Archive for August, 2007

Put in my place

Thursday, August 9th, 2007

When I asked Ken last night what he thought of when I said, “supper” he told me, “Chinese food.” The answer worked for me, too. It’s been so long since we last ordered in, the delivery guy asked me what we’d been doing. This says two things about us:
1. We order in too much; and
2. We’ve been doing much better than we were previously.

I had to show Reid how to “hug” the bag to carry it to the table. She staggered a bit as she walked but was uber-proud of herself for accomplishing it. Often when Reid carries the pizza boxes in, they end up less than perfectly parallel to the floor or upside down (driving Ken a little bit nutty) but there were no incidents of that type.

At the table, I offered Reid a container of veggies and she declined. Once Ken had taken some, he offered them to Reid and she accepted. In case I’d missed it, Reid explained to me, “I didn’t want some after you. I only wanted some after Daddy.” Got it. I’m unworthy of eating after. ;+)

M’s and I’s

Wednesday, August 8th, 2007

Reid, Ken and I were all in the basement on Monday morning, moving furniture and toys around. I was casting a sharp eye on toys that I don’t think are earning their keep and Ken was sorting through books and papers with the same sort of thoughts in his head. Reid discovered her chalk under a chair (who knowa why) and went to her easel chalkboard to draw. She proudly pointed to an arc with a line in the centre and announced that she’d made an “m”. It even looked like one. Then, she drew a straight line and put a dot on top and declared it an “i”. She drew a few more “i’s” while I watched but didn’t repeat the “m”. If only we’d named her “Mimi”, she’d be able to write her own name!

I helped her to make a few “r’s”. We made big ones, a huge one and a teeny-tiny one. Reid liked it and I remember reading somewhere that writing is sometimes easier on an easel. We’ll have to do it some more since it’s too late to change her name.

We almost went to the Glengarry Highland Games on Saturday

Wednesday, August 8th, 2007

We almost went to Maxville on Saturday to see the Glengarry Highland Games (warning: noisy link). I’ve been wanting to go for the 12 years we’ve lived in Ottawa. We’ve been out of town on a few occasions and it always seems to be held on the wickedest, hot days of the summer.

We made it into the car and onto the 417 on Saturday before Ken told me that he and I would both have to pay $20 admission (no, I hadn’t checked) and we’d be there only 2 hours before we needed to feed Reid and drive home for her nap. It was already hot and I wasn’t clear how interested Reid would be. Oh, and I’m cheap. Add my less-than-enthusiastic companion into the mix and it didn’t seem like a great idea.

The Canada Agricultural Museum, though, seemed like a good alternative. I told Reid that we weren’t going to see the dancing girls and were going to the Farm instead. Reid had no problems with the change, of course, once she confirmed that we were going to “her farm.”

The fellow who does the wagon rides was putting the harness and gear on Bella when we got to the large animal barn. We watched and discussed the process. We next saw Goody, the bull, standing in his stall and he scratched his back on a new brush. There was a sign that said that Goody had just celebrated his 10th birthday. The brush might have been a present.

In the small animal barn Reid, who gets bolder on each visit, patted several lambs and sheep and even pet the rabbit who doesn’t have the bite-warning sign on her cage. We approached the “piggy bank” – a pig that is supposed to oink when you put money into the slot on it’s back. But it didn’t and hasn’t for a month or so. Ken and I were disappointed and felt cheated. Reid likes handling “monies” in any situation and didn’t mind the silence.

Reid hurried to the end of the barn where the mamas and piglets are kept. Her dedication was rewarded. There was a litter of day-old piglets with their mama. I told Reid that I thought the piglets looked like newborn human babies. “You didn’t look like that, Reid!” reassured the indignant daddy.

