Saturday, May 13, 2006

A Pretty Cool Mom - My Sister

When I think of all the moms who inspire me, the first that comes to mind (other than my own mother of course) is my sister.
Becky is two years older than me and my complete opposite.
When we were growing up we were never the sisters who argued over who got the pink dress and who got the blue one because we never chose the same thing. We argued over a lot of stuff, just not over the same things.
When we grew up we were very close but very different. We had many of the same friends, but the people who went to me for encouragement and enthusiasm went to my sister for a listening ear. I would be the person to start singing karaoke and she'd be the one dancing in the audience. In highschool she'd illustrate my stories while I'd edit her art history project. We later studied Journalism and Interior Design at the same university.
It should come as no surprise that our parenting styles are completely different.
My sister is a suburban mom. Both of her daughters were very much planned. Becky's life is an exercise in order. Her house is always clean, her girls are always clean and they are really very quiet. She invents games with them and takes them on discovery walks where they make up stories.
Her kids are good. They are the children that teenagers want to babysit and who delight the seniors when we visit our grandma.
Becky has more patience than I could ever imagine having. She doesn't get angry or shout at her children. She pretty much just lets it roll off her.
I am her complete opposite. My son was a surprise, and there never was calm in our house. we live in Toronto and he is in daycare. I wish my house were cleaner, Matthew gets dirty in abot 2 seconds and he is most definitely not quiet. We take Matt to visit my Grandma after a dose of Motrin (for teething of course) or when he is in an unusually subdued mood. Even then he seems to do some crazy thing to disrupt the order at the seniors complex.
I couldn't love my sister or her children more. Becky is my best friend and my inspiration. She is the mom I wish I could be but know I am not. And, the best thing about her is that she loves me for who I am.
When I told her I wanted to go to work because staying at home was too much for me she babysat Matt while I went to interviews. She encouraged me and reminded me that I was doing the right thing.
She has listened and been there for me more than most people could ever be. She is the person I can call when I need to cry - the person I can tell anything to no questions asked - the person who knows that if I call excited about something to just pretend it is the coolest thing she has ever heard (and she gets these phone calls at least twice a week).
She deserves the happiest Mother's Day ever!!!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Mother's Day - My friend Ginny

With Mother's Day coming we hear a lot about the mothers we love the most. So, for the next couple days I am going to post about some mothers who are special to me. Today is my friend Ginny.

Ginny lives in my building. Before Matthew was born she and her husband were the "couple on my floor with the cute kid." (Mackenzie is now 3 and a half). I said hi when I saw them and that was pretty much it until I was in my third trimester and I noticed that Ginny, too, was expecting.

One day we started chatting in the elevator and realized that our due dates were close. And, our crazy property manager Andrew (A Filipino-Chinese man who sings Abba and always tells us that he would be on Broadway if it weren't for his hertiage) was pretty determined that we should be friends.

Not too long after that both of us gave birth - Lindsey was born on April 2 and Matthew was born on April 6. Neither of our births were picture perfect. We both came home from the hospital sore, tired and sleep deprived. (I think that is like most parents). And, our husbands returned to work on the same day. I sat in my condo crying and Ginny sat in her condo crying. And, then she did something that changed our lives. She got herself and her kids dressed (how is beyond me) and came and knocked on my door.

I opened the door to this woman with her kids and she simply said "Hi. I'm Ginny. How are you doing?"

The truth was, I was awful. I didn't know the first thing about being a mom, I was scared and tired and sore and trying to keep it all together. I intended to say "Fine thanks for asking" but instead I looked at her, burst into tears and didn't quite know what to say. I didn't have time to be embarrased because she looked at me and started to cry too.

It was a scene that I will remember forever.

We decided to have coffee that day, and from then on we were fast friends. We got to know each other and our kids really well. We discussed everything from the merits of Baby Einstein videos to the finer details of our relationships. We laughed together a lot, and we cried together too. We shared post-pregnancy clothes, recipes and even toilet paper! Throughout the first few months of my son's life she made me feel like I wasn't crazy, and that more importantly I was a good mom. When I went through the struggle of formula vs. nursing she was the person who called me to say that giving my child formula was not evil, but offered to take me to the breastfeeding clinic if I needed to go.

To me, Ginny is the friend that every new mom needs to have. I often wonder if I could have made it through the first few months without her. She kept me sane and kept me laughing. she still keeps me sane and keeps me laughing. I don't know what I would have done without her.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Prunes

The other day I had a doctor's appointment and one of the main things that came out of it (at least from my perspective) is my need to lose weight.

Two years post-partum is beyond long enough to be holding on to baby weight. So, I decided to buckle down, sign up for Weight Watchers and lose some weight. I've started going to the gym again, and of course I have to watch what I eat. We also threw out all our junk (or put it where only Mike can reach it) and I went on a healthy food shopping trip. Our cart was loaded with things we should be buying anyway like fruits, veggies and whole grains. And, for some reason I decided to pick up a container of prunes.

