turning our blue day red

indoor days
i am certain that the above scene would have made marko more than a little nervous. him and i don't see eye to eye on the use of paints in the house. i see where he is coming from, why risk such an enormous and unnecessary mess? he says i grab too tightly to hippy ideals. i am not sure i would use the word hippy, but i have been known to utter something about allowing the freedom to express ones self in an artistic way, even if it means splatters on the wall. i should back up and say that i am all about expressing oneself in all kinds of ways, not just artistic, although i won't lie, i get a certain type of joy from seeing my kids express themselves with colour. it wasn't that crazy anyway, there was newspaper covering the floors and the paint was as washable as they as come.

besides, i seriously contemplated, albeit only for a moment, having them both get down on the floor and finger paint together. i would have done it, but the logistics of the after huge mess bath got in the way. that good time may have to wait until spring.


29 months

pouring sand
** if sentimentally saccharine blogs make you queasy then you are going to want to sit this one out, consider yourself warned **

i meant to write this post on monday, but then like most things, i completely forgot. i had to use the fingers on both hands to add up the number of months. i get asked often for the number and every time i have to do the same. no space left in the brain for that tidbit of information i guess, or my brain is easily fooled by how it keeps changing.

as most of you know i don't do these updates on cohen anymore as the blog has become mostly anecdotal. this month seemed like a good time to shake it up though. you see, for the first time in a very long time things have been going well, better than well, i might even use the word perfect (albeit very quietly). for a few months the tv was on around here almost non-stop, i couldn't figure out sanity any other way. these days it is hardly ever on, opting for playing at home or embarking on adventures instead. often the two of them play together in the afternoons while i make dinner, a time that was previously far too difficult to manage without the tv. i didn't think they would entertain each other until she was at least one, but it just isn't the case. they have become fast friends and can't seem to get enough of each other. seeing them laughing at a game of peek a boo, or chasing each other on hands and knees around the kitchen table makes it easy to remember why i entered into this arrangement of insanity. it brings back those feelings from when cohen was brand new, the overwhelming joy that seems to fill you to the edges.

this wasn't supposed to be about me though, it was about cohen.

too busy to look

when i was a child i was shy, painfully so. i would well up with tears at the very suggestion of an uncomfortable situation. i lived more within myself then out wild in the world. reading was my passion. i didn't make friends easy because i didn't have the courage. i always held back. there is still some of that here with me, i'm sure, but i'm not the same anymore. life trains you to change, to adapt. still, i always envisioned my child being quiet, reserved and shy, someone who curls up in bed and reads pictures books all afternoon. it's crazy i know, but there it is. of course cohen isn't this at all. he is more like marko as a child, exuberant, full of life. he lives close to the edge and puts himself out there any chance he gets. every park visit is an opportunity to meet someone new. he sizes everyone up as we approach the playground, and decides who he will engage in a chase or a slide. if his target rebuffs his attempts he just shrugs and moves on to the next. he thrives on making friends. he is brave, perhaps too much so. he always gets back up and tries again, even when he shouldn't. he doesn't like being told what to do, or having his clothes changed. he is fiercely independent and yet he continues to want to cuddle. each morning he drowsily stumbles from his room to ours and climbs into bed next to me, puts his warm little head in my armpit and doses off to sleep for another few minutes. he is easy with his kisses, if you don't ask too much, and when he is in the mood will give a hearty pat with his hugs. he is always challenging me, but he also makes me laugh more than anyone else i know, so i forgive him his stubbornness.

