Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Day After.

Christmas has come and gone. We've eaten the turkey, and the "Christmas lasagne", we've opened our presents and played with our new toys; now we're just wallowing in the satiated aftermath.

I received some rather nice gifts (I'm looking at you, scrapbook kit), and I wouldn't usually show favouritism like this, I must admit, but I do have a top three:

1. Beege saying to me, on Christmas eve, "You're the best Mummy ever, and I love you more than anything!"

2. Kee (my terminally un-snuggly girl) crawling into my bed, giving me a kiss and then sharing her blanket with me for a half hour cuddle.

3. (Last, but most certainly not least) A gift certificate from my parents for babysitting from "Friday, after school to Sunday after dinner" on the weekend of our anniversary.

There is a large portion of Christmas that has been lost in a flurry of wrapping paper and over-excited children, but there were some moments that stand out in my memory. [Tomorrow my family is leaving me for a few days (for Christmas take three) so I'll even have a chance to write about them!]

I hope your celebration was as nice as mine!


Friday, December 23, 2011

The Santa Thing.

We don't really make a big deal about Santa in our house. We don't go to see him, but we do leave a snack out for him. We don't use him as a threat to make the kids behave, but we do use him to get them into bed on Christmas Eve.

Beege told me the other day that she believes in him because she's had the "empirical evidence" of snacks being eaten and lists being fulfilled.

(The fact that Santa prefers chocolate milk and those yummy Peak Freans cookies with the fruit jelly in the middle, just like Mummy, hasn't come under scrutiny yet.)

Armed with this belief, Beege writes her letter to Santa every year. It's pretty much been the same list since she started writing it. The only difference is that now she writes it herself:

Desember 2011.19
Dear Santa,
I want some new vidio games, new movies, new cudly toys and new games. Merry Christmas!
from, Beege


Kee hasn't been in on the letter to Santa thing up to this point, but this year, she wanted to write one too*:

Dear Santa,
How are you? I hope you are having a nice Christmas. My name is Kee. I would like a snowglobe for a present if you have one.
Thank you,
Kee

Last night, when Beege found out that I hadn't written one, she wrote one for me, just to make sure Santa didn't forget me:

December 22 2011
Dear Santa,
I would like an art kit, a knitting kit, some thread, some ribbon and some new paints. I also want some more money to help me do something. Merry Christmas.
from,
Jessica

When I asked her what the "something" I wanted money for was, she explained it was to buy a house.

If you bring me a house, Santa, I promise that I will leave you whatever kind of snack you want.





*As dictated to Mummy.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

'Twas the Night Before the Night Before the Night Before Christmas.

Somewhere, in amongst the vast amounts of loose papers that get sent home, there was a notice regarding the school's holiday assemblies. I mean, I think there was; I never saw it, but I'm assuming that we get notices about these kinds of things.

So yesterday, when I picked up Beege and her teacher "reminded" me about it, and the fact that she was supposed to wear black pants and a red shirt, I had no idea what she was talking about. Luckily for me, Beege doesn't exactly care whether something is technically clean. Usually, I would insist on doing some laundry, but right now I am so tired that I didn't bother.

Oddly enough, nothing happened.

By which I mean that not only did she not burst into flames when she started singing, but no one noticed or commented on my daughter's lack of freshly laundered clothes. It was liberating. I may never do laundry again.

Unless things are stained. Or smelly. Okay, I guess I'll still do laundry.

The concert was that lovely mix of awkward and adorable that you get at grade school shows. My daughter was, of course, all adorable.

While my plan had been to sit as near to the door as possible so I would be able to make a quick escape, we ended up way on the other side of the gym in the front row. So I am thrilled to announce that my rebellious intestines gave me a break, there were no coughing fits and I only had to blow my nose like a foghorn once.

Kee even stayed beside me the entire time; although I did have to fork over the camera to get her to stop asking "can we go home now?" over and over.

There are 75 more pictures almost exactly like this.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Reprieve.

Okay. So... I freaked out a little.

In recent years we (the husband and I) had decided that Christmas eve and morning would be a (nuclear) family only occasion. We would wear our pajamas, we would act silly, we would not tidy. We would enjoy each other, and the prospect of not having to do dishes.

A visitor* would mean changes. A visitor would mean I'd feel obligated to clean the bathroom. I would feel like we shouldn't use paper plates on Christmas. I would feel like I had to put a bra on.

There are just some people that I have trouble being myself in front of; and it was one of those people who was going to land on my doorstep on Christmas eve. Sitting in a corner, biting my tongue and trying not to be noticed isn't really my idea of a merry Christmas.

Apparently, Via Rail also prefers more than a week's notice from Christmas travelers; tickets have been sold out for weeks. There will be no visitor.

*exhale*

Of course, I feel like a total jerk for my immediate panic on hearing that she would be coming. And my tears of relief upon hearing that she wasn't.

So it's only right that instead, I shall be visited by the plague.

As long as I don't end up in the hospital**, or cleaning vomit out of my ear, I'm calling it a win.



*I hasten to say that while this particular visitor would have unsettled me more than most, I would rather not have ANYONE over on Christmas. Call me greedy, but I want a couple of days all to myself.
**Christmas 2010.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Surpriiiiiiiiiiiise!

Yesterday, I felt like I was almost ready for Christmas.

All the shopping is done, except stocking stuffers and yams. The things that I haven't finished making are all in progress. The two things that I haven't started making have all the details worked out in my head, which is really the most difficult part; it's messy in there.

Of course, now I'm sick. And so are the girls. But we're not really sick, we're just that annoying kind of sick that doesn't need to lay down but walks around all prickly and oversensitive. There is a lot of hacking and nose blowing. I foresee a lot of crying in the next few days.

I feel as though someone has been beating me while I sleep. Everything is sore and someone has filled my head with cotton; I can hardly think. That in itself isn't so awful. I mean, we were going to rest over the holidays anyway. We've gone to some lengths to keep things calm and relaxed. I'll still be sitting around wrapped in a blanket, I'll just be having NeoCitran instead of hot chocolate. Not the end of the world.


So throw in a house guest. Who we didn't actually invite, but who it's kind of impossible to just flat out say no to. A house guest who doesn't actually like me.

We are going to have someone come and stay with us - from Christmas eve to boxing day - in our tiny apartment. Our tiny apartment that doesn't even have room for the four of us. We don't have a proper bathroom door. We leave our bedroom door open at night in case the girls call us. There is no privacy available in this apartment.

As I have previously complained, there is absolutely no storage in this place. We store extra toilet paper and diapers beside the couch. We have to keep our dirty laundry in the living room. Piles of fabric taking up half of the available seating. We've got boxes waiting to go to Goodwill, baskets of laundry waiting to be folded, and a giant box of felt all lined up behind the couch. First thing you see when you open the door. Not to mention we lost previously available space to the tree.

When I said we were going to have to find some place to move it all, my husband asked me why. I swear to god, if he'd been closer to me, I might have punched him in the head.

So. Long story short: Instead of quiet time enjoying my family in my pajamas, I will be uncomfortable and stressed in my own house for Christmas.

I'd probably better go scrub a floor now.

Friday, December 16, 2011

No Malls For Me!

I love Christmas. I love almost everything about it. I love the music and the lights and the cheesy movies*. I love dedicating (at least!) a few days to doing nothing with my family.

One of the things that I don't love however is the commercialism. The idea that you HAVE to get this toy or that game. The commercials, the malls, the shopping, the rush, the stress. I could do without all that.

So this year, I decided I would.

Sort of.

