THE BEAN

SPROUT

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Two and a Half

Our baby girl is two and half years old today. 


Fortunately for all of us she more adorable and sweet than she is frustrating in her two-and-a-halfness.

She has become quite a little chatterbox.  Her speech can be difficult to understand, but that doesn't stop her.  She likes talking to people, but will happily carry on one-sided conversations with her babies and stuffed toys or just chatter away to herself.  She also likes to sing.  


She walks, gallops, runs, and hops everywhere.  She also likes being carried up the three flights of stairs to our apartment.  If I explain that my arms are full she asks me to come back to her, often telling me that "[her] wegs are bo-ken."



Though not the most adventurous physically, she does love to climb.  She's pretty good at it too.  

I don't know how it happened, but we have a girly girl.  Her favourite colours are pink, purple and gray ("gay"). She loves to wear skirts, or better yet, two skirts layered one over the other.  Her dress-up  persona is a "ballewina pincess" who has a tutu, magic wand, and does little other than twirling and turning the people around her into kitty cats.  

She also loves to pretend to be Melissa (McClelland) from the band Whitehorse, married to The Bean's favourite musician, Luke Doucet. This mostly involves her stuffing a blanket under her shirt (their baby), going backstage (the kitchen) or "frontstage" (the living room) and talking to Luke (me) or playing instruments (whatever she digs out of our instrument basket). The Bean also likes to be Melissa when we play this game.

While she likes to play with people, she is usually quite content playing independently for periods of time. This floors me and Jen as it is something The Bean just does not do. She will draw, do Play-Doh, read books, do puzzles, play with stuffed animals, etc. 



She loves arts and crafts. Again, something The Bean isn't really into.  She'll often request to colour, paint or do Play-Doh.
  


We sometimes call her "Ms. Independent" for the obvious reason that she likes to do things herself. Not everything, mind you, but if she has her mind made up about something... She's quite a stubborn little thing.


Along those lines it should be noted that she is very nearly potty trained. She wears underwear when she is awake and can "hold it" for several hours. I can't remember the last time we had to change a dirty diaper. We do bring a travel potty and a change of clothes with us most places, the former which we use fairly often, which means the later hasn't been necessary. The down side is that she uses having to go to the potty as a major stall tactic at bedtime. Can't win them all, I guess. 

Her favourite books right now seem to be the Angelina Ballerina books and Dora books we have. She LOVES being read to and will snuggle right in for story time.

She is a pretty snuggly kid, overall. She's very, very clingy attached to me. I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that I'm primarily at home and that she still nurses 2-4 times a day (wake up, before/after nap when I'm around, and before bed). She "loooves nursing!" but tells me she will stop when she's 26.  Um. Yeah.  


Her best friend is clearly her brother. She goes along with 90% of his plans and is pretty much his shadow. She also really seems to like hanging out with my cousin's son who is seven months younger than her. She adores her Grandma too. Oh, and my cousin Paul. 
  


She still isn't big on breakfast, but overall eats decently well.  She's fussy about mean and won't eat chicken breast or pork chops, but will eat chicken fingers, hot dogs and sausages. Most grain-based foods are fine and she eats enough of a variety of fruits and vegetables that we're not overly concerned about her diet.  




She's a big kid. She's in size 2T and sometimes 3T and now wears size 7 shoes. I frequently get asked if she and The Bean are twins (though she is still quite a bit shorter than he is).

And finally sleep.  This is the one area I wish were significantly different.  I can't figure her out.  I feel like she should be getting much more sleep than she does, but it's a nightly battle.  Bedtime is 7:30pm, but she nurses until about 8pm and then usually doesn't fall asleep until 9 or sometimes even 10pm and is usually awake and coming into our room by 5:30am to nurse.  It's brutal.  She naps from about 1:00-2:30pm most days.  I don't know if she is overtired or overslept or what, but I am hoping something changes.

 A few more pictures of the little monkey from the past few months: 

 
  









Monday, June 22, 2015

Summer Bucket List 2015

I thought I'd be able to post this on the first day of summer, but go figure, the longest day went rather quickly. 

