Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Fine Art of a Compliment

This morning after my shower I put on my prettiest nursing bra. I finished dressing, put on makeup and fixed my hair, and brought the children downstairs for breakfast.

As we sat at the table munching our cereal, I lifted my shirt to feed Baby Girl her breakfast as well. (This is an everyday occurrence in our household). My three-year-old son watched me closely and said:

"You sure have a cool ... what do you call it? A booby shield or something?"

I tried to hide my smile. "You mean my bra?" I asked.

"Oh yeah," he nodded, "You sure have a cool bra."

My boy is learning the power of a nice compliment at a young age. He might have to work on his delivery, though. ;-)

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Crocs With Socks

I may have committed a major fashion faux pas today.

The question begs to be asked: Do you wear your crocs with socks?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Chasing My Shadow

The strangest thing happened to me this morning.

The children and I set off for a day at the zoo. We were running a bit late to meet a friend (a common occurrence these days) and I zipped along Anderson Road, preparing to exit onto the Deerfoot.

As I drove I reminisced about the first car I owned --- a nondescript brown Dodge we lovingly nicknamed the "Moo Mobile" (in honour of its cow print seat covers). I bought the car in 1998 after my first year of university. Though it was not much to look at, the "Moo Mobile" faithfully served me for four busy years.

I now drive a turquoise Plymouth Voyager, the quintessential suburbanite method of transportation. (Or maybe that would be a beige Honda Odyssey?)

At any rate, as I drove along Anderson Road, lost in my thoughts, I glanced over at the car travelling in the lane beside me. Goose bumps prickled along the flesh of my arms.

It was my 1989 Dodge Shadow --- the vehicle I had been thinking about only seconds earlier.

"The Car Store" bumper sticker, Jesus fish on the trunk, mismatched tail lights, trailer hook-up dangling from the rear. (Who tows a trailer with a Dodge Shadow?!) Familiar cracks across the windshield and scrapes along the side.

It was my "Moo Mobile", no question.

The weird thing is, the car was totalled back in 2003 by my sister's friend. I'd assumed the vehicle had been junked. Apparently, the dead do rise again. It's alive, it's alive!

I followed my Shadow along Deerfoot for almost ten minutes, all the way to the Memorial Drive turn off. Fondly, I watched it drive off into traffic as I took the exit to the zoo.

Keep on trucking, little Shadow. I'll never forget you ...

Monday, August 28, 2006

I've Been Away From My Desk ...

This afternoon we returned from our trip to Radium, BC.

Sunshine. Sandy beach. Kayaking. Good food. Family. Hot tub.

We had a great time! I'll fill in the details once I've recovered and rested up from my relaxing vacation ;-).

Thursday, August 24, 2006

A Helpful Hint

I am hardly a fashion maven, but the other day I learned a little fashion trick I'd like to share.

I've been frustrated by my wardrobe options lately. Because I am nursing a young baby my bustline is, shall we say, greatly enhanced. My tummy is also still somewhat squishy. It seems that all of the shirts in my closet fit too short and show off my belly button.

(On a side note: A couple of days ago my preschooler commented, "Mommy, your belly button looks all stretched out." I tried to explain that it was because I'd had three babies in my tummy, but he didn't really get it. I suppose my bikini-wearing days are in the past...)

At any rate, I am not keen to show off my belly.

Earlier this week I listened to a Focus on the Family broadcast regarding modesty. The guest on the radio show shared a "secret weapon" for modest girls. She suggested going for the "layered look" by wearing a tank top under short shirts. However, she admitted that it is often a problem to find long white tanks.

Here's the secret hint: Go into the men's section of a department store and buy white undershirts. The men's tanks are cut longer than women's styles.

What a brilliant suggestion! This evening I bought three white tanks for $10.95 from the men's underwear section at Superstore. I tried the tanks on when I got home, and they are perfect! They're made of stretchy, form-fitting cotton, so they look nice under shirts, and the tanks are much longer than any women's styles I have found. I feel like I have a whole new wardrobe!

