September 2008

Granny’s Revenge

by DaniGirl on September 30, 2008 · 6 comments

in Baby days, Lucas, Uncategorized

I was flipping through Tristan’s baby calendar the other day, comparing Tristan and Lucas at seven months of age. (Heartbreakingly, I seem to have lost my 2004 kitchen calendar with all of Simon’s baby milestones. I have every other year since 2001; I’m hoping it presents itself out of the clutter one of these days.) It was interesting to compare my first and my third. I can see, for instance, that they’re nearly the same weight, give or take half a pound on twenty pounds. (Simon, I seem to remember, hit 20 lbs around four months of age!)

What really surprised me, though, was that Tristan was standing and “cruising the furniture” and up on his hands and knees rocking in a pre-crawl motion at this age whereas Lucas has only just reliably mastered sitting up. I’m sure this has everything to do with their own developmental clocks and nothing to do with the fact that every time Lucas begins to lift himself up I sweep his knees out from under him and squash him back down to the ground. Sorry, kid, I’m just not ready for you to get mobile. How’s two years from now by you?

On the other hand, my mother is on the cusp of getting banned from the house. Every time she gets near Lucas, she’s got him standing up on his feet, holding him while he bounces and encouraging him to walk. And muttering something about “Granny’s Revenge.” I don’t think she believes me, but so help me I’ll ban her from the house if she teaches that baby to walk before his first birthday!


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Last month, we started giving the big boys an allowance. Tristan and Simon each get $2 a week, paid each Saturday. Simon now thinks of the weekend not as a day without school, but as the day he gets paid. That didn’t take long!

We debated for a bit about whether to tie the allowance to chores. I’ve seen it argued both ways: either you do, and the kids have to do their chores to get paid, or you pay the allowance out of the benevolence of your parental goodness and the chores are something that are done simply as a cost of being a member of the family. In the end, we leaned more toward the latter, but I have already threatened Tristan a few times with withholding part of his allowance if he didn’t do a better job of keeping up with his chores.

At four and six, their chores are fairly simple. They are also things I am not overly fond of doing. Fancy that! Simon is responsible for putting away the cutlery after the dishwasher is run, which happens at least once a day. Tristan is responsible for giving the dog food and water twice a day. They are both responsible for putting their schoolbags in their cubbies, putting their own clothes in the laundry hamper, and cleaning up after themselves if they’ve made a particularly spectacular mess (art projects come to mind.) I’m working on getting them to clear their breakfast dishes, too. And they’re on the hook for assignment of random chores, too: bring this basket of laundry upstairs, shuck this corn (that was a fun one!), go entertain your baby brother for two minutes while mommy finishes this blog post. So far, they’ve not only endured their chores without complaint but have actually said they like their assigned tasks. I’m obviously not working them hard enough!

The tricky part has been letting them spend their money on whatever they want. To me, the allowance is as much about introducing money management as it is about chores. So far, Tristan has spent the entirety of his allowance each week on Pokemon cards. Sigh. It’s his money, though, and he’s earned it, so we’ve been letting him get what he wants even though his mother is mildly offended by the idea of a universe in which Pokemon exists.

Even though he’s younger, it’s Simon who seems to be more willing to save up for something for a couple of weeks. He’s got his eye on a black cat Webkinz that would cost about two months worth of allowance. We’ll see if he makes it that far. He also said he’s saving for a remote control R2D2 they saw at the retro toy store. It’s only $169. Think he’ll still want it in a year and a half?

How do you work allowance and chores with your kids?


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As I mentioned recently, I’ve been spending a lot of time on Twitter. Microblogging (you’re limited to a paltry 140 characters) appeals to where I am right now… only one thought at a time need be expressed, without editorializing or rambling. It’s kind of refreshing.

Twitter must have been featured at the latest BlogHer or something, because all of a sudden this summer all my favourite mom bloggers showed up on Twitter, and that was cool, too.

Any site with the raging popularity of Twitter has plenty of people lining up with add-on features and clone sites. This morning, I stumbled upon TwitterMoms, a social networking site for moms who tweet on Twitter. I noticed that TechCrunch had a post up about them, and I’m a sucker for signing up for new toys, so I joined and took about three minutes to poke around. I’d hardly taken a boo at the front page when Lucas ran out of Cheerios and I left the computer to get on with my morning.

There’s a good chance that I would have likely forgotten completely about the site by now, like so many of the sites I’ve signed up for in the last year or so. (I’m an irrepressible joiner, and I especially love to join things when they’re new.) We went out, ran a few errands, and when we got home I popped on the computer to check my e-mail… and found my inbox full of messages from Twittermoms. In just a couple of hours, I had half a dozen welcome notes written on my “wall” and four friend requests. Yikes! Real messages, too, not just computer-generated ones. It’s a little bit scary, actually. I guess I’m used to the old days on the bulletin boards, when you had to hang around and prove yourself before you started making friends. I’ve never seen people come running out of the woodwork to say hello before.

I feel kind of bad accepting those “friend” requests, even if they are from complete strangers. But considering my bloglines account is practically bulging at the seams and my Facebook status hasn’t been updated in a month or more, I don’t know when I’ll next get around to TwitterMoms again. If you’re looking for a new place to hang around, they’re certainly a friendly crew over there!


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Once again this year, I’ve volunteered to help organize and run the Canadian Blog Awards, along with Saskboy and NBCDipper. We’ll be taking nominations starting in the next month or so, but we need a few extra hands to help out with jobs big and small. If you’d like to get involved, drop me an e-mail (danicanada at gmail dot com) or leave a comment here or at the CBA site.

