Archive for February, 2009

Does hanging out with me count as “professional development” for Reid?

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

Reid and I took Ken to work on Friday so that we’d have the car for her PD day. She was excited to go into Ken’s office but suffered an attack of shyness at first. Once someone asked Reid about her pottery class, though,  she remembered that she had lots of words to use. Her delight at Ken going to class with her hasn’t diminished. After Reid had charmed all who came near, I took her to FoodBasics. We got our groceries and then went to Dollarama, or at least we were headed there when Reid noticed the “kiddie park” with its 4 ride-on vehicles. Reid tried each in turn and asked for money to put in one. She doesn’t usually ask for money because I never give her any but that one time when Grandma Joyce gave her money in Belleville is obviously still vivid in Reid’s memory. After Dollarama, Reid declared herself ready for lunch. It was 9:30. The smell of baking bread from the Subway was very appealing, though, and after a few more minutes at the kiddie park we went to Subway for a snack. I’m much better at saying “no” to a request for a loonie to put in a mechanical horse than I am to refusing a food request. We finally got back home about 10:45. It’s amazing how Reid and I can while away time. I heard echoes of Uncle Roger’s “shopping-related injuries” comment as I thought of how we’d spent our morning.

We baked a white cake supreme – from scratch – and two loaves of bread in the afternoon. By the time Ken got home, the kitchen was a disaster and I couldn’t fault him for asking what, exactly, we’d done all day. (Well, I shouldn’t have faulted him. I did so anyway.) After supper I assembled our cakes into “Aunt Sharon’s Pineapple Dessert” as a treat for Ken who doesn’t care for chocolate. It was way richer than what we’re used to eating, even though I didn’t frost the sides or use all of the filling. And then I learned that Ken doesn’t care for cake generally. Odd thing for a man to hide from his own true love for almost 14 years, eh? (Of course I would remember if he’d ever mentioned it. ;+)

If Reid wants to be a mom who hangs out at malls and bakes cakes, we can count Friday as professional development for her and her teachers. If she has other aspirations, though, it was just a day in the life of a girl on the go.

Outdoor rinks – Kindness Week

Monday, February 16th, 2009

It’s Kindness Week in Ottawa. I’m not sure why exactly; we’re not nastier as a city than others. The website that supports the initiative talks about their vision “To strengthen a culture of compassion, thoughtfulness and kindness and thereby prevail over tendency toward cynicism.” The heart of Kindness Week is definitely in the right place and, come February in our cold city, we may need the reminder to be kind and to recognize the kindness of others. I’m going to not just be kind – because I try to always be kind – but also recognize the kindness of others.

Outdoor rink in February

We have more than 230 outdoor rinks in Ottawa and they seem to depend on the services of volunteers. We have a “puddle” (ice with snowbanks around it) on the parking lot of the soccer field near our house. I only discovered it when we were snowshoeing with Uncle Roger. And then I saw a number of folks out shovelling the snow off after the last snow we had. I don’t know who they were, whether they’d been formally organized to clear the snow or if they just saw that it needed to be done. I think that they were kind, though, and if you know them or are them (in one form or another), Reid and I would like to say, “thanks!” We were skating today and had fun.

If you have “Caught someone being kind“, you can enter the details or read other people’s stories by clicking on a map.

No rules against daddies in pottery class

Friday, February 13th, 2009

As I mentioned, Ken took Reid to her first “Parent and Child” pottery class on Sunday. It would seem that in this context, as with most parenting magazines, “parent” is code for “mother”. Ken was the only adult male in the class and the kids were mostly girls as well. He said that the moms seemed to know each other as well and so he was doubly the outsider by virtue of his being a newbie and a man.

The fact that Ken was the only daddy in the class was not lost on Reid. She told me about it specifically and said also, “There’s no rule against daddies at pottery class!” But there was laughter, and maybe pride, in her voice at the audaciousness of *her* daddy.  It’s good that Reid appreciates the lengths Ken will go to for her. Not that she always notices but I try to do so.

In which I am as wimpy as the stereotypical man

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

I woke up in the middle of the night Tuesday coughing and feeling like my bronchia were on fire. I finally went to sit in Ken’s recliner and felt well enough to snooze a bit. When Reid woke in the morning, I went up and lying down with her brought the fire back. Not being dumb, I figured out the connection and kept myself upright for the rest of the day. Despite a nap, I wimped out of my offer to take Reid to swimming class since Ken had a meeting to attend afterward. While they were gone I decided they deserved a clean wife/mother and took a bath. Lying in the tub was enough to make me feel awful again. I managed to gulp my supper with Ken and Reid but left the table before they were done. This is the part where I truly began my swanning and wingeing. Reid immediately declared herself full but wasn’t allowed to follow me. I’m a bad influence, don’t you know?

