It’s Not All Mary Poppins

ZZzzzz, update

I went back to sleep for an hour and a half. Now I feel head-achy and hungover, but I suspect I’d have felt that way had I stayed awake, too. Some non-nights are like that.

It’s going to be a looooooooong day.

September 30, 2009 Posted by | random and odd, sleep | 1 Comment


I woke at 2:15. Tossed till 2:50. Read a book, checked email, putzed around on facebook. And now it is 4:33 and I think I’m tired. Maybe.

Soooooo… Do I go back to bed or just make myself a cup of tea and get on with my day?

That is the question.

September 30, 2009 Posted by | random and odd, sleep | | 3 Comments

Riches untold

864729_lucky_numbers_1“Here’s some apples for Nissa.” A small heap of apple bits pours onto the table in front of the girl.

“And some apples for Noah.”

“One, two, free, sebben, TEN!” He’s at that endearing stage where he knows that numbers and actual quantity are somehow connected, but just exactly how is still pretty fuzzy.

As Noah ‘counts’ his apples, his pointer finger waves vaguely over the heap. There is no one-to-one correspondence in this boy’s life just yet, either. “Free, two, five, sebben, TEN!!”

First the rote counting, then the one-to-one. Everything in its season.

Noah continues counting, because really, there are a lot of small apple pieces in front of him. He understands that much.

“One, two, free, sebben, free, sebben, TEN!!!”

But somehow, he’s not encompassing the masses of apple bits, and he knows it. “Free, sebben, TEN!!”

Nissa’s been taking in his dilemma, silently. (Rather astonishing for the river of verbiage that is Nissa.)

Noah tries again. “One, two, one, two, one, free, sebben, sebben, sebben, TEN!!!”

Nissa sits up and throws her arms wide. SHE has the solution.


Startled at first, Noah’s face brightens. “Touzan?”


Noah beams at Nissa, at his pile of apples, and declaims along with Nissa. “Touzan!!!”

“Touzan!” Now THAT’S a number!

September 29, 2009 Posted by | Developmental stuff, food, Nissa, Noah | , , , , , , | 5 Comments


Very cute, a teeny bit corny, but only in the nicest of ways. Perfect for my rainy Monday morning.

Did you smile?

September 28, 2009 Posted by | random and odd | , , , , , , | 3 Comments


It’s here. Fall. Not just because we’ve passed that day on the calendar, but because it’s HERE. The mornings are crisp, the days notaby shorter, the leaves are turning.

Why can’t spring do that? The First Day of Spring appears on the calendar, and outside? Snow up the wazoo, icy winds, sub-zero temperatures. It’s sheerest cruelty, tantalizing us with something that won’t arrive for another full month.

Fall, however, comes right on schedule.

Good thing I like the season. (All but that “harbinger of winter” part.) So out we go to find —“Colour! Look Mary, colour!” — the bright leaves that are beginning to speckle the sidewalks. We bring them home in bags, we bring them home on belts.

Our theme these days? Fall, of course. Mostly the falling leaves. We’re focussing on fall colours: red, orange, yellow, and brown.

The week we coloured leaves, which we added to our tree:


Next week we’ll sponge-paint leaves, in two ways. They’ll sponge on pre-cut leaf shapes, which will be added to our tree, and they’ll also sponge through a template onto a full-size sheet of paper, to make artwork to take home.

The week after? Those shaved-crayon projects I like to do, only leaves this time. Won’t they look nice hanging in a window?

Yesterday, a chill and rainy day and needing some rowdy indoor play, we played squirrels. A dozen blocks become ‘nuts’, and the children the squirrels. While they hide their eyes and DON’T PEEK — “I said ‘no peeking, you!’ ” — Mary ‘hides’ the blocks.

This block is hidden.

This block is hidden.

Then they run to find them so as to put them someplace safe to eat later. Just like real squirrels.

I may rue the fading of the light, but it sure does give us a lot of activity ideas!

September 25, 2009 Posted by | Canada, crafts, daycare, Ottawa, outings | , , , , | 6 Comments

Chocolate moments in history

1158067_chocolate_swirlToday’s post is a memory, brought to mind (and to you!) courtesy of this post by Rosie-Kate.

