Wednesday, January 28, 2009

There's a new sheriff in town...

So my mommy friends and I have been trying to have regular weekly playdates so our kids can get out with other kids and play while we get some adult conversation.

The kids range in age from 5 years old to 16 months so there is a variety. There are three first born girls...this always makes for an interesting playdate. Three head strong young ladies, all who want to make sure everyone is looked after and the law of the land is maintained. A bunch of little mommies (5, 3 and 22 months) to all the other kids. Ah, what fun...not.

Now, each parent sets down different "laws" and choses how each situation is handled for their families. Some parents are laid back while others are finger waggers. I guess I am in the latter.

I know this because T gets on these tirades and starts going off with T-speak about something. When she does these little rants, her index finger starts to wag and point in my direction with a very intent stare (inherited from her mom no doubt). Now, in my defense, the finger only comes out after several times of repeated "We don't do (insert indiscretion)" and redirection. I've usually hit the wall when the finger comes out but maybe I'm being too nice to myself.

We had a playdate at our house today because the planned Winter Wednesday at the zoo was cancelled due to slick sidewalks and cold weather (it was about -10C this am). We had all the kids (5 in total) downstairs, watching 101 Dalmations and playing. It was far from quiet but it was relatively peaceful for a while....

Suddenly a dust up occurred and all 5 kids got involved. T was across the room when it hit the fan but being the local law woman in town, she hurried over to the ruccous, wagging her finger at the larger group and telling them in no uncertain terms that they were misbehaving. Now, no one really understood her exact verbal message but the body language was unmistakable. It was an eye opening experience.

I can clearly hear my own mother telling me as a child, when I acted as T had acted today, that I wouldn't have friends very long if I kept acting that way. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree as I informed T of the same thing shortly after us moms stopped laughing.

Apparently, I come from a long line of finger waggers and so does T. At least we don't have any lilac bushes nearby otherwise, I'm sure T would have broken out a switch, too.

Somewhere Gram is laughing at that possibility.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Houdini reincarnated

When I was a kid, I had a cat named Houdini, a beautiful black tortoise shell short hair. She was named that because of her adeptness at hiding. Well, there has been a reincarnation of the feline Houdini.

The cleaning ladies came yesterday. I love that one day a month when the house smells lovely, fresh and clean. The ladies are very friendly but they don't understand felines very well but that's not their job, right?

Phenix on the other hand, hates cleaning day. She despises the vacuum. She runs away from it when it is just sitting in the living room, unplugged and off. You can imagine what she does when it gets turned on. There's usually a flash of orange and she's gone. I blocked off the kitty door of our baby gate and put the cats in the basement when the cleaning ladies come. That usually keeps the feline members of the family curtailed and out of the way of the vacuum demon....usually.

Life hasn't been usual of late. We have been cat sitting for a friend who had a house fire. Smokey, our feline visitor, has taken up residence in the basement. While Gryffin has gotten used to Smokey (a little bit), Phenix hates having guests. She hisses to no end then goes and hides. You see where this is going, no?

So back yesterday. I got up really late (T was up crying at 4am so it caused a chain reaction resulting in me over sleeping), like 20 minutes before the ladies were to arrive. Its always a bad start to the day as I didn't get a chance to have a shower.

I rushed around, blurry eyed having not had my shower, trying to tidy up a little, get my morning cafe au lait and rustling up the cats and put them downstairs before the ladies arrived. That last item on my pre cleaning to do list proved a challenge.

Phenix decided she didn't want to stay in the basement with our visitor. She went so far as to try to get the 3 inch space between the bars on the baby gate. Let me paint you a picture, 14 lb. cat's hind quarters stuck in a 3 inch gap between metal bars = a snarling, hissing beast.

I got her out of the gate safely but then she took off down the hall for our bedroom and hid under the bed. T had been awakened by the hissing so I had to get her up. I no sooner got her dressed and started on her morning sippy of milk and the ladies arrived. I tried to explain to the ladies about the cat under our bed so I couldn't put her in the spare room in order to try and save her from the vacuum. My cat speak is a little rusty I guess. T and I went downstairs and hung out with Gryffin and Smokey.

