Category Archives: E.- the seventh year

Say What?

While driving in the car:

Me: “E., have you thought about what you want to ask Santa for this Christmas?”
E.: “I know exactly what I want! I want a balsa wood glider that is big enough for my stuffies to ride on it!.”
Me: “…”
E.: “It will be so fun to see them sailing through the air!”
Me: “What an interesting idea, E.! Have you thought about a back up option in case Santa has trouble finding a balsa wood glider that big?”
E.: “If it’s not big, how will my stuffies fit on it??”
Me: “They’re usually pretty fragile given the wood is so light. Do you think they would be strong enough for your stuffies?”
E. *getting agitated*: “Yes! It would be FINE!”
Me: “Maybe what we can do, E., is we can look online to do some research and see what sizes balsa wood gliders come in.”
E.: “Ok! Then we will know which kind I should ask for.”

All is quiet in the car. After we are home and the kids are in bed, I relay this conversation to Q.

Q.: “Oh, that’s nothing. We had this conversation the other day. He talked himself down to the balsa wood glider after he originally suggested he wanted his own little airplane to ride in that would go above the house.”
Me: “…”

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Filed under E.- the seventh year

Road Trip

We drove back yesterday from visiting both parental households. Q. and I spent most of the drive discussing the current state of my parents (mother very stressed but long-term prospects are still good; father’s situation provokes rage and despair in equal measure). There was a lot of ranting (not all of it from me) and some serious talks about what to do next, all buried under loud music for the sake of the little pitcher with huge ears in the back.

Meanwhile, it the backseat, the drive looked a lot like this:

Five scenes from a six hour drive

Scene 1. Turia is driving. P. is asleep. E. is telling a story to himself.
E.: *unintelligible* “Don’t worry, I borrowed it from the solar system! The Earth said it would be all right.”
*muttering*
*sound effects of crashing and explosions*
E.: “And all the planets were consumed!”

Scene 2. Turia is driving. We are thirty minutes away from stopping for dinner.
P. *shrieks of laughter*
E.: “Pick up the monkey and throw it back to me, P.!”
*flurry of motion in the rear-view mirror*
E. & P. *shrieks of laughter*
Repeat scene with everything within reach in the backseat

Scene 3. Q. is driving. We are trying to get back on the highway after having to take a detour to avoid an accident right before our on-ramp.
P.: “P. Door. Car.”
E.: “How far away from home are we?”
P.: “P. Door. Car. Out.”
Turia: “One hour and forty-three minutes, according to Google, once we get back on the highway.”
P.: “Mummy, Mummy, Mummy!”
E.: “I meant, how many kilometres?”
P.: “P. DOOR. CAR. OUT!!!”
Turia: “One hundred and sixty-eight.”
P.: “Mummy, Mummy, MUMMY!!”
E.: “Oh, ok. I will not start to look for the [very well-known building] yet.”
P.: “P!!! DOOR!!! CAR!!! OUT!!! MUMMY, MUMMY, MUMMY!!!”

Scene 4. We are listening to Sharon, Lois, and Bram’s Greatest Hits. Q. is driving. “She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain” is playing.
E.: “You know, I think there are other versions of this song where they are eating things other than chicken and dumplings.”
*song ends*
P.: *very quietly* “Choo-choo.”

Scene 5. P. is asleep again. Q. is driving.
E.: “I still feel sad when I think about P. [our cat who died in April of 2016] just like I still feel sad when I think about Grandpa I. [my stepfather, who died in August 2016].”
Turia: “It’s ok to feel sad, E. You feel sad because you loved them and you miss them. I still feel sad when I think about them too.”
E.: “Remember after Grandpa I.’s funeral and I said that maybe at night he would get out of the cemetery and go geocaching? Maybe our cat gets up at night too.”
Turia: “Do you think she’s the one who makes our floorboards creak when L. [our other cat] is asleep on our bed?”
E.: “Yes!”
Turia: “Is she a little cat ghost?”
E.: “No! She is a cat zombie! She gets down off the shelf in her box and goes all around the house.”
*long pause*
Turia: *very quietly, to Q.*  “We really need to make time to bury her and get the box off of our bookshelf.”
E.: “Brrrrraaaaiiinnnnssss!”

Happy chaos.

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Filed under Blink and you'll miss it, Choose Happiness, E.- the seventh year, P.- the second year, What were we thinking? (aka travelling with small children)

On Track

E. brought home his first report card this week.

It was a progress report rather than an official report card, but it was still a serious assessment of how he is handling Grade One.

The short answer is he’s doing just fine.

Nothing was identified as being “unsatisfactory”.

There were no areas where he was currently “progressing with difficulty”.

