Monday 28 September 2009

Retro replay

It's pretty cool to see these toys being played with again - thirtysome years later! I imagine this is pretty close to what Jeremy and I looked like while we were playing with these very same toys. (Which are now dangerous by today's standards! Pointy corners, choking-hazard little people, parts that can come off, magnets that can be swallowed... How did we all survive?!)

These toys are all at Grandma and Grandpa's place. And I want them to stay there. (Even though, of course, the kids want to bring them home). They have more meaning there. They stay special that way. They're a treat to play with. I want them to stay that way. Special.

Sunday 20 September 2009

Not sure this counts as "potty training"...

... but Zach got some pee in the little potty tonight. Let me back up a sec.

I was getting him "maked" (which is naked in Zach speak) and ready for his (desperately needed) bath tonight. I got him out of his clothes and a very-full-of-pee diaper. We made our way to the bathroom and Zach was standing beside the tub "maked". I turned on the water and almost immediately felt something wet and warm on my socked foot. I said, "Oh! You're peeing!", which startled him and he stopped - for a split second. He started peeing on the mat again. I said, "Oh! Zach. Let's try to get that in the potty!", which stopped the stream again. I moved him over two feet, he went to sit, but I kept him standing. He leaned forward and got the rest of his pee in the potty.

The mat is in the wash...

Saturday 19 September 2009

Still a bit surreal...

Yesterday I went into the office for a meeting with my boss before our bi-weekly conference call. Turns out it was my last meeting. That's it. Finito.

I returned my keys, the company VISA, the gas card, maintenance card... Had to give back the BlackBerry! Noooo! So, no cell phone for me. The branch manager gave me a flash drive so I could get what I wanted off my laptop. My boss didn't look over my shoulder or anything. I could take what I wanted. My last company would never have done that!! I didn't take anything company-related anyway. I took the presentations and modules I'd created and anything I'd collected over the year pertaining to sales, etc. My boss (the regional manager) and the area branch manager (both VERY nice people), drove me home in my, I mean, the company van. We got the car seats and all my other stuff out and that was it. I was home by 2pm. Done. No job. No cell phone. No laptop. No van (I am going to miss that van!). I keep replaying that part in my head. It's weird. It's like a fuzzy movie, and it doesn't seem real. But it is.

I said to Jean-Paul this morning, "Man, I REALLY miss the van!!"
He said, "I think that's second."
"Ya, I guess you're right. The money will be missed more than the van."

In two weeks I'll get my last paycheque, my benefits will run out, and that will be it. (Note to self. Get Alex and Zach to the dentist ASAP!)

Wonder what life is going to bring? Can it bring lots of money? And maybe a paddle.

Friday 18 September 2009

Zach's phone conversation

Zach was standing at the play kitchen when the phone "rang". He picked it up and this was his side of the conversation, with proper pausing and everything.

"In the kitchen"
"I'm in the kitchen!" (apparently the caller didn't hear the first time)
"Uh huh"
"Mommy" (as he runs to me with the phone) "It's Michelle. She's in England. She's on the phone for you."

I spoke to Michelle for a bit and then gave it back to Zachary. When he was done, and the phone was hung up, he explained Michelle wanted us to come to England with Nana and Grandpa to visit them. :)

(I hope HE's going to pay for that call! Oh wait, right. Michelle called us. It won't cost us a thing.) ;)

Wednesday 16 September 2009

Potty training: the sequel

So. Here we are. The potty training begins.... It was so much fun last time. Let's do it again!

Zachary decided tonight that he wanted to pee on the potty. (Actually, he chose the big toilet with the Thomas potty seat set in it.) I think we're going to have to try to get him to do it standing up. Aiming is quite difficult sitting down!

Not only did he want to sit on the potty tonight (as he's done before), he actually peed this time!! Three times!! And some of it went in the pot. He liked the sound of his pee hitting the water. :)

All together now, it's the potty conga:
Zach peed on the pawTEE. Zach peed on the pawTEE. Zach peed on the pawTEE! (And a little on the seat).

Sunday 13 September 2009

Happy Grandparents Day!!

We are very thankful that our kids have both sets of grandparents. I know not all kids are that lucky. They still have two GREAT-grandmothers as well. :)

We're so grateful that Nana and Grandpa, and Grandma and Grandpa are close enough they can come for visits regularly (and babysit lots!). It's nice that we can go and visit them without planning an entire week's vacation to do so.

We have the four most generous, loving, caring, funny, get-down-in-the-dirt-with-the-kids grandparents. And WE LOVE YOU ALL!!

Stingray Bay at the Toronto Zoo

Pretty cool!

Here are Daddy, Alex and Zach at Stingray Bay.

Saturday 12 September 2009

One of those moments

A peaceful calm and contentment came over me...
.. at McDonald's?! In the PLAYPLACE?!! Have you ever been inside one of those things? There were screaming, running, squealing kids everywhere. It was one of the Playplaces where the tables are right inside with the play structure. Not even where I'm just watching through the glass.

