Perspective

This week has been busy. It’s been a short week because of Thanksgiving, so it hasn’t been any busier than any other week, really. It’s just that everything we normally do in five days is compressed into four, and although it’s no more to be done than in the average week, it just FEELS like it’s more.

But it’s after a long weekend — one, for us, that included travelling to the States and back, being witnesses to a car accident here in town, doing loads of laundry, the full bath-and-hair meal deal for Stinkerbelle on our day off, and getting lousy sleep despite more time to actually get sleep — and so that always comes with a feeling of let-down. The lousy sleep thing in particular is really getting to me, so when Tuesday morning rolled around, I was exhausted to the point of tears.

But there were appointments to go to and Stinkerbelle needed to be ferried to school afterwards. I took the opportunity when I dropped her off at school to have a quiet word with her teacher, to let her know about some upcoming appointments. I also wanted to let her know that That Girl has been struggling socially, being excluded from play by her classmates, and had spent a couple of recesses sitting alone on the grass in the schoolyard with nobody to play with. Continue reading

And Just Like That, It Was Over.

Our vacation in Nova Scotia is done for another year. Too quickly, as usual. And I has a sad.

We had a nice vacation, with warm sunny half-days which meant SWIMMING! We visited with family and ate far and away too much food. We had many movie nights, wherein:

  • we watched The Thin Man series to the delight of all;
  • we redeemed Uncle Randy’s faith in the Spider-Man franchise;
  • we made Grammy too excited by battles with Orcs and the like to sleep; and
  • we confused Grandad with our occasionally appalling taste in British comedy movies.

Continue reading

Saturday Smile: Surprise!

So, no pictures today. Because WE ARE ON HOLIDAY!

Remember, I mentioned how we were going to take Stinkerbelle to visit her Grammy and Grandad and aunties and uncles and cousins, as a birthday surprise? That we had planned everything without mentioning a word to her, so we could surprise her?

Well, our plan went PERFECTLY.

Yesterday, Stinkerbelle went to school, as normal, and while she was away, BDH and I packed our suitcases and carry-ons and got ready for a week away. Meanwhile, at school, the teachers (who knew she was going to be away on Surprise!Trip), were having a birthday party for her! So when BDH picked her up from school, Stinkerbelle declared it the Best Day Ever.

She had no idea what was in store. So on the ride home from school, they picked up some take-out burgers, and over lunch, we asked That Girl if she’d like to go on an ADVENTURE.

Of course she did!

We said we should probably take a BUS on our adventure, because we’d never gone anywhere on a bus before, and Stinkerbelle agreed. We also thought we should have backpacks for our adventure, and the suitcases we said were bags full of “adventure gear”, just like she sees on Zoboomafoo. So when the Airport Transit van came to pick us up, she just got right in, no question.

Apparently, she thought the adventure should be exploring a cave, and she told everyone that that was where we were going. Thus, as we rode the hour and a bit to the airport, she was growing increasingly more peevish and complaining about the lack of caves.

Until she saw the airport, that is, where she put the cave idea aside for a little while, and asked if we could go look at some planes. We thought that was a good adventure. So in we went.

All the way along, BDH had been quietly telling people — teachers, transit drivers, airline staff — that this trip was a surprise for Stinkerbelle’s birthday, and it was quite unexpected and quite lovely that people had been going out of their way to help play along with the plan. So, at the airport check in counter, where they offered to “take care of” our “adventure bags” for a little while, the lovely staffer asked if we’d like to go for a plane ride. Stinkerbelle OF COURSE said yes. So she printed off a “boarding pass” for That Girl, and a “baggage tag” for her giraffe backpack (with Stinkerbelle’s name and big hearts written on it) and off we went.

We got on the plane, and once again BDH mentioned, on the sly to the flight crew, what our plan was. They immediately played along. One, named Maureen, bought chips and pop for Stinkerbelle from the snack cart, which was a treat. And then she asked That Girl if she would like to help her out by being a Junior Flight Attendant.

OF COURSE SHE WOULD!!

