Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Rearing her ugly head...again

I feel like I’ve been doing a really good job of not stressing out over the fact that my mil is moving here. I guess I feel like ‘seeing is believing’ and she’s not here yet, so I can still breathe easy. The fact that she’s planning on moving here RIGHT on Andrew’s birthday/new year’s eve DOES boil my blood a little bit, because, honestly, WHO MOVES ON NEW YEAR’S EVE, whether it’s a little boy’s birthday or not?! It seems overly dramatic (but not too dramatic for her, of course). It screams IT’S ALL ABOUT ME and that’s HER talking, not Andrew. Even though of course I am making the day all about Andrew and I will NOT let her ruin it for me/us because THAT’S NOT OK.

But anyway, for the most part, other than the occasional pang of anger over her choice of day to arrive, I’ve been pretty good at just forcing it out of my mind. I have given up on trying to fix things with her, because I don’t think I am the one who should be doing the repairs. She has proven herself incapable of repairing any damage done, and if anything continues to cause further issues just by being herself. So what’s the point stressing about it? You lose a certain amount of the weight of it all when you choose to no longer care.

But, still, the reality must set in that she is going to live here. And I’m not quite sure what I’m supposed to do with that. The reason this is coming up now is because a short phone call with my bil this morning gave me the heads up that she is possibly planning to live just a few blocks away from our apartment. ‘It’s just for a month’ is what he told me, but even 4 weeks in that proximity makes me want to run for the hills. And who knows where she’ll decide to move after that month is up. Hopefully it’ll be farther away, but what if the next place is even closer?!

I find all of this so unfair. Because while no, I can’t tell her where she can or cannot live, wouldn’t it have been nice of her to consider the fact that we don’t get along – James even told her more than once that she creates tension between him and I, between him and his brother, his brother and his girlfriend, and so on it goes. She causes so many problems for everyone, so why would she choose to live just a few blocks away from us?! What is she trying to prove?!

I don’t trust her or her motives. I don’t want her to live a few blocks away. Yes, she’s James’ mother, so I expect her to have some kind of relationship with Andrew. But I don’t want her to be a huge influence in his life. She’s too unpredictable, too emotionally charged. I don’t want him to get hurt. I also don’t totally trust her when she’s alone with him. For example, would she do things to spite me, such as feed him meat when he’s unknowing about vegetarianism and why we’re on this particular path? (In my presence she almost ‘accidentally’ fed him animals THREE times on her last visit here, so who’s to say she wouldn’t do this when I’m not around – when no one is there to ‘remind’ her that it’s not ok?) I don’t just have false concerns here, I have very valid reasons for worrying about this kind of stuff. Her head is scattered, up in the clouds. Even if she’s not doing some of the things intentionally, the outcome is essentially the same. When she was visiting last and was supposed to look after Andrew for us, but then made plans to get stoned and watch movies instead – she acted like it would be ok for Andrew to be present for that. That a less than 2 year old could be in the room while she tokes up and watches videos. Perhaps that is your lifestyle choice, but it is not mine. There may be a time and a place for recreational drug use, but it is not when my child is in your presence and you are supposed to be looking after him and spending time with him. I am totally not cool with that. Call me straight-edge, call me some sort of a prude, whatever, I don’t care. I’m not OK with drugs around my kid. End of! And I am totally entitled not only to that opinion, but enforcing it.

Ugh. Just the thought of her living in this city. Like I said, I’ve been forcing it out of my head the past while, pretty much since she started on about moving out this way. She lived here early in James and my relationship and it was never a good thing having her too close. She was constantly just popping in to stay with us and was quite forceful at times about things being her way or no way. Obviously I’m older now, stand my ground more, and have a worse relationship with her than ever so I won’t put up with crap. But still, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be ‘easy’. Sometimes the country’s distance between us doesn’t seem far enough. A couple of BLOCKS is going to make me feel stifled.

Time to check out Craigslist for apartment listings again.

Monday, November 29, 2010

New hardware

James got me an early Christmas present yesterday. It’s a NEW COMPUTER!!

I’m so excited about it. My old one has been fighting to hold on but lately she just hasn’t been keeping up. Programs would freeze and I’d have to reboot. If the cord accidentally got unplugged for a millisecond from the wall, there was an automatic shut down. We’ve all been there. I kept making excuses for her, and I’d sort of gotten used to how slow certain things were. Take Photoshop, for example. It wasn’t till tonight when I loaded about 10 super high resolution pictures into the program in about 1.5 seconds that I realized, holy sh*t! I’ve been wasting SO MUCH TIME…FOR SO LONG! Seriously, while yes I would feel a rage coming on while waiting and waiting…and waiting some more, I had begun to think it was ‘normal’ for it to take minutes on end to load about 15 pictures in decent but not super high resolution. Given the vast amounts of pictures I tend to batch-edit in Photoshop, all I can say is OH MY GAWD.

