Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Bedtime Success ... Kinda

We made it through our tough love parenting night just fine.
Last night Matthew was kind of tired. Because we had to bring the car in to get the tire fixed Matt got a lovely excursion around Canadian Tire. He then got to run through the mall, eat food court food and basically burn off some energy.
All evening we talked about the evening plan - brush teeth, use toilet, go to bed.
By the time we got home and he had his bottle of chocolate milk (no comments on the bottle at age 3 ... I know though in fairness he didn't take a bottle until his first birthday) he turned the tv off, at my prodding, and headed upstairs.
Brushing teeth time was great. He even used the toilet. And then he went to bed. After a few cuddles (and no book, but I don't know why) he went to bed. And stayed there.
He was there for an hour while I did some stuff. He was wide awake.
As is my custom, when I was ready for bed I hopped in with him, as he has taken to sleeping in our bed. You see, our bedroom has no monsters. So I cuddled up with my wide awake child and proceeded to drift off at which point he bonked me on the head, said "I don't like sleeping with you, Mommy" and went off to find Mike who put him in his big boy race car bed. We didn't hear a peep from him after that.
So let's review. After months of struggling with Matt in one night he:
  1. Does not fight with us when we say it's bedtime
  2. Uses the toilet (commenting that's what big boys do)
  3. Brushes his teeth happily
  4. Decides to sleep in his own bed
I haven't slept so well in months. Is it possible that of all the people fighting the time change it's working for us?
Knock on wood. Last night was great.
I know. I know. It's all about the routine.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Cause Monday is Always a Good Day to Start NEW Routines

We've been a little remiss in the bedtime routine lately.
Matthew is really stubborn. And this makes bedtime really difficult. We were kind of in a routine up until December, and then when we moved things got rough.
In order to get Matt to sleep we've been (collective gasp) been letting Matt have a bottle of chocolate milk. I know.
It started as a one time thing and then gradually increased.
And then I read an article on tooth decay and kids. The truth is that he doesn't sleep with chocolate milk in his mouth, but the lack of teeth brushing is really getting to me. I'm not saying that we DON'T brush his teeth, but still.
Plus, we've been in a little slow in the toilet training department.
So tonight we're changing up the routine. We're letting Matthew go to bed later than normal (8 instead of 7:30). We're having Treehouse and chocolate milk. Then teeth brushing. Then toilet. And then bed with water only.
I get that other people have figured this routine. We've just gotten into the rut of doing what's easiest. It's just that we're beginning to learn that what seems like and easy way out isn't always an easy way out in the long run.
I HATE being this tough. It sucks.
But, at the same time it's really working to be tough. Like, I am being really firm about Matt listening. Tonight Matt was running around the upper level of the mall and he saw the elevator doors open. He was about to go in (with a stranger) and from the other side of the mall I shouted "Matthew STOP!"
I was amazed. Is it possible that strict Mommy is paying off? I guess so.
So we shall see how tonight's bedtime routine goes. If I'm extra tired at work tomorrow at least everyone will know why.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Driving Error


