Archive for June, 2008

Logical consequences can be tough

Saturday, June 28th, 2008

Friday was the last day of show and tell at Reid’s daycare. When I picked Reid up, Claire told me that Reid would probably report that Claire had been angry and cancelled show and tell. (Unlike the time when Reid told me that Claire had made them all sit on the porch and, when questioned, didn’t think that Claire had been angry or frustrated with their behaviour.) Claire said that the kids had been a bit wild and just weren’t listening to instructions or carrying out routines that they knew very well. It is far too early in the summer for the kids to get wild and I think, sad as it is to say, taking away the last show and tell was  a good and logical consequence for the bad behaviour. Reid, at least, likes show and tell a lot.

As we picked up the photo Reid had brought for show and tell, Reid told me that they hadn’t had show and tell.  When I asked why, she said, “We weren’t listening.” I acknowledged that it was a sad thing to have happened and said how Claire must have been frustrated with their misbehaviour and Reid repeated that they hadn’t been listening. I’m not sure if Reid isn’t troubled by Claire’s reaction or if she didn’t notice it. She certainly didn’t blame Claire for anything.

Reid volunteered the information about show and tell being cancelled and why, when she saw Ken. When she told Grandma Joyce and Aunt Karin, she told them it was the last show and tell day at daycare. She asked about her new school and I said I wasn’t sure if they had show and tell there. In a grave tone, Reid said, “It was the last show and tell ever.” I sure hope that they have show and tell at school.

My best friend’s husband came to dinner

Friday, June 27th, 2008

I have been going to Melissa (and Peter’s) house for supper on Thursday night for about 7 years. At first, I watched Ben while Melissa and Peter took Stephen and Sarah to swimming lessons. When Ben was old enough for swimming lessons, I would meet them at the pool and then we’d had have supper back at their house. Once Reid came along, she joined in. We have benefited from many meals and much good company over the years. For a number of reasons, we eat at Melissa’s at lot more often than they come to our house. At first, it was simply that Ken was volunteering at the museum and I was watching Ben. Logistically it is easier for me to bring one child than for Melissa to bring 3 kids and a husband. Ken still dedicates Thursdays to volunteer work.

This Thursday night, though, Peter came for supper by himself because Melissa and the kids were out of town. Reid was quite excited when I told her that Peter would be coming. She asked about the kids and Melissa but nodded at the explanation of their whereabouts and moved onto the business of the seating arrangements. Reid is generally very concerned about who will sit where at the table.Reid seemed pleased – maybe relieved? – that we wouldn’t need any extra chairs. I was surprised at her comments. I thought she liked it when we got out the folding chairs since she usually lobbies to sit on the black one. When I mentioned it to Peter, he said that he was going to look for more kitchen chairs at his house so that we didn’t need to bring in the dining room chairs. And then Reid’s comments made more sense. At Melissa’s, Reid sometimes needs to rearrange chairs so that she has a “kid’s chair” (not a dining room chair) and so that she is sitting next to Sarah.

We had a lovely visit with Peter over supper and, especially, over an extended dessert and after-dinner tea. I never have trouble talking to him but at his house, he has whatever project he was working on when I arrived, as well as the kids, to distract him and I have Melissa and girl talk to distract me. We talked about nothing of great significance, about children, our jobs, the way you do with a good friend. We didn’t really talk much about Melissa.

The only moment of pronounced silence occurred when Reid returned from the bathroom wearing only her t-shirt and my high-heeled, calf-high boots. Of course, the t-shirt didn’t cover nearly enough and the boots were entirely inappropriate. The moment of stunned silence that we adults shared was broken after long milliseconds by Ken and me both saying, “Get your underwear on!” Peter laughed the laugh of a father whose kids have finally, more or less, learned the lesson of modesty but can still remember when they hadn’t.

The whole experience made me think about advice you read in parenting magazines that suggests setting aside time to interact with each of your children one-on-one. It is, I think, good advice for your friends who you see in couples or groups also. Changing the dynamics of a relationship every once and a while can be good for the relationship over the long term.

