Wednesday, December 7, 2011

"I want short hair."

Hmm...something I didn't expect to hear from my daughter, at least until the pre-teen rebellion set in, but there it is. This revelation came just days after hearing my husband complain, yet again, that he's concerned that our little baboushka's tresses are getting "too long". Too long? What means this phrase? She's a girl. I mean, if it starts getting stuck under her butt when she sits down...maybe that's too long. Straggly? Okay, I'll give you straggly. She does tend to give the impression of an impish street urchin by the end of the school day. But let's be honest, I'm not looking so hot at the end of the day either, and you don't see me shaving my head. But I digress. Suffice it to say that I was firmly planted on the "I'm never cutting her hair" side of the fence, until she went and vaulted over to dad's side. Defeat. At least it came with fairy dust. Fairy dust is a powerful analgesic.

Hi mom! Let's DO this! 

She really is enjoying herself. She's just concentrating really hard on keeping her sticker stuck to her hand in the midst of all that hot air blowing around. 

The big reveal

Found in the dictionary under the phrase "pleased as punch" 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Quick and Dirty

It's been an eventful week and a half or so.

HAPPY 42ND ANNIVERSARY MOM AND DAD!!! That's a long time. Good work.

Dad had some surgery and is recovering nicely, not to mention 25 or 30 pounds lighter thanks to that pesky diet. It looks good on - or rather off - him.

E met Santa and Mrs. Claus, quite by accident as it were. Big hit. There are plans for another visit this weekend. Pictures to follow.

Very good friends of ours had their 8 day old daughter rushed to the hospital for very serious heart surgery. She is currently in recovery and a whole lot of people, the Cowfam included, are slowly, slowly exhaling just a little bit.

My husband is on vacation. Yippee!

We are currently debating whether it is better to continue breathing in decade-old dirt, mold and dust or to risk exposure to asbestos by getting rid of said dirt, mold and dust. Opinions?

Had my annual physical today. Wheeeeee!

I have one more Christmas present to buy. You might know who you are. You're very difficult.

Now if you'll excuse me, the chicken pot pie won't make itself, having someone work out for me doesn't get me the results I'm looking for, my husband will be expecting me to accompany him watch shopping shortly and the teachers don't like it when I leave E at school overnight.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Naptime Update

I went and got a little cocky there for a bit. After my post a couple of weeks ago about the naptime saga, things started ticking along rather smoothly. It may have been the stickers that Ms. Natalie began to bestow upon "good nappers". E ran to me proudly each day last week, pulling up her sleeve to reveal another sticker, and I admit I thought the problem was licked. Will I never learn?

On Monday there was no sticker, but I assumed it was because Ms. Natalie was sick and the stand-in hadn't been apprised of the newly instated protocal vis a vis naptime rewards. No matter, Ms. Natalie was back on Tuesday. But there was still no sticker. Turns out E was "a bit silly" at naptime. Okay. No problem. We all slip up from time to time.

On Wednesday, a smiling E came running to me after school, pulling up her sleeve with pride and showing sticker. "Mama! Mama! I didn't listen to Ms. Natalie!" *big smile*


"And Ms. Natalie brought me up to Ms. Veronique to have a conversation and Ms. Veronique wasn't happy to see me!" *big smile*


"Can I have a snack?"

As it happens, E decided not to nap at all on Wednesday. Now, some kids her age are starting to phase out their naps, and some miss naps once in a while with no detrimental effects. That doesn't happen at our house. I tried taking her out to run errands, you know, to keep her distracted from the debilitating fatigue she must be feeling. She didn't make it home...

...and for future reference to myself, as cute as it looks, it will NOT appreciate being woken up for dinner.

Doogie COWser, MD

As we were getting ready for school this morning, E had higher education on the brain:

"If I'm going to be a doctor I need to study."

"I got my study ball. I'm ready to study now."

"Actually, I need to work. I need to do some very important works now, because I'm going to be a doctor."

E: Why is my bear laying down?
M: Maybe she's sick.
E: It's a good thing I'm going to be a doctor.

I wonder if they have "Take Your Daughter To Work" days in the OR.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

As good a reason as any

E: I want to be a doctor when I grow up.

M: Okay.

E: I want to be a doctor because dada's a doctor, and I like dada, and I want to be with him wherever he goes!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

...and that's how the Theory of Relativity works.

Ms. E holding a very important lesson before school this morning with her eager students. All, I was instructed to notice, are sitting properly...except for the kitty, who has trouble sitting properly.

The limitations of infinity

M: Do you know how much I love you???

E: How much?

M: To infinity, and BEYOND!!!

E: That's not how it works, mom, That's not how you love someone. That's how you fly.

M: Oh. Well, how do you love someone?

E: You say, I love you all the way to the moon and back!

M: I love you all the way to the moon and back!!!

E: Thanks.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Brilliance out of imbecility

Common sense ain't so common anymore.

~ Yours truly
(after a head-shaking session stemming from a question asked about the specific age at which a boy needs his first haircut)


If you make a big deal out of something, it's more likely to be a big deal. And vice versa.

Put that in your child-rearing pipe and smoke it.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The sincerest form of flattery

So I saw this post on my friend Brian's blog a few days ago and have been jumping out of my skin for the last several days, waiting until I had all of the elements assembled to do it ourselves.

This morning after dance class we hit the dollar store and scored some magnets, on the way home we gathered some sticks and after a short but productive hunt for some string we were all set.

Letter fishing!!!

