Posts Tagged ‘kids’

valentine's day 2009 002

This is the first time any of the kids has managed to take me completely by surprise. Usually I catch wind of whatever they have up their sleeve long before it happens, or I orchestrate the surprise myself, giving one of them the seed of an idea, and then “forgetting” when the time comes.

I stumbled into the kitchen this morning to the sight of the construction paper hearts, and my eyes actually filled with tears.

Such exuberant love.

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koop party 020

I think I saw the seeds of an idea being planted in my boy’s head yesterday.

We were at a groovin’ party that had an actual live band. There were oodles of kids of all ages, and my four were in with the rest, drinking root beer, clowning around and having the sort of time kids always have when they’re unsupervised at a grownup party. Tee found a gang of like-minded boys to practice skateboard tricks with (these cool cats actually built a half-pipe in their backyard, talk about a kid magnet) but the moment he noticed the band setting up, he abandoned his friends and skinnied up the tree house so that he could watch. He sat there, mesmerized, watching every move those young men made, and then turned to me with a gleam in his eye saying, “Didja see those drums?”

As a parent you can do your best to expose your kids to the things you think they should know about. You can read to them, take them to cultural events, bring them up in the neighborhood you think is best, whatever, but ultimately, it’s impossible to predict which moments end up being the ones that spark an interest. I often wonder what about their childhoods my kids will remember, which things will loom large and which will be forgotten. Even now, they sometimes tell me about something I said that was terribly important to them that I don’t have any recollection of, or want to reminisce about some event or other that I don’t even remember happening.

I wonder which of their random experiences will end up being the life altering ones. I hope someday I’ll find out.

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sept 06 2008 001

This is a picture of Tee reflected in one of the mirrors in the periscope he built this evening.

I suggested he build a periscope when I saw him playing with a couple of small mirrors and a flashlight, not thinking that he would actually be able to figure out how to do it, but after scrummaging around a bit with scissors, plasticine and tape, he built one out of an empty milk carton, a cardboard tea box that he emptied the tea bags out of, and the two mirrors.

I was genuinely astonished, and he was truly delighted. Here he is in a dark closet, trying to see if the light he shines at the bottom will come out the other end.

sept 06 2008 004

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The week before she left for her diving trip L didn’t seem interested in playing with friends. She hung around the house, reading, packing, and making up crazy games for the little kids. Her parting gift to Jay was a trip to the playground, and a lesson on back flips off the swing set. She swung really, really high, and then vaulted off the seat and did a back flip in the air before landing, sometimes adding a twist. By the time we left for home, a cadre of smaller children had gathered to ooh and aah, which initially had Jay glowing in vicarious pride, but soon resulted in her retreating to the monkey bars in a sulk. She sobbed all the way home about how nobody noticed HER, nobody cared about HER, and how much she hated being the youngest.

Fast forward two days and Jay is at that playground every chance she gets, trying to get up the courage to do what L did. I went with her this morning, and she tried to get me to rate her “flips” on a scale of one to ten. Then she asked me to be the announcer of the Monkey Bar Olympics, giving me my script, which went something like It’s the world-famous Jay, winner of eight gold medals, attempting the dangerous one-handed manouver, and we would ask the audience to not use flash photography as it might distract the athlete, and here she goes, look at her go, it’s Jay ladies and gentlemen, doing a double bar skip, please hold your applause, and she’s done, she’s finished, it’s Jay, winner of yet another gold medal for Canada.

Clearly a fourth child in a family of over-achievers.

Luckily for number three, he’s oblivious to the relentless race for success. He eschewed the trip to the playground in favor of more fulfilling activities, like making full body costumes out of paper and electrical tape. Stop! Do not enter the realm of the vile and evil masked knight…..


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Garage Sale


Looking at Jay in this photo you might be thinking that she was in that chair against her will, but she was actually gleefully participating in our neighbor’s garage sale. At the moment I took the picture she was clutching the change purse that she was in charge of, and keeping a close eye on the bargain hunters. This is a kid that likes nothing more than Having Things to Arrange, and whose little face glows with pride when she’s given any responsibility. Today was a dream day for her. She begged to go with me to help move furniture, and when I went home, she stayed on to help organize and price the items. Then she was promoted to change collector, and to her delight, given an official place to sit.


Here she is, greeting a garage sale hopeful.

She sat in that driveway from 7:30am until nearly 3 in the afternoon, right till the sale’s bitter end. When the last of the unsold trinkets was boxed back up, our kind neighbor gave Jay ten dollars for all her hard work, which I tried unsuccessfully to give right back, saying that Jay would have paid HER to be allowed to work the sale. I’m sad that our neighbor is moving. She’s been a grandmotherly presence for the kids, and they’re really going to miss her.

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Team Effort


It took 4 kids 3.5 hours to move 3 yards of soil from the driveway to the newly built raised-bed planter. I helped them at the very beginning, but once it became clear that they were more than capable of doing the work without me, I took the opportunity to transplant some very tall, thin and straggly tomato seedlings. It was a terribly productive day in the garden, and it gave me a renewed appreciation for how hard those kids can work.
Interestingly, once the job was done, Tee took off into the house, and I didn’t hear a peep out of him for the rest of the day. I guess after several hours of hard physical labour he felt the need for some solitude. Not so young Jay. The shoveling just whet her appetite for work. She and I spent till suppertime planting carrots, lettuce, spinach, cucumbers, dill, oregano, and parsley. Then we watered all the newly planted seeds and took the laundry off the line. When we went into the house I wished and wished that dinner would magically make itself, and as usual, it didn’t, but I did still have an eager little helper, so at least I didn’t have to peel the potatoes.

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I Love…

… that when the kids get up in the morning they’re bursting with enthusiasm for all of the projects they have planned. Glue sticks, masking tape, toilet paper tubes, shoe boxes, plasticine, markers, chalk, and paint were all in use this morning even before breakfast. They don’t need ideas from me, and they hardly ever say that they’re bored. Love it, love it, love it.


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