Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Coming home from playgroup yesterday, there was another huge parcel on the porch, leading me to once again believe the nativity set had arrived; to my dismay, it was merely more junk from Amy. Cease and desist, Amy!! Enough with your packages! But once we got inside, we saw that we also had a delivery notification slip from the post office; I went last night to pick it up, and after forking over an additional $7 to customs, I brought home the nativity at last. I don't know why I was thinking it would come in such a big box as these are Little People we are talking about after all. We all had fun setting it up on the coffee table and playing with it for a while after dinner last night. Yes, that is Chad inspecting the cart that the donkey pulls...

This is a bit of a change in routine for us; Liam is normally in bed by about 7, but lately he has been staying up later - last night it was past 8 by the time he went down. This messed up my attempt to get to the gym last night and is also cutting down on how much I can accomplish during the evenings; however, he has also been sleeping in a bit as a result (often past 7 a.m. as opposed to his normal time of about 6:30), so I shouldn't complain. And, this happened right as I have started to feel really run down lately, so the extra sleep is even that much more precious.

On today's agenda: we are off to interview our potential daycare provider. The interview was originally scheduled for last week, but she called to postpone, saying she had a couple of sick kids in her care that day and didn't want to pass anything on to Liam. Partly I think this was very considerate of her; partly I think maybe her house was just a mess or something and she came up with an excuse. We'll be going into today's meeting with our eyes wide open. :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The stocking is (supposed to be) the best part

Of Christmas, that is. But what do you put in a stocking for a baby?

This is the question I was faced with when out shopping recently, and I fear I did a bad job of it. I should have delegated this responsibility to Chad, who stuffs a great stocking, full of trinkets and treats that I either already love, or things he introduces me to that I then wind up loving. My stockings for him are never as good - too predictable (CDs/socks/underwear), full of things he never uses (remember those Odour Eaters, Chad??) and generally uninspired.

Anyway, Liam is getting some babyproofing gear. Nice, huh?? Some cupboard latches and some doorknob covers. He is also getting a new bib. Heck, I'd might as well be really nice and throw in a jar of strained peas!! There are a few fun things in there; I got an extra little pack of Roll Around toys for him, and a small toy truck, and some bathtub fish that squirt water. All in all though, it still seems like a lame little stocking. Good thing he'll be too young to remember how much his first Christmas sucked, but honestly, when you can't fill up half the space with candy canes and chocolate, it's a much harder job than you'd think.

Monday, November 28, 2005

The numbers game

Last week I was talking to a friend, who also has an infant and who is also a mother of one, and we were comparing notes on how many kids we think we might like to have and what sort of timing we'd like for those next in line. She said that before she had kids, she thought she wanted three; when her first was born, she decided two would be fine; and now, close to a year later, she thinks that one is enough for her family. When she said this I was at first surprised and then, after consideration, not all that surprised after all. I think a lot of people have one kid and then say they want to have six, because of the joy the child brings them; but then reality sets in. I mean, having kids is a LOT of work. Last night I got an hour to work on Liam's scrapbook (which, second only to photography, is pretty much my favourite hobby right now) for the first time in weeks. That's it - one hour, out of weeks, spent doing something that I wanted to do. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy things like playing with Liam, and going to the gym, and decorating the urns on the front porch for Christmas - but those things are also necessities, things I would feel obligated to do whether I enjoyed doing them or not. In January I am going back to school - just one course per term, but the thought still makes me worry - when will I fit it in? Don't even get me started on the prospect of going back to work. So to think about layering another kid into the mix... it's not a decision to be made lightly. I get where my friend is coming from.

I still think I want another kid someday, which brings me to another conversation I had last week - one of the trainers at the gym stopped me to ask when #2 is coming. I knew these questions would start eventually, but I also thought I would at least make it to Liam's birthday before they did. My answer to her was basically MYOB. I (we) have a general idea of when I (we) would like to expand, but it's not open for discussion; and if there's one thing that I of all people has learned, it's that you can't always make things happen when you want them to. It's certainly not going to happen tomorrow. From a practical point of view, if I were to get pregnant tomorrow then I'd have to cut my current maternity leave short in order to even qualify for EI benefits with #2. But I also look at Liam and, though I lament how quickly he's growing, he is still just a baby; how can I even think about #2 when I am still so totally and completely absorbed in #1?? We need a little more 'us' time before I will feel ready to move on.

And, on top of that, our family is expanding in other ways. The word is out that Liam is expecting a new little Robinson (Robilton?) cousin next May. (He's positive that it's a girl, by the way.) I hope that it will be our time again someday, but for now it's their time, and that's plenty to look forward to. (He may not look happy for you here, Steph and Mike, but he is... really.)

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Sunday morning

10 a.m.

