Archive for November, 2009

Riding the rails play-by-play

Saturday, November 28th, 2009

6:31 – We’re on the train, in our seats with the tables open in front of us. Reid has many questions, about how I knew what seats we were in, what the leather bits at the top of the seats are for (we called them antimacassars when I worked at Woodside National Historic Site but I don’t know if the Victorian term has stuck), whether the engineer wears a seatbelt and if so what if s/he needs to go to the bathroom. Reid was pleased that she has the window seat so that she can see out and so that she doesn’t have to sit beside someone she doesn’t know. She added that she does like to look at old people. I’m hoping the 50ish man across from us doesn’t realize she meant him when she said this.
6:40 I asked Reid if she could sing in a whisper. The look she gave me was equal parts surprise, insult and confusion. I explained that some people were probably trying to go back to sleep and mystification took over. Sleep, now? The adventure is just beginning!
6:46 And we’re off. The car we’re on is mostly full.
6:58 Reid has found markers in her backpack and is turning her garbage bag into a hand puppet.
7:01 The snack lady stopped by for a visit. We bought a chocolate chip-banana muffin (it almost seems healthy with the banana) and an apple juice. When the hand puppet is finished, the snack will provide a diversion. The man behind us chose a bag of chips. It seems a much less healthy choice for this time of the morning but I remember reading that people should think of muffins as “fat sponges” and maybe it’s no better than the chips.
7:17 Reid asks, “Mama, can I watch your iPod.” I remind her that she meant to say “may I” and she rephrases her question.
7:18 Before I’ve had a chance to take my iPod from my pocket, Reid is asking where “the” iPod is. Having been a student of French, I’m aware of the importance of articles. It’s a family resource now, I guess.
7:55 I convinced Reid to pause the video and come to the bathroom. Her bladder is much stronger than mine.
9:36 After Dora, Diego, Super Why and Sesame Street podcasts, the iPod has outlived its attraction. Its now time for Reid to recline her chair, adjust the tables, rinse and repeat.
10:43 Time for Princess to have a nap. Reid says she is going to have one, too, and I’m afraid she will. We’re too close to Toronto for her to sleep and awake refreshed. She’ll be grumpy if she falls asleep and I won’t be able to carry her and our bags.
11:11 We calculate that we have 15 minutes before our train is scheduled to arrive.
11:13 Reid hits the wall. When I refuse to let her change the rules of I Spy in the middle of my turn, she starts to cry.
11:18 I’m banned from playing again for seven months. Reid doesn’t know all of the months in order consequently, my punishment doesn’t include January, February, March, April, May or September. Next we’ll be talking about briar patches.
11:26 On time arrival in Toronto. Hooray.
11:36 Veggie burger for me, original for Reid, fries for both of us from Harvey’s. The 5-minute wait for a veggie burger dragged into 10. I complained and ended up with a free meal. We had to hurry to catch our train I would have rather paid and had my food in 5 minutes.
12:45 Nap time. Please, please, please.
1:13 Reid asks to sit on my lap
1:16 Must. Pee. Now. I thought she was faking but I don’t play Russian roulette.
1:21 Start of 15 snuggly minutes. No sleep but actual rest.
3:05 Reid has made friends with the 11-month-old girl in the seat in front of us. They’re non-napping comrades. We’re almost to Chatham and I am looking very forward to seeing Melissa and her boys.
3:31 We made it safely to Chatham. Now for the craziness that is my side of the family.

First “real” babysitter

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

Reid is looking forward to tonight when she’ll have her first “real” babysitter. She proudly told Melissa, “I’m going to have a babysitter. A *real* one. Not from Wheatley or Windsor or Leamington. A babysitter from Ottawa and her name is Paige.” Ken and I are just as excited. Short of hanging around at the mall and approaching respectable looking teens who look like they might want to watch Reid, we haven’t had any luck finding a babysitter until now. The first couple of years weren’t *so* bad, since I probably would have been too wimpy to leave her but it’s been a while since I was like that.

Paige and her mom came over on Tuesday night for a quick introduction. Reid was excited to meet Paige but shy, too. Paige seemed pretty young, though she is 13, and was quiet, too. She took all of the information I provided without looking concerned at all. I’m glad one of us is feeling unflappable.

I’m giving them money for A&W. I figure that they’ll burn lots of time walking to and from the mall, eating and playing on the dragon and other mall “vehicles”, even visiting the pet shop, that Reid will hardly notice we’re gone. Not that she understands *why* Ken and I want to go out without her. ;+) Reid did, however, try to help us decide where to go. She suggested Swiss Chalet and Red Lobster and was offended when I said that those were places she wanted to go. Apparently while I was right, she was trying to help Ken answer my question.

