the material girl screwed up my travel plans

My sister is going to be at my Mum’s for a very brief visit on her way to NZ, so we planned a trip to the mainland this coming weekend to see her. Elliot, Amy and I took the ferry over today, and Greg’s going to join us tomorrow evening. So take note: there’s a two-to-one child-to-parent ratio happening here.

We went to preschool this morning, then left Oak Bay at about 11:30 for the 1:00 ferry. As I approached the highway sign that displays the ferry information, I barely scanned it, confident in the fact that we’d have no trouble getting on the 1:00 ferry.

Wait (squints her eyes), does that say “1 Sailing Wait”?? Not possible. Yes, possible. And underneath that, additional information saying that the 3:00 was already 58% full. Cheepers! There goes my Macdonald’s stop. And OMG, what am I going to do at the ferry terminal with two kids, in the rain, for almost three freakin’ hours?

I briefly wondered why it was so busy, but then remembered tonight’s Madonna concert at BC Place. If I hadn’t remembered, I would have realized some concert was happening once I got on the ferry, based on the fact that 95% of the ferry passengers were dressed to go clubbing.

So, what does one do for three hours at a ferry terminal in the rain with two kids? We went to the bathroom (with three of us, that took a bit of time), we got hot dogs and chocolate milk (with the amount of people there, that also took a bit of time), and we played with the touch screen TV and learned a bit about British Columbia. But most of the time was spent sitting in the waiting room watching the big trucks drive into the ferry terminal. Thankfully Elliot loves trucks and Amy doesn’t care what she does at this point in her life, as long as she’s fed.

It really wasn’t that bad. And the actual ferry ride was fine. There weren’t a lot of two and three-year-olds going to see Madonna, which meant there weren’t a lot of kids in the play area, which is always a better situation for Elliot. He actually played with one little girl, Emma, for quite a while, and Amy enjoyed watching all the movement.

We arrived safe and sound (but tired) at Mum’s, had the ultimate comfort food for dinner — homemade mac and cheese and homemade bread — and the kids were in bed before 8:00.

And I’ll be in bed before too long!

i am nuts

I’ve decided to unofficially participate in National Blog Posting Month. Because I’m going to have so much time, what with all the purging, packing and parenting I also have to do in the upcoming month.

My only rule for myself, other than blogging every day in November, is that I have to say something of note. It doesn’t have to be anything eloquent, or anything lengthy, but it does have to be actual content.

I was also thinking of giving up chai lattes for the month of November, but that would be going overboard.

it does have a happy ending

The saga of the washing machine continues. It turns out the new washing machine drains a LOT faster than the old washing machine, and water was spewing out because the drain pipe was plugged. This wasn’t apparent until the new machine was installed.

I had Roto-Rooter come this afternoon to snake the pipe. He couldn’t snake it, so he ended up replacing it. All seemed fine, and he filled up the machine to test it. I opened the lid while he was still here, and the machine was filled with brown water. He insisted it wasn’t anything he did, which seems plausible as he wasn’t messing with water coming into the house, just out of it.

I called the city, and they had me run the tub for 20 minutes. I did that, and it’s now mostly clear. Clear enough to wash clothes, anyway. I’m not sure I want to drink it yet.

I guess it was just a weird coincidence. Makes me realize that I sure take clean running water for granted.

he IS a delightful child

I am still learning how to live with my son and his tentative nature. It’s not specifically the tentativeness that is hard, I think given any noticeable personality trait I’d still be learning. Last week we went to two activities which have made me think more about Elliot’s nature and how I react to it (both internally and externally).

Wednesday’s activity was a visit to a friend’s sportball class, which had about eight kids and at least one parent per child. When we arrived, the room was empty and Elliot immediately started running around. The instructor soon arrived with some balls, gave one to Elliot and he started kicking it around. I was impressed with how comfortable he was. The class started off with circle time with some songs and a story, and Elliot was interactive with the instructor, which was surprising. It usually takes him much longer to warm up.

Then the actual sportball activities started, and he started to withdraw. The first activity was to run and stop when the instructor whistled, and Elliot would have nothing to do with it. The instructor tried to engage him, but that never works with Elliot. It wasn’t until the balls came out that he started to engage again. (As I write this, I’ve had a bit of an epiphany. In music class last year, Elliot didn’t get involved until the instruments were handed out. In swimming lessons, he’s often happier if he has a toy in his hands. Something to remember. There might be security in having something else to focus on.)

