Monday, December 26, 2011

Month twenty-three letter

My little Maddster,

Twenty-three months ago, exactly, you were 1 hour-ish old and I was completely in love you with you. I was scared and overwhelmed and in pain and so so hungry. But most importantly, I was in love with you and so excited to be your mom. And still I love you with everything I am and still I am so excited to be your mom. And now in ONE month you will be 2. We aren't planning a big party for you this year. It'll just be you, me, dad, baba and dido, I think. We'll have a nice dinner and open a few gifts. And spend time together and be family.  And I'll sit in an awed stupor that I am the mother of a 2 year old.

This month, Maddy, you turned your tantrum game up and up and up! You were losing it almost daily, with any transition. Getting to daycare was hard, leaving daycare was hard, going out at night was hard. I think a lot of it was us, Madds. We weren't explaining things well enough for you to understand what was happening. We'd just suddenly grab you and as you were being wrestled into a jacket we'd be explaining it to you. And that was just too late, you were already confused. Now we're giving you more time, and you are doing better. and we're explaining more. You get it. You get what\s happening to you and you want to have some sense of control over your world. And we're trying.

The last few days, over Christmas, you did wonderfully! You were friendly and social and funny and sweet. You ran the entire time and were into everything and ate too many sweets. But you were wonderful (spoiler for future post that has been started and not yet finished).

Otherwise this last month has been filled with even more words and talking. There has been the alphabet sung and we have 1 through 10 pretty much down (sometimes 4 still gets ignored). And so many new words. I think I still stare at you daily in awe at another word you said. You also now sing with us, in your slightly off key voice. For Christmas you got a drum and guitar (and a tambourine and shakers) and you love to make music. You were wandering around the house yesterday playing the drumsticks on the floor and the cupboards and my leg, testing out sounds.

So many words to just say how wonderful you are, Maddy, and how much we love you. Maddy, you are the best and we love you with every ounce of our being. And in one month, you will be two whole years old. and our minds will be blown.

I love you, Maddster.

Mommy

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Then and now

Last year, Maddy and Santa. Same Santa, so it's definitely the kiddo that grew (not a smaller Santa).

And this year.


Notice Odg? And the no boots and jacket? *sigh*

And because we still love them too!


Negligent

I have been ignoring you, little blog. A lot of it comes down to balance and time. To keep some balance, there never seems to be time to write. And I feel rusty. I feel... unable. I'll try to put something in writing.

We're also getting deeply into the terrible twos and so the stories aren't always sweet or fun. Sometimes it's all about ear piercing screaming losing-of-the-mind meltdowns. Like today, when we were SO MEAN and made you put boots and your coat on, Maddy, when we were leaving the mall. Or when we leave daycare. Or when we try to leave for the mall. Transitions? We're not doing well with those right now.

But then there are also the awesome stories of you. Today, when reading, I was asking you what things on the page were. And your response wasn't just "turtle" or "sun". But instead "It's sun" or "It's turtle. Running turtle!" Or tonight as I lay on my stomach on the floor and tried to close my eyes for 2 minutes (sleepy day) and you laid on the floor with me, nose to nose, and said "Mommy! No sleeping. WAKE UP!". You are so real in how you react to the world. Everything is big and natural.

You are talking up a storm Madds. You are so very tall (in 3T clothes). You still obsessively love the Wiggles (everything else is meaningless). You love your Little People dolls, and announce to us "BOY" or "GIRL" with great frequency. You are a good eater, as long as you are allowed to graze all day long. Meals? They are not the highlight of your eating day. You love "DIP" especially with pizza. You know what you want. Raising, puffs, goldfish. Today you asked for milk. I offered you milk or almond milk. You said "awmon miwk" and happily drank away.

Last night, after you went to bed Dad and I put up the tree. I left it lit all night so that I could bring you into the room and see your reaction to the tree. I brought you in and you looked around. And the first thing you noticed was your table and chair in a new place. And that there was a new "TE-EEE BEER!" on the table. There was MUCH excitement over the little mouse stuffie with a santa hat on. Then you looked at the BALLOOONS on the tree and then noticed the Pooh ornament and the Dolly ornament and well, those were all awesome. And the 3 presents under the tree were ignored, except for a comment about SANTA, the wrapping on one gift.

Today we took you to see Santa. You did NOT want to leave the house. You used to be a kid that would lose her mind if we didn't get out of the house. Now you lose your mind if we try to get you out of the house... But we got you there. Despite it being a shorter line, you were insisting on DOWN by the time we arrived there. You slowly approached Santa and accepted the candy he gave you. Then gave it back... We put you on his lap and you didn't cry, but you didn't smile. You looked at us, looked at him... finally we got a little smile, the picture was taken and we were off! Off to a meltdown and a screaming-at-the-top-of-lungs meltdown all the way to the car. Luckily both us parents find it more funny than embarrassing - we just accept it and move on (quickly). I was a little disappointed that we weren't able to go to Tim's for the promised TEEM BEET (and a smoothie for me). But no one needed the baby banshee in their midst.

Maddy, it's harder with you now, but you are still the most amazing and wonderful and perfect addition to our lives. You make everything louder and busier and better than I ever could have imagined.

Let's hope this writing thing becomes a habit again (along with taking SOME pictures - I have been so bad at pictures). Let's hope I can also remember how to write to a blog and a blog audience instead of just letters to you. Let's hope, since we're hoping so much, that I can actually get everything done for Christmas by Christmas! I SHOULD be finishing Christmas cards right now... Bah! So many directions to be pulled in, so little sleep...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Month 22 letter*

Dearest Mad-delicious,

You are 22 months (*and one day) now. Mommy was a little absent minded yesterday and despite trying to remind myself in 3-4 places, I forgot to write yesterday. Oops. Life seems to be a constant balance of trying to remember to get everything done. More simply, I just try to remember what needs to be done, let alone find the time to do it.

Life with you is awesome. You are fun and funny and smart and so verbal and so observant. I love to just watch you take in a new piece of information, like what this new object is, and try to find where it fits in your existing knowledge matrix. The timer we got from the burger place was something new. You looked at the shape, a rectangle with a large round knob, and announced to us (quite proudly) CAM-RA! Well, Maddster, it definitely had the shape. You are also starting simple sentences and simple conversations. We can ask you questions and you answer. We can give you directions and you respond. We can also do something completely innocuous like put on your jacket and you LOSE YOUR MARBLES because it was not the thing you wanted to do. Terrible twos? They be starting. It's time for me to pick up a few child development books on what you are really capable of and what concepts you truly understand.

Maddy, you are bigger than the average 22-month old girl. And you are very verbal. And very engaging. And sometimes people forget how really young you are. And I want to be sure our expectations of you are reasonable. And that your behaviour is normal (like the random freak-outs and the refusal to eat dinner - no matter what I cook). But to have the honour to watch you grow and learn and explore... I know I was meant to be your mom.

Although now that you're here, and so fun to hang out with, HOW does a mother get it all done. And then add a second and still get it all done? I decided awhile ago that there were three top priorities in my life - 1) spend time with you and your dad. 2) Make sure you have healthy meals to eat (even if you refuse to eat them). 3) That once a week I  need to get out. Away from being mom and wife and chef and cleaner and accountant and organizer. That I can just be Wendy the friend and have no responsibilities. But after those three, there is an endless list. Cleaning and organizing and groceries and errands and bills and Christmas and decorating the house and my silly computer games and plan for the future... It's a game of whack-a-mole trying to get the rest dealt with. And I sometimes get it done. More often, I miss a mole or two. But I just want you to remember that spending time with you is always #1 on my list of things to do. Always.

This letter feels like I was phoning it in just a little, but the day is marching on and there is LOADS to do today. Too much to do... But most importantly, it's time to hop on the other couch with my girl and my best friend and mooch dad's smoothie. And laugh in amazement how you, my girl, are so much like you father in appearance.

Happy 22 month-day my girl!

Love you always,

Mommy

Saturday, November 19, 2011

400

This is my 400th post. Four. Hundred. Posts. About... us. Just us. Just growing and nurturing a human. Wow. So, this one feels like it should be important - have some special meaning. But? Nope. Not much to report.

How dull.

Maddy is awesome. Maddy is also bossy. Mommy, jacket OFF. Mommy, shoes OFF. Mommy, light ON. Mommy?  Come HEER. WIGG-OS!! DANCE! WIGG-OOOOOOOOOS! Go AWAY. Imperatives all the way!

