Toddlers and Time Travel

There has been a lot of toddler screaming at my house today. The kind of screaming that has the less than rational part of my brain saying, “Extreme pain! Imminent Death! Freak out!” Meanwhile a hard to hear, but more rational part of my brain chimes in with, “Isn’t it time for those two-year molars to come in? How about take some deep breaths and order pizza for dinner.”

I dare not check for physical signs of these molars. Whether they are there or not, there are plenty of other sharp teeth in that mouth. In the absence of symptoms besides the screaming, I’m doing my best to focus on Rational Brain for now.

In other (happier) news, the anthology Time Travel Short Stories that, as I mentioned in a previous post, includes a short story of mine (Hostage) is now published (yay!). Currently it’s available through Flame Tree Publishing, and should be available through Amazon in September. Part one of a two-part author Q&A can be found on the Flame Tree Fantasy and Gothic Blog. Part two will show up on their blog next week (so my sources tell me).

And the doorbell just rang. Pizza!

Donair & Lobster

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Donair pizza and lobster for supper. It doesn’t get much more New Brunswicky than that.

Except the beer. I should have been drinking Alpine instead of Stella. All the years in Ontario have rusted my maritimer ways. On the other hand, my lobster appreciation is a new development. Paradox.

And what’s a trip to New Brunswick without ferries and lighthouses.

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Oh Please Anything but Barney

I recognise parenting comes with certain sacrifices. There is much we will do for the sake of our children. But I had resolved to make it through parenthood without being subjected to Barney & Friends.

I’m sure I expressed this ambition to my husband at some point. Apparently, he forgot. Yesterday, I found father and son watching the dreaded Barney. I told myself not to panic. Maybe we can keep it a father-son thing.

This morning breakfast was barely over and Kiddo was pointing to the TV, “Diasaur? Diasaur?”

“You mean, Dinosaur Train?” Slight desperation in my voice.

“Purple diasaur?

“How about Paw Patrol?”

“No.”

“Thomas the train?”

“No tain. Purple diasaur? Yes, diasaur, yes.”

“Sigh.”

Kiddo has also decided his farts are hilarious, and has learned he can replicate the noise, quite convincingly, by blowing raspberries on the leather couch cushions. Fabulous.

Too Much Beige

We’ve lived in our current house since September. In the nine months since then, we’ve mostly unpacked (the garage doesn’t count, right?), but decorating has been another matter. So far, the only items adorning the walls are a calendar in the kitchen, a mirror left behind by the previous owners—conveniently over chips in the paint—and a TV mount we have no use for. Even if we did have use for it, it’s current home in the dining area doesn’t work for me.

So, the TV mount has to go, decorative as it is:

As for the mirror, it’ll probably go too, but there is part of me wondering whether I would like it better if I took the time to refinish it, maybe in white?

I’m also wondering about the odds of me ever getting around to refinishing it. Slim, I think. Either way, it doesn’t look good where it is in the middle of the dining room. Then there’s the question of why I haven’t hung anything of ours on thw walls, except the calendar.

Rewind to September…

I’m not a huge fan of the multiple shades of beige that make up this house. Especially the two shades in the living/dining room:

This is not a trick of the light. An interior decorator I am not, but surely I can do better than this. That mint-green in the bathroom could be improved upon too. And the off-white in my den was probably done by the builder. Do I like that bluish colour in the bedroom…

Ok, so priority one is to unpack. Priority two is to paint. I wouldn’t want to put pictures up only to take them all down again when I paint. That would be silly. Especially if I’m going to paint soon, which of course I am. Maybe in a month or so…

October…November…December…maybe over the Christmas holiday?

…and now it’s June.

We narrowly dodged the bullet of having to move within a year of buying this place, but there is still a reasonable chance we will be moving a year from now. This has put a damper on my decorating enthusiasm. However, there is also a good chance we will not move in a year. At which point we will have lived here for almost two years, in multi-beige, empty-wall land.

Time to paint.

Step one: find a colour that works for almost all of the upper lever (semi-open design makes this the most logical approach), that I won’t get tired of looking at, neutral enough that I won’t panic if we have to put the house on the market in six months, but not beige.

Not blue, we had that in our last house. It’s time for something new.

Not yellow. I like yellow, but too much yellow can be worse than too much beige.

Green? In my experience (3 homes ago) finding the right hue us tricky. The right green is awesome. The wrong green is horrible.

When we were house hunting we saw some houses with grey as their main interior colour. Each time we liked it, even different shades. Grey it is.

