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Big girl signs

12 May

I just got Halia to bed.  She didn’t ask to be breastfed and I didn’t offer.  I feel conflicted about this.  I’m pretty much ready to be done, but then again I wasn’t expecting to be done.  She still likes to nurse in the mornings sometimes, so it’s not like breastfeeding is done done.  But I think the end is in sight.  I’m not sure why this is not making me leap for joy.

I’m not allowed to call her a baby.  Every day she insists, “I’m a big girl!”  Today she declared, “I don’t need a bib.  Because I’m not a baby anymore.”  She astonishes me with the sentences she concocts.

She’s losing her baby-talk.  I’ve been teaching her how to add the “s” at the beginning of those s-plus-consonant words like snake, squirrel, star, stop.  Now she loves to say, “Ssssssss-gwirrel” and “Ssssssssssnake”.  We almost never hear “Daw!” and “Dop!”  She still sounds adorable, but she’s clearly not so babyish.

Still, she sings it: “Kookabudda sits in de ol’ gum twee-ee, mewwy, mewwy king a da bush is he-ee!”

And also: “Deep in da Hun-dwed A-cah Wood, where Chwistunnah Wobin plays…”

She hasn’t tried to climb out of her crib, but she’s asked for a big-girl bed.

With Jade, the milestones came so late, we had almost no nostalgia for the passing of babyhood.  With Halia, though, I can see her racing to catch up to her big sister, and she runs so fast it leaves me dizzy.

There’s no room for aching when my heart is swelling, though, and every day I get  her declarations of love.  She can say, “I luff you!” And she does say it, at the most surprising moments.

But I think my favourite declaration is one she uses most often in the mornings: “I want to ‘nuggle you!”  So we snuggle.  And big girl or little, she still fits perfectly in my arms.

Some Molly

20 Feb

It’s been pretty rough over here, what with sick kids, Michael away, the aforementioned paperwork, and perhaps a sudden realization that I can’t actually manage everything in my schedule.  Change is needed, methinks.  However, it was a music-filled weekend, Michael is home for a few days, and so things look brighter for now.  Probably I should make myself go to bed earlier.  (“Should” is always such a loaded word, dontcha think?)

I just had to share a Halia moment.

Yesterday and today Halia has been crying intermittently for “some Molly”, or at least that’s what it sounded like to me.  Jade couldn’t translate, and I couldn’t get Halia to say anything clearer than “some Molly”.  Frustrating for her, frustrating for me.

Finally, tonight I asked her to show me.  She led me to the fridge.  (“I’ll bet it’s cheese,” says Michael.) Indeed, she pointed to something in the deli drawer.  But she was pointing past the cheese.  I opened the drawer and saw…

…the salami.

The D with the belly

11 Feb

It’s been a couple of years since we’ve had to worry about doing Valentine’s cards.  Sonja dropped by this morning with a little gift: a box of Disney Princess Valentine’s cards, including slots for holding princess pencils.  I must say I really appreciate a non-candy coated Valentine!

We decided that addressing Valentine’s cards would be this morning’s little project.  I broke out the markers (which normally are hidden away because despite being washable, Miss Halia is a terror with them).  I wrote the names in the “To” part and Jade signed each and every one herself under the “From”.

I haven’t been working on writing skills with Jade at all, but I can tell by the crafts she brings home from school that her fine-motor skills are really improving.  She was really enthusiastic about writing her name on each and every one of those 16 cards; I was very impressed by her stamina!

It also gave me the opportunity to show her how to make the letters correctly.  She was imitating the shapes she saw, but since we haven’t been spending any time on it, didn’t really know the technique for shaping each letter.  Her D’s generally looked like O’s.  Or worms standing on end.

So I showed her, “One straight line down.  Lift your marker.  Start at the top again.  Now make a big round belly for the D, so we know it’s a D.”  Then I drew a dotted letter for her to trace.

Then she took up with the cards again and delighted in that D!  “A big belly for the D!” she crowed.  “It’s pushing the E away!”

(Funny, suddenly that D looks like a pregnant woman, crowding her poor hubby right out of bed.)

The cute vaccine

8 Feb

Forthwith, further inoculation against the Dread Virus Pessimismus.

 

The birthday Grinch strikes again (sort of)

25 Jan

Last year, I shared with ya’ll how I’m not really into doing great big birthday parties.

