Archive for September, 2008

What I’m training Reid to be

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

I read Lily’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes last Thursday morning. Lily thinks her teacher, Mr Slinger, is fabulous and decides she wants to be a teacher instead of an ambulance driver, surgeon or diva, as she had considered earlier. Reid must have had this in mind when she told Uncle Dave and me that she is going to train her child to be a teacher. Uncle Dave asked, “What is your mom training you to be?” Reid answered, “A French kid.”

I was aiming for bilingual, actually, but it seemed a minor distinction not worth pointing out

The GPS lady’s name

Sunday, September 14th, 2008

Uncle Dave and I have decided to name the GPS lady “Cindy”. Calling her “Uppity Know-it-all” (and worse) really wasn’t efficient. Nor was it accurate since it has been especially apparent here in Quebec City that she doesn’t know French. She has butchered, mutilated and tortured many street names.

When Cindy does get the instructions right, her audience sometimes mishears them. As we returned to our hotel last night, Reid started giggling and said something about the GPS lady (Reid won’t call her Cindy) making another mistake.  “Turn at Grandpa’s Head!” Reid giggled. “She is silly.” Poor Cindy was just trying to get us to turn at the “ramp ahead”. Between Reid and the Cindy’s bad accent, there is always something at which to smile.

The family keeps on coming

Saturday, September 13th, 2008

With Ken away, Reid and I are particularly grateful for visitors. It keeps us from staring at each other at meals wondering what else we can say to each other. Okay, it would be more accurate it gives me a grown up to speak with and frees Reid for the requirement to provide me with all sorts of stories about her day, which she generally won’t share in any case.

Uncle Dave came to visit on Tuesday. He was there when we got home. Even better than just being there, if I can be selfish or self-centred or something, he was in my garage fixing the garage door opener. For reasons that escape me, the door has been stopping about a foot from the ground and then re-opening. If you hold the button down for the last foot, the door would close. But you had to remember that little trick. Last month, I forgot when I left to go to camping at the KOA and my neighbour was nice enough to disengage the electric apparatus and close the door manually. On Friday, when Aunt Pam took my car to be cleaned, she didn’t know about the trick and also had to close the door manually. While the door has had this foible for quite a while, and we’ve tried to get it sorted out a couple of other time, it only seemed urgent when the “what if” scenarios that I imagine started getting scary. For example, I usually remember to lock the house door but what if I forget and the garage door is open? Or, what if the garage door stays open and someone steals my super-expensive winter tires? And then Uncle Dave got on his white charger and rode to our rescue…

Reid was also glad to see Uncle Dave. I think she appreciates his laid back attitude. Maybe it’s the fact that he is the quiet one in a loud family. As soon as Reid saw Uncle Dave in the garage, she went out to join him. I’m not sure if she talked his ear off, spoke a bit or just watched. She definitely didn’t want to come in. Well, she came in to get me to come out so that she could show me his dirty hands. She was *very* impressed. It’s obvious, I guess, that Ken and I aren’t handy in that way.

Aunty Amanda came for supper on Tuesday night, too. Uncle Dave seemed a bit surprised that I actually have friends and wanted to know how we met. He has spent so many years as my brother-in-law that he thinks that he is entitled to say such things. Imagine! We managed to chat about this and that and we had a nice supper all together (I think).

When I woke Reid on Wednesday morning and told her that she needed to get ready for school, she told me that I was wrong. She said that Uncle Dave was at our house for and visit and she needed to stay to keep him company. If we were still in the loosey-goosey days of day care, that would have been the case but with school it seems Reid should attend. Uncle Dave took us to Reid’s school and then me to my bus stop. It was a nice treat for us and meant we wouldn’t have two cars at Reid’s swimming lesson after school.

Except that her swimming lessons were cancelled due to lack of enrollment. I talked with a teacher about the value of her attending a class at the level below the one she is currently at, since my biggest goal is to get her into the water twice a week, but learned that the class below was full. Ah, well, it was worth a try. Reid was disappointed that the class was cancelled but even more so that Uncle Dave wouldn’t be able to watch. She loves it when people come to her lessons. I love it, too, because she “shows off” by trying some moves that she hesitates at when it’s just me and/or Ken.

