Sometimes they need a little help

Today was the first really awesome weather day that I have had at home with the lils this “spring”. The rare nice days have been daycare days, or travel days, or days when we had indoor plans made. We were lucky to have nothing going on and made the most of the day. We were dressed and outside at shortly after 8:00am, only to return indoors (briefly) at naptime and then the end of the day. It was a great day! So great that Goose, when reviewing her day with me at bedtime said “Oh Mommy, we forgot to play inside today!”

After such a full day of fresh air, I would have thought that both lils would be easy to bed tonight, but such was not the case. There were no great fights, but the entire bedtime process took about twice as long as normal for both. Woo eventually settled in to bed and drifted off, but Goose proved to be a tough nut. Each time I left her room she would start calling, either with a demand that I “come!”, or a claim that she needed to go to the bathroom. I knew this was a ruse, and called her out on it, but she insisted. I finally relented and brought her to the toilet, only to have her laugh, and play and generally arse around for fifteen minutes. Finally I got her to admit that she just wanted to play, told her that there was no reason why she couldn’t do that in bed, and launched her back into bed. She returned right to calling for me, but eventually settled into play and songs.

This lasted for about twenty more minutes, when she started to drift off. Sadly she was whimpering too, so I went up for one last cuddle. As soon as I went into the room she claimed she wanted to go to the bathroom. I said I would take her, but also offered a cuddle in the rocking chair. She leapt out of bed for the rocker, where she settled into my arms and I sang to her quietly. I could tell that she was not entirely comfortable with how we were sitting, so I offered to have her lie in my arms, like she did when she was a baby.

We rocked like that for a few minutes in the last light of the day. It was just enough light that I could make out that she was just staring up at me as I sang and then fell into silence. A few minutes went by and I offered to move her to her bed, but she said no. So I asked if she wanted to fall asleep in my arms and she whispered yes. “Just close your eyes then”, I suggested, and she drifted off. We were both content.

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I wish she hadn’t done that

Much like the rest of the city, I was shocked to hear of an explosion at a local high school yesterday morning. I followed the news, trying to find out more information. I was hoping to hear good news, but there soon came sad news of a fatality. I waited and watched, hoping that the reports were wrong. When all media reports were consistent and had gone uncontested, it looked like it was true. I believed it, and expressed my sorrow on twitter.

I had a horrible feeling, a lump in my chest, and felt ill. Not because I thought I might know anyone involved, but for what the parents and extended families of the students who attend the school must be feeling. I was especially sad for that family, the one who would soon hear news that you can never prepare for. My children don’t go to school yet, but for me, it is one of those places where you can still believe that children are safe. They might get bumps and bruises, or learn interesting words or pick up bad habits, but they are safe. To hear that a life was lost in a classroom, doing school work, was shocking to me. Even if I am on the outside looking in.

Then two things happened in short succession. There were updates that said the student had been resuscitated, and there was one reporter on scene at the school who had identified the student by name. I was cautiously happy to hear that there was a chance for the individual who had been harmed, but I was really bothered by the fact that the student had been named. We now know that he did pass away and while that is tragic, that isn’t what this post is about. I know that identification is only ever supposed to be made officially after a death has been confirmed by an MD, identity has been confirmed, and notification is made to family. There is no way that these could have occurred in the short time that had elapsed. The reporter herself actually sited the source of the identification as students at the high school. The same students who had just been traumatized by the explosion and seeing their classmates harmed. This identification was sufficient for the reporter and she published the name.

I sent her a message and suggested that she might want to remove the identity information from her posts. I suggested that this might be a good idea to protect the victim’s privacy, but there are so many more reasons to not divulge this information. First and foremost are the family members, who in all likelihood would not have been officially notified of their child’s injuries. They deserve to be told respectfully and appropriately of what has happened to their child, not to hear unofficially through the reports of classmates. As a parent, hearing such horrific news from the media would compound the trauma. There is also the possibility that the identity was made in error, and the student named was not in fact the victim in the explosion. Finally, there may have been an ongoing police investigation into the cause and origin of the explosion. Victim identities are often held back in these cases.

She never responded to me, nor did she remove the information. My sister also messaged the reporter, and did get a response. One where responsibility was deflected, and she focussed on the fact that the paramedics had claimed that the student had passed away. The reporter completely missed the point.

I don’t get why it is so important to be the first to report the name of a victim. To get the “scoop” as it were. Does putting a name to this person make his death any more traumatic or shocking? Does the potential pain to his family make it ok? If there is a police investigation ongoing, does the scoop outweigh the risk of jeopardizing it? What if the students were wrong, and the person they named was not the victim? There are valid reasons why names are withheld pending proper identification and notification. I just wish that members of the media would respect them.

For most of us, his name really didn’t matter. His family and loved ones deserved to hear about his death from someone who could actually confirm it, who know what had happened and could answer their questions, and who was experienced and trained to make that notification compassionately and appropriately.



