Archive for October, 2007

Did I worked?

Thursday, October 25th, 2007

Reid was looking at the cards that hang from the lanyard that I wear around my neck. The first is my building pass. It has a picture of me on it. On the reverse, I have my library card. Reid recognizes it since I participated in the “Every kid a card” promotion at the library when she was only 3 months old and got Reid her own card. She uses it more now than she did at first. In the other envelope-thingy, I have my bus pass. It has another, less-flattering, picture of me that Reid had to confirm was actually me. On the reverse of my bus pass is a picture of Reid. She looked at it in surprise and said, “Did I worked?!” With a grin I told her that I like to keep her picture close to my heart when *I* work. But her, no, she hasn’t worked.

Child Care Worker & Early Childhood Educator Appreciation Day

Wednesday, October 24th, 2007

It’s Child Care Worker & Early Childhood Educator Appreciation Day . I know some people have chosen to stay home and find it fulfilling. I applaud them for their determination to follow the path that works best for their family. I needed to return to work after my 1 year of maternity leave came to an end and Reid needed to be out and about with other kids. Our family was lucky to find a high-quality daycare centre where Reid has flourished. I very much believe the axiom, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” Good daycare allows the mamas among us who choose and/or need to work outside the home. Of course, it is the teachers and caregivers that make or break a daycare. Today I’d like to pay tribute to all caregivers – those who watch after Reid and those who care for your kids, too.

The teachers have nurtured Reid’s creative side, helped to develop her independence and self-help skills, challenged her to see exactly what she is capable or and comforted her when she needed it. They provide advice to us parents, too. I haven’t always taken it but I do appreciate that they had Reid’s best interests in mind. Reid has had few troubles at daycare, but when we have – like when Reid was having that bullying trouble – the teachers have been responsive and acted to resolve the issue immediately.

I love my daughter immensely. I like kids generally but I know I don’t have the patience and other skills to manage 8 three- or four-year-olds at a time. I certainly couldn’t have managed 4 infants nor even 5 toddlers. There are special people who are able to these things while being playful and nurturing and so much more. I am glad that Reid spends her weekdays with some of them.

If you would like to learn more about the state of childcare, visit Code Blue for Childcare or the Ontario Coalition for Better Childcare. Today might be just the day to write a letter to your Member of Parliament or your representative in your provincial or territorial legislature (or whatever your representative in whichever system you’re living in).

Packing for a car trip with kids – Works for Me Wednesday

Wednesday, October 24th, 2007

When Reid and I went to the Great Wolf Lodge earlier this month, we took what seems to be our hundredth extended car trip. I was thinking that I’ve developed some ideas on how to pack a car when travelling with a preschooler.

It really is best to clean out everything that has accumulated in the car. Admit it, there are many toys, articles of clothing and the odd shoe floating around your vehicle. There will be more “stuff” floating about before you get back home. You’ll be glad you spent the time at the outset.

In a bag that the child(ren) can dig through on their own:

1. Pack some books that you can recite or at least tell the overall story without looking at the words.
2. Pack a few of the little toys that you got from fast food restaurants but hid for just such a rainy day. You do hoard them, don’t you? Unwrap them and assemble them, if required before you pack them.
3. Pack some paper, markers and stickers. Seriously consider whether crayons are required. I’ve spent too much time trying to get crayons out of clothing and the car seat cover to whole-heartedly endorse them. Reid likes to play with stickers with pictures and also the letters that are sold in dollar stores for scrapbooking. She isn’t a sticker snob at all – I save the stickers I pick up at conferences that promote products and she plays with them happily.
4. Pack some Playdoh. It might be messy but the tactile experience will be welcome.

Part of the fun for Reid is reaching into her backpack and finding something else to do.

I also try to keep some toys and art supplies aside for the trip back. Even different stickers or a toy that has been in hiding for a while will do the trick.