And his “highest” score for the behavioural section of the progress report was in collaboration, an area that has been a huge struggle in the past.

There’s room for improvement, sure, and E. will probably find it easier to meet the expectations of the classroom as he gets older and is better able to self-regulate.

But this was a great start, and we told him he should feel very proud of himself.

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Filed under Brave New (School) World, E.- the seventh year, Grade One

Not Just Mittens

A couple of weeks ago we were in Walmart to print photos for E’s assignment at school. I ended up trolling the aisles with E. and P. in tow because we needed various things, including waterproof mittens for both kids. E. has for years worn the same style of mitten from MEC but he needed the next size up and when I looked on the website I saw that MEC has changed the style and the new version is not getting good reviews. I also live in fear of E. losing expensive mittens at school, so I figured there wasn’t any harm in trying out a cheaper pair.

We poked around for a while and found one pair that E. liked. I was worried they were a touch too small.

Then I spied another section across the aisle.

“E., come and look at these. Tell me if you see anything you like.”

E. came over, took one look and stopped short.

“Mummy, I can’t wear these. These are for girls.”

Inwardly, my reaction went something like this: OH FUCKITY FUCK FUCK. WE’VE WORKED SO HARD ON THIS!

Outwardly, I said to E. that even though the store wanted people to think that there were girl clothes and boy clothes, because that meant they could sell more clothes, the truth was it didn’t matter.

“No one is allowed to say that only girls can wear purple and pink and only boys can wear blue and red,” I finished, pulling a pair of black mittens off the rack. “I bet they had the same mittens on the other rack and they’ve just sold out.”

E. picked the black mittens and a purple pair of waterproof gloves.

Before we left we gathered up a bunch of purple and pink mittens and gloves and put them on the empty racks in the “boy” section.

That would be the end of the story except that it quickly became apparent that these mittens and gloves were still a little too big for E., so on Monday I took him to the dollar store.

E. very quickly picked out two pairs of waterproof mittens (red and purple), one pair of purple and black wooly mittens and one pair of lightweight turquoise gloves with snowflakes on them.

“Look, Mummy,” he said happily about halfway through the process. “I can pick whatever I want because there’s not a girl or a boy section.”

I stopped dead. I’d been in that store earlier that morning (buying mittens for P. because there had been nothing appropriate for her at Walmart). I’d observed there were loads of mittens in E’s size but had completely failed to notice that they hadn’t been in any way segregated.

The dollar store has fairly minimal outdoor gear (and I might still come to regret buying mittens from it, but we’ll see) and even less by way of clothing, so it makes sense that everything would be confined to one big aisle.

I hadn’t noticed when I’d been collecting purple mittens and a purple baby balaclava for P. (because she kept picking the purple options when I put several in front of her) that the purple and the pink and the red and the black and the blue and the green mittens were all on the same hooks.

E. had.

He is a boy who has always loved pink, a boy who happily wears leggings from the “girl” section to school, a boy who can sit and flip through the pages of a cake decorating book from the 1980s and criticize its gender assumptions (“Mummy, look- there is a rocket cake but they say it is for boys! That is inappropriate because everyone likes rockets. What do they think girls like?” *turns pages in ever-increasing horror. “A princess castle? Well I like pink and I like princesses and I like castles. A sewing machine?! Well if a boy doesn’t know how to make his own clothes he would have to go to the store. An oven?! That’s ridiculous! Everyone needs to know how to cook!”).

But even he, at age six, knows that he is somehow not supposed to shop in the section for girls.

There’s starting (finally!) to be a serious movement to stop the practice of segregating toys in stores and making assumptions about which kids should want (or be allowed) to play with them.

Toys aren’t going to be enough.

We need to do clothes too.

And if the dollar stores mittens actually turn out to be waterproof, we will be buying more of them in future.

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Filed under 21st Century Parenting Politics, E.- the seventh year, Soapbox

Weather Patterns

Yesterday I spent most of the morning in the park with P., who had a wonderful time despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that I had both forgotten to bring a towel to wipe down the equipment and neglected to put her in her rain suit. She ended up completely soaked, but it wasn’t a total #momfail as I had packed spare clothes in her diaper bag and I still had the cozy sleeping bag on the stroller even though it was probably too warm outside for it. So she had fun getting soaking wet and dirty and then I was able to wrestle her into new clothes to keep her warm and dry long enough to get home.

What was interesting about the outing (other than the fact that I learned to keep spare mittens in the diaper bag because P. will always opt to play with puddles) was that during the whole time we were at the park we saw a total of twelve other people.

Every single one of them was an adult walking a dog.

