Archive for July, 2011

Missing Mama and Daddy

Sunday, July 31st, 2011

Grandma Joyce called me on Thursday, after Reid had gone to camp, to say that Reid had said she missed Mama and Daddy at bedtime the night before. Grandma said Reid wasn’t crying or particularly sad, just stating a fact. Still, Grandma cuddled her close and said that they would sleep together that night, Reid would stay at Kathleen’s the next night and then it was one more Grandma sleep night before Reid could sleep with Mama.

Reid announced that she wanted to sleep with Daddy. When Grandma mentioned that Daddy usually sleeps in the basement, Reid decided that Mama would have to sleep in the basement, too. (I agree that the basement is somewhat scary. The bedroom there is completely dark at night.) We’ll have to see how Ken’s sore knee does sleeping with a kid whose feet are probably at just the right place for inadvertent bumps. In any case, he won the popularity contest and will have bragging rights for a day or two.

Mysterious world of Grandma Camp

Saturday, July 30th, 2011

When I was a girl, I went to sleep-away camp a couple of times. Maybe three times? The first time, I went to Gesstwood Camp for three days and two nights. The camp was associated with the United Church, which I attended, and was small enough that a new camper could be comfortable. We did lots of simple outdoor activities and crafts, ate basic food in the dining hall and enjoyed a campfire at the end of the day. I also went to Camp Kennessarie when I was older. Again it was affiliated the United Church but this time it was bigger, farther from my home and I stayed a full week. The routine was the same, though. Bug bites and swimming, whispering after lights out, and a memorable meal where we ate with serving and meal-preparation utensils instead of cutlery stand out in my poor memory.

Reid hasn’t asked about sleep-away camp and I’m glad. I can’t imagine leaving her with stranger for a whole week! She does go to “Grandma Camp”, though. Two years ago, she went for a week and last year, she went for two weeks. Before her time was up, Reid announced that she’d be coming back this year for three weeks. I didn’t think I could manage three continuous weeks without her and so we’ll go on vacation together and then spend a couple of weeks back in Ottawa before Reid spends her third week at Grandma Joyce’s. I really don’t know how Ken managed to be away from her so long when he was in Afghanistan but I do understand the ferocity in their first hug when he came back.

Information about what happens in Reid’s life when she is away is spotty. She has never been inclined to describe what she’s been up to when she is not with us – strange for a kid who doesn’t seem to stop talking most days – and not seeing us for days on end doesn’t change this much. She did mention her trip in Uncle John’s truck and we were told that her birthday party at Rockie’s pool was “fun”. I know that she has seen Dylan and Zachary often – a definite plus to Grandma Camp – and I’ve heard she is learning to throw a football, thanks to Uncle Roger. Reid told Aunt Karin that she doesn’t tell Ken and me about everything that happens at Grandma’s. Mine is the newly-minted seven year-old who has learned early that what happens in Wheatley, stays in Wheatley.

I may carry a piece of paper with me when I talk with Grandma and Reid’s aunts, uncles and cousins. Maybe one of them will slip and tell me a story.

Can you imagine these 3 on a roadtrip?

Friday, July 29th, 2011

One night last week, Aunt Pam and Uncle John took the kids to the grain elevators in Wheatley. There was some wheat taken to the grain elevator, too, but it’s not important to this story. ;) Reid told us about the adventure – it’s the only thing she has voluntarily told us about in the 12 days that she has been away.

Aunt Pam filled in the details. I’ll give her “guest blogger” status, “with contributions” from Reid.

Uncle John was hauling wheat from Pelee Island and picked the kids up in Leamington. All was calm on the drive to Wheatley. Zack got the front seat as he was due for a nap. (He just about had one.) Dylan and Reid mostly read books in the bunk and explored the shelves, bed etc. Reid decided she was thirsty and John has a mini fridge with water bottles. When we arrived at the grain elevator (not Uncle Chris’s), the fun began. We talked about what the probe did and why Gary, who worked at the Wheatley Grain Elevator, was rolling the tarp back over the trailer. Then the roaming, switching seats, pushing and general mayhem began. We were cooped up in the cab of the truck for approximately an hour. Zack had to pee outside. More drinks and pretzels were spied. I passed out candy but not gum. I could just imagine John finding it later.

