Friday, July 31, 2009

SNAFU

I am all for students in the workplace. I work in a field in which high school, college and university students do field placements. I also think that students taking summer jobs is a must. It keeps them out of trouble, builds character and gives them their own money. My kids will be strongly encouraged to work in the summer.

There are however, some jobs that students, whether they be volunteer or paid should just not be allowed to do. Receiving a deceased persons ashes should be one of those things.

My dad's funeral was on June 25. There are only two crematoriums for all of Durham Region so we knew it would take a week or two to get his ashes back. Monday was almost 5 weeks.
So on Monday my mom called the funeral home to find out what was taking so long.

Here's the story. A student was the one who received the ashes at the funeral home. On July 2nd. One short week after his funeral. This student did not log it into 'the book' so no one with a grain of sense knew the ashes were there. Or perhaps I should rephrase that because you have a box of ashes there that are not being picked up...one would think that anyone with a grain of sense would think "Hmmm, maybe I should see if anyone is coming for these ashes."
So, it was a prime example of passing the blame buck.

In the end though, my mom got my dad's ashes. I'm not sure if I mentioned before but they are in a nice biodegradable box that is infused with wildflower seeds. The box gets 'planted' and next year wild flowers will grow in it's place. At first we were going to plant the box in the garden near the pond but the biggest problem with that is that if we ever decided to move.....well, you see the problem there.
So my mom bought a nice big planter. Huge. It's lovely. And it can go on the porch, which is fitting because that is where my dad spent many of his last days. And the girls never have to know (so for my readers who know me IRL, please don't mention it to them) Emily gets wigged out just going into my dad's room. She'd never go into the backyard if she knew.

I think it's a fitting resting spot. In the backyard, near his pond. I think it will do my mom's heart well to have him close by.

As for the funeral home if we use them again they'll be getting strict instructions about students and my loved ones ashes.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

One step forward, two steps back

I hate quitters. Okay, hate is probably a strong word but I really dislike quitters. I also hate quitting myself. I try to attack each task before me with the attitude that I will finish it and it will be great.

I gave Connor his soother back yesterday. Bedtime has progressively become a battle. A nightmare. It got to the point that he was in hysterics and hitting me at bedtime. He normally gets put on time out when he hits but I can't very well give the kid a time out when I'm trying to put him to bed and he's upset because his evil mother took his security away.

So yesterday at naptime we endured the same. "Connor, it's time for night night" This is followed by Connor crying, saying no and asking for his doo doo.
I remind him that his doo doo is all gone and put him to bed with his lovey. I then head back to get one of the daycare babies ready for her nap.
5 minutes later she's in bed (in the playpen in the girls room) and Connor is still in his room screaming and crying. He finally settles about 5 minutes later but he's still whimpering enough that daycare baby can hear him so she's not going asleep either (and she needed it, the poor thing was falling asleep on mom's shoulder at the door when she was dropped off)

Well, that was all the incentive I needed. I caved in and gave the boy his soother.
And he went right to sleep.
And last night at bedtime, he went right to sleep, not even a whimper. No fighting, no hitting, no crying.

So I know that even though I've sent him a mixed message and I've done the total opposite of what I would tell other mom's to do...I did the right thing.
He's not even 2. We have time and it's only in bed.

And when the time comes that we have to get rid of it for real, he'll be older, he'll understand better and I got an awesome tip from another mom. We'll go to Build A Bear and have his doo doo stuffed into a bear.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Relay for Life


We've created our team "Papa's Pride" and next June Sean and I and my mom and the girls and two of my brothers and their wives and kids will all be participating in the Relay for Life. We'll be walking for my dad and for all the other loved ones we've lost to cancer.
Please click the link and pledge out team. We have until June 4, 2010 to reach our goal and I truly hope to surpass it.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Just like Mom

Emily is so much more like me than I ever thought possible.
I remember at her age going to sleepovers at friends houses and having anxiety attacks and wanting nothing more than to go home. I always stuck it out but more often than not, I hated it. the funny thing is, I always wanted to go again.

Emily has come home from 4 of her 6 sleepovers. I'm fine with that. I get it. I feel bad for her friends but it's just how she is.

She doesn't fare much better with friends sleeping over here. Now granted, my patience level isn't always the best. My home is host to other children 11 hours a day 5 days a week so weekends are for family and I am not huge on having other kids here on weekends. That said, the girls do have their friends over and I trudge through.
So last night Emily had her best friend sleep over. Emily's best friend is a nice kid but she's loud. Oh, so loud. And that is one of those things that grinds my nerves. But again, I don't want Emily feeling like her friends never get to come over or sleep over so I smile and take two Tylenol.

