Friday, April 30, 2010

New Moon Rabbit Rescue Garage and Bake Sale

 If anyone has been wondering about the lack of blogging lately, this is why, it is because it is New Moon Rabbit Rescue Garage Sale Time!!!  As Volunteer and Bake Sale Co-ordinator, much of my computer time during the week before the event is spent responding to e-mail to well, co-ordinate the bake sale and the volunteers.  Last night, my evening was spent helping with set up.  And today the garage sale began!  We had a wonderfully productive day, making a surprising profitable day!  We will be back at it tomorrow from 8am to 3pm.  If you are in the Ottawa area, please come check it out, we got lots of treasures and a ton of awesome baking!  6045 Prince Of Wales Drive.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

When Did Cooking Become Such a Chore?

I used to love to cook.  When I was in college, my friends and roommates were often surprised at my cooking skills, and baking too.

Now, I just about dread having to cook dinner each night.  My cooking has become routine and boring.  I am always stressing to figure out what to cook that we will enjoy and that Liam will actually eat.  And it is always a challenge to prepare and cook a meal before Liam dissolves into a miserable, starving child who is so upset that he can't remember that he is hungry and therefore throws his food on the floor without eating a bite.

Gone are the days when I could spend hours in the kitchen cooking a new recipe and making dessert.  I don't have the time to look for new recipes.  I don't have the energy to try new things that may not turn out.  And even if I do happen to stumble across a recipe that I would like to try, I am usually missing ingredients.  By the time I get the ingredients, I've lost the recipe or I use them for something else.  Then I am back to a recipe with no ingredients.

I used to have a very good relationship with my slow cooker, seen above with the remains of tonight's Italian Herb Chicken, but lately that relationship has been strained.  You see, when I fell in love with my slow cooker, I worked a late shift and I could throw a meal in the pot before work in the morning and turn it on.  When we got home at 6:30 pm, we had dinner.  Now that I work an early shift, there is no way that I have time (without getting up before 5 am) to get a meal into the slow cooker.  So, unless I am organized enough to get it all put together the night before, the slow cooker sits sad and lonely, collecting dust on the shelf.

I love having things, like lasagna, prepared and in the freezer, to just throw in the oven, but that also requires me to be prepared ahead of time.  Again, that just doesn't happen as often as it should.  I was good on Sunday, along with making Sunday night's dinner, I made a big pot of chili that we had for dinner Monday night and froze enough for another meal.  I also froze two lasagnas and a container of spaghetti sauce.  If I could be that productive every weekend, cooking would be a breeze.

I really need to find a way to get myself out of this cooking rut.  But I really don't know where to start.  I've tried menu planning, and that takes away the stress of trying to figure out what to cook, but it hasn't put the enjoyment back into cooking.  Hopefully, soon, something will change and I'll find my interest in cooking again.  I bet it's hidden away somewhere with my memory, energy and motivation.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Do you ever wonder why you chose your current profession?

Do you ever wish you could turn back time and choose a different career path?

Usually I only have those thoughts when I think about how poorly child care workers are paid compared to other professions.  And when I am fantasizing about writing for a living!

But this past week, there were countless times when I wondered what the f*ck I was thinking when I decided to become an ECE.  This week was filled with just about everything that makes an ECE's job difficult - sick/absent staff, supply teachers, late staff, miserable kids, aggressive kids, communicable illness . . . the list could go on and on.

I hardly sat down all week -  between continuing to delve into Potty Training Hell, breaking up seemingly constant fights, putting ice packs on bo-bos, cleaning up messes from art, lunch and snack, I was seriously on my feel all week.  Not only was it excruciatingly exhausting, it made me realize that I REALLY need new/better work shoes!

Toddlers are more unpredictable than a teenaged girl with PMS.  I have got two little boys who can be the best of friends one second, playing so nicely together and then without any warning they are beating the snot out of each other or biting each others faces off.  (And yes, I mean that literally!)  They go from perfectly respectable children to wild animals in 0.3 seconds.  I have another little girl who hits and scratches me every time i ask her to do something that she doesn't want to do.  And we won't even talk about the fact that I stepped on a child this week!

And then there is all the behind the scenes confidential stuff that as head teacher I know about.  And although my "need to know everything" personality is thrilled that I know some of these details, some of it just frustrates me beyond words.

I keep telling myself that this week has got to be better than last week, but in reality I am dreading going to work tomorrow, just in case this week isn't any better.  Don't get me wrong, I really do enjoy my job, just some days (or in this case, weeks) I would really love to be able to say "I don't need this" and quit.  But the reality of my life is that I need to work and despite having a bad week,  I can't imagine anything else I'd rather do for a living.  (Except for my daydreams of writing all day long . . . )

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

"Nicki did it!"

I love toddlers, I love toddlers, I love toddlers . . . really, I do!  But sometimes I wonder why!

