Halloween is Coming

When Kiddo’s first Halloween rolled around he was barely 2 1/2 months old. I didn’t want to spend $30 on a costume he might wear for all of twenty minutes. If it weren’t for the baby costume included in a stash of secondhand baby clothes we’d received, a dragon (or dinosaur?), we might not have acknowledged the holiday at all. But we had the costume so I figured we might as well put it on him and take a picture.

My visiting parents were even thoughtful enough to bring a costume for me (amazing they could predict I would not have bothered to come up with one). I think we managed to snap two or three pictures before there were tears, but at least Kiddo’s first Halloween was recorded. We also handed out candy of course, but there was no jack-o-lantern or any other decorations. Only our porch light signaled to the neighborhood children we were aware it was Halloween and it was safe to ring the bell.

Last year at the tender age of one (and a bit) Kiddo was barely starting to walk. A few people asked if we were going to take him out trick-or-treating. I tried not to snort too loudly when I told them no. There was about an hour between the time kids started showing up at the door and bedtime. We did bring him to the door to see the kids. He wore a perplexed expression in response to our show of excitement each time the door opened. He also wore the same Toys ‘R Us pumpkin costume as, I’ pretty sure, every other one year old in town. There was still no pumpkin on the front step.

This year however…

Around Thanksgiving (which was a week ago in Canada) fall decorations started to appear around the neighborhood, including pumpkins. Kiddo started pointing to every pumpkin he saw and exclaiming, “pumpkin pie!”

Whether he’s confused about the proper terminology for the vegetable, or he actually understands that these orange orbs are the source of a tasty dessert, I’m not sure. If he knows pie can be made from pumpkins it certainly isn’t because he learned it at home. I did make pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving (or rather I made the filling while my mother made the crust) but the pumpkin involved came to the house in a can. Come to think of it, the last time he had or saw a pumpkin pie (to my knowledge) was last Thanksgiving. How he even knows the term is a mystery to me. As with most such mysteries, I assume the topic must have come up at day care.

Anyway, shortly after Thanksgiving, a giant blow-up jack-o-lantern appeared on one of the lawns visible from our front window. When Kiddo saw that, I knew my years of not decorating for Halloween were over. We went out and got pumpkins. Kiddo even helped me decorate them:

Most of this hard work will wash off the first time it rains. I did allow a couple of permanent Sharpies to start with (hence the towel) but it turns out Sharpies don’t stick to pumpkin skin all that well, so I broke out the washable markers to expand our colour options. Can someone explain to me how a baby wipe cleaned the Sharpie off Kiddo’s fingers better than it cleaned the ‘Ultra-Clean Washable Markers’ ??

We’re also planning to make our first attempt at trick-or-treating this year. If we make it to the end of the street I’ll consider it a wild success.

In other news, there was a wind warning in Kingston last night. I haven’t  shopped at Winners recently, but someone in the neighborhood has:

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A Moment in Parenting: Oink Oink Pink Pig

Kiddo recently got some new bath toys including a sheep, a cow, a chicken, and a pig. This happens to coincide with a renewed love of the classic Baa, Baa, Black Sheep as well as its variants (thanks to Raffi) Moo, Moo, Brown Cow and Cluck, Cluck, Red Hen.

The toy cow and chicken are white and the sheep is blue. Appropriate adjustments to the lyrics were made and bath time was going well. Then Kiddo held up the odd animal out, “Oink, oink, pink pig,” he insisted.

Umm…

Oink, oink, Pink Pig. Have you any bacon?

Yes, Sir. Yes, Sir. Quit your belly achin’

Bacon for the morning, bacon for the night

Throw it in the frying pan and cook it all up right

Oink, oink, Pink Pig…

Unlike the sheep, cow, and chicken, the pig providing the bacon is not likely in any shape to reply, “Yes, Sir. Yes, Sir.” And even putting this logical flaw aside, I’m not going to win any awards for my lyrical prowess. Still, I’m rather proud of myself.

A Moment in Parenting: Oven Mitts and Messes

While out running errands this evening, I realized there was dog shit on my sneaker. I like dogs. I understand why people want to own them. However, I must admit to carrying a hint (sometimes more than a hint) of resentment for people who consider it their basic right to own a dog, but who don’t bother to pick their dog’s shit up off the sidewalk (or, based on the embedded wood chips, the ground at the park. You know, that place where kids play and babies put whatever they can get their hands on in their mouths). I also save some frustration for dogs let out to pee at 5:30 am and then left out there to bark their heads off for twenty minutes, but I digress…

I like our house for many reasons, but it lacks a set tub for the various gross cleaning jobs that are inevitable in life. I didn’t feel like scrubbing the bathtub tonight, so I decided when I got home I would leave my shoes on the deck and deal with the dog shit another day (note to self: we need to buy a garden hose).