Anyway, I’m still a PC girl. Probably always will be. That in large part has to do with the high cost of Mac’s – especially given what I use my computer for generally. And also I like PC’s, deal with it. It’s a Compaq something er other and all I can say is I’m in love! So far so good, anyway. I try not to trust any computer as they haven’t always been faithful to me! But so far I’m enjoying Windows 7 and most of all the speed in which I can do things! It’s going to be a luxury to not always have to be plugged in, too. You have no idea (or maybe you do) how frustrating it is to have you computer accidentally get unplugged right when you’re in the middle of something and then have to wait, like, 10 minutes for it all to reboot.

Anyway! Wow, best early Christmas present ever!! I’m totally OK with Christmas coming early for me this year. James was going to wait to give it to me, but the box would be too big to carry with us along with the stroller and gifts for everyone else – I already have anxiety when I think about how in the hell we’re going to get ourselves and all our stuff over to the island right before Xmas…So he’d have been giving it to me early anyway, and he couldn’t contain himself to hold out another couple of weeks till right before we leave. I think he made the right choice!

Now to get everything sorted from my old computer to the new and so on…There is work to be done!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Personalized Christmas shopping

We’re really making headway on our Christmas shopping. As a rule, I like to TRY to have it as close to finished as possible by December 1st if I can help it. I can’t stand how crowded it gets at the malls, I feel ragey when dealing with so many people all looking for that ‘perfect’ gift.

We (and when I say we, I mean mostly ‘I’ since I take care of most of the gifts for people!) did a lot of our shopping online, which ultimately is the best way to go about it, if you ask me! And rather than just buying ‘things’ we’ve done our best to give experiences or at the very least ‘things’ with a more sentimental value than just being an object.

One of those ‘things’ – and I am going to say the best one of all that I am 100% sure everyone getting will LOVE – is a book on Andrew’s Life in 2010. (I feel safe talking about it on here before Xmas actually arrives, since I’m fairly confident no one receiving this gift would be reading my blog).

I checked out a couple of different sites for making this project, but I admit I didn’t do a whole lot of research. The night I started the project I knew I wanted to get going on it right away, and I don’t have a ton of ‘me time’ to work on these things so I just had to hope for the best. I can’t say how good other sites would be, but I ended up using ‘Mixbook’ and I highly, highly recommend it.

You can make all sorts of things, and in varying price ranges. But my basic mission was to make a sort of scrapbook of Andrew’s life this past year. It ended up being 37 pages and I wrote it from his point of view. So basically each page consisted of some pictures – some pages a lot of pictures, others just a few, and then some writing (in his ‘voice’) detailing his little adventures and things.

It turned out FANTASTIC! But do not underestimate how long a project like this will take you. No, it certainly won’t take nearly as long as if you were making 10 scrapbooks from scratch – as in, with a lot of cutting and pasting and stickers involved – but it’s time consuming because you want each page to be just ‘so.’ And when you take thousands of pictures of a particular someone of which the book is about, it’s hard to scale back to just a certain number of pages – a lot ends up not getting included that you would have liked to have had in there!

But all in all it was probably the best idea I’ve had in a long time and I am soooo happy I followed through with it. The time consuming part was putting it all together, but that was also the fun part! But from the moment I hit the Confirm Payment button and the moment I received the package of 10 books in the mail was about a week. Which to me is pretty impressive. I know they ‘only’ have to print the books, package ‘em up and ship them out, but it’s amazing quality and I love that they did it all so quickly.

One warning I would give is that the cost can add up pretty quickly. It’s a set price for a particular number of pages (I think 20) and then each additional page is $1. Which sounds super cheap, but adds up when you add, say, 17 extra pages! Because that’s $17 extra PER BOOK! And when printing 10 books, well, the price starts to become a bit mind-boggling. BUT if you purchase within a week of signing up, you get 20% off your entire order – and it just so happened that when I was working on my project, they had a deal for 30% off everything so of course I went with that instead. So essentially each book was in the neighbourhood of $30 (including shipping), which to me is a fair price for a totally awesome, completely unique Christmas gift for family members who love nothing more than looking at the sweet face of none other than Andrew!

I even wrote on the back of the book to make it sound like it was a real book, calling it Andrew’s ‘book debut.’ It’s a great keepsake, and of course I made sure to order one for us as well. Andrew will have fun looking through it when he’s older!

All this to mention a cool gift idea, or even just to make keepsakes for your personal use. It’s like a whole new way of scrapbooking, without all the mess and clean-up you have when scrapping ‘in person’! LOVE IT.

