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Archive for the ‘winter’ Category

Asher is indulging in something I wouldn’t call his favourite holiday tradition, but it certainly is his most common: getting sick.

He likes to mix it up and generally stays away from common, boring illnesses. At 10 months, he developed a raging fever and a red, blotchy rash over most of his body that had every doctor in the office in to stare at him, but was never diagnosed. A year later, he pulled out the big guns and developed pneumonia. He let us off easy with pink eye one year, and didn’t even pass it on to anyone. And he did go with that old stand-by – the flu – to miss his Hanukkah concert when he was in kindergarten.

This year, he is back to keeping mystery in our lives, and I am not amused. I declared our own personal snow day yesterday (37 cms of snow! A foot and 2 inches for the non-metrically-inclined). Asher complained that his final house league soccer game was at lunch time and they needed his skills in defense, then lay down on the couch and pretty much didn’t move for the rest of the day. He had deep, dark circles under his eyes and I figured a couple late nights on the weekend were catching up to him, and that explained the headache he complained of, and the achy limbs.

So, of course, he’s no better today. He’s completely pale except for the dark circles, has no energy and the same headache. No fever. Mystery. And a doctor’s appointment tomorrow morning.

If I celebrated Christmas, I’d be freaking out about now, being stuck in the house with a sick boy.

At least he’s doing this now and will hopefully be better for our far more fun Christmas tradition. For years now, we have been going up to the cottage and on Christmas day, we go tubing at a nearby ski hill. At first, we just went with my brother and sister-in-law and their three kids. Since then, it has expanded to include several other families and this year, our group has so far reached 11 children and 8 adults planning to go.

Tubing is always fun, but the particular enjoyment of doing it on Christmas day is that there are no line-ups anywhere, as it is just us and a few Hasidic Jews from the area.

Okay, obligatory apres-big-snowstorm photos:

Jasper discovered he can dig real holes in this stuff!

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The plow made such a big snow bank that Boo can slide down the middle of the lawn to the end and hit the bank instead of the street.

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Snow, snow and more snow!

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Our side door. My compost bin and extra garbage bins are under there too.

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Master of all he surveys.

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to sleep …

and dream lots of really weird dreams.

This was my day yesterday: I slept. I hate when that happens.

I seem to have a bit of a cold and coughing kept me up late Friday night, but when J woke me up at almost 10 am, I’d had pretty much 9 hours sleep, which should be enough for anyone. It didn’t feel like it. I felt really dopey. We started getting ready for synagogue, but discovering Boo had a fever derailed that one. She wanted me to lie in my bed with her, so I got my newspaper and propped myself up to read. Next thing I knew, she was gone and Maya was accusing me of going back to sleep. The nerve! I assured her I was just resting my eyes, then tried to fake my way through a conversation as I dozed off again.

A friend called, long distance. I hoped that would perk me up, and it did. But when I got up afterwards, I was really dizzy. You know how on TV they show that someone is dizzy or disoriented by moving the camera in slow motion so everything blurs? I actually feel like that sometimes. It feels like, when I move my head, that my brain takes longer to catch up to where I have turned. Very disorienting. I went back to bed.

For the next four hours, I went to the mall with my kids and J and looked at bedsheets and book shelves. We rearranged the family room, installing a flat-screen TV we’d somehow had in storage, and hooked it up to a spare computer so we could stream TV shows off the internet. I cleaned up all kinds of cat poop the dog had dragged upstairs. Then, I packed to go to Ireland, and even managed to get on in first class. Once on the plane, I realized I’d forgotten all my medications.

And on it went, vivid and realistic, except for the part where I’m certainly not going to Ireland (and never forget my meds), the dog doesn’t drag cat poop around the house, we don’t have a flat screen TV just kicking around and no need for bedsheets. I’d like the bookshelves, though.

After those travels, I managed to drag myself out of bed for a while and have something to eat. J went to a friends with the kids for dinner, and I was back to bed. All in all, I was awake about 6 hours yesterday.

The vertigo is weird, but the sleeping jag is something I’ve experienced since I was a teenager. More fun with fibromyalgia!