Last night went something like this.
9:00 - put a movie on the for the girls in their room. Ask them to keep the noise down because Connor is sleeping. Remind them that they don't need to get up and tell me when the movie is done, just go to sleep when it's over.
9:10 - Emily's best friend to the bathroom
9:15 - Emily to the bathroom
9:30 - Mary Jo to the bathroom
9:45 - Emily out to get the DS so she and bff can 'text' each other
10:00 - loud giggles from the room and a reminder that Connor is sleeping
10:30 - Mary out to tell me the movie is over
10:45 - Emily's bff to the bathroom
11:00 - Emily to the bathroom
11:30 - Sean and I attempt to go to bed
11:35 - Emily out crying because she can't get comfy on the air mattress (which was for her friend but her friend doesn't like air mattresses apparently so Emily offered her bed up)
Send Emily to sleep on the couch
11:40 - Emily back in her own room
11:45 - Emily back in our room crying because she can't get comfy and has a stomach ache and needs to throw up.
11:50 - Emily throws up
11:55 - Emily in my bed, Sean on the couch
12:00 am - finally everyone going to sleep.

And all this is caused by the same anxiety I have. It's the ' I like having company until it interferes with my routine and life and then I want everyone to go away and when they don't it makes me feel physically sick'

And the ironic part of all of this is, she's having one of the daycare kids sleep over on Wednesday night. I offered her a way out of the sleepover in which she could save face and it would be my fault. But nope, she wants her friend to sleep over and was upset that I suggested otherwise.

Just like her mom.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

doo doo difficulties

Ha ha - this post is not about poop.

I might just be the biggest suck out there. I don't know if it's because he's my only boy. Maybe because he's my last baby. It might be because he's my rainbow baby. But no matter the reason it breaks my heart to see his heart break.

Connor did so well coming off this soother. He complained a bit but I was sure I had a victory. Ha ha, how foolish was I?

In the past when I would tell him it was time for bed he'd get his lovey and toddle off to bed. He'd get into bed, hug his lovey, put a doo doo in his mouth and off to sleep he'd go. We rarely heard a peep.
Since we took his soother away bedtime has been a little more challenging. He asks for his soother and doesn't settle as easily in bed but it wasn't too horrible.
Last night that all changed. I told him it was time for bed. Well, that little boy hit me. Right in the face.
He then pitched an almighty fit, yelling for his doo doo. I couldn't get him into bed much less keep him there.
I left the room thinking he'd calm down but he didn't. He screamed holy murder in his room.
So I went back in to try and settle him. He sure knows how to lay the guilt on. He alternated between temper tantrum and crying like he'd lost his best friend. For a minute he stopped, like a light bulb went on, and looked under his bed saying "Where? Where? Doo doo!" When he realized it wasn't there he gave me the most pathetic look there ever was and collapsed into tears in my arms.

I can handle a lot of things but this felt like torture. So I left him with Sean while I ran across to Rexall to buy some soothers. When I got back Sean was with him in his room, singing songs. He got Connor settled and into bed. And we never heard a peep the rest of the night. So now, those new soothers are sitting in the cupboard, wasted.

The thing is, I'm not strong enough to go through this. I was able to sleep train all three of my kids using the cry it out method. It didn't phase me a bit. But this - this feels like I'm just being mean. I'm taking away his security. And I feel like crap for it.

As I type he is in his bed crying because it's naptime and he wants his doo doo. And his mean old mommy isn't giving him one.

Sometimes, parenting sucks.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Random mumblings and updates

It's been a few days. How out of character for me. I've been busy.

Connor is doing well without his soother. The only thing is that my old 'easy to put to bed' baby is gone and a 'difficult and silly pants' baby took his place. Every night before bed (and every afternoon before naptime) he asks for his doo doo. I remind him that it's all gone and put him in his bed. He gets a case of the wiggles and won't stay lying down and fights with me a bit. He does, however, stay in his bed and while he does whine, he doesn't cry. He plays and kicks the wall a bit before he goes to sleep now. I'm not sure if it's coincidence or not but he's been sleeping better. He's not waking at night at all and it's 7:20 am and he's still asleep! (that's unheard of - and yet, for some reason I was still up at 6 am!)

The other day Connor was downstairs visiting Nana. He toddled off to Papa's room to look for him. Papa's room doesn't look the same anymore. The bed has replaced the couch. His big tv has been replaced by a smaller one and his desk is now a bench. So Connor peeked in the room calling for Papa. He looked back at my mom and said "All gone"
Naturally Nana had a good cry.

We're still waiting for my Dad's ashes. I understand that there are only two crematoriums in all of Durham but it's been three weeks. How long could it possibly take to cremate a person?

I've enrolled for my first course in the Early Childhood Education Administration program. I've got to go to the school sometime soon though. I'm enrolled under my maiden name because I wasn't married when I went to school there the first time. So I want to change that info. Plus, I'm supposed to get some type of orientation package and show proof of my ECE to some woman who seems completely incapable of answering emails. I'm growing increasingly frustrated. If she's on vacation the least she could do is put an automatic vacation reply on her email. I've emailed twice in the past month though so I'm thinking she's not on vacation, she's just a boob.
Either way, I've paid for my course, I got my ECE at that college so there is no question about my credentials so come September 8th I'm a college kid again.

