Wednesday, 27 April 2011

It could always be worse

My new mantra is "it could always be worse". It fits most things in every day life. Someone will always be worse off than you, someone's kid will (sadly) always be sicker, someone's house will be smaller (or non-existent),and the weather could always be colder, hotter, wetter or drier. 

And of course, anything your kid has destroyed, ruined or spilled, it could always be worse. That's where this website comes in - For me, it's the perfect reminder that most of the time I've got it pretty good. So yes, while the boy took a face dive in the mud today while we were playing the pouring rain and then wanted to hug me, he still hasn't smeared peanut butter himself. And, yes, the fact that he drew on the couch with a dry erase marker (by accident), was pretty annoying, but at least he didn't paint my bathroom with nail polish.In his efforts to be helpful and self sufficient he has poured milk on the counter, but he's always managed to stop before he's spilt all the milk. So every time I have a bad day with the boy, or he makes a giant mess, or I look at the dent he put in the wall with his head (he was fine, my wall not so much), I just need to repeat to myself "it could always be worse", over and over again.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Perpetual Motion Boy

It seems like the boy never stops moving. He is constantly going, dashing from one task to another. I wish I could harness it, and bottle it, perhaps even run some of my appliances off of him - think of the energy savings!

The way our house is laid out, we have a door at either end of our kitchen, so quite often, the boy does laps of our main floor, running through the living room, dining room, and kitchen. It's actually quite funny, he has his own personal race track. He also rides his little 'bike' round the loop, often creating a story about where he's going and what he needs to do while he's riding. In one way it's really helpful, because it means that while I'm making dinner, he's tearing around the house, but I still see him every two seconds or so, and I'm only a few steps away in case I hear a 'thump'!

I managed to get this photo of the boy the other day as he blew past me! 

And this was before any Easter treats!

If only I had that kind of energy all the time, luckily he's content to play by himself, and just have me as an audience. Thankfully, this means I don't have to chase him constantly although maybe I'd be in better shape if I did!

Friday, 22 April 2011

City Boy

The boy and I took a road trip of sorts yesterday. We left suburbia and headed off to the 'big city'. We had to take hubby downtown and so while we were there, I thought we would do some sightseeing. We had been downtown earlier in the year and the boy had become obsessed with the streetcars that he saw, and the small signal lights that they got to use. And by obsessed I mean constantly talking about them, asking questions about them, and bringing them up in completely unrelated conversations.

We took public transit (the subway, a streetcar, and a bus) and went around the city. and the boy loved it! We live in the suburbs, so public transit is not something we use, we rely on our bikes, our feet, or our car to get around. So transit, coupled with visiting the big city was a huge treat for the boy. He loved watching everything go by from the window of the streetcar, and being  underground for the subway was such a thrill.

Using public transit is something that to most of us, is not an exciting occurrence. For many of us, it's a daily chore, something to be endured, not enjoyed. I commuted to university for four years, and never once did I look forward to the commute, except as somewhere to sleep, on the way home after a long day. But for the boy, it was an amazing thing, something he hasn't stopped talking about since. He's even added it into his make-believe games, pretending to be the streetcar driver and the guard on the subway, making the bonging noise for the doors to close! 

That's something that I often forget, things that seem mundane or ordinary to me, are probably novel and unique to the boy. I don't need to worry about boring him with outings and experiences, because they're fun and exciting for him. So next time we're planning something, I don't have to find something thrilling to do, anything mildly exciting seems to be enough, because as many times as I might have done something, it's still interesting for him. Maybe that's why he still finds housework so fun!

Monday, 18 April 2011

Whine Time

The boy is a toddler, a very typical toddler, and so he's recently started one of my most hated toddler traits – whining. While I hate it, it doesn't grate on my nerves or drive me to distraction, it just annoys me to no end. The whiny repetition of phrases just doesn't get anywhere with me, and thankfully the boy basically knows this.

He understands that whining won't get him anything, and that if he asks in a whiny voice more than once or twice, I just ignore what he's saying. But that doesn't mean that when he's tired or crabby the whine doesn't appear. It also comes out when he's frustrated, so accompanying the whine, there's often the pathetic pouty toddler face to go with it.

I've noticed lately that the boy likes to make sure that everyone knows the rules. So he will stop when we are playing and say “now Mummy, the rules are” and then proceed to tell me something (quite often a bit bizarre and not related to what we're doing). He also gets upset if other people don't obey the rules. If his friends are doing something he's not allowed to, he gets quite worried and has to come and tell me that they're not following the rules. The downside is that when he catches us doing something he's not allowed to do, such as throwing clothes into the laundry hamper, we get told off by him!

