• A Letter For P*

    Dear P,

    You are turning FOUR tomorrow. I’ve said it a million times these past few weeks, but somehow it still doesn’t feel real. My baby is going to be four.

    I love this photo of you because it just absolutely captures your spirit right now. You let me take your photo, but you had to do it your own way.

    Your personality is shining through each day and there’s just so much that we love and admire about you. You love to make others laugh and are constantly trying to find ways to take a little dig at your Dad to make him smile. You are so clever and are always determined to keep up with your big brother and sister. Once you set your mind to something, there is NO stopping you or getting in your way. While that often drives me crazy, I hope you never ever lose that.

    You have a wild streak running through you and you love to laugh and wrestle and have fun… but you also still love to crawl up on my knee for a quiet “huggie snuggie”.

    While you may not always want to climb on my knee, I hope you know that no matter what, my arms will always be open for you.

    You’ve grown so much over the past year. Some mornings I look at you and I swear your face has changed even just from the night before. It’s exciting and wonderful and heart wrenching as part of me just wants you to stay little forever.

    But like, THIS kind of little. Not the baby kind where you did not sleep AT ALL for 18 months. We’re glad to be past that. (Love you!)

    Three was a big year for you. You potty trained like a champ (after the protest peeing stopped) and formed a deep and lasting friendship with cantaloupe that made the internet fall in love with you.

    Your speech has come so far and you articulate your ideas so clearly now. Most of what comes out of your mouth has us laughing–you love to make jokes and be so silly. When you’re mad you tell us that “you’re not my best friend anymore”, but thankfully we seem to be friends again just a few minutes later.

    You love to swim and run outside, and your biggest accomplishment was learning how to ride your two wheeler bike without trailing wheels. You are SO proud to be able to keep up with S & H, and we love watching you hunch over the bike and pump your little legs as fast as you can go.

    You don’t like being told what to do, and we still have the odd battle or two. It usually ends with you screaming and yelling “I DON’T WANNA TALK” at me…

    …then crawling up on my knee for a hug a few minutes later.

    Your moods come and go, but even when I’m pulling my hair out, I love that about you. You feel things deeply, even at three.

    Right now you have this incredible ability to grab any combination of toys and completely immerse yourself in imaginative play. Somehow you can make a Lego Batman, a stuffed bear and Woody come together to have the time of their lives. You love Batman and superheroes, as well as all things Toy Story. You also LOVE playing Nintendo right now and adore Mario and “Wee-gi”.

    If we weren’t in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, I would have thrown you a big Mario birthday party to celebrate your special day.

    Instead, we went swimming today and you had a blast. Tomorrow you’ve asked for hamburgers for dinner and we settled on a Dinosaur cake (after I gently vetoed the Woody cake–Mama has limitations to my cake decorating abilities. ha!)

    It might not be a big party, but we will celebrate you!! Your brother and sister are SO excited that you’re turning four. Miss S reminded me more than once that I needed to put the balloons out for you tonight. (Your dad is currently blowing them up as I type!)

    I love you so much, P.

    Even though I’m not always your best friend, you’ll always be mine.

    Love,

    Mom

  • I’m Having an Off Day*

    I feel kind of out of it today.

    My run was off this morning–I couldn’t even run my whole 5km. I walked a bit and finished it, but I just wasn’t feeling it.

    Chair guy wasn’t there at least, so that’s a plus.

    I felt pretty motivated this morning and went out and got some yard work done… but the kids kept fighting and I swear I had to shut off my lawnmower at LEAST five times to break up a spat. By lunch I was exhausted and threw on a movie for the kids so I could just have a minute.

    I didn’t feel like doing much after lunch, so I curled up on the couch and semi-dozed while the kids played (read: destroyed) the living room. I think every toy we own + every piece of duplo in our house was mashed together on the floor and I just decided that today I didn’t care.

    Then I felt bad for needing some space this afternoon and decided to make pizza for dinner.

    In other houses, I think pizza is what you do when you don’t feel like cooking. Here, it’s a different story.

    I have to make two separate kinds of dough–one gluten free and one regular. I have dairy-free cheese and regular cheese, and then a myriad of different toppings for different kids who can / can’t eat different things.

