It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Happy Hallowe’en!

Our jack o’lantern. She has TRIANGLE eyes (Timmy), a DIAMOND nose (Emily), and SQUARE teeth (Anna).

(They wanted circles in there, too, but Mary vetoed circles. Curves with a paring knife in a two-inch-thick pumpkin? I value my fingers too much for that…)

October 31, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Who are you calling ‘baby’?

“Night-time, baby!”
“I’m not a baby any more. Last time I was a baby, before when I was born, but I’m bigger now. Mary, Timmy says I’m a baby.”
(Mary ignores this.)
“It’s time for sleeping. Let’s go sleeping, baby.”
“I’m not a baby!”
“Just in the GAME, Anna. We can be babies inna game.”
“I’m not a baby!”
“It’s just for sleeping. It’s time for sleeping.”
“I will be sleeping with you, but I’m not a baby.”

(Hold that thought, Anna, for another fifteen years or so…)

October 30, 2008 Posted by | Anna, the things they say!, Timmy | , , | 2 Comments

Trust is earned, and here’s one way

I try to be flexible with my parents. If your spouse is out of town this week, and you ask nicely, I’ll probably let you pick up 20 minutes late and waive the late fee. I’ve kept the kids late on Valentine’s Day so parents could have a date night. Early drop-offs are never a problem. You come part-time and want to switch days? Not a problem. Your holiday times get switched? I can accommodate.

If you present me with a reeking child and tell me “he pooped in the car!”, I’ll take him with a smile and deal with it. Because it happens.

If you do that twice in one week, I’ll take him with a smile and deal with it. Because it happens, sometimes twice in one week.

If you do that every morning for a month? I’ll start to get a little suspicious. I maybe might not smile so much after the first week or two. Because, yeah, it could happen, I guess, but…

If I look out the window one morning and see you in my driveway, changing your child on the hood of your car? I will cease to be suspicious.

I might even offer you a coffee to take to work with you, you poor soul, you.

October 29, 2008 Posted by | eeewww, parents, potty tales | , | 8 Comments

Hallowe’en crafting, yet again

Today’s craft! Hallowe’en sun-catchers.


clear Mactac (shelf paper)
orange tissue paper
black permanent marker

(Click on pictures for larger images.)


1. While the backing paper is still on the Mactac, draw a pumpkin outline on the plastic with your marker.

2. Let the children tear the tissue paper into bits. (Or you can, if they can’t.)

3. Children pat the bits onto the sticky side of the Mactac, mostly within the boundaries of your line.

4. Cut another square of Mactac slightly larger than your pumpkin. Peel off the backing.

5. When the children have filled in their pumpkin, press it to the peeled square. Cut square to match pumpkin.

6. Let kids draw face. (Or you can, or you can skip the face.)

DONE! Easy, huh? Even the 13-month-old did this one. (His isn’t shown here, not because it turned out badly, but because, needing more one-on-one attention than the older kids, he did his after the 3-year-olds did theirs. But no, I didn’t do it for him. He poked each of his orange bits into place with his very own pudgy little fingers. His does not have a face.)

Note: you might need to bind the edges with clear tape, to keep the sides together.

October 28, 2008 Posted by | crafts, holidays | , , , | 2 Comments

Mary goes domestic

Home-made oatmeal bread, kneaded with love.

October 28, 2008 Posted by | Anna, food | , , , | 6 Comments

Healthy Canadians

All you Canadians out there. Have you stumbled across the Government of Canada’s new website, Healthy Canadians? It’s a clever clearing-house for all manner of information already out there in various Government of Canada websites, brought together into one informative, accessible and entertaining site. (All you non-Canadians out there? Some pages mightn’t be applicable to you, but, being as we’re all human and all want to be as healthy as possible, most of it is!)

There’s information on things we probably already know, (“It’s important to Be Active”!!) but there’s also information on things we might not know. Did you know there’s a tax credit available to parents whose under-18 children participate in eligible physical activites?

