It’s Not All Mary Poppins

My favourite season

Fall. I love the quality of the light. I love the colours on the trees. I love the crunchy drifts of leaves on the ground.

I love sweaters. I love weather cool enough to require sweaters… but nothing heavier. Perfect! I love the honking of the geese as the rise off the river. I love the rich, earthy smell of damp soil.

And I love my puppy. (Totally gratuitous, I know, but ISN’T SHE CUTE??)

October 18, 2011 Posted by | Canada, outings | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Lessons in Mud

We’re talking about all things spring here at Mary’s house. The wind! The flowers! The baby animals! The wamer weather! The rain! And rainy skies!

The mud.

Oh, the mud.

Which is why last week, at the park, we MADE mud. Fun, fun, fun. Why did we not just find some mud, you ask? It being spring and all, surely there is ample mud about without having to manufacture the stuff?

Quite true. Unfortunately, the real, nature-made mud is … muddy. Really, really dirty. An hour spent putzing about in THAT mud would almost certainly mean grime of a nature that would challenge the most efficient detergents out there. Though I am of the “the more dirt, the more fun” school of parenting, I do try not to make their parents’ lives toooo difficult.

Moreover, most of that mud is down by the river. The water levels are bizarrely low this year, and there are mud flats out there. Ankle-deep, toddler-sucking mud. By a river. A real one, with, you know, lots and lots and lot of water, and a current, and everything.

So no. We are not investigating THAT mud. We are making our own. Our own nice, safe, clean, controllable mud. First you pour the water into a little hole…

Stir it up a bit, and play, play, play.

Tip: If YOU decide to make your own mud, this is not how you do it.

See, because when you pour your two cups of water into AN ENTIRE SANDBOX of sand, the water, it doesn’t go so very far… You get mud, yes, you do… for about 48 seconds. And then you just have a little heap of damp sand.

Which was okay with Noah and Tyler! They loved it! But next time we do it, we’re doing it in a big bowl or something. (Just like cake batter! Only not.)

Inevitably, a baby will crawl through your tiny drizzle of not-quite-mud… and, amazingly, manage to get REAL MUD all over his pants. I wish I knew how babies did that… (Yes. Someone at his house is a Yankees fan. He also has a weeny little Yankees ball cap. Hee.)

And this picture? This one has nothing to do with mud or mud-making. I just loved those two little crawling baby butts, making their way off, side by side, into the distance. Mud to smear! Sticks to eat! Mayhem to create!

The one on the left is Baby Lily. The one of the right is my new, un-named baby. I’m thinking Benedict, Ben for short… but I haven’t decided.

May 3, 2010 Posted by | outings | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Getting my groove back

I am so out of the park groove, it’s sad. Truly sad.

Even though it’s been the mildest winter I can recall, ever, in my whole life — and you know, that’s not such an insignificant number of winters — it’s still been a long time since fall. A long time since near-daily trips to the park. A long time to get out of practice.

Take this morning. Where a few short looooong, dark, chilly months ago, it would have taken me a mere 40 minutes to get us out the door and into the stroller, today…

Well, let’s see. There is a certain degree of autonomy this spring which was lacking last fall. Some of the children can get into their own shoes and jackets. So that’s good.

The stroller was ready in the drive, with, given the cloudy skies, the rainshield in place. The bag of sand toys had been unearthed from its winter storage in the back porch, and sat on the kitchen floor.

I had those kids dressed, out the door, and into the stroller in TWENTY MINUTES.

Impressive, no?


We get to the park and discover…

the sand toys are still in their bag on the kitchen floor…

I have only one spare diaper in the stroller, and no wipes…

Because I forgot to pack the ‘outing backpack’.

I DID remember the box of tissues,

but I forgot the water bottles.

Since my cell phone, which doubles as a timepiece, is defunct at the moment, I’ve taken to carrying a watch…

only not this morning.

So I had NO IDEA what time it was. (Where was everyone else? Dunno. Frightened off by the grey skies, I guess, but the forecast was for less than a mm of rain. Pfft.)

So I had NO IDEA what time it was… which, because we have to be home when the kindergarten bus drops Emily, I need to know… and so we ended up leaving the park much earlier than we would otherwise…

which ended up being a good thing, since I’d also forgotten the snack.


Oh, well. We got out, we romped for a bit, we came home. We didn’t get as long as we might have, but we did spend enough time to carry home the three cups of sand they dumped out on my front hall carpet…

because I forgot to empty their shoes while still at the park.

Normally I sit them all on a bench, and go down the row, not just emptying their shoes, but also peeling off their socks and beating them (the socks, relax) against the side of the bench to remove the ton of sand also in the socks. And then I put the socks and the shoes back on. Oh, and I also empty out the cuffs of any folded-up pants while I’m at it, and sometimes even check pockets, depending on placement of pockets.

(If this seems cumbersome to you, you’ve obviously never had the accumulated grit from five toddlers strewn around your home. That’s a LOT of grit. Strewn on floors, abrading furniture, turning sheets to sandpaper… it’s worse than glitter, more destructive, and not nearly as pretty.)

Only I didn’t do any of that today, so I’ll be sweeping and dusting and shaking sand out of sheets for the next day and a half. Sigh…

It’s lovely to get out every day. It’ll be even lovelier when I get my shit together groove back.

April 7, 2010 Posted by | outings, the dark side | , , , | 6 Comments

He knows wut he knows…

967718_indecisionThe layers are being revealed.

Little William is solemn, brave, and friendly. I knew that.

I’ve discovered that he is also very methodical. Give him a puzzle, and he sorts the pieces by type, then follows the picture (“the map”) and assembles it from left to right. Or, if the mood strikes, from right to left or top to bottom. But there is always Method and Order.

And he is also Opinionated. Even when those opinions are based on… well, I’m not sure quite what.

“Emily, when we get to the corner, which way will we turn?”
“That way.” Emily indicates right.
“No, it’s not.” William is quite, quite sure. William, who has never been to the park with us before.

“We are going to my park, William. You are probably thinking of a park close to your house. This will be a different park,” I explain, “and Emily’s right. We need to go that way.”

“No.” He is not angry or petulant. He is just very, very sure. And perhaps a little puzzled as to why we are arguing with him, when he KNOWS.

“William. I have been to this park about a million times. I go to this park two or three times every week all summer long. Don’t you think I know how to get there?”

He considers a beat.

“I think not.”

Well. What do you do when the Accurate meets the Implacable?

You ignore it, that’s what. You ignore it, turn right, and — wonder of wonders — you GET TO THE PARK!!!

And if you’re a grown-up, you don’t stick out your tongue and do the nyah-nyah-poo-poo dance. But if the children do it? It might just be that you just don’t notice that. Because if you did, you’d probably have to stop them…

August 19, 2009 Posted by | individuality, quirks and quirkiness | , , , , , | 6 Comments

Pastoral bliss




May 15, 2009 Posted by | Ottawa, outings | , , , , , | 6 Comments