Monday, April 28, 2008

Shopping for His Grandaughter

My FIL is one of Pumpkin's biggest fans. Although he is not in the greatest of health, he has never hesitated to get down with her on the floor to play with dolls, or cars or whatever. She picked him as one of her favourites right from the beginning, and he has been all about her ever since. Now that my MIL is no longer with us, I have made an effort to make sure that he gets his fill of "Pumpkin time" every week. I know that he is still quite depressed about losing my MIL just a couple of months ago, but I see that being around Pumpkin causes him to smile genuinely. He probably appreciates spending time with hubby and I too, but I can accept that our primary function is to be his and Pumpkin's chauffeurs. For the past few weeks, my FIL has been saying that he wanted to take Pumpkin shopping for a summer outfit. We finally did that today, and it was just as sweet of an event as I thought it would be. First we picked out some summer shoes, which Pumpkin enjoyed doing, being the girly-girl that she is. While my FIL paid, I told her to say, "thank-you Zaidy", to which she replied, "tank- you Zwaiby". He was so proud as he turned to the sales clerk and bragged about how he was "Zwaiby", and not "Zaidy". The same scene played itself out when we went into another store to buy a dress. We then went for lunch where Pumpkin was on her absolute best restaurant behaviour, which is starting to become a trend! It took three years to get to a point where we could take her to a restaurant, and now we're adding a new-born to the mix. I guess it'll only be another three years before we can all dine together as a family in fine establishment such as Pizza Hut or something. Anyhow, as per every time I've left a restaurant with my FIL, he suggested getting a frozen yogurt. I left Pumpkin with my FIL and his health-care-worker to go buy yogurt while I checked a nearby store for a pair of Crocs for Pumpkin. Yes, Crocs are ugly, but their all-rubber construction allows them to wash well in the event of a dog-poo mishap, so they are the preferred shoe of my backyard. No luck though - her size seems to be a tough one to find. I came back to find Pumpkin with her own tub of frozen yogurt, and a rather chocolaty face. I think both of them were pleased with this particular outing. Sometimes it doesn't take much to make a toddler and a Zwaiby smile.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Cord Blood Banking

I picked up a cord blood collection kit for my unborn child today. I did the same thing for Pumpkin before she was born too. Cord blood is rich in stem cells, which, if banked, may save the lives of my children one day if they ever need some sort of stem cell therapy. It's basically an insurance policy that I hope is never needed. I think that's the case with almost all insurance policies though. When I was registering today, I asked the person helping me how many times they've had a client actually need to use their banked cord blood. "Once" was the reply. "But it worked out very well!", she added. They've been banking blood for 10 years. It is good to know that there is a strong likelihood that we will never need to make a withdrawal ourselves, but that being said, is it really a good idea to have invested in this? When I first left the office in a daze of disbelief, after paying the initial fees of more than $800 (!!!!!), I thought about people who just don't have the money for cord blood banking. I wondered why they government hasn't stepped in to ensure that people of all economic backgrounds could have this sort of insurance. Then I spoke with my husband, who half joked that we really didn't need to do this for the second child given that the batch that we collected from Pumpkin would probably be compatible with any other children we have. If only one person has ever withdrawn their blood from our particular bank, what are the odds that two children from the same family will need to make a withdrawal? He's right, you know. I don't know why he didn't offer that thought when we agreed to do this for our second child. I started feeling like a sucker. Is this overkill or am I being ridiculous even questioning it? I'm sure the family of the one person who actually needed his or her cord blood will say it is justified, but given how rarely anyone needs to do that, I have to ask if this is just one more way of taking advantage of a generation of parents who will buy almost anything for their kids? Did any of you bank your children's blood?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Passover à la Mac & Cheese

I hosted a Seder dinner, sort of. I didn't host in the same manner as Urban Mommy did, but I was listed as a host for the dinner that we had yesterday. We decided to hold the event at my FIL's house since my MIL would have been hosting it if she were alive, so we felt it was appropriate to hold it there in her honour. Ironically enough, I am pretty sure that Passover was her least favourite time of the year, specifically because of that dinner. She always had to return early from her winter in Florida just to start cooking, then deal with the stress of having 25 people in her dining room. She never seemed too happy about it. Nonetheless, it still seemed like the appropriate venue. It also helps that my FIL has a set of Passover dishes, enough seating, and no slobbering dogs. I didn't actually do any cooking as we decided to have it catered, and I didn't actually call the caterer since my SIL took care of that. My FIL actually paid for the food, so I can't take any credit for that either. I didn't actually take care of the serving or cleaning since my FIL and SIL hired their care worker and nanny to handle such things, so I guess you can say that I didn't host the Seder at all, except that I intended to, and was therefore assigned the title of "host" by my SIL, who was just being kind to me. The upside to all this is that I have now witnessed the preparation for a Seder, and now know that I could do it myself if I absolutely had to, assuming that I could hire the same group of people to make it happen. I suck.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A Quick Funny, if You Like this Sort of Thing.