So, a day late, here it is: 

The Two Moms to Be Summer Bucket List for 2015
1. Check out new parks and go back to old favourites.
2. Swim in Lake Ontario. 
3. Visit animals at the zoo.
4. Spend time in nature. Look for new "nature spots" in the city.
5. Donate books to the book bank.
6. Smell flowers at botanical gardens.
7. Go to the Toronto Islands.
8. Make popsicles.
9. Meet up with local bloggers.
10. Paint rocks that we find at the beach.
11. Go to a fair.  
12. Take a moms-only trip. 
13. Eat things that we have grown and/or picked ourselves.

I can think of more things we would like to do, but this keeps it at an average of one thing a week, which seems completely doable.

And since people have been posting goals to, here are ours:
1) The Bean: Practice writing, reading and basic addition. 
2) Sprout: Ditch daytime diapers. (This is a bit of a cheat, since she's pretty much ditched them already.)  
3) Mama: Read. Crochet. Take photos. Organize photos.
...and Mommy is sleeping, so I'll have to get her goal in the morning.  

I think it's going to be a great summer!  




Saturday, June 13, 2015

Endings (and Beginnings)

It's closing in on midnight as I'm writing this, which is to say, I should be going to bed, but I'm feeling unsettled and thought coming here might help me  process things a bit.

The school year is wrapping up. The students are now finished and it's just paperwork and cleaning up the classroom. I had hoped to finish my report cards by tonight, but that's still a pretty far way off from happening. Oh, how I hate writing report cards. There's never enough space to say anything really significant so I agonize over what to include and how to phrase it. I wonder if the parents even notice. 

I was unable to make it to the closing ceremonies, which felt a bit odd. I said my goodbyes to the students the day before and also goodbyes and thank yous to the parents who I saw. Everyone was kind, saying what a wonderful year it had been and thanking me for the work I did with their children. 

I haven't said much about it, but things weren't going very well with my sister being here with the kids during the day and we now have another care provider. I wanted things to work out with my sister because: sister. But they just weren't. We were very lucky that we were able to find someone else on very short notice and just for this brief period as I wrap up work. It's been going well. The communication isn't the greatest as she is not a native English speaker, but the kids settled into the new routine without missing a beat and actually seem more settled now than they had been. I feel like they must have been picking up on the tension of the situation before. As a bonus, Jen and I might have a new person we can call on for evening babysitting.  

I am still feeling ambivalent about not having work lined up for the fall. I am, however, looking forward to the summer. Things have been piling up in neglected little piles all over the apartment. Mending. Photo albums (and baby books!) to complete. Enough tiny clothing and plastic toys to warrant a garage sale, though the thought of organizing one is a bit overwhelming at this point. And of course, time with the kids to look forward to. I have been compiling a large list of possible activities and outings. Summer Bucket List post is in the works. ;) 

As for tomorrow, I'm hoping to make it to the lake. I haven't been to the beach for ages, but I've been feeling a pull to go. I feel like I need grounding right now and walking on the sand, looking for pebbles washed smooth and listening to the waves just might do the trick. 

Friday, May 29, 2015

On Not Having to Make a Decision

Last Friday I arrived at work to an email from my VP (who is the Acting Principal, as the Principal is on sick leave) asking me to come in to speak to her when I had a chance.

Earlier that week there had been a minor incident with a child bumping his arm in P.E., which the parents were making into a Very Big Deal, and I was quite concerned that they were going to sue.  Needless to say, I was a bit anxious walking into her office.

She asked me to sit and close the door, and then let me know that unfortunately they wouldn't' be able to offer me a contract for September.  I was relieved that it wasn't about the bumped arm, but both surprised and not surprised about the job.  I knew that enrollment for the fall was way down and hadn't been expecting an offer, except for the fact that the VP had asked me a week or two prior if I'd consider teaching full time.  

I let her know that I understood and thanked her for letting me know.  She was really quite apologetic about the whole thing and very kind in saying how much professional respect she has for me, which I appreciated.  And while I certainly felt nothing like when I was let go from my previous position, I was still a bit disappointed... which surprised me.  I guess it never feels good to lose your job, even if it's a job you're a bit on the fence about.