Still in our PJs and bedhead

Going down for his first nap (an hour late)

Sucking his thumb

Saturday, November 26, 2005

One good thing

Yesterday, it seemed to be one letdown after another. The phone was ringing off the hook - with unfamiliar voices on the other end - but rather than being the Code Green producers, it was the vet with a reminder of today's appointment, or one of Chad's customers looking for him at home. Then a huge package came to the door, which I took to be the nativity set. Wrong again. It was Amy, whose stint in Afghanistan is nearly finished, shipping a bunch of clothes and crap to our place. (What is up with that, Amy??) On top of this, I still wasn't feeling great. But one good thing that did happen yesterday is that Autum came over for a playdate. Seeing these two together always brings a smile to my face and makes my day, and all that other stuff was quickly forgotten.

Friday, November 25, 2005

I pledge allegiance to CTV

...and I'll give you 2 reasons why:

1. They didn't shut us out of Code Green like the CBC did. :(
2. Lost. 'Nuff said.

'Snow fun at all

After spending most of yesterday morning lazing around the house, I started to go a little stir-crazy. And though we've had several dustings of snow over the last few weeks, yesterday was the first time there was any accumulation to speak of. So, with that in mind, plus an adorable little snowsuit that was a gift from Anne which has been sitting in Liam's closet for almost a year now, just begging to be put to use... I bundled Liam up and took him outside to experience winter firsthand.

This was, of course, a terrible decision. First, although Liam has had a couple of cheerful, normal days since the awful teething episode earlier this week (weird or what?), he put up an awful fight as I was getting him into the snowsuit. Then, by the time I got him outside, the wind had picked up; and it really wasn't pleasant outdoor-playtime weather. And finally, the whole thing reminded me of Randy from A Christmas Story (that's the little brother's name, isn't it??) - because Liam was unable to even sit up for more than a few seconds at a time once he was in the suit. This is how he actually spent most of his time outdoors:

So, after all of two minutes and about five pictures, we went back inside, turned the TV back on, and ate some shortbread (me) and prunes (him) while we watched Miracle on 34th Street and played with his stacking rings. And that was a much more fun way to pass the day.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Gobble gobble

I may be Canadian, but living this close to the US border, there are certain American influences that creep into our lives. Today, for the first time, I am celebrating American Thanksgiving. This is something that Chad has done for many years: he will occasionally take the day off work, order an insane number of chicken wings, and watch football all afternoon, or even attend the Detroit game in person. Alas, this year, he is working, leaving Liam and I to celebrate on our own.

There is no turkey in the oven or psychotic relatives bringing up old family grievances in the living room, but Liam and I kicked our holiday off by watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, which started at 9 a.m. I am feeling a little under the weather, so we skipped our usual Thursday swim. It's pretty cold and windy out, so I think we will be largely housebound today; but it's not a bad day to be housebound, as there are all kinds of movies and holiday specials on TV. This may prompt us to drag out a few more decorations, or do some more baking, or get cracking on a couple of homemade Christmas gifts we have planned for this year. And maybe, to really get into the holiday spirit, we will head out shopping at 4 a.m. tomorrow morning, to catch a few of those infamous Black Friday specials.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

A musical note

The website I get these video codes from - in fact, many websites I've found that give video codes - is/are down. This has been going on for at least a month, despite the fact that the banner on the homepage says bear with us, it will only take a couple days to fix. SOME codes are working, but most are not. Sorry I have not been doing a great job with the music lately, but I'm on a really restricted playlist.

My own personal hallucinogen

In my mostly-pretty-square life, I have never tried LSD or crystal meth or any other hardcore hallucinogenic drug. (There you go, mom and dad; rest easy.) And after a day like yesterday, when I was convinced at times that I was seeing things, that's a good thing.

Our morning (pictured above) proceeded as it normally does, and only started going downhill around lunchtime. Liam started to get crabby, I had trouble getting him to eat, and then, right after lunch, I was holding him when I sneezed, and he burst into tears and did not stop wailing for at least 20 minutes. OK - even I can figure out that something out of the ordinary is up when this happens. Faced with playgroup starting in less than an hour, I decided to give him a dose of Baby Orajel. This is a decision not to be made lightly, as there are only 4 doses permitted per day; was I going to regret that 1 p.m. dose by 3 a.m. when I had a wailing baby on my hands and had used up my entire daily quota???

The Orajel seemed to help immediately, and since he had calmed down, we went to playgroup. But we had only been there for half an hour when his cheeks started to flame and he started to wail again, and nothing would help - not toys, not his friends, not me holding him. We left playgroup early, and he fell asleep in the car on the way home, then went down for a nap in his crib.

He woke up after just a short nap, and the metamorphosis was complete: he was a monster. He woke up screaming, refused to eat, and nothing I did could stop the waterworks. For the next hour, he had tears streaming from his eyes and snot dripping from his nose. (I took the photo below while holding him; since he was already pitching a fit, I figured taking a picture couldn't possibly upset him any more). At this point during my by-now-hourly gum swipes, I discovered what I had been looking for all this time: a huge white lump under his gum. I thought it was going to crack the surface any moment. I called Chad at work, and asked him to pick up some reinforcements on his way home from work, since the teething rings we had been giving Liam up to this point just didn't seem to be cutting it.

