Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Hangover

Christmas Hangover: The period of time immediately following Christmas where all you seem to be able to do is sit on the couch and stare into space towards the mess of stuff that needs to be cleaned up, and the only food there is to eat is turkey and chocolate.

See: Arrogant Worms - Christmas Hangover
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97ZVwdP9iho

It wasn't actually that bad.....
We start the season with the season, on the Solstice. I had decided years ago that I wanted to have a Solstice dinner as a family, so that Christmas could be spent at my parent's, or wherever, and we wouldn't be trying to be in 3 places at once. The last couple years I've been so preoccupied that we havn't done anything, but I actually had the foresight to think about it this year. We had a clove ham, potatoes, sweet potatoes and broccoli. SO yummy, and very 'wintery'.

     I remember last Christmas Toby really had no idea what to expect, and each time he opened a gift he played with it for 20 minutes and didn't really care to open anything else. After Christmas he was a tantruming two year old for weeks from being so overwhelmed even though we play Christmas pretty quiet here.
This year he knew what to expect. Every morning for two weeks he asked if his stocking was full yet.
I keep trying to emphasize the GIVING and CREATING of gifts FOR people, but his one track mind keeps going back to asking how many presents under the tree were for him.
I was expecting the same mess-of-a-post-Christmas-kid as last year, but he's actually been really good so far. He got a lot of books and PJs and things and only a couple really cool toys, so he's been playing with them and not seeming overwhelmed.

Before Christmas, however, was when he had the big meltdowns.
We woke up at 5 am Christmas morning because he had a nightmare (I'm assuming due to the yelling and thrashing in his sleep) and he wouldn't settle back down. He kept demanding I get up and he didn't want to be in bed anymore. I don't even think he knew it was Christmas, he just didn't want to be there. I kept saying we weren't getting up until the sun was up, but he never went back to sleep, just yelled and hit and kicked and sobbed all over me. A couple times I said that he needed to chill out and I was trying to help him and that if he's getting to overwhelmed then we're putting all the gifts away and we're not going to have a family Christmas time if he's being rude. I got hit some more and yelled at some more and sobbed on some more. I was, at this point, not in the Christmas spirit at all. I was completely prepared to pack up the gifts and only let him open his stocking, MUCH later after he calmed down.
I think at this point he started realizing it was Christmas morning and further demanded to go downstairs. I made him wait til 7 and then carried his sobbing overtired self down to the couch where he immediately demanded to nurse while I had a melt down. *Yaaaaaaaaaaaaay Christmas*
He eventually got very quiet and was being very deliberately polite...
"Ohh, mummy look how pretty our tree is"
"yep"
"And there's a note pinned to it!"
"yep"
"Can we read it?"
"whatever"
He turned on our tree lights and 'ooh'd' and 'ahh'd' at it again before bringing me the note from Santa. We read all about what a GOOD boy he'd been this year and how SMART and HELPFUL he was.... I was still half debating just telling my family to put off presents for another day.
He opened his stocking and then ran up to show stuff to Grampa. They had breakfast and read some books while I grumbled away on the internet trying to cheer myself up.
A few hours later everyone was up and the mood was better and we started opening a few things. He actually handled it all pretty well. The day ended up pretty good.
We Skyped with family in Holland.
Turkey dinner.
Lots of chocolate.
Not too bad.




Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Teeth

Today was the day.
Toby's teeth are fixed.

I think I blogged before about the decay on his front teeth, but this time I'll add pictures.

It started when he was about a year old. I tried to scrape some yellowy gunge off his front teeth only to discover that they were tiny holes and not just 'gunk'.
I panicked, but at the time I felt he was far too young to undergo what needed to be done. He was and still is very clingy and high anxiety and I didn't want the lasting stamp of 'dentists shove needles in my mouth and it hurts and therefore I hate them'.
When he was a few months older we went to our family hygienist for checkups. She's known our family for years and has her own natural dentistry practice in Barrie. Toby wanted absolutely nothing to do with it.
We said that was fine, he got a seashell and a toothbrush anyway, and we went home.
She recommended that I try brushing his teeth with a mixture of clay and xylitol, which is a plant based 'sugar' that actually repels sugars from the teeth. The clay absorbs and neutralizes the acid. I was also told to cut down on, or remove rice from his diet because the starches turn to sugars when they mix with the acid in your mouth.

Well, Toby's entire diet was rice because of keeping him away form gluten. So we substituted with a lot of corn products and quinoa, but it wasn't the same.

The decay was under control for quite a while, but I was slowly realizing that the area had darkened and gotten bigger. At this time Toby began to put up an enormous fight about teeth brushing. He never liked it to begin with, but now he was learning to fight back. Not wanting to turn teeth brushing into a negative thing, we let it go for a while. He always drank lots of water and I still packed the clay/xylitol mix on his teeth.


We tried for another check-up the next year, but his perception was better and he knew exactly what we were doing and fought every step of the way. He wouldn't even sit in the chair with me this time.
Our hygienist referred me to a dental surgeon for a consultation about what to do.
A few months later we finally got an appointment. Toby again screamed blue murder when we tried to take him into an examining room. We had been taking pictures of his teeth for a while now so I presented the dentist with those while Toby ran back to waiting room to play with Grama.



He told me they would have to be pulled. I asked if they could just be filled. He shrugged and said he wouldn't know until they did x-rays and he wasn't going to be able to get x-rays unless Toby was under anesthetic. Then he mumbled something about this is commonly what happens when you breastfeed too long. I asked if we would be able to nurse the day of. He said no food or drink for 12 hours before. I asked what I has supposed to do about the fact that I'm not going to get him out of the house without him wanting to nurse. He said if he ingests anything they won't operate on him because if he throws up in his sleep he could drown himself.
I was not happy.
They said they would contact me in a few days with a quote for the procedure, but an anesthetist probably wouldn't be available for several months.
I talked to them the next week about what needed to be done, and 4 extractions with anesthetic, plus x-rays, plus fillings,  plus 'whatever else we find that needs to be done' was going to be over $2000.
I wanted to throw up.
I asked if replacement teeth would be put in because he can't exactly go around with no front teeth for the next 3-4 years. She almost laughed and then said no, it would be to expensive and pointless because they were not permanent teeth.
They told me to call the Simcoe Muskoka Health unit about the CINOT program (Children In Need Of Treatment) to receive financial assistance if I had no insurance.
I don't like calling people and was too annoyed at the whole thing to want to do anything else. I also didn't want to subject Toby to another screening appointment so soon after this one.

A month or so went by and we almost forgot about the whole thing. Then one days they called and I was almost terrified that they had found a date for Toby to go in. Instead, they informed us that they had decided to no longer do treatments that required anesthesia on-site, and they referred me to yet another dentist.

Kids Dentistry in Barrie.
They have a website. I read over everything and immediately felt better about the situation.

We were doing a lot over the summer so it wasn't until a month ago that I got a chance to call. I got an appointment a few weeks later.
The place is awesome. The staff are awesome. The whole waiting room is decorated to look like you're under the ocean, and back in the clinic it's decorated like the jungle.

(Panorama of waiting room from my phone)




Dr. Goralski was quiet and patient through Toby's sobbing, and eventually did get a good look inside his mouth. He went to check for a date to bring us back for surgery. He came back and said they actually had an opening in a week and a half.

Well. This is great. Except. It's happening like. Now.

*Insert previous blog post about anxiety attack*

The dentist office sent their own message to CINOT and said because it was a referral I probably wouldn't have to go in for screening. I got approval right away, which waved the cost of the anesthetic (about $700?) and all I had to look after was the down payment and a couple hundred for the full-bonded crowns they would be fitting him with.
Tres awesome.