Keep these things in your control:

* some kid-friendly music. Note that this doesn’t mean that you have to bring only kids’ music but do think of the lyrics of the music you’re bringing. If you have an MP3 player and a way of connecting it to your car stereo, put together a travelling playlist so that you don’t need to be changing CDs on the go. Finally, learn how to move the sound from the front seat to the back seat. Some songs are just better when they are in the kids’ ears rather than yours;
* a few different kinds of not-too-messy snacks. Since you’re packing for a child, accept that there will be some mess. When the time comes, dole them out slowly and don’t tell them everything you’ve got right off the bat;
* a couple of different beverages in spill proof cups. Even if your child has stopped using sippy cups at home, they should use them in the car. Don’t forget that what goes in must come out. Limiting intake is a good idea; and
* paper towels and a wet cloth.

I am pro-electronics person, when they’re used in moderation. We have some nice noise-cancelling headphones and I plug them into the iPod and let Reid watch videos sometimes while we’re travelling. She has an easier time managing the iPod than the laptop.

We’re still packing a portable potty. Reid can “hold it” for quite a long time but it just seems a risky thing to leave behind when it takes up so little room.

Agreeing on and achieving a good temperature is a challenge. I always bring a blanket so that Reid can cover when she is cool or just needs something familiar and comforting. Of course, when Ken is with us, I am often snuggled under a blanket of my own.

We don’t have one of those window blinds and our car windows aren’t particularly tinted. Either of these things would work for me, I guess. Since we don’t use the window blinds, I try to remember to bring sunglasses for Reid.

Last, but certainly not least, don’t forget your child’s lovey. If your child doesn’t have a favoured stuffed animal or toy, you might want to bring one anyway. They may need a best friend in the back seat before the trip is over.

 For more Works for Me Wednesday tips, visit Rocks in My Dryer.

“Fall”ing for them: Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007


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This I believe – Wean is a 4 letter word – Carnival of Breastfeeding

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007

I’m not the one who coined the phrase but I do believe that weaning is a 4 letter word. I think that it is the sort of word that shouldn’t be used in public and especially not in front of children. Before I had a child I admit that I thought breastfeeding was natural and right but it should end by a certain point. I listened and nodded when people said that if a child could ask to nurse or lift a shirt then they were too old to still be nursing. When we had trouble at first, I was too busy fighting to learn what I needed to do to feed my baby to plan for weaning. As time went on, I nursed on demand and trusted in my baby and myself to figure out what was needed next. At a year, Reid still needed to nurse and I went back to work. I continued to nurse when we were together and ignored the dictate from her daycare teachers to stop nursing during the day when we were together. It would make Reid’s day easier, they said. I tried for a while but I couldn’t figure out how Reid could understand why I denied her the comfort that she needed when I could offer it. At that point, I realized that I wouldn’t be weaning Reid because that would be a unilateral betrayal of us as a nursing pair.

At three, Reid doesn’t nurse nearly so much as she did as a newborn, of course, nor even as much as she did as a toddler. She nurses just as much as she needs, more when she is sick, and always at bedtime and when she first wakes. She has talked about being too big for “milkies” but has always changed her mind. I tell her that it will be her decision but I know I will be sad when she nurses for the last time.

I believe that wean is a word for people who don’t trust in the nursing pair. Children must be weaned or they will be spoiled. They will be dependent and they will not be normal. Never mind the centuries of humans nursing when and as needed as long as they need. We need to trust ourselves and our children. We don’t need to pick an arbitrary date or occasion to stop trusting and start weaning.

 I wrote this post as part of the October Carnival of Breastfeeding hosted by the Motherwear Breastfeeding blog.

Busy Ottawa Saturday

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007

Sometimes I think to myself about how shaped our life is by the fact we live in Ottawa. It’s more than that we have jobs that pay pretty well and offer interesting intellectual challenges (maybe more so for me since Ken’s is drawn down many bureaucratic rabbit holes), we have the opportunity to enroll Reid in classes and go to events that aren’t available in all parts of Canada.

On Saturday, Reid and I went to the basement while Ken worked upstairs. Reid loves the basement and we really don’t go down often enough to suit her. I was intent on taking pictures of some toys and shoes (I have a mini Imelda Marcos) that I want to sell on Kijiji or Craig’s List. I haven’t used either and don’t know whether I’ll post to both, some on each or what. I though eBay would be too complicated once shipping was factored in and Kijiji and Craig’s List both have Ottawa “branches”. Score one for being in a large-ish city.

