Parenting 2.0

Archive for the ‘Anecdotes’ Category


When Niko was just a wee babe, I made up a song and sang it to him daily. The words were something along the lines of “My sweet little angel boy and then basically just repeated over and over again to a particular tune that I cannot begin to describe in words. Then he grew up a little and that little ditty made it’s way to the back burner.

This morning as we were getting ready for daycare, Niko was in one of those delightful moods where nothing pleased him. Mind you, he is not feeling 100% (coughing, etc.), but still this mood isn’t the easiest to deal with. Now while I try to stay away from sarcasm, especially directed toward my dear angel boy, at times humour acts as my parental crutch and helps me cope in the moment.

So I’m bundling him up to go out the door. And even though there’s no snow the temperature is in the negatives, yet Niko is insisting he wears his sandals, while I am insisting on his winter boots. A no-win here. So after a full morning of such antics (not all sandal related, but on the same plane of ridiculousness) I look at Borys and say:

“Hmm…Maybe we should have topped the tree with this little darling the other day“! 

Borys: But doesn’t coal go in the stocking?

Hahahaha. Thank goodness for comic relief – even if it was at the expense of our little man. He didn’t seem to notice.

And no Niko, you are NOT wearing your sandals today!



When all’s quiet in the kitchen it’s time for some parental investigation. Afterall, quiet in toddler terms is only a precursor to bedlam, right?

And all I see upon my arrival…

Yes! Those are toddler toes peeking out from under an open fridge door. Not a good sign…

PS – Niko was just in there quietly giggling to himself. Looks like I averted disaster in the nick of time!



Niko has an interesting way of telling us he’s done his supper.

Step 1) Push chair away from table as far as possible, using the fullest reach of hands and feet against the table to propel to the furthest distance.

Step 2) Grab sock and rip it off.

Step 3) Repeat on other side.

Step 4) Scatter socks on the floor below, while delighting in newfound foot freedom.

With such a show of respect, Niko can only be demonstrating me how much he likes my cooking, right?

And so it is that this habit has developed. As soon as I see that first table push-off with his hands, I pretty much know it’s game over. Unless of course, I tempt him with cookies or ice cream, but that’s not a daily occurrence. And over time this habit has evolved. He used to struggle with his socks, until he discovered that biting the toes really provided that extra torque needed to successfully de-sock himself independently. But that strategy wasn’t sitting too well with Mommy and Daddy, so after a few nights of encouragement he finally figured out how to get the pull he needed by using his hands alone, sans teeth! Phewf.

Anyway, for now it’s socks off to signal the end of dinner time. And we’re left with a barefoot toddler for the remainder of the evening while the spoils of his labour remain scattered on the floor, usually until the next morning.

Pull ‘Em

Typical: Post Supper


Her face was hardened. Deep crevices lined the canvas of her skin, illustrating all the scowls she’d doled out over time. Yes, she’d probably enjoyed a few laughs too, but judging (yes, I was judging!) by her behaviour yesterday morning, I think her life had been filled with more upset than happiness. I just couldn’t believe the way she was talking to the (I’m guessing) 18 month old that she was pushing around in the stroller. That’s pushing around, both literally and metaphorically.

“That’s it! Yer not gettin’ anything with that sort of behaviour! NO! That’s it! NO! Yer terrible the way yer behavin’!”, she drilled at the little pajama-clad guy who was taking it all in, while quietly sucking on his soother.

I may not even have noticed what she was saying, if it hadn’t been for the decibels to which her voice reached.

Now, I have a two year old son, who’s not much older than the little guy in her care. 18 months old wasn’t so long ago for me. I clearly remember what an 18 month old is like – they’re more interactive, more independent, more everything than the version of their baby-selves that has now ceased to exist. But the way this woman was talking to her son? Grandson? (It was hard to tell.) It was like he was 5 years old. Like he could understand the cause and affect of his behaviour. Like he could reason. And she just kept berating him. I wish I could remember the exact words she was using, because they really resonated with me. Disturbed me. And I know I’m not doing her nastiness justice here.

I’m not saying I don’t get frustrated with parenthood. It’s certainly not easy and I’m no expert. Like most parents I’m just trying my best. But was this this woman’s best? I just couldn’t help but wonder: if this is how she talks to the little guy in public, what goes on at home, when no one is watching?

