Wordless wednesday – winter wonderland
When boots go walking
Weekends have become more chaotic for us of late. The lils are in hockey, so we spend many hours at the rink between Thursday and Sunday. Saturday is generally the busiest day, as the lils are on the ice in consecutive (and EARLY) timeslots. It means that we go as a family, and I hang out with whoever is not on the ice, and Willy hangs out with the lil on the ice, as he is also helping to coach both groups.
While having both of us at the rink means that no one ever sleeps in, it does mean that we can work together to get the lils on and off the ice with all of the gear that they came with. The dressing rooms are packed with tiny hockey players whose gear, at times, literally flies off. It helps to have that extra person to verify that everything that arrived at the rink leaves the rink.
Willy took Woo to hockey solo on Sunday morning, as Goose and I were at home putting the finishing touches on her birthday party. Timing was tight, as Woo was on the ice until just before the party was to start, but he and Willy made it home in record time, largely because they elected to have Woo come home in his gear. He walked in the door and the gear explosion happened here, so it was easy to see that everything made it home. After the hockey bag was stowed, I tidied up his coat and boots, never noticing that the boots that came home were not his at all.
I must have looked at the boot mat forty times over the course of the day as I welcomed Goose’s friends, tidied as their tornados blew through, then as I helped them get dressed to leave. Never once did I notice that the boot were very similar, but not Woo’s. These were older, more worn and had a slightly different pattern on them. Neither of us noticed until Willy got a message from the other boy’s mom, letting us know that she had Woo’s boots, so we made the second switch later that night.
When Woo woke up the next morning, he was very amused to hear of all the switching that had happened. He too, was unaware that the boots were not his. Apparently we are not the most observant family in the world, despite the fact that the boots have very visible labels from our friend Mabel inside each foot. They were what his teammate’s mom used to identify the boots as ours. Thank goodness for our friend Mabel, these boots are just the latest items that have made their way home to us this fall, all because they were marked with Mabel’s label. Here’s hoping the hat that Goose lost tonight is the next on that list!
Wordless wednesday – Frogs
Happy Birthday! This morning I lay in bed willing you to awaken, so that I could give you your birthday kisses. When you finally woke up you told me that today is your “high five” birthday, then offered your hand for a smack. Today started with a smile, as do most days with my little sunshine.
Watching you grow and develop over the last year has been a treat for your dad and me. You have settled right back into life in Canada, even though you weren’t so sure about the snow and cold at first. You love school and learning with your friends, and are eager to practice with us at home. It is such a joy to watch how much you want to learn, and enjoy mastering new things. Math is your current favourite, followed closely by practicing your writing and reading.
Your best friend and partner in crime is still your big brother. It is great to see you two have so much fun together, “adventuring” your way through the days. You are very much an independent girl, one who likes to both hang back and observe what goes on around her, but who will also dive in and lead her peers or her parents!! One of your defining traits is your fearless nature, evidenced by the way that you boldly wander into caves, run full speed into fields of sunflowers that tower over top of you, and call for the boat to go faster, faster as you zoom around a lake on an inner tube! I love to see it, even if it does make my hair turn gray! You are also a very loving and giving little girl, which makes me so proud of you!
Your joy for life is infectious, regardless of whether you are skipping down the street to soccer practice, laughing hysterically at your own jokes, chanting encouragements to your hockey team on the ice, or riding downhill as fast as you can on your bike. I can’t help but smile when I am with you.
Hope that this day and the coming year are wonderful for you!
A year of Goose
First snow in a long time!
Learning to skate
Fun at the sugarbush
There was a little bit of dandelion picking
Morning cuddles with the hockey highlights
They call her Rapunzel
Dance like no one is watching. Od like everyone is watching!
This past Saturday was like most of our Saturday mornings; it started with an early morning rise and the four of us heading to the rink. I’ve secretly longed for these mornings, even though I know that they mean the end to sleeping in for the foreseeable future. It pleases me greatly that both lils want to play hockey. Neither Willy nor I played much as children, but have both grown to love it as adults.
Goose skates first on these mornings, followed immediately by Woo’s age group. When she is finished, we either hang out and watch Woo, or find something to entertain us in the lobby. This week, we had just gotten into the lobby when one of the dads from Woo’s group passed by. He noted that she was in her long johns (which she wears under her gear) and told her, unprompted, that “real hockey players don’t play in their pajamas.”
