Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Not working enough?!

I like to use this blog as a way to connect with families and to share a little about my life, my family and the centre.

This post is just to clarify that I am still very much present at A Gym Tale, even though I may not run every program or work open to close every day. A client had made a suggestion that I do not want my business to suffer as a result of not being there. At the time, I did not know what to say, because they are right - I am not at the centre for all 66 hours that A Gym Tale is open to the public. This comment has stayed with me for a few weeks, and I have not been able to shake it. I know that I am not there every hour, but I do still run 30 hours of programming a week, plus work on admin tasks in the evenings, answer emails in the mornings and I am only ever a call away from being at the centre within minutes. In addition, I receive written summaries of the events that take place when I am not at the centre. In order to be able to continue running quality programs, I simply cannot manage to be working 7 days a week, open to close.

Now I am not looking for pity - I am in a very lucky position to be running my own small business right around the corner from my home and to have flexibility to spend more time with my son. However, I am still very much involved in the business.

I have also received emails from clients as well as comment cards giving feedback on the centre, birthday parties and programs. I very much appreciate all of the feedback - good and bad. It is essential for me to get this feedback if A Gym Tale to continue to survive as a small business in Barrhaven. I need to be able to know what families are looking for, expecting in a play centre and programming and the areas that we still need to improve on. At the centre you are the guests and you are the ones we are trying to impress, if you ever have any advice we are here to listen!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Dirt...and lots of it!

So I have decided to go ahead and make gardening my new hobby. After reading plenty of books and background info, I planned out 6 garden beds around the house, deck and yard and ordered the dirt from the depot. This is what I came home to on Friday:

Since Friday I have been working at A Gym Tale or digging in dirt. So far I have one bed completed and 3 more ready for planting. I am very happy with how the first garden turned out, which has given me some more motivation to finish the others - not to mention all of the plants sitting in my garage! Alan and I are so sick of digging in dirt and the last garden left is going to be the most difficult to prepare.

Now once all of these gardens are complete I am afraid of all the maintenance needed! The books don't really go into the maintenance aspect of gardening, they all make it seem like you just pick the odd week out as you stroll through the gardens and admire your work. Except one book that went into great detail about bugs and pests - but the pictures were pretty scary (I have a phobia of bugs), so I have chosen not to read into this topic further and just hope that I never come face to face with one of the monsters! But so many people have now said that gardens are very high maintenance. Have I gotten myself in over my head?

Other news, Ewan stood on his own twice today! He has not taken to crawling any more and is still very upset any time he is forced to, but there is now hope that he may walk some day or at least want to be mobile some time in the near future.

Also, with the beautiful weather that we have been having it really feels like summer is here. Which got me thinking about how fast this past year has gone by. There are only 3 weeks remaining of Play classes and 4 more weeks of Nursery School. This is a very bitter sweet time of year; it is nice that I have more or less the summer off of work, but at the same time I have been seeing and getting to know so many families once a week or more for the past 10 months! It is always kind of a sad time of year. I typically see many of the families the following Fall season, but lots of the children are also moving on to Kindergarden and so we see them much less frequently. Also, getting to know all of the families is my social time as well - and now with a baby it is also my adult time. What I am getting at is that I will miss seeing all of you that I have to come to known over the past year!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Happy Birthday to my baby boy!

Ewan's birthday has just passed, what a very special day it was! We had a giant family party on Saturday, and I mean huge - 60 people! Ewan did a fantastic job and was wide awake and in good spirits the entire party. After all the guests arrived, John from monkeyrockmusic.com came by and did a 45 minute music class which entertained all the kids (ages 1-14) as well as all the adults. It was a great way to get everyone involved, singing, playing instruments and everyone was talking about it for the rest of the party!

After the Monkey Rocks show, we had a BBQ lunch and then the cake! At first Ewan did not know what to think - he has never had sugar before. After a taste from my finger, he slowly tried it himself and after a moment was shoving handfuls into his mouth - all over his face actually! By the time we finished cake and quickly opened up gifts, Ewan was exhausted and it was time to say goodbye to everyone.

Although we had a wonderful time and I think Ewan very much enjoyed all of the excitement - it really is a lot of work and preparation to host a birthday party at home. Not to mention the clean up afterwards - it took me a week to clean the house before the party and then two days after the party to get it clean again! Next year we will definitely be doing the party outside of our home - maybe we will have to host it at A Gym Tale after all!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

I just wanted to write a quick note to wish all the mom's a very Happy Mother's Day. I hope you all are enjoying a relaxing day and getting the appreciation that you deserve for all you do. Enjoy your children and all the joys that mothering brings. I hope everyone has a beautiful day!

