Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Diary of a SAHM: Morning Edition

I had lots of ideas swimming around in my head last night but couldn't get anything out to post, so instead I browsed apartments on Craiglist that we can't afford, and added 14 items to my cart on Etsy that I won't purchase. I went to bed around 11:30 pm and then Alex woke up around 12:30am. He went back to sleep easily.

Too bad he woke up again at 5:20 am. Five in the morning is the imaginary line where MORNING begins according to my son. If he wakes up before then he'll go back to sleep, but after 5 am all bets are off. So he's tired and slightly whiny. He followed my husband around as he got ready for work, making this woeful sound like a wounded animal in a trap. Luckily I was able to distract him enough that he didn't melt down when Daddy left for work like he sometimes does, pounding on the door crying like a jilted Bachelor contestant after not receiving a rose. I distracted him with the iguana, oooh look she's lying there motionless! He spotted the spray bottle and holled for it. I handed it to him and he quickly figured out how to spray it. In his face. But hey, it was making him laugh. Whatever works, right?

I managed to make breakfast, but not before the usual commotion. All of my cupboards are above my head so I regularly need to get the step ladder out. No matter how quiet I am, SpideyChicken hears the ladder coming out and usually climbs up while I'm still standing on it. Every bite of his banana at breakfast had to be "dip dip" in my Nutella on toast. At least he's eating. And he's just in a diaper from soaking his Pj's with the spray bottle so he's easy to clean up

Now I'm blogging and drinking my coffee while he wanders around grunting. Yeah, you know, THAT.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Old New Baby Smell

Smell is the sense that has one of the most direct links to memory. You smell something, like apple pie and it brings you back to your grandma's house as you eat the apple pie with a big head of vanilla ice cream from those delft blue bowls of hers. There's this study that showed that students exposed to a scent while studying and then the same scent during a test did better than other students without the smell-enhanced memory.

I've switched Alex's shampoo a few times, trying to save a bit of money. One bottle was supposed to be "lightly scented" which apparently means "old french whore perfume". I missed how he used to smell. So I went back to the expensive stuff. I smelled his head tonight as I fed him the bedtime bottle. Mmmmm, that's better.

 Before Alex was born I remember buying the baby shampoo and thought I might not even need this shampoo for months. My baby could be bald. Hoo boy I was wrong. He was born with a full head of dark hair. That was such a shock when I first saw him. All that hair! It was completely unexpected. He had his first haircut when he was six weeks old. Silly baby was pulling his hair in his sleep and then waking up and crying because someone was pulling his hair. The more he'd cry the more he'd pull on his hair. Silly baby! He's had four haircuts already. If we hadn't cut his hair he'd be sporting a head full of elastics and sparkle hair clips.

So getting the old shampoo did the trick. I remember holding my freshly washed teeny tiny baby. Wrapping him up in his hooded towel that's now way too small for him.  Being terrified of giving him a bath because he was so small, such a bobble head, so slippery. Having to move the baby tub into the big bath from the kitchen counter because his splashing was soaking the whole kitchen.

New baby smell is the best. Even if the baby isn't so new anymore.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Toddler tales!

So, it seems that my baby is much more toddler than baby. I know he hasn't been a baby for a while, but today cemented that fact. This morning I wanted to go out with Alex to the park but worried about the cold. It went below 0C today and it was windy. My dilemma was keeping the mittens on mister Whee-Look-How-Fast-I-Can-Pull-Them-Off!!! I posed the question to my facebook friends. There was more than one mention of duct tape. I also got a lead on some crazy long mittens or ones that are like a shrug with mitts attached. Seems kind of crazy but still not as bad as this the device to strap your baby to the bed to prevent SIDS. I have a lock on my fridge, I need to install the one on the toilet, we had to move the coffee table away from the window, I regularly have to stop Alex from pulling the cats around by the tail, and now one more thing to worry about. Cold hands. Freezing cold hands. So until I order those mittens that go up to his shoulders I need something, anything. My temporary solution? I safety pinned the mittens to his hoodie and then put the hoodiemittens on him. Hmmm. Hoodiemitt? It could be the next Snuggie! I then put his coat over the whole hot mess, securing the clothing. I then had spend the next seven minutes reassuring him that "hey hey! Lucky you! You've got MITTENS!". It worked! The only real snafu was the damn spiderman ball that he spotted underneath the stroller. Poor kid, desperately trying to pick up that ball like someone with greasy hands picking up a wet uncooked turkey.

