Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Hope Springs Eternal?

I am not so sure that "hopeful" is the right word to describe my outlook these days... maybe cautiously optimistic... maybe just too emotionally drained to imagine that things won't get better.

The spring was really no better than the winter. The worst of it being my Nana's death mid-May. I honestly expected that she would come home, at least for a little while, before things got worse. I think she knew she wouldn't. She was quite remarkable in how she handled things, doing her best to reassure everyone that she had made her peace with the situation, smiling when visitors came, even when she wasn't strong enough to speak. God, I miss her.

Jen headed up the kids' school's Fun Fair this year, which happened at the end of May. It was probably good to have the distraction. It was very successful and she got a ton positive feedback. A lot of work and worrying went into it though and it is not something she wants to do again.

I've also decided to step down as School Council Chair next year. I did a sub-par job this year and also feel like I need to prioritize things in my life a little better. I hope that someone else steps up. I'd be pretty heartbroken if no one else were willing to take on the role.

The Bug got super-sick at the end of the school year. First with strep, but then worse, with a serum-sickness like reaction to the medication she was on. We were at the doctor three times and the ER twice in the span of three days. During the first ER visit she also was diagnosed with pinworms... which meant pinworm treatment for the whole family and near-psychotic cleaning of our home. Super fun times.

And to top things off, this was all in the few weeks before we moved. Probably the easiest move possible, as far as moves go, as it was literally across the hall, but still busy and a bit chaotic and very stressful. Thank goodness for the help of our friends. It's been about a month now and aside from still having to put up some art I would say we are settled in. The kids are thrilled. They each have their own rooms now and got some say in the decor. The Bean wanted "jade green and blue", and The Bug, no surprise, requested pink. The space is noticeably larger, which I feel we needed. It also forced us to purge a ton... which we also needed.

The Bug's best friend and her family, who we adore, moved in to our old place across the hall two weeks later. I think it must be a six-year-old's dream come true. Admittedly, it also seems to be working out great for all us moms (they are also a two-mom family) to be able to help each other out as needed.

Aside from that the school year ended. Grades one and two are now done. Both kids did well on their report cards with marks going up from already good starting places. They both seem happy about their class assignments for next year, but even happier about having the summer off.

And summer, thankfully, is off to a good start. I feel like we are due some good days. We aren't too overscheduled and I'm trying to keep the pace somewhere between "lazy summer days" and "fun in the sun." The kids are old enough not to need constant entertaining, but I think we all still enjoy the opportunity to get out and do things that we wouldn't necessarily do during the school year. We have a week away scheduled for August and a camping trip with friends before school starts back up. Aside from that it will be basketball in the driveway, the neighbourhood garden market, trips to the pool and the park and anywhere we happen to have a membership to.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

The Bleakness of Winter

We're a season in to the new year and I feel like I can say with some degree of certainty that on December 31st I will be glad to say goodbye to 2019.

It seems like whenever I think that things will be getting more manageable, something comes up.

In December my aunt, who I'm fairly close with, called late in the evening. I could hear the desperation in her voice over the phone line. Her aunt, a "spinster", who she had been going over to check in on nightly after finding out that she had fallen earlier in the season, was having an episode. I arrived to find all sorts of items scattered across the front lawn. When I entered the house there were bags on every surface, containing items ranging from pajamas and toothbrushes to cutlery trays. I told my aunt that it was time to get help. We ended up admitting my great aunt to the hospital that night. It was upsetting, but certainly the best decision we could have made for her at that time.

Cue The Bug's birthday, and Christmas, and seasonal holiday travel.

My great aunt was discharged from hospital on December 31st. Definitely Alzheimer's. Also complications with her thyroid. Also a strong suspicion of breast cancer.

The next morning, the day we were returning from our holiday travel, my Nana was unexpectedly admitted to the hospital. She had gone in with stomach pain and they found cancer in her intestine, as well as in her lung.

The next week the kids went back to school and I started going to my great aunt's everyday. I did not begrudge her not remembering my name, or knowing how exactly I was related to her. And as unplanned and inconvenient as it was, I actually didn't mind going over to help take care of her. She is funny --full of silly little sayings, and stories that she likes to tell and retell. She has a positive disposition and pretty much just goes with the flow. Still, being there every day was hard. And, as I told my aunt, not sustainable. Come July my kids would be home with me for the summer and I couldn't be taking them over there every day for hours on end... never mind March Break when we would be headed back to Pennsylvania to visit Jen's family.

