Archive for November, 2008

She might be learning French afterall

Sunday, November 30th, 2008

Reid has been counting in French for me lately. At first she insisted that I say the numbers 1-11; she would chime in at “douze” and then I would have to continue. Reid rolled “douze” around in her mouth as though she were tasting it and very much enjoying the taste. More recently, though, she has consented to count from 1-30. She tends to miss “seize” (16) and “vingt” (20) but she hasn’t incorporated a French equivalent of the “eleventeen” that appeared when she learned to count in English. Reid likes “vingt-et-un” (21) a lot; it may have even surpassed “douze” if popularity contests were held for numbers. I’m sort of impressed that Reid not only understands the one-to-one correspondance between the numbers in English and French but has also started to play with patterns involving a switching back and forth from English to French. The teacher may not like it but I think it is an interesting accomplishment.

All of this counting supplements the great French accent that she puts on English words. She produces a credible “eur” sound for English word that would ordinarily end with “ar” or “er”. For example, I asked if she knew the French word for “day care” and she responded with “dayceur”. That is wrong, unfortunately, but it’s easier to learn new words than develop an accent. (Having spent the last 6.5 months in French training I know this very well!) All in all, I’m optimistic that Reid will turn out to be a “French girl” just as she thinks I want.

Two minutes

Thursday, November 27th, 2008

Have you ever noticed how slowly 2 minutes passes when a small child, let’s say a girl of 4, is saying, “Mama, Mama, Maa-maa,” over and over. And while you’re taking note of each second, have you wondered whether a much-deserved 2 minute silent treatment is an effective punishment for a kid who spoke – loudly – while you were talking on the phone or whether is an effective punishment for a mother who answered her cell phone while driving? I’ve had time to ponder this question but the constant “Mama, Maa-maa” prevented me from reaching any conclusions.

Photo with Santa Claus

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

Reid and I went to the mall last night to see Santa. I noticed last Tuesday that there was no one on Santa’s lap, let alone in line, and wanted to get a photo under the same conditions. Reid was excited by the prospect of seeing the Jolly Old Elf and telling him what she wants for Christmas – still a dolly and a house for the dolly – and even talked about getting her picture taken in positive terms. Until we started up the ramp to St Nick’s stage, that is. Midway up Reid stopped and said she didn’t want to get her picture taken with Santa unless I went with her. I had outsmarted her, though – I was prepared for the request and already wearing a red shirt. Last year I was wearing nothing special, or maybe something worse than that, and so I had to buy a sweater before we got our picture taken.

We walked right up to Santa’s throne, or rather, I walked up dragging Reid who was clinging to the leg that was farthest from Santa. Place d’Orleans has a throne that seats Santa and another adult or maybe two kids. I’m glad for this foresight since I don’t think Santa wants me on his lap! I got Reid on my lap, again as far away from Santa as possible, but couldn’t convince her to speak to him. He was a handsome and authentic-looking Santa who could have spoken with her in English or French – I love that about our neighbourhood. Reid and I had discussed the fact that we’d be seeing a “helper Santa” since the real one is busy with the elves at the North Pole. I thought that she might be less intimidated but it doesn’t seem to have helped. Once we were done, Reid did accept a colouring book from Santa. We’ll have that to build on for next year ;+)

Unlike all previous years, Reid seems to be smiling during the picture. We have pictures of her crying outright, just plain unhappy and looking at Santa like he’s an alien or maybe just a freak. I joked with Ken that I figure Reid will let me stop appearing in her pictures with Santa once she has a husband to take my place. Really, her fear of strange men dressed in red is probably healthy. We tell her not to talk to strangers but it’s okay to snuggle with them for pictures?

If you’re thinking of a picture with a mall Santa, go soon and avoid the crowds. You’ll also find out what your kids want while there is still a chance that a store might have it in stock. If you have a story about taking a kid to see Santa, I’d love to hear it.

What you wish for

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

Reid still tells us frequently that she doesn’t want to go to school and so she was pleased to learn on Thursday that having pink eye would keep her out of school on Friday. It was the cap to a chopped up day for Ken. He took Reid to school for 8:00, picked her up at 11:00 to go to a dentist appointment, dropped her off again about 1:00 and received a call at 2:30 informing him that he needed to come back because the teachers though Reid had pink eye. Ken took Reid straight to the walk-in clinic and after a couple of hours (including the time in the examining room) was home with the following diagnosis: the doctor didn’t see any signs of pink eye but if they appeared, we were to put antibiotic drops in. And, no, Reid couldn’t go to school on Friday despite the lack of symptoms. It turned out to be a moot point since Reid definitely had a pink eye on Friday morning. I was glad that Ken had planned to be at home anyway but having Reid’s “help” didn’t necessarily advance his plans for the day.