Check it out (and no, I’m not getting anything for this advertising, although perhaps maybe I should!)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A fall snow day

Today we had our first snowfall here in Coal Harbour! It was kind of exciting. I’d say it was probably a few inches deep at least. My grandma bought Andrew a snowsuit and all the gear to go along with it (puffy jacket, toque, mittens, boots) so I was itching to get him outside in his winter clothes to play with the snow. I begged and begged him to get suited up so we could go out but he flat out refused!

Usually it’s the kids begging their parents to go out in the snow, and there I am pleading with an almost-two-year-old to pleeeeeease go outside with me and play! LOL We never did venture out in it, and now it’s starting to rain so it’ll be that gross grey slushy stuff by tomorrow, that mixed with icy spots, and of course it won’t be one ounce of fun to be out in.

When we first got up, I looked outside and saw the white stuff and said, ‘Look out the window, Andrew! There’s snow!’ He came running up to the window and said, ‘Ceamy!’ (Which is his word for ‘ice cream’!!) I thought that was pretty cute. Then he started saying ‘snow’ and ‘cold’ and when I asked if he wanted to go out in it he screamed, ‘Noooo! Coooold! Hoooooooooooome!!!!!’ And that was that.

So we had a ‘snow day’ that didn’t involve the actual snow at all, except to look at from inside our warm and cozy apartment. I really enjoyed looking out at the snow, I was kind of disappointed when it stopped – even though when it comes down to it I don’t actually like the snow much. Just for the initial hey, cool, let’s go walk around in fresh snow that no one’s stepped in yet. But once it’s sludgy, which always happens so quickly here, I’m over it. I don’t have proper footwear for snow. Since it’s predicted we’re going to have the worst winter in 55 years here (apparently, although I’m hopeful it’s not true given the weather reports are generally wrong on an almost daily basis so I don’t see how they can predict any time into the future!) maybe I should get some boots, just in case. I’m wondering if rain boots might suffice…they’d also be more practical since we’ll obviously get more rain than we do snow!

Anyway, we watched ‘Bee Movie’ (Andrew loves bees, although ‘in person’ not so much – he had one buzz past his head in my parents’ backyard this summer and it freaked him out, but at the same time gave him a slight bee-obsession! – a bit of Toy Story, and a bit of Wiggles…But mostly we talked and read and sang and danced (to David Usher!) and we attempted to bake some cheese cookies together! It was kind of fun working in the kitchen together, Andrew loves to help in the kitchen! Although the cookies didn’t really turn out so I ended up instead using them as a crust for a quiche…Which sounds strange maybe but they were basically cheese biscuits so it made sense, it ended up tasting pretty good. I was going to just throw them out altogether but it would have been a shame to waste all that cheese, so I’m glad I was able to salvage them.

Now I’m having some time to myself because I literally didn’t have one second break today. Which means Andrew didn’t nap at all…which sucks for me in some ways, but is a good thing because he SHOULD crash by 9 at the latest which means for the first time this whole week I won’t be at his beck and call till around 1am due to his ridiculously late napping!

Monday, November 22, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...in November!

When it was boiling hot in our apartment during the summer, and even with the A/C cranked to its maximum I was sweltering, I would think to myself how glorious it would be when the weather cooled. But now that it’s late fall and my hands are like ice cubes even with the heat cranked (not to its maximum, but close!), I’m kind of longing to invite summer back for a while. Or perhaps it’s just part of human nature – to never be quite happy enough with what we have in front of us.

I will say, though, that as much as I could use a hot bubble bath right now to warm up, I am already feeling very nostalgic with the Christmas season approaching. I feel the excitement in the air, and even the cold air has its own set of sentimental feelings attached to it. I’m actually really looking forward to everything the holidays have to offer, in particular starting new little traditions in our family as Andrew is beginning to understand (sort of, not really) what ‘Christmas’ means. He obviously has very little understanding of it over all, but I want to be a part of building up his excitement for it all and I love the idea of creating new family traditions within our little household.

I don’t want to make it a tradition to decorate super early for the holidays because I do believe that if you have stuff up too early, by the time Christmas rolls around it doesn’t seem as special anymore. At least that’s how I am about it. But I ended up decorating for Christmas this morning with Andrew because we’ll be heading to the island a little before Xmas day and staying on till almost Andrew’s birthday. In years past, I’ve always kept from decorating till December 1st, when it’s OFFICIALLY (in my books) the ‘Christmas season.’ And often enough it has felt like we only really enjoyed OUR decorations for about 2 weeks, because we’d be travelling to the island and then the day we’d get home I’d want to dismantle everything because Christmas was over. I’ll want to put all the Christmas stuff away (maybe leave the tree out but that would be it) when we get back here after the holidays this year, too, because I’ll want to decorate for Andy’s birthday instead!

