Dear Woo

I can’t believe that you are four today. It seems like just yesterday that you were born. You have grown into such a fabulous little guy. Watching you grow and develop over the last year has been so wonderful. Every time I turn around you have mastered a new skill, or gone on a new adventure. I love experiencing it all with you.

My little monkey, you are full of beans all the time. This sometimes gets you into trouble, but your charm and wit have saved you from any punishment on many an occasion. Most of your escapades secretly make me laugh. I love how you are bringing Goose under your wing as your sidekick and partner in crime. Your dad and I love to watch the relationship that you have, and see how much you enjoy being with her, even if it means that our lives are more chaotic, and that you have someone to blame for your hijinx.

This past year you mastered your bike and skating on your own, and both have made you very happy. You either want to be riding or gliding at all times. You are becoming more comfortable with swimming, but are still a little hesitant. You even made peace with the ocean this year, for a fleeting second or two. You also started to show preference for your extra-curricular activities, letting us know what you like to do, and what you don’t like. Taking pictures and cooking are two of my favourite things, and I am so glad that you like to do this with me. Your contribution makes them all the more enjoyable.

You now stand 42.5 inches tall, and weigh 46 pounds. We no longer measure the number of words that you say, but the number of words that you can read! I can no longer count the words that you read, as you add many new ones each day. You have a thirst for knowledge that challenges me to help you find the answers to your endless questions. I love to learn with you and watch your world expand.

To my curious and thoughtful little boy, I wish you the happiest fourth birthday! Love you very much,

third birthday

walking at Hog’s Back

showing Goosie the tulips

first canoe ride

riding your bike


reading with Goose

reading with Daddy

indoor hockey

beach fun




It wasn’t my turn to shovel

We live in a neighbourhood that is a mix of elderly people, middle-aged people and young families. It’s a lovely old neighbourhood with big mature trees and wide streets. When the neighbourhood was built all of the houses were on septic, so we are blessed with larger than average lots. Double lots mean that there is plenty of room for a double laneway, and most houses have them. Our house has a double laneway, which means that we get our fair share of snow in the winter.

We are in the minority in the neighbourhood, in that we choose to shovel ourselves. This choice is partly for the environment, partly to be frugal, and partly for the exercise. I know that there are all sorts of health risks associated with shovelling, but we are careful and reckless like that. Historically we have taken turns with the shovelling. Keeping track of this between snowfalls is hard to remember, so we assign winters. That means that if it is your turn to shovel, it is your turn for the entire winter. You don’t forget who’s turn it is in the fall if you had to shovel the entire preceding winter. Remember the winter of 2007-2008 where we got 400 billion centimeters of snow? That was my winter, and you can bet that I remembered the following year.

Today, I REALLY regretted that we decided on this approach.

The snow that fell last night and then got rained on ALL day today is REALLY heavy. Even though it is Willy’s year to shovel, I felt bad sitting on the chesterfield while it got wetter and wetter. I finally guilted myself into going out and grabbed the shovel. It was tough to move and took much longer than a regular clear. As I shovelled and shovelled, the neighbour’s Mr. Plow came by to do their laneway. In the three minutes that it took, I hoped that he would do mine too, out of the kindness of his heart. He didn’t and I kept going.

He passed by three more times, knowing that the plows were in my ‘hood, waiting to clear the dump for my neighbour. Each time I hoped a little bit more, and each time he drove by. I knew he didn’t have to help me, and that I should finish the job, even though I wanted to go inside and let Willy finish when he got home, it being his year to shovel after all. He didn’t and I kept going until it was done.

I went to gather the assortment of shovels from the end of the laneway and noticed the plow heading towards me. Perfect timing. Even though it’s Willy’s year to shovel and I was tired, I couldn’t leave it. So I watched as he collected all of that snow from in front of my neighbour’s house and in front of mine, then dumped it at the bottom of my drive. The driver gave me the “I’m sorry shrug” and I started clearing it. Mr. Plow came by, his work, and headed up the street away from me. With my last hope dashed, I kept going. It was then that I heard the now familiar rumble coming back towards me. I looked up to see the blade of his truck poised to clear the mess. I stepped back and in one sweep it was on the lawn. He backed up and said “that should help” and drove away as I quickly thanked him!  His nice gesture made me forget that I wasn’t supposed to be shoveling today, and kinda glad I did!



Wordless Wednesday – Final skate?



Enough with the head banging

My lils are not the most gracefully that you will meet.  They come by it honestly, with a mama that is probably one of the most uncoordinated people around.  That, coupled with their slightly larger than average cranium size, means that we get more than our fair share of head injuries, some of them even requiring trips to the  hospital.  Thankfully this is only one each, so far.

In the six months that followed each of them getting mobile, I don’t think that there exists a picture where they don’t have a bruise or six on their foreheads.  Each step forward led to a fall forward, head first.  We got pretty nonchalant about the woundings, probably because we have the head injury checklist from the hospital memorized.

