Monday, September 28, 2009

"Can't do it."

As a first time parent, you delight excessively with every new experience, every new achievement, every new word your little person comes out with.  It's exciting and thrilling to see this little being of yours grow from a tiny helpless babe into a running, jumping, chatty little person.  Each and every day their character becomes more and more defined and I love watching my little boy become the person God has created him to be.

But today was a little different for me.

It amazes me how little ones learn to talk and speak in sentences without having to be 'taught'.  How they just come out with stuff and you think "where on earth did you hear that?" and "how do you even know what that means?".  Today was one of those days.  "Can't do it" has suddenly entered Jonah's vocabulary, and, in an attempt to practice his new found phrase, it was used A LOT today - and it broke my heart every time I heard it.  My innocent little boy is beginning learn and understand his limitations and it makes me somewhat sad.  I realize it's important to know one's limitations, but sometimes I wonder just how much that knowledge actually holds us back in life.  Imagine if we all had an "I can do anything I put my mind to" attitude instead of just settling on "I can't do it."  Would you have got that job?  Would you have lost those 20 pounds?  Would you have run a marathon?  Would you have started your own business?  Would you have saved enough for that vacation you've always dreamed of?  Would you have gone back to school to do what you always wanted to do?  Sometimes, "I can't do it," is more of an easy way out than a limitation.  It gives us a reason not to attempt something that would put us outside of our comfort zone.

I hope that tomorrow, Jonah's stubborn "No, Mommy, I do it" attitude resurfaces.  The attitude that had been driving me nuts for months now.  Maybe his determinedness is not so bad afterall.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Early mornings, again.

Well, the big day has come and gone and we are now 3 days into puppyparenthood . . . need . . . coffee . . . now . . . with a side of Red Bull please . . . Okay, its not that bad.  It's just that I'm very used to sleeping in until 8:30 or 9 o'clock so the early mornings are a bit of a shock to the body again.  It's amazing how much one manages to forget in two years.

So this morning, I awoke at 5 am to find Batman, a red corvette, a teddy bear, and a sweaty little 2 year old in my bed.  How they got in there, I'm not quite sure.  All I know is that the wimpering from the puppy didn't add to the joy of having Batman's Batarangs wedged between my 3rd and 4th vertabrae and a stinky foot pushing determinedly against my ribcage as if his little size 8 1/2 could push me out of the bed.  Last night was the first night we left his bedroom door open so he could use the potty first thing when he woke up in the morning.  Too bad he bypassed the washroom altogether and ended up in our bed, well before morning might I add.  Needless to say, his door is back to being shut again tonight.   

So, good big brother that he is, concerned for the welfare of one wimpering little pup, Jonah jumped out of bed to go console Bailey.  "Okay, Bailey? . . . Mommy, Bailey need me.  I hold Bailey."  And with that, our day began.  What adventures the future has in store for these two little guys, I don't know, but I'm so happy they are so taken with eachother.  I'm thinking this puppy thing is a definately a good thing, for all of us. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Let them be little.

To say the least, I am an axious mom.  In the mere 2 1/2 years that I've been a mom, I've struggled daily, to let the little things go.  When Jonah was a baby, he was very spitty, and I just about had a breakdown every time he spit up on his bib and spoiled the carefully selected ensemble.  (Yes, I do realize that the bibs were not just an accessory, but that they actually were meant to catch the spit.)  I'm the type that likes to have all my ducks in a row, so to speak.  Everything has to go as planned, everyone has to be safe and accounted for, and I can't say goodbye or goodnight to loved ones without saying "I love you", even if I'm mad, in the event that something horrible should happen.  Okay, so maybe I'm a bit neurotic.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of spending the last day of summer vacation with most of Josh's family.  It was a beautiful, warm, sunny day and the grass was green and lush in the backyard.  Perfect for wrestling.  Yes, wrestling.  It was a real, live, WWF smackdown right in my own backyard.  Two grown uncles/dads vs. four giggly, screaming neices and one little toddler boy who certainly held his own against the big boys.  Oh, and lets not forget to mention the cheering section that consisted of the neighbours kids from the next two houses beside us.

Pan up to the deck.  There's me.  Pacing back and forth, darting my eyes from one child to the next just waiting in anticipation for the hearty giggling to turn to crying.  Who would it be first?  I was just praying it was not going to be a neighbours kid.  My small voice was that of a tiny mouse amongst a galloping heard of wildebeests as I begged for them to settle down.  Forget it Caitlin, their ears are not tuned to your frequency.  So I sat, then I stood, then I sat down again, and got back up again.  I busied myself with wiping the patio furniture off, still praying that no one was going to end up with a black eye or a broken bone.  I'm sure the squealing and giggling could have bean heard all the way to Midland.  But it was just that - big hearty laughter, the kind that comes so deep from your belly that you just can't stop.   Here they were, five sweaty, grass stained kids, having the time of their lives with two of their most favourite people in the world.  Who was I to try to deny them of that?