While I hate shopping, I do love giving gifts. Especially gifts that I've put some thought and time into; so I decided to (try to**) make all my gifts this year. Which, I suppose, is a different kind of stress, but I get to feel a warm, satisfied glow as I look at the little pile of gifts under my tree.

It's actually going pretty well, but it does present a problem. I'm spending a lot of time making things. I want to post pictures. I want to post tutorials. I think that a couple of people I know might actually read my blog though.


I can post this picture of our lovely Gingerbread tent.

For now, I'll leave you with a few links to some good tutorials in case you're in need of ideas for those last few people on your list.

Here ya go:

Great for sticking in a stocking, some quick and easy hand warmers.

50 homemade gift ideas from Mr. and Mrs. Not Made of Money.

Some last minute ideas from Homemade Gifts Made Easy.

A tutorial (that made me laugh out loud) for a re-usable coffee cosy.
A couple more in-depth tutorials if you'd like a more polished looking coffee cup sleeve, one from Fiskars, and one from House on Hill Road.





*There are a few notable exceptions: The Jim Carrey Grinch, and Four Christmases, and The Christmas Shoes, to name a few. I can't help it if I prefer my Christmas movies to be heartwarming.
**No matter how hard I try, I still haven't been able to make an Xbox game.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Random Selection.

When Kee and I go to the library, I don't really have a chance to browse. In the interests of preserving my sanity, and avoiding scathing looks from the other patrons, we tend to head straight to the children's section. Once there, we can spend as much as an hour selecting 8 page board books, playing with the (likely germ infested) toys, and harassing strange children.

Do I complain? No. Heavens, no.

When it comes time for Mummy's book selection, however, I'd better be less than five minutes, or the whining begins. Luckily, our library has a section on the way out where they display a selection of seemingly random books.

They may be new releases or something, I don't know. I should read the sign next time.

Anyway.

Usually, since I haven't heard of any of the books on display, I just grab something that doesn't look horrible. And really, I'll read almost anything*, so I'm generally happy with whatever I end up with.

Yesterday, I decided it would be interesting to let Kee pick my books for me.


So. From left to right: A book about a pink girl who likes cats. A whole book about SHOES! And last but not least, the story of a purple princess with a gold hula hoop, whose head hurts.

While not exactly random, - she did have reasons, after all - I may have found my new book selection method. We'll see, after I've read them. I am a little curious about what exactly is wrong with that princess' head.



*Except The Lord of the Rings. I just can't. I've tried. I'm sorry.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Beege at Five.

Since Beege was old enough to have opinions, I've been asking her some questions on her birthday; Kind of an exit interview for the year. Anything important you want to remember? Any new things you want to try?

The intention is to write this information out neatly, add her school picture for the year and then a sentence about any important highlights from the year.

"Scrapbooking," I believe it's called.

I used to do things like scrapbooking. I used to make all my own Christmas cards. I used to see friends. I used to actually leave the house...

Anyway. Sidetracked.

I haven't actually managed to get a single one of these interviews glued down on a pretty piece of paper. I fully intend to though. It would certainly help if I would write everything down in the same place, instead of (as I did this year) on the back of a scrap piece of paper that was also used to write out a Chinese food order.

However, because I am as brilliant as I am disorganised, this year, I'm going to blog it.

Brilliant, right? Not only do I have it written down somewhere that it won't go through the laundry, I get a post out of it! High five!

**********

Beege: Last Day of Five.

Favourites:
Colour: Purple! [with eye roll, indicating ridiculousness of the question.]
Food: Pizza. But, ordered pizza. From Pizza Pizza. Not from the freezer.
Board game: Candyland.
Movie: Only the most hilariousest movie in the house... Despicable Me!
Thing to do: Read a book.
Book: I don't know.
Song: I don't know.
Toy: I don't know.
Day of the week: I don't know!

Anything special you want to remember about this year?: Being a black cat for halloween. Going to mini golf for my birthday; it was super fun.

Antything you're looking forward to for next year? MAD SCIENCE!*

Anything else you'd like to say about this year?
I love Daddy, I love Mummy, I love Kee... I love everyone I know.

************

A few things I'd like to add: You love school. You think of everyone you meet as a new friend. You're learning to be more patient with your sister, which I know can be hard. You are overflowing with hugs and snuggles. I get angry with you sometimes when you're acting silly because you're so smart that it's easy to forget that you're only six. OHMYGOD, YOU'RE ALREADY SIX!! No matter how old you get, in the back of my mind, superimposed on the strong, beautiful, AMAZING person you are becoming, will be that sweet smelling baby I held for the first time. Love you.

**********

Now, when I'm doing this again next year, I'll be able to look back and reminisce about how I never got this one done properly.

Ahh, technology.


*I feel pretty strongly that our kids have more than enough stuff, so for her birthday we're sending Beege to Mad Science: Extraordinary Laboratory. It's once a week for eight weeks and they do a different experiment each time; I'm almost as excited as she is.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Funny Girl: Redux.

Kee's been on a rhyming kick lately; she'll just rattle off words (and not words) that rhyme while she's doing something else. She's really pleased when she stumbles upon actual words that rhyme.

All this rhyming has also kicked up her joke telling a notch. For a while there, it was all "knock knock" jokes; her favourite being "Orange you glad I didn't say banana?" [Yes, for the love of god, don't ever say "banana" again!]

She has now moved on to what did the ________ say to the _______? Most of the time, instead of trying to come up with something for whatever the item was to say, she'll yell "NOTHING! ______s don't talk!"

Have you ever watched Wild Kratts? It's not a bad show; educational, and much easier to deal with than Zaboomafoo. Wild Kratts is one of Kee's very favourite shows.


They call each other "Bro" all the time.

So, I suppose this was inevitable.

Kee: What does a bro say to a hoe?
Me:...
Kee: WHAT DOES A BRO SAY TO A HOE?
Me:...
Kee: [agitated] MUMMY!! WHAT DOES A...
Me: I don't know, honey, what?
Kee: [dissolving into giggles] Nothing! Bros don't talk!

Which, really? Sort of funny.



Sometimes, it's not just deja vu.

Mini Golf is Better in The Dark.

So, Nablopomo is officially over - several days ago, in fact - and of course, I feel like I'm neglecting my blog again. Not that I managed to post EVERY day like I meant to, but 26 is pretty darn good from where I'm sitting. Which is at my computer. For the first time in a few days.

So. Beege is going to be six years old tomorrow. I'm still surprised.

We took the girls to glow-in-the-dark mini golf over the weekend to celebrate, and they both loved it. Kee calls it "little hockey". She didn't quite get it, but she's three; give the kid a break. A bit of advice for you; if you're taking a three year old to play mini golf, you might as well not even get a club for yourself because someone is going to need to chase her around.

There were also a number of arcade games for us to waste our money on, which they loved. Kee took a liking to the claw game - you play until you win - so we have a new collection of demented stuffed vegetables to love. Beege actually won one of the BIG prizes out of the claw machine. You know, the ones that lure you to the machine but nobody ever wins? She got a big, weird, crooked, kind of creepy, stuffed purple cat.


[Strange fact about me: I hate loud noises, flashing lights and crowds... but I LOVE arcades. I don't get it either.]

The only damper on the day was that the birthday girl had picked IKEA to have her birthday lunch at. Don't ask me; the kid loves IKEA. Of course, she only likes the macaroni, and for some reason, this location didn't have any. (They did have coconut-curry soup, which seemed a little weird for IKEA, but okay.) There were some tears, but she accepted McDonalds as a substitute, once I promised her ice cream.

Now I have to figure out what kind of treat I can send in to a class with one kid allergic to nuts, two kids allergic to eggs, one allergic to milk, and one with a gluten intolerance.