Works (both mine and Neil's) are good. I love my job, I love the people I work with, I love the tasks I am asked to do. Neil is settling into his new job and is doing really well. And tonight I get to meet his coworkers at his Christmas party. Yup, just a little nervous. Here's hoping I don't make an ass of myself (I have been known to do that before).

Hmm...

The weather is COLD so we're just staying in. Maddy does not understand hats and gloves (and just tears them off). And scarves are a choking hazard. And she says "OUCH! HURT" when we do her jacket up to the top. So? Inside we stay today.

Most pathetic 400, like, ever.

Ah well, drama or upset or scandal or sadness seems to translate better into creativity or writing. And life, right now, is happy and peaceful and fun. But I'd much rather have it this way, happiness may not translate well into writing but it makes for a wonderful life to live.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Was I really just...?

Sunday was a lazy day. We did nothing - not even change out of our pajamas. Normally a day at home means someone gets a little bored with the SAME. OLD. HOUSE. And whining ensues. Although yesterday Madds (oops! spoiler!) was pretty content, until the very end when she just had enough of this day.

But the lazy Sunday makes up for the super busy Saturday. Baba, Dido, Neil, Maddy and I went to the Titanic exhibit and then out for dinner. The exhibit was short, but moving. Literally for the one in charge of chasing down Maddy and figuratively for the others. As 3 of us would wander and read and look, the fourth would be chasing a running Maddster as she ping-ponged from display to display. And, honestly, I looked at the room from her perspective. Words she can't read on the walls and boxes with things that were above her line of sight. But there were many people to visit and space to run. When I had a chance to look, the artifacts were interesting but it was the stories of the people... that moved me. Sometimes it's easy to read about an event and be sad. For me, it's when I break the event to the people - their lives and stores - that is when I am devastated. These stories from a century ago had tears coming to my eyes. But also, it reaffirms my belief that no matter when we live in time, we're all the same. Love, laughter, heartbreak... living. It all happens then much like it does now.

Back to reality, we then took Maddy to the space area and let her run wild and free. And she ran. And ran. And ran. And ran. Can my child actually still walk, or is it only run now? She walked up to people and said hi, she pushed buttons and pointed to "MOON". And ran. When it was time to leave there were a few tears (it's never fun to have fun end). And then to dinner, which took way too long. And home to bed.

But before the busy started, we were at home and hanging out in the living room. Neil and I were on one couch and Maddy was watching TV. A song came on that I knew and I started my off-key warble along. Maddy turned to me, pointed her finger to her lips and firmly said:

"SHHHHHHHHHHHH"

I stopped singing and stared. Then? I started laughing maniacally. My 21 month-old daughter just SHUSHED ME. My laughter lead to another shush (which lead to more laughter, which I muted with my hands). Oy vey, Maddster. You are a girl of certainty.

Life, otherwise, continues to speed by. Still. Maybe this is just the normal pace of life now and I should stop commenting on it?

Because I never seem to get around to typing as often as I would like, I'll continue to ramble about baby version 2.0 and my newest thoughts. I have set out to the universe, to have a second child Neil and I would have to win a substantial amount of money in the lotto, so that we could afford said child. So we could afford larger mortgage (for a house with enough bedrooms) and 2 daycare spots and 2 RESPs. I know we could do it with what we have, but we'd do it with more stress and financial strain and worry.

I read blogs (which led to writing in blogs). I read the blogs of people with 2 or more children and their level of busy. Of losing tempers, of snapping at everyone, of wondering how it'll all work. And chasing children in opposite directions, and more sleeplessness and tiredness and more stress and less money. Sure, there is more love and more hugs and more kisses and more being shushed... but we have an amazing life right now. We have balance. We have an equilibrium that all three of us (five if you include the dogs) are thriving in. And I am not sure I want to rock that boat. Because I really am a klutz and could see myself falling in the water...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Somehow...

Somehow it's November. Time is passing at a frightening rate. It's 48 days until Christmas. And since I refuse to enter malls come December 1st, I'm running out of time! Although I think I'll be doing some shopping for a specific child closer to Christmas. Some one keeps changing her mind on what she loves most. Hep-copper, or hair-plain, or truck or car or Doora or WIGG-OS! Maybe we should wait a little closer to the day, to make the purchases. But I am already thinking about ways to make Christmas about more than one morning full of toys, but a time of family and togetherness and fun. Yes, I am THAT mom!

The last little while has been a bit more challenging. Maddy had a rash on her hands and knees, and was sleeping poorly because of it. And poor sleep = grumpy girl. Just fragile, anything and everything set her off. But the rash is getting better. And she's sleeping better. She's also been put on an inhaler, for a chronic cough. It's been around since... May? But it's just something we got used to. One cough in the morning, a couple in the evening... Hopefully the inhaler help. Madds? Hates the mask. We're trying to make it fun, but it's not pleasant and she gets upset. So things are returning to normal. We have our happy girl back!

This weekend was the time change weekend. I was dreading this weekend. Last year Maddy woke at some crazy time like the new 530am, making the entire day a write-off.  This year? Because Maddy has been wanting to sleep in of late (catching up?) she slept until 730am the NEW time!! That isn't bad at all, to wake up at! Wow... I typed joy at waking up at 730am, on a Sunday. Motherhood changes you. For the better. Or at least the more early waking. We'll see how the rest of the week goes. She had a short nap and was ready for bed early tonight.


To end on the Maddy-isms to record... How she walks into a room now, and announces "HAI E-BODY!" for hi everybody! And how much she loves looking for the moon, and announcing it to us. Neil and I will be looking all over. And it's always somewhere, when she says hi to it. Or how she is starting to give commands to the dogs. No, sit, sing, enough, quiet... Or how, just today, she "I luff you" as she looked at me. How verbal she is, how fabulous it is to be able to communicate with her. How much I love that little person that I helped to make. How much better my life is, with her here.

Even if there is nothing profound to type, I am going to try and type more often. This month is NaBloPoMo (a month to blog daily). I am late to start, but will try to be better. Bear with me, I feel... rusty.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Month twenty one letter

My (not as) little Maddy,

Today you are 21. Twenty-one months, that is. This month there hasn't been a lot of blogging. It's not that you aren't doing new things daily, or that there isn't anything that I want to chronicle. It's just that my limited writing ability is being stretched to the maximum trying to capture how completely awesome you are.

How can I explain in simple words how hilarious it is to let you choose part of your breakfast? I chose peanut butter on toast and milk. You grabbed pears in a jar (ok) and sweet pickles (um...). And you ate every bit of the stuff you chose (and very little of the toast). And when you finished the pickles, first, you looked around in confusion and called out "Pick-os! Where ARRRE you?".

Or the way you light up when you get the chance to have juice! Your face contorts into something that can only be called a grimace, but we know it's your face of absolute and overwhelming joy!

Or how much you love "UPS!" - to go upstairs and play in our bedroom. You look at books, both your books and ours, and whatever is in our drawers and watch shows on the computer and feed the dogs their treats and crawl around barking and panting like a dog.

Or your frightening infatuation with The Wiggles. Thank you whoever invented a PVR! We are able to have a constant stream of "Wigg-os!" on the TV. And a constant stream of Wigg-os songs running through mommy's head. Catchy little ditties, them Wiggles make.

Or how adorably friendly you are. You are always saying hello to everyone and everything. HAI BUS! HAI MOON! HAI TREE! HAI LIGHT! Or HAI to the people walking through the mall or at a store. You have so much life and happiness in you, it's infectious. Being near you, a person that doesn't know long term fear, or anxiety, or meanness, or sadness is inspiring. The thought that one day, someone, somewhere will hurt you and burst this bubble of innocence scares me. But until then, I have your simple joy in things like pointing to "big bug" and playing in the bathtub with your plastic "pec-i-lan" and the sounds of a "hepi-coper" in the sky.

Another thing that has been holding me back from writing more is a struggle I am having, whether or not our family is missing someone. A second child. You are so perfect for us, Maddy, that it scares me to think of trying for another. There is no way I could be lucky enough to have 2 kids as awesome as you. And you love the focused attention of the both of us. Would a second kiddo take too much away from you? But after the years of fighting and rivalry are done, would a second kiddo, a sibling, give you so much more? There would be less money and space and attention to go around but I always swore if I had one, I'd have two. I didn't like being an only child, I ached for a sibling. But your daddy, he loved being an only child. Which would you take after? I just want a crystal ball, to see the future and learn what is the right choice. For us and for you.

