Parenting 2.0

Archive for the ‘The Great Outdoors’ Category


Unseasonably warm weather for WINTER!

Yes, when these pics were taken it was technically still winter. The tail-end mind you, but still winter!!! WOW!

Aside

Posted on: April 11, 2012


If you had asked me yesterday morning when the last time was that I had burned a hole in my pants from playing too hard, I would have had to really think about it. Maybe 25 years ago? My mom actually used to patch my jeans or snowpants when it happened. But as an adult, there’s no real reason to ruin your pants this way. Unless, of  course, you are the parent of a toddler.

I am a big believer in playing with your children. I try to carve out time for this each day – not just watching Niko play, or listening to him in the background, but actually getting involved in what he’s doing. Not having spent much time with two year old boys in the past, this type of play is somewhat new for me. Yesterday it involved going out to the sidewalk with some chalk, some cars and a ramp, and sitting in warm Spring sun, while creating a road and parking lots for his toys. Of course, you can’t play with sidewalk chalk without getting right down on your hands and knees.

Anyway, lo and behold, time passed, and I looked down to see the skin of my knee glaring at me through my jeans. One of my favourite pairs! Ah well, they had been well loved over the years and perhaps it was time. At one point ripped jeans were “in” anyway, and maybe I’m on to something here. An updated form of “mom” jeans perhaps? I’m just a budding fashionista, really!

One thing’s for sure, all this play certainly tuckered out little Stella.

A New Take on “Mom” Jeans


A few weeks back – when snow still covered the ground, Niko, Stella and I ventured out for the first time as a group of three. That’s right. Just me and the two kiddos. Might not sound like much, but it was a feat. Getting amply bundled and carrying wee Stella in the Bjorn while Niko bounced underfoot we headed out into the sun and onward to the park.

Blue skies and smiles all around!

Success.


SnowToddler may more accurately describe the little snow tyke that took residence on our front lawn the other day. SnowToddler only because it ended up being about the same size as our real life toddler. Granted it was sort of raining during the making of this little guy, and I am impressed not only that it was built at all but also with its staying power over the last few days, Happy Birthday hat and all!

Follow up Note: Niko loves looking out the window at his SnowToddler, but was sorely disappointed – tears etc. – when he peered out one day only to see that his creation was missing its nose and buttons. Seems a squirrel had come along in the night, and tried to make off with it. But squirrels must not like carrots much because upon closer investigation, Frasier discovered the carrot and pieces half buried in the snow just a few feet away. Which actually only perpetuated the problem (and tears) because then Frasier tried to devour the remains only to render himself gagging on the frozen carrot bits. Good thing Daddy stepped in to save the day, and the remains of the carrot. Once pulled from the clenches of our poodle, the nose and buttons were put back into place and despite all the gagging, you can barely tell what they’d been through. And at last…tears ceased! Phewf.



The Christmas season is here, and Borys and I want Niko to be a part of the festivities as much as possible. I mean Christmas is just one day, but the season (at least according to the retail sector) starts the day after (or in some cases even a few days before – Booooo) Halloween. For us though, we really get into the swing of things a couple of weeks into November. After that it’s just gets too cold to put up the lights anyway… So for the sake of our hands and to actually have enjoyment in decorating the house, the lights go up midway through the month. And really Christmas is about celebrating not just that one day, but enjoying all the steps along the way. So yes, we want Niko to be part of the decorating, the giving, the baking, the music, the time together, and all the build up.

Last week we got around to getting our Christmas lights up, both outside and inside the house. And Niko had a ball helping us out in the best way he could. It’s funny, because he doesn’t really understand what Christmas day is, but he certainly likes to talk about Christmas:

“Kiss-miss lights on!”

“Santa comin’ down da chimney, bingin’ peasants?” (Peasants down the chimney? Niko, you’re too funny!)

“Kiss-miss music Jingle Bells.”

“Santa Ho ho ho.”

OK, so I can understand where he got the idea about the Christmas lights, afterall he helped us put them up. But I’ve never talked to him about Santa and the chimney or Jingle Bells. So who knows where he picked that up. Regardless, he is getting into the Christmas spirit – I’ll just try to steer him more towards the lights and the Jingle Bells part of it than the “gimme presents” (or peasants, whatever the case may be) version.

Helping Daddy

Using My Muscles

Whoa! Big Ladder

I’ll Push it up, Dad.

Almost Ready

Wow, That’s High!