On Friday morning, Reid and I were discussing what the day held in store for her when she realized that she would be missing “wear anything you want” day, in other words she doesn’t have to wear her uniform on Fridays. Next she remembered that she would also be missing the first show and tell session of the year. These realizations did not please her in the least! Seizing the opportunity to take advantage of this Learning Opportunity (if I could make these words blink, I would) and not subtly at all talked about how she frequently doesn’t want to go to school when, in fact, it is a good place to be. I didn’t actually say, “Be careful what you wish for.” But I did think it.

Reid is excited for this Friday to arrive because it will be triple-great: where anything day, show and tell, and crazy hat day. Now if only I can figure out how to make the hat that Reid has in mind. She was music and lights. I’m not that good at electronics.

SENSational Friday

Monday, November 24th, 2008

Ken, Reid and I went to Scotiabank Place on Friday night to take part in the SENSational Friday activites organized by United Way/Centraide in Ottawa. We had lots of fun and the event caused Reid to ask questions about why we were there which led to a discussion of why we give money to United Way each year. I do so hope that Reid will consider charity to be a necessity of life and will take advantage of all opportunities to discuss how people must give if they’re able and accept help when they must. Besides the thrill of getting our picture taking with Spartacat, Jason Spezza and Brendan Bell, we skated on the Ottawa Senators‘ ice and played a variety of games on the concourse.  If you haven’t made your donation yet, don’t delay. The 2008 campaign ends on Friday.

Here are a few pics to show you just how much fun we had.
Those famous men in red:

On the ice:
In the penalty box:

Kiss a Senator:
Eye on the puck:
Games of strength

Back where he belongs – Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

Reading with Dad
After 3.5 months in Afghanistan, Ken is back where he belongs – in his chair, reading to Reid.

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.

Thinking of everyone

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

Reid and I went to Fabricland on Sunday to choose some flannelette for Christmas pajamas that Grandma Joyce will be making for the littlest ones. Note that I didn’t say “little” Reid and Dylan would object to being called little now that they are 4 and attend school.

Reid’s first choice was lavender taffetta. I ruled it out on price, warmth and the reaction that I imagined Dylan would have if someone showed him lavender taffetta pajamas. That image made me smile, though. I fell in love with some white flannelette with red snowmen printed on it that made me think of Grandma Joyce’s good brown dishes. Reid wasn’t impressed with the snowmen fabric but did find a Christmasy print on a pink background that met an unspecified criteria. When I asked whether Dylan would like it (not to mention Dylan’s dad), she put it right back and chose some fabric with a red background and primary colour print. Amazingly, the fabric Reid chose was 50% off. She obviously lacks my knack for preferring the most expensive item.  With the price of Reid’s fabric in mind, I wandered back to the table from where the red snowmen were calling to me to look at the price, thinking perhaps Reid could have two new nightgowns. It seems that the love I felt was unrequited given the $18.98/metre price tag. If it loved me back, it would have been on sale, don’t you think? Still, I carried the bolt of fabric around while I hunted for pajama patterns.

Reid has decided, for reasons unknown to me, that she wants a nightgown. She had one when she was about 2 but hasn’t had another since. I don’t wear them myself, having grown up without central heating and all. When looking at patterns, she was able to narrow down her preference to the nightgown that appeared in the pattern envelope that also depicted a night cap. Which she also now needs, of course. We had much more difficulty in finding a simple pattern for pajamas for the boys. It seems that boys under 7 aren’t supposed to wear pajama tops that don’t have buttons. There was a cute pair depicted on a pattern envelope that also had instructions for a nightshirt for a dog. That pattern was out of stock. Max, Zoey and Adam’s dog (who I’ve never seen and whose name has been withheld from me) will have to hope someone makes them bows instead.

Throughout the long pattern search, waiting for the patterns to be pulled and the fabric cut, and while I was in line to pay, Reid was much very well behaved. At certain points, she was displaying more patience than I was feeling. We had taken in a magnetic drawing board which entertained her for a while and the older lady at the pattern table handed Reid some paper and a pencil and talked to her. Reid also looked at the fabric and tried to talk me into purchasing a few other kinds but not in a pushy way. We had a nice time of it and Ken got to watch the Chicago Bears play on tv. I’m not sure he enjoyed himself as much as we did. Poor Bears. Poor Ken.

When Reid showed Ken the patterns, she noticed that the pattern for the boys’ pajamas had a nightgown *and* slippers as well. Immediately, she decided that she wanted the new nightgown. I explained that she could have the other nightgown (which looks easier to make) with its matching nightcap and the slippers from the other pattern envelope. I’m going to have to make a quick stop at another Fabricland to buy the trim for the hats and the soles of the slippers and then get everything sent to Grandma Joyce. She has a lot of sewing ahead of her. Tis the season and all.