Suddenly, many of the unflattering shirts in my closet look trendy and cool. The change is amazing. Who knew that such a simple purchase could be so helpful?

So there you go, girls. Head to the men's section of the store and snap up some white tank tops. You'll be glad you made the investment!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

My Sweet Boy

Last week our entire family made the trek to the public health clinic where Baby Girl received her first round of immunizations.

As the oldest of three siblings, my son is an old hand at visiting the clinic. (He especially enjoys the childrens' play area.) He knows the routine: sit patiently in the waiting room, undress baby at the weigh station, pile into the small examining room, talk with the public health nurse, give baby some shots, and then go out for hamburgers and french fries as a reward.

His favourite part, however, is ringing the bell.

The public health nurse usually keeps a small hand bell on the edge of her desk. When the baby cries out from the pain of an injection, the nurse will ring the bell as a distraction. (With my babies, this often works to make them stop crying.) My son loves to be a "big helper" and enthusiastically ring the bell.

This morning I needed to have some blood drawn. Taking all three children out on an errand tends to be quite a production. It often takes longer to get in and out of the van than it takes to complete the actual errand. As I was buckling the toddler into his stroller, snapping the baby into her Bjorn carrier, and searching under the car seat for my lab requisition form, I felt a tug on my shirt sleeve.

"Mommy, don't worry," my three-year-old assured me.

"Worry about what?" I asked my big boy.

"When you get your needle and you cry, don't worry because I will ring the bell to help you to feel better."

(I didn't cry when I got my needle, but my son was terribly pleased to receive a nifty armadillo sticker from the lab technician at the clinic!)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Thought for a Tuesday

I saw this message on a church sign board this afternoon:

"Grace = God's riches at Christ's expense"

Monday, August 21, 2006

Heart Transplant

God has really been working on my heart and attitude lately, especially when it comes to my relationship with my 3 1/2-year-old son.

I was starting to see some tendencies and behaviors in my son that bothered me. For example, he can have an awful temper at times, and lashes out with spitting and hitting. (My boy is normally gentle and quiet ... unless you rub him the wrong way.) When my sweet boy suddenly does a "Mr. Hyde" and swings at me with his fists, I quickly get angry myself.

I know that it is my duty as a parent to be authoritative. However, I am also learning that there is a fine line between being authoritative and being controlling. I cannot let my son get away with hitting or spitting. But I am realizing that I can't simply punish him every time he throws a fit either. I also need to look for the root of his anger.

I think my preschooler is feeling frustrated because I often say "no" to him. As a parent, there are many times I have to say "no" in order to protect my son. But if I am honest, I also say "no" a lot because I just don't want to be inconvenienced.

"No, we can't go to the park (because I don't want to slather you with greasy sunscreen and wash grass stains out of your pants)."

"No, you can't stay up during nap time (because I want to read my book in peace)."

"No, you can't help me wash the dishes (because it's much faster if I just do them by myself)."

As I examine my heart motives, I am starting to realize that I often say "no" to my son for selfish reasons. I sometimes control him. I think he gets angry and frustrated because he feels his ideas are worthless.

For the past few weeks I have been working on giving up control, while still being lovingly authoritative. I have been trying to let my son make more decisions for himself. I have been treating him as a "big boy". I have also been trying to give him lots of hugs, kisses and affection.

One area I have given up control is nap time. My son still needs an afternoon nap some days, but other days he is fine without one. In the past I would order him to bed at the stroke of 1pm, and punish him if he fooled around instead of sleeping. For the past couple of weeks, I have given him the choice to nap. Some afternoons he sleeps in his own bed, sometimes he snuggles in my bed, and other days we have a "quiet time" together reading books or colouring pictures. Nap time is no longer a struggle.