Chad was home half an hour later and I'm telling you, the minute he walked in the door, Liam turned into the happiest baby on the block. This often happens - he is cranky with me and then perks up when daddy comes home - so I tried to pull back his lip to show Chad the tooth under his gum, and prove that I was not just making this tale of misery up. In a freaky turn of events, the lump was gone. This is where I would normally have been sure that someone had slipped something into my drink, but a friend at playgroup was just telling me that day that the baby teeth can move up and down several times before they actually erupt from the gum. I thought that sounded like a kooky old wives' tale, but Chad said he heard the same thing at work yesterday, too. And I guess Liam is now living proof that it can happen. Provided, of course, that I am not just loopy and seeing things after oh-so-much drama.

The good news in all of this is that I can honestly say that he is teething now (and hopefully have you believe me), and since (I think) I have seen the proof with my own eyes, I am hoping that the day is soon. The bad news is that the books all say that this tooth might sit just below his gum for the next month before it pops out, and if that happens I will surely go mad. Even assuming that this tooth appears soon, I still have the next one to worry about. My book says that after the first tooth, babies normally calm down and learn to live with the sensation of teething. However, Liam does not behave normally in a lot of ways, so I shudder to think of what the next year might be like. Maybe I will be needing some chemical assistance after all.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Earning his keep

Our first experience with the concept of someone who makes zero financial contribution to the household earning his keep (did you catch all that?) came with Captain. We got Captain, and he was (sometimes) loving and affectionate, and his funny antics and (sometimes) cuddles made it all worthwhile when we had to clean out the litter box or pick up a hairball or perform some other unsavoury cat-related task. Then, one day, Captain made a tangible contribution to the household. We had a bat in the house, and Captain caught it, a feat that neither Chad nor I could see ourselves performing; and from that day on we have given Captain a lot less grief about his lazy ways, since the price of looking after him is more than made up for in bat worries I no longer have.

As of yesterday, Liam has joined the ranks of those working for a living. The pure joy of having him around is, of course, priceless; but sometimes it's nice to get a little something more out of the deal, yaknow? A few weeks ago I was out alone looking for a Christmas item for a member of the family who may read this and who shall therefore remain nameless. I went to a local merchant in search of said item, asked for it at the register, and was coolly told that they didn't have any so I should make a trip to their sister store in London or Windsor or some other major city centre instead. On Monday Liam accompanied me back to the same store, where I asked the clerk if they would mind calling London or Windsor or some other centre to find me my item so I would know whether to head east or west, and I was thinking about when and how I would work this excursion into our schedules. Two minutes later the clerk came back to me, having located the item and having arranged with the other store to ship it into my store so I wouldn't have to make a trip to pick it up. And, I'm convinced that they did this because I had baby in tow. (I'm even convinced that it's because I was holding him in my arms, not pushing him in the stroller, and looking exactly like the run-ragged mom that I am.) I have received perks for having him with me before; people are more willing to hold the door open, or let me cut in front of them in line at the grocery store. But to have the clerk save me a major road trip: that has got to be the biggest Liam-related windfall to date. (Now let's just hope that he was cute enough to land us a slot on the CBC - then he will *really* be earning his keep.)

Despite this pleasant little turn of events, we had a day yesterday. If, last week, I said that Liam has been ten times crankier than usual, then yesterday I would say bump that up to a thousand. After being up and cranky all night, he got progressively crankier through the day, even bursting into tears if we so much as looked at him the wrong way. I must have swiped his gum looking for signs of life (a tooth, any tooth) about ten times. Nothing. Please, please, let it be soon.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Space heater to the rescue!...

...because it allows Naked Playtime to continue into the winter months.

Liam was up for a solid two-hour block last night. If it's not the teeth then I'm losing my mind. Crying, chewing his fingers/my shoulder/whatever he could find (eventually I got a teething ring out of the fridge, which helped), and the Baby Orajel seemed to help. In addition to the red cheeks, he has developed a little cough over the last few days, which is also a teething symptom (because of the drool). This may be the last gummy smile photo I get to take...

We don't have a lot on the agenda today... we might get a call from Autum this afternoon... otherwise we are going to take it easy (after a crazy weekend of fixing the place up) and get some rest.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

What our house looks like before the CBC rolls in

If anyone was planning to come visit anytime soon, I tell you this: the time is now. The floors are scrubbed, the laundry is put away, the candy bowls are full. All is well. The den is still a war zone, but at least it's confined to one room. (Megan can back me up when I say that the holiday decor was out before we got the phone call on Friday.)

Our interview this afternoon was a bit anti-climactic. It was very short, for one thing. The crew consisted of two producers and an energy efficiency expert. They took a tour of the house, asked a few questions, asked to see the water and gas meters and furnace, and that was pretty much it - in and out in 20 minutes. They spent only a very few minutes with the camera on. In the end, I guess it really didn't matter that I didn't get around to sewing the valances for our bedroom (which I (briefly) considered staying up all night one night to do), or that the den still looks unfinished, with the walls still bare and no rug. They didn't spend long enough in any one place to notice that....

Friday, November 18, 2005

Our 15 minutes are here...

...and I thought I should give you some warning so there are no worries when I disappear for the next 48 hours.