Later today we went out to the grocery store, which was uneventful. I released him from the stroller as we came inside the apartment. Instead of his usual climb upstairs, he lingered on the first floor and entertained a neighbour as she left the building. Then he wanted to go head first down the stairs to the basement (since the basement door is always open). Umm no. UPSTAIRS. He was not impressed and started crying and even pulled a wet noodle as I tried to pick him up. Really? Isn't too early for this kind of behaviour? I hauled him upstairs as he flailed, leaving the groceries downstairs while I got him to settle down.

Now, tonight while I made the bedtime bottle he was drawing with his crayons with Daddy. Then he was in the hallway next to the kitchen. Wait. What was that sound? Crayons being scribbled on the wall since it's so much easier to draw standing up. Mental note. No more crayons. Must buy Magic Eraser type substance.

Oh and the constant furniture climbing? Stressing me out.

Mama: 1. Reluctant mitten clad toddler: 0.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

On being motherless

My mother died when I was 14. It's been almost 21 years since I've seen her. I am not completely motherless (is anyone really?) but I have now spent two thirds of my life without a mom. It's not something that one "gets over". You know what it's like? It's like having a large gaping wound. It heals over, you can cover it up but you still have a massive scar. It's like losing a limb.

As horrible as it is to lose my mom at such a young age, I am thankful (hmm not quite the right word but I'll leave it) that she didn't die when I was younger. I was fairly self sufficient, I got myself to school, did my homework, made meals on my own. I can't even imagine what it would have been like had she died while I was still in elementary school. My personhood was in progress. I knew the importance of finishing school. I knew how to treat others. There were other things though that I had not learned. I never learned to drive, or make a roast beef or fold fitted sheets. I call my sister for many of these queries. A couple of weeks ago I found out the "secret" ingredient in Shepherd's pie (flour!). Googling how to videos helps too. Stupid questions that your mom would answer easily without scoffing at you for asking such a thing.

When I was pregnant with Alex, I had many questions, some that had no answer. Was I early, on time or late? I asked my dad but his reply was "I dunno, all I know is that I was on the night shift". That statement right there pretty much sums up our relationship. When I asked my sister what I was like as a baby her reply was "you cried a lot". She was six and a half, so it's hard to say how accurate that is. I'm sure from her perspective as an only child for 6 years, I was quite noisy. I have no baby book telling me of my milestones, of when I got my first tooth. Alex is missing a grandmother that would have adored him. I would have had someone to call in the middle of the night when Alex had been crying for four hours straight.

I once complained to my sister that Alex was such a picky eater. She laughed at me and said "YOU are surprised that YOU have a kid who is a picky eater!". I hadn't thought of it that way. Yes, I was an incredibly picky eater. It's that darn nature versus nurture again. Anyway, when she said that I felt horribly guilty for all the meals I refused. My mom, probably desperate for me to eat anything would make separate meals for me. I'm sorry mom. I'm sorry I was bad at doing my homework (I only got marginally better at deadlines). I'm sorry I was a shitty moody teenager when you died. I wasn't a person yet. I didn't know any better.

So now, I can make roast beef (thanks to Nigella Lawson), I can bathe my baby (I was terrified to give Alex a bath) thanks to my sister. I still don't know how to fold fitted sheets (I'm sure I can find something on YouTube) but does it really matter? I get by, by pretending I'm an adult.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Alex had his first professional photo shoot on Friday. It was a charity event where you get a 20 minute photo session and one professional photo (or more if you pay for each photo) and they donate the proceeds to the new children's hospital they're building (a couple of blocks away from my house, constant dump trucks on parade for Boy's enjoyment). It was in a shopping mall but it was a really slick setup. Two studios, a viewing area with a few computers and a lounge area. It had leather couches, red walls and even a couple of black chandeliers. I had booked the first appointment on the first day, not intentionally, so it was pretty quiet when I got there.