We had been to the zoo for my company's family day earlier, then we hit the Mighty Machines Showcase (with an hour or so drive in between those two events). Jean-Paul was with us at the zoo, but he went off to DJ a gig after that. So, I was by myself with the kidlets for Mighty Machines. I promised them if they did a good job of listening and behaving at Mighty Machines we could go out to dinner at McDonald's. (And I was really hoping not to have to figure out dinner!).

They were GREAT all day, so we went to McD's. They ate their Happy Meals and went to play. While they were playing and running around, they would look at me every once in a while to make sure I was still there - and they'd give me a great big smile. They were so happy.

It wasn't a day that hda been awful by any stretch of the imagination, it had just been hectic. We didn't get going in the morning when we had wanted to. (Big surprise to those with little ones, eh?!) So, we were a bit rushed at the zoo. The picnic area for our company's lunch was WAY at the back... We were rushed leaving - Daddy had to get to his gig and we wanted to make it to Mighty Machines (it only happens once a year.) We were a bit rushed at Mighty Machines since it was nearing the end - and some trucks started leaving by 4... It was supposed to go until 5, which it did, but I thought all the trucks/machines would have stayed until all the kids were gone.... Anyway. Whatever. The kids had a blast! I'll post pics and video soon.

So, I was sitting there in this loud play area watching them play and run and laugh and giggle and have fun with each other and smile at me... when this peace and calm just came over me. I found myself just sitting there and smiling, too. Not at anyone in particular. My smile would get a bit bigger when they looked at me, but it wasn't the only reason I was smiling. I was sitting there thinking - This is what it's all about. This is where I'm meant to be. Being thankful for this life. Being thankful for these kids. Being thankful for these simple moments.

Friday 11 September 2009

Our "worldwide moment"

If you're not familiar with Worldwide Moment, here's a quick explanation. "Over 1,000 people stayed up late, woke up early, and took a Moment out of their day to simultaneously celebrate and document international peace around the world." The photos were all taken at 9:09am GMT on 09/09/09. That was 8:09pm the night before - on 09/08/09 - for us. Here is someone else's entry. Very cool photo. I can't wait until the whole gallery is posted on Currently it shows the photos from last year's simultaneous event on 08/08/08.

Here is our Worldwide Moment picture (taken with a one-time use film camera because our digital one bit the biscuit):

A wonderful, peaceful moment.
Just after bath, just before sleep.
Storytime with Daddy.

Wednesday 9 September 2009

Monday 7 September 2009

How sweet is she?!

A little back story. I've had "Moose" for I don't know how long. I love Moose. Moose cuddles with me when I'm not feeling well. (Or at least, used to.) Anyway, one night Alex was saying she was scared of the dark (even with the nightlight on) and wanted me to sleep with her. Instead, I brought her Moose. I explained that Moose was Mommy's very special moose and that he would help her not feel as scared, that he would make her feel better. Moose gets pulled out when she's not feeling well or she needs a protector.

Tonight Alex and Zach were in the living room and somehow Alex's pillow made it out there. We have laminate floors (read: really, really hard). Zach went face first into the pillow on the floor as if he were on a bed or couch. Ouch! Bit lip. Blood.

While we were in the bathroom fixing up Mr Man, Alex came in with Moose to give to her little brother! HOW CUTE IS THAT!?!

Sunday 6 September 2009

How do we become who we are?

Alexandria is now FIVE. Again, this blows me away. Anyway, I digress. Since before she was two she’s been into dinosaurs. I don’t know when it started exactly. I don’t even know how her love of all things dino even started. I remember being in England for Michelle and Elliot’s wedding when she was 1 year and 9 months old. She was so excited to be going to the Natural History Museum to see the dinosaurs. She even told the security guard that’s why we were there. Yup. Before she was two she could say dinosaur. She loved them before that and she’s loved them ever since. Still does (remember her birthday cakes from her 4th and 5th birthdays?). She has so many dinosaur t-shirts hanging in her closet. And the reason that’s important is that now they just hang there.

Since she was very little, she’s always been attracted to more “boy” things. Thomas the Tank Engine, Mighty Machines, Disney/Pixar’s Cars. At McDonald’s she would choose the robot or car over the princess (generally). Not that she didn’t like “girl” things. It’s just that her preference was usually the other way.

She started school last year. Junior Kindergarten. (On the first day she wore a dinosaur shirt so “All this kids will know I like dinosaurs.”) She has a wonderful teacher, has made great friends and is learning a lot. On most of the letter days she chose a dinosaur to take. E was Edmontosaurus. A was Allosaurus. V was Velociraptor. And P was Parasaurolophus (her fav) and, I love this one, Pteradon. For the sound “at” she took her Apatasaurus. (How cool is that?).

The reason I’m mentioning all this is that now that she has been in school and now has peers, and therefore peer pressure, she been - for lack of a better word – “girlified”.

