Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Do You Really Know?

Do you REALLY know what your kids do at daycare?  When your provider says they went to the park, do you REALLY know what that means?
Meg and I sometimes go to our local park in the mornings.  There are usually several "day care ladies" there and today was no exception.  There were two.  "Old Lady" had three "walkers" (around age 2 1/2 to 3) and one stroller kid (looked like 18 months).  And a dog.  "Fat Lady" had one walker and one infant in a carseat-stroller and a dog.
Now, the Old Lady did pay attention to her three kids playing in the park, and a small bit of attention to the kid in the stroller.  But the kid in the stroller never became a kid in the park.  She didn't play with the children, but at least she was cognizant of them.

Fat Lady though.  She didn't notice when the dog wandered off (she had been stepping on the leash).  She never made any comments to the girl playing in the park.  She never interacted with the baby in the carseat.  Most of the time she appeared to be texting on a cell phone.  The "baby" in the carseat was at least 6 months old....looking a little too big for the infant carseat actually.  The baby WAS awake, and did make some noise, but was not actively engaged in any way.

Do you know how long your children are spending in their carseats and strollers (daycare kids or not)?  I see kids at swimming lessons and story time that have been in the carseat or stroller for at least an hour, continuously.  Think about that.  How do you feel when you've been sitting for an hour?  How would you feel if you had a diaper on?  You can see other adults and kids, but they don't seem interested in interacting with you.  You'd respond in one of two ways...withdrawal ("He's such a good baby, never makes a peep in the stroller") or with anger/frustration ("He's such a handful; won't sit in the stroller for long!").  Which of these is the "preferred" response?  Perhaps that depends on who you ask.  I don't want zombie kids, do you?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Backyard Part 2

The new deck was built a step lower, so we opted not to put a railing.

 The new deck is a little bit narrower, so that the basement window is now exposed.
 Part of the old raised raspberry beds.  Like most things here, it was poorly built.  At the other end, next to the compost, we discovered a wasp nest, in between the ties.  Not just any old wasps, but mean, nasty ones that stung you for just standing in the backyard.  It took several attempts to get rid of them, and in doing so, the ties all came out.
 The old deck had some cheap trellis sheets to "block" the view.  Rob built a solid wall with these cedar adjustable panels.  That's our baker's rack, which we bought when we bought our first house.   There's not really anywhere inside that it fits, but it's turned out to be really handy though.
 We got new patio furniture, and found it got too sunny, so we bought curtains to hang, however, they were so lightweight that they mainly blew around.  For the winter, we brought the furniture inside and it made a nice setting in our "living" room.  We bought that tree in memory of my aunt, and we put in a couple other trees too.
 Here's the raspberry bed after the ties were taken out.  Unfortunately, Skippy found them delicious.
This is the first replacement box.  A little higher, and with a wide edge to sit on.  Hopefully the next box gets built soon.  I saved as many baby raspberries as I could, there might not be many berries this summer, but hopefully they revive.
I don't have a picture of the hot tub, but it's on an angle, on the flagstone patio in front of the left side of the deck.  I'm not keen on it being on an angle, LOL, but it works for the lid, shade, access, etc.
There's still some more things to do in the yarn, we'd like some seating at the back, the kids want a trampoline or pool, LOL, but we love the yard!

Friday, May 20, 2011


When we looked at this house, one thing we liked was the big, flat backyard.  Our last house had a good sized backyard that was very private, however, since we had seen it on a dark February night, we hadn't seen the slope in the back corner, or the amount of trees, bushes, garden, that took up the rest of the yard.  There was barely any play area, no where to put a pool, etc.  We had a hard time deciding between a new house with small, bare yard, or an older house with a big, mature, lot.  We would have liked more privacy, but that can come later.
One of the first things we needed to take care of was the roof.  While doing some work, Rob thought he'd re-shingle the shed.  Well.  He discovered that the shed was pretty much rotten and needed to be re-built.  Of course, the finished shed is way better than what was there.

Fall was then upon us, and then winter.  Spring came early, with a beautiful week in early March.  Perfect for ripping apart the incredibly badly built deck!
 The deck is a great size, although a little awkward.  It was just so poorly built that we couldn't live with it.  It was even bouncy!
The deck was built level with the doors, and in the covered section, Rob could almost touch his head on the roof, LOL.
In the picture below, you can see the new shed on the left, and the original raised gardens on the right, full of raspberries!

 This picture above, and the one below, show how poorly the deck was built, and why it felt springy.  The joists are just too far apart!

 This picture below, shows how a deck SHOULD be built (okay, it might be a little over built, but better safe than sorry!)

This picture below shows the view from the kitchen door and how the steps went down from the center of the long portion, so that if we put the table there, it'd be hard to get around it to the yard.  And the railing was unsafe and was blocking the view.
I'm finding it hard to move around pictures, and having the text be how I want it.  I'm writing this while Meg snoozes on the couch; she was up 1/2 the night sick.  I'll get to the finished deck pictures later; it's too hard to do it all at once.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

NINO Graduates

(I want to move some of my non-knitting posts from my other blog to here, so I'm cut and pasting them.  Is there a better way?)

