Archive for March, 2009

Words that I’ll need to remember

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

At a hockey game in Wheatley over Christmas, Aunt Sue (who is not, of course, my aunt or Reid’s or even related to either of us) offered a bit of wisdom that I’ve decided to adopt for my own: “You’ve got 2 feet and a heart beat. You can walk.” Reid hasn’t embraced this nugget of life advice as enthusiastically as I have. When Ken and I are around, she prefers to move around by parent-power. She seems to have grown so tall lately that it seems her toes should drag on the ground when I carry her but they don’t. I’d better break her of the habit before they do. It’s good to have incentive, eh?

When you walk in the door

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

When I came in the door last Friday with a story – Scarpetta, to be exact – coming through my iPod earbuds. I greeted Ken and Reid but said that I couldn’t hear them quite yet. Reid talked anyway. As I pulled the earbuds out, I heard Reid say, “Daddy hit a woman on the way home!” In an instant, I think, “Well, that’s a heck of a way to start a weekend.” I asked Ken for details, praying that Reid’s “hitting a woman” meant that he’d hit her car. Ken’s explanation was reassuring. He’d misjudged the space between their cars when changing lanes to get into the right-turn lane. The lady in the other car insisted on going to the collision reporting station, though damage was limited to more rubbing than denting or worse. Ken didn’t know immediately where to go but Reid might have been able to give directions since she’d been there when Amanda backed into Grandma Joyce’s car a while ago. Reid seemed to find the whole thing to be an adventure but Ken was noticeably less impressed with the goings-on. Age gives you such a different perspective, doesn’t it?

Pretty please with a …

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

I discovered – okay, allowed myself to acknowledge – yesterday that naps don’t happen at March Break camp. The effect of 3 consecutive no-nap days for Reid wasn’t pretty. She was just at the end of her rope. Being the mama, I had to take the hard path and cancel a trip to the Dollar Store for Easter art supplies in favour of a quick supper and  bed when Reid was too tired to stop crying.

As we drove home, Reid kept telling me that she wanted, really wanted, to go get art supplies. Reid has started to try to improve on the power of the magic word. Mostly we’ve been hearing, “Pretty, pretty please,” with a plaintive tone to enhance the “pretties”. Finally, I suggested, “With a cherry on top”. Reid has taken this concept and built on it. By the time we were turning onto our street last night, she was pleading, “Pretty, pretty, please. With a cherry on top. And a banana. And. A. Cookie.” Reid definitely knows my weaknesses. But being a mean, mean mama, I still said, “no.” She might have kicked and yelled, then. And maybe she even cried. Some would say she threw a full-fledged, no holds barred tantrum but I won’t say those things because Ken is already feeling bad about being away. Instead, I’ll just that Reid decided to stay in the car while I fed the cats and hoped with all my might that the neighbours wouldn’t decide that Reid was in actual distress. A cuddle on the couch put the matter to rest as Reid told me that she had to run, skate and play too much at camp and she was tired. Too true!

The nights are harder

Monday, March 16th, 2009

Reid and I took Ken to the airport at bedtime on Saturday night. She had cried a bit at supper when she thought of him leaving and then when Ken got out of the car, Reid cried quite a lot. Poor man. He doesn’t like to travel to begin with and then to have tears at departure. Well, it just isn’t fair! Reid kept up the tears and fussing after we left Ken standing at the curb. She kept saying that she wished that he didn’t have to go away. I told her that he wished that he could stay and that he’d be back as soon as he could be. Then, I said that he loved and missed her and that I loved you both and that we would all be happy when we were together, or something to that effect and Reid said, in a voice breaking on a sob, “But it’s really me!” I took that to mean that it was her that was suffering far more than him or I.

Sunday was busy as usual, with swimming and pottery. Reid was able to hold her front starfish float for 7 seconds and her back starfish float for 30 seconds. The teacher challenged her to try for a minute and Reid said that she thought that she could do both for that long. I think she thinks 1 minute is shorter than 60 seconds, since her grasp of numbers is stronger than her understanding of units of time. I pulled Reid in her red wagon to pottery through the park. The path was entirely snow-covered and I had to go over a snowbank to get onto the road but it was still better than driving such a short distance. Getting Reid in and out of her seatbelt, even now that she is in a booster seat is such a hassle – though, of course, we never skip it. B accompanied us on his bike to see where we were going. In class, Reid worked entirely independently to create a landscape of a campfire with a chair beside it. I’m not sure if she set out to make the campfire or just recognized it in the form that she built randomly. Next week we’ll miss class and then at the last class we glaze and then we’re done. The 8 weeks have passed quickly.

