Archive for the ‘Ben’ Category

Halloween 2010 – The story

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

Reid wore her costume to the Trick or Treat to a Wicked Beat concert at the National Arts Centre on Saturday. There were many other kids in costume and even most of the orchestra members were dressed in costumes. I restrained myself to a usual outfit plus a headband with witch’s hat and purple braids attached. On Sunday we went to a Kids in the Capital Halloween party at Boston Pizza and so I put my costume on to be a wizard to Reid’s witch. (For reasons not clear to me, Reid decided that a wizard was a witch’s helper and, since she is the star of the show – I.e. our life – I was the wizard.) A lovely lady named Julie took Reid’s picture and I’m hoping one turned out well. We arrived late (surprise) and so our food came later than the others. I had to coax Reid to eat a bit but her food looked good. The other kids were more interesting, though. After lunch, I called and invited Ben to see Opera Lyra Ottawa‘s Hansel and Gretel with us. It was a good choice – just a bit scary – for Halloween afternoon. We drove straight to Melissa and Peter’s for supper.

After supper, Peter and I took the four kids out trick or treating while Melissa passed out candy. I hadn’t planned ahead well enough and was without boots on a night with snow on the ground and an icy wind. Fortunately, I was able to get my feet in Melissa’s boots or I’m sure I’d still be complaining ;+) The kids resisted staying in a group but threats of returning home convinced them that togetherness has its merits. The only real hiccup was that both Reid and Ben like to ring the doorbell and he is faster than her. She complained because, as an only child, ringing the bell is usually her prerogative. He resisted because, as the youngest in his family, ringing the bell is usually his prerogative. Turn-taking ensued (more or less smoothly). I learned, though, that witch hats aren’t practical for windy night. Reid’s kept blowing off and I was soon carrying it. About half-way through our trip, Reid said her wings were uncomfortable and I carried them, too. She was surprised that people asked her what she was, wearing only a purple and black tutu, wild colours in her hair and a snowsuit. She’d answer, “I’m a witch,” as though it were perfectly obvious. Sometimes I’d show the hat but mostly I didn’t.

Back at the house, Reid chose a treat to eat, had her picture taken a couple of times and then we headed for home. She fell asleep on the way – win! – and stayed that way while I carried her to bed. I resisted the urge to raid her treats bag.  Double win!

On Monday morning, I asked if Reid thought it would be okay if she took candy to school. She wasn’t sure and asked my opinion. I told her I think it’ll be okay this week. I hope the teacher agrees. Once supper was cleaned up, I suggested that Reid dump her treats on the table to see what she’d received. The treats in the big bag were even more impressive when they were spread out. We sorted them into chocolate, chewy (gum), sugary (most candies) and round (Swedish berries, Smarties, m&m’s) according to Reid’s direction. I suggested that she should be identifying candy that she could give away. Reid pointed at the entire chocolate pile and declared, “I don’t like that. I don’t like chocolate.” She even separated the round pile into candy and chocolate and put the chocolate-based candies in the giveaway pile. I pulled the plain chocolate bars out for fondue (because I’m cheap that way) and saved a sandwich bag-full of chocolate bars for Ken and me. The rest are destined for the Ottawa Food Bank. Okay, I should confess to having eaten a Coffee Crisp, a pack of Reece’s pieces and 2 mini marshmallow broom – my favourites.  I felt queasy by the end but I’m done eating Halloween candy and I enjoyed what I had.

There are so many types of candy that Reid has never eaten before. She took Starburst Chews for a treat today. She’d never had them but I like them enough for both of us. There are other gummy candies and gumdrops that she’s never had, too. It’s good that Halloween is a learning experience, even after it’s over.

I’ll close with a joke Sarah told me while we were out trick or treating:
Q: What do bloggers do on Halloween?
A: They trick or tweet.

(I suspect Peter had a hand in that but have no evidence.)

Planning a date night, Reid style

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

I was telling Aunt Pam and Grandma Joyce about Melissa’s older kids refusing to go to McDonald’s with Ben, who is 9. Reid overheard and said, “We should go on a date night* with Ben. I don’t mind going to McDonald’s.” She is a master of understatement already! I’ll have to get something set up for a day when a second kid would make an activity more fun.

