Swimming Lessons

In an effort to make sure my older kids didn’t feel short-changed in the time and attention department with the arrival of their new baby brother, I booked them in for swimming lessons once a week at a local pool. To this point our swimming together had been a haphazard affair: occasional days out when I had summoned the time to organize the requisite suits and towels, body wash and hair dryers, water shoes and life jackets, hair ties and combination locks. On more than one occasion, our efforts had been short and not-very sweet, ending in tears and […]

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Kindness and Taking the High Road

Before the hubs and I met, he had bought a little condo. The building doesn’t have a big showy lobby or a swimming pool, and the unit overlooks an uninspiring back alley. But it’s conveniently located close to the downtown and the university, and it’s just a few steps from the river valley. It’s never been worth enough to sell for what he paid for it — oh, those bachelors and their “investments”– so we’ve just kept renting it out, hoping to cover our costs (and usually missing the mark). Over the years, our renters have been a motley […]

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10 ways you know you’re nailing this marriage thing?

1) Your spouse calls you by the wrong name on the phone. Rather than freaking out and hurling around accusations of infidelity, you both just laugh and adopt the new name as a nickname: Hi, call me Misty.  2) Your dog sees more of your naked body than your spouse. 3) Your arguments consist of reminding the other person of the last time you had that argument. 4) When you finally get a date-night, you try to go as long as possible without talking about the kids. Your record is 22 minutes. 5) Casual conversations have been replaced with planning […]

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The Only Kids’ Behaviour I Worry About

“We have a zero screen time policy” “Formula is practically poison!” “I’d never let my child behave like that!” These are just a few of the statements I’ve overheard lately whilst trying to squeak out some writing time at various coffee houses. Most of the time, I’m pretty good at tuning out the conversations of others, but sometimes these gems just filter through. The screen time one made me laugh out loud because until he was about two and half, I would’ve given anything for my older child to sit still and watch something – anything! – on TV […]

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The mouths of babes …

I’ve been on-deadline with my thesis for a few weeks now and the latest draft is due this weekend. This means I cut a few corners to try to scrounge extra writing time. A lot of corners. So here I am, no makeup, schlumpy clothes, unwashed hair scragged back into something resembling a braid and my sweet, soulful child exclaims: “Mama! You look just like Elsa!” Elsa, his favourite character, the one whose songs he sings and actions he mimicks. I have never really understood the phrase “love is blind” until today. Thank you, little one. Linking up with:

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5 tips to help little kids at the dentist

We brush, we floss, and we don’t have sugary drinks, but still my four-year old wound up needing two fillings. After an initial consult with my regular dentist who confirmed the squishy bits I’d noticed while brushing were indeed cavities, we were referred to a paediatric dentist. I can’t say enough good things about how kind and patient the staff were. For a small child in a new, environment with people asking him to do strange things can be quite terrifying, but he actually wanted to go back for his follow up! It took us two “happy visits” before […]

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Four year-old versus Spider-Man

Four is such a funny age. Four year-olds aren’t babies any longer (as they are very quick to let you know), but they are still such small children — at least developmentally — that they can be just as tricky to decipher as a newborn. Though they usually have the ability to communicate with actual words — as opposed to the vehement grunts and wild gesticulations favoured by my almost two year old–  it’s still hard to know just what they are thinking and feeling. Harder still to predict what they will like on any given day, or to know […]

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Where can I return 2016?

Yes, hello. I would like to know where I can return 2016? Why? Because it is clearly defective. The kids, hubs and I have spent almost the entirety of the last 70 days being sick, getting each other sick, or recovering from being sick. First it was stomach ‘flu right after christmas. Then, that weird virus that saw us cut our holiday short. Then another cold that just. wouldn’t. go. away. And now… Now the littlest has been fighting strep throat with crazy high temperatures and a weird rash. It’s at the point where the four year old keeps […]

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An Open Letter to the Teacher Who Left My Child Behind: 

I have hesitated on posting this as I don’t want to make things more difficult for my child, for the school, or for the teachers, most of whom are fantastic — kind, dedicated and professional to a fault. As a former teacher myself, I also know how hard educators work, how stressful it can be, and just how easy it is, especially with the very young, to lose track of who’s where and with whom. Nor is this about looking for apologies or establishing blame. What it is about is awareness — for teachers, parents, and even children. Because […]