The photographer was very sweet. She said she was a little nervous because it was her first time (uh oh I thought) but then explained she did it last year. Some of her poses were great while some seemed a little forced. She kept telling me to kiss Alex on the cheek but he wanted none of it. Those photos were, um, awkward with me making a big kissy face while Alex avoided and made a stink face. Nice. There were also a lot of Alex pointing photos that got nixed right away because I can only handle so many of those. The twenty minutes went by very quickly. I asked for a couple more shots because I wanted Stanley the sock monkey in some too.

We went back to the lounge and were given cookies and juice while we waited! The photographer chose the best photos and then I got to choose from there. My intention was to get one or two photos but there were so many I liked. It's a bit of a splurge but I've wanted some nice professional photos forever so I caved, and well the money does go to a good cause. I'm really happy with the results. A bit more expensive but way better than some stilted Sears portraits. Oh and there was no Photoshopping done. Pretty cool.

He's got that rockstar swagger.

Blue Steel
Mama hugs!
Who me? It was the monkey!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

SpaceCamp, Monchichi and scratch n' sniff stickers....

What am I doing on this chilly friday night? I'm watching SpaceCamp. Oh yes, in all of its cheesy goodness. Joaquin Phoenix as a kid who is too smart for his own good, a braless and heavily shoulder-padded Kate Capshaw as a spunky airforce pilot, Lea Thompson who was in every movie that Molly Ringwald wasn't, and Kelly Preston as a permed bubblehead looking for aliens. Mmm hmm, 80's movie at its best. I remember going to see this in the movie theater with a friend of mine. We pooled our money but we didn't have enough for snacks. We had just enough money for a drink OR popcorn, so we opted for a massive Orange Crush. Just as the movie started, my friend grabbed the drink off the floor from the lid. The result? The drink turned into an orange Niagara Falls, flowing fast and furious towards the front of the theater. We saw the progress of the tidal wave as the people in the rows in front of us freaked out with the gush of sticky sticky liquid at their feet. Oh the fear of being busted mixed with uncontrollable laughter. I loved going to the movies as a kid. I saw Back to the Future six times in the movie theater.

Working at a toy store we always get requests for the trendy toys, the IT toy of the moment. The twelve year old (ok maybe not that young, but she might as well be) that I work with mentioned some crazy toy that she had as a kid (what? last year little miss Paris Hilton?). I had never heard of it. The toy store is always one step behind in terms of trends. I mentioned that back in my day we had scratch and sniff stickers that we illicitly traded in the playground at recess. Then next it was the Goomie bracelets ( like Madonna wore). The latest craze is very similar to those bracelets. They're called Silly Bandz which are basically shaped elastic bands like this:


I overhead one girl complaining to her mother when she was denied yet another purchase "awww but mohhhhhhmmmm I only have 97 of themmmmm". Wow.

The 80's seem to be popular again. I guess because all of us children of the 80's are parents now so we can pass our legwarmers down to a new generation. At FAO Schwarz we saw an entire wall of Monchichis like this:

Sometimes the 80's should stay there. In the past. Like bad perms and baby blue eyeliner. Oh and as for SpaceCamp, cheesy eighties at its finest. In one scene the lovable robot character deciphers the morse code signal from the stranded space ship and Tom Skeritt says to the robot Jinx "I'm gonna buy you a can of oil when we're done here". A classic.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Seperated at birth?

Alex seemed to think so. The only difference was his cow wasn't driving the tractor.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

NaBloPoMo: Day 18. Buzzing around like a busy bee

What a day! I went to a fabric store (on the other side of the planet) with a friend. Then had lunch and took Alex to the park. We then took the bus downtown for the one day Boby Shop sale (hello? Got a free candle AND a free shampoo), took the bus home. Then I made supper, didn't eat it because I was going out to dinner with my old playground friends. A lovely time was had at dinner. I had a great spinach, chicken breast and goat cheese pizza and drank too much wine. My potty mouth got worse, the more wine I had. We then went across the street to the pie shop and ate ridiculously rich dessert. I got a lift home, and I am blogging before bed to meet my imaginary deadline. And yes, I am still drunk. Well a good buzz anyways.

Oh and really noisy neighbour upstairs? If you wake Alex up again, I will go upstairs and LOSE MY SHIT on you because, well, because the alcohol has lowered my inhibitions just enough.

