November 2007

The case of the missing mittens

by DaniGirl on November 30, 2007 · 13 comments

in Rants and rambles

I was ahead of the game this year. No really, it’s true!

When the first mittens started appearing in stores this year, unceremoniously elbowing the beach towels and sand toys off store shelves (probably back in July or something ridiculous like that) I started buying them and ferreting them away.

Before I even knew what colour the boys’ coats would be, I was buying mittens. Fleecey mittens, woolen mittens, waterproof thinsulated mittens. Whenever I was out and came across a stash of mittens, I bought a pair. Or two.

Just before the first snowfall, I even cleaned out the top of the front hall closet and sorted out all the mittens left over from last year. I had the boys try them on, washed them, and tucked them back into the basket so we’d have an accessible and reliable place to go for back-up mittens.

And last night, as we stood in the front hallway with our boots and our skipants and our coats and our hats on, ready to go out for a little after-dinner fun shovelling the driveway and playing in the newly fallen snow, I searched high and low and was completely flummoxed.

It’s not even the first of December, and we are mittenless.

How could this happen? Where did they all go? More than a dozen mittens sucked into some giant mitten black hole.

In the end, Tristan wore two left-handed gloves and Simon struggled with a too-small pair of overstuffed mittens that fell off every time he moved his arms and prevented him from using his hands to pick things up.

And you can take my word for it that it takes a really. long. time. to shovel the driveway when you have to stop every second minute to replace a three-year-old’s ill-fitting mittens, especially when you have to stop on the alternate minute to reach under your own coat and hike your ill-fitting maternity pants back up over your ass to prevent frostbite on your exposed tailbone.

Is it springtime yet?


So, Dani, now that there are less than 10 weeks until your due date, what have you done to prepare for baby’s arrival?

*sound of crickets*

Well, that’s not entirely true. Couple weekends ago, I drove out to the Monfort Hospital, so at least I know where the hospital is for when I go into labour. That’s a good start, right? Didn’t actually go inside or anything, but if I can make it to the parking lot, I figure we’re off to a good start.

And it’s not like this is my first. We have boxes on boxes of baby supplies, and one of these days I’ll sort through them and wash all those adorable little sleepers and sockies and blankets. And the crib is still assembled from last year (see, laziness has its benefits) and I know exactly where the baby bucket car seat is in the basement. A place to sleep, a way to get him home from the hospital, and he won’t be starkers in the cold February drafts – what else does a baby need? Cuz I’m thinking that’s pretty much as ready as I’m going to get.

But just for kicks, this week I wandered through Babies R Us and took a look at the new stuff. There are a few things we’ll need eventually, including a new Pack N Play, and I’m waffling between buying new and buying consignment. I’m also considering buying a new baby bucket car seat because although we do have one, it’s been through both my boys plus a friend’s baby and this poor third child deserves at least a few new things of his own, don’t you think? Our stroller, too, is six years old and a little worse for wear, so while the boys oggled and coveted the Star Wars Lego in TRU next door, I took a quick wander down the stroller aisle to check out the prices.

I was balking at the prices, annoyed that the “travel system” stroller-car seat combos start at $250 and work their way up to $400, which I simply don’t have to spend right now on something I already own, albeit in slightly battered condition. And that’s where I came across the Bugaboo Frog Stroller. For more than NINE HUNDRED DOLLARS! Holy mother of consumerism, what the hell makes a stroller worth that much money? And that doesn’t even include a car seat!

And then I wandered over to the baby bedding section to take a look and see if I could find a nice little sun, moon and stars quilt to replace the baby quilt Simon still insists on keeping on his bed (sun, moon and stars has been our baby theme rather consistently) and found out that even after all these years, you still can’t buy a quilt on its own. You have to buy the full crib set, including the crib bumpers. Crib bumpers, which Health Canada (not to mention the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Canadian Paediatric Society, the Canadian Institute of Child Health, the Canadian Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths, First Candle/National SIDS Alliance AND the Consumer Product Safety Commission, to name a few) have been saying are dangerous since before Tristan was born.

This infuriates me, that not only is a product that has been deemed unsafe by several trustworthy organizations still on the market, but that Sears and Babies R Us and the other major retailers basically force you to buy them because they don’t sell crib quilts separately. And while it’s bad enough that it was only through my own neurotically diligent research that I was aware there were even questions about their safety when Tristan was born, here it is six years later and nothing has changed.


Maybe it’s for the best if I don’t do any more shopping in the baby stores, whaddya think?


Oedipus Redux

by DaniGirl on November 28, 2007 · 10 comments

in Ah, me boys

We’re sitting in Harvey’s, waiting for the boys to finish their fries so we can head over to Toys R Us (an exciting family night on the town!) Tristan, sitting beside me on the bench, is playing with an onion ring, which prompts a discussion about rings on fingers and my rings in particular.

“There’s one from Granny,” I say, showing him a white gold band with a ruby set into its face, a ring given to my mother before my parents were married by a rich aunt of my father. “And these two are from Daddy. See, it looks like one ring, but really there are two together on the same finger. So two rings, plus one ring is how many rings?” I ask, since Tristan is beginning to work on his math skills this year.

