Friday, December 21, 2012

Happy Solstice

Why I celebrate Winter Solstice:

Ok, so maybe 'celebrate' is a loose term...maybe consciously recognize is better...

I decided when I was pregnant that Solstice was going to be our celebration day because Christmas Eve, Christmas day and Boxing day we're already covered by other parts of the family. In my head, we'd be living in our own house, have our own celebration and presents then, and then celebrate with the rest of the family later.
Since that 'living in my own house' thing hasn't worked out, we just do presents on Christmas day with everyone here and a big dinner that night, but I still like to recognize the Solstice.

Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year, meaning that every day after that until Summertime just gets longer and sunnier.
Winter Solstice has long been thought of as the time of the last time for Autumn feasting before the cold days of hunger ahead. It was the time when the livestock was slaughtered so they didn't have to be kept fed in the winter, and therefore it was the only time of year when fresh meat was available. Wine and mead that had been fermenting from the summer and autumn harvests was now ready to drink. Firewood was cut and stored to keep everyone warm against the winter winds.
What better time for a party?

For me, Winter Solstice is about thanking the Earth for a good growing year and enjoying what she has to offer. It's about the celebration of daylight as the Earth begins it's new year around the Sun. It's about family, food, warmth and love.
And this particular Solstice marks the end of the Mayan calendar, which obviously didn't end in the apocalypse, but does mark the end of an era. The 'old ways' are behind us and new and better things are hopefully on the horizon.

Happy Solstice, Merry Yule.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Like it, Love it.

In contrast to the last post, Things that we love right now:

I Love You the Purplest - Barbara M. Joosse
Stars - Mary Lyn Ray
The Elephant's Airplane and Other Machines - Anne-Marie Dalmais
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore - William Joyce

Jingle Bells
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
Real Gone - Sheryl Crow
Somebody That I Used To Know - Gotye
Fred Penner's 'The Season' album

Mighty Machines
Bear in the Big Blue House
Winnie The Pooh

Playmobil tractor
Trucks...all of them...(front end loader, dump truck, excavator)
Duplo bricks (not so much the people)
Little cars (for crane to lift)
Wooden puzzle blocks

all-beef hot dogs
Gingerbread cookies
Goat cheese

Orillia Library
Springwater Park (though it's too cold for that now)
Any playground....anywhere

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Just Blah

Feeling crappy is just crappy.

You may remember This post from last year about the anxiety attack I had before Toby's dental work.

Following that I've had chest pains off and on throughout the year, ranging anywhere from dull discomfort to, again, feeling like a heart attack.

Recently I've been having a series of tests done to figure out what's wrong. So far all the tests are 'normal', but I have a much higher than normal heart rate and possible 'pericarditis', which is an inflammation in the lining of the heart. Nothing is 100% and I still have to go back for follow ups, but that's where it's at right now. I'm on medication to thin my blood and slow my heart down, which is just making me feel more lazy and sluggish and not really taking the pain away.

And being in pain and being anxious and being unsure and being tired has just made me grumpy. And I"m starting to notice it come out in Toby, and I just feel even worse about it.
We go through phases where everything is fine and then there's a few weeks where I just feel like everything I say is criticism.
He gets out of bed in the morning and tells me to get up, and I say yep just a minute, and he yells 'no now!' and I say that he doesn't need to shout, and he says yes he does, and I say that he is welcome to get up and I will when my eyes wake up, and he pulls my blankets off, and i pull them back on and ask him to leave and then he throws a fit and I can feel my heart rate skyrocket.
I feel like I'm always asking him to play quietly or leave me alone for just 'one more minute' or not go bug grampa or not throw toys in the house...and then I think he's probably acting up because I'm not really paying attention to him....and then I think maybe he's just being '4'.

Everything builds up and keeps feeding off each other... Toby's anxiety makes me unsettled, which makes him more upset, which makes me more upset, which makes everyone else in the house upset, which makes me feel guilty for not 'doing my job', which makes me more frantic, which makes Toby act out, and makes me just want time to myself.
I've caught myself saying things like "All the yelling is what's making mommy's chest hurt" or "Listening to the whining is making me sicker, not better", which is maybe part true, but it's also melodramatic. As soon as I say it I feel like it's a step away from "Go away I dont want you", and then the guilt cycle begins again.

I realize I'm babbling and complaining, but I guess that's why I have a blog, right? Who better to complain to than myself/the internet.

I'm still at this 'lost' point where I feel like I need to be moving forward but I'm just sitting still. I can't plan for the future because what I want to happen and what I know will probably happen are two different things. I"m trying to enjoy the 'now' but there's this frantic feeling in my chest that just won't go away. Trying to do things I want with a 4 year old holding me back is frustrating.... and most of the time I love doing stuff with him... he loves grocery shopping, we go to the mall and downtown and out for lunch and do crafts.... but it's the incessant whining at home that just wears away at me. I wish I could just sit and listen and play with him all day, but it seemed easier when he was younger and I didn't have a taste of 'freedom'.
And the easy, obvious answer is to just send him to day care, or start him in school, but I know what the fall-out would be at this point, and I'm not willing to deal with the tantrums and the moods and the hating school because he's not emotionally ready.

I just want to be able to relax with him. I just want food-making and dish-washing to be instantaneous so I dont have to try to ditch him for an hour to make food for him. He gets so happy and excited about games that he wants to play and I just have zero energy to give in. I hate struggling to breathe and be awake and play and be as joyful as he is. And I hate the anxiety and the screaming and tantrums that inevitably follow.
Just... blah...

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Identity Crisis

Well...The divorce is final. All the chocolate in the advent calendar has been eaten. And instead of being relieved, or even sad, I'm just kind of....lost.

I've always been "Erin Hawke". I'd say my name at the bank or for a mailing list or at school and people look up and go, "Oh, are you you Julie and David's daughter?" or "Hawke, as in John?" or "Oh yeah, Shannon's sister right?"

At times it was eye-roll worthy and embarrassing, but then there started to be a sense of pride surrounding it. People knew who I was, or at the very least, that I existed.

And then when I got married I was torn between changing my name or keeping my maiden name. I had always said I'd change it, just when it actually came time I felt like I was giving up part of myself. I decided to wait until after college graduation so I had 'my' name on my diploma, and then I'd change it.
Then I got a job right away and all my paperwork had been processed with my maiden name on it. So ok fine, I'll wait until I'm settled here before I do.
Then when we got pregnant I knew it had to be done. I wanted the same last name as my kids. I had been putting it off for two years.
I changed all my documents... I even sacrificed my red and white health card.

And two months later we broke up.