Break Time

Back to Work


It’s November. And despite the fact that the days are getting shorter and the temperature in general is dropping, we’ve had a few nice days. Last week, Niko and I played out front for quite some time. It was sort-of mitten weather, but seeing as Niko was running around a lot, he soon ripped off the extra layer. And even though the sun was shining and he was warm, I was more of an encourager of his actions and kept my mittens on. What better way to drain a toddler’s endless supply of energy than racing back and forth across the front lawn? Anyway, while he was running as full blast as his little toddler legs would take him, I took a more leisurely approach and let him win (most of) the races.

And what better way to reward ourselves for enjoying the somewhat brisk temperatures of a November afternoon than to go inside and celebrate with hot chocolate and marshmallows. Niko didn’t know what sort of treat he was in for, seeing as he’d never had the stuff before, but when I asked him if we wanted any, his enthusiasm gave me a clear answer.

Niko gets so genuinely excited about the little things – even if he doesn’t know exactly what he’s getting excited about! I love it! Although, I suppose anything with the word chocolate in it, is enough to pique his interest.


Niko picked his first ever bouquet of wildflowers for me while out on a walk with Frasier and Daddy. What a little sweetheart! He came home beaming and confidently held the flowers out for me to see. Naturally I walked over and after abundantly thanking him for the bouquet, tried to take it from him to put in some water. That is where my mistake was made. Seems Niko appreciated me looking at the flowers, but didn’t actually want to give me the flowers.

My attempts were greeted with his resistance: a dramatic pout and a tiny fist progressively clenching tighter around the stems, making it impossible to retrieve them. That was unless I wanted a case of crying on my hands, which of course I didn’t. So while he seems to get the idea of picking flowers for Mama, he doesn’t quite grasp the concept of giving flowers to Mama.

This sort of reminded me of that Seinfeld episode when Jerry was disappointed in his attempt to rent a car: “So you’re good at taking the reservation, just not good at holding the reservation?”

Seems little Niko has a few things to learn about doing random acts of kindness. Ah well, put a smile on my face nonetheless.


Remember that craze in the 80s for Cabbage Patch Kids? Parents swarmed department stores, fanatically trying to get their hands on at least one of the beloved dolls for their deserving offspring (or “daughter” as the sexist retro-news caster terms it). Parents went crazy, snatching dolls from each others’ hands and lining up in herds to pay for the toy and then leave the store safely.

Well, I think I may be on to something here with Pumpkin Patch Kids. At least if I could package, market and sell some of the cuteness in these pictures, I could be on my way to succeeding with my own million dollar idea.

Note: These pics further show what fun can be had on an apple-picking excursion, sans the apple picking.


A beautiful Fall day. A plan for apple picking at a local farm. A recipe for a great afternoon of free fun with the kiddies.

The only glitch? We tried it on a Friday and apple picking wasn’t open to the public until Saturday. I guess that explains why no one was to be seen by the trees. Why we had to help ourselves to the bags that we scrounged up from the barn. And why the farmer had to drive up in his pick-up to inform us of the apple picking rules. Who knew? Not us, obviously.

The good thing about toddlers, is that they are just as happy to pick apples from a tree as they are to find the plentiful remains of the ones the worms are getting, on the ground. I had been pumping up the whole experience to Niko that morning. “Guess where we’re going? Apple Picking!” He’d seen apple picking on a much loved episode of Caillou, so once he wrapped his head around where we were heading, he could even answer the questions correctly and with a smile of anticipation to boot.

Me: Guess where we’re going Niko?

N: Farm! A-pull-pick-kinG!

But like I said, these little toddlers are quite adaptable, and it seems I was more disappointed in the loss of the planned activity than they were.

Note: Niko’s cousin Ramona (visiting from Asia), came along with us. It was so great to have finally met her!

Five things to do at an apple orchard, besides picking your own apples…

Take time for family photos

Walk along the apple tree path…

Play on the slide…

Pose by the Pick Your Own Apples sign…

Enjoy the flowers. And each others’ company…


Niko is becoming evermore affectionate by the day. He freely kisses and hugs us, and while at times it takes a little coaxing, more and more he is loving us out of his own volition. And doesn’t it feel so great to have those tiny little arms wrapped tightly around your neck, back, leg, or whatever the chosen “love spot” of the moment may be. So yes, we welcome his affections.

However, this does not mean we want him to extend this love to all living creatures. After a visit to the Experimental Farm the other day, we realized how quickly his affections can be outletted, and perhaps that we need to monitor him a bit more closely. While at home, he may be the victim of our lovable poodle’s wet tongued smooches, we don’t necessarily want him to be the bovine delight of the day. Thank goodness for hand sanitizer (turned face and lip sanitizer when the time calls).

How does that mantra go? He’s building his immunities. He’s building his immunities…


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