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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Today you are four: I can do better, I promise.

Today you are four — no longer a baby, a toddler, or a “threenager” — officially a little boy.    You are funny and silly, determined and strong-willed. You love puzzles and stickers, superheroes and princesses, and anything with wheels or tracks.  I know you are growing up and testing limits because most of the time I seem to be telling you not to do things — don’t push your brother, take your hands out of your pants, stop picking your nose. But I also see how independent you are, how much you love to accomplish things on your […]

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The Slow Race

We’re still getting over our month-long colds, so on Sunday, when no-one was feeling much like heading outside, we broke out the radio-controlled race-cars. The boys each received one as a present two Christmases ago, but they were too small to really understand how they worked: the eldest just drove his into a wall repeatedly while the hubs had way too much fun “helping” the baby play with his.   Now though, both boys are bigger, able to see the fun in a car you don’t have to push around with your hands, and able to ask for their turn […]

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10 Things to Keep in Your “Sick Bucket”

For the last week or so, our house has been hit with gastroenteritis, aka “stomach ‘flu”. It started on the weekend with the little guy being fussy and tired … and quickly went downhill from there. I got sick on Monday and spent twenty-four hours in or near the bathroom (side note: someone should really invent a toilet-bowl headrest). Fortunately, the hubs was able to gamely step up to the plate … until he made a dash for the bathroom late Wednesday night and didn’t emerge until late the next morning (see, inventors of the world?). Thursday saw our […]

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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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Why the “perfect” photo isn’t my favourite 

Going through boxes of files and photos for the last couple of weeks, the hubs and I have found a  few items we each would rather forget. From the school photos with the atrocious at-home hair cuts, to the dorky outfits we once thought were so cool and even the pictures so blurred you can only make out a fuzzy smile, we spent a lot of time asking why on earth our parents would keep these mementos? We actually knew the answer, of course: as a parent, when you see pictures of your children you’re not actually looking for […]

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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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Manners Maketh the … Child?

The Hollyhock Door

Ever since my son learned to talk, we’ve encouraged him to say “please” and “thank you”. I figured it was a small enough habit that he could pick up easily, but now that he’s reasonably articulate, I find I’m still having to prompt the polite words. Part of the problem seems to be consistency: he has certain phrases to use at home and different ones at playschool. Plus, now that he’s in a different class with new teachers, there’s a whole new set of sayings to learn. Poor guy, it must be so confusing! As much as I’m tempted […]

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The Cost of Mummy’s Night Out

mummy night out guilt

Last week, I had a rare evening out while the hubs stayed home with the boys. Since they’re at a stage where they are quite rambunctious (to say the least!) I lingered at home until I had fed them their dinner and knew everything was ready to go for bedtime. With mummy-guilt running on overdrive, I wanted to make sure all the hubs had to do was play with them for an hour an a half until bedtime. When I could delay no longer, I hugged everyone goodbye and crossed my fingers! Now I don’t mean to suggest that […]

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Bon moms

the first 40 years of parenting are always the hardest

I knew it was only a matter of time before it happened, but I didn’t think it would be quite so soon into this parenting gig. I said something to my three year old the other day and realized it was exactly what my mum used to say to me! Now this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. My mum parented with a curious mixture of unconditional love and wry sarcasm, plus a dash of good ol’ fashioned Irish fatalism thrown in for good measure. It meant she raised me to appreciate the elegance in understated humour, even if I […]

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An Ode To My Tantruming Three Year Old

child tantrum stubborn toddler

An Ode to My Tantruming Three Year Old* Please get off the floor, dear child, it’s neither clean nor warm And if you thrash about like that, your brand-new clothes will get torn. It will do you no good, my love, to cry and scream and fight Mummy isn’t going to buy you what you want, though you can yell with all your might. It doesn’t help your case, dear heart, that your meltdown is over frozen peas Despite the plaintive wailing, your protest won’t weaken me in the knees. Holding your breath does garner you attention, this much […]

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10 signs your child is NOT going to be potty trained any time soon

We started our potty-training journey last week. After many, many hours spent talking about the pee, encouraging the pee and moping up when the pee materialized unexpectedly, let’s just say it didn’t go as well as we’d hoped. We’re still working on it, but here are the top ten signs your child is most definitely NOT going to be potty trained any time soon: 1) he doesn’t care if he sits in his own poop for so long it turns into a stinky, hardened pancake 2) he won’t tell you his bladder or his underpants are full to bursting […]

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5 things every parent should do for their child

It can be something as simple as seeing her favourite brand of tea at the supermarket, or unexpectedly finding a pair of her reading glasses hidden in a box. Suddenly, the memory of the way she held a tea-cup, her slightly crooked smile, or the far-away gaze she had when immersed in a good book returns as bright and as vivid as the day we said goodbye. This weekend marks the 5th anniversary of my mum passing away. I have written before about the challenges of being a mum without my own mum. But to mark this anniversary, I wanted to […]

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Is it time to end “stranger danger”? 

With the approach of autumn, I’m trying to make the most out of every nice day with outdoor activities for the boys before we’re cooped up with snow for another six (eight?) months. Earlier this week, I decided to try a new park I’d heard about through the playschool. It was down in the river valley and supposed to be a kind of “wilderness adventure” that was still suitable for small children.  Off we set with our water bottles and snack packs, the three year-old bubbling with excitement over that “special surprise” he’d been promised, and the baby squeaking […]

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What no-one tells you about adopting

Sometimes it’s a call in the middle of the night. Sometimes it’s a long-awaited meeting. You can try to prepare however you think best — read the recommended books, talk to families who’ve done it, go to support groups — but I’d wager that it doesn’t matter how much prep you’ve done, there’s always a point at which you’re blind-sided by the experience of bringing a new life into your home and into your heart. People, friends and well-meaning strangers both, will say things like, “I bet you just knew!”, or “it was love at first sight, wasn’t it?” […]

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Do you have to hug?

My three year-old is very good at giving spontaneous hugs. He often hugs his teachers, his grandparents, and his friends, enveloping them in a tight, slightly-sticky squeeze. He will ask for hugs too. Sometimes he’s trying to stall bedtime, or working up to asking for a treat, but also he will ask just because he likes them. But sometimes, when he isn’t sure of a new person, or if he is just feeling tired and overwhelmed, he will refuse to hug. Instead, he will stand rigid, chin tucked down to one side, eyes averted – a small but determined […]

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