Archive | June 2012

Bug Hunting

I don’t bug hunt. I’ve spent years perfecting the art of ‘Don’t look at it and it will go away’ when it comes to bugs in my apartment. I avoid them as much as possible. I leave out raid traps and let them do my dirty work or I let the minions handle it. I grab a cup of water or coffee time depending and sit back and watch them like its a prime time UFC cage fight in my living room.

When we only had Bright-Eyes the bug hunting didn’t really happen. She’s older and upon first adoption very FAT, there’s no nice way to say it, she had/has no real interest in bugs unless they are crawling on her or her food. Then Pixie came along and that summer was the Invasion of the Ladybugs in Toronto. They were everywhere. We  could see them circling our living room light like it was the Empire State Building in King Kong. I don’t remember who thought to lift Pixie up into the air and hold her there but since she’s always focused intently on bugs she was staring up there constantly already, we just brought her closer. That kitty took to batting bugs out of the air like it was her job and dinner depended on it. She looked like one of those old cartoon men trying to swing a punch. She was our secret anti-bug weapon that summer and one or two times a day we’d hold her in the air Simba style and let her do her thing. To this day she still stares up longingly at the living room light fixture.

Later we got Soda and Pixie went from being a solo hunter to one half of an elite bug hunting team. They actually work in tandem now. We haven’t had any issues with lady bugs in a few years but lately flies have been sneaking in through the apartment hallway. Every now and then I’ll come across a dead fly gifted to ‘C’ and I on our counter top or even on the bed once or twice. As if they are saying ‘Look what we did!’ and every now and then when ‘C’ is home they get mean and will flying tackle the bug and hodl it down on the ground crying for ‘C’. They don’t want him to see what they’ve done, they want him to join in, they want him to drop the axe on the by then wingless fly.

That’s not to say flies are the only insects that dare to enter those portals, they’re just the most brazen it seems. Ants are more subtle and try to hide as if they know there are cats on the prowl. What got me writing this post today is in the last 24 hours I watched one member of the E.B.H.T face plant a wall in her effort to catch a spider out of her reach; she failed miserabley and instead spent 2 minutes clawing her way out of the corner and shredding the spines of a few books and the other half jump on and ravage a pair of those weird bugs that always look like they are in the middle of doing the dirty. She didn’t just attack and kill, she ate them too, alive, she’s kind of hardcore that way.

Our kitties offer endless entertainment and sometimes I think they would be truly offended if they ever realized a pass time they took so seriously offered us endless laughs. The flips and crashes we’ve witnessed are America’s Funniest Home Video worthy and the little bit we save on not having to buy raid anymore is inconsequental compared to the happiness and laughs they bring us. This cat house is pretty fun.

The Nanny

I used to be a nanny. Yep, I got paid to play, watch and love kids. It’s probably my favourite job that I’ve had in my varied work experiences. It definitely helped prep me for Mommyhood but of course every child is different and every situation shades how you react and what you choose to do in response. I figured I would tell you a little about my experiences at ‘The Nanny’, and yes, people used to call me that.

I have fully potty trained two boys and help potty train another boy and a girl. I’ve helped deal with a teenaged boys hormonal tantrums and flights of fancy and was there while the little girl , Z, was so sick she nearly died.

The first set of kids I looked after were 6 months and 19 months when I first started and both little blond blue eyed boys with huge smiles. They were only being introduced to english as back west their parents spoke french in the home to help them become bilingual. I barely can say ‘I don’t speak french’ in french and here I was having to pick up the odd french phrase in the negative to get these two littles to understand me. I started out only watching them on weekend nights over the summer while their mom worked a bar. Slowly it became more and more frequent until I was with them 6 days one week and 7 the next. I was still in high school and it got to the point I finished class only to head to there house right after and most nights spend the night. Their mom started to party.

I was the one to completely potty train both boys and teach them their ABC’s and colours. I was the one to teach them the beginnings of proper public etiquette and manners. I’m the one who had to dole out disipline and hugs and good-night kisses. I finally had to stop when they called me ‘Mommy’, that I couldn’t do, I couldn’t let two little babies call me Mommy when theirs was around and just lazy. It took a few weeks to sort a working arrangement out but I finally got the family into a situation where I left safe leaving them and moving on without feeling like they were at risk from negelect.

