Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Vocabulary Just Keeps Growing...

...but the focus of interest remains the same. Nigel climbs up on the bench beside me at the dining table, now a cheerful heap of red, green, white, and glittery craft detritus. Less than a month to Christmas! The aroma wafting from the boy, though, is not at all festive. "Phew, Nigel. You got a poop in there, buddy?" This would be your classic rhetorical question. "Gotsa poop!" "Well, let's change you then." "Gotsa poop! Gotsa big log." "Charming. You only say these things to sweep me off my feet, I know." "Gotsa big stinky log. Gotsa stinky poo in my die-pee." By now I've peeled the diaper off the boy, and he's called it right. He does indeed have the items, just as described. I hold my breathe and do the necessary. "Mahwee gotsa cween my stinky poo-bum." Me: choke, gasp, wheeze. "I gotsa stinky poo innerre! A big poo." "You certainly do, bud." "I a big boy, I make big poo. Big, big fee-sees." Hello? Anyone out there want to claim that their 22-month-old has ever used that word in a sentence? Destined for big things, this boy. If we could only change the focus of fascination. ~~~~~~~~~~~~ © 2006, Mary P

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Yes, I know it's not Darth Vadar

Go check out Kat's Big Surprise! ~~~~~~~~~~~~ © 2006, Mary P

Babies Galore Meander Downtown

How long can this lovely mild weather continue? I don't know, but I'm loving it! While I completely understand - and share! - the concerns about environment change, here in Canada it's hard not to see a silver lining to this whole global warming thing... So off we go, following our noses, seeing where they take us. They take us to the path along the canal, where we see "Guck! Guck! Gucks!" (Known more widely as seagulls.) We see "Fuck! Fuck! Fucks!" (Known more politely as trucks.) We see lots and lots of smiling people; more than a few astonished ones; one, a passenger in a passing car who stared and stared as she rounded the corner, who looked nothing other than completely stoned; and one grumpy one. (His mind was filled with something oppressive, poor man. I don't think he saw us, not really.) Our noses eventually took us to one of these:

Imagine that!!
Anyone who knows me knows that these are my particular personal vice, and that I believe the best ones in this city by far, are made at a particular Second Cup downtown. How good are they? Well, I will walk six km round trip pushing four toddlers - and passing TWO other Second Cups - just to have one of these. (Yes, I'm a bit compulsive, I confess, but hey, I figure that after all that exertion, I pretty much wear off the calories I ingest. Heart and lungs: check! Fresh air: check! Calories: null and void! A win-win-win!) The babies drink their juice and eat their plum slices as I sip my chiller. They flirt with other patrons, they wave at pedestrians. We leave when the local high school kids start pouring in during their lunch break. One young woman holds the door for us as she shrieks to her approaching friends, "Hey! Check this out! Babies galore!" Babies galore. Maybe I should take that as my business name? ~~~~~~~~~ © 2006, Mary P

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Perfect in Every Way

"Women who have had augmentation surgery are three times more likely to commit suicide." Emma and I haven't been paying attention to the kitchen radio, but this pronouncement catches our attention. Seems the CBC is discussing cosmetic surgery. Emma's voice rises from the fridge in which she rummages. "Well, duh. They must have terrible self-esteem." I'm pleased that she's made that connection on her own. Smart girl. Then she dances out to the dining room, where Emily and Anna, early risers this nap-time, await their snacks. "Okay, girls!" She declares. "Never get an augmentation!" Two pairs of round eyes stare. Evidently they're taking this very seriously. "You're muddling effect with cause there, love. It's not the augmentation that causes the suicides." "Oh, right." She turns back to the babies, who are watching her every move. They're expecting food, she has a Public Service Announcement in mind. "Girls?" She holds her arms out wide. "Girls, you're perfect, just the way you are!" Heh. And so is she, my not-so-little girl. ~~~~~~~~~~~~ © 2006, Mary P

Monday, November 27, 2006

Surprise!