Several weeks ago, a friend told me about a contest called Code Green. You can read all about it at, but to give you a quick summary, it's a 6-part TV series being produced by the CBC. They are selecting 12 families from across the country and giving them each $15,000 to improve the energy efficiency of their houses. How they spend the money is entirely up to them, whether they get new furnaces, windows, appliances, etc. The family that improves their energy efficiency the most wins a hybrid Toyota Prius at the end.

So on a lark, I entered, filling out a questionnaire about the age of our house and its fixtures, attaching photos of the house and photos of our family. I was completely shocked to get a call this morning to say that we have been chosen as finalists. A TV crew is now coming from Toronto on Sunday afternoon to interview us and confirm that the statements we made in the application are true. We are not on the show yet, but we are still in the running.

That means that Project Overhaul is in full swing. I am madly trying to tidy up and clean up and make our house as homey and TV-worthy as possible. I don't have time to repaint or anything like that, but a thorough decluttering and cleaning is in order, as well as as many small fix-it jobs as we can possibly squeeze in. We had hoped to do our outdoor Christmas decorating this weekend, which can only help; and I am making a list of other things to get or do (like a plant or flowers for the kitchen island and a fire going in the fireplace when they arrive) - all those little tricks that you would do if, for example, you were selling your home and a prospective buyer was coming over.

I am not sure what makes them pick the contestants for the show. Does it help to have a dilapidated furnace? - because we don't. Does it help to have a cute baby? - because we do. I still don't think we'll make it onto the show and even if we did, we'd say thank you very much for the $15K but never expect to win a car. Funny, I never thought of myself as the reality TV type (even though God knows I watch enough of it). Never say never...

On its way to our house

In lamenting our lack of toys (which is crazy, because our house is simply overrun with primary-coloured plastic), I forgot that I recently made an acquisition. It's not here yet but it's on its way. What do you mean I didn't tell you about this Chad? I swear I did... :)

For some reason I have a thing for Fisher-Price Little People. Don't ask me why. I don't think I had any as a kid. But I also don't remember having any friends whose Little People I pined after. In fact, I think I have Adult Onset Little People Envy. Anyway, Chad and I had discussed getting Liam the Little People Zoo for Christmas, but thought he might be too young for it (since the age recommendation is 2+), and if he's too young to 'get it' but we have it sitting around the house anyway, will he be sick of it by the time he's old enough to use it? Long story short - we nixed the zoo. I was, of course, disappointed, having wanted to make an inaugural Little People purchase.

Then I saw this set and fell in love. It's not meant to be a gift for Liam, but I thought it very appropriate to get it for Baby's First Christmas; a nativity set that we can put out in the family room, one that he can actually play with. After I saw it online, I started looking into it, and there are crazy stories from last year about people paying five times what it's worth on eBay after stores sold out. In fact, it's currently selling on eBay for more than what it's worth retail, even though stores aren't sold out yet. This year's model is musical and has a couple of extra pieces that last year's set does not have (the hay, I'm told, is new. Lucky us!!) And, since I was getting the nativity set I decided to go all out, and got the add-on set as well:

Because really, how can you tell the Christmas story without some shepherds and an angel, and a few extra sheep, who can be used here with the nativity set and later on at the Little people Farm or Little People Zoo or Little People Noah's Ark, all of which may be in our future?

Hopefully Liam will enjoy gumming it all up this holiday season...

Thursday, November 17, 2005


Posting late again today, I know. The days have been getting away from me lately. I always seem to have so much else to do. Chad, who is genuinely busy at work these days, sees this and tells me to unload half of what I have on my to-do list and enjoy my free time while I can, since what's on the list isn't being imposed by anyone but myself (as compared to his deadlines, which actually are being imposed by higher powers).

Many things I do not do during the day, or only when Liam is napping, because I hate to stick him in his high chair or walker just so my hands can be free. He is still at an age where he plays better when he has someone to play with; most of his individual playing involves chewing on things, and how much fun can that be? I am feeling like the toys we have for him now are starting to wear a little thin. Do I need to worry about a baby getting bored? Some things, such as songs, he loves to have repeated. The toys, I'm not sure. I have thought about getting him some new things, but because his play is limited to chewing, would he even appreciate new stuff? Would it make his day any different? Once he starts doing more, it will be easier to pick out some stuff that he would enjoy. I have been reading more Penelope Leach lately, and the book is showing its age (~30 years). It recommends picking up everyday bits and pieces that you think your child would enjoy - a plastic bag, a piece of string - poor, poor examples by today's standards.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Getting closer

Last night I started the process of interviewing three prospective child care providers. It is a delicate process, this; you want them to like you, you want them to respect you, you want to like and respect them; you want them to love your child almost as much as you do, and most importantly you want your child to love them almost as much as they love you, but absolutely no more. You want all this plus reasonable rates, healthy meals, a clean house, and close proximity to work or home. A tall order for a virtual stranger.

Right off the bat, I am going into this process disappointed that Megan's daycare provider does not have any openings. Janice seems so ideal. She lives on the next street over, and does cool things with the kids - painting in the backyard during good weather, churning butter with them during bad weather, and she emails Megan photos that she takes of Audrey during the day - what could be better than that? To top it off, she is actually moving onto my street. But, like I said, she is full, so I have to get over her.