The next family lived just across the street from my Dad`s and we met while their Mom was pregnant with baby 3, Roni. The kids were Conman 11, Z who was 2 and Roni in the belly. Again it started as an after school thing while Mama was still working. I have to admit, they`re my favourite family. I still visit with them and keep in touch almost 9 years after first meeting.

The first time I did more then an over night was when the took me to Blue Skies Music Festival with them. A four day blue grass music festival where you camp out and have fun with the whole family.  Roni was just 6 months old. I spent the weekend playing on swings, taking a face paint workshop and slinging a pudgy little baby around sharing my manderin slices with him.

Over then next few years they took me with them to Blue Skies a total of 4 times and to Florida and Disney World 2 times. Imagine getting PAID to go on holiday. It`s awesome! I helped teach Roni to walk and ride a bike and helped hold Z down when we had to cut an infected earing out of her ear and comfort her afterwards. I was there for teeth being lost and first recitals. I got to help comfort all three was their parents tried so hard to save a failing marriage and then be there when it completely fell apart.

Splash Mountian with Z hiding her princess hair next to me in front

 

 

So anyways, I started with them occasionally and finally worked up to full time Monday-Friday 7:30am to 6pm. It was great. I love those kids like crazy. Even after I moved back to Toronto and in with `C` I brought Conman up for a March break to show him around with out his much younger siblings tagging along. I love these kids and it shocks me to see how much they`ve grown and become whole people with varying personalities and quirks. It`s amazing to still see some of the things I taught them still so very much in play in their characters. I am so glad I got to be there right up front for a defining chuck of their lives and still get to witness the great people they are becoming.

Being a nanny is hard and not for everyone, you are always walking a line when it comes to what you find acceptable and don`t while still honouring a parents choices for their children. Some of my favourite memories are with these families and I`m so glad I got to spend time with them. I learned a lot about myself and how I wanted to raise any future children I had and so far the things they helped teach me have come in handy and I`ve been able to stick to my goals as a parent. I know this won`t always be the way it is but at least I know what I`m made of where kids are concerned and hopefully it will help me be a better parent. So THANK YOU Les and Family as well as babies Gabe and Cabe for the oppertunity to help watch you and your families grow.

Weekend Away

So on Friday I wrote about being on Via Rail on our way to visit family. We were headed to my Dad’s for the weekend to help him move and Little Miss came along to visit and be cute. We also had to train it back home Sunday evening. After I wrote I met the most interesting man on the train who ended up sharing the four seater family area with us. He was great, talked gibberish with Little Miss and regaled my brother and I with peices of his life story. Was truly amazing and fascinating. He was trying to distract himself from is ultimate destination as much as possible and us letting seemed to help, as well as gave me a new contact here in Toronto for when I am ready to go back to work and for my brother who is currently job hunting.

My Dad is moving, not away, but in with his girlfriend/fiancee. It’s not far but does mean he’s leaving the house that he grew up in and then my brothers and I grew up in, 3 generations have lived in that house and now we’re leaving it. There are just under 50 years worth of family memories scattered about that house. It’s actually quite saddening to me to realize that Little Miss won’t get to run and play in the yard that I did or learn to ride a bike or camp in a tent in the yard that I did all of these things.

My grandfather and Dad moved into the house when my Dad was a little boy after his Mom died from MS. She wasn’t even 30. My dad spent his formative years there and at my great-grandparents one town over. Even after my Dad moved to Toronto my grandfather stayed and lived there until his second heart surgery and my parents break up, when my Dad brought us three children there to live.

This past weekend we continued the sorting of memories into three piles; keepsake/heirlooms, junk and give away. It was hard. Not all of it, course my old barbies or hot wheels were an easy choice for trash or give away but certain things were hard to decide if they should be kept or not with the limited storage space we’re keeping.

Some Keepsakes/Heirlooms

1. My grandmothers wedding dress. Yes, her WEDDING dress. In pristine condition only a tiny bit of yellowing due to age. She was more petite than I so it isn’t as if I’ll wear it at my wedding but it’s a piece of one of the most important days of her short life and something solid for my Dad to help remember her by.

2. My grandfathers war medals. We knew they were somewhere but he never talked about WW2 ever with any of us, even my Dad, he refused to bring the horror of the past into the present. To see medals honouring him for something he refused to acknowledge was a heavy moment.

3. My Dad’s baby bib. Maybe that sounds silly but ‘C’ and I are into retro and this bib is as 50’s retro as you can get style wise, it’s from the 50’s. I brought that home and we’ll frame it and put it in the babies room.

