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Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Home Hunting

A few months ago, my Dad sold the home I grew up in and, since I live an ocean away, much of what I had stored there got moved to the new place with him. 

Part of my recent holiday was spent sorting boxes of keepsakes into keep and toss piles, which was surprisingly more emotional for me than I thought it would be.  I have always chosen to take part or to go places rather than to buy things so discovering I was so sentimental came as quite a shock.  I dug through a mass of books, school assignments, posters, cassette tapes, playbills, ticket stubs, favourite toys as well as boxes of items made by my grandparents, given to me by family, and created by my mother. It struck me that all that I kept reminded me of what made me who I am.  Unfortunately, some of it had been damaged beyond repair. Other items just seemed too silly to keep. 

Friday, 22 July 2011

Her Bag of Tricks

I’ve just returned from a long awaited and much anticipated family vacation that included flying with my little girl for the first time.  As I do with most things, I asked friends and checked online for tips and advice.  Some of that came from comments on Ghostwriter Mummy’s post about essential travel items.  I also kept my eye out for play areas in the airports which I never would have known about if it hadn’t been for Travels with Baby.

Here’s what worked for us, just in case they come in handy for you:

1)      Put additional outfits and nappy in individual ziplock bags: This was brilliant for changing on the plane.  All I needed was my handy ziplock, changing pad, and wipes making moving around and changing her in the small space completely manageable.

2)      Packed a carry-on just for her: As I expected, it made it easy to access on the plane.  However, a pleasant surprise was the sense of ownership she got from having her own bag.  Enough so she actually enjoyed carrying it.

3)      Brought my carrier: I use one regularly so I knew it would come on the trip with me but I was glad to have it for walking through the airport, collecting bags, and convincing her to nap.

4)      In her Carry-on: “new to her toys” – My husband and I had a lot of fun in the weeks running up to the trip coming up with ideas of things to put in there.  We had a various assortment of colouring, reading, playing activities and pulled a new thing out every hour or so.  An eight hour flight and no boredom = Amazing!
Biggest hits: reusable stickers, cars, miniature bead maze
One we never used but is excellent enough to mention: make a puppet out of the sick bag

5)      Kept some things back for the return home: I had also re-packed some of the favourites from the outgoing flight.  Sure enough, they were not nearly as interesting as the new things in the bag.

6)      Also in her carry-on: a familiar blanket - I had doubts about this since she has no ‘special blanket’ and they provide ones on the plane.  However, when she was dead tired but was too wired to sleep, putting her blanket on settled her almost instantly.

7)      Sat in the bulkhead row: It had enough extra leg room so she could play on the floor and, to switch things up, I sat on the floor while she played in the seat.

8)      Took this amazing piece of advice from a friend: "Remember that the flight is just part of the journey so it’s likely to be hard work. You wouldn’t expect a car journey with kids to be relaxing. Expect the worst and you’ll be pleasantly surprised."

We're now home after a wonerful trip and adjusting back to reality.

How about you?  What’s the best piece of advice you received for travelling with toddlers?

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Thursday, 7 July 2011

I Missed My Connection

Detached.  Apathetic.  Determined.

Not words you’d expect a mom to use when describing her emotions towards her new role.  I had a new job and I attacked it the way I knew how.  I read up on it, watched relevant programs, asked friends and family about their experiences, then formulated a plan.  I expected it to be hard.  I expected not to get much sleep.  I even expected the unexpected.  I figured love would get me through. That inexplicable bond between mother and child would carry me through the difficult patches.

I had not expected that part to be one of my biggest challenges.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Celebrating the Fourth

It’s the Fourth of July today and I’m thankful the weather is sunny and warm, bringing back some wonderful childhood memories.  Camping often coincided with the holiday.  My parents took me camping when I was about nine months old and by the time I was old enough to remember any of it they were seasoned campers, complete with a home-made food box that transformed the trunk of our car into a well organized pantry.  The car and trailer would be packed in expert tetris style, each item having a special place to go so that everything would fit.  The cloth bags for the various necessities had unspoken color codes; the blue one held kitchen foil and trash bags, the red one for beach towels. Amongst them was a brown bag, full of toys and games saved especially for camping.  Part of setting up the campsite was creating a matchbox town for our dirt caked cars to reside.

We always packed books, crayons, and various other bits and pieces that could keep us busy when it rained, which it inevitably would at some point during the stay, but ultimately we were outside as much as possible.  We had treats like chocolate pancakes, gorp, s’mores.  I thought my Dad was the smartest man ever when he cut my mini cereal box open, poured milk in it, and let me eat straight out of it – a cardboard cereal bowl? Genius.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Does the Bin Man Drive a Garbage Truck?

My daughter is learning to talk.  It’s a pretty fabulous thing to realize how much she already understands and to hear her attempts to repeat our terms and phrases.  I seem to be the only one who can interpret a lot of these sounds but as each day passes, there are more and more words that are clearly more than toddler gibberish.  Earlier this week she pointed and said “tuck” as the Sainsbury’s delivery man drove past. 

I grinned, “You’re right. ‘Truck.’”  I paused and added “or Lorry” and winced.  That did not sound right in an American accent.

I tried this out on my husband and his cousin.  Yep, they agreed, (I believe the words were “yes, you do sound like an idiot”).  We all agreed. I cannot be the one to teach her “lorry” or any other English phrases if I want her to actually pronounce them correctly.  She does live here though so we’ve got some work to do, as she is also pretty good at putting things in the trash and knowing what a washcloth is for.