Archive for August, 2008

Super Dad

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

You know the commercials where the inept father is responsible for his kids and ends up: (a) taking them to a fast food restaurant; (b) feeding them something prepared from frozen; or (c) make a mess of the kitchen and requiring an amazing new cleaning product. Often in the course of the commercial, one of the kids mentions that the mom doesn’t do things in a certain way or that point is made without words. Ken always said that his answer would be – in an ominous tone – “I’m not Mom.” (Or maybe those commercials aren’t on any more. Since we’ve had our pvr, we fast forward through the commercials.)

In any case, lately I’ve had my shortcomings in any comparison with Ken pointed out. The conversations go something like this:

Me: Reid, be careful. The waffle iron it too hot for you to touch it.
Reid: It’s not too hot for Daddy to touch.
Me: Yes, it is. Daddy would have to be careful, too.
Reid: You have to be really careful but Daddy has to be only a little bit careful.

Variations have occurred over ability to reach things on high shelves, find places we’ve never been to, time taken to complete a given task. I never come out in the most favourable light.

Reid’s new favourite song is, not surprisingly, Super Dad by Peanut Butter and Jam.

It’s rough on a Mama’s ego, being so thoroughly displaced ;+)

Happy (belated) birthday, Brianna

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

Happy birthday Brianna! You were on my mind often yesterday but, unfortunately, not on my fingertips. Reid and I are having on last staycation of the summer and yesterday was a busy day. Here are a few thoughts for you on your birthday:

* I remember your mom being pregnant with you. I don’t remember Aunt Marie being pregnant with Melissa or Sari (Sorry, girls, my memory is awful and I *was* really young.) I anticipated your arrival a great deal and, I have to say, you were well worth the wait.
* You are the first child I recall being breastfed. At the time, I thought it was sweet and a bit yucky at times but once I had Reid, I was so glad that you had showed me that babies love and need breastmilk and that it is normal.
* I remember sleeping with my hand on your back while you slept in your crib while I was babysitting. I didn’t want anything to happen to you while I was in charge. Okay, in charge perhaps overstates the case but I was watching over you.
* I felt that same sense of responsibility when you came to live with us to attend Carleton. I hope you didn’t feel so closely watched, though, I did remind myself that you had grown a bit over the years. If ever you need me, I can still watch over you. Or a little baby you might have (no pressure, I am just saying “if ever…”)
* I enjoyed having the 8 months together when you lived in Ottawa. We are kindred spirits, I think. Except for the engineering. I don’t understand that stuff at all! Still, we spent lots of hours shopping, crocheting, knitting and being together and they were good hours.
* I like how our hair ends up at the same length or style quite often with no coordination. It makes me think that we have some link. The question I am left with, though, is are we in style together or just in the same style? ;+)
* I think that you have amazing self-confidence. Returning to high school to radically change your education and work paths took a lot of determination. Bravo for you.
* I like how you look after your siblings, even when they don’t think that your assistance is required. I think that is what big sisters are supposed to do.
* I like that you chose my anniversary to be married on. Now you will always remember to mention the upcoming joyous occasion and I, in turn, will remember to get a card and present for Ken. Really, not all nieces would be that thoughtful. You really do go above and beyond.
* Choosing a man with relatives in Ottawa was wise and full of foresight. Who knew all of those years ago when you picked George up (it sounded a bit like stalking in Chantelle’s wedding speech but who is to say) that it would work out so well?

Happy birthday, Brianna. I hope that this is a fabulous year for you.

The chirp of crickets and hum of air conditioners at the Cardinal KOA

Monday, August 25th, 2008

Our camping story starts well before we got to the Cardinal KOA, as do most camping stories. On Thursday, Reid told her teachers that she wouldn’t be in Friday because we were going camping but when Claire mentioned this I told her that I would call. Reid was excited that Aunt Karin was coming but was flip-flopping on whether she was staying home or going to day care. Routine even more important than to Reid right now. Reid told me at bedtime that she was staying with Aunt Karin and so she wouldn’t have to wake up and get dressed immediately. Reid is a pyjama-lover from a way-back.

On Friday morning, Reid woke up happy and intended to go wake Aunt Karin up. She even gave me a farewell kiss and hug before she left in case she was too busy with Aunt Karin when it was time for me to leave. I think she made it onto the hallway carpet before she suddenly changed her mind. Of course, the chance for me to be on time for school disappeared with the arrival of Reid’s tears at my encouragement to stay. I hurried her into her clothes, fixed her hair as best I could (I’d counted on Aunt Karin giving her a bath) and gave her breakfast. I was much less late to school than I’d expected, which was especially good considering I was taking the afternoon off.

I stopped at home to pick up Aunt Karin on the way to day care. Since she had driven well into the wee hours, I’d suggested she should sleep for a bit. She’d seemed to think it was unnecessary and so when I walked in, I called out, “Wakey, wakey!” And heard a sleep-muffle voice respond. I’m not sure which of us was more surprised that Aunt Karin was still asleep 4 hours later but it was probably her. Reid was sitting at a table reading books to herself when we got to day care while her friends were in various stages of going to sleep. Usually Reid pats a friend’s back until I pick her up. In any case, we headed for the grocery store and then home.

