We weren’t as good to our old dog as we could have been. And by that I mean he got ignored more often than played with, and not walked more often than walked. When he died we vowed to do better with our next dog.
Mr. Mooster gets one walk every day of the week. Whether it’s sunny or rainy, snowy or hot as hell, that dog gets a walk. In part, because when we made the decision as a family to adopt a rescue animal, I was pretty clear that the big kids needed to step up this time. They take turns walking him Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and Otto and I get him out on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday.
It used to be easy to walk the dog and the Doodle at the same time. The Doodle loved to tour the neighbourhood in either her carrier or stroller, and Mr. Mooster somewhat loves urban walking, but if that dog could talk I’m pretty sure he’d say, “Off-leash dog park s’il te plaît.” (That’s right, if my dog could talk he would have impeccable manners and be bilingual to boot!)
Now, some days it’s just not so easy to walk the dog. We have to get the timing just right, and we’re not sure what exactly right timing looks like, but exactly wrong timing is when the Doodle insists on pushing her own stroller, or having a meltdown, or wanting to walk on her own which really is code for standing in one place until one of us picks her up in our arms.
This walk got particularly hairy because the Doodle decided that she wanted to change her clothes in the middle of the street. Only we didn’t have a change of clothes on us. The result of that was her toddling up and down a residential road with her pants around her ankles and throwing a hysterical temper tantrum.
Then she was struck with the sudden urge to go to the bathroom. An urge so immediate that she was re-directed from her temper tantrum to a full-on focus of finding the perfect place to go.
She was more specific than the dog when sourcing out a spot.
We were less than three blocks from our house and no amount of convincing, bargaining or pleading could get her to a) pull her pants up and hold it till we got home or b) to go in a timely fashion in a little alley way at the end of the street.
Not being a mother to miss the chance to document such a wonderful moment in my child’s life, I’m pleased to have captured the photo above and this short video clip. It captures the inherent amusement of sudden situations such as these. The glamour of parenthood.
Despite being born somewhat of a fish, the Doodle goes through phases where she loves the bath, and then she hates the bath. We’re in the midst of a “I don’t want a bath, shower or anything that involves getting clean” phase, which means that the mommies need to get creative.
We threw out something familiar for the Doodle to consider. She took the bait, and tonight we took bathing back to where it all began – the kitchen sink.
Nearly 2.5 years ago, the sink was quite roomy. It’s where she had her first bath with her Mama and Nana. Now, not so much. But that didn’t matter. I mean what’s not to love about cramming and folding your 30 pound-ish body into a bubble laden tiny tub?
Last weekend, a great fundraiser was developed from this very simple FB post:
“After lunch we’re going shopping and Mama we buy you a princess costume.” I’m not sure which was better – the Doodle’s assertion that she was going to dress up as a firefighter and Otto was going to be her companion princess OR Otto’s face when she realized she need to whip up a princess costume for herself.
A bunch of our friends and colleagues were particularly interested in seeing Otto as a princess. They were so very excited that they began to commit donations to one of our favourite charities. And, thus A Royal Family photo shoot was born.
We try not to take ourselves too seriously around here in either work or play, and this photo shoot was a little bit of both.
The Doodle and her mama. She thought this was hysterical.
While Bella started out as a prince, she couldn’t wait to transform herself into a princess as well.
How did Bubaloo get into the photo? Bella wanted him to participate so badly that she offered to make his lunch for a week (which he then bargained with her to get it to a week and a half).
Even the dog wanted in on the action.
Planning for the annual Halloween costume began sometime in late September. Initially Bella offered up her costume design skills and sketched out five options to give the Doodle some choice. For the first week, she was going to be a story bot, but then she changed her mind.
The Doodle had fallen madly and obsessively in love with the idea of being a firefighter. A notion she had picked up while reading Heather has Two Mommies. From one page in one book she drew sufficient inspiration for an outfit which she talked about over and over again for weeks.
Now, we don’t actually believe in buying costumes at our house. We believe in making them. But we also believe in giving our kids a say in what they dress up as (and I believe in not killing myself to make that happen). Paint a cardboard box to be a story bot, that I can do. Sew a jacket to be a firefighter, that’s a skill outside of my current scope.