 Uh really? 2$ for indoor bike parking? When there's free bike parking everywhere? What? Don't feel like having to brush the snow off your bike in the winter?Worried about getting your bike stolen? Seriously.

(See not so drink since I was able to get a photo off my damn MicroSD card from my cellphone)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hello old friend

Study of brain in pink. 1999. Oil on canvas. 36" x 48"

This is one of the last paintings I did. I had another full semester of painting after this but had my paintings stolen. No, they were not that good. Greedy art students steal them for the canvas or the stretchers. It was still a big loss though. My painting got brighter, more refined. I had wonderful painting teachers in college. I got excited about it. Then I entered university, not as an art student, but one in psychology. I hated it. It was dry. It was an ill fit. So then after 2 years I switched to the major in art education. Ah, much better. My classes were in the arts building, overflowing with sculptors, photographers, painters, graphic designers, cinematographers.

I hadn't really done any art since finishing college (college is two years after high school that's required here before university, a little different than everywhere else). I had to take art classes as well as my teaching classes. I found that I was rusty and wasn't as polished as some of my classmates. I stumbled along, falling behind. I took a painting class, hoping to improve. Unfortunately I had a professor who, not uncommonly, could not teach. These university art teacher were not teaching us any techniques just concepts. This, in reality turned out to be How to Bullshit During the Critiques. These people could talk their way out of a paper bag.

Again, I did not fit in. My professor drank during the breaks (a four hour class had a half hour break and the cafeteria sold beer!), so he was useless afterwards. Not good. I stopped painting because it was no longer a joy for me.

The next year I took a printing and dyeing class in the fiber arts department. Oh yes, as my husband always jokes, my degree is in Pure and Applied Basketweaving. Not only did I love this class, I had an amazing professor who opened up possibilities for me. I created fabric prints and then made soft sculptures from them. I was in heaven. This was a perfect fit.

So I have never painted again (aside from a tiny painting of grapefruit that I made for my kitchen). Do I miss it? A bit. I don't miss the mess, or the awful smell of solvent. So I've traded in my paint brushes for a sewing machine. Yes, I think that is a good thing.

Getting back to sewing after such a long period just feels RIGHT.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ok, I have a confession to make...

 So I have this one compulsion. It's really quite harmless and doesn't affect my daily life. I am not crazy. I just have to look in other people's cupboards.

I go over to someone's house and all I want to do is look in their cupboards. I'm not looking for anything in particular I just want a look-see.  I try not to but I can't help myself. If I'm in this kitchen that does not belong to me and the owner of said kitchen says help yourself to whatever I need, I cheer in my head. Yes! As I do a mental touchdown dance. Permission to peek!

I act as though I'm looking for a glass as I open all the doors and quickly glance at the contents. So illicit. So naughty. It's like peeking in people's windows in the evening (not that I do that either!). You can tell a lot about a person by the contents of their cupboards. You can tell how organized they are, what they eat, are they tea drinkers or prefer wine.

My neighbour is out of town for a month and she's asked me to pick up her mail for her. I'm thinking I'll have to peek in the cupboards when I drop off the mail. Is that wrong?

Apparently this is a genetic condition. My sister has it too. She's more blatant about it than I am. I guess I have a milder version of it. We can't figure out where we got this from. We can't remember our mom ever peeking in kitchen like that (although we did have a substantial collection of cultery from a certain Canadian airline, and a full set of Ponderosa glasses).
Is it kitchen envy? Just being nosy? A harmless curiosity?

Oh hello there! (mmmm IKEA)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Is one enough?

I've had this struggle going on in my head ever since Alex was born. Before he was born, I said I wanted just one child. The only child. Now I'm not so sure. I go back and forth almost daily.

The pressure to pop out a second one seemed to start early. From family, from friends, even strangers. Even before I was given the okay for heavy lifting after my C-section, people would ask if a second was in the works. My answer then was "HELL NO" (put more politely for the nosey grannies on the street who had no business asking me that in the first place). Then this person of mine became hard to handle. Something was wrong. He cried an awful lot, as did I. A second child seemed impossible. Not in the cards. Around the same time that Alex had a seriously messed up sleeping schedule, waking every hour for a few weeks (maybe longer, it's not something I put in his baby book) a dear friend told me she was pregnant with her second. It made me queasy to think of myself in that position. It seemed to me, to be good timing for her, she makes motherhood look easy.