The fates smiled on us, and at the beginning of March, an acquaintance with experience taking care the elderly, told me she could help with my great aunt. I felt equal parts guilt and relief.

At pretty much the same time we found out that Jen's grandfather had fallen and hit his head. He had to have brain surgery, and at 93 years old, there were concerns.

I started writing the above over two weeks ago... I never did finish it because, the next day, when I thought I'd wrap it all up, Jen's grandfather died. I didn't get far on the explanation of things there, but essentially despite being pretty nimble both physically and mentally, the fall, and then the subsequent fall while in rehab after brain surgery #1, and then brain surgeries #2 and 3 were just too much for Pap to take. After several day in hospice, he let go. These things are so hard. He was  not going to recover, so in that way it was a relief, but also, he was only there because he stumbled and we should have had more time with him.

It was the kids first experience with (human) death. They handled it about how I would expect. A lot of questions. Some awkward revelations to well meaning friends and neighbours of our family's agnosticism, and exploration of what a belief in "God" might look like. Mostly appropriately somber behaviour.

We're settling back into being home after the second trip in less than two weeks. There is still upheaval here... my Nana is in the hospital again, my great aunt had a lumpectomy to remove what was, indeed, cancer, various other family heath issues in various degrees of treatment and recovery.

I owe updates. Like many, many updates. I've had the kids birthday ones written since pretty darn close to their birthdays (December and January, for those keeping track) but just needed
to upload the photos to include with them. I should have known better than to have jowaited. Anyway, maybe I can carve out a few minutes and get those up soon-ish. Blogging, though on my mind, hasn't been at the top noon of my to-do list. Just basic self-care like eating and bathing have been a struggle to get in some days. But I am and will continue to try. I'll probably jinx myself by saying this, but I can't imagine things getting any more hectic than they have been the past few weeks.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Late November

Well, a month is longer than I intended to be away, but better than I've been averaging, so I'm calling the fact that I haven't been here since October a win. Also --how was than only a month ago?Halloween seems like eons ago! I've almost finished our stash of "Switch Witch" candy which on November 1st seemed like a ridiculous amount of sugar for any human being to consume. Yikes.

This month has been busy. Halloween is pretty much a blur at this point. For the first time we trick-or-treated outside of our immediate neighbourhood. The houses were decorated to the nines and the kids even got some full-sized chocolate bars, but I kind of missed the old Italian ladies who still give out pennies and peppermints from our 'hood.

Kids' got their mid-term reports a few weeks ago. The Bug is doing better than we expected her to! I was so worried about the transition from Kindergarten to Grade One, but her teacher reassured us that she's doing quite well. The Bean, on the other hand, is not doing as well as we had expected. There have been social issues with some of the other students in his class (one in particular), so he's been struggling there. He also seems to be adopting some less desirable behaviours --taking advantage of his keen young teacher's "Zen Zone" and unlimited washroom breaks --scribbling out half-assed responses on his work, including tests. We've come down pretty hard on him. I think he's getting the message.

Sometime mid-month I unintentionally stopped taking my anti-anxiety/anti-depressant medication. A few days in I was still feeling pretty good, so I decided to give it a bit of a trial run. I think it's been about three weeks now, and I feel okay. Of course, every time I have an intrusive thought or feel more tired than usual or am short-tempered I wonder if that is why... I'm not sure whether to go back on them or to stay off. Jen knows and I'm sure will provide a consult when I ask her. Maybe I'll talk to my doctor about it too. It would be nice if it were more obvious that I needed them, but maybe good that it isn't?

We had a insane trip to PA the week before Thanksgiving. We decided to leave mid-snowstorm which was definitely the wrong decision. Our 5-6 hour drive took us nearly 11 hours. When we arrived we found out the whole area was without power. Jen did some crazy MacGyver work on the gas fireplace (electric starter) where she rigged up a battery pack to start it, so we did have heat, but we were without power from when we arrived until Saturday evening. Not what I was expecting from our weekend away but the kids still had a great time, so it is all good. I just hope the weather is better at Christmas!

