Sunday, September 28, 2008

Harvest Festival/Price Gouging

Cider ApplesImage by scrumpyboy via FlickrYesterday the kids and I had an afternoon to ourselves since Phat Daddy was at a wedding.
I know we spend every day together, but despite that I find weekend days are always different than weekdays. We're not so scheduled and we tend to do different stuff than weekdays.
Doodle and I had talked about going to Ikea (to add to his train set) but we got talking about farms and he reminded me he wanted to go to an apple farm.
Sounded good to me.
We picked up a quick lunch and decided to drive to a local farm that we go to every so often. They have a big kids play area. I wasn't sure if they had apples, but it was a farm so we went.
I was shocked.
They had a "harvest festival" on, and they were now charging people to go into the play area.
It was ridiculous. All summer the area is free. But, for a limited time they added a puppet show and a second maze and were charging $8 admission per person over the age of 2.
This is in addition to the fact that they have a store to buy stuff at, extremely over-priced items to buy (like $32 pumpkins) and nowhere to pick your own anything.
I was a little miffed.
Of course Doodle was excited to be there. But, I explained the situation to him.
Simply put, I told him that it would cost us $16 to go in.
Even at the age of 4 he understood that was ridiculous. (or, in his words "dumb")
I mean, who upcharges that much for an attraction that is normally free?
I have no problem paying for a kids play area. But, if you want to make money, why not charge a nominal fee all year long (like $1 or $2 per kid) and deal with it?
I hate stuff like that.

So, we left.
And we found an apple farm. For the same amount of money we got a huge bag of apples and a huge jug of apple cider. Yum yum!
Instead of a kids play area they had apple trees that Doodle ran around in. And they had the sweetest dog who was happy to chase Doodle and play with him.
And, I think that Doodle got a sense what an apple farm is really about. I'm happy to support local farmers. In fact, I think it's a fantastic idea. Next weekend I'm going to take him to the apple farm we used to go to when I was growing up. I can't wait!!!
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Friday, September 26, 2008

flying fries

Last night we decided to go to Swiss Chalet.
I don't know what I was thinking. I had dinner stuff, but felt like going out. And so did Phat Daddy. Doodle only went on the lure of rootbeer. Seriously. we should have re-thought.
Anyway, so we got to Swiss Chalet and Doodle had a huge meltdown. Like complete and utter temper tantrum that we know it's easier to wait out than reason with. We eventually calmed him down (thanks to my beloved book "The Explosive Child") and found our table.
But, it was one of those dinners where you're on the brink. Doodle was off. The baby is teething so she was feeling off, and Phat Daddy and I were trying to keep both kids calm.
Of course, sitting at the table next to us was a friend and her mom who I hadn't seen in years. I looked like crap, the baby was covered in teething cookie and Doodle was bouncing off the ceiling.
Our waitress found the whole situation kind of funny. I mean it was, because Doodle has quite the sense of humour and he knew he was charming her. And, every time he'd talk the baby would try to baby talk over him. It was kind of funny.
But, the funniest part of the night?
That was when a new couple came and sat in the booth behind us.
I'm not sure what came over Doodle. But for some reason he stood up (yes, stood up) on his seat, picked up a fry and yelled (yelled) "FLYING FRIES" and threw a fry over Phat Daddy's head directly on to the plate of the gentleman who had just sat down.
Bratty? Yes.
Bad? Yes.
Unexpected? Completely. He has never done that.
Phat Daddy almost lost it he was so angry (and there were consquences) but it struck me as hilarious. And, I was trying so hard to be the good parent but I couldn't stop giggling. Neither could the waitress. Or the recipient of the fry.
It was just one of those ridiculous moments where you can't predict it.
I'm not sure if I've mentioned it, but impulsivity is one of the major problems we have with Doodle.
Of course Doodle knew I was cracking up and thought it would be hilarious to try it again. So, I calmly explained to him that no, sometimes something is funny once, but when you repeat it you just make people angry. He actually does understand that because we have a lot of moments that really, we don't want him to repeat.
We left the restaurant shortly thereafter.
Tonight we're having dinner in!