More to follow!


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Vanities

by DaniGirl on September 25, 2008 · 15 comments

in It IS all about me

It’s one of those late summer days that we simply did not have enough of earlier this year — warm, hazy, sunshiney and altogether brilliant. So much so that in celebration, I broke out the razor for one more pass at my legs before shorts season is truly behind us for another year. (Surely I’m not the only one who puts away the lawn mower and the razors for about the same hibernation period each year?)

As I was shaving, I was thinking about a recent conversation with a friend. She was talking about being embarrassed to lift her arms up because she hadn’t recently shaved her armpits, and I reflected at the time how that really wouldn’t bother me. Hairy armpits aren’t one of my vanities. However, it’s a rare day that I’ll leave the house without showering first.

Similarly, I remember growing up that my mother always stopped at the front hall mirror before going out to apply fresh lipstick. My lipsticks last for far longer than is likely healthy because I use them so rarely. In fact, I can count on two hands the number of times since I’ve been staying home with Lucas that I’ve even bothered with makeup. On a day-to-day basis, makeup is not one of my vanities. I will, however, gladly fork over $75 for a haircut every six weeks or so.

I’ve never bought expensive shampoo or hair products – the drug store stuff is fine for me – but I do indulge a bit of extra cash for a good moisturizer for my skin.

I’m not much on fashion and the latest trends, but I am a label junkie. There are brands that I love and will go back to again and again. Jones New York, Eddie Bauer, Roots, Gap. And I dress the kids with far more care most days than I put into my own outfits. Heck, everything I wear is likely to be covered in spit-up splotches half way through the day anyway. Until I’m back into my old favourites and my old sizes (closer by the day, now down 11 lbs!) and Lucas is past this annoying spit-up phase, I’ll dress the kids up like dolls. Who needs girls to play dress-up?

What are your vanities, and what could you not care much less about?


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On Sunday morning, we were driving to meet friends for breakfast and I caught a snippet of a show they were doing about making your own baby food. The guest, whose name I didn’t catch, said something to the effect of “with the state of food safety the way it is, you just can’t trust even baby food makers to be vigilant, so you should make your own instead.”

This rankled me. More maternal guilt, that’s just what we need. And where do we get the ingredients to make our home-made baby food? From the supermarket, of course. The same supermarkets which have recently had e-coli scares with such wholesome foods as tomatoes and spinach. Making your own baby food is a great choice if you have the time and the inclination. You can control the ingredients and, sometimes more importantly, the texture. But it’s certainly not the only choice and I honestly don’t think it’s a lot safer than the commercial options.

Which reminded me that I don’t think I’ve ever told you the story about the first time I made baby food for Tristan, because I too thought it was the best choice from a nutritional and economic standpoint.

I bought a book of baby food recipes for $26, and decided to start with something simple: carrots. Organic carrots, of course. In fact, organic baby carrots, because they were for a baby. I bought two bags, which at the time set me back about seven dollars. I also bought a steamer pot from Ikea for $40. (I still have that pot, and it’s one of my favourites, FWIW.) I prepared one of the bags of carrots by scrubbing them and cutting the ends off. I steamed them within an inch of their lives, for maybe six hours. Okay, I exaggerate, but it was surely close to half an hour of steaming.

I put the carrots in the blender with a tablespoon or so of the reserved water, just as the cookbook recommended, and turned on the blender. The carrot mash was sticking to the sides of the blender a bit, so I used my also newly acquired wooden spoon (I really didn’t do a lot of cooking in those days) to scrape it down a bit. Without turning off the blades. And promptly filled my freshly made organic baby carrots with a healthy dose of splinters.

So I dumped that batch in the trash and washed out the blender and the blades and started all over again with the other bag of carrots. Wash, cut, boil the snot out of them. Put them in the blender. Forget to put the lid on the blender before I hit the “puree” button. Bits of wet carrot splatter everywere, and I mean everywhere. Weeks later, I was finding carrot bits under the microwave and on the underside of the range fan.

In the end, I got about four servings of carrots out of the whole thing. Net cost per serving, excluding the cookbook and the fancy new pot, was $1.75 or so, compared to 67 cents for the jars at the grocery store. You do the math.


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Beloved visits Dr Zap

22 September 2008 Infertility

Poor Beloved. Not bad enough I have no shame in blogging about my life, but now I’m blogging about his most personal bits. Good thing we’ve got a lot of family freebies out of blog over the years to compensate for my appalling lack of respect for his private parts. He’s going today for his […]

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The traditions of fall: Apple-picking

20 September 2008 Life in Ottawa

This year, I’m guessing that even though we picked more apples than ever before (see previous years here and here) we might actually eat all the apples we picked! (It’s funny to look back to the old post from 2005 and see a Simon who’s barely out of babyhood on our first apple-picking expedition. Blog […]

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My day so far

19 September 2008 Rants and rambles

The baby has a new game. It’s called “soother, soother, who’s got the soother” and involves him waking up every 20 minutes to an hour all night, whimpering because he can’t find his soother. I give it to him, he rolls over and goes back to sleep, I’m up for 20 more minutes grumbling. Lather, […]

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Food week: leftovers

18 September 2008 Life, the Universe and Everything

(Sorry, this post would have been up two days ago, but I keep getting sucked into Twitter. I can either blog or play on Facebook or follow Twitter, but have yet mastered the art of staying current on all three. Laundry is also optional.) Found a few new food faves lately, and thought I’d share. […]

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