Emily is going for her first counselling session on Monday. I'm hoping it's helpful for her. She does seem to have leveled off a bit now but she still tenses up when we talk about my Dad.

I've had all I can take of summer. I'm ready for my vacation. 4 weeks to go. And then, the most wonderful thing happens. BACK TO SCHOOL!!!! They have the school supplied aisle all set up at Wal Mart. What a beautiful sight! Guess I'll have to shop for me this year too.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Bye bye doo doo!

Connor was sick last week with a stomach flu and then croup. Normally, after he's been sick I replace his soothers. It was time anyway, they were all chewed up (he bites holes into them)
But this time, rather than replace them I took this opportunity to wean him off of them. Okay, so wean is a generous word. I took them away.

Emily was only a year when we took her soothers and it didn't faze her a bit. But though Connor only had them for bedtime he was a serious junkie, one in the mouth and one in the hand all night long. I really dreaded the time when he had to give them up.

I brought him and his soothers to the kitchen. I told him his soothers were dirty and he needed to throw them out. Connor is a visual kid. If I just threw them out on my own he'd be searching for them. He had to see them go. He was resistant though, he wouldn't throw them out so I took them, told him again that they were dirty and yucky and threw them out. I then took the garbage bag to the garbage can outside.

And there's my little boy, face mashed up against the screen door, crying and calling out "Doo doo. Doo doo!"
We had a cuddle and got distracted by Pooh Bear and cookies. (yeah, cookies at 8 am - good parenting I know!)

So naptime rolled around. He was excited to go for his nap. It was time for doo doo! Needless to say, there were some tears but within about 5 minutes he was asleep. However, my 3 hour sleeper turned into a 1.5 hour sleeper and he woke in hysterics. He was a bear for the next three hours.

I was not feeling confident going into bedtime last night. He'd not napped well. He was cranky. I gave him his lovey and he made his rounds of goodnight kisses. As we're walking down the hall he starts calling for his doo doo. I told him, "No, your doo doo is dirty, yucky. It's in the garbage." He says "deedee (dirty) yuck!" I said "That's right, dirty"
My little boy looked right at me and said (with the most pathetic voice, you could hear it wavering) "All keen" (all clean)

I managed to get him into bed with no tears (from either of us). And much to my surprise, he played for a bit and then went to sleep, without a fuss.
And more importantly, he slept all night and woke up this morning in a perfectly wonderful mood.

It just goes to show that the work up to little events like this is often worse than the event itself. And I'm happy to say, my boy is pacifier free.
Of course, today is a daycare day and I have a 12 month old who uses the same soothers he did. So I might be doing my happy dance a bit prematurely.

We shall see.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Perspective

I used to work for a woman whose husband had cancer. It was a rare form and often terminal. He survived and last I had heard was cancer free.
Going through that changed her though. The person she was when I first met her was not the person she had become when I'd seen her last. She quickly became bitter and unforgiving and so engrossed in her own life's challenges that she failed to see that while her problems were incredibly severe and painful to her, other people had problems that they felt to be equally severe and painful to them. Her world had stopped and it angered her that anyone dared to feel as though they suffered in any way when she was suffering herself. She belittled others problems and feelings.

There is a scene in the movie Spanglish where Tea Leoni reveals her extramarital affair to Adam Sandler. He says to her (I'm paraphrasing here) "I heard a crack in the universe. Wow, that was noisy"

I truly believe that all of us, if we haven't already, at some point in our lives will hear that same crack. It's the one you hear when the world has stopped spinning and you can not comprehend how or why others around you are just going about their business as if nothing has happened. It's the one you hear when your world falls apart.

I hosted my own little pity party yesterday. I felt sorry for myself for what I went through in the 'year from hell'.
Later on yesterday I came across the blog of a fellow FF member. Her 11 month old son nearly drowned earlier this month. He's now got undetermined brain damage and a long road to recovery ahead of him.

Reading this moms blog gave me some perspective. We all have something. We all have baggage, issues, worries. We all, at some point, have heard the crack. And no matter what made that sound, no matter what stopped our world from spinning, there is someone out there who who is going through something equally as painful, if not worse.

I don't think it's taking solitude in knowing that someone out there has it worse than me. I know that. All I have to do is watch a commercial for Christian Children's Fund. I think it just reminds me that no matter what, the world is still spinning and I don't want to end up like that former boss of mine. I don't want to be the person who thinks that my problems are more significant than anyone else's. You lose your support system pretty quickly that way.
And at the end of the day, having each other is what quiets the noise and gets our world spinning again.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Dates

Today is the third anniversary of the day that my life started to fall apart.

Today is the day that three years ago I lost Violet.

