Sunday, December 31, 2006


We watched the Spengler Cup on TV today. The Swiss team was playing the Canadian team, and Pat Quinn (ex Maple Leaf head coach) was there. This was significant because I am Swiss (and Canadian) and much of my maternal side of the family still resides in Switzerland. My uncle happens to love playing and watching hockey.

The Swiss won.

The Canadians lost.

My uncle was probably very ecstatic.

My hubby less so.

My hubby loves hockey. He played till University when he hurt his back. Now that we have a (gasp) son, there have been some subtle attempts at getting him introduced to the world of skating aka hockey.

Benjamin is only 21 months old. But he's go this ITEC helmet and his double-bladed bob skates, and a nice Team Canada jersey as is evident in yesterday's Bleeding Lip post.

There are several rinks, including outdoor ones, within walking and driving distance to our house. We went to an outdoor rink right next to the very moody lake Ontario.

The skating itself was a non-event. There was a very distracting huge big orange tractor-like machine sitting next to the rink. This captured Ben's attention beyond anything that was happening on the ice.

We'll try again next time, maybe inside an arena.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Bleeding lip

My toddler managed to cut his lip open today.

It's not the first time this happened to him in his young, 21-month old life. But it is more serious than last time. Not so serious to warrant a visit to the emergency, but plenty of crying and a bit of blood. No lost teeth though...

This is what happened:

He pushes this little three-legged stool around the house because it makes noise and seems like fun. Until one of the legs catches in the vent built into the floor (our house was built in 1950), and the stool falls sideways with the baby landing on top. Naturally one of the legs catches him by the mouth and somehow causes his lip to burst open.

It didn't help that the little monkey didn't want to nap today. Add (+) tired baby to (+) pushing furniture at high speed around the house and that inevitably equals (=) ACCIDENT.

I should have paid closer attention.

The last time he cut his lip open was on his first day of daycare. If I recall correctly (and I do since I documented this event), he didn't sleep that night. At 17 months, he had accomplished many tasks, including walking up and down the stairs fairly competently. How was I to know that he would pick his first day of daycare to fall head-first down the steps and cut his lip open? Well, he managed to do exactly that. But there was a lot less blood than there was today, and I made the decision to take him to school regardless.

Today's accident is likely not going to be his last one. He has recently acquired a hockey helmet, double-bladed skates, and a Team Canada hockey jersey.

I say to myself:

Welcome to the land of boys.

Or is it, toddlers?

Either way, I'm bracing myself for the unpleasant experience of seeing my baby meet with various types of accidents again.

Friday, December 29, 2006

More with the pipi

He says:

I made pipi toilet

This is a fib. He made pipi in the bathwater exactly 22 seconds prior to proclamining the above statement.

I was there. I was the one who helped him climb onto the toilet, and I was the one who helped him get off the toilet when he said no moy pipi.

I was also the one who saw him pee into the bathwater. He smirked and I was too slow picking him up and placing him back on the seat.

Oh well.

So we had a little conversation about the pipi here and the pipi there. Me sitting on the toilet lid beside the tub, and him sitting in the pipi-bathwater.

He thinks it's funny.

The saga continues.

Childhood then and now

The past

Part I

Once upon a time there was a little girl who enjoyed doing arts and crafts. Both her parents were creative types and evidence of their creativity surrounded the girl and her siblings throughout their childhood.

The little girl lived in an apartment building with a storage locker in the basement. Her father transformed the locker into a type of craft room where he used to fix odd items that get broken in a home with children.

There were times when the little girl and her younger sister would accompany their father down to the locker in order to do some crafts.

But the preparation time was always a big ordeal.

First, the girls' hair had to be tied back. Then their sleeves had to be rolled up well past the elbows. A plastic apron, or to the older girl's horror, an old shirt with buttons from her father, had to be donned. God forbid the clothes would get dirty or splashed with paint.

The little girl tolerated these antics because she didn't know any different. She heard it time and again that one had to protect the clothes, the hair, and keep the surroundings clean.

Years went by. The little girl grew up and became a mother herself. She is exposed to many situations where both her child, and other children around her, are doing art and crafts. She recalls the moments of preparing to go down to the locker vividly, especially during the times when her own child, or another child, doesn't go through the same preparatory ordeal that she did back then.

But she does not remember any of the crafts that were created in the storage locker. She does remember the horrid shirt with buttons, and the discomfort of having her sleeves rolled way up past her elbows.

Part II

One time, the little girl and her sister went to a community centre to do crafts with modeling clay that had to be baked in an oven when completed.

