Friday, May 9, 2014

Month 51

Dear Maddy,

So late. So, so late. So sorry? You are 51 months old! And every month is more and more awesome.

Your crazy, crazy mom has done her research and picked you kindergarten school. For September.

2015.

But I wanted to do research on the schools early, then have the chance to check then 2 years in a row... We'll go to again next year. But we made the choice! I am a little in love with the kindergarten teacher. She is amazing! But it's tough, I wanted to choose another school (it was so much closer). But when you walk in, you know. And I knew. There was a time when I considered moving before Maddy was in school, but I think I am part of this neighbourhood. We're making friends, we're getting to know neighbours, we love the school... and the thought of moving makes me weep. So much STUFF we have. So many boxes... Plus, this is home.

About you Maddy. You started soccer this week! And it was adorable! This was your first time playing soccer, and you were insistent on carrying the ball in your hand. And there was a LOT more running than you are used to... but you had a blast! About about 35 you were in a little playing a little game, and you got TIRED. You sat on the field dejectedly. Coach sent you to the side for water. I told you that water? I soccer? Was MAGIC and would cure everything. You drank hungrily.

In my (sometimes lacking) sense of humour I thought of soccer games, when the limping and grimacing man splashes a little water and is fine, when I said that. But you, your 51 month old you, believed me. You drank deeply and ran back out. About 2 minutes later you huffed and puffed your way back to me and sicnerely said

"Mommy, I think the water is BROKEN. I am still TIRED"

Oops.



But you loved soccer. And still love swimming. Although dance is less interesting... This summer you will get to choose two. Not three, that is too much (for me). Although you are getting the whole family more active. Last weekend we went on two "walks" (where you ran at a dead sprint the entire time). And tonight we went out and all four of us played a rousing game of soccer. Even Walter was in on it (and is now exhausted). And you are better than you were! Plus, it's good for all of us to be more active. Because of you, my love.

Well, one of the walks we went on last weekend was half walk, half BIKE RIDE! You got your first new bike! The Sparkler! It's purple and white. And you love it! Your helmet? It's a women's helmet. Remember, 51 months is just over 4 years old. Women's helmet. Yup.


Women's.

Ouch.

But since your last month-day we celebrated Easter! Many egg hunts were to be had. At aunty Kathleen's. At daycare. Then at Fort Edmonton Park. And then at home... It was a lot of egg hunts. And Maddy loved every single one! There was such real and genuine joy in every single one. Every one. And I think that is my favourite part of 51 months. The pure and real joy and laughter in everything you do.

Even ice cream.


Happy 51 months, my beauty, my love, my so smart girl.

I love you,

--mommy

Monday, March 31, 2014

Month 50

Maddy!

Only 5 days late... NOT BAD! Happy 50 months my Maddy.

What can we say about you this month? You are FIRMLY into the "Why" phase. EVERYTHING is questioned. Absolutely. Everything. Your dad and I are both trying to calmly answer questions and encourage your learning. Well, except when you deliberately troll us. Which you do! THEN we laugh at you.

And I am apparently firmly into the caps lock phase. I hope both of us grow out of this soon. For everyone's sake.

This is starting to fade, but another phase you have been in is the Randy the Macho Man Savage phase (aka the phase where you don't say "Yes" you say "ooooh yeeeah").

Do you want milk? Ooooh yeeeah.

Are you hungry? Ooooh yeeeah.

Do you love your mommy? Ooooh yeeeah.

Do I love this phase? Ooooh yeeeah

You also do not admit to not knowing anything. Instead of "I don't know" we get a very first consonant heavy "WHat?"

Maddy, why are you crying? WHat?

Maddy, what does this word say? WHat?

Maddy, why do we sleep? WHat?

Do I also love this phase? Ooooh yeeeah.

And we're also very deliberate in avoiding swearing in front of her. She's picking up on the swearing timing, but thankfully isn't actually cursing. Yet. We get "What THE?" in place of generic swear word. Adorable, more appropriate and a sign that we're doing well with the swearing avoidance.

