Sunday, October 24, 2021
Saturday, October 23, 2021
We spent some time doing some Halloween crafts this afternoon—namely: getting Miriam's birthday "balloons" ready (she decided to stick with the Halloween tree theme, much to Alexander's delight) and getting some Halloween cards ready to send out.
Now that Alexander can actually pronounce things, he's becoming very interested in reading and writing. For example, went the whole way around the block today running ahead to each mailbox, sitting down primly on the curb to wait for Andrew and me to catch up,* and then proudly "reading" the numbers on the mailbox for us. He still gets 6 and 9 confused, but he does fairly well otherwise. He's also doing reading lessons and has begun sounding out words all on his own as he goes about his day (there's this one superhero book that has been particularly motivating for Alexander; he wants to know every word in that book).
* I've been insisting the past several weeks that I'm walking at the very same speed I always have, but it turns out that my waddle is getting real. Andrew checked his Fitbit to show me just how much I've slowed down as my belly has grown. I've about doubled the time it takes for us to walk around the block! And, really, we have been lagging behind the children more and more recently. But, boy, do I ever feel like I'm moving as fast as I ever have. Getting up our hill takes so much work!
Anyway, Alexander wanted to write his own messages, but he wanted the messages to be meaningful rather than nonsense, so he worked really hard on them!
Last week Miriam's organ teacher texted us out of the blue one evening to say that she was moving to Korea to take care of her mother (recently diagnosed with a terminal illness), so this would be her last week of lessons. We're sad to lose such a wonderful teacher, of course, but I'm so happy that her teacher has the flexibility to go! Living far away from family can be difficult.
She gave us a few leads for replacement teachers, so we're working on filling that gap, but in the meantime, Miriam had her lesson coming up (on Wednesday) and she wanted to get a goodbye gift for her teacher. But what?
If my last post didn't make this clear...I'm not a good shopper. Knowing what to buy other people is...not in my skillset. Luckily, gifts don't always have to be purchased and sometimes something homemade offers that special touch of je ne sais quoi. So Miriam decided she'd "whip up" some embroidery—a set of organ pipes—for her teacher.
It took most of her spare time between that sad text message and her lesson, but she finished it just in the nick of time. Andrew snapped a picture of her (and it) before taking her to her final lesson.
Thursday, October 21, 2021
Wednesday, October 20, 2021
Zoë's been nervous about her well-child check ever since Alexander and Rachel came home moaning and groaning about their vaccinations. This morning, however, Alexander tried to convince her that going to the doctor wasn't all bad!
"You don't have to worry about going to the doctor," he told her over breakfast, "Because guess what! If you are brave and get your shots, Mom will take you to the park after even if you haven't done any of your work for the day. Like, yesterday I didn't do any of my work and Mom still took me to the park. So...that might happen for you today, too!"
That did not happen for Zoë.
Her appointment wasn't until this afternoon so she had plenty of time to get her morning work done before we left. But we did swing by the park on the way home, just me and her. Which was like actual one-on-one time. And she loved it.
Anyway, her appointment went well. It was with a different doctor than the one we saw yesterday, which is fine. Technically we can see anyone at the practice. The doctor was a little concerned about Zoë's size because she's tall (3 ft. 9 inches) and lean (40.5 lbs), putting her between the 1st and 2nd percentile for her BMI. So we talked a lot about nutrition.
The funny thing is that I warned Zoë that she should eat her vegetables because the doctor would ask her about it. And what am I supposed to tell the doctor when the doctor asks about it if she never eats her vegetables?! Well, I told the doctor that she is offered vegetables multiple times a day, but whether or not she eats them is a different story.
Unlike Alexander, Zoë's favourite food is not mixed vegetables.
"Do you eat any vegetables?" the doctor asked.
"I eat uncooked carrots," Zoë said. "And cucumbers and..."
"So some vegetables at least, that's good," the doctor said.
When the doctor stepped out of the room, Zoë said to me, "I did not know they were really going to check on how much vegetables I eat!"
You'd better believe she ate her vegetables (cucumber slices) this evening.
Tuesday, October 19, 2021
Monday, October 18, 2021
Sunday, October 17, 2021
Alexander's one birthday wish was mixed vegetables. He wanted mixed vegetables for dinner and mixed vegetables for cake. And, you know, that is totally in my power to deliver.