I felt disconnected from everything. I had this name on all these cards that didn't look like mine. I was growing a baby that I suddenly just wanted to run away from.

Eventually I perfected my new signature and didn't have to pause and think every time someone asked my name. Eventually I came to terms with it being "Toby's" last name and not "Luke's" last name.

Then a few weeks ago while initialing my time sheet at work I wrote 'EH' instead of 'ES'. I had closed the book and moved on before I thought to take a second look. My absent minded brain had written E H after years of not even thinking about it.

And now it comes down to the fact that I COULD change my name back.... but should I?

My reason for changing my name to begin with was mostly to have the same last name as my kids. But now if I were to get married and have another kid, it would be weird to keep my ex's name, but changing it would mean being different again.
I still have this strong desire for Toby and I to be the same... but now I also feel like I'm hanging on to something that isn't mine anymore. I'm living with my parents but don't really feel like I 'belong' to them...but now that things are official I also don't feel like I 'belong' with my in-laws either... I'm in this awkward limbo where I don't feel like either choice is better...

So what do I do?
Who do I be?
Where do I really go from here?

I'm not really sure yet...

Monday, October 8, 2012

Thankful: the non-ironic vrsion

Ok, so I wasn't going to to this but I guess I've been bitten by the holiday-spirit bug...

I'm thankful for having a little boy who loves music, art, food and yoga, as well as construction, tractors, bulldozers and excavators. This morning he woke up and shouted MOM! COME DO YOGA WITH ME!!

I'm thankful for "living in paradise" and my grandma puts it. Because I grew up here I take it for granted sometimes.

I'm thankful for having all 4 of my grandparents still.

I'm thankful for having a vehicle to use after my other one decided to be broken.

I'm thankful for social media websites because it's really the only way I feel like I keep in touch with anyone.

I'm thankful for pay-at-the pump gas stations. I'm convinced they were invented for single moms with sleeping babies.

I'm thankful for Value Village.

I'm thankful for sunshine.

I'm thankful to be living in Canada.

Sunday, October 7, 2012


Well, Happy Thanksgiving!
Our family was never one to sit around the dinner table and address what we're thankful for on Thanksgiving.  I've been to people's houses where they do that and I'm always at a loss for what to say.
I'm thankful for.................friends? Ice cream?? Anything I thought of sounded cliche and shallow.
So over the last few weeks I've been thinking of things to be thankful for that maybe we don't always consider...... kind of like the Positive Party posts I used to make... but get it...

Be thankful for the guy driving eeeeeeeeexxxxxactlyyyyyyy the speed limit in front of you. They stopped you from getting a ticket from the police car waiting on the other side of the hill.

Be thankful for rainy days. There are only so many days in the year that pajamas, crafts, baking and movies are 100% appropriate.

Be thankful for nursing babies (and toddlers). They remind us that sometimes we need to just...sit.

Be thankful for the people who criticize you. Sometimes we need a wake-up call.

Be thankful for power outages. They get you know.. talk to people. Like in person.

Be thankful for breakups. Opportunities can be seized that otherwise would not have come along.

Happy Turkey everyone!
Find some ironic things to be thankful them in the comments if you like!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Boys Clothes Rant

A rant on children's clothes:

Toby is out of long sleeved shirts that fit him. He has three turtlenecks and another shirt that he will grow out of in a few months. I thought I was ahead of the game by buying long sleeved shirts on sale last year, but apparently the sleeves are like 2 millimeters too long and thus Toby refuses to wear them, even though he wore them last year.
So it's not as though he needs a new wardrobe, but it's in the back of my mind to check out long sleeved shirts whenever we're around kids clothes.

Stop #1 was Zellers because it's closing and everything was on crazy-sale. All they had left was the obnoxiously graphic emblazoned plastic-like shirts that I avoided buying anyway.
Stop #2 was Joe in Zhers, because I love everything they have. However, of the 4 styles they had that would actually fit Toby, only one seemed suitable enough to consider buying.
Stop #3 was Wal-Mart. I try to avoid Wally World, but you have to admit... they have everything...Everything that is except a suitable long sleeved boys shirt.

I loved boys baby clothes. I loved the brown and blue and green in simple stripes and minimal graphics. It brought some ease for my pining away for a girl, because aside from the adorable sundresses, I actually liked the boys clothed better.
Toddler clothes were pretty good too. Joe, Zellers, and Wal-Mart all had incredibly reasonably priced clothes that I (and Toby, which is saying something) loved.
Last winter I began to realize that I wouldn't be able to shop in the toddler section for long.
This winter I am now realizing how much I hate boys clothes.

What I find most annoying is that every single shirt for ages 4 and up has obnoxious slogans, full-length graphics or is made out of terrible material.
Even as we found ourselves in Bonnie Togs today I smiled at the Halloween shirts up front, before realizing they were all girl cut....and then saw the boys rack which was full of grotesque pictures of goblins and skeletons. Why cant boys have a shirt like the girls with just two cats eyes on the front? Not completely terrifying enough??
Even in the boys section i was hard pressed to find anything I'd actually buy. "Here comes Trouble!" "Loud, Louder, LOUDEST" "Mommy's little Monster".....And we wonder why boys are stereotypicaly harder to control?? Giant growling dinosaurs, angry fire breathing dragons, ATVs kicking up mud, race cars spinning their tires to be "First to the Finish"....
Toby stood in front of one rack for a while before asking "Mom, why is that guy putting everything on fire?" I said that I guess that's just what some dragons's pretty silly, eh. He said it was kind of mean.

On one hand I get that the fashion industry had this kind of code of 'What's Hot and What's Not' for each season...but the fashion industry also had the ability to push an image and make it sell.
What kind of boys are we breeding by pushing scary, fast, obnoxious things in their faces as soon as they're able to form a sentence? How hard is it to just include one plain striped shirt in your line? What about a hyper graphic tree design? I've seen some great ones on adult t-shirts that still look 'manly'. What about real animals like bears, owls, turtles or foxes?
In contrast, the girls clothing at this age DOES seem to include basic stripes and plains, but the graphics are lazy cats, make-up clad cartoon 'dolls', and sassy slogans like "So Spoiled" "Daddy's little Princess" and "So Cute It's Scary". What is THAT teaching our girls??

Maybe I'm just the odd duck out. There does indeed exist tree patterned tees and earthy toned striped, but they usually are made by pricey organic companies that I'd most likely have to buy from online.
As much as I would LOVE to support those small businesses, I don't have the means, and neither do many many others.

