Saturday, June 24, 2006

My Ballerina

Kyla with her jumbo flowers after her recital
Last night was my first ever ballet recital.
To clarify, it was my niece Kyla's ballet recital and I had the opportunity to go as the doting aunt. I left my boys at home and went off to Hamilton Place to watch my niece in her first show.
Truthfully, I had no idea what to expect. I hav enever taken a ballet class. It's not because my parents weren't willing to let me try. It's just that it was never even discussed in our house. I was not exactly the most graceful child, and I never had any sort of interest in donning a pink tutu and leotard, unlike my niece who at age 2 announced to us that she wanted to be a ballerina.
So, when the big night of the ballet recital came, I was pretty darn excited (and a little worried that I wouldn't make it there in time).
Thankfully I thought to call one of my colleagues, whose teenager is a fairly accomplished dancer, and asked him the etiquette of ballet recitals. What does one wear, what does one bring, what can I expect? And, he was more than happy to fill me in and send me some pictures of his daughter.

Kyla and her mom, my sister Becky

The grand decision was to bring a bunch of pink flowers to the recital and spoil her like crazy. Which I did. I called a florist and explained that I needed a nice bouquet of pretty pink flowers for my neice's first ballet recital.
So, back to the evening.
I finally found my family when I arrived just before the doors opened. Of course they were in the front of the line (thank goodness for our obsessive family organization and timeliness). We sat right at the front.
I was really really impressed by the show. There was never a dull moment - it was that organized. And, it was arranged so they had a more senior group or single dancer followed by little ones. That way the spotlight was shared by all, and it kept moving.
And, it was amazing to me how good some of these kids were.
But the highlight was of course when Kyla took the stage.
Kyla is almost 4 and honestly the cutest little girl in the world. (she shares this honour with my other niece Paige who currently holds the title of cutest baby in the world).
Kyla and Aunt Laural

She was in a Hawaiian outfit complete with grass skirt. She went on with her class. They were just the cutest things ever. Their class is "baby ballet". They stayed together and did a few spins and such and then this little hip wiggle move. ADORABLE.
And then a couple of them fell. Kyla went down and then they helped each other up and kept going.
I have never been prouder.
She really was a star.
When it was all over I explained that the flowers were for her. I think the florist and I went a little overboard because she could barely hold them. (why did I not listen to Beth who said to buy one rose for every year old she is - that was smart - oh wait because I wanted to be extragant).
It was such a wonderful evening.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

A Play Date

Last night we (Matthew and I) had a play date with some of our friends.
I got an e-mail yesterday morning from my friend asking if I wanted to come over for coffee and playtime before bed.
It's pretty convenient since we do live down the hall from each other, so I immediately agreed.
I have to admit, I was a little tentative about it. Not because I don't have a great time with Ginny. Of course I do - she's the person who got me through that first year.
What I was worried about was that a) Matt would bite one or both of her daughters b)Matt would tear their house apart or c) and this is the biggie for me, that the friendship between the kids that we had always hoped for may not work out.
It's not that they hadn't played together - it's just that it has been with other kids. This was a real playdate.
I sound like I'm in high school - we've hung out in groups but we've never been alone on a date.
Anyway ...
Much to my surprise, the evening went really well.
First off, we'd all had dinner, so that was a good start. And, the truth is the kids just had fun. When I actually relaxed and didn't work about the dynamics it was fun. Mac, her older daughter, was just really fun with Matt. She set up a train track (she's 3 and a half) and let him run his train along it. Lindsey, the same age as Matty, did her own thing for awhile and then joined them in the play.
My favourite part of the evening was when they all started jumping on the bed and playing games. There's really pure and fresh about watching toddlers just laughing and playing and not having a care in the world. We just kind of watched them and let them enjoy each other's company.
Sometimes I get worried about what is out there for Matt - who he will be friends with, whether he'll fit in, how he'll do in school. And, then I watch him and I realize that he'll be just fine.