I've been meaning to buy magnetic alphabet letters for the fridge for ages. But this idea is way cooler. We did lower case letters after lunch, and I could only convince her to take a nap by promising upper case letters in the afternoon. I don't even think she realizes that we have numbers too.

We have sticks for mama, E, dada, Ralph, the dinosaur, and a couple of extras. She's a little miffed that Ralph doesn't seem to be taking the game very seriously, and doesn't seem to be buying my explanation of the value of opposable thumbs. And dada won't be home until tomorrow so his stick is waiting patiently on the sidelines. But E and I are getting pretty good. Thanks DeWagners!

Thursday, November 10, 2011


It was delicious!!! A little salty (in my defense the recipe did tell me to - and I quote - "rain salt over the bird", but we health conscious folks tend not to eat too much of the skin anyway, and it sure made the meat nice and flavourful. Next time maybe I'll ease up on the salt a little. Also, will invest in a reliable meat thermometer, as the two in my drawer let me down a little and resulted in slightly overcooked birds. But, all in all, for a first attempt I am satisfied.

These guys were too. 

To be honest, these puppies sort of stole the show. Lemon garlic potato wedges. Wowzers.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

When it comes to roasting, I'm a little chicken.

Ladies and gentleman, a culinary first for yours truly.

Today, for the first time ever, I am brining and roasting chickens. No stranger to all sorts of gastronomic feats of all ethnicities and degrees of difficulty, if there is something I am lacking in my repertoire it's is a firm grasp of the basics. I've neither brined nor roasted a chicken. I could not reliably prepare a roast of any kind without extensive research. Large slabs of meat intimidate me.

Until today.

I made two fowl little friends at the grocery store the other day and enticed them into my cart. Today I set them free to swim in a pool laden with entirely too much salt and sugar, and in a few short minutes I will extract them from their murky waters, give them a good towelling off and lay them out to work up a nice golden brown in their very own tanning beds. Sounds lovely, doesn't it? Think about that during your next day at the beach.

I have been assured by many sources that these will be the most flavourful, most succulent birds that ever roamed, and eventually roasted, on this earth. I feel that it is inevitable that I will experience some level of disappointment, so impossibly glorious has been the build-up. But I am nonetheless optimistic.

Why two chickens, you ask? Well, I have made a grim discovery this week. While I have for some time been aware that deli meat is laden with sodium and all kinds of preservatives that will in all likelihood shorten our life expectancies to some degree, I was under the comfortable illusion that "oven roasted", "low sodium" options left me relatively in the clear. I was wrong. It turns out that even the "healthiest", most "naturally processed" -- oxymoron alert! -- deli meats are preserved with known, or at least suspected, carcinogens including a most benign sounding one called "dried celery extract". So I have gotten it into my head to start a regular...ambitious, I know...routine of roasting meat for sandwiches. So one of our juicy little temptations will make its debut on our dinner table tonight, while the other will be sliced and will feature in E's lunch bag tomorrow.

Just call me Julia!

Pictures to follow...

Well, you're only 2.

Yesterday E was collecting rocks outside and kept forgetting to bring her watering can to the collection site, resulting in multiple trips to retrieve it each time. After the third or fourth trip I heard:

"Oh man. I am such a amateur!"

Honorary degrees are stupid.

I'm just sayin'...and feel free to go the other way with this if you like...but here's what I think:

Every honorary degree that has ever been granted has devalued that degree for all of its past and future recipients.

Last week, or maybe the week before...who can tell anymore...there was a big kafuffle about Don Cherry being granted, and subsequently declining, an honorary degree from RMC for his support of the Canadian Armed Forces over the years. I can just imagine my dad's reaction to the whole business. My dad hates Don Cherry. My dad also served in the armed forces for 27 years.  Poor dad, who is on a crash diet, might have been forced to relieve himself of the few calories he is still allowed to consume.

Honorary degrees. Why? Why give someone a degree that they have neither expressed any interest in earning nor made any effort to obtain as a means to show gratitude or recognize excellence? Awards, people. Awards were created for that exact purpose. To AWARD someone for their achievements. You think this fella has done a great service to the community? Why not give him an AWARD? This lady is a literary genius and you would like to acknowledge her in some formal capacity? How about an AWARD?

I happen to like Don Cherry. One day, perhaps my dad will come to appreciate what he and the other gruff, opinionated yet charming s.o.b. have in common. Or maybe not. And I think that it's great that Don has supported Canadian troops and even more great that RMC wants to celebrate that. So I say, let's give him an Award of Excellence or a Lifetime Achievement Award. I don't really think it's necessary, or even right on any level, to make him a Doctor of Liking Soldiers. In fact, I think it's stupid.

While I'm on the topic of people I like that the men in my life hate, how about Bill Cosby? Love him. Loved him as Fat Albert, loved him as Cliff Huxtable, love him on stage in any capacity and heck, even love him selling Jell-O pops. But when I discover that he has THIRTEEN honorary degrees (7 of which are doctorates and one is a Doctor of Law), none of which he has earned, I am annoyed. That's one for every Grammy and Emmy award he's actually earned. I mean, come on. At some point everyone involved must start to feel a little silly.

Okay one more, just to piss off my husband. You know, the guy who spent 15 consecutive years working his tail off to earn a measly 3 degrees, only two of which are doctorates. Woody Allen. College dropout. Until, that is, a University in Barcelona awarded him an honorary doctorate.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011


I just hope it lasts. But that may be overly optimistic.