And a thank you to my wonderful husband for giving me a morning to sleep in until 10am (the first sleep in day that I can remember since I don't know how long ago) as well as a delicious pancake breakfast, flowers, and a few great books - one of which from Ewan "Why I Love my Mommy" - melted my heart! This is my second official Mother's Day, but last year I gave birth on Mother's Day, so although memorable, this day has been much more relaxing and enjoyable!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Toilet Training!

Toilet training - always a hot topic at the centre, especially since all children must be toilet trained as per our licence for the Nursery School program. For most children that is not a problem by 2.5 years, although it does take a considerable amount of 'training' on the parents part. I have taken part in trying to facilitate many children's transition to the toilet - some using a rewards system, some by cheering like a maniac when they pee, and others by simply telling them that they cannot come to school until they are wearing big boy/girl underwear.

I began an experiment with Ewan to try and avoid this training ordeal all together. Since Ewan has been about 3 months - more or less able to sit up with support, I have been sitting him on the toilet for a couple minutes, with a bumbo toilet seat cover, at many of his diaper changes. I say many, because sometimes I am at work, out in a public washroom, or simply do not have the time. At first he would just sit on the toilet and smile as I would sing songs or read stories. Then one day, when he was about 4 months he actually peed while he was on the toilet. From 4 months to about 8 months it was just a hit or miss. At 8 months, Ewan knew when he heard a noise that he was doing a good thing and he would clap his hands and cheer. But now, as of this week, Ewan is able to 'make' himself pee or have a bowel movement when I put him on the toilet. We both go quiet and I say 'listen' and he reliably goes within a few seconds and makes a really funny face when trying!

So, my goal was to have him toilet trained by one year. I know he is not actually toilet 'trained', but I can get by with only 3 cloth diapers a day, if I keep bringing him to the toilet every hour or so and I am pretty happy with that progress. My hope is that as his understanding and recognition of his needs improves it will be a smooth transition from this point.

By the way, I cannot take credit for this approach, it is called Elimination Communication, although I have followed a much less 'strict' approach to it and I think it worked very well!

Does anyone else have any experience with early toilet training? Will it be a smooth transition or will I hit a phase of refusing the toilet?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Approaching first birthday...

So it has been awhile since my last post... between planning Ewan's birthday party, taking a 4 evening first aid course, and going on very little sleep since Ewan has decided that he would like to eat every half hour at night now - I have not had a moment to write!

But, as of today Ewan's 1st Birthday party is planned and prepared for - from the cake, to the entertainment, to party supplies and food. I am ready!

And last night I had a wonderful night sleep! So I am not sure what was going on this week with Ewan - maybe his eye teeth still bothering him - which have yet to come through, or maybe another growth spurt? What ever the reason, we both slept very well last night and we both enjoyed a two hour nap today!

My next goal is to attempt to finish Ewan's First Year scrap book - I am only at the 6 month mark for completed pages, but I think if I put a big push in this week, I may be able to catch up. I am afraid if I do not have it finished by his birthday, he may be 5 and I will still be working on it!

I am surprised that Ewan's approaching first birthday is becoming so emotional for me. After looking forward to all of the milestone's and what he will be learning next over the past year, it feels as though the year has passed at light speed. I just keep thinking back to the first day bringing him home and how tiny he was. Or to my first breakdown when he was 1 week old - there simply was not enough time in the day to get everything done between feedings and diaper changes - I couldn't imagine how I was even going to remember to bath him! But in nine day's he will be 1 year old. I am glad that I have made a scrap book detailing all of the little events that can sometimes be forgotten in the craziness of life.

On another note, I am also really glad that I have updated my First Aid and CPR. It has been a long week completing the course in the evenings, but also an enjoyable one. The staff and I did the course together, so it was nice getting to spend time with some of the staff that I do not always see in such a relaxed atmosphere. Although theses courses can be long - I really feel that all parents should take the time to complete a course - parents with children of any age. The skills are so simple and straight forward and yet in an emergency they can make the difference between life and death. And knowing the basic skills can keep you calm enough during an emergency to think clearly. The scenarios just offer a reminder that an emergency can arise at any moment to any of us.

Well I am off to what will hopefully be a good night sleep!