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 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."
" 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.


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

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.
"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 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."
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!