December 2007

Car seats and winter coats

by DaniGirl on December 31, 2007 · 22 comments

in Mothering without a licence

Glen from the Ottawa Start blog raised an issue earlier this month that has always bugged me.

Did you know that car seats are not safe when your child is wearing a bulky winter coat? Seriously.

I had just started poking around to find out if there has been any improvement in the safety ratings of those “cuddle bags” for the infant carriers (I used one for Simon and loved it) when Glen posted his experience. He e-mailed Dorel, the manufacturer of his daughter’s Safety First car seat, asking what they recommend and they suggested that the coat be removed before his daugter is strapped into her car seat.

Yah, right. I’m going to spend an hour getting my kids INTO their coats and whatnot, step out into the minus 20 degree wind, walk a dozen steps, and then strip the coat back off again so I can strap them into their car seats. And they will sit placidly with their coats covering them like blankets so they don’t freeze to death while the car warms up. And then we’ll do it all again in reverse when we get wherever it is we are going. Seriously?

CBC picked up on the story as well, and ran this article where Transport Canada confirms that bulky winter gear interferes with the safety specifications of the restraint belts.

I remember reading about this and agonizing over it when Tristan was a toddler, and I simply can’t believe there hasn’t been some sort of improvement to the design of the restraint system since then. It’s bad enough trying to adjust the harness belts during those transitional months when you switch from winter coat to rain gear and back again, but to actually have your car seat deemed unsafe for almost half the year?

Add this to the list of things that will be fixed when I’m elected Queen of the Universe. How do you deal with car seats and winter gear? (And for those of you who don’t have freezing temperatures, you don’t need to speak up today. With another 15 cm of snow in the forecast in an already record-breaking year, I don’t want to hear about places where you don’t need to wear a bulky winter coat!!)


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2007 – The Year in Review

by DaniGirl on December 28, 2007 · 14 comments

in Memes

I did this meme last year, and thought it was a neat way to take a look back at the year. These are the first sentences of the first posts of each month in 2007:

  1. I’m fond of odd-numbered years – they seem to be lucky for me.
  2. Considering how socially awkward I feel when I don’t have my computer to mediate my conversations, I’m becoming addicted to these blogger meet-ups!
  3. Sorry, I still don’t have much for you today.
  4. I’m so good to you.
  5. Parents of preschoolers, consider yourself warned: Thomas the Tank Engine’s popular “Day Out With Thomas” is coming to Ottawa this summer!
  6. First of all, thank you all for your sweet words of congratulations.
  7. Four states, two provinces, six days, 1850 kms, 546 photographs… and we’re back!
  8. As I mentioned, we spent an extended summer weekend with my brother’s family at his in-laws’ cottage.
  9. We’re freshly back from our weekend getaway to Smugglers’ Notch Resort in Vermont.
  10. Tristan has been thinking a lot lately about how things will be when he grows up.
  11. Yay, it’s November!
  12. I can’t tell you what a relief it was to be done NaBloPoMo on Friday (yay! I made it!) and not have to worry about throwing together a blog post on the weekend, not because we lacked bloggable fun but because we were so darn busy I hardly had time to sit down let alone blog about it.

I love how so many of the year’s important events – finding out I was pregnant, three great trips, even a year of bloggy socializing – fall into this list, and how prescient the first line turned out!

(Feel free to play along, and leave me a note in the comment box if you do so I can come and check out yours.)


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Christmas 2007

by DaniGirl on December 26, 2007 · 8 comments

in Life, the Universe and Everything

And so it came to pass that she spent almost 48 hours without attaching herself to the computer. And lo, to her great surprise, it was good.

And while she was not clacking madly on the keyboard, she found that she had opportunities to play with her children, and read new books, and converse with her family, and eat – and eat – and eat. And lo, it was good.

And she did not read her Bloglines account, and she did not fret over the great numbers of unread posts piling up. And lo, it was good.

