Friday, March 25, 2011

Kaiyaisms

Kaiya and I were playing this morning with her latest obsession ... her Mega Bloks. She's had these for at least a year and has played with them on and off for a long time. But lately she's taken to making "ice pops" and "ice cream cones" from the single blocks. She'll take two Mega Blok tree stumps we have. Yes, tree stumps. Those apparently are the cones. And then she'll stack them high with single blocks. One cone for me, and one for her, usually with matching "flavours." Vanilla, blueberry, strawberry, and CHO-CO-late.

She was a particularly happy little girl today, humming a repetitive little tune while she created her flavours for the day, so I decided to join in and hum along. After a few moments, she turned to me and said, "Stop constasising me."
"What?" said I, stopping to think about Nathan and his "cohesified" life...
"Stop constasising me."

I think I asked her about three times to repeat the word, partly because I was trying to figure out what word she might possibly be trying to say, and partly because I was desperately trying to stick it in my memory.

Little monkey seemed to be growing tired of my constant need for repetition, so I finally said, "What does that word mean, Kaiya?"

You could practically see her rolling her 3-year old eyes at me as she said, "Mom, it's called being riDIculous."

Evidently I've been told.

And to capture the spirit of the moment (and give you your Friday smile), here's Jeff's favourite "latest & greatest" picture of our silly little girl:

Can't you just hear that hysterical giggle? One thing we've gots ourselves is a happy little girl. That's for sure!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Cuzzzins

Kaiya has some good cousins. Cousins who humour her, aggravate her, giggle at her goofiness, and know all the fun places to poke at and tease her. Family get-togethers have truly become a place where Jeff and I get a break as Kaiya bounces from cousin to boyfriend to cousin to girlfriend to cousin to boyfriend. They snuggle up and read books with her, put together a game of princess dominoes, or just chase her around while she screams and giggles.

Here are a few of my recent favourites:

Candice and Kaiya being goofy on the trampoline.



Jasmine finally reading one of the 20-minute long fairy tales she bought Kaiya for Christmas...



Devon reading another one of the 20-minute long fairy tales... I think he read three to her that day.



Scotty playing dominoes with Kaiya at his and Jasmine's very cool pad in T.O.



And although you can't see him here, that's Dustin playing tug-of-war with Kaiya with the new skipping rope Babi bought for her.


Last Sunday, while I was forever making bruschetta bread in Dagmar's swanky new kitchen (I swear I could cook all day in that kitchen...) I overheard Jasmine telling Dagmar about how Scott teases her about coming down for every single family birthday. She said to her mom, "Well, you know, Kathy and Jeff and Kaiya are leaving soon, so of course I want to come down as often as possible."

And my heart did a little tug, and I took a deep breath as that reality, and the sweetness of Jasmine's words, washed over me. I am acutely aware of each moment we spend with family and friends these days. And while I may make this transition look easy and carefree, it's the little moments like these when I remember how much we are leaving, and how deeply I will miss you all. (And how much I hope to convince many of you to come and visit!)

Thank you, Kaiya's cousins, for loving my girl, and for showing me what it means to be family. Love to you ALL!

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Today

One of the funny games Kaiya and I play, a common one to most kids, is "doctor and patient." Of course, as with any childhood game, we have our own particular twist, making it uniquely special to the Epp household. It involves the instrument used to look inside your ear (hey, readers, can anyone tell me what that thingamajig is actually called?) Oh, and it involves the tweezers too. Of course.

It goes a little something like this:
Kaiya: Mommy, you be Dr. Mommy. Here (handing me ear thingamajig). Look inside my ear.
Dr. Mommy: Okay, hmmm.... let's see.... oh my! There's an ELEPHANT inside your ear!
Kaiya: (giggle, giggle)
Dr. Mommy: What should we do?
Kaiya: I'll get it out. (grabs tweezers, puts them to ear, and extracts elephant, flinging him/her to the ground. Accompanied by a "pshhhh, pshhhh" sound.)