Sometimes the nicest things happen through blogging. I've met a woman (hi, Jen!) I'd otherwise never have known, I've had dozens of email conversations about interesting things with interesting people (too many to list), and more than a few trans-continental phone calls! (You know who you are!) I've even made some friends. ("Even" because acquaintances are easy; 'friends', in my experience, are harder to come by.) I've picked up snippets of new information, learned a thing or two, had some thought-provoking challenges thrown my way. This weekend was another nice thing, my first tangible nice thing. Last Wednesday, I received an email from a lurker, which sometimes happens. This lurker, however, was a bit different. She'd planned a trip to Ottawa this past weekend, but circumstances arose at the last minute which prevented her from coming. She had tickets for a special event. Would I like them?

Three tickets to the Cirque du Soleil!! Would I like them?!?
No one in my family had ever seen a Cirque show, though of course we'd all heard about the amazing costumes, the music, the theatrics, the creativity, the entire remaking of the concept of "circus". The last time they were in town, replacing a cracked window and repairing a leaky porch took precedence over such frivolities... Sigh.
The show was amazing. Thank you, Monica!
~~~~~~~~~~~~ © 2006, Mary P

Happy Birthday, Jeremy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~ © 2006, Mary P

Friday, November 24, 2006

Different Kind of Meme

Check out this cool idea! Grab your cameras and capture some street art - then send him the link. ~~~~~~~~~~~~ © 2006, Mary P

'Tis the Season

Our first Christmas card arrives! "From your friends at PharmaRite." Emma looks up, puzzled. "We have friends at PharmaRite?" "Now that we've returned our stolen goods, we do." "Oh. Did you do that already?" "I thought you guys did that last night, when you went out." "Noooo.." Emma looks guilty. Probably didn't want the embarrassment. "Gah." Oh, well. I can do it. I'll just make sure I return it to the woman who omitted to scan them - she can see my embarrassment and raise it twofold, poor woman. "So we have no friends at PharmaRite." "Not yet!" Emma throws the card out. ~~~~~~~~~~~~ © 2006, Mary P

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

First Aid Challenge

Anna wakes from her nap. She's a snuggler upon waking, and usually likes to sit in my lap for a few minutes before joining the others. I enjoy it, too. She leans again me, warm and cuddly, the top of her head just the right height for a quick kiss now and then. I pick up her hand as it lays in her lap and give the back of the pudgy hand a squeeze and another kiss. Anna's whole body tenses, and she shrieks in pain. I put the hand back. That was unexpected. Now that I consider, her left arm is laying funny. It doesn't look quite right. I wiggle the wrist, flex the fingers. Nothing appears awry. Squeeze the fingernails. They go white, and immediately pink again. Good, good. Lift the arm midway. It's limp. Let it go. It drops with a thump. Not normal. My heartrate accelerates as I consider. I can feel the thud in my chest. I slip her shirt off, compare left shoulder to right, manipulate her shoulder, checking for dislocation. Everything appears normal. I lift her arm and gently bend the elbow. It moves without obvious discomfort, but falls, inert, to her lap when I let it go. "Emma, get me one of those mini doughnuts, will you?" I hold the doughnut in front of the baby. Anna reaches with her right hand. I give her a bit, then hold the right hand down. Anna reaches with her left hand. Phew. She can move it. Anna reaches with her left hand, but then uses the two hands together to bring it to her mouth. Not so good. We try it again, holding the right arm the whole time. She lifts the doughnut towards her mouth with her left hand, but then ducks her head down to bite. What is going on? It's not broken - how could it be, and me not notice? It's not dislocated. I rub the skin of her forearm. She winces and yelps with pain. Hmmm... I think I know what this is. Squeeze her hand. More wincing, but no shrieks this time. Ten minutes later, the girl is right as rain. Any ideas? ~~~~~~~~~~~~ © 2006, Mary P