I have an easier time with Alex now, but adding a second child into the mix? I struggle to get him out the door on time, to get him dressed or make supper without either of us melting down. I'm told it's easier with a second. Sure, you know the basics, but just when you think you have babies figured out, the next one that comes along says "ha ha ha, not so fast!". Managing two people with different needs at the same time seems daunting. Yes, I know, there's plenty of people that do it, heck even Octomom is able to hit the gym and do her makeup, but me? Am I up to the challenge? Getting through the newborn stage is what scares me the most. The fog, the lack of control, the crying oh the crying.

Why only one? My answer is quite simple. More time. More time with Alex. Losing my mom early, I am very aware of the lack of time I had with her. True, I can't control when I die, but I can control how much time I get to spend with my son. Dividing my time, at his expense for a second child. I then wonder if adult Alex will spend years in therapy because he had too much time with mom ("she puts the mother in smother" he says to his therapist). That's not what I want either.

However I don't worry about the stereotypes of the Only Child. The spoiled brat who doesn't know how to relate to others, to share. It's more about upbringing than birth order. Sure it matters, but so do many other factors as well. I'm also not worried about having a Spare. The kid you have so that in case something BAD happens to one, you still have another one left. Oh yes, I swear I've heard mention of this one.

Where the decision becomes more difficult, not as clear is the issue of a sibling. Someone who understands you, and fights with you and who will help you up the stairs in your drunken stupor so your parents don't find out you've been drinking. That is where my problem lies.

So I sit on my hands about the issue for now. Deciding not to decide just yet. If only I had more time to decide. Hmm, time.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Eco Museum!

We went to a local zoo that houses animals native to this area. It was sunny and warm out (ha ha warm for mid-November). A good time was had by all. It was so nice getting out, our little family day trip. It's been too long.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

So there's this sign at the park...

...that states that the park will be closed from December 1st to April 15th. This is the park that we visit almost on a daily basis. It's really close to the house, it's a safe area that's fenced off. Oh, and Alex loves it. Whenever we're close by he does the sign for park.
In a couple of weeks it will be closed for the winter. For five months. It's going to be a LONG winter.

ETA: Darn it. My camera is broken and I can't get photos off of my cell phone.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Dreading the holidays

Ok so it's 43 days until Christmas. There is way too much build-up for one day. I've been getting "what does Alex want for Christmas?" since the beginning of October. I'm seriously not a fan of Christmas. It's not all bad. I like wrapping presents, twinkly lights, the smell of real Christmas trees. There's something magical about snow on Christmas (but it can kindly disappear Dec 26th). 

I used to like the holidays, Oh that excitement as a kid, waiting for Santa to arrive. I always left out cookies and milk for him, and some carrots for the reindeer. I remember barely able to sleep in anticipation. I would usually be the first one up on Christmas day, and I'd go and wake up my sister. We were allowed to open our stockings before our parents got up, but we'd have to wait until my parents finally got coffee into them to open the presents.

But. Then. My mom died. Four days before Christmas. I was 14 at the time. I knew she was sick, but I didn't know she was dying (very long story for another post). They didn't want to ruin my Christmas. So it's not my favourite holiday. I'm sure it's true for a lot of people. It's not just about family, and presents for many more it brings up sadness and loneliness. So no, I'm not a fan of decorations everywhere, horrible Christmas music (Sorry Bing, I can't stand you most of all). I do like to look at Martha Stewart Living and drool over the pretty parcels and delicious looking cookies. It's not all bad.

As a cruel twist of fate, my husband lost his dad three years ago. Eight days before Christmas.

I'm hoping that Alex will bring some cheer back into our holidays.
You know, like Cindy Lou Who did for the Grinch.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Rememberance Day

Written by Lietenant John McCrae in 1915

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Dear Tooth Fairy...

Dear Tooth Fairy,

First of all, are you in charge of the teeth coming in, or do you just take the teeth away? If it's someone else in the department who takes care of this, could you please forward this letter to the person in charge.