And ...
On a completely different topic, one of my favourite bloggers, Multi-Tasking Mommy is having a contest! So, go enter! And enter quickly - she's having a baby any day now :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Ah Choo! I love Pesto

This summer I've been on a basil kick. I love basil. And, I love pesto.
For some reason store bought pesto gives me heart burn, so I decided to try experimenting with the homemade kind.
I'm pretty sure what's making me sick is the parmesan cheese in the store kind. So I make it cheese free and it's super yummy and lower in fat. Well, except that I sprinkle cheese on my pasta, so not so much. But whatever!
Anyway, I decided to try my hand at growing basil. I've got 2 huge pots of basil and I use it all the time. It grows profusely. And, is way cheaper than buying fresh basil at the store.
But, I've noticed that my leaves are turning yellow.

So, I brought the whole plant into the kitchen. And decided to take all the basil leaves off an make a giant thing of pesto.
One problem.
I could not stop sneezing. Seriously.
I'd pick a leaf and sneeze. Pick a leaf. Sneeze.
when the baby woke up from her nap I brought her to the kitchen. She was sneezing non-stop also. That's one powerful plant to have in your house!

And, want to know why we're not getting too much sleep around here?
Check out these teeth ...
There are those 2 you can see, but there are a couple more coming. Poor thing.
And, I know this is really late, but we've started the transition to her crib. Yep. At 6 months she's still right next to our bed in the bassinet.
In all honesty, because we had such a hard time with sleep and Doodle, we're a little afraid to mess with a sleeping baby. But, she's rolling and kind of crawling now, and I'm pretty sure if she tried she could climb right out of her bassinet.
So far so good. But, I miss her when she's in her own room!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Bad Guy

The title sequence of the {{w|Fleischer Studio...Image via WikipediaI know that parenting required you to be the "bad guy".
And, I've been doing a lot of reading on parenting lately, thanks to Doodle. (and this is good). One of the things I'm trying to do is figure out my reasons for saying yes and no to things. Like the other day he asked for gum and I said no, thought about it, and changed my mind.
I don't mind that.
But yesterday I went to the video store and picked up a couple of videos for us to watch with Doodle. The first was "Bee Movie" which was really good and we all enjoyed.
The second was one of the Superman movies.
Doodle is in a big superhero phase - as most 4 year old boys are. And, it's tough as a parent because some of the coolest superhero things being advertised are not for 4 year olds. For instance, Iron Man & The Incredible Hulk. We've found a middle ground and agreed that he can have stuff like t-shirts with the logos on them but he can't see the movies. He's been okay with this.
So, when I went to the video store yesterday on my own it was because I wanted to take the time to choose a movie that was age appropriate. And I found one! One of the Superman cartoons. I was pretty excited that we could watch it together. But, when we took it out of the case it was a different video. It was still Superman, but it was for older kids.
We decided to turn it on since we'd built it up with Doodle. We'd done make-your-own pizzas and it was a big deal to him.
But, for the first time ever, I turned a movie off while we were watching it as a family.
In the first 5 minutes Superman was in bed with his girlfriend, and Wonderwoman was attacked by some guy. And, it was a pretty brutal attack.
Another 5 minutes in Superman was a dad and he had to leave his son. When Doodle said "Daddy, I'd be sad if you ever left me" - I knew it was time to turn it off.
Surprisingly Phat Daddy was more annoyed at me than Doodle.
He felt it was okay because we were watching as a family. I didn't agree. I know we could have discussed it after the fact, but there were so many different themes to discuss I am not sure where we would have started.
But, Phat Daddy and I don't see eye-to-eye on movies all the time. Last night we rented The Bank Job (for us) and it was far too gory for me so I had to walk away. He said it wasn't that bad. Even our tv habits are very different. We pretty much only agree on House and the Amazing Race.
I wasn't surprised when I got the eye roll and huff when I decided to turn it off.
So tonight I was the bad guy. The bad guy supported, but not understood, by her husband.
I'm curious where other people draw the line.
As for me, maybe I'm a bit over-protective. And sometimes I try a little too hard to hold on to Doodle. But, at the end of the day he's only a kid once. And, I'll leave the super scary movies for when he's old enough to decide for himself what is too scary.
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Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Today was Doodle's first full day of school. Graduated entry is over and now he's there full days Tues/Thurs and alternate Fridays (which is pretty much once a month).
Today didn't go so well. He got several time outs for hitting and biting. When I picked him up he was sad. He just wanted lots of hugs. It broke my heart.
We've worked with him a lot. We've tried changing his diet so he eats well. We've made sure there's consistency in his sleep routines. We've used time outs. We've been trying to channel his energy at karate classes. I've been doing a lot of reading.
I'm totally frustrated.
I wish there was some way to figure it out, some magic explanation so he stops this behaviour, some method that we knew would work.
As a mom it's so deflating. It's not that I'm embarrassed. I'm not. He's my kid and I love him immensly. But, I'm worried for him. I don't want to let him down. I'm so scared that this behaviour, this thing that we can't figure out and that I'm not fixing is going to cause him problems down the road.
I'm worried that if he's mean at the age of 4, he'll start getting picked on as he gets older.
And, I'm terrified because in a few months I won't be picking him up at school everyday and making sure he's okay. I want to protect him, and I'm scared that I'm not.
And, I don't really know what to do.
For now I'm at a loss. I know I have to be patient. I need to let him settle into school and into the routine and to get to know his teacher. But, I don't want to wait too long and let him down. I want everyone to see the wonderful, smart, kind child I see.

