dreaminghope: (Zoey)
I know, I know; everyone's kid is the most talented, the most adorable, the most intelligent... but, seriously, my nephew is brilliant.

My sister is very modest about the obvious genius of her first-born. In conversation, she tends to focus on how rapidly he is changing, comparing what he can do today to what he could do a week or a month ago. This provides plenty of conversation fodder, as two-and-a-half year olds do change almost daily, but she does miss out on a lot of opportunities to brag.

We were at my sister's place yesterday for a family dinner. Towards the end of the evening, I was telling William, my nephew, that I was getting tired. My Mom laughed that Russ was going to have to carry me from the car if I fell asleep on the drive home. William ran up to Russ: "Uncle Russ, are you ready to carry Aunt 'Lissa? If she's asleep, you have to carry her!"

Russ did scoop me up and teasingly carried me towards the front hall. William ran ahead and unlocked and opened the front door - a new trick he has only acquired in the last week or so, to my sister's consternation.

Setting aside his acute listening skills and ability to carry through on ideas, I think art is where his best talents may lie. I received my first nephew-made birthday card this year. Here's the outside of the card, which I flattened and scanned:



Observe the colour choices, the freedom of the movement of the lines, and the placement of the art relative to the page. I think he has perfectly captured that elusive thing about childhood: the way joy can so easily turn into angst, and how chaotic, yet contained, life must seem from a toddler's perspective.

Here's the inside of the card:



Such a joyful spill of stickers, with such delightful placement. Observe the choice to put just one sticker upside down: such whimsy!

Clearly, William is an artist ahead of his time. Just wait to see his first pieces to appear in the Museum of Modern Art in eighteen to twenty years.
dreaminghope: (Baby DreamHope)
My nephew is going to be 18 months old at Christmas time, and I've already started shopping for presents. If I'm being honest, I must admit that I've already bought too many gifts, many of them too old for him. I'm collecting future gifts in boxes in the basement and I'm starting to fill shelves and a space under the bed with toys and books to share with young guests. I've already bought the entire Bunnicula series - good for eight-year-olds.

I'm buying things now because it is a good excuse to shop for toys, but also because I worry that good toys might disappear and good books might go out of print. I remember that there was a time when all the Lego available seemed to be simplistic kits: make a spaceship by clicking three pieces together; nothing else could be made of those pieces because they only fit together the one way. Now, good Lego - big boxes of loose pieces in primary colours that can be made into anything - seems to be back in style, and I want to buy a couple of pounds of it while I can. It looks like kids can start using Lego as young as three years old, so it isn't too early, really. Besides, Russ and I can play with it in the meantime... to make sure it works properly, of course.
dreaminghope: (Zoey)
Do kids still call each other "scaredy cat"? I feel like they probably have harder insults now. Six year olds probably call each other "pussy".

I'm a scaredy cat. I don't have a single phobia that stands out above all others (except maybe claustrophobia); just mild generalized anxiety and a general minor-level fear of pretty much everything.

They say to do something that scares you every day, but that seems ambitious to me. I'm aiming to do one thing that scares me every year. It wasn't a conscious decision at first, but more a matter of not wanting to let fear stand in the way of doing something I want to do. It's been a pretty successful experiment:

2007 – Heights: I went zip lining in the jungle in Puerto Vallarta. Since then, I've been on the zip lines at Capilano Suspension Bridge and the Tree Course on the island. I'm hoping to try paragliding this year.

2008 – Needles: I donated blood. I've now donated six times and I have my next appointment scheduled for the new year.

2009 – Birds: For Russ' birthday, I bought us both a day of learning about falconry at Raptor Ridge, which includes actually working with a predatory bird. We were scheduled for a date in October, but bad weather meant that we've had to delay it until March. So there had to be a revision:

2009 – Babies: So many things to be scared of: They are fragile, especially when they still can't hold up their own heads. They are messy (I have a 'thing' about being dirty or sticky). And, worst of all, there's the rejection: if they cry, what if it's because you did something wrong? Maybe you held them wrong, or you smell funny, or your voice is ugly, or your face is weird, or you have bad energy...

When my friend had a baby, I could put off holding him until he was big enough to walk and talk a little, because all my friends wanted to hold our group's first baby. But then my sister had a baby in July, and it was time to get over it. Get over myself.



Doing pretty good, if I do say so myself.

Next: Birds in 2010, then maybe, one day, caving. Or maybe not.
dreaminghope: (Zoey)
Baby William (middle name still TBA) was born at 4:30 AM on July 30th. He weighs about 7 pounds, is about 48 centimeters long, and has a full head of dark hair. He isn't crying much; he does get the most adorable cases of the hiccups.



Elaine started labour yesterday morning. She started pushing at about midnight. About four hours later, they discovered that the baby was "sunny side up" and couldn't be born in his current position. They started talking c-section, but the baby's heartbeat was strong, so they went with an epidural and used medical magic (and forceps) and managed to get him turned around and a c-section was avoided.

My sister is amazing. She had fifteen hours of back-labour and four hours of unproductive pushing, and has reportedly barely slept since, and she looks radiant.

She did manage to miss the hottest day on record in our lovely city... Going into labour: The things some people will do to get into an air conditioned room!
dreaminghope: (Bee Faerie)
It happens every time I organize an event, even if it's just for the seven other members of Silver Spiral: I spend the week before thinking about it constantly. Until the ritual is designed, I obsess about it, and in between attempts to write it, I meal-plan and write shopping lists and schedule when I'll go to various stores to get speciality ingredients.* On the day of the ritual, I turn into a little whirlwind. Last Sunday, Imbolc, Russ was startled several times when I suddenly squeaked and ran out of the room, yelling "the timer!", "the bread!", or "the ginger beer!" over my shoulder.

Even after my guests arrive, I am rushing around, setting up the altar, assigning parts, getting drinks, finding cat-free places for jackets and bags. During the ritual, I'm trying to remember what comes next. Then, ritual over, the true chaos kicks in as everyone looks at me and says "how can I help with dinner?"

Last Sunday, the meal plan was simple: pasta with sauce. Of course, the pasta and sauce were both from scratch. Russ browned chicken and supervised stove-related items while a couple of people chopped veggies at one end of the table and a couple more made pasta for the first time, under the supervision of our resident home economics teacher. I fetched and gathered and assigned and set the table and opened wine... and in the midst of all of it, I suddenly feel the tension drain out of me and I remember: This is what it is all about. It is all about this steamy kitchen full of people laughing and talking and making dinner together. It's all about this family of spirit sitting down together with mismatched napkins and glasses of juice and wine. It's all about seeing everyone's face when my sister announces her pregnancy.**

It's all about needing a bigger dining room table soon.

* Speciality ingredients tend to be a must when feeding a group requires or has required in the recent past: no meat, no dairy, no nuts, no onions, no garlic, no gluten, and no alcohol.

** Russ and I had to keep that secret for six weeks, and it was hard. Now that she's put it on her FaceBook, it must be completely fair game.

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February 2014

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