And she bathed in the warm glow of her baby niece’s smile, and laughed at the noisy antics of her boys and their adoring cousins, while trying only half successfully to have grownup conversations around their happy exhuberance. And lo, it was good.

And there were gifts, and there was family, and there was food, and there was love.

Christmas 2007

And lo, it was very, very good.


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Christmas thoughts

by DaniGirl on December 24, 2007 · 5 comments

in Life, the Universe and Everything

It’s Christmas Eve, early in the morning. Today will be a chaotic day from end to end, and I’m almost reluctant to launch myself into it, knowing when the dust finally settles that Christmas will be more or less over.

The boys and I are taking the bus downtown to my work (an adventure in itself, their first ride on public transit!) and Beloved will join us later for the office children’s Christmas party, complete with a visit from Santa himself. I have to make one last stop at the Rideau Centre, which promises even more chaos. Then home for an afternoon visit from my entire side of the family – fourteen or more of us, crammed into my little townhouse! – which will meander its way into our traditional Christmas Eve gift exchange after dinner.

I’m so lucky to be at the centre of this family. I remember the Christmases when my brother and I were young adults, and there were no children racing through the house on Christmas Eve. Though it was always wonderful to be with my family, the extra joy of my two kids, plus my brother’s two, plus my cousin’s six year old, will fill the house with the kind of blissfully crazy energy that only kids hepped up on Christmas overload can generate.

I hope to cram in one more post before Christmas, but just in case I don’t get around to it — Happy Christmas (or just Happy Tuesday, if that’s your preference) to all of you, and your families. May happy chaos be the order of the day!


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Sigh. When I was asked, maybe a month or so ago, to help out in determining whether nominated blogs were eligible for their category in the Canadian Blog Awards, I was happy to do so. As I said, the CBAs have been good to me over the years, although I had always been concerned that maybe they were a little too deeply mired in the political end of the Canadian blogosphere. Over the years, I’ve been fairly careful to avoid the political blogs because I find the participants particularly combatitive, confrontational and often disrespectful. Life’s too short for that kind of conflict and stress! So when I had the opportunity to jump in and represent both the family blog community AND maybe even the PR and marketing and social media blogs where I spend all my time, I thought it was a good opportunity to offer a diverse perspective to the organization of the CBAs.

So far, it’s been an unpleasant experience. There was a request for a Best Feminist Blog category, to which I responded “as a feminist with a blog, I’m not sure I see the merit in this category.” (Or something to that effect.) Best Feminist Blog was, to me, not all that different from Best Female Blog, and I couldn’t quite imagine why we would require an exclusive category for it. Before we could even decide on how to handle the request, it was promptly followed by a request from the other end of the spectrum for a best Anti-Feminist Blog, which I personally find somewhere between ridiculous and offensive, and a shitstorm of epic proportions ensued. In the end, we tried to make a compromise with a “Best Activist” blog category, and that impressed nobody. There are now calls from one end of the spectrum for a “girlcott” of the CBAs, and people are pissed off enough to be withdrawing not only their own blogs but nominations they have made. Most of you reading this probably don’t care a whit one way or the other, but I wanted to post this because someone on some discussion board noted that I have been pretty much silent on my participation — and if you read even half the comments on various blogs and discussion boards, you wouldn’t wonder why!!

The whole thing makes me very sad. (In fact, I’m sure it’s more than half the reason I reacted poorly to some comments on this blog earlier this week – I kind of felt like there was suddenly a battle on every front, and with four days until Christmas and the hormonal stew that is 100 months pregnant, I really didn’t need the extra stress.)