It's funny how, for me at least, dates seem to have a lot of significance. For a while many of the special days throughout the year were clouded with bad memories. My life is a calendar of events that, while I'd rather not remember, are probably what has made me the person I am today - and though I'd rather have not dealt with much of what I've dealt with in the last 3 years, I am a truly better and happier person than I was this time in 4 years ago. And many of those negative days are being taken over by happier memories once again.

February 3, 2007 is when Violet was due to be born. And while I mourned the loss of the child I never had I also got to celebrate that day because two days before I had discovered I was pregnant with Connor.

July 1st is when I started to miscarry.
July 17th is when I finally did. It was, up until that point, the worst experience of my life.

I've got all sorts of other dates too. December 22, 2006. I found out I was pregnant again. December 24th I miscarried.
Ironically, December 22nd 1998 is the day I found out I was pregnant with Emily and December 24th is the day I found out that my HCG was doubling (the Dr told me my HCG was not high enough at that point and he feared I was either miscarrying or had an ectopic pregnancy)

My wedding anniversary is in March. It's also when, in 2006, Sean made a decision that changed our lives forever. March 2009 is when we renewed our wedding vows. That small, quiet, intimate (me, Sean, the photographer and the minister) ceremony meant more to me than the real wedding we had in 1998. We'd been through hell and back as a couple and were still able to stand together, united and say that we loved each other. And I know that the vows we spoke in Vegas came from the heart of knowing who the other person really was, good and bad, and what our commitment was going to be to each other and our family. And though I would rather have not experienced some of the things between us in the past few years, I also think I'm pretty damn lucky because I think our relationship has been tested to the limits and we know how strong it is. I don't think every couple can say that.

October 27, 2005 is when I joined Fertility Friend. It's what got me through the difficulty in conceiving, the miscarriages and the fear I felt through my entire pregnancy with Connor.
October 27, 2006 is when my marriage officially hit rock bottom.
October 12, 2007 is when Connor was born and my life started to feel like it was getting back to normal. And this year, October 12 is Thanksgiving Day.
I've got a hell of a lot to be thankful for.

June 21st, 2009 was Father's Day. It was the first day of summer. It was the day I lost my dad.

I could go on and on. For every date that has a bad memory associated with it, I am trying to build new and better memories. There are still a few dates that haven't redeemed themselves yet but I'm sure in time they will.

In the meantime I'll leave you with a video link. I listened to this song a lot over the summer and fall of 2006. It really spoke to me and even now, hearing the song brings back a lot of the emotions of that time. I did feel broken and I didn't feel like I was strong enough. Life has a funny way of proving you wrong though.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfOYufGFiZg

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I don't think I'll ever understand Emily. She's an enigma, wrapped in a riddle with a side of huh?

When we first told the girls we were pregnant (with Violet) we told them that someone would have to share a bedroom. We didn't get too much further into that conversation before I lost the baby.
When we told them we were pregnant with Connor we again told them that someone would be sharing a room. Since we were on Team Green the final decision would obviously not be made until he/she was born, which was fine since the baby would be in our room for the first two months or so anyway. We'd have time to switch rooms around. We told Emily that the privilege of being the oldest meant she got to make the initial choice. She could share with Mary Jo or she could keep her own room, Mary Jo would share with the baby and if the baby was a boy Mary and Emily would have to share a room together by the time the baby was about a year or so.
Emily decided right away that she wanted to share with Mary Jo (which was just as well because Mary was going through a phase in which she slept in Emily's room on the little couch most nights anyway)
So off we went to Leon's to get a bunk bed and they decided to move in with each other right away, 6 months before the baby was even due.

As one would expect these two sharing a room has it's ups and downs. There is the perpetual mess. And though I constantly tidy, clean, freecycle and throw out things from their room it's like the toys grow from the carpet. But I must be thankful that it's only one room to clean and not two. And there is the fighting. Emily now has the old bathroom-turned-closet-playroom as her private sanctuary. But there are also the benefits. Mary worships her sister and loves having the same room as her. They do get along relatively well and I'll often hear giggles from deep within the room.

But - Emily has often complained that she'd love to have her own room again.

So, recent events have given us a free room. After talking with my mom we collectively decided that should Emily want her own room she could move downstairs. I even devised a wonderful birthday surprise plan that involved redecorating the whole room and surprising her with it.
I thought I'd feel her out first, just to see if she'd be on board. So I mentioned, very casually, that if she wanted her own room that she could have the room downstairs. Her immediate response was "Then I'd have to go up and down the stairs all the time" (this unwillingness to do stairs would be a side effect of being raised in a bungalow)
So I let it go but every now and then I'd make a comment like "You know, another perk of having your own room again would be no more playpens (the girls room is a nap room for one of the daycare kids) Still nothing.
So my mom spoke with her and said that if she wanted her own room my mom would move into the back room and Em could have hers at the bottom of the stairs.
This time it was an unequivocal no. She does not want her own room after all.

