Saturday, April 07, 2007

And He's Three...

Help yourself to more cake!!!

Yesterday's birthday was perfect!
Okay, so the cake for breakfast kind of made us all a little ill, but it was fun. I can't remember the last time I donned a birthday hat at breakfast and ate chocolate cake.
The day was pretty laid back. We made his real birthday cake, we ate junk food, we watched The Incredibles. The thing with a birthday being on a statutory holiday is that nothing is open so you are forced to take it a little easy. I liked that.
Matthew loved his gifts. Our big gift to him was a sand and water table. Since we have a backyard (a little one) now we figured we could put that outside.
The weather didn't exactly cooperate, but we still managed to fill the water table part up and have lots of fun with it.
He also got other fun stuff - a hula hoop, some books, a truck. We didn't overdo it (shockingly) and we had fun.
Then last night Matthew had his birthday party.
Because life has been busy, and because our house isn't exactly in the best condition ever, and because we are a little lazy - and mostly because my 4 year old niece thought this was the coolest idea ever - we booked Matt's party at an indoor playground.

It was really fun!
We didn't have tons of kids -I think there were 15 in total. It was such a laid back way to have a party. The kids ran around having fun and playing. The parents chatted off and on. We had a super cool monster truck cake. It was just a lot of fun.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Happy 3rd Birthday, Matthew!

To my baby, my big boy, my Love Bug who turns 3 today,

I can hardly believe it when I tell people that you are three. It seems so young and so old, all at the same time.

Three years ago today you were born.

You were such a surprise to me. I was lucky. I found out that I was pregnant with you when I was already three months along. I had no morning sickness. I didn’t fight for years to conceive. You were a surprise and a blessing.

Stupidly, since my pregnancy was so easy I thought that actually having a baby would be easy too. From the moment I went into labour I learned that I was sadly mistaken. You were born a couple of weeks early. I hadn’t even gone on maternity leave yet. In fact, when I was in the early stages of labour I was on the phone with my boss, going through notes for a meeting the next day. As I was discussing the location of files he was convincing me that I would probably want an epidural. I was in complete denial about what was to come.

Your birth almost killed us. Literally. I don’t like to talk about your birth story. For me it’s very sad. I thought birth would be a breeze. I thought you would come out and I’d love you to bits and life would be roses. I assured everyone that we’d be home a couple of hours after you were born.

I was totally wrong.

Your birth was traumatic for both of us. I only saw you for a minute. And then they took you away. We were both injured. You slept in an incubator. More accurately, you screamed in an incubator while I laid in my room a little dazed. We didn’t see each other for hours. And, when we did we didn’t bond. You wouldn’t stop crying. I didn’t know how to react.

I was terrified. I’d just given birth to a child who didn’t even like me.

Now I know I was wrong. That realization took me awhile.

We were in the hospital for a few days. We came home on Good Friday. I was so grateful that it was a holiday because it meant that your dad couldn’t go to work. It meant that I wouldn’t be alone with you. You scared me. You cried all the time. You were starving but didn’t nurse well. And I was in so much pain.

My whole life I’ve been so confident in myself. Maybe even a little cocky. You took me down a notch. You taught me that sometimes I can’t do it all. You taught me not to give up.

Our first year was a little rocky. We both cried a LOT. I have a calendar of your first year. Looking back, the entry that amazes me the most is the one when you are about 3 months old and I wrote “I made it through today without crying once.” That, Love Bug, was a turning point for me. That day I realized that I could survive motherhood.

As you have gotten older I’ve learned this more and more. When you were 15 months old I went back to work. I thought you would hate me. Instead I learned how much you loved me. When you first started daycare I didn’t want to pick you up – I made Daddy do that – because I was afraid that I would see you sad – or that I’d see you happier than you were around me. I was totally wrong. Picking you up became the highlight of my days. When you saw me you would come running to my arms. You’ve never stopped that. I can’t tell you how amazing it is to have a child look so thrilled to see you. It amazes me how you are never angry that I leave you. You’re an amazing person. You are so happy. You are happy to be with your friends all day, and you’re happy to get home.

Something that has defined you since birth is your strong will. You are a child with determination. When you’re happy we all know it. When you’re angry we know that too. When I take you to gymnastics classes it amazes me how much you stand out from the crowd. Some of the kids do things because their parents make them. You don’t. If you don’t want to walk on the balance beam no one in the world is going to make you – not mommy, not your coach, not any of the other kids in your class. Sometimes that frustrates me. It’s hard to have a child with such a strong will. But, I know that this will is going to get you far in life. I know that you will not be pushed around. I hope this is a characteristic that defines you as you grow up. I know we’ll struggle with it, but I want to encourage it also.

Something else that defines you is your beautiful, beautiful personality. You love shines through everything. I love how you always give extra kisses and extra cuddles. I love the huge smile that you give me when I get home from work. I love how you can be so angry one moment and then the next so loving.

