Saturday, 30 September 2006

going to catch a big one

B has a sinus infection and is home for three days.

Poor guy - I know he's hurting and sinus stuff is awful, but I have to admit...
watching him bang into walls this morning was funny.

He's on antibiotics and stuff now, so he's resting and getting better slowly, and I'm teaching the kids fingerplays and clapping songs to keep them from climbing all over his poor sick self (DADDY, the stationary object) - I didn't realize I remembered so much from all those years ago at Girl Scout camp!

Cass and Rosey looove 'Going On a Bear Hunt' and Miss Mary Mack.

And while I'm counting out the words to the songs, I'm smelling the wood-fire and hearing the giggling that went on in our cabins and remembering the terrifying walk to the bathrooms at night, where every shadow and rustle in the woods was something to be scared about.

I haven't thought about Camp Sajacawea in years.

Hard to believe I was only a few years older than my kids are now when I went there.

Wednesday, 27 September 2006


I love how big Rosey-Pose is getting. And at the same time it's sad too, the changing of her sweet babiness to this sturdy galumphing toddler. Such independence!

Take this morning. After a sweet baby interlude when she woke up in the middle of the night and we had a cuddle-fest, rocking in the big chair downstairs and breathing in her little girl scent, this morning she was all Little Big Kid. I had her clothes laid out downstairs, but when she came down, she was dragging a sweatshirt and a pair of jeans.

I tried in vain to get her to wear what I’d picked out. Huge head shakes. Quivering lower lip.

I tried again. This time, a full-out wail – and she shucked her diaper and put on a dry one – all the while watching me to make sure I didn’t snatch the chosen clothing away. She hurriedly yanked on her sweatshirt and went to her father for help putting on the jeans.

Never mind the sweatshirt was her brothers and the pants were too big. This is what she wanted to wear, darnit.

I did win on the socks, though. Although since they were pink, it could be she was planning on wearing them anyway. I think the pink and satin days are gone.

My girl – mostly sunshine, with a few storms thrown in to make it interesting.

But I doubt she'll let me make her a faerie again for Hallow'een.

Monday, 25 September 2006

surveying the homestead

I was switching laundry when the phone rang.

Hello? This is Blah Blah Blah from the the Government of Canada. Statistics Canada is surveying families with young children, and lucky you, you got picked. (Or words to this effect.) Is this a good time?

Me: Huh? Oh, it's okay. (The terrible two were out on the sunporch dismantling Cass's bicycle. Or something. I loaded the washer.)

Voice on the phone: Today we'd like to ask questions about Rosemary.

Me: Go ahead. (Thinking that her last sentence implies there will be other calls on other days, about other family members. And what if I really wanted to talk about me today??)

Voice on the phone: (Launches into huge, long, involved questions, most of which involve scales of one to ten - and the horrid thing is that the bases keep switching. One question, answering 'one' can mean Very Bad or Terrible, and the next? 'One' means All the Time.)

So now I have to pay attention while trying to ignore the washer, which is slightly off-balanced and whamming itself pretty determinedly across the floor.

Me: (Doing best to wrestle large unwieldy appliance back in place, grunting attractively) Unhh! Now don't you dare come out from the wall again, hear?

Voice: Ma'am? Now we'd like to talk about your coping skills as a parent.

Me: (I'm sure at this point this poor woman thought I was hauling Rosey around. Her voice got that eeek! quality to it. In defense, I went into mode Perky) Sure!

Voice: How often do you restrain or hold back Rosemary when she does something wrong? This would include time-outs, sending her to her room, etc.

Me: Um, she's not even two yet.

Voice: So once or twice a week?

Me: (Are my kids still here? Did they go for pizza?) Whatever. Okay.

Voice (drones on, and on, and on. I folded laundry and started plotting lunch.)

When we hung up the counter on the phone said a little over seventy-one minutes.

Now, I know these surveys are requested by the government of Canada, and I know the results from them will help decide where money for programs, day-care slots, and schools will go, and I don't mind helping, but seventy-one minutes?

Mail me a form, would you?

a funny funny for a monday

ummm...this has to be seen to be believed. Exploding nipples and all.

How do people find this stuff?

Also, what does it mean?

Sunday, 24 September 2006

constant motion

oodles and oodles of lovely room to sleep....

my girl? smashed into the first third of the available space.

Moving her to a toddler bed? Should be fun.

meet me at the church on time

In the wee hours of the morning on Saturday, R had such a spectacular nosebleed that Bear ended up taking her into the ER.