Then we unloaded Reid with Grandma Joyce and Dylan was in front on the way back to Leamington.

They were pretty good and had fun.

Uncle John figures it will take weeks to get the kid cooties out of his truck. He likes everything just so and does not like it when even I disturb things. 

Reid thinks Uncle John is a rockstar. He has a bright yellow antique passenger truck, a large, red Dodge pickup and, of course, a tractor-trailer with many kinds of trailers. We’ve visited his shop and seen the different trailers on previous visits. They’re larger than life and different from what we see on a day-to-day basis. 

Part of the waiting time, involved a turn for each kid in the driver’s seat.

Truck drivin’ ReidReid had done this before, so she was blasé about it

Truck drivin DylanDylan the demon driver, only he pushed the pedals while the truck was running

Truck driven Zachary Zack had all the noises to go with his driving

Can you imagine these three on a roadtrip? I think that there would be many laughs and maybe, just maybe, a bit of speeding!

Advice for when Reid chooses her married name

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

I don’t know whether Reid will ever marry but if she ever does, I have a few bits of wisdom to share. Well, at the very least, they are my thoughts. Given my memory by the time of Reid’s big day, I might not remember them and so I’m putting them here.

I’ve always used only Dundas (some people use one name professionally and another outside of work). I didn’t see changing my identity – I already had Bachelors and Masters degrees and a profession.

Schools are used to the mom and kids’ names not matching; I introduce myself as “Barbara Dundas, Reid’s mom” and all is well. Reid carries Dundas as a second middle name. I have a friend who decided to hyphenate when he was a teenager/young adult, since he already had his mother’s name as a middle name.

Unless you choose a new name, you’re carrying a man’s name (dad’s or husband’s or wife’s dad – if marrying another woman) so there is no “independent woman” consideration. Hyphenation seems long but I know many hyphenated women.

You and your spouse-to-be could always choose a new name just for the two of you.

Chantelle sent me a message a few weeks ago, asking what last name I use. I sent her preceding text (with minor changes) and realized at the end, she probably was wondering how to address a wedding invitation. I covered many points but not whether I use “Mrs.” or not. I don’t, since there is no “Mr Dundas” but how was she to know. Next time I’ll have to write even more.

Happy 7th Birthday, Reid Elizabeth

Monday, July 25th, 2011

We hosted a birthday party for Reid and her friends at 4Cats Hintonburg. It deserves a post of it’s own but on her birthday, Reid deserves to have a couple of pictures posted.

cupcakes and a candle 

Paint in syringe

Happy Birthday, my precious child. You bring so much energy and joy with you wherever you are. You are a delight to have in my life.

Alone – Monday Moments

Monday, July 25th, 2011

One Saturday morning, only a couple of weeks ago, I came home from one errand or another and saw Ken in the living room. “Where’s Reid,” I asked. “Upstairs,” he said. “She’s showering.”

“Did you start the water?” I wondered. “No,” Ken said. “She announced she was going to shower and then she did.”

“Alone?” I thought. “Why don’t the baby books have places for milestones like this one?” 

Capital Mom provides a theme each Friday for these Monday Moments. Others have written about their own moments. I also wrote about other  Monday Moments.

BlogHer, take 3

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

I’ve been lucky enough to attend BlogHer twice and am gearing up for a third trip. For some reason, Ken was the one who discovered that BlogHer even existed - and that BlogHer07 would be in Chicago. He encouraged me to go and, of course, I took Reid. (I took Reid everywhere, she nursed until she was 4.) At my first BlogHer, I wrote that I’d finally found a playgroup that I wanted to attend and this sense of belonging has kept me returning.  Reid and I weren’t staying at the conference hotel, though, and so I headed back to see her, Aunt Karin and Shea as soon as the sessions ended each day. I attended only one evening party. Admittedly, the conference, expo hall and party schedule were all much smaller but I was at a point where being away from Reid for 8 or 9 hours was more than enough.

While I was in the conference, Aunt Karin, Shea and Reid saw the sites of Chicago. They had a wonderful time and I was a teensy bit jealous. I planned a vacation to Chicago in 2009, in fact, so that I could see some of the amazing sights that they had taken in. This might mean I’m like the kid who wants to eat the cake and have it, too.

