Archive for November, 2007

What I learned at daycare

Sunday, November 18th, 2007

Here is another story that I started much earlier but only just finished. Toward the end of October, Ken and I went to a parent-teacher meeting at daycare. While there are 16 kids in Reid’s class, there were only 3 couples in attendance. At first I was impressed that couples were coming. When Reid was in the infant and toddler programs, the audience was mostly mothers only. But when there were only 3 couples, I was kind of sad. Sad that the other parents couldn’t or didn’t bother to attend. The head teacher started by saying that is was hard to decide what to tell us since we were the ones who stopped to talk with the teachers on a regular basis. In contrast, there are some parents who lift their kids over the gate and walk away, without even seeing the teachers let alone speaking to them. Again, it made me sad.

What we did learn was that the main difference between the Junior and Senior Preschool programs is expectations. They expect the kids to stay at the table during lunch or snack (me, too!) and that they finish the activities, such as a puzzle, that they start. There is a computer that the kids get to use sometimes, too. The teachers said that the kids will be cutting more since it’s something is looked for in kindergarten. Finally, they said that they will be correcting the way the kids hold their pencils.

This last made me think of an exchange Reid and I had recently. I’ve been having her make a “gun” with her fingers and then I lay the pencil in the right position. I didn’t think much of it until Reid said to me, “Okay, I’ve got my gun…” I mentioned it to the teacher and she said that she hadn’t heard Reid say it and wouldn’t be worried if she did.

There was also a presentation by someone from First Words, part of the Ontario’s Preschool Speech and Language Program address early speech and language troubles. I’m glad she was there but it gave me something more to worry about. I’ve been trying to decide at what point Reid’s mixing up of sounds constituted a problem. She replaces the hard “c” sound with a “t” and hard “g” sound with a “d”. Like most kids she uses “l’ for “y”. The presenter wasn’t a speech therapist, though, and couldn’t tell me if it is still within the normal range for a kid of 40 months to be struggling with these sounds. I’m going to drop in at a First Words screening schedule one of these days and find out. Better to be thought of as a worrier than a slacker, I think.

Gender, according to Reid, who studies such things

Saturday, November 17th, 2007

Reid and I were discussing the weather and I said that the forecast called for rain. She asked if the weather man had said it would rain and I said that I thought it had been a woman who reported on the weather. Reid summarized, as she is wont to do, that “the weather woman said so.” (Does anyone else now have an image of the stereotypical buxom weather girl in their heads?)

For some reason, we got to talking about what a weather man was called as a child. I was expecting Reid to say “boy” but she said instead, “When people are little, they are farmers.” Oh, I’ve got 2 degrees and had never heard that before. You learn something new every day with a preschooler in your house.

What Daddy was for Halloween

Saturday, November 17th, 2007

I know, I know, it’s been a long time since Halloween but I had to share this with you.

When we first discussed trick-or-treating, Reid mentioned something me about going with her but I know Ken really wanted to take her and, since he has cleaned litter boxes for all but a handful of times over the last 5 years, taken out the garbage and recycling 99 times out of 100 and kept us in clean clothing since we were married, it seemed reasonable that he would claim the right to be the trick-or-treat escort (though it is kind of a traditionally masculine role and I like to challenge gender stereotypes). Once it was determined Ken would be accompanying her, Reid wanted to know what he would be for Halloween. He told her that he would be a monster but that he wouldn’t need a costume. Reid puzzled it over for a minute and decided that seemed reasonable.

The Saturday before Halloween, the one that was cold and spooktacularly wet, Reid asked Melissa to guess what Ken was going to be for Halloween. Melissa was surprised by the question and didn’t guess “monster”. When Reid told Melissa that he was going to be a monster, Melissa asked what his costume would be. Reid surprised her again and said that Ken didn’t need a costume to be a monster. Melissa laughed and told Reid that she had better be nice or she would tell Ken what Reid had said.

Ken was the best Daddy Monster a girl could ask for, kind and loving toward his daughter and on guard against whatever threats might be out there in the dark.

Here is the main Halloween story, if you missed it. There were Halloween pictures, too.

Ken Elizabef, that’s Daddy Elizabef to you

Friday, November 16th, 2007

The other night I wanted to know what Ken to bring a spare shirt downstairs with him and so I went to the foot of the stairs and called up in my sweetest voice, “oh, Ke-en”. Maybe I didn’t say it like that but I did consciously choose a pleasant tone because Reid has the habit of yelling for people at the top of her lungs in the sort of tone you’d use when calling a dog who has made a habit of peeing in your slippers. Reid echoed my dulcet call and I said, “That’s ‘Daddy’ to you.” With all of the calling, Ken responded and I asked him to bring Reid another shirt. On my way back to the kitchen, I heard Reid calling for “Ken Elizabef” in a singsong voice. Ken responded with a manly, “I’m Daddy” and Reid countered with “Daddy Elizabef” in the same singsong voice. Poor man. Not only is he outnumbered by females, even when the cats are counted, he is the only one in our house who wasn’t granted the middle name “Elizabeth”. What were his parents thinking?

If you’re wondering, Ken did point out to Reid that his middle name is not like ours (or Reid’s in the strictest sense since that mixup on my birth registration form has left me with “Elizebeth” as a middle name).