Toby wasn't allowed to eat after 10PM last night. I asked about nursing. They said 4 hours before was fine, but nothing leading up to the appointment.
Well fine, he wakes up once early in the morning and asks to nurse and then goes back to sleep, instead of the 5 times a night that was happening before.
A week they called and said I had to be in the office at 7:45 am.
HA.
Right.
My stomach was in knots all night. I barely slept. Toby woke up right on time at 4am, nursed for 10 seconds and dropped of to sleep again.
I never went back to sleep.
I eventually got up just before 6 to eat something and get my stuff together. I hoped Toby would sleep till 7 so I would just have to grab him and put him in the car.  However we woke up just after 6, asking to nurse.
I diverted the attention by looking at the moon out the window, which was still shining brightly. I picked him up and we looked out the window for a while before he asked to go downstairs. As soon as we got downstairs he asked to go back up and nurse. I said I know, and then headed for the computer room to watch some Bob The Builder.
He was entertained but he kept shivering on my lap out of exhaustion and adrenaline. He knew something was up.
I turned off the computer and went to put shoes on. He asked where we were going. I said we had to do some stuff, and then we'd be home later.
We got out to the car and he asked again where we had to go. I said we had to go to our appointment at the place with all the fish and the rainbow bubbles.
He didn't say anything. You could see him processing it. He knew what I was talking about, but he didn't kick up a fuss, and amazingly he didn't ask for anything to eat on the way in.
We drove into a beautiful Barrie sunrise. I wish I had stopped to take a picture, but I was too focused on getting there on time.
We stopped outside the building and Toby asked if they were going to clean his teeth. He knew exactly where we were.
We had talked about putting the crowns on his teeth, he knew they were being fixed, I just didn't draw much attention to the 'when' because he's still really sensitive on the issue.
I eventually said, yeah maybe, we'll have to see what Dr. Mike says.
He was shaking in my arms on the walk up, but ran right over to play with the train set when we went in. We were the first ones there so he had the run of the play room.
When it was time to go in he said 'no' a couple times, but then just hugged me when I picked him up.
I was expecting a screaming match when they tried to put the mask on his face, but they let me hold on to him on my lap and he just teared up a bit before being knocked out. We were all surprised at how well it went.
I couldn't help but have a huge grin on my face as I went back to the waiting room. It was done. I didn't care how miserable he was going to be or how many times I get thrown up on, because this was over.

They called me back when he woke up and he was a sobbing disoriented mess on the bed. I picked him up and he fell asleep again for a few minutes. Eventually we realized his eyes were actually open, he was just really calm. They moved up to a different room until he got his bearings again. He slowly began to talk to me instead of just staring off into space. I carried him around and looked out all the windows. He nursed for a minute. He was offered a popsicle which she shyly refused, then asked for again as soon as the nurse had left. He seemed to feel a lot better after that and they let us go. He never threw up or seemed nauseous which was surprising for me, because he usually throws up easily if anything is 'off' about his tummy

(Eating popsicle with numb lips. He's never been able to actually eat one before because his teeth were so sensitive)

Toby wanted more popsicles so we stopped at Zehrs on the way home and got some popsicles, yogurt and apple sauce for him to eat today.
We had pasta, watched Cars, and had a reluctant nap.
When we got up again i asked if he wanted to see his teeth in the mirror. He said no. I went over and pulled his lip back anyway so he could see the broken teeth were fixed. He tried to hide a smile from me by burying his face in my shoulder.

I am amazed already at how well he seems to be coping and how 'himself' he is already.
Here's hoping to no more procedures until much much later!!



Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Suckiest Day That Ever Sucked

Toby had a doctors appointment today for a pre-op physical so he can get anesthesia next week for his dental work.
The plan was: Appointment, Lunch with Jeff downtown, Zehrs, home.

What actually happened was this:
Show up at appointment EXACTLY on time, not earlier because I know they usually get behind before lunch, and this was my small attempt to minimize wait time without being 'late'.
Toby is delightfully springy and goes right over to the books and toys (we haven't been to the doctors in well over a year, since he had his last shots, but he still seemed comfortable enough).
I hand over Toby's health card and go to sit down when the girl at reception goes "Umm... this is expired."
"Uhhhh, what?"
"His card expired in November....2010...."
"Seriously??!!! I never received ANYTHING in the mail about renewing it... I didn't even think to check.."
"Hold on we'll call OHIP and see if he's still in the system. Otherwise he's not going to be covered for his appointment today"

Fantastic.

So we read books. And they made some phone calls. And I was informed that Toby was no longer covered by OHIP. And that the appointment should be less that $75 because that was the adult rate...
I asked if they took Mastercard.
They said that they could only take cash because usually they don't deal with payments directly at the office.
I said oh.
They said I could run to the bank or something after, they'd trust me for it.
I said I didn't even know what I had in my account and I might have to go find my mom downtown.
They said that was fine, I could come in later this week too if I needed. I should get reimbursed once his health card was renewed.

I'm nearly in tears at this point and my heart rate has skyrocketed and the pain in my chest that never really went away from last week is now threatening to make a comeback.
I sat down and read to Toby, trying desperately not to make my voice show how frustrated I am for the rest of the waiting room to hear.
We read.
And read.
And read.
And read.
It's now been an hour beyond our appointment time.
We read another book.
They finally called us in.
Toby now wants nothing to do with being here. We had talked about standing on the scale just like at home, and seeing how tall he was, just like at home.
Except the scale in the doctors office has a big stick thing coming out of the back, and thus is NOTHING like the one at home. Toby screamed. Toby sobbed.
I'm beyond pissed now, and just want to get this over with so I force him back on and beg him to just stand still for 30 seconds. He leeches to my leg.
The girl quietly says that she can weigh me and then I can hold him for the difference. So I stand on the scale and Toby screams like I've just jumped off the side of a boat. He thankfully doesn't try to climb on me, so they actually got a weight. I then picked up Toby and he sobbed the whole time they weighed us.
Then they had to see how tall he was. I had to pin him against the wall with my leg.
Then they had to take his blood pressure, except now he's completely worked up.
So I had to let him nurse to calm down so they could velcro the cuff around his arm.
Then the doctor came in, and he seemed just as tired and hungry as us. He tried to listen to Toby's heart, which is hard when the person you are trying to listen to is screaming MUMMY PICK ME UP, even though he's already in my lap.
Finally we got out of there.
At this point it was now too late to meet Jeff for lunch because he had to work, but we went to Brewery Bay anyway because we both needed a break. I called my mom when we were there and vented my anger at the day and asked if she could go to the bank so I could take money back to the doctor's office.

After lunch we went to the licencing office to get Toby's card renewed.
We didn't have to wait long, thank goodness.
The lady asked if I had filled out the forms. I said no, because I was just sent here from my doctor's office.
She gave the form to me, I filled it out, she asked for two pieces of ID... and...oh.... Do you have his birth certificate on you?
Um, no.
Well, apparently they need to verify citizenship before issuing a health card EVEN THOUGH HE HAS ONE ALREADY WHICH HE NEEDED HIS BIRTH CERTIFICATE TO APPLY FOR IN THE FIRST PLACE SO CLEARLY HE'S AN ONTARIO CITIZEN.

To quote Homer Simpson: "These guys are the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked."

Whatever.

We went back to the doctor's to give them the money.
We went to Zehrs to get groceries.
We spent way longer and way more money than anticipated, but now I hopefully won't have to do a major trip until after Christmas.
We picked up some empty cookie tins from Grandma-Net and Opa's, and had a nice break looking at their tree and light-up village.
Then we went home. In the dark.
4 people passed me on the way home, one tailing me for an unnecessary amount of time. (I'M SORRY FOR ONLY DOING 95 IN AN 80 IN THE PITCH DARK).
And upon getting home I realized I had forgotten to give the Christmas card to Grandma-Net and Opa that I had placed in my purse three days ago in anticipation of going there today.

I asked Toby if he wanted pasta or pizza for dinner.
He said pizza.
I made frozen gluten free pizza.
He came to the table, said 'No, not that' and began to pout.
Whatever. Don't eat. I'm hungry.
He eventually ate half a piece and some carrots and dip.

