Perspective – Through the Eyes of a Two-Year-Old

Yesterday, with the threat of rain looming, we figured we should get some yard work done. The goal was to get all the leftover leaves cleaned up and fertilize and seed the lawn before it rained. I put the two older boys to work bagging the leaves I had raked a couple weeks ago and then took the rake to the other side of the lawn so I could rake and bag over there. Ian was on fertilizing duty and was trying to set everything up while watching the littlest one (now two).

Unfortunately, watching the little one wasn’t conducive to getting work done. Ian ended up taking him inside and feeding him watermelon and milk while we worked. While the boys bagged up the seventh bag from the front lawn, I ended up on watching the kiddo duty. I took him to the back yard to finish up the last bag from there (the fifth bag back there this spring) that I hadn’t gotten done before the birthday party earlier in the week.

He ran around and tossed leaves all over the place and tried helping by throwing leaves at the bag. He even managed to get some of those leaves in the bag. When the boys finished their bag off, I had them take him in to wash up and got a plate of watermelon for them to eat on the little table outside. Even then he ran around and played as he ate his watermelon.

Later in the day as I rested, exhausted from the day’s work, I asked C if he’d had fun today. His response? “Yes, I played with Mummy and Daddy.” It hit me then that even though we thought we were getting work done, he thought he was playing with us. It’s a little lesson that sometimes you just need to spend time doing things with your children as opposed to trying to keep them entertained.

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Lesson of the Day: If You’re Going to Send a Child to School…

Today’s Lesson: If you’re going to send a child to school after a week of being sick, at least make sure there is school.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but after a summer of giving the boys some slack, I look forward to September to get them all back into a routine. We’d just finished up the first full week of school and Liam’s first week of preschool (an hour on Friday just doesn’t really count as preschool starting in my books) and I was planning to have this past week go even better since it takes a little time to get back in the groove. Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans…

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Lesson of the Day: If You’re Going to Forget an Appointment…

Today’s Lesson: If you’re going to forget an appointment, then at least live within walking distance.

I seem to be racking up a few “not the first time” experiences. The most recent one is the forgotten dentist appointment. Last year, when Callan was still tiny, we got a call from the dentist asking if we were going to show up for the boys’ appointment. We were already late! Thankfully, we live about a seven minute walk from the dentist. We dragged the boys out the door and got them there before our time was up.

Yesterday, I remembered the dentist appointment and I didn’t remember it. I knew that Liam had an appointment. In fact it was written on the calendar. Every time I walked by, I reminded myself that I had to get him there. I planned the day around it and made sure the boys had plenty of time for lunch before we had to leave. When Aiden asked if he had to go too, I said, “No, you can stay home. It’s just Liam’s appointment.”

I got the two little boys out the door and to the dentist with time to spare. When I got there, I found out that their usual dentist was no longer with them (she had found a full time position at another office and no longer had the time to pick up extra shifts). We waited for a little while and then someone came over to tell us it would be another five minutes before they’d be ready for us. When the hygienist came out for us, they asked which boy was going first: Liam or Aiden…

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Lesson of the Day: If You’re Going to Put Something In the Oven…

Today’s Lesson: If you’re going to put something in the oven, then you should at least turn it on first.

This was not the first time – nor will it be the last – that I’ve tried to put food in a cold oven. When I was still at my parent’s house, I got used to only having to turn one dial to turn the oven on. I can’t recall if my mother’s oven was permanently set to bake and we changed the temperature or if it was always at 350 and we turned the other dial to bake. Either way, I only turned one. That stuck in my head.

Now that I have my own oven, I know darn well that I have to turn both dials simply because I keep turning both off when I’m done. Yet every now and then, I find myself forgetting and lapsing back to what I grew up with. Today was one of those days. I started out well: I had taken chicken out of the freezer to thaw early in the day and figured I’d have the kids eating at a decent time. I followed up by cleaning the bathroom when I should have been prepping dinner. It was okay though; I was just going to throw s o me stuff in a Ziplock bag, add the chicken, shake and then stuff it in the oven.

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Lesson of the Day: If You Really Wanted to Help…

Today’s lesson: If you really wanted to help, then you would have offered to get up with the crying baby instead of offering to stay in bed with him.

It’s summer and school just let out last week. That means that Grandma is back in town – or more specifically back in the guest room. I guess here is where I make a couple confessions: 1) I co-sleep with the baby. This comes from not wanting to spend hours sleeping in the rocking chair like I did with Liam. 2) We kicked Ian out of bed (and into the guest room) so that all three of us could get more sleep. We’ve had the occasional guest since Grandma left last year, but they all stayed for only one (weekend) night and we suffered through it. Grandma’s visit is different: it lasts about a month.

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Mother In Waiting

I have a friend – Cheryl – whom I’ve known for well over 20 years. The other day, I got a message from her asking for help. While many of the rest of people I went to school with have had at least one child (if they want any), she and her husband are struggling. Over the past few years, they’ve dealt with a variety of health problems and preexisting conditions. The result of these problems and conditions is that natural conception is not an option for them. She and her husband would love to have children and would be great parents to any children they manage to have. They have attempted In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) already which resulted in a pregnancy that, unfortunately, ended in the miscarriage of a much loved and wanted baby.