“Is that your wedding ring?” Tristan asks, ignoring the math question and already knowing the answer because they’ve long been fascinated by my rings.

When I say yes, it is, I can see the wheels turning in Tristan’s head. “So Dad,” he says, his eyes serious, “did you kiss Mommy when you got married?”

Beloved and I both laugh, and confirm that yes, we have in fact kissed. Tristan, by far the less kissey of my two boys, surprises me by turning to me and planting a fat kiss right on my mouth.

“There!” he says. “Now I’m married to Mommy, too!”


Where I’m coming from

by DaniGirl on November 27, 2007 · 9 comments

in It IS all about me, Memes

An interesting meme on identity, pilfered from daysgoby. I’m not convinced I’ve done it justice.

I am from paperback books, from Lays BBQ chips in a turquoise bowl, and from orange shag rugs.

I am from primary-coloured paint chipping from cold metal playground bars, from a blue two-wheeler with a white banana seat and high-rise handle bars, from dog-eared lined notebooks and fat red pencils.

I am from the bruised green sky of a pending thunderstorm, from snow that works its way under even the most tightly wrapped scarf, from sleeveless shirts on starry summer nights.

I am from the raspberries and the lilacs, from red rosebushes crawling up the trellis and emerald green lawns carefully tended. From yellow brick houses with gingerbread trim, and wide straight streets with towering trees.

I am from presents on Christmas Eve, from crepes made from scratch, from Kiefers and McLeods and even deBeers – yes, those deBeers, but too far removed to inherit any diamonds.

I am from the laughter and the bliss.

From you are my shining star and you can do it. From you can’t play with us. From we don’t want her on our team, you take her, but we don’t want her either.

I am from Jesus Christ Superstar crossed with the Force and belief in a higher power. From but why? From how can you know?

I’m from kilts and Delftware and the Maple Leaf, from potato salad and rice-a-roni at Christmas, from hagelslag on buttered rye bread triangles, from canned spaghetti on french fries.

From the Mosel river valley, where the voices of ten brothers and sisters raised in song flowed through the vineyards and over the sundial, from twin brothers who married sisters, and from highschool sweethearts.

I am from patriotism and respect and kindness, from endurance and appreciation, from storytellers. I am from love.

(Feel free to play along.)


We have a self-cleaning oven. For a while, I thought maybe this meant that fairies came in the night and cleaned the oven for us, but after an extended period of hopeful waiting, this does not appear to be the case. In fact, it involves setting the oven to some dangerously high temperature and scorching the holy hell out of the dirt, then scooping up the ashes. Which is actually a rather appealing solution to housecleaning, don’t you think? Screw the clutter, we’ll just carbonize the shit out of everything and then flush it down the toilet.

You also need to know – as if that won’t become self-evident by the end of this post – that I am not the most diligent housekeeper in the world. We don’t exactly live in squalor, but my threshold for a little mess is probably higher than most people’s.

So anyway, you’d think a self-cleaning oven would improve this situation, even if no fairies come to do the dirty work for you — and especially considering that since I’m no domestic goddess, I will seize any opportunity to NOT make dinner, thus reducing the wear and tear on the oven. But eventually even the most sparsely used oven gets a good coating of warmed-up take-out crumbs and frozen lasagne goo burnt to the bottom and needs a good cleaning.

Despite the fact that the nanny had previously expressed reservations about using the stove because of the ghastly amount of smoke that belched out of it one day when she was preheating it for chicken fingers (and decided instead to feed the boys peanut butter sandwiches for fear of using the oven), the tipping point actually came a while ago when we made homemade pizzas and some of the pepperoni slid off the cheese and ingratiated itself under the burner coils. Now, every time we use the oven everything tastes like charred pepperoni.

So we decided the time had finally come to test the self-cleaning part of the oven. Although I suck mightily at housework, I’m actually pretty good at filing paperwork (I am, after all, a bureaucrat in my day job) and was quite surprised when I could not find the oven owners’ manual anywhere, and setting the oven that high without having a vague idea of what I’m doing scared the crap out of me seemed unwise.

So after an endless amount of dithering, procrastination and just ignoring the problem, the charred pepperoni taste finally compelled me to the GE website, where they said sure you can get an owners’ manual here, just enter your model and serial number. It took me a while, but I found said model number and copied it carefully to a notepad and transcribed it onto the website, which promptly replied “that model does not exist.” I rechecked the numbers, and I hadn’t made any mistakes. It was the right model number, but apparently GE now denied its existence.

This was about as far as I got a year ago (did I just admit it’s been more than a year since I cleaned my oven?) and I lost interest. But by this time we were really, really desperate to clean the oven, so I perservered. And then I had a brain wave, and I went to the GE website and found a model that looked and sounded just like ours – coil burners, lift-top, self-cleaning, shiny white and purty – and copied THAT model and serial number into the “get yer own manual” page. (I’m so clever, aren’t I?) And once again the helpful reply said “that model does not exist.” On the same damn website!