When the ladies left, we went upstairs and I got my much needed shower. After my shower, I went about trying to find Phenix. T and I broke out the treat can and started going around shaking it. T enjoyed this part greatly. She loves feeding treats to the cats.

I searched what I thought was every inch of the main floor for Phenix. No Phenix. I got out the flash light to make sure I hadn't missed her somewhere. No Phenix. Panic sets in. Could she have gotten out?

Now for a cat who started out living on a farm and eating mice, Phenix has settled into the rather pampered life of living with us. She is not one to go exploring unlike Gryffin. She knows how good she has it and she ain't leavin'. But maybe the vacuum chasing her changed her mind, you just never know.

So, outside I go in freezing temperatures, with a wet head of hair, winter boots slipped over bare feet, pants hiked up over my slopply thrown on boots and a winter coat. I must have been a sight. I walked around the front yard, yelling, "Here kitty kitty" while T stood in the doorway, looking out the front door shaking the treat can - her contribution in locating the cat. No luck. I then did the same thing in the back yard as the ladies clean both the patio door and the front glass door when they clean. Thankfully we have privacy fence in the backyard so my humiliating traipsing around and hollering was only viewed by the neighbours in the front.

Still no Phenix. T did her best by following me around the house yelling Me! Me! (that's her version of P, Phenix's nickname). I went so far as to call the cleaning service office to ask them to call the cleaning ladies (who must think that this gringa is nuts at this point) if they had seen Phenix. The last they had seen her, she was under the bed...well, she wasn't now.

I called S at work and he said she's probably hiding. Yes, thank you I thought of that but I've checked everywhere I said. Just then I tried looking in the built-in cabinets where we store T's toys one more time.

Curled up in the bottom cabinet, back in the shadows, was guess who - Phenix. The little bugger had sat there, knowing full well we were hollering for her, shaking the treat can and she just sat there.

Isn't that just like a cat?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Frankie the Fire Dog

We have loveys who live exclusively in the house and those that ride in the truck with us and go on our shopping adventures to the mall. The travelling loveys often make it into the house and stay there.

These items are often bought at yard sales or at the discount stuffed animal section at our favourite discount stores (Walmart and Target). This usually when the screaming starts and can not be ceased by any other method than to have something to hold. Usually, I try to find a cheap board book or hand over a grocery item that can't be broken by dropping, biting or is otherwise toddler proof but sometimes a stuffed animal makes it into the cart.

Now for all you parents out there who say "I would never do that!", I have a very purposefully edited and polite word for you: BALONEY!

One such stuffed friend who came into our lives in such a way, is Frankie the Fire Dog. Yes, Frankie is a Dalmatian puppy who is quite small (maybe 6 inches tall) but fits nicely into small arms when T is strapped into the carseat in the back seat of our truck.

Today on the way home from the gym, T recounted her 45 minutes spent at the gym daycare to Frankie. What I watched through the rear view mirror today was priceless. I had to force myself to watch the road because it was the sweetest thing T did today.

She held onto Frankie very snuggly and warmly. He was tucked under her arm and with her finger in a very maternal wagging motion, T proceeded to tell Frankie what she did and what she was not to do at the daycare. I only wish I had had my camera and we were parked. She was talking away to him and he was turned with his face looking up at her like he really was listening.

T gives Frankie a big kiss goodbye when we go in the house or the store. Frankie, like all good guard dogs, watches the truck and keeps it safe until our next adventure.

Frankie cost us something like $2.50, but he is priceless to T.

Frankie the Fire Dog

A Bart by any other name....

As with most small children, T has a lovey. A lovey is a favourite pal beyond all others, who is loved well beyond their means.