I got home and learned there was another gross mess to clean up. The kind that is inevitable in parenting.

The bottom drawer in our bathroom includes a box of latex gloves. Originally purchased with first aid in mind, they have come in handy for many tasks since Kiddo graced us with his wonderful, and messy, presence. This was one of those tasks. We’re getting low on gloves, which I commented on as I put on one of the remaining pairs.

Kiddo must have been in ear shot. Just as I was getting started on the gross cleanup,  a little voice came from behind me:

“Gloves…gloves…”

I turned around. Kiddo was bringing me the oven mitts.

“Thank you so much!,” I said–grabbing them before they could be contaminated by the grossness.

As it turned out, I had to scrub the bathtub tonight anyway. On the bright side, there is no longer dog shit on my sneaker. After all, who wants to clean the tub two days in a row.

(Almost deleted that last line. It feels a bit like tempting fate. But I don’t believe in such things…mostly o_O )

A Moment in Parenting: Squishy Eggs

I am convinced that while the rest of the household sleeps, any toddlers in residence are whisked away to a special place where they are taught how to be good toddlers. By ‘good’ I mean masters of the craft. Lessons provided at the mysterious toddler school include:

Lesson One: How to Wriggle Effectively

  • Whole-body involvement is key.

Lesson Two: How to Avoid Walking

  • Sit. The two activities are mutually exclusive.

Lesson Three: How to Avoid Being Picked Up

  • Arms in the air (straight up, give no warning, speed and surprise are instrumental to success).
  • This skill is often required immediately after implementation of lesson two.
  • If adult still manages to get a grip, refer to Lesson One.

Lesson Four: Food 101

  • Eating everything put in front of you? That must stop. Gross vs acceptable foods to be determined on a daily basis. A list will be provided at the start of each class.
  • If one of the day’s gross foods is offered:
    • Put head back, purse lips, shake head.
    • If adult does not get the message it may be necessary to exclaim, “No!”
    • As an alternative (or accompaniment) to “No”, you may repeat your food of choice from the day’s acceptable list (example: raisins, raisins, raisins…cheese, cheese, cheese).
    • Parents are slow, this may take persistence.
  • Spinach is gross, always.
  • Grass is edible (no matter what the parents say).

Scrambled eggs are among the food items that flip-flop between gross and acceptable. On this particular day, they were on the gross list. There was much head shaking and lip pursing. I might have thought Kiddo wasn’t hungry if it weren’t for all those requests for raisins and cheese. One bite was the goal, but even that was looking lofty. Then…

Kiddo: “More raisins, more raisins…” he paused and pointed to the eggs, “Yellow egg.”

Me: “Yes, the egg is yellow.” (much enthusiasm)

Kiddo: “White.”

Me: “You’re right. The eggs are yellow and white.” (more enthusiasm)

Inspiration strikes.

Me: (with as much enthusiasm as is possible when faced with cold scrambled eggs) “And look, the eggs are squishy.” I proceeded to demonstrate how much fun it is to squish eggs, first with my fingers then with my tongue.

He ate two thirds of the egg. I’ll take my Awesome Mom award now. Oh, scratch that. This was the same day he ate grass. Sigh.

Air Show

My son loves anything with wheels, or an engine, or both. Trains and dump trucks currently top the list, but planes are enough of an allure for him to point every time one flies overhead and attempt to guess its colour. Thus, when we learned the Kingston Family Fun Fest was going to include an air show, my first thought was: Great, he’ll love that. My second thought was: Kiddo is not a fan of loud noises.

Low flying airplanes are loud. Even if the Tutors flown by the Snowbirds weren’t so bad, the CF-18 demonstration certainly would be. On the other hand, we survived the planes’ arrival to town on a flight path very close to our house (during nap time no less). So, what the hell, we went for it.

Kiddo loved watching the Snowbirds make “big circles!” in the sky. He did get a little cranky when the CF-18 showed up, but I couldn’t say for sure if it was the noise or typical afternoon fatigue.

Also, in totally toddler fashion, the following were as (if not more) exciting features of the day:

-Throwing rocks in the water;

-Inspecting the racks of kayaks and canoes;

-Ducks swimming by: “baby duck!…mommy duck!…daddy duck!” We get enough mallards around here that he knows the difference between the male and female;

-Ants crawling on the concrete under his feet.

 

My phone’s camera does not do the day justice, but I tried anyway:

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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