Where they were kind, and calming, and mystified as to why she keeps having these damned things.*

So when B and she got home from the hospital, she was happy and bouncy and not at all tired, delighted to cuddle with her Da and watch some middle-of-the-night tv. When she finally went to bed at three, we couldn't sleep - both of us were up and down checking on her. (I think I passed him in the hall a few times, actually.)

Today was drizzly and cold-ish and not really conducive to doing anything. Everyone slept in. We'd both forgotten until around lunch-time (okay, it was noon, but we were eating breakfast) that it was our anniversary. Six years, five of it with children, and most of it happy.

Bear smiled. "Remember the first year we were married?"

Oh yes. The trial-by-fire year. The year we got married and set up housekeeping, working out the newly-minted-marriage kinks slowly and learning each other in and out. It was during that year that someone decided flying planeloads of people into buildings was a great way to show the world how terrible the Americans are, and the rest of the world braced for the back-lash that surely would lead to the end.
It was the year we discovered that we were going to be parents, and B lost a beloved grandparent.
A sweet-and-sour year.

I smiled at him, the chaos of eating with kids washing around me, thinking about those days. "I remember."

Bear leaned in close and kissed me, absently uprighting a spilled sippy cup.

"Remember how quiet it was?"

Happy Anniversary, Bear.

*No blood under her nails, so she wasn't digging in her nose, (plus she woke from a sound sleep, it wasn't as if she'd been pickin' and grinnin' in a corner)
her brother had not been bopping her about the face,
the inside of her nose wasn't shredded, so dry air or climate changes or whatever the nature ailment du jour was didn't apply,
and she was bleeding from both nostrils.

Friday, 22 September 2006


How's this for spam:

From: someone I've never heard of
Subject: Revealing you are dizzy or are not alert and clearheaded

It is, OF COURSE, an ad for Viagra. Aren't they all? Viagra 911. Really?

When I was working at the clinic, I had an older man call, saying he needed to see the doctor immediately. He was whispering so softly that I had to take the call in another room, and even then I could barely hear him.

Me: Sir! You'll have to speak up.

Man: Mutter wife mumble wimble what do I do?

Me: Excuse me? Mr Smith, I can barely hear you.

Man: (getting exasperated) I SAID, my wife's in the bathroom.

Me: Oh?

Man: We just decided to have sex again after six months. She's in the bathroom and the bottle is empty. I need a refill. Now. Can someone drive it over here?

Me: Let me switch you to your nurse.

Man: (sighing) Damned girlfriend.

I'm sure he would be thrilled to hear about Viagra911.

Thursday, 21 September 2006

no pearls, no apron, no time

Every once in awhile, I get an idea in my head that weekday breakfasts shouldn't be toast or oatmeal, that something more elaborate would be better to send the kids off with. (The 50's housewife tucked way back in my head claps her hands with delight.)
I inexplicably forget that I am a woman on a schedule and fuss around the kitchen, leading to happy children (and husband) but usually leaving me flying around, trying to get myself ready.

This morning, I got out of bed a few minutes early and convinced myself I had loads of time, so I started making pancakes. And I was doing well, too – multi-tasking, flipping things at the stove, brushing R’s hair, doing a Mommy-veto of the four cars Cass wanted to stuff into his pockets and take to school, even managing a conversation with Bear about the dishwasher and parts needed. I was doing swell, until R stood up in her chair and then fell off with a thud and a wail.

I had her up on my hip and was doing the comforter rock-sway that all parents are familiar with, when R spotted the batter bowl. Quick as a flash, she had it up in her arms, and just as quick, I had it away from her – it was fast approaching crunch time, and the last thing I needed was to have to clean the floor before I left.

She looked pensive for a moment, then brightened when she saw my earrings. “Mama pitty!” she chirped, patting me and grinning.

And it wasn’t until we were almost through breakfast that we realized she’d left a generous schmear of pancake mix on my hair.

And it was time to leave.

Tossing the baby at Bear (who caught her easily – he’s getting good at this juggling thing) I pounded upstairs to wash my hair and rub at my head frantically with a towel. There was no time to use the hair dryer, so we drove to town with the heater cranked and my window down.

(And it’s September – the mornings are chill.)

I’m going to strangle that housewife with her own apron.

And I may never pick up the baby again. Well, not without checking her hands.

Tuesday, 19 September 2006

woes of a biffy

The potty-training has stalled.