I just think that in a world of growing peace and equality, that at least ONE line of clothing should be easily available that doesn't promote hate, winning, or laziness. My fear is that even if there were more "bland" shirt available, it's the parent who is the one going "Don't get the sissy tree one....HEEYY LOOK AT THIS SICK DIRT BIKE!!"

Boys will be what you shape them to be. Complaining they're hard to handle, lack focus and literacy, or aren't 'gentle' like girls (and I know a few moms who will laugh heartily at that stereotype), is all lead back to YOU and how YOU allow them to be perceived. Clothing is an enormous part of how humans shape their identity...I just wish the children's clothing industry took that into account past the age of three...

Monday, August 13, 2012

And Then It Hits You...

I know that through this break-up/single mom business I've been lucky. I've said it before. But it still sucks. It sucks a lot because it's not what I want. This is not where I planned to be at this point in my life. I spend a lot of time regretting the things I could be doing right now.

And then today a woman came in the store and started quietly looking around for a long...long time. I asked if she needed a hand and she shook her head, gently moving the wires from the ear buds the had in. Ooooook fine, I'll go back to doing other stuff.
She'd carry something all the way around the store then put it back and carry something else around the store. I wasn't really 'watching' her for shoplifting, but it was also starting to get awkward. She finally put a couple things on the counter and asked me to hold them for a second while she looked for something for her son. I said sure. She said it was her daughter's birthday, but she wanted something small for her 3 year old because he wouldn't understand-" and I chuckled a bit, and then she finished with "-that it's probably the last time I'll see them."
I regretted laughing. Usually people finish that sentence with an eye roll and a shrug about how they need something so its fair to the little one too.
She walked across the store and I re-directed her to toys I knew Toby would like. She picked one of them.
She said she was sorry for muttering about how expensive everything is, but for a single mom it is. I said I was a single mom too, and yes toys are generally expensive.
She softened a bit after that and asked what kind of things Toby was into. She asked if I liked working here. She asked if Toby liked coming in here.
She told me briefly of the problems she's having with the dad.
She told her her kids are in foster care and she's still fighting for them, but it's probably the last time she'll see them.
I gift wrapped her purchases and wished her luck.
She left and I went to go back to typing and realized how much my hands were shaking. The tears followed shortly after. Well crap, I still have to have the store open for another hour, pull it together.

I know I'm lucky... but... I'm Lucky.

Luke, I know you'll never read this, but thank you for being understanding and 'kind' throughout this.
Sabrina, Thank you for not being completely crazy, and for eventually realizing that I'm not crazy either.
Jeff and Sarah, thank you for being a giant ear to my many ramblings. And honestly if not for all this we still probably would not be talking much.
My parents, thank you for allowing there to be a roof over our heads and food in the fridge.
The rest of my family and friends, in-laws included, thank you for being nothing but supportive and generous for the last 4 years.
And Toby, thank you for all of your hugs and kisses and good morning 'I love yous', and for trying to be one of the best kids I've ever met.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

What Do You Stand For?

I've had the song Some Nights by Fun. stuck in my head all week. My sister's had it stuck in her head for months. Hence why it's probably stuck in my head now. Cause she made me start listening to it.
If you haven't heard:

Anyway, song lyrics don't usually get under my skin and stay there...I've had a few songs 'wake me up', so to speak, in the past... But there's one line in the song where he shouts "What do I stand for?" and when you're singing along as passionately as he's performing, you start to ask yourself that question:

What DO I stand for?...

It's easy enough to pump your fist in the air and say "Save the Whales!", but is that REALLY what YOU stand for?
In a room of a thousand judging eyes, what would you unabashedly stand up to support?

I stand up for anti-smoking. I think it's the worst thing a human can do to themselves. Slow and painful suicide.
I stand up for breastfeeding education and awareness. People are free to have their opinions, as long as you are well educated on both sides of the platform. Breastfeeding in public is no different than someone pulling out a bottle to give to a crying child, if you have been educated enough to not see something perverse.
I stand up for books. Old books, new books....Red books, blue books. Reading books to your child from a young age gets them to understand language at an earlier age and encourages a love and success of reading, which in turn makes it easier to cope with school, and enjoy it.
I stand up for food. Good food. Market vegetables and local meat. Farmers feed cities, and all to often they don't get the credit they deserve.
I stand up for marriage equality. Just... seriously, why is it even an issue? Nobody asked YOU to marry someone of the same sex...
I stand up for respect. Respect for people's feelings. Respect for public property. Respect for elders. Respect for children.
I stand up for art. Art does more to focus the mind of a child than most people give credit for. Art is therapy. Art is joy. Art is learning. Art is playing. Art is thought provoking. Art is essential.
I stand up for enlarged recycling programs. On a warming planet with depleting supplies, finding new ways to re-use our waste is essential.

What do you stand up for?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Full Time Job

I got the job almost four years ago.
It sounded great on paper, but then I was having second thoughts.
I showed up for my first day anyway, because I said I would.
Most of it was a blur.
Nothing in the job description indicated how much time and effort was actually involved.
The long hours and lack of pay made me wonder what kind of idiot would ever show up for a job like this.
Then I realized, that's exactly why the job description doesn't tell you the hard stuff.
It promises fulfillment and pride, but fails to mention the exhaustion and pain.
It took a long time reading reviews from others in the same line of work to uncover the truth.
Your friends ask you to join them for dinner.
You decline because you have to work.
You curse the phone that rings at 9am after you've finished a night shift.
Then suddenly the three-month probation period is up.
I haven't been fired.
And actually feel like I'm getting a grip on things.
The one year anniversary of employment brings about a twinge of that 'Pride' they spoke about.
The job feels easier until I'm thrown a whole new set of instructions.
Company procedures have changed.
It's like that first day all over again.
But with the new duties, comes the occasional time off.
The night shifts get fewer and further between.
Sleep gets caught up and I begin to have fun in this position.
People often ask what I do for work and I shrug and say I'm unemployed.
Sometimes they smile back and say they know very well that I work full-time.
Doing what?
It seems like a whole host of things...
I am a nurse.
I am a comedian.
I am a taxi driver.
I am an accountant.
I am a custodian.
I am a coach.
I am a teacher.
I am a guidance councilor.
I am a therapist.
I am a mediator.
I am a personal shopper.
I am a personal chef.
I am a nutritionist.
I am a superhero.
I am a mom.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Check your Privilege

I was reading a few posts, on a sharing site I'm on, about 'checking your privilege' and it's made me think a lot about the stereotypes we use, even sub-consciously, and why.

A Privilege is defined as "A right, immunity, or benefit enjoyed by a person or group beyond the advantages of most."

