Thursday, September 3, 2009


Claira was making ice cream cones out of play dough the other day. She was so excited, bringing them to me each time for a pretend lick. I said to her that maybe she could work at the ice cream store when she gets bigger, and scoop ice cream for real. She stood in the middle of the kitchen for a moment or two while I buzzed around her. Then she said in the quietest voice, almost to herself "but then you won't have a little girl any more". I picked her up and smothered her with kisses while trying to hold back the tears. She bounced down and kept making ice cream cones.

The next day, I was telling the story to mom and dad. When I got to the part of what she said, I asked her "what did you say?". And with that kind of voice you get when you are trying to be really strong, but you cannot hold back the tears, and your words come out only in parts because your throat is constricting from the crying, she said her little part "I won't be your little girl any more". Yikes. I was done. I was crying, mom and dad were crying, Claira was crying. I haven't made her tell the story again. Such a precious little thinker. I wish for a teleprompter at times like that.

i forgot

I forgot how much I love crawling babies. I forgot how dirty their knees get. I forgot how the tops of their socks get dirty. I forgot how they kind of go backwards when they are trying to crawl quickly. I forgot the look on their face when they peer around the corner. I forgot the screamy giggle when being chased. I forgot the little bit of trepidation in their eyes when setting out on a long journey across the grass. I forgot. How could I?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Finally in charge

Most of you know that sweet Claira has had a cranky few weeks. When looking back over the time, we are certainly able to see why. Poor little girl. There have been many late nights. She has had tons of fun but no routine. She has been eating nightmarish meals (I assume all responsibility). The other night we were eating lovely fresh potatoes out of mom and dad's garden and Claira wanted to take the peeling off. We overheard her saying "I can't find the tab to pull it off". Phil commented that maybe we have had a bit too much fast food!

So…for the past three days it has been "boot camp" around here. A healthy breakfast with very little sugar. A walk to the park with lots of fun playtime in the fresh air. A healthy lunch with whole grains, protein and some fruit. An outing in the afternoon with an exit strategy if her behaviour deteriorated. I make sure she has snacks and a glass of milk or water ready before she begins to unwind. Supper carries the expectation of sitting down until she is finished (no more wandering to and from the table), and a healthy dessert. And finally, an early trip to bed where she can play and talk and read for a few minutes before laying her head down in happy sleep. The days have been lovely, and I finally feel like I am in charge of things.

I did a bit of meandering online, and found some food items frequently listed on the "no-no" lists. They include hot dogs, any meats with nitrites, heavily coloured foods, foods with hidden high sugar, juice, and overly processed foods. Salty foods are not great, as they make kids thirsty for sweet drinks. None of these are a surprise, but when I took the time to think about it, many of them had snuck into our daily routine.

I am trying to make a list of healthy snacks or lunches that I can refer to when I am staring into the pantry. The list I have come up with so far includes:
- whole wheat crackers or noodles
- fruit cups, canned in juice is better than canned in light syrup - not the best for the environment though
- tomato soup with pureed vegetables added (easy when there is a baby around eating pureed veggies!)
- chicken noodles soup with more water and whole wheat alphabet noodles added (cuts down on the salt, adds fiber)
- fresh fruit and veggies (of course!)
- yogurt - works as a fruit dip too
- smoothie - now that I have a magic bullet!
- oatmeal - homemade so I can control the sugar
- cooked chicken (buy a rotisserie chicken to have on hand in the fridge)
- pasta salad with whole wheat noodles (mixed with regular noodles is a good idea)
- cheese is also great, but Claira made a decision that she does not like it. Maybe if it came in the shape of Tigger or Dora or something…

I find it has been really helpful to make up a plate for Claira at snack time, rather than giving her an entire bag of animal crackers over at the painting table for example (did i say that out loud?!) and then to sit with her while she eats. Easier said than done, but it helps her eat.

My next job is to find some healthy homemade cookies recipes.

