Archive for April, 2009

Back then they didn’t have counting processes

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

Reid’s teacher wrote a note on a math sheet to say that Reid can count to 32 in French and that she skipped 33 and then said 34. I have no information to indicate whether this puts Reid at, below or above the expected level. Reid seemed a bit concerned that she hadn’t counted higher and I reassured her that she was doing well, even counting to 34. (Reid denies having missed 33.) I told her that I hadn’t learned to count to 100 until grade 1, when I was six. Reid found this interesting and asked, “Back then, you didn’t have counting processes?” I said that we just didn’t learn to count to 100 in Kindergarten  Reid said confidently, “And when you did, it ended at 100. There were no really big numbers.” I told her that we did, in fact, have big numbers way back then. Reid didn’t believe me, though. She probably thinks I’m so old that I’m losing my memory.

Big and small at the National Gallery of Canada

Monday, April 27th, 2009

Reid didn’t have school on Friday and I was super-excited that her day off coincided with a program for preschoolers at the National Gallery of Canada. I like the Gallery but since I don’t have any background in art, I’m a bit intimidated. In any case, the theme of the activity was “big and small” and I thought we could manage it.

We arrived just a bit before the program started at 10:30. The activity leaders started off with a bit of exercise where the kids made themselves very small and then they slowly got very big. They talked about big and little things and one of the kids named a spider as a small thing but Reid immediately squirmed and started whispering about “Maman”, the giant spider sculpture in front of the museum. The leaders had us all look at her/it. The kids were asked to supply the 3 rules for being in the galleries:
1. No touching the artwork;
2. No running in the galleries; and
3. No talking in loud voices;
plus a couple of others like “no hitting” and “no biting” that were supplied by the kids and deemed to be good rules for life in general.

We all trooped up the stairs to the contemporary art galleries – a place I usually move through quickly. I don’t understand most of the works and can’t explain them to Reid. The first artwork we stopped at was a mobile, twice as big as an adult and made of metal, several of the kids said it made them think of a tree. I thought it looked more like a maple key or a feather but I kept my opinions to myself since only the kids were asked to contribute. I was glad I had since it turned out that the artwork was named “Jacarinda“, after a tree that grows in hot, dry places. Next, after a series of reminders not to touch the artwork, we stopped at a piece that was made up of 137 off-white bricks, lined up one beside the next and extending out from the wall. The kids wanted confirmation that they were, in fact, looking at a work of art. They talked about how many small things could make up a large thing and then moved onto a sculpture that was made up of a series of tin boxes in a sort of ladder effect. The final piece of art looked to me, and many of the kids, to be a pile of strips of carpet. The kids grudgingly agreed that it might look like fire but said that they were pretty sure that it looked as though something might be hidden underneath. The leaders passed around tiny pom-poms and the kids each made their own little sculpture and then piled them all together to make a big sculpture – big makes small plus sharing in one fell swoop.

We went back to the Grand Hall and the kids made sculptures from Crayola Model Magic clay. We’ve never used that before. It is way cool! It’s light, like foam, but smooth and the colours don’t blend together as fast as Playdough does. When it dried, it was hard but still light. Reid made a three-scoop ice cream cone with eyes on the cone and a feather sticking out of the top ice cream ball. I was more-than-ready to eat a real ice cream by the time the activity wrapped up at 11:30 but we ate our sandwiches – the new normal is a rolled up ancient grain tortilla with luncheon meat – and started our trek to North Bay.

I’m not sure if Reid has anymore PA days this year but if she does, I hope they coincide with the National Gallery’s preschool programs.

Happy Earth Day 2009

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

This Earth Day is definitely a lot more “April showers bring May flowers” than last year’s warm, sunny one. I was more organized last year than this as well. Last year, I’d got some paper grocery bags from the fine folks at my local Loblaws. The Junior and Senior classes at Reid’s daycare decorated bags for distribution back at the Loblaws on Earth Day and used some for doing a clean-up of the play yard. Grocery bags are just right for 3 and 4 year-olds to do lawn work, for what it’s work. This year, I did nada. Reid’s school is good for sports but I doubt they’re going to celebrate Earth Day. My eco accomplishment for the year has been to unplug the microwave and convection ovens when they’re not in use. I first did this on Earth Hour and it’s been a low-disruption change though I’m not sure of the energy savings. I’d unplugged the stereo in the living room as well but we depend on it to tell us the time. We have no free-standing clocks and depend on the displays of those always-on, always-using-energy appliances that are the new bad guys in the world of energy sinks.

Since we’ve started composting and vermi-composting, installed motion detector lights in the bathroom and compact fluorescent bulbs where possible, I’m running out of ideas. Does anyone have an eco-idea to share on Earth Day? One that Reid would find to be fun or yucky, like the worms, would be best.

Mer Bleu – Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009




View More Wordless Wednesday Participants, look at my previous Wordless Wednesday entries, or check out the cute babies and kids at 5 Minutes for Mom.

Finally found that round tuit

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

After Ken and Reid left this morning, I discovered Reid’s stylish red eyeglasses sitting in their overnight resting place on the bathroom counter. Oops! I took the glasses and left the bathroom but returned just a minute later to get Reid’s spare glasses, that spend their time nestled in their case. I’d been meaning to put them in the car for situations just like this morning’s but hadn’t got around to it. This morning, the third or fourth time that one of us has had to make the home-to-school trip twice in a matter of minutes, I finally found the “round tuit” I needed.