Happy 21 months my girl! Halloween is almost here, then Christmas, then you are 2! In a blink you will reach that milestone. And I am loving every speeding second of my time with you.

Love always and forever,

Mommy


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Pictures that should have been added to the last post but I didn't get around to it and now it's too late

Pretty descriptive title, so let's just jump straight to pics!!

 Pigtails! I love how they look, but Maddy hates how they feel. Guess who wins in the long term? 

 Still short term! Yum yum hummus.

 At Prairie Gardens, three generations together! 

 Trying SO HARD to keep her happy on the train, with the bad sounds around. 

 Maddy and her "PUMKEEN!"

 Running on a beautiful fall day.

 I love this kid so... 

Daddy and Maddy. And an outhouse :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

So much to be thankful for

Saturday we had our Thanksgiving family dinner, at my parent's place. A friend of Neil's came too, and the 6 of us had a great time eating and visiting and being thankful. Mom outdid herself yet again, and the food was wonderful. But the highlight, for me, was Maddy. She was funny and happy and sweet and a little running machine. She was so perfectly Maddy!

It's hard for me, sometimes, to believe that Maddy is my daughter. And the pessimist in me keeps waiting for something to go wrong... She's healthy and happy and growing well (so very very well). As an aside, I popped her on my parent's scale. 31 pounds. At 20 months. Within a few months (just after she turns 2?) we'll have to switch her carseat, it's only good until 40 pounds. I truly believed it would last until she was at LEAST 3. More like 4. Kiddo is a grower. But I keep wondering how I could be so blessed to be Maddy's mom. I feel like the luckiest woman alive to get to have the honour of raising her.

Sunday Neil, my mom, Maddy and I went to Prairie Gardens, near Bon Accord, for an outing. The place is about 1 hour away, so we wanted to be out and on the road by 2 (since the place closes at 5). Maddy went down at 1145am for her nap, we expected her up at 1pm. 130 LATEST. And at 140pm we were all waiting for her to rouse. In the end, we went in and woke her. There is a reason we don't wake Maddy from a nap. She is NOT A HAPPY GIRL when woken up. She whined much of the way there (although we were on the road at 3pm!). She was fussy there. And the pumpkin cannon? That sound made her VERY unhappy. But the corn gun (which shoots ears of corn at a board). Well, that wooshing noise was HORRIBLE to her little ears and many tears ensued. We thought we'd distract her by taking her on the "train" (a tractor with sides like a train that pulled carts that kind of looked like train cars) through the fields. And she straddled my lap the entire way, head buried in my chest, crying and whimpering much of the ride. Crying into the cheap blue mardi gras beads we were wearing as a sign of having paid admission, which streaked her teary and snotty face a light blue... She did finally calm and was looking around, saying hi to the trees, when we stopped at the pumpkin cannon. And WHUMP of the cannon meant tears again. We got her in the stores and looking at "PUMKEEN!" and she calmed enough to smile again. Baba bought Maddy her very own pumpkin. A little green and orange gourd, which Maddy insisted on biting chunks out of... but she was very proud of carrying it around. And the rest of the afternoon was wonderful! Even the cannon and gun were tolerated after a little snack of cookies and chips and fudge.

These kinds of afternoons are what I want Maddy to remember about her childhood. There will be school and tests and chores and punishments. But when she thinks back to her early years, I want her to think of outings and fun and spending time as a family more than the not so fun stuff. My mom speaks of her regrets of my childhood, what she didn't do these things as much with me. She was concerned about being perfect (perfect house, perfect cooking and canning and baking, and caring for her parents and in-laws in the perfect way) that she didn't spend as much time just playing with me. And I am perfectly comfortable being a bit of a slob, with a weed filled garden, and bought cookies and only one kind of home-made jam...

However a new interest, which is Pintrest, has given me so many wonderful crafts and decor ideas for Maddy! I think this year she's a little young (and I am a little late) but next year we may just have a Halloween party because, seriously, some of the ideas are just SO awesome I can't help but want to do them all! But Christmas is the next focus - this is the year that we start to really establish traditions for our little family. I think there will be singing, since Maddy loves music. And good food, because there is ALWAYS food with us. But... advent calendars? Decor ideas? Do we have Maddy help put up the tree? Do we do it one night and surprise her?

Does anyone have any favorite Christmas traditions that they want to tell about? Any ideas on what we can do to make Christmas a time of magic and love and family for Maddy (not just about gifts)? Share-zees anyone?

(pics to come soon!)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Pictures!


It's been awhile since I have posted pics. Again, mostly because there aren't as many pics to post, with the whole camera fascination. Brought it out again tonight and it was ok! Only some screen-curiosity. 

 Biggest, Smile. Ever. 

 A new game - she demands to be let in her "crap" (aka crib) and then asks for all her teddies then buries herself in them all and burrows through. 

 Yup, LOADS of fun!

 Can you see our temporary art on the wall? I really love Magic Eraser.

Camera screen fascination. At least you can see her face this time...

Taken tonight. The blur on the bottom? Maddy was taught by her silly mom how to spray a water bottle. Silly mommy... 

 Looking at books. We still haven't figured out how to get Maddy to smile for the camera. It's either straight face or frantic joy. Both equally adorable to me but is there something in between?

Something in between! 

Yesterday was the first day we put Maddy in a booster seat at a restaurant, instead of a high chair. And it worked! She sat pretty still, as long as she was being entertained. My baby is no more. My toddler is growing at an amazing rate and every day is better than the last.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Month Twenty Letter*

My Maddy-girl!

Today you are twenty months old. Twenty! Months! Old! Already! It's been a blink since your 19 month day... And yet here we are.

This last month, like many of the others, has been awesome. You have gone through another bout of teething (and the related grumpiness/fragility) and now have the nubs of teeth 13 and 14 making their way through. But the ugly has passed and you are your normal self again. Everyday we're moving closer and closer to having a true conversation. You are still mostly naming things, but you are also really learning how to express yourself and your wants. And right now? You are ALL about The Wiggles and playing with the stereo and books. Even In the Night Garden is being changed to "WIGG-OS"! And so much dancing... so much adorable, sumo-wrestler-like jumping and squatting dancing! As soon as you get to daycare the staff know to turn on the stereo and provide the music you crave and let your body go. I have tried a few times to get your dancing on video, but as soon as the camera is on you, you stop and come over. "CAM-RA!" and it's time to press the button.

Daycare continues to be awesome. You have 2 best friends (2 little boys) Aeric and Alexis. Every morning you ask for them, your face lights up when you get to see them. But both of their mom's are pregnant right now, and that scares me. Soon both moms will be on maternity leave, and likely your friends will be staying home... and there will be no more best friends there to play with. Other friends, yes, but not these two. Will you still call for them? Will they come back after their siblings are older? But while both boys are older than you (one a few weeks, one a few months) you still tower over them both. Already your shirts are a 3T, and while we still have you in 2T pants, they are starting to be a tad snug. Mostly it's just the rise of the pants, the length is still good. In fact, the pants are a little long. I think your torso is out-growing your legs and arms... But you are perfectly Madeline. Perfectly you.

Tomorrow we will get to forever capture this moment, professionally. You, my dear, are getting your first CLASS PICTURE! And there will even be one with your daycare friends! I hope Alexis and Aeric are in the picture - I want you to one day see your first friends. But we will get some of you alone. I think I have planned your outfit, for the pictures. A dress you have never worn, until tomorrow, but one that I did once. Baba didn't keep a lot of my old clothes but she kept (and loves) this little blue dress. And tomorrow you will wear it! But don't tell baba, it's a surprise for her.

I notice when I type out what you say, it's almost always in all caps. My girl, you express yourself with such joy and exuberance that only all caps will do. You live life with happiness. You are so friendly and social. You will say hi to people, any kind of people, when you meet them. Often, though, they don't say hi back. They pretend that they can't see you. And I don't think it's about you, Maddy, I think it's about society. That smiling and saying hello to a stranger, even a 20 month old one, is frowned on. And one day we'll likely, for safety, need to teach you the same. That people you don't know can't be trusted and that people you see should always stay strangers. And I feel sad for that future you, the one that maybe will pretend they can't see the happy 20 month old that says hi to them. Can we let you keep your friendliness to the safe-stranger and still protect you from the evil-stranger? Can we ever really tell the difference between the two?  How hard it is to protect you from the immediate dangers and also from those scary what-ifs and unknowns...