But back to sportball. Elliot eventually participated in each activity, but it always started with him withdrawing. And whenever the instructor tried to talk to him, Elliot looked down and seemed angry (I’m pretty sure it’s not anger, just a deflection technique, but on the outside he looks angry.) To the instructor’s credit, he did a great job at trying to engage Elliot, but he didn’t push too much. I wish all instructors were as good with Elliot as he was.

At the end of the class the instructor and I had a short discussion about sportball, and for some reason I felt I had to explain that Elliot was shy. Elliot wasn’t even the subject of the conversation, it just came up when he asked me about the instructor we’d had when Elliot did sportball last year. I feel this need to explain my son’s behaviour, and I don’t like it. I don’t like the “shy” label, and I don’t know why I use it.

Thursday’s activity was the Oak Bay “Pre-preschool” program, which has about ten kids and one parent per child. This week was our second week. Things were moving along quite well until circle time, which is at the end of the hour. Elliot likes it, and he quickly sat down in the circle when it was time. But they start with Ring Around the Rosie, standing up. And Elliot does NOT like this. I knew he wasn’t going to participate, and I didn’t push him. But the teacher kindly asked him to move so he wouldn’t get stepped on, and he lost it. Lying on the floor, crying and screaming kind of lost it. I was a bit shocked. He started telling me he wanted to go home, but I didn’t want to leave.

One of the other mums offered to take Amy (thankfully) so I could pick Elliot up. We walked away from the circle and I tried to figure out what was wrong. Difficult for a two-year-old to explain. My guess was that too much attention was focused on him when he was asked to move, but it really wasn’t that much attention. He did eventually calm down and we re-joined the circle. He didn’t participate in much, but he did peek around the boy in front of him so he could see the story being read.

So…the point of this post? I have realized that I’m not as accepting of his nature as I thought I was. My gut reaction is to try to explain away his behaviour as shyness and tentativeness. Yes, these are some traits of his, but why do I feel the need to “explain away”? Why not just accept him for who he is?

And my son’s nature is in no way a reflection of my parenting. The sooner I can learn that, the better. What IS a reflection of my parenting is how well I can support him through the difficult situations that he faces, where I draw the line between encouragement and pushing him too hard, and how I accept him for who he is. I’ve still got some work to do.

not quite there yet

It’s been two weeks since I’ve been able to do laundry in my own home. Our washing machine bit the big one, major symptom being water spewing out the back of it. Thankfully the basement has a concrete floor (and thankfully this is not our house).

We had a repair guy in who said it was the transmission, and wasn’t worth fixing. So we arranged to buy my sister-in-law’s extra machine. But that meant waiting a bit for it. The first weekend I went to the laundromat. Efficient but expensive. The next weekend I took six loads of dirty clothes to Nanaimo and spent Thanksgiving Sunday doing laundry.

We arrive home after Thanksgiving with the new washer, and Greg and Jim were pretty quick to install it, thankfully. Tuesday night I’m totally psyched about doing laundry in an almost new machine. I get it started, only to realize the drum is off center and I can’t use it. BUMMER. Greg and Jim didn’t know what was wrong, so I called the repair guy again.

He came this afternoon and got it fixed up for us. Woohoo! I got a load going and Amy and I oohed and aahed about how big the new washer is, how carefully it agitates the clothes, and how quiet it is. Okay, Amy didn’t care, but I was sure excited.

Twenty minutes later I decided to check out how things were going. I got downstairs in time for the rinse water to start draining, just before the spin cycle. I heard an odd sound…a sound of water gushing. Hmmm…not good. I checked out the back of the machine, and sure enough water is spewing out. Not out of the machine this time, but the hose. And yes, you have to wonder at this point how much water is already on the floor from the wash cycle draining.

Can I just say SHIT! at this point? I’m so frustrated. I’m pretty sure it’s just an installation issue, but why didn’t I get the guy to check it while he was here? Now I’ve got a washer full of clothes and water (again), and I’m back to not being able to do laundry.

Do you suppose a third service call from the repair guy would be free?

she’s going to leave a big hole

We had our sons five weeks apart. We had our daughters four months apart. We talk on the phone almost every day. We see each other at least twice a week, sometimes more. We helped each other through that first emotional year of being a new mum. We commiserated over how little sleep we got (and we commiserate now over how little sleep we’re getting with our daughters). We have shared so much, and in four days she’s moving to Ontario.

I’m going to miss you, Jen. Very, very much.