Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The various forms of our week

This week, I have several goals, and the main ones involve completing various forms. My first goal was to get D registered for kindergarten, and this was accomplished yesterday, with help from my mom (who looked after the girls so I could go to the school) and Hubby (who I had to text to find out what date we moved into our house). The process took just under an hour, and mostly required me to fill in a bunch of information about D. My favourite one was a list of questions about D's current abilities, interests and personality. Can she stand on one foot? Fasten buttons with or without assistance? How does she react when upset? I answered honestly and conservatively, because the information is meant to let the teacher know as much as possible about each student. I think it would be great fun to read the completed questionnaires before a child starts kindergarten, and then again once he/she has completed grade 12. Maybe I should have asked for a copy?

Next up, D's passport is expiring next month, and I'd like to get it renewed before we need to travel anywhere. We were across the street from a Walmart today at playgroup, so after it ended, we headed over to get passport photos taken. It is incredibly difficult to get a three-year old to maintain a neutral facial expression. More so than a one-year old.

Finally, we mustn't forget M! I've been meaning to get her Australian citizenship by descent organized ever since she was born, and a recent conversation with her Nana and Poppa has given me the push I needed to get going. It seems we will be travelling to see them in 2013, hurray!! So I'm going to get a head start on applying for M's citizenship and passport. We also got her passport photo done today: no word of a lie, I sat her up on the stool, the photographer took one shot, and that was it. This is the third time I've had a baby passport photo done, and it's never gone that quickly before. Isn't it just amazing that babies need passports? I remember travelling to Peru with my dad when I was 15, and I went under his passport. That was two years before 9/11, though.

So, as much as I would like to just stay inside during this freezing cold week, I've been out and about getting things done. On the home front, I've mostly been knitting, and the house is starting to look like it! There is general untidiness and lots of dirty dishes in the kitchen sink. Time to take advantage of the girls' quiet time, I guess...

Monday, January 14, 2013

Considering Kindergarten

On the whole, I don't think I'm a person who does things by default when it comes to parenting. I chose to stay home because I think it's best for my particular kids to have me at home with them, and I'm not the type of person who can be effective at both career and motherhood simultaneously. I decided to breastfeed because it worked for us, it was cheap, and it was easily available. D and M are vaccinated against the standard things because I don't want them to get those diseases (the exception being chicken pox; I'd like them to actually have it in order to build an immunity against it). Hubby and I take our girls to church because our greatest hope is that they'll become followers of Jesus. D is taking swimming lessons because I want her to be safe in the water. We make all kinds of choices surrounding the hows and whys that we live our lives, and I'd like to think that we make informed choices.

A great and scary thing about being a parent is that you get to make the decisions. Other people can weigh in, approve, criticize, etc, but you get to choose in the end. The toughest decision that I've had to make so far regards kindergarten. [Hubby and I have talked at length about it, and he's leaving the final say to me.] And I haven't quite made it yet.

D has a late birthday, as do I, and she won't be 4 in September. My parents chose not to send me to junior kindergarten, which at the time was a half-day program. There are still several schools in our area that provide half-day programs, but this is the final year that the option will be available. So, if D goes to junior kindergarten this year, it'd be half-day; if we send her next year, she'd be going into senior kindergarten for a full day. I think that would be a challenging adjustment, to go from all day with Mom and sister to all day at school with a teacher and classmates.

Compounding the issue is that we have four publicly funded school boards: English, English Catholic, French, and French Catholic. We're not eligible to send D to the French board because French is not Hubby's or my first language (nor the predominant language spoken at home), or to the French Catholic board because we are not Catholic. That still leaves two boards to choose from, and the schools closest to our house belong to these. The English public school, closer geographically, is in a quiet area, and offers Early French Immersion. The Catholic one is on a busier road, but it would take into account the core beliefs we share with Catholicism, and build on the spiritual foundation we've laid.