The more I thought about it today, the more I realized that now that I'm a mom, its even more necessary than ever for me to just let some things go.  Besides the fact that they're all still in one piece, maybe, just maybe, Jonah and his cousins will grow up fondly remembering that sunny afternoon in the backyard with Uncle Jason and Uncle Josh.

Most of you have probably heard this song at one time or another, but it seems so fitting for today's blog, I thought I'd share it with you.  So take a listen, and try not to cry.  : ) 
You Tube Video - Let Them Be Little


I can remember when you fit in the palm of my hand
Felt so good in it, no bigger than a minute
How it amazes me, you're changing with every blink
Faster than a flower blooms they grow up all too soon

So let them be little 'cause they're only that way for a while
Give them hope, give them praise, give them love every day
Let them cry, let them giggle, let them sleep in the middle
Oh just let them be little

I've never felt so much in one little tender touch
I live for those kisses, prayers and your wishes
Now that you're teaching me things only a child can see
Every night while we're on our knees all I ask is please

Let them be little 'cause they're only that way for a while
Give them hope, give them praise, give them love every day
Let them cry, let them giggle, let them sleep in the middle
Oh just let them be little

So innocent, a precious soul
You turn around and it's time to let them go

So let them be little 'cause they're only that way for a while
Give them hope, give them praise, give them love every day
Let them cry, let them giggle, let them sleep in the middle
Oh just let them be little

Let them be little

Saturday, September 5, 2009

An ode to my new found home in Ontario's near north.

It's been almost a year since that cool November day that Josh, Jonah, and I made the 55 kilometre portage from the shores of Kempenfelt Bay to the shores of Penetanguishene, Place of the White Rolling Sands.  Sounds majestic, doesn't it?
Well, that cool, crisp morning, turned into a wet, windy afternoon, which eventually turned into a very snowy, stormy night, that resulted in a 3 day power outage.  Welcome to the neighbourhood, Gervais family!  First thing on the to-do list once the power goes back on and we unthaw: head to Canadian Tire for a snowblower and a generator.  Apparently, up here snowblowers and generators are as necessary as fridges and stoves.  Hmmm, the real estate agent never mentioned that . . .

So, we survived the winter and spring came.  Then summer came . . . for two weeks.  Then fall arrived again.  In this time, I've learned a lot about our little town of 9000, on the southeasterly tip of Georgian Bay, gateway to the 30,000 islands (I'm just curious, has someone actually counted every island?  Are there actually 30,000 even, or are there maybe 30,002 or something?).  So let me educate you on this pretty little town we now call home.

You know you're in Penetanguishene when . . .
  1. With the last name Gervais, you fit right in.  Just don't try to pronounce your last name the way the locals do or the jig is up.  They'll know you don't actually speak French.
  2. The ratio of civilians to the institutionalized is about 9 to 1.
  3. You can't spell "P-E-N-E-T-A-N-G-U-I-S-H-E-N-E" so you shorten it to "Penetang" or "The Tang" or "P-Tang".
  4. If you don't have a boat parked in your driveway and a snowmobile or two in the shed, you're not keeping up with the Joneses.
  5. You see a man taking his dog for a walk down the street while riding his riding lawnmower beside him.  (Okay, that was in Perkinsfield, but close enough.)
  6. You're taking your son for a nice evening stroll only to have him point out a rust bucket of a van filled to the ceiling with "plants" driving past you.  The Georgian Bay OPP ceized a boat load of those "plants" the next day.
  7. The beat up old Ford pickup in front of you is making a 3-point turn on a busy 80km/hr county road with a lacy ladies camisole dangling from the driver's side view mirror.
  8. There is only one, again I say, ONE, Tim Horton's, and it's a 24 hour hangout for the local riff-raff.  If you come to visit, consider the Timmies a drive-thru only.  Oh, and shall we not forget to mention how fun it is to loiter in front of the Foodland.
  9. Shorty-long-backs and track pants are very stylish up here.  Oh, and in the winter you can wear you big winter Sorels out and about running errands and you are likely to be complimented on them.
  10. We're not so redneck we keep chickens in the backyard, just a few hundred geese.
  11. Everyone is within 5 minutes walking distance from the lake, so we are blessed with taxes that might as well be waterfront taxes.
  12. You better get your shopping and errands done during your lunch hour.  Main Street shuts down at 5 o'clock.
  13. There are 5 school boards, that's right, five.  English Public, French Public, English Catholic, French Catholic, and English Protestant.
  14. Playboy Playmate, Miss January 1990, hails from Penetanguishene.
  15. Other notables include Brian Orser (figure skating champion), Russ Howard (curling champion), Chris Kontos (NHLer), not to mention Tim Mason: Lawn Bowler.
  16. At the local Superstore, the Saturday before Christmas, no one is in a rush.  People stop to chat in the aisles, and the cashier casually fills your bags while cheerfully chatting you up.  No one in the line behind you that extends into the paper goods aisle seems to mind.  This is small town life.
Pretty little Penetang, home sweet home . . .  hey, did I mention I don't have to fight the traffic on Bayfield Street anymore?  Seriously though, Penetang is a beautiful little community, and we're adjusting to small town life just fine.  I love it here and look forward to spending many years to come in this "place of the white rolling sands".


