Archive for February, 2009

The can opener was too much

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Ken was at home last week. I thought that he was going to rest and relax but he ended up doing things around house. We really do need a live-in housekeeper/handyman. If you know of anyone with these sorts of talents who would trade them for room and board, send them right to me.

But I digress. I took Reid (and the car) to school on Tuesday so that I wouldn’t have to go home before going to Melissa’s. I’m not sure that Ken has planned to go anywhere but he did mention that I never would have stayed home without a car. This was true but I laughed because it’s foolish to care about it, whether it’s me or him. On Wednesday, we had a pot luck lunch at the office and I’d signed up to bring vegetarian chili. I needed the car again to get everything downtown and Ken had another comment about being left car-less again. Ken was watching as I packed up the crockpot, cans of beans and the can opener. When the can opener went into the bag, Ken said, “What?! The can opener. You’re even taking the can opener?” Apparently not having a car at his disposal is made more outrageous when the car leaves with the can opener inside. Who knew?

All of a sudden

Friday, February 27th, 2009

As I watched Reid in her swimming class on Sunday, I noticed that she could propel herself 1.5-2.0 metres without touching the bottom. I suppose we’ve been closer and closer to this point over a number of weeks but all of a sudden, Reid was swimming. Okay, okay, Reid didn’t go from not swimming to swimming in an instant but I think that I had mama-blinders on that helped me to ignore this evidence of Reid growing up. It hasn’t been that long since she wouldn’t get her face wet but now, it’s honest-to-goodness swimming that she does. I can still remember like it was yesterday when Reid learned to walk (or at least I see the photos and the scenes seem to be very recent, except my hair was short). On the one hand, I’m delighted that Reid is mastering this new skill. I admire how she focused on improving the skills that kept her from passing Preschool B. But I’m not ready for her to learn to drive a car and that seems to be the next step after learning to swim. Is it too late to pull her out of swimming class?

A young girl’s thoughts turn to hockey

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

Reid and I went skating with Melissa and Ben at an outdoor rink in their neighbourhood on Sunday afternoon. Ben was eager to play hockey with the big kids but spent some time skating on the “puddle” with Reid first. The 3 years difference in their ages and the fact that one is a girl and the other a boy aren’t really barriers when they’re playing outside – or at least not in Reid’s mind. Unfortunately, despite the weekly skating lessons since September, Reid is not as proficient a skater as Ben. When they did go to the rink with boards and nets, Reid tried to skate and handle the puck a bit with the big boys and then decided to play goalie instead. The older boys, who were 13 or 14, refused to take shots on my pink-suited 4-year-old girl. She didn’t tell them that she was 4 *and a half* but I doubt it would have made a difference. I talked Reid away from the net and Ben even agreed to shoot on the net at the other end for a bit. She wanted back into the game, though.

Goalie Reid and Forward Ben

Back at our house, Reid had lots to say about skating and said that she wanted to play hockey in the fall when Ken asked her. I wish I knew other hockey families in the area. I don’t know anything about when to register, where to find used equipment of any of that. Luckily, it’s spring and the right time of year for a young girl’s thoughts to turn to hockey. Far better than September …

Commentary on our parenting skills

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

Reid wanted to play “baby” one weekend morning recently and, for once, I got to be the baby. I don’t understand why Reid wants to be the baby in a game since she is the baby in real life but usually she chooses that role. When she is the “mama”, though, I see how she sees me or maybe how she thinks I should be.

I tried to convince Reid to join me in the big bed for a cuddle with Daddy. Reid said that she couldn’t; she had things to fix in “my” bedroom. “Daddy was supposed to do it. But he didn’t do it.” Her tone was resigned, final. Ken offered a rude comment that Reid couldn’t here. It’s nice not to be the parent in the spotlight, especially when the light isn’t particularly flattering.

At one point, Reid declared that I needed a haircut. When I said that I was afraid, Reid quickly reassured me that she would be right there with me. (That’s the sort of thing I’d say.) Then, she added, “I’ll cut it myself.” (NOT something I’d say.) I told Ken that the latter bit of information made me more afraid and Reid, hearing the comment, reassured me that Daddy would be there, too. I tried another tack and asked my “mama” if she thought I was pretty. “You’re pretty at the front,” Mama-Reid said. “But you’re not pretty from the front. You need the back of your hair cut.” The latter was said in a firm voice, brooking no argument. (I like to think that I would never tell Reid that she wasn’t pretty, other than that her actions aren’t pretty.) Being a wiley Baby-Mama, I distracted Mama-Reid from the haircut with breakfast. I did say that we don’t ever *really* cut hair but I’m not sure if she was ever intending to try.