Privileges include: Class privilege, Educational privilege, Gender privilege, Age privilege, Able-bodied privilege, Religious privilege and Sexuality privilege.

Basically this means that generally people of higher education or class tend to look down on or mock under-educated people. Men often get more business advantages than women. Certain advantages and allowances are made available based on your age. Able-bodied people often get more advantages even if a non-able-bodied person is more qualified. Sub-standard religious groups get mocked or shunned by more dominant groups. Straight couples get more benefits than same-sex couples in most countries or cases.

The phrase 'Check your privilege' reminds you to think about where you fit in before judging others.

Some extended examples in the post I read included a reference to some vegans or vegetarians turning up their nose at people who eat meat products. Eating that way doesn't mean you care more about the environment or the planet than other people, it means you can afford more restrictive food and have the time to prepare it.

I find that in a way this also relates to how we view parents and parenting styles 'from across the room'.
I've been guilty, numerous times, of quietly smirking or criticizing when I see someone trying to corral a tantruming toddler. I've wrinkled my nose at the single moms who congregate in front of local businesses.
It's easy to say "Well I would have done it like this" when you're not in that situation.

Maybe it's hard to relate that to 'privilege', but in some ways you can.
Sneer all you want at the mom who feeds their kid non-organic food - but maybe they can't afford it.
Shake your head sadly at the parent who can't keep their kid under control in Wal-mart - but maybe they're all hungry and haven't been sleeping well because of their neighbours.
Whisper behind your hands about the assumed promiscuity of the single mom - but maybe it wasn't her choice, or maybe it WAS, for the safety of her family.

My eyes have certainly been opened the last few years in regards to who I thought I'd be as a parent and who I am. They've been opened with regards to how I look at single parents. They've been opened to how many/few wheelchair accessible buildings and businesses there are (from the stroller pushing years). They've been opened to how difficult it is to listen to you child cry all day and not be able to do anything about it, and how easy it can be to loose your temper in public because all you want to do is go home and sleep.

Being loved is a human right, but living in a house with a loving family is a privilege.
Don't turn away from people because they can't afford what you have, but don't act like a saviour to them either.
Don't pity the single parent, lend a supporting arm and treat them as an equal.
We are all raising children. We all know what poopy diapers and lost sleep and endless crying can do to a person. We are all trying to do what's best, without a clue what we are doing.
And at the end of the day, we are all human.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Tall Tales

This is kind of an update post, which I don't normally do. I just feel like things keep happening and then suddenly the month is gone and I haven't blogged.

Toby's new thing is telling stories. Not in the sense of  "One day a little girl walked through the woods..."
No, these stories are immense exaggerations of daily events, or stories that other people have told him.
He spoke non-stop for 15 minutes one day when we were int he car about the farm he had 'when he was a boy' and that he had horses and cows and (OH YES!) sheep and chickens. And that the chickens were crowing and crowing for their water because it was very hot and they were thirsty. and there were two cats that were black and orange just like ours.
He'll tell me how a long time ago when he was a baby he built his bed.
He'll tell me how he used to carry me when I was a baby.

...Part of me is thinking... past lives?.. you hear of kids telling these stories about things that they can't possibly know at their age.
..And part of me is thinking... you need to stop exaggerating before you end up telling some kid at school that you have a farm with 10 horses.

It's hard to distinguish what I encourage and what I try to correct. At first i was correcting him...He'd tell me about having a farm and I'd say "Yeah that would be a nice thing some day. Maybe you will be a farmer." or telling me about building his bed or this house I'd say "Well, You weren't around then, but somebody did a really good job with that didn't they?"
But then he'd argue with me that HE was the one who did all that, so I started asking him more, like "How many cows were on your farm? What colour was the barn? What did you use to build the bed?"

But even then, I feel like becoming TOO interested encourages him to get attention by telling these long-winded stories.

I'm kind of thinking it's just the stage he's at... he's learning story telling and description... plus myself and my dad keep telling him things that start off with "Well, when I was little...", so he's patterning off that...
It'll be interesting to see where it leads I guess...

Month of June:
- Much needed London 'vacation' for three days, then impromptu overnight in Stratford.
-Arts for Peace
-Coldwater Studio Tour
- Berry Picking
- Caught a Monarch caterpillar and a few days later it turned into a chrysalis so now we're awaiting the grand emergence.
- Ongoing drama with certain people that's leaving me feeling very lost. I'm dying to rant more, but shouldn't.
- Probably other stuff? What even happened in June?
-OH, Snowbirds! We drove past the Simcoe Airport on our way to town for the air show and I pulled over and was being all stealthy taking photos of the planes and then three cars in a row that passed meand turned into the airport, so I followed suit and there was a big line of cars parked, waiting for the planes to take off, and people with picnic blankets and kids all camped out. So I didn't feel so bad taking a zillion photos. We watched the stunt plane take off, and then races to town to wait for the Snowbirds. Had an amazing spot on the lawn of my grandparent's retirement home!
- Toilet training was deceptively going well, and then there two weeks where he refused to use to toilet and desperately wants diapers instead of pull-ups. He's pretty good at telling me he has to poop for the most part, but can't seem to get the hang of holding in pee. I've hyped up the underwear thing lots, and at one time he seemed enthusiastic too, and then he just shut down. Oh well, we keep trying..

Coming up:
-MARIPOSA FOLK FESTIVAL!!!!! Fred Penner, Al Simmons AND the Arrogant Worms... I don't even care who else is there, we're parking ourselves in front of the kid's tent the whole time. (really, there's a bunch of people I'm excited about, but have no hope of seeing because they perform so late at night and I need to take Toby home to bed.)
- Maybe starting swimming lessons with Toby? I want to go to Paulene Barratt's, because apparently it's a salt water pool, and I'm allergic to chlorine, so cant go anywhere else. We've been to the lake a bunch and I run in and out of the water with him and hold him and get him to kick in the deep water, but it's not the same as being in a class.
- Relatives from Winnipeg coming for a few weeks at the end of July!!!
- Job at Jack and Maddy still going well!! More of a nice 'day off' from home, although this past Monday Toby threw a fit when I left and all but climbed in the car with me, so I threw some pants on him and stuck him in his car seat, picturing a miserable day ahead. It didn't turn out too bad, but I also was working a shortened day and I was still constantly trying to look after him. Hopefully it's not a pattern. (P.S. We have Avengers and Harry Potter Lego still, and now Lord of the Rings Lego!!)