since my last post he has become somewhat obsessed with the fridge, spending a good part of the day opening it and bringing me various items from within it. a plate from the cupboard and a container of yogurt delivered with a grin. when he is not opening the fridge he can be found perched on any of a number of surfaces turning on and then off the light switches in each of the rooms. "on!", "off!", stir and repeat. his other big thing is cleaning and organizing around the house. i know, you are all saying, really? i didn't see it coming from him either. he loves to line all his cars up in one long row with the fronts facing one way, "one car, two car, three car...". he won't sit in his booster chair if there is even a scrap of food from the meal before, and him and the dustpan have become close friends. at the end of the day when it is time to clean up the toys in his room all i have to say is "clean up" and he is taking apart lego and throwing books into the basket. this is such an enormous departure from where we have been that it leaves me a little dizzy. in fact, in general he is becoming so much better at listening and reacting in a timely manner. it is almost as if by learning to switch the light on and off in the house, he was able to do the same within himself.

language is still a work in progress, these things take time. he isn't one to say the alphabet when asked, but the other day while i was doing the dishes he sat at the kitchen table with his cars and sang the alphabet song (it doesn't help that his dad, raised in yugoslavia, doesn't even know the alphabet song). he also counts to thirteen when he is by himself (why thirteen i don't know). in general he won't answer a question or recite anything if he perceives the listener to be too eager. this stands to reason with him though. he is starting to say thank you, well "tank choo" on a fairly consistent basis and "dove choo" which seems to mean love you. so i am pretty sure he will be telling me some crazy toddler stories soon. i can't wait.

this afternoon while ada napped, i thought cohen and i could have our lunch in bed. we were at the library this morning and got a tape on visiting a farm. i made grilled sandwiches, washed some grapes, and brought lunch in on a bed tray. his eyes lit up when he realized that he was going to get to eat lunch in bed. i tucked myself in beside him as he pointed at the tv, and exclaimed "cow! mooooo", his excitement at the world bubbling over. pulling the covers up over my legs, i couldn't help feeling overcome with the enormity of it all. i know it is ridiculous to say, but after dredging through the trenches for so long, the sun seems sweeter somehow, warmer on my face. the best 29 months of my life, no question about it.


did you see what just happened?

last night cohen woke up around 11pm. this isn't so unusual. normally he would start to cry or moan, or he would run out into the living room with an exuberant "hi!". it is the latter that you need to worry about. nothing makes him get back to sleep when he's ready to party. last night was different though. we might not have even realized he had woken up had we not heard the faint pitter patter on the wood floor. he went straight into the kitchen, opened the tupperware cupboard and pulled out one of his cups, then with his eyes still half shut he opened the fridge, pulled out the juice container, and walked over to my desk. he stretched both arms out to me and muttered "joosh". i poured an inch or two in the cup and handed it to him. he tilted it back draining the glass, then handed it back with a "tank you". what came next is the crazy part though, he turned around and walked back to his room, climbed into bed and went back to sleep. on his own. without a fight. seriously?

marko didn't see it all happen but knew he was awake, so he said "you want me to go put him back?". when i told him what happened he said, "what?". what indeed. i like to think it was his penitence for the sleeping week from hell, but i can't help but wonder, do you think there will be a day when that happens all the time? it gives me hope.

**i know this photo has nothing to do with the post, but i like it, so i put it anyway. it is the view from our living room window. the tree is almost naked, which means raking is almost done. phew.


a liquid cure

appah joosh

after a couple of weeks of holding, twisting, licking, shaking and tipping, today she finally figured it out. oh how her eyes lit up as cohen's watered down juice hit her tongue. she's got perseverance, i'll give her that.

out for a walk

a new take on an old idea

through the glass he taunts


if you could only take one

the rain was coming down hard today as i waited in the parking lot outside marko's work. i have only listened to the radio a handful of times in the last five years, having gone full speed ahead with modern technology. it is shameful, i know. the closest i have gotten is subscribing to several cbc playlists. i almost never remember to actually listen to them though, they sit in my itunes for months and months before i get around to deleting them. having a car has changed all that. we do have a six cd changer and a tape adapter for the ipod, but i usually just put on the radio. maybe it is my attempt to stay current with the times, or simply an act of laziness, either way it didn't take long to realize that the radio is fairly awful (exception being the cbc, but often it doesn't do it for me while driving). so today i am sitting there listening to some song i have heard fifteen times in the last week, feeling slightly agitated, and i finally decide "enough!" and put on a disc. it was james taylor.

