Tuesday, October 27, 2009

When the teacher becomes the pupil

I find people-watching fascinating. Fred says I'm just nosey, and maybe so; but I love to watch people in situations and see what makes them react. I swear it's better than most of the crap you see on TV.

The other day at one of the story times Elise and I frequent, I had the chance to observe a Mom that I couldn't tear my eyes away from. She was like a character from a movie or a book; one so over the top and full of hyperbole, you swear she couldn't be for real. She marched into the library with her approximately 2 year old child strapped into a stroller. Dressed more for a business meeting than a sit on the floor story time with your child, her mouth was set in a grim line as she picked up one the the story time programs and said to her child, "let's see what they do here."

I watched, totally caught up in the scene, as the librarian told her that her child could play until the other kids arrived and story time began. The lady looked uncertain and replied, "I don't know, she's a bit of a trouble-maker and gets into everything."

The librarian just laughed and said they were pretty much set up for the chaos that kids create. The lady looked worriedly at her daughter and started un-strapping her from the stroller. The kid (I'll call her G), ran over to a bookcase and grabbed a book off the shelf. The mother looked horrified and ran over to her, telling her no and that she needed to behave. G then started to walk over the parachutes that were set up on the floor and the Mom grabbed her, admonishing the child as she pulled her back towards the stroller.

Throughout the story time, the Mom sat with the child in her lap, arms holding her in an almost straight-jacket fashion. Every time the child would "act up", the mother would hiss a warning in her ear.

From what I could see, G was no different from any other child at that story time, full of energy and life; just wanting to experience the world around her. And my heart ached for her. I wondered if the Mom's controlling nature was going to quench this little girl's enthusiasm for life. Is this how the Mom grew up? Being told she was a trouble maker and was never allowed to be mischievous?

I then started asking myself how my nature affects Elise. I accept that I am a bit of a perfectionist. And a control freak. And I also have the tendency to be a wee bit anal retentive. But I try not to push my personality defects on Elise. I want her to be a clean slate, free to grow up to be the true person she is.

One thing I hate is a mess, I like to clean as I go, and I'm not big into getting dirty. But the other day Elise wanted to finger paint. And more specifically, she wanted me to join in. She started by smearing a line of paint down my arm and as I fought the urge to run and wash it off, I realized I needed to stop being so "grown-up" about things and muck in on her fun.

So we painted, Four or five glorious pictures of gooey paint. We had paint everywhere; the wall, the table, the chairs, ourselves. And I loved it.

What I loved most is that although I am the one who is supposed to be teaching Elise, she is a wonderful teacher in her own right. She has taught me to slow down, not to get caught up in the little things, and enjoy getting dirty once in awhile. Children view the world in a way that is so freeing, so wonderful; I think more adults need to sit down with their kids and learn a lesson or two of their own.

Here is a picture of the lesson I learned that day. Beautiful, isn't it?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Why I'll be taking up residence in a mental insitution soon

I don't know what you think it looks like, but it's dog fur.

But that alone is not enough to make me want to commit myself.

It's the fact that this tuft of hair (admittedly rather small compared to some of the tumbleweeds that roll through my house), appeared a mere 60 seconds after I had just finished vacuuming.

But that's not even the whole story either.

This seemingly innocuous furry flotsam showed up only a minute after I turned the vacuum off, AND my dog was not even inside the house!

Which begs the question, where did it come from?

It shouldn't surprise me, really. I mean, my dog sheds her body weight in fur every day. And while I should roll out my Eureka at least every other day, I don't. Because who has that kind of time? Who would eat all the bon bons if I did that?

I've threatened to shave Seven on many occasions, but Fred is not cool with it. Not even if I do something funky, like just shave her body and leave her head and tail intact.

Sometimes Fred is just no fun.

I may do it anyway.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

From my blog to their ears

I'm not sure who "they" are, but not three hours after my last post, guess what Mr. Fedex hand delivered to my house? A brand-spankin'-new, hot-off-the-presses, Canadian passport; complete with a picture in which I am brandishing my patented "death stare".


Apparently, somebody is listening.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Just Bad Timing that's all

When Fred and I made our way onto foreign soil at the Peace Arch Crossing in February of 2000, we had nary an idea that we'd still be living in the U.S. almost 10 years down the road. In Texas, no less.