Good Karma or Good Day - I'll take either

Given that the beginning of my week wasn't the best I decided that a mid-week turnaround was in order.
Why? Okay well partly because I was feeling pretty sorry for myself (my sunburn hurt, I was stressed about the biting and I was just tired) and I sort of kind of whined to someone in the mailroom who told me he had no sympathy. Nice. And, then I realized I was being silly and turned the week around.
I did a couple of things that I think caused some pretty good karma.
First, the biting thing. I decided that I'd had my say about my hurt feelings. I spoke with the daycare teachers and supervisor and we came up with some tactics on how to deal with this. And then I realized that in the process of being upset I'd probably hurt the feelings of the daycare teacher who got me mad.
So I sat down and wrote her a really long note about all the things we love about her. And, I went in and cleared the air. We were both hugging. It was a good moment. She told me wonderful things about Matt and promised not to be critical of my parenting. And, Matt didn't bite anyone yesterday!!!
Next, was a bit of a bigger thing. I gave my bike trailer away.
I bought it last year in this quest to be a cool mom. But, after reading like a zillion blogs these past couple of months and hanging out more with one of my great friends (Run, Ginny, Run) I realized that I didn't need to hold on to something that I had pruchased for the sole reason of making other parents think I was cool, a good mom, or whatever.
I heard about a woman who needed a bike trailer to get to her cancer treatments. Seriously.
So I got in touch and I gave it to her.
And, it made me feel really good. And it also made met get over the silliness of being cranky.
So, the week is looking up. Good Karma? I don't know. But whatever it is I'll take it.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

I Got Tagged!!!

I'm so excited!!! I got tagged by Naomi at UrbanMummy. Thanks!


5 Things in My Refrigerator:

  1. Lemonade
  2. Cooked Chicken for our Chicken Caesar Salad tonight
  3. Lots of Apples (some with bites taken out - thanks Monkey)
  4. Skim Milk and 2% milk
  5. 5 (count em) 5 English cucumbers. Did you know cucumbers are good for blood pressure?

5 Things in My Closet:

  1. Lots of shoes and purses
  2. A suit that I hope to fit soon
  3. Several unlabelled boxes
  4. A pair of sandals I love but are really high
  5. Probably my cat (it's her favourite hiding place

5 Things in My Handbag:

  1. Blackberry
  2. Soother
  3. a few lip glosses
  4. lots of change
  5. Dora Candy

5 Things in My Car: (this is very scary)

  1. Kyla's Birthday present - a giant framed Little Mermaid Poster
  2. Bob the Builder toys
  3. several old bottles that we are afraid to touch/smell
  4. lots of coffee cups
  5. A whole lot of paper, cups, fast food bags, etc.
5 People I Tag:
I don't know how to hyperlink so cut and paste, okay?
  1. Meghan (
  2. James (
  3. Virginia(
  4. Heather (
  5. Rebecca (

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A New Stroller

Look How Happy Matty is! He is not fearing impending stroller collapse!

So we did it. We bought a new stroller.
I'm very excited.
It is not a MacLaren. Mike didn't want to spend the money, and I kind of get why so we went for a compromise and bought a less expensive knock off with many of the same features.
I can justify this because I know that if and when I decide to have another baby there will be a shiny new Maclaren stroller waiting for me. And I will want a new stroller for a new child, and I will be justified in buying it.
Or my niece will outgrow hers and I will get it.
Or, maybe I will promise my friend Amy to name my future child after her and she will buy the Burberry MacLaren. Or maybe the will add Louis Vuitton to their collection and Ginny will break down and want to buy it.
Until then we have our "Hauck". Bonus points if you know what store this came from. Nope. It's not Ikea though it sounds like Ikea.
Pictures below.
Tomorrow is our trial run to daycare.

My boys!
Further to yesterday's post ...
I went into the daycare today, as usual, to drop off Matt. I was totally dreading it. As much as I enjoy confrontation at times, I hate it when it involves something like a daycare issue because I want them to like Matt and I want them to like me. I want us to all be a big happy family.
But I'm not happy. And their not, and if all the adults are upset about an issue it will affect Matt and I knew I had to speak to his teacher.
She knew it too and was kind of waiting for the conversation.
So, I said that I am pretty upset about what is going on. She explained that biting is an issue, etc., etc. AndI said I agree, but what I am upset about is that the other teacher made me feel like a rotten parent - and that was unfair and unhelpful.
And then I burst into tears.
Yep. The mature side of me came out in full force this morning.
But, tears work I think. And it is an emotional issue. And they are taking care of my most precious thing in the world.
We'll see how it goes to tonight.
PS Thanks to the people who posted responses/talked to me/e-mailed me offline about it.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Stupid Biting Issue Revisited