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Today you can find me...

here. And that's enough writing for one day! ~~~~~~~~~~~~ © 2006, Mary P

Monday, November 20, 2006

Time for a Career Change?

I begin my life of crime. Took the tots to the mall today. One day I will have a hidden camera trail me, just so you can experience what it's like to walk behind my stroller. People stop dead in their tracks. People do double takes that must hurt. Old men on benches punch each other and laugh as we pass. Little kids shriek. Grandma types come over to coo. Mothers either laugh or groan or simply grow pale. Very few people ignore us.

"Mommy! Mommy, lookit all the babies!!!" "Are they all yours?" "I'll bet they keep you busy!" "Oh, my God." "Holy f*&ing sh*t. Er, sorry, babies." "What a lovely little family!"
I only go to the mall when I'm feeling particularly sociable, because there's no evading it. Today, Emma needed boots. Winter is around the corner, and the girl has no boots. It does not pay to wait. There will be nothing but dregs in another week, and Lord only knows that if I wait until December, the stores will be filled with nothing but sandals and cruise wear. Just TRY buying a child's winter coat in this city in December. In a mind-boggling display of denial and wish fulfillment, the depleted racks of winter outerwear will be gone, to be replaced by "we-wish-it-were-summer" wear. While I can't argue the sentiment, it is no help at all to the last-minute mother desperately seeking to clothe her offspring. In attire that will not attract the notice of the CAS. So. Off to the mall for boots. A quick stop at the pharmacy for a few small things before we hit the shoe stores. I pass my items to the cashier. "Oh, LOOK at all of them!" The cashier peers over the counter. Timmy flaps his arms at her, Emily beams, Nigel and Anna stare solemnly. "Hi babies! Hello, hello!" She slips my purchases into a bag. "Aren't they sweet! They're not all yours, are they?" "Oh, gracious no." I point to Emma, loitering in the door a few feet away. "That big one is my baby." Emma is so used to this exchange she doesn't even wince. She just smiles and wiggles her fingers at the cashier. I must have that conversation fifty times a month. It's a hazard of the job, but how can I complain? Babies do that to people. As we leave the store, the security sensors bleep at us. We pause and look back at the cashier, who grins at the flapping Timmy once more and waves us through. Off we go to the first shoe store where, Emma being her mother's daughter, we buy the second pair she tries on. It's not that we don't enjoy shopping, but when you know what you want and you see what you like - there! Done! Besides, with four tots under two, it's the ONLY way to shop. We don't indulge in recreational shopping during my business hours... And then home. We unpack the babies from the stroller, the babies from their snowsuits, and the purchases from the bags. Bah. There is no receipt in the bag from the pharmacy. Those were business expenses. I need that receipt. I've scoured my pockets and my purse and am considering going outside to check the basket at the back of the stroller, when I am hit by a thought. "Emma. Do you remember me paying for these things?" She stares at me. "You know what? I don't think you did." Nope. The nice cashier lady took my purchases, played with the babies, put my stuff in a bag, and chatted with me before waving me (the woman working on mindless autopilot with her four adorable distractions) through the frantically beeping security gate. I look at my loot: a tub of diaper cream, a pack of vinyl-covered baby spoons and a couple of bibs. Total value, approximately $12.95. All mine, for the price of an invigorating walk to the mall and a few friendly exchanges. A life of crime beckons. ~~~~~~~~~~~~ © 2006, Mary P

Friday, November 17, 2006

The Big Picture?

A very old one from the draft file. (Arthur, a former client, was four when this was written; Adam is my son, age 17.): Arthur presents Adam with a sheet of paper. "Look. I drawed an H and a D and an O. What does that say?" "Well, those letters in that order don't make a word. Not all the letters mix to make words. They have to be in just the right order, too." "I will go put in some more letters." Adam grins his lop-sided grin, the mischief grin. "You do that. Eventually you'll make a word, just like the monkeys on typewriters." ~~~~~~~~~~~~ © 2006, Mary P