But here we are, and here we will remain until we have received our coveted not-actually-green cards. We started the process about seven years ago.

"Wait," you say, "did you just say you've been waiting for your not-actually-green cards for SEVEN years?"

Yes. Yes I did. And I have come to the conclusion that the U.S. government is a testimony to really bad timing. I offer the following:

Since moving here, I have never been able to legally work. It was a frustrating existence to say the least; being a willing, able-bodied and somewhat able-brained, employable person with no outlet and $75,000 of consumer debt, but not able to do my part made me a very cranky person. Alas, I found my place in a volunteer position at my church where they treated me very much like part of the staff, yet never took advantage of my vast quantities of free time. I stayed until Elise was born.

About three months after Elise's arrival, came something else. My Employee Authorization Document (EAD). In plain English it meant I could now legally receive a paycheque in the U.S. Except now I didn't want to.

Good one, American government, very funny. Have I mentioned that it's been SEVEN YEARS???

I think I forgot to mention that with the not-actually-green card application came the advice from the lawyers to not travel outside the country. That's right, Fred hasn't been able to leave the U.S. since 2001. I am more free to come and go as I please since the application is not in my name, but the last time I left was in 2005. Because let's face it, it really isn't so much fun travelling on your own unless you're 20 years old and riding the train through Europe with nothing but a backpack.

Do people still do that?

But about a week ago came Fred's long-awaited travel document. Huzzah! We can now take Elise back to Canada to meet friends and family that have only been able to watch Elise grow through our borderline-fanatical taking of the daily picture. If have no idea what I'm talking about, go here.

Except about two weeks ago I had to send my passport back to Canada for renewal, so according to the new laws, I'm not even able to enter MY OWN COUNTRY, because I am now passport-less.

Seriously, does the government keep tabs on stuff like that? Is there a guy who works for the government whose sole purpose is to send out the documents you've been waiting for at the very least convenient time? Or are they just masters of bad timing?

Oh, and 200 Senility Points for anyone who knows where the title of my post comes from (without googling it, thankyouverymuch - and yes, I'll know it if you do).

Sunday, October 18, 2009

This is what happens when you blink

I was shopping for some pants for Elise the other day, and as I looked through rack after rack of clothes, I was becoming increasingly frustrated. Why couldn't I find anything in her size?

Then I looked up an it dawned on me that I was in the wrong section. "Baby", the overhead sign said. My daughter is no longer a baby, ergo I cannot find her size in the baby section. Gone are the days of the onesies, and cute outfits that come already matching so it takes the guesswork away from people who are fashionably-challenged like me.

Feeling rather stupid, I toddled on over to the "Toddler" section, marvelling at how quickly time was sliding past me.

What happened? When did my little girl make that transition from baby to toddler?

It must have been on one of the days where I was at the end of my rope, so I put her in the pack and play outside of the bathroom, and took a 20 minute shower, just so I could get some time alone. But I remember peeking out through the shower curtain, looking past the steam and watching her solemnly looking at a book, and she still looked very much like a baby to me.

Or it could have happened any of the times when I was in the kitchen trying to prepare dinner with her hanging around underfoot. I'd get so frustrated with her, that I would send her out to her playroom, asking her to let me be for 15 minutes. But as I peered around the corner and saw Elise laying beside our dog Seven, absently stroking her fur, I could still see that tiny, helpless infant that we brought home from the hospital just over two years ago.

As a mother of a small child, it is so easy to become weary of the work that goes into raising them. Some days I think it would be less painful to repeatedly smash myself over the head with a frying pan than to deal with the many moods of said child.

Some days I want to lock myself up in a closet and pray that Elise won't find me.

Some days I feel like I deserve the World's Worst Mother Award because all I want to do is sleep in until noon, get up, eat some candy, have a two hour bath, followed by a two hour nap and not have anybody ever need anything from me ever again.

And then I have the moments where I realize my baby is a baby no longer and is, in fact, a toddler. And the realization hits me so hard that I can scarcely breathe.

And all the whining, the moods, the tantrums, the screaming, the clinginess, the short naps, the split drinks, the messes that need cleaning up, the waking up in the middle of the night; all of it seems so insignificant when you start to comprehend that this time with them is so very short, and so precious that instead of complaining about the negative aspects of it, I need to be celebrating all that I love about being Elise's Mom.