I have a complaint to make. Alex is teething. Yes, I know it's to be expected. There seems to be some sort of mix up though, some sort of scheduling error. You see, Alex is getting three molars at the same time. Really? I hardly think that's fair. Aren't there other kids who need some molars more than he does?

I am a big fan of your work Tooth Fairy. I've always paid my dues to you (except for the tooth that I lost in the sandbox, but you gave me the money for that one too so I always thought you found it). Even Daisy the cat has had more than her share of teeth given to you. That should count for something, right?

I know that there isn't much you can do at this point. Perhaps you can suggest something that would ease Alex's pain and general crabbiness. Maybe something to help Alex to sleep? Can you do anything to speed up the process? His molars are surfacing slower than Chilean miners.



P.S. I missed my NaBloPoMo entry for yesterday since I went to bed at 9pm. I blame you, Tooth Fairy. You and your buddy, the Daylight Savings Fairy.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Jet Lag: Home Edition

Alex loves spinning. I hold him in my arms and we spin and spin until I get dizzy and then I stop. We feel dizzy he laughs and then I do it again. I'm not sure what's more fun, the spinning or how it feels when you stop. I've been feeling like that a lot lately.
This time change thing really sucks. Why oh why must we go through this? It seems like an outdated practice. Being on vacation in another time zone requires an adjustment but you're busy, you're having fun. You get the extra energy you need from all the excitement. Daylight savings time just feels OFF to me. It always takes me about a week to fully adjust. Now I have a little person who knows nothing of time. He didn't get that memo about getting to sleep an extra hour. Every clock in my house has a different time it's very confusing. See there's that spinning again.
Work was good yesterday. It was busy. I feel a bit out of the loop there though. I'm only there one day a week, I don't know where anything is, what's on order. It feels a bit awkward to me. I feel like I should be at ease there but I'm not completely. Being woken up several times a night doesn't help either. I'm not as sharp as I used to be.
Time plays tricks on you. Speeds up, slows down. Pace yourself, hurry up.
The spinning is fun, but sometimes it's nice just to stop.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

NaBloPoMo: Day 7. Crickets.

I have this post swimming around in my head that's snowballing into something bigger than I thought it would be. I want to give it time to simmer though so it will have to wait for now. I've challenged myself to participate in NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) to give me the kick in the pants I need. The trouble is finding something to discuss. Every. Single. Day. My life doesn't seem interesting enough to talk about it every day. Today I went to the grocery store, Alex and I had lunch, he went down easily for a nap, I did some laundry, googled Hazelnut Chocolate Biscotti recipes and made a cop-out dinner. Really? What am I supposed to do with that? I'm usually a person of few words (even more so IRL). I guess I should start my next crafty project, a quiet book for Alex for Christmas. Maybe that will give me more content. Or skydiving. Yeah. I'll take up skydiving. Good for photos, great for traffic, maybe I'll even get a human interest bit on the local news about it.

Or I could show you how cute my son is with his monkey Stanley.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The 16th month...

Happy sixteen months baby Alex (who is not a baby anymore but Toddler Alex just sounds wrong). Inspired by Mommybyday I've written down all the words that Alex says either in words or in signs (baby signs is adapted from American Sign Language and it's good for kids this age because they have an easier time with signs than some of the syllables). This list seems big to me and I can't even imagine how long the list of words that he understands is. Alex surprises me every day with what he knows.

Kitty (more like Kheeeteee)
Wawa (He calls rain, water, sippy cup, sprinkler park, even dampness on my shirt from giving him a bath wawa. Clearly he knows what water is)
Boom up up (noisy upstairs neighbours)
Hot with the sign
Nanas (Bananas which has generalized to any fruits and some vegetables)
Bear (Bay bay)
Ball (Bah bah, very subtle difference but I swear it's there)
No (he likes saying it but seems to have no clue what it means)
Cheese (chzzzzzz)
Crackers (cakrrr)
Cookies (coocoo)
BaBoom (when he falls down)

Thank you

He doesn't meow like we're always saying he makes a whine more like Daisy's meow. I blame her.
Thumps his chest for gorilla
Waddles for a penguin (and says wad wad)
Sticks his tongue out for iguana (that's a new one, I taught him that this week at breakfast)
Wiggles his hip for a crocodile (most of the movements are from Eric Carle's From Head to Toe book)

Finally there is this. Not a recognizable word, just the sound of pure joy.