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Pregnancy Humour, or It Doesn't Take Much to Amuse when your Mind is Flooded by Hormones...

Laura (Mommapalooza) was musing on some pregnancy memories, and got me thinking back (waaay back) to my first pregnancy, when the hormones and all that extra blood flow to the brain had my creativity charged to monumental new peaks. My creativity, and a bunch of other bits. You know the Fred Penner song called "The Bump"? It's a lively little ditty which starts out,

I'm a bump, ba-bump, ba-bump, bump, In the middle of the prairie.
Being the exceptionally creative momma that I was, I saw huge potential there. Huge! Soon we were serenading our wee (and eventually not so wee) bump with,
You're a bump, ba-bump, ba-bump, bump, In the middle of your mummy!"
See? See how honed was the wit and creativity? It amused us, drunk as we were with anticipation (and perhaps a little terror). But the razor-sharp wit didn't stop here. Not at all. The next line introduces a new theme... "The land around is flat, flat, flat." The wit, it knows no bounds. See, when I was fifteen I was all prairie, and firmly convinced I'd be prairie forever. Caused me no little adolescent angst. By late sixteen, I'd moved west, achieved the foothills. A nice place to be. During pregnancies, however, the topography became downright mountainous. (Nature. She has a twisted sense of humour or a keen sense of the ridiculous.) Sooo... "The land around ain't flat, flat, flat." Falling-down funny, that was.
"I'm a bump that no one sees, Just a bump that no one sees."
Which was true for the first trimester, but had us in stitches by the last. Yes, the joke lasted the entire pregnancy. Because it was just So Funny, don't you know. And because we were just So Smart and Witty and Creative. Fun times. How about you? Any fond memories of pregnancy goofiness? ~~~~~~~~~~~~ © 2006, Mary P

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Day of Discovery

The children busy themselves with crayons. Anna, Emily, and Timmy sit in high chairs ranged round the table. Nigel sits on the bench, because he is a Big Boy. They have papers, large, overlapping papers taped to the table, they have crayons, one in each fist, most of them. They have a little modelling and assistance, courtesy of the Adult in Charge. (Me. Why?) They are all Set to Scribble. Do we have scribblage? No, we do not. But we are exploring. We are making all manner of discoveries about crayons. They sound good. Those chunky toddler markers make a great sound when hammered into a thick harvest table top. They taste good. Anna in particular will have rainbow poop later this evening, and most sport primary-flecked grins. They roll well, right off the table. They also bounce nicely when you drop them. (We have a lot of crayons. The fallen stay where they are, and Mary picks them all up at once during naptime. Mary does not enjoy the "I-drop-it-you-pick-it-up" game nearly so much as the children.) They don't, however, draw very well on your friends. But for all this exploring and discovering, they have minimal scribbling. Do they not understand their childhood duty to produce Fridge Art? It seemed for a moment that Nigel (at nearly two the Grand Old Man of the daycare) might have been indulging in some artistic exploration. My attention on the absorbing task of removing green crayons from teeny teeth and teeny teeth from green crayons, I did note the absorbed silence emanating from little big Nigel at my elbow. I attributed it to diligent scribbling, to intense focus on his creative efforts. I do enjoy deluding myself, truly I do. Nigel was intently focussed all right. On an empty pop can he'd found on the table. Upon ensuring himself that it was empty (which, thank the Lord, it was), he had discovered that there's a hole in the top of the can. He had further discovered that - oh happy day - the chunky toddler crayons fit neatly into the hole in the top of the can!!!!!!! He had made this discovery SIX times before Mary decided that Timmy looks just fine with a green grin and stopped plaguing the boy with exaggerated notions of cleanliness. Then Mary discovered Nigel's discovery. And then, Mary discovered that it's a whole lot easier to get crayons into an empty pop can than it is to get them out, though, she did eventually discover, it is possible. Who says your mind rots when you're home with babies? Pfft! I tell you, it's just one Big Discovery after another around here, all day long. All. Day. Long. ~~~~~~~~~~~~ © 2006, Mary P