    It’s seriously such a process and it’s a bit exhausting… but I hate telling my kids that they “can’t” have something. Pizza is their FAVOURITE. So, every so often, I roll up my sleeves and do the work. It takes about 2 hours from start to finish to make it all, but they are SO happy. It’s worth it.

    In the midst of pizza making, we got a call that a friend wanted to come by for a bit. Of course we said yes, then I realized that I had let the kids completely destroy the living room and I had blissfully turned a blind eye to it.

    I’m so used to not having anyone but us in my house, it felt weird to suddenly know someone else was coming over. I went into crazy lady mode and blitzed the main floor–tidied the toys, vaccumed, cleaned the bathroom, tidied the entrance way and took HEAPS of stuffies back upstairs where they belong.

    Oh my word I was a wee bit tired when it was done, but I basically did a full day’s worth of cleaning in 20 minutes… so you know, there’s that.

    I was so burnt out after pizza making and house blitzing that I was not my best tonight. P went from snuggle bear mode to DEMON MODE in 5 seconds flat and screamed at me pretty much the entire time I was trying to get him to bed. I totally lost my temper when I saw the state of the kids’ rooms, and made them tidy up before anything.

    Through all of this Miss S kept bugging to watch the 3rd Anne of Green Gables movie… which I can’t stand. I’ve been putting it off but I know she wants to and I was more snippy about it tonight than usual after P’s screaming and the gigantor mess. We squeezed in 15 minutes but oh, it’s painful.

    I don’t know how the first two movies can be so magical and this one is just so bad.

    I’m just tired I think. Sometimes all of this just gets to me and it feels heavy. One of the hardest aspects of social distancing is just the sameness of it all. I desperately want to go out and do things and be in the world again, but then I also don’t feel safe going out, so it’s this constant battle of what I feel comfortable with in my heart.

    Anyway.

    Tomorrow will be better.

  • On Being a Female Runner*

    A good friend sent me an article tonight.

    She knows I’m a runner and that I often take advantage of the beautiful lake trails near where we live. She wanted to give me a heads up about something she had read and found concerning. The article was about my city–not my immediate area thank goodness, but not crazy far away either.

    The police put out a bulletin alerting the public that there had been three recent incidents involving female runners being grabbed from behind and touched inappropriately by a man on the trails. The women had been approached from behind by a male who touched them then sped away on a bicycle. They offered a description of a suspect, and urged any other women who may have been approached or assaulted to come forward.

    Honestly, it just made my stomach turn.

    Being a female solo runner is not something I ever take lightly. I’ve written in the past about my own unnerving experiences, particularly the one where I was actually followed home by three men who aggressively pursued me home from a shopping center.

    I’ve been mooed at, leered at, had comments hurled at me and more than one gaze that lasted entirely too long. Last summer I had to completely change running routes after more than one uncomfortable experience with a man who began watching me run and followed behind me with his van.

    And now, there’s someone in my city who is touching women on the paths.

    I mean, seriously?! It is SO frustrating.

    I was talking about this with M the other day–the precautions I take are probably excessive, but at the same time, I know they definitely aren’t. On top of the usual things like telling M my route, carrying my phone with me with the GPS on, keeping my music low so I can hear my surroundings, etc, I’ve added some new precautions as well.

    For example: after the weird encounters with “van man” last summer, I now wait until after 7:30am to run most mornings. Why? More people are out. I feel safer if I’m passing another runner / biker / dog walker every few feet because I know someone will hear me if I need help.

    I also no longer wear my hair in a ponytail when I run. I wear it all tied up in a tight bun. Why? Because my hair is quite long now, and statistically women with pony tails make easier targets because there is something for an attacker to grab.

    How ridiculous is THAT?

    I’ve been on the fence about switching my route up again because of another sort of weird experience with a new guy. I have a bridge that I absolutely love to run across. It’s my favourite part of my run. It’s gorgeous and quiet and runs over this little babbling stream. It’s DREAMY.

    It is in this tiny little green space between two neighborhoods. There are houses on either side, but it’s this little oasis in the middle. As soon as you cross the bridge heading back to my house, you come to a path that leads back into the neighbourhood. The path runs between two houses, and there is a swath of cut grass between the green space and the fences that line the properties there.