And there really is so much that I do love, but that is another post for another time.

For now I will just rejoice in the fact that I do have the greatest job. It's not always sunshine and roses, but there is nothing else in the world that I'd rather do.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

You wish you could dance like this

Monday, October 12, 2009

It's not you, it's me

Have you ever had one of those days where you go to the grocery store for the second time in as many days just to get some strawberries because the last two were eaten this morning and you need them for tomorrow because that's what your daughter eats on her cereal every morning?

And for the second time in as many days the store is out of strawberries because they are selling them at a very good price which begs the question why didn't they order enough of the strawberries so they wouldn't keep running out of them?

And you say to yourself, "self, it is okay since you need to go to the other grocery store that is just up the street to get some of that yogurt your daughter likes so much. And the reason you go there to buy said yogurt is because they sell it for half the price than the store you are currently at and perhaps they will have some strawberries there.

So away you drive, sans strawberries, but full of hope that you will find them at your next destination, and you do! You do find them! And even better they are almost the same price as the other store and even better they're ORGANIC!

Practically giddy with excitement you make your way to where the yogurt is only to find they are out of the particular flavour you always buy, and all the other flavours expire in two days and you think to yourself, "self, that is a lot of yogurt for a toddler to eat in only two days."

And it is at this point in what has been a very loooooong day that you figure the universe is trying to break up with you because you hear it quietly whisper in your ear, "I love you, but I'm not in love with you."

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Down on the farm

One of the cool things about where we live (look, Joanne said something nice about Texas!) is some the things they have for kids. Every fall, a local Heritage Farm has a festival with hay rides, pony rides, a petting zoo, pumpkin decorating and a whole lot more. We went for the first time last year and Elise loved it so much we had to come back again.

I think I'm going to have one of those girls who begs for a pony for her birthday

She also really likes goats

Found her pumpkin!

Love her silly grin and one squinty eye

Now what?

Picture in front of the farm house


Playing on the hay
Hope you enjoyed the pictures as much as I enjoyed boring you with them!

Friday, October 9, 2009

A daughter's love

After a very frustratingly short nap today, from which Elise awoke crying, I went into her room to get her out of her crib. I walk in to find her standing, waiting to be rescued from her misery. She stops crying long enough to ask me, "where's Poppa?"

To which I answer, "at work", as I prepare to lift her up. Her response?

The wailing and gnashing of teeth, all the while falling to her knees and moaning in great despair, "Poppa, Poppa, where'sa Poppa?"

Ahhhhh, to be loved.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Because I'm not like other girls

Fred got me a washer and dryer for my birthday

This is a disclaimer to all and any men reading this... I am not like other girls. Buying a present like that for your wife will probably end up with you sleeping on the couch for an undetermined length of time, and spit burgers served for dinner. And most likely the longest "dry spell" (aka no bow chicka-bow-wow), you've ever experienced.

But me? I was ecstatic with my new, high-efficiency, front-loading, visions-in-white, time-savers. Mostly because it means that my husband listens to my never-ending griping about certain appliances that take almost two hours to dry a load of laundry because the stupid (man) person who designed it thought that a 30-minute shut-off gave the machine more than ample time to dry the articles within. I would like to meet that man and, you guessed it... kick him in the groin.

It took me a long time to be okay with the fact that I'm just not like other girls. I read the "Love Languages" book and figured out that "gifts" were definitely not mine. I'll probably get kicked out of the girl's club for saying this (heck, I think I'm already on probation), but jewellery doesn't do it for me. Neither do flowers... giving a person something that just ends up dying is rather morbid. I would rather the flowers stay in the ground and remain pretty and alive.

I like gifts that are useful.

I remember one birthday I asked Fred for some sort of kitchen appliance. He said no, he hates to buy those types of gifts. So I stomped my feet, wailed and gnashed my teeth some, and he gave in. And saw how happy my electric griddle/crockpot/blender (okay, I admit I can't remember what it was) made me. And he's been hitting the nail on the head ever since.

Don't worry, the washer and dryer were not the only gifts I received, Fred is a lot smarter than that.

And by the way, I do consider a massage and facial a very useful gift.