December 15, 2008

I love when laws hurt the people who weren’t part of the problem to begin with- really.

Mom101 wrote this post on the new  Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act in the States that will go into effect in February, essentially (as I understand it) calling for more rigorous safety testing for things like lead in childrens’ products. After the slew of recalls on everything from train sets (James’ shiny red paint was loaded with lead) to plastic Dora crap toys, it’s obvious that something needs to be done.

The problem is that most of these recalls were on toys that come from ginormous companies that mass-manufacture everything overseas as cheaply as possible and then sell them in North America through big retailers from Wal-Mart to Sears to any of a great multitude of Dollar stores. They can afford to do the testing.

The little guys are going to get hurt, though. The parents, designers and crafters who are making unique toys and clothes by hand and selling them on Etsy or at craft fairs, who are (mostly) trying to improve the quality of the dtuff that’s available to our kids… well, they can’t afford the testing. If they go out of business, we won’t have any choice but to buy our kids the same Hannah Montana __(insert merchandising opportunity here)__ everyone else has.

We want everything to be safe, of course, and testing’s not a bad idea… so what’s the solution to this problem? Mom101 suggests some ideas, and she links to some other good articles/ blog posts on the subject.

For the record, our kids aren’t getting all-handmade items this year. Simon’s nuts for the Cars and his Thomas trains, and Isaac’s getting an old-school Fisjer Price phone like the ones we had when we were kids. But there’s handmade stuff in there, too, and shopping for that stuff was way more interesting than hitting Wal-Mart… and I’d hate to see all those people go out of business… and then go to work at Wal-Mart… ugh.


Letters To Santa

November 28, 2008

Dear Mr. Santa Claus-

Hello again! How are you and Mrs. Claus? You must be very busy getting ready for Christmas.

I am 3 years old now, so I’m a pretty big boy. I love cars and trucks (“Cars” is my favourite movie), trains and my stuffed animals. Mommy says I already have enough of those things, especially my stuffed “fwends,” but if you could bring me some more, I’d make room. One thing I don’t have is a toy farm, and I’d like one of those, too.

This is my brother Ike’s first Christmas. I need to ask you to bring him some more toys of his own, because he’s always trying to get mine.

Have a merry Christmas!

                                                                         your friend,


PS- mommy says all she wants for Christmas is a good night’s sleep. Can you bring that, too?





Dear Santa Claus,

Hi! my name is Isaac, and this is my first Christmas. I am almost 10 months old- mommy and daddy say they can’t believe I’m so big already, and they don’t know where the time has gone. I think you know my big brother, Simon- he has sent you letters before.

I have been a very good boy this year. For Christmas, I would like a push toy so I can learn to walk like everyone else in my family. Some blocks might be nice, and maybe some cars of my own- Simon gets mad when I chew on play with his.It’s funny when he gets mad!

If you could please also bring something that Simon and I can play together, that would be very nice.

I get up a lot at night, so maybe I’ll see you Christmas Eve. If not, have a merry Christmas!



Mine mine MIIIINE!

November 26, 2008

Holy possessive preschoolers, Batman! We have a problem.

Simon has reached that lovely stage (which I’m praying is just a phase) where everything is “MINE!!!” He’d done so well when we were living at mom and dad’s house, when he and Norah were expected to share their toys. I mean, they had a lot of fights, but they did very well for a couple of little kids. Now, though… forget it. He’s not willing to share ANYTHING with his little brother, and it’s not just toys.

If Isaac touches the couch, it’s “NOOOO, IKE, MY COOOUUUUUCH!”

We also have “MY MOVIES!” “MY CARS!” and “MY ROOM!”

It’s getting ridiculous. This morning he pushed Isaac’s hands off the coffe table (which Isaac was leaning on for balance), shouting, “NO, IKE, MY TABLE!” Worse, a few days ago he was watching a movie in the living room, and when Isaac dared glance at the TV, Simon screamed, “IIIIIIKE, NOOOOOO! IS MY MOVIE!”

Oy. Vey.

There are things that are legitimately “mine,” like Ta, Simon’s bestest buddy, his white tiger. He doesn’t have to share Ta. I’m trying to get him to understand that if he doesn’t want to share something, he needs to keep it in his room, and there’s a rule that anything that’s in the play area I’ve set up downstairs is to be shared. Neither of those is working so well right now… hmmm. We’ll see.