You constantly amaze me with your humour. I love how you are learning jokes. I love how you say silly things just because you know they are silly. I love how you can convince me to buy you a banana split for lunch. Your smile lights up our lives.

Guess what, Love Bug?! We made it through the “terrible twos”. But you know what? I’ve loved them. I’ve loved spending the last year watching you learn and grow. There have been a lot of ups and downs. Some of the downs I could have lived without. The bus temper tantrums almost did me in. When you went through that biting stage – and I was afraid you’d grow up to be a bully – that really sucked. But, so much more of it delighted me. I loved taking the McDonald’s bus with you. I love going on train rides with you. I loved visiting the CNE with you and running through the sprinklers.

But, most of all I enjoyed getting to know you. I could never have imagined loving someone so much. I never thought that I’d wake up every day to a little boy who wants “just 2 more minutes” of cuddles. I never expected that I’d have a child who could see me sad and say “Mommy, you need a kiss and a hug.”

Three years ago you scared me. I couldn’t really imagine how I was going to handle being a mom. I had no idea who this little being was who had just entered our lives. I knew I loved you – that was never in question. I just never knew just how much love I was capable of. Thank you for loving me and letting me learn and grow along with you. I love you more than you will ever know or imagine.

Happy 3rd Birthday, Matthew Thorin Wayne!!!


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Tag ... I'm it - AGAIN!!!

Yet again, Haley has tagged me. And, we all know I love a good tag. So, here are a few things you may not know about me. Or, for that matter, care to know about me.

1. Seriously, what the heck does "Misadventures of (Mommy) Laural" mean?
To be honest it wasn't that well thought out. Most of my life is a bit of a misadventure - you know, I always plan to have a straight forward kind of day, and that never ever happens. I added the mommy part in brackets because I love that part of me, but it's not all of me. However, so many of my misadventures happen when I am with my son, that I had to include it.

2. Dog person or cat person?
In the sense of ownership, I'm definitely a cat person. I have (had) a dog who now lives with my in-laws. I'm just a good cat owner because I like that if I want to play with my cat or dress her up I can (okay, I've only dressed her up once), but I can also just leave her to her own vices most of the time. Perhaps owning Jack, the worst behaved dog ever, kind of turned me against dogs. Because he peed on me, and everything in our house a lot. And he drove me crazy. I feel like if I owned a nice loving boxer, and had a dog walker then maybe I would be a dog person. Other people's dogs I love.

3. Brad Pitt or George Clooney?
Hello - I'm not even 30. I think they are both old enough to be my father! If I had to choose, I'd go with Brad Pitt (because I'm such good competition for Angelina).

4. What was your major in College, and what made you choose it?
I studied Journalism (print) at Ryerson. I chose it because I love to write and because I also debated PR which a lot of people go into from that program. As soon as I read the course description I knew it was the program for me. It helped that my big sister went to Ryerson (for Interior Design) so as much as I wouldn't have admitted it when I was younger, it was really cool to know I had someone around. For the two years she was there with me we would make sister dates and go for lattes every Tuesday. (I miss that tradition - though we do go to the gym on Tuesdays now!)
The program was amazing. I didn't end up becoming a writer but I loved a lot of the classes. I learned about a ton of things from diversity (Sabrina? Laural? Who are you?) to media law. I learned that I'm not nearly as good a writer as I thought I was, but I also learned that I enjoy editing, something that I would not have guessed.

5. What’s your biggest fear?
I am terrified of snakes. I HATE them!!! I don't know why, but I always have. I spent a summer in Africa, and did not realize until I read a guidebook on the plane that the particular region we were in was known as the snake region of Senegal. At first everyone thought it was hilarious, and someone had even brought a rubber snake to play jokes on people. But, people soon learned it was a definite phobia. I wore rubber boots everywhere I went for the longest time (which is how I got the nickname Rubber Boots). By the end of the summer I had sort of conquered the fear, had touched a snake, and didn't run away when I saw one. I also was taught (by a Senegalese man) how to kill a snake using a walking stick. I think in a pinch I could probably still do it. And, I can now go up to a glass case with a snake in it and NOT freak out. However ... snakes are still my biggest fear.
By the way, if I was a celebrity I would never admit this because then I would be afraid that people who hated me would send me snake postcards and stuff. So, if I ever become famous, please keep this fear to yourself. And, no, I have not seen the movie Snakes on a Plane. Duh. I'd have nightmares.

As for my tags ... I'm tagging one person because she said she has nothing to blog about lately. That is my adorable, Miss Lisa. Bonus points if you do this as poetry. Anyone else who feels like doing this tag, please go for it!