Today was a a very bad day. it just generally sucked, but then it got worse when I got to the daycare and I was "greeted" by a pissed of daycare teacher.
I didn't get a hello, or a friendly how was your weekend.
Instead I was accosted with "Matthew bit a child today."
Huh? what?
I get it. Matthew bites. He is 2.
Here's my problem with this. I leave him all day - about 9.5 hours with trained daycare teachers who watch him. They have their ECE and the place is well run. So, what the heck? Why am I being told off by a teacher the second I walk in the door?
I wasn't there. Yes, I agree biting is wrong. But, I WASN'T THERE. I didn't see what happened, I didn't encourage it or refuse to punish it. I was at work having a crappy day.
The teacher was so beligerent that I had to walk away for a second so I didn't a) cry b) scream or c) do both.
How do I explain to a 55 year old toddler room teacher that this is her problem. Not something she needs to attack me with, telling me how my husband and I should deal with this at home.
In fact we do tell him it is wrong. But, it is also up to them, during the day, to keep him from biting other kids.
I think part of the problem is that I don't want my child to be the biter of the class. I don't want to have the bully. And I want teachers to like my child. I work hard with him and I make sure he knows the difference between right and wrong. That's the most I can do. When I send him out of my home, even to the safe environment of the daycare I want to know that he is understanding the principles that I am teaching him.
But, at some point it is up to them.
I say this having been raised in a home with a father who is a principal. He would be the first to tell you the huge role the parent plays in a home, but I think (and correct me if I am wrong, Dad) that when the child is in a classroom the teacher has a responsibility to teach the rules and enforce them. Yes, the parents should be on the same team, but in the classroom the teacher is in charge. And, if a kid misbehaves in the classroom the parents should not be told off. Consulted yes, encouraged to take part in the discipline process, for sure, but not punished because their kid was bad.
Trust me - I had my moments. I could be a brat. But, that was not my parents' fault. It was mine. And, if you watched me as a child and teenager you would have seen that the classes I behaved in were the classes in which I was engaged and the classes I misbehaved in were the classes where I was bored. And, in the classroom teachers had to stand their ground.
I will never forget when I was in 2nd grade and I completely refused to do a very simple math assignment. My teacher stood her ground, did not let me get away with what I was doing, and I didn't cross the line again.
You know, Mrs. Black still is hands down my favourite teacher. Why? Becuase I knew where I stood with her and I didn't cross that line. She was cool and fun, and in story time she let me touch her suede shoes (she still laughs about this), but she never let us get away with murder.
So, how does this relate to the biting issue?
In my opinion, biting in the classroom is an issue for the classroom - and one that I am happy to work on but not be blamed for.
So, what am I going to do?
I have already spoken to the teacher, so now I am going to make an appointment with the woman in charge. I'm going to explain my issue in as rational and non-emotional a way that I can and I am going to come to a solution. I hope.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Am I a Hostage to the Soother??

Tonight something became crystal clear to me - I'm a hostage to the soother.
My son, who's 2, loves his soother. It's funny because when he was really little he didn't like it at all, but as he has gotten older it's his favourite thing next to a bottle of chocolate milk.
But it seems like lately we have become hostage to the soother. Tonight there is no soother because I have somehow misplaced it. Neither Mike or I can find it anywhere and we have looked everywhere. The question is, are we hostage to the soother.
My answer is slowly becoming yes. And I am thinking it's time to ween from it.
The problem is that I think it is me who will have a harder time than Matthew.
At daycare he seems okay with no soother. He gets it at nap time. Period. The rest of the day he survives without it. They claim he is fine. But, what do they do when he has a temper tantrum? What do they bribe him with when he's not listening or take away when he is being bad?
A very brave friend of mine decided that she would just name the date and then take away the soother. She followed through with this too. Since we live in a condo she simply let her kids throw their soothers down the garbage chute.
And it worked. Her kids are weaned of their soothers (her daughter is less than a week older than Matt so is a good gauge for me). But, she was totally on board with the idea. She also was able to throw a very beloved DVD down the chute when she had to follow through with a threat.
Am I being critical?
Of course not. I think it's genius.
I just don't know if I am ready or not. I'm way too attached to it and the value it plays in our life.
So, I guess we have a few options. We can take option A - the option Ginny took and dispose of the soother. Problem being, I would need to have Ginny throw it down the chute for me because I would wimp out. There's Option B - Let him keep it and give it up when he's ready even if that is like age 5. Or there's Option C - slowly slowly wean him from the beloved soother.
For now I have no idea what we're doing.
I just sent Mike to the car to hunt it out. We'll see if he finds it or not.