I suppose part of it could be her issues with my dad's illness and passing. I think too though that Emily has decided that maybe the grass isn't necessarily greener on the other side. She likes the company and Mary's not such a bad roommate.

And if anything, the room is there and ready for when she wants it. I'm sure a couple of more years from now when I have two teenagers one will be begging to move into that room.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Up

My mom took Emily and Mary Jo to see the movie Up yesterday. I've seen a few commercials but didn't really know what the movie was about. Given the current situation, I think it was the wrong choice of movies for my mom to go to.

Here's the synopsis (a la Emily, so for those who've seen it, if I'm wrong about things, blame her!) A man and woman get married. They are to have a baby but wife miscarries. The man and women have dreams of going on adventures but time passes, they grow old and the wife dies. They have never fulfilled their dreams of adventuring together. So the man becomes a bitter old coot.
Now, it's at this part that apparently my mom is getting choked up in the theatre, enough that Mary noticed, leaned over to Emily and told her "I think Nana's crying!"
And naturally, that hard feeling carried over and I think my mom had a rough night last night. I wish I knew how to make it better for her but I know there isn't anything I can do. Nothing can take the place of 37 years with your best friend and it's going to be a long road for her to feel normal again.

I had my interview yesterday with the new client. I'm actually pretty happy about this one. Yes, the little guy is only a year (which gives me two 1 year olds and Connor) but he's a part timer and his hours are way better than the little one who's leaving. And the parents seem pretty nice. Mom's a bit of a worry wart but she also openly admits to being a control freak and nervous first time mom so I can work with that.
Now if I could just get summer vacation to hurry up and be over!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

babysitters and daycare

Sean and I are going to my cousins wedding in August. I'm looking forward to it. The last wedding I went to was my brothers and I didn't enjoy it as much as I should have - worrying about the kids, I was in the wedding party and that's always a bit of work, etc.

This time though the kids are not coming which means they are getting a sitter. The girls, I'm not too worried about. They're older, adaptable and they can talk. Connor is my concern. Besides my mother, the only person to ever babysit him has been my sister in law, once, earlier this year. He did fine with her but we were both wrecks. Connor is shy, he doesn't take well to new people and though he sees a lot of new people often, I'm the constant. I'm always there.
So I called up Emily's best friends older sister. She's 17, a responsible girl, good family, good head on her shoulders and asked her if she'd sit for us. Now is the tricky part. I've had her come twice now. Once was for my dad's wake. Connor was already in bed though so he didn't know the difference. She also came this morning.
Connor was not impressed. He took one look at her and screamed holy murder. He clung to me like a little monkey. He threw himself on the floor and head butt the fire place. I'm sure the sitter was thinking "Shit, what did I get myself into!"
So we put on Pooh Bear (pee boo) and I gave him his soother (an otherwise forbidden love, unless he's in bed) The sitter also had a stash of cookies (what better to bribe the confidence of a child than a treat)
So I plopped Connor in Emily's lap and took off out of the house as fast as I could.
It should be known the my mom was home, downstairs, listening to how it really went. I mean, speaking from experience, I'm certainly not going to tell a daycare parent that their child is crying often in the beginning because that's a normal thing and I don't want the parents to worry needlessly. So I would expect that the sitter will say the same thing, "Oh, he was fine"
So I went off to pick up Mary from her sleepover. Her friend lives 2 minutes away. I called my mom twice in that two minutes to see how it was going. It was going well, no crying and she could hear him running around upstairs. Good sign.
Now here's the funny thing. I was talking to Mary's friends mom (she's actually one of my daycare mom's) I was telling her about my babysitter woes and she offered to take care of the kids for the wedding. Well I'll tell ya, I'm kicking myself for not thinking of that beforehand! Not only would Connor have had no trouble with her (he sees her nearly everyday!) but she's a Mom. Who else knows how to handle a 21 month olds temper tantrum better than someone who's been there before! And - it wouldn't have cost me anything because I would have traded her a week of daycare for the night of sitting my kids. So even though Connor did great with his sitter, I'm kind of wishing now that I'd asked my daycare mom instead.
But - Connor did good with his sitter. He liked her. And she lives right around the corner so if there is any problems her mom can come and lend a hand.