So who can possibly live up to her? First I talked to Krista, and I was underwhelmed. First impressions really count. She did not sound very articulate, doesn't have a fixed program for the kids, and seemed more interested in telling me her rate than telling me about herself or her child care philosophy. Next. I then spoke to Renee, who sounds wonderful. She takes fewer kids than the legal limit, because that is all that she is comfortable handling; she previously worked as a therapist for autistic kids; and she has an extensive application process to ensure that she is only caring for kids whose parents are like-minded when it comes to child rearing. This, I really like. But, she has no spots open right now, and a long waiting list. I added myself to her list and arranged to go through her application process, which she wasn't able to slot until mid-January. Considering that I am planning to return to work in March, this seems too far off.

Finally, I talked to Darlene. She has only been in the business for a month, but she lives in a good neighbourhood (the kind that parents truck their kids into on Halloween night - you know, clean, safe, well respected) and is almost full. Conveniently, she will have an infant spot opening in March since one of her charges has a birthday that month. She spent 7 years in a kindergarten classroom, her husband is a paramedic, she structures the mornings as a nursery school and leaves the afternoons more open for free time. She takes the kids down to the OEYC for caregiver mornings once a week. Her rates are great. She's willing to hold a spot now for a week's pay, applicable to our first bill. She didn't give me the same instant-connection feeling as Renee, but she has a whole lot of positives working in her favour, and I don't have to wait until January only to find out that she's still full. We're going for an in-home visit next week.

I am now trying to compile a list of questions to ask. I want to cover the important stuff, but not take up her entire afternoon. It's hard. How do I want her to answer What's your approach to discipline? - I haven't had to discipline Liam yet. I don't even know what my own approach is. I also have to decide what my deal breakers are. Suppose this woman turns out to be wonderful in every way, except that she feeds the children hot dogs for lunch every single day? I'm sure that there will be something that I wish were different, but I will have to decide to either live with it, work around it (pack Liam his own lunch) or look elsewhere altogether.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


That he's teething, that is? ... this is the expression we've been seeing nonstop since the weekend... like he's massaging his little gums with a couple of fingers. Time will tell...

Dummy mommy

This 'mommy brain' business is wearing a little thin, but I have to say that when it's merely annoying, it's one thing - when it's outright dangerous, it's quite another.

I took Liam to the baby weigh-in yesterday to get a record for his seven month milestone. Unfortunately for me, I took Liam to the morning session, and the public health nurse was booked for the afternoon session. I should have known this. I used to know this. Nobody got hurt, but Liam was having a bad day, being happy and cheerful one minute and having outright screaming fits the next. (If this is teething then please Teething Fairy let him have a full set of choppers by tomorrow morning, because I want my happy baby back.) He hates putting on clothes and he hates getting buckled into his car seat, so it was really tempting fate to bundle him up and take him down there not once, but twice. As it turns out, he is up to 17lbs 9 oz, which means a gain of one full pound from last month. Up til recently he was gaining half a pound a month, and I have to admit, Chad called this one. A week or two ago he asked, don't you think Liam is looking chubby these days? I didn't think so, but Chad was convinced that the rolls are accumulating again rather than receding, and he blames it on me stuffing too much food down Liam's throat now that he's onto the solids. (My response? If a few tablespoons of oatmeal and prunes are making Liam fat now, then God help him, because it's only going to get worse once he gets into the pizza and Doritos like his parents.)

Later in the day I had another scatterbrained episode, one that could have ended much worse. I brought home a poinsettia and set it on a table, never thinking that Liam would get hold of it. But get hold of it he did. After a few quiet moments last night I went to see what he was up to, and he had scooted over to said table in his (yes, illegal) walker - conveniently at the exact same height - and there was a third of a poinsettia plant in his fist and in tiny pieces all over his tray. This prompted a frantic search of first his mouth and then (to be safe) the poison control website, where I found that a child may ingest up to 600 poinsettia leaves with no toxicity whatsoever. Funny - am I the only one who had always heard that these things were botanical death??

Having put this out there for the public to see and judge, I am sure that many of you are tsk-tsking me, probably none more so than the grandparents, who likely wish they could snatch the little guy away from me for fear that he won't live to see his first birthday under my care. In my defense, let me say that I did (before we brought out the walker) do the inspection of the entire house, moving things at walker height out of his reach, getting rid of choking hazards, etc. I thought to do this with our current possessions, and just forgot to repeat the procedure with our new acquisitions.

Let me also say that Liam has made it to seven months with no injuries, no falling off the change table, no cracking his skull open, no animal bites or infectious diseases or bathwater-induced burns. And, I'm sure that one of these days, one of these tragedies will befall us, and he is resilient enough that he will probably be just fine, although I will feel absolutely terrible when it does happen. I am lucky that our first near-miss turned out to be a non-incident, and I will try to be more careful in the future. If, the next time you come over, there is a web of safety gates strung everywhere and safety latches on anything that moves, you will know why.

(One bad thing about Liam riding in the shopping cart now: he pilfers my groceries. It's the pizza and Doritos that he's after.)

