Archive for September, 2008

Last chance at the beach?

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

Reid and I had a picnic supper on the beach at Petrie Island Thursday night, maybe our last beach visit for the season. I’ll take her again next week if it’s warm enough. I’m left wondering again why we don’t go for supper in the spring (before the evenings are ridiculously hot) or earlier in September before we’re living on borrowed time. We had a lovely time though, to be perfectly honest, Reid had eaten her hamburger by the time we got to the beach and I picnicked alone on my lentil couscous while Reid played.

There was an immense flock of sea gulls on the beach for chasing and they’d left many, many footprints for studying. There were also a couple of fast boats on the river that caused a few waves worthy of note. This is where I confess that I let wade in water that hadn’t been tested by the city as all city beaches were officially “closed” before Labour Day. Reid made me a wonderful mud pie and even served it with a sand hoe as a fork. She isn’t nearly as enthused with sand castle building as I am and had lost interest in the shovels and molds before I had even finished eating.

We walked around a bit – the beach is really big – and investigated the breakwall, some trees and a little hill. Okay, the hill is more of a rise but it was big enough for Reid to lay the sticks that she’d been dragging through the sand crosswise and declare, “X marks the spot.” When I asked what she was referring to, Reid told me that it was the spot where the cherry was to go on top of the cupcake. I’m not sure who bakes such cupcakes, even Melissa hasn’t served us such a confection. (She specializes in cookies.) I think I’ll add cupcakes with cherries to my “to do” list. We were walking down the beach together, to the scene of last year’s family water fight, when my big toe collided with Reid’s little toe. All of a sudden Reid was spurting blood from her aforementioned toe. Her impulse was to rinse it in the water since we’re more of a rinse-with-water than Band Aid family. I was somewhat responsible at this point and prevented her from taking her open cut into the untested water. We had a bottle of water at the car but no Band Aid (unlike that mom at Reid’s birthday party) and so we had to cut short our time at the beach. We’d have been able to stay only a few minutes more, though, and it was good not to have to end the fun because the clock said so.

The light at sunset on the beach is so lovely. Thanks to it being fall, we didn’t have to stay out late to see it. I took some good pictures, even a good one of Reid and me together, thanks to the “self-portrait” setting on my Olympus 850 SW camera. It has about 36 pre-sets and I rarely use more than a few of them but I’m going to try to more of them out when I can remember.

Reid and me on the beach

Of xylophones and zebras

Monday, September 29th, 2008

On Saturday, Reid received a glockenspiel as her instrument for this session on Kindermusik. One of the other parents asked what was the difference between a glockenspiel and a xylophone since the difference seemed to be only that the metal bars on the kids’ glockenspiels weren’t painted in primary colours. Shannon shocked us all with her reply: xylophones have wooden bars. All these years we’ve been living a lie! What I’ve been calling a xylophone is actually a metallophone. I shared this revelation with a few of Reid’s former day care teachers and they were equally surprised.

When we were in Quebec City, I read the following on a cup from Starbucks, “When I was young I was misled by flash cards into believing that xylophones and zebras were much more common.”* I feel like I should find the author and tell her that the situation is even worse than she thought. But that might seem a bit extreme and even like stalking ;+) I’ll focus instead on Reid’s mallet-grip and teaching her the “musical alphabet” as Shannon told me I must for homework.

(*The Way I See It #297, written by Amy-Elyse Neer, Starbucks Customer)

Robert Munsch, hairstylist to the stars

Saturday, September 27th, 2008

Friday was picture day at Reid’s school. She had many ideas of how her hair should be styled: a small portion in a ponytail on side and the rest on the other side; 2 small ponytails on either side of her face with holders at the top, middle and bottom; one ponytail on the left side and the rest at the back. I kept saying that I wanted her hairstyle to be a bit formal and visible in the photographs. Finally, Reid said that she wanted “Stephanie’s Ponytail”, sticking right out the side, and I agreed.

Robert Munsch, in Stephanie’s Ponytail, tells the story of a girl who wears her hair in a ponytail at the back one day and the kids in her class tell her how ugly it is but then the girls all have that style the next day. Over the next few days, Stephanie has her ponytail out the side and on top and each time it criticized but more and more of the kids copy her latest hairstyle on subsequent days. Finally, Stephanie announces she will be shaving her head and when she arrives at school the next day, all of her classmates and even her teacher have shaved their heads but Stephanie has a ponytail at the back of her head.