R, while a master at crawling up on the toilet, arranging herself, taking enormous handfuls of paper and wipingwipingwiping (breaking landspeed records)
refuses to let

She's peed on the biffy twice. Once she was laughing (and probably forgetting to clench) and the other we read books in there for an hour and I think I wore down her resistance. Or possibly she didn't want to hear I Wish That I Had Duck Feet again. My baby the book critic.

I'm amazed I can't remember how we trained her brother (all I remember is it was a damned looong harrrd slog) but I'm almost certain we didn't use M&M's or treats. C got the idea of pee in the potty quickly, but the poop idea? Did not make sense to him for about oh, a year.

Part of the reason I'm so discouraged is that with R's speech the way it is (and she's progressing in leaps and bounds!) even if she was saying "Mama, I need to go potty now please" I might not catch it. While trying hard, her speech is still pretty garbled. So I need to think of a simple phrase she can say clearly before she takes matters into her own hands and starts pantomiming. (Rosey! Stop yanking your skirt......ohhh.)*
She does run to the bathroom door now and twist the knob, but by the time one of us gets there she's wet.

I was certain we had an early start on this - she was going to the bathroom door, making noises, getting up on the toilet....but without success.

Crap - am I really going to have to do the dance?

*Last time I went to church before I moved, the minister had a group of kindergarteners down in from with him, and was asking them stuff about their Sunday School. This sweet-faced little girl leaned right into his microphone and told him she liked the class because Mrs. Wells let them go to the potty and that she needed to go right now.


Busy, busy day at work. Seriously. The office I work in is missing a central player and another woman and I are playing this extended game of Round Robin to fill the seats. I'm getting the impression it's starting to hack the field workers off, never knowing who did what or whom they can ask questions, but this was set up by the boss and god forbid there be a change it would take an earthquake to shift things, now that a decision has been made.

Anyway, the job I'm doing today. I have all sorts of respect for the woman who usually does this job - she can toss off paperwork like a crack-addicted ferret rooting for a fix...but being down a person has set the office back and now I'm starting at six weeks of paperwork. Six weeks worth. It totally covers my desk and goes on, in piles, onto the floor.

Sneeze around my desk and it's your life.

So today I'm snowed under with paper. And trying hard to make sense of stuff that's more than a month old.

Anyway, this is not a complaint. I like having stuff to do - and this will keep me busy for quite awhile.

The real thing that's making me sigh so heavily?

Having people I work with drop little weeny things on my piled-high, obviously crowded desk that mean I have to stop the enormous projects I'm tooling along with and pay attention to three or four teeny things. Usually by the time I've put out those fires, I've completely lost my place on the biggies...


This wouldn't make me upset 'cept for the niggly little fact that their desks are clean. Spotless, as a matter of fact - with empty in-trays.

I don't think my in-tray has seen daylight in months.

This all makes me wonder - besides delegate, what are these people doing?
And HOW do I get their job?

Friday, 15 September 2006

three things that make me happy

Meet Back-asswards Chicken, Basketball Woman and their new neighbor, Man with Hands for Feet.

B. Chicken and Lipsy are from daycare and have been delighting me for about a year now, but the new guy? He came home today with a bright green-painted apple and I...think I might have to frame him.

Preschool is really, really, really, really fun, says Cass. And today they talked about sharing.

Manners and cool art projects. Does it get better that this?

Thursday, 14 September 2006

girly girl still down, a quickie from work.....

This morning R dragged a chair across the kitchen floor, stood on it, and went into the kitchen cupboards to get out my downstairs perfume*. She then brought it to me, holding out her wrists and saying "Mama pitty."

You guessed it. (How could I resist?)
Mine would be the two year old smelling like lavender.

What's next? She's already picking out her own clothes. Matching purses and shoes?

*That's the spare perfume kept near the vitamins and glasses. Some (hectic crazy) days I forget to do the smell-good stuff upstairs. What, you think I remember everything? T'cha.

Monday, 11 September 2006

noses everywhere

My God, this morning it was 40 degrees.

Before getting in the car -

Cass: Did the world freeze, Mommy?

Me: (long discussion while I wrestle Girlie into her carseat about fog off the river, and how the water is warmer than the air, etc, etc)

Cass: (digests all this, climbs into his carseat.) If my nose gets cold, will it fall off?

How's that for a mental picture?

Computer problems at my house. I may be off for a few days until I can wrassle Bear into taking our computer in. Hopefully not past Wednesday!