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Thinking Outside the Box

Spoon: a common eating utensil, or item of cutlery, somewhat like a small spade, with a bowl-shaped end on a handle, that occurs in a number of sizes and forms. Its main [purpose is] for conveying food to the mouth... Wikipedia
Well, maybe in some places. Places more civilized than my dining room. So far this lunch time, spoons have been used to: - spray lasagna across the dining room table - beat on the table top - beat against the metal legs of the high chairs - GA-DING-CHINGA-CHINGA-DING!!! - beat on your friend's head - AAAAH! - stir lasagna - play peek-a-boo - play "I drop it, you pick it up" - dip into your friend's bowl - conduct an imaginery orchestra - smear cheese sauce on Anna's stuffed toy - propel cheese through the air (off the back of the spoon) - gag oneself - knock your bowl off the table - impale your friend's bib Which is why Mary has just declared lasagna to be finger food. ~~~~~~~~~~~~ © 2006, Mary P

Monday, November 13, 2006

Emily

A new baby starts next week. She spent a couple of hours here today. Emily, I think, will do just fine. She's cheerful. She's social. She's doesn't make strange. She's alert and inquisitive. She's a busy little explorer with a ready smile. And if all that weren't enough.... She sleeps!! From 6:30 p.m. to 7:00 a.m., and twice a day, 1.5 hours each time. Three cheers for Emily's mommy and daddy! I love them already. All three of them. Mwah! ~~~~~~~~~~~~ © 2006, Mary P

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Must you DO that???

Has your baby ever scared the living daylights out of you? Prepare to empathize with poor momma panda, just savouring a quiet moment and a relaxed meal while her baby naps... (p.s. What WAS that? Just a sneeze.) ~~~~~~~~~~~~ © 2006, Mary P

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Poppy Day

It's Remembrance Day, of course, the day we commemorate the losses of life in the First and Second World Wars, but to the kids, it's "Poppy Day". Poppy day, because everyone wears poppies in the days leading up to the Remembrance Day services, and, here in Ottawa, many people then leave their poppies atop the Tomb of the Unknown Solder after the service at the War Memorial downtown. "Everyone", I thought, and honestly believed. Everyone whose countries fought in the world wars, at any rate, so I was surprised when Jen asked about the poppies she's seeing everywhere. A quick google check taught me that Britain, Australia, France, and Belgium do. There are possibly more. But not, so it seems, in the states. This is pretty funny, since it was an American who first wore a poppy. In 1915, John McCrae, a Canadian doctor serving in France wrote the poem, In Flander's Fields. (Which all Canadian school children hear each and every year at Remembrance Day assemblies in their schools.)

In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below. We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie In Flanders fields. Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields.
McCrae was to die in France in 1918. Moina Michael, a young America woman from Georgia read the poem and, in 1918, decided to wear a poppy year-round in honour of the war dead. Two years later, Ms. Michael bumped into a French woman, Mme. Guerin, who, apparently, was quite the mover and the shaker. She saw the poppy and decided it was the perfect symbol to use to raise funds for war orphans. In 1921, Field-Marshall Haig approved Poppy Day appeal to raise money for disabled veterans. The same year, Mme. Guerin convinced Canadians to start selling poppies here, too. Round the world the symbolic poppies rippled. Poppy Day, Remembrance Day - the day we wear a blood-red flower and think of the sacrifice of brave men and women, and treasure our freedom.
~~~~~~~~~~~~ © 2006, Mary P