13 Free things to do in Ottawa for Canada Day

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

Grandma Joyce and Aunt Karin are coming to visit this weekend and staying through Canada Day. I identified the following activities that we could do:

1. Changing of the Guard on Parliament Hill
2. Family Day at the Ottawa Jazz Festival
3. Children’s events at Jacques Cartier Park
4. Flag Raising Ceremony & Pipes and Drums on Parliament Hill featuring the Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa
5. Billings Estate National Historic Site
6. Cumberland Heritage Village
7. Pinhey’s Point
8. Bytown Museum
9.  Agriculture Museum
10. Aviation Museum
11. Canadian Children’s Museum
12. Sing O Canada on Parliament Hill at dusk with the thousands of others waiting for the fireworks. I cry every time
13. Fireworks over the Ottawa River 

And a bonus: from today through June 29, you can see the Sunset Ceremonies at 7:00. The news release promises “from the world-famous Musical Ride to the fast-paced Equestrian Abilities Show and the Mounted Arms Display, there is something for everyone. The RCMP Mare and Foal, the Police Services Dogs, the RCMP Emergency Response Team and many other local entertainers will also be on-site to entertain spectators of all ages”. We went last year and I think that they lived up to the promise.

View other participants in Thursday Thirteen or look at my previous Thursday Thirteen entries.

Who want to play “Dora is Dead”?

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

On the way home from daycare Monday night, Reid was sitting alone in the backseat and Ken was driving. I, for once, was not sitting in the backseat as I usually do. (Don’t ask me how or why that started. I swore I wouldn’t but it really is easier.) Out of the blue, Reid asked, “Who wants to play ‘Dora is Dead’?” Well, you wouldn’t believe how quickly Ken can raise his hand while still driving safely! I had to ask Reid to repeat herself to fully believe it but it turns out that she really did want to play Dora is Dead. I had to decline the invitation in order to prepare supper. Reid said that the rules said that there were supposed to be 3 people playing but that it would be okay with 2. Who knew that there would be rules to such a game? In the end, Reid didn’t mention the game once we got home and so we don’t know exactly how it is played.

I suspect that she was thinking of an episode of Little Bear where the friends stage a pretend funeral for Lucy, Emily’s doll. I am going to ask the daycare teachers if they proposed the dead game yesterday when they needed the kids to quiet down a bit in the midst of a day when they couldn’t go outside. They’ll appreciate the humour in the question.

Daycare picnic: cupcakes, wagons and butterflies – Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

Baking the cupcakes that we contributed to the potluck

A ride on Farmer Paul’s wagon

Again with the face painting

View More Wordless Wednesday Participants, look at my previous Wordless Wednesday entries, or
check out the Wordless Wednesday HQ. You’ll find lots of cute babies and kids at 5 Minutes for Mom.

How I wish my Blackberry hadn’t taken that swim

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

I dropped my Blackberry into some water last weekend. It hasn’t worked since. I usually write posts on my Blackberry, while travelling on the bus, in stolen moments away from home, etc. I am still hoping that it will dry out and start working again but I have to say that I wish I knew who the saint of faint hope was and whether s/he would help me if I asked. (I just can’t admit that maybe I should be hoping for Saint Jude, the Patron Saint of Lost Causes and Desperate Situations to lend a hand.)

Without my Blackberry, I feel like I’ve lost my voice. I’m not waking up to use the computer after Reid finally falls asleep after 9:00. Even though she is tucked in her bed at 8:00, she can’t get to sleep thanks to the nap the province says that she needs. I know that some/most/other people don’t lay down with their nearly-4 year old children but I do and this doesn’t seem the right time to stop, especially considering that we’ll be travelling quite a bit in the next few weeks and will likely be sleeping together.

Back to my main point, I feel like I’ve lost my voice without my Blackberry even more than I feel disconnected from the rest of the world, I feel disconnected from me. I write to make sense of what is happening, to remember and to reflect on what I would do another time. Maybe I will call on Saint Jude, after all.

Things I learned at the daycare picnic

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

We went to Reid’s daycare picnic on Friday night and, as always, I learned a few things while there. The first involved the kids in the yellow t-shirts in the picture below. Can you guess why they aren’t still all wearing them?

