Archive for the ‘Daycare’ Category

The once and future Reid – Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

Just a few words: I wonder if this pic is a glimpse into the future. Reid’s face seems very mature for Senior Kindergarten graduation, at least to me.

Senior Kindergarten graduation

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Last day of Senior Kindergarten

Saturday, June 26th, 2010

It seems far more than just 10 months ago that Reid started Senior Kindergarten at the Academy. She was delighted to have Natalie as her teacher and settled quickly into her role as teacher’s pet. (I call it like I see it.) When we decided to put her in her new school after March Break, Reid was sad to leave the kids with whom she’d spent a year-and-a-half and, especially, Natalie but she adapted very well to a new day care for before- and after-care and a school. I’m glad we made the switch mid-year so that she could go through the transition with both Ken and me to offer hugs and so she has had a chance to make friends in a more playful environment.

And suddenly, it seems, it was the last day of school yesterday. I wasn’t quick enough to offer to send cupcakes any day to celebrate her birthday at school. (The rainbow cake was for daycare.) Reid asked if I would bake something but since they had treats on Monday and Tuesday, I knew the rest of the week had already been spoken for, I decided to spring for pizza at lunch on Friday at daycare. It was ideal – Reid loves treating her friends and I don’t love packing lunch. Another parent sent watermelon and they had treats left over from the graduation lunch. It was a fun party, from what I was told.

At school, as near as I can figure, Reid and her class watched a movie and ate freezies and yellow cheesies (whatever that means.  - sounds disgusting to me but Reid smiled when she told me about them). She’d brought her report card home on Wednesday – she did well – and all of her art and other work through the week that the last day of school seemed anti-climatic. If Reid’s was the elementary school someone tweeted about playing Alice Cooper’s *School’s out*, she never mentioned it.

At day care, we gathered Reid’s spare clothes, the last of her art worlk, and then said “good bye”. It was a great place and I’m glad they were able to take her at the last minute and in the middle of the year, but I’m looking very forward to being able to put Reid on the bus at home and then walk straight to my bus. She’ll go to the community centre after school and I’ll be able to walk there and walk her back home. I’ll have to start work a bit later but not too much, I don’t think. When Ken is back, we might not need daycare at all. Imagine the money we’ll save! Even if we keep her at the community centre, we’re still saving a lot. Hooray for full day school, even if I had to wait until Reid was in grade one.

On the advice of Andrea at Peek Inside the Fishbowl, I took a picture of Reid to mark the last day of school. Reid thought this pose was the most appropriate:

Last day of school pic

Compare it to her first day:

First day of school pic

A rainbow cake for Reid and others

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Reid’s daycare teacher decided to celebrate the birthdays of all of the kids whose birthdays fall in the summer tomorrow. I immediately volunteered to bake the cake that they would share. I’ve been looking for an opportunity to try my hand at a rainbow cake, like the one Amy at Muddy Boots made. I doubt I’d enjoy the additional stress in the midst of planning for a real party but without the rest, I was keen. I started the cakes at 6 and finished by 11:25. I’m so wired from the sugar – mmmm, marshmallow fondant – and I’ve got a second wind, that I decided to write down what I did.

I followed Amy’s directions for the rainbow cake -basically, I added gel icing colouring to white cake mixes – and also followed her directions for marshmallow fondant. Her instruction to grease your hands with Crisco was critical to success!

Adding the food colouring to the cake batter was a bit like making playdough. I loved the vivid colours.

Stirring in the food colouring

Just look at them! You know the cakes are going to be amazing.

Six colours of cake batter

In order to avoid baking 6 cakes – 2 at a time in my little oven -I put two colours in each pan. Another time, I think I’ll try 6 cakes.

Pouring a second colour into the pan

I need to learn how to bake cakes with flat tops. I had to cut the rounded parts off of the first two cakes. Of course, this meant that I had to try the cakes, just in case.

Cakes ready for marshmallow fondant

I melted a small bag of marshmallows in the microwave in only 1 minute and added about half of the 1 kilogram bag of icing sugar before remembering to add the 2 tablespoons of water called for in the recipe.

Stirring icing sugar into marshmallows

The water kneaded in easily and I added probably 3 tablespoons when all was said and done.

Marshmallow fondant ready to roll

Amy mentioned chilling the fondant overnight but I didn’t have the time and it rolled like a charm still warm.

Marshmallow fondant rolled out

I measure against theh top of my cake-taker to see the size of marshmallow fondant I would need and then draped it over the cake. Marshmallow fondant is much more forgiving of irregularities in the stacked cakes than regular icing. If only I could figure out how to make cream cheese-flavoured fondant, I’d switch to it entirely.

Cake draped

I used some more icing gel to colour more marshamallow fondant to decorate the top of the cake. Reid has been very interested in rainbows lately, thanks in part to They Might Be Giants’ ROY G BIV, a song about the colours in a rainbow. I couldn’t manage indigo. She’ll have to tell the kids its ROY G BV instead.

Coloured marshmallow fondant

And here is the final product. Ta da! (If I can get a teacher to take a picture of the cake once it’s cut, I’ll post it, too.)