So, on to the daycare thing. I am torn on what I should do. I had a referral today from one of my existing clients. I'm interviewing the family tomorrow. On one hand, it's covering what I'm losing from the other child leaving. On the other hand, it's another 1 year old. The hours are pretty decent. But it's a 1 yr old.
I was just warming up to the idea of having a few days here and there free with just Connor and me. But I also have to think of the windows that need to be paid for among other things.
I guess I'll wait and see how it goes with the interview. Wish me luck!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

When it rains it pours

Self employment sucks sometimes! I mean, I do enjoy the perks of not commuting, of being at home to raise my kids and of being my own boss. But I'm not so much in love with the instability of it all.
I found out last night that I'm losing a client. Frankly, I'm not surprised. I expected it because with everything that's gone on over the past month I've had to close several times and they were the most affected by the closures. They say it's to send her to a Christian based centre. I don't think they're lying but I'm sure the events of the past month or so led them that way. They said they've been meaning to tell me but with all that has gone on with my dad it never seemed like the right time. In one regard it's not totally bad, Connor is having issues with the little girl and much of my day is spent putting out fires and breaking up fights. She's not a good sleeper so some days are stressful because I'm working 11 hours without a break.
But, she's a sweet little girl, I was really looking forward to this coming fall and starting the new toddler program for her and Connor. And sometimes I take it very personally when a client leaves.
It's silly. I'm the first person to say that not every provider/parent relationship works. I've been so very lucky with some clients to have built not just great business relationships but friendships as well. But it's also rare (in centres and home daycare) to have kids stay for years upon years. I've been extremely lucky with two clients in particular one past and one present. I love their kids to death and have built such good relationships with their parents. I guess I just wish that every client was like that.
Plus, I really, really, really hate breaking in new families!

And to rub salt in my wounds, one of my other families is moving and I will possibly lose another child before school starts.
And to add insult to injury I discovered last night that the site I use to host my daycare website is closing so I have to rebuild it somewhere else. As if I don't have enough to do.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Goal

The day is getting closer. July 20. That's the day I register for the fall semester at school.
I've finally made the decision on what I'm going to do when I grow up. I've even got a time line. So here it is, I'm going to put it here for all the world to see. It will keep me honest, focused and terrified to disappoint.

I'm going to take the Early Childhood Education Administration course. Basically it's an administration course for ECE's. The extent of my experience in centre based administration is limited to the *title enhancement* and raise I got at the centre I worked at when pregnant with Mary. I applied for the Supervisor position knowing full well they wouldn't hire me for it, despite the fact that I had the most seniority in the centre at the time because A: I was 7 month pregnant and they knew full well I didn't plan on coming back after my mat leave and B: I was one of the *old* employees, which meant they were basically cooking up a reason to dismiss me as they done with all of my *old* co workers who hadn't otherwise quit. But they couldn't tell me they weren't giving me the job because I was pregnant because that is against the law and they couldn't tell me I was qualified because I'd worked there for 10 years and knew it inside and out. So the ED gave me a *shut up* promotion and raise and that was all fine and dandy with me because she also knew the only reason I applied for the job in the first place was to be a giant pain in the ass, I didn't really want the job at all.
But I'm getting side tracked.

So this course, I'm taking it at night school, has 5 course and a field placement. I'll take one course a semester (I'll probably skip the summer semester but we'll see) so it will take me 2 years. By that time Connor will be in preschool and I can use that time to do my field placement.
Then Connor starts kindergarten. So now we are into September 2011. Now this is where we get tricky. The government is looking at implementing all day kindergarten. (combining kindergarten and daycare) So if by then that has gone through and is in place here I will then start looking for a supervisor position in a centre. If it's not in place I will keep the home daycare open for 2 more years while Connor goes through JK and SK. Then when he starts grade 1 I'll find a centre job.

I'll work at the centre job until 2019. (my goal is for when I am 45) I'll bank 90% of my paycheck. (provided I can keep us out of debt. I've done well for the past 3 years so I think I can keep it up)

In 2019 I'm opening my daycare centre.

I realize it's still a long way away. I could probably postpone taking the courses but I feel like I need to do something now so it seems like I'm doing something to work toward my goal. It makes me enthusiastic. And frankly, who couldn't use a little enthusiasm in their lives?

So there it is.
For all of you who will still know me in 2019. Feel free to kick my fat ass if I have not achieved my goal by then.

Monday, July 6, 2009

I have a problem. It's an addiction. Maybe a fetish.
Some people have lots of purses. Some people have lots of shoes. Some people collect stamps or coins. Some people have penis envy.

I am a stroller junkie.

I only have three kids but somehow since Emily was born I've managed to own 12 strollers. Yep, that's right. 12. I've had crappy second hand umbrella strollers. I've had giant Mac Truck style triple strollers and everything in between.
When we go places as a family, Sean likes to people watch. He'll rate the men, he'll rate the women, he'll comment on people's kids throwing fits. But me, I'm just looking at their strollers.

So currently in my garage I have two umbrella strollers. One we bought in Niagara Falls years ago when we went for a holiday but forgot to pack the stroller for Mary. I also have another umbrella stroller that was freecycled to me. In my infinite wisdom I thought I could attach the two (they used to sell clips to attach umbrella strollers together) to make a double umbrella stroller for those days when I had my little daycare baby and had to pick up kindergarten kids. It didn't work and that stroller just collects dust in the garage.
I have Connor's stroller, the one we bought when I was pregnant. See, we had decided after Mary was born that we were done having kids and once the daycare kids all grew up and I didn't have use for a big stroller anymore, I freecycled the stroller we'd had for Emily and then Mary. So I got to buy a whole new one when Connor came along. I also have my new love. It's Joovy Big Caboose. I had a double stroller but now I've got two 20 months olds and a 12 month old in the daycare and well, as much as Connor and the other little one are getting big, they are not big enough to walk all the way to school. So the Big Caboose is a double but it also has the sit and stand platform on the back for baby number 3 (so in essence it's my triple stroller). But that brought a whole new brand of issues.