This month we went and looked at your 2 options for school in the neighbourhood. There is one I liked logically. Then there is the one I walked into, that felt great and clean and I adored the teachers and principal and was light and happy. Despite firmly committing to keep you in preschool for one more year (you'll start September 2015) I know which school I like. You father thinks I am a bit nuts for looking so soon, but I wanted to see the difference between 2 years in terms of teach and principal continuity and... feel. Next year, my baby girl, you will be in kindergarten! And you are already excited for your new school.

This month we also signed you up for continued swimming lessons (4&5 beginner) and continued dance class and now also soccer! 6 weeks, outdoor and you already have to miss one week (we'll be out of town). I definitely don't want to over program you, but I also know how important being active is and how sedentary your father and I are. Our evenings consist of dinner, clean up then sitting and watching videos on the computer or TV as you sit. With us. I am vowing (when it warms up) to get more active and pull you along with me, Maddy. But in case this fails (again) I want there to be more activity in your world.

And a last rambling tidbit, before I say good night. Noms. Noms have been a part of our life for many years. They are your monsters. They come out of the furnace vent at night. There is a special spray we must spray on the furnace to prevent them from coming out. When they die their tongues stick out. One looks like Mr. Grouper. Yes, from Bubble Guppies. Mr. Grouper Nom.

Noms.

Your imaginary monsters. Which we have vowed over and over to protect you from. And from all the monsters, real or imaginary, we vow to protect you from them all, for as long as you will let us. We love you so much Maddy. When you are trolling or stubborn. When you are funny and sweet. Sleeping and awake. We love you. Just for who you are.

Happy 50 months on earth, my big girl.

--mommy








Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Month49

Maddy!

Oh. Maddy. I am not sure this is the right day to be blogging about you. And how amazing (and exasperating) you are.. Time for the REAL.

You are having a boundaries pushing day. Every boundary. Pushed. And pushed. And pushed.

Started off on an adorable note, this morning. When asked how your sleep was, you responded:

"Good! I slept 10 inches!"

See? Adorable! Then breakfast.

You had toast and oranges and a glass of milk, in an open top plastic glass (feeble attempt at foreshadowing, note the glass). We park you at the dining room table, with your LeapPad, where you slowly eat and play on your tablet. You have the attention span of... a 4 year old. Naturally. The LeapPad keeps you at the table (instead of getting distracted and wandering off) and gives me a chance to get ready while getting the most food we can into you. After about 15 minutes of eating, I came back to the dining room, to give you the one minute warning - one minute and breakfast is done and we will get you dressed. You then asked for a sippy cup, for your milk. I said no. There was one minute left, plus you are a big girl and you don't need one. I walked back out of the room. Two steps out the door and I hear:

"Mooom! My miwk SPILLED".

I walked back in. Milk all over the table, dripping on the floor. And the cup sitting upright in the centre of the milk.

"Maddy. Did you intentionally SPILL YOUR MILK??!"

"Mommy, if I had a sippy cup it wouldn't have spilled".

...


Um... WHAT?! Did you really just... MADDY! I fought back the shocked laughter and we had a serious talk about how we do NOT spill our milk. And now help me clean this up, child. I am not sure you expected to be reprimanded. There were a few tears.

And then the usual litany of "Maddy. Please, stand still. You need to put on clothes. Well, then you pick out your clothes, if you don't want to wear this. Maddy! Which shirt? You need pants. No, those are pjs. Maddy, if you stay still your hair won't get pulled as I brush it. Maddy, put your coat on. Maddy. Coat. Maddy, yes, those toys are awesome. YOUR COAT. Look me in the eyes, look at me. Maddy, I need you to pay attention. Get your coat. Thank you! Yes, you are such a big girl for putting it on yourself!! Maddy, stay still. I need to zip it up. Madeline. PLEASE STOP MOVING."

You know. The morning.

The evening? We were having dinner. You were sticking your tongue out with food on it. Not paying attention. Dancing around your seat. Refusing to eat what was on your plate. Finally, after many requests,  your father pointed his finger at you and asked for your attention.

You look him in the eye. Smiled. And tapped his finger with your spoon.



HOW DO PARENTS KEEP A STRAIGHT FACE?

