Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wordful Wednesday: The Joy of Discovery

Last weekend, during a rare moment of spontaneity brought on by a brief spell of nice weather in Vancouver, I was overcome with the urge to have a beachside picnic dinner, so we packed up our picnic blanket and some sandwiches and headed in search of beach.  In doing so, we made a new discovery - there is a great little park not too far from us that has a small stretch of beach, though it is admittedly mostly pebbles and very little sand.  But its best feature by far is that it isn't crowded like many of the bigger beaches here.  There may or may not be a few slightly unsavoury characters hanging around, but it's worth it for its proximity to our house, wide open space, fantastic playground, and view of the two elements that make Vancouver so special: the water and the mountains.

 Before the Hubs and I had Lilah, this park would barely have been a blip on our radar.  But now that we are the parents of a toddler, the park has made it onto our much revered List of Things to Do When We Don't Know What Else to Do.  You know, that list you always carry around in the back of your head in case you find yourself kicking around with a restless child on your hands and no set plans. 

Making a new discovery, while it might have been interesting or even exciting, was never quite this full of joy before we had a child.  The pure awe that radiates from a toddler when presented with something novel is absolutely contagious, and I find myself getting caught up in it.  These days, we are all about discovery, and this visit to the park was full to the brim with new ones.

Lilah discovered how great sandwiches can be when eaten at a picnic dinner by the beach:

 The Hubs and I discovered that a (clean, unused - I swear!) sand shovel can be used in a pinch (ie. when you have offered your toddler apple sauce and then realized you forgot to pack a spoon):

Lilah discovered a new climbing apparatus:

I discovered how tall my big girl is getting when she was able to play peekaboo with me through the doorway above the slide:

Lilah discovered the perfect slide for her size and comfort level (she has been known to be bit timid when it comes to slides):

We discovered what static can do to baby fine wisps of hair:

I discovered that getting Daddy to give her a little tickle before I snap a photo results in exponentially more smiles caught on camera:

Yes, folks, we are loving this new discovery, and we've already been back to see what else this wonderful park has in store!

What have you discovered lately?

Friday, June 24, 2011


Dude, my kid is a hoarder.  No, not the "Buried Alive" kind... yet.  But if you subscribe to the idea that these things start early in life, it could be headed that way. I think in a past life she must have been through the Great Depression or something because the kid feels the need to be holding all of her stuff all at once.  She can't just pick up one crayon and draw with it, she has to be holding all 17.  Which, I must tell you, makes it pretty difficult to draw.  And spoons?  She would attack her apple sauce with five or six of them at the same time if I let her. 

This need to hold everything all at once started really early. She must have been around six or seven months old because it was shortly after she learned to sit up on her own. I guess she figured now that her arms were no longer needed to support her upper body during tummy time, they might as well make themselves useful and hold a bunch of stuff. Bathtime was particularly hoard-worthy, apparently. She would try to hold every single bath toy she owned, with no concept that this was pretty much impossible. Her entire bathtime would be spent picking up one toy only to drop another, in an endless cycle, like a hamster on a treadmill, heavy breathing and all. Unlike any of the other bad habits interesting behaviours Lilah may have picked up, I can't pin this one on daycare, since it started so early. (What? Any other unusual personality quirks she displays are obviously a result of having to send her to daycare at 13 months and have absolutely nothing to do with our genes or parenting.)

"No, MY water!" (They weren't even remotely interested in her water)

The hoarding is particularly evident when she is among other children, and it's pretty much out of control when other kids come over to our house and expect to play with her toys. (How dare they?)  Thankfully for all involved, we live a life of privilege and Lilah's toy collection is large enough that it can't be contained within her little arms all at one time.  Otherwise, no one would ever come over for playdates.  As it is, we have to employ distraction and bribery techniques whenever another kid touches her stuff.
Wearing one backpack and holding another.

 Oh, and she has recently discovered the beauty and utility of backpacks and bags.  At first I thought she was showing a budding interest in accessories, but I've since figured out that the bags are just about taking the hoarding to a whole new level.  Hey, at least she's learning to be efficient!

We can never get out the door without some item or other coming along for the ride.  My car is littered with previously hoarded items - a plastic fork, a clean diaper, three necklaces, a miniature frisbee, several books, a solitary stacking cup, a Walmart flyer, a naked doll, a pair of socks, a winter hat, several granola bar wrappers, an empty chip bag, and a discarded Starbucks cup.  (Okay, so some of those items might be mine.  You just never know when you're going to need a miniature frisbee, know what I mean?  Actually, now that I think about it, if the trunk of my car is any indication, she may very well have come by this hoarding instinct honestly.)

*Last minute addition: I wrote most of this post yesterday, and then discovered this morning that my sister had compared herself to a squirrel on her own blog.  So that settles it, it must run in the family!

So what do you think?  Will she grow out of it, or do I need to be concerned that she'll be featured on TLC some day?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Daddy's Day.