#is it bedtime yet?
#end rant

Friday, December 2, 2011

Stress Test

As mothers, you would think we are indestructible, but then often find out that this is not the case, and often too late.
Staying up late to finish cleaning, blogging, or catching up on TV shows; eating less healthy food and less of it than we feed our kids, taking advantage of kids no longer napping by spending longer shopping just to come home and non-stop make dinner etc. And add to it the mental stresses that we don't always consider. Things as simple as being behind on laundry or dishes, up to  legal and medical concerns.
It's like stacking triangle blocks on top of one another. It's barely possible, we feel like super-geniuses when we get it to work, and it's only a matter of time before it all comes crashing down.
My tower fell down on Thursday.

Toby had a dentist appointment. Previous experiences had not gone well.
Toby has very badly decayed front teeth from lack of brushing at an early age (due to breath holding and screaming blue murder when the mere suggestion of shoving a fuzzy stick in his mouth was brought into the room.) Also we believe he is like me in that there is a high rate of acid in his mouth naturally, which likes to go after starches and turns them into sugars against the teeth.
Brushing has since gotten a lot better with the implementation of a sticker-per-brush system on a calendar. We've gone from brushing maybe 5 times a month, to only about 5 missed days a month.
But, needless to say, tooth brushing does not 'cure' cavities. It's clear he's in pain when he's brushing and his gums were becoming swollen.
He had seen a few dentists and had several screaming matches before being referred to Kids Dentistry in Barrie.
They are awesome. I love it there.
Toby still didn't want anyone to come near him, but because they are used to having kids in there, we got around it. They talked about capping his teeth instead of pulling them, which was a huge relief to me. Then he walked out of the room, came back, and said "We actually have a date to do this in about a week and a half."
My first thought was 'Good, get it over with. No more waiting'.
But then when they started getting me to sign ten different pieces of paper granting permission for the procedure, and telling me that I had to get him to a doctor for a physical as soon as possible, and all the requirements for bringing him in the morning he's scheduled, I could feel myself taking slow deliberate breaths as my hands started to sweat.
We went to the health food store in Barrie and got a snack for Toby for being 'good' (meaning he allowed me to enter the building with him and didn't cry the WHOLE time) and a gluten free pizza kit for dinner because I knew I wouldn't be able to think when I got home.
On the way home I kept sighing and muttering "ooooh booooy" to myself, seemingly an involuntary outburst.
I felt lightheaded and my stomach grumbled. I ate one of Toby's crackers and found a mint in my glove compartment to eat.
We got home, and inside, and my stomach was feeling more 'pit like'. I ate a handful of almonds but it didn't help. I turned the oven on for the pizzas and started cutting pepper to go on it. Toby climbed up on his chair next to me and nattered away while I figured out pizza stuff. I was frustrated that eating and drinking wasn't helping my stomach, and I was finding it hard to concentrate and the zillion things Toby was telling me. I rubbed my stomach and wondered if the mint I had in the car was reacting weirdly with my empty stomach.
Then the pain got sharp and tight all at once. It moved up the left side of my chest and shot across my back. I was leaning on the counter breathing slowly and deliberately, telling myself that as soon as I got something good to eat I'd feel better.
Toby announced that he pooped right as i was getting the pizzas in the oven. I fumbled my way, hunched over, to the couch to change him. My dad came home in the middle of this an asked if I was ok. I said no.
I asked if he could find me some Tums, and I made some chamomile tea.
The Tums didn't do anything.
The pizza was finally ready, but eating it didn't help, although it didn't make me feel worse or nauseous.
I have had chest pain like this before. In college my teacher panicked when she saw me rubbing my chest and all but laying across the desk and sent me down to the college clinic, which when sent me to the hospital to get a heart monitor. I felt better about an hour after all that and of course the heart monitor didn't pick up anything.
I've had little jabs of pain that feel like mastitis, although it's always the left side. My heart flutters occasionally, but I've been told that that's normal.
But this, this was lasting for up to two hours now, and I was finding it hard to do much of anything. My dad took Toby upstairs and I had a hot bath. I immediately felt better, though still dull pains everywhere. My stomach growled again and felt like it 'settled'.
I would have just wrote if off ad indigestion if it hadn't been for the chest pains.
When I stood up out of my bath my heart started pounding again and I was light headed.
I didn't want to go in to Emerg at 9 at night, because I was exhausted and just wanted to sleep, and it would have messed up Toby's sleep schedule too.
I talked to my mom who said it was probably an anxiety attack, and that she's had things like that before, and it just takes a few days to go away.
I've had panic attacks, but not in this manner. I"m usually an out-of-control hyperventalating mess, but I felt pretty calm, aside from my skyrocketing heart rate.
In the morning I was still exhausted and still had dull chest pain. I tried calling my doctors office but they are on vacation until next week. The after hours clinic wasn't open on fridays. I finally convinced my mom that I wanted to go to emerg, just to make sure things were ok.
Toby went to work with her and I got dropped off at the hospital. My mom does picture framing, so she works with pliers and screwdrivers and eyelets and wire and stickers all day, which was right up Toby's alley. Apparently he was the perfect little helper all morning.
I didn't take long in the waiting room because it was still early and not many people had piled up.
I got led to a private room, instead of the long curtained hall way with all the beds where 'simple' problems go. So right away I'm thinking 'oh great'.
It took another half an hour for the doctor to come, so I curled up on the bed and slept.
I was expecting an abrupt male doctor like I had last time I was in for mastitis, but I ended up with a very motherly female doctor who was patient and listened to what I had to say and I felt really comfortable with. After talking to me she said I had none of the triggers for blood clots or heart problems, but the fact that the pain was lasting so long was a concern so she ordered blood tests, ECG and x-rays. The blood tests take 45 minutes to get results to I was to expect to be there for over an hour. Fine by me, I'm gonna sleep.
Everything actually went pretty fast. I got sent to a couple different rooms, donning my glamorous hospital gown. A nurse even came in and asked if i wanted a blanket and the lights off, and I said better not because then I really will fall asleep and probably shouldn't at the moment.
Finally the doctor came back and said that everything was returned normal. There's a possibility it would be a lasting pulled muscle, although I hadn't been very active the previous few days. Then she said that stress can do a lot of funny things to the body, even if we don't think that's what it is. I had told her about all the things piling up, and now this sudden major dentist trip, and she said that it could have been stress that brought on the upset stomach, on top of being hungry, and causing a muscle spasm that ran across my chest.
I said I just wanted to make sure I wasn't having a heart attack and going to die tomorrow. She assured me again that they didn't see any blood clots or fluid in my lungs and that ti should be just muscle bruising.
She prescribed me some anti anxiety medication for 'just in case'. I still am debating whether I actually go get them. But it's good to know I can I guess.
I watched movies with Toby the rest of that afternoon and snoozed on the couch for about two hours. I went to bed with Toby and 8 30 and didn't get up until almost 9 today because Toby actually slept in.
Today I've been better, but now in the evening I'm feeling the tightness in my back and left side again.
There's still a lot to do and a lot to get ready for and a lot of phone calls to make.
But I'm moving at a slower pace.
And maybe that's a lesson for all of us to just take the time to sit down, close our eyes and breathe.
Before it's too late.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Today Has Been Brought to You by the Letter S and the Number 3

(So this was actually yesterday, but I didn't have time to finish writing last night)

