Friday, September 28, 2012

The Rite of the Happy Meal

There are certain things I dreamed about doing as a parent. Ordering a Happy Meal was one of them. Mini fries and chicken McNuggets are my rite of passage. As a parent, I have proudly earned that badge and I wear it with pride. Another is buying and/or making Halloween costumes. I remember last year, J and I saw this ridiculously cute costume for E that was of course way overpriced. We passed. That night, I tossed and turned. I wanted that costume, dammit. We came back the next day, plunked down $29.95 (plus $5 extra for the tights) and that girl was the cutest gosh darn watermelon you ever saw. As badly as J and I wanted our children, I can also match how badly I want and can't wait to do things with them.

Today I thought it would be great to buy a mini pumpkin and have Birdie finger paint it as his 10 month old way of decorating it. Target had the mini pumpkin but when I went into the art and crafts aisle for finger paint, I was greeted by THREE different kinds, and all of them said, "No Mess Finger Paint" on them. I stood there quizzically... until I snapped out of it and realized E was in the next aisle over, with said pumpkin in hand, rolling it on the floor like a bowling ball, and L had pulled down a hanging display of glue sticks. Back to the finger paint. Each boasted it's own qualities: use me on special paper and the paint appears! clear! dries quickly! But, it was their rite to make a mess, I thought. I don't want clear finger paints that only show up on special $8 paper as much as they don't want it. We want REAL finger paints!  After my mini-tantrum, E handed me a package of window crayons as if to say, Umm, here Mommy. Point taken child.

Having another kid means being able to relive those rites of passage over again, through new eyes.

Halloween here we come. ;)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

10 Months

I've been back at work 19 days now. I am homesick. Sometimes, I can actually hear Birdie's giggles and little snarfly noises then I realize it's all in my head. He echos like a song you can't stop singing or a jingle that you can't shake. My boy sticks with me.

He celebrated the big 1-oh today (10 months that is). Recent accomplishments include standing for 10-20 seconds unassisted and banging on anything he can get his hands on to achieve that satisfied, "I can has make noises" face. Love it. Walking is not too far behind and although I am never one to rush things, I am excited for the dynamic it will create between him & E. Right now they are so cute when they play together, walking would just take it to a new height (no pun intended).

First birthday plans are in full swing. In my next life I hope I'm an event or party planner.

I really can't believe he's going to be one soon.

My heart is full. :)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

34 years, a Hug, and an Idea

My Grandfather, Birdie's Great-Grandfather, started a gifting tradition when my brother and I were first born. Every year for Christmas and birthdays we would receive a set of proof coins from the Canadian mint. At the time, my brother and I would do nothing more than admire them in their velvet boxes, which would give off that distinctive crack! when you snapped them shut. Over the years we collected and stored them and eventually when I moved to the States, a few made it with me, with others still left behind, tucked safely away for when I am ready for them. My Grandfather's rule was simple: I could cash them in whenever I wanted but he wanted me to cash them in and use the money for something that would give back to me. Examples of this were a down payment for a car or a house, or some sort of investment. I agreed.

Back in April, I had a "dream" about my Grandfather... I don't receive visits from him often, but when he comes, he comes in that blissful middle place right before you are sound asleep yet on the verge of possibly still being awake. It's that middle place where the most delightful times occur. This time was no exception. He came and hugged me and in light of everything that has been going on with my family and some tough times we (particularly my Mom) had been sharing he told me everything was going to be okay. He also told me he had an idea and I would know it later.

When I awoke that morning I hadn't immediately remembered his visit and it took me the better part of the morning to snap to and have that "Oh yeah!" moment. As soon as I remembered his visit, I had an idea. Born in Poland, his Canadian citizenship was something he valued and treasured a great deal and as much as he displayed his proud Polish heritage, he was thrilled and honored to be a Canadian as well.

That afternoon, after telling J my plan, we took 2 of the coins he had given me, dating back to 1978, and cashed them in. I took the money, bought Logan's passport (E already had hers), went and had 4 very precisely measured photos taken, and applied. It came on Friday in the mail... L & E are both now Canadian citizens.

34 years later, I don't think my Dzia could have ever guessed that his investment to me would allow me to have my children, his great-grandchildren, obtain something so precious and so valued.

Well, Dzia, I have followed your rule, your gift lives on...

thank you.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Drinking It In

On the eve of tomorrow (also known as the night before the first day of school with kids), I found myself extra sentimental and nostalgic (and a friend of mine on Facebook said the same thing so it must be going around). I found myself wanting to photo.graph.ev.ery.thing. Birdie's toothbrush laying in the sink? That could be a photo. His trademark amber necklace hanging off the edge of his change table? A landmark opportunity. The diaper wipe I used to wipe his face after dinner smooshed into a ball sitting on the place mat? Legendary material.

In the end, I didn't take a single photograph.

Living on the East coast, we have 4 seasons just like I had in Western Canada, and one moves with the times: color changes, new fragrances, and the general holiday mix that creates a particular holiday swill. Right now, I am forced to drink that swill and I am more than okay with it. I even got a little giddy when I pulled out the purple corduroy pants for E and gasp! was able to use L's Fall jacket during a particularly heavy downpour last night. Sometimes swill can be good. It moves you forward, nudges you ever so gently until you realize you cannot wait to make crockpot applesauce and good GOD you will be the first one on that hayride at the orchard.

Back to the photographs. After much deliberation, I decided not to take those photographs because after even more deliberation, I have decided to take the Fall semester off from my Doctorate. I have too much to do and experience between now and Christmas and I will resume my studies in January. The decision (although still awaiting official University approval) doesn't mean that I have to take fewer photographs, but it does mean I will get to experience a little more firsthand for a few more months.

In other words, I get to take another sip.

Hang on, it's a fun downhill ride to Christmas! :)

**Update: my request was officially approved!