Archive for July, 2007

One tired girl, okay two

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

I was worried that we’d get a call from daycare. There’s a kick out provisions that mentions that the kids must be capable of keeping up with the usual activities. No calls came in and no one said anything to Ken when he picked Reid up. It was a definite working mom guilt situation.

We got Reid bathed and into her room a bit early. When I told her that it was time to give good night kisses, she declared that she wasn’t tired. She sobbed as I told her that I would read one story. “I’m not tired,” she cried, too tired to understand that the fact that one story was worthy of tears proved I was correct. We both slept 11 hours. What a difference sleep makes, eh?

Dresses are not clothes

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

While we were in Chicago, I only ever offered Reid dresses to wear. She’d received a couple new ones for her birthday and we had another that I love but that she hasn’t worn as much as I’d like. She gets so dirty at daycare that I hesitate to send her in a dress. When I do suggest them, she often rejects them with a “no, I want clothes.” She doesn’t balk at them while we were travelling, though. Maybe because she knows that there isn’t a whole drawer of other options. She didn’t know that I’d packed enough shorts and t-shirts that she could have worn instead. I didn’t want her to remember Chicago as the city of tears (shed over dresses).

Note to self – and to you – vacations are a great time to try out dresses, lederhosen, or whatever else your kids where reluctantly.

Chicago, day 4

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

I knew that I’d accumulated lots of stuff from the vendors and sponsors at the conference but I hadn’t really worried because one of the things I’d received was a tote bag that closed securely. Still, when it was time to pack up, there were many things needing a home. Reid had woke up after only 8 hours of sleep instead of her usual 10 and so was squirrelly enough to be anything but helpful. She was feeling silly and full of beans but not helpful. It could have been much, much worse. By the time we got the car cleaned out (thanks to Shea) and everything stowed in bags, I felt like we’d really accomplished something. Reid and I were able to fit our things into the two backpacks and one duffel bag that we brought and all of the giveaway stuff fit into one of the new bags.

I should confess that I’d asked Grandma Joyce to send tops and pants for me to wear so that I wouldn’t have to find space for them. The bonus is that I didn’t have to bring home and launder those two outfits. Ken will be grateful. I’m not sure what I would have left at home to make room. On my own, I could have gotten along with CareB and the tractor blanket but Reid wouldn’t have been so easy to get along with. Ken would pipe up at this point to suggest I could have left behind one of the cameras or the video camera but that just wouldn’t be me.

We went to Denny’s for breakfast and Reid had her San Diego “regular” breakfast of sausage links, eggs and pancakes. She started out dipping the sausage and pancake pieces into her syrup, just like I was doing but that was a messy proposition for a little girl, no matter how careful. Poor Reid dribbled syrup on herself and didn’t like the experience. She told me to take the syrup away.

We tried again to find the Sears Tower when we got downtown but even with the Google Maps instructions we couldn’t find it. Did I mention the upper and lower streets? That’s what I blame it on. We ended up parked blocks away because I thought we were close and should just walk. No go.

We went instead to Navy Pier to go to the Chicago Children’s Museum. Aunt Karin and Shea were going to go on a harbour cruise but Shea was intrigued by the museum and so they stayed for a while. Reid sang and played the drums while Shea used turntables to play a bit of hip hop (or would that be rap?) After a few other exhibits, Shea and Aunt Karin went in search of a boat and Reid and I continued our exploration.

There were many fun things to do. Reid bowled a few frames. At first she held the ball and knocked over the pins but I convinced her to go to the other end of the lane. Reid dressed as a butterfly and there was even a spare set of wings for me, and also as a spider, leaf and bumble bee. There was a dinosaur dig, a water area, and a “forested” area with a camp setup. There was even a slide with slats of wood in it that sounded like a piano when the child slid down it. The first time Reid went down it, she stopped herself as soon as she heard the first sound. It really didn’t sound like a piano. I pointed out the chimes underneath after and then the next time, she slid more quickly and it was musical.

Reid’s favourite, though, was the urban area. She got to drive a minature city bus (with regular sized rules stickers) and also a car. One of the tires on the car came off and the kids could change it. There was also a gas pump. Reid knew just what to do with the nozzle. There was a grocery store and Reid did a bit of shopping, played cashier and then mopped up. We didn’t have a chance to see all of the exhibits but would definitely go back if ever we’re back in Chicago.