-Look, there's Snow!
- We can go Shovel it!
- Look out mom while I Stab your eye to make you wake up faster
- Sob-Screaming commences after mom expresses her displeasure at being Stabbed in the face
- Stumble out of bed
- After a long and whiny morning, Toby insists he wants to go Sledding.
- Refuses to put Snowpants on
- Settle for insulated 'outside' pants, with the understanding that we can't play in the snow because they won't keep us dry.
- Look, Mommy is wearing HER nice Snowpants....
- 'Shooing' the cats proves to be more fun than doing any actual Snow Stuff
- Please Stop Toby
- Sly and impish behavior brings on threats of a time-out
- Stomping and Screaming commences
- Here Toby, let's SHOVEL!
- Shovel becomes new 'Shooing' instrument for cats.
- Mom attempts to distract by trying to build another Snowman
- Toby remembers he wanted to go Sledding
- Mom insists that we need to have on Snowpants for that activity
- Toby insists that mom needs to get the Sleds out
- Mom says fine, but we're not using them until Snowpants are donned.
- On the way to finding Sled, mini Snowshoes are found
- Toby wants to go Snowshoeing
- Toby decides he does not want to go Snowshoeing
- Mom resumes finding Sleds. Digs out two flying Saucers
- Toby insists that these are not Sleds
- Mom clarifies that we've never had an actual Sled, and that this is what we slide down hills on.
- Toby clarifies that he wants a Sled ride
- Mom realizes he is actually talking about his SLEIGH. Mood improves.
- Find child's Sleigh in attic.
- Drag Toby around the yard on Sleigh
- Great entertainment in the fact that the Sleigh is 'Scooting' the Snow out of the way
- Cats decide Sleigh is a point of interest.
- Toby resumes 'Shooing' attack on cats.
- Mom warns that cats find things like that Scary, and further warns of oncoming time-out
- Shooing and Screaming at cats continues.
- Mom leaves to sit on time-out Step
- Toby Screams
- Mom says that if we can't leave the cats alone or have a time-out then we go inSide
- Warning falls on deaf ears as Shooing resumes.
- Mom goes inSide
- Toby Screams
- Mom Shrugs
- Toby Sobs
- Mom removes Snow boots
- Toby insists he wants to Stay outSide
- Mom says that's fine, if we first Sit on the Step for two minutes and apologize to the cats for being
- Toby Screams
- Mom removes Scarf
- Toby Slams door
- Mom removes Soggy clothes from raging toddler
- Toby wants to Sleep
- Silly mom takes Suggestion Seriously
- End up Sitting and nursing in living room
- Mom's Stomach growls
- Toby Scowls
- Mom decides that empty Stomachs are what is causing the mood
- Mom heats up leftover Stir-fry and pasta, ignoring Screaming toddler at her ankles
- Everyone's mood improves after Stir-fry
- Movies and Snacks are had while mom Snoozes on couch
- After Snooze, Toby wants to go outside again
- Discussion is had about the 'Shooing' of cats
- Promises are made to not Shoo
- Reminders Still needed to be issued, but a more 'normal' outside experience is had
- Come in to make rice and tofu Stir-fry for dinner
- After dinner is made, Toby asks for Sushi
- Mom says no, then looks at Stir-fry, then thinks Sure why not
- Hot rice and tofu is Spread on last two remaining pieces of Seaweed
- Big Sigh of relief when bedtime arrives

3 = Number of years I've been flying by the seat of my pants
3 = The dawning of The Age of The Tester

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Top 25

Well thanks again guys for voting me into the top 25 Canadian mom blogs for Circle of Moms!

I suppose now I actually have to post some quality stuff lol.

Perhaps to honour the theme I'll post the top 25 reasons why living in Canada is awesome.
These are in no particular order, other than the order I thought of them in.

1. Seasons. I have a friend in the States who rubs it in my face that it's 'summer' there year-round. But then  you don't get the excitement of Spring, the true appreciation of Summer, the colours of Fall, or the magic of Winter.
2. Free health care. Yes, everyone says it, but I can't imagine receiving doctor's bills for things like routine checkups or child birth.
3. Endless travel and experiences without leaving the country. As the Molson Canadian ads put it "We have more square feet of awesomeness per person, than any other country on Earth."
4. The Molson Canadian ads
5. Our Niagara Falls is better.
6. Tim Horton's
7. 1 year  Maternity Leave is standard.
8. Hockey. I don't follow it, but you can't deny what it is.
9. Music. If you've ever watched the Junos and reacted with "What? THEY are Canadian??", then there you go. Micheal Buble anyone? Men Without Hats (Safety Dance)? Drake? Hedley? Three Days Grace? Barenaked Ladies? Yeah, those guys who wrote the theme song to hit American TV show Big Bang Theory, Canadian.
10. Quality children's television. Kids CBC and TVO Kids are, in my opinion, the best run and most educational children's TV sessions around. I haven't seen much from the States, but most of it is either in-your-face nauseating or horrifically 'cute'. Nothing will ever compare to Fred Penner or Mr. Dressup.
11. Ketchup chips.
12. We can make fun of ourselves. Not often is there a country that, when made fun of, laughs along with a "Yeah that's totally true, eh?"
13. Democracy. The freedom to choose and voice your opinion.
14. Nation-wide same-sex marriage legalization. 
15. The many things that Canadians have invented that are common place in the world today. Basketball, Goalie mask, Standard time zones, Insulin, green plastic garbage bag, peanut butter, and the electron microscope, to name a few.
16. Poutine.
17. We can say "I love Beavers" with a straight face.
18. Having worldwide acceptance as travelers. I thought it was a myth, but when I was in Italy I kept having people ask me if I had any Canadian Flag pins to give to friends or to wear to show their shop customers they like Canadians.
19. Canadian Actors. We may not have as many as other countries, but we cherish them and they are full of true talent.
20. Real. Maple. Syrup.
21. Don't care what the rest of the world says, The North Pole is in the Canadian Arctic. Santa is our homeboy.
22. Not having to write SATs.
23. Our beloved 'monopoly money'
24. Canadians are tougher. Colder winters, younger drinking ages, lax movie censorship ratings, legal marijuana. 
25. We have rocks... and trees.... and trees... and rocks. And rocks, and trees and trees and rocks and waterrrrrr. (Bonus points if you know who I'm quoting)

Ok bed time!! That took far too long!

Friday, November 11, 2011

New Snow


I wouldn't label myself as a 'Snow Person.'
I don't hate it enough to move to another country, but I also don't like being cold and wading through muddy slush in February.
I like a white Christmas, but after that I don't care for it much.
Although the last few years I've been forced to have a positive outlook on the winter weather so that Toby doesn't develop a pre-conceived notion that snow sucks.

And so this morning Toby's first reaction to seeing a white blanket on our grass was: "We can get our SNOW SHOVELS OUT!!"
You can't help but smile and get caught up int he enthusiasm.
He still in opposed to him snow pants, although by the end of last winter he was a pro star at letting me put them on. Today we wore slush pants and winter boots. Not looking forward to the snowpant battle, but it will be fine eventually.
We hurried outside and found the shovels and he immediately started flinging snow in every direction. 

Winter: The time of year when the whole world becomes a garden. Dig it up as you please.



 He kept running around like this with his eyes closed because the snow kept hitting him the eyes.

 And since you only get a few good days of packing snow before it gets too cold, we built a snow man.


It felt like Christmas today. I was all giddy and excited and wanted to just bake and wrap presents and drink hot chocolate. Then I realized that I should save some of that enthusiasm up for the long months ahead.
Good luck surviving the winter everyone!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Poop, and Other Jokes

Toby has come of the age where 'poop' is the funniest thing anyone can say, and the funniest punchline to any joke he tells.

He makes up words and phrases and changes the first letter of every word until they sound hilarious.

'Piffins and priffins' was one of the early ones. Dear knows what it means but when he was two he went through a phase where he would daily walk up to me and ask "Mom, did you know about the piffins and priffins?" And I would ask what he meant and he would cackle and run away.

Over the last couple months his funniest jokes were when he turned whatever I said into a negative.
"Toooooobyyyyy I love you"
"NO YOU DONT! DONT SAY THAT!"
"Yes I doooooooooooo and you love me tooooo"
"NO I DONT! DONT SAY THAT WORD!" *runs away laughing*

"Mmm this dinner sure is yummy!"
"NO! It ISN'T! It's poopy!" *proceeds to eat with gusto and a cheeky grin*

Lately now, when I say something to him he'll cock his head sideways as though he didn't hear me properly and ask if I said something completely nonsensical.
"Hey Toby, can you get the little scoop out of the drawer?"
"....Did you say 'scoop'? Or 'poop'?"
" I said SCOOP Toby, you heard me"

"I think I hear Opa mowing the grass"
"...Did you say 'mowing?' Or 'flowing'?
"Yes, he's flowing the grass........"