They took Stinkerbelle to the galley, and they made an announcement — that this flight had a Very Special Guest on board, named Stinkerbelle, and it was her 5th birthday next week, and she was going to be a Junior Flight Attendant today. Then, they got That Girl dressed up in a little WestJet apron and some gloves, and she helped Maureen go up the aisle and collect all the trash from the snack service. All the way along, passengers were fussing on That Girl, saying what a good helper she was, wishing her a Happy Birthday… and one, who owned a McDonalds, even gave her coupons for free burgers!

Stinkerbelle was BEYOND thrilled. She was beaming. Three things she loves — being social, helping tidy up, and being the centre of attention — were making this the Best Day Ever. She loved it.

But it was not done yet. At the end of the flight, once we were at the gate, Maureen said that Stinkerbelle could go up and sit with the pilot. So off she went, where the pilot fired up the plane again so all the lights and dials would come on. He got her to pull on the steering and turn it and so on, and took pictures, and she had a grand time.

But that was the end of the flight, and so we said perhaps we’d get a bus home, and maybe have some supper and watch some Doctor Who. Stinkerbelle thought that was an excellent idea. So she hugged Maureen, said thank you to the other flight staff, and high-fived the pilot, and off we went out into the airport.

Now, for all Stinkerbelle knows, an airport is an airport is an airport. She doesn’t know between Hamilton or Toronto or Halifax. So as we walked through the airport, after getting off the plane, she thought we were on our way to get a bus home. And, as we went down the escalator, BDH had the video camera out and interviewed her about her day’s adventure.

She had no idea who was awaiting her at the bottom of the escalator, and it was only once we got through the doors and into the baggage claim that she saw her Grammy and her Uncle Mike that the jig was up. She ran, ecstatic, into Grammy’s arms, for big hugs, and then hopped and danced with excitement that WE WERE VISITING GRAMMY AND GRANDAD!!

She had had NO IDEA. Not a one. We had pulled it off. And it was the Best Almost-Birthday Surprise Ever.

Although her birthday is still a few days away, I hope she loved her present. And although the trip home will likely not be as magical, I hope she’ll be able to remember this particular birthday for years to come..

Sneezing and Sneaking

Well, it was inevitable. After BDH and Stinkerbelle both getting a cold two weeks ago, and me sitting there saying HA HA I REFUSE TO HAVE THIS BASTARD COLD, what happens?

I got the cold. Actually, it came on like a Japanese bullet train. Last Thursday morning, I got up and exercised. Fine. I had breakfast. Fine. Took That Girl to school around nine o’clock. Bit of a sore throat. By noon, I was sneezing my brains out. And by five PM, I was ready for bed.

And, to add insult to injury, it had snowed that day, and when I was going to pick Stinkerbelle up from school, I slipped on a patch of ice and hurt my back. So that was fun.

But in spite of that, our week has been ticking along fine. We’ve been doing our thing, working and school and whatnot, busy as usual. I’ve had quite a few projects on the go at work keeping me pretty busy in my non-Stinkerbelle-maintenance hours. I’ve been running errands and the like as well when she’s at school. And BDH and I have been determinedly working our way through THE ENTIRE The West Wing when we have some TV-watching time.

BUT. There is something on the horizon. Something coming. Which is very exciting.

I am only telling you this, Dearest Internet Peeps, because I know you can keep a secret. And also, because Stinkerbelle cannot read yet. So.

Stinkerbelle’s fifth birthday is in two weeks, and we are — AS A SURPRISE — flying her to Nova Scotia to visit her Grammy and Grandad and family. And to have a party.

She has NO. IDEA.

We’re going to drop her off at school in the morning, and while she is at school, get our bags packed and into an airport transport van. And then when she gets home, we’ll just get into the van and she will have no idea what is going on. Until we get to the airport.

And then she’ll positively flip her lid with excitement. Which is kind of the point, really.

Five is a big deal. She’ll be going off to Big Girl School in September, and we wanted to do something a little special. And, because she tells us almost every day how much she misses her Gram and her Grandad and her aunts and uncles and cousins, what could be more special than partying it up big time with them?

That’s what we thought too.

So, there’s lots of preparation that has to happen before then. Like I said, I have some BIG projects at work to get done. I’ve had to online shop for birthday presents and then get delivery without her being aware of it. OMG laundry like whoa. Cat sitters to be arranged. Teachers must be informed of absence. The house has not been cleaned since Chretien was PM. And all on the sly, without Herself knowing.