So out came the boxes this morning, and I have to admit, I had a great time showing Andrew all our little trinkets and Christmas décor. I’ve yet to put up any lights, and I wanted to wait to decorate the tree when James is home. But we got the tv unit decorated and I love how the tree looks (even though it’s still bare, being fibre optic means it looks pretty regardless!) I put up our little ceramic ‘village’ up around the tree (the buildings light up to create a very cozy feel) and even put the cotton stuff around to make it look like snow in around the village. I was wary of Andrew’s grabby little hands wanting to dismantle it as I was putting it up, but he was actually really good about it. I’ve talked to him about how breakable things are and how important it is not to touch them, and so far he hasn’t tried anything. I know it’s a gamble, obviously, but I’m hopeful it will all work out!

I’m curious what other people’s little traditions are, ones that would be easy for a person to start, ones that would make sense for a toddler? I want to start new traditions because I feel like we don’t really have any, or at least not many, that we stick to every year James and I. One thing I got when I was out Xmas shopping last week was this cute little elf shoe from Hallmark. It came with a little story about how the elf was helping Santa and lost his shoe, and now we have it. Basically with the idea that you can start a tradition with it – the little story thing it came with suggested putting candy in it or hiding it every day leading up to Christmas. I’m thinking I might do a bit of both! I’m going to wait to bring it out on December 1st and then we will make a game of it. I know Andrew’s a bit young for it yet, but I thought it might be cute to put little notes in it (maybe even from Santa?) and sometimes candy and different things, and it can be sort of like an advent calendar. There isn’t going to be time for it this year, but I want to make my own advent calendar, hopefully in time for next Christmas! My mom made an amazing one when we were growing up and I always loved it when we put it up and my brother and I got to take turns taking the ribbons off it each day. Yes, ribbons – no chocolate, and yet we were thrilled to bit to take part in the tradition of it! Sure, we fought over who would get to take the last ribbon off, but hey that’s all part of the fun =)

Anyway, I’m excited about the holidays, so much so that we’re decorated on November 22nd. Which is ridiculous, as far as I’m concerned, but what can I say – I couldn’t help myself. AND we actually have very few decorations when it comes down to it. I have a few more things stored at my parents’ place that I couldn’t manage with all the other stuff I had to bring back last time. But it’s probably best this way as we don’t have room here to store more stuff, and it’s not cluttered but we do have meaningful things on display. Even though I’m totally not religious at all, I want to one day get a nativity scene to have out, I guess because I have such fond memories of playing with the one we had (and still have) at my parents’ house! And the way I see it is, you don’t have to actually be religious to enjoy the whole story of it, which is what it is to me – a story. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that!

There’s a Christmas market opening up downtown in a few days and we’ll be taking Andrew to that. We also have the Santa Claus Parade coming up in a few weeks, the Christmas train in Stanley Park. So many things to do to celebrate this magical time of year! So many things to enjoy through Andrew’s fresh pair of eyes and curiosity! He was pretty darn cute last Christmas but not nearly as aware of it all as he will be this year. It’s an exciting time!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Tofino non-wedding

As I’ve mentioned already, my brother and s-i-l got married last Sunday. I also mentioned it was a ‘non-wedding.’ Let me explain!

My brother and sil were always adamant they were against marriage. Mainly because of what it stands for (traditionally, as in a man taking himself a wife, blah blah – the old-fashioned aspects that are definitely very dated). They felt committed to each other but didn’t feel the need to have it recognized ‘on paper.’ Interestingly (although it could be just coincidence), it was not long after Andrew was born that they decided they would get married after all.

We knew it wasn’t going to be a traditional wedding when we were handed our invitations – on 8.5x11 sheets of paper, with the words ‘This is your fancy italicized sham-wedding invitation’ or something to that effect! Still, I had a few tears when I found out they were engaged – and I’m not a crier – because WOW my brother and sil were getting MARRIED!! Doesn’t matter to me how they go about it, just the fact that they were taking that next step meant a lot.

A ‘sham’ wedding indeed though…It was anything but traditional. In fact, the wedding part itself…wasn’t much at all! They literally read off sticky-notes the two lines you have to say by law. The Justice of the Peace was just standing with the family as a witness but didn’t say a single word. The whole ‘ceremony’ took less than a minute. I kind of wonder why they even decided to bother having everyone stand around on the beach while they did that part, since it was totally unromantic and pretty much un-anything. But it was what it was! The main thing was getting our two families together (we’d never met one another since her family all lives in either Saskatchewan or Manitoba) to get to know each other, which was the best part of all.
We headed up to Tofino on Friday the 12th, the wedding was Sunday the 14th, and we came home Monday the 15th. It was such a nice little ‘holiday.’ I wasn’t all that taken by Tofino when I went before, several years back, so I wasn’t that excited about it truth be told. But the moment we got out of the car at the cottage and walked down to the beach, it was like heaven. Just hearing the waves pounding onto the beach, the roaring of the surf, made the windy drive there SO WORTH WHILE. I loved it! Even in the late fall weather, it was fairly mild and just beautiful. I can’t wait to go back.
It was so great to meet N’s family, too, because finally we can put faces to all the names when she talks about them. And it was neat to get a sense for where some of her personality traits come from! We really hit it off, I actually really wish we lived closer to her family because I feel as though we’d hang out and be a lot closer than I am with a lot of my own family!