"We can go outside when we're done eating"
"....Did you say 'eating'? Or 'feeting'?"

This discovery of replacing consonants to make life WAY more hilarious has spilled into full scentences when I have no idea what he's saying.
"Pooing, plithing, pruding, pofu, parrot, pin the par"
...........Something about a tofu carrot in the car? Or parrot poop?....

Yet with all the poop jokes, he still gets terribly offended if I ask him if he needs a diaper change. He sometimes will sit on the toilet and go, but it's usually after my suggestion after reading his signs. Sometimes I'll ask if he needs to use the washroom and he says no through a strained red face. Other times I"ll just look over at him and he'll say 'NO DON'T LOOK AT ME'. I'm trying not to push it, we have time.

Trying to allow him to keep an open vocabulary with  me, versus what is acceptable to say in public or even around other people in the house is becoming a fine line to tread on. I don't want to snuff out the word 'poop' but I also don't need: "MOM? ARE YOU GOING POOP??" shouted across the house as I leave to go to the bathroom.

The little monkey will be 3 in two weeks. Pretty crazy. And the older he gets the more he understands. Although I doubt 'poop' will lose it's hilarity any time soon.

---------

End note: Thanks to those who have voted for me in the Circle of Moms Top 25 Canadian Mom Blogs contest!! If you're not on facebook you might not have been following the progress. You can go to the link below and vote once a day until November 17th!!

http://www.circleofmoms.com/blogger/one-plus-one?blogroll_id=41

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Halloween


I love Halloween. Most people know that. I don't love it in the sense of wanting to scare to poocicles out of young children... I"m not a fan of horror movies and don't care much for gore... But there's something about the stereotypical fairy tale witches and wizards, black cats and bats, and spiders and skeletons that I LOVE.
I love dressing up. I love being creative. I love Halloween baking. We implemented a Halloween Tree in our house for decorations because it's creepily fantastic without being scary.

I had long dreamed of dressing a baby in magnificently adorable Halloween costumes each year. I have costume patterns that I bought long before I was even pregnant. Fairies, Pirates, Scarecrows, Witches.... I had to stop myself from making them all before I even knew if I was having a girl or a boy.

And then I was blessed with a child who greatly dislikes clothing..

Halloween #1 wasn't too bad. He was almost a year old and crawling, and although the addition of a vest with a turtle shell sewn to it was a slight nuisance at first, it quickly was dismissed as outerwear and donned for a long period of time.


Halloween 2009



Halloween #2 was slightly more difficult. It was a struggle to get him to wear jeans instead of pajamas, but we made a big deal about his Farmer Vest being the coolest thing on the face of the planet and eventually he agreed.

Halloween 2010



This Halloween I knew I was in for a battle. All year he's been fighting the notion of wearing pants or anything that resembles a nice shirt. I have two or three pairs of pants that he's deemed comfortable enough to wear in public, but wont go near jeans or khakis with a ten foot pole.
This year his interest lay more with construction than farming. He has a yellow hard hat that he already wears everywhere, so i figured I'd make him an orange vest and he could be a construction dude.
Then he was introduced to Bob The Builder. The obsession escalated and I thought 'Perfect! Same general idea as mine, but now a more focused Halloween costume!!'
I pitched the idea to Toby and he seemed enthusiastic. We went to Value Village for overalls and an orange shirt. I made him a tool belt. We hyped it up for ages.
Except that whenever it was suggested he try on his costume, he politely declined. Once I got his arms in the shirt but when I tried to button it up he immediately burst into tears and tried to rip it off.
On Halloween day my mom convinced him to try on the overalls, but the shirt and tool belt were a no-go. He muttered and complained the whole time but mom got a picture for me as proof of a half-victory.


 Halloween 2011


We hadn't planned to go out Trick-or-Treating because the last year had been short lived. Late, dark, cold walks are not high on Toby's 'like' list.
I knew we were staying home to hand out our treat bags so I wasn't too hyper about getting him dressed up. I just wished he'd wear it.
He wore his skeleton pajamas (that he's been able to wear for three years now) and a hard hat.... We drove to visit a friend's house and stayed there for a while.... And that was about the extent of it.

I'm sure it's a phase. I"m sure he'll like dressing up some day. Or maybe he won't.
Some people say that after age three things get easier. Some people say they had 'terrible threes' and not 'twos'.
Maybe I should just take a page out of Toby's book and realize that it's not how you appear, but your attitude that counts.
Only 363 days until next Halloween!! :)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Road Trip


I had to deny plans with several people as we approached this Thanksgiving weekend. Reason being, I was going to London for a friend's wedding.
The response was almost always thus: " OH! How nice! I hear the weather's supposed to be great. Who's looking after Toby?"
To which I replied: "He'll be coming with me. He not ready to be left here for the weekend, and my parents are too busy with the Images Tour to look after him ot come with me"
After which I was met with blank stares, a few blinks, and somehitng along the lines of "Well you're brave!"

Yeah...

I had been planning to come since the spring. I had missed another friend's wedding last winter because the drive was too far with Toby, and I didn't want to miss out on another. Since this was closer (although still 4 hours away) I was determined to make it.

In the summer we booked a room at the hotel that the reception would be held at. We were looking for someplace cheaper, but in the end decided it would be better to limit the car trips with Toby and that it'd be easier to just walk back to our room at the end of the night than have to drive somewhere.

After a week of packing snacks and toys and clothes to sustain and entertain us for three days, we set off. I decided to allow all day friday to get there, so we wouldn't be rushing off somewhere or needing to be on time as soon as we pulled into town.
Great Idea #1.




The car ride went... almost better than expected. Toby's not a fan of the car, but is used to driving with me and my mom to Stratford when i want to see a play. We drove to London once in the summer and BARELY made it without a royal meltdown. This time I planned to stop for lunch and a walk about 3/4 of the way there even if he seemed fine. Two new Hot Wheels on sale didn't hurt much either.
Great Idea #2.




I was worried that Toby would rejct the hotel room because although we've stayed at a hotel before, it's always been the same one in Stratford. But he was doing incredibly well considering the car ride we'd just had, and settled right in once I pulled out the box of Duplo that I'd brought along.
Great Idea #3



The 'smallest' room they had was two queen beds, usually I got with one because Toby will just end up in my bed anyway, but I took full advantage of this to have my own bed to sleep in for once. Toby actually slept 90% of the night. He even slept through me telling off a group of 13 year old girls who decided to play mini sticks in our hallway at 10:30 at night. He also slept through the dog barking down the hall because it was left alone in it's room, and the radio calls from staff as they tried to get a hold of the owners. The joys of staying in a full hotel. However, the place was BEAUTIFUL. They had a huge central pool area that was made to look like a tropical resort. Palm trees and koi ponds and waterfalls... so pretty. You could stay here in February and not know it was winter. Glad we ended up here because we wouldn't normally stay somewhere like this.
Great Idea #4.