We all know it’s important to eat well, but are you really clear on how many servings your three-year-old needs, and what exactly constitutes a serving? There’s a flash walk-through of Canada’s Food Guide, and down-loadable PDF files with much of the information, so you can print it off for use at home. Sensible.

There’s also a section on recalls, with a subsection on Children’s Product recalls. Anyone out there using “My Baby” pacifiers? You’ll want to follow that link.

If you’re pregnant and like doing quizzes, you’ll enjoy this Healthy Pregnancy quiz.

It’s a well laid out site, with a wealth of nicely-presented information, and well worth checking out.

One caution: links often take you to other government of Canada website pages, all of which are laid out in a similar or identical format. You may not realize you’ve left “Healthy Canadians” until you click on the “home” tab, and are whisked away to the Canada Revenue Agency homepage instead!

October 27, 2008 Posted by | Canada, health and safety | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Dessert meme

A meme scooped from Florinda.

The instructions:
1) Copy this list into your site, including the instructions
2) Bold all of the sweets you’ve eaten
3) Cross out any of them that you’d never ever eat
4) Consider anything that is not bold or crossed out your “To Do” List.

And I had to add a fifth category:
5) Put brackets around the ones you’ve NEVER HEARD OF.

Now, Florinda helpfully suggests checking outA Daily Dose of Zen Sarcasm, who provided links to descriptions of many of them. (Links which, as is shamefully evident from all the brackets on my list, I have not followed.)

I didn’t follow them because I’ve never been a super-duper dessert person. I’ve known that all along, but I learned from this meme that this is largely because:
1) I have an aversion to “too sweet”, and
2) a need for TEXTURE in my food.
I also learned that sufficient nuts will usually compensate for “too sweet”, if said dessert is consumed with a cup of strong coffee…

And now the meme:

1. Red Velvet Cake
(2. Princess Torte) Though I understand from Florinda that it has marzipan in it, and (unlike Florinda) I LOVE marzipan. In small doses, mind you, because though I love nuts, but (here we go) it’s awfully sweet. Marzipan also has a fabulous texture. Says me.
(3. Whoopie Pie )
4. Apple Pie either topped or baked with sharp cheddar. Yes, though I prefer it without the cheese.
5. Beignet
6. Baklava
Loooove baklava, because I LOOOOVE walnuts. Very sweet, with all that honey, though, so a very small piece, eaten with nice, strong coffee. (Told you.) Truly luscious decadence!
(7. Black and white cookie)
(8. Seven Layer Bar)
(9. Fried Fruit pie) This is a revolting idea.
(10. Kringle)
11. Just-fried (still hot) doughnut Back when I used to make them. Not a fan of store-bought doughnuts. Don’t like cakey texture. (Which is why the only doughnuts I’ve eaten in the past 15 years have been the sour cream (unglazed) from Tim Horton’s. Not too sweet, and at least some approximation of texture.)
12. Scone with clotted cream Oh, so goooood. Best with Devonshire cream: sooo rich, but (wait for it!) not too sweet.
13. Betty, Grunt, Slump, Buckle or Pandowdy – heard of them only in books. Never actually seen one.
(14. Halvah)
15. Macaroons – love, love, love coconut! Best with semi-sweet chocolate.
16. Banana pudding with nilla wafers Don’t like pudding: too sweet, no texture.
17. Bubble tea. My kids like it. I had it once when I was with them, because I am a Good Mother. Meh. Too sweet and goopy for me.
(18. Dixie Cup) – Isn’t this a brand name for teeny paper cups?? Do people eat them?
19. Rice Krispie treats Not a huge fan. Too sweet. Texture’s okay, though.
(20. Alfajores)
(21. Blondies)
22. Croquembouche
23. Girl Scout cookies
24. Moon cake
25. Candy Apple Ate a few as a child. Never did enjoy them, even then. Never eat them now. Too sweet!
26. Baked Alaska Once, a long time ago. Can’t really remember it.
(27. Brooklyn Egg Cream)
28. Nanaimo bar (Pronounced like the place: Nah-NIE-moe.) I make a few batches of these for Christmas every year. Yum, but sweet. I tone it down by using dark chocolate and non-sweet custard.
29. Baba au rhum
(30. King Cake)
(31. Sachertorte )
32. Pavlova. Also called “Sex in a Pan”, because it’s so creamy. Oh, those Australians… Not a real fan, though. Too sweet, no texture. (Hereafter to be shortened to TS/NT)
(33. Tres Leches Cake)
34. Trifle Okay, depending on what you put in it. Tend to find it TS/NT.
35. Shoofly Pie Too sweet.
36. Key Lime Pie Meh.
(37. Panna Cotta) – is this like biscotti? I like biscotti. Almond is my fave, plain, not chocolate-dipped.
(38. New York Cheesecake) – well, I’ve had cheesecake, and I like it. Is this different, somehow?
39. Napoleon / mille-feuille
(40. Russian Tea Cake / Mexican Wedding Cake)
(41. Anzac biscuits)
(42. Pizzelle)
(43. Kolache)
(44. Buckeyes) I thought these were a kind of legume…
(45. Malasadas)
46. Moon Pie – YUK.
(47. Dutch baby) – I’m refusing to eat this one on principle. “Baby”???
48. Boston Cream Pie – not a big fan of cream pies. TS/NT.
49. Homemade chocolate chip cookies Yum. I use (surprise!) dark chocolate chips.
50. Pralines Love nuts of just about any description. Like ’em better without all the sugar, though…
51. Gooey butter cake Sounds revolting. It’s just gotta be TS/NT like crazy.
52. Rusks/Zweibacks Hello? Who put these on this list? I quite like them — but they’re NOT DESSERT. Teething biscuits, yes. Good for topping with bruschetta stuff, too. But dessert? Not.
(53. Daifuku)
(54. Green tea cake or cookies) Though I like green tea.
55. Cupcakes from a cupcake shop Don’t like cupcakes, period. (Can we all say it together? “TS/NT.”
56. Crème brûlée Love this stuff, though!
57. Some sort of deep fried fair food (twinkie, candy bar, cupcake) This is a quintessentially American idea, and, apologizing to my lovely American friends in advance, I find it utterly, utterly revolting. Let’s take something basically bad for us, and DEEP-FRY IT! Woo-hoo! Feel them arteries hardening, and the ass getting wider… Eeww.
58. Yellow cake with chocolate frosting Is “yellow cake” a particular cake, like “red velvet”, or does the Betty Crocker “Golden” count? Because, yes, then.
59. Jelly Roll TS/NT.
60. Pop Tarts Meh. But at least we’re labelling them dessert, not breakfast!
(61. Charlotte Russe)
62. An “upside down” dessert (Pineapple upside down cake or Tarte Tatin) Meh. Not for years and years.
(63. Hummingbird Cake)
64. Jell-O from a mold Did anyone get through years of childhood birthday parties without seeing this at least once? Probably not since I was eight, though.
65. Black forest cake Too sweet. Very pretty, though!
66. Mock Apple Pie (Ritz Cracker Pie) I like apples. I do not like Ritz crackers. Why trade down?
(67. Kulfi)
68. Linzer torte My grandparents were German. This is ringing a very faint bell. I may have had it, way back when.
(69. Churro )
70. Stollen (Again with the German grandparents, but I don’t recall whether I liked it or not.)
71. Angel Food Cake Meh. TS/NT.
72. Mincemeat pie Not a fan.
(73. Concha)
(74. Opera Cake)
(75. Sfogliatelle / Lobster tail)
76. Pain au chocolat Saw it while in France, but have never been a fan of the bread-chocolate thing. Chocolate bagels? Ugh. Chocolate waffles? Bleah. Chocolate pancakes? Puh-leeze.
77. A piece of Gingerbread House Meh. Not a fan of gingerbread.
(78. Cassata)
79. Cannoli At a wedding, I think… Not sure.
(80. Rainbow cookies)
(81. Religieuse)
82. Petits fours Meh. Too sweet, though in my mind, “flaky” is a texture.
83. Chocolate Souffle This rings all my “TS/NT” bells.
(84. Bienenstich (Bee Sting Cake))
(85. Rugelach)
(86. Hamenstashen)
87. Homemade marshmallows You can make these? WHY? TS/NT up the wazoo.
(88. Rigo Janci/Hungarian Chocolate Cake)
89. Pie or cake made with candy bar flavors (Snickers pie, Reeses pie, etc)
90. Divinity
91. Coke or Cola cake I hate Coke. Not a big fan of cake, either. Put them together? Eeeewwww….
92. Gateau Basque
93. S’mores While on camping outings as a teen, baked in the fire. Of course. Nowadays? Too sweet.
94. Figgy Pudding
95. Bananas foster or other flaming dessert
(96. Joe Froggers)
(97. Sables)
(98. Millionaire’s Shortbread) Though I love regular old normal-people shortbread!
99. Animal crackers I run a daycare. ‘Nuff said.
(100. Basbousa)