When I think about the winter that E. was this age, some of my clearest memories are of the two of us at the various neighbourhood parks, without another soul around. (I can remember taking multiple photos to illustrate this point because I just couldn’t get my head around it.)

I don’t understand why it seems to be accepted practice here that once the temperature drops below about 8 degrees Celsius, or it’s a bit wet, the dogs have to go outside but the children don’t.

I get that if you don’t take dogs outside for walks they will pee on the floor and eat your furniture, but if I don’t take my kids outside they may not pee on the floor (ok, P. would if given the chance) but they will certainly destroy the house (or make it feel like that’s what they’re doing) and drive me absolutely up the wall.

We had an extremely wet Sunday a couple of weeks ago and after P had woken up from her nap I stuffed her and E. into their rain gear (under mighty protests from E.) and took them outside to jump in puddles. We ended up finding a massive puddle in a nearby laneway and they spent a happy forty minutes playing in it (E. jumped in it and ran through it; P. did everything short of lying down in it face first). When they were both soaked (despite the rain gear) and starting to look cold, I brought them back inside for a bath.

They were SO MUCH happier for the rest of the afternoon and the evening, which meant that I was happier too.

There was no whining.

No meltdowns.

No tears.

No shouting.

Admittedly I will keep them inside in extreme weather conditions (massive thunderstorms or temperatures below -30 degrees Celsius), and there are days when we don’t go out for long, but even fifteen or twenty minutes mucking around in the yard does wonders.

E’s school has just started a pilot project where the children go outside for recess no matter what the weather is (unless it is dangerous). It won’t be fully in place for another year or two, but I was so pleased to hear about the initiative. I can’t imagine what it is like for the teachers on the days where the kids don’t go out.

As for my two, P. loves to go outside, so it’s never a hard sell with her. E. is very much a homebody and thinks he would be happy to stay inside all day long, except that by the late afternoon he’s crabby and combative and bouncing off the furniture (literally- he will run around the main floor telling a story while ricocheting off of the couches).

I sympathize, because I’m a homebody too at heart, but I’ve learned that I need to get out of the house as much as they do. I’ve had to take a hard look at my wardrobe to make sure that I’m not making it easier to keep them inside because I don’t have the right clothes to be outside with them.

Most of the time, there’s no bad weather, just bad clothing.

Do the kids vanish from your neighbourhood as soon as the weather shifts?

 

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Filed under E.- the seventh year, P.- the second year, Soapbox

Microblog Mondays: Sugar Overload

Until this year, I had never really understood parents who opted for the “switch witch” concept, where they either take away their child’s Hallowe’en candy at night while the kid is sleeping and leave a toy instead, or give the kid a choice between keeping the candy or keeping the toy. I didn’t have much of a problem with E. enjoying his Hallowe’en spoils, especially since he only visited a handful of houses every year and was happy enough to be limited to one piece a day (after dinner).

Then there was this year, and because E. is six now he wanted to stay out trick-or-treating for longer and because his costume was so ridiculously amazing many of our neighbours gave him extra candy- huge handfuls of it in some cases.

He ended up with a TRUCKLOAD of candy- it filled the bowl in which we’d kept the candy that we gave out to 80 or 90 kids, plus he needed an extra container for his chips.

He’s been able to choose something nut-free for his lunch and he can have a piece after dinner if he’s had a good supper and if he remembers to ask for it. He’s never argued about this, and the result is that, even with Q. and I eating a significant number of his mini chocolate bars after he’s gone to bed, we’ve still barely made a dent in it.

We have a blanket rule that Hallowe’en candy is removed from the house on the 1st of December (so we can enjoy a couple of candy-free weeks before all the Christmas goodies start piling up) and, again, E.’s never argued with this because he’s usually eaten almost all of his candy by then and he’s a bit bored with it.

This year he’s still going to have a lot left over, so I’m not sure how he’ll react.

I don’t see anything inherently bad in eating candy as the occasional treat, and I’d even be up for E. having a big binge and making himself sick in the process as a learning experience, but I have to say that the sheer volume of candy he came home with this year has made me seriously consider the switch witch idea for the first time, even if I would dearly miss the mini Twix and Wunderbars.

If you do Hallowe’en (or did as a kid), how is (was) candy handled in your house?

This post is part of #MicroblogMondays. To read the inaugural post and find out how you can participate, click here.

 

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Filed under E.- the seventh year, Food, Microblog Mondays

Read Less, Please

The downside of having a kid who can read:

We took various forms of transit yesterday, all of which were full of effective (but quite aggressive) ads for the transit system’s campaign against harassment of all forms.

“Mummy, what does g-r-o-p-e-d mean?

And m-e-n-a-c-e-d?

And t-h-r-e-a-t-e-n-e-d?”

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