Finished cake

Edited to add: I asked Reid’s teacher to take a pic of the cake once it was cut since I couldn’t see the inside. She sent this piece home with Reid. You can’t taste the food colouring.
Slice of rainbow cake

Dance camp

Sunday, March 21st, 2010

Reid attended dance camp for her March Break. I almost signed her up for a sport and swim camp but, as I stood at the registration counter, the mom of one of Reid’s friends hurried over to say that A was signed up for dance camp. Reid immediately began hopping up and down, asking to go to dance camp. She’s not affected by peer pressure at all!

When I dropped Reid off the first day, I asked the very young woman who seemed to be in charge for her name since she hadn’t introduced herself and I was leaving my dear, sweet daughter in her care. She told me that her name was “Woolly Mammoth” and that the other camp counselor was “Ursula”, like in The Little Mermaid. I have two thoughts on this:
1. I imagine that they adopt funny aliases to please the kids but it doesn’t instill much confidence in me, as a parent, to leave my child with a stranger who provides only an alias.
2. If you have to choose an alias, wouldn’t you choose one with good connotations? I haven’t ever watched all of The Little Mermaid but I have the impression Ursula is “bad” from what I have seen. Side note: I’m glad Reid is not interested in Disney Princesses.

Reid’s day at camp included an hour in the swimming pool and 50 minutes on the ice. I’m super-happy with the arrangement. On Tuesday morning, I noticed a gigantic bruise on the inside of Reid’s knee. I asked what had happened. She explained that A doesn’t skate that well and had held onto Reid for support and, of course, the two of them had fallen quite dramatically. Since Reid hadn’t complained the night before, I knew she wasn’t hurt badly but as soon as I asked about it, Reid started to hobble. She found the golf club that she uses for a cane and walked carefully downstairs. Reid has obviously been watching Grandma Joyce on her sore days.

I picked up a cd from the library – They Might be Giants’ *Here Comes Science* – and we were listening on the way to camp. The first song starts with:
Science is real
From the Big Bang to DNA
Science is real
From evolution to the Milky Way

And goes on to say that the singer likes stories about angels, unicorns and elves but that for knowledge, facts are with science. I have a friend, the one who told me about the cd, who doesn’t like the message of this first song but I thought it was a good way of promoting science.

There is also a song called *Meet the Elements” and, at one point, they sing about how elephants, houses, etcetera are all made of elements. Reid asked me if that was true and I said it was. She had more questions and, frankly, on a good day I’d have trouble answering questions about elements on a good day and Tuesday morning was not a good one. I’d had only 4.5 hours of sleep. Fortunately, Reid understands that when you’re sick your brain doesn’t work very well and she didn’t press. I’m still hoping that Ken is the parent-in-charge when Reid remembers her questions.

Reid broke her glasses on Wednesday. The supervisor explained that Reid had been attempting a cartwheel and fallen mid turn. Reid’s version stated that she had been *doing* a cartwheel. Truthfully, Reid’s cartwheels are more like round-offs than cart wheels. In any case, she ended up with scrapes on the side of her face from the hinges of the glasses and a leg that didn’t attach to the rest of the glasses. I had the opportunity to be grateful for her spare glasses since the eye glass boutique at Loblaws didn’t have her frames in stock.

The kids – all girls but one – put on a dance show for their parents on Friday afternoon. The lead counselor explained that the theme was “Dance through the Ages” and that the kids were less keen on the classic music. Then, she said that they would start with the 80s and work forward. 80s music is “classic”?! The littlest girls danced to the “Move it” song – which I really don’t know but strongly doubt it was an 80s song and everyone danced together to “Beat it” and each child had a turn breakdancing in the centre of the circle. I felt ever-so-old. At the end of the performance, Reid came over to collect her flower. She’d asked if I’d be getting her something, since Ken has established a “flowers after a performance” tradition and so I sprang for a wooden whirly-gig flower at the Dollar Store. Reid’s smile was worth every penny of the $1.50 I paid for it.

At the end of the performance, Reid put on her pink-with-multi-coloured-polka-dots, which went nicely with the black body suit and pale pink dance skirt she was wearing, and led the way to the café for slushies. Not everyone could have carried the outfit off but Reid has that je ne sais quoi that lets her.

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.

Vote child care on October 14

Thursday, October 9th, 2008

I’m not a political person generally but just as having a daughter has brought forward my feminist self that had slipped into the background after university, having a child makes me want to write a bit about child care just days before the October 14th election. I received a message from Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada that provides some statistics from a recent survey of attitudes toward child care. The key findings show:

  • Three-quarters of Canadians (77%) think that the lack of affordable child care is a
    very (31%) or somewhat (46%) serious problem in Canada today.
  • Across the country, the lack of affordable child care is seen as particularly serious in
    the Atlantic provinces (86%), British Columbia (85%), and Ontario (78%). Seventy
    percent (70%) of Quebec residents, and 75% of Prairie residents, see it as a
    serious problem.
  • Supporters of all political parties see an important role for governments in
    helping parents meet their child care needs, including Conservatives (75%), Liberals
    (88%), New Democrats (95%), Green Party supporters (81%), and Bloc Quebecois
    supporters (88%).