Monday, November 14, 2005

A trip to The Big Smoke

I didn't mean to make anyone worry by not posting for a few days. We spent the weekend in Toronto visiting Aunty Steph and Uncle Mike. Friday was a busy day around the house, and we left home after giving Liam an early dinner and changing him into his PJs. He was out cold in the car in no time, and slept peacefully until we stopped at the Burlington Ikea around 8 p.m. to return the rug I no longer wanted and pick up the corner unit to convert our two loveseats into a sectional sofa after all. With all the noise and bright lights and things to look at, Liam had this look on his face the whole time we were there (over an hour, thanks to a very slow-moving stockroom) that was along the lines of so this is what you guys do after I go to bed?? We made it to Toronto in one piece and got Liam settled into bed before going to bed ourselves - Steph and Mike were out for the night so we didn't see them until the following morning. Liam was up bright & early as usual, so there was no rest for the wicked. Spent a relaxing day on Saturday puttering around the house and strolling around the neighbourhood. Unable to restrain herself, Steph, who spoils Liam rotten, broke out the Christmas presents early. Not only did Liam come home with a new pair of Robeez, he also got to play with a set of Stack'ems (or something like that) that were supposed to show up under the tree. Thankfully his memory is super, super short, and he will be giddy all over again when he gets them (a little slobbered on, but no worse for the wear) at Christmas. (I'm not trying to make you feel bad, Steph; I did, after all, buy Liam's Christmas presents with him in tow.)

Early in the afternoon, he developed a really intense red rash on his face. Not so much a rash, I suppose, as very flushed cheeks (see photo below). And, for the first time in months, he refused his afternoon nap. We were starting to wonder if he was getting sick. We left for home and he slept most of the way, but woke up about half an hour from home literally crying his eyes out, despite the fact that he was clean & dry & well fed, and even Chad sitting beside him trying to entertain him was not working. At that point we were convinced that *for real* this time, the teething fairy was visiting. But here we are two days later - still no pearly whites. The red cheeks resurfaced a little yesterday - it's so odd - he woke up normal-coloured, got a little red mid-afternoon, and was normal again by bedtime. Weird, weird, weird.

I'm loving the new little Robeez. As luck would have it, these are size 6-12 months, and the ones I bought him (being as cheap as I am) are size 12-18 months, serviceable but a little clown shoe-esque for the time being. Now that he has two pairs, he can wear the better fit for now, and grow into the others later. I felt like $30 is a lot to spend on a pair of baby shoes until we stopped in at a kiddie shoe store in Steph's neighbourhood on the weekend. We looked at a cute little pair of Ecco's for Liam, but left them behind when we found out they were $70. Good grief. The Robeez suddenly got a lot more reasonable.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Seven months

Seven months old! I wish I had nothing but good things to say this month, but it occurs to me all the time these days that we are on the downward slope of your first year, closer to your birthday than we are to your birth day; why do I see that as such a bad thing? Just a couple of days ago your dad and I were setting up our new sectional sofa in the family room, the one we got to replace the loveseat that moved into the den, the den that we eliminated our dining room for so that you would be happy; and I was saying to Chad how I can’t wait until you’re big enough that you’ll be doing belly flops onto that sofa, and we’ll be cuddled up there watching Disney movies together, or maybe playing a game of Scrabble or Monopoly around the coffee table. And then I had to stop myself and think, do I really wish you would grow up that fast, or do I really wish you would slow down? And I just don’t know. I’m the kind of person who almost always skips to the last few pages of a book to see how things will end before I finish reading the rest of it. It’s been a real lesson to me to wait and watch your life unfold one day at a time, without knowing what the outcome of it will be, and to really try to enjoy the here and now.

This month I have seriously started to look into our daycare options, even though most of the people I’m calling are still saying it’s too soon. It’s hard to think that you will be with someone else during the day and not with me, and I want to find the best possible place for you to go. We left you in the nursery at church for the first time this month, inside the same building as me, but I still found it so hard. It wasn’t all that long ago that I pooh-poohed the bleeding hearts who couldn’t bear to be separated from their little ones, and look at me now. I’m the weepiest one on the block, the bleedingest bleeding heart of all.

Although the number seven (as in months) isn’t a standout number, and you didn’t hit any huge milestones this month, I have noticed several changes in you over these last few weeks. Number one – you’re sleeping through the night again! Bundled up into a sleep sack, you are once again on a schedule. I don’t think the sleep sack was the answer in itself, because it isn’t foolproof that you’ll sleep well when wearing it – but with the colder weather it’s definitely keeping you toasty warm, which can only help. We also got a space heater for your room (despite the fact that the prior owners added insulation to it, it’s still chilly) so we are ready for the onslaught of winter.

Your sitting up has really improved lately. We’ve noticed that you are getting good at leaning over to grab something and then pulling yourself back up rather than doing a face plant. This means much less work for us in retrieving toys that you have flung around. In your high chair now, you aren’t propped against the back seat but rather you perch at the front, banging on the tray and demanding that the next course be brought out immediately! Because you’ve demonstrated that you can handle it, we no longer get the shopping cart with the infant seat – that is just for babies – you get to ride in the shopping cart itself now, like a big boy. (Insert sob here.)