Many years ago, I was nursing my youngest at church. How many years ago? Depends on which child it was, and I can’t really remember. Said child was no more than six months old, that I do recall, so it was somewhere between 16 and 23 years.


Anyway. Nursing my baby. At church. I’d slipped from my seat when s/he got fractious, and slid discreetly into the far corner of the very back pew. (Yes, I could have gone to the nursery, where the service was thoughtfully piped in, but, thoughtful though those speakers in the wall might be, if you actually want to hear the service, a roomful of babies and toddlers is not the place to be.) So, as I say, discreetly in a rear pew.

Not so discreetly that a restless four-year-old didn’t notice me, mind you. A four-year-old whose mother caught my eye, pointed to her wriggly daughter with raised eyebrows and tipped her head to the rear of the sanctuary. The message was clear. I nodded. Sure, she could come with me. (Don’t ask me why said four-year-old wasn’t in the Sunday School class. As I say, it was a long time ago. Maybe I never knew.)

Four-year-old was delighted, and trotted over to keep me company. She watches with interest as the baby slurps. Then I flip the baby over the burp cloth on my shoulder. Four-year-old wants to know why. I explain, briefly. Four-year-old gives the baby a few wallops too, just to help out. I fit the baby to the other side. Four-year-old wants to know why.

“Well,” says me, “The first one has white milk, and the second has chocoate. She’s finished her meal, and now she’s having dessert.” Mwah-ha. Even back then, I’d learned the pleasures of playing with a small child’s head. Four-year-old is dumb-struck. Which was the point: as you recall, I was sitting there because wanted to be able to hear the service. She gapes at me, silent with amazement. (Even back then, I was just so smart with the kids.)

After the service, the four-year-old runs up the aisle to meet her mother, silent no more.


She has BIG NEWS to share. Mommy is making “shush” faces, but they’re not working.


BIG NEWS to share… with, so it would seem, the entire congregation.


Heads turn. Everyone wants to know, everyone is about to find out, that MrsP has a…


Sometimes? Sometimes you can be too smart.

September 24, 2009 Posted by | food, health and safety, the cuteness! | , , , | 8 Comments

MY (sniffle) glass is (honk) half-full (gak), as usual, thanks

half-full-glass-waterI have a lovely pattern with the tots this term: two children on Mondays and Fridays, and six on Tuesday – Thursday. Of the six, two are in half-day kindergarten, so, apart from a 90-minute overlap, I only have five at a time.

I’m llllllllllloving these light Mondays and Fridays! I’m getting that weekend feeling on Thursday nights because, you know, with only two kids (a 17-mo and a 25-mo), you can do pretty much ANYTHING! Outings, city busses, shopping… it’s great.

And then it lasts right through till Tuesday morning! This is the lightest load I’ve had in … oh, probably a decade.

Which is a good thing. Because this is Wednesday morning. I have a Very Busy Day ahead of me, and I’m congested up to the eyeballs — I know I am because they are itching and watering. Oh, and my eye teeth ache. I didn’t sleep well last night, due to the mid-night snuffling and honk-fests. Oh, and that tickle in the throat that started about two and didn’t go away until 3:30. Aaaaand, because lord knows the itching and the snuffling and the coughing and the tossing and the turning WEREN’T ENOUGH, Aunt Flo decided to visit at about 3:45.


All that and six children, too.

BUT!!! It is WEDNESDAY! Which means that tomorrow is THURSDAY!! The last busy day! And the day after that? My virtual day off!

So (sniff), with that carrot (sneeze) at the end of the stick of today, I’m pretty sure (snort, honk) that today will be a (cough) breeze.

Yes. Yes it will. Hush now.

September 23, 2009 Posted by | health and safety, the dark side | , | 5 Comments

Different strokes

William is the world’s slowest eater. He is also picky. The pickiness is not a big issue, because (thank heavens) it’s never been pandered to at home. He may eat what he’s given or not, but there are no substitutions. Exactly my policy. It make take a while, but eventually they learn that being picky means being hungry, and they make other choices.

The slowness doesn’t bother me, either. I put him at the table five minutes before everyone else, and he’s there ten minutes after. No skin off my nose. If he’s still there when naptime arrives, he’s removed from the table. Some days, if he’s avoiding something he doesn’t want to eat, that’s fine with him; other’s he’s dismayed. And again: It may take a while, but eventually he will learn that if he doesn’t eat in a reasonable period of time, he risks being hungry. (Note: these days naptime is a full 45 – an hour after lunch. All told, he’s getting 50 – 90 minutes to finish his lunch.)

