Monday, December 10, 2007

Clothing, clothing and more clothing

I am learning fast that children are expensive. Sure, I knew this going into parenthood. That’s why I had panic attacks early on before deciding to keep my baby, and shortly after deciding to keep him. I was not financially ready in the way I had always hoped I’d be. I’m doing the best that I can with what I have. And I must say, Monkey man is one spoiled child.
I have no problems shopping in second hand stores. Children grow so fast, I don’t understand why someone would spend $50 on an outfit for a baby. They’re only going to get a few wears out of it before it’s too small. I am picky when it comes to second hand shopping though. The clothes must be in perfect condition. I’ve taken free hand-me-downs that were a little rough around the edges, but that’s free. Who’s going to complain about something free? I am also a big fan of the sale rack. My mother, who loves to spoil her only grandbaby, bought Monkey a bunch of t-shirts at the end of summer. Who can pass up $2 a shirt? She bought most of them too large so they would last longer. Monkey’s still wearing them now only I put a long sleeved shirt under it for warmth.
My little Monkey Man is growing so fast. Those shirts are almost too small for him right now. He’s grown out of his undershirts, socks, some pants, most of his sleepers and the majority of his shirts. I was so good at buying in advance. Bigger sized clothing was always hanging patiently for us in the closet. This latest growth spurt happened so fast I didn’t see it coming. I wasn’t prepared for it. I had bought a few pairs of jeans and a pair of overalls (I love overalls on babies. They’re cute and practical) in the summer during a sale at the Children’s Place. I honestly didn’t think Monkey would be wearing eighteen-month clothing until closer to his birthday, but he is. I never would have thought a nine-month-old baby would be wearing clothes for babies double his age. The clothes are still a little big on him. Shirts hang off him and pants have to be belted or contently pulled up with legs rolled up. Twelve-month clothing fits too snug and the pant legs float over his ankles.
I am dreading having to go shopping for new clothes for my little man. When he doesn’t need something, it can be fun. There’s no pressure. I buy whatever catches my eye. When he needs something, I over think it. I start thinking about how it’ll wear, what the quality of the fabric is, what the price is, does the piece of clothing match his need, what size he needs, would it be beneficial to buy a size too big to get longer wear out of the clothing or will it be way too big, does it match the clothing he has already. I start planning out outfits, practicality vs. stylish and so on. I really have to weight the practicality vs. stylish one. I absolutely love the Children’s Place because the clothing there is both practical (durable, good quality, decent prices when stuff is on sale, or buy too big and get longer wear for your money) and it’s all stylish. Monkey has the cutest pair of distressed jeans with a little belt from there. Pair it with a long sleeved shirt and a sweater with rolled sleeves to the shirt peaks out and his baby high tops and the baby is ready to rock. Anyone who has seen my child knows I love to dress him up. Little button up shirts and a pair of jeans are my favourite clothing to put on him. I love to put long sleeved shirts under his shirt sleeved button down shirts. I am also a sucker for graphic shirts and onsies. I would love to get him some baby vintage rocker shirts, but they cost more than I’m willing to spend.
I’m looking forward to Spring. Not because I’m already sick of the snow, but because I can have a garage sale. I have so much baby stuff I no longer need. It’s just colleting dust out in the garage. I would put them up on if I was still living in the city, but it’s too much of a hassle being an hour away. I have a baby swing, a bouncy chair, an infant tub, toys, outgrown clothes and more. Monkey’s almost too big for his jumperoo and should be completely out of it come spring.
With every thing Monkey man grows out of, there’s something new he needs. It really isn’t anything to complain or rant about. I enjoy giving something new to my son. He’s such a curious little wonder; I love watching him figure out a new toy. My latest joy is giving him a new book. Oh, how Monkey loves to read and be read to. We’ve given him these little cardboard Christmas books with foam covers (available at Pharma Plus, listed at American prices, but ours rang up at only $2 each) and he loves them. We read them about seven times a day each. My sister and I know the books by heart and can recite them anywhere, anytime. If someone is not reading one of the books to Monkey, he flips through the pages his self and babbles.
Oh, how I love listening to him babble. The only sound better than a baby’s babbling is a baby’s laugh. The ba-ba’s, ga’s, the raspberries and more. I love it. Monkey has said his first word. Not mama like I had hoped for. Not the dada I would have enjoyed too. No, my son’s first word was “yum.” Every time he eats something he enjoys, like prunes or garlic bread (are nine-month olds allowed to have garlic bread because my mother has been sneaking it to him since he was seven-months old), he yells “yum” while throwing his hands in the arm to show how happy he is over and over again.
I have gotten far off topic and I’ve written too much, so I will now write…
Until next time…