August 18, 2006

Not El Nino (although for Megan, it would be El Nina I think). Nine In, Nine Out. It's an organization/movement promoting a calm, baby-led transition from womb to world. Fuelled by the Attachment Parenting beliefs of Dr. Sears and The Happiest Baby on the Block guru, Dr. Harvey Karp, NINO is sort of the public side of attachment parenting (AP). Babywearing and breastfeeding are the two biggies. We flunked at co-sleeping.

Megan is now 9 months old. Although she is (mostly) an 'easy' baby, she is impatient. She (still) has reflux. She got 5 teeth in under two weeks. She nurses every two hours...at night only. It has been a very challenging 9 months. If she were my only baby, it wouldn't have been too bad. But she's the baby of the troop and the other soldiers want to commit a mutiny.

When you're young, say, in university, sleeplessness is no issue. Two weeks of exams and all nighters? No problem, you've got lots of time to sleep in. But the sleeplessness of a baby is different. This type of sleeplessness is so invasive to your daily life. My eyes hurt. I pour water in my mug...and see I forgot to put in the Nescafe Frothy mix first. I cook dinner and realize I forgot the veggies. I walk into things (more than usual), I can't add, or multiply (so important for knitting), and working the microwave suddenly needs a university degree.
Five hours of sleep may be enough when it happens all at once, but when it happens in 90 minute chunks, your body starts to complain. Despite not having grown (height wise) in over 20 years, growth hormones are still released while you sleep, to fix the miniscule muscle tears of daily living. But, these hormones are released during the deep sleep portion of the night, which cycles about every 90 minutes. Do I need to say more?

Then, after the 3rd or 4th time of getting up, you go into insomnia mode. Your body, so exhausted, has forgotton how to hit the off button and go to sleep. You lay there thinking "I've GOT to get to sleep" but your brain is thinking "What luck that Classic Merino IS the same dye lot as last year's purchase. Enough to make that basketweave sweater from IK a few years back...but you don't want to hand wash something like that and you have no gentle cycle on the washer in the new house and he won't wear a knit sweater anyway and you don't know any other man you'd handknit something like that for maybe a pair of socks but before you start more socks you've got to finish the ones you've already started and perhaps finish the alligator you started LAST Aug and what colour are you going to paint your toenails cause you can't go to your cousin's weddding looking like a momma of 3, one who only sleeps two hours at the most and are you going to make meatballs or meatloaf with that 2lb beef tube in the fridge oh there's no evap. milk for meatloaf so it's meatballs or a casserole but it's nice out so you should bbq but ground beef falls through the grill and do you think anyone would take the Blue Cheese Hamburgers if I offer them on Freecycle..."

How do you know if you've been successful at the NINO principles? Where' s the check list? Do we get a cap and gown? Obviously, we're still nursing, cause getting up to make bottles during the night sucks (making bottles at anytime, sucks). We've started having some bottles now that she's on 'real' food. There's no way I'd ever WANT to feed my babies bovine breastmilk (formula) as their primary source of nutrition. Last I checked, I gave birth to a human, so I fed her human milk. But since she's eating just about anything (including orange beads, tree leaves, and cherry stems), then I'm okay with some formula. But not soy! Oy! Banned in Britain, should be banned here. We're still babywearing....the collection of carriers has grown...with more in the planning stages. So convenient when we go out, great at home when she's cranky. When she was a newborn, I couldn't understand how parents could leave their awake babies laying in bassinettes, playpens, etc when they're not even old enough to hold a rattle. Sure, a few minutes in the bouncy chair (the most basic one, no toy bar even) here and there...but most of the time she was in her pouch, quietly observing the world within the safe confines of fleece. I swear it helped make her my most social child (any baby could be more social than Lucy was). We don't swaddle anymore, but still do the shushing noise and swaying. I've been swaying so long I don't know if it ever leaves your subconscious. You SEE a baby and start to sway.

One benefit of babywearing that I don't think NINO or Dr. Sears promotes is weight loss. At delivery, you instantly lose about 11-13 lbs of baby, placenta, and fluids. So that leaves another 10-15lbs of increased blood supply, edema, increased uterine muscle and pregnancy fluff. But...strap on a 7lb baby, and your body says "Oh, we suddenly weigh more. We've got to burn more calories!" A couple weeks later, you might have 8 lbs of pregnancy fluff to lose. You put the baby on, and suddenly you weigh 10lbs more and your body says "BURN those calories!". As the weeks go on, you might carry her a little less as she gets more adjusted to the world, so your body is surprised one morning when you strap on an extra 14lbs. You keep surprising your body with an increased weight load, even as your own body mass goes down. Add to that the need for perfect posture when picking things up while you babywear...squats galore! Lunge to the side instead of up and down! Step back and lunge! Feel the burn as you work that butt that usually just provides your cushion as you surf or nurse! Before you know it, you're at pre-pregnancy weight with great buns! But don't stop there....babywearing while exercising (or just babywearing FOR exercise) is fun, socializing, and incredibly effective!!