It really just broke my heart. I wanted to take him home with me or something.

Maybe she was having a bad day (but it was only 10 in the morning), life. I don’t know. But it doesn’t excuse talking to the child in your care like that. But what could I do? Was it my place to step in? I don’t think so. Not unless the end result would be me rescuing the child and bringing him home with me, but I think in the eyes of the law that’s kidnapping and I’d probably be put in jail. So, here I am a day later still thinking about that woman’s face and the way she barked at that little boy. And wondering why?


Niko’s in to everything these days.

I keep as watchful an eye as I can, but at some points I really just need to get things done, like brushing my teeth or changing out of my pajamas. You know, things that help you start the day off on the right foot. So, like I said, Niko’s into everything: drawers, toilet paper, cupboards, etc. He’s even taken to munching on wrapped bars of soap that he finds in the bathroom. Seriously, what’s the draw there? Isn’t that an old school punishment for tweens who prove to have a potty mouth? What’s the allure? I just don’t get it.

The other day, Niko discovered a whole new meaning for the term “toilet water”. Niko and I were in my bedroom, with him crawling aimlessly (or seamlessly, in many directions at once) underfoot. I was trying to figure out what to wear and thinking he was pretty safe: the bedroom door was closed, so he’s (relatively) safe right? But my bedroom also includes a tiny washroom and a walk-in closet. So as I’m “la dee daaing” and perusing my clothes, I hear the distinct sound of tiny splashes. What? I careen my way toward the sound only to find Little Niko, standing against the toilet and leaning over with both hands happily splashing in the toilet water. “Niko! Ewww! Get your hands out of there, you little monkey.”

Lesson learned: from now on, our house will be a “toilet-seat-cover-down” kind of place. At least when we remember to put it down, because already there’s been repeat incidents like the one described above.

Note to self: Must remember to put toilet cover down.



Baby’s got a new trick, and I happily discovered it before it led to disaster. It was just yesterday when Niko was lying on his back that I heard the slow sound of velcro coming undone. I looked down to see two baby eyes looking up at me with a grin, while one little baby hand was slowly undoing the velcro on his diaper! It’s been so hot in Ottawa these past few days that I’ve taken to dressing Niko in just a t-shirt and diaper when we’re in the house. But apparently this uniform is going to have to change now that I know he can undo the protective diaper cover.  Yikes! I don’t even want to imagine what would happen if he got that puppy off when I was unaware. Actually I don’t really have to imagine seeing as once, a long time ago, I did experience the repercussions of a baby who had discovered this trick, and left to his own devices it caused one huge mess…

Go back in time about 24 years and you’ll see my brother Greg as a baby. Seeing as I am eight years his senior, I was old enough for this memory to be clearly etched in time on my brain, never again to be forgotten and now forever memorialized on this blog! (Sorry, Greg!) So this is how it all went down. Picture a nine year old me with my friend Marie over to play and Baby Greg just “snoozing” away during nap time.

Marie: Want to go in and check on your baby brother?

Me: Sure, but we’ll have to be quiet to make sure we don’t wake him up.

We then proceed to gingerly open Little Greg’s bedroom door only to see him happily sitting up in his crib…

Baby Greg: Ga ga ga, goo goo goo.

Me: Why is there chocolate all over the place? (Oh the innocent mind of a nine year old…)

Marie: Umm, Alli I don’t think that’s chocolate!

Me: Well, what is it?! Look at it! It’s everywhere: on the walls, in the crib spokes, on the sheets, all over Little G (in his hair, on his hands, you get the picture…).

Me: Oh my gosh!!! MOM, get up here! QUICK!

Baby Greg: Ga ga ga, goo goo goo.

Needless to say, I don’t need a repeat of this particular antic under my parenting repertoire of experience. So Baby Niko, it looks like you’ll be wearing diaper shirts or shorts even on the really hot days!

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Laundry – something that can be done at any time of the day, but if you’ve forgotten to transfer the stuff to the dryer and need your clothes for work the next day it sort of becomes a late night chore. As of late my husband Borys has been finishing his with late night pizazz.

