Archive for August, 2007

Inquiring three year olds want to know

Friday, August 31st, 2007

I’ve read about other people’s kids asking awkward questions but, until yesterday, I haven’t had a situation with Reid. Her daycare class has a rainbow of faces and she hasn’t asked about race at all. When we’ve seen people with disabilities, she has been satisfied with a simple statement of the type, “She uses that chair with wheels to get around just like you use your legs and feet.” We’ve talked about families being made up of different sorts of people, sometimes only the mama, sometimes two mamas, sometimes a mama and a daddy, sometimes two daddies but that was more me pointing out ways that “different is good” rather than Reid asking a specific question.

But Thursday night at Melissa’s, Reid had me on the hot seat. Stephen was sent away from the table for misbehaving. Reid wanted to know what was happening, why it was happening and what the deeper meaning was. Okay maybe she didn’t want to know the deeper meaning but she did ask a gajillion questions or at leasr the same few over and over. I stuck with “Stephen was being nice. When we’re not nice, people don’t want to be around you. You have to take some time to think about how to be nice before you come back.” I stuck to them like media lines. Reid tried to catch me with repetitive questioning but it didn’t work. Peter Mansbridge had better watch out, though.

The whole time Reid was conducting her inquisition, Sarah and Ben were watching and listening. I didn’t want them to think I disagreed with Melissa (since I didn’t and, in any case, I think parents should stick together) but I didn’t want them to think that Stephen was unspeakably awful (which he wasn’t) either. I’m much better with race, ability and sexual orientation than I am with my friends and their kids, I guess.

Reid’s memory is clearly better than mine

Friday, August 31st, 2007

Thursday morning, I told Reid that if it wasn’t raining in the evening, we would go for a picnic on the beach with Melissa and her kids. Reid response was, “Your sister taked me to the beach.” I had to ask her to repeat herself since my last memory of the beach was going with Melissa, Dylan, Zachary, Danielle and Isabelle. I was expecting the sister reference. Finally it clicked. In March, when we were in San Diego, Aunt Karin (aka “mama’s sister”) *did* take Reid to the beach on Corona Island. Remember that? Reid even napped on the sand.

Reid’s memory is clearly better than mine though she hasn’t organized it like others might. Then again, maybe even I had a good memory when I was 3.

In the end, Melissa and I decided the sand would still be wet, the wind too strong and the evening too chilly for a picnic. I’ve added the beach to our list of things to do this weekend.

As heard at our table

Thursday, August 30th, 2007

Mama: Would you like some cheese, Reid?
Reid: Is it white? (Mozarella)
Mama: Havarti with dill?
Reid: It’s Dyl cheese? Dylan cheese?
Daddy: Dill cheese. (Carefully enunciating the “i”)
Reid, looking at Mama with a smile: Dylan cheese?
Mama: Sure, baby. Do you want some?
Reid, after a taste: I don’t like Dylan cheese. You like it?
Mama: I do like Dylan cheese.

We’ve never had this sort of conversation when we eating pickles. Reid *really* wanted to like Dylan cheese – she really likes Dylan after all.

Have a great day. Don’t forget your sweaters – it’s chilly out there.

The bean that broke the camel’s back

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

Supper time on gymnastics nights can be rough. Reid is tired and usually mostly full since we give her food before class. We try not to make a big deal about supper, although she is more than welcome to join us at the table. Last night, Reid spilled a bit of milk while I helped her to pour it into her glass, and by little I mean more than went into her glass. She wanted to wipe up the spill but since some of the milk was poised to go off the table, I took a quick swipe before handing over the cloth. Did I mention that Reid is tired at supper? She melted down completely and then showed her dad her latest trick: yelling loudly and deliberately at the object of her anger. After an attempt to explain why things hadn’t gone her way, I put Reid in the front room until she was done yelling and went back to eat. Reid came back to the dining room to continue her performance. Ken offered her a chance to watch tv and she stopped and went to watch Little Bear. When the show was over, and just as we were finishing our supper, Reid came back to the table and then looked in horror at her bowl. She pointed and said something about the beans. Ken offered to remove them from the bowl but Reid offered more specific instruction – there was only one kidney bean raising her ire. Ken removed it and Reid happily ate her chili. It was like the sun after the storm.  Perhaps she just needed to “win” one argument.

