Parenting 2.0

Posts Tagged ‘cottage life


This year we celebrated my dad’s, Niko’s grandad’s, birthday with an air of zesty surprise. Surprise, in that he had no idea it was coming, seeing as we were celebrating nearly a month early. But when the whole family, and I mean the whole family, even the parts that live in Uganda, and the one that used to live in France and all the little monkeys from Southern Ontario happen to be at the cottage at the same time, it definitely calls for a celebration. And seeing as my dad’s birthday was falling in the same month that we were all together, a surprise birthday celebration it became.

Does it matter that the guest of honour was recovering from Singapore jet lag? Apparently not. It was on with the show, and the birthday boy put on a darn good birthday face and seemed to thoroughly enjoy all the festivities, which included a homemade play by all his grand-kids, and two other little pals that have a cottage right beside ours. Even Niko joined in the play: when JR came down with a bit of stage (or should I saw lawn?) fright, Niko was there as a quick understudy ready to take over and play the part of the cowboy.


What Canadian summer would be complete without at least one trip to the lake? (Or more if you’re lucky.) Cottage life seems to be a regular occurrence for Canadians in the hot summer heat, or even the summer rain. It’s not quite roughing it like camping, but still more rustic than home living and replete with a lakeside view, perhaps even an outhouse, some lazy dock fishing and the occasional swim to the island or across the lake, or whatever the challenge of the lake may be. (I think next summer, Eliot and I are planning to swim the perimeter of my parents’ lake. This year we did the length – which is a feet in itself seeing as we’d only ever done the width before. But, I digress…) Canadian summers seem to equal lakeside beers with friends and family, late nights roasting marshmallows by the campfire and the odd run in with the elusive wildlife that calls the surrounding area home.

This summer Niko had a lot of fun chillin’ at his pals’ cottage for a few days in August. And what cottage experience would be complete without the added company of two dogs and a cat? Yes, a dog seems to be the quintessential addition to any cottage: I mean how could you survive a lakeside summer without being sprinkled on an hourly basis by the wriggly shake of a wet poodle or some other mutt who has just come out of the water? And don’t they always seem to be drawn to the dry sunbathers when they seek release those thousands of water molecules? Anyway, Niko had a great time hanging with his older buds and even had a few quiet moments of hand holding with one of them. Though, as you can see by the ensuing pout of the girl who didn’t get his hand, two girls and one guy don’t always make for a happy mix. Better for them to learn this life lesson young though, right?

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There’s nothing quite like enjoying the comforts of being held by Gramma and Grandad.

Most of these pics were taken on the day that we celebrated my dad’s (surprise) 65th birthday, and it actually was a surprise. Seeing as his real birthday isn’t until the end of the month and we surprised him at the beginning of the month, he was, indeed surprised.

This was also the week that my parents told us they’ll be moving to Singapore in the Fall. My dad got a job offer there, and they’ll be going for at least a year and half: selling the house we grew up in, putting their possessions into storage (or lending/giving them to me and my bro) and heading off on a new worldly adventure.


You know what’s weird? Despite my best intentions, I can get sidetracked from blogging. Over the last year there have been a few things that have put my blogging on hold for a day or two (or the horror, the horror, MORE): buying and selling my house (moving), going on a road trip to TO, taking a vacation at my parents’ cottage, or our internet being mistakenly cut off by our provider (just to name a few).

And on these breaks, when I’m not blogging regularly, I feel a sort of weight of my shoulders. I want to be blogging, buy then another day passes when I haven’t even logged into my WordPress account. Then I might make a plan to blog at night, because I find myself too busy in the day, but by the time night comes around I’m too tired, or don’t feel like it. And then another day passes. Suddenly a string of days have passed or *ouch* even a week and then I wonder how will I even get back in to blogging? I mean I’ve been away for so long, is it even possible to catch up or even get back into it? It seems harder to actually login and start writing when it’s not part of my daily routine.

