Archive for September, 2009

Wisdom from my placemat

Friday, September 25th, 2009

Reid and I went to Cora’s for lunch recently¬†or, more accurately, we went to Cora’s at lunch for breakfast. One of the placemats had a sort of snakes and ladders game on it. At the foot of one ladder was the question, “Did you know bacon is an excellent source of happiness?” I did know that! I went straight up the ladder. Reid didn’t understand exactly why I laughed but liked the going up the ladder part.

Who gets to name countries?

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

Reid asked a tough question last night: Who gets to name the countries. Ken tried to claim that it was him and claimed that he gave Panama its name in tribute to a Van Halen song. Reid didn’t believe him, though, and asked me what the real answer was. I told her that the original bosses of a country (which is how we explain politicians, the “biggest boss” where Ken and I work, etc.) got to pick the name. Ken and I snarked a bit about “dead, white men” under our breath but didn’t expose Reid to our cynicism.

Reid next asked about “Canada”. Ken was (not) helpfully telling me about the native word “kanata” and how it meant villages as I was trying to tell Reid the very same thing. I told him that I’d seen the relevant Canadian Heritage Minute, thank-you-very-much. I don’t know how accurate it is, the story never came up in any of the courses I took for my BA in Canadian Studies and History. Still, it was a good story and it satisfied Reid.

Reid asked how I knew this and Ken said, “Mama knows everything.” Reid responded with, “You don’t know everything, right, Mama? You don’t know when Jesus came out of Mary’s belly.” I agreed that Reid was right – I don’t know exactly when Jesus came out of Mary’s belly but added that we celebrate Jesus’ birthday on December 25th. (I’m not sure how or why Reid is aware that Christmas Day is probably not the exact day but there you go, she knows.)

I told Ken that I don’t know where these questions come from but I do worry sometimes about what the next question will be.

There were 10 in the bed but still room for Mama

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

I went to a meetup on Monday night and so Ken put Reid to bed on his own. While she insists that I lay with her, when it’s Ken in charge, Reid flips between wanting him to sit in the armchair in her room, lay with her and leave the room – often in a cycle in the same evening. The one consistency is the requirement for a strong stuffy presence in bed with her. On Monday night she had:

  • 3 Care Bears (CareB, Thomas, Molly)
  • WWF polar bear (Polie)
  • small Winnie the Pooh
  • Daddy and Baby Bunnie
  • the lion that Uncle Roger brought when he visited last (L, an appropriately tough name, really)
  • Princess Elizabeth, her birthday baby doll

With all of this company, you might think that I wasn’t required. But I was, if only to hunt down the stuffies who get tossed over the side or lost in the bed clothes in the middle of the night. Eleven in the bed really is too many. I think I’m going to tell Reid that I think some of the others are feeling squashed. I’ll propose a rotation. We’ll see if Reid sees through my ploy.

Dream analyst required

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

Reid woke up in the night and asked me where prisoners went to the bathroom. I explained that usually their cells have a toilet and sink in them and that there are shared showers, like at swimming. Reid next wanted to know what prisoners did for fun. I told her that I thought there were libraries and outside gym yards. I haven’t watched or read enough about prisons, apparently, since my details are sketchy. The last number of nights Reid has asked about “bad guys” and I suppose thinking about prisoners is a logical progression. But dreaming about them is more worrisome. Or at least odd.

Knowing and believing

Monday, September 14th, 2009

Reid and I went out to Eddie’s for breakfast yesterday and then went to the Ottawa Farmers Market – which is different from the Byward Market – for the first time. The colours of the fruit and vegetables were vibrant in the golden fall sun. (I love the sun in the fall!) I’m lucky the vendors only accept cash or we would have come home with much more than we’d planned. Reid found organic granola with sulphite-free cranberries for me, artisanal cheese for her dad and smoked sausages for herself; we left all behind and bought broccoli as big as a bride’s bouquet and a cauliflower bigger than Reid’s head. We got some seedless blue and green grapes, golden plums and ground cherries, too. Our only splurge was some tea biscuits that were to die for. Or to die from, if you’re Ken, who has a stronger antipathy to tea biscuits than I remember.