I’d been holding out for her to suggest that she and I go to Red Lobster, like she did with Aunt Karin in May. Apparently, Reid thinks
I’m not worth the big money meal.

*Date night for Reid does not require romance.

All aboard the Hull-Chelsea-Wakefield Steam train

Saturday, June 19th, 2010

Reid’s Kindermusik teacher and some other Kindermusik teachers arranged a group trip on the Hull-Chelsea-Wakefield Steam Train for today. Melissa, Peter and the kids joined Reid and me for the adventure. They picked us up at 8:45 and we started what should have been a 20-minute drive. With the two closest bridges closed – one under construction, the other the location of an accident – we ended up driving for about 45 minutes and the kids were starting to worry about missing the train by the time we finally got to the train station. Fortunately, we had been told to arrive half-an-hour early.

Our tickets assigned us to the Aylmer car and, as we learned when we boarded the train, to four-seat groupings across the aisle from one another. Reid sat with Sarah and Stephen and Ben sat with Melissa, Peter and me. The trip to Wakefield (and back, not surprisingly ;+) took 90 minutes. Kim, the staff member assigned to our train car told a few stories and passed out activity books and crayons to each of the children. Sarah and Stephen barely opened theirs but Ben and Reid put quite a bit of time into theirs. A couple of the train’s musicians stopped by to sign to us – a country and western song and a traditional French Canadian one – as well. All the kids were pretty well behaved until Kim announced we were less than 10 minutes from Wakefield. It was like she had released silly gas into the train car. Not just our kids, but most of all the kids, were instantly fidgeting and eager to get off.

We made it off the train quickly and went directly to the turntable to watch the musicians turn the steam engine around. Next, we started walking to the covered bridge. The kids were only dawdling a bit since they were hungry and we told them we’d have a picnic once we got to the covered bridge. Halfway there, the sky got dark and it was obvious we were lucky that we brought our rain coats. We made it to the covered bridge just as the first raindrops began to fall. We unpacked our lunches and started eating, enjoying the sound of rain on the metal roof and the fact that we were dry. We had to move midway through lunch when the rain started to blow in the windows. The longer it rained, the surer we got that we were going to have to walk back in the rain. The kids and Peter were lucky enough to have rain proof coats that mostly lived up to their billing. Mine was water-resistant and it couldn’t resist so much rain falling so fast. Melissa’s looked like it should have kept the water off but it most definitely did not. We were all soaked from above the knee to the tips of our toes by the time we got back to the train. Melissa and I were extra-lucky to have wet shirts as well, thanks to our coats. It was more funny than troublesome, though, as the day stayed warm and we were able to laugh at how wet we were getting. Reid, especially, liked the puddles and being out in the rain. Our only disappointment was missing the musicians performing. I suspect that they didn’t, due to the rain, but we’ll never know.

The ride back to Gatineau seemed longer than the ride to Wakefield. We took a walk to the snack shop / souvenir car and managed to resist all requests for purchases but other than that, there weren’t new diversions for us. Sarah and Stephen read, Ben played solitaire and Reid hopped around the aisle, making friends and talking lots. I was envious of the dads I saw having a nap on the return trip.


But here I am, at 10:15, still awake. I’m silly sometimes.

Happy birthday happenings

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

Reid’s birthday was a celebration from start to finish. I brought her breakfast in bed as I read about a Andrea at A Peak Inside the Fishbowl doing for her children. I’m particularly proud of myself for remembering the idea over the last couple of months. Reid, who had already cuddled into bed with Ken, was tickled to see me with the tray. She said that it was good that she was in daddy’s bed so that her bed, with it’s new sheets and quilt, wouldn’t get anything spilled on it. I’m pretty sure that this was the sort of thought she should have kept to herself, no matter how true it was. Reid was careful as she ate her Cheerios and banana and drank her orange juice from its wine glass. Only one Cheerio got away from her. Given the number of Cheerios that end up on the dining room floor in a given week, one was a good number. After breakfast, Reid opened birthday cards from Aunt Karin and Uncle Dave (and Shea, Adam and Sulienne), Uncle Rick and Aunt Stephanie and Grandmama. She was excited to hear what each one said and who they were from. Separating the card opening from present opening made the cards seem more special and brought excitement to breakfast.