This, on top of the MOM MOM DID YOU KNOW THE EASTER BUNNY IS COMING HE WILL BRING ME CHOOOOOOOOCCCCCOLLLLATTTTE that’s been going on for two weeks AT LEAST. And has also required some on-the-sly stuff as well.

It all kind of adds to the excitement, really.

So, yeah. While it has been busy, it’s starting to get crazy fun busy. But if we can get through this weekend, and all the cleaning and laundry and organizing that has to happen, without spilling the beans, I will be happy.

As I mentioned, THIS IS A SECRET. I am counting on you to KEEP IT UNDER YOUR HAT. DO NOT LET ME DOWN.

 

Birthday Dance Party

Today is BDH’s birthday. So, OBVIOUSLY, it’s a dance party day here at The House of Peevish.

We started with one befitting the day:

Then moved on to one of Stinkerbelle’s recent favourites, that she can move and groove to all day. Which she did, playing it about four times in a row.

Then we have to have one to get us all dancing (and if I am honest, one of Mom’s favourites too):

And then one because it’s just so silly. And because That Girl and I love to sing it in the car.

And finally, this. Because we’re going off the rails on a crazy train, Sir.

Happy birthday to our Big Damn Hero! Lunch, or even dinner. Saturday. Beef vindaloo. Magical ice cream for That Girl. It’s a date!

About A Balloon

Yesterday, Stinkerbelle and I came home from school at noon, as we normally do. After we got our coats and shoes and bags put away, That Girl ran into her playroom to play, while I went into the kitchen to start making lunch.

She came into the kitchen all sad, with a seriously deflated purple balloon. She asked me to fix it and I said I couldn’t. But we normally keep a little bag of balloons in the junk drawer, and it takes a matter of moments for BDH to blow one up. (I, the asthmatic, am full of FAIL at balloon inflation.)  So, I suggested, maybe she could ask Daddy to get her a new one when he came home.

So she left the kitchen. And she fussed with her toybox for awhile.

A short time later, I saw that she had gotten her (disconnected, cast-off from Dad’s computer) computer keyboard out of her toybox, and brought it into the kitchen.

I asked her what she was doing. She told me she was typing a message to Daddy so he would fix her balloon.

“Good idea”, I told her, and left her to type while I finished lunch.

She typed very intently and then said “All done!” and put away her keyboard. She had “sent” a message to her dad to tell him about her sad balloon.

Off we went then, to have our lunch, and afterwards, for Stinkerbelle to have her nap.

When she got up from her nap, she came into my room and saw me typing on my laptop. She held up one finger very purposefully and told me that SHE had typed a message to Daddy about her purple balloon, for when he comes home.

“I see”, I said. And quickly fired off an email to let BDH know that he had been messaged about his balloon.

We went downstairs, so that I could start planning and preparing for supper while That Girl played with her toys. She went into the playroom and saw her sad balloon and burst into tears. I told her not to worry, because she had told Daddy about it and maybe he could fix it.

She got her keyboard out, and again set to typing ANOTHER message to Daddy.

Meanwhile, I messaged Daddy again, lest he did not know about The Balloon Disaster yet. He did, and, asking me to check that we had balloons in the junk drawer, made plans to “fix” her balloon. He asked me to put one out in the mailbox, but when I mentioned how it might not be good to have it out in the cold waiting for him, he changed his mind.

I went back to preparing supper.

Stinkerbelle did not forget about the balloon, however, and periodically mentioned her balloon and her messages to Daddy. Then, as he was on his way home, she went to the front window and began calling out “DAAAAADDDY, WHERE AAAAARE YOU” and “CAN YOU FIX MY BALLOOOOOOON PLEEEEEEEEEASE”.

Finally, I had to put a stop to the calling and the typing and such, and get Stinkerbelle started on dinner. She burst into sobbing. “Daddy’s NEVER coming home again! He NEVER fix my balloon!”

I got her calmed down by putting on some video of herself, dancing. Nothing That Girl enjoys more than video of herself.

Just then, Daddy came home. She ran from the table to greet Her Hero, who was holding a shiny red heart-shaped helium balloon and a plate of Valentine’s sugar cookies.

