Thursday, May 31, 2012

Freedom to Dress in Dresses

Here's my two-year-old son in one of his favourite outfits. he loves my 5 year old daughter's dresses - the pinker and sparkly - the better. He likes Barbies (especially Mermaid Barbie), dolls, tiaras, tutus and fairy wings. Loves them.

And we let him wear whatever he wants when he's at home, or at a friends house, or playgroups. He's happy putting on a dress, some princess heels, and then dancing. It's hilarious. I never really gave it much thought. He's 2, for heaven's sake and he has an older sister who loves dressing them both up to sing and dance.

However, recently, I've been questioned. The head teacher at Cate's school, who is a lovely, lovely man, was delighted that I let X play with his mermaid Barbie and Ariel dolls while we held a meeting. I told him how I wanted both of my children to have the freedom to make their own choices and play with whatever makes them happy.

But then a few weeks later X had his dolls and was dancing down the street with them. As I tried to grab him and lock him into the stroller two men complimented me on how cute he was. I thanked them and one said, quite earnestly, 'Is he gay?' I nearly keeled over laughing. My reply, 'Don't know. He's only two.'

yesterday I was at a big play center where X immediately donned a pink fairy dress, a hard had and a tinkerbell watch. Then he proceed to run amok everywhere, playing, as little boys are wont to do. He's a tough little bugger, loves to climb, run, squeeze into impossible places. He'll put up a good fight if someone tries to take his toy away (he has to battle Cate half the time so he's no stranger to defending himself). As he ran and jumped, my friends and I laughed at how cute he was. One of my friends said he's a true Samoan - a tough guy in a dress (my husband Fen is half Samoan). But I noticed other mums looking at him funnily and making remarks behind hands. One said to me, 'You don't care that he's in a dress?' I replied, 'No. Of course not.' she said, 'It's so girlie.' To  which I replied, 'Not a problem. I'm man enough for us both.'

He kept the dress on until we were ready to leave.

Then last night we went to a friends house. He was the youngest by at least 2 years. He immediately came out of the kids bedroom with princess slippers on and a Snow White costume in hand. A friend helped him slip into it. He then danced and ran around for at least an hour. There were 10 kids there (ages 2-8) Only three girls, who were busy painting together, but the boys laughed at him and pointed at him. He pushed them aside and carried on, completely oblivious to their taunts. Eventually, on his own terms, he took the dress off and played with the toy garage for the rest of the visit.

The boys laughing at him are all good friends kids, all good boys. No harm intended. They're boys after all! I watched my son, doing his own thing and how he just pushed them aside and carried on. I was proud of him. He's his own little man. Even in a dress.

I hope he continues to play with dolls and dresses until he decides he doesn't want to on his terms (or not). he's a smart, charming, funny little guy and I think he's going to be a very interesting adult one day. Both of my children make me proud as they are not wall flowers. I have only Chiefs, no Indians.

However, I'm growing tired of having people look at my X like he's weird or wrong. And God forbid someone say something to him. I'm getting too old for fist fights. But put your money on me folks, I still got some fight left in me! I'm scrappy.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Somewhat Silent Sunday

That is X. He kept escaping his room last night. I told him that I did not want him coming out of the bedroom again, very sternly. He is fast asleep in this photo. Bless! He did not come out of the room - but he fell asleep trying! That's his doll 'Jack' nearby who dared to cross into the forbidden hallway. Jack is a rebel!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Catching myself

These past two weeks have been absolutely hectic. I have a lot going on with work, Cate's school, the PTA, my women's club charity event, my writing group, planning Cate's birthday party and our upcoming trips to Scotland and New Zealand. I'm as busy as ever but I think I'm burning out now. I've been rather emotional and drained. the stupid tennis elbow and tendonitis is not helping either.

Maybe it's the pace I've been keeping that's made me weepy. I've been thinking of my sister quite a bit lately. It's little things that just trigger a lost memory and the grief of loss slams you against a wall. That happened to me this week as I was tagging all of Cate and X's clothing for our charity Nearly New Sale of kids clothing and toys. I couldn't bring myself to sell a few items that Tracy gave to them. She had wonderful taste and showered Cate with dresses and X with outfits. Those that were most precious I gave to friends I love. I've saved a few for my pregnant friends expecting girls as well. It makes me happy to know they are going to little girls I know and adore.