Lilah has always been what I would describe as a Mama's girl.  Historically, I have always been the one that she runs to for help with an unsolvable problem, to bestow a healing kiss on an owie, or give a comforting cuddle.  To his credit, the Hubs has remained, for the most part, unfazed by this preference. However, now that she is almost two, I see the tide starting to turn.  She is accepting Daddy's help and requesting his presence more and more, and I find it incrediblyy heartwarming.  He's the fun guy, the more laid-back parent; and the one who can throw her high in the sky and hoist her on his shoulders.  I mean, who wouldn't want to play with this guy? 

To the man I am lucky enough to call my baby daddy: Thank you for being you - your laid-back, hands-on, organized, cooking, cleaning, diaper-changing, fun-loving self!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

I'm Actually a Ninja.

So, blogosphere, you and me, we've known each other for quite a while now.  You probably know more about me than you ever really wanted to, and you certainly know most of the sordid details of my life.  But did you know I'm actually a ninja?

Okay, well maybe not a ninja, per se, but I am a martial artist.  This is not something I have shared here at Lilahbility in the past because it didn't seem all that relevant to my thoughts on motherhood.  But I've been thinking about that more and more, and I have now come to the conclusion that motherhood and ninja-hood actually have a lot in common.  So I've decided I am ready to flying head kick my way out of the proverbial closet and tell you about my love affair with the martial arts.

Mid-kick while secretly 5 weeks pregnant with Lilah
(don't worry, my sparring partner knew not to kick me in the tummy)
Since I started training roughly 13 years ago, I have rarely gone for more than a few months without being involved in some form of the arts.  I started with Karate during my final year of high school in Ontario, picked up kickboxing when I moved to Vancouver, and then added Jiu Jitsu a few years ago.  I also dabbled in Capoeira for about six months shortly after I had Lilah and wanted something that guaranteed very little contact and would go easy on a nursing mother's (ahem) sensitive areas.

About five years ago, while I was training in kickboxing, I was lucky enough to meet and be taught by a Sensei who pushed me past what I thought were my limits and encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and try competing in a few local tournaments.  I have learned a lot about myself through my participation in the martial arts, and even more through breaking down my own barriers and competing. I firmly believe that I would not be the same person I am today had I not traveled down this road, and I hope to be able to call myself a martial artist for the rest of my life.

Victorious after a tournament

 Getting obliterated in my first and only kickboxing ring fight.
That's me on the right.  The one with hair.

Now, back to what mommy-ing and ninja-ing have in common.  The answer is, quite a lot.  I present to you the evidence in table format (Table 1.1, below) so you can see just how similar the two really are:

You see?  We're not so different from ninjas after all.  I suspect that there is actually a ninja dwelling deep within each and every parent.  And I challenge you to connect with yours!

Unfortunately for me, I'm not the only one in the Lilahbility household who's in touch with her inner ninja - Lilah appears to have picked up some skills during the martial arts classes she attended while in utero.  She always seems to sense when I am attempting a covert operation, and Babygirl sure knows how to fight fire with fire! 

The cutest little ninja you ever did see.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Monday, June 13, 2011

Toddler for a Day

Sometimes I wish I could walk around in Lilah's shoes, just for a day.  Wouldn't it be fun to experience life the way our kids do?  If I could be "Toddler For a Day", I would:
  • Throw toys around, draw on the walls, and make the house look like a bomb went off in it.  And then I'd let someone else clean it up, just to show how much power I have.  Mwahahaaaa!
  • Eat with gusto and complete abandon, with no concern for appearances or propriety. (Well, okay, if you asked the Hubs, he'd probably say I do this already, but in this case I'd really give 'er.)
  • Embrace the random.  I would demonstrate totally erratic behaviour and be completely unapologetic about it.  How liberating that would be!
  • Catch some much-needed Zs.
  • Lose my inhibitions.  I would sing like nobody's listening, dance like nobody's watching, and clap my hands and giggle loudly at anything I found amusing.
  • Play hard and play hard.  None of this "work" nonsense!
  • Exert my independence at every turn.
  • Experiment with fashion and re-invent myself from day to day.
  • Repeat the same phrase over and over again for as long as it takes to produce the desired reaction.
  • Play "chase" at every possible opportunity. Time for a diaper change?  Chase!  Time to get my shoes on and get out the door?  You'll have to catch me first!
  • Take advantage of the cute whenever possible.  If that involves manipulating others, then so be it!

What would be your first act as Toddler for a Day?

Saturday, June 11, 2011


Here's a video of Lilah and her friend Oscar "winding down" before bedtime. 

I think this would do House of Pain proud, don't you?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wednesday of Few Words: The Lady's Guide to Eating Ice Cream

1. A true lady doesn't demand her own ice cream.  Instead, she politely accepts others' offers to share.  Besides, Daddy's ice cream tastes better, and he'll hold it for you.

2. Be sure to use a spoon.  Licking the cone itself would be very unladylike.

4. Stick out your tongue in anticipation of the spoon coming towards your mouth.  This will help catch any errant drips of ice cream that would otherwise end up on your dress or similar ladylike attire.