Now… your job is to help me by adding to the list. Just add a comment with 1 or 2 or 30 ideas. [Mom - you need to add your ideas too] Can't wait to read read read!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Claira right now

40 months old. Claira is a mixture. She is wildly exuberant. She will jump up and down squealing when daddy comes home. She will throw uncooperative things across the room. Today it was a small ribbon that she wanted to hold in her hand and it kept popping out. She will holler "I am SO mad" when she is perturbed. And yet she is quiet. She will hide behind me when someone new comes around. She will sit silently watching the scene unfold when she is in any group activity. She is a big talker. She will tell me all the things she is going to do (today it was to ride the neighbor's motorbike all by herself) but when opportunity arises to talk with the neighbor (don't worry, she will never ride the motorbike!), she is silent. Sometimes she talks like a one-year old, particularly when Nate is needing attention. Other times she talks like an eight-year old, "I am really tired, mommy. I had a really busy day today".

She is getting better at playing by herself. The other day I found this little stack. She had folded all the cloths ("corner to corner, side to side" she chanted as she did it. thanks Gina!) and stacked them in her little play house so her stuffies could get cleaned up after their lunch.

I am often not sure how to best handle sweet Claira, but I trust I will know when I need to know. She is so spirited and I never want to crush that.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Nate right now.

Eight and a half months. He loves his sister, and starts smiling as soon as she comes in the room. If he sees her picture on the fridge or on the computer screen, he lets out this low happy chuckle. When Phil or I come near, he will hold up his little hands and open and close his fists really quickly as if to say "hurry, pick me up, quick". He is a monkey too. Today he had a toy in his hand while I was changing him. He was banging it on the wall so I took it and put it in the hand furthest away from the wall, but he just rolled over and continued banging while keeping one eye on me to see what I would do. He comes alive at 8:30pm - talks non-stop, bangs everything, laughs continually, makes funny noises with his mouth, rolls all over the place (no crawling yet), and watches for people to come close so he can laugh with them. He does this for about an hour before he starts to wind down for the night. He is the most contented little fella, and I hope he knows how much we all love him.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Today I would like you to meet some of my friends. I encounter them every day. They are the places I stop on the web each morning as I am feeding Nate his morning milk. (Take a look over there, to the right, under "favorite places". That's them, right there) I visit many more places, but these folks have persisted through many changes to my Google Reader.

I have no idea of the etiquette of including links on my little blog, but I hope someone (maybe a sister-in-law) will enlighten me if I have stepped over a boundary. 

Each of these people create things, or find things, or do things, or see things, that charm me. They inspire me, but also humble me as I madly dash around trying to pick up stuff I just picked up yesterday. I am not sure how these people do what they do, but I admire them. 

Take a look. Enjoy each of them. 


PS - Just heard about September Issue. Can't wait.

Saturday, July 4, 2009


Claira has a book about Hanukah. Somewhere in the book is the word "blessings". When we were at the mall today she asked me "What is a blessing?". I assume she has had this question on her mind for awhile, but I am still not sure why it popped up when it did. I told her that they were good things that we have, and I gave her one example. I think I said something like "Daddy is a blessing, because he is a good thing that we have". For those of you who have spent any moments with a 3 year old, you know that they never tire of asking the same question over and over. She proceeded to ask me about 30 more times "what other blessings do we have?"

There we were, sitting in the food court, at a table for two, eating chicken strips, thinking of all of the blessings that we have… 

What other blessings do we have?
Your cousins are a blessing to you, because you have such fun with them.

What other blessings do we have?
Grandmas and Grandpas are blessings, because they are so much fun.

What other blessings do we have?
Natey is a blessing to us, and he loves you so much.

What other blessings do we have? 
You have aunties and uncles that love you so very much.

What other blessings do we have?
We have a lovely house with lots of toys and a back yard.

…finally, after this went on for some time she looked at me and asked: "Am I a blessing?"
When I responded "yes, honey, you are a big big blessing to me", she looked at me with her smile. It is impossible to describe, but it is a smile of the deepest satisfaction and contentment possible. 

I hope I never forget this conversation.