Reid thinks that the other kids in the class are silly for copying Stephanie but feels free to take inspiration from her. She went to day care once with a top ponytail that “looked like broccoli growing out of her head” and has chosen a side ponytail a few times, thanks to Stephanie and Robert Munsch‘s influence. I wonder if he ever intended to be the inspiration for little girl’s hairstyles?

Three body parts indeed

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

Reid hasn’t brought much home from school since the first few days when she came home with a craft each day. I’m not sure if they are doing work sheets instead of crafts or if Reid is just choosing other activity centres. She has been drawing, though, and last week brought home a picture or herself – or maybe it was me, Reid’s story about who it was changed. The person in question had a large head from which arms and legs protruded. There were two eyes, a mouth and a nose that had two nostrils right were nostrils should be. Okay, maybe more where nostrils are on a pig but, since I don’t think I’ve ever drawn nostrils on a person, I was more than a little impressed.

Reid was in charge of making a birthday card for Sarah and decided to draw stick figures of Sarah, me and herself. These figures had heads and bodies – potato-shaped like me but not so much like Reid and Sarah – as well as the requisite limbs and facial features but no nostrils. The scale was wrong for nostrils. Maybe Reid has an eye for scale already. Maybe I don’t need to continue with my RRSP savings, maybe Reid will be a famous artist before I retire and I’ll live in luxury. Sigh.

Maybe not. Either way, Reid has more artist talent than I do. I’m not even a smidge jealous. I’ll know what to say when the doctor asks me if she draws people with at least 3 body parts next time. I might even bring an example.

Friends – Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

Friends on a fence

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.

Because I’m that dumb

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

Ken called Thursday morning. It was so wonderful to hear his voice! For once Reid and I were ahead of our schedule and we were both in good spirits. When I heard Ken’s voice, I put the phone on speaker and said hello again so that Reid would hear Ken’s “hello” out of the blue. As soon as she heard his voice, she spun around and said, “Hi, Daddy!” And then she said to me, “That is Daddy?” It was and the smile on her face and sparkle in her eyes made me sad that we don’t have a video phone. She chatted with Ken for a while and I even got a chance at the end.

We hurry-scurried to get to the car after we said our goodbyes and we would have been on time for our respective schools but for the soft tire on the car. Luckily for me it was on the driver’s side and also that Uncle Dave had told me to keep an eye on it after he had filled it the week earlier. We went straight to a gas station and would have still been on time if not for the woman who took advantage of my courtesy in letting her get to a gas pump (or so I thought) before I pulled up to the air pump. Then, she had to go into the store to get the quarters that the machine required before finally filling her tire. Reid had many questions about the delay and I used the time to explain the process rather than ranting. I’m a better person because of her ;+)

When we finally got to school, the kids were already in their own rooms, rather than all in the pre-care room, and so I took a moment to ask how Reid is doing globally. The communication book is good but doesn’t provide the same sort of observation that a conversation would. Reid had kissed me and went to play but when she saw that I was still there, she came over for a hug.  And then she started to cry and say she felt sick. What a silly mama I am! I blew the “no cry” exit. For what it is worth, the teacher had been telling me that Reid is intelligent, follows direction well and is not involved in any conflicts with her peers.

I slunk away quickly, like I should have done in the first place, and Reid waved at me from the window. She returned to her colouring table before I backed the car up to leave. That is a good sign. Most every morning she tells me that she doesn’t want to go to school and I tell her one or more of the following: that we both have things to learn; that we have friends to see; and that going to school is our “job”.  I was pretty sure that Reid was continuing to experience the separation anxiety that she’d had even about day care since Ken left but I wanted to be sure. Last year at this time, Reid asked not to go to day care and it turned out that one of her classmates was pulling her hair and otherwise making her life unpleasant.

We’re having a parent-teacher information session this Thursday night and I’ll maybe get more information there.

From yucky to yummy

Sunday, September 21st, 2008

I made tortilla’s for supper on Wednesday night. They’re super-healthy, with salsa, black bean and zucchini filling and a sprinkle of cheddar cheese to stick the second tortilla on. I told Reid that they were like Mexican pizzas and said she could try and eat a wedge like a slice of pizza. A few beans leaked and that bothered Reid. She wasn’t too keen to eat something that she hadn’t eaten before in any case. I insisted she eat at least one wedge and cut it into smaller pieces for her. I ate mine and soon Reid was asking if there were any more for her to eat. She picked up the bits that dropped out and may have even considered licking the plate from the look on her face. I grinned smugly but held my tongue. No sense saying, “I told you so,” when there was another piece of tortilla for me to eat.