Monday, December 3, 2007

Snowy Christmas Along with a Blazing Hot One

The snow is here, the snow is here; is it too soon to want it to disappear?

Winter has hit Canada with force this year. Much different from last year. We barely had snow on the ground come Christmas. We had some good storms after Christmas, but not before. My sister has already had two snow days off from school. One last Thursday, and one today.
I decided to keep Monkey indoors today. It was more of a selfish act than anything else. I didn’t want to bother getting both he and I all bundled up to go out in the cold. I did take pictures to send to Steve from the front door.

It rained most of the day yesterday, right into the wee hours of the morning before it turned to snow. It’s been snowing ever since. It’s still snowing now.

The plus side of all this snow is the white Christmas we’re going to have. I just can’t picture Christmas without snow. There’s been a few years were we’ve been close to it, but that’s magical Christmas snow always comes up at least a day or two before. We came close to a green Christmas last year. There wasn’t much snow on the ground, but there was some.

Christmas will be bittersweet this year. It’s Monkey’s first Christmas and Steve won’t be here. It’ll be hard on me and even harder on Steve. I wish I knew how to make it easier for him. I have been reading up on the differences between a Canadian Christmas and an Australian one.
I found this on the net:
Christmas in the southern hemisphere
The heat of early summer in Australia has an impact on the way that Australians celebrate Christmas and on which
northern hemisphere Christmas traditions are followed.
In the weeks leading up to Christmas houses are decorated; greetings cards sent out; carols sung; Christmas trees installed in homes, schools and public places; and children delight in anticipating a visit from Santa Claus. On Christmas Day family and friends gather to exchange gifts and enjoy special Christmas food.
Many Australians spend Christmas out of doors, going to the
beach for the day, or heading to camping grounds for a longer break over the Christmas holiday period. It has become traditional for international visitors who are in Sydney at Christmas time to go to Bondi Beach where up to 40,000 people visit on Christmas Day.
Carols and music
The tradition of an Australian Christmas Eve carol service lit by candles was started in 1937 by radio announcer Norman Banks. This outdoor service has now been held in
Melbourne every year since then.
Carols by Candlelight events today range from huge gatherings, which are televised live throughout the country, to smaller local community and church events. Sydney's
Carols in the Domain has become a popular platform for the stars of stage and music.
Some uniquely
Australian Christmas carols have become popular and are included alongside the more traditional carols sung at carol services and at Christmas church services: John Wheeler's The Three Drovers is perhaps the best known of these.
Many light hearted Australian Christmas songs have become an essential part of the Australian Christmas experience. These include Rolf Harris's
Six White Boomers, Colin Buchanan's Aussie Jingle Bells and the Australian Twelve Days of Christmas.
Christmas plants
There are many native Australian plants in flower over the Christmas season. A number of these have become known as '
Christmas plants' in various parts of the country, including christmas bells, christmas bush and the christmas orchid.
When Europeans first arrived in Australia they were delighted that they could pick wildflowers resembling bells and bright green foliage covered in red or white flowers to use as Christmas decorations. This was a huge contrast to the bare trees and dormant gardens they had left behind in Europe.
Christmas in Australia comes at the beginning of summer and many people no longer serve a traditional hot roast dinner. Cold
turkey and ham, seafood and salads are often served instead. It has even become acceptable to serve the traditional christmas plum pudding with cold custard, ice cream or cream. Pavlova, a meringue base topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit, and various versions of the festive ice cream pudding have also become popular Christmas desserts.
Film and television
The films
Bush Christmas (1947) starring Chips Rafferty and the remake Prince and the Great Race in 1983 (with Nicole Kidman), and Miracle Down Under starring John Waters (telecast as Bushfire Moon) are insights into the early Australian Christmas culture. Many television series have used Christmas episodes to explore the changing culture of Christmas in Australia. Children's stories
Australian children grow up enjoying traditional Christmas stories such as Clement Clarke Moore's 'Twas the Night Before Christmas and Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, but
children's authors and illustrators are beginning to create truly Australian children's Christmas literature. One favourite is Wombat Divine by Mem Fox, while a more recent addition is Aussie Night Before Christmas by Yvonne Morrison.
Major sporting events
The Christmas break is an opportunity for sports fans to enjoy two major sporting events. 26 December is the opening day of the 'Boxing Day Test' between the Australian Cricket Team and an international touring side at the
Melbourne Cricket Ground. This has been well attended since the first match in 1950, and watched by many others on television. In Sydney one of the world's most prestigious ocean races, the Sydney-to-Hobart Yacht Race, starts on Boxing Day from Sydney Harbour.”