Brushes with fame – or, at least, the famous

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

After posting those pictures of Obama-mania, I thought I’d write about Reid’s recent encounter with a celebrity. I bought a subscription to the TD Family Adventures series at the National Art Centre Orchestra back in the fall and the second installment took place on Valentine’s Day. The conductor, Boris Brott, dressed as “Boris the Explorer” in a safari outfit, complete with the knee-high socks and a pith helmet. More importantly, from Reid’s perspective, he was joined on stage by Daniel Cook. Yes, that Daniel Cook.

I hadn’t known that Daniel Cook would be there but my trusty CBC Radio One told me about it on Friday and so Reid and I were pumped about it for a good day and a half. When we first arrived at the National Arts Centre, I said, “Look! It’s Daniel Cook. [bomp, bomp].” Okay, I might not have attempted the musical bit but every time I think of Daniel Cook’s name I hear that part of the theme song. Reid was eager to walk over to see him. We weren’t allowed to join the line of autograph seekers as he had to go backstage but we planned out the quickest route back there from our seats. Once the conference was over, we made a beeline to the autograph table and arrived second. We waited a few minutes and then HE came out. I asked Reid if she wanted to stand next to him for a photograph but she didn’t. I handed her the programme, which had a picture of Daniel Cook on it and she walked up to the table. Then, quick as a wink, Reid tossed the programme in front of Daniel Cook, dropped to her knees and crawled over to hide behind my legs. When he looked up from saying good bye to the girls who had been first in line, Daniel Cook saw a programme on the table and a 37-year-old woman smiling at him. The lady – his mother? his agent? – sitting next to him explained where Reid was and he wrote his name as requested. Reid wouldn’t come up to get the programme but took it from me as soon as we got away from the table. If you’re wondering, he looks about the same at 11 as he did when he was on This is Daniel Cook. He’s taller and seems thinner but I’d have recognized him on the street, especially since he was wearing his trademark orange t-shirt. I bet he doesn’t wear orange when he’s not working!

But it’s fun to eat out

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

Two Sundays past, Reid and I met Melissa for lunch at the food court in the mall by our house. As Reid dressed after swimming last Sunday, Reid asked if we could go to a restaurant for lunch. When I said, “no”, she asked if we could eat at the grocery store. I repeated that we were eating at home and Reid said plaintively, “But it’s fun to eat out.” Truer words were never spoken. Reid really is my daughter, you know. I reminded  her that we’d had hotdogs for lunch on Saturday and we headed for home. I noticed that Reid’s jam sandwich from Saturday was still on the passenger seat, safely in its Tupperware, and offered it to her. She accepted it and announced that she was going to eat in the car and then stay in it to play while I went in the house. I guess that Reid is willing to interpret “eating out” to include any meal that doesn’t occur within the confines of the main part of our house. It’s good that she is flexible about food, since I’m the chief cook in our family. ;+)

Celebrating 100 years of powered flight in Canada

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

Today, February 23rd, is the centennial of powered flight in Canada. Reid and I didn’t have a chance to fly in the Silver Dart (or even a replica) but we did see a flypast of heritage airplanes when we were at the Sun Life Snowflake Kingdom enjoying Winterlude and took time to pose at the displays from the Canada Aviation Museum.

Reid in a helicopterReid and Mama in an airplane

Snow, sunshine and science

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

We went to the Sun Life Snowflake Kingdom on Saturday morning for what I expected to be a short visit yesterday that turned into 3 hours and included riding on a dog sled (I’m a total sucker for new experiences, even at a cost of $5 per kid and $10 per adult), posing at the Canada Aviation Museum’s display for the 100th anniversary of powered flight in Canada, walking by the army vehicles and tents, watching performers with an airplane the length of our dining room table and another who was outfitted all in white and moved sort of like a robot. The latter reminded me of the fellow in Battery Park who was decked out like the Statue of Liberty or one of the “Tin Men” on Sparks Street in the summer. We almost went ice fishing, too, but then I realized I had no idea what I’d do with a fish that was still in possession of its head, tail and innards.

Reid was eager for her first slide down the hill on an inner tube but I had to cajole her into a second slide and she refused all subsequent trips. She must not find them as exciting when we only wait 5 minutes or less. I, on the other hand, would have liked a few more runs now that Reid goes alone and will pull her tube back up the slope. Or, she did pull it up on her own once but as soon as I got close she tried to talk me into pulling it while she rode in it and held onto the tow-strap for mine. I wasn’t that gullible, though. We had hotdogs from a vendor to supplement what I’d carried in. The air was so cold that the hotdogs steamed from the first bite to the last.