Happy birthday, Pam

Friday, November 14th, 2008

First, I have to say that it is difficult for to imagine that my siblings are having birthdays when it is obvious to me that none of us are getting any older. That being said, I’ve decided to write a list of gifts that Aunt Pam deserves this year:

* An “I survived my first child’s wedding” t-shirt. Brianna and George were super-organized (okay, mostly it was Brianna’s show) but I can only imagine that there must have been stress for Aunt Pam. Aunt Pam was cool, calm and collected (at least on the outside) and didn’t drink too much and have to be half-carried to the car. Oh wait, that was one of my aunts at my wedding.
* The biggest gold star ever made for coming to Reid’s and my aid that first week in September when Reid had a crazy integration schedule and I needed to be at my school instead of driving to and fro with Reid.
* A salon hair treatment for touching up my roots in that hotel in Belleville. Wow, did I ever need that!
* A warm tingly feeling each and every time Reid and I speak *of* her. We do so often but are much less successful speaking *to* her on the phone.
* A super-delicious cake that isn’t white. I learned once, too late, that she doesn’t like white cakes. Maybe a nice carrot cake with cream cheese icing would do. It has to be delicious in order to be good enough for my biggest sister.

Reid, Ken and I are wishing nothing but the best for this next year. Happy birthday, biggest sister!

Big cut

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

Before Ken left, I joked that maybe I’d get Reid’s hair cut as a “welcome home” present for him. His response was, or was something close to, “Please do.” We’ve been discussing – maybe “discussing” is too mild a term – Reid’s hair since she was months old. I’ve been putting ponytails in Reid’s hair since she was 6 months old and she has been crying or fussing during the process ever since. Ken takes her tears to heart whereas I think of them as normal for a girl getting her hair done. I’m sure that means I’m evil or tricked by the fashion industry to accept pain for the sake of beauty but that’s what I think

In any case, when Reid asked to get her hair cut when we were in Niagara Falls, I agreed. When she changed her mind, I said that was “okay” also. When Reid asked again about a haircut last Friday, I agreed and mentally delegated the task to Aunt Karin and Uncle Roger. I was afraid that I’d cry when the stylist cut off Reid’s braid and that would be an especially bad thing to do to a girl who has a bit of a phobia about her haid (see above ;+) I duly made an appointment at the Melon Head’s hair salon for kids and Aunt Karin and Uncle Roger took Reid while I cleaned my house – or at least worked at cleaning my house – in anticipation of Ken’s return.

Uncle Roger took some pictures of the process. In most Reid’s eyes are looking off in space but she is, in fact, watching one of the televisions hanging from the ceiling. It wasn’t a stressful experience for her at all. Aunt Karin said that *she* had tears in her eyes when Reid’s ponytail was cut off but Reid shook her head to feel how light it was without the 10-12 inches the lady was holding. The stylist was a bit worried once she realized that she had cut Reid’s hair in the presence of an aunt and uncle and not Reid’s parents. It was too late to fix the situation by that point but I wonder if she asked the adults who accompanied the next child if one of them was the parent.

Two of the other stylists braided Reid’s hair – or the hair that had been Reid’s – to donate to Angel Hair, one of the charities that makes wigs for people who have lost their hair due to cancer. Aunt Karin said there was a moment when it looked like was going to protest not being allowed to take her hair home but it passed and she is now proud to have shared her hair with a child who needed it.

Reid’s hair is now cut to her chin. I told her that was the choice: as was or chin-length. She talked about cheek-length, as in cut even with her cheek bone but I vetoed that. Even Ken would have thought that a bit drastic. It seems Reid has a bit of her dad’s curls in her hair – not a curl exactly but body at the back – I remember that it was there when she was wee little and had hair this short but I’d forgotten. Washing and combing Reid’s hair is a dream at this length but I think she’ll protest more about the combing as her memories of having long hair fade. For right now, I remind her how much better it is and she stops complaining. I miss the braids but I guess I can always do my own hair. (But I probably won’t.)

Now for the reveal…

One last combin

The braid that was

Liking what she sees

Going for “ooh la la!”

Monday, November 10th, 2008

Warning: this might seem like too much info for some of you

I was late picking Reid up on Friday night. When she asked me why, I told her that I’d been to have my legs waxed so that Ken would say ‘Ooh, la la’ when he sees them. Reid immediately and vehemently declared, ‘I want that!’ I explained that her leg hair didn’t need to  be removed and, in any case, Ken would be very impressed to see her in glasses. Well, Reid decided to one-up me but good with her hair cut. I am pretty sure she will steal the show with her new, short ‘do. I think that she look like a little British school girl or perhaps like Madeline. And, lucky Reid, her transformation didn’t require any pain.