Archive for November, 2007

Pennies for the fountain

Friday, November 30th, 2007

Reid and I went to the library last Saturday morning, to the branch that is housed in a building that has an indoor fountain. We chose our books and went out to the fountain. As we were “playing the piano” in the water and making other very little splashes, an older man walked up and gave us 2 pennies and a big smile. Reid was surprised and confused. Who was that man and why did he give us the “monies”? I explained that people toss pennies into fountains and make wishes. At the word “wish”, Reid closed her eyes, pursed her lips and blew. I grinned. It’s surprises me, still, when I notice this sort of cultural tradition – big and small – that are new to Reid and that I barely consider. I wished aloud that the banana bread we were planning to bake wouldn’t burn and then tossed my penny in. Reid wished that the cookies she wanted to bake wouldn’t burn either and then tossed her penny in. She might have done better to wish that we would actually bake the cookies. It’s a good thing we’re going to spend next week with Grandma Joyce so that there is a good chance she’ll get to make cookies.

What’s the magic word?

Thursday, November 29th, 2007

Imagine Reid, Ken and me sitting at our table…

Reid: I want the beans. (Maybe not beans but there’s a really good chance there were beans on *our* table.)
Ken: What is the magic word?
Reid: [pauses] Abracadabra?
Ken: You need to say, “please.” (Now why didn’t he say that straight out ;+)

I was surprised that Reid didn’t answer, “A la peanut butter sandwiches,” like the Amazing Mumford does in Amazing Mumford Forgets the Magic Word. That’s the only book that I can think of that references a magic world and it isn’t the sort of thing that we discuss otherwise.

Speaking of Sesame Street, Postcards from the Mothership wrote last week about a Sesame Street highlights video being labelled as unsuitable for preschool children. That’s just crazy! Such a position makes me want to obtain them all the more – but then I have a long history of seeking out banned books simply because they were banned. I sure hope that wasn’t the intent of the label.

What Reid wants to be for Christmas

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

We went to the mall last night to pick up Reid’s latest round of pictures and the photo Christmas cards. (I’m writing this down in the hope that it will spur me into getting them sent out soon.)  On the way through the mall, Reid noticed the chair for Santa pictures and seemed interested in my explanation that kids got their pictures with Santa there. Maybe we won’t have a repeat of the Santa-trauma that has been the case thus far in Reid’s life. We didn’t talk much about Santa after that and went about our shopping.

When we got home, Reid announced that she was going to be Santa for Christmas. My response that people don’t wear costumes for Christmas was dismissed out of hand. Reid *was* going to be Santa for Christmas and  would need a bag and some “p’esents” to give to “chil’ren”. I told her we didn’t have a bag but I did have a present that I bought for Dylan for the name gift exchange. Reid is looking forward to giving the present but she wasn’t to be distracted. She restated that she will be needing a Santa costume for Christmas and added that this had to include a white beard. I told her that we’d best be calling Grandma Joyce. I can (probably) find a Santa hat in the basement but that’s as far as I can go. I’ll have to ask who else she considered dressing up as before settling on Santa. I came up with: Frosty, Mrs Claus, the elves – most notably Hermie – and, of course, Rudolph, Olive and the other reindeer. I guess Reid might have included someone from the manger scene but I imagine that she would have thought those to be in bad taste, outside of a pageant. Reid has a sense of what is appropriate, you know. Other than wearing a costume for Christmas, that is.

Christmas gifts for the full year – Works for me Wednesday

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

It’s time to think of what gifts will suit the special people in our lives. If you’re like me, you’re thinking about all of the stuff that you already have in your house and wondering how to keep the Christmas spirit without adding to your burden. Here is what I’ve come up with so far for children:

