Sunday, June 14, 2009

Let's Talk Preschool, Toy Testing, and Weddings

The past couple weeks have been incredibly busy. I don't know where the time goes anymore, it seems I wake up and seemingly seconds later I am heading to bed again for another night's sleep, wondering where the day went and why my to-do list has grown instead of getting smaller.


Thing 2 finished up preschool last week, and as vice president I was a big part of the year-end clean up and toy disinfecting movement. I can hardly believe I have now had two boys complete a year of preschool each, and am so completely and utterly pleased with our co-operative preschool that I have indeed agreed to stay on as vice president next year.

Even though I likely won't have a child attending the school in the fall. Huh. How's that for dedication? There is a possibility that Thing 3 could attend in the new year, as she turns two in January, but I am not sure if she (or I) would be ready for that as at this point I still think of her as my baby.

Except that this nearly-17-month-old ball of fire has recently become a true force with which to be reckoned. She does not stop moving. She climbs everything. Twice. Or three times. In an instant that I have blinked, dared to steal a moment alone in the bathroom, or focused my attention on another sibling, she is IN a sink, ON a table, HOVERING over a chair or SCALING her brothers' bunk bed ladder. My days are suddenly just a tad more tiring, and I am able to accomplish less and less during her waking moments. You'd think one would be an expert after three kids, but not I, no - I wipe my slate clean with each new babe I bring into the world - and with that includes the erasing of all previous memories of preceding Things' baby and toddler phases.

And, just in case I wasn't busy enough, it is toy testing season again and we have been inundated with a sea of Playmobil, books, monster trucks and Power Rangers. Although I swore to be more on the ball this year and really "on top of my game", I still seem to leave the report writing to the last minute. I completed three last week and had (once again) forgotten how time-consuming and intelligence-intensive they were. Regardless of how long it takes my brain-dead self to write the reviews . . . and locate 52, 987 teeny tiny pieces of a Playmobil ship to return to their original box . . . I still feel strongly that this is a wonderful experience for both the Things and I. I mean, they get to play with toys to their hearts' content and I get to observe and participate in a variety of types of fun and play as well.

And last, but not least, I wanted to briefly post about our weekend away last week. The Things' daddy, Thing 3, and my mother-in-law and I drove to Toronto for a family wedding. My gracious and generous mother offered to fly up to Ottawa from Nova Scotia for the weekend to watch the older two Things while we were away.

I really thought she was insane - or joking - but I took her up on it anyway.

She flew up on Thursday and we left on Friday morning, not arriving back until Sunday night. I was a little nervous. A tad apprehensive. And at times, even extremely worried. I had not left Things 1 and 2 for any more than a couple hours with anyone other than their father since they were born. Thing 1 still shows signs of separation anxiety lately and Thing 2 had been bucking the "terrible twos" trend and showing us just how hellish being three could be - and I just couldn't imagine how the weekend was going to transpire.

Over all, it went pretty well. The biggest and most exciting news was that neither boy missed their mommy very much. There were no tears shed and that I was not expecting at all. They had a blast with their Nana and enjoyed the entire weekend.

She . . . got Thing 1 to school, packed his lunch, got him off the bus, took them to a restaurant (not once, but TWICE . . . IN PUBLIC), chauffered Thing 1 to a t-ball tournament, watched the entire game while entertaining Thing 2, stayed afterwards for the carnival that was set up at the field, took them to a toy store with no one needing to be carted away on a stretcher, drove them across the entire city to see a movie, got lost on said movie trip and had to stop at a gas station with two cranky kids and ask for directions, wiped bums, made snacks, made friends with complete strangers at our neighbourhood park, endured what I can only assume must have been hours and hours of Pokemon-based discussions and faked genuine interest in the roles each Pokemon has, AND fed and walked our dog.

Is she a super-hero, or what? I know, I owe her big.

Our weekend away was fantastic. Paul was the best man in the wedding and it was just amazing. It was wonderful to spend time with relatives from all over - especially those crazy Irish - and to celebrate in a wedding for two special people for whom we care so much.