That's summer in a nutshell so far!!!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Ode to an Outdoor Kid

Bruises, bruises everywhere.
Muddy face and messy hair.
Blackfly bites and thicket scrapes,
Open wooden garden gates.
Sandy feet under sprinkler hose,
Wipe the droplets off your nose.
Beginning glow of sun-kissed skin.
Slimy mud to throw stones in.
Rubber balls and hula hoops,
Plastic buckets, sandbox scoops.
Bird's eggs, toads and millipedes.
Picking flowers, sowing seeds.
Chase the cat with shrieks and laughs.
Trip and stumble on the path.
Bare feet tear through grassy lawn
Til at last the tell-tale yawn
Of energy that's wearing thin,
A sign it's time to head on in.
Soapy scrubbing, towel dry.
Crawl in bed to close your eyes.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Nature vs.Nurture

I've always found the argument of 'nature versus nurture' to be really interesting. I'm for and against a lot of things on both sides of the argument, so I couldn't say which one I agree with more, though raising Toby in exactly the same environment as my sister and I were raised has turned out to be an interesting experiment.

Most of you know, my parent's live in the country. We have a 30 acre property and about a half acre piece of dirt that we cultivate with vegetables every year (mostly my Granny and Opa's doing, who live next door.) We have two tractors, one big and one small. We've always had animals of some kind; when I was little we had chickens, cats and a dog; currently we have three cats who live outside. We have a bush with a stream and walking trails. We have wildlife regularly walk through our yard.

My sister and I could have cared less about the tractors when we were young. We were told to stay out of the way if Opa was mowing the grass or snow blowing, but that was about it. I tried to learn to drive the tractor when I was maybe 12 and I hit a tree and never wanted to do it again. I had my own vegetable garden, but it got forgotten and dried out half way through the summer. I loved our cats, and my sister and I played with them constantly.

Toby on the other hand, living in the same house with the same people around and the same routine, took an intense fascination to the tractor each time Opa drove around in it. This turned into pointing out every tractor on every farm on our way to and from town. Which turned into me needing to learn the names of a whole host of farm equipment so I wasn't just saying 'tractor' to everything that moved.
Tractors evolved into construction equipment. Construction turned into carpentry tools.
Yes, I encouraged Toby's fascination, but by no means did I force it.
I also encourage him with different kinds of sports and activities outside, but it always comes back to wanting to sit on the tractor or hit something with a stick or a hammer. Including our cats, which despite my best and loving efforts is still a problem. Yes my sister and I chased them around, but we never wanted to terrorize them the way Toby seems to think is fun.

People say 'Oh, it's just cause he's a boy. Boy's are like that.'
Alright, well my boy also regularly asks me to tie pieces of fabric or bath towels around him to make a dress. He asks to have his nails painted when I paint mine. He runs up to my mom while I'm cooking dinner and exclaims "Gramma! Mom is just making a FABULOUS dinner. You should SEE!"
Today he was eating carrot sticks when he declared that "This one looks like a pony! I'm not going to eat it, I'll save in in the fridge."
And 10 minutes later began telling me how he was going to chase a mouse behind a tractor and BAM it with a hammer.
On the way to town now he'll comment on the BEAUTIFUL HORSIES, and then THE HUUUUGE TRUCK WITH A TRAILER THAT HAD AN EXCAVATOR ON IT!!! in the same breath.

I feel like, yes, he is a very stereotypical boy, I blame genetics; but he's also been nurtured to understand beauty and nature. He's naturally very quiet sensitive, but he's also has a natural rage that rears it's ugly head from time to time.
So it's hard tell, where does the effects of nature stop and the effects of nurturing begin? Are we nurturing our kids to be their acceptable 'self', or are we trying to nurture them into what we think they should be like?

I encourage dance and yoga, as much as I encourage soccer and hockey. He likes them all, but is clearly not interested enough to be an Olympic athlete. And maybe I do have a secret hope that he'll end up on So You Think You Can Dance Canada Season 20, but I know it's not likely to happen.
Based on now, what seems likely is that he'll end up doing carpentry, at least as a hobby. He'll be a good cook even if he's not a chef. He could run his own farm one day if he keeps up the interest.

But again comparing to my sister and I, I was always the tomboy and my sister was the princess diva...and in the end I'm the one who went to school for fashion design and she's the one who gets excited over parasitic cat testicles.

You can do any amount of encouraging and your kid will still rebel against you. Nothing is ever expected.
Hopefully Toby finds a way to vent his aggression properly and is at least ingrained with the knowledge that he can be whoever he wants to be.

Friday, May 11, 2012


Outside today, weeding the garden, I very suddenly felt....old.
Not 'old' in the sense that my joints hurt or my knees popped when I stood up...Just...oldER?

Toby was playing beside me and we watched Opa (my Opa, Toby's Great-Opa) drive into the back yard to get a trailer. Toby said he was going to see what he was doing, I said sure.
He was gone for ages, so I checked around the corner to see things were ok, and he was waving Opa back to where the trailer was and then helped hitch it up, and then Opa put him in the car to drive through the field with a load of junk.
In the last few weeks I've let him do 'independent' things that I never would have dreamed of letting him do this time last year. Mostly because I know he's not going to go careening off the bridge, or trip over the front step now.
So, anyway, Here I am standing in the middle of the yard wearing slush pants over my pajama pants, with grubby skater shoes, a sweater, a scarf and a touque. An outfit I wouldn't be caught dead in a few years ago. An outfit I may have rolled my eyes at my mom for wearing.
And I'm watching my son walk away rom me to do another project and I don't feel a sense of panic that he needs to be supervised. I'm just....ok.
And it lead to this sudden feeling of feeling 'old'.
And then I'm thinking, maybe it has nothing to with age really, but more a sense of confidence.

I'm so used to feeling like I'm grasping at straws, both as a person and a mother. I had a kid right at the moment in my life where I was realizing that my adult-self was a different person than my teenage-self, and then I had to suddenly discover my mother-self and my single-self on top of all that.
So maybe I just feel 'old' because I finally feel confident that I have this thing figured out.
Maybe I'm feeling grown up because Toby is growing up and I don't feel tied down because I have to lug him everywhere. Maybe I'm feeling gown up because I feel like a mom, and not just someone who's raising a kid.

The wind blows around my legs, and I can't feel it because I've chosen to wear slush pants over my PJs. I smile to myself that I've made a good choice and kneel back down in the dirt to keep weeding.

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Evolution of a Box

Toby has a box.

My dad bought a two drawer filing cabinet for his office and promptly tossed the box down to the living room for Toby. Toby promptly crawled inside.
I wasn't crazy about the box because it took up a lot of space so there was no where for it to 'live' when we wanted to clean up.
Because of my impartialness to it, I didn't take very many photos of Toby playing with it. Now I wish I had. We took a few videos, so I screen capped from there for this blog.

