Friday, 13 September 2019

Photo Friday: Dragonfly

Kiddo started school last week. So far he seems to like it (phew). As it happens, we live just under one kilometer from the school. That means walking instead of taking the bus.

Four years old seems a bit young for the bus, so I'm actually glad we're within the walking radius. But, at Kiddo pace, it does take 20-30 minutes each way (depending how many leaves and blades of grass we stop to examine along the way). About an hour added to the day–and I expect the winter months will be interesting.

For now though, we're enjoying the nice weather along with the trees, grass, weeds, flowers, birds, squirrels, and everything else there is to see. Leave it to a four year old to make sure you don't miss anything interesting. Like this dragonfly, which we studied for a good ten minutes on our trip home the other day:

Kiddo was pleased the dragonfly was his favourite colour, and happened to match his shirt. Ever tried to get a picture of a moving dragonfly with your phone? I did my best:

Friday, 6 September 2019

Photo Friday: Nature Walk?

There is a path around our subdivision that I enjoy walking a few times a week. Most of it is lined with trees. There's a ridiculous number of rabbits. And occasionally other wildlife to be seen.

There are, however, some unavoidable reminders that this little patch of nature is smack dab in the middle of human civilization...

I can think of no plausible explanation for bringing a shopping cart halfway around this 4k loop and then leaving it. But I suppose someone had a reason. By the looks of the mangled lower corner, the cart had a rough ride getting here.

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Ways in Which I Underestimate My Kid

As I have made reference to before, I tend to be about six months behind in assessing my child's abilities. I assume (hope) I am not the only mother out there who does this. Luckily, I have a husband who tends more towards giving Kiddo the benefit of the doubt, maybe sometimes to a fault, but Hubby has been right on some notable occasions:

Swimming Lessons:

My husband was so totally sure Kiddo was ready to move on from parent-and-tot to drop-off lessons. I was imagining weekly meltdowns ending in early departure from the pool, and a forever-traumatized child who would never want to swim again.

There were a few tears the first week. But overall, Kiddo rocked the swimming lessons. He can swim the length of the pool with a pool noodle under his arms, is willing to jump into the deep end (into someones arms, of course), and will dunk is head completely (when he feels like it).


There was a family ski day with my husband's work. Two hours in the car, each way, followed by getting a three year old to wait for an equipment rental, then get into boots, skis, and a helmet. All so he can refuse to step onto the magic carpet to the top of the bunny hill? Then, if he does get to the top of the hill, we're going to convince him to ski back down the hill that, to someone 3½ feet tall, must look like a mountain? Yeah right. I want Kiddo to learn to ski, but how about we wait until next year to torture ourselves.

We attended the ski day. Kiddo was a champ waiting for, and putting on, his equipment. After one mild meltdown, we got him up the hill. He skied down while I held onto him. This was a workout for me as Kiddo decided he was done halfway down and lifted his skis into the air. I carried him down the rest of the way while trying not to ski into anyone. But the day was far from a disaster. We might even try it again this winter.


My husband brought up the idea of bringing Kiddo to see the July 1st fireworks. Keeping Kiddo up past 10pm to experience a series of sudden booming noises. Yeah, that sounds like a great idea (did you catch the dripping sarcasm?). Once again, we went for it. Once again, I anticipated disaster.

Once again, my husband was right. Kiddo loved the fireworks (with ear defenders on), and staying up late did not end in meltdown.

Camping is the next Kiddo adventure on the agenda. As usual, my husband is optimistic (and it was his idea). I am making lists of all the things that can go wrong. But history tells me it'll be fine (she says, with visions of two sleepless nights in a tent with a four year old running through her head).

Then there's the whole 'Kiddo starts kindergarten in four weeks' thing. FOUR WEEKS! How did that happen? Didn't summer start two seconds ago?

But, really, no need to panic...😬

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

A Moment in Parenting: Ice Cream and ALL THE CANDY

Marble Slab Creamery is equal parts awesome and dangerous (assuming you're trying not to consume as many calories as possible in one sitting). They have amazing ice cream, in many flavours, generous portions (a little too generous you might say), and you can mix in as many nuts, candies, or chocoate bar pieces as you want. There was a time when you had to pay for the extra mixins, but no more. Unlimited mixins are now included. Like I said, dangerous.