Friday, November 10, 2006

This is the view from the back of the bus. Note the one empty seat? That's for Emily, who starts next week!
~~~~~~~~~~~~ © 2006, Mary P

May I Crow a Bit?

My sister called this evening. "Hey, I saw you in Macleans*!" "It's out? But it's not on the website!" That'll teach me to be too cheap to buy a hard copy once a week... but, my sister tells me, if you look on page 51 of the November 6th issue, there I am! Cynthia Reynolds, who interviewed me back in August, graciously allotted me an entire paragraph - and a reference to this very blog - in a tightly-constructed 800-word article. Isn't that amazing?? Why, you may be asking, didn't I tell you all before? Well, because I was waiting for the article to come out. And I missed it! Boo. What brought me to the attention of Ms. Reynolds? That ever-popular Benign Neglect post I wrote back in July. Macleans. Amazing. Fame and fortune are is mine. At least a little. Heh. *Canada's national weekly news magazine, for international readers. (Probably the equivalent of Time, for Americans.) ~~~~~~~~~~~~ © 2006, Mary P

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Good Heavens!

And here I always thought it was words connected with sex that had the most euphemisms! We've got - my this, nunu, sucker, pats, suckie or soothie, do-do (which 'round here is used to label the stuff the dog leaves behind), pass, plug, eye-yi, foffer, pucky, snoop, Mr.B, titties, baby plug, an 'uh-oh', and then, for more international flare, smoczek (or smok for short). And, if what Mamabear tells us is true, Leah better not be calling it a peepka around any Polish folk! And if there are more, please don't tell me! I'm very, very tired of making links... ~~~~~~~~~~~~ © 2006, Mary P

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Name that ... thing!

UPDATED... I call it a soother, sooss for short. Z - dummy Si - diddy Candace - bink (short for 'binky', of course!), while to her son it was a 'bikki-pooh'. Kristen, MamacitaTina - paci Kimmyk - Mammy LadyM's Q - pup Jacqueline - nuk What about you? Are there still more, different names for that thing? What do YOU call it? What do you call it, I asked! Boy, did you tell me. Ask and you shall receive... Leah calls it a peepka, and wonders if this is adulterated Russian. Anyone likely to know?? Sunshine Scribe's is akin to Z, though for her it's a dummer. For June's mother, it's a fooler, foo-foo for short. Avalon, like Candace, uses binky. (Well, not personally. Just the word.) Ms Sisyphus's obviously Canadian daughter called hers a susie, while her nephew leans to the American and calls it a passy. (Which is how I've assume 'paci' is pronounced.) Mommymatic's little boy calls it a bah-jee-bye. (Care to explain why, MM?) And I love, love, love her uncle's explanation that the Icelandic word for it is "snoolth". Don't you just LOVE that word? Crayonz adds her support to binky and paci. M called it a boppy. (Which has a friendly, happy feel that the everyday 'pas' totally lacks, don't you think??) Sizzknits knows it as a pappi, anonymous offers bippy and tiddly, and Julia? Julia, she made me laugh out loud when she admitted that when her family doesn't call it a binky, it's an "oh-for-the-love-of-god-keep-the-damned-thing-in-your-mouth-and-go-to-sleep!" ~~~~~~~~~~~~ © 2006, Mary P

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Unexploited Resource

Soothers. Some people love them, some hate them. I'm neutral. But the thing about a soother (or pacifier, if you prefer) is that it's supposed to soothe. Seems simple enough, I know. "Why are you telling us this, Mary?" you're all asking. "I mean, we know you're smart about babies and all, but hey, we're not stupid." You all think I'm stating the embarrassingly obvious, but I'm telling you, too many people miss the soother potential. Completely. You see, it's a soothe-er. Now, is it just me, or is there something perverse about a child who cries around the "soother" plugged into her mouth? It doesn't muffle the shrieks. (Though it does help ensure they're nicely lubricated. So you can have your eardrums pierced and your face sprayed at the same time. Yum.) It is perverse! It is! AND it shows that the squalling soother-sucker's parents have missed the immense training potential of the thing. Why have a soother, if it's not soothing? Example 1: We're taking