Archive for April, 2008

Party strategies – or – I can rationalize anything

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

Saturday was Reid’s last Kindermusik class for the session. They sang and danced for about 25 minutes and then had a party for the last 20 minutes. Each parent was supposed to bring a treat of the sort that would be appropriate for breakfast. I’m paranoid about peanut butter contaminating something I bake and so I took the safest course and brought single-serving packages of animal crackers. Or at least I hope that the companies that make cookies keep accurate track of what goes in them. The side benefit of the single-serving packages is that the kids can take one with them when they leave. There are always far more treats than little kid tummy space.

I think that Shannon was expecting muffins and fruit but there were plenty of cookies on the table. Reid chose a variety of fruit, some cheese and one plain cookie, which she gave to me after a single bite. I restocked her plate with fruit and cheese and allowed myself an M&Ms-and-chocolate chip cookie. Reid was keen to eat the animal crackers but I convinced her to wait for the ride home. Many of the other kids decided not to wait. The moms who had baked cookies and muffins took quite a lot home but we walked out with only 2 extra bags of animal crackers. I felt bad that the other moms had expended that extra energy. They probably felt bad that Reid was stuck with a mom who brought store-bought cookies to the party.

What shortcuts have you rationalized without regret? (Or with regret, I suppose, if you want to share that.)

Earth Day bags – Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

Earth day bags at the grocery store Earth Day bags and leaves

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Knock, knock

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

As I’ve mentioned before, we read Chirp magazines fairly often. Reid chooses them over most books. I’m glad we have a few from when Danielle was young but I’d add to our collection with yard sale treasures if ever I found them. It’s funny to read the pages exhorting us to go to the backyard and look for bugs when our backyard has at least 3 feet of snow in it but it’s better than limiting ourselves to the winter issues. The toughest part for me, though, are the jokes on the back cover. They’re not at all offensive, although the knock-knock jokes occasionally make me groan. No, my problem is that Reid never understands the jokes but won’t let me skip the page. Instead she asks me to explain them and that sucks the humour out of any joke. I might be more sensitive to this than most as I am awful at telling jokes (or so I’m told). I certainly have had to explain more than my share, I think.

Most recently, I read the May 2008 issue:

1. Tongue twister: Say “backyard fun” 5 times quickly. Reid won’t ever do these but she could do them if she would only try.
2. Pun/Riddle: What’s the biggest ant in the world? (An eleph-ant!)
3. Pun/Riddle: How does a farmer cut her grass? (With a lawn-mooer!) Extra points to Chirp for breaking gender stereotypes.
4. Knock-knock joke:
Me: Knock, Knock.
Reid: Who’s there?
Me: Eddie.
Reid: Who Eddie? (I smile because I like how she continues to get the question backwards. I hope she outgrows it before the other kids make fun of her but not too soon.)
Me: Eddie-body want to come out to play with me? (I look at her expectantly, thinking this one is obviously funny and she’ll laugh.)
Reid: (Dead silent with expectant look.)
Me: Can you hear how “anybody” and “Eddie-body” sound the same? That’s funny. (I guess kids have to learn what funny is?)

What I want to know is this: when do kids find other people’s knock-knock jokes funny and, on the other hand, when can they re-tell funny knock-knock jokes? I remember wishing my nieces and nephews and friends’ kids would *stop*  telling the ones that they make up that are just plain pointless. We’re deep in the middle of that stage at our house. Reid laughs uproariously when she completes a knock-knock joke. Sometimes they involve made-up, silly words and sometimes “bathroom” words. Either way, they tickle Reid’s funny bone and leave me smiling at how much she enjoys them, at least for the first 2 or 3 jokes. Recently Reid has started wanting to take turns starting the exchange which means, of course, that I need to have good knock-knock jokes in my head. I generally don’t. I’ve done a little Internet research and now just need to memorize a few. Not that Reid will find them amusing but I have a little pride in my joke-telling skills, no matter how humble they may be.