We go back and forth this way, ear to ear, at least a dozen times before she gets tired of the game. You'd be amazed at the manner of creature found taking refuge inside Kaiya's head: fish, elephants, the neighbours, Dora, daddy, Franklin the turtle. They've all had a turn being mercilessly tossed out of their warm hiding place. And don't worry... the tweezers don't actually get shoved right inside her ear. The whole procedure is carefully supervised, I promise. I studied ENOUGH (say it with me, Robyn) audiology in university to know that would be a very bad thing to do. But not enough to keep me from using Q-tips on a regular basis.

***

This is my new favourite of me and Kaiya, taken on Saturday right before heading out for an impromptu trip to the market and library in Hamilton. (She loves the raincoat, Jasmine. And so do we!)



***

Waiting. We are waiting.

As the rain changed to snow late Saturday night, bringing with it yet another thick cover of white, my heart sighed and my mood fell. Saturday, with its steady rains, felt so much like spring, and the heavy clouds and dark sky couldn't keep away the lightness my spirit felt, skipping through puddles while wearing my spring jacket again.

We wait for spring. Sun and wind and rain and soggy grass and flowers and mud and neighbours coming out of their winter cocoons and first barbecues and beer on the patio with feet on the table. Bare feet. I want spring.

Changes are coming, swiftly, only five months away. And while we're excited, we're also frustrated at not yet knowing the full story. I found out this week that it will be another two weeks, maybe more, before I know whether or not the college I applied to in Qatar will hire me. It's a long, slow process requiring much patience, and so we wait, envisioning two separate possibilities, but not knowing yet which one will be.

And finally, hesitantly, I'll trust you with a glimpse of my soul today...

We wait for new life.

I know that one day I will either hold another sweet baby in my arms, or I will suddenly experience that shift in my thinking. The shift that no one can force, and no one can predict. I've known it before. Where suddenly, it will be as if a veil has been lifted, and I'll see the three of us as what is, not what will be, or what is waiting, and it's not just that I'll be okay with it, it'll be as if that's all that was ever in my thoughts and my plans.

But I'm not there right now. Especially not with Kaiya's recent wonderings about being a "big sister" one day. I still hold out, hold on, to the hope. And I know that many of you around me do as well. Too many for me to brush aside your thoughts, optimism, visions, and encouragement.

So for those few moments, I sit in front of the bedroom window again, watching the winter branches sway against the grey sky, and I sink down, down, down, into that place deep within me where I connect with something deeper than my ever-changing moods. I connect to the peace and the knowing, to my breath moving in, moving out. And I allow myself to move beyond my natural state of pessimism, and to dream dreams about what the future may hold. And my spirit says "yes" in agreement with the spirits of those who hope with me, who wonder at what yet may be.

And then I get up. And I carry on with my day. Because while there is a hidden layer of me that waits, the greater part of me simply lives. All around me are beautiful moments to experience and people who deserve my attention and my wholeness. So that's what I choose to inhabit.

The bedroom window will be there again for me for those few moments tomorrow.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

A Day in the Life...

Hooray! It seems we have finally turned a corner, rounded a bend in the world of diapers and potties. It appears that my daughter will NOT end up entering kindergarten still wearing plush, padded underpants after all. After months and months of on-and-off struggle, we have made it through two full accident-free days. (Well, as long as you don't count her mostly missing the potty...)

The fact of the matter is that Jeff and I just didn't have it in us. We weren't ready to be the parents who constantly nagged and reminded. "Do you need to pee?" "Why don't you go and try?" Particularly when we were dealing with such stubborn material. "NO. I don't WANT to!" Any time we tried, we were met with complete resistance. And on rare willing days, we were often met with the look of a surprised little girl who didn't quite understand the warm, wet sensation that was yet again dribbling down her leg. And so we ignored the tiny voices in our heads that said, "But she's three." When we removed ourselves from our own stubborn frustrations, we could see that she just wasn't quite ready.

And so we played the game. Bought her some cute underwear. Encouraged her whenever she was willing. Tried (and sadly, often failed) to be patient through each insistent refusal to try, followed two minutes later by yet another accident.