Reid went to swimming lessons wearing the birthday cake hat that I got her from the Dollar Store. She took it off before she got to the pool deck but she told her teacher it was her birthday. He’s a bit odd. He didn’t wish her “Happy birthday” as I do reflexively when I’m told about someone’s birthday. Maybe I’m odd, too, but he is odd in other ways. The other little girl in Reid’s class was absent and so Reid enjoyed a private lesson, almost like I planned it. We stopped at the Dollar Store on the way home for a few more balls for loot bags. Parents replied to the invitation as late as Thursday and so I scrambled a bit at the end. I was ever so grateful that Grandma Joyce insisted that she should make as many cloth bags as kids that we invited, even though people say attendance at summer birthdays is low. We had two left over but it was a near thing.

Reid’s party started at 10:45 at Cosmic Adventures. Unlike last year, when I dallied a bit and Ken was forced to speed across town and we were still later arriving than the first couple of guests, we got there before anyone else. We milled about in the lobby, collecting 12 of the 13 kids who were coming in the first 20 minutes. Each person entering the play area required an wrist band and I asked people to fill in “Hello my name is” stickers. It gave me hope that I’d be able to call the other adults something other than “M’s mom” or “J and L’s dad”. Unfortunately, most provided the kid’s names only. Still I did learn the names of 2 moms and one dad as well as one uncle. That uncle had never been to Cosmic Adventures before, was doing his sister a favour, and Ken told him that it was going to be very loud and that his sister would owe him big! (Sort of like I did last year, when Uncle Roger helped out at Reid’s birthday party.)

With all but one straggler accounted for, one of the party people led everyone to the little arcade to explain how the debit card thingys worked in the games. It would have made more sense to gather the parents close as most of the kids – the ones close enough to hear – didn’t understand the directions and the parents who probably could have understood, didn’t hear. Not that it’s rocket science; there are a finite number of ways to swipe a card. From the point of view of the kids’ experience, I think it was better when they got to feed tokens into the machines to play and then received a ribbon of tickets when they won. Environmentally – and economically, I’m sure – the debit cards are a better choice. As a parent who isn’t keen on the arcade, I missed seeing the supply of tokens dwindle, to mark the time I’d spent in that area. Our last guest arrived while we were still in the arcade and so we had 14 kids in total. Reid finally left the arcade without redeeming her card for the little plastic and rubber doodads that we absolutely don’t need in our house. All of the kids had some time in the climbing structure before we were called to the Mars room for lunch. Ken told me that at one point Reid went into the area reserved for kids 4 and under and he showed her the sign and told her she was too big. I bet that she liked being too big for something since she is still too little for many other things.

In the party room, everything runs with a military-sort of precision but the kids don’t seem to notice. They were enticed to all sit down by our party host who pointed out the crayons on the table that could be used on the paper that covered it. He got them to choose apple juice or Fruitopia by touching their nose or raising their hand, respectively. He made a crown for Reid out of balloons but involved all of the kids in stretching out the balloons and letting some filled ones go zooming around the room. No one seemed to mind at all that Reid was the only one with a balloon hat. The pizza was passed out efficiently – there’d been a choice between pizza and hot dogs but I’d decided it was too complicated to have both and ordered cheese pizza for all – and then another party host arrived to start painting faces. Each of the kids that wanted to got a small design on their cheek and didn’t mind interrupting their pizza-eating to do so. The party host gathered everyone together to show them the cake, a rectangle with a green and purple alien in one corner, and then asked if they were still hungry for their pizza or if they wanted cake. Reid went against the crowd and went back to eating her pizza.

We sang, “Happy Birthday” and passed out cake. Reid was excited to receive the first piece (told her dad about it later, even, though he was right there) but didn’t even pick up the fork to try her cake. This worked well because it meant we had time for a group photo and the present unwrapping. The party host sat next to Reid as she unwrapped her presents, recording who gave what on an official Cosmic Adventures form. It was like we rented a maid-of-honour. Once presents were unwrapped it was 1:00 and time for the official part of the party to end. The kids were welcome to stay with their parents until the 8:30 closing but we weren’t responsible for them. The moms were impressed by the cloth lot bags (I confessed Grandma Joyce had made them when asked) and the kids seemed to like the smiley-face ball, funny pen, notebook and Franklin story that was in each.