Untitled from Jennifer on Vimeo.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Kitty Snuggler!

The poor cats just don't get as many lovies as they did before Alex was born. Sweetie and Daisy to a lesser degree could easily spend hours on our laps. Now they seem kind of desperate. Desperate like the geeky girl trying to show cleavage at the school dance to get any boy to notice her. They'll pounce on me ast soon as I sit down without the boy in my arms, they're like glue all evening after Alex goes to bed. As I try and type this Daisy is being Shiatsu Kitty on my stomach, her head just outside of the view of my laptop (she knows if she blocks the screen she gets the boot).
I feel bad that they don't get as much affection as they'd like but it's almost like they'd never be happy. I could be crazy cat lady who never leaves the house and they'd still paw at the bathroom door because they MISSED ME.
The cats sleep on our bed with us, which feels a bit cramped since we only have a double bed. Daisy will sleep at my feet most of the time but lately she's been more bold. A few times I've woken up to find her sleeping on the top half of pillow, wrapped around my head. This cat doesn't know what personal space means. I always feel like some garishly dressed rich lady with a cat on my head, much like this:

Sweetie on the other hand sneaks up in between us and flops down like she's a person, with her head resting on a pillow. She flops back and forth looking for someone to spoon with. Usually she gives up on me and climbs up and over my husband to be spooned. This cat is happiest when she's being smothered, under the blankets or pinned down by her humans.

And yes, we put up with it. How can you resist these faces?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Dipping my toes back into the hot water

So, as a stay at home mom I rarely get a break. I don't have days off, lunch breaks, or even time to pee without an audience. As kind of an experiment, and to get that much needed break, I went back to work. One day a week. I work on the weekend so my husband can watch Alex and I don't have to worry about finding childcare. Alex also benefits, getting a whole day of daddy time. Not every kid gets that on a regular basis (sadly).

It's funny how most of the regular customers haven't even noticed that I left. I worked there for 6 years before having Alex but I haven't been there in 18 months. The ones that have noticed though seem pretty excited to have me back. I work in a very tiny neighbourhood toy store, where for the longest time there were three people working there. The owner (occasionally), the manager and myself. My specialty at the store was knowing all of the regulars (and there's a lot of them). I remember their names, their kids and there preferences. I was good at my job. Going back made me realise that.

 I also know that I don't think I could go back full time. I jumped back in right in the middle of the craziness that is the Christmas rush. Boxes everywhere, piled to the ceiling in the basement. I have no clue where anything is, don't know what's on order or what games we have for a very advanced five year old (oh and everyone thinks their kid is ADVANCED). The chaotic work is something I really don't miss. It's the chaos that sucked me back in though...

Rick and I had gone for a walk and we walked by the toy store, we noticed it was closed and there were boxes from a delivery piled in front of the store. I went to see the owner at her other store across the street to let her know. Someone didn't show up to work that day. She opened the store, and we continued with our walk. Rick and I discussed if I would want to go back to work part time. I didn't know it was an option. On our way back home, we stopped in the store, to see what had happened. The owner was in a panic when we got there. It was the manager who hadn't come in, there was a mix up and she thought it was her day off. The owner said she needed to get back to the other store for an important client. She asked "could you watch the store until the manager comes in?". Seriously? Seriously. (I'm still shaking my head at that one). So husband walked around with Alex while I manned the fort. I worked for half an hour and Alex got a new toy out of the deal.

...and so, for now, I'm a SAHM, toy expert, and someone who gets to pee in peace one day a week.

With Mrs. FisherCat at one of the Calico Critters play dates at the store.
Yes, this is what I did for a living.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

My sunshine

It was a beautiful day today. We went for a little trip across town (on the other side of the mountain, which might as well be the other side of the planet for me). It was a good day.

A Joke By Alex (the highlight of my day)

We were standing at the cash in the store we went to visit.
I picked up an owl puppet.
Me: What does the owl say?
Alex: Hooo hooo hooo!
Awws, and that's right! From the ladies behind the counter.
Me: What does the lion say?
Alex: Rawwwr! (shaking his head)
More awwws from the ladies.
Me: What does the gorilla say?
Alex: DADA!