I'm thinking pencils.

So, don't expect to hear from me tomorrow, I'll be too busy dancing with my daughter.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ah, Cookies.

Yesterday, my sister was here visiting with the baby, when I started feeling a little bit dizzy and cold, and kind of pissed off. She just happened to have a glucose meter in her purse, so she made me test my blood.

Have I mentioned I hate needles? Apparently, this includes little tiny (almost invisible) needles. I was a big huge baby, just ask her.

Anyway, I had a low reading. So she has lent me her meter and I'm going to be checking my blood throughout the day, for a week.

Today, I've been testing regularly and the readings have been on the low side of normal. I also did a random test when I was feeling irritable and cold. Guess what? Irritable and cold coincided with another low reading.

Hopefully all this means is that I can cure my mid-afternoon sluggishness and irritability with cookies. That would be awesome.

"Sorry kids, these aren't cookies; they're medicine."






Monday, November 28, 2011

It's Just The Way The Cookies Crumble.

Apparently*, it takes about 21 days to make something a habit. I would propose that this is only correct when we're talking about BAD habits. Or perhaps, habits that don't really take any effort.

I walked 5k every single day for over a month, and I was feeling great about it. I was feeling better, sleeping better, and I even managed to lose a few pounds.

All it took was a few days of unpleasant weather** to completely kill that habit.

Today, I went for a twenty minute walk around the neighbourhood; I'll be kind and call it about 1.5k. By the time I got home, my legs felt like noodles. It's only been a few weeks since my last big walk, and already I'm practically back to my old state of general sluggishness.

What is it about eating right and exercise that are so hard to do? I know that I will feel good. I know that I will look better. I know that I will be able to chase after the kids without huffing and puffing after ten minutes.

So WHY can't I resist the siren call of a bag of cookies? What is it about me that makes me ignore what I KNOW, and flop down on the couch?

How do you stay motivated, when it's so easy to just slowly let your ass expand and so hard to turn the process around?

I really don't know. I was hoping that you might; any ideas?




*According to some scientific research that I couldn't actually find; but it's quoted lots of places.
**Coupled with Kee's unpleasant reaction to being stuffed in her stroller and pushed around through unpleasant weather.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

No.


Just... no.


Although, if you want to wear an adult onsie, be my guest.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Stream of Conciousness...

Go:

Okay, so I can't write anything on the "proper" computer because my husband is taking a programming course online, which,of course takes precedence. You know... learning and whatever.

So today, the big kid and I went down to the library to make some clay things with some people from the Gardiner Ceramics museum. Which I hope to take her to at some point. You can get free passes through the library, and it's not one of the big ones, like the Science Center or the ROM, so you don't even have to get there at the crack of dawn and be put in a draw. Which I wouldn't want to do, because who wants to get the kids ready to go first thing in the morning, which is hard enough on it's own, and drag everybody to the library on the premise that you then MIGHT get to go to the Science Center? Not me.

I went and got 12 new colours of thread when we stopped by Fabricland on the way home. All that really means is that I can't put off the sewing that I have to do anymore because I "didn't have the right colour thread." I'm working on a bunch of Christmas presents, which, of course I can't talk about, because they're Christmas presents.

I'm watching "Elf" right now, which is actually funnier than I thought. I love Will Ferrell, so that might have something to do with it; and Zooey Deschanel! Love her. Although, sometimes that's really just not enough, because I gotta say I'm never going to see " Jack and Jill", no matter how much I love Adam Sandler because that one can't be anything but crap. Crap wrapped in vomit, really; have you seen the commercials? Boo, Adam Sandler!

Aaaaand... Time.

The end.


[edit: here are some links for above mentioned things that I could not include due to iPad/Blogger non-compatibility.]
--The Toronto Public Library PASS program
--"Jack and Jill". You can't tell me that movie doesn't look like a crap sandwich.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Oh, Sh*t.

Lately, I've been gently urging Kee towards using the potty. There is absolutely no point being heavy handed because I've never met anyone as stubborn as my little girl. I KNOW that I'm the parent here, but using the toilet is one of those things that parents really cannot control.

You can lead the kid to the toilet, but you can't make them poop. I do wish she'd hurry up and decide that she's ready though. Because really? At this point, it's not "poop" anymore, it's shit.

She has started doing some "big girl" things all on her own lately, like getting dressed without help and taking her dishes to the sink without being asked, so I'm hoping that using the toilet will become part of her repertoire soon.

Today, when she looked as though she was going to poop, I asked her if she wanted to use the toilet. No, she most certainly did not. She did, however want to know what, exactly, poop is anyway?

So I drew her a picture of the human digestion system. We talked about it in simple terms; down your throat into your stomach where the stomach acid helps eat the food, then through the big tubes called intestines that soak up the nutrients, then out your bum. She was very interested.

Then she asked about pee. So we talked about how her bladder is like a balloon and when the balloon gets full, she has to pee.

Then, she took the pencil out of my hand to draw her own diagram for me.

Apparently, this is what she got from the conversation:
"So. This," she says, pointing to a cirle, "is my head. Then I eat and my heart pushes the tummy garbage into my tummy. Because my heart is here," she elaborates, pointing at her belly button. "Then there is an alien who comes and he gets eaten by the big monster that lives in my mouth. He makes the acid. And there's a balloon for pee. And I have a big tube, that's attached to my vagina. Because that's on my head."

I'm just glad I wasn't trying to explain where babies come from.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

I Should Know Better.

My kids have been using scissors safely, and with minimal supervision, for quite a while now.

Since they've never cut anything other than the craft they were working on, I may have gotten complacent. I may have decided that it was okay for me to turn my back on them; even read a book.


Whoops.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Story.

By Kee

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Ariel. She liked to hug her prince tightly. But she didn't know the rules on the boat. So the prince said, "No hugging tightly on the boat."

Then she hitted her prince on the bum. The prince said, "No hitting people's bums on the boat!" But she didn't know that rule either!

Then Ariel was hungry, so she ate all the food in the bottom of the boat. And the prince and all the other guys on the boat ran away because they didn't want to play follow the leader with her because she didn't do the rules right.

Then all the guys came back and Ariel said "sorry." So Ariel hugged her prince, but only gentle because she remembered the rules now! So then they all played follow the leader together and had a picnic and lived happily ever after.

The End.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Cheese Day.

My husband loves words. His favourite ones though are the strange ones that most people don't use. The problem with those words, of course, is that if they're not in common usage, you don't always know how to pronounce them.

He was a very smart kid - voracious reader - and no one ever bothered to correct his mispronunciations. And really, how often is a word like "acrostic" (which he used to pronounce "ack-roe-stick") going to come up in conversation with a fourth grader?

So I correct him. I'm good like that.

I think he's really grateful that I don't let him leave the house sounding like an idiot.

Sometimes, though, there's a perfectly ordinary every day word that he pronounces oddly. On these occasions, he sometimes doesn't believe me that he's saying anything funny and we get into a "chow-DA" versus "chow-DAIR" type of debate. Then I just sit back and wait for outsider confirmation.

Kee: Daddy, can you make my breakfast? Is it time to get up? Is it Friday?
Husband: Yes, I can make your breakfast. Yes it's time to get up. No, it's not Friday, it's Tuesday.
Kee: It's NOT Cheese day! I don't like CHEESE. If it's CHEESE day I have to eat CHEESE!
Husband: ...


Although, to be fair, he doesn't say "CHEESE day", he says "CHOOSE day."

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Hooves and Other Problems.

So. We bought Beege some "indoor shoes" for school. They were plain, purple and white runners. She liked them, I liked them and they were $9.97, so everyone was happy.

