Tuesday, June 24, 2008

What are the chances?

This weekend is the annual Canada Day Camping Weekend at Arrowhead Provincial Park. Yup, that's right, last year I thought we were crazy for camping with an 18-month-old. This year, I think we're completely nuts for camping with a two-year-old AND a two-month-old.

Yet, as nuts as I think we are, I'm really looking forward to this four-day trip. I've started making packing lists for the kids already, in an effort to be better prepared for whatever the weather may bring.

And it looks like, two years in a row, the weather gods may be against us. Here's hoping that the Weather Network doesn't know what it's talking about for Saturday and Sunday.

Although, if you look at last year's weather map, it showed sun with only a 20 per cent chance of rain -- and well, it was cloudy and rainy all weekend. So maybe the fact that the weatherman says it'll rain will work in our favour this time.

If nothing else, at least the nights are expected to be warmer.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Backyard project: Before and after pictures

I just wanted to show off our fabulous new backyard:


This was the back corner of the backyard. Note the overgrown cedar hedges.
This was the corner by the house. Note the overgrown weeds that are taking over.
This is the backyard now. The two corners above are now filled with nothing but grass.


This was an overgrown perrenial garden being swallowed by the cedar hedges and the neighbour's tree.

The patio is in the that spot.

All that's left to do is put a garden in -- and it's pretty obvious where it's going to go. One thing's for sure, if the previous house owners ever stopped by our house, they wouldn't recognize the backyard!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Getting around town with a stroller

Until I started pushing a stroller from A to B, I never really stopped to think how inaccessible some so-called accessible places are.

On Wednesday, Alex and I met a friend at the Yonge-Eglinton Centre to see Sex and the City at the SilverCity. I drove down and parked at a Green P on Holly Street -- one block east of Yonge at Eglinton. The first spot I found was on the third level and after I got the two of us all set up, I discovered that there were no elevators in this garage. My options were to carry the stroller down three flights of stairs or push it all the way around three levels of ramps.

So around and around we went.

Then I walked to the Yonge-Eglinton Centre and tried to go in the doors at the corner only to discover that immediately after entering the building you have to climb a half a dozen steps. So I turned around and went back out.

I walked up Yonge Street to the next entrance, which was at street level, and followed the signs pointing to the SilverCity. Suddenly, I was at the top of a down escalator that was too narrow to accomodate my stroller. The Yonge-Eglinton Centre is sort of an open-concept mall, with many levels and to get to the SilverCity, I had to take this escalator down walk across the lower level and then take another (too narrow) escalator up to the level above the one I was currently on.

A maintenance worker happened to be nearby, so I asked where I could find the elevator. He looked at me and said "oh no, to use the elevator, you have to go in the Dominion entrance on Eglinton".

Already late now, I had to go back outside, walk down Yonge Street and along Eglinton to the entrance by the Dominion; find the elevator and take it up to the second floor where I was finally at the SilverCity. Then of course, after I bought my ticket, I had to wait for the disabled elevator operator to bring me to the next floor because the escalators were, yet again, too narrow for strollers.

Thank goodness for commericials and previews or I would've missed the first 15 minutes of the movie thanks to this little adventure.

And to add insult to injury, when the movie was over and my friend waited with me to take the elevator back down to the Dominion doors, we got on the first elevator to arrive (there were two). But on the ground floor, this elevator let you off maybe 20 feet from the first elevator -- but in between the two elevators were five stairs.

I think the next time I try to go to the movies with Alex, I'm wearing the Snugli and leaving the stroller in the car.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Six weeks and it's back to the old routine

I had a crazy thought this morning. If I worked in the U.S. for a company that didn't provide additional maternity leave coverage, I would have had to go back to work last Monday -- on May 26, when Alex was 6 weeks and 3 days old.

I don't know how women manage to pull themselves together to do it. Because at the six week mark, I'm still not getting more than three consecutive hours of sleep at a time and I still feel like a 24-hour all you can eat buffet. To go back to work now would mean pumping in the bathroom every three hours (or giving up breastfeeding) and forcing my brain to actually work. Right now, the hardest thing I make my sleep-deprived brain do is to figure out what to make for dinner.

I'm not saying that I couldn't do it, because you do what you have to do. It's simple really -- you don't go back to work when the company says you have to then you could lose your job. And if you lose your job, you're not getting paid. And if you're not getting paid, it's pretty damn hard to support a family -- even with a spouse in a decent paying job.

But I sure am thankful that I live in Canada, where the government says women (or men) can take up to 52 weeks off, while receiving EI benefits for 50 of those weeks. Now the EI benefits aren't a heck of a lot of money, but they're better than a kick in the ass.

Some women I know, who had their kids in Canada before maternity leaves were a year long, don't understand why a year is necessary. What could you possibly do with a whole year off work, they ask. And why do you even need it?

The answer is, I don't need a year off. Recovering from birth and the early days of caring for a newborn can be accomplished in six weeks if necessary and can definitely be accomplished in three months. But year-long maternity leaves are not about recovering from the birth and the sleep-deprivation, they're about spending time with your new family and watching your child grow and develop.

Children learn so much in the first year of life, and it's incredible to be with them as they develop, mature and learn. Sure it can be frustrating at times, but watching your child smile for the first time -- or crawl or stand or discover a new toy -- makes the early round-the-clock eating, sleeping, pooping days worthwhile. And I'm so glad that I can be around to experience both the difficult times and the rewarding times rather than shipping my kid off to a sitter as soon as the rewarding period starts and have the sitter tell me at the end of the day that my daughter learned to rollover today.