Jen and I had been discussing the fall and all of the potential situations.  Though things were up in the air, we were operating under the assumption I'd be asked back, at least on a part-time basis.  We had just dropped off registration forms for the kids to go to the daycare in what will be The Bean's school and had been discussing whether it'd be worthwhile for me to work part-time, since after paying for daycare I'd really only be bringing home a few hundred dollars a month. The thing is, I love teaching.  When I'm not teaching I miss it. A lot. I feel depressed. Part-time would have been good as it would have allowed me some time with the kids, but also the fulfillment of working.  And a few hundred dollars extra a month is still a few hundred dollars extra a month.  Full time would have had the benefit of more money, but I was a bit anxious about never being able to touch base with The Bean's teacher and having Sprout away from us all day. And not working, well, it will be tight financially (hopefully I'll qualify for some E.I. for the first little bit at least) and I will miss working, but I will have this time with the kids.  I'll be able to drop off and pick up The Bean from school.  Maybe even bring him home for lunches.  And volunteer in his classroom.  I'll be able to take Sprout to programs and parks and enjoy another year with her before she starts Junior Kindergarten.  So there are certainly positives.  But it's still hard.  

:/

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother's Day

Mother's Day (or, more accurately, Mothers' Day) is a day that Jen and I have mutually agreed upon not recognizing for the most part.  The Bean was old enough to understand that it was a special day for us and wished us each a happy day and gave us some extra hugs and kisses, but aside from that things were fairly routine. We took my mom out for brunch and then came home for naps, spring cleaning/organizing) and some outdoor play.


Both kids are fighting a nasty cold. The Bean got it first and we thought it was seasonal allergies, but since Sprout has since developed the same runny nose and wet cough, we're thinking sick. Still, since they're kids they've been fairly unphased by it. A bit more clingy. Maybe more irritable... but maybe that's just me. They've still be doing all their regular things, quite happy now that the weather is good enough to be spending a good chunk of the day outdoors. It makes me happy too. They've been mucking about in our front garden (dirt), running through the sprinkler, riding bikes and scooters and playing all sorts of games.


This may be the most  true-to-life photo I've been able to take of Sprout's eye and hair colour.

Things are still incredibly busy. Jen starts her new job tomorrow. I am excited for her. We still are unsure about what next year will bring for me and the kids.

I got two date nights this week.  Jen and I went to see Death Cab for Cutie on Thursday night. It was an awesome show. Their songs have the most beautiful lyrics. Then, on Friday, I took The Bean to see a long time favourite of his, Whitehorse (or, more specifically, Luke Doucet). A short story...

The Bean's favourite song by Luke Doucet is Long Haul driver. At barely three he could sing the entire thing and often requested it be played on a loop. So, when I saw Whitehorse was playing, I bought two tickets. Totally anticipating the show, he asked my sister to help make him a sign on Friday. It read: "Please play Long Haul Driver" and had a picture of a truck that he had drawn. Honestly, I was embarrassed by the sign and hoped that he would forget about it, but, of course, he didn't.  I told him he had to carry it was his responsibility so he dutifully carried it the entire way downtown, proudly holding it up as he marched towards the venue. I made him pause to take a photo with the sign for Massey Hall in the background. (I will try to get it off my phone and post it here.) As we were walking into the venue a lady stopped me and asked if she could take a photo of The Bean with his sign. I hesitated. She noticed and quickly explained, "I'm Luke's sister, Sarah. I'd love to show this to him." I agreed! She tried to make some chit-chat asking The Bean his name and how old he was. He answered, and then said, "Sorry, but we're in a big hurry to get inside and see Luke Doucet." Haha. So, we went, listened to the opener and then the Whitehorse set. The Bean was awesome and really enjoyed the performances. He was getting tired, but I told him if we left he wouldn't get to see Long Haul Driver (at that point hoping that they would play it and knowing that I would have a very disappointed little boy if they did not). They left the stage and I explained to him about the encore. After they came back out they played a song and then did a little bit of chatting. Then, Luke says, "Is [The Bean] still here?" I don't know that he registered what was happening, but I loudly shouted out "YEAH!" All eyes turned on us. Luke then went on to explain that his sister had taken a photo of a boy on the way in holding a sign requesting a song. A song that they haven't played live in nearly four years. He apologized in advance for any mistakes they might make, but said they were going to do their best to honor the request and then broke out into the opening riff. The Bean's eyes just lit up and he got the sweetest little smile on his face. He stood and and watched the entire song completely mesmerized. I wish that Luke could have seen his face. The Bean's day year was made.