Moving Right Along

November 11, 2008

Big changes are coming for my little men. BIG changes. They’ve already weathered more than their share in the last year (especially having Daddy away for 6 months and us living at Grandy and Grampa’s house during that time), but there are so many mre on the way…

This week has been all about the packing around here. All of our stuff needs to fit into a small U-Haul trailer, the next size up from the one that looks like a tiny, hard-topped boat. This includes everything we brought with us- toys, books, clothes, computer, crib, toddler bed, movies, etc.- and anything we got while we were here (mostly toys and clothes). Most of the soft stuff is squished into Space Bags (excellent product so far), but the boxes are still piling up at an alarming rate.

How is this affecting Simon and Isaac? Well, I think I’m neglecting them. Not to the point where they’re missing meals or wearing barrels-with-suspenders instead of clothes, mind you, but we’re not having as much fun as we usually do. What’s probably worse, though, is that all of their stuff is disappearing. I’ve left the packing of toys and books as long as I could, but now it’s all got to go; we’re picking up the trailer tomorrow morning, and my Dad (God bless that man!) is leaving on Thursday to drive it out to Nova Scotia. The toy situation isn’t entirely bleak, thanks to the fact that their cousin Norah lives here and has a ready supply of toys, but it’s got to be a bit unnerving.

Simon is adjusting, though, as he always does. It’s amazing how much more he seems to understand now compared to 6 months ago, when we moved here; now he seems to understand why we’re packing, and he knows that we’re going to “go airpane, see Daddy! Go Daddy house!” He’s keeping his best “fwends” (stuffed toys) close, though- good thing we’ll have room in our luggage for many of them, so there won’t be a long separation! As for Isaac… I don’t know if he really cares about what’s going on. He’s happy to crawl around, getting into trouble when he can, begging to get picked up whenever he finds someone who’s capable of doing so, and trying to escape every time the front door opens. His family is still around, so it’s all good. The tough adjustment for him will come after the move; he probably doesn’t remember ever living anywhere but here, and he doesn’t know that we won’t always have Grandy, Grampa, Norah and Uncle Mark around. That’s going to be tough.

Moving sucks. Pretty much anything unfamiliar sucks, actually, when you’re 3 years old (or 9 months). We’re moving to a bigger home than we’ve ever had all to ourselves, and after a looooong 6 months apart, we’re finally going to be reunited with AJ. It’s going to be good. Still, we’ll need to get settled in the new house, make new friends, and adjust to a new schedule as AJ starts working shifts at all hours of the day/ night. We’re leaving behind what we know so that we can start another great adventure… I just hope I’ve done everything I can to make it ok for my boys.


October 30, 2008

Pardon my complaining, but I am SO FREAKING TIRED.

I’m so tired that this morning I almost put the milk in my bowl before the cereal. Yesterday I made tea in the pot, let it steep, went back and put 2 tea bags in my cup and sumped water in. I’m forgetting simple words, like… um… well, you know, the thing. With the other thing.

It’s 1:29 pm and I’m not dressed yet. I could blame this on the fact that it’s laundry day, but let’s face it: I wouldn’t be dressed even if my clothes didn’t have barf on them. I’m just too tired to care what the mailman thinks when I answer the door in my maroon pajama pants and an old t-shirt.

Why? Because I have childrens, that’s why. Specifically, I have childrens that don’t want me to sleep- ever. The night before last, Isaac kept me up until 1:30. He wasn’t sick or upset; in fact, he was perfectly happy. I actually wouldn’t have minded if I thought I’d get to sleep in the next morning (ha!), but just knowing that happy-happy-fun-time was cutting into my much-needed sleep time was depressing, to say the least. I’m naturally an evening person, but I seem to be stuck on a morning person’s schedule for now. Case in point: I finally got to bed just after 1:30, and then Simon woke up for the day at 5:00. They’re sick, sadistic little people, my boys are.

I’d like a decent nap, but that doesn’t seem likely to happen in the near future, either. The boys have been on opposite nap schedules again- wait… when weren’t they? I got an hour in yesterday morning when Mark and Norah got up; Ike was asleep, and Simon stayed with them while I rested. That was sweeeet. That’s all I’m expecting, though. Nobody else is offering to watch the boys so I can catch up, so until our little family is back together in a few weeks and I can hand them off to their Daddy, I seem to be stuck.

And so tired I could cry*.