The tide turned in our favour this week. We had gone a couple weeks without even bothering. All diapers, who cares. And then, one night, Jeff was sitting with Kaiya on his lap, watching some of our family videos together. In one, Kaiya was jumping on our bed in her underwear. As she watched the video, Kaiya wondered out loud what she was wearing, and we reminded her it was her underwear. And that's all it took. She decided in that moment that that's what she wanted to be wearing. Period. I was naturally nervous. The next day was a daycare day, and I wasn't sure how she would do. So I packed two extra sets of clothes and hoped for the best. When I picked her up at the end of the day, I saw what I had expected to see: Kaiya in a different set of clothes. But her teacher quickly corrected my thinking, "Oh, no, no accidents today. We just had to change her because she spilled water all over herself." REAlly... And then she went on to tell me that they had even forgotten to put a diaper on her at nap time, and she had simply gotten up and taken care of business when she needed to.

Yes, I think we're finally there.

***

In other Epp news, I definitely hit a new low today. Kaiya and I strolled our way to the market this morning, and in light of recent events, made sure to make a stop at the washroom. While I was taking care of MY business, Kaiya suddenly said, "Oooops. Mittens gone." I looked all around in panic. Not the brown mittens! The beautiful, good-quality mitts bought in October which have many a time been almost lost, and then, quite miraculously found. Once, during a walk at daycare, the whole group turned back to find them after Kaiya tossed them out of the wagon. Another time, I sent Jeff back out to check all over in the snow when he lost them on the way into the house. (For the record, they have never been lost in my presence. I am always hyper-aware of their location. Well, okay, except for that one moment today. But I was on the toilet, for goodness sake! A woman needs a break every now and then!)

So where did they go? I'll give you three guesses. If you're a woman, you'll get it on the first one. Ladies, ever been to a public restroom where there are special garbages for certain unmentionables? Garbages where the lid pops up, you insert -item- and then it disappears into oblivion? Yep. That's where Kaiya's mitts went. For a moment, I was going to leave them. Let bygones be bygones. But then ridiculous-Kathy kicked in, the Kathy that gets me through most of life's predicaments and reminds me where my daughter gets her iron will. "NO. NOT THE BROWN MITTS. THEY WILL NOT BE LOST. THEY WILL NOT BE FORSAKEN. WE'VE ALMOST MADE IT THROUGH THE WINTER. WE MUST SUCCEED!!" I checked the garbage. There was no way that lid was coming off. It was sealed. Tight. So I got the fancy lid to open. (No joke... this one has a small section that automatically opens when you simply hover your hand an inch above the lid. It's meant to be super sanitary. Ha. Ha.) I looked inside. I considered whether my hand was small enough to fit into the opening. I frowned as I observed and considered the contents. And then I did it. I stuck my hand in. Gingerly. I couldn't quite make it to the bottom. So I tipped the garbage over. Gingerly. Prompting all of the contents of the garbage to rush toward my hand. I grabbed the mitts, groaned in disgust, and tossed them into the bottom of the stroller, trying to ignore their distinct feeling of damp. Yuck!!!!

And then I told Kaiya to shove her hands in her pockets if they got cold.

Ya. The mitts are in the wash now.

Oh, and did I mention that once that fiasco was over, and my hands were washed, and we were all bundled up again and ready to go into the market, Kaiya informed me that she needed to pee?

***

And finally... I have found a new and wonderful way to both entertain Kaiya and give myself a break while I am sick. Because anyone who knows me knows that I am 100% suck when I am sick. And I am. Sick. It may just be a slight sniffle, but it's enough to send me over the edge of suck-land. Boohoo. Poor me. Please take pity.

A pirate ship! It may not look like one, but it is. Fashioned out of the mattress that I pulled off the bed in the office, and plunked right smack in the middle of our living room floor. It's brilliant, really. WHY didn't I think of this sooner? Kaiya and I lay back on it, paddling the water with our spatulas, and spotting far-off monsters through our toilet paper rolls. All while I got to rest my sick and miserable head. And when we got tired of that, we read fairy books and newspaper flyers. We'll be back at it again tomorrow, for sure.

Don't you love the teddy with the tighty-whities on? Everyone in the house is potty-trained now.

And here we are making our best pirate faces. Frightening, no?