The box started out as just a box. A cave. Toby threw all his toys inside and then dragged them all back out again. He loaded it with Duplo or blocks and crawled inside with them saying they were all snuggling in bed.
Then we figured out that the Duplo blocks fit perfectly through the handle holes in the side.

The box was now a mail truck and the Duplo were packages that he had to deliver. He said he lived in his mail truck and once in a while he got out to 'drive'. mostly he just filled up the green tub with 'mail'.

One day my dad walked though the kitchen, found a knife, and walked back out. How could I not follow?? He cut a small hinged window in the top back of the box so Toby could peek out. I rolled my eyes, not wanting to give Toby more of a reason to keep the box, and also not wanting Toby to think it was ok to cut the box up, because it was a good box, and heaven forbid it got a crease in it....

The window opened up a whole new world of games. Stuffed animals could now fit through. Blocks that didn't fit through the handle holes could now be chucked out the window as 'compost'.  Sadly I don't have a picture of the window, because I resented it at the time, but Toby had so much fun with it.

The box also became a climber. He'd climb from the couch onto the top and then slide off the side. I kept warning him that the box would collapse, but it didn't for a long time. Eventually the corners of the box got soft and it wouldn't support his weight anymore. Lack of structural integrity gave me hope that we could soon get rid of it.
He used it as a house to hide form the Tickling Dragon (me), and we put a big blanket over top so he'd have a door. This game went on for so long I was considering hiding the blanket, since it was easier to hide than the box. All the blanket covering and chasing and trying to fit mommy inside the box made the sides of the box even more creased and softer.

But the softened edges just meant that the whole box was more flexible, and so it became a rolling barrel.

Days and days and days of doing this all over the living room. You'll notice the white tape all over it too...My mom helped him fix something on the box one day, which lead to him needing to put tape everywhere. 

The box turned into a craft board. He took blocks and scissors and dragged them along the corrugation to make small tears and lines in the cardboard. I opened my mouth to tell him not to do that several times, when I thought, the sooner he wreaks it the better.
Then it occurred to me that the reason I wanted him to stop destroying it, was because he was having so much fun with it and if it was wreaked there would be no more box entertainment...
So cutting and taping continued. One day I was cleaning out out art basket and he found some markers and dragged them and some paper into his box. I suggested that he could just draw in the box if he wanted to. He looked at me blankly for a minute and then proceeded to make cave-art with gusto. Once in a while he'd tentatively ask if it was ok that he used green marker in his box. I said Go for it, it's your box. He'd grin and dash away again.

The box had been rolled in and coloured on so much it was beginning to get really soft. Toby would stand the box up and ask to be put in it so he could curl up on the bottom. I'd bury him with pillows and he'd pop out. We'd put a blanket on top so he was 'trapped' in a big hole.

Eventually he tried to use his box as a climber again. But of course it wasn't strong enough, so it folded in half. Toby would leap off and 'pop' it back up. this was fun until it became so creased that it wouldn't pop back anymore. So then he crawled over the back, and used it as a slide.

And a lounge chair.

He tries to crawl inside once in a while, but the box is so flat now that it just looks like it's eating him.

 Today we used the box as a 'Toby trap', but it doesn't stand up very well. I'm thinking the next step will be more crafts... drawing and cutting and painting on the box.

As much as it's a big thing to have in our living room, it provides SO much entertainment. Almost every game we've played for the last month involved the box somehow. He curls up on it with pillows. He drives his cars in and out. I've almost forgotten what we played with before the box showed up.

I'm not sure whether to be relieved or afraid that we have another filing cabinet box now, as well as the box his tractor came in...

The sentiment is used so much that it's become cliche but really: All a kid needs is a good box.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


A list of some of the conversations I've had this week...

Me: Hmm, can't get the smudge off my windshield
Me:...Just a smudge...I think it's on the inside. I can't get it when I'm driving.
Toby: But WHY is is on the inside??!?!
Me: Well I couldn't get it with my windshield wipers, so i guess it's inside. Probably from when I was washing the car.
Toby: Why did you leave a smudge there??!?!?!
Me: Because I guess I wasn't being careful.
Toby: But WHY weren't you being caref-
Toby: Why is there a point here?
Me: Because that's what hearts look like when they're folded in half. There's a rounded end and a pointed end.
Toby: But WHY?!?!
Me: I guess that's just what a heart shape looks like
Toby: But WHY does it have a point??!?!
Me: Bedtime, goodnight.
Toby: Why don't I have a hat on in that picture?
Me: I'm not sure! Maybe you pulled it off.
Toby: Why?
Me: I don't know, you were a baby.
Toby: But, Why was I a baby?
Me:...........Because.... you were...
Toby: Why did I take my hat off?!??!!?!
Toby: Is that dress for me?
Me: Um, no, I'm making it for the craft show. Maybe someone with a little girl will buy it.
Toby: Why isn't it for me?
Me: Well, for one thing, you're too big for it now. It won't fit you.
Toby: Why won't it fit?
Me: Because you're getting bigger! You're a big boy now.
Toby: Well, someday, when I'm smaller it will fit me!
Me: Well, it doesn't work like that. You're just going to keep getting bigger, like Mommy.
Toby: Why?
Me: Because that's the way life works.
Toby: But I mean SOMEDAY.
Toby: Where's that tractor we saw?
Me: We saw that tractor in the field a few days ago, I don't think he'll be there now.
Toby: Why?
Me: Well, I'm sure his work is all done, and the farmer is probably having lunch now anyway.
Toby: Why is he all done??!??!!!
Me: Because I don't think plowing the field takes three days to do, plus he was almost done when we drove by before.
Toby: But I want to see him.
Me: I know. Just keep your eyes open you might see another one.
Toby: But, Where's the blue one we saw before?
Me: I already said, probably back at the farm, and I'm not sure which farm that tractor belonged to.
Toby: Why?
Me: HEY I LOVE THIS SONG *turns radio up* Want some water Toby??? Cracker??? Anything????
Toby: Where's Grampa?
Me: Dunno, maybe outside?
Toby: Why is he outside?
Me: Not sure, I can't see him.
Toby: Why?
Me:....Because we're inside.
Toby: But I want to know what Grampa's doing.
Me: Well we can take a look out the window, but I don't know if we'll see him.
Toby: Why did he go outside?
Me: I don't even know for sure if he IS outside, he might have gone in his car.
Me: Maybe to get groceries.
Toby: Why??!?!?!
Me: Because we have no food.
Me: We have some food, but maybe Grampa's getting more.  I don't even know if that;s what he's doing!! I'm just speculating!!!
Toby: (while playing on the bathroom floor while I wash my hair) Hey mom?
Me: Yeah?
Toby: Don't forget to wash your breasts.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Still Alive

Geez, I can't believe it's been two months since I've blogged. I just feel like nothing very noteworthy has happened and every time I think about blogging, something else preoccupies me.