When we got home, Ken invited us to go for a walk at Mer Bleu Bog and, of course, Reid and I accepted. Okay, Reid accepted after I told her that we weren’t going to watch *Dora’s World Adventure* if we stayed home. She was eager for me to see the usually-villainous Swiper in a helpful role. By the time we got to Mer Bleue, though, Reid was keen for the adventure. I tried to apply some of the lessons I’d learned at the photography class I’d taken at Henry’s on Saturday but Reid and Ken were unwilling subjects and not so patient while I worked with the more willing flora. The colours in the bog weren’t quite as vibrant as they will be in a couple of weeks but the walk was lovely.

After lunch, we – mostly Reid – watched the Dora movie and then we got ready for our first ice skate of the season. Reid hunted up her Senators jersey without prompting and insisted on wearing her snowpants from home, even though it was 24 degrees Celsius outside. At the rink, Reid was hesitant to skate without holding onto me. My *knowing* that she could skate on her own didn’t translate into Reid *believing* that she can. We got a skate frame from the complex and she whizzed around the ice with it. Near the end, we returned the frame and Reid confidently skated on her own. Not fast, but certainly faster, and with the confidence that she’d lacked. I was glad I hadn’t insisted Reid tough it out without the frame. I’m finally learning that sometimes we need to sneak up on a solution.

Our skating adventure ended with a definite high and an even more definite low. When public skating finished, the zamboni came out! Yes, really! I hurried to get Reid’s skates off of her so that she could go up in the stands to watch while I took my skates off. Unfortunately, while I was taking my skates off, someone took off with Reid’s skates. I’m hoping that it was an accident, that the woman will notice them and return them to the complex where I’ve left my name and number, but I’m not optimistic that it will happen in time. We were skating on Sunday afternoon to get Reid comfortable on skates before her first hockey practice/game that will happen this Saturday. Now she is comfortable on skates but skateless. Our evenings are jam-packed this week and it seems I may have to try buying skates at lunch, lugging them home and trying them on. Sigh.

Reid asked me if I was going to tell Ken what had happened. It was a funny question. I don’t think I say, “don’t tell Daddy …” Ken and I just aren’t in the sort of relationship where I need to be afraid of his reaction. I told Reid that I would tell him, that I hadn’t done anything wrong and that he’d find out anyway. I should have said, “Of course, I’ll tell him” and left it at that. I don’t want her to think that withholding information is okay when you’ve done something wrong or when the other person won’t find out. But maybe I weigh those things subconsciously? I wish I would have seized the “teachable moment” and told Reid that adults only kids to keep secrets when they – the adults – have done something they shouldn’t have done. Maybe the next time, I’ll think of that. Probably I’ll forget.

At home once more, Reid was a hungry girl. I gave her a golden plum and she loved it! A few minutes later I noticed Reid was still eating plums and told she needed to switch to vegetables. Reid needed two more plums, or so she said. I asked her how many she’d already eaten and she said she didn’t know. I replied that I was ¬† pretty sure she’d had more than three. Reid’s quick comeback was: “But less than ten.” Apparently ten is the minimum number of plums defined by the term “too many”, as in “Reid, you’ve had too many plums. Have some vegetables instead.” Again, I missed a teachable moment. I should have reminded Reid that when you can count something, the term to use is “fewer”. Ah, well.

Just before falling asleep at bedtime, Reid told me that she was sad because she missed her skates. Missed them? She barely knew them!

Reid’s 5-year-old check up

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

I took Reid to her 5-year checkup this morning. According to the nurse, Reid’s blood pressure was good and she is
114 centimetres tall and weighs 20.2 kilograms – that’s about 44.8 inches and 44.4 pounds. I like to think of Reid as square, in Imperial units. Because I’m obsessed with such things, I can also tell you that Reid is in the 90th percentile for height and 75th percentile for weight.

The doctors checked Reid over, asked a bunch of questions and issued a number of reminders, like how she should drink 2% milk and stay off of backyard trampolines. The last category was the stumper – discipline. I decided to go with the truth: she listens to everyone but me and Ken. Just this morning, in fact, when I called her down to breakfast, Reid’s response was, “I can’t hear you.”