Every now and then I like to go to the mall. If it's raining and we're stuck inside, a walk through the mall is a nice change of scenery for the toddlers. But that big old Big Caboose does not fit into the van if there are more than two kids in it. Or, times like now, in the summer, when we are going on trips. I need a stroller with three under 2 but can't fit the Joovy in the van. So I searched Kijiji and Craigslist and put my name on the wish lists for all the second hand stores around here for a double umbrella stroller. They are a bit hard to come by and truth be known, though I am a stroller nut, I'm also cheap and refuse to buy one brand new (the exception being the Joovy but since I got that on sale for the rock bottom price of $99 (originally $329) I can't complain) By some miracle I got a call on Saturday from one of the second hand shops. They had one come in and they were holding it just for me!! So my mom, eager for something to do, ran over there for me and picked it up. And now I've added to my collection, a lovely double umbrella style stroller. Perfect for trips to the park, the mall and it fits oh so well in the van.

I know I don't need this many strollers but I look at it this way. I don't buy a lot of shoes. I only have two purses. My wardrobe is pretty small. And even if I wanted all those things, what use would I have for them? I fingerpaint for a living! So my weird stroller fetish is actually productive and helpful to my career. (don't junkies justify their addictions this way?)

I was looking on Kijiji the other day and spotted a really nice jogging stroller. I wonder if it's still available.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The value of a dollar

We've always been pretty good about giving the girls responsibilities. They are responsible for keeping their room clean. Granted, you wouldn't always know it and yes, there are times when I have to go in and do it (and when I do it it involves garbage bags and Rubbermaid basins) but for the most part they keep it in decent shape.
They are responsible for cleaning up after themselves through the house. They don't play in the playroom anymore at all (more geared for the younger kids now) but they play in 'Nana's living room', our own living room and of course their room.
They've also got a chore list. These are not required chores, rather they are chores that can be done around the house that will earn them money. Because the real issue at hand here is not the responsibilities they have, it's all about what it's costing me.

It's rare that we leave the house (and more so with Mary Jo than with Emily) that I am not bugged incessantly to buy something for them. (at the moment it's usually Webkinz) But then I noticed one day that I (and Sean and my mom) had created some greedy, indulged, spoiled children. While I didn't always give in to buying the bigger ticket item, (not that Webkinz are pricey) but I'd compromise (or so I thought) buy getting them something from the dollar store. In the long run, I screwed myself. I set them up to expect that even if the Webkinz didn't pan out, something would. And oh my, the monsters I created.
So the chore chart came along. My reasoning is, if you want something, you need to work for it, the same as the rest of us. So I have a lovely, detailed chore chart, itemized with the pay off for each job. Feeding the cat is a quarter. Cleaning the bathroom (tub included) is $5. Laundry, $3 per load (wash, dry, fold, and put away)
For the most part, Mary holds out until special occasions to get a new Webkinz. The only job she'll willingly do for money is watch Connor while I shower because it involves playing. She hasn't developed my type A, can't-stand-the-clutter personality. So while she is seeing the flip side of Emily buying things and she's not getting anything (and sometimes the fits that go along with that are comparable to that of a 2 year old) it's not enough to get her to put the dishes away or sweep the floor.
Emily on the other hand, has gotten to be pretty good at managing her needs to chore to money ratios.
The latest *must have* for her is Webkinz trading cards. She's *heard through the grapevine* that you get a free online pet with the trading cards and they are so much more cheaper than the stuffed animal. So she wants to buy two packs of cards. $6 + tax. She's already got the tax so she needs the $6.
She caught me in the middle of laundry yesterday and asked if she could do it to earn her $6. Well, my Momma didn't raise no fool - if someone wants to do the laundry for me I'm not going to argue.
But wait - this Momma didn't raise no fool either. She did 2 complete loads (wash dry, fold and put away) and then stuck me with the other 5. Because, you see, 2 complete loads netted her $6.
I pointed out that if she did the other 5 loads that she'd have $15 extra dollars for, oh I don't know, another Webkinz, the new Jonas Brothers CD, her own pizza lunch. No deal. She needed $6 now, she made $6 and not a minute more of work was being done.
I realize I should be grateful that she did 2 loads. It was 2 loads I didn't have to do but in the grand scheme of things, not having to do any of them would have been even better! And I wonder about the work ethic she's learning. Do the bare minimum required and not a bit more?
And what did I gain from this. Well, besides two less loads of laundry I got the distinct privilege of listening to her ask me 40 million times "When can we go to the mall to get my cards?" Oh, and lets not forget the whining I'll hear from Mary when Emily buys the cards and Mary leaves empty handed because she didn't feel like doing any chores yesterday.

