Thursday, June 25, 2009

Show week... yeah.

Kyle and Natalie had their last Little Gym class of the semester on Tuesday, and their class put on a little show for the parents. I was really hoping for a few good pictures and a nice little blog about how wonderful they were, but we're all going to have to settle for a handful of not-so-good pictures and an irritated blog instead.

The whole ordeal started out in a very promising manner. The kids all had to sit together on 'the big red mat' and introduce themselves. Kyle and Natalie were last in line, and when it was Kyle's turn to introduce himself he said, "I'm Kyle, and this is my sister Natalie." And then he put his arm around Natalie, and the two of them smiled sweetly while all the parents laughed gently and said, "Awwww!" It was nice. Here's a picture.
The show even progressed smoothly through the kids doing their individual tumbling on the mat.

Then the kids were asked to go sit along the wall while they took turns on the balance beam. Kyle wanted Natalie to sit next to him, so she did. But Kyle wanted Natalie to sit right next to him--with no space at all between them. Natalie didn't want to sit right up against Kyle, so Kyle started crying. This continued for 20 minutes. The kids moved from one wall to another to show us their tricks on the uneven bars, and still my children were fussing. Kyle would scoot up against Natalie, she'd get up and move away (smiling innocently so that no one but I knew what she was up to), Kyle would cry then follow her, repeat. Here's a picture of Kyle on the balance beam in between crying jags.
I tried talking Kyle down from the edge of the cliff that was his need to sit right next to Natalie to no avail. I tried asking Natalie sweetly to sit still to make her brother happy--also to no avail. I pleaded with them to be nice so the other parents could pay attention to their own children. I even tried asking Kyle and Natalie if they realized everyone was staring at them and wondering why this brother and sister (who were cheesily sweet to each other only 20 minutes earlier) had turned on each other. Nothing worked. I started ignoring them. The ordeal continued until the end of the 'show' when the teachers said the magic words, "We have milk and cookies for everyone in the other room."

Milk and cookies?! Milk and cookies, darn it!! Why didn't I think of saying there would be milk and cookies if they would just leave each other alone?! Argh.

I wish I could say I've never been more embarrassed, but that would be a lie. Not a week goes by when I'm not embarrassed by some aspect of my kids' behavior in public. But that was definitely the most embarrassed I've been so far this week... but then again, it's only Thursday.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Terrible twos arrive a little early

Brandon really isn't interested in television at all, despite the fact that his brother and sister keep the television on in the playroom all day long, but he does like the opening song of the Backyardigans. He gets really excited and starts dancing whenever he hears 'we've got the whole wide world in our yards to explooooooore...'

Today we caught the Backyardigans coming on, Brandon danced, and when the song finished Brandon shot me the dirtiest look you've ever seen on an angelic little face, and started smacking the pillow he was sitting next to. I laughed and said, 'I didn't make it go off! What's with the dirty look? And you can smack that pillow all you want because it doesn't hurt me.'

I know--not an excellent parenting moment. Mockery isn't the best parenting tool, but I figured Brandon didn't understand a word I was saying...

Until he stood up, walked over to Natalie, and smacked her! And when I said, "No hitting your sister, Brandon!" he walked over to Kyle and smacked him instead.

I know it's terrible, but I was a little proud of the fact that he totally understood me! And then the responsible parent in me gave him a timeout. I believe the Best Baby Ever has discovered his evil streak. Fun times ahead.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Busy, busy

Did it matter to us that Shaun was away again for a couple of days last week and didn't get home until the wee hours of Saturday morning? Nope. Not at all. We hit the ground running on Saturday. We learned our lesson last weekend when it did nothing but rain, and we were forced to hibernate under our blankets for days on end. When we saw the weather was supposed to be gorgeous this weekend we decided to take advantage of some of the activities the City of St. John's was sponsoring in honor of the city's birthday.

Admission to the Railway Coastal Museum was free, so we started there, and Kyle got a chance to indulge his latest obsession--scavenger hunts. The railway museum was the starting point for a little tour of the city archives and Newman Wine Vaults called Windows on the West End, and at every stop on the tour the kids got to collect stickers to complete their scavenger hunt. Kyle took the hunt very seriously and managed to thoroughly entertain all the elderly individuals on the tour.

After our tour we decided to head to Mexicali Rosa's for lunch. The food isn't quite the Mexican food those of us from Texas would recognize, but the kids sure did love the tacos and quesadillas. I highly recommend avoiding the chips and salsa, however.

On Sunday we treated Shaun to waffles in bed in honor of Father's Day, and then we decided to head to La Manche Provincial Park for the day. We packed a nice little picnic lunch, loaded up the borrowed baby backpack, and drove down the coast. Once we got to La Manche we walked about an hour in and an hour back out to catch a glimpse of the falls.

I'm pleased to report that the weekend was actually a lot of fun, and not terribly stressful. I'm starting to see a light at the end of the toddler tunnel. It was so nice to be able to pack a few drinks and a few sandwiches and just head out for a little adventure with the kids. Every now and then I catch a little glimpse of how much fun it's going to be in a few years to travel the world with my little brood.

For now I'm just happy to have survived the car ride back home from La Manche having only threatened to stop the car twice. And even better than that--everyone stayed awake on the ride home and we got to enjoy a full naptime once we got home! I'm getting the hang of this.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Salmonier Nature Park

The kids and I took a trip to Salmonier Nature Park yesterday with some friends, and we really had a perfect day for the trip. It was a gorgeous, sunny 75F. The animals weren't overly cooperative, and I was disappointed that we didn't see any antlers--on the caribou or the moose, but we had a great time on our nature walk.

FYI, Canadian geese are also called Canadian geese in Canada. Now you know.