E has impressed her dada and myself in a myriad of ways since starting preschool. She counts to 12 in French and sings a whole bunch of new songs in both French and English. She uses big words and has a surprisingly good grasp of the adverb. She has lots of friends and cleans up after herself and manages to come home most days not covered in food and boogers. We're proud. In fact, as one parent said to me the other day, we're mostly just hoping that having her at home isn't undoing all the work they're doing on her at school. But there is one hiccup in this story.


E has almost always been a good napper. And since she whittled it down to one nap she's been a pro. She goes down like clockwork, at about the same time every day, with no complaints, and sleeps for an hour and a half. Boom. Just like that. And when she started school, things were going fine for the first little while.

Then she got comfortable.

That's the trouble with kids like mine. 9 times out of 10, if you take her out in public and plop her into an unfamiliar setting, she's perfect. Well behaved, obedient, cooperative, all that good stuff. It's at home on her own turf where things get dicey. So when school started and it was a new place with new people, she was golden. But now that school has also become "her turf", she's starting to play fast and loose with the rules a little.

According to Ms. Natalie, who has the distinct pleasure of overseeing naptime each day, it started with the talking. I didn't even bother feigning surprise. Talking became telling jokes, which naturally led to laughing. Wriggling ensued. And when the other kids decided not to play along and maybe catch a little shut-eye, well that's when she would start tapping the other kids cots, poking them and singing loudly enough to wake them up. Oh man.

This has been going on for weeks now, and I feel powerless to stop it. Every morning before school I remind her how important it is to listen to her teachers, especially at naptime. And every day after school we review her naptime behaviour and discuss where it went wrong and what to do differently. And every day it seems to escalate. Of course I'm not there so I can't deal with it as it happens, and Ms. Natalie can only do so much with a roomful of other kids to worry about. Sometimes she takes away E's stuffed animal...which only leads to crying and yelling...which can't be an improvement.

Last week I started bribing. If you listen to Ms. Natalie at naptime then you can have candy when you get home. Didn't work. If you listen to Ms. Natalie at naptime then you can watch a movie when you get home. Didn't work. It did, however, result in an HOUR LONG screaming, flailing, crying tantrum when she didn't get her movie. What mystifies me still is how much she wanted the movie, and how she still told me the truth about naptime. I wonder how long it will take for her to wise up and fudge the results.

Yesterday was the start of a new week and I thought I'd put the ball back in her court. When she woke up she asked if she could watch a movie with breakfast. Nice try. But I asked her what movie she wanted to watch. Finding Nemo. She is LOVING that movie right now. I, once again and without much conviction, explained that if she behaved at naptime she could watch Finding Nemo after school. I reminded her about what happened last week when she really wanted to watch a movie but couldn't because she hadn't behaved well at naptime. She assured me that today would be different.

My first flicker of optimism came when we walked in the front door of her school and she saw Ms. Natalie. Right away she said: "Ms. Natalie! I'm going to listen to you today at naptime!" I could see Ms. Natalie doing her best not to roll her eyes. "I hope so, E." Then she told Ms. Veronique that she was going to watch Finding Nemo after school because she was going to behave at naptime. Accountability. A second flicker. When I picked her up from school, the first thing she said was "I listened to my teacher at naptime!" I was a little skeptical, so I pressed for details. "Did Ms. Natalie take anything away from you?", I asked. "No! Because I listened!" she replied. "Did Ms. Natalie have to say anything to you?", I inquired further. "She said: You're doing good so far!"

Success! E got her movie and mama got the sweet taste of victory, along with an uninterrupted hour to make dinner. Today, if all goes well, it looks like we'll be face painting.

Don't sound so surprised

"That's good. So people actually like her."

~ My husband, referring to our daughter as we leave preschool yesterday after several kids call out "Bye E!"

Sunday, November 6, 2011


Thanksgiving Kale Salad

It's not a fluke. She likes it! She really likes it!!! (And if that quote doesn't make you think of either a) Sally Field or b) Life cereal, then you need to watch more television.) It was a lofty idea I had, feeding a kale and quinoa salad to my preschooler, good eater though she is. I was banking on the cranberries to sell it, and they came through for me big time.

I first served this warm and hearty number a couple of weeks ago. It was on a night when dada wasn't around, so I was assured that no one would pester me about the absence of any meat products. We both gobbled it up happily. The next night she even chose it over whatever else was being offered. That's right. She chose leftover veggie-grain salad. I'm a superhero.

After such an enthusiastic reception, and after reviewing it's powerhouse status in terms of nutrients, I decided that it should be a regular feature in our rotation. So I made it again this past week and crossed my fingers that it would pass my husband's "where's the meat?" test. At the last minute I grilled some sausages to go with it. Contrary to popular belief, I'm not actually a glutton for punishment. The great news is that E loved it again, and loved the leftovers again too. This time she even ate it without complaint after the promise of pizza fell through. That's serious. J declared it to be "alright", complete with shoulder shrug, but he gets antsy whenever I start messing with the hippie grains.

Long story short, try it out at your house. It's really delicious.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Someone Like You

I've been ripping my own heart out playing this little ditty fairly continuously for the past few days. Been feeling not so much down or blue, but in need of cultivating a little melancholy. Do you ever do that? Just want to wallow a little, for no real reason? Oh alright fine, it's my hormones. Are you happy now? Anyhoo, this song. The voice, the lyrics. The power and vulnerability behind it. MAN. This Adele is something special.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


I'm terrified for Friday. A pattern has developed in my week, a dark, foreboding pattern that suggests that tomorrow will be either a) the day that I die or b) the first day of the rest of my life. What do you make of the following:

Monday: Hallowe'en. Ghosts and goblins and dragons...and a fantastic day all around. Okay...