5. Savour the sweet, delicious coldness as it melts in your mouth.

6. A real lady demonstrates generosity.  Don't forget to give Daddy a few licks of his own ice cream cone.  (I don't have any pictures to illustrate this point because a certain little lady had a hard time with this one.)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The First Thing

Lilah is an open book.  As a toddler, her motivations and thoughts can be read on her face, through her body language, and through her short, telegraph-style sentences.  She isn't yet really capable of lying, so when I ask her if she's going to throw her spoon again if I give it back to her, I'm never surprised when the answer turns out to be "yes."  And never is she more transparent than when she first wakes up in the morning.  The first thing she says when I go get her from her crib is very revealing as to what's on her mind at any given time.

Here are some of the things she has said to me right after waking up:

When we were in Harrison sharing a rental house with a bazillion family members and their dogs: "Doggie no get Lilah?" (I'm just going on instinct here, but I think she may be just a teeny bit afraid of dogs, what do you think?)

The next morning during the same weekend in Harrison, articulated with perfect grammar and diction:  "People are sleeping."  (Actually, Lilah, you're the last to wake up.  The other kids woke the whole house up at an ungodly hour.  Thanks for showing off your super sleeping skills.  But on the other hand, now no one's going to believe me when I tell them you're usually an early riser - there goes mommy's sympathy vote!)

Occasionally we get an "Aaaadddddie" (her BFF's name) or Addie's parents' names thrown into the mix. (As if she'd rather be waking up in their home than ours...)

Lately it's often, "Jump, jump, JUMP!" (Because that is the skill she is working hard on mastering these days.)

And then of course there's the simple yet eloquently stated "Whoooaaa."  (Like, Dude, that was a trippy dream!")

But of course, the most common first thing Lilah says in he morning is "Mamaaaaa!" or sometimes, "Maaaamaaa, ah are you?"  Because, let's face it, to her, I'm pretty much the best thing going 'round these parts.  Can you really blame her?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Monthly Recap: What I learned in May 2011

This is part of Amber Strocel's "What I learned" monthly link-up.  Go check it out!

1.  I stepped out of my fashion comfort zone and bought a dress that I normally wouldn't give a second thought to.  And when I asked the blogosphere for opinions, I wasn't disappointed - your comments were generous and your suggestions showed how stylish you all are.  I was even treated to a mini footwear fashion show by a real-life friend and came home with two pairs of her shoes to borrow as back-ups!

2.  I started training a speech therapy practicum student and realized how much I actually have learned in the six years since I started my clinical practice.  You never know how much you really know until you start trying to teach someone else from scratch.

3.  I discovered that you can actually learn a few things in Sin City.

4.  I got my first official head shot at VancouverMom's Top 30 Fabulous Mom Bloggers party (I know, I know.  Flogging. Dead horse.  Enough.), where I learned that, though I have always considered myself extremely un-photogenic, the pros can actually make me look kinda good.  But I'm still not planning to ask how much digital enhancement was done on this photo.

5.  15 family members and two dogs in one four bedroom house over a long weekend can totally work!   Especially if you somehow manage to snag the master suite with en suite bathroom and walk-in closet (I promise I didn't go all ninja on anyone to procure this luxury).

6. Your child telling you you look pretty, whether you're wearing a nice dress or the old U2 concert t-shirt you wear to bed, makes you go all swoony and melty inside.

7. Relinquishing control of the camera can lead to some pretty decent shots.  Bonus: I get to be in some of them!  I need to do this more often!

He's not a single dad after all!

8.  I  geeked it up by entering the time-sucking vortex that is Twitter.  I'm still learning how it all works.  Next month I may even be able to tell you what a hash tag is!
9.  I've become one giant ball of cheese.  But with good reason.

10.  When I filled in my time sheet at work, I realized how much overtime I put in this month - no wonder I've been so tired!

What did you learn in May?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Wednesday of Few Words: Evolution of a Friendship

I like photos.  And I like music.  I especially like photos set to music.  Yep, I loves me a good slide show. Creating slide shows is one of my favourite things to do with the millions of photos I take.  If I could, I would spend my days making slide shows of all of the momentous occasions of our life.  You know, birthday parties, weekend getaways, play dates, tooth extractions, trips to the gynecologist, that sort of thing.  Unfortunately (fortunately?), I don't have that kind of time on my hands, so I am restricted to only creating a few each year.

I knew when Lilah's best-friend-in-the-whole-wide-world's birthday was coming up that I wanted to give her family a DVD that showed the evolution of our girls' friendship.  Lilah has lots of friends, but this little girl holds a very special place in her heart, and the Hubs and I have built a wonderful friendship with her parents.  I had an inkling that they might, like me, prove to be total suckers for a good slideshow, so I pulled out all the stops and preyed on the heightened sentimentality that parents typically feel around their children's birthdays.  Yep, I had them bawling into their birthday cake leftovers.  If I'm going to be a total cheeseball, I'm taking everyone around me down too.  'Cause I'm just a good friend like that.

Photos by Amanda and The Hubs
Music by Brandi Carlisle


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