The kids are getting ready to finish up their school year, they don’t use real trees, some do decorate with gum tree branches to give the holiday a more “Aussie” feel to it. Santa, in Australia, rides water-skis and has a white bread and red bathing suit. There are few fire places in homes, so Santa comes through the front door. Santa is known as Father Christmas in Australia (among other countries as well). Due to the popularity of American televison and books, the children are getting to know "Santa Claus." It seems many Aussies wish to ban Santa and promote Father Christmas to save their heritage. I can't say I blame them.

A popular children’s Christmas song is “Six White Boomers.” Boomers being slang for kangaroos because they would make a booming sound landing on the rooftop. Yes, that’s right, the rooftop. Many Australians have changed Santa’s reindeer to flying kangaroos. Here are the lyrics:

“Early on one Christmas Day a Joey kangaroo,
Was far from home and lost in a great big zoo.
'Mummy, where's my mummy? They've taken her away.'
We'll help you find your mummy, son. Hop up on the sleigh.'
Up beside the bag of toys little Joey hopped,
But they hadn't gone far when Santa stopped.
Unharnessed all the reindeer and Joey wondered why,
Then he heard a far off booming in the sky.
Six white boomers, snow white boomers,
Racing Santa Claus through the blazing sun.
Six white boomers, snow white boomers,
On his Australian run.
Pretty soon old Santa began to feel the heat,
Took his fur lined boots off to cool his feet,
Into one popped Joey, feeling quite okay,
While those old man Kangaroos kept pulling on the sleigh.
Six white boomers, snow white boomers,
Racing Santa Claus through the blazing sun.
Six white boomers, snow white boomers,
On his Australian run.
Joey said to Santa, 'Santa, what about the toys?
Aren't you giving some to these girls and boys?'
'They've got all their presents, son, we were here last night,
this trip is an extra trip, Joey's special flight.'
Six white boomers, snow white boomers,
Racing Santa Claus through the blazing sun.
Six white boomers, snow white boomers,
On his Australian run.
Soon the sleigh was flashing past right over Marble Bar,
'Slow down there,' cried Santa, 'it can't be far,
Come up on my lap here, son, and have a look around.'
'There she is, that's Mummy, bounding up and down.'
Six white boomers, snow white boomers,
Racing Santa Claus through the blazing sun.
Six white boomers, snow white boomers,
On his Australian run.
Well that's the bestest Christmas treat that Joey ever had,
Curled up in mother's pouch feeling snug and glad.
The last they saw was Santa heading northwards from the sun,
The only year the boomers worked a double run.
Six white boomers, snow white boomers,
Racing Santa Claus through the blazing sun.
Six white boomers, snow white boomers,
On his Australian run.”

Yes, Christmas is very different down under than it is back here at home. I hope Steve gets to enjoy some of it, takes lots of pictures of it all and comes home with some fond memories. We’ll all miss him dearly and we’ll make up for it next year.

Until next time...