Tuesday: (Guy who came to do an annual check on the furnace) I'm sorry ma'am, but there is a crack in your heat exchanger and the unit is leaking carbon monoxide. I am required to shut off the gas, leaving you without heat. You need a new furnace.

Wednesday: (Guy who came to replace the furnace) I'm sorry ma'am, but your ducts haven't been cleaned in a decade or so and you will be breathing all of this debris in until you can get them cleaned in three weeks. Also, we can only clean about half of them because the other half are wrapped in asbestos.

Thursday: (Guy who came in response to my emergency call regarding the smell of gas) I'm sorry ma'am but you have a gas leak.

Friday: ...

The good news is that we're warm again and we're not dead yet. The new furnace is working and we're keeping an eye on the filter to make sure it isn't getting clogged with 10 year old dog hair and dust mites, and the gas leak has been fixed. The bad news is that it's not looking good for Friday. Unless we're doing one of those "bad things come in three's" deals, in which case it's smooth sailing from here!

I guess all we can do is wait...

There's a joke in here somewhere about apples not falling far from trees

I fell out of bed alot as a kid. It's a wonder I'm not still doing it, considering how much practice I got growing up. Often I would wake up after the tumble and decide that getting back into bed was just too much work, so I'd just stay there. I was also a big sleep-talker. Still am, I think, although these days my husband is WAY too tired to be woken up by my mumblings.

So I wasn't too surprised by the events that transpired last night. She is my kid, after all.

I was awoken by a plaintive cry heard through the crackling monitor: "My bunny is stuck! My bunny is STUUUUUCK!" Not knowing what bunny she was speaking of and where he could be stuck, I hurried into her room to survey the situation. Picture, if you will, a darkened empty bed...and E, sitting on her giant stuffed dog that lays on the floor as a cushion, holding one of his floppy ears and tugging furiously on it, with that unfocused look of someone not quite conscious. I burst out laughing.

Then I scooped her up and placed her back into bed, explained that there was no bunny and gave her her stuffed strawberry instead. She was back to sleep before I left the room, and when I told her about it this morning, she burst out laughing too. I just hope I don't find her sleepwalking into my room looking for cigarettes in my purse in a few years. Not that I ever did that. Let's also hope she doesn't inherit that bedwetting habit I didn't have.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Public Service Announcement

The PSA's I have delivered in the past have generally been about eating vegetables. And while I still maintain my dedication to emphasizing the importance of the consumption of all things green and leafy, I turn my attention today to another matter.

Pictures. You need to take more of them.

I recently read an article (are we calling blog posts articles now?) about a woman who had recently lost her mother and was going through old photos to put together a slideshow for the memorial. The woman is a photographer, and she was urging people to take more photos. Her message was that one day your children will have the photos you take, and they will be the memories that they cling to. They won't care if your hair looks good or if you remembered to change your shirt with the stain on it or if you have your mouth hanging open. They'll want to see you in the picture. SO often I take pictures of the girl by herself, because she's so stinking cute. But years from now I know I'll want to see shots of us together, and when we're gone I think E will want to see those too. Who needs 20 years of pictures of yourself to look at? To that end, I've been making a conscious decision lately to get myself and my husband and poor neglected Ralph into more shots. The other day we had a visit from Toronto GrammaPapa and I asked them - despite J's complaints about the shirt he was wearing and concerns about backdrop and sock colour and a daughter with smudged face paint - to take some pictures as they were heading out the door. This is one of the best ones:

And maybe my hair looks straggly and E wouldn't smile, but I love this picture. And I'm grateful that I have it.

Memory Lane

Looking back today I found this piece of delightfulness:

I remember this day. It was the day before Hallowe'en last year, and we were about to head out somewhere and I was so overcome with her squishy-cute adorableness and her cooler-than-I-will-ever-be toddler-chic that I just had to stop and snap a couple of pictures. I miss those boots. $2 at a stoop sale, and she wore the heck out of them. The sweater - also stoop sale and still fits her these days. It makes her look like a soft and cozy ball of sunshine. And any girl who has experienced an entire childhood completely devoid of tutus is, in my opinion, most unfortunate indeed.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Next Canadian Idol

E: Want to hear a song I made up?

M: I'd love to.

E: Okay. I love pink! I love pink! I love pink and I love pink!

M: That's a great song!

E: There's another part too. Do you want to hear it?

M: Yes!

E: Okay. I love blue! I love blue! I love blue and I love blue! (huuuug)

M: Very nice.

E: And I know a French song too. Do you want to hear that one?

M: Absolutely!

E: Okay. I love bleu! I love bleu! I love bleu and I love bleu! (huuuug)

M: I'm pretty sure that you're the best songwriter ever.

E: Thanks.

Roar. (and other Hallowe'en excerpts)

To her teacher, Ms. Veronique: I'm a dragon! Roar.

To mama, after each and every house visited: Are we going home now mama? Because I don't want to go home yet.

To the nice lady who gave her THREE chocolate bars: I got a sucker at another house.

To mama, regarding her limitations as a dragon: I'm a dragon. Actually, I'm a kid dressed as a dragon. So I don't have a fiery mouth. Actually, I have a drooly mouth. See? That's drool. There's no fire in there.

To the nice lady who asked her if she could fly: Actually, I can't fly. I have arms, see? And I can flap them (flaps arms), but I can't fly. 

I suppose that candy is an excellent educator, because she learned her lines in no time flat once she understood the reward involved. 