Unfortunately, as we found out when she was running through the house after practicing tying her laces, they do not have "non-marking" soles. My husband spent 20 minutes on the kitchen floor with a baby wipe cleaning up shoe trails. This quality eliminates them from the "indoor shoes" category.

Let me tell you something about Beege: she is entirely practical. When she was three and we were buying her winter boots, she picked up some cute little suede boots with embroidery on them and a flat sole. I picked up some big heavy ones with a grippy sole and elastic around the top to keep the snow out. We discussed the benefits of both pairs, and in the end, she decided to buy the heavy ones because she "would only be able to wear those ones in the house!"

When we went shopping today, we knew exactly what we were looking for: running shoes with white bottoms. Which was actually surprisingly difficult. Why all the black soles? Don't shoe manufacturers know the non-marking sole rule?

Anyway, Beege finally found an inexpensive pair of runners in her size with a white bottom. They were round-toed and lumpy and oddly bulky. They looked kind of like what I imagine Frankenstein's monster's shoes would have looked like if he'd been a five year old wearing non-marking runners. She was perfectly happy with them. Ready to go to the checkout.

But, they made her feet look like hooves.

I, who am usually the most practical and cheap frugal person who avoids the character covered stuff because I know it adds $10 as soon as there's a Disney anything involved, convinced her to buy these.


Apparently, while I am totally okay with walking over to the school with my hair in a messy lump on my head, wearing my pajamas, and having forgotten to brush my teeth, I cannot let my daughter have monster hooves.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sometimes, The Grass IS Greener.

Years ago, before we had kids, before we were married, my husband (then boyfriend) and I received a flyer for dance lessons.

We thought "What the hell? Could be fun!" and signed up. We went to a few lessons, and unfortunately, we really really sucked. Work got in the way, we found that we didn't have enough time, and we sucked so much that it didn't seem like a big deal to give it up.

Today, we spent the day dragging Kee through Sears, kicking and screaming, to get the girls new snow pants and boots. Beege slept over at my mother's last night, so we had to drive up there to get her after we finished the shopping trip from hell; during which, I bought exactly one of the items that I needed to get for myself. (Which, really, is more than I usually get to do.)

My mother will no longer take both girls overnight. It wears her out too much. I realised on the way home, that my husband and I will not have a night alone again until the girls are much older.

I really wish that we'd spent more time dancing.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Upside of Anger.

Kee has not been easy to get along with lately. She's been extremely touchy, and likely to scream at you for everything. If I touch her with a fingertip, she yells that I'm hurting her.* The simplest request can be met with a fifteen minute defiant tirade.

She is also doing things to purposely piss me off.

I will ask her not to climb up the back of the couch (for the eight hundredth time) and she will stop for a moment, smile at me and then go right on climbing. I'll ask her not to jump off the coffee table. Grin. Jump.

I'm a little lost here, because no consequences seem to have an effect. The only thing I can come up with is to haul her to her room, and really, that's more for my sanity than because I think it will have any impact on her behaviour.

Half the time, she's back in there five minutes after I let her out again. Sometimes she doesn't even make it out of the room before she gets another time out.

There is an upside though. In the past couple of weeks, I have finished knitting a scarf, crocheting a lap rug, made a couple of stuffed toys for the girls and sewn a pair of little pajamas** for Spud.***

All while she's been in her room for misbehaving.

If she keeps it up, I'll be done with all the Christmas presents before the end of November.




*I wouldn't let go of her hand while we were waiting to pick up Beege one day, so she screamed at the top of her lungs, "Mummy! You're KILLING me!" Awesome, right?
**I was actually pretty impressed with these, so I'm going to post a tutorial sometime soon.
***"Spud" being the name I've bestowed upon my lovely new nephew.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Don't Worry, Eugene.


"Triceratopses are Vegetarians!"

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Lost World.


So, one morning, we're getting ready to go, and Kee starts loading her pockets with tiny dinosaurs. I told her to pick something else, because I didn't want them to get lost. They won't get lost. They might get lost. They WON'T GET LOST! Fine. I let her bring one dinosaur. So she picked her favourite one, who she calls "Stingosaurus."

After dropping Beege off, we went for our walk. About a block in, Kee screams "STOP! WHERE IS STINGOSAURUS?" So, sucker that I am, I backtracked a little bit until we found him. This happened three more times.

We finally made some progress while she ate her snack. As soon as she finished though, "STOP!" We backtracked for about three blocks before I finally decided that Stingosaurus was well and truly gone this time. I would just have to tell her that we weren't going to find him and brace myself for the drama that would follow.

Me: Honey? I don't think we're going to find him.
Kee: Why NOT?!
Me: Well, we probably dropped him a while ago. I haven't seen him on the ground, have you?
Kee: Will we find him tomorrow?
Me: Probably not, sweetheart. I'm guessing that some other kid has found him by now.
Kee: ANOTHER KID?!
Me: Yup! I bet another kid who will love him and play with him found him. So he'll be very happy.
Kee:...
Me: I bet that other kid will take very good care of him.
Kee: He will?
Me: Yup.

I was pleasantly surprised when she just looked at me suspiciously for a minute and then mumbled "Okay." and settled back in the stroller.

Feeling very pleased with myself, I continued down the street.

A little while later, we walked past a playground where there were a bunch of kids playing. "STOP!" I stopped, and looked down at Kee. She was glaring and pointing towards a kid on the playground.

"I think it was that kid, Mummy."

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My Baby the Bully?

When I think of a "bully", I think of someone angry, aggressive, and possibly sad, who takes out their negative feelings on other people; often, targeting a few specific people. I think of it as a series of ongoing events; the "bully" searching out opportunities to intimidate others.

Which is why I was incredibly surprised when one of the parents approached me in the school line-up and said, in a loud voice, "Your daughter has been bullying my daughter."

Shocked, and completely blind-sided by this man I had never seen before, I asked if he was sure he meant my daughter. There are other girls with her name in the school. "That girl? The small one, with the braids and red rain boots?"

Yup. He was sure. He didn't introduce himself, and he didn't tell me what had actually happened until I asked him twice; apparently, Beege had knocked down his daughter and sat on her.

"That girl? Braids? Rain boots?" Yup. I assured him that this was the first I had heard of it, and that I would, of course, be talking to her about it. He continued to tell me loudly how disturbing he found this bullying, but wouldn't point out his daughter so that I could bring Beege over to talk to the two of them together.

I didn't even notice when Beege's class went in.

There was absolutely nothing I could do at this point, but I resolved to go in and talk to her teacher after school to try and get to the bottom of it.

My girl has always been incredibly empathetic, she's sensitive, and her feelings are easily hurt. I just couldn't imagine her purposely making someone feel bad. I've always been worried about her getting bullied, not being the bully. My gut was definitely telling me that this was not right.

Despite my personal feelings though, I know that there is always the possibility that she's different at school. There is this whole environment that she functions in that I know almost nothing about. But could she be that different? Was my daughter a bully?

I didn't get a chance to talk to her teacher after school, because I needed to go be with my sister, but I did get to talk to Beege about it before I left for the hospital.

Me: Beege? Is there anything you want to talk to me about?
Beege: Uhm... no?
Me: Did something happen yesterday at recess? Did you knock someone down?
Beege: Oh! Yeah! And I sat on her!
Me: ...
Beege: We were playing a game. I was the cat, and [older girl] was being Tori Vega*! The other big girls were being ghosts, and I knocked one down. Then, because I was a cat, I sat on her!
Me:So you were playing a game?
Beege: Yeah!
Me: Did she know you were playing?
Beege: Yeah, she was being a ghost and scaring the baby. That's why I knocked her down.
Me: Did you know that she was upset? Her daddy told me that she was upset and she felt like you were being a bully.
Beege: Oh. I didn't mean to be a bully!