And now it's less than a month until the Bug's birthday and Christmas and all the craziness that the upcoming season brings. It's going to go fast! Lots to look forward to though, and hopefully I'll get back here to share a bit about it all.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Hello? Hello?

Walks up to mic and taps it.
Feedback echoes through the room.

Uh... hello?
Is anyone still here?

I cannot say how many times I've thought about coming here to post an update in the past few months (*ahem*...years). To say I've gotten out of the habit would be an understatement. But, I do miss this space and the record it holds of our days. So I want to start making more of an effort to write again. Just saying that out loud makes me feel more accountable. Maybe it will be enough motivation to get on the computer every once in a while and tap out a few lines.

It's not that there hasn't been anything to say. Perhaps the opposite. Figuring out the words to say everything is a different matter altogether. Nevermind trying to navigate this space of writing about my little people without them necessarily being privy to what it is I am saying. They're not so little now and I am more conscious about them having opinions about the information that is shared.

There was also a bit of a breach of privacy a few years ago now where someone from my "real life" who I didn't intend to find this space found it. It's not harmful, per se, but it does make me feel like I need to censor myself somewhat. (I have no idea if they remember that this blog is here, or if they would ever check for updates, but it's made me feel like I have to be more guarded about what I share.)

With all that said, I'm not sure where to begin.

The Bean is a few months shy of eight years old. Likewise, Bug is nearly six now. Jen is also getting older (I'll pay for that), but things with her are relatively steady. I'm still doing the SAHM thing, but not entirely, as I've been tutoring in the evenings and on weekends. It's not my dream, but it's a balance that working for us, for now.

With that said, I need to go get ready for my Saturday evening clients. I'll be back soon though.

Friday, August 3, 2018

The Bean is Seven and a Half!

The Bean is seven and a half!

I can't believe how grown up this kid is getting. He went from being a little five an a half pound baby, to a silly chatterbox toddler, to this boy who listens to songs on his headphones and goes into his room to read for  hours (okay, maybe just *hour*) on end. 

I know I'm biased, but he's a pretty great kid. He's one of those people that things just seem to come easy to. He's social. He's smart. He's athletic. Overall, he's pretty thoughtful and respectful. Like any kid, he'll sometimes pushes the boundaries, but he usually knows when to quit. 

He did incredibly well this school year. I think he was a bit of a teacher's pet. In fact, I was a bit concerned about whether he was becoming over-confident or getting a bit of an ego, so I am glad that he was placed in a grade 2/3 split class for the fall, where he will be in the younger cohort. I think it will be good for him to see that there are other kids who are ahead of him academically, and it should also give him a bit of a challenge, which he probably could have used more of this year. 

Unlike Sprout, who has her one best friend in the universe, The Bean has a few good friends that he  might prefer over others, but overall seems to get along with almost everyone from the kindergarten kids, to sixth graders (who gave him a nickname and let him play soccer and basketball with them), to the counselors at camp. He's extremely extroverted. 

He continued with basketball and soccer lessons through the spring session, both which he loved and continued to picked up new skills in. I honestly think he would play any sport that we gave him an opportunity to join, but I think we'll stick with these two (plus swimming) in the fall. After a bit of a hiatus, he also has been more interested in getting back on his skateboard. Biking and scootering are fun, but informal activities. We did parkour for my birthday and, not surprisingly, the kid is a natural.

We half-joke that the only times he is still are when he is sleeping and when he is reading. This child devours books. He saved up and bought himself a Kindle Fire on Prime Day. It has probably already paid for itself. Jen helped him put on the public library app, so he is able to check out e-books. I wouldn't be surprised if he was going through one a day. I can't even keep up anymore. He reads well above grade-level, which can be challenging, as the content of books at his level is often a bit more mature than I would prefer. Treasure Hunters and Spy School are favourite series, he's also read pretty much all the Roahl Dahl, Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary books. He likes books that are funny and mysteries. We've been listening to The 39 Clues on audio books and are all hooked! 

Food is still meh. He eats well, but is not an adventurous eater. If given a choice, I honestly believe he would eat nothing but bread, cereal, and crackers. He's a total carbaholic. I've been frustrated lately because he has been rejecting fruits that he previous ate without issue, saying he doesn't like them anymore. I tell him it's not his choice, but when he repeatedly refuses to eat something (like bananas) it kind of is his choice. Ugh. 