I love you so much, my girl. I will always try to keep you safe and protected but not caged in. And I hope I can succeed. Happy 20-month day.

--mommy

*written the 26th, posted the 27th because I really fail at hitting publish

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Our day

There is a flurry of blog posts about what a "normal" day is like. Trying my day. Hmmm.... here goes!

Today: Yesterday, because I didn't get the chance to finish until lunch today. And holy smokes, it's looooooong.

615 am (ish): Alarm rings. First Neil's cell alarm (which sounds like an obnoxious robot rooster) then a few minutes later my radio (set to an obnoxious station). We both eventually stumble out of bed and go to the closet. I put on clothes that probably match. Well, they do in the dark as I look down. I let the dogs out of their kennels and we're heading downstairs. I glance in the only full length mirror, at the top of the stairs, and see no glaring stains. And I match! Starting with a victory.

630am: Dogs are let out to pee. I pee. I put in my contacts. Am tempted to step on the scale but I know the number will be the same. Screw it. Dogs are let back in. Sherman's butt needs wiping. Yes. Really.

635-7am: Flurry of activity. Throw Maddy's toast in the toaster oven, pull out her high chair tray to set her breakfast up. Pour her milk. Pop coffee in the microwave (for me). Check the dogs food and water. Maddy wakes and go into her room. Hear Neil leave for work. Maddy starts her day by calling out for her friends and naming things. AH-lex-ee. EE-ric. KEE-Cat. Plop her on her change table, on her back, and turn on the lamp since it's now so dark in the morning. Maddy hates the light in her face and grumps. I try to block the light and change her diaper. Maddy is still not impressed with the light. She sits up. As she sits there and leans to look out the window I throw a long sleeve shirt on her and jeans. Put on white and pink argyle socks. Maddy wants her Dora socks and starts to take off the other ones. Change argyle for Dora and curse Dora marketing. Maddy grabs Oddg and is off. Turn on the TEE-FEE (tv) at Maddy's request/demand and back to the kitchen to finish her brekkie. Balah (peanut butter) on toast, a spoon with just some balah on it, mandarin orange and milk. Put tray on high chair and call Maddy over. Plop her in her chair and she eats! Grab coffee and chug much of it down.

7-720am: More generalized flurry. Run upstairs, put on my makeup. Pull my hair in a pony tail and wonder when the last time was that I actually did my hair. Can't think back that far, but am so thankful for the ease of a pony tail. Vow to never cut my hair again (until next time I do). Put the dogs back in their kennels. Sherm has become a weirdo again and is refusing to go in. Coax him in. Run downstairs, check on the kid. Give her more balah on a spoon. Put her lunch in her lunch box, then put that in her backpack. Organize myself for work, making sure I take everything I need to. Curse that I forgot to take the movies back to the library last night and put them in my work bag since they are now late. Take Maddy out of her high chair, clean her off, brush her hair and start the "it's time for DAYCARE" song (pretty much just that). Put on Maddy's coat and shoes. My shoes, assuming the blazer will be enough. Grab my purse, work bag, Maddy's backpack, Maddy and Oddg and we're in the car and off to daycare. Blazer wasn't enough. Cold.

730am: Take Maddy to daycare. Sign her in, put her lunchbox by the fridge, change her into her daycare shoes. Play with her a bit, singing songs and dancing, and say hi to the other kids there.

735-810am: Off to work. Happy that Maddy isn't crying today when I leave daycare! She has all last week and yesterday. Go through back alleys and back streets to get to the library. Drop off the videos. Drive to work. Park far far away and start walking to the office. Marvel at how much slower I am in the morning than as I am heading home.

810-815am: Get BIG mug of coffee.

8:15am -1230pm: Work. Meetings and emails and planning and organizing and thinking ahead. Have a constant stream of things to remember about my home life. Plan out my evening and tomorrow evening and Thursday evening and Friday (day off!). Like call to save a pie from Vi's for Pies for bookclub and remember to buy bus tickets for Neil on lunch.

1230-1pm: LUNCH! Go buy lunch (mixed greens and sweet and sour pork). Eat the same lunch I have for 7 days, since I am tracking my calories and there is a "previous meal" button, so instead of entering everything individually each day I am lazy. Go buy bus tickets. They are out (make plans to come back tomorrow). Start this. Get tired from everything I have already done and all the FRANTIC TYPING.

1-420pm: Dread a meeting at 130, due to the personalities there. Still thinking about everything that has to be done outside work too. Make more frantic lists. Go to the store to get bananas for Maddy on an afternoon break. Walk by the Starbucks and am tempted to buy a salted caramel mocha. Think of having to input it into the phone and opt for water instead. My laziness may actually be paying off, in terms of calorie tracking! Buy 3 bananas, wondering if that will ensure that Maddy will no longer have any interest in bananas. Yesterday, when we got home, she said "HAI MY 'NANA!" even before acknowledging daddy. Oh... and work. And do a good job. Not perfect, but good.

420-445pm: DASH to the car. Drive to pick up Maddy from daycare. Curse rush hour traffic but be thankful I am allowed to work a slightly modified workday which means I miss the absolute worst of it. Get to daycare and run into the school, excited to see my girl.

445-450pm: Ask staff how her day was, while also changing her shoes to outdoor shoes and putting on her coat. Chase her more and try to convince her to leave without having to pick her up and carry her out, resulting in wailing that I am making her leave. Am already thinking about what the first things I need to do when I get home are, to have dinner ready on time. Drive 3 blocks home.

455-530-ish pm: Cook dinner. Miso marinated steak (cooked on the stove) and spiced quinoa and steamed broccoli. While doing this, tidy the kitchen a bit, let the dogs out, feed a starving Maddy and talk to my husband about our days. Start emptying the dishwasher and Maddy comes over to help. For the first time ever she takes the cutlery out of the dishwasher, one at a time, and walks it over to Dada who puts it in the drawer. We cheer with every piece of cutlery and Maddy is BEAMING with pride that she could help. Of course, it just makes a simple chore longer/more complicated but that doesn't matter a bit. Think of 100 things I need to remember to do, but since I can't write it down I forget by the time dinner is done.

530-ish- 545pm: Eat. Maddy eats more than usual and throws only some to the dogs. Get a little disheartened that I have to cook 3 times longer than we take to eat the meal. Think about having a beer but then get too lazy to walk ALL the way downstairs to get it.

550-605pm: Sit on the couch. Catch up on Facebook and type this and nothing important but just need a chance to tune out. Neil clears the table, puts away the food and gets everything ready to wash later.

605-700pm: Maddy poos. Can see the carrots we fed her yesterday. And now it's MADDY TIME! Read books, dance with her, nibble her awesome cheeks. She's learned to climb on the couch and does so repeatedly. Each time I tell her to put her butt on the couch, as she jumps and leaps around. Snuggle in with her, watching tee-fee, while eating balah on spoons. She finishes her spoon before I do and reaches up to take more of mine. Heart melts at the adorableness of it all. And be so very thankful that she's not the teething grump she has been for awhile.

700pm-730pm: Maddy gets her night milk. It's a bath night, and Daddy's turn to bathe her. Water gets poured and bath ready. Strip her down and throw her in for Daddy to clean. While she's bathing get her bed ready. Get the covers in place, pjs out, toothbrush on the dresser, curtains closed, toys that go in her room away. Get Maddy's clean laundry and fold it sitting in the hallway, watching my favorite people play in the bath. Daddy teaches Maddy to SPLASH in a new and frantic way. Water everywhere. Maddy gets enough splashes in her eyes and declares she's "ALL DON!" Bundle her up in a towel and carry her to her room. Lay her down and hand her Oddg. Sing songs softly to her as I put her diaper on and pjs. Maddy demands "CREAM" which in put on the palm of her hand and she rubs on her leg and my arm. Sit her up, open the curtain for her to look out as I brush her teeth. Barely get a few brushed before she insists on taking over. Hope I get the ones I missed tonight, tomorrow. Brush her hair a bit before she grabs the comb from me. Marvel at her independence. Lay her down on the change table, singing still. She lets go of the brushes and holds on to Oddg tightly and sucks her thumb. Sing "Soft Kitty" and ley her in her bed. She kicks her legs up and move the quilt around her feet. She rolls to the side and snuggles in, as I back out of the room singing the last words of the song.