For some kids, its a blanket, or a doll, but for T, its a dog. We got Bart as a gift from S's mother's best friend from BC when I was about 5 months pregnant with T. He was her first stuffed animal that wasn't inherited from anyone.

Bart came to us as Whiffer, a stuffed dog who resembles a beagle. We didn't think the name Whiffer really suited him so S came up with the name Bart, the Bad Dog. S added the Bad Dog part as a way of making the household cats less hateful of him.
At about 10 months of age, T really took a shining to Bart and hasn't looked back. People all laugh at me since all of T's stuffed friends have names but it has come in handy. When I ask for Bart, I don't have to explain who Bart is, all of our friends know who Bart is and well, T can kinda say his name so it makes the identification of what she wants in her toddler speak a little easier.

Bart has been loved so much (read: drooled on, puked on, gnawed on, slept on, hugged, dragged around, yanked lovingly through the crib bars by his head, washed in the washing machine, sewed up and then some) that he is starting to look beyond his years. T spent the better part of the last year of her life teething so Bart's ears were about 2 inches shorter than they started - let's just say, T didn't use a plastic teething ring.

I tried trimming his ears when they started to fray; this eliminated the holes that T incessantly put her fingers through and stitched them up so that they would last a little longer. The final straw came when he started to get holes beside the base of his ears. Bart needed some more in- depth surgery.

S kindly took T downstairs while I tried to slipcover Bart's ears. I left the originals just in case the transformation was just too much for T to handle. She loved to sit and flip his ears as they were practically as thin as cotton by the time I got to put new ones on.

I slip covered them with a pair of nice fleece ones. I broke two sewing needles and bent another but it was worth it. I used a zig zag as apparently its more flexible given all the yanking his ears take but it also made for some tough going for my sewing machine. T keeps telling me that Bart has new ears and while she hasn't gnawed on them quite as lovingly as she did she still loves him just the same.

Ironically, we have a backup Bart, waiting in the wings but I have a feeling that despite being Bart's doppelganger, I don't think she would take to him quite as much as she loves her current Bart.

Note to all new or soon to be parents, get a backup of any loveys if you can or learn to sew.

Note Bart's dog eared ears

What Bart started off looking like...

What Bart looks like now...his new ears are a little longer than the original but look just fine, or at least I think so.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Christmas chez nous 2008

So Christmas has come and gone for another year. Its amazing how anti climatic that particular day is, even with a young child.

Unlike last year, Talia was a lot more fascinated with her presents this year however, she did suffer from GOF (Gift Opening Fatigue). About half way thru her presents, she was like "All done". I think next year we will have a 7th inning stretch for breakfast and then continue.

Among her haul of pressies, Talia got several new outfits for now and later, a new wagon (which she is quite enthralled with), a new chair and additions to her DVD and book libraries. Of particular note, she got a new coat, an Abby Caddabby (a Sesame Street character) fake fur pink coat.

Now, she doesn't know who Abby is and Elmo has just started making a notable appearance in her memory, but I think she likes the feel of the coat. She wore it thru out the morning of Christmas over her fleece PJs and strutted thru the house modelling it the next day.

I hope she is tall and skinny because this kid has the poses of a super model down. She particularly like wearing her coat with a pink snow boots (also a Christmas present) although its really not cold enough most days to wear snow boots. She's a pink wearing machine much to her father's chagrin.

Part of the haul

Watching a new DVD with Dad

Having our morning brevie with Bart

A new toy as known as trainin potty!

Playing in the lazy susan

Hangin' in our new chair with Bart and our new jacket

T's first ride in her new wagon

Helping Daddy put the wagon together, T was a big help...ha ha.

Onward, driver...mush mush!

Did you not hear me? I said DRIVE!

I'm too cute to be a demanding passenger, right?

Dreaming of all the fun we are going tp with this puppy while Daddy struggles to get it put together!

Modeling our new towel that Mom stood in line for hours for on Black Friday....

Cool shades!

One last photo before we go for a haircut.

Aren't I too cute for words? I like to think so.