The last month has been particularly hard on Goose, and it is really starting to get to me.  She has discovered that it is way more fun if she throws caution to the wind, and throws herself at any obstacle that she faces.  Surprisingly, the toughest obstacle has been our kitchen table, where she has thrown herself headfirst off of the chairs four times in the last three months.  I know that some amount of falling on their heads is normal for the little peeps, but this is becoming a habit.  Two of these falls have been from pushing her booster seat backwards, leading to her hitting the cupboards HARD as she hits the floor.  The latest had me waking her every couple of hours, asking her all sorts of crazy questions, to which she started supplying crazy answers (did you know her brother’s name is Bert? I guess that makes her Ernie!).

I am so worried that every thing she does will lead to another fall, and have basically got her wrapped in bubble wrap.  I really need just a couple of days without any major or minor traumas. Is that too much to ask? This mama is going gray FAST.

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It’s a chore

“Do you wanna know what I just did?”

It’s not the phrase that any parent wants to hear, and it certainly wasn’t what I wanted to be awakened with last Friday morning.  Woo was so happy and proud though, that I calmly asked what it was, instead of overreacting.  ”I put the new bag in the garbage can.  All by myself!” I smiled and told him how great that was, and how I appreciated it and he ran off to play with Goose.  About a minute later he was back, this time to Willy’s side of the bed.  The conversation was exactly the same, excitement followed by praise.  There was a punchline this time, Woo asked for a jelly bean as a reward.

We never don’t often reward* our lils with candy, but the jelly beans have a history.  They are Woo’s reward for staying dry overnight.  In a moment when I thought that I would never be through with diapers I had asked him what he thought would help him stay dry/get up in the night.  He said jelly beans and it worked for a couple of nights in a row at first.  Now we are hit and miss, but still offer the jelly beans as a treat when it happens.  I guess he figured this was worthy,  and offered it up.  Willy gave some form of non-committal response and we headed down to breakfast.

It was after I got some coffee into me that I had a revelation.  Woo had done a chore.  He even sought a reward for it.  We have officially moved into allowance territory!!  I immediately started to talk it up to Woo, and we quickly agreed on the ground rules. There will be a chart that lists the chores that Woo can do to help out around the house, each time he does something he can mark it off, and at the end of the week we will pay him for each chore completed.  He is so keen, even though he has never had money of his own.  We’re not even sure he would want to spend it.  The best part is the rate that we agreed on – five cents per chore!

I haven’t created the chart yet, but after supper tonight Woo went to feed @thecat.  As he finished filling her bowl he looked at me and asked if this counted as a chore.  I am going to like this!

*they also get Smarties with medicine, because medicine is rotten and Smarties are YUMMY!*



Being brave

As I sat in a courtroom today, I had some time to reflect on bravery.  I was there to support a friend as he read his victim impact statement at a sentencing hearing.  It was a fraud case, and the offender was merciless as she preyed on my friend, exploited his vulnerabilities, and defrauded him of his life savings.

I sat listening to him detail the harm, and was struck by what a courageous act it was, telling the court and all those present exactly what she had done to him, and the resulting harms.  She not only stole a significant amount of money from him, her actions had serious ramifications on his career and emotional health, and caused lasting fractures in his relationships with some family and friends. Yet he persevered, reporting the crimes to the police, even though he was ashamed that they had happened, testifying at trial despite the vast amount of time that he had to take off work and the obvious toll it had taken on him mentally and physically, and he faced her today to tell her exactly how she had hurt him.

His motivation for doing this was not to ensure that she got a harsh sentence, but to ensure that the courts and the public were made aware of how much her crime affected him, and to act as a warning so that no one else has to suffer in the same way.  This is why he told his story in the courts, and then retold it for the reporters that were covering it.  So when a reporter asked me for an on camera interview about the case I didn’t hesitate, even though I don’t often give interviews and am not entirely comfortable doing so.  This interview was not because I was being brave, but because he had been, and I wanted to be able to tell how impressed I was with his bravery.



Wordless Wednesday – Bedtime Story




It’s Woo’s favourite word these days, his go to response when he doesn’t hear us, doesn’t understand, or just wants to acknowledge that we spoke to him. “What.  What? What!” I hear it more and more each day and have become acutely aware that it is not a passing phase.  Using more appropriate phrases as an example has not been enough, and I’ve been working on actively correcting him, offering alternatives like pardon me, yes, or can you please repeat that, but they haven’t taken hold.

It is not pleasant for me to be constantly reminding him not to  say it.  I get sick of hearing it, so I can only imagine how the rest of the family feels.  I am afraid this will be the language quirk that sticks, because it is the one that bugs me so.  There has got to be a better way to teach him not to do it, I just haven’t figured it out.

I was at a loss for where this was coming from.  Willy doesn’t say it, and I don’t rarely say it, and we both try our best to use polite alternatives to set an example.  I would assume that he senses my displeasure and plays on that, but he does it without thinking and when speaking to others.  Then Woo’s best bud came over for an afternoon on the weekend and it all became clear. He said “what” just the same way, but after everything that was said to him, regardless of whether he heard/understood.  My head exploded.


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