So finally, getting stubborn, I started clicking around and actually found an oven reasonably like ours, and when you click on the product specs, it gives you a link for that oven’s owners’ manual, which was close enough. So I printed it out and read it, and now I know how to self-clean an oven that’s at least mostly like mine. Just to be safe, I read the owners’ manual of three or four other self-cleaning ovens, making sure that the basic instructions remained the same. I am now an expert in the functionality of the self-cleaning feature on standard GE ovens.

That was two weeks ago. Despite my newly garnered expertise on the subject, we still haven’t gotten around to actually cleaning the oven, and the muffins continue to taste like charred pepperoni.

Oh well.

(This post may look familiar to those of you who read Nancy’s blog. Yes, I’m now pilfering my own comments on other people’s blogs for fresh material. Standards are falling like snowflakes around here.)


Random bullets of belly

by DaniGirl on November 25, 2007 · 6 comments

in Postcards from my uterus

  • I was never entirely sure, during my first two pregnancies, whether I was carrying like a watermelon or like a basketball. I always suspected I was vaguely more watermelonish. This time, the belly is definitely higher and more out in front – aha, basketball.
  • In light of the above, I have now reached a point in this pregnancy where there is more belly suspended out in space than cradled in the not-insignificant cavity created by my pelvic bones.
  • The Player to be Named Later seems to have an especially strong relationship with gravity.
  • He also never. stops. moving. In fact, I love this, as it’s like having my own little party going on all day long. There is nothing better than sitting in a boring meeting at work feeling him thumping happily and stretching this way and that. It’s like having a private conversation that favours nobody but me.
  • I have been telling myself that this constant activity in utero is a sign of a placid, mellow baby. Please do not disabuse me of this notion.
  • I have also reached a point where the baby and I are engaged in an endless battle over territory. He thinks the owns the place, and is oblivious to my claim that I was here first.
  • Despite the fact of having clearly and unmistakably seen this baby’s exterior plumbing components, and having the male gender confirmed by the ultrasound tech, because of the differences in the way I am carrying this one and the fact that the dream never actually dies, I occasionally wonder if maybe I wasn’t seeing an index finger instead of, you know, a penis.
  • I’m very glad that I had a low-lying placenta early in this pregnancy, which necessitated one more ultrasound next week. Just so I can be sure, once and for all, that he is in fact a he.
  • The belly, obvious as it is, comes in very handy and I am not at all shy about milking it for all it’s worth.
  • I’m all about the “expectant mother” parking spots.
  • A few mornings a week, I get on a bus that is standing room only, and someone has always given up their seat for me.
  • While I feel mildly guilty about turfing someone else from their seat for the 40 minute ride, I haven’t yet declined.
  • On the other hand, I’m getting annoyed about what I can’t do. I shovelled the driveway the other night after we had 10 cm of wet snow fall. In retrospect, that wasn’t such a great idea, but I clearly remember shovelling the driveway throughout both my previous pregnancies and am getting tired of asking people to do stuff for me.
  • I still have a little more than 10 weeks to go.
  • This seems, in theory, like a very long time. However, with Beloved’s birthday, a conference in Toronto, Christmas and potentially Simon’s birthday in the interim, I’m thinking it’s really not going to seem like very long at all.
  • While I’m looking forward to his arrival, I’m content to keep him tucked in here for a while yet. No diapers, no feedings, and two arms free seems like a fair trade off for comfortable sitting, lying or walking. For now.


A new waterpark for Ottawa

24 November 2007 Life in Ottawa

How cool is this? It may be minus 15C and snowy outside, but by 2009 there will be a new 100-acre water park (that’s six times the size of Mont Cascades) just a five-minute drive from here! And this is in addition to the as-yet unnamed new amusement park and water park they’re opening in […]

4 comments Read the full article →

Seven random things about… Simon

23 November 2007 Memes

About a million years ago, Laura from Lunatic Fringe tagged me for the “Seven Random Facts About Me” meme. I’ve done a bunch of these over the years, and it’s getting tough to come up with more fresh stuff that you don’t already know about me, which is part of the reason I’ve sat on […]

15 comments Read the full article →

Why I’m thinking of quitting Facebook

22 November 2007 How I love the Interwebs

A not-so-hypothetical situation: It’s the Christmas season, and you’re doing a little bit of online shopping. You click over to Amazon, or eBay, or another one of 40 or so sites, and make your purchase. And the next thing you know, all of your “friends” on Facebook get an update in their Facebook News Feeds: […]

26 comments Read the full article →

Taking a stand on Sesame Street

21 November 2007 Rants and rambles

I’ve written before about my love for the original, unadulterated Sesame Street of my childhood, and how Simon and I have spent hours enjoying the old clips – first on YouTube and then on our Sesame Street Old School DVD collection. I’ve even added the latest collection (Old School: 1974 to 1979) to my Christmas […]

18 comments Read the full article →