But there are so many greys. It’s hard to get an accurate picture of paint cards, but I’ve narrowed it down to these:

On first impressions I love the darker shades on the bottom. I can imagine a brightly-coloured, or even white, picture frame against a saturated-grey backdrop and I love it. Unfortunately, our main living area isn’t huge and it doesn’t get much natural light. Dark is not a safe bet. I don’t want feel like I’m living in a dungeon. And I really don’t want to do this twice.

On the other hand, I also don’t want to trade various shades of beige for various shades of not quite white. Thus, I’m leaning towards the shades on top. Lighter, but still far from white.

Step two: Given the difficulty in imagining what a colour will look like based on a tiny square, and the overall surface area I plan to cover with this colour (therefore the effort that would go into fixing a mistake in colour choice) I will be investing in sample cans of paint for the first time.

To be continued.

Brainless Moments and Washable Crayons

In recent days I’ve had a series of brainless moments. For starters, as many grad students do, I’m currently doing some TA work (translation: assignment marking) for a CAD class. I regret agreeing to this, but that’s another story.

It is kind of funny I was assigned to the CAD class considering the CAD program I learned during my undergrad is no longer in use, and I’ve done very little computer drafting since my undergrad. It’s ok though. It turns out expertise is not required to follow a marking guide.

Anyway, as all the undergrad engineering students are required to take this class, it’s divided into four sections. The marking is split between the TAs each week. We rotate sections in case one of us is too much of a softy while another might be an asshole (or, you know, in case one of us has no idea what she’s doing). Thus, we make sure the unfairness is divvied equally among the students.

Last week, I went to the drop box to pick up the Section 1 assignments it was my turn to mark. I picked up the three folders, read them, and proceeded to bring one home. Days later, when I finally sat down to do the marking, I realized I had brought home Section 2. Crap.

Luckily for me, the TA assigned to Section 2 was happy to swap sections this week—and he must be at least as much of a procrastinator as I am because, though days had passed, there had been no query sent out regarding his missing marking. All in all, this was no big deal. What bothers me is how clearly I remember picking up the folders and deliberately reading each. How the hell did I walk away with the wrong one??

Oh well, just one of those things.

Then that night, or maybe it was the next night (wherever my focus went it took my sense of time with it), when it came time to feed the cat, I noticed her water was low. I picked up the food and water dishes, emptied them, refilled them, and put the food dish back down.

Notice what’s missing? The following morning, my husband pointed out the water bowl still sitting in the counter.

No problem you say, can’t the cat just hop up on the counter? In theory yes, and five years ago no doubt she would, but she still hasn’t figured out she can jump over the baby gate down stairs (and escape the tail grabbing hands headed her way). I think. with age, she may be losing confidence in her jumping skills. On the bright side, I think she can still reach the water in the toilet. Either way, she survived the night without her water bowl.

Make that just two of those things.

Next we have the mystery bruise I found on my leg in the shower. We’re not talking one of those thumbnail-sized, reddish marks that appear regularly on the shins of anyone who owns a coffee table (or is that just me?). This is a fist-sized deep-purple welt on my outer thigh. Aside from having zero recollection of how I got it, no matter how many times I ran through the day in my mind, it’s far too high up to blame on the coffee table.

Dinning table? Nope, also too low.

Breakfast table? It’s round.

Counter? Too high.

Hmmmm.

I even showed it too my husband and asked what in the house might be this height. He too was at a loss. Then something caught my eye:

The baby gate! I walked over to it and…yep, those knobs are exactly bruise height. I still don’t remember running into it, but I must have been running fast. Probably after a tiny human hell bent on practicing his skills on the stairs. He can navigate them pretty well if he turns around and goes down backwards, but sometimes he wants to do it the way Mom and Dad do. If only he’d tell us which method he has in mind as he barrels toward the stairs.

Ok, we have the folder mix up, the water dish, and the gate smash followed by amnesia. These mind gaps must happen in threes. I’m good to go now.

I think…

So there I was, playing with the toy trains (the tiny human was there too) when I heard my husband’s voice utter a disheartening “Oh, no.” I knew he was taking laundry out of the dryer. I didn’t really want to know what clothing-related catastrophe had occurred, but went to see what the deal was anyway.

Mysterious black streaks all over the dryer, and of course all over the clothes that were in the dryer. At first, we thought a black pen must have gone through the laundry. I was all set to be annoyed with my husband for this one since I don’t put pens in my pocket. Even if I did, I almost always use those bic four-colour pens. If it were my pen that had gone though, we’d have had a multicoloured mess on our hands. Strange though, the load seemed to consist mostly of my clothes and baby clothes. Nothing of Husband’s with pockets. Hmmm. Then I saw my grey sweater (with pockets) and it hit me.

The crayons.