*All of this being what it is… I still love, adore, etc. my kids. They’re the best. Wouldn’t trade ’em for anything- even sleep. 🙂

So Different, So Much The Same

October 26, 2008

How is it possible for two kids to be SO different from each other, but for each be so completely lovable in his own way? I’ve got these two boys here- two boys who I try really hard not to compare to each other, and for the most part, that’s easy. Whether I look at their personalities as they are now, or as Ike’s is now and Simon’s was when he was the same age, it’s like comparing apples and cucumbers. I don’t want to label anyone, but just for so we all know what I’m talking about…

Simon’s always been a laid-back, yet cautious little guy. Even as first-time parents, we knew we were lucky with that one; he’d go to sleep wherever we were when it was nap time, he was fine with just about anyone holding him (unless he was already cranky), and once he had some gross motor skills under his belt, be was happy to amuse himself a lot of the time. Simon’s always been on his own schedule as far as anything developmental is concerned- he was within the normal range for when he learned to sit up, crawl, stand up and walk, but he wasn’t in any rush to do any of it. He was perfectly content to just chill and do what he was already doing. Once he decides to do something, though, that’s it- he’s doing it properly. Just in the last six months he’s gone from only speaking single words to being able to put sentences together, ask questions, and count to 10 (and recognize all the numerals in between). He was just a happy little guy when he was little, and he still is when he’s in a “Good Simon” mood- but when he’s sick or just waking up, he’s miserable. I think that’s part of the territory when you’re three, though.

Isaac, at 8 months old, is SO different from Simon at that age. He taught himself to roll over (and off of furniture) long before I was expecting it, and he’s been inpatient about waiting for every development since. It’s not like he’s unhappy- he just keeps trying and trying (and trying) until he gets it. In the last month he’s gone from being able to roll over and squirm backwards (usually getting stuck under the furniture) to sitting up, then getting himself to sitting from being on his belly, then squirming forward on his belly (which quickly evolved into a “slap and drag” crawl)… and then, in the last two weeks, he’s figured out how to crawl on his hands and knees AND how to pull himself up to standing while he’s holding on to the bars of his crib or a baby gate*. He’s into EVERYTHING, and any tiny thing that gets left on the floor is in his mouth before anyone else even notices it’s there. He’s keeping me on my toes, and I’m considering renting him out to check baby-proofing at other people’s houses, ’cause if Ike can’t find trouble, it’s not there. He’s just the happiest little thing, though. Even when he was sick with strep throat a few weeks ago, he still had a smile for anyone who made eye contact with him.

What really amazes me, though, isn’t how different they are, but how much I love both of them. I don’t love them “exactly the same”, but I don’t love one more than the other (as if love is something you can measure, anyway). I don’t love the same things about each of them… sometimes the things that are most different about them can make me smile at the same time.

Of course, I know that their different personalities are going to be a problem for them as they’re growing up; already Simon’s very impatient with Ike’s inability to understand why he shouldn’t be playing with Simon’s stuff, and Ike just doesn’t understand why Simon doesn’t want him in his personal space**. I really hope they’ll learn to get along…

Anyway, that’s enough comparing. I hope the fact that they’re such different little people will mean that they’ll feel less need to be competitive with each other as they’re growing up, but hey, they’re brothers. It’s gonna happen. God help me!


*He has also figured out that if he tries to climb up someone’s legs, that person will almost invariably find it so adorable that they’ll immedeately scoop him up.

** Simon’s very big on personal space- always has been.

Here We Go Again!

October 23, 2008

Following this post are my old entries from Mommyhood Confidential, the internet-writing-thing-that-I-hate-to-call-a-blog-even-if-that’s-what-it-is that I was keeping when Simon was a baby (up until he was about a year old). In the interest of keeping things organized, any essay-esque entries relation to being a mom (oand possibly disorganized, stream-of-consciousness crap) will be posted here in the future; random ramblings on any other topic will still be posted on

Confused yet? I am. Basically, Allison Wonder will continue to be the default… writing… thing… and strictly parenting stuff will go here.


May 15, 2007


I just realized that I need to change my profile information for this site; it says I’m a new mom. I’m still a mom, but with my life with Simon approaching the 2-year mark, I’m not exactly “new” anymore.

And that’s a good thing. Mommies aren’t like cars; we don’t instantly depreciate the moment you drive us off the lot. I’d say that a Mommy is like a fine wine (just in case that simile hasn’t been overused enough lately), but that’s not right, either; a fine wine might improve with age, but you can’t enjoy it in the meantime. Being a Mommy means being necessary, useful, indispensable from the very beginning.

As ready as I thought I was for my Baby Boy to be born after a long almost-nine-months of pregnancy, I wasn’t ready. Fortunately, a newborn doesn’t need much from its mom except love and the sheer tenacity to bumble through until her exhausted brain treks up that steep learning curve, gaining experience as she goes. I loved Simon before I ever saw him, but damned if I knew how to give him a sponge bath. Still, I was the best Mommy I could be, and that was good enough for him.