B caught us with on the way home from pottery and as soon as we got home, I got out Reid’s bike and helmet and they rode around the block with me trailing. I think she might have grown enough that she needs the bike seat raised. She pedaled a bit while standing and seemed to go faster that way. After the loop, we sat in the driveway and worked on our paper-making a bit. We decided that the tissue paper fibres needed longer to decompose, though, and put everything into a pitcher to sit a while longer. B mixed water and corn starch together (once I figured out that what he said in French translated to corn starch) and called it an experiment. I missed what the experiment was exactly. When he was done, he and Reid painted on the driveway with the dyed goop. B was amazed that I would let Reid do such a thing but followed her suit. B and Reid drew hopscotch courts with chalk, got the hockey sticks and a ball out and played with bubbles. R, V and their parents came out, too. The kids played together and Reid helped R on his bike. It’s a cool tricycle from Radio Flyer that you can push around with a handle. I visited with V as she sat in her stroller and with the mom.

Reid had some tuna while I heated pasta and sauce for supper. She meowed a lot, especially while I was opening the can. Leo would have been proud. He scored a bit of extra tuna since I couldn’t very well give Reid some and him none. I actually got Reid through her bath and into bed more or less on time. She got sad once her head was on your pillow and she said, “When Daddy is gone, only the days are good. At night, I miss him!” and she started to cry a bit. It was good to be able to say that he would be there with us in only one week. I can keep her busy during the day but the nights will be harder.

And not a moment too soon

Friday, March 13th, 2009

Grandpa Terry, Grandma Barb and R.J. came to visit on Saturday. Reid was in the driveway, drawing with chalk and smiling at R, the boy from next door. R. is only 2.5 years so old and I miss most of what he says but I don’t think it’s because he speaks French. Reid doesn’t talk to him much at all, just gestures to share her toys or invite him to play hopscotch.

It was a relief that they arrived when Grandma Barb said they would. Reid had woke up at 5:30 and asked if Grandma Barb was there yet and then she repeated the inquiry every half hour or so, mixing in the occasional  “how much longer until Grandma will be here?” for variety until Grandma Barb finally arrived. I’d been offering up little pleas for divine intervention since I’d taken the “we’ll be there about 11:00″ to be “precisely 11:00 and not a minute later but maybe a bit sooner.” I didn’t voice the latter thought, of course, but did hope for it. Being fickle like all kids, Reid had settled into her chalk drawing and hopscotch playing by the time the van pulled in. R.J. stayed out with Reid for a few minutes and then they came in.

Reid had printed everyone’s name on papers so that they would sit in the proper places at lunch. She can make just about every letter of the alphabet, or at least the capitals. Reid had me spell each name, a letter at a time. And after each she asked, “Capital letter?” I told her a couple of times that it was best to use a small letter after the first one but Reid didn’t seem to like that response and so I just gave up and agreed, repeatedly, that a capital letter would be good if she couldn’t make the little letter.  Just as everyone was sitting down, though, Reid had second thoughts and came running to me. I sent her back to negotiate with the others. Negotiation is something at which Reid usually excels. Or at least when she tries to get a few more minutes at an activity or another books and so on, she offers many reasons to change the ruling and has a counter-offer for every decision. I guess that makes her a typical 4-year-old or dyed-in-the-world contrarian. When I got to the table, I had a plate to eat at and so Reid’s negotiation skills must have come through for her but I didn’t ask for details.

How to get kids to drink their milk

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

On Monday night I made Hyderbadi Biryani chicken and rice with a new kind of spice paste. The kind I’ve tried before was too bland and so I was pleased to find a new kind that had many fewer four-syllable ingredients. Well, the chicken we had for supper that night was definitely not bland! Reid and I added yogurt to ours to calm it down some. Grandma Barb initially refused since she isn’t a fan of yogurt. She changed her mind, though, after her first bite.

Reid worked her way through her biryani chicken and rice, alternating bites and large gulps of milks. At one point, she looked up and declared emphatically, “This is hotter than curry!” And then she took another bite. Sometimes we have to keep her at the table to get her to finish her milk but, on Monday, Reid drank 3 times her usual amount and mooched some of mine.