Wordless Wednesday – A new favourite

Look away



It never gets old

Woo is my little jokester. He loves to laugh and to make you laugh along with him. I’ll never forget the first day that he REALLY laughed. It was a full on belly laugh, at one of the toys that hung over his playpen. He was about five weeks old, and found the toy and the laughing to be endlessly entertaining. All it took was one little jiggle of the bar, the elephants that were attached would jiggle and we’d have laughter. It was a beautiful sound, one that I sought to reproduce again and again with both the lils as infants. I still do, and love to hear them laughing with each other.

I am a giggler. I have never been much of a prankster, but embrace the silly in life. Telling jokes is something that I have never been good at, as I always forget the punchline, or screw it up. Getting some one to say “underwear”? Classic. My personal favourite? When innocent words, like “duty” are homophones with giggle inducing words like doodie. (Hehe, hehe, I said doodie)

Last night as Woo was going to bed we were reading together. The book was a bilingual storybook that had many items within the pictures identified in both French and English. When we read it, Woo will read all of the English words to me, then I will tell him the French translation. We had barely begun when we got to the word “junction”. He stumbled on the pronunciation, and asked what it meant. I told him how to pronounce it, explaned what it was, and was about to tell him the translation.  He clearly had not been listening, as he said “hehe hehe, junk!”. We both starting laughing hysterically. I am so proud of him.



Post up at Kids in the Capital today!

I have a post up on Kids in the Capital today where I talk about one of our favourite things to do as a family – go and Touch a Truck. It’s an event that not only appeals to all members of the family, but supports Mothercraft , which does great work supporting families in Ottawa. And there are firemen! So close you can touch them. Which is totally OK if you are holding a small child, right??

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Wordless Wednesday – Tiptoe through the tulips

Lil centre


@ Dow's Lake

Rough edged

@ Dow's Lake

@ Dow's Lake

My favourite bed @ Dow's Lake

Garden Tulip

Garden Tulip



Rules to live by

When the lils were littler we were in charge. We guided them to sleep, we chose what they ate, and brought them where ever we wanted them to go. It was a pretty good life all around. We were happy and they were happy. I also got sucked in, and thought that this was going to be how it worked. I was so wrong.

Since Willy has been away for the last week, I have noticed that there has been an ever so subtle shift in the balance of power in this house. I not only no longer make the rules, but I have to abide by the rules that Woo and Goose set. I also have to guess when they apply. If they apply. Where they apply. Who they apply to…  A sample of the new rules:

  • Getting dressed is completely up to them. If we have to go out or have friends coming over, getting dressed will take approximately one hour and will only occur once I promise that the return to jammies can occur within seconds of returning home/guests departing. If we have nowhere to go I will to wake them and find them dressed.
  • Anything that I suggest they wear is wrong.
  • No socks with pips on the bottom, because they stop you from sliding. Turning the socks inside out is no longer acceptable, as it stops your feet from sliding around in the socks.
  • No matter when meals/snacks are served, they are fifteen minutes too late. The meals are to hot/cold/warm/cooked/raw, and three seconds after being served both children are full.
  • There is never enough milk poured into the glass until approximately 1.5 seconds before it is spilled.
  • I am not allowed to assist Goose in any way with the potty, unless it is to clean up after the times that she has either a) run towards me to tell me that she needs to pee and that I am not allowed to help her and she pees on the floor, or 2*) she can’t get her pants undone fast enough without help and pees on the floor.
  • Woo MUST help with making coffee, unless of course you offer to have him help. Either way it’s the end of the world.
  • Only one person is allowed on ANY set of stairs at a given time, which makes trips from upstairs to the basement really l o n g. This rule doesn’t apply if they want to race around the house shoving each other up and down the stairs.
  • We no longer speak to each other, only shrieking is allowed.
  • Bedtime is a loosely defined concept that has a margin of error of +/- two hours.
  • No baths. Ever. (I am actually ok with this one, baths are Willy’s problem thing)

This regime change may just do me in.

*she is being especially contrary with this rule*



Saving the earth is making me a hoarder

I’ve never actually watched the TLC show “Hoarders”, but I know enough to recognize that it is pretty bad. I’ve seen snippets of the show and the commercials which show homes that are filled to the extreme with both good, clean junk and really gross garbage. The people seem to be so sad too, either aging or poor, or both. I’ve heard descriptions that it is much worse than I can imagine, so I know I never want to watch it. Or be on it, which is why I have to stop this.

When we lived downtown, we had a small place with nowhere to hide anything. It was a loft, so there were no interior walls. We had one little tiny storage area and everything else was in the open. We barely kept anything, and purged frequently. If we weren’t using it, it was gone. Then we moved to the burbs. Our house more than doubled in size and all of a sudden we had walls and closets and places to hide things! There were more rooms than we knew what to do with or had furniture to fill. Gradually we started filling those rooms. First with furniture, then with “stuff”. We had a baby, then another. Two lils come with a lot more stuff.

