Saturday, April 30, 2011


I don't know anything other than sleep that separates us as a family. We all have different sleep issues.

I am the can't-fall-asleeper.  My mind wanders about the days activities, the stresses of the week to come, the outcome of a hockey game or the excitement of an upcoming trip.  I need a few hours of gradually decreasing activity to make a good go of falling asleep.  That is without the occasional bout of actual insomnia.

Husband falls asleep before he's ready to.  He usually straps on a CPAP ( for sleep apnea) machine (another sleep issue) and sometimes he falls asleep before the labourious work of filling with water and adjusting straps.

Sydney falls asleep before her head hits the pillow.  It is truly a gift she has. I am jealous of her every night.

Our midnight owl is Jackson.  He falls asleep after Husband some nights.  We have tried everything but melatonin IV drips to get him to sleep earlier.  He now has as his trademark visage permanent dark circles under his eyes.  Every once in a while I'll ask him if he's tired and he'll say "why does everyone keep asking me that?" as his teachers and other students have noticed Mr. Raccoon face.

Husband is our early-waker-upper.  He wakes in the early morning hours and never really recovers.

I am deeply in REM sleep in the early morning hours and only the promise of coffee can get me out of my slumber.

Sydney gets up easily IF (heavy foreshadowing music) she has had a good night's sleep. 

Jackson never had a good night sleep so won't get up easily unless there is a Christmas stocking, Easter basket or new release of computer game to look forward to.

We are all snorers to varying degrees. Of course the kids' snoring is adorable. Sydney used to snore as a newborn. I wish that I had taken movies of it. No one believes me now. 
Husband is our #1 light sleeper.  Of course when the kids were babies, Mother Nature gave me a temporary license in light sleeping just so I could hear them when they sighed at night. But I turned in that license years ago and returned to my normal state of medium sleeper (neither heavy nor light). I never have to worry about intruders as Husband would hear them when they crunched across the grass on our front yard.  Or when the kids wake up.

Jackson tends more toward light sleeping than heavy but I think it really mid spectrum. He has been known to complain about late night dog barking.

Sydney is our deep sleeper.  She has slept through a smoke alarm going off outside her bedroom, thunderstorms, dogs howling, power outages that mysteriously turn on her CD player.  The only thing she can't sleep through is when her little purple blankie falls off her bed and onto the floor.  She is obviously still 3/4 asleep because a normal person would reach to floor and pick up blankie. But she will get up and find Daddy, who is usually already awake and meets her in the hallwa,y for a two person blankie retrieval.

Sydney it turns out, should come with a warning label.  She is at Brownie camp. I got a call from one of the leaders at 8:00 a.m.  I was told not to worry, but they were wondering if Sydney was a deep sleeper and was hard to rouse?

Yes.  She's pretty groggy if she doesn't have enough sleep, I said.  I can confirm that Sydney did not get enough sleep last night.

They said she was "non-responsive" for 20 minutes.  And they called 911,  The ambulance came and checked her out.

She eventually woke up, after some panicked yelling and pinching.  She was asked where she was and she accurately replied:

"Lying on the floor of the bathroom at Brownie camp".

Friday, April 22, 2011

Hopeless Romantic

Today Husband and I celebrate 11 years of running this outfit together.  Last year we celebrated 10 years by voting ourselves off the proverbial island and onto peaceful and serene Galilano Island:
 But you are probably wondering, because of the title of this post, which one of us is the hopeless romantic?
a) Him                              or                                       b) Me

Those of you that know us well know the answer is c) neither of the above.  It's this cheeky monkey:
I would be hard-pressed to say which one of us (Husband or I) has forgotten to buy a card for our anniversary or Valentine's Day more.  In fact last year, for our big 10 year celebration, I forgot to buy a card and I had to find one on the ferry.  Husband proved to be the more attentive spouse last year having purchased one.  They didn't have any anniversary cards in the ferry gift shop, so I re-purposed a wedding card. Which is so totally appropriate given that our anniversary is Earth Day. 

In the end, we forgot to give each other the cards and I think about two months later I was cleaning up a pile of stuff and came across the wedding-come-anniversary card and gave it to Husband. I don't know whatever happened to mine.  Neither of us takes any offense at such things.