Now? Well, I got the sponge bath thing down just in time for him to switch to the tub; now I have the challenge of keeping an excited, squealing toddler from running around in the “big people” tub. I’m more confident that I was when we started, and waaaaay more experienced. I’ve survived poops that would turn an elephant-keeper’s stomach and smiled through snotty kisses. I’ve cried over a boy who’s growing up way too fast for my liking, even as I cheered on his first steps and marvelled at the brilliance of his first words.

I might have all that experience under my belt, but when you’re a parent, the stuff you learned yesterday doesn’t necessarily translate to tomorrow’s problems. I know so much about Baby Simon, and I’m quickly learning about Toddler Simon, but Little Boy Simon? I can’t imagine.

I’m not a new mommy anymore- and I’m glad. I was happy as a new mom, but I’m definitely more relaxed now. I’ve started to get back to having my own life (even though Simon is part of everything I do). I’m more competent and confident as a Mommy than I was 20-plus months ago.

And that’s all I’ve got. I’m not going to conclude this ramble by saying that I’m a better mom, because I don’t know that. I’ve always been the best one I could be, and I think that it’s been pretty good so far. Being a parent isn’t like a car; it’s not like wine, and it’s not like a career where you get promotions for gaining experience. It’s like… beng a parent. New or used, we’re all just doing the best we can, trying to keep up with the amazing little critters we’re mommying or daddying for as long as we’ve got ’em.

OK, I’m going to change that profile thinger now. “I’m a 26-year old used Mommy…”


April 27, 2007

I’m taking some posts from Mommyhood Confidential and editing them, lengthening them, updating them, etc. I don’t know what I’m going to do with what I end up with just yet, but I think the good posts could be better.

Any comments you could put here re: your favourite posts, editing suggestions, etc. would be greatly appreciated.


April 27, 2007

OK, ladies, let’s come to order. Ladies? Gals? MOMMIES! That’s better. Thanks.

Let’s get this meeting started. For the written record, this is the first meeting of the proposed Mommy Union- got that, madam secretary? Wha- arrowroot biscuits in the keyboard? Just take notes be hand, then. What was I saying? Oh, meeting. We’re here to discuss our position for upcoming negotiations. It’s time that our situation improved, time that we were appreciated for the many jobs we do.

OK, whose phone is that? No… A marble in his nose? Yes, you may be excused.

Back to business. I’m handing out a list of proposed points for negotiation- we’ll read over them, and discussion will follow.

Point 1: The pay sucks- sloppy kisses and toothless grins aside, of course. When’s the last time one of us cashed a paycheque for what we do? I heard that a recent estimate put the value of a Mommy’s work at over $130,000 a year. This may be a bit low- we’re looking into it.

Point 2: Sick days. We don’t get ’em. If anyone else in the family is sick, we’re there with acetaminophen, towels and a barf-bowl. When we’re out with a bug that we probably caught from the kids, though, we can’t call in sick. No one fills in for us- most of the time, anyway. Even if we get to lie down, there’s still the soft knock at the door; “Mommy? Mommy, will you play Candyland now? It won’t make you frow up…”

Point 3: Working Hours. In the early months of our careers, work is 24/7, with no regularly scheduled lunch or coffee breaks. Even after the kids are sleeping through the night, or when they’re off to school, we’re on-call every hour, every day. And weekends and holidays off? Fuggedaboudit. Those are a Mommy’s busy season! Point 4: Pension. Not only are we not getting paid, we also have a retirement plan that consists of crossing our fingers and praying the kids pick a decent retirement home. At this point it looks like most of us are headed for Barneyville retirement castle, but we’re hoping that our prospects will improve in the future.

Point 5: Workplace safety. Yes, a babyproofed home may seem like a safe work environment, but this is true only if you ignore the regular tripping over baby-gates, burns from hot trays of chicken fingers and the inevitable regular exposure to toxic wastes we encounter while on diaper-duty.

Mommies, this is unacceptable. No one else in this country is expected to work under these conditions. Um… there is one teensy little problem, though. See, we seem to have very little of what they call leverage.What are we going to do if they don’t give into our demands? Anyone willing to strike? Show of hands… See, there’s the problem. Will we quit if our demands are not met, so that our families will have to bring in expensive nannies, chauffeurs, maids, personal shoppers, tutors and accountants? No, no I’m not going to do that. You? No? Right…

Well, we’ll discuss this next week. You are all going to be here next week, right? Nancy? Ballet recital, eh? Oh, tell Beatrice I said break a leg. No, not really. Jane? Uh-huh, OK. Well, we’ll reschedule. Um… I’ll call you. As soon as we figure out where the dog buried the cordless phone.

Meeting adjourned.