So, if you’re able to come for a visit, please don’t object if we end up pool side.

Finding our school routine

Friday, September 12th, 2008

Reid and I made it to our respective schools on time Monday morning. As I mentioned, I had packed the things we needed to take with us and even set the table. I’ve been reading a story before Reid is even out of bed. It serves as good transition from sleep to rushing around getting ready and Reid loves her stories even more than she loves snuggling back to sleep when she is tired. The need to see the pictures forces her to open her eyes. According to my plan, Reid gets dressed before we go downstairs. We’re 2 for 3 this week on that ;+) I do her hair at bed time and has to get really, really messed up for me to fix it in the morning. Reid might not be runway ready in the morning but she is tidy enough.

Reid was the first kid to pre-care at 7:15 on Monday and Tuesday although a couple more followed us in. At her old day care there were kids at the door promptly at 7:00 when the day care opened and a 7:15 arrival wouldn’t have guaranteed Reid a place in the first 5. I wasn’t as organized on Monday night and so on Tuesday morning and Reid ended up eating her “apple oatmeal hot” (Quaker packet of oatmeal cereal) in the car on the way. I’d even had to put it in the freezer to cool it so that it would be ready to eat. This morning Reid decided that she was going to alternate between apple and raisin oatmeal hot (as opposed to the cold Oatmeal Crisp that Ken has). Cold cereal is a disaster in the car; given the glob of oatmeal I pulled off Reid’s jumper this morning, I’m not sure how much better the hot cereal is.

My bus ride downtown in the mornings has been smooth. It took a bit of time on Monday to locate a street where I could legally park my car for the day but once that was accomplished, I settled in to enjoy my bus ride. I find it much less stressful and like having the time to write. I also like avoiding the $15 per day parking charge, gas cost and wear and tear on the car – like the marks the one valet put on it. The buses in front of day care didn’t pass often enough for me take them but my new route is supposed to pass every 9 minutes. And it does, as far as I can tell, in the morning.

That last comment was dramatic foreshadowing, you know. On Tuesday night my bus was late, the skies opened, and I was afraid I’d end up paying the $40 administrative fee plus $1 per minute late fee. I made it in under the wire but can’t say how much I enjoyed the bus ride or found it much less stressful than being in my car ;+)

When I pick up Reid, I get to read her Communication Book and it tells me, through a series of pictures, about:
* her emotional state: cloudy/withdrawn; small sun/pleasant; big, bright sun/happy
* her appetite: full apple/didn’t eat much; half apple/ate some; apple core/ate well
* solo child/played alone; two children/participated in some group activities; three children in a group/participated fully
* window/played in yard; tire swing/playground; school bus/field trip; and
* the words “nap” and “relaxation.

So far Reid has always had her bright sun and apple core circled. Reid said that she prefers the food that Todd prepared at day care but she seems to manage to eat what is offered. The first day or two she participated somewhat but has since been very involved. Sometimes she has a brief nap but mostly she rests. The kids have played in their play yard and in a park on the grounds and they were in the gym for a couple of free play periods. Reid had been asking about the gym for weeks and was happy for the rainy days.

There is also a section where the teacher writes a note. I promise not to report on  everything the teacher writes but here is the first week’s worth of comments:

Sept 2: Reid had an excellent morning and joined all the activities.
Sept 3: Super Duper Day!
Sept 4: Reid has an awesome and calm disposition. She seems very attentive and focused.
Sept 5: Reid is really coming out of her shell. She talks to her teachers and peers a lot.
Sept 8: Reid had a fun day and enjoyed the park.
Sept 9: Reid enjoyed the gym very much and was very attentive at circle time.
Sept 10: I really appreciate that Reid can identify and write her own name. Thank you. (The teacher had underlined “really appreciate” twice. I’ll have to pass along the thanks to Reid’s day care teachers.)
Sept 11: Reid has adapted very well to this environment and is doing great.