Not quite a garret – Flaunt it Friday

Friday, November 16th, 2007

I’m discovering many new blogs this month. It seemed like a good way to the most out of National Blog Posting Month. I’m also trying my hand at a few memes, or themed posts. Most memes seem to create a feeling of community and people visit the other sites and comment on what you’ve put up. After more than a year, I’m still receiving only the occasional comment and it can be a bit lonely. This post is part of 2 week old meme called Flaunt it Friday that is hosted at Taken With a Grain of Salt and we’re all showing our workspaces.
img_3599.JPG  As you can see, I’m a laptop on the couch kind of girl. I use a breakfast-in-bed table for my Dell Inspiron 640m, SanDisk reader so that I can get images off of my Digital Rebel (old school, first edition), my iPod cable and a cable that came with Reid’s Kid Tough Digital Camera from Fisher Price. I must confess we also have a nice computer at a proper desk in our bedroom that I am free to use but I haven’t let go of the university lifestyle when it comes to my laptop.

To see where others are working, check out Flaunt if Friday: From the desk of…

My biggest sister’s big birthday – Thursday Thirteen

Thursday, November 15th, 2007

I really can’t believe that I’m old enough to have a sister who is 50. Somehow it’s more shocking than when Chris turned 50 last year. Mom is good at remembering such things, though, and she says that Pam did, in fact, turn 50 yesterday and so it must be so. If I were a more organized person, I would have collected favourite memories from my sisters and brothers for a total of 50, that would have been a good idea. Being a more organized person would generally be good. Alas, I am not and so you’ll have to rely on my thoughts to celebrate  Pam.

Here are some reasons, in no particular order, I’m grateful that Pam is my sister:
1. Pam trusted me to babysit Brianna when she was just a baby and I was just a kid.
2. When I babysat Brianna, with Grandma Joyce always nearby, Pam never let on that I wasn’t trusted fully.
3. Pam never sought vengeance for that time when I used her chin for teething and she ended up with a rather unusual bruise. Okay, it was a hickey.
4. Pam let me into her bed when I was young and she was big and safe. Surprisingly, she has gotten smaller as I’ve grown up and now I would say she is small and safe.
5. Pam shared with me her love of reading when I was young and, more recently, her love of listening to books on tape/compact disk. I can’t say enough about the latter.
6. At some point, Pam told me about the Sidetracked Home Executive’s approach to keeping a house. I have tried at various points over the years to adopt this approach. It hasn’t stuck yet but it certainly seems to be the one mostly to work for me if I ever worked at it.
7. Pam provided me with my first-ever nephew. I wouldn’t want to take away from my fabulous nieces but Donald was certainly novel.
8. Pam made Hello Dollies fairly often when I was young and I *love* Hello Dollies. What can be better than chocolate, coconut, graham cracker crumbs and sweetened condensed milk?
9. Pam let me call her “Mama” when I was wee little, though I don’t expect that she had much of a choice, kids being kids. Still, I’m sure it took some patience and poise for my then-teenage sister.
10. Pam is the first person I remember nursing a baby. I love nursing Reid and can’t say thanks enough to people who provided role models.
11. Pam instilled in me the rhyming names that I hear myself using with Reid. Somehow Chanty-Bonty has led to Reidle-Beedle over 20 years.
12. Pam had me as her flower girl and I was so proud of it.
13. Pam gave me my first taste of Sarah Lee banana spice cake. Yummy! I remember admiring the even layers that were revealed as you cut the cake. They’re not made anymore, I don’t know why but some have attempted to replicate the taste. Just thinking of the spicy-bananaee goodness makes me wish I lived close enough to stop by with a cake and a candle.

Happy birthday from Ottawa, big sister!

On the bright side of pants that won’t stay up

Wednesday, November 14th, 2007

The other night, I noticed that the pants Reid had on kept falling down. It was kind of frustrating since this is the second year that she is wearing them and still they don’t fit properly. Now don’t go thinking that I shouldn’t have put them on her last year because the pants she had been wearing were all high-waters. We have cold winters here in Ottawa and her ankles need the protection. In the last year, Reid’s waist measurement seems to have stayed the same but she is thriving, so that’s okay.

In any case, I hiked up her pants. Again. And noticed that when the pants were pulled up to the appropriate place, Reid was once again properly dressed for a flood. It’s good, then, that Reid’s pants slip down. People seems to find droopy pants to be stylish but too-shorts pants less so.

Pack’em up, move’em out – Works for me Wednesday

Wednesday, November 14th, 2007

Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer has written that she is switching her boys’ clothes from one season to another and is feeling at the end of her rope over it. She inspired me to write about my best ever seasonal – or size – clothing switch.

 Last week when Grandma Joyce and Aunt Karin were visiting, I sweet-talked Aunt Karin into joining me in Reid’s room while I went through her drawers. Aunt Karin packed up the clothes that I was designating as “too small” as I set them aside. She even got through a backlog pile of clothes that had been piling up.  When we left the room, Reid had drawers full of clothes that fit and were warm enough for the Ottawa fall and winter and Aunt Karin had boxes to pass along to friends and family who have smaller kids.

My recommendation for switching seasonal clothing:  invite your sister, tag team the project and get the boxes right out of the house. I usually falter on the last step.

Farmer Paul’s straw man – Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, November 14th, 2007

Reid and the giant strawman the Farmer Paul built
Check out the Wordless Wednesday HQ
View More Wordless Wednesday Participants or look at my previous Wordless Wednesday entries.

So many reasons to be grateful for our kids

Tuesday, November 13th, 2007

I wrote over the weekend about why I am grateful for Reid. Today I would add that having Reid has made me think more about what is my life through the writing of my blog and also introduced me to others who have embarked on the same sort of contemplative life (in the midst of the chaos that can accompany life with children). MamaBlogga has posted the final list of 31 participants in the November Group Writing Project and I’m pasting the list below. Have a look, you’ll discover some reasons to be grateful for your children that you might never have articulated.