Using this love of rules is what works now to stop excessive whining. If after a few tries he's still whining, I just whine back at him. He stops, looks at me and says “Mummy, we don't whine” and that's enough of a reminder for him that it usually stops him too. Who knows how long this will last and what I'll have to come up with next to stop the whine. Whatever we come up with though, I'd prefer it not involve being scolded by my son!

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Lazy Morning

How much more perfect could a rainy, lazy Saturday morning be? We all had our own section of the paper, and were quiet and content (for about 5 minutes). Perfection!

I know it's the Sports Section, but he has to start somewhere right?

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Gardening Time (Bloggers Give Back)

The boy and I were outside exploring our garden today (in the rain – he loves to be out in the rain. Who am I kidding, he just loves to be outside!) and looking for any new plants coming up. We had planted a bunch of bulbs in the fall, so it was fun to see them peeking through the ground starting to bloom.

The boy really loves to garden, he even has his own gardening gloves, wheel barrow, and trowel so that he can 'help' me in the yard. So when we planted our bulbs in the fall, I let him help me with it. He told me where he wanted them, I dug the holes, and he popped them in and put the dirt back in. It was a great afternoon and we both had lots of fun. What it does mean is that my bulbs are in some weird clumps and odd spots in my garden. But any sign of spring and flowers growing in my garden is a nice sight no matter where they are.

I love working in the garden with the boy, it's a lot of fun, especially on beautiful summer days – which I'm can't wait for – and it's great to do something productive and useful. Not only does the boy get to enjoy being outside, but I get to enjoy beautiful flowers, how can you beat that?

This led me to thinking about what the garden at George Herman House will look like and what would be nice for the Bloggers Give Back Project (if you're new to this, you can check out my old posts here and here, and go and see the Bloggers Give Back website where you can learn more about the project and how to get involved) But then I remembered the fantastic news – we don't have to worry about the garden anymore, we have a real pro on our side! Frank Ferragine (aka Frankie Flowers) and Beth Edney, a certified landscape designer are going to help us bring this garden to life!

Isn't that amazing? So not only have we got great sponsors with Ikea Canada donating all the outdoor furniture, Tonic Living donating outdoor fabrics and sewing services, and Mastermind Toys helping us purchase plants and other materials, but we now have Frankie Flowers helping us with the actual garden. That means that the residents at George Herman House will get something really special, and they both deserve and need it. Everyone should have somewhere they can go and relax, even if the flowers are in weird spots or not in colour co-ordinated groups. And since Frankie Flowers is on board now, we can count on the women at the house getting something even better than that!

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Baking and the Boy

The boy loves to help me in the kitchen. Whenever I get a recipe book out, he loves to get one of his own, and 'follow' along. He helps get out the measuring spoons and jugs, and any of the mixing spoons or spatulas that we might need. He has his own apron that he has to put on “in case I get any flour or dirt on me,” even if the recipe has no flour in it!

Then the fun begins. He likes to dump in the ingredients after I've measured them, and then of course, stirring them all up in the bowl is a big thing. Or watching them in the bowl of my electric mixer, or looking in the bread maker to see it all spin around. He also likes to help with the rolling pin, or putting dough in muffin cups, or using cookie cutters. So as long as it doesn't need to be perfect, then we're all good. He has a habit of using the cookie cutter randomly over the dough, sometimes on top of other ones he's already done, so we get some very weird shapes!

Odd shaped food still tastes as good, and baking and cooking helps teach great life skills. Not only will it help him to follow instructions, but measuring ingredients means he needs simple math skills and being able to make a meal as he gets older will come in very handy. The most important thing right now is that it helps teach patience, never an easy virtue in a toddler. So it's nice that he has to wait until the timer on the oven goes off. All I have to do is point to the stove to end the “Is it ready now mummy? How about now mummy? Now mummy? Mummy?” chorus that normally accompanies any amount of waiting in our house. It's not mean mummy that's holding him back, it's just not ready yet, and he can see that by watching the numbers count down.

