August 2007

Hey bloggy peeps, I need your help. (Again.)

Next week, I’ll be doing a presentation about social media, and more specifically, blogs, at the CEGEP were Beloved teaches. (CEGEP is creation of the Quebec school system, sort of like a middle school between high school and university or college. The kids will be in the 16 to 18 year old age range.)

I’ve done a few presentations on social media to groups of public servants, but I have to tell you I’m a lot more intimidated by this group of teenagers! With public servants, I am usually pretty confident that I know more about social media and blogs than at least the majority of the people in the room; maybe not so much with the teenagers! The prof insists that I should start with Blogs 101, and that in her new media classes, only one of two of the kids actually have a blog.

So what I’m asking you, bloggy peeps, is this: what blogs would be interesting to the average teenager? I’m planning on walking them through a basic what and how, and talk about technorati and links and RSS, and go through some of the free blogging platforms. But can you think of any blogs they will find cool? I mean, I started out in life pretty far from cool, and now I’m a mom and a civil servant – my coolness factor drops by the day!!

I was thinking maybe the Grey’s Anatomy writers’ blog, and I was going to do Wil Wheaton’s blog – but Star Trek TNG might be too old skool to be appealing to them. There’s Barney’s Blog, from How I Met Your Mother, but that’s not even a real blog. Lame list, eh?

Help me! What’s cool in the blogosphere, from the perspective of your average 17 year old?


So while we’ve been paying so much attention to the little man I’m busy gestating, the other men in my life have been busy with their own milestones.

Can I please have a round of applause for Simon, who has remained in DRY underwear all day long for the past two days? YAY Simon! It took him maybe two days to catch on, and yesterday was a completely accident-free day. The nanny said she had put him in a pull-up to go to the park (just in case) and he told her he had to go and then even held it for the 10-minute trip home.

What’s been really adorable, though, is listening to Tristan coach Simon. Now, Tristan has a personal investment in Simon’s toilet habits on two fronts. First, he was benefitting from our bribes to Simon. He too watched Queen Amidala on Sunday afternoon, and he too has received a steady stream of ju-ju-beans when Simon successfully voided his bladder. But more than that, Tristan seems to be extremely phobic about Simon’s bodily fluids and goes to great lengths to make sure Simon goes in the potty and nowhere else.

They’ll be playing, and Simon will pause and say, “I need to go to the potty.” Tristan will shepherd him into the bathroom, coaching him the whole way: “Okay, now pull down your underwear. Good! Be careful, back up, and point it down. Good. Now go. Yay! Great job, Simon, you did it!!” Imagine this scene repeated maybe every 20 minutes, all day long. Beloved turned to me at one point and said, “So, when did Tristan become Simon’s mother?”

So, how trustworthy do you think a six-day-old potty training habit is? This weekend is our Smuggler’s Notch getaway, and Simon can join an age-appropriate day camp if he is potty trained. If not, he goes to a daycare centre type of thing, with the 6 week to 3 year olds. I know which one he’d prefer, but am worried that he’ll be a little too distracted by the excitement of day camp to remember to listen to the call of nature. Thoughts?

More parental bragging: both boys passed their respective swimming lesson levels this week, too. I was hardly surprised to see Tristan pass from Preschool level C to level D, after his performance jumping off the diving board into the deep end of the pool this month. I was less sure about Simon, mostly because more often than not, he would be happily playing off by himself while the teacher coached the kids who were obviously less comfortable in the water than Simon. On his “report card” the teacher observed: “Simon has amazing confidence in his aquatic abilities.” Translation: he’s friggin’ fearless. Her final comment made me laugh the most, though: “Don’t forget to focus!” Ha! Runs in the family.

So it’s not exactly an official “yay day”, but it seems that this whole month has had me bursting with pride at how quickly my boys are growing up. And the best part? If Simon stays on track, I get a five-month vacation from diapers. If that’s not worth bragging about, what is?

No really, what is? Consider this bragging thread officially open!


The big reveal

by DaniGirl on August 29, 2007 · 51 comments

in Postcards from my uterus

The ultrasound appointment went very well this morning. Beloved was teaching and couldn’t make it, but my lovely Mom accompanied me. She was there for Simon’s big reveal, too. What a great thing to be able to share with Granny!

Baby was sleepy, not moving around too much. The technician knew I was squirrelly to find out the gender so that was her first stop, but Baby’s legs were tightly clenched together. She did a few more measurements, and exclaimed with delight about how healthy all of Baby’s parts are. The organs, the spine, the brain stem, the heart – they all look perfect. The placenta is on the low side and near the cervix, but nothing to yet be concerned about.