a walk. Anna gets fretful. Perhaps she's hungry, but since she's eaten her snack, it'll have to wait till we're home. Perhaps she's needing a clean diaper - which, given that it's 4C degrees out here, will have to wait till we're home. Perhaps she just wants to get out and move around - this will have to wait till we're home. You see the predicament. Whatever's bugging her will have to WAIT TILL WE'RE HOME. We try chatting to her, giving her a toy, singing songs, bouncing the stroller as we proceed. Nope. The protests only increase. Grunts to whining to wails. Screeches are only seconds away. All of this around the "soother", still held tight in her little pink drool-slicked mouth. Soooo... If it's not soothing, why is it there? I reach down and take it away. Pop. NOW we have screeches. I wait a beat or two. "You want it back, Anna?" "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!" (I'm not translating this, as it's undoubtedly very rude.) "When you're quiet. You can have it when you're quiet." She's 13 months old. She's not going to understand this, most likely. I know that. I'm training her in a concept: quiet=soother; shrieking=no soother. I hold the soother in front of her face. She leans towards it. "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!" "When you're quiet. A soother is for quiet babies." Her mouth is open, she's fixed on the soother. I tap it to her lip. Her concentration on the sooss is such that the howls abate a bit. She's not quiet, but it's a volume reduction. That'll do for now. I pop it back in. The howls instantly lurch back to previous volume. POP. Soother out. "Anna. When you're quiet." I hold it in front of her. She leans in, I tap the lip, she quiets a bit, I tap again, she quiets some more. I give it back. She's whimpering, but it's quiet. Example two, ten days of training later: Anna has been put down for a nap. She's gotten pretty good about napping, but this day, for whatever reason, it's an issue. Before I reach the door, the howls are rattling the windows, but she's still lying down. "Do I need to take the soos?" My hand hovers warningly close to its handle. Anna subsides. "Thank you." I give her a kiss. "Goodnight, sweetie." I tell you, a soother is a powerful incentive. Moms and dads? Your child has a soother? Work that thing! ~~~~~~~~~~~~ © 2006, Mary P

Monday, November 06, 2006

Missing Link

Malli is a chatterer. Her day is narrated in a quiet, cheerful voice. Her sentences are clear, most of them are grammatically sound, and her vocabulary is rich for a child her age. I'd say that about 80 - 90% of Malli's utterances are clear, effective communication. But sometimes... "Brx7gdhr%s outside!! We have a brx7gdhr%s outside. And it raining, and it dark, and it go all brx7dhr%s outside. And Mark and Daddy and Mummy take the brx7gdhr%s outside, outside in the dark and the rain!" ...sometimes that missing 10% is critical... ~~~~~~~~~~~~ © 2006, Mary P

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Post at PiP

I've a new post up at PiP, for those who are interested. ~~~~~~~~~~~~ © 2006, Mary P

Saturday, November 04, 2006

I Join the Ranks of Geekiness

I have never been a geek. Well, if you define geekiness as a love of learning and an addiction to books, I've always been a geek, but in my glossary of life (which is of course the one that counts on my blog, those things fall under the rubric of "browner", aka "brown-noser".) (Who else but a browner would use the word 'rubric'?) Geekiness is technological overindulgance, leaning into life through a microchip. I have never, ever been a geek. Until today. Jen is here. (Woo-hoo!!) Jen is here and we sit at my dining room table with our hers-and-hers laptops, and we are blogging!! Well, I am blogging. She is checking out a blog and simultaneously chatting with her hubbie back home. This, however, only brings me to the very fringes of geekdom. On its own, our duelling laptops only puts on a show. At heart, I am still a keener, a browner, a teacher's pet. But I am not a geek. Well, I wasn't. Until Jen sent me a gmail chat message. And I ANSWERED HER! Ladies and gentlemen, there is NOTHING (nothing, I tell you) nooooo-THING! MOOOORE geeky than online chatting with someone who is SITTING RIGHT BESIDE YOU. I am a Geek. Officially. Thank you, Jen, for being my Very First...
~~~~~~~~~~~~ © 2006, Mary P