Door opens: "Trick or Treat!"
Candy dispensed: sticks head in bag to inspect "Thank you!"
Final greeting: turns around while walking away "Happy Hallowe'en!"

Of course, her performance began to suffer after the first hour, leading to embarrassing mix-ups like saying "Have fun!" instead of "Trick or Treat!", reaching directly into bowls of candy rather than graciously accepting what was being handed to her, and needing a little prompting for the "Thank you!". But that's what happens when dragons get tired. This was also added to the repertoire when fatigue set in:

After final greeting: "Mama, please carry this. (holds out bag) Dada, please carry me. (holds out arms)

Also, and this is how we finally decided how much trick-or-treating is enough for a 2 3/4 year old: "Mama, are we going home now? Because I want to go home. I have enough candy now."

We had a pretty fantastic time this Hallowe'en. And not only was there no squabbling over how much candy dragons are allowed to eat before bedtime, but she didn't even seem to notice that she hadn't eaten the caramel apple that mama had slaved over for dessert. In fact, it was that one blue sucker, the very first piece of candy she got, that she kept talking about and insisted on eating when she got home. That's it. But don't worry. That's where mama and dada come in.

There you have it. We might be the only parents on the planet who didn't have a sugar-induced monster of a time getting their kidlets to sleep last night. She did stay up for an hour picking boogers and asking for kleenex, but I don't think that Hallowe'en can be blamed for that.

Walking to school on a Tuesday morning

E: I don't want to leave you today.

M: I know babe, but it's Tuesday, and on Tuesdays you go to school. We can play together when I pick you up!

E: Did I go to school yesterday?

M: Yep.

E: You're right! How about Friday?

M: You did go to school on Friday. But on Saturday and Sunday you didn't go to school because that's the weekend, and on weekends you hang out with mama and dada.

E: Speaking of...if you want to go to school with me today I can ask Ms. Veronique.

That's right. She segued me.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Songwriting 101

E: Do you want to hear my new song? It's about mamas and dadas.

M: Yes please.

E: Okay...

There are lots of mamas, mamas, mamas and dadas, dadas, dadas
There are lots of animals in the jungle
Zoo zazzy zoo zazzy zooooooo

What do you think about that? Do you like that song?

M: Love it.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Material Girl

Ms. Sylvie is one of E's teachers at school. She seems very nice, but for some reason E was convinced that she did not like Ms. Sylvie, for no reason in particular, although she was sure that she would like her when she was bigger. Who knows what's going on in that little brain...

Well, she must have had a growth spurt, because she came home from school the other day and announced:

"Ms. Sylvie had a pretty dress on today with flowers." 

And when I asked if she liked Ms. Sylvie now, she said -

"I do like her. I changed my story on that."

Then today -

"I loooooove Ms. Sylvie! She has nice clothes."

So there you have it. The key to E's affections: patience and a killer wardrobe.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Dress Up

I'm sure every girl remembers raiding her mom's closet and finding all kinds of treasures to try on, while indulging in fantasies of being grown up and glamorous. What's equally awesome is becoming the mom in the scenario.

Can I wear this to school tomorrow? 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ahhhhh, that's better.

Perfection. That's how I would describe our day on Sunday. Well, missing one dada, but otherwise it was perfection.
A smiling, happy girl greeted me on Sunday morning, albeit one that I actually had to coax awake even though her clock had been yellow for a half hour. Normally I adhere with the utmost militance to the 11th Commandment - Thou shalt not wake a sleeping baby - but circumstances demanded that Thelma and Louise have wheels on Sunday, so dada had to be chauffered to work.

From there Mama and E went on a city-wide scavenger hunt, picking up all manner of curious paraphernalia, from cheesecake ingredients and elusive hair products to bike helmets and tennis balls, dropping off yet another bag of clothes to be donated and even sneaking in a visit to Playland. It was all very adventurous and cheerful, and I kept trying not to jinx myself by thinking about how diametrically opposed this day was turning out to be from yesterday.

When we got home we (mostly I) threw together a cheesecake and (mostly she) made grass soup in the backyard. Then, after naptime the real fun began. We hopped in the car with Ralph and drove out to the country for a visit to Holly. Holly has a horse, a big fluffy dog and a mischevious twinkle in her eye that E can't seem to resist. We're both big fans. We took the dogs into the forest and heckled their hunting skills as they continuously lost the balls they were chasing. When their pace began to slow considerably and their interest in fetching dropped off completely, we went back to Holly's for an absolutely divine supper of osso buco and cheesecake. E announced repeatedly how GOO-OOD her dinner was, while Holly and I tried, mostly unsuccessfully, not to talk with our mouths full.

As routines with the kid go, I tend to be fairly universally militant, so imagine my surprise when I then discover it to be past bedtime and there I am, glass of wine in hand, enjoying a scene unfolding before me in which my daughter teaches the woman with a Masters degree how to administer a needle and pluck your eyebrows.

It was a very good day.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Pass the wine, please.

This whole week my heart was repeatedly ripped to shreds as my daughter sobbed every night at bedtime, saying things like:

"I don't get to see you."

"I just want to play with you."

"I just want to stay with you."

"Please don't leave me alone."

To shreds, people. There have been a lot of tears shed. Hers, mine, it's all a blur of mascara and boogers. So I was especially looking forward to this weekend, knowing that we had absolutely nothing to do except soak each other up. Dada is on call all weekend, we have no obligations outside of dance class, it's nothing but Girls Girls Girls having Fun Fun Fun, right?