LOL. Well, that was much longer than I intended and not really the point of this post, but I'm sure it's a story I will be asked to repeat many times as per The Bean's current habit of asking for us to tell him stories, so it doesn't hurt to have it all written out.

Anyway, wishing the mothers and mothers-to-be an especially special day.

Monday, April 20, 2015

What Will Be, Will Be

The longer I'm away from this space the harder it is to return.  It hasn't been wholly intentional.  Time has been a huge factor lately, to be sure.  In fact, I should be working on work right now, but am feeling a bit unsettled and so ended up here... I've also been feeling a bit more aware of who may be reading.  There are things I've thought about posting about but won't not knowing who may see it.  I've also been thinking about what The Bean and Bug (testing this out as a new blog name that I've been considering for quite a while, as it is what we call her at least 60% of the time IRL) may think of this in five, ten, twenty years.  I don't think I've over-shared to an extent where they would feel uncomfortable with what is "out there," but I can't say that definitively.  Of course, this includes images as well as words.  My beautiful children.  How could I not want to share those faces with the world, but then, back to who may be seeing it...


Having been away, it's hard to know where to begin.  We're a few months off from the half-year updates on each of the kids, but I feel like there have been so many changes with them since their birthdays.  It's a constant wonder watching these two learn and grow.  We have no more babies in our home.  Bug will very specifically tell you that she is a little ("widdle") girl.  And The Bean, while petite, is not little at all.  His face is changing.  The way he speaks in changing.  His thought processes are changing.  





They are both at pretty great stages right now.  Sure, there is stubbornness and defiance, but moreover there are questions and cuddles and adventures to be had.  Also, the sibling love.  Oh, there is nothing better than to see these two small people grab each other in a big bear hug or listen to them have a conversation.



Right now things are in flux.  Jen starts a new job in two weeks.  She wasn't really looking, but the opportunity presented itself and there it was.  We both think it will be a good change.  But we're both somewhat change-adverse so there is an element of tension in the not knowing exactly what it will be like.  I am also looking for work.  There are so, so few opportunities.  I would be very happy to find something, but I honestly think I would also be okay if I didn't get anything for the fall.  (But only for the one year while they're not yet both in school.)  I miss the kids.  Having someone else watch them, even if that someone else is family and loves them to bits, is hard.  Having the days with Bug and not having to worry about childcare would be nice.  It'd also be nice to be able to pick up The Bean at 3:30pm and still have the afternoon with him.  Let the kids have that time together.  Go to parks or paint or bake cookies, instead of rushing home to make dinner and give baths and tuck into bed.  ...but maybe I'm really just psyching myself up for not getting a job.  Finding the silver lining of that situation.  The silver lining does seem pretty sparkly though.  In any case, what will be will be.



Beyond that I'm not really sure what else to say at the moment.  Maybe another update soon... there are some thoughts bumping around in my brain that I would probably benefit from getting down in print.  And, of course, some pretty cute photos to share.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

First Trip to the Dentist -or Feeling Like a Failure of a Parent

Today I took both kids to their first dentist appointment.

Jen and I knew that at age four we were late getting The Bean in for his first appointment.  We were also pretty sure that we'd discovered a cavity in one of his molars.  He absolutely refused every fluoride toothpaste we'd tried to have him brush with, but we started flossing more vigilantly and prepped him that the dentist was likely going to tell him that he needed to start using new toothpaste.

Sprout loves brushing her teeth with any kind of toothpaste, but she still nurses before bed which I know isn't great for dental hygiene. She sometimes seems to have spots on her front teeth, so I was concerned about what the dentist might say about that too.

We managed to get to our appointment on time.  Sprout was dressed in an Anna (Frozen) dress and Chuck Taylors, and The Bean decided today was the day to break in his new boots by stepping in every mud puddle on the way to to the office, but hey, we got there.  

I was sure that The Bean would hop right into the chair and that Sprout would cling to me, but he was actually the one who acted a bit nervous and Sprout called out "Me! Me!" when the hygienist asked who would go first.  Go figure.

Overall, I was impressed with the hygienist.  She playfully explained what she was going to do each step of the way, demonstrating with the tools on the kids' fingernails before asking them to open wide.  She complemented them on being super-cooperative and having beautiful teeth.  She was good.