On the way to the pasture to see the goats and Eeyore, the donkey, Reid suffered a major league wipe out. I saw the round metal thing sticking out of the ground a nanosecond before Reid tripped over it and went sprawling. I wiped off Reid’s knee and gave her a kiss and she was interested enough in the animals to make only one request for a band aid. She clearly didn’t need one since the blood wasn’t dripping on the ground – ask my mom, that’s the pre-requisite for a band aid or at least it was when *I* was a kid. I think Reid probably could get one for a scrape. Later we noticed quite a scrape on Reid’s arm that would have made me cry but Reid hadn’t noticed it.

Another family called Eeyore over long enough that he eventually came to the fence or maybe it was a coincidence. Either way, we joined them at the fence and pet the cute little donkey. His coat was much smoother than I’d expected. Reid had a look of delight on her face as she patted him. I thought, “Check. One more animal fear dealt with.” Reid loves to see animals and is working her way up to touching increasingly large ones. Maybe by Thanksgiving she’ll be ready for the horses. Of course, dogs of any size are still great stress-inducers for Reid.

We went to the dairy barn, of course, and we provided the name for each and every cow that stays there. Some names warrant discussion, especially when they share a name with someone we know, otherwise it’s a cataloguing exercise that Reid enjoys. Many of the cows were licking each other. I haven’t noticed that before. I guess you might develop a fondness for the your neighbour after a while.

Reid and I went to see a presentation in the demonstration kitchen while Ken took the time to read the labels in the tractor exhibit. We learned how to make granola bars with sunflower seeds, sunflower seed butter and soy nuts (among other things) AND we got to taste an earlier batch. Ken got no sample at all. I think it’s a recipe worth making at home, though, and so he might get to try them yet.

I’d packed lunch since we’d planned to go so far and Reid and I ate our lunches as we drove home. I’m all in love with these Tupperware keepers that I’ve had for quite awhile but haven’t used much. I noticed that they hold two sandwiches perfectly, even better than the sandwich keepers hold one since we are a whole-grain, big-slice bread family. I feel like I’ve got new keepers for free. Small things amuse small minds, eh?

In the end, I’m glad we didn’t make it to the Glengarry Highland Games but I’ll put it back on my list for next year. Reid will be 4 by then and naps won’t be as important, especially if we’re weaning her off them in anticipation of her being in school. Not that I want to think of her as old enough for school and especially not that I want her in an afternoon class.

Lessons from the cats

Tuesday, August 7th, 2007

I have noted often that Reid is like most kids in that she is always learning from the things we do. It appears that she doesn’t restrict herself to Ken and me as role models at home.

We spent part of each day over the weekend weeding through things, tidying up or rearranging. Reid consistently sought out ways that she could help, with more or less utility at various points. She was very helpful at putting materials in the recycling bins and at fetching scattered pieces of toy sets. She added less to the process of me carrying her crib box into the furnace room since she complained when I bonked her with it and really didn’t lift it all that high. I know how Ken feels when he has to rely on my help to move something large and/or heavy. Too short and too weak, I bet that’s what he thinks. But Reid and I are both trainable, especially her.

Reid was at her most interested and determined to be helpful when Ken was unplugging, replugging and rearranging the tv with all of its various dependents.  Could she hold this? Move that? What did that thing do anyway? Reid was the very embodiment of Leo with all of her interest and interference. Our cats fancy themselves as forepersons and Reid has learned well from them. Even Mars, the ultimate fraidy cat, couldn’t resist coming out to supervise when things were being moved about.

Lure of cartoons

Tuesday, August 7th, 2007

Most mornings, Reid lays in her bed with me having “just one more milkie” before I carry her to the bathroom. Yesterday, she told me that I should listen to the news while she got up. And then she did. She opened the door herself (50/50 chance of success) and went to the bathroom and then climbed into bed with Ken. I asked her if I could join them. Reid said, “No, listen to news.” And Ken said that he thought Reid wanted cartoons on and she smiled and nodded. I turned on the tv, leaving them snuggling, and went back to listen to the news. What a schemer!