But then I eventually do login in and the ideas just flow. And I realize I’ve missed my blog, and I want to keep at it. I love what his blog has become and years down the line, it won’t matter if I’ve missed a few days here and there. What will matter is that I’ve documented so much of our family history (from my perspective mind you, but that’s the beauty of having my own blog, I guess. I am entitled to full creative license. I don’t have to meet deadlines. I can blog when I want, when I feel like it. And little by little these daily (or somewhat daily) anecdotes will add up to quite the family memoir.

All this to say: so much has happened this August. I’ve been experimenting with our SLR camera and taken hundreds of photos. There’s no way that I can go back and write about all of my or Niko’s adventures, but what I will do is post some of the best pics with a sentence or two explaining all that Niko and I, and his Daddy, and of course Frasier have been up to these past few weeks (Posts: In Grand Arms, At the Lake, Baby, Surprise! It’s Grandad’s Birthday ). Trying to keep it as consecutive as possible as I go…


It’s official! Niko is on the go, all the time. Whether he’s crawling, inspecting the gas fireplace or pulling himself up on various items around the house he sure is a handful these days. What’s so great about it, is that he’s so joyful and awed by his discoveries. He gets this curious and excited look on his face when he discovers something or realizes he can do something new.

For example, our TV stand is a three tiered shelf and today he learned to pull himself up on the stand and was even able to reach his arms up to the top shelf. This put him in a position of having his hands higher than or maybe level with his head. Now seeing as he is just getting the hang of pulling himself up, his feet often end up in precarious positions, changing back and forth, many times over, from balancing on his toes to flat footed. When he had his hands so high up today, I could see that he wasn’t quite sure how to get back down to the ground from that position. He inspected his surroundings, then noticed the base of his car seat by his feet. Then, gingerly, he reached for the base, and then let gravity take it’s course. Kerplunk. His butt found its way back to the floor, he looked over at me with an air of pride, and off he motored on all fours.

Later today he did the same thing again: pulling himself up on the TV stand, holding on to the top shelf, but this time there was no car seat base for him to reach to. So again, I could see the wheels turning and he ended up carefully reaching with one hand to the shelf below until he once again found himself comfortably on the floor. And then back to crawling of course.

So life is busy these days. It’s not like before where I could lay him down and he would look up at a mobile and happily coo. Yup, the days of parenting an immobile baby are gone. It’s hard to find time for blogging. But both Borys and I are really enjoying our ever growing interaction with Niko the Adventurer. Who knows what tomorrow will bring? Definitely lots of crawling for Niko, and monitoring by me, with no doubt, some bumps along the way, all the while trying to fit in housework here and there. But finding time for housework is becoming more and more challenging now that we have a baby on the go. At least I have a good excuse for not having a super clean house. Not that anyone really notices anyway, but still, babies certainly do provide for good excuses.

Note: Seeing as I have been away from my blog for a while, I am just including some random pics of Niko’s adventures over the last few weeks. 1) Mama Takes a Break 2) Where’s My Paddle? 3) Cousins Rock!



As 15 of us (including two large and “immaculately” behaved pooches) make the best of my parents’ three bedroom resort cottage, Edelweiss has been playing on repeat. What I mean is that in such cozy quarters a crying Niko doesn’t sit that well with me at 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 am. Not that he wakes up every hour, but when he does cry, I feel a slight panic that he’s going to wake my sleeping bro who’s on the pullout, or my sleeping sis and her hubbie who are just one thin wall away. You get the idea. Perhaps it is the new environment, or maybe he’s teething but he’s been waking up at least once in the wee hours followed by a 5, 6 or 7am final wake up. 6 or 7 is actually OK. But 5am? Come on!

The first day this happened I took him out to the dock and made the best of this Mommy and baby time by practicing with my SLR. I actually got some nice pics of the steam rising off the lake in the early morning grayness. Anyway, pics (and *sniff sniff* blog entries) will have to be posted later, once I am back the real world and have a better internet connection, or just a connection that is available at my fingertips. (I am currently at a public library.)