The whining started about 30 seconds after I entered her room, because I was sharing her pillow and she wanted it to herself. So I laid my head on the foot of her bed instead, which was no better because she didn't want me there. I curled up on her stuffed dog on the floor, at which point she wailed because she no longer had the opportunity to curl up on him if she so desired. Welcome to my day. 12 hours and counting of mama trying desperately to enjoy the day with her beloved daughter, and said daughter finding an endless number of ways to stomp all over her poor mother's fragile psyche.

One can only hope that Sunday will be better...

Friday, October 14, 2011

While out for a walk one day last week, we walked by this statue and E was immediately drawn to it. What followed was one of the sweetest exchanges I've perhaps ever witnessed, in which not a word was spoken.

Before we continued on, E insisted on filling the statue's empty hands with wood chips. They were still there when we passed by today, one week later.

Sigh. I love my kid.

It's North up here

I finally figured it out. It has been driving me crazy for weeks.

I was so proud of myself earlier this month when I found myself ahead of the game and booking an apple picking day with my family at the peak of the season. I was then equally flummoxed to learn that the season was actually over, with only one orchard within an hour drive that still had any apples to speak of.

October 2nd. That's apple picking season, no? As it happens, the answer depends - quite logically, when you think about it - on your specific coordinates in this vast country of ours. Back in London, Ontario, October 2nd was most definitely apple picking season. Up here in Ottawa, you've missed the boat. Such a simple concept, but I've literally been scratching my head for the last week and a half, and it dawned on me yesterday. She's another year older folks, but we're still waiting on the wiser.

Anyhoo, fun was had at any rate as we found precisely 3 apples clinging desperately to their respective trees to satisfy the 3 children clinging desperately to the notion that we were there to pick apples, rather than simply purchase them by the basket. And they bore up well as we forced a few autumnal poses out of them before scurrying back to the warmth of our vehicles. All in all more time was spent in the car than on the farm, but we got the apples and we got the pictures...what more do you want?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

It's my birthday.

On this day last year I was being spoiled with a trip to Tiffany's in NYC and a delicious Brooklyn pizza with mi familia.

Two years ago I was wined and dined at a shmancy Manhattan restaurant with my husband.

Three years ago I celebrated while preggers in paradise with the desperate housewives and some of the best roommates a girl could have.

Four years ago was my last pre-baby birthday, and those fantastic roommates and I did tapas and drinks in jolly old England.

Five years ago I turned thirty in Toronto, complete with dirty martinis and some truly wonderful friends.

And the list goes on. 35 years of birthday bliss.

When I heard a sleepy little voice croak "Happy Birthday Mama!" this morning, followed by a warm and squishy just-woke-up hug, I knew it would be a good day. This year I've had a homemade cake from mom, two birthday celebrations, loads of presents, a birthday brunch and that was all before I woke up this morning.

Happy birthday to me. And big birthday hugs to my parents, my in-laws, all of my friends and family, and especially that husband and daughter of mine. You have made this birthday week just delicious. 

Did I mention I got another handbag? 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Do they spray the bags with patchouli or something?

Walking through the grocery store, J stops at a display of basmati rice, eyebrows furrowed. He inspects the 10-lb burlap bags very closely, sniffs the air and asks:

"Why do I smell 'hippy'?"

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Too many questions, maybe?

M: So, what did you do at school today?

E: I did the rock sorting work.

M: Oh, that sounds like fun. How did you sort the rocks?

E: Into bowls. 

M: Did you sort them by colour or by size...?

E: No.

M: What did the rocks look like?

E: Like rocks, mom. You know what rocks look like.

M: Were they big or small...?

E: They were all the same size.

M: What colour were they?

E: All different colours.

M: Like what colours?

E: Different.

M: Red?

E: There was red, green, blue, pink...and that's it.

M: And how did you decide which bowls to put them in?

E: Well, you could put them in the right bowl, or the wrong bowl.

M: How did you know which one was the right one and which one was the wrong one?

E: You just decide.

M: And how did you decide?

E: I can't show you right now mama because we're not in my school. Okay? Now I need you to just calm down. Just calm down now mama.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Butt...of course!

I've just had an epiphany. Maybe you ladies, and a few of you metrosexuals, have already been made privy to this phenomenon and I'm just late to the party, or maybe I'm a genius. You decide.

Designer jeans.

I used to scoff at them, having never worn them and staunchly refusing to pay upwards of $200 for denim. I mean seriously, what could they possibly know that Mr. Strauss didn't already figure out?

And then I tried them.

Living in New York in a fairly affluent area where people seriously - seriously - sell their immaculate $200 jeans for $10 at a stoop sale, I was fortunate enough to pick up four pairs of big name denim threads. And hot damn they look good. Skinnier thighs, smaller butt, longer legs...all of it. I'm still not paying full price, but hang them out on your stoop and I'll scoop them up faster than three scoops of chocolate ice cream.

Butt...there has been one issue that I've found with them. Although my healthy behind does look markedly better in designer jeans than your garden variety denim, there is definitely an issue with keeping its entirety fully contained, if you know what I mean. Can you "crack" the code? That's right - plumber's butt. Every single pair leaves me hitching and hiking all day, and god forbid I want to sit on the ground with my child without getting slapped with a fine for indecent exposure. It's out of control, really. At first I blamed it on the low rise. But all I wear is low rise and my other jeans aren't nearly as revealing in the tush-ular area. Then I thought maybe I was gaining weight. But again, the other jeans were fine.