This morning, between trips to the bathroom with the boys, one of my girls, we'll just call her Peaches, decided that she wanted to beat up one of the boys.  I told her to stop and in typical defiant two year fashion, she looked right at me as she continued to hit him up side the head.  It was now obvious that I was going to have to move her away from him, so I start to walk towards her.  Knowing that she was in trouble, Peaches threw herself on the floor right in front of me, causing me to step on her arm.

Now, of course, I instantly felt HORRIBLE about this as I picked her off the floor, screaming like she was being tortured, to survey the damage.  Fortunately, the scream was MUCH worse than the injury.  One could say that Peaches is a little bit of a drama queen . . . and by little bit, I really mean that she should win an Oscar for some of her performances.  Her arm was red and there were some small scratches form the sole of my shoe, but it could have been a lot worse.  If my full weight (and don't even think about asking what that is!) had gone on to her little arm, I am sure that it would have broken bones.

However, regardless of how minor the actual injury was, the Oscar performance lasted for about an hour after I stepped on her, with Peaches sulking around and holding on to her arm like it was going to fall off.  Perhaps she was trying to convince me that she was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Whatever it was, as soon as lunch arrived, the bo-bo was forgotten for a little while.  Funny how it was remembered again as soon as the food was gone and it was nap time!

After nap, Peaches continued to take great pleasure in making me feel guilty.  On numerous occasions (and by numerous, I mean so many times I that I couldn't begin to count!) she came up to me clutching her arm, saying "bo-bo, bo-bo, Nicki did it."  Or she would hold it out to me, give me a sad look and say "Kiss it."  And she quite delighted showing everyone her bo-bo and announcing "Nicki did it!" while grinning from ear to ear.

As the day went on it was a toss up between feeling horribly guilty for hurting one of my darlings and laughing at her showing everyone and telling them that I did it.  The conversation would go a little like this:

Peaches:  "Bo-bo." (holding her arm out like it was about to fall off)
Teacher:  "What happened?" (looking at her arm)
Peaches:  "Nicki did it." (grinning from ear to ear)
Teacher:  "What did Nicki do?"
Peaches:  "Give me bo-bos."
Teacher:  "No, Nicki didn't give you bo-bos.  What happened to your arm?"
Peaches:  "Nicki did it."
Teacher:  "I don't think Nicki did that.  You're being silly."
Peaches:  "Nicki did it.  Nicki give me bo-bos"
At this point I would interject with a nod to indicate that, yes, I did indeed do it.
Peaches:  "Nicki did it."
Teacher:  "How did Nicki give you bo-bos?"
Peaches:  "Nicki step on it."
Then she would run off to play and wait until the next opportunity to tell her story.

Seriously, how could I not laugh at this??  I am just glad that her parents are very understanding about things like this!  And I can hope that none of the other parents heard her saying that Nicki gave her bo-bos without hearing the whole story!

I tell you, there is never a dull moment with these kids . . . but I love them!  I really do!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Potty Training Hell

Most people get up in the morning and go to work.  I however do not.  I get up every morning and venture into potty training hell.  As you know, I work in a large toddler program - 20 kids between 18 and 30 months with 4 teachers, which means we each have a group of 5 to deal with take care of.

My 5 kids range in age from 23 to 30 months and they are currently ALL wearing underwear!  This doesn't happen often, usually a group has a mix of trainers and diaper wearers.  But no, I have a group that ALL want to be training at the same time!  And although I LOVE toddlers, they are my favorite age group, I hate, despise, loathe, potty training.  Especially when it comes to training 3 boys all at once!  (The two girls in my group are 98% toilet trained and have been for a couple of months.)

My day consists of taking my three boys to the potty every 15-20 minutes all day long.  Where I encourage them to pull down their pants, then I beg them to pull down their pants and then sometimes, I just give in and do it for them so that they don't pee their pants standing beside the potty because they are being too stubborn to do it themselves.  (By the way, if you aren't already aware, toddlers are the most stubborn creatures on the face of the planet . . . but that is a topic for another post on another day when I am not obsessing about my potty training hell!)  

For the most part, they are all very eager to sit on the potty or toilet but with boys, especially "little" boys, how they sit on said potty is very important.  Once they are sitting, I can't take my eyes off them for even a second because as we are all aware, boys come with a built in dangly toy that, although it is usually hidden, it suddenly becomes exposed during potty time.  Now, I understand that this "special playtime" is natural for males of all ages and developmental stages, it is not something to be encouraged in public.  But mostly, I MUST discourage this because if we get lucky and one of these little boys actually has to pee while sitting on the potty, I need that little dangler to be pointed into the potty!  Otherwise I will be cleaning pee off the floor or the wall or me or another child, not to mention off the child who peed.  Even if they aren't playing with it, those little things have a mind of their own sometimes -  you really never know where the pee might end up!