Treasured gift

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

While Aunt Pam and Reid were hanging out last week, Reid spent a lot of time playing with one of Aunt Pam’s hair clips. On Sunday, Reid had one of the hair clips in her possession and I told her she needed to give it back. Reid didn’t protest but looked at the clip a bit wistfully and went to hand it back. Aunt Pam decided that Reid enjoyed the clip so much that she could keep it. Reid was excited and wanted to clarify the terms of the gift. She asked, “Can I keep it forever?” I said that was the case and then Reid asked, “Even when Aunt Pam is dead?” I suppose that the definition of “forever” includes a period of time that is even longer than that but I agreed that it included Aunt Pam’s death. Reid was too happy about the possibility of keeping the hair clip forever to be conscious of the rudeness and morbidity of the question. In any case, it was a gift that was well-appreciated. Perhaps as much as I appreciated having Grandma Joyce and Aunt Pam around last week.

Commuter stress

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

I blogged this “live” but didn’t get it posted before the update at the end:

I’m on a bus that was 30 minutes late – that’s the length of time when 3 buses of the same route are supposed to pass my bus stop – and I’m about 25 minutes from Reid’s school. There is a good chance that I’m going to end up paying the penalty for being late. In Reid’s 3+ years of care, I’ve never had to pay that fee. I can see needing to plan for extra time in my commute but twice the required time seemed reasonable to me. For now, I’m at the mercy of OC Transpo and I’m wondering how the late-fee compares to the $15 parking fee (plus gas money) that I was bragging about saving earlier today.


For all my stress (and whining) I got to the school at 5:22. On the up side, I wasn’t even the last parent to arrive. On the down side, it was stressful! Reid said that she had waited and waited for me and, while she was waiting, she had hurt her hand and washed it in the little sink to make it feel better. No guilt there, eh?

Silver sandals with socks

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

Little girls can wear things that would otherwise construe fashion faux-pas, don’t you think? Monday morning Reid wanted to wear sandals even though I’d already put socks on her. It’s pretty cool in the mornings, don’t you know. As she put on her silver wedding sandals (from Kathleen and Chris’ wedding), Reid provided me with a running commentary:

Cwute, so cwute. (Admiring her outfit) Betterer with wedding shoes on. Very cwute. (Looking at the ensemble “avec sandales”.)

And she was cute, in her navy jumper that Grandma Joyce made, red shirt, white socks and silver sandals. I’m sure no one would notice that her shirt was a “boy colour” – Reid’s words – once she got the silver sandals on her feet.

Happy Belated Grandparents Day

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

Aunt Karin emailed on Friday to remind me that Sunday, September 7th would be Grandparents Day. I had seen signs in the greeting card section at Loblaws and, while I didn’t plan to purchase a care, I meant to have Reid say, “Happy Grandparents Day” to whatever grandparents she encountered. In the end we saw, Grandma Joyce, Grandmama, Grandma Barb and Grandpa Terry and didn’t offer any of them the day’s special greeting.

Aunt Pam and I talked Grandma Joyce into coming to the hotel’s hot tub with us. First, we all went into the fitness room – Reid is a fan of the treadmill and elliptical trainer but most of all she loves the water dispenser and the cone-shaped cups – and then Aunt Pam, Reid and I went into the swimming pool while Grandma Joyce went straight to the hot tub. We wondered if we’d have a grandma who was cooked like a noodle by the time we were done but Grandma Joyce is pretty tough. We played a game of catch with Reid for a while in the hot tub. It was too small for her to go far but it did give Reid lots of chances to get her face wet (not normally her favourite thing).

After checking out of our hotel, we went to the Rotary Club playground that I’d read about in one of the reviews of the hotel. The playground is fairly new and has a pirate ship theme, sort of like the one at the Leamington Marina, but this one is bigger and accessible to kids in wheelchairs. There are ladders and other walls to climb but most areas have other ways to get to them. The ground is covered with different colours of rubber and some marine animals are painted on it to keep up the nautical theme. All of a sudden the temperature dropped and we decided we should be going for lunch.

