Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Dinner in a Birthday Suit

Ben won't wear his bib lately (or mittens, hats, boots, snow pants or socks). I am sick of fighting stains after his meals and going through multiple outfits. We are also enforcing natural consequences more as of late to his misbehaviour. If he stands up on his high chair its "sit down or get down" If he won't wear his hat and mittens then he can't go outside, if he won't wear his bib then he has to eat without his clothes on and sit in his cold high chair (which then makes him stand and we start the whole thing over...we are only giving him the illusion we think we know what we are doing!) Tonight we took his clothes off for a pasta dish that would have ruined a shirt and he proceeded to rip his diaper off and climb up his high chair...I think we Will safely file this particular photo gem in the "Ben's first date/wedding slide show" folder!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Lesson in Self Control

Ben is very impulsive. Ben is 17 months old. I realize the two go hand in hand but this impulsiveness has resulted in some near mishaps so I thought perhaps it was time we buckle down and teach our toddler some important life self control.

We built a tauntingly high tower that screamed to be knocked over. We explained to Ben (all the while wiggling to be let go so he could tear it down) that this was Daddy's nice tower and he was not to knock it over. He agreed and played around it while keeping a close eye on it. He would run over to it periodically and shake his finger at it. "NO NO..." he would look at us for approval which of course we freely gave, secretly amazed he had lasted that long. Finally we ended the torture and Daddy told him he could knock it down.

Life lesson one...check!

The Lip

Ben is a very happy and easy to please boy most of the time. He is however, starting to assert himself more (if the more popular "NO NO No's are any indication). I like to see this in him because I don't want to raise an apathetic, passionless and passive child although he could tone down the tantrums just a notch.

Ben has also started sulking quite a bit. When he decides to exert some self control and not throw himself on the floor in a fit he pops out the lip as fast and as far as it will go distorting his face in such a way that anyone around him cannot help but laugh at. This of course makes him madder.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Going in Peace

shortly after Christmas Jon's grandmother who has not been well for some time came down with Pneumonia. It became clear that she was too weak to fight it and was moved from the hospital to the assisted living retirement home she and Jon's grandfather had called home for the last year. On Wednesday evening surrounded by family the nurse told Jon's mother to count the time between breaths as she slept and her lips began to take on a bluish hue. 7 seconds, then 12... 20 and then no more. It was a peaceful and graceful passing so fitting for her and prayed for by those who loved her. We will miss Great Grannie Wilke and I am happy that she had time to enjoy in the lives, if only briefly of her next generation of Grandchildren. We were privilaged to take part in her funeral this weekend and enjoy a celebration for a wonderful person and a life well lived.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I love...

I love...

Being a full time mother and wife, my handsome husband (I do NOT love the word "hubby") a good book, chocolate, make your own pizza nights, purses, decorating my house, winter storms, walking in fall leaves, Christmas dinner, facebook, Ben's little feet, Ben's little kisses, Ben's little everything!, Friday night popcorn, Saturday morning family bed, planing parties, eating out, birthday cakes, the sound of Jon's car coming in the garage at 5:00, long drives, getting a parcel in the mail, magazines, mint chocolate chip ice cream, my mom's voice in the other end of the phone just when I needed her to call, learning something new, writing, new socks, my crock pot, pedicures, my dad's oldie but goodie jokes, my home in it's normal state; a little bit messy, a little bit noisy, something cooking on the stove and a feeling of being where I belong, bonfires in our backyard, my grandparents cottage by the shore, grocery flyer day, fabric softener, bangles, grocery shopping, Our Place preschool, our fireplace, the smell of BBQ in the evening, growing older and discovering that life truly isn't in the breaths you take but the moments that take your breaths away.
New Years Blues

It is about this time every year that I develop a good case of New Years Blues. Enough Christmas excitement was lingering in the air to keep me going this far. This morning however, I watched the last of the naked and discarded trees get picked up out of the snow bank and crunched in the back of the truck as I put the last of the Christmas decorations away. I did hesitate for a quick moment before I tossed our carefully decorated gingerbread house in the garbage, although it has been too stale to eat for some time now. The roof collapsed first and the little green and red M&M shingles crumbled in after it. The delicate icing Santa that topped it moments earlier now glared up at me from the bowels of the trashcan.

With so much build up there is bound to be an equal amount of let down when it ends. It is a shame that Christmas isn’t held in March and when it’s all over we find ourselves in spring! We could toss our gingerbread with no regrets and head to the cottage. With the threat of bathing suit season within reach I would probably reconsider what happens to all those left over chocolates as well! Sadly though we are left in the darkest days of the year where there are a few more page flips on the calendar then I would care for before we see the long, warm days of summer.

I have to remember then the Christmas I spent in Hawaii one year and while I would never knock gift giving on the beech, it just warn’t the same as home. It wasn’t quite Christmas without icy sidewalks, runny noses and frost bitten cheeks. There is something about these Canadian winters that we can’t live with and somehow can’t live without either. We get into the holiday spirit by building snowmen, tobogganing, drinking hot chocolate by a warm fire and watching the first snowflakes of the season trickle down while we still recognize the beauty before the inconvenience. Even if the novelty has worn off now it would be “uncandian” of me to enjoy the season we are in without complaint!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Just Be

In writing my last post I was thinking more about the expectation to DO. Why is this? I realize that it is important to not waste time, to be productive, to accomplish goals; big and small...but ALL the time? I tried to think of the last time I stopped DOING to concentrate simply on BEING. I don't think it has ever happened. When I tried to, the idea of this blog popped into my head and I am DOING this instead of boring old BEING. I think there is some merit though to ending the DOING. I have a book on meditation but not surprisingly I have far too much to DO to read it. This year though I think I am going to make an active effort to take some time each day to DO nothing, in fact I think it will even help me DO more in the long run, and that really is the goal right:)

Where's My Gold Star?!