    I’ve noticed that there is often a guy that sits back there on a lawn chair in the morning. There’s nothing overtly untoward about him, just that he’s there and it’s kind of an odd spot to sit. I noticed he started being there more often as I ran, but he never approached me so I didn’t let it bother me much.

    And then I went for a walk with my friend and our kids last week.

    We walked back to the bridge so the kids could play. We were there talking when suddenly this guy appeared–same chair guy I had passed two hours earlier on my run. I assume he lives somewhere on the street.

    He asked if we had lost a “stuffy”–which we had. P had been running on that swath of grass where he often sits and left the small bear he had been carrying. He had not been sitting there when we came in.

    Whatever. It was casual and I appreciated that he told us. I thanked him, picked up the bear and excused myself. As I was talking with my friend next to the stream, he appeared again. This time, with more helpful advice about a loose branch. When he came back a second time, my spider senses started tingling. I immediately began asking the kids to come off the rocks in the water so we could leave. I thanked him for the help, again, then sort of abruptly told him we needed to leave. We gathered the kids up and walked away.

    He was probably just being friendly. Maybe there really was a loose branch he wanted us to be careful around. Maybe I’m really overly cautious.

    But if I have learned ANYTHING over the past several years, it’s to always trust my gut. I didn’t the day those men followed me, and I got really lucky. When I feel that something is off now, I don’t wait.

    Maybe that makes me really unfairly judgemental. Honestly, I don’t care. It’s my reality as a female runner.

    Luckily I haven’t seen him around since. I took a few days off, and since going back he hasn’t been there. If I see him again, that might be another running route down the drain.

    Ugh.

    Do men experience this? Do women leer at you and look a little too long while you run? Do women hurl insults at you, or moo at you? Do women approach you from behind, touch you inappropriately then race away?

    Sometimes it all just feels so unfair.

    I just want to run and not worry… but I just don’t think that will ever be in the cards for me. I’m not going to stop, and I refuse to let someone else steal this from me.

    So, I’ll keep taking precautions. As frustrating as it is, I’ll keep changing routes if I have to. I won’t let anyone steal this from me.

    Sometimes I just really wish things were different.

  • My Covid Dentist Appointment*

    I went to the dentist today.

    That in and of itself is not remarkable, except that all things are strange and bizarre in COVID times.

    I was supposed to go for my 9 month cleaning / check-up in early April, but it was cancelled when everything shut down. Honestly, I was not sad about it. I dutifully go to the dentist as required, but it’s not my favourite. I had a bad experience at a different dentist a few years back and it’s sort of soured me for life.

    Lemme tell you, drilling for a cavity with not enough freezing in your mouth is not recommended.

    I’ve recently noticed some sensitivity with some of my teeth, and when I realized I could narrow it down to two specific teeth, I knew I should probably call.

    And so, I procrastinated and didn’t call. Who wants to go to the dentist in the middle of a pandemic?!

    On Sunday I noticed that my tooth was starting to hurt even when I was chewing, so I couldn’t put it off anymore. I called Monday morning and they somehow had an opening for today, so I decided to take it.

    Only two days of stressing? I’m in.

    They asked me a long list of questions about my health and social activities when I made the appointment, then gave me some detailed instructions about what to do when I arrived.

    I’m not going to lie, it was a little intense.

    M came home from work a little early today so I could go. I found some good music to ease my nerves, then drove over to my appointment–10 minutes early. You’re not allowed to enter until 5 minutes before, so I hung out in my car for a bit before going in.

    You need to have a mask to enter, and have to sanitize your hands before interacting with the receptionist. She was bright and cheery, then handed me a written version of the questions I had answered two days ago and I had to complete them again, along with signing a document that outlined the risks associated with seeing a dentist during a pandemic. I signed my life away, then she took my temperature with a forehead thermometer.

    Once I had all that done, I was in the all clear to stand on a red X they had taped on the floor. The waiting room is closed, so I had to stand and wait until my room was cleaned and ready for me.

    I had to wait about 15 minutes past my appointment time for them to come get me, but I’m hoping that’s just because they were making it EXTRA clean.