Monday, April 02, 2007

April Fool's ... And Other Fond Memories

I used to love April Fool's Day.
One of my best memories from growing up are my memories of April Fool's Day.
The best person to play an April Fool's prank on was my Grandpa. No matter what we thought up my grandpa "fell" for it. Every. Single. Year.
I can remember building up to the big day every year. My sister and I (with the help of my parents) would come up with something wacky and wonderful to trick Grandpa. My mom reminded me yesterday about the year we decided to tell my non-animal-loving grandfather that we had gotten a dog. My mom said that she practiced with us - helped us pick a name for the dog and everything.
One time I called to tell him that I was a refrigerator repairman and he needed to check his fridge (and he did). One time I told him that there was a snowstorm. (and it was sunny)
And each time I would scream "APRIL FOOLS!"
Of course he didn't believe any of these things. But, I didn't know that. I firmly believed that I tricked my grandpa every time.
That's just the kind of person that he was.
He was the kind of grandfather who let us put barrettes in his combover.
He was the kind of grandpa who taught us how to make pinocchio noses out of maple keys.
He was the kind of grandpa who had more patience than you would think humanly possible. And he was the grandpa who had about a million stories to share. And trust me - they were long.
He passed away a few years ago. It was hard. Over time the grief from his death turned into some really great memories - memories that I cherish.
But, on April Fool's day I always think of him. And I think about his amazing capacity to love. And the way he showed that love - with his patience, and good humour, and willingness to play along.
I was lucky. I had 23 years to experience this amazing person. To learn from him and to love him.
And, now I watch my own child with my dad - his Grandpa. A lot of the time I see the same characteristics. My dad plays with Matt. He loves him. And he's patient with him. And, I'm looking forward to the April Fool's ahead of us - when Matt understands the value of a good joke. And we can call and "trick" his grandpa.
Just like I did when I was little.
So, Dad, here's your warning ... when Matthew calls you next April 1st and says something like "Guess what ... we got a puppy." Check the calendar. Let the tradition live on!

My future April Fool's Prankster with his Grandpa

The Post that was Interrupted by a Major Meltdown

So Friday night we had a date night. Like a good, old fashioned, child-free date night thanks to a husband who planned it and a sister who offered to babysit.
It was wonderful.
I was a little afraid that I would not be able to handle the evening. The night before I had an extra glass of wine when I went out with some friends from work. (okay, so maybe a few too many ...) and I was not looking all that pretty Friday morning. I would, in fact, say I was looking a little green. But, I managed to make it through the day with the promise of a yummy dinner and even yummier movie theatre popcorn in the near future.
Mike picked me up from the train, and we went to Milestones. We love this restaurant because a) the food is yummy and b) Mike designs them and we can marvel at what an amazing architectural technologist he truly is.
We decided to not only order meals, but to also order our absolute favouritest food ever -- spinach and artichoke dip -- to start. Yummy! And quiet. We just sat and ate and enjoyed the fact that there were no fingers in our food and no screaming toddler. I couldn't get through my pasta, but I wasn't really trying. I figured there was no point in stuffing myself when I was going to get some yummy popcorn.
Then we went to see Blades of Glory.
As soon as we heard about this movie we knew it was made for us. I love figure skating. Mike likes comedies. We both LOVE Will Ferrell.
And, it did not disappoint. In fact, the whole evening did not disappoint. It was just fun fun fun. And, every so often you need that. You know, puts everything in perspective.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Easter Eggs

Since Easter is coming up Matthew and I decided to do Easter Eggs. More specifically, I decided to make easter eggs and show Matt how to do it.
Ever tried explaining the concept of painting eggs to a toddler?
The problem I had is that whenever I bake I let Matt help me, and his favourite job is cracking the eggs. He's quite good at the task. He's been doing this for a good year with me.
So when I told him we were decorating eggs not cracking them he was a little disappointed.
When he asked me why we were painting them I didn't have an explanation.
When I was growing up I didn't believe in the Easter Bunny. We attended church and we learned the traditional Easter story. (and we'll be brining Matt to church Easter Sunday). As much as my parents gave us Easter chocolate, I don't really remember them ever explaining the concept of the Easter Bunny to me. Or how the eggs relate.
So with that helpful lack of knowledge I was basically able to tell Matt "I don't know - but we are painting eggs."
I tried blowing the yoke out of a few eggs. This made them very fragile. And when I let Matt paint them (with a cool egg painting kit my friend gave us) he was quite happy to destroy the eggs. I was annoyed. So I gave up and hard boiled the other 9 eggs.
We ended up going and buying one of those kits where you colour on the egg with a magic crayon and then dip them in the colours. Matt was not into the colouring so much because he couldn't see what he was drawing. So, I finished up the colouring and then we dipped.
Basically we have ended up with a bit of a mess.
But the best part of the whole thing was at the end. When we mixed all the dyes. That was the best part. Matt loved mixing colours. I got into it too.
So .... to recap. We may not have any easter eggs in our house, but we are quite clear that pink and blue make purple and yellow and green make yellowish green. It's all about the learning experience.