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The weird searches are popping up again. Someone was looking for “bad bad webkinz,” which sounds really obscene to me, but maybe I just have a dirty mind. Someone else actually googled, “Chinese have floppy breasts.” This is bizarre on so many levels, not the least of which is that in my personal experience, women of Chinese origin tend to have smaller rather than larger breasts, and those are less likely to be floppy. But really, level of floppiness all comes down to letting small children do nursing calisthenics. That, and gravity, which affects all of us, no matter what our ethnic origin.

Every day for the last month, and I exaggerate not one bit, someone has googled ‘hanukaka.’ Why? Would the next person please tell me? I mean, I know why they end up here, because last year, I told a funny little story about how in daycare two years ago Boo made a brown, lumpy banana thing while all the other kids made Christmas tree decorations from their cinnamon clay and the daycare ladies proudly presented it to me and said, “Happy Hanukaka!” (The picture is here.) But what else can Hanukaka mean? I guess I’ll just have to go google it myself.

I went and found that entry from last year and discovered it was exactly a year ago, minus one day, and I was describing the green grass on my lawn. Oh, the difference a year makes! We are currently being so buried in snow we had to cancel our family get-together because you can’t distinguish the road from the not-road, as J discovered when he went to get Maya from a sleep-over. I swear, it bearly goes a day without snowing this year and it is lovely. As long as it isn’t bitterly cold, I’m happy.

I have even been getting lots of exercise shoveling the driveway. I actually like doing this. It provides a sense of accomplishment I cannot explain. But I shovel and the kids and dog play and it is good for all of us. Except my neighbour, with whom we share a snowblower. He derives deep, childish joy from snowblowing and when he sees me out there with my shovel, always comes to complain that I am depriving him. I tell him I am sure he can find someone else who would be happy to have him blow them.

Backyard fun (Boo needed frequent rescuing):

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It was one of those perfect winter days today, where the snow fell in big, slow flakes and made everything look beautiful. There was no wind and it was mild. I took Jasper for a long walk, then got the kids and when we got home, Asher and Boo played outside for a long time with the dog. It was idyllic and fun and helped me breath properly again. Here are pictures. Lots of pictures.

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He loves to smush his whole face in the snow.

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I don’t want to go on about it, but the reason it was so nice to watch everyone romp around was that my cat, Theo, died yesterday at the age of four, very suddenly. He developed crystals in his urine, his bladder got blocked and his kidneys were damaged beyond help by the time I got him to the vet. He died in my arms shortly thereafter.

He was a marvelous cat. He was utterly-unfeline-like in his friendliness and love of everything. He purred at his vet appointments. At one, he had to take a medication that had the side effect of calming them down and when the vet walked in, he was lounging on her counter, purring happily. She said, “Wow, that stuff really mellows them out sometimes.” I told her, “He hasn’t taken it yet. This is just his personality.” Even my mother liked him, and my mother hates cats.

I miss him so much.

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More snow! Yesterday, I fell asleep instead of taking Jasper for his walk, which resulted in him barking at gremlins he insisted were out in our backyard at midnight. In a few minutes, I will tackle all the fresh snow and take him out. He’s adorable leaping about in the snow (I’ll see if I can find my camera to demonstrate), but trying to dry him off is a nightmare. And yet, I cannot bear to cut his fur down more and reduce his teddy-bearness.

The first snow of the season is always a logistical nightmare, no matter how organized I think I am. I brought up dozens – no exaggeration here – of mittens, and yet yesterday morning none of them could find any. I have no idea where they all are, and I am pissed off. Asher insisted his snowpants fit, but they don’t, but he won’t upgrade. Asher and Maya need new boots, as do I.

I didn’t think it was urgent until I picked them up from school and Asher presented me with soaking-wet boots. Really, they could not have been wetter if he’d thrown them in a swimming pool. I guess waterproofness wears off?

So we were off to the big show store near here, along with maybe half the city. Three children and a huge shoe store after school is my idea of hell, and every year I manage to get trapped in it. Thankfully, we found boots for the boy very quickly, because he was the urgent one. None for the girl, though. Poor Maya – the problem with being tall is that the clothes appropriate to your age don’t fit your body. She wanted cool, colourful kids’ boots, but she wears women’s size 7 (or 8, depending on the fit). In the women’s section, we were faced with rows and rows of stylish black boots. We finally found some she liked and they had a rough seam running right over her ankle bone. How stupid is that? So she still needs them. I didn’t even try to look for me. I’m not a total masochist.