A surprising number of the kids had to leave immediately. I’d have been taking advantage of the no-admission-fee chance to let my kid run a bit more. A tired kid is the kind one wants at bedtime, no? Of course, there was the one kid whose parents had delayed the start of their family vacation until after the party and the others who had stayed home from the cottage in order to attend. Cosmic Adventures is a very popular birthday party location! We ended up staying until about 2:30 when the four who were allowed to stay longer left. We picked up the left-over cake and bag of presents at the desk on our way out. Birthday party packages are pretty expensive but the service is excellent.

Reid and I dropped Ken and the presents off at home and then went to buy some food for our planned picnic supper. It’s been raining so much and so often that I hadn’t wanted to commit to buying what we needed until I knew that we’d actually go. Sandwiches, cheese, veggies and the like are good for a picnic but seem weird as at-home birthday dinner offerings. It’s popular wisdom that you shouldn’t shop on an empty stomach and I can attest to the fact that it’s even worse to do when your stomach is empty and you’re tired. Everything that took *no effort to prepare* looked good. The only thing I was willing to buy that required me to expend energy were the cherries that I had to wash.

Melissa, Peter and Ben picked us up about 5:00 and we headed down to see Natalie MacMaster and the National Arts Centre Orchestra playing at one of the Orchestra in the Park concerts. We were early enough and lucky enough to find a picnic table to eat at and we enjoyed our supper and then I put a candle in the pie Reid had chosen at the store. We sang “Happy Birthday” and Reid tried to blow out the candle but the wind was so strong that the candle went out as soon as I lit it two or three times. Finally, I asked Reid to pretend to blow out the candle so that I could take the standard photo. (I’m such a cheater.) Reid refused the piece of pie that she was offered and also the ice cream that was all soft and creamy from its time in the cooler without ice). We offered extra pieces to the people sitting near us but most looked more than a little surprised that we offered and declined. One lady accepted and then her friend did, too. It was nice to share our celebration.

We tidied up and then left Peter and Ken to guard the chairs while Melissa, Ben, Reid and I went to see what else was going on. We found a water fountain that had way too much water pressure and a misaligned spout. The water’s arc was twice as large as it should have been. (I mention this only because there is a very good thing that Reid and Ben would say that it was the most memorable part of the evening. When we were walking, Reid asked me to carry her. I said “no” and noted that she is getting big and soon I won’t be able to carry her. Reid said, “Probably when I’m 20, I’ll be too heavy and too long for you to carry.” I told her that I was thinking more like 10 or maybe 7. I don’t think Reid believed me.

We saw some modern dancers (from The Dance School – Dancing in the Streets) performing on the grass. Reid watched a bit and then began emulating their poses and movements. We also went into a tent for the kids to try a guitar, ukulele (I think), drums and a violin. I’m pretty sure the Ottawa Folklore Centre provided the first instruments but I’m not sure from where the violins came. Having whiled away an hour, we headed for our seats. Reid couldn’t walk by the porta-john, despite our visit to the posh facilities (by comparison) of the Canadian War Museum. While standing in line, we got to see two people dressed in historic costumes and so it was good all around. We had to pick our way carefully to our chairs as the crowd grew dramatically while we’d been away. People were good natured about shifting, like they *should* be at outdoor concerts but sometimes aren’t. Reid and Ben had their chairs in front of ours. Reid has discovered, or maybe more accurately, finally noticed that Ben isn’t a fan of PDA (public displays of affection). He defines “public” as any situation involving more than himself and his parents when it comes to hugs or kisses. Reid likes to threaten to kiss him, she may actually carry through if she were able, and I have to tell her that everyone has the right to decide what happens to her/his body instead of smiling and remembering when little girls used to chase little boys and vice versa and it didn’t mean anything.

Once the concert started, Reid had trouble staying in her seat. She wanted to dance, had to dance, in fact. Unfortunately the closest good place for dancing was in Ben’s sight line of the stage. Still Reid listened some, danced some and talked some (it’s Reid, the talking was inevitable) for the 90 minutes the concert lasted. The sky looked increasingly ominous as the time passed. By the time Natalie MacMaster came out for her encore, people were getting antsy. As the last notes died away, the crowd began packing up their chairs and heading out. We got to the van – carpooling saved such coordination headaches – and Reid and Ken each got to open their presents before we went to out house. I was amazed that Reid didn’t fall asleep on the way home but I guess it’s hard to sleep when you’re talking non-stop.