Sleep is pretty good. He doesn't like being alone in the dark, but thankfully the kids share a room. While he's mostly given up being read to, he still asks for a cuddle before bed, which is pretty sweet. He has a bajillion stuffies, but still needs "white blanket" for bedtime.

Even though he's growing up, he's still really open with us, which I hope continues. He tells us who his crushes are (!!!), when something is weighing on his conscience, or when he has a really amazing idea. He still gives giant goodbye hugs and accepts goodbye kisses.

I love this kid so much and am proud of the person he is growing up to be. 

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Sprout is Five and Half!

Sprout is five and a half!

I haven't gone back to see what I wrote for age five, but it seems to me that Sprout has matured quite a bit in these past six months.

Her confidence seems to have grown. Being one of the "Senior Kindergarteners" in her her class this year allowed her to become more of a leader. She knew all the routines in the classroom and was usually eager to help out when there was an errand that had to be done or a substitute teacher or another student needed a hand. Her amazing teachers really helped build her up. They were great with pretty much all kids, but I think their encouragement made a big difference to Sprout. They awarded her a special certificate at the end of the year for displaying character traits that contributed to a positive atmosphere within the classroom. I was and am proud of how far she has come. 

Sprout is a sweet child. She's loving and empathetic. She's curious and creative.

She can also be incredibly stubborn and will try to use tears and (near) tantrums to get her way. It doesn't work, but she still tries. Sometimes she actually works herself up, but when we talk to her, she is able to give herself time to regain composure and talk to us about things a more rational way.

She still has her wicked sense of humour. I'm not sure she always realizes just how funny she is, but there are definitely times when she does. Her sense of comedic timing is impeccable. She has a dry whit, which I fully appreciate.

We took it easy on extra curriculum in the spring. The only thing she was doing was dance, which she continued to enjoy.

This summer she attended camp at the local community centre where she takes dance. I wasn't sure how it would go, but she seemed to enjoy it. She knew a few of the kids and one of the counselors from her dance class, which I am sure helped. Again, I'm impressed with how far she's come. Even as recently as the end of the school year she was having trouble with separation at drop offs, but camp has been pretty easy by comparison. It bodes well for September.

She shies away from anything competitive --sports, games-- but has a pretty wide range of interests. Books, music, art, animals, the outdoors, dress up and imaginative play are all things she enjoys. She loves playing family, doctor, veterinarian, dressing up, and reenacting stories with her brother. She has her one very best friend, and could pretty much take or leave most of the other kids she knows. My cousin is still one of her favourite people. As was her ECE. She is fiercely loyal.

She can read a number of sight words and sound things out, but says she cannot read. We need to work on this. She's right on that cusp and I think as soon as she has the confidence she'll take off. She was also showing a lot of interest in math towards the end of the school year, writing out different addition and subtraction equations. She loves art work, especially cutting and gluing. I took a few sewing classes in the spring and she assured me that she could teach me the things I still have yet to learn, like how to make her fancy dresses. lol.

She has grown a TON. Inches I am sure, but I don't have any updated stats. She's a little over 40lbs and maybe 44 or 45in... I'm really not sure. We just recently changed both kids out of car seats and into to high back boosters, which they were pretty excited about. She's solidly in size 5 clothing, and needing 6s in some things, though her waist is still so slender that pants can be tricky. Her shoe size is 11.5.

Thanks to Daniel Tiger, she's been pretty great about trying new foods and has been finding new "likes" all summer. Cherries, pineapple, quinoa. I'm not sure any are true LOVES, but I'm happy to have some extra options to add to our menu. (If only her brother would follow her lead.) She still suffers from reflux, but the medicine she's on seems to help significantly. Complaints about car sickness have also been bad, though she has yet to actually be sick in the car from it. Thankfully. We keep Dramamine on hand of long road trips.

She has a hard time falling asleep, but seems to generally go from 8pm to wake up time, which during the school year is 7/7:30, but has inched back a bit now that summer is here. Bedtimes have also been slightly off their 7:30pm time, so that may be impacting how late she stays in bed. She DOES NOT like to be woken up. We call her The Bear, because of how she will growl if you dare to disturb her.