Cheryl and Colin would like to try IVF again, but the cost is prohibitive. It costs $14,000 per treatment. That’s $14,000 that our provincial health plans won’t cover. They’re asking for help because even with them both working (and Cheryl at two jobs), it’s difficult for them to pull together that $14,000 without going into debt. They’ve already raised 1/10th of the funds they need for the procedure but they still need another $12,600 .

She asked me to help spread the word. So this is for Cheryl – a mother-in-waiting: if you can spare a little bit, please go here to donate. If you can’t, please consider helping to spread the word so that those who can donate have the chance to help Cheryl and Colin start their family.

To all those who help even just a little bit, thank you.

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The Consequences of Bad Behavior

Ian and I have banned two children from our house. It may just be a temporary banning if they can prove that they know how to act in public and when they are guests, but if they continue to behave as they did on Sunday, they will not be allowed back.

One of them – I called him Trevor in my birthday party lesson – was a mini-misogynist on top of being extra loud and somewhat defiant. Now I understand being excited because you’re at a party and was totally willing to make allowances for that, but this went beyond that. He spent a great deal of time walking around point at or framing his crotch, cupping imaginary breasts, and talking about bottoms. He did this in front of all the other guests – two of whom were female – as well as Ian and the two little guys. I saw a bit of it, but I mostly heard about it second hand from Ian who eventually told him that it wasn’t cool or funny.

This didn’t stop him from making disgusting comments, tough. While they were eating, he went on an on about stealing all the poop from the toilets. I can understand how this can be funny to a group of 8-10 year olds…the first time. Unfortunately, he just wouldn’t let it die. Another time, he yelled at everyone to “Shut up” essentially because he wasn’t getting any attention. The worst (in my books) though, was after we handed out the treat bags. They all got a cap gun because spies need a gun. There was only one green one and Liam requested it the day before. Once the bags were all handed out, Trevor kept going on and on about how he wanted the green one. When I wouldn’t give him what he wanted, he took it…twice (I caught him the first time and made him give it back). The second time, he went so far as to wait until Liam had put it down and then tied it in his bag. I was not amused. Aiden even mentioned in the morning that he thinks that Trevor took the green gun.

The second little guy I referred to as Sam. Sam showed up with a broken nose. His mother asked me to make sure that he wasn’t around any rough elbows or anything else that could re-break his nose. I assured her that we’d make sure he was careful. When she was out of sight, he started moving and I swear he didn’t stop until I yelled at him to sit down after he almost knocked me over (this was near the end of the party). We caught him snooping in Ian’s office and in Liam’s bedroom. He had a habit of being in the opposite part of the house from the rest of the kids: if they were in Aiden’s room, he was in the dining room and if they came upstairs, he tried sneaking around downstairs.

Sam ran circles at top speed around the wall dividing the kitchen and living room and didn’t care who he bumped into…he also didn’t apologize. He ignored us when we asked him to stop. He didn’t listen to instructions (and consequently shot his grandmother during training…you don’t fire as soon as you turn the corner) and pushed his way to the front when they lined up to try not to trip the laser beam (streamer) alarm hallway – he also does not understand the meaning of one at a time.

Apparently, he jumped on Aiden’s bed as soon as he got in there. He mucked with Aiden’s Darth Vader bobble head and wound up ruining it. He opened the map of the Enterprise which had been given it Ian by the guy who designed it (that had been hiding in a closet). Over all, he respected nothing and no one.

Then there was the incident where he pushed me out of his way while I was holding Callan. I nearly fell over and he didn’t even have the decency to apologize. As it was, there was no need for him to go in that direction. The rest of the kids had come upstairs and turned left into the living room. He decided to go for another lap around the wall. I yelled. I yelled at some other mother’s son and I do not at all feel sorry for it. Granted, I should have just sent him home when he proved that he couldn’t behave, I didn’t want to do that to Aiden.

Those two are also the reason that the entire group didn’t get the invisible ink from the treat  bags. We figured if they were that horrible at listening to instructions then they’d probably burn their parents’ houses down trying to make a message appear.

When the dust had settled, Ian and I quickly came to the conclusion that neither of the two boys should be allowed back in our house until they settle down and can behave in modern polite society. We won’t, however tell Aiden that he can’t play with or be friends with them. That would only lead to defiance.

I broke the news to Aiden at breakfast and he seemed understanding. He was rather upset that Sam had broken one or two of his toys as it was. I imagine having his parents say that Sam is not allowed back saves him from the embarrassment of – at some point – having to say that he doesn’t want Sam to come back. When it comes to Trevor, Aiden said that he, “kept talking about yucky stuff,” and he didn’t like that.

It ended up being the perfect lead-in to how we expect the boys to behave when they’re in someone’s house as guests. It all boils down to, “better than you would at home.” I also laid out the consequences for him should he ever behave like Sam and Trevor did: he won’t be allowed to visit anyone until he proves to us that he knows how to behave.

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