Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Although this is technically not Gareth's first Halloween, it's the first he's celebrated. Last Halloween I was not on top of things and he got sick right before, so we decided to skip it. This year I also wasn't on top of things, but it came together better than I expected.

I had been thinking we'd make Gareth into some cute, furry animal, like a lion. But then I asked Ryan his opinion and learned that cute, furry animals were boring and not cool. Ryan wanted Gareth to be the Joker. Which is a great idea except for the fact that it's not possible to find such an outfit for an 18-month-old. At least not one month before Halloween. So I was stuck worrying Gareth would have to skip Halloween again until we received a hand-me-down red raincoat with black trim. Fireman! For a few dollars I was able to purchase a plastic fireman's helmet at Walmart and the costume was complete. Not as cool as the Joker, but better than a furry animal I guess.

We weren't ready in time to go out in the neighborhood, but we did make it to the multi-ward trunk-or-treat. It was very amusing to watch Gareth as I dragged him along to each car. We made it through half the cars (skipping many along the way) before he decided he'd had enough of the parking lot and wanted to run along the sidewalk instead. This was fun for a while until he tripped over another kid and scraped up his fingers. Aside from the fingers, which are now forgotten, I think he had a fun time. And, amazingly enough, he even kept his costume on the whole time we were there.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Winterizing Gareth

Gareth loves playing outside. In all weather. Knowing that winter was coming, a few weeks ago I purchased a nice, warm winter coat for him. Which he then refused to ever let me try on him. If he so much as saw the coat he ran away screaming.

Recently our temperatures have dropped drastically, causing me to pull out my winter coat today. Thinking that Gareth would take more kindly to his coat since it's so cold outside I tried once again to get it on him. With the same writhing and screaming results as previously. However, I finally tricked him into it by putting on his shoes and pointing outside to indicate that he could go out, but only if he put the coat on. Rather reluctantly he allowed me to envelop him in the coat. And outside we went.

It's been really windy here, so I instantly had to put his hood on as well. The result was a shocked Gareth, standing on our steps, wondering how on earth he was supposed to play in such a condition and what he had done to deserve such treatment. Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera on hand, but I later caught a slightly less surprised child:

All bundled up and toasty warm! The only difficulty (and understandable reason for his not enjoying the coat) is that he's so bulky he can't move well. And it makes him more top heavy. Trying to bend over and pick up pebbles or balls results in him falling onto his nose. I guess he can't move his arms well enough in the coat to prevent the fall in time. So now he has a scraped nose and a bruised forehead. But at least he's warm!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Test of Understanding

First of all, let me say that I try not to be judgmental of other people's parenting techniques/skills. And I think I generally succeed quite well in my efforts in that area. Except today.

Today we had stake conference. Not wanting to sit amongst hundreds of others in the cultural hall, we opted for the overflow area of the nursery. Ideal situation. They plan on that room being mostly parents and kids, so they don't set up too many chairs and, for the most part, the kids are entertaining themselves with toys so you can usually hear the speakers.

What tested me was the parent who would not control his 5-year-old child. This kid consistently talked loudly, wanted more toys from the closets, would not share, complained when other children didn't share, and got toys out and threw (not gently dropped or tossed, but threw) them to the floor because they weren't what he wanted. The parent would tell him not to get more toys out over and over, but never even tried to stop the child from opening the closets (our nursery closets don't stay completely shut unless they're locked). Never made any attempt to get the child to speak quietly. And didn't make much of an attempt to get the child to share with younger children (or any children for that matter), but rather would try to convince the almost-2-year-olds that they needed to let the older child play all by himself with whatever toy was in question. (Thankfully the younger kids usually didn't care.) When the child started throwing tantrums over not getting to play with something nothing was done about it. Most other parents I've come across just don't act this way. Especially not with a 5-year-old! It's not like the youngest nursery kids who don't always understand what you're telling them (and most parents I know won't let their 18-month-olds get away with such behavior).

Basically, the parents refuse to follow through with what they ask the child to do. And the child knows it. As for me, I'll hope I never have to teach a class with this child in it. My plea to all who are reading: if/when you have children, please don't parent in such a manner. Not if you don't want me irritated to the core with you, that is. End of rant. Thanks for listening.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Little Late

I'm starting to think Gareth was born a few decades too late. He thinks Carole King's Tapestry album is very groovy. And he loves dancing and banging on the washer and dryer to "Jungle Boogie" (you've gotta love those suits). He obviously really wanted to be born in the late 50s/early 60s so that he'd be a teen during all the great 70s music. He took pretty well to Miles Davis' Kind of Blue as well, so I guess coming of age in the late 50s would be his second choice.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Advantages of The Developers' Home

On Sunday morning I came out of our bedroom to be greeted by Ryan saying, "Is our heat supposed to work?"

"Umm, yeah? That's usually the idea, isn't it?"

We've been having a very mild fall (in the 80s until this past weekend), but Sunday morning was cold enough to warrant a desire for the heat running. Especially since Gareth had awoken with rather cold hands and feet. After a spring and summer of sleeping with no blankets, he is loath to have any bedtime coverings.

I promptly called The Landlord, despite it's being Sunday and knowing that his ward would be starting in an hour and a half. Thankfully he saw the necessity of us having working heat. After spending a few minutes fiddling with the central air unit, the thermostat, and the fuses, he was able to determine that there is no heating element in the central air unit. The Landlord figured there must be 6 individual heating elements throughout the house controlled by dials on the wall and that the central air unit was just supposed to act as a blower to move the air around. (He'd told us when we moved in that the dials on the wall were for electric baseboard heat and that they'd taken that out to put the central air in, so they didn't do anything. I'd assumed he was right since he'd known the couple who originally developed the property and lived in our unit.)

Gareth and I trotted off to church and arrived home 3 hours later to find the house exceedingly warm. But the air blowing out of the vents had never become warm. It had gotten warm outside, but not warm enough that it would make wearing a light sweater inside the house uncomfortable. I called The Landlord again to give him an update and he told me that he'd contacted the Furnace Man to come and take a look at it.

Furnace Man came today and apparently what we've got is electric radiant heating through the walls and ceiling (and possibly even the floor?). It's basically electric wires spaced out behind the walls, etc. and the dials on our walls turn those on and the heat seeps into the house. And we've got some really good insulation in our unit because we have this type of heating system. Furnace Man said that this type of heating is some of the best but most people don't get it because it's so expensive to install (but quite cost effective to run). Pretty cool, non? Apparently The Developers were wealthy and now we're reaping the benefits of their wealth. Other advantages of our home thanks to them? A garage, having 2/3-ish of the house rather than just 1/2, tons of storage space, and a nice, large kitchen with more cupboards than even I can use.

Friday, October 17, 2008

All He Wants For Christmas

Gareth has made what he wants for Christmas (or anytime before then that we buy him a toy) very clear:

Our neighbors have one of those scooter/ride-on toys (what are those things actually called??) and now he thinks everything with wheels is for his riding enjoyment. It sorta works with the little bus, but try picturing Gareth attempting to sit on a small wooden fire engine that's at least half the size of the bus lengthwise and widthwise. So now I'm on a quest for an inexpensive whatchamacallit. Until I find one he'll just have to make do with the bus.