Daily Archives: January 11, 2010

Fifty-Five Months Old!

It was Christmas, which always kind of decimates the January monthly post. The boy had a terrific holiday season, ranging from Santa to various parties at school and with friends, such as the godfamily singalong. He helped make cookies and pies, and to prepare meals, and was very helpful in general. He really got into the spirit of things, and having a four-year-old child in the house means you can’t help but get into the spirit along with them. He’s still a little unclear on the concept of a secret, though, and was so excited that he would often run up to people and say, “We got you a present, and it’s [insert gift here]”. Fortunately we did a lot of clapping hands over ears or mouth, and what bits of information managed to escape were either missed by the giftees or were about gifts the recipient already knew about.

He was terrific about opening gifts this year. Last year he was ill and lost interest in the process, and at recent birthdays he’d been more excited about ripping the paper off and seeing what was inside before jumping immediately to the next gift. This year, though, he returned to his previous behaviour of opening and playing with the item inside, exploring it thoroughly before moving on to the next thing. Unless it was clothes, of course, which didn’t interest him much at the time, but he was been enjoying them very much as we take new shirts and socks out of the drawers come time to get dressed of a morning. He got piles of new books (we had to remove the basket of toys on the bottom shelf of his bookcase in order to make room for them), clothes, and a few very carefully selected toys. This was a Star Wars Christmas in a couple of ways: we got him the Clone Wars animated movie, and the local grandparents gave him a ship from the Clone Wars line. It was also a Lego Christmas, as he got kits from the upstairs neighbours, the Oakville grandparents, and MLG.

And holy cats, the progress he’s making on following directions in those kits. On the harder kits we’ve been getting him to sort the blocks and help put together the simpler parts while we assemble the bulk of the unit, but he got a kit of small work vehicles on Christmas day and he pretty much followed the pictograms to assemble one on his own, being talking through the harder bits by myself or HRH. It’s thrilling to watch that kind of thought process, the ability to turn a picture into a fine motor process with actual three-dimensional items.

He got very upset about our Christmas tree. You see, we left on the 23rd, and there was no point leaving it up while we were gone; for one thing, it would be prime cat disaster material, and for another, it would be a fire hazard. We got it early in order to enjoy it for two weeks, planning to take it down the night before we left. The boy cried and cried, and said that he wanted to keep it, and that Santa had to put presents under our tree. (He was going to put presents under the tree at the house we’d be in on Christmas, we pointed out, but this did not calm the angst about whose tree under which Santa would be placing whose presents.)

It’s winter, and there’s snow, which means he’s ecstatic about being outside and rolling around in the stuff. Back when the local grandparents bought him the wagon for his second birthday, we asked them to get one that could be converted to a sled of sorts by switching the wheels for skis. For the first time this winter HRH swapped them out, with the boy’s help, and the boy has been gleefully dragging it all over the yard. They took it down to the corner store, and while it bumps and scratches on the barer patches of the sidewalk it really flies when it’s on snow. It’s like a new toy. Also in backyard news, the slide from the back deck has been built again, this year with extra banking so that when the boy goes down on his saucer he really zings around the perimeter of the yard and ends up pretty much at the base of the stairs to the upper apartment. He only has to get up, grab the saucer, and drag it a couple of feet to the deck stairs, drag it up the steps, and he’s ready to launch himself off the back deck again.

His nap is officially being phased out. He naps only twice a week at school now, otherwise staying awake through the general rest time in another room with an educator and his best friend at preschool, working on letters and words and reading. Unless, of course, he very obviously needs a nap, in which case he has a lie-down. At home we’re playing it by ear. If he’s running on high, then we do the nap thing in order to give him a break. If he’s fine, then we carry on without it.

With zero surprise to any of us, the new TMBG album has been a super hit. So much so that after owning it for three days he was singing a good chunk of the songs and acting out the videos. They’re doing a dinosaur unit at preschool this month, and he informed one of his educators that he was going to be a paleontologist when he grew up. “Ah,” she said to the educator who had been running the material, “so you’ve gotten to the paleontology part of the unit?” “No,” said the dino-unit educator. “We haven’t.” And they both just looked at the boy, who went on to burble happily about what paleontologists do.

We’re about to embark on the kindergarten open house merry-go-round, which terrifies me to a small degree. I happened to see an ad in the local paper for one this past week, so I casually looked it up and discovered that kindergarten registration happens at the beginning of February. In two weeks. With education being a provincial responsibility, and children being on the civil roll, one would think the government would think to point out the necessity of upcoming registration via mail, but apparently not; one is supposed to pick this up by osmosis or something. Perhaps daycares generally mention it, but the other kids in preschool with the boy have siblings so everyone else knows, and mentioning it to us may have slipped his educator’s mind. We’ve already missed the open houses for the more exclusive schools (last November, how helpful), so now we get to catch what we can. And there’s the added tangle of moving at an undetermined time this summer to be closer to HRH’s job (and oh, the money we will save on gas alone) so will there be problems registering for a school in anther zone and under another school board’s aegis while we’re still living here? The Internet is remarkably unhelpful in this respect. Actually, the Internet is remarkably unhelpful about the whole kindergarten issue; I am mostly directed to contact individual schools. Which makes a certain amount of sense, I suppose, but isn’t comforting at all for someone who likes to research intensively before walking into an actual person-to-person encounter. I hate not having information. I’m also told by the Internet that I should have obtained a certificate of eligibility for instruction in English a year ago to make sure we have one on time in case there are bureaucratic issues, which is not constructive in the least. If I don’t know I have to do it, I can’t do it. It will all work out, I’m sure. I’m just going to quietly deal with anxiety attacks here in the corner until it is.