If I ever need reminding of what a strong influence other people have over me, Reid’s attitude to drinking milk reminds me. At day care (I know) and at school (I think), the kids have to wait until the end of the meal to get their milk. I’m a sipper, myself, and really don’t like to drink a bunch of milk all at once. Ken and I prompt Reid to drink during the meal but she often doesn’t take our advice. We just don’t have the influence we used to have. The biryani chicken and rice, though, *it* has the influence we lack.

Never let Reid say I don’t take her anywhere for lunch

Saturday, March 7th, 2009

After I wrote about Reid wanting to play hockey in the fall, Chris sent me some links and ideas for finding out about registration and inspired me to try and find some little kids playing hockey to watch since it’s playoff time for the OMHA. Reid has a swimming lesson on Sunday mornings in a rec complex that also has an ice surface. I decided we’d take our chances there since I remember running a gauntlet of equipment bags and sticks as we left after the last couple of lessons. I brought along our lunch, since Reid doesn’t mind a packed lunch, just eating at home. There was a small hitch in my plans because there was no hockey scheduled but there was a ringette game and we decided to watch that instead. Reid didn’t have too many questions about ringette beyond the basic “why are their sticks different?” This was a good thing since my exposure to ringette is limited to a game I watched Rae-Anne Scratch play about 25 years ago. (Ohmygoodness, I am old!) The game we watched involved a group of girls who seemed to be about 10 and on a formal team and their opponents, a collection of adults of both sexes and some other kids. They all seemed to be enjoying themselves and the game moved quickly from end to end. The players wore a lot less in the way of protective equipment and we saw no physical contact or digging the ring against the boards. All in all, it made a nice background to our lunch.

As we left the arena, Reid commented with a giggle, “We’re the only watchers and now we’re leaving.” I told Reid that people who watch are called “spectators”. I kept the “or peeking toms” that popped into my head to myself and responded instead to Reid’s question about the plural and singular form of spectator. I’m not sure why Reid was interested in that. But I do my best to answer whatever questions that come up and I’m glad when they’re not math or science questions.

Guitar Girl

Friday, March 6th, 2009

Reid has been exposed to guitar-playing rock musicians somewhere but not anywhere with me as far as I can remember. She has been playing air guitar quite often lately. One morning recently, as  Reid was beginning her performance, she announced that her closed eyes were sunglasses because, apparently, guitar girls must wear sunglasses. In addition to sunglasses, the guitar girls’ dress code includes skirts that fly out when they spin. As she sang and strummed, she looked the sort who would do well at Guitar Hero. Not that we own the game or anything. Reid is the cutest little headbanger I’ve ever seen. It makes a mother proud ;+)

A birthday acrostic

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

To keep things interesting, I’m going to offer Roger an acrostic for his birthday.

R – Reliable – Roger is one of those people that you can count on to come through for you.
O – Omniscient – Okay, Roger isn’t omniscient but he definitely has an answer to – or a strategy to find the answer to – just about any question that I ask him and I ask a lot of questions.
G – Grin – Roger has a crooked smile (that matches Reid’s I might add) that he’ll offer when you tickle his dry sense of humour. I seem to have a knack for making suggestions and statements that meet the criteria
E – Engaged – Maybe this is a government word but I’m a public servant and so it works for me. Roger has remained actively engaged with me despite my 20 years away from Wheatley. I’m glad and grateful for this.
R – Right – Often Roger is right,  though I don’t want to emphasize this, too much. His ego doesn’t need it ;+)

It’s too bad Roger wasn’t named Somerset because I could have used “super”, “sensitive”, “marvelous”, “terrific” and on and on.

Happy birthday, Roger! I hope it’s been a great day.

We don’t ever say those words at school

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

Reid’s been speaking more French at home lately, full sentences and in the right context, which makes sense given the feedback we’ve had from the teachers since January. Last night Reid demonstrated that she not only knows French words but also has a good accent AND control of her tone. Especially tone.

On the way to school this morning, Reid and I were talking about seasons, mumpfs (months) and days of the week. She assured me that winter/hiver and autumn/automne were easy to remember because they were the same in both languages. I agreed about autumn but questioned winter. The fact that they both end in “er” was enough for Reid. Reid still mixes up the order of the days in the week in English although she can track what happens on each day once I’ve supplied the day. I asked Reid if she knew the names of the days in French. She responded quickly, “lundi, mardi, mercredi, jeudi, vendredi.” When I prompted her for the weekend days, Reid exclaimed, “We don’t say those words at school!” Oh my, I didn’t know that.