The little girl remembers clearly that there was ample sawdust around, although today as an adult, she doesn't remember why it was there or where it came from. She figures there must have been some wood working going on nearby.

The two little girls created birds out of clay, and ashtray-like containers. There were ladies there that supervised the children, and took over the dangerous activity of placing the finished clay items into the oven to bake.

The sawdust that was piled in little heaps nearby intrigued the little girl. After creating some clay items as per the lady's instructions, she walked off toward such a pile and sprinkled some sawdust onto her clay creation.

The lady's reaction surprised her. Apparently this is not something that is done. Sawdust does not belong on clay.

The lady scolded the little girl for ruining her clay item, and made the little girl feel bad.

To this day, the little girl who grew up into an adult, does not recall an explanation as to why she should not have sprinkled sawdust on her clay.

The only reason the little girl even remembers what she created on that day at the community centre is because her mother kept the bird and ashtray-like items and displayed them on the window sill for decades.

Part III

The little girl got very sick one day in school. She had just started grade 1 and fell ill with a serious case of menengitis that left her in a coma for a long time.

The little girl was lucky because she survived the illness, and was exposed to many types of physiotherapy to help regain her gross and fine motor skills.

One such activity included creating a vase using modelling clay. The vase was to be created by rolling long thick strings of clay and placing them in a circle along the bottom of the vase. Then, with the fingers, the rolls of clay-string were supposed to be rubbed gently to flatten them into the wall of the vase.

Upon completion, the entire thing was to be glazed a colour of her choice, and then baked.

The little girl was very proud of her short, round, blue vase. She kept it for many years and moves until she unpacked and displayed it in her own house.

She does not remember making the vase.

She does remember the nurse/physiotherapist telling her how not to do things, and how she discouraged her from the colour she picked out herself.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Monkey in the year of the Pig

My mom reads the chinese horoscopes for fun. Sometimes she goes back to the previous year to re-read what was predicted and then laughs at the similarities.

Every year post-Christmas she goes through her book. Weeks later, we all forget everything that was said.

It's just for fun.

I'm a Monkey and my element is Earth. So is Andrej. We are Monkeys because we were born in a year that was Monkey, as was my mom, decades prior. My mom's element is Wood.

2007 is the year of the Pig which begins on February 18 and ends February 6, 2008. I have been reading about the Monkey in the year of the Pig, and the predictions are kind of, um, well....interesting I guess.

It says that we will not exactly get to where we want to go this year, but should consider the setbacks we will encounter as small and part of the coming success in 2008. I have searched the internet to see if different sites say the same thing, and this message is prevalant in most reputable ones (we use a free site advisor to tell us which sites are "bad", and send out pop-ups or spam or crap).

So, we will have to remember when things don't go exactly our way that it is part of what will pave the way to next year, the year of the rat. Rat is supposed to be a great year for us!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Marble magnets

I made these because I saw the idea on a website/blog and I got addicted. EASY! The Swiss ones are going to my parents for Christmas. I got the imagines out of magazines and old greeting cards, including Christmas cards.

For instructions on how to make these, click here

Carseats and toddlers and wintercoats

I think I broke my finger struggling with the straps on the carseat with a sticky toddler in his wintercoat with the hood attached because it was raining.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Key challenges

When you spend a significant period of your childhood living in one country, and then move to another country, some habits you took for granted may come back to you much later after you return to the first country for a visit.

I was reminded of such a habit today while I was frantically looking for my keys.

When I was a teenager and young adult, I returned to Switzerland on a couple of occasions to visit with my grandmother and other family and friends. One thing that prominently stuck to my mind was how my grandmother leaves her house key in the keyhole on the inside of her apartment.

There was no key chain or numerous keys dangling from the door. It was just the solitary key stuck in the door.

It was something that must have been a normal occurance while I was growing up in Switzerland, but having returned there from Canada, I recall remarking to her how perplexing it is to see a key in the door like that. I'm used to seeing keys on hooks. My grandmother was surprised and stated that it was the only normal place for the house key. That way, she always has access to it and never has to look for it.


Ok. That makes sense to me. But living in Canada where it is unheard of to not own a car (well, not unheard of exactly, but most people I know own at least one vehicle), I have yet to come across a person who owns only one key. Most of us carry key chains around with us akin to Sing Sing prison guards or something. My key chain includes three house keys for my house alone (front, back and side), not to mention my parents' three house keys, two sets of car keys with separate trunk keys, the push-button-thingy that opens the Honda automatically, and who knows what else.