I hadn’t been organized enough to pack earlier in the week and so Aunt Karin and I did that, with Reid’s help, of course. Bruno stopped in for a visit in the midst of packing. Aunt Karin made me ask him if my French was good. He replied that is was “a bit good” and agreed with me that it was “less bad” than when we started talking to each other in May.

Finally everything was in the cars – I asked if we could all go in one but Aunt Karin laughed at me – and we headed to Starbucks. We couldn’t leave civilization with a good, hot drink. And then we had to stop at Tim Hortons because Aunt Karin couldn’t leave civilization without that kind of drink, either. We got onto the highway just in time for rush hour. There weren’t any accidents or crazy drivers and we made it safely out of the city. Reid slept for most of the drive and I enjoyed the quiet time with my radio and the friendly GPS lady. She wasn’t happy with me, though, when we left the highway in search of a Tim Hortons’ coffee to replace the one with the wrong ingredients that Aunt Karin had received. She kept saying, “Turn left at road X in 250 metres. Turn left at road X. Turn left! [Pause] Recalculating.” This repeated 3 or 4 times on the way into Kemptville. I think her voice became increasingly stressed as I failed to turn where she wanted me to and then her “recalculating” seemed to become petulant.  Our GPS lady doesn’t like to be ignored. I made it up to her, though, and followed her directions when she suggested a back roads route to the campground.

Ah, yes, we finally made it to the Cardinal KOA campground. We’re staying in a little cabin nestled in the trees. We were disappointed to see that our cabin doesn’t have a swing and isn’t on as nice a lot as the one we stayed in a couple summers ago with LeeLee (Kailee) and Grandma Joyce but it is still pretty good. I cooked hot dogs on the electric grill I brought from home. There was a hibachi sort of thing on the camp site but that would have required us to purchase the briquets and get them lit before actually attempting to cook anything. It was just too much.

After supper Reid and I went for a swim and left the pool at dusk – probably 30 minutes later. Summer is definitely ending, with sunset noticeably earlier these days. I built a fire, or at least was in the midst of trying to do so, when a couple from the campground stopped by to see how we were doing. It was pretty obvious we were having a problem with the fire and they said they’d be right back to get the fire going.  What service! Aunt Karin and I roasted marshmallows; Reid ate hers raw. We made several valiant, but ultimately unsuccessful, attempts to get the telescope to show us the star-filled sky in detail and then went to bed. Note: I will make s’mores for anyone able to help me with the telescope.

Reid had asked to sleep in the top bunk as soon as she saw the bunk beds. I told her I thought you had to be 6 to sleep there and she argued the case awhile. By bedtime, she was content to sleep in the big bed, a double, with me and even suggested that Aunt Karin could join us. A lovely invitation that was refused. Perhaps if it had been 20 below, we might have needed the extra body heat but since the overnight low was 20 C, we needed anything but body heat.
I got up in the night to use the bathroom. As I walked, I enjoyed the stars and the chirp of the crickets – and the hum of the air conditioners from all of the trailers. Before I went camping 2 years ago with Uncle Roger and Reid, I would have thought that decadent. Having slept in a trailer with air conditioning, I can’t say too much. But I will say a bit because I can be aware of internal conflicts and still voice them. The air conditioning is great for inside the trailer but spoils the mood for the folks on the outside. I never noticed when we used it because we used the bathroom in the trailer at night.

You can’t take a Dalmation into the pool

Sunday, August 24th, 2008

We had thunder and lightning and heavy rain Monday afternoon and so the kids missed their outside time. Think “arsenic hour” at home times 32 kids who usually burn off their energy in a large play yard. When I got to daycare, one of the teachers was painting the kids’ faces. Reid’s face was white with black splotches. She told me that it was a “fire dog” but I could see a bit of Fu Manchu also. Still, I agreed that she was a cute Dalmation because she was.

Dalmation Reid

We got surprisingly few comments about Reid’s face while we were eating our supper in the viewing area of the complex. I tried to convince Reid to knock on the glass and show her face to her teacher but Reid was too shy. She wasn’t too shy to give me puppy lick-kisses (yech) or puppy cuddles and she did respond when I said, “Sit, Puppy. Eat, Puppy.” Fortunately puppies like cheddar cheese, hummous and herb crackers just as much as little girls named Reid do. In fact, this particular puppy also liked Clementine oranges and apple sauce. (What’s with Clementines being available in July – oops, August – anyway. I remember in the olden days they we available in November and December only.) I put together a good supper last night, if I do say so myself, although a beverage of some sort would have added to the spread.

Once we got to the change room, I told Reid that we needed to wash her face paint off. She asked why she couldn’t get into the pool as she was and I said that her teacher would say, “Out, out, spotted dog.” The other ladies in the change room laughed but Reid wasn’t impressed. I’ll have to remember this story until Reid takes MacBeth in high school.