Day of the wedding!!! We had a whole morning to kill, so instead of trying to find things to do I just let Toby play and watch tv until lunch so he felt like he was in control of the morning so I could be in control of the afternoon..... right??
Toby hates pants, for one thing. New pants even more so. I've had these pants for a while and had been trying to get him to wear them all summer, and I think once we went to visit grandparents with them. So... at least he's seen them before... right??
I wanted him to wear a suit. Or even a dress shirt and vest... with a tie...
Or even... just a dress shirt....
However, the pants took about 20 minutes of heavy bribes to get on. Eventually his stuffed frog helped me pull them on while he was nursing with the promise of apple crisp that I'd brought once we were dressed. The second his feet touched the ground he attempted to pull the pants off and HEY LOOK TOBY APPLE CRISP LET ME PICK YOU UP AND WE"LL GO OVER HERE AND YUUUUUUUM ISN'T THIS GOOD??? WANT SOME MORE???
Pants... forgotten.
Next, was the shirt. YUM APPLE CRISP IS AWESOME EH LETS JUST PUT YOUR ARM IN HERE FOR A SEC, NO, OK WE'LL DO THE OTHER ARM THEN, OKOK DON"T FREAK OUT MMMMMMMMMMMM APPLE CRISP!!!!!!!!!
Rats.
Ok, Plan B, I pulled out the back-up polo shirt that was enough like a t-shirt that he'd wear, but nicer than the pajamas that he was insisting were appropriate. I gave him the choice: dress shirt or polo cause we're leaving and we gotta wear something. He picked the polo. Whatever.
AND HEY TOBY ISN'T THIS FEDORA AWESOME IT'S LIKE A BLACK HARD HAT THAT'S SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO COOL!!!! YOU CAN WEAR THIS TO THE WEDDING OK LETS PICK UP YOUR SHOES CAUSE I DON'T DARE PUT YOU DOWN AND LETS GOOOOOO!


It was baking hot. Like, August hot. And we were now sitting in the car, with an hour to kill before the wedding.....
We stopped at a market store and got some kettle corn to munch on, even though I had a plethora of snacks in my purse. We drove past my old apartment and all around the Fanshawe campus. Toby seemed mildly interested, but denied my requests to go inside.
We found the church where the wedding was being held and read books in the car for a while. Finally I deemed it too hot, so we got out to head inside, since a bunch of people had just gone in too.
Toby suddenly decided he wanted nothing to do with this wedding 'thing'. He wanted to nurse so we went back to the car to give in to that. On the second attempt to go in he stopped dead once we got through the doors and the entrance hall was full of people. I picked him up despite protests and brushed past and found a place to sit near the back. I had snacks, I had water, I had a board book, I had cars. We were parked. For now.
Toby was mildly interesting as the processional started, but quickly lost interest and wanted the snacks he'd been promised. So fine, he's occupied. but he was also tired and bored and ended up draping himself over my lap and whining and driving cars up my shirt so they could 'nurse'.
We stayed for the 'moment' but the left as they were signing the registry cause he wasn't going to last much longer. Bribes + early departure =
Great Idea #5.


So, back to the hotel to wait for dinner. The kids meals included french fries which was pretty much the best idea ever cause that's all that was keeping Toby interested.
Upon arrival there was a giant fire engine out side.
Ooooooooooooooook......
We didn't see anyone standing outside or stopping us from going in the building so we assumed the place wasn't on fire and headed back to our room.
Toby promptly stripped off his wedding clothes and started to play Duplo again. He watched a Franklin DVD I brought and had some more food. We had a cuddle and he went back to playing.
Then the fire alarm went off.
It took me a minute to clue in to what it was, but then I scooped up (still pantsless)Toby, my laptop and my purse and frantically tried to shove shoes on while holding my load.
"Mummy?.....What's happening?....."
I didn't want to alarm him, so I just said I didn't know yet but we needed to go out and see what was going on.
Then the bell stopped. I heard people in the hall commenting on whether we were supposed to leave or not.  I turned back to grab pants for Toby and then poked my head out the door. No one seemed to be rushing around. I looking into the pool area and people were still swimming. Ok, so maybe just a drill.
Then the alarm went off again, right over our heads.
Toby leaped a foot out of my arms and then collapsed into tears on my shoulder.
I went back into our room just as the bell stopped again.
Toby kept muttering "It's all gone... It won't come back...All done now..." in his quavery 'brave voice'. We collapsed on the bed and he nursed and shook beside me and very quickly fell asleep.
Well..... great, but..... Dinner is in 15 minutes....
I let him sleep for a while. I wanted to just let him keep sleeping, but if I did he'd be up late and moody. So at 5:30 I started talking to him about dinner and shifting around so he'd wake. He bolted awake and asked I pick him up and go to dinner. I gave him some apple juice and put pants on him (different pants cause he wasn't having anything to do with the khakis) and we went to find the room we were supposed to be in.
I remembered hearing that every ballroom was booked up... that's 4-5 weddings in one night. The fire bell was probably to test the system because they were nearing over-capacity. Of course they couldn't test it while we were gone.........
We found people we knew and found out that the doors were just being opened and dinner wasn't until about 6 30. We hung around for a bit but then Toby wanted to go look at fish again. So we did. We walked around and around, but everytime we came close to the reception room, Toby steered us away. I kept hyping up the fact that he was getting french fries. No good. He was tripping over himself, and demanding to be picked up, clearly over tired, so finally after a failed attempt at at least looking in the room where I was trying to go, we headed back to our hotel room.

I was really really looking forward to going to the reception, but in the end I can't expect much more from a three-year-old. He came with me. He sat quietly (more or less) through the ceremony. I got to visit with friends. And really, I had to keep telling myself that this was a Toby-and-Mom trip, with a side of wedding - because if I put too much weight on being the perfect wedding guest, I'd be sorely disappointed and angry, which I didn't want when we still had a long ride back home.

So we ate up our veggies and dip that we brought, watched Cars, and I repacked everything.
Early bed time and sleeping in. The night didn't turn out too badly.
Giving up = Great Idea #6.

Currently we're in Stratford. we had a playground-day which Toby was thrilled about, and now sleeping in a familiar hotel and going home tomorrow.

Things could have gone better, but they could have gone much much worse!!!
Congratulations to Candice and Chris!! We were so glad to be able to come and see you!!

Maybe we'll make the trip again... maybe I"ll wait until my mom is available to help baby sit..... or maybe this is the first of many Toby-and-Mom trips!!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Spur-of-the-moment Day

Today I woke up with one goal in mind: Apple picking.

Our orchard has produced pitiful amount of apples over the last SEVERAL years and even the good ones are riddled with scabs.

This year though... Tons of large crisp apples that are virtually spot-free. My Opa said he hasn't seen apples like this since he stopped spraying the trees for bugs. Like 25 years ago.

So after needing to convince Toby that going outside was a good idea, we donned our rubber boots, sweaters, hats and gloves and went out to the orchard. Opa was already out there pulling the Cortlands from the trees.

After about 15 minutes outside it got hot. Hats and sweaters were removed and we went on scavenging for apples in the tall grass and pulling the ones we could reach from the trees.





So by now it's too hot to work in the orchard. We sat by the front door and Toby started 'fixing nails' in the front step as I peeled the sweaty winter socks from my feet.

"Hey Toby, we should go to the beach"
"OK"
"Ok lets grab towels"

And off we went.

I have a Park Pass, so we decided to go to Bass Lake because it's shallow and warm and there would be no one there.
Toby marched off into the water and declared "Oooh it's kind of warm!!"
I walked over and stepped in. No it wasn't. Quite the opposite in fact. So I left the water play to Toby while I walked after him on the completely deserted beach.





When we'd had our fill of the beach we packed up and got in the car and then decided to drive around the campgrounds. I've never actually camped at Bass Lake because it's 15 minutes from our house, and usually our camping excursions take us to much farther places. However lately I've been thinking that this would be a good place to expose Toby to camping without being hours from home.
As we were driving around Toby declared that he wanted to go camping.

Well, ok. It's an amazing day. Let's go  home and throw a tent and some food in the car and then come back.
So off we went.
Toby came with me up to the storage room to dig out a tent, sleeping bags, mattresses, cook stove, pots, pans and a water jug. Then Toby bounced down the stairs declaring he was going inside.
Well.......... ok...... I will pack some food them while Toby watched tv or packs some toys.
Toby immediately became preoccupied with playing truck on the floor.