 Listening to Doug Barr at daycare picnic

When I first got there, all of the children were wearing the yellow. As their parents arrived, the children had the yellow t-shirt removed. The daycare staff then were able to tell which children were still “in care” and which were, more or less, being looked after by their parents.

I thought that this was a clever idea and it could be also be used at a birthday party at a crowded location. When the kids arrive, you could give them a t-shirt and when their parents come to pick them up, you would take the t-shirt off and put it in the treat bag. Hmmm… I wonder if they will be necessary for Reid’s party next month?

What does that spell?

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

When Ken and I want to discuss something that we don’t want Reid to know about, we spell some on the words. At first, it threw Ken off when I all of a sudden spelled a word in the middle of a sentence but now he uses the tactic, too. Reid has recently started asking what it is that we’re spelling as we’re saying the letters. I tell her that when she learns to read, she will know what we’re spelling. I don’t know if she’ll decide that we should teach her to read or if she takes the comment as a way of knowing how long it will be before she will understand us. I’m in no hurry since we’ll have to develop some other secret communication method once Reid can spell.

Things to pack for fun while camping – Thursday Thirteen

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

I went camping a lot as a kid. My parents had a trailer and we belonged to a trailer club (I don`t know if such things even exist anymore :+) and we went camping with the club, with friends and on our own. Andrea at a peek inside the fishbowl asked for ideas for what to pack when going camping and as my comment grew longer and longer, I decided I had a Thursday Thirteen in the making. Here is my list of what to take on a camping trip:

1. Multiple bathing suits: I spent as much time in the pool as possible and wearing the same wet bathing suit all day, let alone for days on end is just yucky.
2. Many beach towels: they really don’t get a chance to dry between sessions in the pool, if you’re doing it right. In a pinch, beach towels can double as blankets if it turns out to be colder than you expected.
3. Flipflops for in the shower and going to and from the pool.
4. Running shoes for going on walks in the woods or for bike rides.
5. Bikes for everyone or at least the kids. If you are far from a bathroom or from the bathroom with the shower, bikes are lifesavers.
6. Sand toys: I played with sand toys at camp long after I ceased playing with them at home.
7. Beach ball for playing soccer, kickball, throwing about in the pool or out. A beach ball is very versatile and, when deflated, doesn’t take up much room.
8. Sunscreen, hat and light-weight long sleeved shirts (and pants if you’re in an area where Lyme disease could be a problem).
9. Bug repellent with DEET, or not, according to age and personal opinion.
10. Baking soda (mixed with water) to treat the bites from the bugs that aren’t troubled by the bug repellent.
11. A first aid kit to treat the scrapes resulting from walks through the forest and whatever else might arise.
12. Collapsable “director’s chairs” for fireside seating. Hang the bag that each comes in across the back of the chair so that you can find it when you need it.
13. Marshmallows for toasting over the fire. I think that eating toasted marshmallows is the number one reason I liked camping.

There are, of course, other “grown up” things to consider like food (do as much preparation as you can at home and keep the menu as simple as possible), bedding (sleeping bags aren’t necessary in the summer but I wouldn’t sleep in a tent without an air mattress), clothing (t-shirts, shorts, jeans and a sweatshirt) and the tent/trailer/cabin itself (I’m a KOA cabin-lover myself) but I’ve used up my thirteen places for this week.

View other participants in Thursday Thirteen or look at my previous Thursday Thirteen entries.

Westfest – Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

She shoots, she scores - or from the picture it looks like she did

Look at the one-handed grip - Tiger Woods had better watch out

It’s a panda bear, not goth!

Chess in the Streets - Reid wanted to play but it didn’t seem the right time to make my brain remember how to play chess

Stephen, Sarah, Ben and Reid on the Bytown Fire Brigade Truck - Frontline Financial raises money for the Canadian Firefighters Monument

View More Wordless Wednesday Participants, look at my previous Wordless Wednesday entries, or
check out the Wordless Wednesday HQ. You’ll find lots of cute babies and kids at 5 Minutes for Mom.