Saturday, 9 September 2006

"why, I'm almost a grown-up Boy!' exclaimed the rabbit.

First day of pre-school.

He went in smiling, came out beaming and bearing gifts - a colored cupcake wrapper glued to a popsicle stick (It's a flower! For Daddy!) and a smiling round googly-eyed face with ribbon hair for me. He likes his teacher very much and reports that apples were nummy for snack.

Thursday, 7 September 2006

A Day In The Life

from Paper Napkin

4:42 a.m. – Bear rolls over and slaps the alarm clock. I am half-awake, manage a non-descript ‘hmuh?’ and roll over into the space he left. (I like his pillows better.)

5:26 a.m. – Bear wakes me up, which I hate, but it’s for a kiss goodbye, which I love.
(side note: B always kisses me goodbye, to the point of reversing the car to come back in if he forgets. It’s an awwww thing.)

6:14 a.m. – Cass begins to wake up. He thrashes a few times on his squeaky (why haven’t I fixed that yet??) little bed, then there’s a thump (that’d be Beau, hitting the floor) and a loooong yawn. He pads down to the bathroom, then creeps in to see if I’m awake. I most empathetically AM NOT. He goes back to read the new library books we brought home yesterday.

6:32 a.m. – Blat blat blat blat why does the alarm clock sound so horrible? And how on earth did anyone think up that nasty sound? I fumble out of bed, fall over the cat (the grey striped one, who is winding around my ankles, single-mindedly seeking to trip me, hoping I’ll gush kitty treats when I land on the ground) hit the bathroom, do all the morning stuff and go help Cass pick out his clothes.

6:57 a.m. – Decide it is more important to allow C creative freedom than for me to be right and let him wear shorts. (It’s 54 degrees.) This also has the added benefit of not shooting my blood pressure through the roof. (He’ll also be inside all day in a warm house.)

7:04 a.m. – Debate making rug out of yowling for no reason cat. Short debate, because R is up and if she feels neglected in her crib too long, she’ll strip the bed of everything and pitch it all over the side. Grab outfit for Pinky, get a few smudgy kisses, (how is this happy morning critter my daughter?) and collect small boy on way downstairs.

7:15 a.m. – Breakfast? Oh, yes, I’m the mama and supposed to be feeding you kids, right? Toast is what C likes – toast and juice, with a side dish of applesauce. R snorts her way through it too. I’m busy packing myself a lunch and dressing out of the dryer again. Now where are everyone’s shoes?

7:23 a.m. – Just enough time for Cass to watch half of either a Lunar Jim or an old Spiderman carton while I brush hair and make ponytails on RoseyPose.
Last check of my purse (actually, my purse is carried inside my giant bookbag) and we’re off!

7:53 a.m. – Tim Horton’s. Medium double-double, a 12 grain, toasted, with butter for the front seat, and a ham and cheese biscuit cut in half for the two back seat drivers. (The ones who already had breakfast.)

8:28 a.m. – Kids dropped off, car parked, sitting at my desk, coffee in hand, a few minutes to relax before the day starts.

8:30 a.m. – The phone rings – hello, work day!

9:00 a.m. – Take a break. Call my doctor and discuss the scheduling of annual viewing of girly parts.

9:06 a.m. – Call preschool and enrol Cassidy, who will start tomorrow. My baby’s a preschooler! He’s going to be so excited he'll levitate!**

9:10 a.m. – Back to grind. Cancellations, rebookings, sick calls, Department of Health people, Care Coordinators. I have no shortage of people to talk to during the day. In between the shrilling of the phone, check and sort mountain of schedules.

Noon – Work work work work, with a stop for lunch thrown in.

4:30 – Finish computer back-ups and turn computer off, lunging out the door. Time to pick up my two and head home!

4:38 – Pick up kids. Cass is dancing around, he’s so excited he gets to go to school with one of his friends, and the Rose-girl is a bit crumpled (short nap) but still ready to give me the Mama! squeal and the rush to hug my knees.

4:45 – Stop in at ambulance base so Bear (who’s working a twenty-four) can see the kids.

5:00 – Home again, home again, jiggety jig. Dinner to make, kid-fights to referee, juice to pour.

7:30 – Upstairs, for baths, brush teeth, stories, and bed for both.

7:45 – The house is quiet. The house is quiet.

And I’m going to go make myself a cup of tea and read my e-mail.
The rest of the night is mine.