"Toby do you still want to go camping today? It's ok if you don't, I just dont want to pack the car if you're going to change your mind."
"Nope. Stay here."
"Seriously? Cause soon it will be too late to go."
"Yeah go camping."
"Ok...no... Toby.....if you want to go we should get some stuff together... otherwise we can just stya here and play."
"Yeah stay home"

I see. Part of was was a bit releaved, but part of me really wanted to go.
My dad happened to be home and he came down and mentioned what a great day it was, and I told him what we had been up to and that we were now debating whether to camp or not. We made a few comments on the weather....Then dad said: "Why don't we go canoeing?"

We'd been wanting to take Toby all summer. He had been given a life jacket when he was a baby and we had yet to use it anywhere. We figured he'd finally be old enough to actually sit in a canoe and not try to climb out and start freaking out or something. This summer it was always too hot or we were too busy or Toby was in the wrong mood. But today, we decided to just go for it.

We went back to our 'canoe shed' and loaded the canoe on the car roof and threw a bunch of paddles and life jackets and snacks in the car.
Off we went to Bass Lake again.






A 20 minute paddle was about all we lasted, but the fact that it all went so smoothly was amazing.

I'm usually an obsessive plan-aheader, and I still am, but sometimes doing things spur-of-the-moment is the only way to do them..


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Doing Something Right.

I wasn't going to post this story, but it won't leave me alone so here I am babbling about it.

If you ever feel like you're a shitty parent, just go sit in a mall or a parking lot and wait for someone worse to come along so you can feel better about your life.

Toby and I went to Bulk Barn today. I was fiddling with my phone and delayed getting out of the car.
A small red car pulled into a space across the way from us. I ignored if for the most part, until i heard strange muttering and squeaking noises and I looked up to see a mom holding the hand of an 8-10 year old girl, who was rubbing her face and crying. They stormed off towards Bulk Barn. The dad, who was driving, backed out of the space and because he had his window down I heard him mutter 'Well it's your own fault'.
I was out of the car and walking around to Toby's door at this point, I assumed the rude comment was toward the girl or something. I gave him an internal glare and proceeded to ignore them.
Then a shrill voice screams out "You're a filthy son of a B--"
I thought it was the mom screaming back to the dad and thought I then understood maybe why the girl was crying, caught in the middle type thing. But then I see that there's a boy still in the car, maybe one or two years older than the girl. It was him who yelled.
The dad slammed on his breaks. The mom stormed back to the car and reached through the open drivers window to the back seat to 'get' the boy, muttering empty discipline the whole time. The dad just leaned out of the way.
I was standing beside my car, waiting for it to all stop before I took Toby out. I opened the door and he was oblivious... looking at a truck behind us. I unbuckled his seatbelt, but didn't pick him up right away. He looked at me and grinned.
'Toby how many times today have I told you I loved you?"
"Mummy pick me UPPY!" he grinned.
I hugged him and just thought... no matter how bad it gets... it's never THAT bad.

On the way home we went to the George Langman Sanctuary on Bass Lake side road. We go talk to the swans and see how many geese are there.
There were a bunch of kids, which is rare. Toby dawdled around a bit, but when they left we sat on the bench my the pond and watched the ducks and the geese.
An older man on a bike came round and was tossing bits of lettuce and seed to the birds. He kept his distance at first, but I think he overheard me telling Toby all about how the male Mallard ducks don't have their green heads yet, but some of their feathers are starting to change, and how the swans have such long necks that they can reach all the way to the bottom of the pond to get the food that the ducks miss.
The man came over and asked if Toby wanted to throw some seeds in. Toby shied away, but continued his commentary of the ducks feeding frenzy as the man tossed more seeds in.
"Look at them chasing each other Toby! They're saying 'hey that's my food!"
"I think they're sharing it....."
I looked at Toby and laughed.
"Yes, I think you're right Toby"

After a while the man commented on how peaceful this place was. I agreed. He paused and then bid us good day and left on his bike.
I watched Toby sitting on the bench beside me, watching the ducks... commentating their actions....
and thought... I guess I'm doing something right...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Going Alone

I've posted before about phrases that just make me stop for a minute and go... 'Yeah... that's right'.
And although sometimes interpreted differently than the work intended, I always find it interesting when a set of words bounces off the page and slaps me in the face.

I'm reading Adventures in Colour by Dave ORNJ Graham (most of you are from PSCI and know the awesomeness that is him, and if not, he's probably one of the nicest people you will meet and had I been placed in one of his math classes I might have actually done better in that subject.)

There is a small chapter that features the debate of going to an event by yourself, versus skipping out because there's no one to go with. Firstly this chapter caught my attention because it's about theatre, and I have, very uncharacteristically, gone to several plays in Stratford solo in the last two years. I like being able to go with someone so I can poke the person next to me and whisper something about the costumes or the music. I like being able to talk afterwards and know that the person was there with me and saw the same thing I did. I don't like going to the theatre alone because I'm crammed between two couples who take up the arm rests and the foot room and I sit very tightly in the middle trying very hard not to make body contact.
But, Stratford is my second home. And there's only so long I can stay away from the theatre.

But the second thing that caught my attention was this phrase (and I hope Ornj doesn't mind that I'm quoting him):
"I talk to people all the time [...] about making the most of the opportunities that our adventures present to us...and there I was, ready to pass on today's potential because I didn't want to experience it alone??"

This, right here, is my problem.

I'm afraid to move on - to move forward - because I don't want to do it alone.
While I'm not 'hunting' for someone, I'm also dawdling in the background, waiting for someone to notice I'm still here. I don't want to move forward because that will mean another year has gone by, more experiences have presented themselves, and it's still just me and Toby... living at my parent's.
I'd like to be able to have someone to tell the day's story to. My parents listen, but they have their own lives to lead. It's not the same.
I'd like to have another kid, ideally in the next couple years, but that is entirely dependent on what the Universe throws at me.
I like planning ahead.
I don't like waiting when I don't know what I'm waiting for.

But.

There's this slow wake-up call forming somewhere....asking if it's really a relationship I want, or just permission to get on with my life.
I need to stop 'Saving the zoo trip for when there's someone to go with'. JUST GO.
I need to stop thinking 'Oh, well I was saving visiting that restaurant for when I was with so-and-so, but we haven't talked in a while'. WHO CARES.

There's so many things boggling my brain, and 90% of them to do with how to calm a raging toddler, that I just keep putting things on hold because it's easier to miss out on the play-date or the dinner than it is to make the effort to have fun.

So, here is my internet-public-metaphorical-whatever step in the direction of sucking it up, moving ahead, and doing this alone.
I'll do it forever if I have to.
You hear that, Universe??
Toby and I have a routine, and that routine is him and me.
And 'him and me' are going to take every opportunity that comes our way.
And Universe, if you now decide to throw a guy my way, make sure that he's the most genuine guy you've got left. He has to like love kids. He has to be tolerant of MY kid. Loves of music, books and art are key. He has to be patient. He had to have opinions, but without being an ass about it. Not being afraid to try new things/foods is important, but not to the extent of dragging me on bungee cord missions. Honesty is huge. Respect is major.
Have I described the impossible?? Well, Universe, you've got time. I'm allowing it.

I am here, and here I am. I am steering this adventure out of the rut I've created and am going to take more opportunities and live more freely.

So there.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Positive Party #4

I've been wanting to do another one of these for a while, but the only thing really troubling me right now is the tantrums, and it's hard to find the positives in that.
So I thought more about the root of the frustration, and I think it all comes back to the fact that Toby's still nursing and I'm kind of done with it...

SO, This is Positive Party #4: Extended Breastfeeding.

- Long-term basic nutrition. If your toddler goes on a hunger strike, at least they're still getting nutrients from somewhere.

- Breastfeeding toddlers have fewer colds.

- Breastfeeding toddlers have fewer to no ear infections.

- Long-term breastfeeding increases toddler brain function.

- Breastfeeding makes your toddler feel secure. In my case, we never had a soother or a blankie because Toby never attached to one. Just me.

- It shuts them up.

- It keeps active toddlers in place long enough to fall asleep.

