Archive for the ‘Mama’ Category

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.

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?

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.

Reid’s Red Carpet Celebration

Sunday, May 15th, 2011

Reid took part in A Red Carpet Celebration skating carnival last weekend. It marked the 40th Anniversary of the Gloucester Skating Club. Reid was excited to be participating – a very good thing since she performed Friday night, Saturday morning and again on Saturday afternoon.

Reid’s class skated to a Hannah Montana song. I don’t know the title and Ken seems to have blocked any knowledge of what the lyrics were. My running clinic conflicted with Reid’s lessons and so Ken was the only one who saw and heard the weekly practices. He seems somewhat traumatized. ;+) (Just kidding. Sort of.)

We first put Reid in the CanSkate program last summer to reinforce her skating skills since she was struggling at hockey. She made such progress that we enrolled her again in September. I have to confess my anti-figure skating bias. When I was growing up, lo those many years ago, the kids who weren’t good skaters were made to feel like they were wasting the teachers’ time and taking ice time from more deserving skaters. As you might guess, I wasn’t one of the skilled skaters. I had some enthusiasm at the beginning but not much talent. I didn’t want Reid exposed to a “be competitive or go away” culture. The CanSkate program was not like this at all. There is a competitive stream but there are also lots of learning to be done without following that stream.

When Reid brought home the form about the performances, I asked whether she wanted to participate and she said, “no”. The day before the deadline to submit the forms, I asked again and the answer was “yes”. (It seemed better to ask again than to have a kid full of remorse at missing a deadline.) For several weeks the kids who signed up practiced at the end of the regular class. Finally, there was a practice on the Monday before the performances and I got to watch. Reid concentrated so hard to do the right move at the right moment.

At bedtime on Thursday night, Reid was stressing about the performance but I reassured her that even Olympic skaters fell sometimes and that the main point was to get back up and continue skating. I wonder if Reid’s worrying is common or if I can take “credit” for it. I certainly get butterflies myself.

When I took Reid to the arena on Friday night, they said she could stay with me for an extra hour or go straight to the dressing room. Reid chose the dressing room option – I guess the butterflies had subsided – and I half-watched the other kids performing. I didn’t watch too closely because we had tickets for Saturday morning, too, and wanted to be surprised with Ken. I couldn’t ignore the 3 and 4 year olds, though. They were so small and so cute that they brought tears to my eyes. How did Reid get to be so much bigger than these little ones?!

I volunteered in the dressing room from 1:45 til 4:15 on Saturday afternoon. Being confined to a regular-sized dressing room (with typical accoustics) with approximately 30 children was a bit of a challenge. I’m not used to spending long stretches of time with 5 and 6 year old boys and they’re louder and more active than Reid and her buddies. There was hitting and pushing and way more noise than I like. I guess moms of boys get used to it slowly as their own sons grow but I found it a big culture shock. Also, I question the intelligence of parents who send their kids into public with electronic devices that aren’t labelled. Really, when Mabel’s Labels says that they make “labels for the things kids lose”, they mean the DS and Leapster and that sort of thing. As the adult volunteer trying to mediate between two kids each claiming the same toy, I didn’t have nice inside thoughts to say about the parents who sent the electronic devices unlabelled.

In each of her performances, Reid followed the routine with great care. She did particularly well near the end when they cocked their hips and let their Hannah Montana attitude show through ;+) I wasn’t allowed to take pictures during the performance but I did take a few when we were in the dressing room. You can see the attitude that Reid took with her onto the ice.

Reid ready to skate

Reid on a bench

Reid with her hat

Surprise – Monday moments

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

I’m in the kitchen chopping vegetables. Reid sneaks up on me. She will call “boo!” and I will jump. It’s a sort of ritual she and I share. I am rarely startled but she loves to think I am. I love the joy on Reid’s face when she believes that she has startled me. We both get so much out of these moments.

Once in a while, though, I can’t resist. On exaggerated tiptoes, Reid comes up behind me. I whirl and say, “boo!” before she has the chance. Reid jumps and we both laugh. The glee at a surprise can be shared.

Reid is neither sneaky nor subtle. She gets these – or lacks these – traits from me. In the indomitable way of children though, she is utterly unaware of these facts.

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

A silly girl with a messy face and hands

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011

Guest post written by Reid, photographs by Barbara

Blowing eggs The beginning of the story: how it started. One day Reid was blowing eggs at her Grandma’s house for Easter.