Poor Goose’s reaction was telling. Her face fell, and all the joy and excitement that she derived from the hour on the ice was gone. I looked at him angrily and dismissively told him that she IS a REAL hockey player, then turned to face her and talk about the awesome hockey that she has been playing. It took a little bit of convincing, followed by a little bit of lobby hockey, but she moved on and was thankfully unaffected. The dad went away without another word, and I am somewhat glad. As restrained as I was, I had a few more choice words that were just itching to be said.
I’d like to think that it was just a stupid comment, made by someone that just didn’t think before he spoke, but that just gives him a pass that he doesn’t deserve. He may have been having a bad day, or trying to be funny, but that doesn’t matter. His comment belittled both her choice of clothes, and her identity as a hockey player. It was mean, especially to a child who is not quite five. I’d can’t help but think that he wouldn’t have said that to a little boy, as much I hate to think this is because she is a girl.
What he doesn’t know is that I have spent a lot of the last year convincing Goose that girls do play real hockey. She knew she loved to play with us at the house, but the only ice hockey that she saw, especially when we were in India, was NHL hockey. She was shocked when I started going to the rink last fall, as it never crossed her mind that any girls played. From there it took a work to get to the fact that little girls play. She was super excited to sign up, but is now one of a few girls in a mixed group of about sixty little people. She feels that she belongs here, and shouldn’t have anyone telling her otherwise.
In the end, Goose is still happy to be playing hockey and seems to have forgotten all about the comment. Several of my friends with older girls in hockey have offered to have them mentor Goose to ensure that she continue to see girls in hockey, something that I am very grateful of. I’m still irked and a little sad that he made the comment at all.
What they think
My lils have had a happy existence to this point. They do what they want, when they want, with little care as to what anyone thinks. Despite the fact this means that they don’t care what I think, it’s actually worked in my favour on more than one occasion. They both pretty much do, go, and wear what I want, providing I can convince them that they are making the decision. I generally accomplish this by offering choice where the outcomes are generally all acceptable to me, or so stacked with options that I know they would hate that they fall into line. It’s worked pretty well.
Then came grade one, and Woo found himself in a new class with no friends. He had to make friends, to get noticed, and he started to learn about making a good and a bad impression. He started to care about what they thought, and it started to affect his choices at home. It all made sense when I tied it all together, fighting me about wearing warm clothes for our walks to school; claiming that no one else in the big yard was wearing snow pants, balking at the inclusion of a Fancy Nancy book on his reading list, afraid that others might see that one of their nighttime stories was “a book written for girls”, and having our goodbye hug move farther and farther away from his classmates (it’s now off of school grounds).
These changes have been an adjustment for me too. I’ve started to work in discussions about when and why we should care about how others think, why it is important to stay true to who you are despite what others might think, and how there are no “girl” books and “boy” books, but I have also been trying desperately to see how I can use this to my advantage. I thought that I was on to something the other morning when I tried to motivate him to get dressed by threatening send him to school in his pajamas if he didn’t hurry. Although I didn’t say it, I was certain that he would be horrified at the thought of having his classmates see him in his PJs.
Apparently it is every child’s dream to go to school in their pajamas. Back to the drawing board for me.
Wordless wednesday – mad scientists
Wordless wednesday – Hallowe’en
We read the Junie B. Jones story where she loses her first tooth in May, before either lil had lost a tooth. They were instantly fascinated, not by the money that came from the tooth fairy, but by the tooth-shaped necklace that Junie got to carry her tooth around in when she lost her tooth at school. Woo and Goose thought that was the coolest thing EVER, but didn’t actually believe that this cool necklace could exist.
As luck would have it, a boy in their class lost his tooth at school that week, and, much to their surprise, he got a necklace. When Woo saw this, he became focussed, jiggling his one loose tooth only on Monday through Thursdays; hoping that he would lose it at school. Sadly for him it came out at home and he missed out on the necklace. His next few teeth fell out over the summer, where there was no hope of a necklace, so we all pretty much forgot about it.