Monday, September 15, 2008

At Issue

I don't use my blog to talk about issues.
Generally speaking I don't bring up politics or religion. I guess it would make my blog more interesting, but I don't really want to open myself on those right now. I have opinions of tons of stuff in the news, and if you knew me in person you'd get an earful if you asked.
But, the one thing I'm passionate about is our rights. As a Canadian I value many of our rights, like the right to free speech, freedom of religion, etc etc.
I also value my right as a woman, and a nursing mother, to breastfeed in public.
Since my first child was born 4 and a half years ago and my baby was born 6 months ago, I've been one of the fortunate women who never questionned her right to feed my children wherever and whenever I chose.
Yes, there are times where I'm not about to nurse my kids. At church, at weddings, on the subway - those are all places that I'm not particularly comfortable. But, I know I can ... if I so choose.
And, yes, there have been times I've been made to feel uncomfortable. A couple times I've gotten a rude comment. I have gotten the odd dirty look. But, most of the time I enjoy the comfort of nursing wherever I want.
So, when I read the story of someone who was made to feel uncomfortable when she was nursing her baby it made me upset.
For what it's worth, I'm adding my voice to others who have said enough is enough. Nursing isn't sexual. When I'm feeding my baby I'm doing what I believe, and what many doctors will tell you, is the best thing you can do to help my baby grow up healthy. I am feeding her. If you have a problem with breasts - tough. Whether I'm at home, in the park, at the mall, in a restaurant or on a plane it's my right and my choice.
So please, if you see someone nursing respect her rights. And, if you're offended look the other way.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Forms, Forms, Forms