I almost wonder if it's easier for me to just let them be spoiled rotten and learn the truth about life when they are older. I'm sure it would be easier for me - not so much for them though and that's where the messy part of parenting comes into play. As parents, we deal with the hard lessons now so that they won't have to when they're older. At least not until they are teaching their own kids the very same lessons.

Friday, July 3, 2009

It's potty time!

I should preface this by saying I'm not actually actively trying to potty train Connor yet. He's a boy and I know it will take him a bit longer than his sisters did.

My mom helped potty train Emily. I was still working full time and my mom was looking after her. Emily was trained at around 20 months.
Mary Jo was trained at the same age. In fact, the very first time she told me she had to pee was during Emily's 5th birthday party. (I still remember what Mary was wearing too - go figure)

I've had Connor's potty out for some time now. He sits on it before his bath (he loves sitting on it), he puts things in it. He likes pushing the sensors so it sings (it's a 'royal potty' so it has two sensors on the bottom of the bowl that when they get peed or pooped on they make a trumpet sound) He also loves our peeing in the potty song (a song we made up when potty training Emily)
But up until now he's never actually peed or pooped in it.
So the other night, while I ran his bath he was sitting on his potty. I decided to drip a little water down his back (much like the old run water to make them pee trick, this one works equally as well) My reasoning being that in order for him to really 'get' what the potty is for he needs to have an 'accident' in it first so we can make a big deal about his peeing in it.
Sure enough that drip of water helped and he peed, a little bit, in the potty. I've learned though that he's able to cut it off though. So he peed a bit but stopped himself and held the rest until he was in the tub. But, I made a big deal about it, his sissy's made a big deal about it and Nana made a big deal about it and he even got to flush the toilet (something he's not otherwise allowed to do)
So the next night I tried it again. We sat on the potty before pajama time but this time nothing happened. So I told him to sit tight while I went to get him a diaper. While I was gone I heard the trumpet sound from the potty but assumed it was him playing in it. I came back into the bathroom to see him standing in a pile of pee, holding the potty bowl in his hand. Apparently he had peed in it while I was gone and thought he'd help Mommy out by dumping it in the toilet. He ended up dumping it all over his feet instead.
He peed in it again last night, after 10 long minutes of singing. (Really, I'm done after about 2 minutes, he had other plans though)

It's a start I suppose. I'm not ready for underpants boot camp yet and I don't think he is either but he sure is enjoying the praise he's getting from his nightly pee. And truth be known, I'm pretty darn happy about it too.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Happy Canada Day


Yep, it's that time of year again.

For all of my American friends today is Canada's 142nd birthday. Happy birthday to us.
So here are some relevant facts about Canada.

On July 1, 1867 Canada was born, consisting of the four provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario and Quebec. We are now a country with 10 provinces and three territories. Newfoundland was the last province to join Canada in 1949.

Canada is the second largest country in the world with an estimated population of over 33 million people. But with only 3 people per square km, it has the forth lowest population density in the world (though tell that to someone who lives in Scarborough!)

It was on this day in 1980 that "Oh Canada" was established as our National Anthem.

The official languages of Canada are English and French. Contrary to popular belief, not all Canadians speak both. (many Canadian residents can't speak either)

The worlds first legally recognized same sex wedding took place in Ontario in 2001.

Toronto is the most multicultural city in the world. More than 49% of it's residents are foreign born representing over 20 different countries

The following things have been invented in Canada or by Canadians; basketball, the electric light bulb, the electric range, standard time, the television, the telephone, and the zipper and insulin.

The Canada Goose mates for life. They are also loyal friends. While flying in their trademark V formation if any goose in the formation becomes injured or sick and must leave the group another goose will stay with it until it recovers or dies before continuing it's migration.

Canadians enjoy Universal Health Care and 52 weeks of paid maternity leave.

Canada's national animal is the beaver. It is a rodent. Our 5 cent coin has a beaver on it.

Canada is the birthplace (and still home for some) very famous people including; Pamela Anderson, Bryan Adams, Dan Aykroyd, William Shatner, Alex Trebek, Michael J. Fox, Ryan Gosling, Graham Greene, Jason Priestly, Ryan Reynolds, Donald Sutherland (and while Keifer was not born here, he was raised here), Neve Campbell, Elisha Cuthbert, Rachel McAdams, Shannon Tweed (that's right, Gene Simmons "unwife" is a Newfie!) Jim Carrey, Mike Myers, Rick Mercer, Howie Mandel, Leslie Neilsen, and the late John Candy. We breed some pretty talented folks!

On a little bit of a personal note, today would have also been my mom and dad's 37th wedding anniversary.