She said that she could see a few spots on The Beans teeth and wanted to take x-rays.  Sprout and I left the room.  

The dentist came in to look at the kids' teeth and review the x-rays.  She was also very personable, if slightly less playful.  And while I wouldn't say she guilt-tripped me, I felt like a complete failure of a parent when she said that The Bean's x-rays showed SEVEN cavities.  SEVEN.  (Three on biting surfaces, and two shared between two teeth.)  She asked about his eating habits, snacks, and dental hygiene.  She pointed out the things that we should change.  I didn't tell her that his preferred beverage is chocolate almond milk.  I figured admitting to his raisin habit was enough.  

So, we now have to schedule him in for dental work.  We've decided that we'll do one appointment under general anesthetic rather than two or three with local.  Less chance for traumatization. (I hope!)  Poor kiddo.  

Poor Sprout too.  No more chocolate milk for her either. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Spring

I'm sure I don't have long, but I thought I would attempt an ever-so-quick updated.

Last week and this week I've been on "March Break."  Certainly one of the big benefits of working at a private school is getting two weeks off in March.  Public schools get one week off and, I tell you, that week must go by SO quickly.

Last week we were able to go to PA and spend some time with my in-laws.  The Bean tells us regularly that he is going to leave us and move there when he is an adult.  And the sobs from Sprout when she realized that we were going home... well, let's just say they both love it there.  Moreover they love their "Ma" and "Pa" (as nicknamed by Sprout).  We love them to.  It was very nice to get to spend time with them and have four extra hands helping out for the week.  It really is too bad they don't live closer.

We celebrated an early Easter (dyed eggs and did an egg hunt +gave the kids Easter baskets), spent time visiting with extended family, and went outdoors as much as possible.








This week is an "at home" week.  In actuality we'll be out just about every day, but no big plans... we went to an indoor playground this morning.  Tomorrow the kids have optometrist appointments.  We'll see some friends and maybe, if it's nice, get ourselves out to a park or two.

I have so, so much work that I need to get done.  I over-promised on the curriculum project.  I've been enjoying working on it, but it is a lot of work and they keep asking for more!  I also need to spend some time getting my own teaching curriculum planned out for the next month or two.  I feel much more balanced than in the fall, but it can still be overwhelming at times.

In the next month or so I will find out if I will be offered a position at the school for the fall.  The VP said something that leads me to believe they will offer something, but I am not sure what it will be.  I should also be checking the job postings at other independent and private schools, which is like a job in itself.

Aside from those things I've recently joined a book club (though I have yet to make it to a meeting), started crocheting another sweater for Sprout (hopefully this one will fit her) and cleared out a few boxes of baby toys and clothes (that have been sitting around for the past 2-4 years).  All things I am quite pleased about.

Things are good.  Spring is in the air.  Time to get the littles up from their naps and go outside.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Royal Treatment: Medieval Times (Toronto) Review and Giveaway

Ever since my mom gifted The Bean a toy castle complete with knights and a cannon for Christmas, he has been interested in kings and dragons and all things related.  Some of his favourite books these days are fairy tales and, like many other pre-school aged kids these days he's pretty into Arendelle and its two princesses. So, when we were contacted about reviewing Medieval Times for the blog, it didn't take us long to decide that it was an offer we'd certainly take up!

In case that's not clear enough, we were provided with complementary tickets for this review and giveaway purposes. We were not compensated financially for this review. Of course, all opinions are our own.

We told The Bean and Sprout on Thursday that on Saturday we would be going to a castle to watch a show. They were both pretty excited about it. The Bean told literally everyone he happened to talk to... down to the teller at the bank when I was getting change for laundry and the pizza delivery person on Friday night.  Haha.

It was suggested to us that we arrive early to check out the "castle", horses and gift shop. Unfortunately The Bean (who took a long time to go down for his nap due to all the excitement) slept late, so we were racing downtown just to make it on time for the show, never mind early.

The staff were polite and helpful as we figured out ticket pick-up, were given a swag bag, and navigated our way to our seats.

We were seated front row centre, which was amazing. The Bean and Sprout were in awe when the first horse came galloping out. I didn't know what to expect in terms of focus, but both kids remained pretty enthralled through the performance. Towards the end Sprout abandoned her seat to climb up and down the stairs beside us, but The Bean was attentive for the entire show.