There is far more I could say about Sprout, but I think that paints a pretty good picture of what she is like right now. I am really enjoying this age and seeing her continue to grow into an awesome kid. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The Age of Not Believing

Well, we made it seven years. This past weekend, over Easter, The Bean's skepticism and questioning couldn't be ignored any longer. Half of me wanted to be the one to tell him. To control that dissemination of information. The other half of me is glad that Jen did the explaining. It's a bit sad, knowing that he knows. Of course, once the truth about the Easter Bunny was out, Santa and the Tooth Fairy were quickly revealed. We have asked, and hope, that he preserves the secret... helping to create magic for the little ones who do still believe. The oldest in his grade and among his cousins. We'll see if he is up to the task. 

A letter from the Easter Bunny.


Best Easter photo of the two of them.
Note to self: Next year do sibling photos before the egg hunt.

Monday, March 26, 2018


This afternoon Bug called me over to the playscape. "I need help." "What are you doing, Bug?" "Climbing across here." Here being the outside of the playscape. I had to stop myself from telling her that she shouldn't, that it was against the rules, or unsafe. Because after 3pm there aren't the same restrictions. And I rather she figure things out how to confront challenges than always be safe. So I stood behind her. Arms outstretched. Ready to catch her if she fell. (She didn't.) And after that first trial with me standing behind her she went on to do it by herself at least a dozen more times. Mastering it by the time we left half an hour later. Watching her made me realize how much these brave, problem-solving, persistent kids have to teach me.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Bean is Seven Years Old!

Today The Bean is seven years old!

Guys... we have a seven year old! When did that happen?! When did he go from being a cute little toddler into a proper KID? And not even a little kid. A big kid. Crazy.

Grade One is off to a good start. The Bean sometimes complains that he doesn't like school, but I think it's because it's work. His teacher is more firm than in kindergarten and he's started having to try a bit harder. Things still seem to come easy for him, but he is having to put in more effort. He is excelling with Literacy, an doing well in Math and Science, LOVES Phys. Ed. and Drama but, somewhat surprisingly, seems more or less indifferent to music. That said, he was in choir during the fall term and shone in the school concert where they sang a lot of really fun songs like, I'm Still Standing, and I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas.

He seems to know everyone in the school. It seems his preference is to play sports with older kids and recess, and while he isn't excluded, but he's not exactly "one of them" either. In class, he still socializes with a group of kids he's known since Junior Kindergarten. There are five of them together this year. (And he as a crush on one of the girls! Eek!)

He LOVES to be outdoors and be active. He has taken a huge interest in sports. We enrolled him in Soccer in the fall and he has excelled. He even won an award for "Most Improved Player" which he was incredibly proud of. His swimming has also come a far way. Like with Sprout, the lessons at the private swim school seemed to make a big difference to his capabilities in the water. He can now swim the width of the pool and has been working on various strokes. He would most certainly do any sport we allowed him to, but so far two seems to be keeping us busy enough. He has been asking about basketball though, and told me just today that there might be a ball hockey club starting at school. I guess we'll see what comes of it all...

One of the few times he's not moving is when he's reading. This child devours books. He will sit and read an entire chapter book in one go. Between Christmas and his birthday he must have gotten about 25 new books and I'm fairly certain he has read them all. I can't keep up anymore! Magic Treehouse Merlin Missions, The Kindgom of Wrenley, Little Legends, Rahl Dahl, Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary are favourites. Anyone with suggestions of great kids books feel free to comment! Nothing too scary though, he gets nightmares from those.

Board games have also been a growing pass time. He's taking an interest in games with more complicated rules. Monopoly Jr. is a new favourite for our money-obsessed child. Sorry!, Connect Four, and Uno are other "classics" that he enjoys. He got a cool cooperative game called Cauldron Quest for his birthday and we've probably played it a couple dozen times so far. He's not the best loser, but the repeated message about enjoying playing being the goal may slowly be sinking in.

The Bean does not like being alone. I feel like he's actually taken a step back in this regard. We live in a small apartment, yet still he does not like to go into a room without anyone else there. That means he asks us to sit with him in the bathroom, go with him into his bedroom whenever he wants to change/get a book/play in there, and we always get his company, even when we might rather have two minutes alone. And aside from the time when he's reading, he pretty much always wants someone to be interacting with him. He and Sprout play well together most of the time, but their interests are quite different, so that can be a struggle.

