Thursday, May 19, 2011

Literacy - It's What's For Bedtime

Since I prefer stealing borrowing other people’s good ideas rather than going to all the effort of coming up with creative ideas of my own, I figured I’d take DannieA’s totally cute idea and share what we’re reading right now. This is a book house, through and through. When I was young, until I was in about the third grade, I lived in the small town my parents currently reside in again (they actually live in a house one block away from the house I fondly remember on Wellington Street). When I was a little girl the train still ran through town, and the public library was walking distance from our house, a small circular brick building, now engulfed by a much larger addition.

When I was in college working on my English degree I worked in that same library and then my college library, which meant I got first dibs at the annual book sales to paw through the dusty donations of inappropriate joke books and endless incomplete encyclopedia collections. During Teacher’s College in Ottawa, I took every opportunity to buy books, figuring I was building what would one day be my classroom collection. And when I was working in daycare, well, who could pass up those Scholastic deals? Then preparing for single motherhood – you can imagine I might have gone a little overboard in purchasing the ‘you may not have a dad but you’re still most likely going to be normal’ type stuff. So needless to say, Jelly has quite the varied collection.

Right now on the nightstand;

So Many Bunnies. We just rescued this one a few weeks ago from a local used bookstore, Pauper's Books. Tata wins for telling us about it, the place is awesome. So Many Bunnies is cute because it's both a counting book AND an alphabet book, and Jellybean likes that one of the bunnies sleeps in a trellis.

Bats at the Library (she’s getting Bats at the Beach for her birthday, and I can’t wait to read it. ALSO she's getting a little stuffed bat! Squee! So cute!). Beautifully illustrated, this is one of those books where the rhythm of it is so perfect it's a joy to read aloud, and I love a story that sucks you in ABOUT stories sucking you in. Maybe it's the librarian in me that finds a secret pleasure in teaching children to love and respect books, I'm not sure. But if you are one of those people who knows the statistics about reading to your kids and how they're going to be smarter, better, faster, solve all the world's problems, take care of you in your old age - you'll love this book.

J is for Jellybean (this)

The Z Was Zapped, a wonderful alphabet book where horrible things happen to all the letters of the alphabet. I collect children's picture books in general, but especially alphabet books. This is one of my very favorites.

And, finally, Sam Sheep Can't Sleep. I like this one because it's phonics-friendly, she likes it because it's repetitive and she thinks she can read it because she's got it memorized. There are also some fold-out flap pages, which is neat. You gotta love Usborne books.

She’d have me read 20 more a night if I’d let her. Every few weeks I make her rotate them out. If it was up to her we’d read a Clifford or Berenstain Bears book every night, but they make me insane after a while. I love Robert Munsch books, but I’ve found she’s still too young for them, so they’ll have to wait a little while yet.

She's also getting a couple more pop-up Bug books for her birthday;

And this - look, so cute;
I'm a sucker for books for kids with their names in the titles. I try to find books like that for my niece and nephew.
I'll let you know what she thinks.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Eagles Have Landed

The parents are here! Is there any sight more beautiful than a very, very worn-out little girl who sleeps in til SEVEN O'CLOCK AM for the first time in like, a zillion years, then positively BOUNDS out of bed to race into her room where her grandparents are (she's sleeping in the playroom on her old crib mattress, which I smartly kept) to greet them with several cheery 'Good mornin'!'s while telling them what each and every item in her room is? Like, 'and dis is is my bunny, and deese are my Dora curtains, and here's my slippers, dey are too small, haha!'. Most entertaining.

After my dad made us all coffee and oatmeal, I trotted off upstairs to my room to work (my brother is in my office/spare room, he sleeps til noon since his meds make him tired) and my ever-patient mother sat down to play -wait for it - playdough. What a nice Nana she is. I, personally, would prefer to be working, I think.

Tonight we will all go to her little soccer practice, which will be very exciting for Ms. Bean, especially since she will get an early birthday present beforehand, and it's a Toy Story 3 soccer ball. Then tomorrow is Thursday, and I have to find last-minute extra party favors and sheriff badges, because apparently there are going to be 18 children here Saturday, who knew? And just think, that's me being tough with the invite list. I'm just excited I got the rope I was hoping to find at the AgriSupply place. And a coffee percolator. Did I mention we're going camping the weekend after the party? Eh, why not. It's an excuse to make another list right away, hurray!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

All is Calm, All is Bright

I feel like some sort of pioneer woman. Not the kind who has to get up at 4am and milk a cow without even the distraction of playing Angry Birds, or The Pioneer Woman, who is crazy awesome, but the kind who each day has a set chore. Monday, dusting*. Tuesday, vacuuming. Today was laundry. See, if I did this kind of thing everyday, shit wouldn't totally fall apart like it did. Well, and also there was that bone-crushing winter/spring of migraines and Topamax and allergies and depression and such, but still. I see now why those women did it this way. The tackle-one-thing-at-a-time, grinding routine of it is manageable and soothing.