We packed a picnic lunch, and spent the morning wearing ourselves out. It definitely paid off when everyone managed to sleep in a little bit this morning--7:15 is an improvement over 6:15 around here. Whatever, I'll take it.

Enjoy the pics!

Kyle, Ethan & Natalie
Come back!
Freaking owl won't look at me
I'm not sitting next to those boys!
The highlight--an arctic fox

Friday, June 12, 2009

Kindergarten bound

It's done. Preschool is finished for the year, and we have a long lazy summer stretching out before us with Kindergarten looming in September. Kyle's preschool concert was this morning, and we were treated to quite a little musical and rhyming display. Unlike his first public performance at his preschool's Halloween parade in 2007 (just in case you're wondering, pirates like to lay on the gym floor and pretend to swim while all the other characters stand sweetly in the line and smile at their mommas), Kyle stood up this morning, sang when he was supposed to, and said his lines like a pro. My baby's growing up.

We got to see some ABC aerobics, where Kyle had to make a fishy face...
And there was some dancing...
Kyle got to recite Little Jack Horner along with the other five boys in his class...
And he got a certificate from his teacher for finishing his year as a Junior Achiever...
It was a great show, and Shaun and I were so proud of our little man! Kindergarten, here we come!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Trick question

'Circle all the things you can eat for a snack!' were the instructions on Kyle's worksheet. The options were: a camera, candy, birthday cake, toys, an ice cream cone, and a piñata.

Kyle quickly circled the candy, the cake, and the ice cream cone. Then he looked at me and said, "But can't you eat what's inside the piñata, Mom? Should I circle that one?"

I replied, "Good thinking, Kyle. That one is kind of tricky, isn't it? I guess you could go either way on that one. You can't eat the actual piñata, but you can eat what's inside."

Now, why on Earth would they give such an ambiguous choice to a small child? It's a freaking Dora the Explorer coloring book! They obviously don't know my son. My little perfectionist. This sweet little boy who is now going to agonize over whether or not to circle the piñata. This child who is so much like me in that way. (Can you tell I was agonizing over what to tell him? 'Circle the piñata. No, don't circle it. Maybe circle it in a different color to qualify that you can't eat it for a snack the way it is. Or just asterisk it, and write a little note at the bottom of the page that you could eat what's inside the piñata.' It was stressing me out.)

Oh, I have news for you, Kyle. It will only get worse. As you get older it's only going to get harder to figure out what the right answer is. Sometimes there is no right answer--just the answer someone wants to hear. And there is no end to the trick questions you'll be asked. It's going to be a hard lesson to learn, but I really don't know why Dora wants to drop it on you at the tender age of four.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Welcome home

My husband has returned, again. And once again the mental energy required to type has returned to me. I believe Shaun had a productive trip, but I don't really know since I rarely pay attention to what it is that he does for a living--it supports my pedicure habit, and that's all that matters.

I feel really bad for my husband when he has to travel. It's very difficult and lonely for him to be away from his family for days on end. Here are some of the reasons he's given me in the past for why traveling is such an ordeal:
  • He has to spend hours alone flying in business class, reading whatever crime/mystery novel he picked up at the airport.
  • He sometimes can find nothing new/interesting to watch on his personal video-on-demand on these lonely flights.
  • He must even resort to napping on these flights when he tires of reading or trying to find a movie to watch.
  • He is forced to scramble around to find dinner/evening plans that often involve visiting friends and/or eating out at restaurants.
  • He has to sleep in a hotel room where there is nothing to do but actually sleep.
  • Someone else is paying for all of the above.
I don't know about anyone else, but as the mother of three small children I have often joked that even jail sounds like a vacation to me. But these business trips my husband speaks of really sound like a vacation.

Welcome home, honey. I hope your trip wasn't too hard on you. By the way, I think the baby has a stinky diaper, if you wouldn't mind taking care of that? I know how much you missed us.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Water play

Mommy bought the kids a brand new toy that Daddy doesn't know about yet... just wait until he gets home from his business trip and sees it! I think Brandon loves it.

Nat and B playing at the water table with Avery

Screw the boats, I just want to splash!

Doh! I splashed too hard!

Maybe I can climb in?

Nat playing while B tries to drown himself

Monday, June 1, 2009

Summer is coming

How is it possible that June has already arrived? This year has flown by in a flurry of swimming lessons, The Little Gym, preschool, playdates, doctor's visits, vacations and holidays. I have a feeling the summer is going to fly by in the same fashion.

Next week is Kyle's last week of preschool for the school year. Part of me is dreading having all three kids in the house all day every day--I've gotten accustomed to sending Kyle to preschool in the mornings in an attempt to wear him out. The child has endless energy, and he's constantly talking, singing, making strange noises, or just being silly. He wears me out to the point that I've become totally comfortable with paying others to help me use up his daily store of energy. The other part of me is looking forward to avoiding the twice-daily loading of everyone into the carseats just for the two-minute drop-off and pick-up, the twice-daily climb up two flights of stairs with a baby, a toddler, and a preschooler, and the twice-daily shoe-finding-and-putting-on fiasco. I'm also looking forward to letting everyone stay in their jammies until lunchtime if they want--let's be honest, I want to stay in my jammies until lunchtime.

I'm kidding myself if I really think summer will give us all a chance to slow down a little bit. Playgroups will go on, Kyle is signed up for soccer, vacations are scheduled, and I can always count on Shaun to leave me while he goes on a business trip or two. But there's one little advantage to summer that makes it all worth it--a mother's helper. I know a sweet little teenager who has agreed to hang out at my house for a few hours a day to play with my kids for a pittance. Yup, I'm that mom. And you know what? It's going to be worth all the mommy-guilt in the world just to be able to go to the grocery store alone.