Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Mom's Birthday Buffet

Today is my Mom's birthday so the whole family went to the Red Maple Buffet (which serves chinese food, go figure). Jadzia made a gigantic mess under her chair from "trying" the food a little too enthusiastically, while William enjoyed choosing pork perogies, fish, fruit, and large quantities of jello. I sat across from my good friend Eireann, who is pregnant with my future niece or nephew. She's 14 weeks along, so they are officially telling people (although most of us already knew, we just weren't permitted to broadcast it on the internet).

Favourite foods of the evening: salmon, chicken on a stick, pork perogie-like thing, fried shrimp, ice cream on a waffle.

Disappointing foods: onion rings, nut pie, sticky rice.

I didn't have any wrapping paper but Mom's present (a pedometer) was just small enough to be wrapped in one of Jadzia's diapers (much to my amusement). I always make my own card, and I like to have a subtle hint about the present. This time, I printed a picture of my Mom reading to William and Hunter, with a pic of Jadzia on the back of the card. I tried to get William to give me my hint.

Me: What should we put on this card?
William: A car.
Me: Where should I draw the car?
William: In front of William and Hunter and Omi.
Me (after drawing the car): Now what should we make Omi say? Something about walking?
William: Go on the road!
Omi's speech bubble: Go on the road.
Me: Now what should William say? Something about walking?
William: Right there! Right there! Right there!
Me: I'll write it right there, but what should it say?
William: Right there! Right there! Right there!
William's speech bubble: Right there! Right there! Right there!
Me: What should Hunter say?
William: Something about walking!
Hunter's speech bubble: Something about walking!
Me: What should Jadzia say?
William: Something about crying!

Okay, so the card made no sense, but the process was fun, and the present hint was subtle enough for my liking.

Everyone enjoyed the birthday dinner but, though we had many buffet desserts, we lacked a birthday cake. I did have a fortune cookie though: "Someone is looking up to you. Don't let them down."

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Angry Bear

Today my sweet lovable son was somehow replaced by and angry growling bear. When William has a tantrum he roars, really. First, this morning at the Early Years Centre, William took a toy into circle, which is frowned upon. Rather than sit with his toy boat quietly and covertly, he drove it through the center of the circle, so that all the behaving children could see what he was getting away with. When I took the boat and asked him to sit (unreasonable, I know) he roared and growled, bellowing "I want my boat." I took him aside, calmed him down, but as soon as he got back to the circle, he roared and growled again until we had to go home. On the way his growl switched from "I want my boat" to "I want sit in circle."

Later on, when it was time to change William's diaper, he again did his ferocious bear routine and refused to go. When I finally got his diaper off, I asked him if he would like to pee on the potty. "No!" he screamed, and peed on the floor.

I hoped that he would be in a better mood after his nap. Reasoning that I would have more chance of sanity if we got out of the house, I put both the kids in the stroller and walked to the library. We had to leave before we'd checked out anything because William was throwing books.

After dinner, I was going to give Jadzia a bath because she put food in her hair. I asked William if he wanted to have a bath too and he did. I had to cut the bath short, though, because my son kept splashing water all over the side of the tub, even when I told him repeatedly to stop.

They say that when children misbehave, they're actually communicating. I'm guessing that William's bear routine stems from a combination of his sister getting attention (she's been sick the last two days) and icky rainy weather. I can't do much about either of those things so I'll just have to hope my growling bear, turns back into a teddy bear tommorrow.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Guessing Game

William and I have been playing a guessing game, where one of us describes an animal, and the other one guesses which animal is being described. A typical round might go like this:

Me: I'm thinking of an animal, that lives at the zoo, has stripes, and goes ROARRRR!
William: I know! A tiger!
Me: That's right!
William: I have a animal. Have hair, and it's a monkey.
Me: Um, is it a monkey?
William: That's right!
Me: I'm thinking of an animal that is very very big. It swims in the ocean and it breathes through a hole in the top of its head.
William: I know! A fish!
Me: Close, it's like a fish, but it's very very big, and has a blowhole.
William: A shark!
Me: A shark is a fish, but this is not a fish. It looks like a fish, but is very big, and has a big tongue just like a whale.
William: A whale!
Me: That's right!

As you can see, playing a guessing game with a two-and-a-half year old is a bit like playing a guessing game with Cookie Monster.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My first book (or perhaps my second)

I found this laying around the crawl space and I thought I should document it before it disintegrates. I wrote this picture book in Grade 3. The construction paper has held up extremely well, considering it's on of the least archival paper known to mankind (particularly in red)

I Hate You. What a great, attention grabbing title, eh? Someone should have told me that yellow marker on red is not the best colour choice for the author's name.