730-1000pm: I put a bit more makeup on and I am out the door for dessert and catch up with a friend. Leave home at 740-ish and get there at 8pm. Talk and laugh (and complain about the service) until 930 when I can feel myself turning into a pumpkin again. Buy a pie there, so I don't have to go home and make my bookclub dessert. Happy I can buy my way out of this one... Drive home thinking about the dishes that need doing, the laundry and making Maddy's lunch. Groan.

1000pm on: Come home and my most fabulous wonderful husband has already done the dishes, made Maddy's lunch and hung the laundry. I CAN GO TO BED! Talk to Neil awhile, putter around and suddenly it's 1045pm and we're still awake. Think about updating this, but decide to at lunch tomorrow. Brush and floss and do my nightly routine. Think about reading, my bookclub is tomorrow and I am not close to being done the book. Too tired... Close my eyes and will my head to stop so I can sleep.

Aaaaaand... END SCENE!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The most boring blog

Well, things are... good! Maddy is awesome and loving daycare. And there is a new little girl starting, so she won't be the only girl there. But they will be outnumbered 10 to2. Yikes! Although this morning, for the first time in MONTHS Maddy cried when I left. She was running and playing and having fun (on the opposite end of the room than I was on) but when I did my daily goodbye, there were tears and sadness. It's heartbreaking to walk out on tears... I kept walking back in. The staff then took over and distracted Maddy once she got upset I was leaving. I refuse, however, to distract her to the point she doesn't realize I have left. I can't imagine her fear if she thought that suddenly, without warning, her mom just wouldn't be there. No kisses, no goodbyes... just GONE. That can't be good.

And she's learning more words everyday. This morning she woke asking, first, for her friend Alexis, Aeric and Gigi. The named shirts and pants and ceiling and light and window and tree. And then it was full-on running around and asking for balah (peanut butter) and toast and milk. She's starting on adjectives - she gets hot. But when something is cold(ish) she calls it hot also. But it's fun that she can recognize temperature change!

Maybe this makes me a bad/crazy mom, but with Maddy being so vocal, I am nurturing some mispronunciations, just for the cuteness. I know, I KNOW. It won't last. But the first time she tried to name peanut butter it was a bit of a tongue twister for her. She said balah. I thought it was ADORABLE and have since referred to it as balah and encourage Maddy to. One day she'll get it. But it feels like I am losing the baby talk at a frightening rate and I want my balah, dammit.

In happy news, that we can finally share, Neil has a new job! He has been looking for a new position for awhile and he's excited about this opportunity. He starts there soon, and while it'll be a transition from small business to the corporate world again, it's a YAY thing. But it will mean a shift in hours and I'll now be dropping off and picking up Maddy from daycare. I know Neil will miss the pickups, but there is just no other way to make it all work. And now I get the sad and fun too!

With me? Still loving my new position and am learning so much and having a blast with it all. The Ministry is great, the people supportive, the work-life balance encouraged at my position. It's all good. Nothing over the top exciting but nothing at all going wrong either. We are good and happy and doing well.

Which makes this the most boring blog, like, EVAR.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Random picture mayhem

It's definitely bedtime in this household, but I finally downloaded some pics of the Nunu and I thought I'd share some random fun ones! This is no editing, minimal commentary, fast n' dirty picture sharing. Ready? Set? GO!

 Showing off her eyelashes

 We let her pick her own snacks from the fridge. Sometimes she chooses... oddly

 "This is not the apple I was expecting..."

 Learning to "yog". 

 The reason we have so few pics. 

 She sees the camera? 

 And she has to come look closely.

 And press the buttons.

 And look in the screen on the side.

  I saved you from the sight of the blaring flash... 


 More yog! It's getting better... 

 Our newest piece of living room furniture, but it's a place for snacks and colouring. 

Taken tonight, as she insisted "PEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESE!" to be let into her crib to play. There was stuffies and bouncing and flopping and many, many giggles by everyone. Well, except the dogs who pouted outside her door, as they are not yet allowed in her room. Poor pups...  

And with that? Good night! 

Monday, August 29, 2011

And we're back... to daycare

This morning was Maddy's first day back at daycare. I took the day off, to ease her into it. To let her slowly get used to daycare again and be there in case there was an issue. Of course, because I was worried, there was no issue at all. Maddy walked it and her face lit up. She was so exited! She ran around and played with toys and hopped on top of a rocking horse and picked up cars and sheep and horses and her face lit up at seeing her friends again (AX-EE! EEEREEK!). I still stayed for 30 minutes, but mostly watched her play. When I left she was busy throwing herself at a pillow-toy and bouncing off in glee. Not really sure she noticed I walked out despite my rather loud and mournful goodbyes and blown kisses. The rest of the day has been spent doing errands (and spending so much money). Then this afternoon has been spent doing house-stuffs. Although due to poor planning on my part, I am not able to finish and will have to do more after Maddy goes to bed.

This weekend was a busy one. Saturday my goddaughter and I took Maddy to the zoo. Maddy? She was a bit of a disaster. She wailed and screamed and lost her MARBLES because we wouldn't let her into to fenced off pen of animals. And then when she wasn't able to walk through the fence around the merry go round... Oy vey. Very loud and very unhappy and very very snotty. There is some renewed teething action, and I think that played a role. But the zoo? NOT a success. Then that night we went out with friends. We left Maddy at their place with a babysitter and then went out for food and drink. And then, at about 1030pm, we went back to their house and woke our sleeping child and carried her home. She was quiet most of the trip. I think she was a little alarmed by the darkness around. Near the house she spoke, told us about the "car" beside us. But we brought her home and laid her back down and she rolled over and went right back to sleep. And then slept in until 730am! The thing I worried about, the evening out, was a great success. The thing that I thought would be so much fun? A bit of a wreck.

I think Maddy is on the boundary between stroller and walking. Stroller is easier for us to control her. Walking is easier for her, to have the freedom to explore. If only she understood to stay close, or to not run on streets, or that some fences can't be breached, then it would be perfect. I think we're getting closer to that, but we're not quite there yet. Next year, though, I have so many plans for the zoo and Fort Ed and John Jansen Nature Centre, and walking on the trails in the river valley and playing in the splash parks... Although this summer has been pretty freaking awesome too. `


It`s all such a delicate balance between worrying and complacency, between thinking ahead and living in the moment, from planning too much and too little. These moments, right now, are for me and Neil. They won`t be remembered by Maddy at all. She won`t remember how her face lit up when she went back to daycare, or meeting Elmo, or running through the grass. We will, and we love every second of this time. But next year, next year will be about both our memories and maybe a few of Maddy's. The year after it`ll be about Maddy`s memories... But whatever she remembers (if she`s like daddy) or forgets (if she`s like me) we are trying our best to provide love and support and give Maddy the tools to be confident in life.

And one day Maddy will be my age and I`ll want to sit down with her, and ask her about her childhood. What does she remember? Compare that to what do I remember? What shaped her and made her whoever she becomes? Until then, we're going to do our best and love her for the everything amazing that she is.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Month Nineteen Letter

Hello my Maddy-licious,

Happy birth... er... annivers... month? Happy month day, Maddy! Today you nineteen months old. Careening towards two years at break-neck speed.

Today is a very special day, other than the same day as your birth. Today, my girl, you PEED IN THE POTTY. This morning your diaper was totally dry when I went to get you so I thought why not try the potty... I sat you down and we pulled up the IKEA catalogue and starting naming things. And then? And THEN? I heard the sound of pee hitting the pink plastic bowl. I CHEERED. I mean loud, excited, bouncing, screaming cheering. The dogs cowered in fear, but you loved it. You announced to me "Pee. Pot-tee." And then you flushed. And I danced and sang and praised you like mad. Then we put on your diaper and pants. And then I may have taken a picture of the potty *blush* because... well... it seemed like the right thing to do, to record a milestone. Then, since it's the potty on the floor, I had to dump and clean out the potty (which is gonna be horrible when we start #2... *shudder*). I am so so so proud of you, Maddy. I know you had no control over the decision to let the pee go. But I think you know, now, that peeing in the potty is a good thing to do. And maybe we'll start small - a pee in the morning. And then maybe a pee before bed? Oh argh... I have no clue what to do next.... Time to research.