But this year, this year, we had our own little anniversary planner. Sydney has been wanting to have a fancy family dinner.  Her brother has been labouring under a fever all week so her activities have been limited.  She zeroed in our anniversary as the object of her obsession and relentlessly pursued us to celebrate our  anniversary, fancy-family-dinner-style.  I felt like doing nothing less. 

But we grudgingly agreed that we could probably find time to clear off the kitchen table so all 4 of us could sit down and eat together.  While Husband went in search of steaks at the bottom of the freezer to marinade, and began the archaeological dig to uncover the kitchen table, I went out for wine and garlic bread, the 2 essentials of any family celebration.  I had got in the spirit of celebration and bought daffodils and special cookies for dessert.

We ate and enjoyed after having endured some very tense moments over the printed menus that was resolved with an old bottle of whiteout. No one mentioned my unpardonable sin of buying MULTIGRAIN garlic bread.  We listened to a CD, just so we did not have to eat to another rerun of Jimmy Two-Shoes (if you don't know what that is, consider yourself lucky). 

A slow song came on and Sydney said "you guys should dance".

"Someone would have to ask me" I said.

"Daddy, you should ask Mommy to dance".  She has a mischievous grin.

And so I put on True Companions by Marc Cohn, the song which John played when he proposed.
I guess we do have the odd romantic tendency. But I maintain, hardly hopeless.

Thanks for helping us remember, Girlie Goo.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Things have been shifting in our house.  At first it was little things.

Jackson went a whole month without forgetting his planner or homework at school.  Then out of the blue he said "my library books are due today" as if it were the more natural thing in the world for him to remember that Thursday is his library day.

Sydney is not saying "do I have to brush my teeth AGAIN!!!!" every evening.  She is brushing them. Without a reminder. As if she suddenly understands that teeth-brushing is a lifetime twice daily responsibility.

And Sydney wants to come along to walk the dog.  She even offered to pick up poo. Jackson is reminding me to make sure the dog is secure when we leave the house and he pushes in the kitchen chairs so we don't find he sleeping on the kitchen table like the Queen of Sheba when we return home.

Then one day I said "can you guys get dressed?" on a Saturday morning.  And a couple minutes later I noticed they were actually dressed. With CLEAN underwear. 

Last Saturday, Husband and I tried to reclaim the upstairs landing which housed an impressive collection of semi-sorted clean laundry.  I said to Husband "what are we? the maids????".  Then I called downstairs "Kids, come help us clean up?".

Jackson said "Yah!! We're cleaning!!" Sydney followed and complied and we spent an hour on the housework together.  Jackson asked if we could do this every week.

Then, this week, two things happened to make me realize there is no way back. The kids are growing up.

Jackson woke up in the middle of the night and needed to throw up.  He did this entirely on his own.  In the toilet with no mop up needed.  I slept through the whole thing. Husband, cursed with light sleeping genes, heard him and just sent him back to bed with a pat on the back (and a bowl and towel. Just to be sure).

Then I received an email from Sydney last week:

Hi Mommy,

I was thinking maybe we could have a family diner I’ll ask the rest of the family member except for Finnegan and we could dress up in fancy cloths but I know if Jackson didn’t want to he wouldn’t have to dress up in fancy cloths and eat the same thing I’ll help clear the table just please say yes love Sydney.

If you excuse the appalling lack of punctuation, it is an impressive effort at communication.  Oh and the fact that is was sent from my home email to my work email. 

I replied with a brief  "I would love to!".  I thought that was an appropriately enthusiastic response that did not commit me to putting on a dress anytime soon.

She replied:

WHEN I ask when I would love to!! Doesn’t say the time and it could of bin in 2019 on nov .49 I would have gran children !!!.

How about Thursday 2011 Apr.21

I am in deep trouble. She knows about sarcasm.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Who Knew, There'd Be Days Like This ....

Husband: I have an important meeting next Tuesday afternoon.  Can we switch my work-from-home-day to another day so I can make the meeting?

Me: Sure, how about you stay home Monday, and I'll work from home Tuesday instead of Monday?

Husband: No ... another meeting.

Me:  Can't do Friday, it is a holiday. How about you work from home Wednesday?  But you'd have the four kids as I pick up the two extra boys on Wednesday.

