Friday, March 27, 2009

Happy 200th Birthday Charles Darwin!

Why am I sending along belated birthday greetings to Mr. Darwin, I hear you asking? Because at my house, we have some evolution related issues going on with my daughter. According to T, I am a primate - in name anyway.

You see, T's name for me is Mungi. Not Mom, not Mummy, not even Momma. Mungi. To the unbaptized ear, it sounds like Monkey.

Monkey. Hmmm, not sure how I feel about that. In the Chinese Zodiac, my birth year animal is the Rabbit, not the Monkey. I have no Monkey characteristics - period.

For the record, I do call T a monkey when she gets into things...perhaps I should start calling her a 'bissom'. 'Bissom' was a term my Nan used to use to chastise me when I was little as in "You little bissom!'

Mind you, if I did start using bissom then T might start calling me me crazy but I think I prefer Mungi.

T pronounces Daddy just fine. The same doesn't hold true for the person who carried her in-utero for nearly 10 months, went through a c-section to deliver her, has fed and bathed her since birth, looks after her during her waking hours, and stays up with the countless nights of general baby/toddler related problems like teething. No, my term of endearment is Mungi.

(By the way, my mother thinks this new name is hilarious.)

Perhaps my name change is because she loves to sing this Wiggles song that involves a monkey. Perhaps its because she has now become a huge Kung Fu Panda fan and there's a character called Monkey in it. Or perhaps its that she's trying to say so many words that they are all starting to slur together and she just needs time to straighten them all out, I can only hope.

Until recently, I did get Mommy but it was slurred in T-speak. I can only hope that her speech improves and I can start considering myself a human mommy again...I can't even climb a tree for Pete's sake.

Writer's note: According to my Googling of 'bissom', it's Scottish for brat. If memory serves, my Nan's grandmother was Scottish.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Next stop - the bathroom, all aboard!

When I was about half way through my pregnancy with T, an acquaintance who was a mother of 2, decided to inform me that once I had T, I would never visit the bathroom alone again...I chuckled to myself at hearing this statement.

Really? I asked. I haven't gone the bathroom alone, either for bathing or using the bathroom in years. Ah, hello, I have cats!?

Asking a cat for some privacy is like trying to cure the common cold or solving world peace, it's nearly impossible. Honestly, I think that solving those problems might be easier!

When we lived back in Ottawa, Phenix's favourite napping spot was behind the toilet bowl in the bathroom.

You would no sooner get 'seated' and out she'd pop from behind the tank. She would hop up on the counter and look at you expectantly. That was the unofficial cue for you to turn on the tap so her highness could have some fresh water to drink. Her water bowl was highly overrated and apparently that view hasn't changed.

If Phenix wasn't behind the toilet tank, than both her and Gryffin would observe you ever so covertly from a far. They would wait until you headed for the bathroom so they could have the freshest water available. They would then streak across the apartment to get into the bathroon before you could close the door. Both cats nearly lost their tails because they would narrowly miss the door being closed too quickly.

Many of our guests would be greeted by our furry WC ambassadors whenever Nature called. The door would close and then you would hear them say "Oh hello there." The door would open again and the cat(s) would be gently shown the exit. It freaked out more than a few people.

Now, that we have a small child, its even more so a rare occasion that I visit the bathroom alone. If T comes along, Gryffin observes from the doorway. But not Phenix. She's perched safely on the counter, flipping her tail and observing all like a feline Mother Superior.

I might actually get to visit the restroom sans la petite, if there is something on the TV however, it is a rare occasion that I actually get there alone because the cats usually stroll in.

Why not just close the door? That would be an obvious option, right? Not chez nous, at least for me. This strategy works for S as he is male and therefore is immune to the screaming/wailing/crying.

You see, the minute the door is shut, it sends reverberations through the entire first floor. That 'sonic wave' breaks the precarious concentration T has focused on the TV and she comes a running. The screaming, wailing and crying then commences when T is greeted with the closed door. Whatever peace I thought I might get, is gone.

Take this morning, for example. I got up at 6am, enjoyed my morning coffee and slowly woke up from my morning daze. I decided to take my shower early just in case T woke up early (which she did - screaming like a banshee, I might add). I walked into my bathroom, all set for some quiet time.

I no sooner closed the door and I heard the sound that let me know that my alone time had ended before it had began.

The sound? It was the bittersweet jingle of cat tags. Gryffin had been sleeping on the bathmat and was all too happy to see Mommy. I only wish the feeling had been mutual.

When Nature calls in my house, its truly a pee parade.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Wait..wait, don't make me nap!

We have a radio on in T's room all the time. Its generally tuned in to NPR (National Public Radio), which is kinda like CBC for my Canadian readers. There's a show that runs on the weekends called, 'Wait, wait - don't tell me'. Its a comedy/news/variety show.

It seems T has decided to take a hint (at least from the show's name anyways) because lately, when nap time or bedtime is near, T comes up with every excuse in the toddler handbook in order to prolong not taking a nap or go to bed. She hasn't reached the age when naps are obsolete as she never.sits.still.ever. and she usually is down for a good 2 hours. (cue the angels singing Hallelujah)

First, its 'I need Bart' or 'I need Dahlia' (both who are usually in her arms or crib). Then its the Wiggles she needs; forget the fact that she's watched them at least once a day so T is politely reminded that the Wiggles need to nap too. Then its her water, fair enough, have some water. Then its her milk, sorry no milk just water, back we go to the water. Oh and don't forget about her snacks. She's only had her lunch less than a half hour before so hunger really isn't an issue.