I managed to read a couple of stories to Reid before sending her upstairs to bed. She cried a bit when I wouldn’t come up and then she covered me with one of her quilts, gave me a couple of her books and a toy. Finally, with a teardrop on each cheek, Reid gave me a kiss and a long, squeezy hug. Oh, is there anything as strong as mama-guilt. Well, at that moment, my pain triumphed over the mama-guilt and Reid went upstairs with her perfectly capable and loving daddy. I was asleep in the recliner before Ken got back downstairs. I’m such a baby! Don’t ever let me say Ken is a suck when he is sick. He isn’t as bad as me.

Summer camps – yes, already

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

The deadline for deciding which weeks Reid would be at the day camp that her school runs is tomorrow. Taking a leaf out of Melissa’s book, I printed the calendars for June through September and then cut and glued them so that the weeks ran in single lines, regardless of months changing.

Next, I noted the last and first days of school and decided that it would be best for Reid to attend the last week of school to be sure to be comfortable when class started. After that, I was left staring at the remaining 9 weeks. Then, I hit a small but important barrier. Ontario has Junior Kindergarten for 4 year olds, which means that Reid is without her usual care arrangements but isn’t eligible to attend the vast majority of summer camp, or day camp, programs. Most offer full day programs for children who are 6 or older. Half-day programs are so short as to be completely impractical for our family with two of us working full time. I think that she would enjoy a camp at the Canada Children’s Museum, National Gallery of Canada, or the Canada Science and Technology Museum. They are among those who don’t want little kids, though. I invited, okay begged, my niece to bring her family to Ottawa for one week so that Reid and Dylan can attend the half-day camp at the Canada Agriculture Museum.

I’ll take some time off to hang with Reid but since it looks like Ken will be on French training we won’t be taking a family trip. I sweet-talked Grandma Joyce into agreeing to watch over – or coordinate the watching over – of Reid for a week. I may have assigned a week and then asked about her availability but since the result is the same, why quibble.

Cosmic Adventures and Starr Gymnastics take 5 year-olds for full-day camps. Since Reid will hit that milestone on July 25th, I’ve penciled in a week at each of these for August. For the rest of the summer, Reid will spend time at her school’s day camp. She’ll enjoy spending time with the mixed age group, I think. She’ll be among the oldest and there will be times when she is playing with the toddlers and preschoolers. Reid likes to help out and she’ll have some opportunities to do so even while many of the activities, like swimming and soccer, are offered to each age group separately.

According to the Ottawa Camps website, the Ottawa Citizen will be running a summer camp guide on February 21st. I’ll check it out and still be able to juggle some weeks around if the most fabulous camp ever is featured and accepts girls who are 4.5 or 5. I scrolled through last year’s guide and I’m not optimistic but it’ll be worth a few minutes of scanning.

Andrea at the Fishbowl is tackling Summer day camps for Ottawa kids as well and knowing the type of folks who comment, that’ll be a resource to track as well.

Winter wonderland – Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

Remember when I was complaining about the cold and snow we’ve had this winter? Well, I should spend some time apologizing because Ottawa really is a fine place in the winter, as these pics of Reid, Uncle Roger and me demonstrate.

Reid on snowshoes


Reid in sleigh on the Rideau Canal

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.

Didn’t miss me at all

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

Ken and Reid had a busy weekend while I was in Toronto. They started out with a visit to the library after school to choose some books and a video. Reid sees this as a perfect start to her weekend, or any evening, for that matter. They were at Canadian Children’s Museum when it opened at 9:00 on Saturday morning and stayed for 2.5 hours. I’m not sure where they spent their time exactly but I bet Ken had to suggest that they leave in the end. Reid’s frequent visits don’t diminish her desire to spend lots of time at the cargo ship, bus, theatre and so on. They ate their lunch in the Café du Musée before heading to the Canada Aviation Museum. The “airplane museum” is Ken’s favourite museum in Ottawa, I think. I tend not to go unless the Canada Science and Technology Museum Corporation member’s winter party is held there. Reid used to like to go but the last couple of visits haven’t gone so well. Where once Reid like to find family groupings – the helicopter family, for example, with its big (Daddy), middle-sized (Mama) and small (Reid) ‘copters. I don’t think that Ken will be taking Reid with him any time soon.

Reid started a new swimming class on Sunday morning and the highlights seems to have been jumping into water that was over her head. It hasn’t been that long since Reid wouldn’t jump into shoulder-deep water unless the teacher was holding her hands. Reid also told me about finding a diving ring. On the first try! She explained that sometimes she doesn’t get them at all. I suggested that she would have increased success if she opened her eyes when she was under water. Reid gave me a skeptical look and said, “I don’t do that.” The “silly mama!” part of the sentence was only implied.