So, anyhoo, I'm still alive.
Toby is still 3.
Toby is still not toilet trained, nor does he want to be.
I still cook stuff.
Toby still eats stuff. Lots of stuff.
I still haven't updated my food blog :(
It's still cold outside.
Toby's still allergic to egg, and probably gluten.
We still have three cats.
Our bird feeders are still up.
Our entrance way still consists of winter boots and coats, along with flip-flops and sun hats. Oh, Canada in the Spring..

Things That Are Different:
We finally put together the John Deere pedal tractor we got a year ago. Toby is now the property manager.
I have a job! One day a week at Jack and Maddy downtown Orillia.
Toby is easing out of his 'terrible' stage, and seems really enthusiastic about almost everything.
We've started play group and yoga classes so Toby (and me) can be more social.
My mom got a new computer, so I now have a computer desk to myself, while she moves to the other side of the room and my dad's stuff moves upstairs. The place is a mess, but it's going to be awesome.
Yesterday Toby and I started our first batch of seeds for the garden! We're indoor-sprouting lettuce, watercress, spring onion, peppers and lavender so far. Tomatoes and herbs to come. And then the rest of the garden will be the beginning of June.
I have some projects on the go that will hopefully get more underway as the year goes on, if things work out I'll keep everyone updated.
I'll be a vendor at the Spring Shopaganza at Westmount Church in Orillia, Saturday April 21 from 9-4. Cloth gift bags, girls adjustable dresses, sleep pillows and cloth books. Come buy stuff.

Hopefully it won't be so long until I post again!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Toilet Training Tribulations

I know boys take longer than girls.
I know that you shouldn't start too early or too late or it backfires.
I know it takes patience and perseverance.
But I'm sick of trying to get Toby to use the toilet. Almost as sick as I am of changing diapers.

I probably started introducing the idea of the toilet about a  year ago. He has his own toilet seat. He sits and plays with toys. He never did anything, but at least he would merrily sit up there for a while.
I didn't push it because I still felt he was too young to 'get' it.
A few months later there was a poop-in-the-tub incident, after which I scooped him up and onto the toilet, which collected the rest of it. I made a big happy deal about him sitting on the toilet and using it properly, and he seemed pleased with himself, but the idea didn't stick.
Periodically through the summer and fall I would catch him in the act of beginning to fill his diaper and excitedly exclaim it was time to use the toilet. He'd let me pick him up and bring him to the bathroom, but them more often that not he would just sit on the toilet for half an hour and do nothing.
At this point maybe I should have been more consistent? Made him sit up there several times a day, instead of the odd time when I'd catch him about to go? Not let him just fill his diaper when I was too tired to get out of bed in the morning?
I still didn't want to push him too hard because I was trying to cut back on the ridiculous amount of nursing he was still doing and didn't want too many traumas at once.
I started putting swirly star stickers on a calendar when he used the toilet. It had worked with the teeth brushing. It seemed to work for a while. Twice a week we had a good toilet experience.
But then a few times I'd ask him if he needed to use the bathroom and he'd sullenly say no, and then proceed to fill his diaper.
I'd bribe him with the AMAZING, INCREDIBLE star stickers, and the wind-up toys I had reserved for toilet-time.
He told me he didn't want a sticker, and proceeded to fill his diaper.
I'd get annoyed. I'd sigh. I stopped talking and playing with him when I changed his diapers so that diaper changing wasn't 'fun' anymore.
Nothing mattered.
I'd rant (maybe to myself more than him) that I hated how much garbage we were making and I hated buying diapers and should have used cloth, but really have no patience or desire to clean up after cloth diapers. I's go on about how we wouldn't have to deal with things like diaper rashes anymore because it would be so much cleaner and more fun to sit on the toilet than have this gooey mushy diaper on.
He told me he wanted diaper rashes and stormed away.
I tried the no-nonsense, pick-you-up-when-you're-about-to-poop-and-off-to-the-bathroom-we-go! But that resulted in fits of hysteric screaming and I didn't want the toilet to be about force.

Ok, so he's not ready. I left it. I left everything I had tired and didn't say anything, tried not to scold or roll my eyes.
Nothing changed.
My latest strategy is to make him carry his own dirty diapers to the garbage. If we're in our room, he doesn't have far to go. If we're downstairs, he has to march it all the way upstairs.
The first few times it worked great. He loves helping. A couple times he suggested I do it, and I calmly said that no, I'm done cleaning up the poopy diapers, and if you want to use a diaper then you get to clean it up. If you don't want to do this job anymore you can use the toilet and I will gladly sit with you and help you in there.
It worked in the sense that he diligently marched all his diapers up to the big garbage. However he has only once sat on a toilet in the last two months. And that was only because I fished him out of the bathtub before we had another mess to contend with.
But now.... now he's caught on. And he's fighting back. He screams that I take his diaper away, as soon as I'm done changing him. I shrug and walk away. He screams and runs after me, demanding I clean it up. I try reasoning and bartering with him. I offer to help by bringing the garbage out from the bedroom, but he still needs to please clean it up.
Everyday now we have a blood curdling argument.
I hate it so much, but I feel like I shouldn't give in. I've given in every other time and it's gotten us nowhere. This time I keep saying I"m determined to hold my ground, but is that the right thing to do? Am I really making a negative argument about the diapers, or am I still turning the whole toilet training thing into a fiasco?
Is it worth fighting to tears every day?
Do I just stop and let it go and hope he trains himself by the time he's 5?
Is he going to be one of those kids who never quite gets it and wets the bed for years to come?
Kids who go to school don't still breastfeed and wear diapers right?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Definition of Amazing

I'm the type of person/mother that constantly has a camera glued to their right hand (I was going to say glued to their face, but that reference seems a bit archaic now), so naturally Toby has had his curiosity piqued as to what that 'thing' is that Mom is so protective of. About a year ago he took great delight in being allowed to push the arrow buttons to see all the photos I've taken. About half a year ago he started to ask to hold the camera and take a picture. I let him take a few blurry pictures of garden dirt before declaring that the 'batteries needed to sleep for a bit so let's tuck the camera back in the bag.'
Now he's taken to sitting on the couch while I'm busy in the kitchen and take my camera out of the bag and turn it over and over trying to figure out how to turn it on.
I've been wanting to get him a kid's camera for a while now, but I never know how 'worth it' those things are. How much is toy and how much is decent camera?
Luckily this pondering coincided with my sister getting a new point-and-shoot camera to replace her 'ancient' one (featuring BOTH Digital screen AND Viewfinder, so as not to force you into technology's advancement too quickly!!). She said that if I could put up with the batteries only lasting for half-an-hour, Toby could use it.
I'd had it sitting on my counter in a pile of stuff for almost a month, and today as Toby crawled up on the couch and started riffling through my purse to find my camera for the first time in ages, I pulled out this old one of Shannon's.