Otto came home with this lovely costume that the Doodle picked out for herself – further feeding in to the “who buy that?” line of questioning.
Now if the Doodle had of asked to be a princess or a cheerleader, I wouldn’t have bought into buying her a costume. I would have re-directed her interest. I would have inspired her to use some imagination and creativity. I would have said no if I had to. But a firefighter! And a firefighter that comes from a book about a kid with two moms!!! This time we could happily concede to give the Doodle exactly what she wanted.
For a month or so, I seriously contemplated giving up my 2013 Project 52. I was so far behind – two months behind to be exact! And this thing in which I voluntarily participate had become a stress inducing drain.
So I re-framed it. I sought out the joy. I acknowledged that I didn’t have to be somewhat perfect, that I didn’t have to take the perfectly well-thought out photo to align with the weekly theme, that I could dig through my archive of photos and simply choose something I liked. After all, it’s my project and I should be able to give myself permission to define it how I like.
As it turns out, when I dug really deep, what really mattered was the reminder that I should pick up my camera at least once a week and document tiny moments of our lives. What truly was more important was to have a compelling reason to learn how to use the new camera body I purchased way back in August. And in putting together a week book of my 2012 Project 52, I realized that less was more when it came to the accompanying narrative.
What I needed was a little kick in the pants, which I somewhat happily gave to myself. Get back in the saddle.
This Sunday morning, I mapped a mini session out in my mind. I figured I’d get the Doodle up around 8 am and we’d snuggle in our bed while I snapped some really touching photos of her with her mommies. I kinda got a little kick out of the idea of taking photos where the main prop was a lesbian family bed.
The toddler woke up before 7 am, there wasn’t enough light in our room quite yet so I had to pull out some delay tactics, and my wife entertained the baby while I fiddled and fiddled with my camera settings to get everything to work so I could shoot manually (with a remote).
In the end, I’m delighted with the results. It was so incredibly fun and I now remember how much I love my DSLR. I needed to romance my camera and fall in love with it all over again.
The toddler jumped around, stole the remote, and had no intention of lying still for even a moment so I could capture the “fake sleeping” photo I so desired. The output was perfect nonetheless.
Moving from a D40 to a D7100 the depth of field I can now capture totally knocks my socks off.
I have to hand it to my 2.5 year old, as this last photograph is all her work. She may need a touch of work on her composition (as in, maybe get my whole head in the frame) but I do appreciate this photo of me. Fifty attempts it took her to nail this one good shot.
We’re on a haunted wagon ride at four in the afternoon and these are our most spookiest faces. Are you scared yet? A tiny bit frightened? Maybe a touch amused?
After the Doodle’s first haircut, and Bella’s big adventure to take the bus to the mall in the far reaches of the city, we connected with other queer families for an afternoon of fun at a local pumpkin farm. Four of us had fun, while a certain male teenager was in a non-participatory mood and opted to stay in the car for the entire duration of our visit. He wouldn’t even let us unroll the windows for him.
It was an unseasonably warm afternoon which made our special discovery of a strawberry patch right next to the pumpkin patch particularly delightful – there’s nothing like a sweet strawberry surprise! The long stretch of warm dry weather made the berries so much better this late October afternoon than they were when we had picked them in June. We snacked on strawberries while we searched for the perfect pumpkin.
The sun sets earlier and earlier, and little miss independent likes to walk to the park after dinner. That’s not entirely accurate. The Doodle wants to walk when we leave the house, and half way down the street she changes her mind and wants to be carried, and so most of our very long trip to the park four blocks away is spent coming up with games to trick her into believing that walking on her own can be fun.
By the time we get to the park, it’s late, really late. The park is empty. We have the swings all to ourselves.
Higher and higher the toddler demands to be pushed. She wants an underdog. She wants to reach out, touch the sun, and convince him to linger a little bit longer above the horizon.
I love the silhouette of her curls against the dusky sky. The way her unruly locks brush up against the empty sky. I love this because it’s the last photo I have of the Doodle sporting all of the hair she was born with. The next day she got her first hair cut.