i don't know what it is about this guy, but he has it in spades. somehow just the sound of his voice takes me to a happier, peaceful place where livin' is easy.i imagine this is what it is like for a baby to put a pacifier in it's mouth. listening to carolina in my mind today i thought of this post over at the cheeseblog. it would seem that in these troubling times as a parent that perhaps music is the thing that takes us back from the edge. i am not going to say he is my favourite, i am not sure anyone is, favourite being the jargon of the young, but i am fond of him, and were i told that i could only have one disc with me on the stranded island, his might be it. i don't even have any particularly pleasant memory that involves him, i suspect it wasn't, and still isn't, cool to admit to liking him. i'd bring him anyway, cause i know that after a few weeks the desertedness of the deserted island would start to wear out it's welcome, the stress would kick in, and i would need sweet baby james to wash over me like a blanket of calm. too much? probably.

so tell me who you would bring if you could only bring one. or tell me why i am wrong and i would ultimately wish i had acdc's back in black with me.


seven months

7 months
if i was going to sum ada up in one word, i suppose it would be strong. since she was just a few days old it has been the one trait that everyone makes mention of, that and her big eyes. she wasn't even two weeks old when she started rolling from her back to her tummy (& immediately refused to sleep on her back), and tummy to back followed shortly after. by the time she was 4 months old she could sit on her own, although there was a bit of a lean, and by 5 months she could get herself from lying down to sitting up with ease. these days she is a master of crawling, so fast that sometimes i lose track of where she is in the chaos of our house and will find her down the hall in the bedroom. always looking for new adventures, she has now branched out to standing, and spends almost all day standing at various perches around the house, cohen's train table, the ottoman, our shoe bench. she loves being at cohen's level, able to get at all of his things. which is ok with him, since they are quickly becoming best friends.

she is strong in other ways as well. at the halloween party a child who looked to be a 18 months grabbed the toy she was playing with, but instead of crying she lunged herself onto the child, tugging on his rhinoceros horn. he cried, then dropped the toy so that he could run to his mom. ada smiled and picked the toy back up. having an older brother makes you more prepared for this kind of thing i think.

she is also strong willed. so far she is the most interested in galena's cat dish, the cord maze under my desk, and galena's tail. no matter where we put her down in the house she will immediately take off to one of these three things. she is determined, and much like her brother, becomes frustrated when her plans are thwarted. lucky for me her scheming is fairly predictable so far, i know it won't always be the case.

this was taken last week. you'll never guess where she learned how to do it...


well on our way to hillbilly village

today we went to trains 2008! it is the third such show we have been to this year, what with a husband who aspires to be one of those "train people" and a boy who runs around all day yelling "choo choo, all aboard!", it was little wonder that we found ourselves deep in the heart of burnaby, basking in the glow of the gymnasium lights. this show was supposed to be better than the others, it was "the" show of the year. i was underwhelmed, if that's a word.

still, there were trains! and they "choo chooed!" so for the boy it was a pretty good time, and really who are we kidding, it was because of him that we went anyway.

one thing that always strikes me as odd at these things though is how abrasive the train men are. sure they are old, having taken up trains as a way to pass the time in their retirement, and so they are more prone to grouchiness, but still, it is a train show with a kidz zone (as a society we really have to stop doing that), there are going to be kids. there were sideways glares and downward smiles at every corner. turns out they weren't super cool with the whole stroller thing. i guess i don't blame them, they are done with kids, they have moved on to trains, and this isn't a game, it is serious business. they don't need little people running around making things fun, someone might have a heart attack.

as you can imagine there was a lot of shop talk, and if you think computer people are the ultimate geeks, you have obviously never been to a train show. however, for all their grouchiness (and i should be fair here and say that not everyone was crotchety, in fact some people were over the top friendly and interactive with cohen), i have to hand it to them, they put a lot of work into these layouts and have found something to keep them smiling (when there is no stroller around, presumably), so good for them. still, i secretly hope that marko doesn't become one of them, although i think he is already well on his way.
hillbilly village


in like a lion and out like an elephant?