On our way out the door tonight, Pumpkin, who won't hear of toilet training, announced that she had a poo in her diaper and needed it to be changed. Once I had taken care of that, she requested that she get to say, "bye bye poo poo", by watching me dump the diaper contents in the toilet, which is what we always do. Upon watching me deposit the offending turd into it's rightful receptacle, Pumpkin exclaimed, "That's disgusting!". I'm glad she thinks so.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Staying Close

I just need to bitch about the discomfort of wearing a bra during this pregnancy one more time. Bitch, bitch, bitch. Ok that was three times. Whatever. Don't try to recommend a good bra to me - I've tried several. It's all bad and I'm just gonna have to suffer until the baby is out and then switch to complaining about being engorged all the time. God, I really hate the word, "engorged". They need to come up with another word to describe what happens when one's boobs fill up with so much milk that they become big enough for one to rest one's own chin on. Ok, enough of that. Tonight I went out with a good friend to shop for some clothes for her birthday. This is someone who I have been friends with for 28 years, and it is quite ritual to buy each other gifts this way. I think the evening out together is more important than the actual gift-buying, but it does give us the excuse to get together. We shouldn't need an excuse, but with family and career taking up almost all of her time, we don't get together nearly as much as we should. Not that I don't have a family taking up my time, but I'm not nearly as busy as she is. We had some good conversations tonight, and I would have to say that it has probably been at least six months since the last time we had a chance to talk about something other than kids, or her latest discovery in the world of health foods. I was actually feeling bad about my lack of "real" communication with this friend when I contemplated our relationship earlier this year. I never thought of my friendships as things that need work, but clearly, I was wrong. Friends come and go in a person's life, but with someone I’ve known since grade one, it is not acceptable for me to shrug and wonder if we have anything in common anymore. Tonight I discovered that we still have a lot to talk about, but without making an effort to have an occasional night out, we seem to lose site of our true friendship, and just go through the motions of being friends without any meaningfulness. So, as we do every time, we vowed to get together more often, although we typically never follow through. I think this time I will make sure we stick to our vow, as I now realize how imperative it is to make sure we don’t lose ourselves in the craziness of everyday life. Friendships like this don’t come around too often, so if it requires a bit of effort, so be it. It's worth it. (even if this friend never reads my blog!)

Monday, April 14, 2008

It's Sad When the Commercials are Better than the Actual Show

To close off my evening tonight, I made myself a hot drink, put my feet up, and decided to watch a mindless half hour of The Bachelor. I was a little disgusted with the show itself, although I did manage to have a good laugh during the commercial breaks. I saw a yeast infection treatment commercial where one woman's vajay-jay swore a blue streak until it was treated, and then it started squealing with delight at the idea of a bike ride. There was also a toilet paper commercial where one bear noticed that the other bear had toilet paper debris stuck to ass as a result of using the cheap stuff. The commercials didn't sink as low as the actual show, but I would have to say that the advertisers know their market.

Good Times

I just want to take a moment to say what a great time I had on Saturday night at a gathering of a of bloggers, as arranged by the lovely Sandra of Blog Chocolate. The venue was perfect for mixing and mingling, as I had a chance to chat with some of the folks that I had only met on-line, as well as a few that I had met once or twice before in person. Unfortunately, I did not get a chance to talk to everyone at length, as there were so many of us, and as always, so little time. I gauge my good time by the fact that my back was killing me, it was getting late, yet I still didn't manage to leave early as I had planned to. You know it's a good time when one does not play one's "pregnancy card" to make a quick getaway. In addition to catching up with the few bloggers whom I have met before, I had the very cool experience of meeting more people in person after reading about them for so long. They may have appeared to be strangers at first glance, but as soon as the blog names were revealed, there was this instant recognition, and no shortage of conversation as blog posts were remembered and follow-ups inquired about. Shyness and apprehension go away pretty quickly for me at events like this. I also like that upon leaving to go home, I know that I can read up on all the new posts within the next few days, so it doesn't feel like I have to wait for the next bloggy event before I can catch up with everyone. It's a neat-o thing, this blogosphere!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Official Vacation Report

Ok, time for some of the vacation details. I won't bore you with descriptions of white sand and turquoise water, and the typical things that one would expect to find in the Caribbean, so I'll try to stick with things that stuck out as interesting to me. The thing about Harbour Island that differed from any other vacation spot that I've been to was the size of it. It was so small that there was no option to rent a car. The fastest vehicle that a tourist could rent was a golf cart. We decided not to bother and just walked around on the first day, but we had to cave in and rent one for the rest of the trip. Although any dinner spot was only a maximum of a 1/2 hour walk away, the streets were very dark. The supervisor at the first restaurant that we went to told us that we were crazy, and drove us home herself. It's not that the island is typically dangerous, but one never knows who is visiting there. In addition, the whole pregnancy thing makes walking a lot more tiring than usual. So we rented a golf cart, which isn't really driving, so it made the whole left-hand side of the road issue less of a concern.