Reid went to sleep quickly at home, or I think she did, I was out in no time flat, myself. She even slept in an hour on Sunday. It was a birthday full of happy happenings. I’m so glad that Reid had fun (and also that we only do it once a year).

Who planned that weekend?

Monday, May 25th, 2009

Sometimes I decide that we can do more in a day than really we should take on. I did that on both days of this past weekend. On Saturday, Reid and I were up early to make rhubarb cake and lasagna for supper. She even set the table for supper so that we’d be ready. I managed one of the fastest showers of my life and we got to Reid’s swimming lessons just 2 minutes late. Immediately after the lessons finished, we headed to the Melon Heads at Place d’Orleans so that Reid could get her hair cut. Reid had asked on Thursday to get her hair cut like Ken’s – basically a long brush cut – but we said “no” to that but did offer a shorter hairstyle. I hunted through Lands End catalogues and parenting magazines but couldn’t find any pictures of girls with hair shorter than their chin. The Internet let me down, too. Lucky for me, Reid had decided that she wanted her hair still “long” just shorter than it was. In the end, her hair is cut to chin length and she is cute as always.

Next, we went to the photo studio at Loblaws. I’d forgotten to make an appointment for Ken and Reid to have their pictures taken for Mother’s Day. It was late enough that we decided that we might as well do Father’s Day pics, too. We all smiled and posed on cue. Reid had asked me if I’d brought any things for the pictures. I’m not sure what it means that she knows to ask if I’ve brought any props. I didn’t, if you’re wondering.

We had a late lunch at the food court and then Reid and I took a bus to the National Arts Centre for the last concert in the TD Family Adventures series. This one featured Veronica Tennant, the former ballerina, as the co-host and was called “Dance with the NAC Orchestra”. A local dance school supplied dancers for a number of the pieces, including the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy from the Nutcracker and a work by Bach that featured a tap dancer and contemporary dancer. Many a child, especially the little girls, left the concert hall spinning and planning their own dance career.

On our way to the bus stop, we saw some of the Ottawa Race Weekend crowds. They’re the reason we took a bus; with the races, there were many road closures. I’ve been meaning to travel more by bus on the weekend, since I have a bus pass and kids 5 and under ride for free but hadn’t been that organized yet. Driving allows for more poor planning ;+)

We walked in to the smell of almost-cooked lasagna and in that instant, I decided that I’m going to make lasagna for company more often. I’d cleaned the kitchen hours earlier and wasn’t stressing out just before people arrived. Stephen had a school project to work on and Peter was out of town, which meant that only Sarah and Ben were with Melissa. The kids sat at Reid’s little table and were well-behaved with only one small kicking incident. Maybe there were other troubles but they weren’t noticeable from the table the adults were at. I highly recommend separate seating for kids and adults. The kids do, too, since sitting at Reid’s table was offered as a choice this time. Ken disappeared upstairs to work on his French while Melissa and I enjoyed our tea from fancy china cups. Tea tastes better or you drink it slower or something when you use the fancy cups. Reid and Ben conned Melissa into reading a couple of books and then it was time for bed. As busy as the day was, I was happy not to be super-tired. It was hectic but not stressful.

Which was good, since we had a few things to do on Sunday. Reid and I were at the garden centre/nursery before it opened on Sunday and took our time selecting vegetables, seeds and decorative plants. Reid was happy with our plant car – she was boxed in on the one side by plants and on the other by stuff that usually rides around in the cargo area and there were plants in the front. We’d barely got the plants unloaded when Bruno showed up to help. I don’t know how parents with two kids manage the eagerness. I was reminded that I haven’t spoken much French lately. Sigh. We did get some flowers planted before lunch, though. After lunch, I took Reid to M’s, a friend from school. Reid was so excited to be going to a friend’s house when it wasn’t for a birthday. I didn’t point out that she’d only been out to one at-home birthday party. The mom said that I could run errands or whatever as she thought the girls would occupy themselves. From all reports they did just that, spending most of their time in the backyard. I returned from my trip to the consignment store and St Vincent de Paul store where I’d made drop offs in time to hear the girls starting to get on each other’s nerves. Three hours was just long enough, I think. We’ll invite M over right away. Reid is thinking that she now has Sunday afternoon plans for the rest of her life. I’m not shutting out the possibility of activities that don’t involve M but I don’t think I’ll be killing Reid’s dream quite yet.