I wasn’t hugely enthusiastic about it this year, either, to be totally honest, but Jade’s been looking forward to her birthday ever since Halia’s in November.  (Hmmm, that happened last year, too, didn’t it?)  Plus, this year, Jade’s excitement level has been heightened by all the birthday parties from her preschool crowd.  There have been three birthday parties since the beginning of December, and the whole preschool has been invited to each of them.  I’ll admit they’ve been fun, and it’s a nice chance to get to know some of the other parents.

Jade had so much fun at the Polarettes Gymnastics gym at the December birthday party that we decided to have her party there, too.  All the kids can just run around and enjoy the equipment and the focus doesn’t have to be on food.  I figured I’d buy a bunch of helium balloons, bring a few trays of food, put together some fairly simple loot bags, and call it good.

But!  At the last birthday party we attended, we discovered that we had booked the gym for an afternoon the day after Diego was going to have his birthday party there.  Argh.  In half a minute, we decided to just go ahead and combine the two parties into one.  Hurrah!  Shared costs, guests who aren’t wondering why they’re going to the same place twice in one weekend, plus cutting down on the volume of gifts because we’re asking boys to bring presents for Diego and girls to bring one for Jade.

Diego’s mom has a couple of older children and so has been doing this birthday party stuff for years.  Plus she is one of those really energetic creative people full of awesome ideas and who owns a crazy art printer and more scrapbooking supplies than you can shake a stick at.  She came up with this great “Let’s Monkey Around” theme using an adorable image of two sock monkeys hugging.  Her “draft” invitation was so cute I nearly died.

(And then part of my brain remembered that once upon a time I loved party planning, too.)

Once we started brainstorming ideas for the loot bag (bananas with monkey-themed banana stickers on them, water bottles with custom labels, magnets, stickers, an activity book, crayons with sock-monkey labels) I decided it would be fun(!) and easy(!) to make monkey masks.

Here’s the thing.  Every party so far has included the parents (because so many have special needs, and they’re really not at the age yet where you just drop the kid off and go) and of course that means the siblings are there, too.  Halia has been given a share in the loot bag loot at every party… So since this is a double party (each family will have some extra people there), I figured we should prepare about 30 loot bags.

Can you see where this is going?

Here’s a visual:

In case math isn’t your strong suit, that there is 36 monkey masks.  These really are incredibly easy to make and they don’t take long, either.

That is, they don’t take long if you’re making just one,or maybe two, like a sane person might do.  But 36 of these suckers takes pretty much an entire bloody day, even after you stayed up until 1:40 a.m. cutting out all the felt pieces the day before.  (Except, of course, that wasn’t really the day before.)  (Thank goodness Diego’s mom and sister helped me cut and glue all the eyebrows.)   (It’s amazing how much faster things go with three people…)

I’ve saved two of these for Jade and Halia, who each picked the colour they wanted.  They were very excited about them.  And then wore them for about 3 minutes each.  *sigh*

But, you know what?  I am looking forward to the party.

And I think the monkeys are, too.

Breathing

19 Dec

Why hello, December.  Are you here already?  Pardon me?  What do you mean you’re almost over?

I know, I know, we’re all busy.  But holy cow, has this month ever been a whirlwind.  And not even because of Christmas.  Okay, well, maybe a little bit because of Christmas, but certainly not because I am in any way prepared.

We don’t have a tree.  Our lights are up outside, but, grinch-like, we never plug them in at night because it is frakin’ cold out there these days.   I mean -30 cold.  I bought a timer for the lights but haven’t set it up yet.  There are zero decorations  inside our house because they are still in boxes buried under the stairs.  Christmas shopping is kinda, sorta taken care of but it’s been happening piecemeal here and there like and I have nothing for stocking stuffers.

Oh, who cares?  You don’t want to listen to be complain.  Besides, what am I doing here when I have to go pick up all the clothes strewn all over my bedroom so I can pack my bags for the course I’m taking in Vancouver, flying out tomorrow afternoon and coming home at 1 a.m. on Christmas-for-goodness-sakes-Eve?

Oh dear.  Really I just wanted to pop on here to say hi and tell you about what we have been doing, because, really, it’s been a pretty awesome month.  Crazybusy.  But awesome.