Finally, she usually gives in when I tell her that Gryffin (or Giffin as she calls him) might come in, say good night and tickle her toes with his tail. I swear some days this is the only thing that stops a meltdown.

We might make it past the bathroom without a mention of brushing her teeth, in the case of nap time. However, at night, after the teeth have been brushed, its all about the potty. This is in stark contrast to her response the rest of the day. If you ask her at any other point in the day if she wants to use the potty, it's a firm NO.

When we make it to her room, then its a fight to get her diaper changed.

First, she must test out the light switch, flick it on and off (both which are demonstrated very effectively with commentary). Next, we need something to need something to busy our little hands with, so T must grab a tube of diaper cream or Vaseline. You know Mom's just not busy enough and it might just gain T a few precious minutes.

Once the hind end has been dealt with, its story time. At this point, T must negotiate how many books she gets read before entering the dreaded crib. I usually say one book but then she starts pulling out her favourites and there's usually more than one read.

When we actually get to the point of turning off the lights, T has managed to fritter away a good 30 or so minutes. Its usually around another ten minutes before head hits pillow after T's 'hugged' Gryffin, hugged and kissed her exasperated mother and finally realized that yes, in fact she is going to have to rest her weary little head.

Why is that I can't manage to find that much time for myself on a daily basis? Apparently, I need to start taking negotiating advice from my toddler.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?

I really need to rename this blog, Two cats and a Kid in Kansas because lately, that's all I write about.

T does really well if we stick to a set way of doing things; consistentency and routine is the name of the game. Most kids seem to crave consistency and well, some of us (like me) just never outgrow of needing it.

Upon leaving her crib in the morning, T likes to bring her buddies (Bart (the bad dog) and Dahlia (her teddy bear) into the living room to spend the morning with her. However, before we leave the house to run errands etc., we have to give them kisses and hugs and put them back to 'bed' for a nap. This way, we know where they are when we come home.

Well, this morning before we left for my dental appointment, we had to put Bart and Dahlia back to bed with the standard kiss and cuddle. On the way out of T's room, we patted Gryffin good bye too (kissing Gryffin wasn't in the cards). Phenix was still in the living room, so I grabbed her so that T could pat her goodbye too.

I told T to give Phenix a kiss goodbye too, keep things consistent right? What happened next, shocked even me. I figured T would just nozzle Phenix's neck as she tries to do with Gryffin and call it a day.

Nope, she did one better. She bent down and planted a big wet kiss on Phenix's nose/mouth.

I swear Phenix must have been as stunned as I was...if Phenix could talk, she would have screamed. I often think if the cats could talk, they would sound something a kin to Baby Stewy from the Family Guy. Sorry, I got off track, back to the story.

Post pucker, I think Phenix would also have told me that her and I are now even for last weekend.

You see, last weekend during the brief tornado warning followed by tornado sirens going off (false alarm thankfully), I had to curtail T and both cats into the basement. The curtailling of a certain orange fuzzy didn't go well for Mommy.

Gryffin went somewhat willing to the bowels of the house to ride out the storm but Phenix had other thoughts.

No, our little Evil Kenvil Phenix decided that waiting out the first tornado warning of the season, under the bench in our bedroom was a far better choice than allowing Mommy to escort her to the basement. When I tried to 'escort' her to the basement (grabbing her and dragging her yowling to the basement), she used her back claws to shred my lower left arm. Crazy old me thought I should wear a t-shirt that day, how stupid of me. If only I had known better.

To Phenix's credit, when T kissed her, Phenix didn't even flinch. She went into this zen like karate calmness (our little Yoda Kitty) and just sat there but you could just hear her silently screaming 'Put me down NOW!'

I'm not sure which one surprises me more daily with their adventures, T or P.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The cat who came in from the light

Many people who know our family, know that we love our cats like our own children. When we talked about how life would be after we brought T home, we always thought it would be Gryffin, who would want to spend countless hours snuggling with T. The opposite happened and Phenix became the local den mother. Gryffin on the other hand, sulked at the window and never left our room, preferring to spend his days sleeping. He was truly the spoiled older child who wanted nothing to do with his new sibling.

In fairness to Gryffin, he did try to be 'friends' when we first brought T home from the hospital but his idea of being friendly was stepping on her while she was nursing while angling for a spot on my shoulder...6lb baby paired against a 14 lb contest, she was going to be squashed.

Of recent, we have been trying to get T into a better going to bed routine. She had a LONG period where she would scream herself to sleep. Not something we wanted for our child, so we have been trying different things with some decent success.

Our new method is that we have some quiet time with T, sitting the rocking chair with the lights out. We quietly discuss what we did that day etc. The door is left open a bit so that us parents can make a moderately quick exit after we put T down and say good night. Often, I stand outside her room but still within sight for a couple of minutes so that T can see Mommy is still there but she has time to settle in with her buddies.

Lately, there has been a shadow cast from the doorway while T and I have our little tete a tete in the dark.

That shadow is Gryffin.

Apparenty, he likes this new routine. So much so that he has started coming into T's room while we have our quiet time. So much so that he is quasi willing to sit on my lap with T and let him pet her. Gryffin likes this routine so much so that he even PURRS when T pets him! PURRS!

Not growls, not whines, PURRS!

Now this is the cat that wouldn't even come into the same room without running hell bent for election away from T not 2 months ago. He also has started hanging out in the room, you know strolling thru the room while T is playing.

Apparently, Gryffin is too embarassed to be seen with T in the light of day (you know Phenix might tease him or something), but in the darkness of naptime/bedtime, he is all too willing to come in from the light and be loved.