And finally, the other big news of the month is the removal of the back of the car seat to make it a booster seat only! This is a huge relief for everyone. The boy is at a height and weight where it’s possible, and it’s much less fuss. We’re all thankful.

Weekend Roundup

After being sick for a whole week, I’m grateful for a fabulous weekend. Friday was good; I ate bland food cautiously, but did a whole editing pass on the cello manual, got an hour and a half of practice in, yogaed, and even played some Wii sports that night after the boy went to bed (had the achy muscles the next day to prove it, too).

Saturday morning I had my first cello lesson of the year, and it went well. This may have had something to do with the hour and a half of work I did on Friday reacquainting myself with book 3, or the beautiful weather (cold, but sunny and still) but whatever the reason, I was in a terrific mood, and pulled off a decent Gavotte. We then filled my slate with working on the musicality of the Gavotte, the 3rd pos Ruined Castle tonalisation, and the Boccherini minuet. (Good grief, what is the Boccherini doing so early in book 3?) And with the pile of work we have to do for orchestra, that’s going to be plenty. When one’s teacher shakes her head over the orchestra material and says, “This is going to be a challenging programme,” you know you’re in for it. I’ve been very afraid to look at the orchestra material. As much as I love it all, it’s hard, and I know that means I will love it less very soon, and least of all right before the concert. It will take a couple of months before I enjoy it again.

I also have to keep reminding myself that the work I’m doing in the Suzuki material is supplementing my orchestral development in particular, and my musicality in general. It’s not like I’ve never used third position, or extended shifts, or seen these keys before. I’ve reviewing things I’ve learned elsewhere, and using simpler pieces to work bits of technique and provide a relatively easy environment to play with musical expression. I need to get past the oddness of telling people that I’m on book three, but I’ve been playing for fifteen years. (Whoa; I just checked, and I started in July 1994. That means we’re rapidly coming up on sixteen years.)

I’d intended to run a couple of errands on the way home but I’d forgotten that I’d have a cello in the car, so I rescheduled them for later in the day and made a cake when I got home instead. After the boy’s nap we all headed out for the errands and checked a couple of shops for a Star Wars action figure the boy has been hunting for, I made a pile of photocopies at the office supply shop (and picked up some tags for my skeins, although I forgot the larger binder I needed for my cello lesson material, grr), and then we went to the library. I scored a pile of books, among them a new Timothy Findley collection. One stops watching for new books to be published when an author dies, so this one slipped past my radar when it came out in 2004. Hurrah for libraries that actually keep up on Canadian lit! This is called Journeyman, and is a collection of articles and personal journal entries by Findley and edited by his partner, Bill Whitehead. It’s a nice companion to In Memory and From Stone Orchard.

The boy and I mixed a rub for the pork roast when we got home (dijon, flour, salt and pepper, various herbs) and the boy painted it on very intently. Then we made icing for the cake and frosted it (with an icing-sugar rescue from the upstairs neighbours, bless them). The boy put sugar sprinkles shaped like yellow baby chicks on the top (part of an animal set we’d bought to decorate one of his birthday cakes; the set had fish, dinosaurs, pigs, and chicks) and was delighted with the effect. The roast was fabulous, but the potatoes not so much; they’re a floury potato instead of a waxy kind, so I didn’t get the texture I was going for at all. And the gravy separated when I put the cold juices in, almost curdling, and it never got back to what I wanted it to be, either. It all tasted fine, of course. The cake was delicious, and was 95% gone twenty-four hours later.

Sunday morning we made pancakes for brunch, and then Ceri picked the boy and I up and we went to Ariadne Knits, our favourite local yarn shop, to play. I registered for the Spinning 102 class at the end of the month (exotic fibres, open to wheel spinners, not just spindlers, hurrah!), petted the Hound spindles but was steadfast in my resolution to not try one (the fifty dollars can go other places, like towards that workshop, or fibre, or, you know, groceries), and got most of the order I’d placed in November! My tencel and oatmeal BFL came in, as did the BFL/silk blend (soft, soft, soft!), but they’d been sent the wrong size of high-speed bobbin, alas, so the one thing I was really, really hoping for was not there.

We knitted for a while and chatted with MA. I worked on the boy’s scarf; he did one whole stitch on his own and then bounded off to play with storage cones again. The boy played very well with the toys on the shelf and the books (“Can you read this to me, Mama?” “Um, it’s German.” “Oh. Then I’ll read it.”) and the games on his camera. When it was time to leave he reluctantly got dressed and packed to go, and when we were home we hauled Ceri in for tea and cake, and we all knitted some more. I have now knitted back all the stuff I’d frogged on Mum’s silk scarf and beyond. There’s only 0.2 of an oz left (which is what, five grams?) and while that sounds like nothing, it’s a pretty fine yarn and so there’s more than you’d think. That tiny ball of yarn feels like it hasn’t gone anywhere, though, which is understandable, I suppose; after knitting a couple of feet over Christmas I ignored it for a week, and then adding and frogging fiveish inches this past week means it’s stayed pretty static overall.

I decided to make spaghetti for last night’s dinner, and that was delicious, too. I have just discovered that crushing a final clove of garlic and stirring it in just before serving the sauce adds a very nice flavour. It was a very good weekend food-wise… no, it was a good weekend all around. I’m very thankful for it; I really needed one.