** Cass will be five in October and so missed out on going to grade primary this year. By four days. Not that I’m bitter. Or that he’s disappointed.

Wednesday, 6 September 2006

kandoo dance

We get kid stuff in the mail. The goos, the wipes, the coupons and (lately) CDs of superhero songs are well-received and appreciated.

In the mailbox today there was a dance DVD, with love from the Kandoo people.

A dance DVD.
I don't know how things work in your house, but it seems like I spend a lot of time chasing the kids away from the DVD player (No! No toys in the DVD player! Quit pushing buttons!) so to give them their own DVD seemed a little convoluted. We slipped it in whilst both kids were upstairs, then called then down.

And at first, it was cute. It looked like an early-camera work Sesame Street song that didn't make the cut - groups of kids at the playground, a man strumming a guitar, a blurry shot of a policeman blowing his whistle and stopping traffic. The words were simple, and the dance easy - both my kids started to copy the screen.

B and I relaxed and watched and giggled at the kids until some new movements made by the dancers on the screen got...odd.
B looked at me. "Did that little girl just wipe her bum?"
I was staring at the screen. "I think they're all pretending to wipe their bums."
And now they were all making a hand washing gesture, followed by what looked like a 'flushing the biffy' arm flick....

Of course! Sponsored by Pampers, this DVD was supposed to teach my kids how to use the potty and wash their hands correctly. And in unison. With great shaking of booties. And all set to dance music.

So I'm guessing if potty training stalls, I'm supposed to hum a few bars of this song and pretend to be the frog and R will pick up right where the song left off?

Let me dream it would be that simple. We kandoo it too.

Monday, 4 September 2006

happy (cold and wet) labour day, everyone!

It's raining. And cold.

Astonishing, because today is the day before school starts. I remember running around in shorts and sandals every year, incredulous that THIS was supposed to be fall and that tomorrow the summer would be gone.
We used to go to the beach as an-end-of-summer tradition, and it would feel like any other endless summer day, with only the faintest pall of tomorrow-won't-be-like-this surfacing as the sun began to go down and the wind blew cooler.

This year? It might not be so hard to get those grumbling children out of their pj's and onto the bus - after all, who wants to play in the rain?

Saturday, 2 September 2006

fear and loathing in long pants

Me: Go put on some jeans or sweatpants or something, Cass. It's too cold today for shorts.

Cass: Nooooooooooooooooooooooooo! They all touch my feeeeeeet!

Friday, 1 September 2006

a splendiforous day

We tossed Mo and Curly into the car, and we were off!
(humming theme from Bonanza here)
And the Discovery Centre? Was a huge success.

They scrambled all over*

and had a ton of fun - there were trains and windmills and bridges to build and a chair that spun if you lifted your arms and a gajillion toys - Bear even got into the action, playing with a big ring that put him inside a bubble.

We stayed there until Rosey fell into the giant vat of bubble solution.

Wet, sudsy, (well, on Pinky's part, at least) and hungry, we left the Centre and traipsed through the maze of connecting passageways that Haligonians use to get around. We ended up eating at a -gasp!- mall so the kids could get burgers, but I bought Lebanese food at a little stall from a Lebanese man and was delighted.

Side note:
Me: Someday we're going to come to Halifax for the weekend just as a couple and we'll eat at all the little ethnic restaurants. Look, they have Greek, and Etheopian, and Thai, and Korean, and Polish, and Afrikaans, and Cajun and...(darting a look at B and enunciating clearly) You'll love it.
B - (sighing) Or I'll fake it well.

On the way back, we stopped and bought Rosey a high back car seat (she's growing out of her other one) a cheap DVD player, and rechargable batteries for my camera. (Woot!)
I get a kick out of this picture...

(a loonie is a one-dollar coin, for my non-Canadian readers!)

And after that, safe back in the car after a summer shower that left us all wet, I asked Cass to start thinking about his Halloween costume.
I was fully prepared to hear about superheroes, or maybe a dinosaur. A pirate? But C has his heart set on....being....a truck. Not the driver of a truck, but a truck.
I'm thinking I should start drawing up plans and get out the box cutters and duct tape. Does anyone have any experience making large, unwieldy costumes for children?
(crickets chirp)
Ah CRAP, I thought so.

I'm going to post this before it's miles long. Happy weekend, everyone!

*note the 'pink shoes' so close to R's heart

Yarn over and over

Someone, an old babysitter maybe, taught me to crochet when I was six. I remember making long braided loops of yarn and thinking how pretty ...