*  As a general magazine, with stories, activities and jokes, the Owl series – Chirp – ages 3 to 6, Chickadee – ages 6 to 9, and Owl – ages 9 to 13 are a good choice according to the age of your child;
*  For those with an interest in science, or if you want to encourage one, look to Know – ages 6 to 9 and Yes – ages 9 to 14
* If history would be more appropriate, try Kayak – ages 7 to 11;
*  I haven’t seen an issue but I’m trusting in the National Geographic brand to recommend National Geographic Kids – ages 6 to 14 or National Geographic Little Kids – ages 3 to 6;
* For the 8 to 12 year old girl in your life, New Moon kept coming up when I was looking for a book for an 8 year old girl;
* Based on my memories of grade school, I’ve also signed up for Highlights – ages 6 and up  and there is new magazine called Highlights High Five – ages 2 to 6; and
*  If I lived in the United States, I would seriously consider Babybug – ages 6 months to 3, Ladybug – ages 3 to 6 and Spider – ages 6 to 9 but given the subscription costs, we borrow these ones from the library.

If you know of other magazines that should be on my list, please leave a comment.

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

First snow – Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007


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It’s a girl thing – tales from the potty

Tuesday, November 27th, 2007

Reid farted at supper one night last week and a funny, at least in retrospect, standoff ensued.

Daddy: You need to say, “Excuse me.”
Reid: [nothing]
Daddy: You need to say, “Excuse me,” when you toot.
Reid: I didn’t toot.
Daddy: Yes, you did. Now say, “Excuse me.”
Reid: I didn’t toot. [There was something in her voice that gave me pause.]
Mama: You have to say, “Excuse me,” when you fart.
Reid: ‘scuse me [with the smallest wisp of teenage sullen] and then, to Ken, “Girls fart.” [Oh yeah, that was a flash of teenage attitude yet to come.]

To make this exchange even more blog-worthy, it occurred during the week of World Toilet Day (November 19th, if you missed it). The United Nations has declared 2008 the International Year of Sanitation. The World Toilet Organization has many scary/interesting facts, including that 2.6 billion people do not have access to “improved sanitation” and the excreta of approximately 5.7 billion people is discharged directly into the environment – on the land and to the receiving water bodies. And my greatest preoccupation is what to recommend my mother-in-law get Reid for Christmas.

The Best Gifts – Breastfeeding Carnival

Monday, November 26th, 2007

Welcome, Carnival of Breastfeeding readers.

I’ve written about The Best Gifts by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch before but when I read that the theme for this month’s Breastfeeding Carnival was a review of a book or video related to breastfeeding, parenting, or giving birth, it was the first that sprang to my mind. If I had to choose an advice book to take to a deserted island, I would take Dr Jack Newman’s Guide to Breastfeeding. It was the book that I opened in the dead of the night or whenever I had a question but the questions are all the more pressing in the middle of the night. I’m sure that someone else will cover Newman’s work, though, and I wanted to write about a book that simply presents breastfeeding as a normal part of childhood. The images and story in this book are those that are sorely lacking in most children’s story books.

Like many mothers, I am careful to choose books that depict people of different races and family situations, those in rural and urban neighbourhoods, kids with disabilities and those that live far away or near to us. What I was unable to find in the first two years of my daughter’s life was a book that depicted our nursing relationship. And then one day, I discovered The Best Gifts in the parenting section of my local library.

The Best Gifts tells the story of the life of a baby/girl/woman as she grows from a nursling to a nursing mother. The book describes a number of occasions for celebration and how presents received are cause for joy and gratitude but that the best gifts can’t be purchased. In the first example, visitors bring gifts for the newborn baby but it is as the baby is “wrapped in love and a light scent of lavender as the warmth of her mother’s milk swirled in her mouth and filled her tiny stomach…” that happiness deepens. As the girl grows older, her parents give gifts of time and history. The story ends with the main character now a nursing mother in her own right providing her own son with mother’s milk and love. On both occasions when breastfeeding is featured, the father is shown as an involved member of the family, cuddling the mother and child while the baby nurses.

The illustrator of The Best Gifts, Halina Below, uses watercolours and watercolour pencils to create soft images that convey a gentle love. They match well with the soft tone of the story and draw a child into a discussion of what is contained in the image.

A list of resources is provided at the end of the book, providing contact information for Canadian and international organizations that support breastfeeding.

