Advice for when Reid chooses her married name

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Running with the pack

June 2nd, 2011

RunningReid and I took part in the 2K Family Run on Saturday as part of Ottawa Race Weekend. All participants received race t-shirts and time chips to attach to their shoes, which had the effect of making Reid feel like a “real” runner and also enables me to tell you that Reid ran 2 kilometers in 13 minutes and 48.9 seconds. That’s pretty fast and put her in 86 out of 469 females under 8 years old. She ran much of the distance with only a couple of walk breaks.

Reid, Barbara, Sarah and BenWe started our race in the company of Sara and Ben. Sara is one of my Losing It In Ottawa blogger buddies and Ben is her fabulous son. It was fun to have friends in the start corral with us and also to have people to share stories with at the end of the race.

After the race, Reid commented to me that this race was her longest ever. I agreed that it was true. Next, she grinned and said it was also her second. That, too, was true I said. Reid said that she also wants to run a 5 kilometre race next. I recommended a few more 1 or 2 kilometre races but now I’m wondering if we should train for a 5K. The thing with little kids is that they tend to run hell bent for leather and then fade on longer distances. With my Garmin GPS watch, though, Reid might be inclined to pace herself.

Matching outfitsCan I explain the matching outfits? I saw the Running Skirts display at the Army Run last September but resisted buying one. Once I registered us for the 2K run, though, I couldn’t resist buying matching skirts for Reid and myself and then, once we had matching skirts, matching t-shirts and headbands seemed necessary. Reid loved it that I was her “twin”. We’ll have to run several races to get our use out of the outfits.

Reid with medal Everyone who completes a race receives a “Finisher” medal. Reid was delighted with hers. Now I’m wondering what to do with the collection of race medals that we’ve begun amassing.

When I was getting ready for my half-marathon run on Sunday morning, Reid asked how far I would be running. I told her 21.1 kilometres and she shook her head. “No, Mama. Yesterday I ran 2K. How many “K” will you run?” I grinned and told her that it was 21.1K and then I explained that the “K” represented kilometres.

I had to be downtown for my race at 8:00, for the 9:00 start. I asked Ken and Reid to come later and cheer me on near the end. They were stationed within the last kilometre, right where I needed them most. I was more than a little tired after more than 2 hours of running but I wouldn’t let myself be walking when I saw them. Nothing like pride to keep yourself going! Seeing them at the side of the road brought tears to my eyes – good ones – and the tap of the hand that I got from Reid gained me at least 10 seconds.

Reid’s Red Carpet Celebration

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

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

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.