My GPS couldn’t find a Pizza Hut closer than 67 kilometres but did volunteer Paulo’s Italian Trattoria as an Italian restaurant. Grandma Joyce, Aunt Pam and I each had a fabulous wood-oven pizza and salad and Reid had bare penne with lots (and lots) of Parmesan cheese on it. Wow, I can’t say enough about my pizza. To think I’ve been going to the Belleville-area for 13 years and never ate one before. Before we even left the restaurant, Reid was talking about having a nap. Pasta makes me sleepy, too. On our way out of Belleville we drove by a Pizza Hut but I’m glad my GPS was unaware of its existence.

We gave Grandma Joyce and Aunt Pam big squeezing hugs and smacking kisses at the side of the street and then Reid and I went to Grandmama’s while Aunt Pam and Grandma Joyce started their journey to their homes. Reid fell asleep about 3 minutes into the 40 minute trip. I didn’t even try to wake her since it would have only made us both crabby to fight the nap for 37 minutes. Of course, Reid was disoriented when we got to Grandmama’s but she warmed up as she always does. We had a nice visit with Grandmama and, after a while, Grandma Barb and Grandpa Terry came over and we had a good visit with them, too. I gave Reid a bath and enjoyed the shower head on the hose when it came time to wash Reid’s hair. I’m thinking of having Reid smile extra-sweetly at Uncle Dave to get one in her bathroom. Does anyone have any recommendations for or against this type of shower hose?

We all went up Highway 7 a bit to the Madoc Dairy for supper. Reid finally got her cheese burger. She’s been talking about one for age. When Uncle Roger visits, he usually buys A&W burgers at least once and Reid had a mozza burger the last time he was here. She enjoyed the hamburger with real cheddar from the Madoc Dairy much more than the one with a processed cheese slice we picked up somewhere but she said that it still wasn’t as good as the one from the “W”.

After supper, Grandpa Terry took Reid to see the cows in the cattle truck parked in the parking lot and then we said good buy to Grandmama, Grandma Barb and Grandpa Terry. Reid was in a hug-hoarding mood and so I had to give extra-good ones to Grandmama and Grandma Barb. Unfortunately for cases like these, Reid doesn’t feel jealous or threatened when I say, “Fine, I’ll hug them, my hugs are better anyway.” Most of the time, that is a behaviour for which I’m glad.

The little nap deducted itself from Reid’s bedtime and she stayed up until nearly 8:00. Yes, I’m a bit obsessive over her bedtime. Reid stayed asleep while I carried her in and so I was able to pack my lunch, Reid’s swimming bag and our supper and laid out Reid’s clothes. I even called Melissa for a chat! As always, I got carried away by the freedom of being awake and stayed up later than I should have. Maybe once it starts happening more regularly I’ll be better at going to bed.

Mountains are tall

Monday, September 8th, 2008

On their way to Ottawa, Grandma Joyce and Aunt Pam saw a brochure or sign – maybe both – for the Lake on the Mountain and decided it would be an interesting place to visit. When we were discussing what to do over the weekend, we first tried for a cabin in Morrisburg so that we could go to Upper Canada Village but we were too late for that. We decided that Prince Edward County had a lot to offer, in addition to the Lake on the Mountain Provincial Park, but the hotels in Belleville were much more reasonably priced.

Mother Nature seemed to think our trip was ill-advised, sending us rain off-and-on Friday night and Saturday morning. We’d planned to do some shopping at the Quinte Mall anyway and took Saturday morning to do it. Grandma Joyce, ever-commited to corrupting Reid, insisted that I put a loonie in one of those ride on toys in the mall hallway. She claimed that it was a grandmother’s privilege but had only $0.75 in change. Reid saw the money come from me – for the first time ever. I suspect that this might be one of those habits that take only one happening to be created. To that point, Reid had always played in the toys while they were stationary. Indeed, half way through the ride, Reid wanted to change from the train to the horse but I insisted she stay in the train. She asked for money for the horse and I told her “no”. That’s the mother’s privilege, I guess ;+)

The rain had pretty much stopped by the time we were finished lunch and we headed to Reid’s Dairy where there was supposed to be a petting zoo. It turned out that the petting zoo had closed but we did arrive in the midst of a grand re-opening of the store featuring a 7-foot tall cow mascot, free balloons, face-painting and samples of pizza and ice cream cake. It’s too bad we had bought our lunch. Reid had her face painted black and white to resemble a cow with a little pink nose. I got a daisy on my cheek because it made Reid happy. Aunt Pam and I indulged in the ice cream cake but Reid and Grandma Joyce resisted the temptation. We got a t-shirt for Reid with a cow on it for $5 that will be a nightgown for her and a bag that has “Reid’s Dairy” printed on it along with a picture of that same cow.