She went to a few birthday parties throughout the school year. All the invitations were “princess” or at least, pink and girly in some way. Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with any of that. Throughout the year I noticed her dinosaur shirts were chosen less and less. The outfits she did choose were pink/purple/girly. She started leaning more toward Tinkerbell than Triceratops. More towards ponies than parasaurolophuses. The other day she even said, “I like ponies a little bit more than dinosaurs now. I still like dinosaurs, but I like ponies a bit better.” As my husband said, “That made me kinda sad.” It’s gotten to a point that she doesn’t even want to wear her dinosaur shirts anymore. Not even when we went to see Walking With Dinosaurs last month….

There is a point here somewhere. Whatever she’s drawn to is fine with us (please just don’t let it be hockey… I don’t want to get up early in the morning and freeze in an arena…). We will support any passion she has. If she likes My Little Pony and Littlest Pet Shop, so be it. That’s ok with me. My point, though, is how do we become "ourselves"? How much of who we are is about what our real passions are and how much is really what the world tells us we should be? How much do we really pick up from our peer groups or society? How can we really even tell what is “us” and what is “the world”?

I don’t know. One thing I do know is my little girl has definitely changed since being exposed to an on-going peer circle. (She had no idea who Hannah Montana was until JK...) It’s very interesting to watch. She’s growing. She’s changing. She’s becoming more and more “her” as her personality continually develops. I just don’t know where “her” comes from.

Saturday 5 September 2009

What kind of mom...

What kind of mom is so happy, so giddily happy, to just go to the grocery store simply because her kids aren't with her?!

What kind of mom listens to her little one fussing in the middle of the night and pretends to be asleep, waiting for her dear husband to finally get up and deal with the kid?!

What kind of mom puts her baby in his bouncer and plunks him in front of Baby Einstein on tv just so she can read the flyers?!

What kind of mom snaps at her child and makes him cry?!

What kind of mom takes her child home before the playdate is over, even though it pains her more than it does the child, because she has threatened to do so if the behaviour continued... And it did?!

What kind of mom pries her child off her and lets go in the pool, when that child is grabbing and hanging onto to her for dear life, but she knows her child can do it?!

What kind of mom yells all the way down from the second floor, telling her child not to yell up from the basement?!

What kind of mom just wants her kids to SHUT UP FOR A SECOND so she can have some peace and quiet?!

What kind of mom, even for a split second, longs for her life before she had kids?!

What kind of mom cries, looking at this newborn in her arms because she doesn't know if she can do this anymore?!

What kind of mom takes away her child's food for throwing it on the floor, even when he hasn't eaten any of it?!

What kind of mom can be so careless that her little one falls down the stairs?!

What kind of mom starts to drive away and then hears, "Mom, you didn't buckle me in!"?!

What kind of mom decides to formula feed her child because breastfeeding is just not working for her and her child?!

What kind of mom puts her screaming child in his crib and walks away to get some air on the porch because she knows she's at her breaking point?!

What kind of mom vaccinates her child, even though there are so many reasons out there not to?!

What kind of mom doesn't vaccinate her child, even though there are so many reasons out there to do so?!

What kind of mom walks away from the daycare door, her crying child inside, not turning back to go and comfort him "one more time"?!

What kind of mom watches her kids fight and doesn't intervene?!

What kind of mom lets her daughter go out in public wearing a red shirt and pink, flowery pants?!

What kind of mom puts on Blue's Clues just so she can have some time for herself?!

What kind of mom lets her daughter sleep in the swing all night because she's at the end of her rope and just can't take it anymore?!

What kind of mom is kinda tempted to leave her sleeping kids in the van all night?!

What kind of mom walks into her bathroom to find her 3-year-old holding the razor that was carelessly left within reach, mimicking shaving her legs?!

What of mom puts on Sesame Street because SHE wants to watch it, even though her kids don't?!

What kind of mom lets her child have a "3-year-old and older" toy when he's only 2?!

What kind of mom lets her kids stay in their pajamas ALL DAY?!

What kind of mom lets her kids have cereal as their meal for the THIRD time today?!

What kind of mom chooses disposible diapers because she knows she's too lazy to handle cloth?!

What kind of mom realizes that three (ok four) days has passed since her kids have had a bath?!

What kind of mom realizes that three (ok four) days has passed since she's had a shower?!

What kind of mom closes the front door as her husband leaves for work, turns around and slides to the floor, landing in a slump with her newborn in her arms and her 3-year-old downstairs watching tv, and just bawls, milk leaking, tears streaming, because she's not sure she can make it through the whole day?!

What kind of mom.... ?!

My answer? A real one. We, as moms, put on a pretty damn good front out there in "the real world". We look calm, cool, collected, organized... The funny thing is, we all think the others moms have it "together". We judge ourselves based on the fictional realities we've created in our own minds. We ask ourselves, "Why can't I be organized like Jenny?" or "Why can't I think of these cool crafts to do with my kids like Karen?" or "Why do I plunk my kids in front of the tv? Samantha doesn't."

You know what? We all have stuff going on. None of us are what we seem. We're not the superheroes we seem to be. We're not Spiderman... We're all just Peter Parker.

"Creative Grooming"

Oh my word: