Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The lost art of saying thank you

I can remember when I was a wee slip of a lass writing not thank you cards, but thank you letters to people. My mom taught me from very early on that when someone is gracious enough to take the time and/or money to give you a gift, you need to say thank you.

It was called having manners.

These days, it seems that saying thank you has gone the way of the dodo bird. We have been to probably 10 birthday parties in the past year. I can count on two fingers the number of thank you cards we've received. In these cases, my issue isn't with not receiving the thank you, it's the fact that these moms and dads are missing a chance to teach their child a fabulous lesson.

We just celebrated not one, but two birthdays; Elise's and Mattias's. And today I took the time while Mattias was asleep to work on the thank you cards. I called Elise over and told her what we we're going to do, and why we were doing it. I wrote the message, and she coloured the card and signed her name.

She was very into the project and wanted to know who each card was going to and what she wanted me to say. What I hope she takes away from our little project together is that you should never be too busy to say thank you.

Right after Elise was diagnosed with diabetes, a few people brought us dinners. To this day it eats at me that I never sent out thank you cards. Oh, I wrote them... even kept them for over a year afterwards. But at the time I was too overwhelmed to try and find their addresses. It seems like such a small thing, but if you've ever faced anything as devastating as being told your 12 month old child will have a dangerous chronic illness for the rest of their lives, then you understand that something as simple as finding an address can be huge.

So I kept the cards, hoping that one day I could send them. But by the time I was able to get the addresses, too much time had passed and I felt silly.

In retrospect, I should have sent them. I think a thank you is always appreciated, no matter how late.

Recently, our house became a two-dog residence for about three hours. One very HOT afternoon, I looked out into our backyard to see a cute, small white dog running around. We don't have a back fence, and the land behind us is a huge open field that bobcats and coyotes like to frequent. So I grabbed the dog and brought her inside.

She had no collar, but our 'hood is very close knit, and I emailed around to find the owner. I then left it in the very capable hands of our neighbourhood matriarch, M and she came over to take ownership of the dog until the real owner could be found. Although cute, she was a yappy thing and Mattias needed to nap. I'm talking about the dog, not M.

To make a very long story short, the owner was eventually found (when she showed up at another neighbour's house asking about the dog, and this neighbour had remembered my email), and all is well that ended well.

Except, I have no idea who the dog belonged to. I never received a call. A knock on my door. Nary a thank you of any kind. Nada.

I wasn't expecting a parade in my honour, but left to it's own devices, that pup could have become roadkill or a tasty morsel for a wild critter. Not too mention it was 107 degrees out. I could have said, "let someone else deal with it".

Maybe I'm old fashioned. Perhaps being gracious is over-rated. Why take the time to thank someone for real when you can facebook or twitter them (dude, that sounds sooooo dirty).

I guess this is why I always find boxes of thank you cards on clearance at Target. Nothing like saying thank you for 75% off!

Just one more thing to blame on social media...

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

He's 1

Dear Mattias,

Exactly 1 year ago today, as I write this, you were being born. Yes, I am writing your 1 year letter on the day of your birthday. Let's just say you keep me a little busy these days.

From your level of activity in utero, I should have known you'd be a wild man. I can still clearly remember lying awake at night, my poor bladder absorbing your kicks and punches.

Only these days, all your energy is put into giving me a heart attack. If it's dangerous, you want it. If it can hurt you, you make a bee-line for it. You have no fear of anything, and while that will serve you well later on in life, all it's doing now is aging me prematurely.

You have no time to snuggle, give kisses or demonstrate your love in any way. You are way too busy getting into trouble. You will, however, sit in my lap for a story. The reading of which makes you laugh manically for some strange reason.

You love to dance, bop and move to music. It captivates you, and makes everyone around you laugh. Which is fine by you, since you seem to be the world's biggest ham. And for the record, wearing a napkin on your head while we're out at a restaurant is okay now, but you should probably stop it by the time you're in your 20s.

This year with you has been a wild ride, my little man. I love your craziness... but let's try and calm down for the next 365, m'kay?

Your Momma

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Twas the night before one...

... and all through the city,
a little boy's screams could be heard
Teething certainly is...


Yes, I wanted to say it, but I decided to hold back.

As you could probably tell by the above bit a "poetry", Mattias has finally sprouted teeth, meaning he beat his sister by 4 whole months.

We're not going to tell her that, because she's a tad bit competitive.

If that wasn't enough, Mattias also took his first steps this month. How I have missed that wobbly drunk-baby walk!

The month preceding his first birthday has been the hardest yet, mostly due to the aforementioned teeth. I really don't remember it being this dramatic with Elise, but I'm ready to put Mattias on a 24 hour advil drip.

We have also discovered that Mattias is a bit of a ham. He'll do anything for a laugh, and when he gets on out of you, he'll do whatever it was that made you laugh in the first place over and over again, cackling like a madman.

Hard to believe that tomorrow my little man will be one. I love this little guy to pieces, despite his crazy ways.

Tennis anyone?

Hangin' with Seven

Showing he's man enough to vacuum, with a pink one, no less

Love those baby blues

I love these ones too

Trying to stay cool

Okay, I know that seeing my son climb the stairs with a golf ball in his mouth and the first thing I do is grab my camera is not a sign of good parenting... but come on! How funny is that picture?

Strike a pose

Enjoying a blueberry pancake


I can't hear you!

But I'll blow you a kiss!

Enjoying his smash cake at his birthday party

Pulling sister's hair

Celebrating Elise's birthday... birthday buddies!

Keeping cool at the water park with Avó Teresa

Sunday, September 4, 2011

She's 4

Dear Elise,

hen you have children, people love to tell you, "cherish these days, they will be grown before you know it." And while you are not yet grown, you are 4. Which is almost the same thing to me. I blinked, and my tiny baby morphed into a pre-schooler. They really must put some sort of crazy hormones in that milk.
Although I do miss you as a baby, you have grown into such an amazing little girl. You have the sweetest heart and I have never met a child that feels so deeply. I honestly don't think you have a mean bone in your body. Thankfully, your mother does and stands ready to give an atomic wedgie to anybody who dares to make you cry.
That's not to say that you are a wimp. Quite the contrary. You are probably stronger that most adults. Perhaps it's because of the diabetes, but I think it's just who you are; strong spirited.
Elise, you are beautiful; inside and out. And while most people comment on your outer beauty, I want you to remember to stay beautiful on the inside. You are kind. You are generous. You are loving and the best big sister to Mattias. I love who you are; a quirky, fun princess with a huge imagination and a heart to match.
Four years have now passed since the first moment I held you in my arms. And I have held you everyday since. It never gets old.

Thank you for making me a Mom. And happy birthday to my sweet little bean.

Your Momma