I don’t really know the other guys who have done the lion’s share of organizing the awards. I know them by name, because I like to keep at least marginally abreast of who’s who in the blogosphere, but I admit I don’t regularly follow their blogs. I know from the conversations we’ve had in trying to sort out this mess that they’re nice, thoughtful guys who are trying hard to make something that’s good for all Canadian bloggers – and that’s exactly why I agreed to be part of the team and why I am sticking with them. And they are getting resoundingly trashed for their efforts. It’s really quite shameful. Sure, people can disagree with the positions the operators of the blog awards have taken, but my best advice to those who vehemently disagree is to help out in the organizing of next year’s blog awards… not trash the awards in general and sully them for the people who are genuinely tickled to be nominated and the people who nominate their fellow bloggers to recognize a job well done.

There are only seven blogs nominated so far in the Best Family Blog category, and only one nominee for Best Blogosphere Citizen from “our” end of the blogosphere. I’d really like to see some of the people who hang out here even occassionally take the time to nominate a few favourite blogs, so this crazy issue doesn’t tank what can be a great opportunity for us to recognize the hard work and great effort of our favourite bloggers. It is, in the end, only a silly blog award. But I know it feels terrific to have the validation of a nomination, it’s fun to compete (even when you come in near last, like with the Weblog awards!) and I’ve been proud to display my CBA badges in the sidebar. Don’t let a few bad attitudes spoil the fun for the rest of us.


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A Christmas Story

by DaniGirl on December 22, 2007 · 17 comments

in Postcards from my uterus

(No, not that Christmas Story, although it is among my favourites of the season.)

After my ultrasound Friday morning – all things are good, placenta is out of the way, baby is up to six pound and looking fine – I went to Toys R Us for a few last-minute things. It was first thing in the morning, barely 9 am, and the place was blissfully unbusy. It didn’t take me long to find what I was looking for, and I found one last inspiring gift. I waddled up to the cash register, and nearly choked when the total she announced was about $30 more than I was expecting.

“Um,” I said, looking at her display,”this thing is supposed to be $24.99.”

“Oh!” said the cashier, “It rang through as $59.99. Can you show me the sign that said it was $24.99?”

Sure enough, we got to the shelf, and there was actually two shelves of them with the $24.99 label – but when I peered down to the lowest shelf for a better look, the small print on the label clearly named a different product. Aware that the $24.99 had been maybe a little too good to be true, I shrugged my shoulders and told her, “Oh well, never mind, I don’t want it at that price.”

She said, “No, no – I would have assumed the same thing. I’ll give it to you for $24.99.” Score! But, when she rang it through and tried to override the price, she had to ask for supervisor authorization because of the amount of the discrepancy. The supervisor took a harder line and pointed out that the label clearly indicated a different product. The cashier, a perky and bright-eyed teenager, gestured toward my jutting belly and said, “Take a look at her – does she look like she’s in any condition to be bending over that far to read the fine print?” I don’t know who laughed louder, the supervisor or me, but she didn’t argue the point and I walked out with the toy for $24.99.


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The nice thing about having a blog is getting the last word

21 December 2007 Rants and rambles

I’ve vacillated quite a bit about what to post today. Late last night, tears still stinging my eyes, I was going to turn off the comments and not post anything until after Christmas, or at least until after the weekend, to take a little break from blogging. The level of judgementalism in some of the […]

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The twin mythologies of Christmas

20 December 2007 Mothering without a licence

The boys have been talking about him a lot this season. You know, the larger-than-life figure who was probably once a real flesh and blood person, but whose mythology has blossomed into something so wide-reaching and so integral to our culture that you simply can’t avoid him. He’s so central to this particular season that […]

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Random bullets of minivan-ness

19 December 2007 Life, the Universe and Everything

It’s been just over a week since we picked up the minivan. Meh. I don’t hate it, but I can’t say I’m in love with it. It has wheels, a steering wheel, and it goes. I suppose that’s a good start. The first time we tried to pick it up, we made it all the […]

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Contemplating February 1st

18 December 2007 Postcards from my uterus

I had to laugh. Remember when I talked about my obsession with Survivor and how it’s been deeply intertwined with my reproductive years? I wrote about how Simon was born on the morning of the first episode of the first Survivor All-Stars season in 2004, and what a valiant effort I made to stay up […]

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