Has Megan adjusted calmly and favourably to the outside world? All I want is to curl up and not join the outside world for a few more months, LOL. But until I can knit while I sleep, I guess I'll get by somehow.


Ever see someone doing something and you just have to watch because it's mesmerizing to see someone so naturally gifted at something?

I was at Meg's swimming this morning, and I went upstairs to watch, like usual.  During her lesson time, there's also lane swimming.  There's usually only one or two women there, but today, it was busy, and my eyes  were immediately drawn to a man doing laps.  It's rare to see a man there, but this man must have been born in the water.  He was so smooth and even and it looked effortless.  He wasn't going fast, just a steady front crawl.  He was obviously in excellent shape.  I did notice that he wasn't using his legs much, but thought maybe he was focusing on his awesome arms.  Then when he got down towards my end again and did that crazy little flip thing "real" swimmers do, I noticed something blue and white bobbing/around his legs.  I didn't notice it while he was swimming at first.  I couldn't help but watch him swim a few laps; the difference between him and the lappers was enormous (especially compared to the men and women in the slow lane doing the breast stroke....that's got to be the least sexy stroke, LOL).

Then, I noticed something.  He was missing his lower left leg!  The blue and white floaty thing was giving him extra buoyancy I guess.  It didn't matter, I was impressed when I first saw him.  I've always wanted to be a better swimmer, and I thought I might do laps while Meg did her lesson, but I'm both inspired by him, and reluctant to look like a dork.  LOL.

I saw him after we came out, with a pretty wife and two well behaved small kids and a cute little Mini.  Some people are just naturally blessed!   Have you ever seen someone like this?  I also felt this way during the Jason McCoy concert and watching  his McCoy Monday Minute videso on YouTube.  Doesn't hurt that both these men are easy on the eyes :)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Things That Make Rob Go Whhaaaatt??

Rob is not an environmentalist.  He'll burn pressure treated wood, plastic, and styrofoam in the fireplace,  he constantly puts things in recycling that don't belong there, or put recyclables in the garbage.  He hates the compost bins.  While Rob does love the outdoors, he's not about to go chain himself to a tree, or put solar panels on the roof.

I'm not about to chain myself to a tree either, but my geography background involved learning about the environment here, and around the world, and how people and their environment interact.  I have learned about the environmental plights of people around the world.

Recently, we were watching the news, and a story came on that I thought would be interesting.  An area of Kenya was getting home water filters that would mean potable water without boiling it first.  In order to boil water, women and children must first collect or buy firewood.  This is a significant use of their time and meager financial resources.  My first thoughts about eliminating the need to boil water is about the local environmental and financial savings, and of course about the health benefits to potable water (as unsafe water is a HUGE cause of illness and death).  The announcer though, made comments regarding the significant reduction of CO2 emissions from less wood burned.

Of course, the next question is cost.  The announcer said these families were getting the filters installed for free.  Wowee.  Who's footing the bill for this?!  The world's largest producers of CO2 emissions.  Yes, sirree bob!  By buying into this program, these companies can ease their guilt and improve their social standing...while still producing just as much CO2 emissions! 

On one hand, this is awesome.  Getting some of the world's largest companies to use some of their profits to fund development projects around the world is great.  Share the wealth.  For sure.  And this is a great device--minimal investment with outstanding results.  But wouldn't it be great if those companies would also reduce their CO2 as well?  Or just pay for these filters out of the goodness of their corporate hearts, not as a way to reduce their carbon footprint on PAPER only.

Edit to add:  I forgot to include WHY Rob went "Whhhhaaaatt?!".  LOL.  Despite having been in manufacturing, and the plastics industry, and not particularly caring about the environment, local or foreign, even he could seen the absurdness of this venture.  LOL.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Things That Make Me Go Mmmmm?

I finally got around to signing Meg up for swimming lessons since we moved back here.  It's a fairly "new" facility, popular with young families (despite the lack of a family change room).  There is a "parent and tot" class before Meg's and one during her class.  I've noticed that a lot of the new moms (the babies have to be 6 months old) are quite slender, compared to the new moms I've seen in Orangeville.  Maybe cause there's way more fitness/health opportunities here.  Anyway, many of the moms of the older kids are quite slender too.  But of course, not all. 
For week 5, parents are invited to get in the pool with their child.  I thought this was a cool idea; we never had that in O'ville.  But what surprised me?  The skinny moms stayed on deck and the fluffy moms got in the pool.  Fascinating.

The other thing I've noticed?  The strollers.  OMG.  It's crazy!  Those babies, as I said, are 6+months, yet many of them come in, in the carseat in the stroller.   It's surprising, since the parking lot is not big, and they have to wait for a small elevator.  Not only that, but strollers are allowed on the pool deck (you have to go through the showers to get on deck, there's no way to stay dry!).  Some of these siblings of swimmers spend an hour (or more) in their carseats and/or stroller.  Some are bundled up for the outside weather.  It's not surprising that many of them are cranky!  And the ones that aren't cranky have a zoned-out look.  There is one toddler that is allowed to roam the deck, and he is the most happy, bubbly child there.  Co-incidence?