- Worldwide weaning age is 5. I've said that to a few people and they went 'oh' and backed off immediately.

- Reduces risk of breast/ovarian/uterine cancer for mom.

- Forces mom to sit and have quiet time.

- Wide awake toddler + half asleep mom + nursing = Staying in bed an extra hour in the morning




http://www.kellymom.com/bf/bfextended/ebf-benefits.html

http://boobiefed.com/benefits-of-extended-breastfeeding/

http://www.llli.org/nb/nbextended.html



Thursday, September 8, 2011

Time Out

I've never been one to fully agree with the Time Out system. But maybe just because it was never used on me. I remember one instance when I was maybe 3 when I yelled shut up at my mom and was dragged to my room had the door shut. I don't remember how long or how it started or how it was resolved. I also don't remember it happening again.
I do remember going to my room myself when I was in disagreement with what was happening. I don't know how that started either.
But we never had a time out chair or mat or a time out corner.
And so I never had a plan in my head for dealing with Toby Tantrums.

The tantrums themselves are manageable. And by 'manageable' I mean that I've learned what to expect and know they're last half an hour, and cant really do much but just let him vent. Twice he's been put in his room while I hold the doors closed if he's hit me or something, but it's not often. Just usually a lot of tears and being contradictory.

But the one thing I can't tolerate is the fact that he kicks the cats.

I think it started simply because he'd see us nudge them out of a doorway with our foot, or sometimes give them tummy rubs with our toes.
He does the same, but with gusto.
And then finds it hilarious when the cats run away.

For the first while I issued gentle reminders that the cats might like it better if we scratch them on the head instead of kicking. I demonstrated and he followed and it was fine.
After a few weeks of that he'd scratch them on the head, and then kick them.

My methods turned to 'HEY! We do NOT kick the cats. leave them alone now please!'
To which he'd either cry or laugh and then repeat the scenario in a few minutes.
I started making him go apologize to the cats and make sure they were ok. He'd dawdle about it, but then eventually mumble a: 'I'msorryFredforkickingyouIwon'tdoitagain'

It was becoming apparent that this was a game. He was somehow taking out frustrations on the only thing around here that's smaller than he is. But it didn't just happen when he was angry, he'd go outside and the first thing he'd do is run over to a cat and squeal with delight as it ran from him at full speed.

"Hey Toby, you're running over there to pet the kitty right? I"m sure you are!"
He pauses and thinks and stops running. He knows I'm on to him. He stands beside the cat for a few seconds before very slowly reaching out his foot to step on a twitchy tail.
"Ok, inside." I say with a shrug.
"NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO" Screams Toby.
"Yeah well, you know better than that and if we can't be out with the cats then I guess we have to go back in"
"I don't WANT TO GO INSIDE!"
"I don't either, but we can't really be out here can we?"
Toby proceeds to shriek and demand that I stay outside with him.
"Ok fine but we're having a two minute time out on the step. Have a seat."
"NO!"
I don't say anything but I sit down on the front step and start playing with a piece of grass. Toby starts to wander away.
"Nope, Toby we're going to sit here until the cat comes over and we can tell him you're sorry. Two minutes, k?"
Toby stops. He eventually comes to sit beside me.
"Where did Fred go mom?"
"Dunno. might be hiding. We'll have a time out while we wait for him to come talk to us"
We actually sat in silence for a while, which was very surprising because Toby usually needs to commentate everything. I think if I had gotten up and tried to leave him alone in time out it wouldn't have worked. So I sat with him and said as little as possible.
Eventually I asked quietly: "Do you know why we're sitting here Toby?"
He shies away and doesn't want answer. I ask again.
"Cause I kicked a cat" he mumbles.
"Yeah, and I that they don't like it very much, nobody runs up and kicks you right? So maybe we should say sorry to Fred and ask if he is ok."
Eventually Fred comes over and I have to calmly keep reminding Toby to stay sitting until the cat come right over in front of us.
Toby gives him a hug and says sorry and says he hopes he's ok.

That happened twice yesterday within a couple hours with different cats.

Today he rushed up to George and then crouched down and pet him on the head before running back to me saying "MOM, I petted George!!!"

He chased Fred a bit but didn't do much.

I  think if I implement Time Outs for everything they'll loose their effectiveness, so for now I'm just going to keep them for violent acts, like tantrum hitting or kicking the cats.
Things like yelling and acting out I think is something that toddlers need help with to understand their new emotions and the acceptable actions to take. Yes, removing them from the situation when in public or with guests over is ideal, but staying with them until they calm down shows them that you are in control and that you are there to help. Shoving them in a room or a corner just to get rid of them doesn't give them any security, and if they're anything like my kids, it just escalated the screaming match instead of serving as a calming technique.

Hopefully the thing with the cats gets better. Hopefully these tantrums slow down.
Hopefully I can stay one step ahead of the game.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

30 posts and Thunderstorms

What to do on a thunderstormy day?
So far we've cuddled in the porch while it thundered, went for a wet hike in the bush between thunder showers, ate muffins, found a box of fridge magnets and Toby discovered they stick to his metal dump truck and front end loader, and now watching a new Franklin video I found at Value Village. Might have to think up a craft for later.... it's not even lunch time yet and I feel like I've been awake all day..

In other news, THIS IS MY 30TH POST!
And last night when I posted I was at 1,699 page views, and this morning when I came on I was at 1,721.....ARE THERE REALLY 22 PEOPLE OUT THERE READING MY BLOG?? Or did 3 of you log on multiple times??? Or is the page view counter just making things up??.........

Either way, THANKS to everyone for staying tuned to my online venting bubble!!




Edit: I just loaded the new blogger interface and there's a feature that shows individual blog views. Some of my blogs have had up to 56 and 72 views!!!!!!!! WHYY!!?!?!?!! Do I even know 72 people???!?! YOU GUYS ROCK!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

This Week:

This week I survived a screaming banshee attack with more poise than I thought possible.
This week I learned that my mom is a better mom than me... with toddlers anyway.
This week I ate local food almost everyday.
This week I figured out how to get Toby to brush his teeth with no tears.... for two nights in a row at least... we'll see how long that lasts.
This week I sanded, plastered, and sanded, and plastered the walls of the downstairs bathroom. I am Ms.Bob the Builder.
This week I bought into the Bob the Builder merchandise...after a year of withholding....Toby watched the same movie three and a half times today.
This week Toby's new skill is immediately picking up words in songs, then singing along, then singing them to himself the rest of the day.
This week I made two batches of carob zucchini muffins a day apart, because Toby ate them all in a day and a half..
This week I reaffirmed my love for Value Village.
This week, upon being in Value Village, realized there are 61 days until Halloween!
This week I reaffirmed my love for the gourmet food section in Homesense.
This week I cleaned all the toys in the workshop and re-shelved them.
This week I blanched and froze 16 margerine tubs of beans... to add to the already large number I had in the freezer... mmmmm fresh beans for the winter.
This week I silently criticized a mother's attitude towards her kid at the library, and then realized later that day that I've been using the same tone with Toby occasionally.
This week I harvested like a kabillion tomatoes from the garden.
This week my grandparents (next door) are away, and I didn't realize how lonely the property is without them.
This week I ate that magic dinosaur oatmeal for the first time.
This week I realized that the summer is pretty much over, and I didn't visit with as many people as I was planning to.
This week I realized I haven't done a Positive Party post in a long time, but can't think of a good subject.
This week I started my sewing projects again, only to again take on too much and now it's all sitting in a heap on the sewing table... again... and yet here I sit on the computer...
This week I received an insufficient funds message while buying groceries for the second time this year/ever. I usually plan things out better.
This week I fell in love with Fred Penner again.
This week I loathed no-nap Toby, but now that the mood is a bit calmer I am enjoying the earlier bed time.
This week I learned that my dad's idea for barbequeing tomatoes, was not a good idea.
This week, I'm still alive, a little more tired, and a little wiser.