As I work on my relationship with my son, God is slowly showing me more areas of my heart that need work. It is as though He is gently drawing back a veil, shining light on corners of my heart I wasn't even aware of. God is revealing my areas of weakness. But I believe He is also, by the Holy Spirit, giving me strategies for how to change.

I want to be a woman of character and grace. God is taking my prayer seriously, I think. He is showing me where I am weak --- the areas that need work. I am praying that God would give me a "heart of flesh and not stone", but I am somewhat apprehensive about receiving His answer to my prayer. Building character is seldom pleasant and easy. Strong iron is forged through the fire.

These days are strange for me. At the same time I feel myself growing both stronger and weaker. Physically, I have more energy and stamina than I've had in months. My head is clear (most days). Some days I feel like "Supermom"! However, I also feel so weak in a lot of ways. God is shining a bright spotlight on my flaws and deficiencies.

But God is faithful. He has started a good work in me and I have faith He will bring it to completion. God gave me a strategy for dealing with my son's anger issues, and I am seeing results. We have had four terrific days in a row. God is softening my heart --- replacing my defective human heart with His perfect heart of love. It's a really difficult process that will continue until the day I go home to heaven.

All the hard work and tears are worth it, though. With God's help, I want to be the best mom I can be. I want my children to look at me and see Jesus.

So it's less of my and more of You, Lord. My son makes me crazy most days. I pray that You would help me to love him unselfishly and abundantly, as You love me.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


My 21-month-old son loves snuggles. He is an extrovert and enjoys being around people. His fun-loving personality sparkles as he sings and dances through life. My boy is a joy.

My son also loves stuffed animals. The snugglier the animal, the better, as far as he's concerned! His crib is often filled with stuffies to cuddle and love. He likes almost any stuffed toy, but he does have a few favourites.

"La La" is his little stuffed lion. My son received La La from his Auntie Lori last Christmas. La La's mane is starting to get matted and his mouth is pulled off. My son sleeps with his lion almost every night.

My toddler also has a Beanie Baby cocker spaniel toy. This is his "little puppy". The little puppy is friends with his "big puppy", and the two stuffed dogs live together in his crib.

The big puppy toy is actually a fairly recent addition to my son's family of stuffed animals, though you wouldn't know it. I received the stuffy as a gift for our baby girl, but my toddler quickly claimed it as his own. Unfortunately, Puppy became soiled in the poo incident a few weeks ago and he required a long, hot bath in the washing machine.

He emerged from the laundry a changed dog. Where Puppy's fur was once long and soft, it is now flattened and matted. His nose is squished and his ears are lopsided. Puppy has a distinctly love-worn look. The toy has considerably more character now than it did before the encounter with the washing machine.

This morning my toddler insisted on bringing Puppy into church. As we took our seats, my son snuggled in his grandpa's arms. His blonde, little head rested on Grandpa's shoulder. He clutched his well-loved puppy by the ear.

Yes, my son loves his snuggles.

Friday, August 18, 2006

No Use Crying ...

Sometimes at the end of an especially long day Ben I will sprawl across our living room couches, exhausted. Raising three children under the age of four is tiring work. We ask ourselves, "Will we ever see the day when none of our children whine or cry? How many years will it be before a day passes without tears or a tantrum?"

My dear husband and I figure we will be waiting a long time before that precious day arrives. In the meantime, God is teaching us plenty about the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self control --- all these fruit need to grow within the heart of parents.

I was blessed, however, to enjoy an almost tear-free day today. This is saying something considering: a) my toddler is fighting a stubborn cold, b) Baby Girl received her first immunizations yesterday, and c) Ben has been away all day and for most of the evening.

I could hardly believe all three children woke up happy and smiling this morning, and that they continued to be in terrific moods all morning long. The baby contentedly slept in her swing, the boys played Lego together, and I was able to catch up on my housecleaning tasks. (It must have been a good day --- I even managed to finish the ironing!)