    My regular dental hygienist was back and I was SO happy to see her. She was off on a maternity leave at my last appointment and her replacement was a little, uhm, aggressive with the cleaning. She had me do a mouth wash while she explained a few procedures to me and helped into the chair. We did the X-rays, then she got to work.

    It was a little weird seeing her so decked out for my dental appointment. Her hair was tied back, and she had a mask, safety glasses and face shield on her head. She wore a plastic gown over her scrubs, and she changed her gloves at least twice during my visit. The cleaning itself was pretty normal, except that they aren’t doing polishing as the risk of spreading particles from your mouth is higher.

    My dentist popped in to see me, and I braced myself for him to tell me about my double cavity situation. He looked over my X-rays, then poked around at my teeth before brightly telling me that I had NO CAVITIES.

    The sensitivity is from some gum recession, and they gave me a fluoride treatment and some tips on that.

    I AM SO RELIEVED.

    I was so sure I was going to need to go back in for fillings. Now I have shiny clean teeth and I don’t have to think about this for another 9 months. WIN WIN.

    As soon as she was done cleaning I had to get my mask back on and head to the front. It was then that I knew I had a big decision to make.

    While I was laying in the chair (for a good 45 minutes, I might add) I realized that I needed to pee. I hoped it was just from the was I was positioned, but as soon as I stood up it was 10x worse. I thought about asking to use the bathroom at their office, but then I panicked and worried about COVID and didn’t feel comfortable using it.

    So, naturally I decided that driving all the way home with a super urgent need to pee was the more comfortable option . (Yes, I’m an idiot. ha)

    I did my “I really have to pee” run out to my van, then the race was on. The whole way home I drove as fast as I possibly could without going TOO fast because getting a ticket would get in the way of me getting to a bathroom.

    And, you know, it’s not ideal. DRIVE SAFELY.

    The Traffic Light Gods obviously knew of my plea as I begged each light to be green as I got in my car AND THEY WERE. I swear, I’ve never had so many green lights in a row during rush hour. It’s like the universe was rewarding me for putting on my big girl pants and finally going to the dentist.

    I did have to stop at a couple of red lights, and naturally I was dancing around in my seat because somehow that is just what you do when you really need to pee. I hope it just looked like I was reeeeeally enjoying the music on the radio to all the cars around me.

    I whipped my vanimal into the driveway and raced into the house. I am happy to report that there were no accidents of any kind as I raced home: vehicular or… otherwise.

  • Mini Photo Shoots & Mish Mash*

    It wasn’t hot today. I mean it was hot, but it wasn’t I-can’t-even-stand-to-be-outside hot, so it was BEAUTIFUL.

    I got up early and slipped out for a run before M left for work. I haven’t run in almost a week and I was definitely feeling it today. My legs felt so tired and sluggish and I really had to push to finish.

    I DID finish though, so I’m proud of that.

    This morning I took the kids out for a little photo shoot.

    I try to get updated photos of them each summer, and I am SO happy with how they turned out!! They were so cooperative today–and I definitely bribed them with a bag of fuzzy peaches, but the pictures turned out so YAY!

    The rest of the day seemed to fly by. I spent an exciting afternoon cleaning more grout and scraping glue from under a flooring transition piece. The grout is almost ready to be sealed–I just have one more section to work at.

    For the record, this is not my favourite job.

    That being said, it does look SO much better.

    I definitely forgot to pull the meat I planned to BBQ for dinner out of the freezer, so I whipped up a meal of meatballs, green beans and fries that everyone actually ate and didn’t complain about.

    Even P ate it all, which is basically a Christmas miracle.

    Tonight I started watching Part III of Anne–The Continuing Story. Miss S has been begging to watch it since we finished the first two, and I’ve been putting it off because it’s just not my favourite. It has such a different vibe than the first two movies, AND there is no Marilla in it, so…. I usually skip it. We are just going to plow through and get through it, and then hopefully that will be the end of it.

    In other news, I’m going to the dentist tomorrow. I had to answer 23483092802 questions about my health when I made the appointment, and they let me know I’ll have to answer them all again in writing tomorrow, as well as have my temperature taken before I can come in.

    This is all so weird.

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