Wish us luck, though, since we haven’t actually made it out the door yet. Knock wood and all that.

Speaking of the Nutcracker

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

On Saturday afternoon, Reid noticed some Nutcracker soldiers in a cabinet at the National Arts Centre. She pointed them out to me like this “Look, Mama, a Nutcracker. I’m kind of like that …” She paused and so I asked how she was like a Nutcracker. Reid answered, “I’m a gum cracker,” and she chomped loudly on her gum and grinned. And then she returned to chewing her gum quietly.

People are different

Saturday, November 21st, 2009

Reid chose a Granny Smith apple with groceries last week. It wasn’t the first she’s had but I warned her at the store that they’re much more sour than the Royal Galas that we usually buy. After her first bite last night, I asked her if her face was all puckered up from the sourness and Reid said it wasn’t and that she could handle more sour than me. “People are different,” she said. “I can do more sour. And I’m quicker and I don’t make messes like you. Everyone has things they’re better at.” I wanted to challenge Reid’s assertion that I make more messes than her but I was even more curious to see what she thought I was better at. I asked and Reid had no answer. I suggested that I was better at driving, since I could and she couldn’t but Reid dismissed the idea. She said that I can drive because I’m an adult and she isn’t. She never did come up with anything I excel at. Oh, my poor ego!

Who waits for Christmas to have a crazy weekend

Friday, November 20th, 2009

We have a crazy weekend scheduled (even for me!): We’re going to SENSational Friday – where we skate on the Sens ice at Scotiabank Place, play games in the concourse and, according to Reid, eat hotdogs for supper. (It’ll be the second time for the hotdog but Reid holds tight to “traditions” involving hotdogs, no matter how new.) In previous years, we got our picture taken with one of the players but since they’re not yet vaccinated, all public appearances have been cancelled. Ken told Reid last night and she cried. Considering she nearly cried last year when we *did* get our pic taken, I was a bit surprised. Dennis and Bobby Hull will be signing autographs. I guess their health does have the same cost-benefit considerations. Spartacat is also planning to attended – I guess H1N1 doesn’t affect cats – and he is always a hit.

Tomorrow, Reid has hockey and Kindermusik as usual, but we also have tickets to a Family Adventures concert called “The Listener” in the afternoon and then are driving to Brockville for supper at Grandma Barb’s new place. Reid and I haven’t been there yet and so we’re very nosey, umm, I mean excited. I have Reid scheduled for her Christmas card photos on Sunday morning and then she and I are going on an adventure of some sort to allow Ken to cram for his written French tests on Tuesday. Whew, just writing it makes me tired.

Writing it now is a better way to keep track of all that we did -  my writing time is much diminished now that I am able to get a ride to work many mornings.

Always listening

Monday, November 9th, 2009

I was listening to a story about H1N1 vaccination clinic in Toronto on the radio yesterday  when Reid asked me what “eligible” meant. I explained it meant that people qualified for or could get something. In a plaintive tone she said, “I’m sad that I’m not eligible.” I burst out laughing. I didn’t mean to, but I did. No sense denying it. I told Reid that she had had her shot last week because the rules were different in Ottawa. (Our health authorities said “6 months to 5 years” rather than “6 months to under 5 years”.) Reid said, “Oh, I didn’t know what it was called.” She sounded a bit relieved. I don’t know how much Reid has assimilated from reports on the radio about H1N1-related illnesses and deaths but I’m periodically reminded that she is always listening.

Why we’re going back to the Great Wolf Lodge again this year

Friday, November 6th, 2009

Reid and I were talking last night about how in only 6 days, we’ll be at the Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls. She said:

The water slides are fun. The storytelling tree is fun. You can be noisy and the staff won’t mind. It’s the kind of place you’re supposed to be noisy. And the decorations are cool.

Reid returned to the subject of being noisy at the Great Wolf Lodge and I agreed, with only a small caution about not being *too* noisy but she is correct. It’s a family-oriented hotel without doubt. For an adult, the decorations might sometimes slide from “cool” into “kitch” but for a kid, the animal silhouettes on light shades, the animated forest creatures on the wall over the fireplace and all the rest are a non-stop delight. Once we add in people from Wheatley and Leamington, it’s obvious that the Great Wolf Lodge is a great place to be.

For the record, Reid also knows that it is a convenient place to stay. She told her teacher that it’s half way between where her aunt lives and where we do and so it’s a good place for us to go. This is proof, to me, that she is always listening since I’m pretty sure that I’ve said something similar myself.