The kids were great right through lunch. They all went down for naps without a whimper, even our preschooler. I had enough quiet time to finish the novel I've been reading. This evening, Ben went out to a movie with his brother. I bathed all the children on my own, read the Bible and said prayers, and tucked them in for the night. The baby is asleep now, too, and I haven't heard a peep from any of them.

I did wipe a few tears today, but I believe this day was as close to perfect as it gets.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Lost in the Translation

Have you ever played the game "Telephone"?

You know, it's the game where you whisper a secret message in your friend's ear. The message is passed from one person to another. When the secret finally reaches the end of the line, it is often hilariously different from the original.

Yesterday morning my toddler was uncharacteristically grumpy. Conversely, Baby Girl was in an exceptionally good mood. My husband and I joked that the baby had "stolen her brother's bandwidth", meaning that she had sucked all the "good mood vibes" out of the room, leaving nothing for her unfortunate brother.

Our preschooler was half-listening to our conversation as he sat on the living room floor building Lego space ships. He got a puzzled look on his face, paused, and asked:

"Daddy, why did you steal the sandwich?"

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


I would like to share an excerpt from the book I am currently reading, Oceans Apart by Karen Kingsbury (2004). In this beautiful scene, a little boy and his mother sit together in a quiet forest, surrounded by butterflies.


Butterflies were God's bestest artwork.

His teacher told him once that artwork was when little boys colored inside the lines. God definitely colored inside the lines with butterflies. Pretty soon the butterfly families would become a butterfly village all bouncing and lifting and falling over him and his mommy.

She would lean close to his ear and whisper, "Know what I love about butterflies, Max?"


"They prove that God gives second chances."

"Why?" Max knew the answer, but he liked to hear her say the words.

"Because a butterfly spends most of its life as a caterpillar, scooting along on the ground, barely getting by. When a caterpillar sees a butterfly he thinks how wonderful it would be to fly."

"And then one day he gets tired."

"Very tired. He builds a little room, curls up inside, and takes a nap. Deep in his heart he wonders if maybe that's all. Maybe life is over."

"But one day..." Max always smiled here, because this was his favoritest part of the story.

"One day the caterpillar wakes up, and God has done an amazing thing. The caterpillar shakes off the little room and feels something on his back. This time when he goes a bit down the tree branch he doesn't scoot like before."

"He flies!" Max would look back at the butterflies.

"That's right." His mommy's voice would get sort of scratchy at this part of the story. "And one day, Max, you and I aren't going to scoot anymore, either. Because God loves us even more than He loves the butterflies."


"So butterflies make us remember, don't they, Max?"


"That life is good no matter what. Because just like the caterpillar, the best days are ahead of us, and then..."

"And then we'll have wings just like the butterflies."

That's when they'd wait a little bit without words. And after that Mommy would pick up the lunch bag and give them each a sandwich. Some of the butterflies would go away because of the crinkly bag, but it didn't matter because Max understood. Butterflies couldn't stay in just one place.

That's why they had wings.
Gurgles and Giggles

This afternoon I played a silly game of "airplane" with Baby Girl in front of our bedroom mirror. She smiled, cooed, and then giggled for me for the first time!

(I do concede, however, that the honour of eliciting Baby Girl's very first giggle belongs to her Grandpa Neil.)

This evening our little girl blessed us with a repeat performance. She giggled for both her daddy and me as we made goofy faces in the mirror. It was sweet music to our ears.
Wish List

For anyone who may be interested ...

I would love to receive a copy of The Sound of Music: 40th Anniversary Edition DVD for Christmas. :-)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Happy Birfday

My toddler is obsessed with playing "birfday" right now. His toys become pretend presents. He constructs cakes, complete with candles, using Mega Blocks. Little People figures are his party guests. He even uses toy construction cones as party hats.

My little guy is at his cutest when he sings "Happy Birfday". He joyfully sings this song a dozen times a day. The final refrain is usually "happy birfday to Gampa!". He sings it with gusto.

Who wouldn't enjoy such a great birfday party?