He had stopped at the grocery store to get Stinkerbelle a balloon, but found that the florist dept. (which sells the balloons) was closed. He had the manager called down, who explained that the floral department had recently changed hours and closed at 6 pm now, a full hour previously.

The manager left, and BDH found himself explaining the story to one of the checkout ladies, who ALL know Stinkerbelle well and fuss on her whenever she’s in. Just then, one of the senior checkout staffers, who ALSO knows Stinkerbelle well and has a dance party with her whenever she is in, stopped by and heard BDH’s story about the sad balloon and the emails from That Girl.

“Oh, just go cut him one of the display balloons!”, she told her colleague.

And with that, Stinkerbelle suddenly had a bright, shiny heart balloon. Free of charge, because they wouldn’t take any money for it. (BDH felt grateful and slightly guilty, so he bought the plate of cookies to make up the difference.)

Now, That Girl has a balloon that she loves (well, two actually, because BDH blew up the one in the junk drawer, just in case), and a Daddy she knows gets her messages that she needs his help. (And, as it happens, a couple of friends at the local grocery store who get them, too.)

Random Tuesday: Peevish Edition

Today’s randomness is brought to you by Kleenex,  Advil Cold & Sinus, and general lethargy and peevishness.

  • Yeah, but when MY kid does it, it’s CUTE: So, my kid is in swimming lessons. The class is small and the goal is to get them to start swimming independently so parents don’t have to go in with them anymore YAY NO MORE GOING OUT IN PUBLIC IN A BATHING SUIT FOR ME. Generally speaking, the moms and kids are really nice. But one of the kids is an older boy, and he’s FLAILY. He loves swimming, but he flails about and splashes everyone within a 15 foot radius of him. And that is usually ME. I’m getting a little tired of it, to be honest. The kid splashes me more than my own kid, and I’m working directly with her, and she’s jumping in and kicking and stuff. Am I being a bit of a petty speshul snowflayk?? Yes. Yes I am. But I’m giving this kid such a wide berth that I’m halfway across the pool as it is. If I get any farther away I’ll be in the dressing room.
  • Can I get fries with that? Or a steak?: We’re jumping on the whole Meatless Mondays bandwagon here at the House of Peevish. Yeah, it’s good for the environment blah blah blah, but really, we’re in it for the (albeit tiny) health benefits. Well, I am anyway. BDH is dubious about the whole endeavour, and Stinkerbelle’s all WHATEVER PEANUT BUTTER IS NOT MEAT. But both BDH and I could stand to lose a few pounds or 50, and he’s a diabetic and I’ve got high-ish blood pressure so, you know, we both need to change our lifestyles to benefit our health. So this is a good first step. I was, in various phases, an ovo-lacto/pesci-/vegetarian for most of my 20s, so I’m not so much caring about cutting out meat. However, I was a BAD vegetarian, sick all the time and eating really badly, so the challenge for me is to find good, tasty, balanced meals for us that won’t put BDH off entirely. And that aren’t just pasta or soup. (And not salad, because I am not a fan.) And then, if this goes well? Maybe two days a week. BUT LET’S NOT GET CRAZY HERE, PEOPLE.
  • I can only shout so much: My kid has language delays. Production, receptive, you name it, she’s behind in it — all part and parcel of her oral-motor issues. And for the most part, it’s fine. She’s doing well in school, she’s happy and healthy, and we’re not going to sweat it. EXCEPT. In our day-to-day life, we have to change our ways of communicating. We have to speak slowly, and simply, and deliberately, and allow for lots of processing time. We have to use gestures, and modeling, and repeat, repeat, repeat. But sometimes, on better days, you find yourself speaking like one of those stereotypical “tourists abroad” — if you’re in a foreign country and someone doesn’t understand you, you speak LOUDER AND MORE SLOWLY AND WITH RIDICULOUSLY EXAGGERATED E-NUN-CI-A-TION. On the not-so-good days? You find yourself shouting from the sheer frustration of saying the same thing over again for the 10th or 15th time. And you begin to get angry that YOU’RE NOT LISTENING TO ME, when it’s not that at all; rather, she just can’t process what you are saying in the way that you are saying it. Those? Are not our best parenting days ever. Those are the days when you end up crying in frustration and self-loathing because you have lost patience AGAIN and blamed your kid for something that is NOT HER FAULT.
  • Why not “Happy BirthWEEK”?: Today is BDH’s birthday. But, schedules being what they are — BUSY — he picked up his own present, an iSomethingorother, last week sometime. And then we went out for a birthday lunch on Saturday after dance class. Also, I had bought steak to cook a special dinner, which he ended up cooking on Sunday. And today, we’re just having a regular meal, but we have birthday cupcakes and a few other little treats as well. And, because Stinkerbelle loves nothing more than to sing “Happy Birthday” and blow out candles and eat birthday cupcakes, no doubt we’ll do the cupcake thing again tomorrow, too. If we plan well, we could make this birthday last until November.