I love this age!
It reminds me of the time Rachel brought home a Christmas wish list from school (in kindergarten) and it said "a candy cane." That's it. That's all she wanted.
I can do that!
Somewhere along the line, however, kids seem develop this thing called "expectations" and then they start experiencing a thing called "disappointment" because if there's one thing I'm consistent at it's not meeting expectations. But before they have expectations—when they think that an excellent birthday wish is "mixed vegetables" and all they want for Christmas is a "candy cane?" Well, I'm pretty good at making childhood seem magical then.
I say "I," but the magic is really a team effort. Especially right now when I'm so busy being a pregnant grad student person. So Andrew made Alexander's birthday dinner—mixed vegetables, Molly's meatballs (from the Harry Potter cookbook), and mashed potatoes (with leftover cranberry sauce from our Canadian Thanksgiving dinner)—and Alexander was thrilled. He ate mostly mixed vegetables and ignored everything else on his plate, which is par for the course with him.
Andrew wonders where he came from because (a) whose favourite food is mixed vegetables? And (b) who actually wishes for mixed vegetables on their birthday? He had a hard time wrapping his head around such a request, but he's a good dad and came through.
Friday, October 15, 2021
Somehow or another, Alexander turned four yesterday! I had a doctor appointment in the afternoon so we opened his presents in the morning (which he declared his favourite part of the day) so that he could have the full day to enjoy them.
Here is is—looking mighty dapper—ready to open his haul:
Tuesday, October 12, 2021
Friday, October 08, 2021
It seems like having Mom be gone all day is a lot less traumatic in the morning after a good night's rest than it is at nighttime when you're sleepy and it's dark outside and you're only imagining the horror.
Alexander woke up just before we left this morning (Andrew as my trusty (long-suffering) chauffeur) and he...was just fine being left in Rachel's care. And he did fine all day. He completely drained two iPad batteries playing Teach Monster (Read for Fun, or whatever their new program is called), but he did fine all day.
Today was also the day he decided that he could, in fact, simply take himself potty when he needs to go, so I'm hoping we've turned a corner there because he's been terribly dependent on having other people take him potty (the idea of taking himself was somehow repulsive).
Andrew had a long day in the car (he drove me to campus and then drove home to be with the kids and then drove back to campus to pick me up), but he did get to catch up on a bunch of podcasts. He also went grocery shopping and folded the laundry! And now he's outside weed-eating. I'm sure he'll be working long hours this evening and tomorrow to make up for lost time.
I went inside Aderhold Hall for the first time (that's where the College of Education is) so that I could pick up some flyers. And then I spent the day on Tate Plaza.
This is a picture of me trying to find Tate Plaza:
Thursday, October 07, 2021
I have to go to campus tomorrow for the very first time, and I have to admit I'm a little nervous. I realized today that not only is my "professional" wardrobe pretty slim pickings, I'm also 32 weeks pregnant. That makes the pickings even slimmer...because I am much less slim than usual. So I'm doing some laundry so that I can cobble together something presentable.
Andrew offered to let me borrow a not-a-diaper-bag, graduate-student-looking bag so that I can carry my necessities for the day (which will be pre-portioned meals, my glucometer, some homework supplies, and maybe some crochet because I do still need to finish Halloween costumes). Mostly I assume I'll be busy (because what I'll be doing is running a booth at a Banned Books Fair), but I'm also hoping I won't be too busy because I haven't gone anywhere public in ages and I'm a little afraid I'll be afraid of people.
But that's fine because as nervous as I feel, I'm not as nervous as some.
This evening we were playing a game as a family while Alexander drew pictures. He made a lovely little solar system and even fashioned a little cat mask for himself (he loves dressing up and wearing masks). His cat mask doesn't look like it will be very functional, so Miriam suggested that tomorrow they can print out a template and he can colour it and they can make one together and somehow it came out that Miriam would be helping him with this because Mom would be gone all day (alllllll day).
(Note: Miriam will not be "in charge" at any point during the day, but she does have some fun activities planned to do with Alexander, anyway.)
The poor boy about started hyperventilating. Tears welled up in his eyes. His lower lip started to quiver.