Her immediate response was to be upset that she'd made the other girl feel bad.

So, while she did knock the girl down, she did it thinking that it was part of the game. I was relieved to know that it had been a one time event, that she didn't realise how the other girl felt, and that once she did, she was sorry about it. We also talked about why it's wrong to do something that might hurt someone, even if you are playing a game.

I still went in to talk to her teacher about it the next day, to make sure that was all there was to it. When I mentioned the word "bully", she frowned and shook her head, saying immediately "No." This was a one time incident and it wasn't malicious. She assured me that Beege is very kind with the other kids, and doesn't show signs of bullying behaviour.

Beege has been hanging out with older girls though, and it has been worrying her teacher a bit. They like to pick her up and carry her around and tell her how cute she is; which unfortunately, I bet she loves. She gets over-excited from all the attention, and acts silly, which I could totally see leading to this incident.

Not only is her teacher concerned about her possibly getting hurt, simply because they're just so much bigger, but she doesn't think that Beege needs to hear what some of these grade fives are saying. After five minutes of listening to them after school, I totally agree; just the incessant name calling is too much for me, let alone anything else they're saying.

Which isn't to say that they're bad kids at all, it's just to say that my kid is only five. I'm glad they think she's cute, but she is not a doll.

I would also really appreciate it if people don't throw the word "bully" around with so little provocation. Bullying is a very serious accusation, indicative of larger emotional issues. I was (and am) sorry that my child did anything to hurt another child, even inadvertently, but it was unintentional.

I also wish that the girl's father had approached me less aggressively. I understand that he was upset that his child was upset -- so would I be -- but his intimidating me didn't help the situation and was completely unnecessary. Especially when I wasn't being the least bit defensive, other than making sure that he was really talking about my kid.

So. The new plan going forward is to encourage her to play with the kids in her own grade.

And maybe to invest in some tranquilizers for myself; I've got 14 more years of school to get through.




So, question for you: What would you do if someone accused your child of bullying? What if it turned out to be true?




*I had no idea who "Tori Vega" was and neither did Beege. We had to google her.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Meet My Little Friend's Little Friend.


I'm really going to have to think of something else to make with all this felt, or my house is going to be overrun with these "pillow people," as the girls are calling them.

Luckily, Christmas is coming, and I've still got plenty of time (and ideas) to whip up a few presents. Not all pillow people, I promise.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

I'm In Love.

So. My sister had this baby and he is absolutely adorable. I was a little too tired when he was born at 1:30am yesterday to fully appreciate him. He was soft and lovely and stuff, but if you've seen a brand new, right-out-of-the-mum baby, then you know that they are kind of icky.

I mean... lovely, of course, but they're still all covered in gunk, and there's goop in their eyes and you can still see the aftermath on the floor.

Tonight, when my sister brought him over, he was all tidied up and wrapped in the cute little monkey-covered pajamas that my girls both wore. He smells wonderful now. And he makes the sweetest little scrunchy faces, as if he's just been sucking on a lemon or something; which doesn't sound all that adorable, but it totally is.

And I love him. I love him (almost*) as much as if he were my own.

I've already started making him stuff. There's a couple of outfits in the works; I'm making some pants and shirts out of a few of my grandpa's old shirts. He's actually named for my grandpa (who would have been ecstatic to have another boy in our girl-dominated family), so it seems fitting.

The girls think he's very cute; Kee was very proud of herself when she "touched him very gently!" They're not really as interested as me, of course, since he does exactly nothing at the moment. As soon as he does anything other than poop and spit up, they'll be much more excited.

Although still not as excited as me.




*I'm pretty sure that I have to say that or my sister won't let me hold him again. She already thinks I'm going to try and keep him.

Friday, November 11, 2011

It's a BOY!

Yesterday started out badly. There was the usual morning nonsense getting the kids up and out. I broke my favourite mug while grumbling through doing the dishes. A stranger at the school informed me of a possible problem concerning Beege at school. I stepped in dog diarreah on my way home.

Seriously. It was not going well.

Then my sister called. My very, very pregnant sister had broken her water and was on the way to the hospital! I was so excited that I was bouncing off the walls and babbling.

My husband came home to take the girls off my hands so I could go to the hospital to witness the miracle of birth; because, to be quite honest, I have no idea what was going on when I had my kids.

Beege took 16 hours* and I didn't take the epidural until hour 13. I don't remember most of it, and once I had the epidural, I was so out of it that I didn't even know there were complications requiring flipping and suction and extra doctors in the room and stuff.

Kee was so quick that I almost had her in the hallway.

So. My sister's pregnancy has been pretty horrible, with plenty of vomiting and discomfort. She was put on partial bed rest towards the end and could not WAIT for it to be over.

Unfortunately, she didn't follow my pattern of a difficult pregnancy meaning an easy labour. She was in labour for twelve hours, and it was a little complicated because of the difficulties of the pregnancy. It was also kind of gross.

[While I was aware of the grossness that happened at my own labours (especially the long difficult one), exactly how gross hadn't really registered.]

She projectile vomited in my face.

Which I will forgive her for, because my water broke on her shoes.**

It was long and it was hard, and at the end of it all was a beautiful, perfect, amazing baby boy. And despite all the difficulties, she was already talking about the next one before they finished her stitches.

I get a new baby, and all I had to do was take a little vomit in the face; totally worth it.

Oh, and a big thank you to my favourite little sister for doing all that work and giving me someone new to love. You did great!

Now if you'll excuse me, I didn't get to bed until after 4am and I need to convince my daughter to let me have a nap.





*She totally owes me a cruise.
**I think we're even.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Good Morning, Starshine.

As she sat, drinking her tea and watching ducks lazily glide across the water, she was happy. She glanced back into the room and saw her husband still sleeping, his arm thrown over his eyes.

She loved the morning. Loved the solitude and the chance to be alone with her thoughts. Loved the freshness of the day, the promise of it.

She generally got more done before nine than most people did before noon.

She laced her fingers together over her growing belly and lifted her face to enjoy the first rays of sun, now falling across the patio. Happy.

Six years and two children later, she is no longer a person who enjoys the morning. She is almost never woken by the sun gently warming her cheek. Being alone with her thoughts while enjoying a cup of tea is a fading memory.

She hates waking up in the dark. Hates being startled out of a dream by someone yelling her name or pulling her arm. Hates the half finished mugs laying around forgotten in the midst of other people's needs.

And yet.

As she sits looking out at the still dark sky with one daughter on her lap and the other snuggled to her side, she can be happy.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I Think I Can Write This Now.

We have lived in the basement at my grandpa and grandma's house since before Beege was born.

He had his first heart attack the March just after she turned one. I had woken up and was standing in my living room when I saw the flashing lights. I knew he would be okay by the way he was joking with the paramedics on the way out on the stretcher.

After a couple of surgeries and a lengthy stay in the hospital (where he had opportunity to flirt with many nurses), he was back in his chair in the living room where he belonged. He got stronger, and the next few years passed.

Last year, around Beege's birthday, he started getting sick. He was losing weight and eventually stopped eating altogether. He was hospitalised to try and figure out what the problem was. The doctors decided that his medications had been interacting in bad ways and changed all of them.

He got better.

And then he got worse.

He went back into the hospital, where they told him that there was an issue with his heart. He also had cancer.

He came home, and sat back in his chair. For a man as independent and strong willed as my grandpa was, I can only imagine how hard it was. He was getting weaker. He was used to doing everything for himself, and now he was having to rely on others for everything.