Tricky hiding place

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008

Reid and I were playing hide-and-seek earlier this week and Reid decided that hiding on the second floor would be the most fun. Actually, Reid told me that she was going to hide under Daddy’s bed and then she giggled in anticipation. I had to count to 20 and then hunt for her. By 13 or so, Reid was calling for me. I came upstairs and looked for her in her bedroom and closet, in the main bathroom, our closet and the our bathroom. All the while, Reid was giggling. I don’t know how other people play hide and seek with small children but Ken and I have always called out the places where we’re looking for her. It prolongs the game since we don’t have that many places in which she can hide, it gives her ideas of places to hide and it drowned out the near-constant calls of “I’m here!” that were so common when Reid was very small. Now, the giggles give her away more than words, although she still talks sometimes. Eventually, I found her (you guessed it) under Daddy’s bed. (I’m just someone who tries to sleep there ;+)

When it was my turn to hide, I snuck into the bathroom and had a solitary bathroom break. For whatever reason, Reid didn’t look there. It was such a treat to do my business, as it were, all by myself. Of course, Clio came in to eat but she didn’t touch me or talk to me or anything like that. When Reid called out for me, I went to find *her*. She never even spotted me leaving the bathroom. Reid asked where I’d been hiding and I told her that I didn’t want to lose my super-good hiding place. I managed to see through the trickery in Reid’s invitation for me to whisper in her ear where I had been hiding, as though keeping it from the *cats* had been my intention. Reid has subsequently asked me several times to tell her where I was hiding. She even says, “please” without prompting. I’ve stayed mum and I hope you won’t let my best-ever hiding place slip.

Perspectives on the passage of time

Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

Last week Reid wore a super-cute skirt and top that used to be Danielle’s. They’re knit and have primary-coloured letters on a black background. While she was getting dressed we talked about how Danielle, who is not quite 16, wore the outfit when she was a little girl. Reid asked if people wore this sort of outfit a lot “in the olden days.” Yep, *in the olden days*, when Danielle was young, knit outfits were popular. Especially for the kids whose parents had newfangled inventions like the World Wide Web, portable cell phones and digital watches. (Sorry, I couldn’t remember back 12 years well enough to think of a really good third option. Feel free to supply a better example.)

Here’s to you, Danielle, old lady that you are.

Breast milk – It’s like dessert

Sunday, August 17th, 2008

Reid asked to nurse on Tuesday night for the first time in days. I’d been thinking earlier that I should write down when she had last nursed since it might be the last time she *ever* nursed. That time isn’t far off, I think. While she nursed, we had a conversation that went something like this:

Reid: What are breastses?
Me: They’re glands, skin and fat. They make milk. (Guess who didn’t take human biology, or any science class, after grade 10)
Reid: Milkies are like dessert.
Me: Oh? Milkies have lots of good things in them for you.
Reid: (continuing as though I hadn’t spoken) For babies, they’re not dessert. They’re food. (Wistful smile) For toddlers and juniors and seniors (meaning kids 18 months and older), milkies are like dessert. Not like a popsicle. Like juice.*
Me: You know, milkies are good for you. They’re milk. (I didn’t say as good as cows milk but I think even my extended nursling thinks of it as “regular” milk.)
Reid: But milkies are different. Like E’s milk. (E is a little boy at day care who drinks soy milk.)
Me: Okay. Now you need to go to sleep. I think you’re talking so that you don’t have to fall asleep.
Reid: I LOVE to talk.

Truer words have never been spoken!

* I limit the amount of juice Reid has because of the sugar in it, even though it has vitamins and other good things.

Thinking about going to Great Wolfe Lodge

Friday, August 15th, 2008

I received an email from Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls this week and it reminded me that I wanted to take Reid back this fall. We had so much fun last year and the year before, that it seems a good tradition to continue. I experienced a bit of sticker shock when I looked at the room rates, though, and dashed off an email to Aunt Karin to ask if those were the rates I paid last year.  She said: “I don’t know.  I know it was expensive but I don’t remember how expensive. I tend to block things like that out of my mind so that I don’t feel sick about it.” It’s funny. That is exactly what I do. We must have inherited it from our Grandma Joyce.

I’m going to go and re-read the posts I wrote about

What’s your name again?

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

I was speaking with one of the teachers last night and she called a not-Reid child “Reid”. The little girl said I’m “R” and continued with what she was doing. I mentioned the mix up and Christina said that she does it all of the time and always feels bad about it. We reminisced about our moms mixing us up with our siblings. Christina said that her mom would change her brother’s name to hers midway through, coming up with interesting blended names. I recounted how Grandma Joyce would say “ChrisPamRogerKarinLisa, whoever the heck you are”. Sometimes she would drop a kid or two but I don’t think she ever said my name. Poor me. I don’t remember if she started over again with “MelissaSariBrianna, whoever the heck you are” or if she moved straight to calling them “Pudding” or “Baby”. It seems to me that Reid gets “Reidie” most of the time. Sometimes she has to respond to “Dylan”, though.

You would think that Reid would only be called “Reid” at home but you would be wrong. I’ve been known to call her Clio or Leo. They respond as well to Reid’s name as well as they do to their own – which is to say, when it suits them and especially if food is involved.

Have a good night, whatever they call you at your house. ;+)

Crazy hat day – Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

Reid in crazy hat

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.