"Mom will be...gone?" he whimpered before dissolving into a little puddle of his former self.
He had so many worries. How would we print a template without Mom here? Mom is in charge of printing things! When we said "all day" did we mean "all day"? And who would be in charge? And how would he get lunch? And who would do reading lessons with him? And...
He had a good long sob into the front of my shirt, drenching us both with tears and snot.
I'm sure tomorrow will go well for both of us, despite our misgivings.
I've not been great with documenting birthdays here, but that doesn't mean we haven't been celebrating! Andrew's birthday was only, like, 2.5 weeks ago, so it's not like I'm that far behind. But we need to reclaim our Birthday Tree so we can turn it into our Thankful Tree starting on Monday.
Of course, our tree has a rather busy autumn. It will be a Thankful Tree from Thanksgiving to Thanksgiving, but the kids also want to add a few Halloween decorations to it, and it will have to be a Birthday Tree for Alexander, Miriam, and Phoebe!
So it's high time we gave its branches a break from Andrew's birthday balloons!
Our family tends to show affection with a little bit...acerbically...at times. Love with a dose of laughter. Compliments with a hint of cruelty. Sincerity mixed with sarcasm.
We'll call them inside jokes.
Wednesday, October 06, 2021
At the beginning of August I bought a set of English-Spanish early readers because we're interested in learning Spanish over here and I figured reading together would help us get more comfortable speaking it together. Zoë was particularly excited about these readers, and on the day they arrived we nestled together in my big comfy chair (with Alexander and, I suppose, Phoebe) and read a handful together.
Then somehow, despite my best efforts, the books—a boxed set of 25 readers!—ended up in Zoë's room. She swore up and down she would take excellent care of them because she's rather passionate about learning Spanish (despite how poor a Spanish teacher I make), and she did take good care of them...for about a day and a half...and then they disappeared.
Here's a fun fact about me: I don't like when things go missing.
Missing puzzle pieces make me want to scream. I hate having to search for library books. I wish my kids would just keep their sets of toys together like normal children (or was that just me?). I do my best to simply not think about the ever-growing collection of matchless socks in our laundry room. Once I lost my notes from a lecture I attended online and was frantic for days (Andrew found them just before my paper was due and I was overjoyed).
You'd think that my desire to always know where things are would lead to me being a clean freak, but that's unfortunately not been the case for me. I mean, sure, that might make keeping track of things a lot easier but...keeping things put away with this many people pulling them out all the time is exhausting. So my house is a little disorderly, but usually I know where things are.
We have rules, people!
Tuesday, October 05, 2021
Monday, October 04, 2021
Guys, Facebook is down.
Regrettably (or not?), Facebook has become where I keep all my brief notes of funny things my kids say because sometimes composing an entire blog post is...daunting...with the few minutes I manage to nab here and there. It's simply a medium that, for me, seems to call for longer-format writing.
All this is to say that it's lunchtime at our house and my children cannot decide what to eat.
"There's no leftovers," they complained.
And so they didn't know what to have for lunch.
Don't worry; they've managed. Alexander is having a muffin (leftovers from our conference weekend treats) with vegetables (also leftover from conference) and fruit (conference). Benjamin has made himself a fruit salad (with yogurt and leftover fruit). Zoë had cheese and crackers (again, conference leftovers!). Rachel had a croissant sandwich (did you guess conference leftovers?).
"I just don't know what to eat!" Miriam said, staring into the relatively empty fridge.
In her defense, the fridge is relatively empty. The other kids had eaten most of the leftovers and we have literally no leftover meals in there otherwise (which is unusual for us, but we didn't cook at all on Saturday or Sunday).
She settled on making herself some scrambled eggs to have with a leftover muffin and strawberries.
But the funny thing is that when our fridge is bursting with leftovers...I have to beg the kids to eat them. When the fridge is full of leftovers my kids say things like, "I'm going to make Ramen!" or "I'll have a sandwich!" or "Oooh! Boxed macaroni and cheese!"
They never willingly dig into leftovers unless I announce that everyone will be having leftovers for lunch.
But today we don't have any leftovers and they were all at a loss...as if we don't have Ramen or sandwich goods or boxed macaroni and cheese today (we do).