I’m not that person

Sunday, April 27th, 2008

I asked Reid if any of the kids had commented on her braids on Friday. She said, “no”. “What about the teachers?” I prompted. No one said anything, according to Reid. I said that Ken had told me that the teachers had admired her 12 braids. “I’m not that person,” Reid said. “Pardon?” said the slow-thinking Mama. “I’m not Daddy, I’m not that person.” And it all became clear…

The teachers mentioned that I must have lots of patience to put all of those braids in Reid’s hair. Reid is the one with the tolerance and patience to sit while I comb and braid but I “bribe” her with stories for the full time I work on her hair. The promise of no hairbrushing the next day and only tidying the day after is a major draw – for both of us – as well.

The power of favourite colours

Saturday, April 26th, 2008

Reid wanted toast with peanut butter Friday morning and I told her she’d have to wait until Saturday. I’m worried that we’d miss a spec of peanut butter when we washed and she’d touch a kid at daycare who would then go into anaphylactic shock. She asked if anyone in our family was allergic to peanut butter and there isn’t anyone – thank goodness. Next, Reid wanted to know to what we *were* allergic. I said that Ken is allergic to flowers and pine trees and, before I could think of how to explain “pollen generally”, Reid interrupted me. “But not his favourite colour flowers,” she said. Favourite colours, in Ken’s case that would be red, are strong talismen in Reid’s life. It makes her happy to wear, colour with or eat from anything that is yellow. It even makes her happy to see Ken or me wear, use, etc. something that is our favourite colour. Reid has great empathy for the little girl in the book Red is Best by Kathy Stinson. Like that little girl, Reid knows that she can take bigger steps in (yellow) boots, throw snowballs farther in (yellow) mittens and that (yellow) paint puts a song in her head. Red is Best is one of Reid’s favourite books and that doesn’t surprise me at all.

Thinking about bed nets on World Malaria Day

Friday, April 25th, 2008

Remember when Rick Mercer and Belinda Stronach launched the Spread the Net (YouTube video) campaign? They wanted us to think of malaria but that seemed an exotic disease that happened to people far away. Well, it still is a disease that Canadians don’t worry about for the most part. Mosquitoes, for us, are an annoying part of summer, but they’re a deadly fact of life sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere in the world. It’s World Malaria Day today. I encourage you stop by Spread the Net and make a donation to purchase a net for $10 or learn a bit from Roll Back Malaria.

Here are a few malaria facts from Spread the Net:

*  Every 30 seconds a child dies of malaria.
*  Malaria is the single biggest killer of African children under the age of five and accounts for one in five of all childhood deaths in Africa.
*  Malaria in pregnant women can lead to low birth weight, anaemia and a greater risk of death to their newborn babies.

Skirts and little girls

Friday, April 25th, 2008

Skirts have been the subject of a few conversations lately. I don’t recall how often Reid wore skirts when she was small enough to require assistance in the bathroom but I suspect it wasn’t often. Skirts seem to be “big girl” clothes to me and so I suspect she mostly wore dresses, pants and shorts. I’ve been thinking about these things because I noticed Reid pulling her skirt down with her tights one morning. I interrupted the process and told her to only pull down the tights. How can she be nearly 4 without knowing this? What other important woman-knowledge have I forgotten to impart?

With the unseasonably warm weather – though I’m not sure that we can say “seasonable” anymore with the wild fluctuations that we’re seeing – Reid wore a dress and her ever-so-cute white socks with lace at the top. She refused to have them cuffed over and so left the house wearing odd almost-knee socks and a big smile at having evaded the fashion faux pas I’d tried to foist upon her. I mention the socks because they aren’t so white anymore, more striped like a zebra from slouching down than their original pure white like a unicorn. This is what happened to all of her socks last summer, too. I knew it would happen to the fancy pair, too, but keeping the socks unworn in the drawer just so that they would be clean didn’t seem to be a viable option. When we picked Reid up from daycare that night, one of the teachers suggested that Reid might do well to wear shorts under her dresses to “keep things clean down there.” I don’t know why it didn’t come up last year but I hadn’t thought of it and no one had mentioned it. I’ve mentioned the need to Grandma Joyce and she’ll make up spare shorts. We discussed whether she should make bloomers instead but she thought shorts could be worn more often and I thought of the time it takes me to get just the waistband elastics sewn. Grandma Joyce leaves the waistband elastics to me since I have Reid right there in my house but I’m a procrastinator. Sometimes Reid outgrows her clothes before I sew the elastics. I think that might mean I’m a bad mother, letting her wear clothes with safety pins in them.