We dropped our purchases back at the room – Bentley’s is having a sale if you need backpacks for school still – and then asked our friendly GPS lady for directions to Bergeron’s Exotic Animal Sanctuary. Grandma Joyce elected to stay in the car while the rest of us looked around. There were lions, tigers, lynx, jaguars and that sort of big cat as well as many Patagonian cavys, some goats and geese. There was a grey parrot that spoke to us quite a lot though, of course, not when Reid was actively listening. She decided nonetheless that he liked speaking to her and we returned to his cage quite a few times. Admission to the sanctuary cost $10 per adult and $5 per child and seemed a bit steep to me for the 45 minutes or so that we spent walking about but when I turned my “cheap metre” down a bit, I could see that the money contributed to the rescue of the animals.

We next headed off in search of Lake on the Mountain Provincial Park, although my GPS insisted “mountain” was spelled “mtn” we found our way there quite easily. We almost missed the park, however, since it is much, much smaller than we expected – more of a lookout with a big parking lot than a park. Also, the “mountain” was more an raised area of land with steep sides, I’d say.  Here is was Reid had to say as we walked toward the lake:

Reid: Mountains are tall. (Walking a few more steps)
Reid: Mountains are very tall. (With authority)
Reid: (To Aunt Pam and me)Race ya, guys.
Reid: (After running a few steps) What about Grandma?
Me: She won’t win. (Grandma was using her cane and following behind at her own pace)
Reid: Mountains are *so* very tall.

Reid is not one to be distracted from her opinion. The fact that the lake is on the mountain is not particularly evident when you’re standing at the water’s edge but the difference in elevation is quite impressive when you see the it depicted in a cross-section and read that there are still competing theories about how the lake ended up so much higher than other nearby bodies of water.

We went downtown Picton for supper. We were too late to shop in any of the many shops on the main street but did find a nice restaurant that had room for us, after finding one that did not. The food at Currah’s was good but a bit more expensive than everyone had anticipated. I was willing to pay extra for quality and speed and, thankfully, my expectations were met. With her belly full and energy used up, Reid fell asleep at 6:45 as we drove back to Belleville. The drive through Prince Edward County was beautiful. The leaves on the trees are already changing but I’m sure it is even more beautiful once most of the leaves have changed. Grandma Joyce and Aunt Pam had a couple of things they needed to pick up which gave me a chance to get Reid into the room and back to sleep.

We spent much more time outside on Saturday than I would have predicted when I first looked at the sky in the morning. I try and always carry a jacket for Reid but wasn’t so organized for my own part. Luckily for me, Grandma Joyce had an extra sweater. It would seem that fall is here, regardless of what the calendar says.

Back to day care

Sunday, September 7th, 2008

Reid and I went to her old day care on Friday. Her new school doesn’t participate in the Scholastic book program and I’m addicted to the low prices on the books. The books that the day care earns for their library because of my purchase are nice, too. The only hiccup is that I have to pay by cheque and when we were driving by on Thursday, I didn’t have a cheque with me. And so, on Friday evening, we made a quick detour to day care. Reid was more shy and clingy as we walked back into her old stomping grounds than she had been any day at school. She talked about how she was too big for day care but I had say that she could have stayed since Senior S (poor kid has such a popular name that she will always have a modifier) and C had stayed in day care. S’s parents hadn’t known to put S on a waiting list when she was just a baby to find care at the school.

We were late enough that only one of the teachers and two kids were still around. Reid seemed to be disappointed by this and I said that we’d try to be earlier when we pick up the books we ordered so that she can see more friends and teachers. I suspect she’ll feel like an interloper the next time, too. Next to the new Juniors she definitely looked like she really was “too old” for day care. It’s odd how quickly things can change.