Sunday, September 25, 2011

Everything is a Song...

What a change there has been in her since she has been home full time! Not just in her, but in both of us. We are so relaxed and barfy sweet to each other (most of the time!). Since she has been out of daycare, she just sings constantly. She sings about getting dressed, spreading peanut butter on her toast, taking the dog for a walk, me, Grammy, princesses, beautiful dresses, birthday parties... you get the picture. We'll just be hanging out in the house and I'll hear her sweet little voice soaring from the other room. Amazingly, she never gets tired or pasty mouthed...

Friday, September 2, 2011

I'm a Mommy Again! Yahoo!

Hey y'all, wussup? Remember when I used to post on this thing regularly? That was fun. Well, I think about this blog regularly, I sit in front of my computer regularly, and tonight it looks like I might actually type something.

I'm a stay-at-home Mommy again. I haven't done this since she was a year old (she's four next month!). Anyone who knows me knows that I have always wanted to be a Mommy with four kids, a couple of dogs, a lovely man, a big yard and ... daycare? What the hell is that and why would I want to send my kid there? Well, motherhood wasn't exactly peachy the first time. It was a bit of a disappointment -- playgroups suck, Mom's are judgemental, I was now listed as a 'dependant' on my tax return, being at home with a baby is boring and stressful at the same time, I got called not very nice things for losing my 'baby weight' so quickly (often by women who weren't even fat...and if they were, what did I have to do with it?), and answering "I'm a Mom" to the question, "so what do you do?" is a popular conversation killer. Well, as of this week, I'm at home with her fulltime; she is out of daycare for good! I think I've learned enough to know how to make it a party this time 'round:

~ I found all the cool parents
~ I realize I can't go a day without socializing or I go crazy. We have made a beautiful (cough, cough) calendar, stuck it on our fridge and are cramming it full of playdates -- with the cool parents.
~ I got rid of all my parenting books
~ We don't go to playgroups
~ We bought a pool pass
~ We bought a skipass
~ She's signed up for dance class with her buddy (a high quality one -- they even have musicians rather than a stereo to play their music!).
~ I carry my MP3 player around with me... Seriously, she is four and can fire off 87 questions per minute, ask for something 17 times in a row and although she has a lovely, sweet voice, it's constant. Sometimes, I just need to go away to a happy place for a bit.
~ I have phased out all the unnecessary work that I have been doing (including that degree I thought I could actually finish) and only do the stuff that is exciting to me and has an actual purpose in the big picture.
~ I continually purge all the stuff I don't need; the ladies at the thrift store know me quite well as I dump a carload of stuff on them every week.
~ I drink lots of water, get lots of sleep, and make no plans -- I just go with it.

Anyway, our first week involved:
~ Rock climbing last weekend -- it was rad and I'm hooked.
~ Going to a big BBQ with all our single parent friends. She took off with her new buddies and I barely saw her the whole time!
~ A spontaneous 24-hour whirlwind roadtrip with friends (Picture two Mammas and wine on the patio, two cute, little four year old girls playing their butts off inside the hotel room, and later? ...All four girlies crammed into a queen size bed snoozing away).
~ Swimming. She swam three metres off the wall just holding onto some floating things and kicking her feet. She floated on her front and back, and did some mad jumps off the wall -- she didn't even want me to catch her!
~ Eating organic, fair trade, dark chocolate everyday.
~ Middle of the day cuddles
~ Me napping while she built a farm for her animals.
~ Her making and serving me snacks (since she's four and can do everything herself, I just roll with it)
~ Her reading me bedtime stories because she memorizes them all almost immediately (kids brains are so amazing!), and she also brings my pyjamas to me at bedtime and pretty skirts to me in the morning.
~ She put on her big, big dress and had a party in her room. She taped balloons, shiny play jewelry, stickers and pom-poms (from my socks that fell apart) to the wall -- these were the decorations; then she danced around the house all morning.
~ I did some work, it didn't feel like work.
~ I blogged :)
~ A few temper-tantrums on both our parts -- we're still working out the stress and grumpiness of the past few years.
~ I was reminded that, "it will always work out". Heck yeah!!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Acrylic Painting

I was purging my clutter one week when she discovered my box of acrylic paints. Yeah, they're toxic and take three days to scrub off, but the girl can paint so she got to use them. It took some getting used to; she couldn't quite understand that you can paint a picture with such a little dab of paint. Once she figured it out though, she was on a role. I love the work she did:

The next day (and then the next day and the three days after that) she found the box of paints again. I brought out her book, "The Colour Kittens" which the kids here love. It's about two kitties who are trying to make green -- but they don't have green paint! They keep spilling colours until, you guessed it... they make green! As expected, she went through the book and mixed the same colours onto her paper.