Your shyness also seems to be subsiding a little. We went to visit your great-grandma Robinson this month, and I really noticed it then. Normally you would be totally suspicious of someone you had never met before, but you were – dare I say – friendly to her. That friendliness carried over when we visited with other friends later in the month. Even going to playgroup and the swimming pool – you are becoming more interactive with the other kids, rather than just being an observer. You still won’t smile on demand when a person on the street demands it though, and while sometimes I wish you’d show off your cute little grin, I also think, good for you! – I like that you have a bit of assertiveness and independence in you. (Watch that come back and haunt me ten or fifteen years down the road…)

You had your first big ‘kid’ event this month, the Cowans’ Halloween party. Forty-four kids! I thought you would freak right out, with the number of people, and the noise, and the costumes – but you were fine. Mr. Observation was out in full force. We enjoyed celebrating Halloween with you, too. You looked so adorable in your monkey costume, and we got as much wear out of it as possible (even wearing it out shopping on Halloween day). It was fun to carve pumpkins with you and decorate the front porch and really get into things this year, all the while thinking how the next few years will be that much more fun once you understand what it’s all about.

You continued with solids this month, expanding the range of foods you eat, and have now tried pretty much every fruit and vegetable on the baby food market (the pure ones at least, not the baby food ‘dinners’ or ‘desserts’). You still hate carrots, even the ones I made for you, but you eat most everything else we’ve tried quite happily. You are down to nursing just four times per day, in the morning, before bed, and twice during the day. You still don’t have any teeth, but the last two or three days you have been really fussy and even developed a bright red rash on your cheeks for no apparent reason, which has caused us to once again declare that you must be teething! One of these days we'll be right...

You look like you might be interested in crawling soon. You are no longer quite so pitiful when on your tummy, and you will in fact cover quite a bit of distance just by rolling over and over again, both back to front and front to back. When something is just out of reach in front of you, you are starting to tip from the hips and you look like you’re about to go after it… you just don’t have the leg motions downpat yet. Your dad is working on this with you, giving you demonstrations (if you can believe that). Somehow I don’t think it’s something that really needs to be taught, like riding a bike, but he’s having fun and you’re making progress, so who am I to judge??

At seven months old, you are xx inches long and weigh xx pounds [to be confirmed at the baby weigh-in clinic tomorrow]. The holidays are fast approaching and we are so looking forward to your first Christmas. It will be here before we know it.

(All photos from today.)

Thursday, November 10, 2005

But seriously now...

...there's just not a lot to report on. We are having a pretty average week. Swam this morning and Liam is currently taking a marathon nap. I made some sweet potatoes for him this afternoon and will try them at dinner to see if I get the thumbs up or down. He loves the kind that come in the jar so he should like these, but, well, it's him, yaknow? So anything goes. They taste kind of funny to me, but I don't eat sweet potatoes (although I don't know why - they really aren't offensive) so I really have nothing to compare it to...

The one exciting thing that has happened this week is that Chad had a meeting in Toronto, and picked up some stuff from Ikea while he was there. We got two cheapy loveseats for the family room, the only ones that Liam will be allowed to jump on in this house. They are modular and came in pieces packed in boxes, which really helps when you have to get them down a narrow little old-house staircase. We thought we might configure them as a sectional, but are now considering keeping them separate. Chad also brought me home the rug I wanted for the den, but it's going back. It's beautiful to look at but it's very thin and scratchy and not as baby-friendly as I'd hoped. Back to the drawing board. Where else can you buy cheap but cool-looking rugs?? (It's an added bonus if you can shop online for them...)

As far as photos go this week, I am running into a wall. With winter coming and the days getting darker, it's getting harder to take photos without flash. I am not keen on my on-camera flash, so I rigged up a little contraption for it this afternoon, and I will test it out to see if it improves things. The time is here to get a Christmas photo of the dude (if you think I waited this long to have kids and was then going to send out cards without a photo, you're crazy) and I am working on that - but I want it to be a surprise when it comes in the mail, so I'm not posting it here.

So, lack of excitement + one-track-top-secret pictures = no fun posts. Sorry.

For Chad, who likes his reading material long on pictures and short on words, and for Megan, who is bugging me for posting late today

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

My comeuppance

Having read many baby books, I knew the day was coming, but that didn't make its arrival any easier. Liam has done a complete about-face and has taken a strong disliking to me. Seriously. I seem to be unable to do anything that makes him happy these days. Not playing with him, reading stories, taking him out places - nothing. Chad, on the other hand, walks on water. Chad comes in the door at night and Liam lights up like a firecracker, which lends very little credibility to the stories I tell Chad about what a little pill his son has been with me all day long. They say that this is simply the result of being too accessible to your little guy, being his primary caregiver 24/7. Because he's not always available, Chad is fresh and exciting and new. All completely normal. I used to get pitiful looks whenever I changed Liam's clothes or wiped his nose of did any of the many other things that he dislikes. Now he seems to dislike every moment of every day, except for these same said moments, which he now outright hates.