Otherwise you are awesome. Awesome! So verbal and so independent and so funny and so adorable. You are my awesome toddler girl. Yesterday you went for your second hair cut (mostly a bang trim) so you're looking quite dapper. Daycare has been closed for the last 2 weeks, so you and baba have been hanging out together and having so much fun doing errands and playing. On Wednesday you even came in to my work, to meet the people here and so I could show you off. Mostly, it was so I could see you for a bit during the day. To watch you run with abandon through the halls and look into offices and name those things you could name.

There was a time when you were grumpy if you had to be home all day but now we just have to take you upstairs to the boxes of books and you are so happy! You still love books so much. You love to look at the pictures and hear the sounds of the words and point out and name everything that you can. Both you dad and I love books too, so I think this fascination is genetic. But it makes me so happy to see your face light up at any "book-a book-a book-a".

Tomorrow we're trying something new. We're going to take you to a friend's place and the babysitter will put you down, in the pack and play. And then we're going out with adults. To be couples and friends and not-parents. Once the adulting is over, then we'll take you home and hopefully you'll transition well with that sleep disruption. If not? It's dad's morning to wake up with you *grin*. But I am still going to be a crazy woman and write out detailed instructions about what we do to lay you down (down to naming "tree" as we brush your teeth and you look out the window) and bring your sleep sack and Odg and pjs and milk and other toys... we'll have it all. Don't tell your dad that I wrote this all down in detail, he'll mock me, but I have been so protective with your sleep schedule, after all the hassle we went through the first 6 months. This is a test... this is only a test. We'll see how it goes.

Happy nineteen months, my girl. My life is now divided into LBM (life before maddy) and LAM (life after maddy). There was over 35 years of LBM and only 19 months of LAM. But these 19 months have been the most amazing and fun and meaningful months of my world. LAM is when it all really started for me, when those blurry ideas of what my life is meant to be came clear. I was meant to be your mom, and see the world again with you, through your eyes. It's made me see myself more clearly, it's made me more complete.

I love you so much Maddy. Happy 19th month-day, my girl.

Love always and forever,

Mommy

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

New stuff she does

 This is, by no means, an exhaustive list...

  • Insists on going into the fridge to pick out her own food. The other day she tried to pull out the spaghetti squash, calling it 'nana. Or this morning she, again, took a huge bite of the orange before we could peel it. Sometimes, like a teenager, she just stands there staring at everything and I am certain, thinking "There is nothing good to eat here!" as we get extra air conditioning in the kitchen. 
  • Plays house now. But instead of dolls, her CAR! lives in the house. They go into the front door, flush the toilet, lay on the bed, go "zoom, zoom" everywhere. Book and cars and everything in the show In the Night Garden and Elmo and Odg are all still things that bring joy.
  • Odg. The other day she corrected us, and called him Roger. Although we still call him Odg, because, we'll... he's just Odg now. 
  • She's taken to crawling around and barking or meowing, pretending to be an animal. This first time Neil and I saw it, our jaws dropped. Pretend! So we'll often be found barking/meowing right beside her. 
  • Tantrums. Not new, but every day Maddy decides what it is she wants (and what she doesn't). I am certain she can't understand our "arbitrary" decisions preventing her from doing her thing. Like reach for a knife on the counter. Or climb on top of her (rolling) bus toy, to see out the window. Or run onto the street to explore, instead of staying on the sidewalk. And we're not yet at the point where she can understand why we say no. Just that no is DEVASTATING and she can't believe we are SO MEAN. Loudly can't believe. 
  • The return of teething? Adding to her 12 teeth? Can that also be a factor in the increase in tantrums? Or is it just toddlerhood? She's a snotty mess, teething or not. Although we can now more easily wipe her nose if we sing and make funny sounds as we're doing it. Even in public. And we do.  
Everyday with Maddy is awesome and fun and challenging and exhausting. And I can't imagine a life any other way. Does it make for fascinating reading? That I am not sure anymore. Maybe I won't be posting as much anymore, maybe there will be a new flurry of writing. Time will tell. But, in the most repetitive blog ever, it's all awesome right now. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

ELMOOOOOOO

On Saturday Maddy, Neil and I joined 2 other families at Telus World of Science, for the Sesame Street exhibit. Which featured a visit by Elmo. In person. Really tall, needed help to walk, kind of silent ELMO. The kids loved it!

Featured, left to right, are Maddy, Elmo, Kiran and Caleb*.

Elmo: Three toddlers? At once? *blink, blink*

Kiran: ELMO! Hi Elmo! I love you Elmo.

Caleb: OK, here's my most adorable smile.

Caleb: And this is my best side!

Caleb: Here is my serious look, on my best side. Whatcha think?

Maddy: I am blowing this pop stand.

 Maddy: They can be awesome, I am done.

 Elmo: Was it something I said?



* Pictures of other people's kids posted with permission

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Well hello there stranger...

Hi! It's me! Remember me? No...? I have a kid and stuff.

Things are still good. I went through a time when I wasn't feeling quite as good - just ignoring responsibilities. And they don't go away, even if you close your eyes really hard. In fact, when left alone they multiply. Like rabbits. But less hairy and cute. And less bouncing, more weight around your neck pulling you down. So, like any irrational person, I closed my eyes harder AND covered them with my hands. You can guess how well that worked, now that I am the mom. So the last few days it's been less ignoring and more doing and I am feeling less weighted down. Have I even caught up? Hells no. But I see the daily stuff being nearly where I should be and the extra projects are at least back on the radar.

One thing I didn't ignore? In fact, I increased my time doing? Tickling Maddy until she turned red from giggling. And playing "Ah CHOO". And singing and dancing. And playing ball. And being a jungle gym. And all the other stuff that makes being the mom of the Maddy awesome.

Pictures tomorrow. Even if they are the close ups of Maddy's chin. Promise.

Monday, August 8, 2011

I tried. I TRIED!

This weekend I tried to take pics of Maddy. I really really tried.

I started by trying to take some of her playing. She started bouncing off the wall, and I snapped a picture. And, no word of a lie, the kid looked like someone in an addicted celebrity's mugshot. I stopped the wall bouncing pics and waited for her to start running around. But Maddy noticed what I was doing and took great interest in the camera and the buttons. And then I made the mistake of showing her the rotating screen, and then she was able to look at herself and hit the button and open and close the flash and OMG! SO MUCH FUN! So... there are about 60 pictures of Maddy's chin and nose and chest. And then I took a few of her running around in her birthday suit. And, well, as adorable as those are they are not going on the internet. More like saved for her wedding day embarassment. So? I failed pictures.

But I still wanted to post! This morning it was about 645am and I needed to get Maddy up and her day started. We leave the house at 715am... I carefully opened the door and Madds whipped around and looked at me. I gently picked her and Odg up and we rocked and sang a little to start the day slowly. I layed her down on the change table and immediately she began naming body parts. "Eye, nose, mouff, haiw..." then oh what is that one called? Daddy just taught it to me yesterday, as she gently tapped my face. "Chin, Maddy." And her face lit up, as the word was said. "Chin. Mommy chin." Then we named arm and leg and finger and hair and ear. My girl, my love, my little thinker.

And, most amazingly, this morning my Maddy called the dogs by their names. She loves having them around, loves to say "HAI PUPPEE!". This morning she looked at Sherman, and haltingly said "hai Shew-mees". Then Walter walked by and I named him aloud. Maddy responded with "hai Wa-tew"... Yesterday she was eating some cheese, at baba and dido's place. I think she was done with the cheese and ready to move onto something else. She walked up to Walter, said "PUPP-EE, SIT!" and shoved the cheese in Walter's mouth. Walter was shocked and didn't have the time to respond. But she's learning the commands, she's learning their names... she's learning. And I think the dogs get it now too. Again, this morning (wow, it was quite the Monday!) Maddy was standing in the living room. Walter wanted to give her a kiss and started to rear up and try to get her face. Even before I could correct him, Walter realized better and let himself fall back to all four legs and instead just danced and wiggled in front of her. Maybe we're all learning, our crazy family of five.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Words, words, words... everywhere WORDS!