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The End of an Era

We had a good run, all things considered. The “baby” will be two in a few months but up until recently he would still take a bottle to go the sleep. It’s not good for his teeth, I know, but he protested this final stage of weening with all his thirty-pound might that we let it slide for a bit. But with a family vacation planned, and knowing that it was beyond time, we made a switch to cuddles and sips of water before bed. At first, he wriggled and complained, but after a few nights of the same […]

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A Misadventure

We probably should have turned around at the gate right after the baby vomited and started to seem oddly warm.  He’s just overheated and tired, we told ourselves, refusing to believe that after all the weeks of planning and preparing for our first family vacation it was all going to fall apart. So we boarded the plane and continued to hope for the best. The baby fussed a bit but eventually napped curled up with his daddy. Five hours later, we got to our rented condo and managed to set up the boys little campcots.  But just as the […]

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A Would-be Birthday

She was never one for big celebrations; a hand-made card and a school craft was usually all she wanted. There’s still a stack of them in the top drawer of her old chest of drawers. When I was grown, we’d usually mark the occasion with a nice lunch but not much more. But then my mum became sick, enduring rounds and rounds of chemo, and when that didn’t work to knock out the lymphoma, a stem-cell transplant that made her so thin and tired she could hardly walk. Suddenly, the occasion of a birthday didn’t mean being another year […]

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10 things I learned looking after a kid with Hand, Foot and Mouth

On Sunday, we had a party for Chanukah and the hubs’ birthday. Our little guy was a little warm and grumpy, but we thought maybe he’d just eaten too many latkes (!) or was teething. Then on Monday, he woke up with a slight fever and spots around his mouth and legs. Uh-oh. We bundled him up still in his pajamas and took him to the doctor. As we undressed him in the exam room, there were suddenly more spots, popping up all across his stomach and behind his knees. The doctor arrived and we showed her the spots. […]

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Art for art’s sake?

My three year old loves doing arts and crafts at play school. Given half a chance he will run to the activity table and grab his chubby paintbrush before he’s even removed his outdoor shoes. Once kitted out with smock and paints he really goes to town, covering every square inch of the paper with layer upon layer of paint, sparkles, stickers, glitter, whatever he has to hand. Sometimes he even goes right through the paper such is his zest for his creations. Now I’m normally pretty happy to go along with my kids’ various whims: the boys’ custom […]

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Weekend Projects: the bookcase

Between the two of us, the hubs and I have a lot of books — school books, law books, favourite reading books. We also “inherited” a lot of books from our parents: some beautiful old volumes we treasure … and more than a few slightly eccentric selections from the book of the month club circa 1973. Still, we love having books around the house and want to instill in our kids a love of reading. To that end, we wanted to make our sunny living room into a reading and music room. We’d thought about installing built-ins but decided […]

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Working from home: being productive when the world is out to distract you

dissertation writing

I’m afraid it’s been a bit quiet around the blog for the last couple of weeks as I’ve been slogging through the latest chapter of my PhD dissertation. Everything that didn’t directly relate to writing — house stuff, cleaning, blogging, showering (haha- sort of?) — has been on the back burner. It’s a familiar scene for the hubs who’s gamely stepped up to kid-pickups and weekend mornings out while I’ve locked myself in the office and attempted — to misquote Hemmingway — to sit at the computer and bleed words. I’m now coming to the end of the writing […]

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Trains, tantrums and totally “necessary” tools

My three old year old is currently obsessed with trains. Specifically Thomas the Tank Engine but he’s also partial to Chuggington. Since on the scale of one to an x-box, little wooden trains rate at about 1 1/2 for noise and annoyance (except for the talking ones, they’re just creepy), we’ve indulged him somewhat. Last year I picked up a second-hand train tracks set and over time have added to his collection of engines.  Except now that his little brother is mobile and wanting to play, we’ve run into a problem: as fast as the three year old (and […]

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Kitchen renovation: What worked and what didn’t

We’ve been in the new house for almost three months now (!). Most of the boxes are unpacked, much of the furniture has found its new spot — for now! We’ve still got contractors coming to nearly every week in drive and drabs — a new painter touching up the mistakes from the first, a new plumber to fix the oversights of the earlier ones — but inch by inch, piece by piece, it’s coming together. Of all the spaces in the house, I think I agonized the most about the kitchen. Designing the layout, choosing the appliances, granite, […]

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