I love our dentist

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

I used to like our dentist. We’ve gone to her for a decade or more. When she left one inconveniently-located mall dentist office, we followed her to one that was somewhat more convenient. We would have followed her to an even less convenient place because I find dental visits stressful and Ken doesn’t like change. When I finally admitted that the spot on Reid’s 2 front teeth was a cavity, I initially called a dental practice that specialized in treating children and adolescents. Advice from a friend that I might be surprised at how good Reid would be at the regular dentist – and also be surprised at the cost of the specialist – led me to book with our family dentist for Monday.

And Dr H was FABULOUS! She showed Reid how the chair went up, up, up and then way down and then back up a bit before it reclined. The dentist handed Reid a mirror to watch her work. They counted Reid’s teeth and then the dentist used the “tooth tickler” to check out Reid’s teeth. The dentist had time to fix the cavities and so increased the gap between Reid’s front teeth to get the decay and make it easier to clean them. Before each activity, Dr H explained what would happen and showed Reid the tool and how it would work. Maybe that is standard procedure for dentists these days but it definitely wasn’t when I was a kid.

I’d been afraid that Reid would pick up on my stress but once the dentist got started, there was no stress to pick up on. I don’t know that I’d say “a good time was had by all” but I’m pretty sure Reid enjoyed herself. It’s good to be a kid in 2007.

I was a good mother

Tuesday, August 28th, 2007

Often I’m like many mothers and think about the ways I come up short against my ideal of a “perfect mother” or even a “good mother.” But last night, I was a good mother. I decided we needed to update our calendar to reflect Reid’s gymnastics, swimming and Kindermusik classes. We have a big wall calendar with stickers to indicate the type of event. I enjoy the sticking and annotating process. It helps me savour the excitement of the classes. Plus, I received a “would do well as an IRS agent” on a career aptitude test when I was in university.

Reid also likes stickers and that provides the dramatic tension for the story. Do I do the stickers myself or ask Reid if she’d like to join me? Well, you already know that I invited her to the table. She rewarded me with big smile. We talked as she put the “sports” stickers on Tuesdays and Thursdays to signify gymnastics and swimming respectively. The “activities” stickers went on Saturdays for Kindermusik. I also had Reid put on a “doctor” sticker but when I tried to write her name beside it, she protested. She took the pencil and carefully drew a person, talking herself through adding his arms, eyes, nose, etc. It might not have been entirely obvious what she was drawing without the commentary but with it, I could see our doctor. Of course, a few minutes later Reid said that she had written his name. After that, each sticker was followed by a carefully written annotation on the same square. I was tempted to erase them, but then I reminded myself that I’m a good mother and that’s more important than tidy calendar squares. Besides she had already put the stickers on crooked ;+) (And no laughing that I can have a messy house with toys and books all over but be troubled by my calendar.)

If you want to see Thomas the Tank Engine, I think driving to St Thomas is in order

Tuesday, August 28th, 2007

I first heard about the Day Out with Thomas on a Postcard from the Mothership. I can’t remember if Dani said that her last experience was “magical” but it was something like that. Add in my wooden train obsession – remember Christmas? – and it seemed destined to happen. I was such a good salesperson that Melissa and Peter and their kids decided to join us.

Niece Melissa told that her family had had a wonderful day at the event in St Thomas – from 9:00 til 1:00 or so, leaving because of naptime. I was pretty optimistic about the day. Then, I saw the post Dani wrote about the experience that her family had in Ottawa this year. She said it didn’t compare to how great the first time had been in – you guessed it – St Thomas.

Well, Ken and I took Reid to the second weekend of the Day Out With Thomas in Ottawa and I have to report that I was disappointed.

It was an incredibly muggy, grey morning to start with and the sky tried its utmost to rain on us. The sponsoring organization had put plywood down to protect Sir Topham Hat from the mud and so Reid didn’t end up a mess after her picture with him. We didn’t stand in line to get a picture with Thomas himself, though. Well, I would have but Ken told me that we didn’t have time before our departure time – and he was right, of course, since he is much better at keeping track of time than I am. After our trip, the line was too long and we were disillusioned.