Since today was Laundry, I caught up on Jellybean's billion little dirty socks (why do they ALL have to be inside out? Every single one? Argh.), switched over all my summer stuff (STOP BUYING GREEN CARGO CAPRI PANTS), filled a bag for Goodwill, and filled a Rubbermaid bin for consignment. Sweet! My deal is, if I didn't wear something at all last season, I have to get rid of it. Harsh, but fair.

Jelly will be coming home soon with her extra clothes from preschool, since Tuesday will be her last official day. My parents and brother will be here after that, so she'll be out next Thursday, and then the following Tuesday is the end-of-year picnic. It's going to be a hard adjustment when she realizes it's done. Even worse, I realized there are only 3 soccer classes left! WTF?! 10 weeks has FLOWN by. I love Coach Josh, and I adore the Canadian dude who owns the company. But summer means swimming, so it's time to move on. Will one of you please tell her no more soccer either?

The forecast for the next week is nothing but rain. Because I am compulsive, I have of course looked at the 10-day forecast for her birthday party, and as of now it is a 40% chance of rain also. All you internet fairies must clap your hands very, very hard, because it MUST NOT RAIN for her party. There is to be no end of the world on May 21st, and there is to be no rain. It is to be sunny, and 80 degrees, and all will be well.

*I did not dust.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Just So You Know

... how seriously crazy I am. I am bleaching my toothbrush holder. Yes, people, that is the level of cleaning I feel I have to do. And it isn't that my mum is judgmental. True, she once cleaned my oven WHILE I WAS BAKING SOMETHING. But she's been a lot better, and would never in a billion years actually say anything to me. I bring it all entirely on myself.

My toothbrush holder. Like, the green glass cup I keep my toothbrush in. Really.

Well, at least it will be nice and clean and, uh, hygienic.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother’s Day Your Way

That was the title of the daily Parenting email-spam-that-I-need-to-unsubscribe-from-because-I-never-read-them thing that I received last week. Why did I even bother reading it? I knew it wasn’t going to apply to me, because they never do. Mother’s Day is a day for the Typical Mother, the one in the Ideal Family. You know, woman + man + child. Not single mom. Not mom + mom, or dad + dad, or divorced mom, or desperately trying to become pregnant woman, or adoptive parent, or, god forbid, mom-who-has-lost-a-child. Or any of the other wonderful or sad or bittersweet combinations that exist out there that people may identify with that may mean they see or hear the words ‘Mother’s Day’ and cringe, because for them, it is not exactly a happy day.

Some women wake up on Mother’s Day and receive burnt toast in bed, with handmade cards and flowers, and they smile with an ‘Oh, you!’ look. There is a dinner, later, in a restaurant that they don’t have to pay for themselves (the dinner, not the restaurant), and maybe a gift that they will gripe about to their friends because it is an appliance or ill-fitting lingerie. If they are really lucky, there is jewelry. And, you know. Sex stuff.

This is not the life of the single mother.

The single mother does not bemoan the fact that she only gets one celebration a year, because she still wakes up, feeds and dresses a little person, and cleans up all the messes. If there is dinner in a restaurant, she makes the reservation, and drives herself there and sits alone amid all the couples, and fights with a waiter to order something that is not a ‘For Two’ special, and pays for it herself (the same is true on Valentine’s Day). She still does the laundry and the cleaning, and there is no gift or bouquet or handmade card, at least not until the kid is older.

I have a newly separated friend who I went to dinner with this year, and I hope she avoided the propaganda. The Mother’s Day Your Way email suggests ‘giving your husband a list of “services you crave” so your kids can create coupons for you, like getting a manicure, sleeping in, soaking in the tub for an hour etc., the kind of stuff you kind of need a husband around to do. I think I just look at Mother’s Day differently than the Typical Mother, I guess. I don’t look at it as my one day a year where I am pampered, or where The Dad does everything or whatever. I order myself flowers (this year it’s a bouquet of Thai basil! I read from my online supplier that if you get it with long stems, it will continue growing in a vase for weeks, who knew?! They had some special for Mother’s Day flown in from Hawaii, it’s gorgeous and smells amazing), and sometimes I go out to dinner, and basically am just happy to be a mom. I know that’s not very special from any other day, but I don’t need a calendar to tell me that I’m lucky to have Jellybean, or to remind me that I’ve got a great mother myself.

Whatever kind you are, I hope you had a good one.

I am in pre-birthday planning hell. My parents and brother will be here a week from tomorrow, which means the house that didn’t get cleaned for basically, well, all winter, has been getting chipped away at the past few weeks in every spare second. In between stress migraines. Yes, it seems work is the source of all my woes, including the IBS issues. I am now on a totally dairy-free diet, which, in addition to giving up drinking, caffeine and nitrates because of the migraines, is making me a very sad camper. So the job will be the next thing to go, because life just cannot continue in this manner. But I don’t know the right answer there. Sooooooo… I’ll get through the next few weeks and think about it some more then.

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