Much laughter erupts on both sides of the counter.

(The usual answer to that is chest thumping).

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sewing! Alex's halloween costume

Yes, I am going to be one of those mothers that makes halloween costumes instead of buying one. Homemade costumes seem to be a dying breed. Hopefully this little person will always want the costumes I make and not be all " Oh mom, all the cool kids BUY their costumes!". Alex didn't even go out trick or treating this year (I contemplated it but in the end it was too cold) but I wanted him to dress up. We chose a lion because when asked what a lion says Alex roars and shakes his head. Perfect!

I got a pattern since I'm a little rusty at sewing but ended up altering it a lot. It was supposed to be a one piece outfit but I thought he'd never get to wear it again. I made it into a hoodie and pants (with a detachable tail). My only real snafu in sewing came from buying the wrong zipper. Three times. Too long, doesn't unzip at the bottom, too short and finally just right. I was terrified of putting the zipper on, but I did pretty well. The pants were easier than I thought. They were seriously too big (he could have worn 2 snowsuits under the pants) but I traced a pair of his pants and they came out perfectly. I'm on the hunt for some good fabric now to make more pants for him.

It was so great getting the sewing machine out. It had been buried deep in our storage closet for too long. Since our space is so tiny I had to clear out a couple of shelves on my bookshelf to make room, but it's totally worth it. My brain is spinning with all the the potential sewing projects!

Roar! (He totally did this on his own, unprompted)

Chasing his prey, like any good carnivore.

Monday, November 1, 2010

My bad-ass no-good kitchen.

My kitchen hates me. And really, I hate it right back. It's cramped, I have zero counter space, the walls are white but the ceiling is beige (we never got around to painting the ceiling, but seriously? Who does that, paint a ceiling beige), the stove is possessed and the fridge has a serious attitude problem.

Dear Refrigerator, You and I are not friends. Yes, you do your job marginally well, but you have no people skills. I will not mourn your loss when you quit.
The freezer is tiny and has no shelves so it regularly spills frozen projectiles out onto the floor, my foot, a curious toddler's head. The fridge is not any better. The bottom shelf that holds the one drawer regularly collapses on me, forcing me to rearrange the whole bottom half of the fridge. So, I've given up. Yes, fridge, you win. I will put nothing in the drawer losing a quarter of the space. It's like a four year old with a really tiny bladder. Yeah, you know, THAT kid. Oh and if anything is pushed too far back in the fridge, it freezes.
My stove? Burns thing. I swear. It's not the chef. For years I burnt cookies. I was able to cook other stuff but cookies? Hockey pucks. I got fed up and bought a thermometer for the oven. It's 75 degrees hotter than the dial says it is. So, the usual 350F? Actually 425F. I'm on to you, Stove. I have your number.

In the past three weeks I've had to mop up a dozen eggs, a full bottle of Pam cooking spray (frothy oily projectile), a liter of milk, a bottle of formula, Alex spilled an entire bag of Corn Pops on the floor, I dropped an entire meal on the floor and burnt another. I was making a cake for a friend's baby shower and as I popped the cake out of the pan, it broke in half. Alex quickly grabbed large chunks of cake and shoved them in his mouth. Well, at least the cake tasted good. The second batch burned (see above). The only counter space I have that is out of range of grabby little hands is not counter space at all. It's my stove. I have very bad kitchen juju. Even the Buddist chanting my sister suggested hasn't helped (Nam myoho renge kyo if anyone wants to help me out and chant to the universe for me to have a nicer kitchen).

My cupboards start above my head. I can reach everything on the first of four shelves. I have to use a step ladder to get anything other than peanut butter or cereal out. Oh and have I mentioned that Alex can climb stairs? Like stairs in the form of a step ladder? He either climbs up behind me, or even worse, he uses it LIKE A WALKER and walks away while I'm standing on the counter.

Seriously? Those shiny, nicely painted, cupboards that close, sexy tiled, massive counterspaced kitchens with dish washers and shiny stainless steel appliances that I see in magazines or on the Ikea showroom floors? That's hot.