We had lots of drinks (Norma’s dad was chuffed that I enjoyed the home-brew wine he brought! It really was tasty!), laughs, played Cranium one night and it was SO MUCH FUN! There were also a few kids there, in particular a 10 year old girl and a 5 year old girl, and they both totally took to Andrew. He was super cute with everyone and had so much fun (on his very first ever trip!)

All in all it was a wonderful time. In just those few short days I got so used to putting some gumboots on (they were supplied by the cottage, which was the most amazingly place to stay at in the woods – we couldn’t have had a better place to stay) and walking down to the beach for a morning stroll. My only regret is that we weren’t there longer because I loved it there so much!

So my bro and sil are MARRIED, it’s official even if they did it in a non-wedding sort of way. And I am so happy for them!
I also can’t wait to get back to Tofino. It was wonderful having Andrew there to experience the beach a little bit and to just be along for all the adventures, but it would sure be a romantic place to go for a getaway for two! I didn’t really get that before, I thought why would you travel for hours to a place where it rains a lot (although it barely rained at all when we were there) and you can’t even swim in the water (I’m not into surfing!)?? But there’s so much to do even if you choose to do very little, if that makes sense. It’s so QUIET there, so calm and beautiful. I can’t wait to stay there again and cozy up by the fire and just BE.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Love, love, LOVE my boy!

Andrew fell asleep holding stickers for his new Toy Story sticker book (the best $12.49 I ever spent, seriously!) and listening to me read him nursery rhymes from Mother Goose.

I enjoy some of the nursery rhymes, for example This is the House that Jack Built. LOVE that one! But some of the rhymes are ridiculously out of date, and it actually offends me that they were ever ‘politically correct.’ A lot of taking of wives and giving women away, slaughtering of animals and deaths of people. There was one rhyme all about this woman’s 3 sons and how they all died and that was the end of them. It was only a few lines long, yet so tragic it made me cringe! It’s strange because I read from these books as a child, as so many of us did, and yet I don’t remember any of the disturbing aspects to it. I realize children’s minds tend to interpret things differently. But all the same, it makes me wonder what effects these things have on our brains. It just doesn’t give me a good feeling to fill Andrew’s head with such horrific little ditties. I don’t want to over-censor things but where do I draw the line?!

I’m listening to the Best of Enya (Paint the Sky with Stars) as I write this. It gives me a total sense of calm and makes me feel so sentimental. I borrowed this cd from a friend I met in university, while living on campus, and I remember sitting in the rotunda studying and listening to this. It’s the kind of music you can listen to any time and it will relax you. I don’t listen to a whole lot of ‘relaxation’ music generally (aside from some of Andrew’s lullaby cd’s on occasion) and for that matter I don’t gravitate toward women’s voices in music for some reason, but I love Enya.

I need to do a post about the rest of our time in Tofino, my brother and s-i-l’s wedding (which was a non-wedding…but I’ll explain that later!) but I feel like just reflecting a bit in this post so I’ll get to that later.
What I want to say for now is that I am feeling a major surge of love for my little boy right now! I love Andrew SO much. I’m really finding this particular age to be a very fun one. We got past a few hurdles and while there are going to be many, MANY more to get through…he is just so cute and fun at this age. I think I’ve said that about every stage of the game since obviously he IS super adorable always! But there’s something about being almost-two that is incredibly sweet.

Last night we came home from the island and for the longest time now I’ve resisted taking him to the children’s play area because of his bullying. But he’s been SO good lately with other kids so I thought I’d give it another go, and I’m so glad I did! There were a few almost-issues but only 2 and given how long we were in there he did AMAZING. It’s just so funny because he’s always the smallest one in there, yet he seems to have the biggest personality. And I’m not just saying that because he’s mine – it’d probably be a lot easier for me, actually, if he didn’t have such a huge personality! But he just goes in there, waves and says hi to EVERYBODY, then proceeds to have all the bigger kids following him around and doing stuff for him. Part of that is because he’s littler, but seriously it’s the cutest thing watching him interact with other kids. He’s also big enough now that he can go up the stairs and down the slide on his own so I could just stand back – really my only need to be ready to jump out is not for his safety but in moments where I think he might lunge for some kid’s hair or something! Which didn’t really happen so…Phew!! It’s SO nice feeling more comfortable with him playing with others and being a good boy. I really enjoyed watching all the kids playing together.