Look at her exploring...

I just sat by and observed, letting her get lost in her own little world of paint smearing and colour mixing.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

She Has A Violin!

Little one has super exciting news... We've rented her a violin. That's right, the most obnoxious sounding, wee little violin you have ever seen. This was following her sudden passion for the instrument. I don't know where her and her little friends spotted a violin but while making playdough one afternoon, they began pretending their wooden spoons were violins. They held them up to their chins and used sticks as the bows. Later on, I found Little One playing her ukulele with a stick. To keep up with her excitement, I took her to the Celtic music festival last Thursday afternoon; sure enough she was absolutely in awe of the fiddle's. So in awe that she didn't even get up to dance -- and we know how much Little One loves to dance! Her eyes were just fixated on this fiddle. A few days later her friend was here and we went for a trip to the music store. Not just any music store, but the Long and McQuade music store. This store is massive; there's one room full of 12 pianos, one full of drum sets, a ginourmous room of guitars and banjos, and yet another with bass and electric guitars; the whole front is band instruments with another large area for books/resources. The staff was so friendly and relaxed; they made sure to let me know the children could look at and touch anything and everything they wanted (for the most part...the $31000 piano and drum sets were off limits) -- so we did of course. They pushed all the buttons on the saxophone and figured out the clarinet, they strummed a banjo, looked at all the guitars; they played every single piano and THEY GOT TO PLAY THE VIOLIN! Did you know how small they make violins!? I didn't... Well, these two little 3 year olds screeched away and nobody in the store was phased. It was so gosh darn cute. The man came over and gave us a quick tutorial on how they work and showed the girls how to hold the instrument. I found out they rent the instruments for a very low cost; they want music to be accessible to everyone. At the end of the day after her friend went home and we headed straight back to the music store to pick up her violin -- for less than $20 for the entire month! Unfortunately the video of her happily screeching away doesn't seem to want to load, but pictures will be coming soon!

Friday, February 18, 2011

So Much Excitement, So Little Time...

Now that I don't have to worry about money, I don't know what to do. Naturally, I want to keep stressing about money! So instead, I've been trying to live in the moment, appreciating what I have and enjoying this wicked fun life I've created. I've been trying real hard to do this for the past couple of weeks and let me tell you, it ain't easy! But, what a difference it makes...

Anyone who cares/has cared for children in any way shape or form knows how wonderful they are ... and how utterly exhausting they are. Over the past couple of weeks, I have chosen to focus solely on how wonderful they are and how much energy they give you. A great day with children, is a phenomenally wonderful super fantastic day. Children are inspiring, amazing and they give you so much energy. So, screw exhaustion, here is how I spent the last week focusing on just the good parts of what I do...