PS. Yes, I have thought about having more than one soother. I think we have about 26 I just can't find any.

Wonderful Wonderland

Yesterday Matthew, my niece Kyla, my brother-in-law Steve and I went to Canada's Wonderland.
There was much excitement around this event. Kyla and I had planned it for weeks (down to what treats we were each bringing) and I had explained to Matt what it was all about. Steve and I even had a couple of phone conversations about it.
So we met at our pre-arranged rendezvous point and off we went.
Now it may seem a little stange that it was me and Steve going. The reason behind it is that this year they are offering up by one day's passes get another day's free for the rest of the season. Becky and Steve went once with their kids and then asked if we wanted to go the second time and bring Kyla since she and I have always talked about going (seriously, she is almost 4 and we have been discussing this for about 2 years).
Mike wasn't too keen on the idea of going with 2 kids, so we determined that giving him the day off would be a great Father's Day gift and Steve wanted to go.
Anyway ... Back to the day

I have to say we had a pretty Wonderful time. I was a little tentative about bringing my 2 year old who doesn't stand still. But, with his cousin keeping him in check it went fine. The line ups weren't bad, and he loved that he got to go on all the rides with Uncle Steve while I went with Kyla.
I loved that I got to go on so many rides. Okay - so they weren't exactly scary roller coasters like I prefer, but what's not to enjoy about the mini rollercoaster that you ride with your kid complete with the camera where you can buy expensive photos. (we didn't because the pic wasn't flattering, but I will definitely plan ahead next time).
We also went to to the Dora show which was pretty darn cute. I started to sing and dance right along with dora and boots. I couldn't help myself. It was that good. And the fun thing about that show was that no one cared that I was singing and dancing along with dora and boots.
Side note for anyone who read the post about the Dora clothes - it is TOTALLY cool to wear Dora clothes at any age at Wonderland. In fact, you could buy a Dora shirt to wear to Wonderland.
Anyway, I was also really impressed with the staff in the kids area. They were so much fun. They were patient with the kids getting in and out of the rides and also totally fine about the parents being a bit anxious when their kids were going on an unchaperoned ride for the first time.
Probably the funniest moment of the day was when we were waiting to go on the airplane ride. We were in line forever (like about 30 minutes). It was hot, there was no shade and the kid behind us was having a complete meltdown. Matt and Kyla were both cracking and we just wanted to get on the ride. We were right at the front of the line behind one other family. WE WERE NEXT! Then it happened. First there was some delay starting the ride. Then one little kid freaked out completely so they stopped the ride to pull him out. Then it restarted and then stopped again because one of the parents hadn't left the ride area. Finally, it starts AGAIN. In order to make all the kids who'd been sitting on the ride happy, the guy decided to play Simon Says with them.
Okay, so that was funny.
"Simon says wave at your parents."
"Simon says raise your hands in the air", etc. etc.
Funny, except that he was making the ride longer to compensate and also longer because he was enjoying Simon Says.
Finally he does this long drawn out "Simon Says ...." and as he was waiting to fill in the blank the woman next to me yells
Honestly, the funniest moment of the day. I couldn't stop giggling. I'm still laughing about it - it was that funny. But, funny in the way that you can't really repeat the moment. But, you will always laugh about it because it was funny.
The rest of the day was fun too. There was some spilled pop, a few tears and a couple meltdowns, but nothing major.
I think for me the highlight of the day was watching the cousins interract. They would often be waiting in line and just spontaneously hug. That was pretty cool. Or, they would go on a kiddie ride and sit there laughing about a joke that only they shared. I would watch them swiging through the air and laughing - and then Kyla would show Matt to wave at us, and then they would laugh together. Very cute.
I am thinking about going again. In fact, part of me wanted to run up to the desk and buy a season's pass. But, then I realized that part of what made the day special was that we don't do it a lot. That we can't just hop in our car and go up there. It's a treat and it's a big deal.
Pictures to come :)