we have had the car about a month and a half now, not very long in the grand scheme, and yet sometimes i forget what it was even like before we had it. i can't believe how quickly the progression from refusal to drive, to terrified but out there, to excited at the prospect, to resentful at the chore was. most days it seems like work now, not that i am complaining, i am not, the car has hands down made my life more enjoyable. our mornings are often filled with drop-in gym time at one of four community centres in our area, or science world, and tomorrow morning i think i am even going to go over to the west side family place (as recommended to me by a play gym mom). i have met quite a cross section of women at these places, and have even been accepted into a few groups of regulars. it makes me laugh, seeing myself this way. coffee in hand, kids in tow and a cheery "hello! how was the weekend?" or "how is he making out with the potty training?" so many tips and pieces of advice and knowledge, not just of parenting techniques, but preschools and gymnastics, breakfasts with santas and babysitters. they know the best ones and aren't afraid to share it. my life has opened up to this enormous world of motherhood just by having a car.

i should say that i am not totally open to seeing myself that way yet. you would think that having two kids, and being a stay at home mom would make me firmly grounded in mommy-ness, and yet there is this part of me that resists the identification. i suspect it is more to do with the denial of the other parts, the movie watching, book reading, live music going woman, who has an opinion about lots of things that have nothing to do with children, things that just never seem to come up at play group. still, it is nice to have others around that are going through the same thing. it is also nice to have somewhere to go where i can set the toddler loose and tire him out so that he passes out upon our return home.

one of our favourite community centres has become sunset. it is a beautiful new building with tons of natural light in the gymnasium and unlike some centres, their drop in equipment is always very clean and my kids never get sick. it is here that i think we might sign cohen up for preschool, and it was here that we spent the morning on halloween.

i think it might be the best community centre function we have been to. it was $3 for cohen to get in, and it included a ton of fun things. there was a pirate bouncy castle, and since the party was for preschoolers there was little worry of cohen being pummeled (and only a small worry about him pummeling someone). it had a hug slide you needed to climb bouncy steps up to. it was a dream come true. he would go in the little door and bounce bounce bounce and then up to the slide and weeeeeee. over and over and over. then there was face painting (which we skipped) and a bunch of play equipment (which ada loves), an area where you could decorate a sugar cookie with 5 different coloured icings and a plethora of sprinkles, they even supplied juice boxes to wash the cookie down. there was a crafts table with sparkles and cut outs and markers galore. they even had a table for the adults with free coffee, fruit plates and baked goods, all from desirable bakeries in town. then, to top it off, on our way out they gave cohen a goody bag with some candy, a sticker, and a child's toothbrush.

it was funny to see all the bouncy castle kids in their plush outfits, sweat dripping down their foreheads as they frantically scratched their hot arms and legs. by the end most people had taken the costumes off and there were kids running around in pajamas, or tights, or whatever they had on under there. it was easily the best two hours october had to offer.

i considered staying in at night, having been to the other community centre party last friday as well, but in the end i thought it might be a good opportunity to meet some neighbours and see how they celebrate it here on the south east side. we only went down one block but it was enough for cohen to master the "trick or treat" as well as the "thank you!" which really was music to my ears (thanks for encouraging him grandma). i was worried that he would realize it was candy in his bucket and would pitch a huge fit for it, but he seemed oblivious to what was actually in the bucket, he was far too focused on the other kids costumes and remembering his lines.

the night ended with us eating some pumpkin pie i made from a few sugar pumpkins i roasted, drinking beer and eating candy with a couple of our friends and my mom, while giving out candy and wearing masks for cohen. if you like pie, i highly recommend that recipe, it was the best pumpkin pie i have ever had. honest.

so our first halloween in the house was a success and the masks have finally been put away for another year. now we move on to the raking of the leaves. gulp.