4. My grandparents wedding china. That’s for me when we buy our house. It’s gorgeous bone china from England with gold filigree and roses on it. We looked it up on a whim and the value is ridiculous, definitely a valued heirloom in more ways than one.

5. My grandfathers Lock Box with family papers and collectors coins. some of the papers were reciepts for things like the family dining table which we found out is 104 years old, or the mantle clock which is from the 1890’s. None of us realized how many large items in the house were antique.

Things that we decided to give away went through two stages; the first being on the lawn for a day with a free sign and then to a donation centre. Saved us additional effort on lifting and carting stuff off. The surprising thing was how quick some things went and what they were. Old chairs needing all new upholstry and stuffing and old childrens toys went the fastest while a TV still in perfectly good working order didn’t get taken and was given to charity instead.

So of course as the weekend was a working weekend it went by very quickly. We still got in family visiting but no friend visits really, which is ok since we’ll be back up in a few weeks, but the family was nice. We made dinner altogether and had homme made breakfasts. There was even a surprise visit from one brother who was supposed to be in Ottawa but managed to come visit when he heard his niece was in town. We ad gotten our train tickets on sale after the CP Rail strike and got off in Fallowfield from Toronto and were supposed to catch our train home from there as well, instead on the Saturday we called and had them edit the tickets so we could board in Kingston due to a family hospitalization.

So, sunday evening we caught the train from Kingston to go home. It was late, 15 minutes late. Not bad until we kept getting delayed and held over at every station after that. We were just over an hour late getting into Toronto, which is not the latest I’ve even been home but not good when you have a baby and are pumping. Doubly not good when your baby who hasn’t pooped all weekend decides to go through 4, count them 4, diapers on a 3 hour train ride with diarrhea. Thank goodness she didn’t explode out of her diaper while we were on the trains but it did happen later. Little Miss loves to travel so far, she finds the people and the views fascinating. She loves eye flirting with people and smilling doolily at them and staring out the windows transfixed as the countryside glides by, but that doesn’t mean when she decided she was tired and Mommy was not a good enough bed that she didn’t put up a bit of a fuss. We just managed to hold off a full scale baby freak out until home but it was a VERY close call.

Roundtrip train travel experience #2 was an overall success and since we will have to do it again before the end of July that’s a relief. We’ll see if this love of trains continues as Little Miss gets older.

A Mothers Love

It starts a birth

And gets stronger with time,

It will guide our choices

And justify our decisions.

They’ll try our patience

And push our boundries.

They’ll keep us second guessing,

Always on our toes,

But at the end of the day

A mother knows

The love we hold for our child

will only strengthen and grow.

It grows more complex

And sweetens with time…

I can’t wait to discover

Where this ride will take us

And how it will challenge me.

The moments so precious,

I’ll always hold dear.

Thank you for being you

And letting me be your Mother.

*I am NOT a poet nor do I pretend to be but I do like to write poems occasionally and felt like writing one today. Don’t laugh please.

 

 

 

5 Months of JOY

Today Little Miss is 5 months old. I can’t begin to explain or describe how greatly she has changed both who I am and how I see the world now. I’ve always been a ‘See the world through rose tinted glasses’ type but now it seems as iff everything has a layer of glitter on top too. I am so honoured to be her mother and get to experience and watch her grow. We had a rough pregnancy and had to work extra hard to even after birth to get here but it’s all been worth it to see the baby she’s become and will grow to be.

Here are a few facts about her.

Milestones

1. Little Miss can roll in a full circle and from front to back or back to front with no help and in any direction.

2. She can already get herself up into a crawl position, she just hasn’t figured out how to move but she can worm wiggle forwards and backwards as well as spin around.

3. She can sit up unassisted for a couple of moments at a time.

4. She can follow movement with both her head and just her eyes.

5. Passes toys and objects from hand to hand.

6. Can put her soother in her mouth unassisted as well as take it out.

7. Can grab and play with her toes, she tries to pt them in her mouth but hasn’t mastered it yet.

8. LIkes to pet the kitties. She moves her hand over them and only very rarely grasps the fur, but doesn’t tug so far.

 

Physical Attributes

1. Little Miss stil wears 0-3 month clothing and size 1 diapers.

2. She has been teething for a month now. You can feel little teeth under the gums but they haven’t broken through and they aren’t the usual first teeth.