And then she scanned back up to Baby’s bits and Baby’s legs were splayed wide open. Turns out just like Tristan and Simon, this Baby is an exhibitionist after all. No doubt about it, for the next five months or so I have a penis.

It’s a boy!!!


One more sleep! Wednesday morning at 9:00 is the big reveal, assuming baby is amenable to the exposure. (And you know I come from a long line of exhibitionists.) We finally get to find out whether baby has indoor or outdoor plumbing.

I swear, never in my whole life have I expended so much energy in not thinking about something. For weeks, I’ve been careful not to speculate, not to wonder, and certainly not to hope. But despite my best efforts, I’m now emotionally and intellectually engaged in this pregnancy. I can feel the baby moving almost every day, and a couple of people in my office have tentatively approached me and asked if maybe I had some good news I wanted to share while looking pointedly at my no-longer-subtle belly. (Seriously, people, unless a woman has another human being dangling from between her legs, “Are you pregnant?” is still one of the most dangerous questions on the planet!) So I’ve let go of the fear and given myself over to joy and anticipation.

And tomorrow, the last big question will be answered.

It’s no secret that I would like a girl. Here are the top five six reasons I hope this little passenger is of the female variety:

  1. I want a girl because I think it would be an easier family dymanic to have two boys and a girl rather than strand Simon in the middle of three boys.
  2. I want a girl because I was a girl, and I’ve always had such a wonderful relationship with my mother, and she with her mother before that, and I would love to carry that on to the next generation.
  3. I want a girl because when boys grow up, they tend to move away and girls stay close.
  4. I want a girl so she can be daddy’s little girl, just like I was… and, erm, continue to be.
  5. I want a girl because I fear the grocery bills – and the infrastructure of the house! – if we have three towering teenage boys in the house at the same time.
  6. I want a girl simply because I don’t have one.

And yet, I would be delighted by another boy. Here’s why:

  1. I know from boys. I’ve got five and a half years of insight into mothering boys. I know their bits, I know their preferences, I know their foibles.
  2. I’ve always preferred the company of boys over girls. The idea of spending the rest of my life surrounded by men has a certain appeal.
  3. Mean girls and middle school. I’m not sure I could do it again, even (or especially?) by proxy.
  4. I’ve got a pretty good stash of boy-stuff. Rugby shirts and toy trucks and baseball caps and Sponge Bob videos; I spent a lot of time weeding through the pink pieces at Gymboree and Old Navy to find some truly great boy clothes.
  5. Simply bellowing “BOYS!” to get their attention is far more effective than “CHILDREN!” or – god forbid – actually trying to get out the right name first.
  6. Last but not least, how could I not want another Tristan or Simon?

In the mood for a little prognostication? Throughout this pregnancy, I’ve had a hard time not visibly shuddering every time someone smiled and leaned in and whispered confidentially, “I think this one’s a girl!” (Funny how nobody thinks it’s a boy… at least not out loud.) But I’m ready now! Lay your bets on the table, folks.

Is it a boy?
Is it a girl?
… or…
Will it be too stubborn to divulge its secrets?


Best quiz result ever!

by DaniGirl on August 27, 2007 · 3 comments

in Books, Memes

As seen at Expectant Waiting.

You’re Catch-22!
by Joseph Heller

Incredibly witty and funny, you have a taste for irony in all that you see. It seems that life has put you in perpetually untenable situations, and your sense of humor is all that gets you through them. These experiences have also made you an ardent pacifist, though you present your message with tongue sewn into cheek. You could coin a phrase that replaces the word "paradox" for millions of people.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Is that not the best quiz result ever? I read Catch 22 when I was a kid and loved it even then. I should crack it open again.


Speaking of books, it’s back to school time, and Andrea over in the Fishbowl has a great back-to-school photo contest. You can win an HP Photosmart C5280 printer/scanner! Click over to Andrea’s place for details and some good photography tips, too.


Pregnancy songs

by DaniGirl on August 27, 2007 · 27 comments

in Postcards from my uterus

You remember how it is with your first pregnancy, when you actually buy the pregnancy magazines, and hang out on the message boards at iVillage comparing each twitch and twang with 600 other pregnant mothers due in the same month as you, and you spend months agonizing over the nursery decorating scheme and hours browsing baby gear at Babys R Us and have the baby’s whole wardrobe picked out and washed and folded and carefully placed in drawers when you’re still only six months along?