Well, back on the same old train. Maddy? For the most part awesome. Life? For the most part busy. Everything? It's just... good. Plain, old, boring, good.

Maddy continues to shock us daily on her vocabulary. Last night, in the bath, she was playing with one of her bath toys - a piece of plastic corn on the cob. It's been a pretty ignored toy. In fact, it isn't even a bath toy but something that ended up in the bath toy bin. Maddy grabbed it yesterday and held it up to me and proudly said "COHN!" and then proceeded to nibble it, just like you would corn on the cob. What?!

Also, Neil is trying to teach her to say Canada. Right now we're at "Ca-na-na" and I personally feel this is a much more adorable name for our country. Everytime Maddy gets close to saying it, we clap and cheer and she LOVES the attention. But most of the time we don't work with her to learn words (repeat them with her, encourage her to say them). She's just a language sponge and soaking it all in. We are being more and more and more careful about what we say in front of her. She sponged in WHAT word??! Although between fork and sit and clock, she already sounds like a trucker.

And now that August has hit (somehow, already... more WHAT?!) Neil and I have the rapidly looming panic of a list of summer projects yet undone. Baseboards and painting and yardwork oh my! And we're tryng to figure out a little vacation, something out of the city, to get away from here and relax a little. Although there is some stress before the relaxation as we figure out where and when and what about the dogs.

Next time, I promise more pics. There are a few on my phone, which are harder to upload here. And I am just not inspired to get my butt off the couch to grab the camera when Maddy is doing something cute or to grab the camera when I am off the couch and Maddy and I are playing. So often the pics are of her watching TV or eating. And I think we have covered those two scenarios to death.

After much frantic and disjointed typing... lunch is over. Time to get back to the work that pays the bills!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Still? Awesome.

Yesterday Maddy had her 18 month immunization. Both Neil and I were stressed all day about it. But? It was only ONE needle. And then we're DONE UNTIL SHE'S GOING TO KINDERGARTEN! Can you tell I am a bit happy about that one? I hate the pokes.

Maddy was awesome. She stared in confusion at the needle as it went into her arm... and once the liquid started to flow there were tears. But? Extra special treats (toddler ju-jubes and apple juice) were enough of a distraction to make her forget. And there was no real mood changes. No need for analgesics, even. She was awesome.

Maddy is about 80th percentile for height, 92nd-ish for weight and about 92nd-ish for head. So? On the bigger side. But she's following the curve almost perfectly. She is awesome.

The nurse made a comment about her vocabulary, which is pretty large for her age. And it's still growing daily. I took it one way (the negative way) and Neil interpreted it to be positive. When we showed off her animal sound naming, which we love to do, the nurse said "My, you must work really hard to get her to know that". I took it to mean "OMG YOU CHINESE TIGER MOM" and immediately got a little defensive and denied that we flash card our kid all the time - she's just a verbal kid. Neil took it to mean, "Wow, you guys must really spend time with her and giver her attention". Maybe she meant something in between? But whatever the case, Maddy? She's awesome.

I was at the immunization appointment early (oops) and instead of waiting there were went next door. To the library. Maddy's first time there! She's now the proud holder of a library card. And mine is renewed. But Maddy... oh Maddy! I think she thought she'd entered heaven. As I was doing the paperwork she demanded "DOWN!" until I finally let her go. Always within eye sight, but able to walk around. Then she got to pick out a book from the drawer. Oh wow, that was exciting! So many to pick up, exclaim over, then casually throw over her shoulder. Finally we went to the kid's section. Books. Everywhere! And perfect sized chairs. And a computer with ELMOO! on it. Or ZOOO-EEE! Maddy was just overcome with (loud, loud, loud) joy. Daddy met us there and we had fun watching our girl have fun. Then? It was time to leave. We made her LEAVE THE HAPPY PLACE. We try the we're leaving in 2 minutes. 1 minute. Maddy doesn't get that. She only understood when we picked her up. Then it was all ear-splitting SCREAMS OF PROTEST! Neil and I just put our heads down and motored out of there, as the confused patrons stared. But, we know where to take Maddy on rainy days when she just needs out of the house! Awesome!

With no segue... This weekend we are buying our first potty. Well, not OUR first potty. Maddy's first. She's starting to understand when she poos and pees and will walk herself to the change table. I have no thoughts of Maddy being fully potty trained anytime soon. But we're starting the journey to controlled evacuation. Which, despite the fear... is pretty awesome.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Month Eighteen Letter

My Maddy-girl,

This one feels special. This one is a delineation... It marks a new size in clothes (although you're well past the size), it brings you into the realm of no more months but years in age. It makes you a toddler. And? You are definitely acting your age!

Your vocabulary BLOWS OUR MINDS DAILY. There is no way to overstate how many times a day your dad and I look at each other quizically. "Did YOU know she knew that word??!". I chronicled 52 in an earlier post. Now? I think you're closer to 75 words and sounds. More? You have started on adjectives. You know soft now... When we ask if your teddy is soft you gently pet its head. Last night we introduced you to pickles. More on that in a bit... but you were NOT a fan. So? Dad and I jumped and sang about how good pickles were! And within a few repetitions you were saying pickle!! Were you eating it? Hells no... but you said it.

You know clock (but don't pronounce the "L"), fork (which comes out as "fook"), sit (pronounced with an "sh"). THOSE are fun. But you can name The Count and Zoe and Bert and Bird and sort of Ernie from Sesame Street. You know shirt and hat and foot and hand and now have eye, ear, nose and mouth (mouff) down. You know grape (you say "grate") and every berry or cherry or even nub on your toothbrush is "GRATE!". Even this morning at daycare, I was in the other room and overheard the staff marvelling at your vocabulary.

And you love to communicate with us - you love that you can get your point across. And this has lead to MUCH hilarity. A new favorite game between us is the sneezing game. The game? We sneeze. At each other. Hmm... doesn't SOUND like much fun but there is a call and answer part (I say "ah" you say "CHOOO"), there is the mimicing part (I say "ah ah aaaaaah CHOOOOO" and you say it back). Or you call and I answer. And then sometimes I mix up up and say "aaaaah BOINK" which makes you giggle like mad.

Yesterday we went to the doctor, for your check up. And? You're awesome. You're meeting milestones. You're about 32" tall (70th percentile) and about 27 lbs (90the percentile). I'll get the confirmed numbers for you on Thursday (for your needle-poke appointment). But the doctor has no concerns, except maybe for you to drink more milk. But we also get much yogurt and cheese and other dairy goodness in you.

Food. Food! Food... from the start you have been a good eater. You eat what's in front of you and a good amount. I must admit to feeling a little smug in how awesome you were with the eating. And now? Not so much. You know what you want, and you're perfectly ok to pass on whatever is in front of you if you aren't in the mood for it. And new things? Like pickles? Nope. You gently place it on your tongue and quickly pull it off. At least you're still attempting to eat the food and not just looking at it and deciding it isn't good. The only thing you consistently eat right now is fruit. You demand to have the fridge opened, then you (by yourself) open the fruit drawer and grab "APPO!" or "ORNG!". Orange may be an orange or lemon, which you proceed to bite a HUGE chunk out of. And then I step in and peel it for you. I'll give you a few pieces in a bowl and then you wander off. I'll finish cutting the orange and have more ready just as you return and ask "MOAR ORNG!". Ask? Demand? Well, whatever it is, it is more orange. With your apple (or peach or nectarine or plum) you just grab it and go. And like a big girl you eat away. After a few minutes your face and hands (and neck and shirt and arms) are covered in juices but you're so proud to announce "ALL DOH!" and hand back a 3/4 nibbled fruit... You're getting pretty awesome with the spoon. It's a messy process, but you are so proud when you get it done. And we're so rpoud of you. Always.

Your independence is rearing its awesome (yet sometimes a little frustrating) head. I am so proud that you want to brush your teeth yourself! I am also completely stymied on how *I* can get in there and brush your teeth properly, before you go at it. I was combing your hair the other day and you inisited "ME!" as you grabbed the comb and began trying to comb your own hair. And this will be the next 20 or so years... me setting boundaries and you pushing them, letting me know when you're ready to take the next step. And hopefully I can let you go, with grace, my Maddy. I hope I can be there, also, to catch you if you stumble. Hold your hand until you're ready to set off again.