I’m with Florinda: Where are the BROWNIES? (Un-iced, double chocolate, with walnuts. Yummmm…)

October 25, 2008 Posted by | food, memes and quizzes | | 15 Comments

More Hallowe’en crafting

Take an orange pumpkin shape, add features, and voila! Jack o’lanterns.

To make it Educational, you talk about:

colours — black and orange, the colours of the month
shapes — the children choose from piles of precut shapes for their pumpkin’s faces
emotions — the mouth is a black squiggle, which can be put on to make a sad mouth or a happy mouth, as per child’s direction.

There you go. Emotional awareness, math, art, not to mention the fine motor control necessary to manage glue, and to place the features where they belong.

(The hats were another craft, very simple: pointy witch-hat shapes onto which they put some sparkly Hallowe’en stickers. The tots themselves decided it would be fun if their pumpkins wore the hats!)

October 24, 2008 Posted by | crafts, holidays | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

This wouldn’t be phallic, nuh-uh

“I built a tower!
It is TALL
Do you want a
I will help you build one
with your blocks.”

“No, thank you, Timmy. I want mine to be lovely.”


Did we just sum up
Gender Differences
in one
ten-second conversation
between two

October 23, 2008 Posted by | Anna, random and odd, sex, the things they say!, Timmy | , , , , , | 7 Comments

Training = Results

Indie is walking on a nice, loose leash about 70 – 80% of the time now, and has completely ceased with the Squirrel Dance.

Anna is now allowed to Let Go of the Stroller at certain points in our walks.

Indie will sit when adults walk through the door, or up and down the front steps, and wait to be invited before she proceeds. She’s not 100% yet, but she’s making steady progress.

Timmy, Anna, and Emily can spend a convivial 30 minutes in a coffee shop, staying in their chairs, chattering happily, and nary a flicker of tantrum or whining from any of them.

Indie comes when she’s called a little over half the time. We’re still working on this one.

Noah comes when he’s called about… oh… 5% of the time. We’re definitely still working on this one. I’m sure the leash is the reason the dog is doing better, but I guess I can’t… no, huh? Definitely not? Okay.

Want to have a kid? Train a puppy first. If you could live with one for six months to a year to try out this whole “nurturing” schtick, that would be helpful — but that’s NOT ETHICAL AND CRUEL TO PUPPIES, so I DON’T REALLY MEAN IT. But if you could? If, at the end of that time you have adjusted to the limits on your freedom, and if the puppy will sit when it’s told, stay there, come when it’s called and walk on a nice loose leash (not tugging your arm out of its socket), you’re ready for the greater challenge of a child. (Greater challenge. Puppies are not babies. Babies are way harder.)

But those puppy-training skills? They are transferrable!

Clear expectations.
Reinforcement — positive, negative, intermittent.

Puppies, toddlers, teens… Makes no difference. All the same skill set.

And for all? High expectations — reasonable, but high — consistency of response, and practice, practice, practice.

That’s why none of my toddlers bark, and the dog rarely whines.

October 22, 2008 Posted by | behavioural stuff, Developmental stuff, manners, outings, socializing, the dog | , , , , | 5 Comments