Later that evening, you wandered into the pantry and grabbed a snack. Even though we have told you, you must ask before taking.

You put the opened and half eaten raisins on table, looked up at me with angelic eyes and said:

"Mommy, can I pweeeease have a snack?"

Learning it's better to ask for forgiveness than permission... already. I told you next time you take without asking I will throw that food in the garbage. I expect to do so tonight.

Then brushing teeth, with your dad. You insisted on having the glass that you use to rinse your mouth on the sink before starting. Your dad asked you to start brushing your teeth, then he'd get it from the other room. You refused until the cup came. Pouted and huffed and threw toys. Then yourself to the floor when you weren't allowed to get your way. Which ended in you being carried out of the bathroom bawling and kicking.

And that was today. Seriously. No literary exaggeration.

But you are still so sweet and wonderful and funny and smart. Yes, challenging. But more importantly, just plain ole awesome. Even when pushing boundaries you make us laugh and smile. And your intelligence and problem solving is something you need to be proud of. We are exasperated, but proud too. We love you endlessly Maddy. Endlessly and always and forever, just the way you are.

Happy 49 months, my love!

--mom




Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Month 48 (aka Four years. ALREADY!?)

Maddy!

You are now 4 magical years old! Saturday we had your birthday party at a facility in Sherwood Park. It was PERFECT. You ran and ran and climbed and played for 2 hours with your friends. And then there were cupcakes and signing happy birthday and gifts. And then a a few more minutes of play. The out of there for the next party! I like that - definite start and end times for parties, and someone else to do the clean up.

Sunday morning, your actually birthday, we tried to sing you happy birthday. And immediately your hand was up and you were commanding we stop.

"You sang that YESTERDAY" in your most exasperated voice.

Well, ok then! We had dance class (where you got a necklace from Ms. Jeannie) and the grocery shopping (where you got a PILE of goodies from the grocery store!) and dinner at baba and dido's. With a mountain of toys there! And an ice cream cake, as requested.

At the end of it all, I asked you what was your favourite part. The gifts? The cupcakes? The ice cream cake? No, it was playing with your friends from daycare. Not the kids of mommy's friends. YOUR friends. And so thank you Jack and Evan and Bailee for making Maddy's 4th birthday amazing.

I was like Maddy as a kid. I wanted my friends over all the time, always a friend over to play. I'd beg them to be allowed to stay a few minutes longer. A sleepover. Anything to have company. Neil was not this kind of only child. He was content alone. At least we have experience with the 2 extremes.

I see many play dates in our future.

And now that you are 4, we are going to get you a "big girl" twin bed! You are still on your very very firm crib mattress. Which can't be comfy. And there is barely room for you in the bed, with all your stuffies in there too. And sometimes? I just want to snuggle. So twin bed it is!

Your imagination is remarkable my dear! One evening, as you were falling asleep, you must have had a little dream and woke up in tears. There were balls of light coming out of your red IKEA table and they flew around your head and went into your belly and now your belly hurts. You were so upset!? Your amazing daddy took the offending table out of your room (it has not been allowed back in since) and now there is even more room for your big girl bed. And every morning we get to hear about your dreams the night before/. For a long time, it was all about the bad dreams. Now we count how many good ones and bad ones you had. But the details? Only the bad ones. Humans and interesting animals.

Yesterday you went to the doctor. for your 4 year check up. As soon as Dr. Chambers came in, you began telling your stories and gesturing emphatically to get your point across. That you were just there for the EAR DOCTOR and now he was the TUMMY DOCTOR and how it was your BIRTHDAY. The doctor smiled, leaned over to me and said quietly "I see a BFA in her future". So. Much. PERSONALITY.

But you are in perfect health! 3'4" tall, almost 43 pounds. So still 90th percentile for weight, 80th for height. Same as you have been almost from the start! Although even at age 4, there are the comparisons starting, with the sly allusions to height and weight and the desirability of skinny (with tall and skinny for boys, short and skinny for girls). Oh Maddy, what is this world you were born in to!