Corners, and Turning Them

Thank you to all for your good wishes. I can report that after a fairly scary morning yesterday and more surgery yesterday afternoon, Stinkerbelle’s beloved GrandadGrandad is resting as comfortably as can be expected, after significant surgery and two weeks in hospital, and two and a half weeks mostly without food.

He’s been a tricky patient, our GrandadGrandad. Just when we think he’s on the mend, something else comes up. We’ve done the surgery! But now you have an obstruction. Yay, blood pressure is up! But you’ve got some serious jaundice there, pal. Okay, you can eat! No, don’t eat anything. You have to get up and walk around! No, you have blood clots and fluid in your lungs so lie down! You’re mending well after surgery. Whoops, your bowel isn’t healing up and there’s a leak somewhere. Okay, time to sit up! Hey! What are you doing sitting up?

He turns a corner one one issue, only to duck down a side alley of complications.

He’s had a hard few weeks. So, when Grandad said “I hope you’re here to take me home” to BDH after yesterday’s adventures… I’m guessing he’s had enough of the hospital experience, thankyouverymuch. I’d say he’s sick of the hospital food but OH YEAH HE HASN’T BEEN EATING FOR 3 WEEKS. (But what he did eat was pretty bad.)

So I did what I think was necessary yesterday: I threatened him. Oh yes I did. ALRIGHT MISTER MAN TIME TO GET WELL. DON’T MAKE ME COME DOWN THERE I WILL KICK YOUR BUTT. Tough talk? Yes. But I think it was effective.

(Bah, who am I kidding. All I did was sit here on my butt with assorted kids watching movies and manning the phones. He did all the hard work himself, I can’t lie. Plus he knows I am the Queen of the Idle Threat by now.)

Anyway, we are cautiously optimistic after yesterday’s surgery. Time will tell. And if not, it’s not like I can play the tough talk card again.

OH I KNOW! I will go down there with another bagel with cream cheese and a coffee, and lead him out of there like the Pied Piper.

I’m just crazy enough to do it, too.

Confession Friday. Ish.

Okay, it’s not Friday. But it feels like I have had two Thursdays and gone straight to Monday.

I confess:

  • …that I am not at home.
  • …that at noon on Thursday, BDH phoned and asked if I wanted to go on a road trip to visit his family, especially his father, who has been in hospital for two weeks. And I said yes.
  • …that we got in the car in Guelph on Thursday at 9 pm and drove straight through to Windsor NS, arriving at 6 pm yesterday (Friday).
  • …that we got in the car and drove after a full day of work (BDH) and childcaring/preparing to travel (me). And that was also after a short, poor night’s sleep on Wednesday night.
  • …that I slept for 15 minutes in New Brunswick somewhere. BDH did not sleep at all.
  • …that Stinkerbelle was a champ in the car, and was cheerful and happy and didn’t fuss almost the entire 19 hour trip. And she slept only 3-5 hours.
  • …that we were exhausted on arrival, and crashed hard into bed here in NS by 9:00 pm.
  • …that we got up and out by 9:30 this morning and drove into Halifax to visit Grandad in hospital. And that was well worth the trip.
  • …that it’s always wonderful for Stinkerbelle to visit her grandparents, whom she loves more than she can say. So it’s also well worth the trip for that.
  • …that I am very tired and am going to nap now while Stinkerbelle naps and BDH takes his mom out to buy groceries.
  • …that if I am not online a lot for the next week or so, you will know why.