had a few problems with flickering lights and electrical outlets (unlike Dooce, my brand-new washing machine stopped working because of the wires in a nearby socket). So when my sister swore she could hear mice scampering up the wall behind one of the vents in the living room, I started to have visions of the little rodents eating through the wires and causing unseen damage inside the bowels of the house.

Literally days later, as we are hanging out in the living room during nap time, there is a huge crash. Then Oliver - the more skittish of the cats - steps gingerly into our line of sight, a mouse dangling from his mouth. His eyes are a bit frantic and you can almost hear his voice: Look what I've got for you, Mama! But what should I do with it? Where should I put it? Halp!

My sister and I jump onto the coffee table, alternately hissing at each other and praising Oliver: "Oh my god, it's a mouse! Good job, Oliver! A real mouse? Well, it's dead! Good work Oliver, catching that mouse. Is it? It could just be pretending. DON'T put it down, Oliver. Good kitty! How are we going to get rid of it?" My husband starts looking for some kind of container. Oliver turns around in a circle and then darts downstairs.

In the basement, the mouse gets dropped and stays "dead" for a moment before running for its life. It's caught and cornered by both cats, then dropped again before disappearing.

Meanwhile, Will has gotten up from her nap and is recruited into carrying a flashlight into the basement to help my sister look for the mouse. Although we see lots of places for mice to congregate (ewwww!) we think we've lost it, until we notice Pasha staring into my rolled-up yoga mat.

Five minutes later, with the help of a pasta pot, we are out on the deck staring down at this:

A little closer:

We get the mat off and the top on:

Doesn't that seem like a fat mouse? As in, clearly not starving in my apparently hospitable house? Here's a closer look:

Also, I had no idea mice had such beady eyes. Ugh!

After convincing my husband that we could not in good conscience free the mouse in our annoying neighbour's flower bed, Will helps him carry the pot to the far corner of the back yard.


You can just make him (her?) out to the left in the top part of the picture.

Although I'm still not too freaked out by the idea that there are other overfed rodents living in my admittedly old house, I am not excited about the damage they could be causing inside the walls. I have already contacted the wildlife removal people, who don't kill the animals (I would never consider using poisons, especially with Will and the cats in the house) but apparently install "one-way exits" and block all the other entry points.

I will let you know how it goes.