Last year, I attended BlogHer10 and I sort of brought Reid. We arranged to go to New York City with Aunt Pam for five days before BlogHer started (I’d learned my lesson about not seeing the city the conference was in) and then Reid and Aunt Pam left while I stayed on. It’s a scary thing, kissing your child goodbye when you know that they’re going on an airplane without them. Statistically, flying is safer than driving but it’s a less familiar risk and I was worried. They got back to Grandma Joyce’s safely and weren’t troubled at all and I stayed on to attend the conference and many parties, kid-free.

For BlogHer11, I am blending these approaches. We’re going to arrive in San Diego on Monday and we’ll explore La Jolla, Legoland and other exciting venues (to be named later) together until Thursday. For the conference itself, I’m planning to attend the sessions, have supper with Reid and Cousin Sari (Reid likes people to have their “rank”) – unless they’re not done exploring whatever part of the city they head to that day – and then go back for parties. Anyone who is missing their kids will be welcome to join us for dinner.

I don’t think Reid will mind me leaving for the evening because she’ll have her super-cool cousin (who is at least 30, I’m a responsible mom) to hang out with. I think it will do me good to have a break from the unreality of the conference – it’s fun but it doesn’t seem entirely real – and also to get a bit of sensible food in me. I recall eating way too many canapés in lieu of supper last year.

While I’m in the conference sessions, Sari and Reid will see the sights of San Diego. We have a membership to the Canada Science and Technology Museum, which entitles us to free entry to more than 330 science museums in North America, including the Rueben H. Fleet Science Centre and the San Diego Natural History Museum and I imagine those will be on the list of places to visit. (If you don’t have a membership to your local science museum, I highly recommend one. It’s a great deal for so many reasons.) I’ve bought Go San Diego cards so that we can visit lots of places and not have the pressure of “it cost $$$ to enter, we’re staying” for the venues that aren’t as amazing as we thought. Sari and Reid will be able to choose from the list of 48 options. We’ll have Monday to got to the beach and then we’ll get our tired (and, hopefully, happy) selves onto the plane on Tuesday.

Whew! I’m tired just thinking about it. ;)

Do you have strategies for when you take your family to a conference? A story to share from having done so in the past?

What a serving of fruit is … or isn’t

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

While Reid is staying with Grandma Joyce, Ken and I rely on others to tell us about stories. This one came from Aunt Karin.

I went to Mom’s tonight to take Reid for a walk to get a freezie at Captain’s Corner and then I was to have her bath and let me wash her hair (hence the bribe of the freezie or icecream). Before her bath she was having trouble having a bm and I said “It’s probably from your lack of fruit and veggies”, because today her lunch came home today with all her fruit and veggies still in it. Quick as a wink she said “I ate fruit today! I had pizza with pineapple on it tonight for supper!” So you can tell her mom she is eating healthy lol!

Three reasons life is better at Grandma Joyce’s

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

I took Reid to Wheatley last Friday for two weeks of “Grandma Camp”, as she calls it. Reid cried a bit when we left Ken and told me that she was missing him a couple of times on Friday. Aunt Karin told me about a conversation that she had with Reid:

Aunt Karin: So, you’re not going to see your mother for fourteen days.
Reid: know and I don’t care

I’m sure that she does care, at least a little bit, but not in a worried she’ll miss me kind of way. In any case, there were at least three points where I noticed that life would be better at Grandma Joyce’s. 

  1. Grandma buys ultra-soft, super-deluxe toilet paper. Don’t think, “quilted”, think “duvet”. The first tme she touched it, Reid exclaimed, “Mom, it’s so soft!” and then she added, “it’s fresh.” (I didn’t understand that, really.) If Will and Kate use softer toilet paper, it’s made of actual cloth.
  2. Grandma serves grilled cheese sandwiches on white bread. They’re golden brown, made with higher fat cheese and available on demand. Reid’s mama buys whole wheat bread and light cheese. She is boring.
  3. Grandma’s world is populated with many teens and adults who have, between them, lots of time to dedicate to Reid. She loves adult attention and having a teen talk to you is like having a rockstar speak with y0ou, when you’re not-quite-seven.

Life is better at Grandma Joyce’s. I hope that Reid still believes this at the end of 14 days. It’ll be okay if she is at least a bit glad to see Ken and me when we arrive, though.