At the end, the doctor said that Reid was healthy and didn’t need to come back every year unless we had concerns. I’ll miss those annual “nothing to worry about visits”.

And note to self: Reid doesn’t know how to shake hands. It’s an important skill to teach her.

Hot air balloons

Friday, September 4th, 2009

Reid and I saw 21 balloons in the sky on the way to school this morning. I saw quite a few more while waiting for my bus, including a turtle and a skunk’s head (or maybe it was a black-and-white cat’s head). It’s going to be perfect weather for the Gatineau Balloon Festival and it’s not too late to decide to hop in the car and come to Ottawa for the weekend.

Not going to win “Mom of the Week”

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

I received a call yesterday at 4:15, just as I was shutting down my computer. The caller said, “It’s M, from Reid’s school. Were you aware that there is not post-care tonight.” I was surprised and said that I’d checked the handout and it said that post-care was available until 5:30 on the third.” M maintained a non-confrontational tone as he said, “It’s the second today.” Oops! I rushed to a cab and then to the school. Reid and two other kids were playing while M tried to reach the other kids’ parents. Apparently I wasn’t the only mixed up parent.

Aunt Pam had taken Reid to school and so our car was at home, waiting for me to pick it up. I told Reid that we were going to take a bus home and, surprisingly, she balked. Since we had no choice, we walked to the nearest bus stop and waited. A few short minutes proved to be the length of time we enjoyed the wait. Okay, it was me more than Reid. She had fun looking in the news paper boxes, checking what wild things were hanging around in the bushes. I was focused on all of the traffic passing by on the busy road. I decided that we’d double our chances by going up a couple of bus stops where two buses would pass. The walk, itself, was a good diversion and we ended up taking the same bus that would have passed in front by the first bus stop. Two buses and one transfer later, we made it to the station near our house. Our walk home was meandering and I had lots of time to be grateful that we have access to a car on most days but grateful also that I have Reid to remind me to take notice of the things that I usually walk right by.

First day of Senior Kindergarten

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

Reid was a bit trepidatious as we left for school yesterday but she didn’t say anything outright and neither did I. After the obligatory photos of Reid leaving the house, Aunt Pam drove us to school and I took a couple more pics of Reid going inside. We walked to Reid’s classroom – the same one as last year – and she asked me to walk in front while she hid behind me. This made me remember a middle of the night that I’d had. I leaned down and reminded her of how she’d been worried on her first day of junior kindergarten and then told her that there would be new kids or kids who were new to the classroom who might be sad. I asked her if she’d be extra-sweet to those kids. Reid seemed to straighten her shoulders and went into the classroom.

N (her teacher) greeted Reid enthusiastically and Reid was drawn in. We went to Reid’s cubby and put her things away. When Reid tried to put on her indoor shoes, they didn’t fit. Those same shoes that I bought in July, that were a bit loose, seem to have shrunk while sitting on the table waiting for school to start. Lucky for me, her teacher decided to waive the “inside shoes” rule just for the day. I had to ask Reid for a kiss when we went back to the main part of the classroom or she would have otherwise wandered off to play at one of the tables.

I had to wait about an hour for a group meeting with the principal. I’m pretty sure I was the only parent of a Senior Kindergarten kid to stay. The mom of one of Reid’s friends asked me why I was staying and I had to answer that I’m a bit of an overachiever. I’m glad that I attended as the principal covered some topics that I’d have learned about eventually but not before wondering what was happening for a while.

Reid was home from school and playing outside with the neighbour kids by the time I got home. She volunteered very little about her day, even when I asked leading questions. Some days Reid will talk and talk about something but she usually keeps her school life to herself. Her first day of senior kindergarten was no exception.

This morning I offered her the chance to spend the day with Grandma Joyce, Aunt Pam and Brianna instead of going to school. Reid refused, saying that she missed N. I’m hoping that this enthusiasm for school lasts. (Last year’s troubles are still fresh in my mind, though Reid didn’t mention them.)