Let’s see.  Jade and Halia and Michael and I participated in Whitehorse’s Christmas parade.  The girls participated in a free community art project to make “Frollies” (little Christmas spirits) and then were invited to tote them in the parade.  So we did.  And one of the benefits was that Santa hung out at the headquarters while all the paraders were mustering, so Jade got to spend a good 20 minutes following him around and gawking at him in total hero-worshiping wonderment.

Hangin' with Santa before the parade

Even Nanuq was in the parade! Jade walked the whole way by herself and Halia rode in my amauti.

The Big Band (in which I play piano and Michael plays bass trombone) had a concert at the Yukon Government building (which is the building I work at 2.5 days a week).  The girls had a marvelous time dancing to swingy Christmas music.

The All-City Band (in which Michael plays tuba)  played a concert at the government building later on in the week.  (They have music all week the first week every December.)  The girls were not nearly so attentive that time, so I hardly heard anything while I chased hurricane Halia around.

Huge for me: I played a gig with my friend Steve Slade at a local restaurant called Antoinette’s.  We rehearsed together every weekend for a month before.  We played for two hours to a full house and I’m pretty proud of how it went.  I wore a baubly pearly necklace I made myself and a Sally Ann top I upcycled and my sparkly red shoes and just had a fabulous time.

 

This is how my top started out back in August. Check the attached shorts with different polka-dot pattern. Hotness!

Sorry I don't show the whole thing, but rest assured the shorts are gonzo! New neckline with white insert (material leftover from my wedding dress!), hot-fix rhinestones to add sparkle, and a red sash to add some Christmas flair.

My mom arrived in Whitehorse on Thursday and my dad got here this morning.  I made homemade hand cream to use on the girls and to give away as gifts.  I made earrings for Jade’s teachers, and a beach glass pendant / Christmas ornament for a neighbour who has helped us out countless times.

And now I’m about to take off for Vancouver and arrive home just in time to cook the big family dinner and do Christmas mass.  Oh my. Yes, I am still breathing.  But I think I will breathe just a little easier on Christmas morning.

The best of times, the worst of times

30 Nov

For four days now, I have skipped putting Halia down for her afternoon nap.  The first two days, she slept for 12 solid hours.  Last night she woke up once at 3 a.m. and wanted some boobing.  Tonight I’m hoping for the 12-hour miracle to repeat itself.

Now if I could just get myself to bed at a reasonable hour, I might become a productive member of society again.

No, really, I am sooo happy with my set of problems right now.  Balance is a hard thing to find.  Working, even half-time, has added a lot to my plate, so that fitting in parenting (single parenting a lot these days, with Michael on the road), keto cooking, music, advocating for Jade, blogging, and sewing are all jostling for attention, and they can’t all win.  Or else they do, but then I’m a cranky miss crankerpants to everyone around me.  Let’s not even talk about stuff like exercise because that just doesn’t happen.

But even though it is exhausting, it is good.  Jade has gone six months seizure-free. (!!!!!) Halia makes magic everywhere she goes.  What more could I ask for?

But! Yes.  It is exhausting.

I was talking to a good friend the other day; she has two grown sons just a little younger than me, and one of them had some very strict food allergies as a young child, and also required some accommodations when he was going to school.  When I talk to her, I feel she understands a lot of what I’m going through now.

“I don’t want to complain,” I said to her.  “I know plenty of people who’ve got it a lot harder than I do.”

“Yes,” she said.  “That may be.  But you can still acknowledge that your life… your situation is a lot harder than most.”

That made me pause.  Thank you, friend. Thank you for letting me feel that I am allowed, at least once in a while, to not like being exhausted.

There are lots of reasons why I don’t want to complain, lots of reasons to feel that it’s ungrateful to do so.  Everyone lives with the same reality of 24 hours, seven days a week, and the miracle of tasks that expand to fill every last square inch of time.

But maybe today I’ll try not to feel ungrateful just because I’m not glad that Jade has to be on a ketogenic diet.  I can be grateful for the miracle it has wrought without liking the daily consequences.

Maybe today I’ll acknowledge that leaving the dishes for tomorrow morning — or even tomorrow night! — might just be the best thing for me to do.

Maybe today I’ll go to bed at a reasonable hour.

(And maybe, just maybe, Halia will sleep through the night.)