Why?

I knew I had it coming when my son started asking “What’s this”? That was about a year ago – he was not quite two. My cousin commented on that blog post: wait until he starts asking why. She was talking from experience.

I know it’s healthy for my son to ask why. I want him to be curious and wonder how the world works. But I have to confess that after the 15th “why” in a row, I’m finding myself answering, more and more often, “I don’t know!”, because that’s usually the only way to make him stop and move on to something else. That or another cop-out answer. One example of such cop-out, yesterday, in a public washroom:

- What’s that, maman?
- It’s a machine that sells sanitary pads.
- Why?
- It’s for grown-up women. They can put money in it and get a sanitary pad.
- Do you need one maman? (Because he’s right, after all, I am a grown-up woman.)
- No.
- Why?

I guess I could have started a long explication about how I prefer to use my own when I need them, but anyway I am pregnant, and therefore won’t need them for a while. But as you may guess, I haven’t explained “periods” to him yet. He’s not even three! I don’t know how I would make it simple enough for him to make sense of it. I bet the occasion will come way too soon, because in our house we don’t tend to shut the bathroom door very often. But it hasn’t happened yet. So I copped out and mumbled something about how it was very complicated and I would explain it some other day.

Here is another example, probably more representative of everyday situations. Yesterday, we went to EPIC, a sustainability expo at the Convention center. They had hybrid and electric cars on display and our son was allowed to climb in them. Then in the kid’s corner, they had a bin with wood chips and construction trucks to play with. But behind them was a real, life-size backhoe (or something like that… I’m not good with the names of construction trucks).

- Maman, can I go in?
- No.
- Why?
- Because the doors are locked.
- Why?
- Because the people who put them there didn’t want us to go in.
- Why?
- Well, maybe they were afraid we’d get hurt.
- Why?
- Because it’s really high.
- Why?

And it goes on like this forever. I must admit I don’t think I actually made it there in the conversation. I think that at “Why don’t they want us to go in”, I probably copped out with my “I don’t know, my love!” answer. It had been a long day and my patience was running out. But the worse thing is, I hate myself when I’m impatient. I know that if he’s still asking why, it’s probably that I haven’t managed to give the answer he was looking for, something on his level. But often it just seems like there will never be an end to the string of questions. And many times, he’s asking questions that really don’t have an answer!

Why?

I love Value Village

On our trip to Kelowna, as I mentioned, we stopped at Value Village. The actual goal was not to buy a bike but to look at clothes for our son  and for the baby. My cousin lent me a ton of clothes when my son was born, but I gave them back to her and she has since gotten rid of them, so this time around I have a lot less stuff. I bought 6 tiny pajamas for 3 and 6 months old and it cost me $8! They are cute and in perfect condition. I LOVE buying baby clothes!

It’s amazing how a few pairs of pajamas suddenly make me feel like I’m a lot more ready for the baby’s arrival. Of course, we still need to switch our bedroom around to make room for the crib, buy (and set up) a crib, make some room for the baby clothes and diapers in an accessible place (as opposed to in our son’s closet), find a diaper pail (and something to use as a change table) for our bedroom… Basically, we are not ready at all. And although there is still three months left, I am starting to feel like we should hurry a bit since there are holidays coming and we’ll be a lot busier. But heck, I have pajamas! All is good!

Creating childhood memories

We just came back from a long weekend in Kelowna, where Zak’s grandmother, who now lives in an old folks home, still owns a beautiful orchard property. I love going there for several reason, but one of the most important ones is that Zak has wonderful memories of spending childhood days playing there, and I love seeing him share them with his son and create the same kind of memories for him. I have great childhood memories, but all from places that have long since been sold or even leveled to the ground! I cannot take my son to the three cabins my uncles owned side by side on a lake in Abitibi, near where my grandparents used to live and where we would go fishing on the dock, because the cabins were sold. I could show my son the alley where I learned to bike and hit a baseball, but the house we used to live in right next to it has long since been sold. Zak can go back to the orchard and show our boy how you climb a ladder and pick apricot, or cherries, or plums, etc. It makes them both happy and I just love watching them share those moments.

This time it was too early to pick fruit, but that didn’t mean we couldn’t create lifelong memories. We went to Value Village on our first day there and found a bike that was just the right size for our boy. It is old and a bit wobbly, and pink, but our boy really doesn’t care, it works good enough, and it is a real bike with pedals and no training wheels. After a year and a half of riding his push bike, our boy seems ready for a bigger challenge, and the bike was $13, so we decided to buy it and leave it at the orchard – make it the “orchard bike”. It was also a test to see if he was actually ready for a pedal bike, as we don’t want to get him a bike with training wheels, but he is so young – not quite three yet!

Well, he went on his first bike rides on a big bike with his dad, and we have the videos to prove it – if I figure out how I’ll embed one in here. He is far from being able to do it by himself, but he’s not doing too bad, all things considered. I watched as they went down the hill, then tumbled down – but all in good fun without ever actually getting hurt. We left the bike there as we are planning on being back in July, and now I guess we’ll have to look for a real bike for home…

We also bought a water rocket at Value Village, a cheap plastic toy that shoots out in the air pretty good – especially when it’s Zak pumping it. My boys spent hours – well, at least a couple – with Zak shooting the rocket at least 100 feet away, then our son running after to bring it back. I know it’s that kind of silly activity that will create warm fuzzy memories that our son will cherish forever. It feels especially important now because I suspect he is old enough to remember at least some of what happens for years to come. I know I have a few memories from when I was that young, so he may keep them too.