As a side note, I must say that for Reid whichever toy I was photographing was the most interesting thing that we had in the basement. At least until I picked up the next toy. I had a few second thoughts at first about what I’d chosen to get rid of until I had gone through enough to identify the pattern. Reid also insisted on trying on some red glitter shoes that were 2 sizes too small. Ah, now those were beautiful shoes. I bought them for Reid to wear with her fancy Christmas dress last year but couldn’t find them at Christmas. When I got Reid’s summer clothes out, there they were. I talked Reid into taking them off with the mention of silver sparkly shoes to be worn this Christmas.

We went to Kindermusik – a classs open to us because we are affluent enough to pay the fees and because we live in a city. In a rural or remote area, it simply might not be offered. Reid wouldn’t speak to M., the girl who has been in Reid’s class since she was 14 months old. She hid behind my legs. Funny kid. We talk about seeing M. and a couple of the others whose names I know on the way to class but that isn’t enough, I guess. Reid did volunteer 2 more names of kids in her class, though, Saturday afternoon. That is progress.

Reid and I went to Mei Fung for lunch. We shared some shrimp rolls – Reid was willing to eat only the smallest of morsels of shrimp and some vermicelli noodles with lettuce – and a bowl of vermicelli noodles with chicken, peanuts and bean sprouts, etc. Reid tried the chicken. Throughout she drank the tea that came with our meal. When Ken asked Reid about her lunch, she told him that the she had liked the tea but nothing else. She also liked the chopsticks that we were given though her technique was a bit crude.

Reid fell asleep as we drove home and I took a drive to look at the fall colours. I listened to a book-on-CD that I’d transferred to my iPod. It was a wonderful, sunny day and the leaf colours were so vibrant. I enjoyed the experience and solitude and Reid got a good nap in all at the same time as Ken was doing housework.

We picked Ken up at 1:30 to go downtown to the change of command ceremony for the Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa. I attended a similar ceremony a few years ago but it was held in the Cartier Square Drill Hall. This year’s ceremony was held on Festival Plaza in front of City Hall. The pipes and drums band was playing when we arrived. Reid and I found a couple of seats and Ken had to go off to take some photos. When the band marched off, Reid was crestfallen. I assured her that the musicians would come back. The band and soldiers of the regiment eventually marched on and the ceremony started. Reid stood at the required times and was mostly quiet as the ceremony unfolded. I hadn’t thought to bring a good range of snack, drinks and activities but I did find my “emergency” Lik’m’aid package in my bag. I convinced Reid that the candy stick was just like a lollipop and it kept her busy for quite some time. I tried sharing the powdery stuff with her, too, but that was just plain messy. I used to know more about military parades but I’ve forgotten quite a lot. Reid had questions, though, and I did my best with answering them. I’m not sure what the military men sitting near us thought of my explanations but Reid was satisfied. For example, we were there to see the soldiers get a new boss. The old boss (aka the outgoing Lieutenant Colonel) was signing papers to say that he wasn’t the boss anymore and the new boss (aka the Major who will soon be a Lieutenant Colonel) promised to take good care of the soldiers. Their big boss (aka commander of 33 Canadian Brigade Group) sat between them and watched. Near the end, the old boss marched in front of the assembled troops to say goodbye to the soldiers. Mostly Reid was interested in listening to the band and watching the soldiers marching around. She wasn’t really interested in the speeches, surprisingly enough ;+)

We attended a reception after the ceremony. Reid insisted we follow Ken into the officers’ mess. I saw that there were other kids in there and so we went in. It was crowded but we saw the mayor receive a regimental coin. The Camerons are the City of Ottawa’s regiment but the previous mayor didn’t ever turn up to any events. The new mayor, Larry O’Brien, came to the full change of command ceremony and then stuck around for the reception. I’m not saying I voted for the guy but I have to say I was impressed by his attendance.

We went home and Reid and Ken chilled while I went to the grocery store. It was a good and busy day for our family in Ottawa.