A lunch sits on a blue tablecloth with a brown...Image via Wikipedia Yesterday was Doodle's second day of jk.
It was a half day and half the class was there. It would seem I missed the memo stating that this is the day you bring your kleenex and your camera. I was saving the drama for his first FULL day of school which is Tuesday. But, as I learned yesterday was the first real day in the minds of many parents. Oops!
So, needless to say I was totally fine and totally happy and quite comfortable sending Doodle off for a couple of hours of school.
When I picked him up he was really excited about his 2 hours. And he told me that he had a bunch of stuff in his bag.
Nope. My 4 year old didn't have homework ... I did!
He came home with a Zipoc bag filled with forms to fill out and cheques to write.
Gone are the days of the pizza lunch. Instead hot lunch at his school comes with multiple choices of gourmet foods. Choices. Does he want chicken nuggets or caesar salad or a burrito? How would I know? And, call me crazy but since when do school lunches cost $7???? It isn't a big deal for us because they do these lunches once per week and they alternate Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday - so he ended up only ordering about 4 lunches on days he is there.
Then there was the Scholastic order. I'm still baffled by which catalogue to order from and what books he needs. I've put that aside for the day.
And also there was the whole milk thing. What days does he want milk and does he want chocolate or white milk?
I haven't done so much math homework since I was in school - and it's only day one!
The other thing I did, which made me feel very mom-like indeed was I pulled out my giant family organizer calendar and wrote down all the info they gave me. We now have the entire school year documented on a calendar for all to see. I'm hoping it gets us organized and ready to start the year.
I never realized just how much work was involved in being a parent of a school child. But, in some weird way I feel like I'm actually on top of all of this school stuff. At least for the first day.

Oh, and as for the ridiculously huge lunch I packed for Doodle? It was just that. A little ridiclous. He ate very little, but that's okay. I am pretty sure that I have at least an idea of what he'll like. And, I'm sure that as we continue in school mode it will get easier and easier.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Lunch Time!

So, today marks Doodle's first day at school where I drop him off and he eats lunch there.
It's a half day, but at his school they have 2 lunch times called nutrition breaks. One is around 10:30 and the other is around 1:30. so they advise parents to pack 2 lunches.
As if one isn't enough work.
Today is the first time I'm packing a lunch.
There are some guidelines. Obviously the lunch has to be peanut and tree nut free. No biggie - I like that rule. My confusion here is whether it can be a snack made in a facilty that processes nut products or if it just can't contain the nuts. And, what about home-made stuff? We have peanut butter in our house. So, can I make him non-nut muffins knowing my house has peanuts? Don't get me wrong - I'm totally okay with that (especially since there is a severe nut allergy in his class). But, I'm just unclear.
The next is that there's no junk allowed in their lunches. As in no sugary snacks. But, what does this allow and not allow? I'm trying to not give Doodle tons of junk and sugar anyway, but what about a (peanut/nut-free) granola bar? Or bear paws? Help!!!!
So back to today.
We have the Super Friends Lunch Bag.
And since Doodle will be there in the afternoon I need to pack for the afternoon nutrition break. I have no idea if this is more the lunch side of things or the snack side of things. So, true to form I overpacked.
For the lunchy part I sent in cheese and meat in cubes (he loves this) with crackers. And of course a pickle since he loves pickles.

Then I added some fruit.
And some yogurt.
And a fruit snack.
And a bear paw.
And some raisins.
And a drink.
I had a lot more stuff to put in there, but I have no more room.
I actually had to pile stuff.
So, what's a mom to do?
I'm planning to already give him a pretty fulsome lunch in a few minutes.
I'm thinking maybe I need to go and get a second lunch bag and number them - lunch one and two.
Or maybe I need to pack less.
Phat Daddy just kind of rolled his eyes. Because much like anything else, as a rookie I feel the need to overdo it just a bit.
But, I can't help but worry that I may not give him enough. Or he may be hungry.
Truthfully, this is probably his normal days' worth of food. I remember in highschool getting through the day (8:15-3) on an apple and a nutrigrain bar. And I had about 90 pounds on him! So, I'm guessing he will survive.
Is there any wonder that my mom and sister have both called me today to make sure I'm okay?
Now, I have to admit I have a friend who is kind of an expert mommy in all things school so I think I may just call her and see just what she puts in her son's lunch ... (kerry, I'm talking about you!)
I'm not about cheating on all this mommy stuff :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