Monday, August 14, 2006

Mommy's Girl

My two little boys are wonderful, but I've discovered that having a baby girl to love is something extra-special. I can hardly believe Baby Girl celebrated her two-month birthday yesterday. She's growing up so quickly!

I feel a special bond with my young daughter. We share several things in common (beyond genetics, that is). Our middle names are the same. We were both born on a Tuesday, on the thirteenth day of the month. We were even born at approximately the same time (a quarter to five in the morning).

You might also say that we share the same love interest. My daughter and I are each madly in love with the same man --- her daddy, Ben.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Mystery Solved

My husband is a handy guy to have around. I think he's identified my mystery bug.

It is called a Banded Horntail, and can grow to be more than 4cm long. The female insect's huge "stinger" is actually an ovipositor that is used only for laying eggs. (Not for stinging hapless victims).

Phew. Now I'll be able to sleep tonight without my dreams being haunted by menacing insects sporting gigantic stingers.

A Bug's Life

This evening we enjoyed supper with Ben's family. After the meal, we retreated to the patio to savour a cool breeze and conversation.

Baby Girl snuggled on her grandma's lap. My father-in-law and I lounged in sturdy adirondack chairs. The boys ran around the back yard, chasing a ball. Ben and his sister remained in the house, engaged in a fierce game of Dance Dance Revolution (but that's a whole other story).

Suddenly, an enormous bug swooped down on the patio. It had a fat, yellow and black striped body, huge wings and crescent-shaped eyes. It flew slowly, buzzing around our heads and coming too close to the baby. The insect briefly landed on my knee. I caught a good look at its disturbingly large stinger.

The bug looked like a wasp, but it was twice the size of any wasp I've ever seen. My father-in-law hurried inside to fetch the fly swatter. The bug must have sensed its impending demise, and it buzzed off just as Ben's dad returned to the patio.

On our way home at the end of the evening, I described the encounter to my husband. "I'll bet it was a hornet," he suggested. A hornet? I've never heard of hornets living in Calgary.

So tonight I have spent (more time than I care to admit) online trying to identify the mysterious bug. I've found Alberta Insects to be a helpful resource. Unfortunately, I am frustrated with the results of my search.

I cannot identify my ferocious insect! I've learned that the only hornets found in Alberta are called Baldfaced Hornets, and they are actually members of the yellow-jacket family. I've searched through dozens of pictures of wasps, bees and yellow-jackets. I've also read several descriptions of flying insects native to Alberta.

My best guess is that the huge bug I saw tonight was a queen wasp or yellow-jacket. It was likely not a Baldfaced Hornet. It might have been an insect called an Ichneumon Wasp (otherwise known as a Stump Stabber).

Aaaarg. I concede defeat.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Join the Conversation

I've taken a step of faith, so to speak. This evening I enabled the "comments" feature on my blog.

To tell the truth, I had intentionally disabled comments because I was scared to open myself up to conversation. However, I understand that interaction is an integral aspect of blogging. Without comments, a blog is nothing more than an pretty diary left unlocked and open for anyone to read.

So with a trembling hand, I now hand you the pen. I'm looking forward to connecting with new online friends.
A Quiet Place

Last night we had some friends over for supper. We enjoyed a fun evening, eating and talking and watching our kids play together. At one point our conversation turned to a comparison of introverts vs. extroverts. I am firmly an introvert. My husband tends to be an extrovert. In the couple we entertained, the roles are reversed. In both cases, though, it seems that opposites attract.

How do I know that I am an introvert and my husband is not? At the end of a long, tiring day I crave solitude. I long to crawl into a cozy corner, curled up with a mug of tea and a good book. Ben, on the other hand, would be likely to phone up a friend and head out for coffee. When he's tired, he loves company and conversation.

I find myself requiring more quiet time these days. Our household is busy! If one child isn't crying, then the other needs his/her diaper changed, and the boys are playing sword-fight, while the baby demands her supper, at the same time as the phone is ringing and my head is spinning, and ... you get the picture. By the end of most days I am wiped.