The snow makes me want to knit. I just want to sit in front of a nice fire and knit. Instead, I get a row or two done while singing lullabies or waiting in the car for the school bell to ring.

Currently, I am knitting:

hats and scarves for the AG dolls (2 hats done so far)

a sweater for Asher that I started last winter, really big, but if I don’t get my butt in gear on it, he’ll still manage to outgrow it before I’m done.

socks for Maya – one finished.

socks for Boo – one finished.

a baby sweater for the friends whose baby arrived 4 months ago.

a scarf, probably for Asher.

I just got lovely wool and a pattern for a winter hat for me, but have resisted starting it. Don’t know how long I’ll last, though.

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Spring!

Ha! Not! as my children like to say. It got lovely and warm last week for a few days. It smelled all springy. Every time I walked the dog, great swaths of grass on people’s lawns had been revealed.

Then, my cleaning lady/hand-me-down nanny/wife/saviour told me that the weather was supposed to get cold again this week, and snow, and ruined all my fun. At least, I think that is what she was trying to tell me. My fingers were in my ears and I was saying, “LALALALA” so I can’t be sure. Didn’t help, though. Everything is covered up with snow once again and I had to put away my shoes and break out the big boots.

The only good thing about the latest snowstorm is that Jasper loves bounding in the snow on people’s lawns. I stand in the middle on the road with his leash run all the way out and he leaps and bounds and charges back and forth on the snow, pausing to smush his face all the way into the snow and hold it there for many seconds before bursting out and galloping off. We were quite the sight. All the other dog owners would walk staidly by and their dogs would stare at mine in amazement as he threw himself around in completely puppy joy. I don’t know what we’ll find in summer to replace that.

He’s gone from a dog who hated to go for walks to one who loves them. He also hasn’t peed on the floor in a week. He did, however, liberate a big hunk of cheese I was cutting up for an omelet from the counter. I had lots more cheese, so I mostly thought it was funny.

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Yesterday around 1 pm, I got a phone call from the school. It was Maya, reminding me that there was early dismissal and parent/teacher interviews at 3. She has absolutely no faith in me to remember anything, and despite the office staff assuring her I’d remember, as report cards just came home on Friday, she insisted on calling.

It can be very annoying, that she reminds me every Friday when they get out of school (it changes depending on the time of year, because Friday night is when shabbat starts, at sundown), and reminds of when to pick her up from camp, or when she has some event at school. But I can’t really get angry at her because – and those of you who know me well could see this coming a mile away – I’d forgotten completely about the interviews and early dismissal. Thank goodness she called.

I didn’t bother with Maya’s teachers, as she’s fine, but did the rounds of Asher’s. He has problems with handwriting and reading – he could do the latter, he just refused to, but he’s much improved. He also has mild ADD. It is hard for me to write that, because I feel like I’m labelling him.  I tried just saying he has problems concentrating and with organization, but people aren’t stupid and would say things like, “Oh, my nephew has ADD too.” He’s not hyperactive at all and he’s also has no behaviour problems, which is sort of how I normally imagine kids when you say ADD. He’s just very, very easily distracted and forgetful and disorganized. He’s exactly like me.

His handwriting and reading are coming along beautifully, but his teachers have his desk up right beside theirs so they can keep him ‘on task’ as opposed to staring out the window.

After the interviews, I was driving Asher to his tutor and told him his teachers love him (which they do – his Hebrew teacher said at times he’ll come up to her and say, “I’m sorry, but you know I have trouble concentrating and I wasn’t paying attention when you told us which page to work on. Can you just tell me again?” She wishes all the kids with concentration difficulties were so self-aware), but of course we need to work on his organization so he doesn’t forget so much stuff.

He said, “There’s no point. It isn’t going to get better.” I said, “Of course it will! As you get older, you’ll get better at figuring out how to remember things.” He said, “Like you and the parent-teacher interviews?” Ouch. He had me there. So I told him that when I was a kid, no one knew exactly how to help me, but teachers know more nowadays and can help him more. He wasn’t buying it. As we arrived at the tutor, I told her that he’d gotten his report card, then said, “Oh darn! I meant to bring it for you!” and smart mouth said quietly, as he went into the kitchen, “Never gets better ….”

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