Summer is the season of BBQ and beer, strawberry shortcake, and of course ice cream. I might say, 'just enjoy while you can' but then BBQ-beer-ice cream-strawberry season will be quickly followed by apple-and-pumpkin-pie season. Then comes Christmas...

Really, there's always an excuse to eat all the treats. Thus, when my husband, my son, and I went to Marble Slab for ice cream on the weekend, I decided to embrace the philosophy of moderation. I ordered a kid's size (choc 'n' chili. Soooo good!), and I got it in a dish. No waffle cone, no candy mixed in.

Kiddo has a different approach to ordering his ice cream. He picks the flavour based on colour. Last time, he got the blue ice cream (cotton-candy flavour, I think). This time he went with orange, which described both the colour and flavour.

And moderation? Not a thing in his world. Kiddo's ice cream was mixed with gummy bears, nerds, and mini fuzzy peaches. There likely would have been more, but we cut him off at three choices.

Ice cream plus three kinds of candy...Oh to be a kid. And to have access to a Marble Slab. Which, alas, I did not. (Ok, maybe that's a good thing.)

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

A Moment in Parenting: The Sweater Debate

Ever since my son has been old enough to express an opinion on the matter, he has been adamant about two clothing rules:

Rule Number One: Socks are a must. Daytime, nighttime, winter, summer, doesn't matter. He wants socks.

In this case, I have a pretty good idea where Kiddo's belief that socks are a necessity came from. When he started to crawl, he got rough spots on the tops of his feet where they rubbed the carpet in our basement. I started putting socks on him all the time to protect his skin.

It worked really well. I didn't know I was ingraining a rule that would stick, but we have managed to teach him that pools, beaches, and splash pads are exceptions to the socks-always rule. So, whatever, I don't stress about this one. His other rule, however...

Rule Number Two: Sweaters are an abomination. You might as well be putting me in a straitjacket, Mom.

Our living room is, unfortunately, located on the north side of the house with large windows that will eventually need replacing. On many winter mornings Kiddo and I went in there to play and, despite cranked heat, it felt cold. But do you think I could convince him to wear a sweater? If I did put one on him, he'd have it unzipped and off about half a second after I let him go. Instead, I would close the curtains to keep the heat in, crank the furnace further, and hope the heating bill didn't put us in the poorhouse.

Chilly fall and spring mornings that warranted a sweater for the ride to daycare? These often consisted of tears, bribery, and finally a wrestling match to get Kiddo into the sweater that he would be unzipping before he was fully in the door at our daycare provider's house.

While I can relate to his love of socks, I do not at all understand Kiddo's hate of sweaters. I'm always wearing sweaters. Setting the A/C to 23 °C is enough to make me reach for a sweater. If I'm not wearing one, Kiddo will usually ask where it is. Yet his refusal to follow my example has persisted. Until...

July 1st. We took Kiddo to the Canada Day fireworks this year. Knowing it would be chilly by the water after the sun went down, I packed a sweater for him. I had little hope he would wear it, so I also packed his rain jacket. Thankfully, his aversion doesn't include jackets.

About an hour before the fireworks were due to start, we brought Kiddo out on the grass to play with some sparklers.

Kiddo: "I'm cold. It's cold out here."

Me (already planning my counter offer of the rain jacket): "Do you want to put on your sweater?"

Kiddo: "Yes!"

Me: "Really?"

Kiddo: "Yes, I want my OshKosh sweater."

Thankfully, I had in fact brought the favoured OshKosh sweater. I helped him into it, still not too hopeful. The few other times Kiddo has voluntarily put on a sweater, he has changed his mind about it within five minutes.

Kiddo, sweater on, hugs himself: "I'm cozy in my sweater."

Me (sideways glance to Hubby, stunned look on my face): "Great. I'm glad you like it."

Five minutes passed, then ten, then an hour. We got to the end of the fireworks and all the way home and Kiddo stayed happily in his sweater. Wow, I thought. We've reached a turning point.