A few nights ago as we were getting ready for bed, I was brushing my teeth and he came to me holding a teensy tiny top and asked, “Can this go in the dryer?” This is a testament to the fact that on occasion both of us have put things (our own things and each others) in there that didn’t belong, resulting in smurf-like attire – not a good situation for anyone involved. “What happened to my favourite jeans?!” Actually, since having a baby I have made this mistake more frequently – perhaps a reflection of my mommy state of mind: multi-tasking on little sleep. Anyway, he came in holding up one of Niko’s cotton tops.  In the dryer? Yes. In my opinion all baby clothes fit the dryer category – but good on him for asking, wasn’t it?! 🙂


Get to know your neighbours: words of wisdom often bestowed on me by my mother. Good advice? Yes. Does it always happen? No.

It’s amazing how close in proximity you can live to some people and hardly ever get to know them – more common in city life than small town life, I think, but sort of strange nonetheless. I am definitely glad I’ve gotten to know some of my neighbours: for one, they’re nice people and for two, well just read on…

Rewind to yesterday afternoon. It was a mild winter day and my crew and I went out for one of our regular jaunts in the field behind my house: Niko in the Baby Bjorn, Frasier off leash, me, leash and house key in hand. After one loop, I leashed Frasier up and we headed home, but when I went to unlock my door, the key was nowhere to be found. Slight panic sets in, but I decide to head back to the field and look for it, as I more or less know the route I took.

So, Niko still in the Baby Bjorn, Frasier off leash again, and me, leash in hand sans key, we turned around and retraced our steps, but it was to no avail. And to add to the mayhem Frasier decided he hadn’t had enough of the great outdoors and took this opportunity to run away – sometimes he tends to wander off, but remain in sight, however on this particular day of all days, he chose to completely run off, out of sight. More panic sets in, and if I’d thought about it too much I am sure tears could have spouted (from me, not the baby). But I took a deep breath and kept it together calling out, “Frasier. Fraser! FRASIER!” Still nothing, until I found him rooting around near some garbage not too far off, but far enough for me to have worried. Panic starts to dissipate. But now, what to do? What to do?

I decided the best thing would be to ring my neighbour’s bell and just hope she was home: she is also on mat. leave. And BINGO, she was there! Panic dissipates even more, when I see her smiling face answer the door. I explained my situation and she invited me in, and we had a nice afternoon of tea and cookies, while hanging out with our babies: me still in my PJs. (After all, I had just gone out to walk the dog, not even thinking that I would end up out for a visit: at least my jammies were presentable!)

Anyway, thank goodness for the kindness of my neighbour friend Yuko, and thank goodness she was home, because being locked out in the winter with a baby, and a lost but found poodle does not bode well with me! Three hours later I finally got a hold of my father-in-law who has a spare key and he came over to let me in.

Note: The picture of Yuko and me was taken a few days after this incident.

Baby Nina: “Hello world!”

Baby Niko: “Nina dahling, you’ve got great hair.”


Shopping with a stroller in a multi-leveled (not to mention super busy) mall brings a whole new meaning to navigating your way around. Yesterday afternoon we headed down the big bad Rideau Centre: a mall with three floors and tonnes of shops. I for one am not big on shopping, especially in the mall, but Gramma had a few things she wanted to get done, so downtown we headed. And as always, being a (semi :)) new mom and out and about with baby N in an new environment, I learned a thing or two.

First off, for convenience sake, we needed to locate the elevator, which by the way was out of order. How convenient. Elevator? Did I even think about an elevator in the pre-Niko days? No. Even though the elevator was out of order we were redirected to another one, but we couldn’t find it and ended up using the one in the Westin. Which in the end brought us outside, to one of the busiest intersections in Ottawa: the corner of Rideau and Sussex. No, it was not the most efficient way to get around, but then again having a baby in tow sort of puts the brakes on efficiency in general, so I guess that was to be expected. And even putting up with the exhaust filled (but sunny) air at the corner of Rideau and Sussex was more appealing to me than making my way as a mall rat in the enclosed shopping centre.

So after this mall adventure, I have a few more things to notch on my belt buckle of experience:

1) Went the Rideau Centre (and survived)? Check!

2) Found the conveniences of ramps and elevators (despite one of them being out of order)? Check!