First I stopped stressing about silly meal and activity planning. Thanks to a great workshop I attended, I realized that it is very, very, very, very important for children to be a part of the meal planning/creating process. I now do all the cooking in front of them. I do it all at their level so they can come help out, ask questions, and taste test all the ingredients. As an extra bonus to me, I don't have to get up an hour early to get everything ready.
Activity wise, I get tons of ideas for activities all the time but then get annoyed because I never actually do them. Now, I just grab all the stuff I need when I get the idea and plunk it in a box. Then, when the kids are here and the mood strikes, I grab every thing out of there and viola, instant party time. I also stopped trying to plan the 'child-centered', and 'developmentally appropriate' activities that we learn about in college and instead focus on what excites them the most at any given moment. I started a little ritual to help me with this; first thing in the morning, I put out some tea and a plate of fruit on the coffee table. I plunk my butt down on the couch and very shortly after, they are all hovered around chatting and clearing the fruit plate; sometimes they actually drink the tea. At some point I'll ask them, "if you could do anything in the whole world right now what would it be?" They never have to think about it -- "go to the playground!" ..."paint!" ... "I want to dance!" ... "the trampoline!" -- And that's how we start our day. I still have activities set up throughout the room for them to go to at their leisure, but I have finally learned how to go with the flow and wow, what a difference! Just as I had expected, they play harder, they're happier, and I have so much gosh darn energy left at the end of the week!
Here she is helping me bake...
On this day they were making 'mail'
and 'letters'...
Thanks Granny for the stamps! Funny thing,
the mail arrived as they were writing letters, I
had them open the mail and... stamps! Are you
kidding me!? Awesome!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Now That's Quality Play!

Wednesday after work Little One and I attended a meeting with a group of fellow Early Childhood Educators. I told her it was a party -- I tell her everything's a party because well, everything is.

To get ready, she packed up two of her puffiest play dresses and stuffed them in a bag. Next, she found two headbands (the kind with the sparkly antennas sticking out the top) and stuffed them in the bag. When she had enough play clothes to go around (she wanted no child to go without), we hopped into the car.

She was excited to meet everybody; she was a little shy and silly at first. We've never known her to be shy, but as a child leaves the toddler/young preschooler stage (she's almost 3.5, yikes!) and begins to develop empathy and an awareness of others, they become very aware of their surroundings and the people around. Little One got shy and hid behind my leg and then did funny things like stick her tongue out. As she got more brave, she would show off her dance moves ... and then run behind me to hide. Once she got settled and comfortable, out came the dress up clothes and she got right into playing.

She was happily stacking dominoes when our meeting began but, within minutes was inviting me to the middle of the living room to dance with her. I tried directing her attention to some 'quiet' activities (at some point in my parenting career, I developed a fear of my child making 'noise'). It was quite a refreshing when the host went into the kitchen and returned with a stack of metal bowls, wooden spoons and a dump truck load of dried beans.

Here is how she spent the next hour and a half...

Their baking is heating up in the oven...

It was noisy, it was messy and they played and played and played in those beans for an hour and a half. They cooked muffins, put them in the oven, chatted back and forth, filled and poured, problem solved, shared all the tools and materials, and shared ideas, excitement and laughter.

As a parting gift he sent us home with a bucket full of beans. You can guess what was in our sensory table the next morning!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Oh Where, Oh Where Have My Boobs Gone?

I never had any body issues before. Sure my boobs are small, I look two generations younger than I actually am and my hair isn't as shiny and pretty as my sisters but I don't mind, that's just the way it is. I've accepted my flat-chest, my boring hair and have learned to get a kick out of people's reactions when they find out I'm twelve years older than they thought. (I did feel bad last winter when I got ID'd at the bar. I was with a guy pal and he felt like a pervert knowing they'd even consider he'd be there with a minor!)

Anyway, I had accepted and embraced everything and was leading a happy, flat-chested life. And then.... Enter motherhood. More specifically? Breastfeeding.

Our breastfeeding relationship ended long ago but now? I have no boobs. NO BOOBS. They are gone. Those perky little A cups? Gone. Bu bye! I am a negative AAA cup. There is no bra that exists that will fit my man chest. The poor woman in the lingerie section of the department store couldn't even help me, there is NO BRA that fits me.

It's not just the size but the consistency. There is no substance. There is nothing in them. They're just ... empty and you can see my ribs under them. Boobs aside, let's talk nipples. They are horrendous! Any woman who's nursed knows the abuse these things go through. Mine have gone from dainty little pencil erasers to giant jube-jubes -- but they're not even the right colour. They are giant discoloured jube-jubes that tower over my deflated non-boobs. I can't even look at myself in the mirror without cringing. I close my eyes and run away.

Obviously, this was something that had been getting me down as I had begun to -- no, I had made the decision to get implants. I talked to people who had implants and everything was pro-silicone. However, I had this yucky feeling in the pit of my stomach -- how grossed out would I feel having something so plastic stuck in me forever? I actually think it would get me even more depressed than having chronic flat-chest. So, I was back to square one: I have no boobs.