Yes. A turning point, indeed...

Last night, about 9pm, I heard: "Mommy...Mommy...MOMMY!"

Knowing full well I should ignore this and he'd eventually go to sleep, I went into Kiddo's bedroom to see what was up. He was sitting up on the bed with the OshKosh sweater in front of him.

Kiddo: "I want to wear this."

Me: "Now?"

Kiddo, tears brimming: "It's cold. I want to wear it."

It was definitely not cold in his room. Still, choosing to avoid the late-night meltdown, I helped him put on the sweater. He went to sleep immediately. But, it being July, I was afraid he'd roast. After about half an hour (to ensure he was truly asleep) I went back in and (very carefully) took the sweater off him. I put it back in his dresser drawer. 

This morning, the sweater was on his pillow. He was not happy when we wouldn't let him wear it in the car to daycare. It was 8:15am and already 20 °C with a humidex of 25. We held firm on this one, despite the tears.

Yep, my son who refused to wear sweaters in January has decided he loves them in July. Day and night. I'm taking bets on whether he'll decide he hates them again by November. 

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

This Past Week...

Things that pissed me off in the past week:

1) Windows updates: Which, as far as I can tell, are geared towards giving Windows apps more access to my personal information, and serve no other purpose.

2) The Bell guy: Doorbell rings. I ignore it. Thirty seconds later, it rings again. Thinking a neighbor might need something, I answer. Not a neighbor, it's the Bell guy.

Seriously, dude, two rings are for emergencies only. (Not his first visit, I might add.)

Even after I clearly state it's a bad time, he launches into his "this is the best offer ever you really need to switch to Bell and you really need to do it now" speech. Mid-spiel, I repeat it's a bad time and close the door.

I was tempted to add, "For as long as we live in this house we will not be switching to Bell. Fuck off and don't come back." I kept those thoughts to myself. But if Kiddo, who was napping, had woken up to the sound of that second ring of the doorbell, I'm not sure I could have restrained myself.

3) Static: It was time to change Kiddo's bed sheets. I pulled them off the bed (apparently building up quite the static charge in the process). Sheets bundled under one arm, I turned to leave the room. The clock caught my eye--this was on Sunday, by the way--I realized hadn't adjusted the time yet.

I can do that one handed, it'll only take a second...

I reached out with my free hand. Snap! As I pulled back from the surprisingly-painful shock, the time on the clock jumped to 12:00. Some of the buttons, including the set button, are now dead. Which brings me to...

4) Daylight Savings: When will the insanity end?

Things I enjoyed in the past week:

1) Having a phone chat with a friend I haven't spoken to in ages--two friends, actually, if I go back a few weeks. It was great catching up with both of them. Note to self: I have some good friends. I really need to do a better job staying in touch with them.

2) Reading the Alistair Reynolds novella Diamond Dogs. For someone who likes to write science fiction, I haven't been consuming enough of it lately.

3) Finishing Shetland on Netflix. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it. Though, if you're like me, it might make you want to move to rural Scotland. Unfortunately, I now have to wait for the latest season to come out on TV in the old-school, one-episode-per-week fashion. I should find this prospect less distressing than I do, considering I have memories of watching a little black-and-white TV with a coat hanger for an antenna.

4) Watching Kiddo's swimming lesson. He just finished his first 8-week session without a parent in the pool. A few months ago Hubby and I had a conversation that went something like this:

Hubby: "I think he's ready to do swimming lessons on his own."

Me: "You're kidding."

Hubby: "He's definitely ready."

Me: "No way. He'll freak out."

Hubby: "He'll do fine. He is so ready. "

Me: "He's so not ready."

We went back and forth for a while. I gave in, and Hubby signed Kiddo up for the no-parent lessons.

Hubby was right. Kiddo did great. Moral of the story: I have a tendency to underestimate my son. (Of course, I kinda knew that already.)

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Ever Wonder Who is Really in Charge?

Whether I'm gone for two hours, or two seconds, I always come back to this:

 The cat doesn't even need to be in the room when I get up. She just knows...