Hot choc-lick

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007

Sometimes other languages have better words than English. I like “a un moment donne” which means “at some point in the past, it doesn’t matter specifically when” to start a story. “Verklempt” comes in handy, too on occasion. It certainly did on Friday when I was having lunch with a friend whose husband will be going to Afghanistan in the next couple of weeks and she was saying that she wanted to make sure that her daughters’ school didn’t make Remembrance Day only about soldiers going overseas and dying. She wanted to be sure they talked about the important jobs the soldiers do and that most do come home. Yeah, Carol was right when she said that she was feeling verklempt – overcome with emotion. Me, too.

On a lighter note, Reidisms are often more apt to the task than a word that I might choose. Sunday morning we were in the Byward Market and stopped for a drink. Reid had been dying for “bottle water” and I can always find room for a cup of hot chocolate. The restaurant we chose served the hot chocolate in bowls. Reid was impressed. “Is that hot choc-lick?!” she asked. Yum, yes! It, like its non-melted counterparts, was well worth a lick.

Breaking news from daycare – now a Senior

Monday, October 22nd, 2007

When we picked Reid up from daycare on Friday, one of the Senior Preschool teachers handed Ken a form and said that Reid would be a Senior as of Monday. She said that due to low numbers Reid had been spending lots of time with the Seniors and so wouldn’t need the usual 5 day integration period. Much of what she has done as a Junior has been similar to what the Seniors do and she has spent lots of time with the Senior teachers since the Juniors and Seniors start and finish their days together. Two of her buddies, one of whom started daycare the week after Reid are moving up at the same time.

Over the weekend Reid talked about what Seniors do and don’t do. It would seem that Seniors don’t cry or drink milkies and did do various other things. Finally, I told her that she should figure out what was right for her and not worry so much about what others did. I talked briefly about how everyone was different. It was probably a first (of many) examples of how I just don’t get kid culture.

This morning when Reid woke, I said something about her being a Senior this morning. She looked down at herself and asked “Did I growed?” I explained that she might have grown a bit but that she was becoming a Senior because she was smart enough and knew how to follow the rules and behave like a Senior. It’s interesting to see how Reid’s mind works – for her older = bigger = grown up.

As they left for daycare, Reid was asking about where her cubby would be and it was an easy focus on how things would unfold rather than sounding stressed. She’s breaking the change down to a manageable level. At least I hope that is what happened, I haven’t heard from Ken to know for sure.

Working moms – it’s almost time to say “thanks” to those who care for our kids

Monday, October 22nd, 2007

Child Care Worker & Early Childhood Educator Appreciation Day (what a mouthful!) sneaks up on me each year but I remembered today and thought I’d pass it along. According to the Ontario Coalition for Better Childcare, we’re to mark the day on Wednesday, October 24. I’ll be blogging about the fabulous women who care for Reid while I’m at work and I hope you will, too.

Thinking about Halloween

Sunday, October 21st, 2007

My friendly, federal government sent me some Halloween safety tips that I wanted to share. I would have done a quick summary with a link but the email I subscribe to doesn’t refer back to a web page. Those silly civil servants! You can subscribe to the monthly safety tips newsletter if you are so inspired. Health Canada has a more extensive list of Halloween safety tips as well.

Here is what I’m taking to heart as we’re getting ready for the big day:

*  Small children should never carve pumpkins. Instead, let your child draw a face on the pumpkin. I read a parenting magazine (they run together) that suggested using Mr Potato Head pieces for the too-young-to-carve set. I think that we might try that.
*  Of course, we’ll have to carve something. What is Halloween with clawing stringy pumpkin innards out and watching while an adult attempts to render the intricate design decided upon by a child?
*  Make your house trick or treat friendly, with no dark areas or tripping hazards. We have a great big bush in front of our door that gives privacy but deters kids. I think I might camp out in the driveway.
* Keep candles, jack-o-lanterns, matches and lighters in a place that children cannot reach. I guess we need to be reminded of the boring rules at special occasions.

For the ambitious among you, head over to Make Magazine’s Halloween pages for some ideas that are more complicated than I can tackle (but I read them with an awed fascination). I would caution that the projects are likely not to be in line with the safety theme of the rest of this post.