Why? I have no clue. They just struck me as healthy. I know they are because when I worked at a senior's residence they were a big hit. Actually, we served stewed prunes and this other dish which was a mixture of prune juice, apple sauce and all-bran. It sat in the fridge all night and many people ate it at breakfast. Seriously. (To digress for a second - this was an active living complex not a nursing home)

So, I decided that I too should hit the prunes. Afterall, in 2 years I will be 30.

They aren't so bad. Actually, prunes are a pretty yummy snack -- in moderation. The only problem is that Matt thinks they are the best thing in the world. I have never seen a child eat a food like this. When I ask him what he wants he has actually swayed from asking for chocolate milk - he just wants prunes.

Last count tonight was 12 prunes. Truthfully, I don't think any of my seniors would have eaten 12 prunes in one sitting. Maybe they knew better.

Thank God that tomorrow is Friday and Matthew is in daycare. It may be a messy day.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


I never know what is going to happen when I drop Matt off at daycare.

Some days are really easy - he runs in to play. This usually happens when a) the teacher who he really likes is there because he knows she will let him help her move the toy cars outside or b) when one of the other little boys arrives at the same time and he is too distracted to care that I am leaving.

This morning we were off to a pretty good start (with the exception of a bus temper tantrum where he climbed out of the stroller). We made it to daycare in good time, it was a beautiful day, Matthew ran and hung his coat in a cubby.

And, then the teacher told me there was something she wanted to talk to me about. The topic - Matthew likes to play with his "pee-pee".

I am well aware of this. Believe me. I've talked to the doctor about it, my friends about it, and his old daycare about it. The general consensus is that Matthew is a boy and this is what boys do. According to my sister's friend this will go on for many years. Yikes.

But, I didn't quite know what to say. Maybe that's because his old teacher who discussed it with me was much closer to my age, and to us it was so incredibly hilarious that we couldn't finish the conversation. We discussed duct-taping the diaper so his hand wouldn't fit in, but that's about where the conversation ended. It just seemed much too funny at the time to worry about.

And, it still is.

I told his teacher (who has been teaching toddlers for many years) that I'm sticking with the philosophy that this is natural, for the most part I'm ignoring it, unless he is in public and then I will say "all done". Really, what else is there to do?

I guess she was annoyed. But, whatever. There are much worse things than a boy discovering his boyhood. After all, boys will be boys!!!

Monday, May 08, 2006

My Monkey

This is Matthew with Hippo and froggie. We love Hippo and Froggie. It's amazing how many of Matt's favourite songs they sing! They are also apparently quite tasty. Our friend Stef bought them for Matt. Actually, her mom bought her Froggie and Matt inherited him.

At his 2nd birthday! When I showed people my "cake" at work they called me Martha Stewart. Funny. Anyone who knows me outside of work would not use this word to describe me.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Oh how I love a Garage Sale!

It has become a Saturday morning routine for Matty and I to go garage saling while Mike sleeps in. This works well for us -- Mike gets the sleep he enjoys and I have the freedom to purchase whatever I can. Not only am I on a limited budget since I have to use cash, but there is also no proof of exactly how much I spent.
Last weekend officially marked the beginning of the spring garage sale season!
It was a slow start, but we did manage to find a couple of cool toys.
So yesterday morning Matt and I were ready and raring to go by 7:45 am. (all seasoned garage salers know that you should be on the road by 8 am.)
And ...
It was a bust. We passed about 2 garage sales and they both sucked. By this I mean they had no toys for Matt, interesting gadgets for me or the ever elusive designer purses that I am determined to find. Nothing even remotely matched anything on my top 10 list of garage sale items this year.
Today was a different story. Matthew and I were en route to Toys R Us (Fridge Phonics was on sale and we have wanted this forever). We happened to see some garage sale signs, and of course I turned and went to explore.
It was definitely worth my while - I found the number one item on my list of summer garage sale buys .... a Little Tykes race car bed. This is the coolest thing ever, and I have wanted one since I knew I was going to have a little boy. Thankfully Matt was just as excited as I was. The woman was willing to negotiate her price and we finally got the bed.
Not quite.
I just assumed that the bed would fit in my car. I brought Matt home and came back to get the bed. It was a little heavy, but I managed to get it all the way to the car by myself. when I went to put it in the car I realized that there was no way that I would ever accomplish this.
I set out to take the bed apart. I dug through the junk heep that is our car and found several tools -- all of which were Matthew's. (I also found wine, some clothing, some fossilized food and lots of toys).
Luckily the owner of the home came to my rescue and spent a good half an hour with me taking the bed apart.
Two trips home later the bed arrived, Mike assembled it and Matthew has a race car bed.
Pictures to follow. This thing is really cool :)