K is for Knitting

I used to knit. I went through a knitting phase about 13 years ago and I started to knit some beautiful patterns. Then I got distracted and I have a pile of unfinished projects.

Early this fall I noticed some gorgeous, simple scarves knit with chunky wool. How hard could they be? I decided to find out and I picked up the needles again. That was 4 weeks and 9 scarves ago. I am hooked (or should I say needled?).

I've checked out 3 yarn/knitting stores in town (Three Bags Full, Birkeland Brothers and Homecraft on West 4th) and each has its unique charm. All of them have helpful staff and classes so I find myself asking a lot of questions and getting pointers and tips. There are a lot of great resources on the internet with instructional videos and tons of free patterns.

Now if only I can learn enough to try something more complicated than a scarf…

C is for Canadian Tire

Wednesdays are special at our house: we've reached the mid-week hump, I have the evening off at yoga class, there's French class at preschool. But most importantly, on Wednesdays the mid-week bundle of flyers arrives on our doorstep. And in that bundle is the Canadian Tire flyer.

S is obsessed with Canadian Tire.

He insists on us reading the whole flyer to him. Not only do we have to tell him what an item is, we have to read the blurb under it. I now know more about nail drivers, routers and reciprocating saws than I need.

I can see the attraction. S loves anything to do with tools, building, machinery and cars. Canadian Tire covers it all. He's not all that interested in the housewares pages but he's beginning to show some interest in the sporting goods ones (Roland's been talking about skating and hockey).

Looking for a deal on a power inverter or a new set of winter tires? Let us know and we'll keep on eye on the flyer for you.

H is for Hanukkah

S has been attending preschool for 2 1/2 months now. At first it was hard to pull anything out of him. Whenever we asked what he did at school, he'd say, “I don't know” or “Nothing.” But now little bits of information are trickling out of him unprompted.

This week he told me about his music class and about the songs his music teacher has been teaching: a song about reindeers, “Bonhomme Bonhomme” and a song about Hanukkah.

We had told him that not everyone celebrates Christmas and we had mentioned Hanukkah to him before but hadn't gone into any details. Tonight he gave us a lesson in Hanukkah:

-Jewish people celebrate it

-they used to burn oil

-the menorah is a big candle stick holder

-they light a candle when it's dark and let it burn all night

-people have a big party and the kids play with a driedel

-they eat potato pancakes

I'm impressed that he has actually retains so much. I'm also impressed by what the teachers are teaching (e.g. winter holidays other than Christmas!).

When I asked S if he'd like to make latkes and play with a dreidel, he said, “But we're not Jewish.” I reassured him that it would be OK for us to celebrate Hanukkah too.

P is for Poetry

Recently, S has fallen head over heels for silly rhyming books like Dr. Seuss' One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. After reading one of these books, S will start to play with words and make up his own silly parables. So much so that he will lie in bed at night or at naptime for long periods of time just playing with words.

The other day we encouraged him to make up a poem and we wrote it down:

Sleep and the Leaf

Sleep in the lightbulb

Sleep in a tennis racket

Sleep in the forest

Sleep in the sunflower

Sleep in a bumblebee

Sleep on a camera

Sleep on a computer

Sleep in the restaurant

Sleep in the hot chocolate

Sleep in a jungle

Sleep in my shoe

O Canada!!

As part of S's bedtime routine, I sing a couple of songs with him. This is actually relatively new. We used to sing to him a lot when he was very young as a way to soothe our difficult to settle baby. But once he was able to fall asleep better, we stopped doing it.

So after a story and tucking in, I will sing a lullaby, usually a tune from Mother Goose or Music Together classes. But no matter how soothing the lullaby is, it is always followed by a rousing rendition of O Canada. At the top of S's lungs.

I think he first heard the anthem on Kids CBC and one day I just started singing it and he already knew half the lyrics. Now, he can pretty much sing the whole thing on his own. Including his unique interpretation/pronunciation of the lyrics.