Bedtime was welcome on Sunday. I’ll try and plan for somewhat less this weekend. I guess.

A young girl’s thoughts turn to hockey

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

Reid and I went skating with Melissa and Ben at an outdoor rink in their neighbourhood on Sunday afternoon. Ben was eager to play hockey with the big kids but spent some time skating on the “puddle” with Reid first. The 3 years difference in their ages and the fact that one is a girl and the other a boy aren’t really barriers when they’re playing outside – or at least not in Reid’s mind. Unfortunately, despite the weekly skating lessons since September, Reid is not as proficient a skater as Ben. When they did go to the rink with boards and nets, Reid tried to skate and handle the puck a bit with the big boys and then decided to play goalie instead. The older boys, who were 13 or 14, refused to take shots on my pink-suited 4-year-old girl. She didn’t tell them that she was 4 *and a half* but I doubt it would have made a difference. I talked Reid away from the net and Ben even agreed to shoot on the net at the other end for a bit. She wanted back into the game, though.

Goalie Reid and Forward Ben

Back at our house, Reid had lots to say about skating and said that she wanted to play hockey in the fall when Ken asked her. I wish I knew other hockey families in the area. I don’t know anything about when to register, where to find used equipment of any of that. Luckily, it’s spring and the right time of year for a young girl’s thoughts to turn to hockey. Far better than September …

Mega, mega clipboard

Sunday, December 7th, 2008

I finally figured out what Reid has been singing off and on this past week. It’s “mega, mega clipboard.” I think that I’ve always heard it and known what it was but since it didn’t make sense I decided I was mistaken. Friday night, though, I made the connection between her song fragment and the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer play we saw on Sunday and it finally clicked. Santa used a clipboard and every time the word “clipboard” was mentioned, the other actors would sing “mega, mega clipboard” a few times (or maybe they said, “magic, mega clipboard” which is how Ben remembers it). It was funnier to see and hear than to read, I think.

Reid has also been asking for what she calls “the Christmas song” but what is actually “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”. We sang it at least a dozen times Thursday night alone. Now that we’ve moved the tv to the basement (and by “we”, I mean Ken), I can’t listen to the Christmas music channels that we get via cable and I’m not sure where my few Christmas music cds are. I’ll have to find an “all Christmas music, all the time” Internet radio station since my repertoire of songs is much more limited than Grandma Joyce’s.

Trick or treat – Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

At the door, waiting for the treats

View More Wordless Wednesday Participants, look at my previous Wordless Wednesday entries, or check out the Wordless Wednesday HQ. You’ll find lots of cute babies and kids at 5 Minutes for Mom.

We didn`t need the ark after all

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

We woke to the sound of heavy rain on Saturday. My first two thoughts were: 1. From the sound of that rain, we might need to build an ark and 2. Poor Melissa! What a weekend to be at a Beaver camp. The latter led me back to a conversation we’d had about Reid joining Sparks or Beavers next year. I have no real experience with Girl Guides or Scouts – other than attending a couple Brownie meetings with Janet – but I want Reid to try it out. Aunt Pam’s kids certainly seemed to get a lot out of Scouts. We’ll need to figure out whether Reid is a Spark or Beaver, though.

The rain didn’t affect our plan, though. Reid and I braved the weather to go out for breakfast and then we had work to do in the basement. And we actually did it. I moved some of my stuff up to the guest room that will double as my “space” (office sounds too much like work) and some of Ken’s things down to his “study” (again, I have the problem with work). Ken worked to set up his area and he and I both carried quite a few things up to the garage to be given away. Reid played quite autonomously – something that is happening more and more often, though not always when we need it as much as we did on Saturday.   I learned the word for “to get rid of” last week and I’ve used it quite a few times and will continue to need it, I hope.

Reid and I went to have our picture taken on Sunday morning. She’d sat patiently while I braided her hair and accepted the dress I’d chosen and so I was very much surprised when she began to cry when we sat down on the bench outside the photo studio. She didn’t want her picture taken that day, she said. Well, we tried a couple shots of just me and eventually enticed Reid to join me. We ended up with a couple of good shots but nothing as cool as the pic of Ken and Reid’s silly-faces. But maybe I’m too self-critical.