We were seated in the "red and yellow" section. The kids loved waving their flags, no matter which knight was performing. Jen and I made sure they cheered loudest for our knight, who we jokingly referred to as John Snow.  (Check out the photos below --you can see the resemblance too, can't you?)



I was quite impressed with the show. I've never been and didn't really know what to expect. They kept things moving along quite well and there were a lot of different acts, from dressage, to a falconer, to jousting and sword fighting.

Dinner was served in courses throughout the duration of the performance. We were each served garlic bread, tomato soup, a huge portion of chicken, half a roasted potato, some corn on the cob, and sorbet for dessert. Dinner out can often be a challenge for us due to The Bean's dairy allergy, but the staff were amazing. When we were going back and forth making arrangements they asked about allergies and when we arrived we had a special card to give to our wench (waitress) noting The Bean's food restrictions. They had also sent me a menu with an ingredient list to read beforehand, so we knew what he could and couldn't have and could request some substitutions (namely the dessert). Turns out, we didn't really have to give it so much thought as he barely ate anything, but still it was nice to know. The food was good, and Jen, Sprout and I all enjoyed our meals. The Bean is just super-picky about food.

Dinner was served without utensils, but Jen had packed a bib and spoon for each of the kids. I have heard that they'll happily accommodate little ones with utensils, but we didn't ask. They did, however, bring over boosters right away when I asked. The service across the board was excellent.



The Bean's favourite part of the show, by far, was when the knights battled each other.  He was cheering up a storm and you could just tell that he wanted in on the action. Sprout loved the horses, when John Snow gave her a flower, and the corn on the cob. 



The Bean had a meltdown as we were leaving since we refused to buy him a sword, but aside from that it was a really fun evening out with the family. Because of their ages, I feel like The Bean got more out of it than Sprout, but the both definitely enjoyed themselves, as did Jen and I. The Bean's already been asking when we can go back again, and I expect that one day we will.


And now for the GIVEAWAY...

If you would like to win tickets for four to see a performance at Medieval Times Toronto, please comment here with the name of your favourite fairy tale. (It doesn't even have to have knights or princesses in it.) Winners will be picked Friday, March 6th, 2015 and announced shortly thereafter. (Please leave your email address in your comment so we can notify you if you win!)

Monday, February 23, 2015

Night Weaning

So, it's been about a week since we decided in earnest to night wean Sprout.

This has been a long time coming. I know I've written many times about our difficulties with Sprout and (lack of) sleep.  Whenever it's gotten really bad we've been able to turn things around so that they're good enough to be acceptable.

Well, the other week, when she started waking at 4:30am to nurse and then wanted to be up for the day at 5am we decided it was time to try to do something about it (again).

Jen, wonderful wife and brave soul that she is took on the bulk of the responsibility.  We decided that when Sprout woke up at 4:30am to come into our room that she would take her back into the kids' room and put her back to bed, staying beside her in a sleeping bag on the floor to ensure that she stay in her bed.

We prepped Sprout that day, telling her several times before bed that she wouldn't be nursing again until the sun was up.  She seemed to understand.  She nursed as usual before going to bed.  She went down as usual.  At 4:30am she woke up and wandered crying "nurse, nurse" into our room.  Jen picked her up and took her back into her room.  Even with the sound machine on I could hear her crying.  It lasted about half an hour, but then she slept until 6:30am.  Not so bad.

The next two nights were even better.  She still woke up around the same time, but settled back to sleep more quickly and with fewer tears.  She slept a little later.

The following night we had a bit of a setback and she woke up around midnight.  I was discouraged, but Jen was a trouper and slept on the floor beside her bed for the remainder of the night.

Last night was better again.

And that's pretty of where we are now.  We'll see what the next week or two brings.  We bought a ridiculously overpriced clock that shows a sun image when the child can get out of bed.  We'll see if she buys into it.  And we still have to deal with The Bean who was taken to sleeping in a "nest" of blankets beside our bed when Sprout wakes up and disturbs his sleep, or you know, when he wakes up and decides to come over.

Sleeping five or six hours all in a row is pretty awesome.  I kinda' miss the cuddles though.