This also has been making bedtime hard. He always asks if we will lie with him, or at least sit in his room. I've instituted a routine that if they are in bed on time (7:30pm), that I take turns lying with them until 8pm. So, about half the time I'm in there snuggling. It's hard, because by that time, I'm often just done; so I try to remind myself that this phase will be over all too soon and that I'll miss cuddling these sweet, needy children.

Speaking of sweet, The Bean has become quite the little writer and every so often will gift us with little love notes. He also likes sending emoji-heavy text messages and emails. He adds things to the grocery list in our kitchen, which is pretty adorable... kid writing requesting "bagals" up there on the white board. He's written several books and I'm thinking he might enjoy a diary sometime soon. (He often has things he wants to talk to us about --his crush, an interaction from during the school day. He'll preface it by saying, "You won't laugh at me, will you?" or "If I tell you something, you wouldn't tell anyone else, right?" So I've been thinking a place to record and process these thoughts might be of interest to him.)

Health-wise he's been doing pretty well. He had a stomach virus before the holidays and is fighting a cold now after having gotten his flu shot last week. I'm always worried that with his asthma a cold is going to morph into bronchitis which is going to morph into pneumonia. We've been dosing him with multivitamins and elderberry and probiotics in the hope that we'll be able to keep things at bay. His digestive system is still an issue, but a managed issue. His pediatrician suggested putting him on a low FODMAPS diet just to see if it would help, but I can't imagine trying to get him to stick to that. His favourite foods are carbs. The aforementioned "bagals", cereal, crackers, etc. He's not an adventurous eater by any means, but he eats a bit of a variety from each of the food groups, so I can't complain (though he's trying to veto certain things he used it eat, so maybe I can/will complain...). We tend to rotate the same dozen or so dinners... usually a meat and a veggie, though both kids like rice, pasta and potatoes too.

He's gaining weight. Still on his own little growth curve. Somewhere around the 20th percentile, I believe. He is almost 45lbs and 3'10". He mostly wears size 5 clothes, but is moving into 6s mostly for the length. Shoe size is about a 12.

We've been having a challenge dealing with angry outbursts from The Bean. I'm not sure why it is, but he has developed a tendency to yell or snap at us when things aren't going as he would like. I find it frustrating and exhausting. It's not the way that Jen or I typically interact, so I'm not sure where he's picked it up from, or if it's just something that's innate. I'm trying to be more aware of my tone and to give him my undivided attention as much as possible in the hopes that that improves things. As far as I know, it's just something that happens at home, which is a good thing overall, though still hard on us.

The Bean seem to be going through a lot of changes lately, overall positive, but still challenging for him to navigate, I'm sure. Higher expectations being placed on him, more independence, a greater recognition of the outside world and the way that people interact in it. We're learning how to parent him through these changes. To have patience and listen and provide both the support and space he needs. Seven is bound to be an exciting year!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Sprout is Five!

Today Sprout is five years old!

Five! Can you believe it? Our little bug is getting so big and this has been a big year for her! She's really grown up quite a bit in the past twelve months. Still super cuddly and sweet and with the most innate sense of humour of any kid I've ever known, but ever so much more grown up.

So, this kid. What is there to say about her? She really is a character. She's incredibly thoughtful and quite a chatterbox and I just love listening to her ramble on and catch little glimpses of how her brain works.

As good as we thought it was for her to have her brother in her class last year when she started kindergarten, we think it has been equally as good for her to have her independence this year. She's definitely on the more reserved side --it takes her quite a while to feel comfortable and express herself freely-- but I think she's gotten there. Her teachers use an app to post photos of the students at work and play and the ones they share with her in them seem very much her. Lots of imaginative play. Focused work. Always with the people she cares about most.

She is naturally funny. This past week when we were visiting Jen's folks she was in the living room playing "Princess Family" with Jen's dad (yes, he is a good sport). As he often does, he started roughhousing with her and tickling her belly. She started shrieking "Stop! Stop! You've made me pee my royal pants!" We all busted up laughing. Later in the week she was lying down to sleep, and as became the routine, Jen's mom was lying with them (she's also a good sport). Sprout said, "Grandma, I'm still hungry." To which Grandma replied, "Well, you didn't eat your dinner." Sprout asked her if she could come downstairs and ask us to get her more food and Grandma said yes, she could ask. So she got up, let out a big exhale, and said, "Well, wish me luck!" Just a few examples, and I'm not sure if they'll come across quite as well written out as they did in real life, but take my word, she's a hoot.