One Day

Yesterday was quite a day!
We had Doodle's first visit at his school. It was interesting to say the least. He alternated between charming and explosive. It was interesting and tiring and I know for sure that he will not fall between the cracks and be the child whose name no one knows!
Then we got home.
Within about half an hour of getting home Princess was sick. Like projectile vomiting sick.
So, between my emotionally exhausted 4 year old, my sick baby and my new foudn goal of keeping the tv off all day, we spent the afternoon in a rather hellish state of playing cars, cleaning puke, doing laundry and Doodle telling me how gross puke is.
Of course yesterday would be the day he has karate and I was determined we would go.
Mind you, about 10 minutes before we had to leave for karate my doctor's office called me back since I'd left a message about the Princess' illness. And our phone call lasted forever. (we had to go through all the signs of dehydration)
So, when I got off the phone I told Doodle we had to boot it to karate. And somewhere between explaining the definition of "boot it" and him washing his hands I managed to scrape his toe in the door.
No problem. I figured that I would throw my wounded, sobbing 4 year old in the stroller (a rare treat) and we'd make it to karate just in time.
But NO. I'd left the stroller in the van.
So instead I had to teach him the definition of the phrase "suck it up" (is that appropriate for a 4 year old) and have him walk to karate. Part of me felt that I should let him skip it, but we're committed and it's been tough lately, and I didn't think I could give in. After all, he was fine.
Ironically, this was the best class he has had in weeks. No screaming and crying. Nothing. Just a quick class where he did pretty well.
By the evening I was exhausted. And, thanks to the stress I was losing my voice.
I could not have been happier when bed time came (after 90210, of course).
Mind you, just as I hopped into bed and curled up to feed Princess she puked all over me and this started a very long night - thank goodness Phat Daddy stepped up and helped a lot.
And now. I'm tired!
And this is what parenting is all about.

Monday, September 8, 2008


Today I had one of those moments where I was so proud of Doodle I almost cried.
Lately things have been a little tough in his world. His karate classes have been trying. He had a rough time at vacation Bible school. And with junior kindergarten starting (tomorrow!) I've been a bundle of nerves.
I want the best for Doodle, and I worry about him.
So, it was with a lot of trepidation that I brought him to gymnastics today.
Yes, we have high hopes for this gym. The time works for him and he was pretty excited, but still. As confident as I was, I was nervous.
We got there early and we went through our expectations. We reminded him of the rules and that he had to listen. And then off he went.
There were about 12 kids there ages 3-5, and it was split into 2 groups, basically 3 year olds and 4 & 5 year olds. For some reason the class consisted of all girls. I think for some kids the all girls thing would be a problem, but Doodle tends to respond to the activity level in the room. Without other boys it was a calmer place.
And the class went really really well.
I was so happy.
Doodle was so happy.
He's been talking about gymnastics for awhile, and he's been asking to take it, so I think that played into it. And also, it was a class that was full of activity. He was bouncing and swinging and jogging the entire time. The only part he had a hard time with was the time when he had to sit on a mat and wait for the teacher to come around. But, when they came around they were teaching the kids handstands and cartwheels, so it made the waiting manageable.
And, at the end of the class they had this neat zip line thing that the kids got to ride on.
Doodle left feeling excited and happy and proud of himself for doing so well. And tomorrow he's going to kindergarten (for a shortened day) knowing that he can handle it.
I knew he had it in him!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Long Weekend ...