And where does the Edelweiss fit in? He’s got this musical bunny that dangles off his crib or pack n play, whatever the sleeping arrangements of the day may be, and it works wonders. This little bunny works to soothe him and he usually puts him to sleep. So now, it’s my sis, bro, et al, not only waking to the “wah, wah, wah” of Baby N, but also with an intermingling of bunny magic. But is crying mixed with Edelweiss an overall better scenario? At 3am it sure seems like it.

You know what, though? Despite the bouts of “wah wah wah” no one in the fam complains. They just wipe the bags from under their eyes and we continue on the with day as though nothing was amiss in the night. Most of them adamantly tell me not to worry about it, and this helps a lot, but still, not even I like to be woken in the middle of my reveries, and he’s my baby.

Update (Aug. 15): Yikes! We forgot Edelweiss Magic Bunny at the cottage. At first this caused a slight panic on the home front, but Niko doesn’t even seem to mind. I guess the magical sound of my own version of Edelweiss is equally impressive to the young bloke.


There’s nothing quite like lolling back and forth in a hammock while lakeside at a cottage on a hot summer day.  Especially if it’s your first time in a hammock and Gramma is gently introducing you to this relaxing pastime. Although, if you take a look at the short video clip, you’ll see Niko’s a little unsure during the whole process but nothing that some loving tickles from Gramma couldn’t solve.

Video: Baby Niko in the Hammock (0:22)



Things that don’t mix well: one tennis ball, two people (me and Niko), and three dogs (Frasier, Jupiter and Percy). You’d think that swimming in the lake and sitting on the dock on a sunny day at my parents’ cottage would be a recipe for fun, and for the most part it was. Niko had his first ever dip into a lake and although it was still a touch cold and I only went in to my knees, he seemed to do relatively well with the whole experience. It must be all the swimming lessons he took this past winter.

Anyway, we were alone at the cottage, waiting for my parents to get there. Lena‘s Grandparents have a cottage next to us and they were up, but when we headed to the dock there was not a soul in site, not even a furry one, well, except for Frasier. Anyway, after our swim Niko and I lay out a towel and just sat around for all of about thirty seconds. Basically we were like a magnet for the two other pooches that belong to Lena’s grandparents. One of the doggies came with a ball and all of sudden Niko and I were surrounded by three big dogs. The ball was dropped and proceeded to bounce about a foot from where we were sitting. This proved to be too much temptation for the three furry beasts and they all scrambled to get their teeth on the tennis ball, which also prompted a bout of snarling, growling, snapping, baring of teeth and even got Little Niko knocked over on his back.

Now in general, Frasier loves dogs. But seeing as he’s a timid pooch and depending on the personalities of the other dogs he encounters, he can end up being cowed. In most cases I do what I can to protect him, but in this case, when we were confined by the limited space of the dock, and Niko was knocked down I had to focus my attention solely on my baby, and couldn’t put an ounce of help out there for my pooch. So with my maternal instincts in full swing, I planted my feet firmly in a wide stance, bent over, hip checked the snarling dogs out of the way, swooped up my baby and got the heck out of there. Leaving the three furry guys to fend for themselves, which in the end worked out just fine. Although, Frasier’s confidence did seem a bit damaged, but I’m sure he’ll get over it.

PS – Niko was just fine too.

Note: I will add an actual picture of the weekend, once I find my camera cable, which is still MIA since the move.

Update (July 6): I found my camera cable. 🙂 The pic below is post dock trauma and as you can see the Little Man seems to have recovered quite well and is enjoying the company of Gramma and Grandad.

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Last weekend Niko made his first ever trek to the cottage. It’s one of my favourite places, and somewhere lots of memories have been made, and lots will follow. One day (soon) he’ll have fun splashing about in the lake and running around with all his cousins and friends. You could say it’s the beginning of a new era, and he’s the perfect age to be initiated into such a lifestyle (especially considering all the swimming lessons he took this winter!). So bust out the BBQ, get the family together and let the summer begin! There’s so much to look forward to!

PS – Niko’s bout if impetigo seems to be clearing up nicely. Thank goodness.

PSS – A trace of Niko’s fourth tooth is also cutting through his gums. Now if only I could get them in pictures…


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