The $100 cheque that I receive each month for Reid is simply not the same as a child care plan. The way to create an adequate system requires that the equivalent of those $100 payments (and more) be spent strategically on a system. Scattering the money throughout society is tactical – it may engender support for the party that implemented the payments but it doesn’t build infrastructure and it may even permit some people who couldn’t otherwise afford child care to afford it but it won’t help them to find child care. Our family has the money to pay for child care but it was not easy to find care for Reid before she started school - we had to drive in the wrong direction to take her to her day care but at least it was a good one – and we were unable to find child care that complimented her public school hours. We’re fortunate enough to have been able to find and afford an independent school that offers pre- and post-care.

I don’t know how to show respect (in monetary terms) for families who choose to have one parent stay home with the children. Maybe $100 per month does make a difference in their lives. For me, even though Reid will soon not fall into the traditional child care age group, I’m voting for a party that supports a  child care system

Whatever your reason, get out there next Tuesday and vote!

Back to day care

Sunday, September 7th, 2008

Reid and I went to her old day care on Friday. Her new school doesn’t participate in the Scholastic book program and I’m addicted to the low prices on the books. The books that the day care earns for their library because of my purchase are nice, too. The only hiccup is that I have to pay by cheque and when we were driving by on Thursday, I didn’t have a cheque with me. And so, on Friday evening, we made a quick detour to day care. Reid was more shy and clingy as we walked back into her old stomping grounds than she had been any day at school. She talked about how she was too big for day care but I had say that she could have stayed since Senior S (poor kid has such a popular name that she will always have a modifier) and C had stayed in day care. S’s parents hadn’t known to put S on a waiting list when she was just a baby to find care at the school.

We were late enough that only one of the teachers and two kids were still around. Reid seemed to be disappointed by this and I said that we’d try to be earlier when we pick up the books we ordered so that she can see more friends and teachers. I suspect she’ll feel like an interloper the next time, too. Next to the new Juniors she definitely looked like she really was “too old” for day care. It’s odd how quickly things can change.

You can’t take a Dalmation into the pool

Sunday, August 24th, 2008

We had thunder and lightning and heavy rain Monday afternoon and so the kids missed their outside time. Think “arsenic hour” at home times 32 kids who usually burn off their energy in a large play yard. When I got to daycare, one of the teachers was painting the kids’ faces. Reid’s face was white with black splotches. She told me that it was a “fire dog” but I could see a bit of Fu Manchu also. Still, I agreed that she was a cute Dalmation because she was.

Dalmation Reid

We got surprisingly few comments about Reid’s face while we were eating our supper in the viewing area of the complex. I tried to convince Reid to knock on the glass and show her face to her teacher but Reid was too shy. She wasn’t too shy to give me puppy lick-kisses (yech) or puppy cuddles and she did respond when I said, “Sit, Puppy. Eat, Puppy.” Fortunately puppies like cheddar cheese, hummous and herb crackers just as much as little girls named Reid do. In fact, this particular puppy also liked Clementine oranges and apple sauce. (What’s with Clementines being available in July – oops, August – anyway. I remember in the olden days they we available in November and December only.) I put together a good supper last night, if I do say so myself, although a beverage of some sort would have added to the spread.

Once we got to the change room, I told Reid that we needed to wash her face paint off. She asked why she couldn’t get into the pool as she was and I said that her teacher would say, “Out, out, spotted dog.” The other ladies in the change room laughed but Reid wasn’t impressed. I’ll have to remember this story until Reid takes MacBeth in high school.

Crazy hat day – Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

Reid in crazy hat

View More Wordless Wednesday Participants, look at my previous Wordless Wednesday entries, or
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Logical consequences can be tough

Saturday, June 28th, 2008

Friday was the last day of show and tell at Reid’s daycare. When I picked Reid up, Claire told me that Reid would probably report that Claire had been angry and cancelled show and tell. (Unlike the time when Reid told me that Claire had made them all sit on the porch and, when questioned, didn’t think that Claire had been angry or frustrated with their behaviour.) Claire said that the kids had been a bit wild and just weren’t listening to instructions or carrying out routines that they knew very well. It is far too early in the summer for the kids to get wild and I think, sad as it is to say, taking away the last show and tell was  a good and logical consequence for the bad behaviour. Reid, at least, likes show and tell a lot.

As we picked up the photo Reid had brought for show and tell, Reid told me that they hadn’t had show and tell.  When I asked why, she said, “We weren’t listening.” I acknowledged that it was a sad thing to have happened and said how Claire must have been frustrated with their misbehaviour and Reid repeated that they hadn’t been listening. I’m not sure if Reid isn’t troubled by Claire’s reaction or if she didn’t notice it. She certainly didn’t blame Claire for anything.

Reid volunteered the information about show and tell being cancelled and why, when she saw Ken. When she told Grandma Joyce and Aunt Karin, she told them it was the last show and tell day at daycare. She asked about her new school and I said I wasn’t sure if they had show and tell there. In a grave tone, Reid said, “It was the last show and tell ever.” I sure hope that they have show and tell at school.