Blueberry cake (Cookie-Crust Fruit Tart)

Monday, August 6th, 2007

This morning I asked Reid to help me bake a cake. She said that she wanted to bake a blueberry cake. Unfortunately for her, (a) – I don’t have a recipe for blueberry cake and (b) – I have lots of rhubarb from the garden to use. Still, Reid is a persuasive little kid and so we baked a Cookie-Crust Fruit Tart with her that I found in the Today’s Parent (July 2006). Simple and scrumptious, I decided that I wanted it captured here because it’s too good not to share. Here’s what I did, as opposed to strictly what the recipe said:

  • 1/2 cup margarine
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 t vanilla (measured and added by Reid, so not a full teaspoon, actually)
  • 1 c white flour
  • 1/2 c cream cheese
  • 2 T white sugar
  • up to 3 c fruit (Any kind will do, if berries, rince and dry first. I’ve been scattering blueberries on as we’re eating it)
  • icing sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter, brown sugar and egg yolk. Add vanilla. Add the flour and beat just until blended.

Pat the dough into two small balls and place onto the parchment lined pan. With your hands, pat dough out to form a circle and prick all over with a fork. Place in the oven and bake for 12-14 minues, or until lightly browned and set in the middle. Let cool completely.

Beat together the cream cheese and sugar. Spread onto crust just before serving. Scatter fruit on top, sprinkle with icing sugar.

The cookie crust gets a bit soggy if you don’t eat it all once you’ve spread the cream cheese onto it. Since we’re not going to sit down and eat the 6-8 servings in one go, I have made the two rounds instead of one 10-inch circle. Similarly, I’m spreading the cream cheese on and adding fruit as I cut the slices.

Being mothered by my daughter

Sunday, August 5th, 2007

I’m like many parents who open their mouths and hear the words of their parents coming out. I haven’t said, “If you break your leg, don’t coming crying me.” Yet. But I’ve thought of it. There have been other things, good and goofy that I know my mom and dad used to say to me that I’ve heard myself saying to Reid over the last three years.

This morning, Reid and I were playing before we got out of bed and she was the mama and I was the baby. Babies cry a lot in Reid’s games. She never cried that much (thank goodness) as a baby but I try to play by the rules. I was crying and Reid said, “It’s okay, baby, Mama’s here.” That’s the first thing I say to her when I walk into her room if she is crying in the night. She rubbed my back and said shushed me in the gentlest tone. Then, she put the soother in my mouth. Reid loves the soother and sees it as the panacea for whatever ails a baby. It’s ironic, really, since she wasn’t a soother baby. I flipped the soother upside down a few times. Each time, Reid turned it right side up. By the last time, she righted it rather forcefully.

Finally, Reid gave me CareB and said that I should go to sleep. Just like that. As though the number of times that she has gone to sleep at home without being nursed in three years wasn’t fewer than 20 (probably 10)! When I pointed this fact out, she agreed that I might need to nurse. Reid cuddled me close and told me to nurse CareB, too. I asked if she remembered when she used to “nurse” Winnie Pooh or a baby doll while I nursed her. Reid smiled a big smile. I’m not sure if that meant she did remember or if she thought it was too silly to believe.

Reid is a good little Mama. A baby could do much worse.

How can it be this hot when it’s mind numbingly cold in the winter?

Friday, August 3rd, 2007

It’s been 30+ degrees Celsius (90+ F) for many days now. I just want to know why. Reid has energy to burn at the end of the day thanks to the prohibition on going outside to play on days when the kids’ eyeballs might melt. I have lots of respect for her daycare teachers normally but days when the kids are inside due to extreme heat or cold (yes, there are both) are the days when I really give thought to how underpaid they are. Not that I’m volunteering to up my daycare fees.

It was my turn to pick Reid up last night. She and I both like it when it’s my turn. Reid for the novelty and me for the nosiness. She doesn’t always come running but I do get a super squeeze at some point.

Most nights, the receptionist buzzes us in and so it was last night. I like having the opportunity to at least hear the kids and teachers interacting without them knowing I’m there. It’s not even that I’m expecting to catch the teachers misbehaving. I figure that they’re adequately policed between the multiple teachers and the oversight structure. I’m just the sort of person who wants to watch people interacting in the “wild”.