I'll sign off with some photos from the wedding. I came home with very few pictures, and absolutely none from the church ceremony. I was taking care of Thing 3 much of the weekend, and was only without her for the reception and dinner part of the evening on the Saturday night. But someone did get one of she and I together at the church. And, yes, that is the same dress she wore to a wedding almost one year ago. (As is mine. We have no shame.)

Friday, June 05, 2009

Edward Scissorhands Beware

Thing 2 was in an unprecedented pleasant and agreeable mood the other night. Carpe Diem, right? I seized the opportunity to quickly and painlessly trim his bangs. How hard could it be? I've seen hair stylists do it at salons . . . zip zip snip - and voila, straight, even bangs.

Now I know what they mean when they say "don't try this at home".

If you follow my blog or you know me personally, you know that Thing 2 had very little hair at all and was actually practically bald until his third birthday. He still doesn't boast a head full of luscious locks, but the front strands were definitely getting long and straggly.

Before Edward Scissorhands (aka Crafty Mom) hacked away at her precious middle child.

After. Excuse the giant bruise on his forehead. No need to call social services.

14 hours after the "incident", after I rushed him to a nearby children's hair salon.

Lesson learned. I'm so sorry my patient little man! Thanks for not hating me, and for your sweet comment at bedtime last night.

"It doesn't look that bad, mommy, I like it flat across my forehead like that."

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

WW - Neglected?

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Easy Toddler Masks

As the end of the school year begins to close in on us, I can hardly believe ten months have passed during which Thing 1 has been in junior kindergarten every single afternoon. Over the course of the past year, I have grown to truly appreciate the one-on-one time I spend with Thing 2 each afternoon between 12:15 and 3:15.

He is very accommodating and always gives me about an hour to "get things done" - to work out, chop food for supper, tidy up, or spend time online. The rest of the time I try to devote to him. He goes in and out of craft phases, although lately he has been anxious for our time alone so we can create something new together.

I stumbled upon a site at which I found great templates to print out and create toddler masks.

I tried a variety of techniques, all of which totally failed before I finally tried this one from Enchanted Learning. The masks are easy to print out and fit on a little one's face perfectly. My printer was having a difficult time spitting out my card stock, so instead I printed the mask template out on regular paper and then traced it on card stock. Cut it out, fasten an elastic around the back and VOILA! Happiness in two seconds.

I was then required to make one for his brother - which was a lion's face - but it met an untimely demise at the fate of Thing 3's strong little fingers.

The mask Thing 2 is modeling is called "Robot". After I took the photos he decorated it and added some glitter to really make things funky.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Single Mommy Survives Her Weekend

I spent my first weekend at home by myself this weekend. Well, let's use that term "myself" loosely here . . . what I mean is my husband (aka the Things' daddy) left to go to Toronto this weekend for his cousin's bachelor party. He left Friday at supper time and arrived back last night before the Things went to bed. While it's not that I'm not used to him traveling . . . he traveled for weeks and weeks when Thing 2 was a little wee babe and somehow we made it through that . . . it has certainly been a long time since daddy embarked on his own weekend adventure.

Sans "us".

While I wasn't overly anxious about the whole situation, I harboured some minor fears that at any point things could go very, very wrong. I've been there, done that, and while I do know that every day is an adventure, I am grateful for the days that are not. Thankfully things turned out just fine.

We visited some fabulous friends, ate some Swiss Chalet, logged an inordinate amount of park-time, rolled down a wet hill with our grass-smelling-and-stained-damp clothing, kicked some Indiana Jones' butt on the Wii, burst into an impromptu dance party and became confident we could also kick some butt on "So You Think You Can Dance", devoured endless pancakes (and endless cups of coffee), and played hide and seek in the rain.

To be completely honest, if I learned anything from this weekend it is that the simplest and most basic way to keep your children completely and utterly happy is to spend every single waking minute with them and give them your constant, undying attention.

Obviously this is not feasible long term because as parents we have other responsibilities such as feeding, clothing, and caring for our children. It is also encumbent upon us to provide a decent living space that is clean and rid of filth, to pay bills, earn a living, to ensure the grass miraculously stays below waist-level in our yard, and to carry out a variety of mundane yet crucially important tasks on a daily basis.

But if we didn't have to do these things, and were able to shirk responsibility for a short time just as I was this weekend . . . I'm pretty sure kids around the globe would be happy round the clock.

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