I love surprises.
To me there is nothing more wonderful than a surprise. I love the shock and excitement. And I love the spontaneity (at least ont he part of the receiver). It's a blast.
So, since we've all been a little cranky in our house, Phat Daddy has had a busy week at work, Doodle has had a tough time in some of his programs (karate and vacation Bible camp) and I'm just plain worn out I decided to book a hotel in Buffalo and surprise the family with a mini vacation.
Surprise them I did!
I somehow managed to pack a bag and hide it in the van for a couple of days, speak to the hotel and get their 5 confirmation e-mails without letting Phat Daddy see them (we don't really read each other's e-mails, but I often leave mine open).
Saturday was Phat Daddy's grandparents 60th anniversary. So, we went there for dinner and then when we left I surprised him with a bottle of wine and some cards. Doodle was thrilled (he knew there was a surprise coming) because we were going to a "hometel!" with a "pool!" and it was in "Buffalo with toy stores!" All was good.
And it went pretty well.
Except ... it wasn't all that relaxing.
The first night Doodle was way too excited to sleep. He was up till midnight. The baby too. And, since we didn't have the right room I didn't sleep well at all.
No problem. I was in great spirits the next morning. I went to breakfast (in the lobby) with the kids while Phat Daddy got some extra sleep. Then I took Doodle swimming.
My next surprise for the boys was a trip to the Aquarium.
Did you know there is an aquarium in Buffalo/Niagara Falls? Well there is.
Phat Daddy loves aquariums.
The thing is, Doodle and I were ready to do a quick visit. Phat Daddy wanted to read every sign. The baby was mesmerized by the fish and the lights and the colours. So, all in all it was a nice but super-quick visit. I think Doodle and I spent more time in the gift shop than in the rest of the aquarium, but at least it gave Phat Daddy more time to look around. And, don't get me started on the ridiculousness of the fact that on the upper-level it is so dangerous and kids could easily fall from the 2nd level into the sea lion tank. I was having a nervous breakdown on that level.
We finally left, and then went to look at the falls (from a distance) because again I have a huge fear of bringing Doodle to Niagara Falls.
Anyway, we spent the afternoon having lunch and then relaxing at the hotel. By the end of the day I was feeling crappy. We were all cranky from the late night, and the pizza we ordered took more than an hour to arrive.
But, we did watch a lot of the Disney Channel and Phat Daddy and I were killing ourselves laughing while we watched "The Wizards of Waverly Place." Doodle couldn't figure out why we thought it was so funny, but he decided to laugh with us.
The thing was, as it was getting closer to bedtime I was feeling crappier and crappier. And then since we'd promised Doodle ice cream I pulled it out super late (like 9pm) which was just dumb because I should have known it would make him insanely hyper. Oops!
Anyway, by the next morning I was fully sick. My ear was hurting and I couldn't swallow. So, we went to breakfast as a family. One of the highlights of this hotel is that they have a really nice continental breakfast. And they have a waffle iron. Doodle really wanted to make a waffle which was fine. I told him not to touch. I reminded him not to touch. But, in his excitement he flung his hand and touched the burning hot waffle iron.
OMG! Did the child ever scream.
He burned his finger. Ouch. So, I rushed him over to get his finger in some ice water and he eventually calmed down once it helped him. Once he was calmer I went to get him some breakfast while Phat Daddy was sitting with him. As I'm calmly getting his food the lady who had come over to make sure he was okay was talking in the buffet area.
Her comment? "I hate it when parents don't supervise their children."
There are many areas I fall short as a parent. Supervision is not one. Doodle is the kind of child who needs constant supervision. It was an accident. He wasn't flipping the waffle himself. He was excited.
Normally I'd walk away but instead I said something. I mean, sure comment on bad parenting but don't do it in front of customers. Especially if said customer is the parent you are gossiping about.
Anyway, we finally checked out, went to Target and then drove home, all a little tired, and all ready to be home.
I'm not sure if it was the best weekend ever. But, the idea was nice, the family was surprised, and I think despite the bad points it was a pretty fun time.
On a side note... I'm reading a book called "The Explosive Child". It was recommended to me to help Doodle. He's been struggling and I want to sort things out.
It's a pretty amazing book and has some great ideas.
I can't wait to get this into motion.

Step one is dealing with some issues we've been having at karate. Tonight is our test run. Wish me luck.