My husband and I helped as much as we could while trying not to be obtrusive. I helped him up when he fell, I helped around the house, and we joked with each other about it. Grandpa and I didn't do serious very well. As he started needing more and more help, my husband would go upstairs some nights to help Grandma get him ready for bed.

On August 30th, my grandma called at 11:30, apologised for the lateness and asked if my husband would be able to come upstairs to help. They were having a particularly bad time. Grandpa hadn't been entirely lucid since Thursday when they had given him some heavy duty pain killers after his cancer treatment.

I didn't usually help at bedtime, out of respect for his privacy. Tonight though, I felt strange, and I stayed in the stairwell in case they needed me.

My husband was just coming back down the stairs when Grandma called him back.

Grandpa had stopped breathing. When I went in, he was laying on the floor and my husband was doing CPR.

I couldn't do anything.

The paramedics came and worked on him while I stood in the hall and watched. They tried to get him to breathe. They did what they could and then they loaded him on the stretcher.

When one of the paramedics told us that we didn't need to hurry to the hospital, that maybe we should get some coffee, I knew already.

My aunt took Grandma to the hospital, and I stayed behind to wait.

I tidied the room. I moved the furniture back into place. I scrubbed and scrubbed at a spot on the carpet that just wouldn't come out. I put the sheets from his chair in the laundry.

I opened a window so that I could breathe.

Eventually, I just sat in Grandpa's chair.

The Funeral was, perhaps, harder than watching him leave the house on the stretcher. It was easier to understand that he wouldn't be coming back when they took him away; he was covered in wires and tubes, he didn't look like himself. He looked empty. In his coffin, he looked as though he was just taking a nap.

I still don't know what I believe, but I am finding it hard to believe that he is really gone. And I refuse to believe that all that's left of him is dirt.

Monday, November 7, 2011

DUCK!


I don't know what it is about this neighbourhood, but people seem to really hate squirrels. Judging from where their stiff little corpses end up, I'm guessing at least a few people have actually swerved to hit them.

This makes things a little difficult for me (and I'm sure it pisses the squirrels off too).

You see, Kee loves squirrels. Just loves them. She calls them "Loolies."* She likes to stop when we see them so that she can watch them for a while.

Luckily (for me, not the squirrels) most of the ones we have come across (and there have been a LOT of them) have been so squashed that when she asks what it is, I can say "oh dear! Someone seems to have lost their mitten!"** Or hat. Or scarf. It really depends on the size of the deceased.

Today, there were refreshingly few "mittens" in the road.

There was however, a duck. A live duck, walking down the middle of the road. It was a beautiful duck, obviously young. Drivers were going slowly to avoid it and being careful of it, thank goodness, because Kee was enthralled.

Then, as we sat watching, a big white SUV came roaring down the street and ran right over it.

Miraculously, the duck, after a flurry of wing beating and furious quacking, righted itself and was fine. It made it the rest of the way across the street and waddled into the school yard, where I figured it would be safe for a while.

Kee and I high fived and continued our walk.

When we came around the corner, the duck had come through the school yard and was now wandering towards the road again. A much busier road than the one it had just nearly been killed on. I tried to distract Kee, but she wasn't having it. She wanted to watch the duck.

So, we stood at the side of the road and watched the duck step into the road, crossing our fingers and whispering "go ducky, go!" to each other.

Thankfully, these cars were much more polite than Mr. White-SUV and they all paused as the duck daintily waddled to the other side. We hugged and cheered, thrilled that the duck was safe.

Then I suggested to Kee that we run all the way home just to see if we could do it; which she thought was a great idea.

Which was a relief, because the idiot duck had turned back around and I really didn't want to see if it got flattened by the bus that was coming.





*Not entirely sure why, but I blame TV.
**I think this qualifies as one of those times where the truth will result in more therapy than a lie.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Daylight Savings Time.



Well, it's that time of year again: Daylight Savings Time.

Unlike a lot of people, I don't have that much of a problem with it. I tend to naturally adjust anyway; I've had a real issue getting up before 7:00 for about three weeks now, waking up at 8:00 on the dot. It'll be a relief tomorrow when I don't feel so much like a zombie when I get up at 7:00. Which used to be 8:00. You know what I mean.

The idea that there's one day a year when you're essentially guaranteed an extra hour sleep doesn't suck either.

Unfortunately, the whole concept means diddly to my three year old.

Which is why I've been up for an hour with her now, trying to explain that no, we can't watch "kid shows", because we're up earlier than the freaking cartoons.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Friday, November 4, 2011

When you are writing, do you prefer to use a pen or a computer?

Today, being entirely stumped for a topic, due to busy day syndrome, I bow to the "Prompt of the Day". So:

When you are writing, do you prefer to use a pen or a computer?

The preferred method of getting my words down really depends on what it is I'm writing.

For my blog, the computer wins, hands down. It's also got to be a desk top computer, with a proper keyboard and everything. I tried blogging on my iPad, and it SUCKED.

There's something about blogging that feels wrong on paper. I have written entries down on paper when I wasn't able to get to a computer and felt that I might lose it otherwise, but it felt weird. Like writing an essay or something... it's just not as organic. Half the time I don't know what I'm going to write when I sit down to do it, so the extra step of writing it on paper in the first place bogs me down a bit.

There certainly are times when I like to sit down with a pen and write. Mostly when whatever the idea is has stemmed from a picture in my head - because then, of course, I also need to draw. There are times when a computer just isn't tactile enough.

I occasionally write poems. I prefer to use pen then too. I like the scribbling and fiddling and having my entire thought process there in front of me.

So, the answer, I suppose is both.


Speaking of no segue, last week Kee told me that she "loves me more than poop." Just wanted to share that.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Heart Felt Gift.

My husband and I have known each other for quite a while now; we met at Frosh week when I was nineteen. We're coming up on our thirteenth anniversary*. That's a pretty long time, really, and there have been plenty of gift giving opportunities during that time.

He is totally easy to buy for: if there is any new Star Wars anything, my shopping is done. Failing that, anything kinda nerdy-cool will do the trick. One year, when I couldn't think of anything else, I made him a Star Wars themed bean bag toss game.


I, on the other hand am (apparently) not quite so much of an open book.

This has resulted in some... odd... presents. He has given me the standard things like flowers, chocolates and jewellery... but he also gave me a hammer** for our anniversary one year.

This year, for my birthday, dude gave me twelve pounds of felt.


I'm thinking that perhaps my lovely husband didn't realise quite how much felt twelve pounds would be.*** Or maybe he just wants bigger bean bags.

Just so we're clear, everyone I know will be getting presents made of felt until the end of time.





*Holy crap!
**I actually did want a good hammer, just maybe not for our anniversary. I decorated it with heart stickers to make it more "romantic".
***See that little brown thing on the right hand side of the picture? That, dear friends is my lazy-boy reclining couch. Being dwarfed by bags of felt.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

NaBloPoMo, Etc.

Well, crap. Yet another thing that I didn't start when I meant to.

Can I start late? Or have I already bunged it for this year? To be fair, I did have other things on my mind... pumpkins aren't going to carve themselves, and sadly, I can't study by osmosis.

I tried to write every single day last year, I really did, and only managed to do 20. I suppose (even if I missed day 1) there is still the possibility of doing better than last year. So, here we go:

******************************************



Yesterday, I went and wrote the test to extend my license so that I wouldn't have to wait another year before I could schedule a road test.

Despite being entirely confident that I would pass -- because I remembered it being really easy as long as you could read and knew what might kill someone while you were driving -- I felt like I would throw up all morning. I am really not good with tests.