On the flip side, she is sensitive and incredibly thoughtful. She has really taken interest in helping me to prepare dinners. I try to find jobs she can manage. Grating cheese, cutting vegetables, things like that. We started giving both kids allowance for "being helpful and cooperative", but she has no interest in receiving money. She just likes to help. Another example: Last year we made care packages that we would give out to homeless people when we were stopped in traffic. This year Jen and I came home from her work party with the "favours", which were some very nice winter hats and mittens from HBC. Sprout saw them and right away suggested that we give them away to the homeless people because, "It's been so cold, and we have enough warm clothes." Sweet, right? She remembers what peoples' favourite colours are and what their interested in, what toys her friends are coveting for their birthdays. She draws pictures for her friends and teachers and has started writing little love notes.
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<3 for="" p="" u="" us.="">Speaking of, she is just beginning to read and write, which is one of my absolute favourite milestones. For a long time she would say, "I can spell the: t-h-e." I'd ask her if she could spell anything else and she would just say no. Then, sometime in the last month I wrote down a few sight words and asked her if she could read them and it was like it just clicked. She didn't get them all, but I taped them up on the wall, and told her the ones that she didn't know. Is, it, in, on, and, the, up, down... stuff like that. Within a week she recognized them all. Then she spontaneously started spelling words. "Mama, did you know, p-o-p spells pop? And d-a-d- spells dad?" and then when I spelled out a few words for her she told me what they were. I was amazed. It seemed to come out of nowhere. I've been sitting down with her here and there and letting her read little books to me. She's so proud of herself. I'm pretty proud of her too.

She still loves being read to, of course. 
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<3 for="" p="" u="" us.="">Aside from that, her favourite pass times are putting on "shows", imaginative play and arts and crafts. She would happily play family all day every day. Recently she's been showing more interest in playing with figurines, which I prefer. She got a few dolls and animals, as well as some Lego Friends sets for her birthday and Christmas, so those have been in high rotation. She loves animals so the Puppy Show Lego set and Puppy Surprise doll (with three pups!) were favourites. Oh, and the Barbie with the pooping dog that my brother gave to her. Naturally.

She continued on with swim and dance classes over the fall and did great in both. We didn't get in to the city swim lessons in the fall, so I registered the kids at a private swim school. It was pricey, but really good. Her class only had one other child in it, and she made a ton of progress. She did really well in dance too. We were hesitant to sign her up because she often sat out at the side before, but I think she finally got comfortable enough with the teachers and the routine that she actually participated this time around. I dropped the ball on getting the kids signed up for winter programs, so unfortunately I think she'll have to take a little hiatus from dance. Hopefully we can get her back into it in the spring. We've also talked about a few other options, but I still have to get all that sorted out.

The fall was a bit rough health wise. Sprout definitely had one bout of stomach illness, and I think also was home with a fever/cold for a few days prior to that. It's all a bit of a blur. She has been complaining a lot about her stomach. I think that she has reflux. I took her to the ped. a while back but he kind of pooh-poohed it. Her well check will be sometime in the next few weeks and I'll have to bring it up again. I don't like over-medicating anyone, much less children, but I think she needs something. Fortunately she continues to have a good appetite and is definitely gaining weight and growing. I'd put her just under 40lbs and tall for her age, whatever that means. She's solidly in size 5 clothing now and has a unique sense of style that involves lots of mismatched patterns and layers. Shoes are size 12. 

She's been sleeping well. She'll chatter away to herself for a bit before falling asleep most nights and goes through until the morning. She's often the last one up. She's still grumbly in the mornings, but also adorable lumbering out of the room with her messy bed head. She often comes over and wants a little snuggle on the couch before starting her day.

Mornings can be tough. She is s-l-o-w about everything and needs lots of reminders to stay on track. It's not my favoruite thing to feel like I'm hounding her just to get her out the door. I always think that maybe we should just get her up earlier, but I have a feeling it wouldn't make a difference and that she'd just be even grumpier getting out of bed. She's usually perked up by the time she arrives at school, eager to see her friends and share bits of news with them and her teachers.

...Speaking of bed, I should be heading off. Keeping up with five year old is exhausting! ;)