So I've hatched a little idea. Now that Baby Girl is sleeping in her own room, we no longer need to keep her cradle in ours. I would like to move the cradle into our baby's room. Then, I have a small writing desk in storage downstairs. I plan to move the desk into the empty spot in our room and claim it as "my space". In the evenings when I need to retreat, I can go to my cozy nook and read, or work on my Bible study, or finish my Counterpoint homework.

It's a simple plan, but I like the feel of it. My study nook will be the perfect space to set up my laptop and work on my blog. Who knows? I may create my next post seated at a well-loved desk in a quiet corner of my bedroom.

Ahhhh ... introvert bliss.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Discovery of the Day

Here's an interesting tidbit I learned today (through trial and error). When cooking rice, chicken broth is tastier to use than water. However, the rice will take longer to cook if you use broth and the finished product will be slightly mushier.

(Sorry that I can't come up with anything more profound to post. I'm running on my third straight day without a decent nap, and it shows.)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

A New Record

Baby Girl really out did herself last night --- she slept 9 1/2 hours straight! Good girl!

Unfortunately, tonight I am still working on getting her to sleep. I thought I finally had her out, and could snatch a few minutes to work on my blog. As soon as I logged on I heard her fussing through the baby monitor.

Duty calls...

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

A Touch of Fall?

Has anyone else noticed that the leaves on some trees in Calgary are already turning yellow? It's only the beginning of August ... too early for signs of fall! Autumn is a lovely season. However, I'm not ready for the summer to be over yet. The trees have only had leaves for four months so far this year. I love Canada, but sometimes it is difficult to live in a northern climate.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Nap Time

Much to my chagrin, my peaceful afternoon naps appear to be coming to an end. Maintaining a regular nap time for all three children has been a major battle lately.

Baby Girl will often sleep for two or three hours in the afternoon. My toddler still requires at least an hour's sleep as well. However, Mr. Preschooler seems to be outgrowing his daily nap.

For the past week my boys have been making mischief when they should be sleeping. Stern discipline has not been working. I've even resorted to taking away their special blankies when they misbehave ... but to no avail.

I suspect the problem lies with our eldest son. He's simply outgrown his afternoon nap. His younger brother sees that he is awake, and being a gregarious little guy, he wants to be awake too. If we take our preschooler out of their shared bedroom at nap time, I think (hope) our toddler will settle down to sleep.

Tomorrow will be the experiment. For the first time ever, I will allow our preschooler to have "quiet time" instead of a nap. He will spend some one-on-one time with Mommy in the afternoon. We may read or work on a craft. Then, we will wait and see if he melts down before bed time!

I am very sad to say goodbye to my own daily nap. I have come to rely on it. I suppose I must simply get myself to bed earlier in the evening! I do find it interesting that while Baby Girl is starting to sleep through the night, my preschooler is wanting to sleep less. I guess the next few days will be an adjustment period for us all.

Monday, August 07, 2006

A Judgemental Heart

I recently read an article on Boundless Webzine entitled "You Made Me Sin". The article touched me because it talked about an almost universal human weakness: judgementalism. You can find the full text here.

I think a judgemental attitude is hard to overcome because it is rooted in the heart. Jesus said, "Good people bring good things out of the good stored up in their heart, and evil people bring evil things out of the evil stored up in their heart. For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks." (Luke 6:45)

When I judge someone in my heart, my mouth can't help but speak words of criticism. If I want my words to be full of life and light, I need to work on guarding my heart. I must be careful about the kinds of things I feed myself. Do I listen to gossip about other people? Do I entertain harsh or critical thoughts? Do I base my opinions on the world's point of view, or on God's unchanging truth?