Although I have to admit, looking at pics from your birthday, I was immediately drawn to my waist and the extra there and immediately found myself failing. Not the joy on my face, at my daughter's birthday or the sense of tired accomplishment that it was going well (despite the fact I have been fighting something for months and months). Nope. Not even the joy on YOUR face Maddy, as you had so much fun at your birthday! My waist. And arms. And chin... And how I wasn't good enough. And these thoughts even when I am actively working to stop them.

What is this world we live in?

Well, my love. My four year old love. My big girl! Time to shut this old laptop off and get to bed, as I try to fight off this pestilence that has invaded me to the core (yes, that was dramatic. I can like the drama too!)

I love you. We all love you. Happy 4th birthday my big girl.

--mommy

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Month.. Oh man. A lot...

Well, I have failed at even once a month blogging! There is a long list of reminders in my inbox saying "Maddy letter dumbass!" (dumbass mine). And I see it. And I even add it to my list of things to do. And I don't. Why do I resist?

Who knows.

There is SO. MUCH. AWESOME. in our lives. Maddy is amazing and hilarious and so so smart and wonderful. And daily Neil and I laugh or cringe or are shocked by something she says or does. And I want to remember this all. I post pithy little Facebook updates, and maybe that could be enough. But I think I want more context. One of my 2014 resolutions is to... (you guessed it) BLOG MORE. And over a week into this, I am only just starting.

There are some really really old examples of her awesomeness that I saved in Google Keep (love that program - electronic sticky notes). One night, in July or so, as I was putting her to bed, I snuggled her tightly as we laid on her floor. Then I pretended to be fast asleep, with over the top snoring and everything. Maddy kept squirming and trying to get out, calling out "MOMMY! WAKE UP MOMMY!". I ignored her demands to wake up and stole the snuggles. She stopped moving... she was thinking...

"COCKADOODLE-DOOOOO Mommy!"

She couldn't wake me, so the rooster would! I started laughing, ruining the snoring and let her go. And then stared and my 3 and a half year old, in awe of her problem solving. Her voice wouldn't wake me, so what does wake people? ROOSTERS! Oh Maddy, you'll have us on our toes for years and years to come.

(Just a picture from a playdate that I adore. This post needed more pictures!)

This was the first year Maddy went trick or treating, and understood it. And it was SO MUCH FUN. She dressed up, we walked and walked (and collected reams of candy). She was so polite walking up to houses, holding my hand. The first time I stood back to take a picture (below) is the first (but not last!) house with a motion activated scream machine. If you look closely in the picture you can see Maddy looking sharply to the right, as the machine starting cackling. Oy! I ran up the her immediately and was much more careful staying by her side. And holding her for a few other houses with motion detection machines.

After it was all done, we were snuggling in bed and talking about trick or treating. She loved the candy, the visiting. I praised her for being brave with some of the moving decorations. She said she wasn't brave, she was scared.

"Maddy, being brave means still doing what you want to, even if you are sacred. And mommy is so proud of you". I always, always am.



Right now, Maddy is helping with everything. Setting the table, cooking, cleaning... she can do it ALL because she is a "BIG girl now". And we're still trying to accommodate her as much as we can. Cutting the tomatoes? No. But putting the cut tomatoes into the bowl for me? Sure! We can make this helping thing work.


Over Christmas Maddy insisted on helping Neil shovel when it was when it was pretty cold out. We found her snowpants, scarf, tuque, gloves, jacket and warm boots. And her little pink shovel. And she was out! Helping Daddy. Well... "helping". She felt it was important to take the snow OFF the banks and put it on the sidewalk. Then when corrected, no snow on the sidewalk, she took the snow off the bank, crossed the sidewalk and put it on the OTHER bank. Where is slowly rolled down and landed... on the sidewalk. But she's trying! And we encourage that.



Another way Maddy wanted to prove she was a big girl. On New Years day we decided to go out to our favourite sushi restaurant. Maddy hears my mom and I constantly battle to see who will pay. That day? She ran into the living room, grabbed her little toy piggy bank (in the shape of a "Madelineraptor") and proudly declared SHE would be paying! She carried her piggy bank in to the restaurant and told the waitress (who we know well) that she would pay. Rhea looked at us, and we quietly indicated we'd cover the rest. And after dinner, Maddy proudly carried her 45 cents to pay for dinner. And we proudly finished off the bill.