We had lunch at Gino’s East, the pizza place that the shuttle bus driver had recommended when I asked for a good place to get Chicago-style deep-dish pizza. It was an interesting place – just across from Ed Debevics – with friendly staff and great pizza. There was writing all over the walls and Shea and Reid happily added to the graffiti. I took a few pictures. I hope I didn’t get any profanity in the background. Reid was too tired for words and cried broken heartedly when I cut up her piece of pizza. It was too thick (hence the “deep-dish”) to be picked up, we thought. Reid wanted to try. She was too tired to let go of her angst, though, and we ended up taking the pizza with us. Then, Aunt Karin and Shea kept it and Reid and I ate had to airport food! Just kidding.

We got to the airport within 10 minutes of the 2 hour advance checkin as suggested by the airline.  Once checked in, we got Reid to run about to burn off extra energy. Shea spun her in circles until she was dizzy enough to sit hard on the floor. Reid had many kisses to give, though Shea got more than his fair share. Finally, it was time for actual good-bye hugs and kisses.

We got through the security with no alarms sounding and without any lines forming behind us as I set up the stroller, got our backpacks back in their places, and re-attached the car seat. We found our gate and then the board saying our plane was late.

I led Reid on an expedition to find some food. From three separate places, we bought fruit and yogurt, a container of veggies and a cheddar-herb bagel. I don’t really want to think of the total cost. Reid fell upon the veggies like she hadn’t had any in weeks. After a few mouthfuls, she noticed the dip and had me open it. I don’t eat dip and so I’m not sure where she’s developed her taste for it.

Reid slipped on some water as we walked into the bathroom, soaking herself and smacking her head – or at least that’s the only place I can think of her getting the bruise in the middle of her forehead – but it caused only a bit of fussing. I got her to put on a diaper instead of her wet underwear but couldn’t find her pajamas. Where, of where, did I put them? Finally I settled on the short and t-shirt she had in her backpack and hoped for a warm airplane.

There was a selfish couple who didn’t seem to understand that people with small kids get to pre-board because they need the extra time who were trying to board ahead of us but the gate crew got us ahead of them. I bet that they don’t give up their seats on the bus to pregnant women, either. Our flight was uneventful and the woman seated behind us complimented me on what a good traveller Reid was. Is there anything a parent wants to hear more at the end of a flight? There was a jetway when we landed and so I didn’t have to carry her and her stroller up the stairs like when we came back from San Diego.

We were happy to see Ken. Reid hadn’t succumbed to sleep on the journey and so was able to give Ken his hugs and kisses. She did finally fall asleep in the car on the way home and stayed that way while I popped her into bed. She is a good traveller, you know, now she needs to learn to sleep on planes so that I can.

Chicago, day 3

Monday, July 30th, 2007

We all stayed up really late when we were in Chicago and got up early anyway. I think that Saturday was the day that most showed the lack of sleep. When we met up at 6:45, I had to ask many times what they’d done to piece together more than slow walking and no museums or major attractions.

After returning to the Hollister store to have an anti-theft device removed from a pair of shorts that Shea had bought, Aunt Karin made Reid out of her stroller on the way to a restaurant as her oh-so-heavy eyelids weren’t staying up. Reid didn’t fight the direction and Aunt Karin was surprised. Reid simply turned to Shea and asked to be picked up. Shea picked her up and Reid snuggled her head onto his shoulder and closed her eyes again. Mean Aunt Karin told Shea that he had to put Reid down and hold her hand. It’s hard to fall asleep and walk at the time but Reid puts forth a good effort. Thankfully she doesn’t walk in her sleep but she is chatty enough while sleeping.

They walked and walked and walked in an ultimately futile attempt to find the Sears Tower. You’d think it would be easy to find, being so tall, but it wasn’t. Between the lower and upper streets of the same name that literally run one above the other and the fact that we only ever had access to really bad street maps, they never managed to find the Sears Tower. The maps in the tourist brochures were heavily focused on the Chicago Transit Authority. At any point, you would know what bus or train line went where but it was difficult to figure out *why* you’d want to get there.