Andrew is far from being self-sufficient, but I like that he can do a little more for himself, and he’s understanding more and more. Saying lots of words now, although still not forming them into sentences. Which is normal, I know girls tend to talk sooner than boys! But he’s doing really well, he knows probably most of what I say (which is kind of scary, I’ve really got to watch myself!! Not because I swear because I barely do, but just the things I say sometimes might not be appropriate). Oh, something he did on the ferry that I thought was so clever…He loves perusing the gift shop (always hopeful I’ll buy him something, but I didn’t get him anything this time, we were just looking for something to do!) Anyway, we were walking past the books and I wasn’t paying attention at all but he starts pointing and pointing at this one book saying, ‘Home! Home!’ I looked to see what it was, and it was a book called Three Cups of Tea and it just so happens to be sitting on James’ night table because he’s reading it! Andrew remembered seeing it at home and associated it with being ours. I thought that was pretty cool!

Anyway. I’m not doing justice to my feelings, I can’t put into words right now how wonderful I think my boy is. But suffice it to say, he’s a sweetheart, and I love how much he knows and how much he seems to learn each and every day. And I love how soothed he can be by the sound of my voice even though I think my singing is the absolute pits. His cuddles are the best out there, he is my little cuddle monkey and even after a long day where I’m kind of waiting for him to fall asleep because I’m exhausted and need a break, I don’t put him down for a while because I just love to hold him and feel him close and listen to him breathe.

I say to him, ‘Are you my bestest boy, Andrew?’ and he smiles, says, ‘Yeah!’ and burrows into me. Oh! And last weekend he started calling me ‘Mommy’ instead of Momma or Mom-Mom. He still calls me those names too, but more and more it’s ‘Mommy’ now and it sounds so grown up!

Andrew’s growing up fast, he’ll be two in less than 2 months, but he’s still my little baby boy (even with his big boy hair cut!)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The day before

I wrote this post on Saturday, November 13th:

We’re in Tofino, tomorrow is the ‘blessed event’ of my brother and s-i-l’s wedding. Finally she actually will BE my s-i-l, despite that I’ve called her and thought of her as that already for some time.

Me, James, Andrew, and my parents are staying in a cabin together. It is sooo cute and quaint and perfect, complete with an ocean view. Aside from not enjoying the windy road to get here, I could live here in this house. It’s so cozy and we’re right near the beach, yet it feels so private. There is silence all around, except for the sound of waves crashing in. Beautiful. It’s so serene.

We arrived yesterday (Friday) and leave Monday morning. Such a nice little getaway. And Andrew’s first ever trip! He’s been to the island many times but always on trips to visit family, which doesn’t count quite the same since we were always staying at one of our parents houses. This is his first real trip away from home.

So far so good! He has been loving it. And meeting N’s family, who are all a delight I must say. He was comfortable around them right away and so playful. Racing around, running on the beach, having a blast, too, with the bulldogs who of course are also here.

Back tracking a little bit – on Thursday Andrew had his 3rd ever haircut…First ever BUZZ CUT!!! It looks so super cute, too. I was nervous at first when I saw how short it was (a quarter inch all over!) but I was actually amazingly calm all considered. I’ve always seen his hair as so precious, but it was getting to be a baby-mullet again and the thing is, he hates to get his hair cut. He freaks out and flails and it’s not pretty. So it would be difficult to get it properly trimmed all over to be a hair cut WITH HAIR STILL LEFT and actually looking like a neatly groomed hair cut. So I opted for buzzing. And it looks adorable. He looks so much older though, like such a big boy and totally bullyish, in an endearing way. LOL

Which, by the way, he really hasn’t been doing lately. The bullying I mean. He’s been playing really well with kids lately. A few near misses here and there but for the most part he either plays nicely with other kids or just ignores them and does his own thing. So PHEW there is hope, the bullying phase won’t last forever after all!!!!!

(A wedding day post and other tidbits to come!)

Thursday, November 04, 2010

I can't stand douchebag parents

This morning I asked Andrew what he wanted to do today and he said, ‘Park!’ I always dread taking him to the park due to the bullying issue. Sometimes he’s OK but lately he seems to just take down everyone in his path and then we have to leave. I haven’t been taking him out to places with other kids much lately for that exact reason. Which makes sense, but at the same time it doesn’t actually socialize him and get him to understand that he can and should get along with other kids. If he’s never around kids, how can he learn that, right?!

So I had a little talk with him this morning about going to the park. I said that he had to play nice with the other kids, that it isn’t OK to give anyone a boo-boo. He has to be friendly and he can give a hug or a high five, but if he was mean we would have to come straight home.

The park I took him to is usually pretty quiet, so I was hopeful that no one would be there and we could play without having to deal with the interaction part (!!!) Well, as we rounded the corner to get there, I saw a stroller and cringed. LOL There was a little boy and a little girl there, although the girl was in the stroller so I didn’t have to worry about her.