I did find my keys. They were stuck in the keyhole on the outside of the backdoor leading to the fenced-in yard. They were out there all night.


Actually, this isn't so unusual, come to think of it. I find myself leaving my keys stuck in doors more often than not, as Andrej has remarked. Sometimes even in the front door, on the outside!

But this happens because I rarely enter or leave the house without anything other than my keys and a purse. Usually I lug diaper bags, library books, groceries, dog leashes, and a squirmy toddler in or out of the house. I figure once the key is in the door, I at least won't misplace it (along with all the other ones on the chain) and can rescue it after I deal with the groceries, dog and toddler. But inevitably, something always manages to distract me, and I forget about the keys until I need to go someplace, and start looking for them. Or until Andrej comes home and makes a remark.

My grandmother is almost 90. I doubt she's ever lost her house key.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

New focus

Reading through this blog gives me the impression that I am obsessed with toilet training.

I'm actually not. Not really.

It is a nice change though from being obsessed with sleep issues.

Although those haven't disappeared completely, they have improved signficantly. And, I'm more experienced now.

My motto: do what you have to do to get the child to sleep.

As far as toilet training is concerned, if it takes 3 years, so be it.


Toilet training part 3

So I'm actually trying to be proactive here. During my first (ha!) cup of coffee I strip the child and leave his almost fully wet diaper on. I'm patiently waiting for the poop to come so I don't waste another diaper. I diligently follow him around, I watch for signs of straining and contorted facial expressions, and encourage him to poop in the diaper/potty/toilet for half an hour.

I'm not exactly enjoying my cup of coffee.

But does he poop?

I'm still waiting.

He ALWAYS poops right after his milk in the morning.

He's now eating toast with cream cheese and orange slices. His diaper is soaking wet.

But no poop.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Toilet training part 2

If it's not poop on the carpet then it's pipi on the floor. And if it doesn't belong to the tiny human in this house, it's bile from the dog.

This toilet training thing has been going on for some time now, since Benjamin was crawling. He's capable, self-aware, can stop in mid-stream if he wants to, and does occasionally even announce it before it happens.

But for some reason, lately he has been having all kinds of accidents. Or maybe they're not accidents.

I will have to be more proactive and focus on the more or less usual times he has to go. Get him to actually want to use the potty or toilet, and not just sit on it for a second and then proclaim no moy pipi.

Female potatohead

Ok, I'm spending way too much time with tiny children. Today I actually called the female potatohead Mommy Mr. Potatohead.


Ben's language skills are exploding. It's unreal. And funny!

Mine however seem to be deteriorating fast...

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Cookie baking chore

I'm not a baker. I simply don't enjoy it that much. Maybe this will change when Benjamin gets older and can help. Or maybe that will make it worse. I don't know.

But it's Christmas time. And Andrej wants his favorite Swiss cookies. He doesn't ask for much, so I feel obligated.

We call them Spitzbuebe and they are a bit time consuming to make since there's icing sugar and jam involved.

So I bake him his cookies. Plus a few other types which I can take along as a little gift for people.

I do enjoy eating them though...

Friday, December 15, 2006

Toilet training

There's this whole thing I could write about toilet training. And pooping into a new diaper he's worn for 38 seconds. But I'm downing my first cuppa, so that's gotta wait.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Coffee tales

The little girl next door watched her mom bring out a big portable mug of coffee to bring along the way to pre-K. When I mentioned that I was about to go in and pour myself a cup, she said:

you have to drink water too, otherwise you get all dry

This is actually a true statement. My grandmother, who is pushing 90 and still climbs the steps up to her third floor apartment, drinks a glass of water every single morning prior to enjoying her breakfast.

Mireille Guiliano, author of French Women Don't Get Fat, makes the exact same statement.

I like coffee. I liked coffee before Benjamin with born, and I continue to enjoy coffee now, although it appears that coffee is more a necessity than pure enjoyment these days.

I can't function without a cup of coffee first thing in the morning. Truth be said, I don't actually enjoy the first cup all that much, it's more of a down-it-to-wake-up kind of a situation. The second cup I enjoy immensely. The third...well, some days there's a fourth. I stop counting after that.

We have a Bodum french press. In a stainless steel container. Which we keep on the warm plate on the electric stove.


To counter the effects of dryness, I down soda water (PC makes a low sodium kind) as of lunch time.

But that first glass of water prior to the hot java...? Somehow I just can't get into the habit. Maybe if I put the glass in front of the Bodum, or beside the baby bottle..., or pour it the night before, but then the water gets all stale...