You'd think, then, that I should be enjoying this process of finding daycare, looking forward to the time when I will also be somewhat inaccessible and may therefore regain my star billing. Not so. Why does the very thought of calling a daycare provider to ask if they have any spaces open make me cry? There are a list of reasons why I want to work, and although I would love to continue spending my days with Liam, I think the long term benefits of me working outweigh that desire. And with the recent turn of events, I think a little separation would be a good thing for both of us. The daycare people are once again throwing me for a loop though, saying I am still calling too early for them to be able to say whether they have an opening for us or not. I did manage to cross one name off my list, as I spoke to her today and she had seven children under her care (the legal limit being five). But this is something I would like to nail down in the near term, and I don't seem to be getting any closer to doing that.

I do (thankfully) have one victory to report in the midst of all this doom and gloom. I made some more homemade baby food today - pears this time - and he likes it! He's eating it! Good thing too, or else I'd have felt like an idiot. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice...

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

What Darin and Jennifer are getting for Christmas this year

It's hard enough shopping for Christmas sometimes, let alone shopping for people living on the other side of the world. We asked Darin and Jennifer if there is anything they want or need to help make the gift-giving a little easier, and they politely deferred and told us they don't want anything. Nonsense! Of course you're getting something... we just didn't know what. Then, today, Captain found the shipping box we were getting ready for you, and took matters into his own hands. We'll send along enough food to last the duration of his voyage, but after that, feeding him is up to you.

Tis the season

My family knows that I am one of those crazy people when it comes to Christmas, the one who is asking what people want in October so that I am not in the stores past December 1st. At least, that's my goal each year; usually I forget something and I am out there slugging it out on December 24th with the best of them.

This year is going to be different. This year, I am really going to finish things up early. I've made some good progress so far. My decorations are not out yet, but I'm close. I started baking last weekend, although I had a hell of a time getting things to turn out (note to self - shortbread cookies are really too delicate to be using intricate cutters, but man I enjoyed polishing off all the broken bits). And, I already have a stack of gifts - purchased! Wrapped! Still waiting for lists from some people, but I've made a dent, and that's a start. Liam is getting the Leapstart Learning Train from Chad and I:
And Santa is bringing him the Fisher Price Roll-a-Rounds Jungle Treehouse (after much discussion, we decided he is just too young for the Little People ABC Zoo):
And I also got him this VTech Sort n Soar Rocket, which blasts off when you put the shapes in it - it's so cool:
I didn't realize til after these things were all home that they are all very noisy and all require batteries. (Buying a battery recharger before Liam was born was a great investment and yes, I have a stock of batteries for these toys also.)

We will still get him some new pajamas and a small stocking full of stuff. This seems like a pretty tame Christmas, having spent less than $75 on the kid so far, but (I in no way mean this as a solicitation) I expect that we will not be the only ones giving him stuff and our house is only so big. And, let's face it, he's still pretty simple-minded; will he really be able to figure out that the people down the street gave their kid a more lavish first Christmas than he got? It's not like they compare notes at playgroup.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Feeling off

Another week has begun. This past weekend was not a stellar weekend for Liam - he seems to be fussier than normal for the past couple of days. Dare I pull out my old he's teething excuse again? - it certainly wasn't the problem the last few times I used it. On Saturday night he had his first official ouch moment, when he fell over in the zoo (Megan is the only one who will know what I mean by that) and hit the gate on the way down. He bumped himself enough to cry, but the resulting mark was gone before I could get the camera out, so it's not like a scarred-for-life deal by any stretch.

His spill reminds me of a trick I like to use when we are upstairs in his room. He's at such an awkward stage right now, where he hates lying down but I don't like to leave him unattended sitting up because spills still happen. So I have taken to putting him in his crib (sitting upright) when I have to leave the room, and this seems to be working well. I turn on the mobile and give him some toys, and he's happy to be sitting up; and if he tips, it's a soft landing. Here he is staring up at the mobile. When he watches it lying down he smiles up at it - when he watches it from a seated position, he is just in awe.

And, to answer some of the questions I've been getting lately: yes, Liam has a lot of orange clothes, and yes, he wears this shirt a lot. I do a load of baby laundry every couple of days so it always seems to be clean and at the top of the drawer. He is such a messy eater, and it is a simple enough shirt that it is easy to keep clean... know what I mean? I hate to put his cute little sweaters on him these days because he gets that goopy biscuit crap all over them and mashes it right into the yarn. Besides, I have to make use of the orange clothes while I can, before we get all decked out in the red holiday wear.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

All you need on a rainy day a shipping box from Amazon and a baby-sized paddle. Thanks Bruce - you helped us make it through a long day.

(In case it isn't obvious - this is Liam paddling his pretend boat.)

Saturday, November 05, 2005

How I know it's time to end his outdoor playtime

Friday, November 04, 2005

Fall is my favourite season of all

Up until yesterday, we had a completely green lawn. Then, as it usually happens, our big maple tree shed almost all its leaves overnight. With temps in the 70s it was time to get outside and give Liam a taste of fall. He loved it.