Ken doesn’t like these tortillas and I’ve been trying to remember to eat the foods that I like and he doesn’t but have been making the same old things on those rare nights that I’ve cooked. I’ll have to work the tortillas into my rotation and might even be able to tweak them in some way to make them appeal to Ken. Next, I’m going to make corn bread muffins. But I need ideas on what low-calorie food goes with corn bread. If you think of anything, send it my way.

Franglais of the best kind

Friday, September 19th, 2008

Reid was listening to a book-on-cd while we drove home last night (thanks again, Uncle Roger) and had trouble getting on of the pages turned. She asked me, “Can you ‘pose’ it?” And I reflexively said, “Do you need me to pause it?” Reid replied, “I need a ‘pose’.” And then I understood. In French, the word “pause” is pronounced “pose” and Reid is spending most of her waking hours in a French environment. This is the first real sign that she is retaining what she hears. I have been having the same trouble for a couple of months. Of course, I also incorporate English words into my French sentences in class and that isn’t considered at all cute, though sometimes we laugh if the pronunciation is extremely French but not good enough to make it a French word. I wonder how Ken will fare with Reid’s and my franglais* when he returns?

One of the women in my class has a daughter who describes her school day and school friends in French because she attends a French-language school and the rest of her life in English. Melissa’s kids are in an immersion program and don’t do this. Of course, they’re only spending about half their time in French – and that’s why I want Reid to acquire language rights to attend the French school system. I sure do hope that she’ll have the necessary French skills by the time she is done kindergarten.

*Franglais is the mixture of French and English words in a given sentence and is practically its own language in Ottawa-Gatineau.

Scary story

Thursday, September 18th, 2008

Just before bedtime last night, Reid took down from the wall one of the pictures that she made recently and announced that she would tell me a story about it. She told me that it would be a scary story and so I would have to hug her tight when she was scared. Reid said the beginning and end wouldn’t be scary but the middle would be. I didn’t ask her why she was planning to tell me a story that was so frightening that she needed to be hugged but I thought the question really loudly.

By the time we got snuggled in for the story, silliness overtook fright. The creature she’d drawn was a monster named Gravement and he was attacked by …. (Reid searched for a moment) … Super Burper who burped and farted on him. When Super Burper started pooping on the head of poor Gravement, I told Reid I didn’t want to hear anymore. And it’s true. I’ve officially heard enough of the potty humour even though it still makes Reid giggle. Don’t let Reid’s fondness for dresses and shoes fool you into thinking that she is a girly-girl.

Do you suppose that this is a phase that Ken wishes he was here to experience fully?

Sur la route à Quebec

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

I usually call these travelogues “on the road” or something similar but since we have “La ville de Québec” as our destination, I’ll scatter some French here and there.

I’d packed some of the things Reid and I needed to bring but still had a bit to gather and pack when Uncle Dave brought us home from school Thursday night. I’m sure that Ken will be starting to think sympathetic thoughts for Uncle Dave since he has many memories of waiting for me to gather “a bit”. Uncle Dave was already worried by the pile of things that I pulled out of our car to be transferred to Grandma Joyce’s car. I love many things about our Caliber but the hatch is not so convenient when it comes to leaving luggage in plain sight while we play tourists after checking out of a hotel. I packed our duffle bag, the small backpack I got for free at Ontario Place that holds my electronics cables and a bag with some food. Reid had an old-style Tupperware serving dish with markers and a plush pig that walks and oinks (or would if we changed the batteries). She was also lobbying to bring a juice pitcher so that we could pour all of the juice pouches that Uncle Dave had brought together. I was a sneaky Mama and moved the Tupperware out of sight when Reid wasn’t looking. Uncle Dave still had to make a few trips to the car and then came in to say that we were starting to run out of space.

I made a coffee for me and a tea for Uncle Dave and we brought some water for Reid for the road and left about 7:00. Reid stayed awake longer than I’d planned but she is often having power naps at school during quiet time and so doesn’t go to sleep as early as I’d like. She stayed awake long enough to ask for the glass of water that we had lost track of in the process of packing the car.

Our drive was uneventful, even when we were driving through Montreal. The GPS lady recommended the route that Uncle Dave wanted rather than one with many off- and on-ramps as he’d expected. We easily found our Clarion hotel in the suburbs where the rooms were much more reasonably-priced and the parking was free. It’s indoor pool was the deal-maker, though. I’m not sure that Reid is aware that some hotels don’t have pools. Often the pool is the thing she cites as her favourite part of a trip.

By midnight we were all in our beds and ready for our vacation. Maybe not aware of all of the walking to come, but safe, comfortable and happy in our ignorance.