Nationalists would be proud of our child.

P is for Preschool

S started preschool last week. We’ve been excited and ready for him to start preschool for a while now. He’s at a stage where he needs more structure and routine. As well as stimulation other than ourselves or the unstructured daycare he was attending.

On his first day of school S woke up with the birds in anticipation. We did all the rituralistic stuff: new backpack, new shoes to wear inside the classroom, picked out his clothes, etc. S even ate his breakfast without the usual dawdling and the usual chitchat. When we got to school (early, of course), the hand off to his teachers was smooth. We found his cubby, he put up his picture and he barely realized that I was leaving. He needed to go do some work!

When I arrived that first day to pick him up, he was coming out of a music class and he was surprised to see me. Actually, I think he was a bit disappointed that it was already time to go. As the rest of the morning progressed, S talked about the little bits and pieces of his first day at school.

Now that we're into week 2, he loves going to school: “I want to go again and again and again!! I want to go everyday!! It’s so much fun!”

I hope that positive attitude holds up–he's going to be going to school for the next 20 or so years!

Fairies and Superheroes

Yesterday I babysat our 5 year old neighbour Tess. Clearly, she and S have been exposed to different worlds:

Tess: S, do you know what fairies are?

S: No.

T: Well, fairies are tiny little people that fly and have magical powers.

S: (eyes light up) You mean like superheroes?!!

T: What are superheroes?

S: Superheroes have super powers and they rescue and help people and save them from volcanoes and geysers and fires. What do fairies do?

T: Nothing. They just fly around.

Bib Clips

Jr. is a messy eater. He always has been. He usually still wears a bib or more often, a bib-like alternative like a cloth napkin tied cowboy style.

Lo and behold, I have just discovered bib clips made by a Portland company, Kipiis. Basically, they are a funky, kid friendly version of what the dentist uses to clip a paper napkin around your neck. Why didn't I come across this a few years ago?! Why didn't I think of this?!

Although Jr is almost 3 1/2 years old, I did run out to buy one. We used it for dinner tonight and it was great. It kept the cloth napkin in place and because the napkin wasn't scrunched up to make a knot, there was lots of extra coverage. Handy for keeping all of Jr's overflow of cous cous (messy!) in one place.


S turned 3 at the end of March. Another year full of amazing changes zipped by and our toddler has become a little boy. I can't even begin to think of all the changes that have happened in the past year.

When S turned 2 1/2 years old he started to change remarkably. Something clicked and he went through a bit of a personality change. Up until that age, he was painfully shy and often clingy. It would often take him a long time to adjust to a new situation or new people. Now he's much more outgoing and adventurous.

And someone turned on the verbal tap and has left it on. S is a chatterbox. He is constantly talking with us or whoever he's with and when he's playing on his own. He picks up vocabulary quickly and uses them in context. He's shocked us often with new words or when he uses parts of speech that you don't usually hear 3 year olds use (“otherwise”, “actually”). And lately he's picked up phrases that are quite entertaining: “Mommy, I don't feel like talking right now. I'm tired.”, “It seems like he [new stuffed animal chick] needs a bath.”, “This is the best chocolate cookie I ever had!!”

We love 3! Fewer tantrums. More independence. More conversations. More humour. S is fine company now. Before it was more about taking care of him but now there's more companionship. Mind you, there is a lot of caregiving that still takes place but everything seems so much more manageable now.

We actually feel like we have a bit more control over our lives again. And that those 2 a.m. feeds and 8 diaper changes/day are finally worth it!

A is for Apologize

Here I go again. Apologizing for not family blogging in months. Sorry.

So many changes over the past few months and so many things that I want to blog about. But no excuses for not blogging.

But I'm inspired to blog by my friend E who updates her family blog almost daily (in English AND Japanese) and by Glo who has moved to Shanghai and sends great accounts about her new life there and who will be starting a blog soon.

Do I back track and write about old stuff or move forward and write about new stuff. Whatever. I'll mix it up and just BLOG!