The actual train trip involved a ride in an out of service train car that would have benefited from liberal spraying of Febreze or airing out or a vacuuming or something so that the words that most accurately described it weren’t “musty” and “dusty”. The event was held at a freight depot and so the rail tracks in this part of Ottawa run through industrial land. The scenery didn’t have much to recommend it on the 25 minute ride. Reid didn’t comment that we went backwards on the way out and forward on the way back. When our trip was over, Ken asked Reid if she’d enjoyed the ride and she offered an emphatic, “yes” as though any other answer was foolish to consider. Maybe I wasn’t entirely accurate when I said “we were disillusioned”. I should have been more specific and limited the disillusionment to Ken and myself.

Reid and Stephen, Sarah and Ben went in a mini-bouncy castle that had a limit of 6 kids. It was a good size for a first-time bouncy castle girl and her prone-to-worry mama. It’s kind of surprising how high Reid could jump (oh, I know that it was a *bouncy* castle!) The kids all kept a safe distance from one another although after a while Reid declared it “too bouncy” and moved toward the exit. By the time she got there, the attendants were calling the kids to leave. I lost no mama-pride because my kid wussed out ;+)

I think I need to give credit the scores of people who seemed to be working hard/volunteering to put on a good party. For kids who are Thomas fanatics, the experience was probably fabulous. For people who went on a beautiful, blue sky sort of day, they may have more stories about Sir Topham Hat, the bouncy castle, slide, straw maze, balloon animals and  activities inside so that the train carriage didn’t figure large in their calculations.

I *did* get cotton candy, too, I have to add that to my calculations. We’ll not be going again but I would try to give a balanced review if anyone asked me.

Laughter in dressing

Monday, August 27th, 2007

I generally feel like I’m living in an episode of Kids Say the Darnedest Things but watching Reid get dressed this morning provided a couple of memorable lines.

 Reid put her shirt on her legs and bum and said, “Look, Mama, my shirt is upside down.” I smiled and said, “It is! But you can’t wear your shirt on your bum when you go to the dentist.” To which Reid responded, “Why?” She had me there. I don’t have anything to point to that explains that arcane rule.

 Ken came downstairs and asked Reid if she’d brushed her teeth yet. I told him what a good dad he was to ignore the fact that Reid was sitting wearing her shirt upside down and no shorts. He burst my vision him as super-tolerant man by saying he couldn’t tell it was a shirt. As he helped her get her shorts on, Reid asked if she had them positioned the right way. Ken said it didn’t matter. Reid sort of nodded and said, “Grandma made them?” as if that would explain everything. And it does, since Grandma Joyce, for obvious reasons, doesn’t put tags in all of the clothes that she makes and the difference betweeen the front and back in a size 3 pair of shorts isn’t evident (and indeed there may be no difference, I haven’t seen the patterns).

I feel the rejection keenly

Sunday, August 26th, 2007

Over the last few days Reid has been switching her allegiance from CareB to a little stuffed Miss Piggy that I’ve since I was a teenager. At first, she played with them both but one day she brought Miss Piggy to the bedroom and tossed CareB aside when I held her out. My heart is feeling bruised by this rejection, even as I was surprised at how quickly she dropped Winnie Pooh in favour of CareB. One day it’ll be me, eh?

Yesterday Reid told me that CareB was Miss Piggy’s mama and she (Reid) was the daddy; Reid’s daddy was the Grandpa and I was the Grandma. I’m not sure I’m ready to be a grandma at only 36 but I’m pretty sure Grandma Joyce got her “grandma credentials” when she was still in her 30s. (Have I mentioned lately that my memory is awful?)

I heard it in my house but I can’t believe *I* said it

Saturday, August 25th, 2007

Reid: I want bread.
Mama: You’ve had enough bread. You can have more at supper. Right now  you need to eat fruit or vegetables or cotton candy instead.
Guess which one Mama was planning to have?