I became an expert at finding previously enjoyed things for the lils. We re-purposed all kinds of stuff, including the boxes from our washer and dryer, held because I knew that they would make the perfect houses for our lil peeps. My girlfriends and I all shared clothes, toys, cloth diapers, anything baby related. I had it all organized and perfectly stowed away. But then it all multiplied, and I stopped finding new homes and purposes for the stuff that we were no longer using.

Having two busy children has meant that I have demands on my time now that mean I can’t stay on top of this mountain of stuff that I want to find new homes for. I know that there are people who want to use our no longer suitable furniture, appliances, clothing. Maybe even people who read and want my books! I have mountains of baby gear that I keep meaning to find homes for, and follow through on the giving when I do find homes for. And don’t get me started on the piles of packaging that I have set aside so that I can break it down to be properly recycled, used as a craft, or moved into the playroom. Sadly, I want to do all this, but don’t have the time, or the energy at the end of the day. So it just got piled around the house.

A couple of weeks ago I looked around and realized that this was starting to look a lot like the foundations of a hoarder’s house. While I still very much want to freecycle or repurpose as much of this as I can, I panicked a little and did a mini purge of the most obvious crap. I then started sorting through things and moving all the stuff that I don’t want to keep to the spare bedroom. I work at it a little each day, and the entire house is starting to look better. Well, everything except the spare room, that it. It looks REALLY full.

I hope that I can keep up and finally get some of the stuff moving out to new homes. If not, I guess I can take solace in the fact that I seem to be on the path toward the house that is packed with the useful, non-smelly stuff. Thankfully we get the garbage, compost and green bin out each week!



Creepy crawlies

When I was a little girl, I was fascinated by bugs. Big ones, little ones, flying ones, crawling ones… I’d track them all down, catch them, put them in glass jars or those little plastic bugs houses and watch them do their thing. Then I’d kill them. Not just kill them actually, I would smush the guts right out of them. This was usually achieved by stepping on them with my shoes, but I was also known to use my hands, or better yet, my bare feet. The big fuzzy caterpillars were my favourite. It horrified my mother.

My mom worked really hard to get me to stop smushing the bugs, and eventually she won. Sadly, in the process, she passed along her tendency to freak out at most bugs, but bees and wasps in particular. I was actually quite convinced that I was allergic to them for much of my adult life, because I had been stung when I was about seven. It got quite swollen, and I apparently had trouble breathing as a result of the sting. I lived in fear of getting stung after that, til a few years ago when I was stung five times in a two week period. I had no extraordinary reaction then, and have since realized that I really didn’t when I was seven, either. Sure the bite was swollen, but so was EVERY bug bite I got. The “trouble breathing”? Was probably hyperventilating from all the freak out that was occurring (mine and my mother’s). Sure, I still cringe when wasps or bees come near, but I am working on that.

We have tried really hard to make sure that the lils are not afraid of bugs. Woo has fully embraced that “bugs are our friends”. So much that it is to the point that he will not let us kill a bug that is found in the house. It has to be caught, admired for a little while and then set free outside, with much fanfare. It’s very cute and we usually play along, unless it is one of those centipede bugs. Those nasty things get killed.

Goose is not doing as well. She is pretty afraid of most crawly things, except maybe spiders. We get many calls of “Bug! Bug!”, whenever she spies a black spec in the house. Thankfully Woo bounds to the rescue on most occasions.

This spring we are faced with two types bugs are really starting to bother me. Outside, my poor lilies are being decimated by the red lily beetle. They are barely above ground, and there poor little leaves are covered in holes. Several times each day I do the rounds and rid them of the bugs. There are still more though, so I look a little harder, and I have noted that I am getting more and more emphatic with the smooshing. You might say it’s gleeful, and I have to admit that I get a certain satisfaction in knowing that each bug I kill is not going to get to my lilies. It’s not with my bare hands (or feet!), but I do put extra effort into getting them.

Inside, we have the ever worsening saga of the ants. They have invaded our house! We get them every year, but they have always stayed in the three-season room for couple weeks in the spring before disappearing on their own. This year they are spreading. I regularly find them all over the house, but am most troubled by the number that are in my kitchen, and my recent discovery that they are IN MY CANDY STASH. While I generally try the least invasive method for getting rid of pests, this breach has meant that I had to take some serious action. After I carefully secured all my treats in tupperware, I made a trip to Canadian Tire for the super sweet drops that ants love to bring back to their lair. I’ve left out some drops where the lils cannot reach them, and waited (and maybe watched a bit). Slowly they have come. Slowly the number of ants has been reduced. It tells me that I am winning this war. I admit that I secretly love thinking “drink the koolaid, you little jerks!” every time I see them at the drops. This may please me a little bit more than can be considered normal.



Wordless Wednesday – Waiting for tulips


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