When I got to where the kids were playing, there were a couple little boys running about in the multipurpose room and my little angel was attempting to skip rope with a bead-stringing string. One teacher was saying in an uber-patient voice, “You need to stop running and start tidying.” It takes a lot to lower your voice when you’re frustrated, don’t you think? It’s a skill that I’m working on.

My man!

Friday, August 3rd, 2007

Just before bed Wednesday night, Reid declared herself “hung’y”. Since she’d eaten lots at supper, I wondered if it was a delaying tactic but decided that she could just be in a growth spurt. If she is, she may be taller than me by Saturday! I got her a slice of bread with peanut butter and she decided it would pair best with water (yuck). While she was eating, I have to confess, I kissed Ken. Reid noticed and gasped. No really, it was a gasp worthy of an over-acted dramatic scene in a B-movie. So she said, “Aack! My man!” as she came running over to give him a peanut-buttery kiss to reassert her position. Poor Ken isn’t so keen on peanut butter but I think he might like the attention.

I have so few memories of anything beyond last week and even the last week is fuzzy but I do remember my parents kissing when I was a kid. My memories stem from my teenage years and I mostly remember thinking how embarassing it was for *them*. Besides, I was clearly the last child and so there was no need for kissing or anything else (and please don’t make me think of the anything else). But still, it’s their fault that I think kissing in front of my kid is okay. Take it up with my mom.

The “Dundas” tongue is going to get Reid into trouble

Wednesday, August 1st, 2007

We went to gymnastics class again last night. Again, I forgot to wear capris or pack shorts but unlike last week I decided real women attend gymnastics in their dresses. Okay, we didn’t have much time since I’d also forgotten to bring a snack and so had to stop on my way. My dress was nearly suitable and, as Ken will attest, no men go into the gym.

Reid was ready to try each activity and offered a quick “yes” whenever the instructor asked if the kids were ready to do whatever she had just explained. Most of the first set of activities were similar to previos weeks, with handstands, dismounts, sommersaults and tunnel. There were rings at the next station in addition to parallel bars for making a tunnel on and a bar for hanging from by the hands and feet. There was also a ladder at a 35 degree angle on for climbing. Reid had to go to the very top rung on it, of course.

On the trampoline the instructor explained to the kids how they were to bounce a few times and then make a star shape in mid-air before bouncing again. The thought of what we’d see made me smile. The instructor said that the kids wouldn’t actually open and close their stars in mid-air and that was okay. Reid, as I noted last week, doesn’t like the feeling of being out of control on the trampoline. Doing star jumps, though, offered much greater stability. Her jumps started out and ended as stars for the most part and when she tried to jump and then do the stars sometimes, too. The instructor also showed how to do a jump-sit-jump combination but the kids had only to do the jump-sit parts. Reid liked this best. For all of her trampoline work, Reid concentrated very hard. And, of course, she stuck out tongue while she did. It’s one of those blessings that she has inherited from me. I was worried for her. I love her little, pink tongue tip and would hate to see it lying on the trampoline next to her.

Our homework, I’ve decided, is to practice hopping like a kangaroo. Reid hops a couple times and then switchs to a bouncy sort of run. With the instructor drawing circles on the trampoline and saying that the kids need to stay within it, I think perfecting kangaroo jumps would be a good thing. And learning to do it with her tongue in her mouth would be a bonus. ;+)

By the end of the class, Reid had a big smile, sweaty body and a red face – a 30 degree day, exercise and no air conditioning will do that to you. I’m glad that we’re trying gymnastics out together. The classes are for 18-36 months or 3-4 years and I thought Reid would like the extra mama-support. It was the right decision, I think.

Now, I’m faced with the decision of whether to continue and, if so, whether to send her alone. Keeping her in would mean two weeknight activities (swimming is a given) plus Kindermusik on Saturday. What do you think?