Another interesting part of this island is that there is absolutely NOTHING to do there but lie on the beach, eat, and drink. Since I happen to be pregnant, my choices were even fewer. Yes, I was resentful about not drinking. I had a couple of virgin pina coladas, but they didn't quite cut it. Apparently there is a night club on the island, but it isn't open in the week. The restaurants close pretty early, and there is no main drag to walk around after dinner. This left us back in our room no later than 10pm every night. Adding to the island's nothing-to-do-ness, we didn't have a TV in our room. I think this is typical of most hotels on Harbour Island. Some of you probably don't think that this is a big deal, but we are talking about us. We are a TV kind of family, and usually have it on if Pumpkin is in bed. In fact, most of our intimate moments have been accompanied by the "music" of Jay Leno's monologues. Sexy, I know. I'm not sure if this will change when Conan takes over in a year or so. Nevertheless, I never felt bored, not with the trip, nor with the intimacy with or without Jay Leno's soundtrack. In the day, it was enough to be on the beach, floating around in the ocean on a body board, or just vegging out on our roof deck (!!!), listening to music. A setting such as the one described here forces one to read, which I don't do enough of at home, forces us to talk, which we could stand to do more of usually, forces us to get enough sleep, which almost no one ever does, and forces us to relax, which is easy to forget to do on a vacation in a busier spot. As for that roof-deck that I mentioned, it was like having another room. It was a great place to sunbath bra-less, although not topless. I'm not a topless kind of gal, even when I'm not pregnant. I am probably more modest now that I am pregnant, but so might you be if you had a round belly, a short waist, and an over sized rack that has nowhere to go but to rest on the belly.

You get the picture

From both the deck and our actual room, we overlooked the ocean. We typically left the windows open on both sides of the room to get a salty, ocean breeze blowing through. We never turned on the A/C. The hotel had more of a B&B atmosphere to it than a hotel, and is actually owned by Mark Messier. We just missed meeting Mark by a day or two, but we did have several chats with his brother who is managing the place right now. His brother is just as buff and beautiful, so he satisfied my pseudo-puck-bunny needs for the duration. Oddly enough, they didn't sell potato chips at the hotel.

Food was a bit of an issue. I like to eat when I like to eat, but on Harbour Island, one has to eat when food is being served. There is no such thing as breakfast at 11 am, with the exception of maybe one fast-food place that we frequented. Our hotel served breakfast from 8:30 to 9:30, and it wasn't until the second last morning that I even realized that we could get breakfast there. We like to sleep in, but one morning I was awake enough to catch a whiff of bacon, which drew me out of bed. By the time we got downstairs, breakfast was over. We tried to go to a deli for lunch around 2pm one day, but the deli was closed by then. Most days, we had lunch at a spot on the beach that had convenient hours, but if you got there too late in the day, e.g. 2pm, a lot of the food options were sold out. Imagine the disappointment of expecting to eat lobster quesidillas, but having to settle for hot dogs. Hot dogs with a bill of $40 for two, I might add. At least that included two Cokes and two sides of coleslaw. Oh well.

One thing that I didn't expect was the extent to which we missed Pumpkin. We found ourselves wishing that we had her with us, especially whenever we saw other families with their toddlers having a blast on the beach, or even eating with them in restaurants. When we got back to Toronto and hopped on an airport shuttle, we met a couple with their 2-1/2 and 1-1/2 year-old kids. We smiled wistfully, and asked them if they all had a great time. The husband faked a smile that was not really a smile, and shook his head vigorously. The couple tiredly suggested that we not attempt to vacation with children under age four. I'm inclined to believe them.

Other than the fact that there were wild chickens and their baby chicks running around all over the place, that pretty much sums up the holiday. Stay tuned for my next holiday posting, which should be in some time in 2012.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Mac & Cheese has Left the Building

I'm just popping in to let you all know that my vacation begins tomorrow morning, so I will not be posting or commenting for a week or so. Hopefully I will have much to write about upon my return, and maybe a hot picture of me at 7 months preggers in a bathing suit. Don't even think about robbing the place while we're gone as my posse is staying back to hold down the fort.

If you think the one in the middle looks tough here, you should see what a bad-ass she is now!