It's fun to have help in the kitchen, and to see what he enjoys doing – breaking eggs is a favourite at the moment. He's not quite ready for Top Chef yet, unless a winning pizza is allowed to have all the sauce and veggies in one corner, (and no cheese, since the chef will have eaten it all prior to cooking!) I want him to continue to spend time with me in the kitchen, so that when he gets older, Kraft dinner will not be his only food source! Plus, it's a nice way for us to spend time together and chat, while doing something useful. The only real problem is that I have to share licking the beaters with him!

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Helpful Boy

Just a quick post tonight, I wanted to show you how 'helpful' the boy is. I've mentioned before how the boy likes to help around the house, and I how I like him to be useful and share in 'chores' (you can see my old post here). Today I got reminded of why I need to allow extra time when the boy wants to help. We were trying to get things done so we could get out of the house, when the boy decided he was hungry. So while he had something to eat, I figured I would empty the dishwasher. Of course, that is something that he loves to do, so he had to come and help. He'd finished eating, so I said o.k., figuring it might get it done a bit faster.
Well this was the result of the boy emptying the cutlery and putting it away....

Moral of the story, if you're in a rush, remember this and don't think a toddler will help you get anything done faster!

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Outdoorsy Fun

Now that the weather has gotten (slightly) nicer, the boy wants to be outside as much as possible. Not that he didn't want to be outside in a few feet of snow, but half the time once he'd remember about everything he needed to wear to stay warm, he was less enthused about the idea. Now that all he needs are some rubber boots, and a coat, he's out of the door before I can even get my shoes on.

Some days, it's hard for me to make the effort to go outside and play, especially when being outside means that I'm not getting things done inside. Those are the days we play in the backyard, so I can run back and forth between doing chores and playing with him. He's quite happy to go off and do his own thing, while I empty the dishwasher or mop the floor quickly.

The other nice thing about having a backyard is our access to nature and wildlife. I don't want him to be 'afraid' or unsure of nature. So we try and look for bugs, birds, and leaves when we go outside. Right now, there seems to be no problems on that front thankfully. He's quite excited to trap bugs and examine them (before letting them go of course), and he likes to sit and watch the birds at our bird feeder. And thanks to TMBG he can tell you all about conifer trees!

If we're not in the backyard or park investigating things, we're most likely out on the street either riding in his car or on my bike. Or we're on the driveway playing hockey. He loves street hockey – his Dad and 2 of his uncles are hockey players, so he's really into it! At the moment he pretends to be a goalie, so you have to shoot at him, but he also likes to whack the ball and send me running after it. This is apparently very funny.

With all the horror stories of how more and more kids (and adults) are obese today, and spend too much time plugged into computers, game systems and tv's, it's good for us to get out and get some fresh air and get moving. As an added bonus, it keeps the boy happy, so we go outside as much as we can. It helps to tire him out, and it's good exercise for both us. And we have fun when we're out there, well except for when I'm running up and down my street looking like a bit of an idiot chasing after a wiffle ball.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

The Wrong Wray

The boy has discovered the humour in spoonerisms and mispronunciations. I know that sometimes if I talk to fast the words come out in the wrong order, or I combine two sentences in my head but only one comes out. Yesterdays was, “No, it's the grey paint we need in the hallway, it's the white one” I was thinking, “ No, it's the grey paint we need in the hallway, that's the right one, we've already used the white one”. But of course, to a toddler, saying the grey paint is the white one is hilarious (apparently).

Not only do I mix up words, but of course, there are sometimes mispronunciations when I mix up letters, like we went the “wong wray” This means that not only does he run around repeating the 'funny' things I've said, he tries to create his own. Which is a funny task for anyone, but for a nearly three year old, it's even more fun. His favourite one at the moment is “the white one.” After he's said it, and then laughed, he has to reassure me that “I just said the wrong thing Mummy, I meant to say 'the right one'.” This is then followed by even more giggles. Which is the best part of the whole thing.

I love that he feels the need to explain to me that he knows what he wanted to say, he just got confused or mixed up. It means that he really is, most of the time, just playing, and doing it on purpose. Which is a great step on his way to learning the language, and developing a sense of humour., both of which are so important in life. Especially since his sense of humour needs some work at the moment – he likes to keep telling this joke, “knock knock, (who's there?) him”. Cue maniacal toddler laughter. Yeah, I don't get it either.

Playing around with language is a great thing, and when he gets older, I'm hoping he'll share my love of groan-inducing bad puns (much to hubby's dismay), and our family's slightly off-beat, slightly dry sense of humour. For now, I'll go with the 'accidental' word slip ups and weird knock knock jokes, and just enjoy the sound of his laughter.