It’s spring and talk turns to marriage and babies

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

Reid announced at the supper table one night awhile ago that she was planning to marry A. I’d always imagined that the fellow in question would be present for the announcement – I didn’t expect that he would ask our permission, that’s too traditional – and that the two of them would be at least in their teens, though twenties or thirties would be better. I’m not sure that A is aware of the pending nuptials. I suspect that Reid chose A because he is the only boy who is shorter than her. Now many women choose a taller man but when you’re a 3.5 year old girl who has decided to marry a boy without his permission, it is good to choose one you can subdue.

Reid also said that she had a baby in her belly. As the meal progressed, the baby was growing so fast that Reid had to unzip her pajamas (don’t your kids wear pajamas at the supper table?) to accommodate her belly. She arched her back to make her little belly stick *way* out. I talked with Reid about how people usually got married before they had a baby. Statistically that might not be true but it’s still a worthy goal. I guess that Reid has taken very literally the rhyme:

Girl X and Boy Y
Sitting in a tree
First comes love
Then comes marriage
Then comes Girl X
Pushing a baby carriage.

We’ve spoken of Brianna and George’s wedding and also of Kathleen and Chris’. Each time Reid asks when the happy couple will have a baby. I’ve explained that the babies don’t always come immediately after the wedding but don’t be surprised if she checks to be sure. In that she’ll show she has inherited something from my side of the family.

Reid’s babyhood – Now on DVD

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

We have 6 mini-DV tapes that capture Reid’s life from about 4 months on. At first I resisted purchasing a video camera because we rarely watched the home movies of my childhood. I blame new motherhood for the fact I didn’t consider that the hassles inherent in recording to, developing and showing Hi-8 movies aren’t a factor with modern video. I say “I” because I don’t think Ken really considered video beyond thinking it unnecessary. After Reid and I spent a couple weeks in Wheatley, seeing Uncle Chris and Uncle Roger’s video cameras and videos, I came back to Ottawa with video camera-envy in my heart and we bought a camera soon after. We’ve never had the right equipment and software to get the video off of the tapes and onto DVDs. Playing the tapes on the tv was a bit of a hassle but do-able until I lost the cable that connected the camera to the tv. Consequently, Reid hasn’t watched many videos of herself as a baby but has seen the VCR tape of me as a baby. Ironic, don’t you think?

In any case, Ken recently purchased Adobe Premiere Elements and has been transferring the video from tape to the computer. He fixes up the worst of the lighting/brightness troubles as the video is converted. I don’t think he is able to fix the jiggly images that sometimes result when I’m in control of the camera. Reid was engrossed in viewing the first DVD when I got home last night. She had to ask about some of the people she saw – some people have changed quite a bit in the last 3 years – and what she and they were doing. It was all very fascinating to her.  Before I got home Reid asked Ken if she could walk in the early part of the video. He told her “no” and she was perplexed and wondered how she got around. Ken told her that we moved her from place to place and that, in some ways, we miss her staying where we put her.

Reid was talking to me this morning about my black-haired baby. I agreed that my black-haired baby had been beautiful but that my girl with brown hair was also perfect. It will be interesting for her – and me – to see her hair get lighter as her life unfolds on video. The colour change was subtle while it was happening but might be more noticeable in the time-lapse presentation of videos.

When I was a baby, Grandma Joyce and Poppa Howard took video every Sunday for a few weeks and then randomly after that. We’ve always been random in our filming with longish gaps when I’ve misplaced the video camera or when I forget to get it out. I’m glad that Ken is tansferring the videos onto a format that is easier for us to access (and so that we have a backup). It’s taking a fair bit of time for each tape and I’m grateful that he is doing it. Thanks, Ken.

Hopsctoch – Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

Playing hopscotch in the driveway

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