Over Christmas Maddy was home with us when daycare was closed. We tried to get her out of the house, activities and visiting. And even tried to arrange a playdate at our place (although it never happened). But there was a lot of "booooooooored" and "I want you to PLAY with me!" over the days. Espousing the virtue of independent play was not going over very well... Finally on December 30 we could take Maddy in for the day! Despite us both being home, we knew she would love the time with her friends. She walked in to little girls screaming her name. Maddy hugged each little girl so tightly and exclaimed "I MISSED YOU GUYS!" and was off. She has reached that socialization place - her friends are so important to her. And they will continue to grow in importance (as we, the parents, diminish). And that is perfectly ok :)

(A picture from a friend's birthday party)

Maddy is also showing great interest in music. Neil is in a band (awesome band) and Maddy has been having fun "practicing" with him. She'd play the Rock Band game drums as he played bass. For Christmas I asked her if she wanted a drum or guitar, so she could play along with Daddy. She looked at me, with a puzzled expression and said

"A bass, mommy"

Well. A child's toy bass has not yet been invented! So she got a toy pink guitar, which she affectionately calls her bass. And it's obnoxiously loud. And she loves it!

 (Maddy, practicing with Daddy, back in the summer)

Being a mom is often collecting wisdom from friends. One dear friend was explaining how in her house she's taught her daughter there are no secrets, only surprises. The reason for this is dark, if there is anything inappropriate happening, and someone tells Maddy that what is happenign is a "secret" that she can't tell mommy or daddy... well. There are no secrets in our house. But it's hard to give up that vocal tic. 

A few days a ago we were sitting around. Maddy and Daddy were on the couch together, watching something on the computer I think. Maddy was being her usual awesome self and I was struck with how much I love her. I said aloud "Maddy, can I tell you a secret?". She stopped, thought and said "But we have no secrets mommy". Oh Maddy! You are right, I was wrong. There are no secrets. As I try to teach you, you reflect it back at me and make me look at life anew.

Parenting is not about saying the right thing, always. It's about modelling the right thing, as often as you can. And when you see something positive and confident reflected back at you, in your child's eyes and actions, you know that despite the mistakes you are doing ok. There will be secrets, one day. There will be lies and hurt feelings. We will be so irrelevant... and as long as we give her a solid foundation to act from, she'll be ok. So far, so good. We have an amazing little girl in our house.




Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Month Forty-One. And Forty-Two.

Dearest Maddy,

I have heard "them" say with children the days are long but the years are short. Which kind of explains what happened these months... I have a LIST of things to write on about you. Each could be it's own post! Oh Maddy, I know I am going to regret not writing more and saving these moments.

You, right now, are forty-two and a half months old. And ill. You, my love, have a summer cold. And this weekend you have been whiny and grumpy and not eating much. With intermittent fevers. So I sent you to daycare today... and... Well. Yah. They sent you home. And you got to spend the day hanging out with Daddy! I am thinking tomorrow will be another day at home. This time with me. And we'll make it a magical day of videos and snuggling.

One fun thing we started doing is naming all the people you love. Mommy. Daddy. Baba. Dido. Walter. And Maddy. Maddy, you love Maddy.

And you LAUGHED.

And I realized how weird it is to think of loving yourself. I was in my mid-twenties before someone made me think to love yourself. And we're trying to teach you that now. Now, you can say with confidence that you love Maddy. For some reason I think that will matter...

Taking this somewhere else, last time I wrote it was about potty training. And you? Are POTTY TRAINED! It took 4 weeks. 4 looong weeks of washing panties. And then? You pooed on the potty. Of COURSE it was a Sunday night. After Target was closed. So we promised the next day, after daycare, we would go to Target. After buying the stroller. And cart. And other things we needed. $75 later. A $75 poo. And? WORTH EVERY PENNY. You have been so so so great since. Maddy, you have fears about your abilities in the beginning. You aren't sure you can do something... then you do it. And once you do it once, you have all the confidence in the world.