In his letter to the Philippians, Paul exhorts believers with the following words: "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." (Philippians 4:8)

Yes, I am a sinner through and through. But I live with the hope that my sins are forgiven because of Jesus. By His grace, my sins are no longer held against me. What right do I have to hold the failings of others against them? C.H. Spurgeon eloquently supports this point with his wise words:

"He who grows in grace remembers that he is but dust, and he therefore does not expect his fellow Christians to be anything more. He overlooks ten thousand of their faults, because he knows his God overlooks twenty thousand in his own case. He does not expect perfection in the creature, and, therefore, he is not disappointed when he does not find it. When our virtues become more mature, we shall not be more tolerant of evil; but we shall be more tolerant of infirmity, more hopeful for the people of God, and certainly less arrogant in our criticisms."

Sunday, August 06, 2006

A Yummy Thumb

Our beautiful little girl is learning to suck her thumb. What a sweetie-pie.

Saturday, August 05, 2006


Last night Ben and I stayed up late. About 11:30pm we finally trudged up the stairs to bed. For some reason my "mommy radar" was triggered, and I suggested that we check on the boys.

My husband and I flicked on the bathroom light down the hall and quietly opened the boys' door. We slowly tip-toed inside, allowing our eyes to adjust to the darkness. I peered over the rail of our toddler's crib.

I expected to see my tow-headed boy sprawled across his blanket, warmly clothed in his blue pajamas. To my astonishment, all I saw was his naked little backside. What had happened to his pajamas? And where in the world was his diaper?!

My toddler stirred and sleepily stood up in his crib. I spotted a suspicious blue lump on my preschooler's bed. As I slowly pulled the covers aside, my eldest son quickly sat up. Still half-asleep, he sprang from his bed ...

... wearing his younger brother's diaper.

Three-year-olds say the funniest things. Today our family enjoyed a trip to the zoo. As we sat on the grass eating our lunch, my son exclaimed:

"Mommy, this pop is really poppy!"

A few minutes later I groaned as I tried to stand up. I complained that my left foot had fallen completely asleep. With an impish grin on his face, my preschooler asked:

"Is your foot snoring?"

Friday, August 04, 2006

My Pint-Sized Hero

Here's a video of my preschooler showing off his swashbuckling moves as he pretends to be Reepicheep the Mouse from The Chronicles of Narnia.

Thursday, August 03, 2006


Ever have one of those days? A day that doesn't turn out anything like you had planned when you woke up in the morning? A day where everything changes and you have no choice but to roll with the punches?

That would describe my day today.

It was not necessarily a bad day, mind you. Definitely tiring. Disappointing at times. But strangely productive too. A bizarre day.

At supper time we unexpectedly found ourselves at the cafeteria in Ikea. As our family ate, the sky outside the windows grew dark and menacing. A ferocious storm broke loose and pummeled the city. Hail stones roared on the store's metal roof, loud enough to make conversation awkward. Our family joined dozens of strangers huddled around the cafeteria's large windows, watching the parking lot fill with slush.

A surreal scene.

I suppose it was just another unexpected event to mark a weird sort of a day.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

In the Blink of an Eye

My baby girl is growing up too quickly. Yesterday marked seven weeks since her birthday. Appropriately enough, she also slept seven consecutive hours last night. I think that counts as the first time she officially slept through the night.

She smiles and coos, and is getting quite good at bringing her fist to her mouth. I suspect Baby Girl will become a thumb-sucker like her eldest brother. She is bright-eyed and alert most of the time, and is extremely chubby.

I love her to pieces. I think that the baby stage between "newborn" and "crawler" is my favourite time of all. I wish the next few months would last and last.

Times seems to fly in fast-forward when one has a house filled with small children.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Shock and Horror

I suppose I should have seen it coming.

I've been quite proud of my productivity over the past few days. I spent most of yesterday cleaning the house, getting it into tip-top shape. Perhaps I should not have taken such pride in my accomplishments ...

This morning I took all three children out to the library. We spent an hour playing at preschool drop-in gym at the YMCA. I packed a sack lunch, and we just happened to meet some good friends when we sat down to eat. The kids all behaved. I chatted with my girl friend. We had a great morning.