I was talking to a friend (she is also a "Retro Feminist") this morning at my mom's group about how we are measured in our society on our productivity. The first thing we ask people is "how are you DOING?", "what are you DOING?", "DONE anything new lately?". It is interesting to think in these terms becuase we are expected to have something on the go at all hours of the day with a break only to sleep so we can re engergize to DO some more tommorow. The success of our days is measured through the achomplishments that can be tallied at the end. In raising children this is a difficult to do. Today for instance I sang dozens of off key songs to Ben, I hugged him, kissed him, tickled him, laughed with him and corrected his behaviour. I brought him to a preschool program for toddlers where I met with my mom's group and then learned about developing literacy though play. We came home for lunch and I talked to him while we ate. After we read some books and played with his farm he had a nap, now I am writting this blog. I am tired as I write this from having done so much. If someone were to walk around my house however, this morning and again at the end of the day to calculate my productivity level on this particular day that is like most others I would probably score on a negative level as a homemaker and a mother. The dishwasher will likely still need emptied, a dark load will still be on the laundry room floor and I will be struggling to get dinner on the table while Ben whines at my knees in his dirty shirt with a runny nose to be picked up.

When my day is full of little moments I am trying to make meaningful it is difficult to calculate my productivity. How much nurturing did I provide today? What is a satisfactory level, what did I teach and how much did he absorb, How much did he benefit from my efforts today? There is unfortunatly no fairy god mother of mothers who comes around each night to stick a gold star on our foreheads after a day well done.

Because we as homemakers and mothers cannot measure in a exact amounts our productivity levels at the end of each day even though we are DOING all day long we can easily feel defeated. It is very difficult to stay motivated and inspired when the result at the end of the day is a mountain of dirty laundry that you are too exchausted to tackle....

The workload of motherhood then cannot be measured in a way that society as a whole finds acceptable. It is not a tangable or immediate accomplishment but a series of small success's. At the end of years of determination, nurturing, selflessness and hard work the measure is in the person in front of you, hopefully a thinking, feeling, knowledgeble and contributing memeber of society you can hold out in front of you with pride and say "THIS is what I did today!"

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Love

While Jon has his beloved IPHONE (I now have an almost as cool IPOD touch...which I believe is his way of buying himself more time...I know a distraction when I see one! Uh where was I? My I pod reminder just went off to turn the slow cooker down...anyways...)

I have rediscovered a gadget that has been previously taken for granted...our Central Vacuum...(I am not sure why I felt the need to capitalize that...I just feel it is deserving of caps)! I have vacuumed 4 times this week...I LOVE it. I am not sure of the exact moment I stopped seeing it as a chore and found delight in it. I think I first started marvelling in the convenience of it, no heavy body to drag around just one cord long enough to reach just about every square inch of our house from one main floor outlet. When I am done I just wrap it up and put it away discreetly in the front hall coat closet! Then I realized what a rewarding job it is, a visible difference is made after every use. Finally I realized I was excited when Ben crushed up some toast and flung it...I've needed less motivation then that to pull out ol' C-Vac (okay I've never really personified or nicknamed the vacuum before now...but I really do love it that much!). I am truly spoiled now with this feature of a new home I don't think I could go without again despite my dreams of a sprawling victorian farmhouse one day! Now if only my attitude could change over the washing machine (notice lower case...)

It Fits

I heard a term today that fits me perfectly. A "Retro Feminist" from what I understand is a feminist trying to get back into her home. The feminists of the 60's did their job well...too well as it turns out and have driven us so far away from the home we aren't sure how to get back, and if/when we do what the heck do we do there! I struggled to find my way into the home when most of my peers and friends are on the fast track career lane regardless of what they want, it is just the place to would you have 3 cars, a 4 bedroom house (for 2.3 children...?) a big screen TV, a plasma TV, a Florida vacation and a mini vay kay at march break, the "right clothes" and the newest I pod accessory on ONE salary...women have to work...otherwise we might have to *gulp* bake from scratch and buy a used mini van. Well I get some help from Betty Crocker and we leased our van but I get it, I do! I Also don't judge, I applaud a woman who loves her work in and out of her home, I know woman who are making it work...they have it all together and have a high level of life satisfaction, they are on maternity leave applauding their little darlings first steps while simultaneously counting down the days until they can get back to the rat race. Their motivation isn't a Chanel bag and business luncheons that make them feel like more then what they are at home, it is a choice they make for deeper reasons. I know many more woman who struggle greatly with this arrangement but don't know an alternative.

A friend just recently went back to work after a month of throwing up each morning in anticipation of this day. I was supposed to see her the weekend before her first Monday back to work. When she didn't show up the other women in our mom's group nodded in understanding..."she wasn't up to coming out, Monday know". Well they all knew as many were on their second maternity leave...they had been through this before. I asked this friend earlier if couldn't they find a way..any way for her not to go back to work. I would think the fact that she had been physically ill for over a month over the mere idea of it was proof enough that career woman was not a title for her. "no" she said sadly, "I have to work. I could almost see the ghosts of our bra burning sisters behind her kicking her out the door. I understand feminism and in many respects am grateful for their endeavours BUT they were fighting for choice...I don't see many who feel as if that choice is really theirs. I want to be a homemaker and I want that to be okay.
*** I am now stepping off my soapbox...***
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