And then there's the simple fact that D has many, many years of school ahead. Neither junior nor senior kindergarten is mandatory. I'm not remotely concerned about her missing out on any aspect of learning, and I'm pretty confident that if she went straight into grade one without having attended kindergarten, she'd catch up with the other kids quickly. I'm also not worried about her socialization. The most important socialization right now is what occurs within our family. She has regular opportunities to connect and learn to get along with other kids at play group, Sunday school, play dates, etc. I place a higher priority on her attachment to us, her parents, rather than her peers.

I'm trying not to let sentimentality creep into my decision-making, but I'd be dishonest if I didn't admit to tearing up when I think about what kindergarten in 2013 would mean for me and D: no more library story time, play group, Wednesdays at church, park visits, relaxed mornings, play dates. At least not on weekday mornings. And M would miss her sister, but she'd get more one-to-one time with me. Man, what would it be like to only have a two-year-old around the house (for the mornings, at least)?

For the record, I have asked D her opinion about whether she'd be interested in starting kindergarten or not, and she gave it all of five seconds' worth of consideration before declaring "Hmmm...not." Meanwhile, the day before, on her way out the door to swimming lessons, she was proudly wearing her backpack and telling me that she was going to school. I'm not sure she is weighing her options the same way that I am.

Registration in the Catholic board starts next week, and the English public board is the week after that. The balance of this week will be spent researching my options, picking other parents' brains, and of course, always, praying. Let's see if I'm any closer to a decision by next Monday!

Is this kid ready for kindergarten? Who knows?!

Friday, January 11, 2013

First FOs of 2013

Kicking off the Year of No Yarn, we have our first finished objects! For my mom, Jaywalker socks. Ever since I became a mom, I like to give her a present on my birthday (or as D would say, now that she's working on pronouncing her r's, "beeurfday") to say thanks for carrying and birthing me. These socks neatly used up two balls of yarn, plus a little bit of leftover yarn from some gray socks I had knit my dad. The real accomplishment here is that my mom took this photo AND uploaded it to her computer AND attached it to an email to me! Good work, Mom! 

Hey look, it's the mohair sweater that took nearly a year for me to finish! It's now making its way to Australia to meet and stay with my mother-in-law, and I must admit I'm somewhat jealous. I have one leftover ball of yarn; is it cheating if I return it and buy something on store credit? Oh fine, just some needles then. That's if their return policy covers 11 months. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Year of No Yarn 2.0

Just when I was feeling smug about not making any resolutions this year, I remembered that I'm doing another Year of No Yarn. The ground rules:
-I will be knitting from yarn I already own*
-I can buy enough yarn to complete a project
-I can trade with other knitters to get "new" yarn
-I can still buy patterns, buttons, needles, and other notions if necessary

*Unless an immediate family member or very close friend gets married or has a baby, and I don't have the yarn for an intended project.

Consider the following as "before" pictures (although I realized minutes after taking these that I had missed a few stray skeins):

The stash in all its glory

Sock yarn

DK yarn

Medium weight yarn (the light blue is for a sweater for me, and the teal next to it is for my mom)

Bulky yarn
As you can see, I have enough yarn for many sweaters, socks, baby blankets, hats, mittens, etc. I look forward to seeing the stash transform into actual clothing over the next twelve months!

And in the finished object category, here's my brother-in-law, sporting his new hat and flip-top gloves on Christmas Day.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Don't buy a new kettle

Just a quick tip, courtesy of my mom: if your kettle gets rusty at the bottom, scrub it out with baking soda. Our stainless steel kettle was giving us rusty-tasting water, possibly because I sometimes under-fill it, or maybe because we've been using it so much more in hot-water bottle season. Hubby was thinking about buying one in the post-Christmas sales, but we've only had this one for three years, so I tried my mom's tip first. The kettle's plastic lid doesn't come all the way off, and it's sort of narrow at the top; I couldn't just use a regular wash cloth or scrubbing sponge. Instead, I grabbed our bottle brush, normally reserved for washing out baby bottles when we're not using the dishwasher. It worked like a charm, and I've had two rust-free cups of tea since! I now regret not doing this sooner... I'd been boiling water in a saucepan or the microwave for about a month!