Here's something you may not know about me. I do not excel at driving.
The Ontario Graduated Licensing System came into effect the year I turned 16. For those who don't know, this is a system where to be fully licensed you have to take 3 tests - one written and two driving. The first driving test is comprised of the basics such as driving on city streets, parking, parallel parking etc. This is considered the easy test. The second test is the highway driving test where you are tested on more advanced skills such as merging onto the highway and yet another parallel park. This is considered the hard test.
A lot of people complained about graduated licensing. For me (and those who share the roads with me) it was a good thing.
I passed the written test with flying colours. That is where my driving success ended.
I went on to attempt 5 G1 exit tests. Yes. That's the "easier" of the tests. I won't get into details. They will scare you. I will say that in one test I actually freaked out the teacher so much that he asked me to pull over so he could drive back. However, he did complement me on my parallel parking skills.
It wasn't just a series of errors. I was horrible. I took driver training with 2 different teachers. Neither were successful in eliminating my fear of other drivers, merging into traffic or pretty much driving in general.
My parents took me driving on many occasions. Though they swore they were clear headed, if they secretly had a few drinks before getting in the car with me I would not have blamed them. It was scary.
My brother-in-law made a concerted effort at teaching me. Though I have to say he was the most calm instructor he could not manage to help me get through a test.
Finally, when I got engaged, I secretly went out and took tests. The only people who knew were my Young Drivers teacher, Mike (my then fiancee) and Sabrina (one of my closest friends). For the first time in my life I had a teacher who made me feel confident behind the wheel. He would shout at me when I wasn't aggressive enough, tell me that pedestrians weren't royalty - so don't give them so much space, and would get pissed off if I didn't go through a yellow. In fact, when it came time to teach me highway driving, he took me on a lesser known entrance to the DVP and told me to speed up because I was on a highway.
I loved the guy. He was not going to teach me if I was going to be afraid. I got rid of my fears, hopped in the car and drove.
In between lessons Mike would let me drive his car. My big issue was parallel parking and backing up. So for weeks on end we spent hours in the car. Mike had his headphones on and closed his eyes and I would sob and wail and scream and cry and try my best to back up. Eventually I mastered it.
And then I took my driving test. AND PASSED. Fifth time was a charm, I guess.
In fact, I got a perfect test. When the instructor told me that I was so shocked and excited and proud that I started crying. I could not stop crying. He went in and found my instructor who tried to comfort me. But, I had to explain these were happy tears. He had to take me in and to the correct lineup because I was so emotional.
Of everything I've done in life, this was the one thing that I was unwilling to fail on no matter how much effort it took.
I drove Mike's old car for a few months and then we bought a nice shiny new car. It was kind of a dumb move, since I still wasn't that great a driver, but I was proud.
My second test was not that exciting. When I found out I was pregnant I booked a test, grabbed my mom (since our shiny new car had a huge dent on it which I thought would hinder my passing abilities) and I passed on the first try. I think my giant stomach helped matters. And there was no traffic.
However, I am still a pretty crappy driver.
I'm lacking in hand-eye coordination. I sometimes speed and sometimes drive under the speed limit. I listen to the radio too loud. I talk on my phone and use my blackberry while driving. I am not horrible, but I would not rate myself perfect. By any means.
I've never gotten a ticket - except for parking.
I've never been in an accident. That is, I've never had an accident with another person/car. I've driven into parking garage pillars, posts, garbage cans, etc.
But then today ... I drove into a curb. Or kind of into and over it. Who knows. It was the loudest thing I've ever heard. I completely destroyed my front tire.

Matty inspects the damage ... "Mommy broke the wheel."

I was so excited to take Matthew to the park today. But, he started to scream when I was driving into the playground parking lot. I looked back at him and accidentally drove over the curb. Holy crap. It was the loudest noise ever. I'm kind of accustomed to doing stupid things like this, but today I actually broke my tire.
I didn't think I'd done any damage until I went to get out of the car and realized that I was a lot closer to the ground than normal. Hmmm ...
Another mom came over. And asked if I was okay. Considering Matthew was singing away and none of the air bags had gone off I was. I said "I just don't know why the car is so low."
She was like "well, your tire us flat."
This is the real reason we were here - not to fix the car

So, I called Mike and he came over in our borrow Saturn (thanks, Beck) to observe the situation.
While we were waiting we actually did play in the park. It was warm. We had fun. And then Mike arrived.
He wasn't mad at all. (used to me perhaps?)
It turns out that he has changed flat tires before, so it was fine. Our car actually had a jack and spare tire. I didn't know cars came with all that stuff. So, Mike changed the tire while Matt said over and over again "Daddy is fixing the wheel. Mommy broke it. She crashed our car."
Thanks, Matt.
So ....
I'm now a little traumatized by my stupid driving experience, but thankfully all is well. We'll get a new tire the tire will get fixed and I will watch out for curbs. Fun fun Sunday afternoon.
The funniest part of all of this is that Matthew thought the whole thing was planned for his enjoyment. He loves fixing things, and what is more fun than a broken car and a playground at the same time??

How great is it that Mommy brought her camera for such an occasion. "Stand next to the broken car and say Cheese!"