My husband took the whole day off for the occasion, because really? Who knows how long you're going to have to wait at those testing places? We charged up the iPad for poor little Kee who would have to accompany us and ventured forth.

The testing facility that I went to is in this creepy industrial park type place that kind of looked deserted.

We waited an hour before I was able to take the test.

Which took eight minutes. Seriously.

Then I had to get my photo taken at a specific desk, because, as I was getting it extended they had left the transaction open from when I had paid to take the test... because if I passed, I would have to pay the re-licensing fee, and if I failed, they would take my license and shred it in front of me.

Anyway. I went to the desk that I was told to, and then realised I would have to wait some more.

I sat and listened to a man heap abuse on the woman at the counter for something that was entirely not her fault. For about twenty minutes. (I've never understood it when people do that. It's not in her power to help you; move along.)

So... one hour and thirty-eight minutes later, I am once again licensed to drive with a responsible adult at my side until 2016.

Here's hoping I remember to do the freaking driving test this time.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Birthdays Are For Babies.

When I was younger, I looked forward to my birthday much as other kids do.

Birthdays are important when you're a kid. Not only are you another year older, but there are the presents. I don't know about you, but I didn't have that much disposable income. The yearly chance to have something that I'd been wanting was pretty great.

There was the occasional crap birthday; the year I turned twelve and got locked out of the house and had to spend the day in the garage, for example. I also remember sneaking upstairs in the middle of dinner for a little cry the year that everyone forgot and I got a jar of pickles and an A/C adapter that had obviously been picked up on the way home.

There were also the good birthdays, like the year I got to take a bunch of my friends out to dinner and my mum and dad gave us each ten dollars in quarters to play at the arcade.*

Then there are those milestone birthdays: Sixteen when you can drive,** eighteen when you can vote, nineteen when you can (legally) drink, twenty-five when you start to feel like a real grownup.

Once you get past those ones, there's not much left to look forward to, is there? I mean, you can (technically) already do whatever you want and all birthdays mean is that you're another year older.

Even the presents aren't that exciting anymore. Once you're a grownup, you have some income, which means you can buy yourself that thing you wanted, and you don't have to wait a whole stinkin' year.

Besides that, nobody seems to know what you want anymore. Most grownups don't have time to cut pictures out of catalogues and leave collages laying around with bits circled and arrows pointing to the really important bits.

I also like surprises, so telling someone that I'd like *insert cool present here* and then receiving it feels kind of... well, like I might as well have gone shopping myself. More importantly, my likes and dislikes don't change with the wind as they did when I was little, so I kind of feel like people ought to know what I'd like by now.

I have hit the age where birthdays are not so fun anymore. All I felt on my birthday this year was old. I didn't really feel like celebrating the fact that another year had slipped through my fingers while I was busy doing laundry.

Did I forget to mention it was my birthday? Yeah. It was. Last week. I had moderately high hopes, considering that it wouldn't be hard to have a better day than last year.

It was definitely better; for starters, no one hit me. I had a lovely little cake, my kids sang "Happy Birthday" and there were flowers. My siblings called, so did my parents. We had Chinese for dinner... it was nice.

I'll tell you about the weird present my husband got me next time.





*This was back when arcade games still cost a quarter or fifty cents to play.
**Unless, of course, you're like me.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Shut Up and Drive.

When I was sixteen, I didn't really see the point of getting my driver's license. Not only did I live right downtown, but I had a boyfriend with a license. I also had a brother with a license.

When I was older, I took the TTC a lot. No one in university had a car, so we were all transit dependent.

I took my first road test when I was 26 and nine months pregnant. I failed for being "too cautious." Really? Really?

Anyhoo... that is how I came to be a grown woman with two children and no driver's license.

In Toronto, you really can get by without it. Transit goes pretty much anywhere I need to go. (Except Michaels, but it's really not a good idea for me to be able to go there anytime I want anyway.) Besides that, whenever the car is home, so is my husband (aka: chauffeur).

It's not like I haven't tried - I started the process when I was 21. I wrote the first test, passed with flying colours and then took a driver's ed. course. Then I never got around to taking the road test, because we didn't own a car anyway.

So. Five years later, I wrote the test again. This time I actually booked the road test. With a baby on the way, it seemed like a really good idea; plus we had a car by then. As mentioned above, I failed. For being too cautious. (Can you tell I'm still irked about that?)


For those of you not familiar with (the completely aggravating system that is) graduated licensing, here are the basics:

First, you write a test on road rules and signs, etc. This gets you your "G1" license. Which allows you to drive, but only with a grownup (ie. someone with more than 4 years of driving experience and no alcohol in their system).

Then, after a year, you are allowed to take your "G1 exit test" which, (if you pass) gets you your "G2" license. At this point, you are allowed to drive alone, but if you have more than one passenger 19 or under, you need your grownup again.*

Then, after a year, you are allowed to take your "G2 exit test" which includes driving on the highway. This gets you your "G" license which lets you drive around in your car, all by yourself, like a grownup.

I've been going through some stuff lately, and this whole driving thing was really not at the forefront of my brain. For some reason, yesterday I thought about it. What was that niggling thing at the back of my mind? There's something I have to do...

Oh. Right. If I want to keep my current level of driver's license (G1. Yes, I need a grownup.) then I need to go and write the test again. By November 3rd. Awesome.

If I pass, then I can schedule a driver's test without waiting for 12 months. If I fail, I start the whole stinking process over again. Again.

So. I'm asking my husband (very nicely) to take a day off on Tuesday to drive me to the testing center (and apologising for being such a bonehead the whole time).

I'd better go study.




*I'm really hoping this doesn't apply to "mature" drivers, or one of my kids is out of luck.

Friday, October 21, 2011

I Think I'll Go For A Walk Outside Now.

Fall is my very favourite season of the year. I love it when it's just chilly enough that you need a sweater, but not cold enough that you need a hat. (I look weird in hats.) Perfect for a walk.

Kee and I have been going for long walks almost every day since the beginning of October. At first we had planned to just meander and explore the neighbourhood a bit. We discovered early on though that we would pretty much have to follow the same route each time.

Our first walk went kind of like this:


No big, I'll just go this wa...


Hunh. Okay. Fine... this way then...


Okay. This is getting ridiculous.


On the plus side, once we've gone around all the construction, I end up with a 5K walk. And every once in a while, we do manage to see some nature.


In the middle there... beside the extension cord.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Thanks, But I Don't Want to See Your Crotch.

To be embarrassingly honest, I rarely leave the house in anything fancier than yoga pants and a plain knit top these days. I am really not the person to be giving fashion advice.

However, even I cannot let this one pass.

Leggings as pants: If you're wearing them with a cute short skirt, or a long tunic-y top, they're actually kinda cute. The key is to COVER YOUR BUTT. Do not wear them with a top that doesn't hit at least the top of your thighs. No one needs to see every contour of your butt/crotch region.

Aside from the entirely unattractive "camel toe" issue, all leggings are not created equal, as far as opacity goes. Some of them tend to get a little see-through as you bend over, thus exposing your underpants to the world. Some of them eschew opacity altogether and just barely nod at decent coverage. Such as the ones the woman standing in front of me at school was wearing this morning.

If you won't stop wearing them for me, at least think of the children.

Friday, October 14, 2011

I've Been Having Trouble Concen... What?

So. I haven't written much lately, and for that, I apologise. The problem, dear readers, has been my complete lack of concentration. I will have a great idea for something amusing to write about, and by the time I sit down in front of the computer, it's gone. So gone that I can't even remember why I sat down in the first place and I end up playing Bejeweled on Facebook.