Apparently, the slowness bothers his mother. At lunch today, when I am teasing him for the tortoise speed — “What? That’s the same mouthful in there? Are you hoping it will melt so you don’t have to chew?” — he explains to me,

“My mommy goes like this.” And he strokes his throat with his palm. (I’ve seen this manoeuvre. It’s the one you use with an animal you’re trying to coax to swallow a pill.)

“Your mommy strokes your throat to help you swallow?”

There is a pause while we gaze upon each other. I picture lunchtimes from here on in, me sitting beside William, picture of patient duty, stroking his throat with each reluctant mouthful.

Yeah, right. I wouldn’t do that if he were the only child in the room. As it is, I have five or six. What would the other four or five children be doing while I coaxed him — the oldest child at the table — through his meal, micro-mouthful by micro-mouthful?

“Well, I don’t.” No snarkiness in the tone, just Firm and Clear Communication.


He swallows.

September 22, 2009 Posted by | food | , | 7 Comments

Some days the “poignant” just about slays you

Noah is the sweetest guy.

Everyone thinks their baby is sweet, and of course almost everyone is right.

Nissa is a curiosity-fuelled dynamo, full of impish good humour. She’s a sweetie, all right.

Tyler has these enormous and perfectly round blue eyes, which, when he widens them at you, or crinkles them into his trademark scorcher of a grin, would melt the hardest of heart. Total sweetie, no doubt.

Tank has the amiable good humour of a Bernese (the dog, not the Swiss). He bumbles his way through his days with frequent blasts of ear-splitting glee. Another sweetie.

Emily’s enormous, amazingly round (that eye shape must be a family trait) deep brown eyes are set in the middle of a wee round face, and widen to astonishing degree when she’s telling you one of her long and instruction-heavy tales. The earnestness with which she imparts her Great Knowledge is just so sweet.

William’s love of the predicable and methodical gives a sense of little old man tucked into a scrawny four-year-old frame. It’s quite endearing and really rather sweet.

But Noah… Noah has an earnestness about him, a somberness lightened by brilliant flashes of joy, and, above all, a vulnerability. He’s the sort of kid who, not because he’s needy (he’s not), not because he’s clingy (he’s a cuddler, not a clinger), not because he’s frail… but for some reason, he’s the kind of child that makes you think, “If anyone ever hurts this child, I’ll have to rip their head off.”

Why is that? What is that?

It’s not that I don’t feel protective of each and every one of them. It’s not that they don’t all tug my heartstrings one way or another. It’s not that I don’t find them all sweet, in their own way. But, while I call them all ‘sweeties’, Noah is the only one who, for reasons I don’t fully understand, is ‘sweet’.

I think it’s because, in all the other children, I see enough aggression (a useful trait, when civilized into ‘assertion’), enough abrasiveness, enough pig-headedness that I can be reasonably confident that they’ll shrug off whatever slings and arrows life might throw at them.

Noah? Sometimes I think he’s a little too gentle a spirit, a little too open, a little too trusting to be able to do that readily. And you don’t want that to change, do you, not any of it, not one little bit. Openness, a trusting nature, a gentle spirit, they’re all good things.

But it sure does make you want to stomp all over anything that would bruise his sweetness, crush his gentleness, abuse that trust. You can’t accomplish that by protecting him, insulating him, muffling him from reality… much as that tempts. No, I’ll let him take what knocks come his way and show him he can be strong and sweet.

He’s a sweet, sweet boy, and I’ll do what I can to give him the resilience he needs to stay that way.

September 18, 2009 Posted by | individuality, Noah | , , , , | 5 Comments

Succulent Identification Assistance

… would be greatly appreciated. Anyone have any idea what this might be?


It was something Emma picked up at the grocery store, then abandoned. I’ve repotted it, and it seems happier. I think… is this what a happy succulent looks like? Shoud I be worried about those white bits on the ends of some of the stalks?


It doesn’t need much attention. (Good thing, because that’s how much it gets.) I rather like its unassuming self.

But what is it?

September 17, 2009 Posted by | random and odd | , , , | 9 Comments