Then it hit me. Designer jeans are designed for people without butts. Of course! Of course they make your butt look smaller - because the butt area is so small that it visually looks like your butt is smaller when the rest of your butt is just occupying other parts of the jeans and spilling out over the top! Of course your thighs look skinnier - because the thigh area is so small that your thighs are squished into a casing that is inches smaller than their natural size! Of course! And, ipso facto, smaller butt and smaller thighs - legs look longer!!! OF COURSE!!!

Now that I know this, I will continue to wear my designer jeans. After all, as uncomfortable as they may be, I like the way they look. However, I am confident that someone out there makes a designer jean that accounts for volume in the trunk - I mean, what do J-Lo and Kim Kardashian do?? So I will hunt for them. Or better yet, I will write a letter to J-Lo, asking her to let me know when she's finished with her pair.

Dropping the Ball

Man, oh man. So much has been happening and I'm not documenting every second like I should be. It should be noted though that today E and I are having one heck of a stellar PD Day, successfully soaking up every enjoyable second together. A couple of months ago it would have just been another Friday, as unremarkable as any other day, but today is different. Today E should be at school, and mama should be at work, but for the gods of professional development who smile upon us all...except for the teachers of course.

It is currently 21oC. There is not a trace of a cloud in the blindingly sunny sky. We ate lunch in the park before building ogre cakes and donkey pies. We swung our hearts out (well, she swung, I pushed) and tried not to stare as other parents struggled through less than rosy mornings with their screaming progeny, and hugged a lot. Our friend Holly came over and we snacked on goodies, did some more hugging and painted a little. E said that she thought I looked beautiful, and I told her how much fun I was having hanging out with her. It's been a bit of a love-in over here.

It took her about 20 minutes to fall asleep at naptime, what with the several verses of the alphabet song to get through and a little chat with Donya the strawberry. But she seems to be sleeping peacefully now, and I am so smitten I can hardly stand it. This little person with her quirky little thought process and unabashed love for her mama has my heart aflutter today, and I want to tell everyone I meet about it. But that would just be obnoxious.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

All Request Day

One thing I'm starting to realize is that although preschool means a lot more uninterrupted free time for mom, it means a drastic reduction in said time for E. She's used to calling a lot of the shots, and now her days are largely scheduled by "the man". In light of this, I figured I'd give her a chance to take the power back by giving her an All Request Day.

The Perfect Sunday
~ Created and Directed by E

7:00am "My clock is yellow, it's time to wake up!"

Breakfast: Hot buttered toast and How The Grinch Stole Christmas

Swimming at a public pool, complete with pool noodles, life jackets and watering cans.
Making snowballs out of zamboni snow and throwing them at mom.

Lunch: Pizza!

Baking Gooey Double Chocolate Cookies with mom and licking the spatula. 
Sharing a cookie with mom while it's still warm.

Playing silly games with mom involving balloons, chalk, a spray bottle and furry winter boots.

Dinner: (whole wheat zucchini) Pancakes!

And lots and lots of snuggling while reading many, many stories before bed.

My guess is the sudden episode of pre-bed vomiting wasn't part of the plan. But sometimes, juuuust sometimes, it can be the marker of a really great day. No?

A strange man in my bed

Last week, and the week before for that matter, I didn't see much of my baby daddy. And his baby saw even less of him. We had...are you ready for this?...ONE meal together last week. Dinner. Saturday night. Lasagna.

But THIS week, baby daddy is on vacation. You know what that means?

Last night we had dinner together. We went for an after-dinner walk together - even Ralph came. We gave E a bath together, read her stories together and - you guessed it - put her to bed together. Then we sat on the couch and canoodled together while watching Bridesmaids. Hilarious.

He got into bed when I did, and this morning when I woke up, he was still there. I got E ready and walked her to school and when I got home he hadn't moved. We went out for brunch together, and I have to tell you that although I love going out to brunch with E, it sure is nice to do it sans enfants once in a while too.

I went grocery shopping without him, because I wouldn't let him come, because a) he would complain later about not studying and b) he sucks at grocery shopping.  But then I came home and he was there, studying away as though he spends every Tuesday afternoon hanging out at home instead of darting around a hospital, trying not to pee. Now we're working away, side by side, sipping coffee and eating homemade chocolate cookies and concord grapes. It's all so very decadent.

Did I mention that it's a perfect fall day? The sun is shining, the leaves are turning, people are smiling. I'm smiling too. For one whole, wonderful week, I have my family back. One of these days we'll plan elaborate family vacations during his time off. But for now, this is just what the doctor ordered. (Oh yes I did.)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Phoney Baloney

Apparently, after further questioning from her teachers, the girl named Baloney has the following defining features: brown hair, blue eyes and green wings. When asked if she could point to her, Elle scanned the ceiling before announcing that Baloney must not be at school today, but usually she flies around the classroom.


It's a good thing I didn't go blowing this out of proportion or anything...

But rest assured, if I see this girl -

- I'm takin' her down. You know, just in case.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Ballet shoes soothe the soul

Write that down. Particularly if the shoes are filled with chubby toddler feet - or should I say preschooler feet - and are tippy-toeing and leaping and twirling in a room full of other adorable tiny ballet-shoe clad feet attached to clumsy yet determined bodies.

For a blissful 45 minutes this morning, the only thing that either of us was thinking about was how absolutely friggin' awesome dance class is. E was once again giddy at the prospect of putting on her ballet outfit and getting to be a ballerina. She especially enjoys Good Toes/Bad Toes routine. Her mama was simply overjoyed at her good fortune to be able to watch the magic unfold. I could have stood there all day - heck, I could do that for the rest of my life. I wish I had words to explain to you how much I love this. But you must be getting the idea by now. Last week I was one of a swarm of parents all snapping pictures as though they would never again witness something so fleeting and precious. This morning I was one of two. I guess the novelty has worn off for some parents, and that's fine by me. Less competition for a good vantage point. I guess I can leave the elbow pads at home next time.