Here’s the thing: Kiddo loves to scribble, as evidenced by the variety of ‘art projects’ coming home from daycare covered in crayon. I finally bought him some crayons so we could share this fun at home. Unfortunately, he also loves to eat the crayons. Thus constant vigilance is required during scribble sessions. Add to this the tendency of round wax sticks to roll and fall to the floor. They break easily, into nice bite-sized pieces I am regularly grabbing and making disappear. Sometimes into pockets.

“They are washable, maybe if I run the load again…” offers Husband.

“I guess,” I say, looking sadly over the new pair of onsies and the handmade baby blanket smeared in black, not at all convinced that washable label will hold true after baking in the dryer for forty-five minutes. But what else was there to do?

Believe it or not, the clothes came out of wash round two crayon free. Holy shit, Crayola, you’re washable crayons really are washable (no, Crayola didn’t pay me to say that, but if they offered I’d totally take the money, or a lifetime supply of free crayons). I rejoiced. And immediately went out and bought these:

The triangle-shaped crayons advertise that they promote proper grip. Yeah whatever, you had me at ‘won’t roll off the table and break into baby-bite-size bits’. You may notice, however, the yellow one is already broken. This took one day. There is no crayon shape to defend against being pushed from the table. Also, when I went to take this picture, I couldn’t find the blue one. Here’s hoping no blue surprises await me at the changing table.

I’m certain I had at least one other brainless gem to share, but can’t for the life of me remember that it was. Go figure.

Ghost in the…Toy Car?

We have this toy car in our house:

It plays music, the horn honks, and there are other, literal, bells and whistles. The sounds freaked Kiddo out at first, but now he thinks they’re great. I’ve gotten used to random honking and chirping coming from the living room.

The thing is, sometimes these sounds occur when no one has been anywhere near the toy car for hours. There are plenty of logical explanations for this. Here is what I’ve come up with so far:

1) Temporal anomalies. Push the button today, hear the sound tomorrow.

2) Ghost in the toy car. Ghost of Christmas Past, perhaps?

3) This primitive machine has acquired sentience and is expressing its displeasure at being held captive.

4) Interdimensional beings attempting to communicate.

5) This secondhand toy has a sticking spring or other mechanism, and I’ve been watching too much Supernatural. Not likely, I know, but I thought I’d throw it in the mix.

If you look closely at the photo, you may also notice our tree decorations include another toy car and a CD case (to the left of the snowman). Kiddo and I have differing tastes when it comes to Christmas decorations.

Speaking of Kiddo, he’s awake and it’s time for us to watch The Muppet Christmas Carol, my favorite Christmas movie of all time—except for Die Hard. Nothing says Christmas like Bruce Willis jumping from the top of Nakatomi Plaza with a firehose tied around his waist.

Merry Christmas, Everybody!

More Funny Happenings

1) My cat is judging my parenting skills

Kiddo is getting pretty good at ‘gently’ petting that cats. Ok it’s more of a whack, but he is learning that they don’t like the fur grabbing thing. Unfortunately, sometimes that grabby impulse is pretty strong:

After the inevitable hiss, it isn’t the baby who gets the stink eye. It’s me. I hear her thoughts bore into my brain: Control your offspring, human.

2) Hide the chocolate

There was a time when the baby didn’t recognize those dark-brown squares as food items. He has now figured out that if I’m eating it, he can too. And wants to. Since the chocolate I was eating was 70% cocoa, I assumed it would be too bitter for his taste. I’d give him a piece, he’d hate it. I would continue to munch chocolate without tiny hands trying to nab it.

I handed over a crumb. He put it in his mouth. A moment of contempation…

Big smile.

Crap.

Chocolate will now be consumed in secret.

3) Creepy crawly

You’ve probably heard this one before. It started in the shower. Baby asleep, time to myself, all is right with the world. I open my eyes, and there it is. A big, wiggly spider drifting down to the top of the shower curtain.

Freeze. Consider screaming for husband to come to the rescue. No. It’s just a spider. Spiders are good, they eat mosquitoes. Keep showering, everything is fine. Keep showering. Sneak a peek at spider.

Gasp. Where did it go?

There! Spindly, translucent-orange legs appear over the top of the curtain bar… crawling my way, barely hanging on to the condensation-covered bar.

Unhook removable shower head, edge to other side of shower.

I could spray it, maybe wash it down the drain…

Hmm, too many folds in the curtain for it to fall into and vanish, still wiggling.

Quick rinse. Exit shower.

Options: A) Never use shower again. There’s always sponge baths, and we might be moving soon anyway. B) Husband is still within screaming distance.

Option C it is:

Unnecessarily large wad of toilet paper,

Squish,

Flush,

Victory.

Insects don’t really bother me that much when I’m (and they are) outdoors. There’s just something about sharing the shower with crawly creatures that isn’t cool with me.