Husband: It might work. I have another important meeting at 9:30 on Wednesday, but I could probably make it, assuming traffic is good.

Me: Or you can go in early on the train, I'll drive the kids to school. You can pick up the car from my parkade and pick up the kids. I'll work late and take the train home.

Husband: That would be better if you can swing it.

Me: Should I reschedule dog walker for Tuesday instead of Wednesday? Or do we need her an extra day?

Husband: I can get home in time to walk the dog.

Me: Oh and I have to reschedule my chiropractor appointment.

Husband: We're set then.

Me [checking Google calendar]: I see I have a Brownie parent meeting at 6:30, I can't make that without shortening my day. I wonder if that is important?

Husband [also consulting calendar]:  Is it a professional development day for the kids on Thursday?

Me: Crap.

Husband: I can't take the day off, I have an important meeting in the afternoon.

Me: Maybe I can drive into work on Monday, and work from home on Thursday?

Husband: Can you swing that?

Me: I will have to see if J can watch the kids Monday instead of Thursday, but that should work.

Husband: Oh, good.

Me:  And I will have to find someone to deliver the pizza to Jackson's class at school.

Husband: Can you do that?

Me: I can try.

Husband: Good.

Me: And I'll have to switch the dog walker to Monday.

Husband: Are you writing this down?

Me: And I'll have to arrange a car pool for Sydney for Brownies.

Husband: Can we recap this?

Me [big breath]: Our Thursday will be Monday which means I have to switch childcare, dog walker, find a pizza distributor replacement and a car pool to arrange for Brownies.  You have to be on the 4:20 train.  Our Wednesday will be Tuesday which means I have to switch my chiropractor appointment and the dog walker. Our Tuesday will be Wednesday except that you are going in early and I will work late and I have to sort out about the Brownie parent meeting and you have to pick up the car and be home to walk the dog and pick up the 4 kids. Our Monday will be Thursday with my working from home, and the kids off school.

Husband:  Got it.

Me: I, inexplicably, have a headache.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


This is what XLIX looks like!
May I present the XLIX Party Crew:
Has anyone noticed the new haircut? And glasses?
  I know many must doubt the existence of Husband: 
(p.s. he is tall, but not THAT tall. It's more me that is untall) 
Special guest appearance on my blog of my parents:
(Aren't children supposed to be in between the heights of their parents?)
Looking forward to a big L party next year.

Monday, April 4, 2011

What Kind of Mother Are You?

I was helping Sydney wash her hair the other day. As I working in the conditioner, I said to her:

"This will make you hair nice and shiny, your boyfriend will like that."



"Who is my boyfriend?"

"I was going to ask you the same thing."



"What kind of mother are you? The kind that lets your 6 or 7 year old have boyfriends? Or the kind that says 'you're too young to have boyfriends.' "

"The kind that says 'you're too young.' "

"That's what I thought."

[long pause]

"When I grow up, I'm going to be the kind that lets her 7 year old have a boyfriend."


"Because I will remember what it was like to be 7 and want a boyfriend."

I am trying to decide whether to:

(a) send her to a private girls' school,
(b) home school through college,
(c) move to a deserted island, or
(d) buy firearms.

I am definitely going to stop talking about her boyfriends.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Inside the Brain of the J Boy

[J Boy and I are cleaning his room]

Me: What is this?

J Boy: That's pluto.

Me: Oh, it fell off your wall?

J Boy: I took it off.

Me: Why?

J Boy: Because it's not a real planet.

Me: I know, but it's still in the sky.

J Boy: But I can't have just one dwarf planet and not the rest of them.  There are hundreds of them, Mommy.


[kids on swings]

Sydney: Wow, this is fun!

Jackson: I know. I have a lot of momentum!

Sydney: What is momentum?

Jackson: It's Newton's third law.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Date Night, Home Style

 Remember last fall, Sydney went out on a date with Daddy? Well, she asked her Daddy on another one.  As we are commencing austerity measures, I insisted suggested we have dinner at home.

Step 1, set a nice table:
Step 2, pick a pretty dress:
(since she spent an hour sorting out her outfit, I'll show you the whole look)
Step 3, custom menu:  Kraft dinner and chicken nuggets.
Step 4, find the right kind of help to create the right atmosphere
A private moment:
Sometimes I want to freeze the moments to savour later.