I had the kids home and napping by one-thirty in the afternoon. Even Baby Girl slept peacefully in her cradle. I patted myself on the back for being a great mom, read my book for a few minutes, then curled under a blanket and fell blissfully asleep.

An hour later I awoke to the sound of my boys talking and giggling behind the closed door of their room. I rubbed my eyes and quietly hauled myself out of bed, careful not the wake Baby Girl as she snoozed across the room. I stopped for a drink of water and then crossed the hall to the boys' room.

"Hi," I said as I pushed open the door, "Did you guys have a nice..." The question died on my lips as I took in the scene before me. I gasped. I felt sick to my stomach. I briefly considered shutting the door and going back to bed.

My 21-month-old stood in his crib, chewing on the rail. The clothing was missing from the bottom half of his body. His three-year-old brother sat a few feet away on his own bed. He was also missing his clothing. The pages of a Dr. Seuss book were scattered like leaves across the quilt.

But worst of all was the poo --- the brown filth that coated everything. Smeared like finger paint, feces covered the wall, the crib rails, bedding and stuffed animals, my toddler's clothes ... even his face. Poo was ground into the carpet. A toy vacuum sat in the middle of the mess, along with several toy tools.

I stared at the carnage, stunned speechless. I vainly attempted to gather my wits. At that moment I was supremely grateful my husband is a work-at-home dad. Slowly, I backed out of the room. "Don't move," I ordered the boys.

I leaned over the hall railing and called down the stairs, "Ben!! I need you! We have a problem." What an understatement.

Ben came up the stairs, surveyed the scene, and took charge of the situation. I numbly followed orders. I could barely think. I was furious.

We'd had a great day together --- the library, preschool gym, lunch with friends. My house was decently clean, and I had just cleaned the boys' room and tidied their toys. How could my sweet children spoil it by doing something so disgusting?

"Will you tackle the boys or the room?" Ben asked.

"You'd better bath the boys," I replied, "I'm so angry I don't even want to be near them."

Ben ran the tub. I fetched a garbage bag, carpet shampoo, lysol wipes, and a bucket of vinegar solution. I grit my teeth and set to work. Several toys ended up in the trash. I changed all the bedding, scrubbed the walls and crib rails, and shampooed the carpet. All the while I was seething inside.

As Ben bathed our belligerent sons he extracted the full story from the three-year-old. Apparently, the toddler had filled his diaper. He somehow managed to remove his overalls and the offensive diaper, spreading it's stinky contents throughout his crib. He decided to experiment with the forbidden solids, smearing them on the wall and hurling them onto the floor.

His older brother, in an attempt to help, got out of his own bed. (This is a serious offence in our household.) Using preschooler logic, he went into the closet and retrieved his toy vacuum. He tried to vacuum up the feces, but only succeeded in making the mess worse. The three-year-old then tried to scrape the mess out of the carpet with his toy tools.

When that didn't work, my eldest son decided on a different tactic. He pulled a book from the shelf and industriously began tearing out the pages. Why would he do such a thing? He was trying to construct a new diaper for his little brother.

I have to give the kid credit. At least he is a creative problem-solver.

To make a long story short, my boys emerged from their bath with red bums. Ben and I thought long and hard about an appropriate punishment. In the end, we made the boys return the new DVDs we had just borrowed from the library, unwatched. This was an especially upsetting consequence for our young preschooler.

After such an afternoon, bedtime couldn't come soon enough in the Inkster household. At the stroke of eight Ben and I kissed our wayward boys goodnight, softly shut the door to their room, and breathed sighs of relief. I then hugged my husband goodbye and strapped Baby Girl into the bjorn carrier.

I took a loooong walk.

Eventually, I found myself standing at the counter in Starbucks.

Nothing like a grande decaf frappuccino iced coffee (hold the whip cream) to cool a weary mom's anger.