After our lunch, Reid remembered the stage near the entrance and we arrived just in time to see a group of Innu do a bit of throat-singing and lots of dancing and gymnastics-type activities. There was a skit that involved a polar bear, seal and seal-hunter that made me a bit nervous of Reid’s reaction but she was okay with it in the end. My toes were cold by this point. Reid denied feeling any sort of ill effect but I mentioned the chemistry magic show at Carleton University and she agreed that it would worth leaving the Snowflake Kingdom to see it.

We saw the flypast of heritage airplanes we walked to the car. The older planes made a few loops but the Snowbirds didn’t hang about nearly as long. The Snowbirds are visiting 100 towns and cities this year as part of the centennial celebrations. I bet that means they’ll be appearing somewhere near you.

We worked our way from the parking lot at Carleton University to the appointed lecture hall for the Chemistry Department’s Magic Show. There were hands-on activities but we arrived just as they were wrapping up. We took a loooong tunnel to get to the show. After walking for several minutes, remember Reid has little legs for all she considers herself to be nearly a giant, she asked me how I knew we were in a tunnel. I pointed out the lack of windows and doors as indicators and Reid was satisfied. She didn’t ask *why* we were in a tunnel but as a native Ottawan, I’m sure she knew it was because of our extreme weather – like Siberia in the winter and Delhi in the summer as a favourite quote of mine says. The magic show – a free event – was packed! Reid and I got there before the crowds did, a benefit of having missed the hands-on activities, and each had a seat. Once it was obvious that there would be people sitting on the concrete steps, I brought Reid into my lap. Never let it be said that I didn’t participate in Kindness Week!

The first “trick” in the magic show wasn’t going quite as planned, or at least not as fast as anticipated, and so the fellow added more of the combustible to the mix and much smoke resulted. The smoke was impressive and there was flame, too, and to complete the trifecta, in the end there was a fire alarm. We all had to evacuate the building until the firefighters arrived and gave the “all clear”. Reid was happy to see the firefighters in their yellow helmets and the fire boss in his red helmet. We were back in our seat within half an hour. I’d had a bag for our things with us and had left it in place and we ended up back where we started. Many others hadn’t thought to save their spots and ended up separated or on the steps rather than sitting  together as they had been. Reid and I settled back in for the rest of the magic show. She settled in more comfortably than me and was fast asleep when I checked why she hadn’t responded to a comment. Since the way out was blocked and I couldn’t see lugging Reid all the way to the car, I settled back and enjoyed the chemical reactions, flashes, bangs and other “magic” tricks. I hope that Reid manages to stay awake next year to see more of the show.

All this to say that Saturday was brought to us by the letter “S” – we had lots of snow, sun and science.

When Obama came to Ottawa

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

I was on my way to a meeting about 9:30 and couldn’t resist checking out the scene on Parliament Hill, even though US President Obama hadn’t yet arrived in Ottawa.

No one walked on the streetsThe streets were closed. Being Canadian, the pedestrians – me, included – stayed on the sidewalks.

Men working overheadSome of those involved in the “work overhead” were snipers. Just saying…

Obama-manThe “SnObamaman” got lots of attention.

Building a snowmanThere were many more children than I expected. They enjoyed the snow.

Maybe we can tooThese drummers from Nunavut are carrying a sign that says, “Maybe we can too.” That was the mood in a nutshell.

My bus was stopped dead on a street for about 25 minutes, and my trip home took and 100 minutes instead of 30. It wasn’t so bad, given the excitement. One of my fellow bus riders said she was “trapped in the seventh circle of hell” but she exaggerated.

Have you ever thought of pottery class?

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

A friend of mine has enrolled her kids, 2 boys and a girl aged 7-11, in pottery classes the last couple years. I thought it was a neat idea but let it float by me. Then, one evening I picked up the local arts information booklet and noticed that there is a pottery school in my part of the city and that it offers parent and child pottery classes. Reid’s school focuses on physical activities but her teacher admits to beng less adept at arts and crafts. Since I’m partial to crafty things, I decided to sign Reid and me up for the pottery class. With only one class under my belt – Ken went to the first one with Reid – I have to say that I wholeheartedly recommend that you search for a pottery class in your neighbourhood.

There are practical lessons to be learned, even if you don’t take up pottery. For example,

Reid at pottery classWhen you want to control the thickness of your dough, use slats of wood on either side of the part you’re rolling.

 Reid at pottery classThose odd plastic doilies that your kooky aunt gave you are great for putting patterns in your dough.

Reid at pottery schoolThose slats I mentioned above are also useful as straight-edges.

Reid at pottery classAlways write your name on your work. If you’re Reid, you will develop a special way of writing your initials – say backwards and forwards – so that your work will be especially special.

It’s good to stretch your horizons. Next, I’m going to check into spinning and weaving or maybe a traditional “fine art” class or who knows what.

View more Works for me Wednesday posts at Rocks in My Dryer or look at my previous Works for me Wednesday entries.