Dipping eggs in dye Reid likes to hold the eggs in the bowl of dye instead of using the dye thingamajigger.

Dying eggs Once the eggs were dyed and dried, Reid painted them.

Painting eggs Look at how messy her hands are.

Cake batter After Reid was done dying eggs, she helped Aunt Pam with the cake for Easter.

Decorating the egg cake Reid put icing over top of the white icing that Mama had put on at first.

Egg cake is decorated The icing that Reid was putting on was the colours that are primary and one colour that was secondary and one colour that was tertiary.

See Reid’s hands and face! In the end, Reid was very messy.

Too many clothes! – Tidy up Tuesday

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

Reid has a lot of clothes. I’m not sure exactly how it happens. I remember distinctly deciding to buy 5 pair of stretchy pants, 1 pair of jeans, a similar number of tips and a dress for fall/winter. I may have neglected to check the dresser where the amazingly cheap but too big clothes are stored until Reid can wear them. As time passed, she needed (I’m sure it was need and not my wanting) a pair of black velour pants to match her new red shirt for the Christmas singalong. (There was another name for the event officially but we sang two songs about Hannukah and that’s about it.  In any case, it’s a different story entirely.) Plus, there are people in Reid’s life who buy her clothes. Who am I to deny them this small pleasure?

And so it was that Reid’s dresser drawers came to look like this:

Drawer before

At first – in honour of this Tidy up Tuesday post – I started piling the long-sleeved shirts together and laying them next to the short-sleeved ones. But then it struck me how I almost never see some of these shirts on Reid. Also, the piles were dauntingly high. Being a woman of action (when forced, like when I’ve decided to blog about tidying something up), I chose a different strategy. I began putting outfits together: shirts, pants, underwear and socks. Oh, how proud my mother would be!

In the end, Reid’s drawers look more like this:

Drawer after

There are a few orphan shirts in another drawer. The orange one, bought especially for black and orange day at school, for example, is waiting for a suitable pair of pants to come from the wash. I counted 22 bundles in the main drawer. That’s more than 3 weeks of outfits, if you’re counting and that doesn’t include the dresses in the closet.

The bundle system is working very well in the mornings, as well. I grab one out and hand it to Reid. She has – so far – put the clothes on without protest. Once I she noticed a second bundle and mixed and matched from the clothes in the two but as long as she doesn’t see another option, she hasn’t asked. Many of the clothes are on a farewell tour. The shirts are showing belly and the pants are showing ankles. By the time we’ve gone through them all, it should be short-sleeved shirt and capri time. I’ll just have to be more careful as I shop. No, really!

I’m thankful for Sara at My Points of View for her Tidy up Tuesday inspiration. Check out who else is participating and the challenge Sara has issued. You might find some inspiration that you can borrow.

Kissing – Monday Moments

Monday, April 4th, 2011

When Reid was little, kissing involved a rounded mouth, usually drooling, an oddly-timed smacking noise, and love shining from her eyes. Who knows how babies figure out that kisses are all about the love?

Later, moments it seems but really months, magical kisses would wake Mama up. Mama would fall asleep at the most inappropriate times and with no notice. Mama, who managed to snore with an exhale that puckered her lips, loved these kisses.

Now, a big girl of six-and-three-quarters is becoming stingy with her kisses. Sometimes pure mischief shines from the eyes as the kiss happens. With a stuck out tongue in its midst. Drool again!

But the love is still there.

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

Playing to a hard audience

Friday, April 1st, 2011

Instead of pranking Ken for April Fool’s Day this year, I decided to target Reid. I couldn’t take advantage of ideas relating to switching drawers in the Reid’s dresser or pinning her underwear together since she doesn’t choose her own clothes. I know, I know. At 6, Reid is old enough to do this but my life is easier – and Reid’s room is tidier – when I do the choosing.

What I tried, instead, was serving pizza for breakfast. “Here are your pancakes,” I said as I placed the plate in front of her. “April Fool.” Reid looked at me in a disgusted sort of way and said, “That’s not an April Fool’s.” If she knew about Charles Dickens and Scrooge, she would have said, “Bah humbug!” Well, I sent her off with Cheerios in her thermous and a note on the front that said, “Poisson d’avril. Ajoute du lait.” It said also, “Je t’aime.” Because I do.  We’ll have to see what Reid thought of the prank when she gets home.

Did you pull any pranks today? Did you get fooled?