I turned it on and the first thing that Toby did was press the shutter. Click, close up picture of the couch cushion. I directed him to hold the camera up and look at what he was taking a picture of and only press the shutter when he really wanted to take a picture, not just because you want to every 3 seconds.

"Mom I see a ladybug!!" Click.
(Can you find it?)

After 6 pictures of the ladybug and one of a squirrel on the bird feeder, he ventured off into the living room with a gigantic grin on his face.

Click, the rug.
Click, The ceiling.
Click, blurry close-up of a pillow.

"Hold on Toby, hold on. It's great you're enthusiastic, but really try to 'think' about what you want a picture of. Look at the screen and watch what you're doing.
He scanned the room.
"Like the STAIRS!" Click.


Next I lined up some of his cars, thinking that this would be a good 'focus' for picture taking.

I sat on the couch, still not really awake, and let him wander around taking random pictures of house plants and flies.
Some stuff wasn't even too bad.


 Fly swatter.

Parental unit.


30 pictures have gone by now, so I tried to direct his focus again.

"Toby, really try to pick just one thing, and then take a picture of it, instead of just pointing the camera at everything. Try and think "This looks amazing" before you go to take a picture."

He stopped and scanned the room again.
"This looks amazing" He whispered.
Click, top of the chair.

I know that teaching the art of photography to a three year old is maybe far-fetched, but I want him to have a sense of WHY we take photos. Before digital cameras I never would have just given a role of film to a toddler to 'waste'. I feel that while digital photography allows us a 'do-over' period, it still shouldn't be 'wasted' or the point of photography is lost.

But as I propped my head on my hand and watched as Toby searched the room for anything he hadn't photographed yet, I realized what I had just said to him.
Take pictures of 'amazing' things.
He's three. He hasn't had time the be jaded by REAL amazing things.
The fact that he can operate a camera is amazing enough to him. And when I look back through his photos, when was the last time I looked at my Rosemary like that?? When was the last time I thought a fly swatter was worth photographing?
Yes they're all out of focus and blurry, but is that really HIS fault or just the fact that the camera doesn't know how to focus on what he wants?
When you look past the technicalities, I do think he's taking pictures of things that fascinate him.
A tunnel of rosemary, the texture of the rug, a 'burst' of flower stems,
a circular tree root,

bottles in the window, 

plates in the window, 

the colour of books.

And at the end of it all, there are about 6 good pictures from the 52 that he took. Isn't that the same with all great photographers?
The point of the exercise was to learn to LOOK at what you're SEEING, not to take an award winning photo.
And I think Toby and I both learned a bit today.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Rules of Engagement

As I've most likely mentioned, Toby is very clingy.
I hesitate to call him anti-social because he does play well and get along with other people, but it takes a LONG time, and a certain type of person for him to warm up to.
My mom assures me I was the same. At family events I played in another room. I never strayed more than 3 feet from her knees while shopping. And yet I loved school and was very happy once I got in the routine.

I would have hoped, or thought, that after three years he would just learn to relax around other people and just know that I was not going to leave him, instead of hyperventilating and leeching himself to my neck.

And with people we visit regularly he is actually becoming quite bold and 'normal' around.
Except there it still the once in a while where I want to visit people we haven't seen in a while and he wants nothing to do with it.
I feel like I need to hand out a ridiculous  set of rules to everyone before we even enter:
1. Do not say hello to Toby. And if you do, Please don't do it two inches from his face.
2. He is not 'playing' shy, he is genuinely insecure and does not know who you are.
3. Give him an hour before you try to engage him.
4. Keep all pets, especially dogs, back a 6 foot radius.
5. The longer you try to get him to smile, the less he is going to like you.

And likewise, I wish I could shove a stack of logic into Toby's head:
1. If you say hi to people who greet you, they are more likely to then walk away instead of spending the next 5 minutes trying to make you smile.
2. It is fine to want me to hold you for the first little while, but when I put you down because my arms hurt it does not mean I am walking away or leaving, and thus does not warrant a panic attack.
3. Dogs and cats sniff to say hello. Just say hello back and they will leave.
4. If someone asks you something you could at least TRY to nod or shake your head in response instead of wiping nasal mucus on my new sweater over and over.

I can empathize with Toby because I remember what its like to be an awkwardly shy kid.
But at the same time I am so sick of telling people not to talk to him because I feel like I"m pushing people away or being rude.
I laugh and smile and roll my eyes and try to keep moving through the room, but it doesn't always work.
I try really hard not to loose my cool because I know Toby senses it, but sometimes he just seems to get so irrational and frantic that I can't help but be angry.
Plus I'm currently sick and have a locked jaw and a swollen wisdom tooth and can barely focus on driving, let alone a frantic toddler.
I want to find more social things to do with Toby, but I don't want to enroll in a program only to have him have a panic attack everytime we go.
I always say that the summer is easier to do stuff because people are around and the weather is good, but then it's the winter when you NEED something to do.
I can just picture him starting school with a ton of enthusiasm, and then freeze at the door and have a melt down.
Although it's still two years away, and when I think about how far he's come in the last two years, maybe there's some hope...

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Garden project

Happy New Years Everyone.
One year ago this week I started blogging!!

Alright, here's my question..
Would anyone be interested in buying veggies from Toby and I this summer on a pick-your-own basis?
I don't have the energy or the time to go to market every Saturday, but we love what we do and often have more than we need.
If there is enough interest we will be ordering extra seeds, so I'd like to know before we order in a few weeks if it's worth it to get a larger variety of things and more of them than we would normally get.
Typically we would have peas/snow peas, beans, salad mix/lettuce, radishes, zucchini, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, carrots, beets and peppers.... Thinking about some other kinds of veggies too, but not sure yet...Was thinking about having a variety of herbs for picking as well... maybe pumpkins in the fall but not sure if we have the room yet.
Lettuce and herbs would be sold by weight, and others would be sold by the bunch or 'each'.

Let me know what you guys think!

If there's interest I'll set up a facebook 'group' to keep everyone updated.