Good toes! 

Bad toes! 

More great form.


Up! Up! Up!

Hi Mom! 

Friday, September 23, 2011


Yesterday E told me that there was a girl at school that was trying to be a "baloney". I couldn't get much else out of her, other than that this girl wasn't very nice, and that her teacher said that she was just trying to be a "baloney".

I tried to let it go. E didn't seem to be too interested in talking about it more, and we moved on to other topics. But it lingered. If someone is not being nice to my daughter, they have my attention. "Baloney" sounds an awful lot like "bully" to me.

Today, the Baloney came up again. This time, I wanted answers. Apparently, the Baloney told her that E could "never stick with her", and looked at her with a "very angry face". She didn't touch her or yell at her, but she was mean. I asked E if she told the teacher and she said no. I asked her what she said to the Baloney when she made the angry face, and E said "I just stared at her".

Up until this point, E was just talking matter-of-factly about the whole thing. But all of a sudden, she broke down. Her face crumpled, tears sprang to her eyes and she did that open-mouthed silent cry before letting out a big, painful wail. I cuddled, I comforted, I asked her repeatedly why she was crying. And eventually, when she finally answered me, all she could say was "Do I go to school tomorrow? I don't want the Baloney to be there."


Now I know that I'm a first time mom and this is the first time she has been out of my care and this all may be just a mountain-out-of-a-molehill situation. Maybe the girl looked at her sideways and E was overly sensitive about it. It's Friday, it has been a long week for a girl that's not used to all of this preschool stuff and she was pretty tired tonight. But my absolute worst nightmare as a mom is the idea of my daughter being bullied, and I am just beside myself. I have this sweet little kid who is not the least bit aggressive or mean-spirited, and I get that not everyone will love her (grudgingly), but I just can't wrap my head around how someone could be mean to her. And now she doesn't want to go to school, the place she was so excited about for so long, because of Baloney. Mean girls in preschool. Seriously?!?

I'm going to try to keep a lid on it for the weekend. We have a couple of days off and I'm hoping that distance might mellow things out a bit for both of us. On Monday morning I'm going to talk to the teacher and see what else I can find out. But it's going to be a long couple of days as I come to terms with the fact that my daughter has taken her first steps into the world outside of mom and dad's watchful gaze, and it's not all going to be roses. How do you ever come to terms with that?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

It's a little idealistic, but it just might work.

I'm wondering if you can all try something with me.

I think we can all agree that some people out there just - as my friend B-dawg so eloquently puts it - suck the mustard. There is such a thing as a bad egg, a bad apple, a total jerk.'s what I propose:

99% of people are essentially good people, and are just doing their best.

I got cut off in traffic the other day. Have I never cut anyone off, and can I not come up with a single scenario in which it was unintended and in which the driver might feel badly?

A salesperson was rude to me. Have I never snapped at someone who didn't deserve it (see: husband) for any number of reasons and later wished I could handle the situation differently?

People have different opinions from mine. Does that really have to mean that they have obviously not thought things through, or aren't as intelligent as me, or that they are wrong? Is there no room to agree to disagree, and to acknowledge that differences are not deficiencies?

As shamelessly cliche as it has come to be, I have never heard my philosophy for life summed up so precisely as this:

"Can't we all just get along?"

Come on, let's give it a whirl.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

My American friends will love this

E: I'm going to make a tower out of this money.
J: Can you count the money as you stack it?
E: In French or Regular?

Don't hold your breath

Overheard from the toddler on my back during our morning walk to 8:20am...

"Mom, let me know when I can watch movies and eat Crispy Crunch, okay?"

Monday, September 19, 2011 in a race, I hope.

M: I thought we could go to the library after school tomorrow.
E: Sure!
M: And maybe we can meet Charlotte and Chantelle there too.
E: Meet them or beat them?
M: Meet them.
E: Why not beat them?
M: Why would you want to beat them?
E: I just think it would be fun.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Following in mama's dance steps

On a lighter note, today was my daughter's very first dance class ever! I'm not sure who was more excited...except that I'm pretty sure it was me...but we were both bubbling over this morning as we squeezed E into her tights and bodysuit and donned her oh-my-god-could-these-be-any-cuter ballet shoes.

She warmed up a little at home:

...and then rolled up to the studio looking every bit the pro:

...and then it was go time. Cute. Overload.

When it was all over and kids were barreling through the door into the arms of their parents, some overjoyed to be "official ballerinas" and some overjoyed to be back on the other side of the jail cell, E just sat quietly on the floor of the studio, her eyes resting expectantly on the instructor, no doubt hoping that the show might go on. Only when one of the assistants helped her up and turned her in my direction did she remember that I was even there. Most of the kids spent the 45 minutes stealing glances at their parents outside, running by the windows waving, or sobbing profusely and pleading for rescue, but not my kid. She stuck close by the instructors and soaked up every bit of tippy-toe action and plie science that she could get her chubby little legs around. And I almost died of bliss. I don't know if I remember my first dance class ever, but I remember fairly early on, and I remember what it felt to be in class every week and feel like it was just where I belonged, where I wanted to be. I'm going to do my best to keep reminding myself that this is her turn, and if there's a day when it's not fun anymore then she won't get any pressure from me to continue. But MAN it felt good to watch her loving something that I loved so much myself. And anyway, a mama can dream.