We all met at Navy Pier at 6:45. I bought tickets for Reid to ride on Thomas the Tank Engine again. She spent a good portion of the first ride looking at the large stuffed Hello Kitty in the seat behind her. Reid got to sit at the front for the second ride and steered with enthusiasm and rang the bell when the little girl with her wasn’t. Reid had lots of fun but I’m hoping (for mine and Ken’s sake) that when Thomas comes to Ottawa that both he and his tracks are larger. I’m not sure an average 10 year old would fit on the wee little bench seats.

We went to Ed Debevics restaurant for supper. It was listed on the “Fun things for families” page in the brochure I had been given at the O’Hare airport. It was raucous and brightly decorated but the schtick seemed to be about being rude. Sort of like the diner in the Byward Market in Ottawa but with bad attitude. A couple of times the wait staff stopped serving and danced either on the counter or on dividers between two rooms. Shea liked the surliness (have I mentioned he is 13 lately ;+) and Reid liked the dancing. Aunt Karin and I were pleased with our dinners but underwhelmed by the atmosphere.

Reid fought to stay awake for the train ride home. By the time we got to the hotel (I won’t be precise or you’ll be sure I’m a bad mama) she was hyper from lack of sleep but she conked out fast once I got her into bed.

You can’t do that when travelling on the Chicago Transit Authority

Sunday, July 29th, 2007

I took a train and then bus to the BlogHer07 conference Friday. On the train, my fellow riders and were asked to be considerate of others when speaking on a cell phone. A good reminder, especially given that the noise of the train would require people to yell. Since I had only my Blackberry and no business calls to make, I stayed off the phone.

On the bus, I heard a recording that “Eating, drinking, smoking, gambling and radio-playing [were] prohibited.” It hadn’t really occurred to me that gambling would be a good thing to do while riding on public transit but now that they’ve mentioned it …

On Saturday morning, soliciting was added to the list of things you can’t do while travelling with the Chicago Transit Authority.  Now that I hadn’t planned to do and won’t be doing even though they’ve put it into my mind.
For a such a rules-based organization the CTA was pretty good to me. The trains were sometimes slow or stopped due to construction but they were clean and not overly crowded. A “thanks for taking the CTA” sign or message would have balanced all of the rules, though.

Chicago, day 2

Saturday, July 28th, 2007

Reid hung out with Aunt Karin and Shea while I was at the BlogHer07 conference that brought us to Chicago. Reid decided to stay in the hotel room while Aunt Karin took me to the train. She is totally addicted to Nickelodeon and the Disney channel. Once we left, though, Shea said that Reid started to wail and say she wanted me. Being a quick-thinking fellow, Shea asked if Reid wanted to hold the remote. She said, “yes,” and stopped crying immediately. Good thinking, eh?

The details of what happened during the day are vague to me. Aunt Karin and Shea were pretty tired when we met up about 8:00 and Reid was modifying all nouns with “poopy”. I do know that they went to the Shedd Aquarium. I’d thought Reid would love it since she’d really enjoyed the Birch Aquarium at Scripp’s when we went to San Diego. The admission prices were pretty high, though, and so Aunt Karin insisted that they stay a bit. Shea told me that it wasn’t as bad as he’d expected. I thinking that might be damning with faint praise.

The highlight for Shea seemed to be taking a taxi to get to the aquarium. He’d never ridden in a taxi before. I’m tempted to say, “or at least not that he remembers,” but I bet he is accurate in his comment. The family I come from is one that drives on vacation.  And everywhere else, actually. Have I ever mentioned that my dad built, and my brother still builds, vehicles for Chryslers? Drive domestic and drive a lot is the motto.

The Hollister store was high on Shea’s list of places to go and they went to the Apple store to use a computer to find out the location. I’m wanting to go to the Apple store for its own offerings (oops, I’ve made Ken cringe, I’m sure). I brazenly asked to touch a woman’s iPhone at the conference yesterday and so I won’t need to touch one at the Apple store. They did make it to the Hollister store. Shea got some things there but Reid came away empty handed.

I called to see where they were when my cocktail party ended. They had just left Navy Pier, where I was, and so they waited for me at the trolley stop and I caught the next one. It was 8:00 and neither Aunt Karin nor I had eaten. We found a Starbucks/Bread Company combination restaurant just up the street. We shared a salad and sandwich while Reid literally ran in circles. She sang a bit, counted to 10 several times – getting all the numbers in the right place, and kept up a running commentary while she ran. There were few people in the restaurant but those that were there were smiling and so I didn’t have to be the heavy.