Want to read a Wonderful Post? Go now. Take a kleenex. ~~~~~~~~~~~~ © 2006, Mary P

Friday, November 03, 2006

Power Struggles and Peer Pressure

The children gather round the table. Today we're fingerpainting! "Okay, guys. Here's a big bib for each of you." Malli demurs. "No bib." Ah. Malli wants to play that old game, Power Struggle. She says no, and I'm to coax her into it, because we both know she wants to paint. Only I really don't like Power Struggle. It's a truly tedious game. First we try appealing to her better nature. "You have a pretty shirt on, sweetie. We don't want to get paint all over your clean shirt." "No bib." No response from her better nature. Right now, she'd rather play Power Struggle. So much for the sweet voice of reason. However, it takes two to play this game, and I'm not joining in. "Okay. You don't have to wear a bib if you don't want to. That's fine. 'Course, you can't fingerpaint unless you have one on." Warm, slightly regretful smile. She chews on that for a sec. Nuts! Power Struggle isn't nearly as satisfying when played by oneself. Some kids would up the ante, demanding to paint bib-less, but Malli and I have had our head-to-heads. I'm pretty confident she knows who'll win a head-to-head. Still, it's best if toddlers don't have your full attention when they're having to decide whether to back down - saving face is important at two years old - so I turn to Nigel. "Now then, lovie. Let's get that bib on you." Nigel ducks his head so I can put the bib over, sticks out his arms helpfully so I can do up the ties at the side. I hand him a pot of paint, show him how to smear the colours. Nigel is enjoying himself, providing all manner of positive peer pressure, and I am beaming all manner of unspoken messages over to Malli. "See, Malli? We're having a lot of fun, Nigel and I, because we are wearing our bibs! So much fun! Painting is soooo much more fun than Power Struggle! See how much fun you can have, when you wear your bib?!?" I give Malli a few moments to watch the fun, then turn to her with a smile. "Ready to paint, Malli?" "Yes, please." And she ducks her head so as to accept the bib. ~~~~~~~~~~~~ © 2006, Mary P

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Mysteries of Life

"Eh! Eh! Eh! Eh! Eh!" Anna is Dissatisfied. Something Must be Done. "Eh! Eh! Eh!" Only what exactly is the problem? It's a lovely sunny day, we're going for a walk, the sky is blue, the grass is still mostly green, and it's mild enough that she doesn't have to wear those Nasty Mittens, nor even Evil Hat!! What more could a little girl want? Oh! Her kitty has slipped. It's almost out of her grasp, and baby Anna never goes anywhere without a soft toy. Mystery solved. "Here you go, baby girl." "Eh! Eh, you eh, eh stupid EH, woman EH!" What? I can hear the subtext as well as anyone. Anna's arms strain towards me, and then, suddenly... Kitty is forcibly ejected from the stroller!! Can it be? Anna is rejecting a stuffed toy? Evidently so. Poor kitty lays on the path, forlorn and abandoned. Malli, who has been walking a bit to the rear of the stroller, draws closer in concern. "Baby Anna drop a toy! Baby Anna cat onna ground!" "EH! EEEEEHHHHHH!!!!" Once more, Anna's arms strain towards... Ah...!* The mystery is solved. Seems Raggedy Anne has trumped poor Kitty. The solution to the dilemma? Trade seats in the stroller, so Anna faces forward, Timmy faces back. Now, only Timmy can see Malli. Without the temptation of Raggedy Anne, Kitty resumes favour, and all is well. We love a happy ending. *Features skillfully (and subtly) concealed so as to preserve anonymity. Anyone out there available for Photoshop tutorials? ~~~~~~~~~~~~ © 2006, Mary P

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

One Foot, Two Foot, Red Foot, Blue Foot...*

IT STOPS RAINING!!!! Hallelujah. The first rain-free day in weeks! We do what any sane** person would do in these circumstances: We head to the park!! On the way there, Malli chatters away. Having read a few Malli entries, you might be justified in wondering, as her mother has done, if Malli ever says anything but 'no' while at Mary's. Indeed she does. "I can say Mahwee's name, and I can say Timmy and I can say Anna and I can say Kate*** and I can say Cedric**** and I can say Joe***** and I can say doggie." "You can say a lot of things, can't you?" "Yes. I can say and say and say." "What else can you say?" "I have a rock in my shoe." Oh. Not what I was expecting, but we can deal with this. We kneel down and consider two small feet. "Which shoe has the rock?" "The blue one." The blue one. The blue one? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ *With thanks and apologies to Dr. Seuss. **Not that, after weeks on end spent trapped in a house with four toddlers under the age of 2.5, I am precisely 'sane' any more, but the principle applies. ***Her mommy's name. ****Her daddy's name. He's Italian. Go figure. *****Her brother's name.
~~~~~~~~~~~~ © 2006, Mary P