But no one wanted the snowsuit Cate is wearing in the photo above. She's only wearing the top as the bottom is too small.  But Tracy picked that suit out. And I remember us in our backyard in Brooklyn when Cate was just 2 wearing that suit which was too big for her, plunking around in the giant piles of snow with the neighbor's yellow lab Emma. Tracy and I laughed our heads off. She had so much patience with Cate and they made a snowman and snow angels while I watched from the window (I had just had X two weeks earlier). It's a good memory for me.

Since no one wanted the snowsuit I decided to put it in the sale. I didn't realize what a mistake that was going to be for me throughout the day. I saw a family walking around with it and was happy that it found a home. But they put it back on the rack. All day I watched that suit hanging on the rack being pushed aside, overlooked, fingered and replaced on the bar - all day. It was torture for me. How could no one want the suit that Tracy bought and we loved so much? How could it possibly not be good enough for any of these hundreds of people milling around?

It didn't sell. I watched it being put into the donation box at the end of the day and it seriously crushed my soul. I had run into the bathroom a few times during the day to snap out of it. I called poor Fen a few times who kept telling me that it was just a piece of clothing, we had photos of them together with Cate wearing it and I needed to let it go. I knew I had to which is why I didnt' take it off the floor. I held out hope that it would be bought but it didn't.

Grief just creeps up on you in unlikely places and it's hard to hold it together. Little things trigger emotions I've tried really hard to come to terms with for the past ten months since Tracy died. But the one year anniversary is coming up. It's Cate's last day of school so I'm happy for the distraction. I just thought it would get easier to deal with her absence but it doesn't. It gets harder and more painful. I don't think it will ever be easy.

But after a good nights sleep I realize that a child in need will get that suit and that makes me happy. I didn't need to worry about it. It's gone where it needs to be. Tracy would have loved that. All is good again. And I'm not selling anything at the sale next year!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Watching Our Garden Grow

Cate and I have decided to try our hand at window gardening.

A few weeks ago there was a voucher in one of the papers for free six pack of gardenias. We walked on over to Homebase with the voucher, picked up a window box, some compost, Miracle Gro (hey, my dad uses it and he has a serious green thumb. So it's good enough for him, it's very good for us) and our gardenias. We put them all together and they now sit in our kitchen window waiting for the weather to turn warm so they can go outside.  There they are above.

Then we were sent a wonderful package. It was a Miracle Gro Gro Your Own Herbs Planter and three different herb seeds. Cate was ecstatic.

Today we took the bag out - that's right it's an all in one bag with compost. It was crazy simple and fun. Here is a quick tutorial for you. My model/assistant is Cate. She was paid in chocolate.

Get your bag of Grow Your Own Herbs Planter:

 Grab your seeds: we have chives, coriander (cilantro) and basil:
 Cut open the bag and get the seeds ready for planting:
 Plant seeds. Water them.
Make signs so you remember what is what:
Stick signs in

Voila! Herb garden!

 Anyone can do it. Face paint optional.

Now we wait to see our garden grow!! Yay!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Tennis Elbow and Other Atrocities

Thanks to my mini-desk, I now have tennis elbow and carpal tunnel syndrome in my right arm/wrist. Yay, she said sarcastically.

I know I've been working a lot, but this just drove the final nail in. I need a new desk (you didn't think I'd say I'd slow down did you?)

The desk I bought is small, shallow and compact. Fit perfectly into the room and I tucked myself and got down to business. Problem is, it's shallow so my right arm doesn't lay on the desk itself, it hovers in the air. One year of swirling a mouse around and furiously typing without laying my arms on the desk has done me in. The constant repetition has me tangled in pain.

It stinks. I knew I needed to have it looked at when a pain so sharp shot up my arm while helping my daughter into her ballet tights and I screamed, 'Ow sh*t' (don't' be alarmed, I've done much worse. Mother of the year is well out of my grasp).

I went to the doc, they loaded me with medication, an elbow thing, a wrist guard and sent me on my way. I start physiotherapy in two weeks. Yay again - because I don't have the time for it.

The only solution is a new desk. One that I can rest my arms on. What do you think of this one?