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Time keeps ticking.

Wow.  Is it really September already?  Don't worry, its a rhetorical question, you don't have to answer that.  I still love the smell of office supply stores, especially this time of year.  It gives me that little excited quiver in my tummy.  Every time I walk into Staples, I have to refrain myself from checking out the highlighters, pens, pencils, binders and whatever other cool gadgets they have in those tempting bins lining the aisles.  I lived for back-to-school shopping, and even more so, to go home, trade stuff with my brother, and get it all organized.  Binders filled and dividers labelled, pencils sharpened, Le Kit stocked up, agenda filled out as much as I could, school bag packed, and first-day-of-school outfit picked out. 

As exciting as school supplies were, like most kids, this was a bittersweet time of year for me.   I remember one particular late summer evening, sitting at the kitchen table having a drink of water out of a red plastic Tupperware tumbler, staring out the kitchen window, feeling such mixed emotions, I couldn't help myself but cry.  I loved the freedom of summer and not having a care in the world (does anyone remember what it was like to feel really, truly, bored?).  Yet, I thrived on the routine and the challenge that school and extracurriculars brought.

To me, moving into the next grade was a bigger deal than my birthday.  My birthday was in the middle of the school year, so I never really felt any older at my birthday, but, moving to the next grade made you feel so much more mature.  In my mind, it meant I was one year closer to being "grown up".  However, that also meant I had one less year to figure out who I was going to be, what I was going to do, and where I was going to go.  And, being the neurotically, indecisive, compulsive planner that I was (and still am), that fact scared me . . . a lot.  How was I going to figure it all out in time?  Forget the fact that I was ten years old, I had to have a carefully detailed plan, and time was ticking.

Fast forward 17 years.  I actually am "grown up" and wondering where on earth that time went.   And, except by the grace of God, I can't even believe how I got here.  Sure I had plans, some of which worked out, some of which didn't, and some of which God orchestrated in His own perfect way and not mine, thank goodness.  In our crazy, chaotic, lives, at least time is a constant.  It doesn't speed up, it doesn't slow down, though at times, we may feel that it does.  No matter what happens, time keeps ticking.  Our lives keep on going no matter what plans we have.  Time makes us wise, time heals us, it grows love stronger, it closes old doors and it opens new ones.

I think, since becoming a mom, I've come to terms more with the fact that I can't slow down time, and I actually look ahead to the future with excited anticipation.  Ever since Jonah was a baby, I've always said I can't wait to see him grow up.  Everyone told me not to wish away those baby days, but come on, really?  I mean sleepless nights, endless diapers, laundry, and spit up?  No thanks, I won't be wishing for those days back.  The only thing that got me through it was planning for his 1st Birthday.  No, I couldn't wait to see Jonah take his first steps, colour a picture, eat an ice cream cone, ride on Daddy's shoulders and hear him say "I love you".  I can't wait to see him off on his first day of school and see who he'll become.  Will he like sports?  Will he be fascinated with science?  Will there be an ant farm in his room and planets hanging from his ceiling?  Will he love to sing?  Will he be sweet or will he be funny?  Or maybe both?  Will I be endlessing picking up stinky socks, dumping the sand from his shoes, and finding Legos in the laundry?  Will he be a momma's boy?  I hope so.  And I can't wait to find out.  I can't wait until he bends over to hug me and I feel his doesn't-think-to-shave-before-he-comes-home-to-visit-at-Thanksgiving whiskers on my cheek and I hear him say " Love you, Mom."

So, bring on the Fall.  Bring on a new year.  I'm ready and waiting!  And, you know that red plastic Tupperware tumbler I was drinking from while wondering how the heck I was going to get here?  It's Jonah's cup now.