So, we sit on the potty, well, they sit, I stand, hopefully out of the spray's way, until they proclaim "I done!", then stand up, turn around, proudly point at the EMPTY potty and exclaim "I PEE!  I PEE!"  I sigh and explain, "not this time, maybe next time."  If by chance one of them actually does pee, I jump up and down like a lunatic clapping and cheering for them, but that doesn't happen very often.  Then it is back to encouraging, begging and finally pulling up their pants for them, helping them wash their hands and sending them off to play while I disinfect the potties for the next round.

If I am lucky, we have 15 minutes of play time before we start it all over again.  If I'm not lucky (which is more often the case) I find a puddle, a little boy (or girl) playing in wet pants or one of them comes waddling to me "I peed."  Then it's back to the bathroom to peel off the pee soaked clothes (again, if I am lucky it is just pee, but we won't even get into that part of potty training hell!) put the clothes in a bag to go home (lucky mom and dad) and get them dressed again.  (All of this has the same three steps as going to the potty - encourage, beg and do it myself.)

What makes this all even more difficult is the fact that every time I am in the bathroom with one of my potty trainers, the rest of my groups is playing unattended - now, I can see them from the bathroom but I'm not close enough to break up fights or catch the toy that is being thrown at someone's head.  Yeah, there is never a dull moment with toddlers!

Sooner or later, these three boys will be reliably potty trained, but until then, there won't be much else happening with my group!  Art?  Stories?  Play?  Sorry kids, I don't have time for that because it is time to go to the potty!!  Yes, again!

So, if any of you have toddlers who are being toilet trained at daycare, please take a moment this week to say thanks to your child's care givers because I can tell you, with 12 years experience, that training a group of toddlers is not an easy job!  And if you are potty training your own child at home, thank your lucky stars that you just have one!!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Week After a Long Weekend . . .

It never ceases to amaze me how young children, especially toddlers, thrive on routine.  Any change, no matter how big or how small can cause a MAJOR disruption in life as you know it.  A four day weekend is a HUGE change in the life of a toddler.  Four days away from daycare is like an eternity for them.  At least it must be, because when they came back from the Easter long weekend it seems as though they have forgotten all the rules and expectations of the daycare.  I think that it is worse than the full moon effect!

They run and scream . . .
They hit, scratch and bite. . .
They push and shove . . .

They have forgotten how to sit on their chairs at the table . . .
They have forgotten that they are supposed to pee in the toilet, not their pants . . .
They have forgotten that they need to take turns and share . . .

It is a good thing they are cute little darlings, because sometimes that's all that gets me through the day!!!!!

***  I really do love my job!  I really do love toddlers!  But somedays . . . let's just leave it at that!!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter Weekend

A four day weekend . . . 
Beautiful weather . . . 
Two family dinners . . . 
A to do list a mile long . . . 
The first family gathering without Grandpa . . .
Time to relax . . . 
Quality time with Henry and Liam . . . 
April 5th, should have been Grandpa's 77th birthday . . . 
Yard work . . . 
Baking cinnamon buns . . . 

These were the thoughts going through my head as we approached this Easter weekend.  I didn't know if I would get any time to rest and relax because we had so much stuff that we wanted to get done.  I was looking forward to getting some yard work done and spending some time outside in the unseasonably warm weather that was predicted for the weekend, but at the same time I just wanted to veg in my jammies for four days!  In the end, it was the to do list that won out.  But I must say that I am very pleased with everything we got accomplished.  

We had dinner at Henry's aunt and uncle's place on Saturday, something that we don't do often enough, as they only live five minutes away and they hadn't seen Liam in a very long time.  It was nice to visit, drink wine and have dinner cooked by someone else!  And Liam was excited with the presents he got . . . a couple of cute summer outfits from Grandma and his Aunties, he didn't care much about the clothes, however, the fire truck Easter basket was a hit!  And he loved the sand toys that he got from Uncle Richard and Aunt Diane . . . now he just needs a sand box!  That will be a fun project for Daddy!

Sunday, we made the trip to visit my family.  As always, everyone was thrilled to see Liam.  And he was  his usual happy, social self, visiting with everyone!  And of course, he was spoiled with Easter presents from Grandma L and Grandpa J (my parents) . . . a tiger flash light that growls when it is turned on, a stuffed sheep and a book.  And a giant stuffed bunny from Nana.  And a belated birthday present from Aunty Teanna, Uncle Aaron and Drake and Denver.   Easter with my family was a little sad for me, as it was the first holiday since we lost my Grandpa.  It was nice to see everyone, but I couldn't help but feel like something was missing and that these events will never quite be the same.  But I know that we will move on and continue to have many fun filled family gatherings.  

Today we worked hard to get a lot of stuff done in the yard and we had some fun play time with Liam outside.  All in all, it was a fun and productive weekend.  However, I think it will be to bed early for me tonight because back to work after a four day weekend is never easy!!