You are on the verge of reading. And then you get scared... and you say you can't. But you will. Once that happens you will be unstoppable. And then we're going to have to figure out a new way to secretly communicate, instead of spelling things out. Because Maddy. It's all we have. You are SMART. We used to use reverse psychology to get you to do things. Not anymore. And you see things, get things, understand things. A new book on the shelf? You notice. I hang the curtains again, after having windows replaced? You notice (your dad did not).

Although the other thing you started, that shows your smarts (and scares us) is...

Lying.

Yes, at THREE you  have started lying. When you poo, you get a popsicle. It's one I make myself, made with yogurt. But a popsicle for every poo. And the other night, you went into the bathroom and second later announced a poo. And you deserved a popsicle. We questioned the speed of pooing. And lack of flush, wiping or... you know. TIME. And you asserted, you did poo. We looked. No poo. You caved. But it isn't going to take you long to get the subtlies of lying. Then we're screwed.

But you are still so eager to help. So happy to be part of it all. So wonderful... So amazing. So three and a half. So perfect. So everything to us. Maddy, I am not sure we will ever be able to make you understand how much we love you. But we do. Totally. Completely. Always. For exactly who you are. All bossy, lying, stubborn, whiny three you are. Everything.

Always.

Love,

Mama

Monday, May 27, 2013

Month Forty

Oh my love,

This month? This month we started potty training you. We got rid of the highchair. And this is also the month you started acting oh so perfectly three.

First? Potty training. We started on Saturday May 18th. This first day? 11 pair of wet panties. 3 pees on the potty. And even one poo! Sunday was better with the peeing. Monday was so great! We took you out, you peed on potties out in public. Tuesday at daycare was... not good. But since Wednesday you have been so good with peeing on the potty! Some leaking in the evenings, I think your pelvic floor is tiring by the end of the day. But so so so good! Notice I stopped mentioning poo? Oh Maddy. This is where the struggle started. You have not pooed on the potty since Saturday. You are deathly terrified on pooing on the potty.

"Luckily" you are willing to poo in your pants. Twice a day at home (not as often at daycare). Tonight we tried to intercept your pants activity. Now I am just convinced you are constipated. And a doctor's visit is in your future. We are trying to talk you through it. Bribe you. Model for you. Hold you, to comfort your fears. Anything to convince you to poo on the potty. ANYTHING.  It's been a struggle. Right now our big trump card is we'll buy you a stroller AND a shopping cart from Target IF you poo in the potty. Your face will contort in PURE JOY at the thought of these toys. But no poo on the potty.

And we've already started trying to figure out what we'll have to do for poo number two...

Something easier! Highchair. We told you it went back home, to its mommy. You asked for it to come back a few times. We said it couldn't. And then you choose your spot. And have switched it around a few times... And now have taken your dad's former spot as your own. And it's awesome to have that space back!

And being three. I read a quote somewhere that all three year olds are assholes. This. THIS! You are willful and stubborn and have absolutely no attention span at all. Your little brain is always going in 100 different directions, 99 of them not what I need you to do. Of those 99, 75 of them are at least somewhat dangerous. And then when we ask you to stop walking backwards down the stairs while holding on to the rail like you are "pulling yourself down"? And then you lose your mind like we rammed bamboo under your fingernails when we ask you to stop? This. Or when you have to be physically restrained and carried into the bath, since you have developed an irrational fear of being sucked down the drain? And we cannot convince you that you are safe? And after potty training, and accidents and playing outside we HAVE to bathe you? This.

THIS.

But then there are beautiful moments. Moments where you help with things around the house. Offer to help us clean up. Show your manners. Set up elaborate tea parties for us. Tell jokes. Hug with 100% of your being. Laugh from your toes at our bad jokes. This is what really matters, this is what being your mom means. This is everything good about more than outweighs your three-ness.

I see your inner self, Maddy. And she is amazing and wonderful and loving and sweet and kind. And I am so lucky to get to try find the patience for those moments when the three comes out. Because on the other side it is... amazing.

Love always,

--mom