*snicker* Ah, I remember those days… barely!

Ahem, anyway, back when I was still all dewey-eyed with the idea of being pregnant with Tristan, I invested hours searching the Internet and local record stores for a copy of one of my all-time favourite soundtrack albums, She’s Having a Baby. Way before I had kids, I loved that album, and practically wore out my cassette copy in the early 1990s – and not entirely because I’ve always had a wicked crush on Kevin Bacon.

Alas, despite a stellar effort, I couldn’t find a replacement copy when I was pregnant with Tristan. Well, there was one copy on eBay for about $60 including currency conversion and delivery and duty, but that was a bit much even for me. But the other day, I was downloading some music from iTunes and out of the blue wondered if I could get some of my favourite songs from the album on iTunes. Turns out I couldn’t (maybe you’ll have more luck on the American version, but is still occassionally disappointing in its limited selection.) I did, however, find out that the album was re-released in 2003, and I used one of my MotherTalk gift certificates to order one. It arrived on the weekend, and I love it all over again.

But it got me thinking – aside from the ubiquitous country and western songs, there aren’t really a whole lot of pregnancy songs out there, are there? My favourite of all time, which I listened to about a million times when I was pregnant with Tristan, is Danny’s Song (the Kenny Loggins version, thanks), and of course there is Creed’s Arms Wide Open, which came out the year I had my first miscarriage and made me cry gallons of tears over the hormonal years, and Nancy White’s hilarious folk song, It’s Chic to be Pregnant at Christmas.

Danny’s Song by Kenny Loggins
People smile and tell me I’m the lucky one, and we’ve just begun,
Think I’m gonna have a son.
He will be like she and me, as free as a dove, conceived in love,
Sun is gonna shine above.

(This song also has the line “Pisces, virgo rising is a pretty good sign, strong and kind, and a little boy is mine” which I can barely type, let alone sing along, without choking up. Tristan is my little Pisces.)

Apron Strings by Everything But the Girl
And I’ll be perfect in my own way
When you cry I will be there
I’ll sing to you and comb your hair
All your troubles I will share

This Woman’s Work by Kate Bush
Pray God you can cope.
I stand outside this woman’s work,
This woman’s world.
Ooh, it’s hard on the man,
Now his part is over.
Now starts the craft of the father.

Arms Wide Open by Creed
Well I just heard the news today
It seems my life is going to change
I closed my eyes, begin to pray
Then tears of joy stream down my face

She’s Having a Baby by Dave Wakeling
Mixed drinks and mixed emotions
Head in the clouds, put your feet on the ground
All change,
She’s having a baby
You’re growing up now,
You’re settling down, down, down
Will it be a boy or a girl?
And what will it think of the world?

It’s So Chic to be Pregnant at Christmas by Nancy White
It’s so biblical to be pregnant at Christmas
No matter what stories you believe.
And only suffer from gravid senilis
And heartburn and nausea and charley-horses and overwhelming fatigue and frequent micturation and varicose veins and swollen ankles and shortness of breath and that .. tired achy feeling in the groin.

That was about all I could come up with. Can you think of any more?


Send paper towels and carpet cleaner!

26 August 2007 Mothering without a licence

After struggling for more than a month trying to encourage Simon to use the potty with bribes of various sorts, potty training was still not really progressing. He’s only pooped once on the potty, just this past week, and it’s becoming a bit of a power struggle. He simply doesn’t want to give up the […]

13 comments Read the full article →

The end of Storyland?

25 August 2007 Life in Ottawa

I read in yesterday’s paper that Storyland, near Renfrew, will likely be closing at the end of this season, and the news made me sad. First the Hershey chocolate factory in Smith’s Falls; now this. Storyland is truly one of Ottawa’s hidden gems, tucked away in the woods near a scenic overlook on the Ottawa […]

8 comments Read the full article →

10 pixels in – my first video game review

24 August 2007 Life, the Universe and Everything

Not too long after my recent post talking about how the boys have transitioned from a TV addiction to a computer game addiction, I got an e-mail from a nice lady offering me a sneak preview of “the first video game made for kids 3-6 on Nintendo DS.” The boilerplate advertised that “Storybook DS features […]

9 comments Read the full article →

Yay Day!

23 August 2007 yay day

It’s a dreary kind of day here, grey and threatening rain – not that I can see a window from here. And I have a cold that kept me up all night and so I might have otherwise been tempted to be a little cranky and feel just a little bit sorry for myself. But […]

18 comments Read the full article →