As it turns out, the boy was almost 4 and very friendly. I was concerned when Andrew bolted from his stroller toward him, because this would usually end in the other kid being grabbed by the hair and tackled to the ground. But instead, I was pleasantly surprised. Andrew pointed to him, smiled and said, ‘Boy!’ Then he leaned in, gave him a hug, and proceeded to attempt giving him a kiss! The other boy thought it was funny, and from there they seemed to be buddies. At one point Andrew did try to grab at his hair but he just thought it was silly and his non-reaction (and my scolding) made him stop. They had a lot of fun together, and Andrew cried when they had to go (although that was mostly because they packed up their beach toys that they were playing with in the sandbox, and Andrew thought the toys were his to keep!)

Their mom and I talked a bit and it was nice to hear her perspective on the ages from 2-3 and how they change and progress and how difficult some of the phases are but how we all seem to go through them. Most parents are really quite understanding because we all know what it’s like – these are the ages of exploration and testing the limits, so we’re all going to see our kids do things at times and think WHAT GAVE HIM THAT IDEA?! but really it’s a natural process.

I found that to be such a nice interaction from all sides and so I was feeling pumped to continue the outing. Since Andrew was upset at the loss of those fun beach toys (note to self: bring a shovel and bucket next time!), I thought a trip to the aquarium might be a nice distraction.

We talked again about the no-bullying thing and I praised him a lot for how nicely he played with the boy at the park. I know he knew what I was saying, too, because he made kissing noises (in reference to how nice he was when he met the boy) and scolded himself (the finger shaking and saying ‘di-un’ which translates loosely to ‘didn’t’ which actually means ‘don’t do it!’) when I talked about hair pulling. So we were off to a good start.

And that continued at the aquarium. For the most part. In his defence, when the first ‘incident’ occurred, I don’t think he was doing it on purpose. He was running back and forth on this bench thing and laughing gleefully and then all of a sudden a woman put her son up on it a ways down from where we were, so when Andrew was running back that way he lunged at him because I don’t think he was expecting anyone to be there. Still, I didn’t want him to think it was OK, so I said that he should be more careful and not do that and blah blah, time to go someplace else.

I took him to the kids play area – which is the test of all tests! And he did so well. There were several other kids there and he just played around them but didn’t try to go right up to them. He really seemed to be catching on that if you play nicely, you can play for longer. So he was racing around and being totally respectful of all the other kids.

There was a small ‘incident’ with a baby (that I thought couldn’t have been a year but it turns out she was 14 months) – he went up to her and touched her hair, he was barely holding onto it, not pulling like he normally does. I think maybe he was just curious about her because she was so much smaller than him and he’s more used to being around the bigger kids. Naturally, she fell over (not hard, it didn’t hurt her or anything, in fact she didn’t react at all) because she wasn’t steady on her feet (14 months and apparently only just learning how to walk). Well her dad grabs her away and is going, ‘Oh Theodora, are you OK, Theodora????’ And I’m thinking, ‘Seriously, THEODORA??’ But who am I to judge?! I said sorry, although I don’t think Andrew was doing anything that reeeeally warranted an apology, but he didn’t accept it, he just grabbed her and took her away! Gawd, if you’re that afraid of your child being ‘hurt’ (which she wasn’t) maybe you’re better off staying at home!!!!!

Then Andrew went back to playing totally nicely, and in fact he was running in and out of this little alcove thing (that would be hard for me to get to him in) and 3 other kids were in there and he was playing TOTALLY NICE with them. I was just beginning to beam with pride and happiness that my little boy can finally have friends when in runs the little boy he lunged at previously that I mentioned before…

As soon as his mom saw that Andrew was in there, she was practically throwing herself into the alcove, which Andrew took note of, then he saw the boy, and it registered that it was the same kid as before. I don’t know what possessed him to do it, but he grabbed for his hair and then the mom was pulling him away and yada yada. Kids are kids!!

But I HAD told Andrew that this type of thing wasn’t OK, so I had to reinforce that message by saying we had to go. As we were leaving, just to end it on a ‘happy’ note I said to the mom of the boy, ‘It’s a phase!’ Well if she didn’t shoot me a dirty look and in the BITCHIEST tone possible say, ‘Yeah I GUESS so.’ Her tone made it sound as if Andrew was a total little jerk and her son was an angel, like it was NOT AT ALL NORMAL for a toddler to do such a thing.