Mothers-to-be and those in the midst of nursing a child need access to books that will answer their questions about the mechanics of nursing and provide solutions to the challenges that some will face. The Best Gifts should be on their bookshelves as well in celebration of the nursing relationship itself.

Children should have access to this and other books that depict breastfeeding relationships as part of childhood to instill a sense of the normalcy of nursing. The baby bottle has been the symbol of infancy for too long. Our children should not automatically reach for a bottle when they play with their dollies, they should reach for the hem of their shirts. And in the future books such as this one will be on the shelves with all of the other picture books and not segregated to the parenting section.

Does anyone have other stories for children that depict breastfeeding?

Check out the other participants’ reviews in the November Carnival of Breastfeeding. I’ll be updating this list throughout Monday and Tuesday as the entries are posted.

Seating arrangements

Monday, November 26th, 2007

Like most families, we have established a “Daddy’s spot”, “Reid’s spot” and “Mama’s spot” at the table. Ever since Ken rearranged us because, he said, Reid and I picked at each other when we sat on the same side, Reid has sat at the end and Ken and I sit opposite her. When guests come over, Reid always has a vision of who should be sitting where. I suspect that she read etiquette books at daycare. When Aunty Amanda come to visit, she sits at the end of the table opposite Reid. That chair is the obvious guest chair. It is when we have more than 4 people at the table that things get rather odd. Grandma Joyce always get the guest chair if she is present but the other person gets placed according to Reid’s whim with the problematic condition: Reid likes to assign the fifth person to sit next to Ken. Reid sees some merit in having the 6’2″ guy sharing the side of a table with someone that escapes Ken and me.

Reid has been reassigning our places at the table lately. I’m not sure why she has decided to switch things up since she is generally pretty insistent on each of us being in our regular spots. We indulge her in this because for much of her daily life, Reid doesn’t have control over what happens to her and it just doesn’t matter where we sit as long as there are chairs and food. The main problem with the situation is that Reid can be so sl-o-o-o-w to come to the table to make her decisions. Add this to her concerns about who gets which pasta bowl, not to mention a generalize before-meal hunger, it can be kind of stressful.

For some reason, since I started drafting this, Reid asked me who would sit in the chair at the opposite end from hers when she is a grownup. We considered the matter, wondering whether Reid had an expectation for my answer, and proposed that when Reid is a grown up, she might get married and then her husband could sit there. You’ll remember that Reid sometimes doesn’t like to imagine being grown up and so I waited for her reaction. There pretty much wasn’t one. She nodded and then moved on to some other brain teaser that is de rigeur in life with a child.

You should come to Ottawa, Reid will choose a good spot at our table for you.

I sure hope taping is a skill they mark you on

Sunday, November 25th, 2007

I wrote about how the daycare teachers said that cutting was an important skill once the kids got to school and Reid likes to cut things well enough. She brings little pieces of paper home most nights as proof of her practicing. Reid will cut yarn, too, and we have more than a few left over balls ;+). Sometimes she even glues the yarn and bits of things to paper.

Taping, though, is Reid’s passion. With a container full of brightly-coloured feathers with which to decorate a Mardi Gras mask at the Children’s Museum, Reid carefully pulled off piece after piece of tape and applied them to the mask blank. Just before we left, Reid chose 2 feathers and taped them over top of some of the tape.

Do you suppose that the teachers in kindergarten will assess her taping skills? If they don’t, I’m going to have to get her working on math or reading.

The view from the front door of daycare

Saturday, November 24th, 2007


Edited: Oops this isn’t Wednesday and so I think that I’d best add some words to this post. Reid’s daycare is in a heritage building in the midst of a farm and when you walk out the front door of the preschool building, you see a barn and silo. When you look out the windows on the second floor, you can see the Gatineau Hills. I try to make a point of looking as the scenes are often beautiful.

If you’re hungry for other images and can’t wait for Wednesday, the meme now runs all week from the Wordless Wednesday HQ or look at my previous Wordless Wednesday entries.