Maybe they weren't so bad. Maybe this was all in my head so, I went to my sister -- the one with the voluptuous hair. She heard me out. All serious and supportive she asks to see. I lifted my shirt, exposed my man-chest, closed my eyes tight, and then ... "hahahahahaha!!! You are so getting implants!" Immediately we phoned sister # 2. Gave her the scoop... "Mama, we will pay for your boobs." So... the cycle continued, do I? Don't I? Why do I want them? Can I really get over not having boobs? Honestly, I don't have time for this body self-conscious shit. I deserve big boobs. Implants it is.

I'm a single mom, I have to date and I will admit that if I was married to a very nice man and had his child and lived happily ever after then there would be no issue. You just go through these things together. However... I have to date! I have to date and I have weird, non-boobs! Logically, I went straight to the guys and I start asking. To my surprise, I find out that hands down they prefer small boobs over implants. (There was one dude who preferred implants but he was not very credible and his response actually gave a point to the flat-chest side). Perhaps these guys were all being nice? So I dug a little deeper. I have a way of getting the truth out of people and by the end I was quite confident that this particular group of men prefer small boobs. And um... some really. do. prefer. small. boobs... Unfortunately, I still feel like crap. Let's face it, I have a pre-pubescent body and I'm shaped like a pair -- I'm not feeling sexy here people. However, I really do need to get over it because the guys just don't care.

My friend Roxy came to visit. Roxy has big boobs. Roxy is honest. Roxy says, "give me a God damn break girl! You have super model tits for God sake's what do you have to complain about? Ooh you poor thing... (so on and so forth)." She goes on to explain, "there are so many shirts you can wear; I have tons magazines (she has tons of magazines) I will show you". Now there's hope and I am excited. Roxy's got style and now I'm looking forward to a shopping spree with my new personal wardrobe assistant. But in the meantime I went to where my money could take me -- Value Village.

I scraped together $20 and headed out on a life changing shopping trip. I went through the entire clothes rack and tried on every non-bra shirt. It was summer and skimpy little tank tops with the built-in padded bras are easy to come by; I found some and was pretty happy. Then, the season's changed. My supermodel shirts got packed away and I was left going through the whole process again. I found a bra; and ugly bra, it kind of looked like a massive bandage that one would wear coming out of the burn unit. I wore lots of hoodies and t-shirts that looked fine with this ugly bandage underneath. "I'm sick of this" I decide, "just get me some boobs". But then... "gross, I don't want plastic". I had to make a decision and I had to make it quick because I was putting way to much energy into it.

I decided to get over it. I'm not getting implants -- and my sister's are going to be sooo disappointed as sister #2 offered again over Christmas to pay for my implants. I replied, "if I'm going to spend thousands on anything, it will be on starting up my businesses. Will you give me money for that?" Her response? "Nope, just boobs."

I will embrace my man-chest. I will find clothes that 'flatter' my non-figure, figure. It's really not that easy but since crawling out of poverty, it has become a little more exciting. However, I'm still left with that pesky consistency / jube-jube thing so I'm not quite there yet. I just have to pretend to like them and then eventually I will. Instead of cringing in the mirror I force myself to stay and say, "I love my boobs they're so ... wonderful." -- And yes it's very forced and I still have to fight to keep my eyes open, but the more I say it the sooner I'll think it. So...

I love my boobs. They are wonderful. So ... wonderful. I love them so much. I love my new pear shape -- I've never looked so hot on the pool deck -- yeeeow. My (very near) future man loves them just as much as I do. And if he doesn't? Well then Aunty Darci will buy me implants, haha.

As a tribute to all the mom's out there: The Shape Of A Mother

And for a funny story:
I was in the shower one day, ready to get out when the door opened and Little One wandered in and plunked herself down on her potty. We're both girls here so I continue to get out and as she looks up, her face lights right up, "Mommy! I ate your boobies!" And laughs hysterically.

~Somebody asked me about breastfeeding and losing my boobs, "do you regret it?" My response? "Nope!"