I was aghast! To put it lightly. I sort of scoffed at her and said (in a fairly loud voice, I couldn’t help it), ‘Oh, AS IF your boy is never going to go through that!’ And she looked even bitchier than before and said, ‘He’s already GONE through that’ – as if her son was more advanced than mine and he had bullied a couple kids so OBVIOUSLY it would never happen again. I was so mad. Andrew and I were on our way out anyway so I just left without saying anything else, I just shook my head at her. I FELT like saying, if you put any more collagen in your lips, lady, you’re not going to be able to open them enough to say your rude comments – but I refrained, since, obviously that was a side issue.

I was really pissed off with myself for letting her get to me, because I KNOW she’s not worth it. It just made me so mad because I was feeling so good about how much better Andrew was doing at NOT bullying. It takes time, it’s not just something that will change immediately. He WILL bully kids again, but he will get bullied as well – it’s just all part of the process. I just hate it when I come across stupid parents who are either ridiculously overprotective of their kids like that dad was, or just total douchebags like that mom was.

Whatevs. I have to admit though, I sometimes wonder why other kids don’t ever fight back? I have seriously come across ONE kid, ever, from ALL the kids Andrew has ever ‘bullied’ who fought back. He punched Andrew in the stomach. Other than that, unless they don’t react at all, which happens sometimes, they cry and cower and just become babies (and might I add the kids he typically ‘bullies’ are older than him, often by several years). I don’t condone violence, obviously I don’t want Andrew to automatically think if someone bullies him he has to bully them back. But at the same time, I want him to protect himself and in some ways I think, if that means punching back, well, sometimes that will be necessary. Don’t get me wrong – I may change this viewpoint entirely when the time comes that this is happening! I really do want him to know that violence is not good and that we don’t hit unnecessarily. But I don’t condone total passivity either. There are way too many big babies around here, kids need to learn how to protect themselves and hold their ground!

Anyway, that’s getting me off topic a bit. Suffice it to say, while there were a few ‘incidents’ today, I thought Andrew played very nicely over all, and I told him if he keeps this up, we’ll be able to enjoy a lot more outings than what we have lately. Here’s hoping!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

It's nap time!

This morning I had to run some errands, one being stopping by the pet store to pick up food for our kitties. I ‘bribed’ Andrew to be good during our outing, telling him that if he was a good boy, I would buy some food for the ducks and we could stop by Lost Lagoon to feed them on our way home. Thankfully, he obliged!

It was actually insane the amount of ducks we fed. There were SO MANY OF THEM. I’d bought extra feed thinking we could have some at home for next time, but we went through it all because the ducks were so ravenous!! I guess it’s because they’re used to being fed all the time, but most people only go to feed them in the summer months. We’re used to the ducks being like, oh, food, yay. We’ll eat it because you’re here and we’re bored but we’re pretty much already full. So it was a bit shocking today when they swarmed us as soon as they saw the bag of pellets! Actually, I think they were starting to swarm as soon as they saw me parking the stroller! LOL

That whiled away a bit of time, and Andy had fun running around a bit and then we came home. Such a beautiful sunny day, I didn’t want to waste it being indoors ALL DAY like yesterday. I HAVE THE COLD AGAIN, WHAT CAN I SAY. It goes away and comes right back. It loves me I guess, and doesn’t want to let go! I’m about ready to take it to divorce court =P

When we got home we had some leftover spaghetti from the other day for our lunch and then Andrew asked to watch The Wiggles so I put a dvd on…only it wasn’t the one he had in mind (we only have about 15 of them, so how am I supposed to know what he wants?!) and it all went downhill from there.

Oh, the sobbing! I finally figured out it was ‘Space Dancing’ he wanted and put that one on. And all was well for a half hour or so, but then I decided he really needed a bath (to get the spaghetti stains off his face) and that just happened to be THE LAST THING ON EARTH THAT HE WANTED.

I’m talking total freak-out tantrum DISPLAY. He turned it up to the highest notch. Screaming, crying, he even grabbed at his own face as if to pull it right off. Oh, the anger! He threw himself onto the floor, kicked at the wall, thrashed, and cried, and cried, and cried. Meanie Momma over here put him in the bath anyway and got him quickly washed. Sometimes he’ll freak out but once he’s in the bath he remembers how much fun he has in there and he calms down. Not this time! He was miserable and I’m sure the neighbours, even through the concrete walls, were wondering what I was doing to him. So I got him out of there, dried him off and told him it was a PJ Day and then he was happy. He picked out his brown pj’s with the helicopters on them and I got him dressed and put his prized Space Dancing show back on. He ate a little container of pear and apple sauce and before I knew it, he was sound asleep!

I can’t remember the last time he napped this early in the day (starting at about 1:30). But I’LL TAKE IT!!!!!

Aaaaaaaaaaaahhh. Now I can sit back, relax, and WAIT FOR THE NEWS ABOUT TRISTA AND KYLE’S BABY BEING BORN!!! ‘Kiwi’ will be revealed as a boy or a girl AT ANY MOMENT and I can hardly wait to know!!!

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