I hope the family will be able to keep the property. It’s hard as there is nobody who lives on-site to take care of the fruit trees and all the maintenance needed on the house. They have to hire a neighbor, but he’s himself an aging man, and when he gets too old to help out, the family will have a hard time affording the real value of the work he has been doing at a discounted price out of friendship. Hopefully they’ll find a solution. I would really love it if my grandchildren could go pick up fruit on those same trees and learn to ride a bike down the grassy orchard hill.

Our next trip will be to Horby Island, where our son absolutely wants to go fishing, and his dad and grandpa are more than looking forward to taking him. I’ll let you know how that goes!

You know you planted too many things when…

So Zak went a bit overboard this year with greenery. I guess he was upset about all those summers when he didn’t have the time – or energy – to plant anything… He had put a lot of effort on our balcony planters one year, then we went away for two weeks at the end of June and when we came back everything was dead. The dead plants stayed for several years, until this year.

So Zak bought more planters and replanted the ones we had. We now have strawberries, corn, cucumber, tomatoes, carrots, kohlrabi, peas, rosemary, parsley, sage, origin, cilantro, mint and catnip growing on our balcony. Plus we have green onion, more carrots, basil, more tomatoes, more parsley and more cilantro growing from seeds in some inside planters. Not much space left – there are pots everywhere. But if it works, it will be yummy!

Now the reason for the title? You know you planted too many things when you bake fries one evening, and your almost-3-year-old exclaims:
- That’s good Papa, we should plant some of those!

Getting ready for the new baby

Although I am far from being ready for the arrival of our new baby, I notice that our son seems to be talking about it more and more, asking questions, etc. We try to let him lead – we don’t push the subject, but encourage him when he shows interest. Last night was just too cute… I was folding laundry with  my toddler, who noticed the tiny newborn outfit that just came out of the wash. It’s the outfit our son wore when he came home from the hospital, but we used it recently to dress up Jeffrey, a doll that was lent to us by a nice neighbor. Since we got a new fireman outfit from another nice neighbor, Jefferey has stopped wearing those pajamas so I washed them to put them back with the baby stuff.

- Maman, that’s for Jeffrey.
- Well, since Jeffrey is not wearing it anymore, maybe our baby can wear it when he’s born.
- Do you have Jeffrey in your tummy?
- No, our baby won’t be like Jeffrey. Jeffrey never cries or moves or does anything!
- He’s a toy baby.
- Right, he’s a toy baby. Our baby will be real so he will cry, and poop, and drink milk, and…
- Oh, maman, wait a minute!

My boy started in a hurry towards the stairs. Curious, I followed him. Seeing me following him, he turned back towards me:

- Maman, how are we going to comfort him?
- Our baby? Well, it depends, some babies like to be rocked, or cuddled, or…
- Wait for me, maman. Wait for me right here. I’m going to go get something for the baby.

He seemed so excited, I was really wondering what he was up to. He went down the stairs and I heard him ask:

- Papa, where is the, hmmm… the thing…. the thing that goes in the mouth?

Zak, not having followed the previous conversation, was stumped. But I understood what he was looking for – and it brought a huge smile on my face. See, Jeffrey came with a pacifier. The doll is really old (like, probably 25 years old), the pacifier is old, cracked, hard plastic (and probably toxic), so we put it away, not wanting our son to start putting it in his mouth. That’s what he was looking for last night. The pacifier. To give it to our baby to comfort him…

Let’s just hope it’s a sign of good things to come!

The home birth debate

So there is news on the decision front! At our last appointment I asked our midwife what they meant by “early discharge”, something that had been mentioned to me before as a perk of going with a midwife. Turns out when you are being cared for by a midwife, you can go home 2 hours after an uncomplicated vaginal birth. So although I haven’t made a final decision yet, I feel pretty confident that a 2-hour stint in a hospital is worth not having to clean up a mess or worry about anything else. Of course, I can still stay longer if I feel the need for it. And of course, that doesn’t take into account the length of labor. But given my first experience, I am hoping labor will be short and if all goes well, I can leave my son in the care of a friend for only part of a day.

We are also reconsidering our hospital of choice. The Women’s hospital we gave birth at the first time was great, and as annoying as the nurses seemed at 2 in the morning, we received really good care. But it’s a 20-minute ride from our house, and we don’t have a car. That means taxi to get there (easy enough), but also taxi or bus for Zak if he wants to go get our son to visit (if I have to stay in the hospital longer than hoped for), etc. If we are really going to be there for just a few hours, it’s kind of a pain in the ass. And although the maternity room I was given was amazing, if those are full and you get relegated to the older rooms, they are pretty dingy!

Now there is a hospital 2 blocks from home that will also do delivery. As it is a general hospital, if I needed a C-section, I couldn’t have my baby with me in the recovery room, unlike the Women’s hospital. And the Women’s hospital has a breast milk bank, which can be used if I cannot breastfeed right away for any reason. But as those two scenarios are unlikely (given my first experience), it is tempting to go to the closer hospital. We could probably walk there, my son could come visit easily, Zak could even go home to put him to bed and be back within an hour if we have to stay at the hospital overnight. They only have single-occupancy maternity rooms. And from what I have heard, they are just as competent.

So we may change our plans completely. Or I may get cold feet and go back to what I already know (I’m like that sometimes). We’ll see!

Hiccups

Yesterday I felt the baby having hiccups for the first time… It was too faint for Zak to feel it, but it is unmistakable – it’s just too regular to be anything else. Our son had hiccups all the time in my belly, and it went on once he was out actually. So feeling that yesterday was kinda nice.

In other news, I have a cold and I have been pretty tired, so I’ll use that as an excuse to not write more often. We have been quite busy too, and it’s about to get worse as we have a few trips planned for the summer. The first one is Kelowna and I’m really looking forward to a bit of a holiday. We’ll also see Zak’s second cousin for the first time since she had a baby in December and I’m really looking forward to it.