Archive | May 2013

Walking the dog

ImageI’m setting into North Shore life.  On the west side, you were more likely to run into a skunk or the odd coyote, but here you have to add in  the chance of cougars and bears.  So leaving your garbage outside the night before pickup is a no-no.  Of course, in Coquitlam, they just killed a cougar for repeatedly going into people’s yards. Nowhere near here but still….

I’m still driving the kid 2x a week to his westside preschool but look forward to the fall when he can go to a preschool nearby. It does give me a chance to do quick errands on that side or just sit and chat with one of the preschool mums over coffee.  

I’m not walking as much as I’d like as we live in between two major roads, just far enough to make handling a dog who’s terrified of skateboards and wrangling a lazy preschooler a little tricky.  There’s a Starbucks close by, but the last two times we attempted that little trip, there was a skateboarder (we live on a hilly street) and she almost pulled me off my feet and ran over the kid as she backpedalled down the hill.  then I had to drag her ass the rest of the way and then she sat shaking at Starbucks while I TRIED to enjoy my latte.  The next time, some noise of kids rollerblading and playing road hockey led to the dog running away the second I dropped the leash to help the kid on his bike. And she crossed the road!  A truck was just coming down the road, but they heard me screaming of course, and a young girl got out to help.   Juju finally stopped and sat down on command.  Of course, I had the kid so I had grab his hand and the bike and run to go get her.  He was running so hard, he burped and threw up.  Then again I drag her to Starbucks.  Shaking, twitchy dog buttressed against my legs.  Luckily, it was about time hubby was coming home, so we met up with him and he took over leash duty.  Can’t tell you how much NOT fun and relaxing that was.

There is a nice creek nearby perfect for walking the dog and the kid. It’s off-leash and quite pleasant to walk, awash in constant swoosh of the fast running creek. I usually drive there though because said kid cannot/will not walk the entire route and back.  Most of the time, he will either ride his bike and then quit and so I have to carry said heavy ass METAL bike at toddler pace back to parking lot.  I’m hoping this gets better as time goes on.  He has another heavy ass metal bike that has a handle on it which he can ride all the way to the bottom on the trail but then I have to PUSH him back uphill.  Nice workout, now if only I could add lunges.  We keep getting lapped by seniors out for their morning constitutional.  But, you know, toddlers and dogs like to take their time, enjoying the smells and sights.  No power walking, no restorative quiet.  I’ve talked to a few people (about the kid of course) but haven’t made any friends so far.   There is always a stop for Juju to chase and consume twigs at the creek’s shallow parts.  There is another side of the creek that is walkable in drier weather, but not manageable with a kidlet and his bike.   It’s a trail that is no longer maintained, so there’s muddy or slippery patches where you have to hop, skip or jump over and you have to use a board to cross the water.   

I’ve done part of Lynn Valley Creek, which is where that picture above was taken.  It’s also off leash, nice path, well-used by people and about a 10 minute drive from here.  But we haven’t attempted the whole route yet for above mentioned reasons. The last time I was there someone posted a warning about a cougar sighting. Mmmm, not somewhere I want to make my kid walk for a really long period of time.  Did I mention my scaredy-cat dog? We just went to our usual spot for a splish splash with the dog and came back.

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Yes, that’s the stroller on the right, I lost the stroller/versus walking battle that morning. People here don’t seem to pick up after their dogs as much.  Disgusting, and as a long time dog owner, I can’t for the life of me figure out why people think that’s okay.  It’s just laziness.  Hey, we’ve all been distracted or run out of bags at an inopportune time, but deal with it people!  I’ve been known to ask a passing stranger/dog owner for a spare bag or even marked the spot so I could go back and pick it up later.  And lately, Juno has had diarrhea so can I tell how very inconvenient it is to be woken up suddenly by a panting dog, groggily run to throw on my rain gear and gone out in miserable weather and try to pick up ……ewwww.  And if i can’t, I cover it with dirt.  It sucks, but that’s what you gotta do for your adored beast.  And bagging it and LEAVING IT ON MY FRONT LAWN (or on the trail for someone else to pick up)  is NOT COOL.  Okay, end of rant.

 

 

 

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This Mother’s Day

At 3 and 1/2 yrs of age, my son is a loving, energetic little boy whose long eyelashes frame his beautiful eyes.  In public, he’s pretty easygoing and quiet, serious and earnest.  At home, he is quite capable of being demanding, fussy, dramatic and stubborn.  He loves to be tickled, he chatters almost non stop and wants daddy all to himself as much as he can. When he cries, it’s always big, fat tears rolling his cheeks and big mouthed wail.  Sometime it’s quite comical: I have even brushed his teeth as he wailed like a banshee, protesting his imminent bedtime.

I’m getting better at managing his moods without losing my mind, I know how to ride them out without taking them personally.  More often than not, I remain calm and loving and when he crosses a line, I send him to his room to sit in his naughty chair for a few minutes to think things over.  Sometimes I even sit with him to think things over myself.  He enjoys the company.  He smiles at me and bats his eyes and holds my hand. He rubs my back when it’s sore and will always share the last little bit of a treat with me.  I read him TWO stories at bedtime and often I will make up a story with him and his dog as the protagonists. Occasionally, he’ll crawl into my lap and pretend to sleep and I’ll let him because it’s just so cozy and so quiet and I just want to savour our closeness.

I think a lot about his birth mother, more so of course cause it’s Mother’s Day this weekend.  I plan on sending her a recent picture of him at preschool.  He’s growing up – I can look at his face and see what he will look like when he’s a man.  And I see another face too.

I usually hear from her around major holidays, and I always reply generously. This time, I emailed her first just to let her know I was thinking of her.   Much of our prior contact  has revolved around some sort of veiled plea for financial help and given her circumstances, that’s not a surprise.  However given the amount of financial  and emotional strain we’ve been under in the last few years, I’m always reluctant to maintain a more fluid correspondence.  Hubby has little interest in more contact, and I am, by default and by design, the one responsible  for keeping things as smooth as I can given our set boundaries.

I don’t take my gift of motherhood for granted.  It was a long, hard road.  And on Mother’s Day, my heart is full of joy, but there’s a sliver of sadness.  I think of all the women who have lost their children, the dream or the reality.  I think of the woman that entrusted her son to me at great personal sacrifice, I think of the woman that gave birth to me who continues to survive against all odds and I think of the women who still struggle for the title of Mother.  My eyes have been opened in so many ways and what I have learned about myself at the altar of motherhood has brought me to my knees on more than on occasion.

On with the journey.