Bruno stopped by just as we were getting ready to plant potatoes. He helped for awhile even though he was quite concerned they were poisonous because they’d sprouted. I’m not sure if it was my limited French vocabulary or his strong preconception but he wasn’t convinced of the wisdom of the undertaking even at the end. Reid was disappointed when Bruno left only a short visit even though she doesn’t speak directly with him. She asks me (many times), “What are you saying to him?” and also “What did he say to you?” Bruno mostly watches what Reid is doing with casual interest and doesn’t ask what she says. I suspect he grasps much of what I say to her.

I made curry for supper with whole grain rice. My better half was considering a rebellion over the rice, I think, but Reid didn’t object. As she sometimes asks for a ridiculous amount of rice (or spaghetti), I’m trying to switch her to the whole wheat stuff. Since we had made rhubarb mini-cupcakes before supper, we had dessert for a change. I wouldn’t recommend mini-cupcakes to anyone baking with a kid who likes to put the batter in the cups as it’s quite difficult to get just the small amount of batter required into the cup. That said, Reid loved the tinyness of the cupcakes and I think she’ll lobby hard to use them again.

In addition to the mini-cupcakes that Reid and I made together, I baked a pie on Sunday. I mention that it was I who made the pie because Reid had intended to help and had, in fact, helped make the dough. Ken intervened when it became apparent that I was having trouble with the dough and Reid was having trouble getting her turn to roll it. I’ve made pie dough before but it’s been years since then. I never could have imagined a softer dough – it was like brand new Playdough, the real stuff, not homemade. After a few colourful comments and a few attemps, I got the bottom crust in the pieplate and then added my rhubarb. The top crust required the same combination of attitude and effort. And *I* had worried that Reid’s assistance in making the dough itself would lead to tough crusts. The fun continued when I turned the oven off rather than turning it down 25 degrees. The poor pie didn’t come out of the oven until Reid was in bed (by which I mean “lying on the floor” since she has decided to sleep on the floor again).

Of course, the pie coming out of the oven so late meant that we weren’t able to eat any Sunday night. Reid and I addressed this further insult to the pie on Monday morning by eating a piece for breakfast. It’s true! I’m shameless about it. Grandma Joyce knows I eat pie for breakfast. I’m not afraid to tell you I do. (Ken does it rarely, perhaps because I don’t make the kinds of pie he favours often enough.) Reid thoroughly enjoyed her rhubarb pie and tried to exchange a lovely smile for a second piece. My mama guilt kicked in and I told her she had to drink her milk and choose a piece of fruit instead. It only *seems* that Reid makes all of the decisions.

All in all, it was an enjoyable weekend. Really, how could it not be, having started with an hour of snuggling and reading in bed and ending with pie for breakfast? While Saturday morning was very wet, there was only a bit of rain on Sunday, for all the skies threatened. The only rain that fell on us came when we were nearly back from our walk to pick up the photos. All this to say that we didn’t need the ark and had a good time despite cloudy skies.

Why Reid needs to grow just a bit taller

Monday, December 3rd, 2007

As we were getting ready to leave Melissa’s on Thursday, or at least when I was telling Reid it was time to leave Melissa’s on Thursday, I told Reid that she needed to give everyone super-good goodbye hugs and kisses because we wouldn’t be seeing them for 10 days. Reid started giving each of the kids and Melissa and Peter without any prompting a few months ago. Sarah, Melissa and Peter accept them with enthusiasm. I suspect Stephen likes them but can’t let on because he is a very nearly 10 year old boy.

Ben is certainly the least enthusiastic recipient of Reid’s affection. He stoically accepts the hug but avoids the kiss. Last week, Sarah was trying to hold Ben down while Reid tried to kiss him. When I noticed what was happening I made them let him go and explained that people get to decide for themselves what happens to their bodies. This week, Reid was stretching herself as tall as she could, all of the way up on her tiptoes and could only reach the underside of Ben’s chin. She reached up and tried to pull his head down but wasn’t tall enough for that either. Poor kid, she needs to grow just a bit taller. I told Reid she needed to ask Ben if he wanted a kiss and when she did, he said “no”. The answer seemed acceptable to Reid as she gave him a squeeze and went in search of Stephen.