I signed Reid and me up for a parent-child pottery class at the Gloucester Pottery School a few weeks ago and the first class was Sunday afternoon. Since I was away, Ken eagerly filled in. Or, at least, he agreed to go in my place. I’d left telling him about this obligation to the last minute since I was pretty sure he wouldn’t want to dwell on it much in advance. In the end, I think it wasn’t as bad as anticipated. Reid’s eyes sparkled when she told me “what we made”. When I asked Ken what he had made, I learned that Reid had been speaking with the royal “we” in her description of what had been made. Ken said that Reid kept taking over his creations. I’m not how well I’ll like it if/when she does that to me. I’m not as magnanimous as Ken – it’s birth order, eh, I’m the “baby” in my heart.

I’d picked up the fixings for some kid-friendly meals – spaghetti and meat sauce, fish and chips, stirfry chicken and veggies – and they seemed to enjoy them. If it’d been me, I might have been tempted to hit the mall’s food court but Ken isn’t as keen on dining out of the house as me. Ken told me that Reid is much better behaved when I’m not around and also that she went to sleep without any trouble. I don’t think either of them me missed me overly much but they both were glad to see me. I’m glad to have had the weekend but was happy for the welcome back hugs as well.

Hooray, the buses are back!

Monday, February 9th, 2009

I saw a couple of OC Transpo buses when the train pulled into Ottawa last night but it was so late that I decided to splurge for a cab ride home. This morning, though, I rode on a bus for the first time in 2 months. It was crowded and I spent quite a while standing up but it was still better than not having a bus on which to feel crowded while standing up. Since I boarded through a back door, I didn’t get to say, “Thank goodness you’re back.” And I didn’t have the opportunity to hear the driver’s response, “I’m glad to be back.” Instead I had to wait for the driver’s welcoming words to all of us, “Back door don’t close, we aren’t going anywhere.” The people blocking the doors stepped forward, apparently having forgotten the “no driving with the doors open” rule.  Ah, life is back to normal! (For me, at least, only two-thirds of the buses are running and people on local and rural routes have weeks or months to wait.)

Tastes like …

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

Reid was eating a raisin recently and she turned to me and said, “This is like a Craisin only made from a grape.” “In fact,” said I, “raisins came first and Craisins are just dried cranberries.” Reid didn’t look convinced. It goes to show how different the foods she has access to are from what I ate as a kid, I guess.

It also makes me think a bit of David, a guy in my MA class, who asked me once what pickles started out as. I’ve been conscious since Reid’s birth to take her berry and apple picking and to point out the crops growing in fields so that no one is still smirking about a question she asked 14 years after she asked it. Of course, David asked his question during the weekend I first met Ken and that special occasion might keep it in my mind.

Sometimes I regret telling Reid exactly where her food comes from, though. For instance, on the way to school yesterday, Reid was asking in the baby chick comes from ‘”this part” – the yolk if the hard-boiled that she was in the process of eating. Since I was planning to eat one myself later, I was blocking the thought as much as I could and gave a brief “Sort of” as an answer and talked about how chicks couldn’t hatch from the eggs in our fridge because they’d gotten cold and eggs needed to be kept warm by the hens sitting on them. And then, I asked Reid about school or something in a clever bid to distract her. Reid is not easily distracted, though, and while I hoped fervently for my car pool folks to be ready so that I could leave, Reid wondered if maybe we could hatch chicks by warming the eggs that were in the fridge. Ken explained that it was too late for that and, in an undertone, agreed that it was pretty nasty what we do to chicken babies. I have to agree that it would be if you thought about it. But if I thought about it or most other food choices, we’d have to be vegetarians. I don’t think Ken would like that much (okay, at all) and Reid would much rather be a carnivore than an herbivore, if she had to choose. Omnivore suits her best, really.

Or maybe I’ll check into Ottawa’s bylaws on backyard poultry. Raising chickens would be a fun summer project don’t you think? Amy at Crunchy Domestic Goddess has been down this road. I’d have to check to see if our current pet sitters would tend them, I suppose.

[Disclaimer: the views in this message have not been approved of or even reviewed by Ken. I come up with them all be myself.]

Update: The City of Ottawa prohibits the keeping of livestock within the city limits unless in specifically zoned areas. We have some obvious farm land still but not in my neighbourhood.

Thoughts from the Passport Office line

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

The Passport Office in downtown Ottawa opens at 7:30. I joined the line at 7:15 and was about 30th in line. The Government of Canada loves me so much that they provided benches that would accommodate at least 50 people all along where were waiting. The doors opened promptly at 7:30 and the Commissionaire offered a mild sort of stand up routine after explaining what would happen next. He told us about some troublesome clients and also a bit about taking his wife for a romantic dinner last night – at Subway. He was kind of funny, like your older brother being funny (hi, Chris and Roger) more than Eddie Murphy or Jerry Seinfeld. There were signs just outside the door to the passport office that advertise passport photo-taking at the dry cleaners in the basement (in case of trouble with the ones you brought, I guess) and another advertisement for a store that sells cruise wear. I admire the just-in-time advertising.

I finished at 7:58 and I’m on my way to work. If I accomplish nothing else today, I’ll have done this. ;+)