Shea told me that many people had commented on how cute Reid was. She was wearing a dress that she got from Sari, Melissa and Melissa’s men and she was a happy girl. Reid is at her cutest when she is happy. Having a kid with you in a strange city is a great ice-breaker. People talk to you or just smile as you walk by. As long as they don’t touch the kid, it’s all good. Whenever we look like we’re not sure where to go, someone stops to help us. They’re looking out for Reid, I think, since I don’t have people volunteering to help me when I’m alone.

Finally, we got onto the train to go back to the hotel. Reid told me that she was tired. I resisted the urge to say, “That’s why I’ve been telling you to lay down.” And instead I said, “Mama will watch over you.” Reid closed her eyes and cuddled with CareB and was asleep in seconds. She stayed asleep when I put her into the car and then when I took her out and carried her to the room. That’s a tired girl!

Baby-loving, crazy old women

Friday, July 27th, 2007

There are a few wee babies at the BlogHer07 conference. I hadn’t really noticed until one cried in that newborn, cat-meowing way during a session. I wanted to turn and look. Not because the noise bothered me because it meant a baby was near. As I’ve said before, I miss Reid’s little meow cries now that she has perfected her loud, high-pitched big girl cry. I’ve been on the lookout since then. I’m like one of those baby-loving, crazy old women who comes up to new babies in malls and touches them. Even in the face.  Except I remember what it was like when Reid was small and so I restrict myself to glimpses from afar.

I saw a mom with a new baby swaying from side to side as she was making a comment. That sure took me back. Reid is getting so tall that I’m almost afraid her toes will drag on the floor when I carry her and so we don’t do a lot of swaying together. Sometimes we do “dance”, though, when something upsetting has happened. I snuggle Reid close and remember when we were both brand new. She has definitely mastered being outside of the womb and I think I’m better at being a mom ;+)

Spelling it out

Friday, July 27th, 2007

At Lincoln Park Zoo yesterday, I spelled a word so that Reid wouldn’t know that I know swear words. Like her daddy does. Shea’s grinned and said that he remembered when he didn’t know what we meant when we spelled things. It made me think of a book that we’ve been reading to Reid lately, A Birthday for Frances by Russell Hoban. Frances, a lovely little badger, likes to spell words. At one point, she mentions that her imaginary friend doesn’t get a cake and F-R-S-Q (or something like that) and her mother asks what F-R-S-Q means. Frances replies, “Cake. I thought you could spell.” (or that’s the gist of what she said.) I’m looking forward to when Reid catches on to what we’re spelling. I know I will regret it later but right now I focusing on the joy of sharing my love of words. But I don’t know if I’m ready for pig latin as Liz at This Full House just wrote about. I just discovered her blog. But I’ll go back, you should check it out.

Does everyone spell in front of their kids? Are there other tips for subterfuge that I should know about?

Finally, a playgroup *I* want to attend

Friday, July 27th, 2007

I’ve long said that I was glad to go back to work because Reid was more social than me and I “failed” playgroups. I had trouble hanging out with people, mostly women but a few men, who didn’t want to discuss anything that was entirely baby-centric. So, here I am at BlogHer07 in a session entitled “The State of the Momosphere” and I think that I’d like to go to a playgroup with these women. Ironic, it seems to me that I would like to hang out with women who talk about their kids, just like I do. Can I start an online playgroup? Oh wait, that would be the blogosphere. But I want to bring Reid along with me. Hmmm. What to do?

Finally, a playgroup *I* want to attend

Friday, July 27th, 2007

I’ve long said that I was glad to go back to work because Reid was more social than me and I “failed” playgroups. I had trouble hanging out with people, mostly women but a few men, who didn’t want to discuss anything that was entirely baby-centric. So, here I am at BlogHer07 in a session entitled “The State of the Momosphere” and I think that I’d like to go to a playgroup with these women. Ironic, it seems to me that I would like to hang out with women who talk about their kids, just like I do. Can I start an online playgroup? Oh wait, that would be the blogosphere. But I want to bring Reid along with me. Hmmm. What to do?