Happy year and a half, my girl.

Love you always and forever,

Mum

video

Thursday, July 21, 2011

And we're back to three! (five if you include the dogs)

Well. Hello there! Welcome back, me, to this kinda neglected blog. But I am back! And still stupidly busy. And still kind of lazy. And still drowning in stuff to DO. But I am back.

Friday afternoon Neil's family descended. And there were 5 people at our place (2 adults, 3 kids) and 2 more adults at my mom's. And it was WONDERFUL. The house always had movement and energy and I felt more active and engaged. I loved having a house full! Maybe I was a Duggar in a past life... But way too quickly they all left and the house was empty again. Monday, it was just me and the Madds at home. And the dogs. And it was... still. We spent the day lazing around and reading "BOOOK!" and watching TV and tidying up. And then Tuesday Madds went to daycare and I still had a day off to do errands (like an oil change and groceries and stopping for an obscure ingredient for a recipe at a specialty store). Those things that are hard to do with an active and curious toddler. And then it was back to work on Wednesday. And then this afternoon Maddy and Daddy were sick and home early. So one/both will be home tomorrow. And the weekend is only ONE DAY AWAY! Tomorrow night we have a wedding (health permitting), so baba is getting some Maddy time. And the weekend is already filled with errands and chores and stuff (health permitting). But, taking us back to LAST weekend. The Baptism.

Sunday July 17th 2011. In the basement of the Amenity Hall at my parent's retirement community. There were about 50-ish people and Uncle Tom officiated. And the ceremony was perfect! The food delicious (thanks to my mom) and the guests happy and friendly. I had a wonderful time seeing those family members that I never seem to see and visiting and laughing and forgetting to eat and losing my wine all the time (I eventually gave up). Maddy was such a well behaved girl, once she had her Odg in her arms. It was a perfect coming together of family and friends to welcome Maddy into our community. I made one mistake in seating strangers together. And forgot to thank my dad (ugh!) and forgot to specifically thank the people who travelled so far to come and celebrate with us. But, well... I never thought about a speech!

Now there are thank you cards to write and those everyday things we ignored need to be done. But I still miss my new extended family and wish they were still here. Or lived closer. I remembered how awesome MY family is and wish we could do more together. I remembered the importance of the extended community I live in and the need to visit with them more often. And thank them for being there. And tell them ALL how much I love them! Now that Maddy is here, it's even more important that I hold on to these relationships. So that Maddy can know a world filled with family and love and crazy Ukrainians and polite Englishmen (and women). I see many family dinner at our place in the future... and I can't wait!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

And the family descends!

This weekend Neil's Aunt & Uncle and Cousin & 2 kids and Cousin & 1 kid all descend into Edmonton and we're having a FAMILY WEEKEND! And Maddy's baptism Sunday, which Neil''s uncle is officiating. This is the first time that they will meet my parents, only the second time I have met them. They are sweet and loving and kind. They are first bit of family-through-marriage they we have a relationship with. I am so excited to have them come and meet the crazies in my family!

It's taken me hours of list writing (and re-writing and re-organizing) and delegation of many tasks (thanks mom!) but we're nearing that point where we may ACTUALLY be ready. There are a few groceries to get tonight and a few more from Costco tomorrow. The housekeeper comes in the morning to clean the main and top floor, we cleaned the basement already. Our invasion of the freaking annoying ants has been stopped. Oh yah... more on that in a bit. The family arrives Friday late afternoon. Friday dinner is at my parent's. Saturday they are doing touristy things and then dinner is at our place. Sunday I grab the cake and the cheeses... then we baptise! We may just be ready. But, really, my mom has done 90% of it all (once more, thanks mom!).

Back to the ants. Yesterday, when I was leaving for work with Maddy, I noticed about 6 ants inside our back door, on the landing. IN the house. We have an ant hill in the front yard and one establishing itself in the back. The backyard-ant-igans have occassionally caught a ride in with a person, but never this many. I was running just-on-time and didn't want to be late, so Maddy and I were off. When I got to work I texted Neil and let him know about the ant issue them promptly forgot about it. When I got home? There were at least 50 in the house, making their way down the stairs to the basement and being generally really really icky. Neil started on the whatever-he-needed-to-do-to-make-it-stop. I made dinner. We have an old house, that has shifted with all the rain and recent foundation work. There is about a 1/2 centimeter gap between the door frame and door, at the bottom. And the buggers were just wandering in, searching for food. A bunch of caulking later and the stream was less, but they were still coming in. Finally, Neil moved our bottle recycling container (which was leaking bits of sugary pop and other liquids) which took away the ant's nearby food source. That and caulking? No more ants. However, my little dust buster? FILLED with squashed and still kinda alive ants. I couldn't kill them all so I was a mean and horrible person and I just vacuumed them up. And then begged Neil to be the one who cleaned the hand held vacuum out next because... well... ICK.

Well, the weekend will be filled with family and visiting (and pictures) but not much blogging. Until next week!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Happy birthday Dada!

Today is Neil's (late) thirty-somethingth birthday! We were talking, this weekend, about meeting/starting dating when he was 29. And 8 years later (ha! I just outted his age!) here we are. Married, with an awesome kiddo, and a house and 2 crazy dogs...

We had a quiet day of celebration - just went for dinner to a family friendly place and spent much of the time entertaining Maddy as she insisted it was time for "DOW!" even though the food had yet to arrive. Then one last nigth of quiet before the panic sets in and we have to get ready for the arrival of many family and the baptism. Tonight I looked around the house and saw those things that needed to be done... Yikes! But it'll all come together (or close enough) and we'll have a wonderful weekend of visiting. And hopefully I'll remember to take many pictures!

Many of the blogs I read have drama. Illness, struggles, sadness. It makes for a much more interesting read than this blog. Here? While it's not perfect, it's pretty damn good. We're happy. We're lucky. It's maybe not an interesting read, but it's exactly what I want my life to be.

In the chronicles of Maddy, she's learning words at a CRAZY rate. I have been meaning to write them all down... the awesome daycare lady at the awesome daycare says she thinks Maddy has as many as 50 words/sounds. Hmm...

  1. Mum/mama
  2. Dad/dada
  3. Baba
  4. Dido
  5. Odg
  6. Mimi
  7. Baby (beee beee
  8. Puppy (pup-pee, formerly bup)
  9. Kitty (ki-eee)
  10. Bear (bea-w)
  11. Tree (twee)
  12. Apple (appo)
  13. Ball (bll)
  14. Bubble (bubb-o)
  15. Car
  16. Toast (t-st)
  17. Cheese (chss)
  18. Milk (muk, formerly nuk) 
  19. Cookie (coook)
  20. Book
  21. Elmo (EL-moo)
  22. Dora (Dooo-rah)
  23. Bird (Birrrr)
  24. Hat
  25. Shirt
  26. Shoes (Shooooo)
  27. Up
  28. Down (DOW!)
  29. All done (all doo)
  30. All good (all goo)
  31. We sit down (we shit dow!)
  32. Tickle (tick-o)
  33. Hi (hai!)
  34. Bye
  35. Please (peeeeeeeeeese, and only grudgingly)
  36. This (dis)
  37. That (dat)
  38. Moooo
  39. Oink (onk)
  40. Bow wow
  41. Ribbit (it's strange...)
  42. Fish (pursing mouth)
  43. Train (choo choo)
  44. Monkey (eee eee)
  45. Sheep (baaaaa)
  46. Horse (neigh)
  47. No (although does she understand what it means...?)
  48. Eye
  49. Nose (n-se)
  50. Mouth (mouff) (these last 2 are not 100% yet, more like 75%)
And we hit 50! I am sure there are more that I am not remembering...

Dada is a year older and life is wonderful. I really can't ask for more. Well, maybe winning the lotto, 'cause, well... how cool would that be? But otherwise, we're awesome.

How perfectly dull.

* moar words! 51. Uh oh 52. Door (doooo-rh)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Just for Elaine!

MOAR PICTURES!

Maddy and Daddy sitting together, playing on the computer. What are they doing? 

WoW, of course! Maddy was fascinated by the dancing dog. 

Photo editing program! I have no editing-skills, but my girl has cute-skills for certain. 

Learning to use a spoon. First time eating yogurt herself! 

Enough pictures already! Can't a girl get some peace??