I'll put it on my list of things to do.

Elusive notebooks

This woman who keeps a blog I enjoy visiting mentioned something today that made me realise just how important it is to write down ideas immediately before they are lost forever. Her words, and mine too now. But the thing about notebooks beside the bed has worked only sporatically for me. I have many techniques to keep my ideas active, but for some reason, I can't seem to actually get it together. I figure it is because:

  • the notebook is too big and gets moved by me or the toddler
  • the notebook is too small and falls down between the stack of books
  • there are too many notebooks to keep track of
  • I lost the pen

So I decided to use the little tape recorder that I sometimes took with me to my Technical Writing class at York U. But as soon as I press record I seem to lose my voice. It's like I'm shy or something, to use a device to record my voice. The voice sounds foreign and that makes my ideas sound like they're someone elses. I'm better at writing than speaking.

But one thing is for certain. My most precious, fantastic, inspiring ideas, not to mention exact sentence structures, come to me when I'm:

  • in bed trying to sleep and I can't find the notebook, pen etc (see above)
  • in the shower (must get some crayon soap at Toys R Us)
  • elbow-deep in diapers, laundry, dishes (you know...toddler in house)
  • picking up dog-poop

Tried using the Palm Pilot but it's too time consuming to tap my way through ideas.

So my first objective is to merge all my notes from all my notebooks, tape recorder, and electronic files into one electronic file, and go from there.

But this will have to wait till after I change the baby, pick up the dog poop, throw in some laundry and have a shower.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Visit at the drop-in centre

I took Benjamin to the local community drop-in centre today where he got a chance to play with some different toys and kids. This gives him an opportunity to burn some energy. It's getting increasingly challenging to keep him stimulated at home when the weather is crappy.

The drop-in centres are pretty good, and the staff is wonderful, but I have limited patience for all the plastic toys that accumulate there. I notice a distinct difference in Benjamin's level of concentration at places like that where the distractions around him prevent his full attention on a particular toy. Many times I see him trying to figure out how to open and close a certain door on something when he's distracted by a noise of some other toy a child nearby plays with. He usually abandons his trial-and-error play with the first toy to flit from here to there and back, playing with as many toys in as short a time as possible. He tends to do this less at home, and probably even less so at his Montessori daycare.

Like I said, these places are good for the odd visit. It gives Benjamin a chance to expend some built up energy and provides both of us with a change of scenery, and I quite like the circle time they do there.

To come up with some new ideas of how to stimulate my toddler, I took home a book from the library called Montessori Play and Learn by Lesley Britton. Some neat ideas in there. Must make some notes.

The only thing that irked me today (so far) was this guy who kept honking at me in the parking lot. Granted, I blocked the empty spot beside the one I was parked in, but I was trying to get the flippin' stroller strap loosened to make it fit around Benjamin's winter coat. So while I'm struggling with the strap, and Ben's trying to reach his snack over my arms, and the wind is blowing my hair into my eyes, the honking was really get on my nerves. Everytime I heard it I got more irritated which consequently hampered my progress with the strap. Finally, when I looked up and attempted to give the guy a dirty look, I noticed several empty parking spaces not two feet further to the left of us, and directly behind us. But no. He had to have THAT spot beside me. So I had to move.

He tried to explain to me later that this spot was the only one he could possibly use since blablabla something about an operation. Frankly, I wasn't interested in his excuses, and some of his words got lost in the wind. I just stormed off.

I did feel bad later for being so temperamental, but I'm trying to get over a bad mood here. And he could have parked elsewhere.

Monday, December 11, 2006

The appearance of a christmas tree

There is a real live christmas tree in our livingroom. Not too big, not too small. Smells nice too.


There are also 3 christmas cards taped to the doorframe of the livingroom. And on top of the Billy bookcase, a small accumulation of wrapped gifts has been stacked.


Maybe christmas isn't canceled after all.

The mood is improving. The weather isn't. Rain and warmish, not christmassy at all. Maybe I'll bake some cookies today, get in the spirit of the season.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Christmas in canceled

I took down most of the decorations today. And removed the little fake tree my silly partner put in the middle of the livingroom floor. The message is clear: we're not getting a real tree. Fine by me. We ran out of money anyway.

I hesitated taking the lights down though. It took my a while to get the green fuzzy stuff wrapped around the string of lights, and my little toddler likes them. Plus it's so dark so early these days, some extra light may be just the thing to cheer up the bad mood.

Must find a spot to hide the presents though, before I take them all back.

Nothing like a black mood to ruin a perfectly nice day.