Mrs. Ursel was a great teacher. I had her twice, for grade 3 and again for grade 5. She was also the one whe commissioned this project. Perhaps I should look her up. I wonder if she's on facebook.

Tainpere was my way of spelling "Tapir". The Malayan Tapir was my favourite animal at the zoo at the time (it's still pretty cool).

I don't know why Martha is trying so hard to be Elisabeth's friend. She should have more self respect.

Dono Dolphin may be a better friend than Martha gives her credit. Then again, perhaps Martha is a social outcast that only hangs out with rejects. Considering this is based loosely on my life at the age of nine, I'd say a bit of both going on.

The teacher, magical solver of all problems. I'm sure this is considered "reporting" not "tattling". The character of Miss Monkey is based of course on Mrs. Ursel, who has a wonderful sense of humour.

This turning point is a bit odd because it's the antagonist that makes a character change and we don't see that change happen. That teacher talk must have been something.

Not sure what this scene adds to the plot but I recall Mrs. Ursel found it hilarious. Adding "the Octopus" was an editorial suggestion by Mrs. U, if I remember correctly, I thought it was self-evident.

This part just makes me tear up. Elisabeth isn't so bad. She doesn't have it in her to hate Martha.

Leaving Dono Dolphin and Persie Penguin in the dust.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Telling Tales

My mother (Sylvia McNicoll author of such hits as Bringing Up Beauty, Walking a Thin Line and Last Chance for Paris) was one of the talented writers presenting at the Telling Tales festival in Westfield Village. The kids missed their nap to watch the show, so I'm not sure how good of an audience we were. William ran around screaming on a fatigue-induced high, but was fairly well-behaved otherwise. Jadzia kept squawking, until I put her on the ground, then tried to escape.

The only other presenter we saw is an illustrator named Ruth Ohi, who I'm a pretty big fan of because she wrote Chicken, Pig and Cow, one of my favourite (er, I mean WILLIAM's favourite) picture books. I meant to buy her new book Chicken, Pig and Cow on the Move, so I could get it autographed, but I got distracted and didn't.

We also took in a puppet show, played with a parachute, did a craft, chatted up some olden days people, and petted some farm animals. The geese were gigantic. One of the sheep was named William.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Laundry and Bravery

It's been one week since we got back from our weekend in the United States, but I only just now opened our suitcase to wash the clothes we wore. Don't make that disgusted face, I've done laundry since then, just not the stuff in the suitcase. In fact, I've been feeling pretty proud of myself for getting so much laundry done, and at the same time confused because none of my favourite shirts were resurfacing. That's when I remembered the suitcase, and the trip. Then I thought, it's probably not too late to blog about it, since the laundry's not done yet.

My father-in-law is a big BMW motorcycle enthusiast, so we all made the trip to Watkins Glen, New York, for the Beemer Rally on Labour Day Weekend. A BMW Rally is like camping, only without the campfire, and with more motorcycles.

The most memorable part of our vacation for me was the day-trip we took to the gorge at Watkins Glen State Park. This basically involved one hour of hiking up a steep stone staircase, beside a gorgeous and terrifying rocky cliff. Now I'm afraid of heights, and that fear is amplified when I'm accompanied by my children. I kept imagining scenarios in which one, or both of my babies fell horribly to their deaths. Each time I thought of this, my eyes watered, and my stomach lurched as if I was falling. My mother-in-law later said that we wouldn't have gone if she'd known I was afraid of heights, but that would have been no fun (it was the most memorable part of our vacation after all).

Besides death and dismemberment, one of my worries is that William will see that I am afraid, and develop a fear of heights himself. So you can imagine my relief, this Saturday, when he gleefully tackled this death-defying leap at the Bronte Creek Playbarn, a drop that made me fearful when I was two or three times his age.
I think his new buzz cut gives him super powers.

Shot at Here

I just remembered a dream I had last night. I was wandering through an old warehouse, or some other industrial building. Everything (walls, floor, doors, stairs) was made of rusted metal, covered in worn orange paint. Some things were labeled, not as what they were, but to narrate events that had happened there. For example, "shot at here" was printed on one wall with arrows indicating some bullet holes. I vaguely remember that I went through a door, across the hall with the bullet holes, down some stairs, maybe through another door into a very very large room. As I was making my way back the way I came, I heard the clang of footsteps on the metal. I hurried, but the sound became closer. "Don't shoot me!" I yelled. I got outside and ran toward the car I had apparently come in, a red Toyota, my mother's car. I managed to get inside the car and lock it when the dream ended.
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