Forgot, that is, until Goose lost her first tooth at school a few weeks ago. She was so pleased with that little necklace. As soon as Woo saw it, he became a boy obsessed. He had one wiggly tooth left, and he was desperate to lose at school now. Woo started wiggling it all the time, a fact that was not lost on his teacher. Woo started coming home with helpful tips on a fairly regular basis, all of which were attributed to his teacher. Some of my favourites include; ‘I need to eat an apple, it will knock it out’, ‘the apple that you sent in was too soft, it won’t knock it out’, ‘I need to hold the tooth with something to get a better grip’, ‘I could tie something around the tooth and yank’, and ‘maybe Daddy will help me pull it out’.
Just when I thought we were going to hear that Woo could tie a string around the tooth and a doorknob, it happened.
I am certain that no one was happier to see an end to all that wiggling than Woo’s teacher, likely because Woo’s desk is right beside the teacher’s desk. Little does he know that Woo did not offer the tooth up to the tooth fairy tonight. He’s a big fan of the necklace, wants to keep the tooth in it, and maybe start wearing it to school every day. If I don’t let him do that, he is proud to report that he has two more loose teeth now.
Why go half way?
Hallowe’en has always been one of my favourite times of the year. I love to decorate, to carve the pumpkins, to give out candy to all the neighbourhood children, and now, to walk through the neighbourhood with my children. It can also be a scary time for me, not because of the ghosts, ghouls, and goblins, but because Woo has a serious and life threatening allergy to peanuts.
Luckily, both my children are very aware of what to watch for in their candy, and know that they need to go through it with us to remove any dangerous candy before the consumption free-for-all begins. Last night was no exception, and the sort started within seconds of our return home. The fact that many companies are labelling their treats with the “peanut free” symbol has been very helpful to us, both for the sort, and the stash that I keep at home to trade with Woo (and Goose, who generally avoids nuts in solidarity with her brother). I only buy these treats to give out, knowing that the extras will be traded for Woo’s nutty candy. As the mom of an allergic lil, I appreciate the labeling.
Unfortunately, this year, the labelling led to more confusion than anything else. Of the three different brands of candy that I purchased, the acknowledgement that the candy was peanut-free was only contained on the big cardboard box containing all the individual sized treats, meaning that individual products that were mixed in to all of the lils loot bags in my hood, had no indication, either way, regarding the safety of the product.
In one case, Smarties*, the treats came in both hallowe’en-themed and regular-themed packaging. The hallowe’en-themed boxes had the peanut-free symbol, the same sized regular packaging did not. Smarties are produced by a company that also uses nuts in some of their products, and I know that some other sizes of Smarties are NOT nut free. Given that they are a family favourite, we are careful. In his haul, Woo ended up with a full sized box; which the company acknowledged “may contain” peanuts and the snack sized Smarties. Given the inconsistent labelling, I contacted them to see what was safe and what wasn`t. They assured me that all the small-sized were nut free, and cautioned me to always read the labels. Unfortunately, the wording on both the small and larger boxes was equally devoid of any warning or confirmation regarding allergens.
A second brand of chocolate bar, Mars, went to the trouble of printing a warning referencing the fact that some Mars products may contain peanuts, but failing to state whether the bar in my hands was peanut free. I assumed it was safe, but wanted to be certain, so I called them. These bars were, so I asked why the warning was so vague. When pressed, they offered feeble excuses as to why the bar was not labelled nut-free, including a ridiculous claim that the packaging could get ripped if the bars were sold in a bulk bin, which could lead to contamination. It was a frustrating call.
I understand that the risk of contamination from a lot of these products is really low, but I always choose the peanut-free option, due to Woo’s age and the severity of his allergy. I really do appreciate that manufacturers are making the effort to separate the manufacturing processes, and to put labels on the products, but they really don’t have to make it so difficult. The labelling should be the easiest part, especially if they have gone to the trouble of making the products nut free. If it is not clear, then what is the point? In the end, it took me less than 20 minutes on the phone to figure out that the three brands that Woo cared about were all safe for him, and one company to acknowledge that they have plans to improve the labelling in the future (Smarties).
*All of the products mentioned above are the Canadian produced products, and my interactions with the producers only concerned the Canadian products and packaging.