Now if only the Great Wolf Lodge would hire Reid to be write advertisements for why people should go there… We’d take payment in free nights lodging.

Signs of winter in Ottawa

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

Reid and I took our car to the dealership for routine maintenance to have the snow tires put on this morning. When I mentioned yesterday that I had to complete this errand, Reid was insistent that she accompany me. I don’t remember any particularly enjoyable time spent in the waiting room at the car dealership but maybe I’m forgetting something. In any case, I couldn’t see the harm in Reid and coming and so she did. She was interested in why we drove into the building, why the service guy asked the questions he did and how toasty warm some parts of the garage were. She asked a bunch of other questions, too, but mostly I didn’t have the answers. Putting on snow tires is definitely a sign of impending winter, regardless of the date on the calendar.

As we walked the few blocks to her school, Reid noticed a fire hydrant with a bar on it. As I explained that the bar helped the city workers to find and dig out the fire hydrant after the snow plow had passed, Reid’s eyes started to sparkle. She has been talking about the snow banks we had two years ago – when she was able to sit in the branches of our tree – for a while and the hydrant bar made the link for her.

Photographer in training

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

I had my tripod out for Halloween, trying to get a good picture of Reid’s jack o’lantern glowing in all its spooky glory. It didn’t work all that well – the movement caused by my finger on the shutter caused blurry pictures and I didn’t think to try the timer. Reid found use for the tripod, though, pretending to take some pictures without a camera. When she set it up again on Monday night, I attached my point-and-shoot camera. Ken was sitting in his recliner, directly opposite the camera or, maybe I should reverse that since the camera was positioned because of Ken and not the other way around. Reid looked at the image on the camera’s display, made an displeased negative noise, climbed off of the footstool where the tripod was balanced and went to get me a hat to wear. I laughed at the sound and Ken told me that I make the same sound when I take pictures. Ken was deemed suitable in the toque Reid had put on his head and over his face but Reid had decided that I needed tulle and Reid’s straw boater, with the ribbon hanging in front of my face. Once we were accessorized to Reid’s satisfaction, she mimed how I was to position myself and then used her hands to tilt my head just so. Ken, since he couldn’t see anything, was allowed to stay as he was. Reid took a few pictures and then directed us to change our pose. We kissed and made sad faces, Ken rubbed his eyes to simulate crying. Reid seemed pleased with us as models. I’m hoping she thinks that she owes me a couple of poses the next I’m the one holding the camera. We’ll see.

Lines, lines, everywhere a line

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

I have to apologize to the Five Man Electrical Band for misusing their lyrics for Signs, Signs but I needed a theme song for Sunday and this is as close as I could get.  I started my day in the line up to get a wristband that would entitle Reid to an H1N1 shot. I joined the queue at 6:03 but wasn’t one on the lucky 700 to get a wristband when they started passing them out at 7:30. Thanks to the time change, I’d been up at 4:50 but decided not to go early. Sigh. Hindsight really is 20/20.

I’d already planned to take Grandma Barb and Reid to Cora’s – thinking we’d kill time between getting a wristband and the shot itself – and so we went as a consolation prize instead. Of course, we had to stand in line again but at least we were inside to wait and the food was scrumptious.

After lunch, Reid and I took a bus downtown to the National Arts Centre for a Kinderconcert. There was a line formed just inside the door and we obediently took our places. It seemed odd to me that the programme was in French but since the concerts are offered in both languages, I decided that I’d just chosen from the pile. The stage, which featured a bath tub and sink, seemed odd for a concert titled, “Fred Piston and his Seven Trumpets“. My keen ears noticed that I heard conversations going on around us and I asked the lady in front of me if we were going to see a play or concert (but I asked en français, of course). The lady confirmed that we were in the wrong room and Reid and I dashed back to the people who were tearing tickets but not verifying that the patron was in the right room, evidently. We got to the new room and settled on the floor with a couple of minutes to spare.

Our next line was at the community centre where Reid’s hockey pictures were to be taken. I’d been worried that Reid would get chilled waiting her turn but it turned out she overheated. I have to say that I’d make a good beauty pageant mom because I patted Reid lovingly, held the belly part of her chest protector away from her tummy, which she said wasn’t feeling well, but didn’t agree to take her home when she said that she felt sick. Once I got Reid cooled off a bit, she quit saying she was sick but she didn’t lose her pasty-white complexion. I’m hoping that the photographer will add a little healthy colour before printing the pictures.