3) Maintained my sanity and lived to tell the tale? Check!


If there ever was a need for a doggie bidet, this story is it! Could this be my multi-million dollar idea? Hmm, time will tell on that I guess. But it’s true, a couple of days ago a doggie bidet would have come in quite handy.

Taking care of the little Niko Man I deal with my fair share of spit-up and doo doo, and for the most part I make a conscious effort not to blog (too much) about these particular adventures. But when it comes at me from both ends from my standard poodle, I feel it’s (a little) more socially acceptable to post my thoughts.

A few days ago I was commenting to my friend Mel, as we watched Frasier, my beloved dog trotting on ahead of us, “You know, I really want to get his hair trimmed, especially that area under his tail. I mean it’s getting kind of long and could cause a serious mess if anything gets caught in there. If you know what I mean…”. She had to agree. It turns out that my words were foreshadowing events that would take place later that same day!

Yes, I discovered the lovely outcome of what occurs when one spunky poodle pup (although he’s the biggest puppy I’ve ever seen!) greedily gobbles up table almonds – and no they weren’t meant for him, it’s just that Frasier is still learning the art of manners. The episode resulted in him getting sick – on both ends! The recipe went something like this: down the hatch with a mouthful of almonds (or as many as he could get until I pulled him away), then wait one day for the results. And the results were as follows…

You know how dogs, when they’ve got an issue, will endearingly drag their butts right along the carpet? Well, picture our poodle continually doing this, while I am scrambling to get my winter coat on and wondering if my friends Mel and Heather will be OK with Niko for a few minutes, as clearly Frasier needed to get outside, pronto. So, one prominent skid mark on the carpet (yes, you read that correctly!) and two minutes later, we were out the door, only for Frasier to frolic with a few puppy friends and then try and try to get what was ailing him out, but it was to no avail. Until, I noticed he was skidding across the snow, just as he had my carpet, and leaving skid mark trails to boot! Oh glorious day! But better he do that outside than inside. Anyway, it was then I noticed the large amount of caked dog dirt clumped under his tail. Hmm..what to do, what to do!?

Then brilliance struck! I’ll use this random stick to get rid of the dirty mess. Well, it turns out that stick wasn’t strong enough and its brittle pieces snapped and flew up in my face – fingers crossed that it wasn’t the pieces that had touched his dirty mess that were the ones that pummeled my face. I mean picture it, here I am out back, holding Frasier by the leash, while I bend over him holding his tail up, trying desperately to scrape away the dirty clump, only to have the stick snap in my face. Not a pretty site.

Even though the job wasn’t done, I had to go back home. Niko was in good hands, but those good hands had to get to the VIA Train Station to catch their ride back to TO. So, again, what to do what to do? Well, I walked Frasier home, and put him on the patio, while I cleaned the aforementioned skid mark, then careened him into his crate, the whole smelly mess of him. As they used to say on Seinfeld: “Serentiy Now”! But not for long, because it wasn’t long before I heard him start to yak. I rushed to him and pulled him out of the crate to brace his gagging body while he proceeded to upchuck pieces of sticks (he eats them when he doesn’t feel well), whole almonds and bile all over my floor! And again: Serenity Now.

When Borys got him, it was into the tub with this dirty poodle, and this is when the idea for the doggie bidet struck. All we had was some soap, our bare hands, and a trusty pair of scissors. Oh dear. Anyway, a good half hour later, he was much cleaner and after a good one-two with the scissors he didn’t have too much fur left under his tail. But what other options did we have?

Let me tell you, having a baby and a dog and being home with them in my second floor condo day in and day out, provides for lots of “fun” adventures. Despite this awe inspiring tale, I wouldn’t trade my situation – although in our next place, I definitely want a yard, that way I, uh…I mean Frasier, can run around outside like crazy.

Maybe when Niko gets a bit older he can help out with taking care of this lovely pooch. But as it stands right now, he has trouble just sitting on his own, so to have him lean over the tub and act as doggie bidet, doesn’t seem to be in his near future. Lucky little guy!

Note: Frasier often reminds me of that afghan pooch from the UK cartoon, What a Mess – and even more so, after this lovely little episode. See pic below.



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