I put my laundry in the washer, fill up the soap container and leave without pushing start. There are cold, forgotten cups of tea everywhere. I say I'll call right back and then completely forget. Conversations grind to a halt while I struggle to find the word "spoon".

One day last week, as I was getting dressed, I started out with a nice clean pair of socks. I put one on, and then somehow, lost the other one and I'm really not sure how (because I don't remember going to get replacements) ended up with two entirely different (non-matching) socks than I'd started out with on my feet.

The worst thing I've done is turn on the wrong burner under my lunch and almost melt the kettle. Although, really, who needs a kettle when you can never remember to drink the tea?

I have been remembering to pick up my kid from school though, so that's good.

Part of it is that I am still... overwhelmed. My thoughts crowd on top of each other drowning each other out until I just want them to shut up and wait quietly for their individual turns; kind of like I wish my kids would do.

Part of it is the fact that Kee has been going on a rampage lately. She's going through (please let it be) a phase where she doesn't listen to a thing I say. No, wait, that's wrong. She will actually do the exact opposite of what I've asked her, while smiling at me coyly. By the end of the day, I'm just so tired that it doesn't occur to me to write.

A really big part of it is that I want to write about what I went through with my grandpa. But I don't know how, and I don't know if this is the place.

So. I apologise again for my absence, and promise you (and myself) that I will be back more often.

And before I forget (again): Happy (belated, Canadian) Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Infestation.

I am SO out of shape I'm surprised I function.

Which is really only relevant to this story because lately, Kee and I have been going for a walk every morning after we drop Beege off at school.

Yesterday, as we were passing back around the school, I saw a mum I knew walking towards us. The mum of a kid in Beege's class. A mum who should have been at work. When I asked her if everyone was alright, she sighed and said "looks like we've got lice."

Seeing as I'm communicationally challenged and don't even own a cell phone, I ran home to check the machine and see if I too had been instructed to pick up an itchy child. No, thank goodness.

Yesterday, five kids were sent home from Beege's class because of lice. FIVE. Just in her class.

We're still washing her hair with tea tree oil shampoo and doing the braids and tea tree hair spray... but I'm still freaked. I'm seriously considering sending her to school in a shower cap until this thing is over.



Fun Fact: Did you know that you can get lice in your eyelashes? You're welcome.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Metaphor.


May I present an art installation by the lovely Miss Kee?

Looking at this precariously balanced cup of milk, I immediately saw that she was representing the obviously fragile state of her mother's sanity.

... and "don't cry over spilled milk."? The originator of this quaint saying obviously didn't have carpet.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Ohmygodohmygodohmygod!


It may be a bit of an overreaction, but head lice freak me right out.

I've always had very thick, straight, shiny hair. Which, unfortunately for me, is a perfect environment for those disgusting little bugs.

When I was a kid, I had head lice several times. I still remember the time my mum had to take a whole day off of work and spend a whole day tugging through my hair with one of those awful nit combs. The horrible smell of those scalp burning shampoos. Not least, the constant itching.

Ugh. They're so easy to get, and such a total pain in the ass to get rid of.

Beege, like me, was born with beautiful thick hair; only hers is curly. Until recently, it was down past her bum. Thank goodness we decided to cut it to shoulder length before school started, because I got this note home from school last week:



And immediately felt itchy. And paranoid. And wouldn't let her hug me. (I know, I suck.) I've also been making my husband check my head every few nights.

I have been obsessively checking her head every day, and do her hair up in two very tight braids in the morning. She's been told not to hug anyone at school; which really, she's not supposed to do anyway. I've asked her to stop playing in the sandbox, as she inevitably ends up with a head full of sand that looks just like nits to me, and then has to endure my scraping at her scalp to make sure it really is just sand.

I've even swapped out her lovely smelling shampoo with tea tree oil shampoo and conditioner, which she says "smells like the soap in the bathroom at Ikea." I've also made up a spray of water and tea tree oil to spray her hair with every morning before school, because apparently the lice don't like the soap in the bathroom at Ikea either.

She's taking it all very well.

Considering that she doesn't actually have lice, and I'm doing all I can to prevent her catching them, perhaps the worst part about this is that it's making me feel like everything in my house is covered with bugs. Little, tiny, invisible bugs. My skin is constantly crawling.

Although, I suppose if it makes me clean my house a little more intensively, it's a good thing. Too bad my husband's not neurotic too, or I could freak him into helping me.

Now I'm just going to keep braiding, spraying and crossing my fingers that the disgusting little buggers don't find their way to my house.



Here are 5 different ways to prevent head lice:

Mix essential oils in with your shampoo so the strong smell repels the lice and makes you invisible. The most common is Tea Tree Oil. You can either mix 10 drops in with your existing shampoo or buy ready made Tea Tree shampoo at your supermarket.

Mix 10 drops Tea Tree or other essential oil into a spray bottle with water. Put your child’s hair in a tight plait and mist over before school or playtime.

Tea Tree oil mixed with gel. If your boy has a modern style, mix Tea Tree in with your gel and the lice will stay well away. Not only does the oil repel the lice, the gel makes it impossible to move around the head or attach their eggs.

Alternatively for girls, hair spray has the same effect, simulating dirty hair so the lice cannot move around or attach their eggs.

Mix a few drops of Tea Tree oil in with a leave in conditioner and make sure your child sprays this on every morning or before playtime.

Source: Live Lice Free

Friday, September 23, 2011

Paper Management: a Craft Project.

One of the biggest differences between kindergarten and grade one, so far, is that Beege has been bringing home work to do. It's actually voluntary, but she likes to do it, and I think it's a good idea for her to get used to homework as an idea as soon as possible.

Personally, I'm all for homework. It gives your child a chance to reinforce the new skills being learned at school, while also providing an opportunity for parents to be involved and see if there's anything that needs some extra encouragement or enrichment.

The crap thing about all this work she's doing though, is that it ends up meaning a lot of loose papers floating around my living room. I have, perhaps, not been the most stellar example of organisation.

Anyway. We needed to find a way to organise this influx of easy-to-lose paper, and keep it all in one place.

Without making a trip to Staples; I always end up buying stuff I don't need at that place. And Ikea. And Michaels. I really shouldn't go into stores at all.


So, here's what I came up with:

Materials: Empty cereal box*, ruler, craft knife, pen/pencil, paintbrush, glue, pretty paper**.



Carefully open out the cereal box, trying not to rip it. When it's flat, measure up the side of the box about 6 1/2 inches. On the side flap, draw a straight line across at 6 1/2 inches. Draw another cutting line diagonally from this mark up to the top of the middle section of the box. Do the same for the other side.



Spread glue on the brown side of the box. Try to spread it evenly and wait a minute for it to get tacky before putting the paper on to prevent puckering***. Press the paper on well. Flip the box over and cut to fit; I cut a tab to fold over the top. You can also cover the cereal box design with plain paper on the inside if you like. I'm too lazy for that.



Once you've got your box covered, fold it up and glue the seams closed so it resembles a box again - or, if you're impatient like me, use packing tape. I used packing tape on the ones I glued as well, for extra support.



This would also be a good project for kids to do themselves; forget the paper, let them decorate with crayon and stickers. Super easy project for a rainy day.





*You're smarter than me, so you'll measure the length of the box to make sure it's big enough to hold what you want it to hold so that you don't have to cut half an inch off of everything you want to stick in there.

**2 sheets of 12 X 12" scrapbooking paper worked perfectly. I covered one side and the spine with patterned paper, and the other with a complementary plain paper so that I could write a list of the contents if I felt like it. Wrapping paper would also work well.

***Notice the puckering on the pink one? Apparently, waiting for the glue to get tacky is a really important step if you want it to look nice.