3. She still hasn’t doubled her birth weight but the doctor feel she’s just a petite baby due to being almost a month early.

4. Even though the doctors said due to the RSV and bronchiolitis we should expect a cold/cough of medium to severe harshness every 6-8 weeks she hasn’t been sick since early March.

5. She’s still blonde and blue and hasn’t started to lose any hair.

 

Characteristics

1. Little Miss is a huge smiler.

2. She only ever cries if something is very wrong.

3. She passes all gases like a man.

4. She loves listening to the radio, pop music is best but id Beyonce comes on she freaks out in a bad way.

5. Mommy is her first choice when she’s tired or upset but Daddy is her favourite to laugh at.

6. She loves mirrors and knows that the mirror Mommy and Daddy aren’t real and will look at the real us through the mirror, even if you hide so you have no reflection.

7. She hates strong perfumes or walking by dirty bathrooms.

8. Her favourite mode of transportation is the chest carrier so she can see everything all around her. She’s a people watcher.

9. She loves to dance around the apartment in our arms.

10. She giggles and laughs are hilarious.   

Family Nicknames

I don’t know about all families but in my family all the kids grew up with pet names from our parents. I’m sure some have a story behind them while others just seem to come out of no where. Maybe we’re so big on nicknames because both of my parents go by shortened versions of their full names and have their entire lives. Who knows, I just know that I have already started to follow the tradition and Little Miss isn’t 6 months yet.

I’m the oldest and the only girl. My name is Kathryn, after my mom; spelling and all. My nicknames growing up were Katie-Lee; which is a shortened version of my first and middle names, Katie Bird and Bunny. I have no idea where the second and third names come from but my family do still use them. The only people who still call me Katie-Lee are members of my best friends family, now people mostly stick to Katie, although there have been some interesting names over the years such as Kit-Kat, Kitty and Kitty Kat.

The middle child and the oldest boy in my family is Cameron. His nicknames growing up were Camboodles and Cam-bam, again no clue on the first ones origins but the second was due to his love of banging toys or pots and pans with whatever he could manage as a little guy. Now days his names are Cam and Cam-Bob; which is a shortened hillbilly version of his first and middle names combined.

The youngest of us three goes by his middle name and always has, Channing. My parents called him Sonshine and Chan-man where as kids being kids we used to call him Rollin x3 from the Fievel Goes West Movie, it worked because his first name is Roland. Now he seems to be the only one of us that doesn’t have a real nick name any more, lucky bugger.

This is all leading up to my daughters nicknames, because even though she’s only a few months old she does have them. Her most frequently used one has to be Monkey, I’m not sure how we got this one started but it gets whipped out almost as often as her name. Next is Maddie-Cakes; a play on the Patty Cake song. Her other one and my personal favourite is Maddie-Lou Who, of course from How The Grinch Stole Christmas and the little girl Cindy-Lou Who. A few months ago fresh from her bath I put her in one of those long open bottomed onesies and with her little blond hair all curled up she looked just ike the cartoon version of Cindy-Lou, it’s stuck around ever since.

I don’t know if any of her nick names will last throughout her childhood and if they do which ones but I hope whatever names she goes by are ones of her choosing and nothing vulgar. I’ve known several people who’ve been stuck with fairly awful ones over the years, not fun.

*Both of my brothers gave me permission to use thier names in this post specifically just so the nosey posey’s out there know. I will also update about my long weekend holidays once the 4th is over since I celebrate both Canada Day and Independance Day.

On The Train

As I write this from my super phone I am on the train making the 4 hour trip to visit family… With a baby. Yep, we’re making a long trip in todays world of child hating travellers. Suck it up.

So far things have been pretty good. So far. Little Miss is tired and grumpy from this weeks heat wave on top having decided to forgo her usual long nap. A tired baby means more fussiness all of us parents dread whenever we’ve things to do or places to go. Besides the mini 5 minute freak out before her current nap she’s mostly been eye flirting with the various riders within her line of sight. Or spitting up on mama. Both are keeping her thoroughly entertained thus far.

I know that the odds of never having that screaming hysterical whirling dervish take over my daughter during travel are incredibily small, I just hope when it happens that its at the end of the trip or when it seems like every second passenger has a child with them. No one sympathizes like another parent. We’ll see how things are after we’re off the train in just over 2 hours.

Wish us luck since we still have the return trip to get through as well.