Ken wasn’t overflowing with praise when he came back for the red glasses and I handed him both pairs but I’m pretty sure that will happen the next time Reid gets to school with a bare face.

What more could a girl ask for?

Saturday, April 18th, 2009

Wednesday night was the first night in far too long that we made it home while it was still sunny and warm. I’d sent Ken out at lunch to buy a recorder and he found a spiffy PINK one for Reid to play at Kindermusik and, apparently, at our house and in our backyard. Melissa had passed along Ben’s old soccer cleats last week and Reid had her first opportunity to take them for a test run. And so it was that Reid put on her cleats, grabbed her recorder and ran around in the sun in the backyard. What more could a girl ask for?

Anticipation or dread

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

Ken sent me an email today to ask about the reservation for us to go camping in May. He’s asked before but I’ve forgotten. I might have thought that he was eagerly anticipating our first camping trip as a family but for the subject line of his email: when is our KIA reservation. Before I could stop giggling long enough to respond, he’d sent another message to clarify that he’d meant the KOA reservation. I hope that the mistake was a simple Freudian slip or typo and not a harbinger of things to come.

By the way, if you’re looking for us on May 8th, 9th or 10th, we’ll be taking advantage of a rent one night – get one night free at the Cardinal KOA. The special is North America wide, if you’re inclined to go camping as well.

Edited to add: Ken needs his chance to respond (now and again)

Just to clarify, in case you don’t know (and who could blame you if you don’t) – KIA is short for killed in action.  This is a military term far too prevalent in my professional life and, thus, far more likely to come out my mouth (or typing fingers) than KOA.  I don’t even know what KOA stands for, except that I think it’s “K” for “camping”.  And, I am looking forward to our upcoming weekend at the KOA.

Music to my ears

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

As I was combing Reid’s hair this morning, she sang me a little song – a ditty, maybe. It went like this:
Mama makes me ouch-y. Mama makes me ouch-y.
It featured a few somewhat random vocalizations. I think that a music teacher would call it synchopated, I think. I told Reid that I liked her song and she informed me most emphatically that I was *not* supposed to like it.

When I told Ken about the song  and said that I especially liked the “ows” and “ennhs” that punctuated the song, Reid had to correct me. “Those weren’t part of the song. They were when you hurted me.” I feigned surprise. It seems to me that Ken has always suspected that I enjoy hurting Reid when I comb her hair. This morning wasn’t a revelation.

I don’t really enjoy inflicting pain, you all know that, right? I just think Reid adds a bit more drama to the experience than is absolutely necessary. I get my hair brushed without crying. Now. (Who knows what Grandma Joyce would say about me as a kid?) Reid will, too, one day.

What I haven’t mentioned

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

Melissa wished us a Happy Easter and a safe drive as we left her house last night. She said something to Reid about enjoying her time with Grandma Joyce, Dylan, and others. Reid picked up on Uncle Roger’s name and told Melissa, “When Mama and Daddy go away at night, I go to Uncle Roger’s so I don’t cry and cry and cry while they are gone.” She continued talking about his yellow house, Max-doggie and other things as I hustled her out the door.

I decided not to mention that Uncle Roger is planning to be away for part of the weekend, including the night I’d been hoping would turn out to be our “date night”. I was operating under the dictum, “The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth although not necessarily at this exact moment.” I hope Auntie M’s family and Lee-Lee (aka Kailee) appreciate the sacrifice Reid will be making.

And if you’re looking for a babysitting job this Friday night, I have just the kid for you.

Sneaky, she is not

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

There is snow falling today and I was thinking that it seems a delayed April Fool’s joke. I know, I know, it always snows in Ottawa in April but I’m as good at self-deception as the next person. It all made me think of how sneaky we were *not* last Wednesday. I was tempted to perpetuate my April Fool’s mischief on my own but I’d already told Reid about putting food colouring in the milk and I knew she’d want to be part of the caper.

Reid and I were the fastest getting ready as we’ve been in a long time but Ken was fast, too, and I had to send him upstairs to hunt for my Blackberry (which was on my hip) to give us time. Reid added a few drops of red food colouring to the milk, without getting any on herself or me, to my surprise. Ken came back down once I called to say I’d “found” my Blackberry. I was digging in the fridge for lunch stuff and Reid was panicking that I’d get the milk back out and Ken wouldn’t be surprised. Somehow, he figured out that we’d been up to no good even before he saw the milk ;+) When he was finally allowed to take the milk from the fridge, Ken asked, “What’s on the milk bag?” Reid and I called out, “April Fool’s!” And then I said it was food colouring. Ken looked quizical and I pointed out that the milk was pink. He nodded, having to take my word for it. I forget about his colour-perception problems.

Reid balked at having to use pink milk on her cereal and Ken seemed ready to support her but I told them, “Suck it up, Buttercup,” or something like that but less lippy. The flavour wasn’t affected by the colour change. I couldn’t bring myself to drink a glass straight after work, though, and made some lemon pudding – that was much more palatable even while orange.

I cut out a fish for Reid to stick on Ken’s back.  It’s a French-Canadian (maybe French-France, too) tradition for April Fool’s Day, which they refer to as “Poisson d’avril”. I gave Reid the fish and told her to give Ken a big hug (and pantomined sticking the fish on his back mid-hug). She gave him a one-armed hug, not-so-subtly hiding the fish behind her back, and then walked around the dining room table to stick the fish on his back. Not sneaky, at all, I tell you. I put the fish on Reid’s back (also not sneakily) and sent her to school. I never heard whether anyone else perpetuated pranks but I’m glad that I wasn’t there in any case.