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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 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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Lesson of the Day: Birthday Parties Are Not For the Weak

Today’s Lesson: Birthday parties are not for the weak or next year they’re going bowling.

We now have two kids in the house who were born in January. This is unfortunate. Why? I’m sorry you thought that, now I’ll have to tell you.

For starters, our children are spoiled. Between us, my parents, Ian’s mother, his father, his Aunt and Uncle, and Aiden’s grandfather, the three of them come out of Christmas looking like bandits with all the presents and cash that they get. This leaves us with the problem of trying to figure out what to get for them immediately after they got everything they wanted and some things they didn’t realize that they wanted (I swear next year they get clothes…but then they’re spoiled and they don’t need clothes either).

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Lesson of the Day: Children and Refrigerators Don’t Mix

Today’s Lesson: Children and refrigerators don’t mix or why breaking your child of the bottle habit is a good idea.

The air balance turned way down

Almost a year ago, Liam got into the habit of opening the fridge just to see what was in there. I learned afterward, that he had also been playing with the temperature control dials. Who the heck places them in an easy to reach place in the first place – I recall many fridges where they were on the side near the back not right up at the front where any almost 3-year-old can touch them. I found it odd that everything in the fridge seemed overly cold so I had been adjusting the fridge temperature up. What I didn’t notice until I went to get something out of the freezer was that he had also increased the freezer temperature up causing all of the ice cream to melt and the frozen vegetables to thaw. I believe there was some meat in there too, which I ended up cooking over the next couple days.

After I fixed the settings for both the fridge and the freezer, I made extra sure to make sure that Liam wasn’t touching anything when he opened the fridge to get something out. I eventually got all of the caramel cleaned out of the freezer but I still haven’t replaced the ice cream…that can wait.

Control instructions

Now, Liam is three and a half. Liam is a huge three who looks like he’s five…but he’s not, he’s still just three. Despite our efforts, he still loves his bottle. We’ve been told for nearly two years now that he should not be using it any longer but we can’t break him of the habit. In fact, in September, when a doctor told us to take it away from him, he stopped drinking altogether and I had to give it back. This bottle is pretty much the bane of my days. Every time I get settled down nursing Callan, Liam wants more milk. I get him tucked into bed and he wants more milk. He refuses to drink milk from a glass because he wants it from his bottle.

Usually, we take his bottle away after he falls asleep (he wasn’t actually drinking from it anyway) and he’s none the wiser. Sometimes, he wakes up and cries because he can’t find it. Then he makes one of us get him a fresh bottle. Last night, I took the bottle away shortly after he fell asleep and put it in the fridge for morning (as opposed to wasting perfectly good milk…heh). I finally got Callan and I settled in bed around two and by that point he hadn’t woken up. This morning, when Ian woke up for work, he found the fridge door open about 6 inches…enough to keep the light on. The bottle was not in the fridge. It was, in fact, on Liam’s bed next to him with the lid still on it.

Our spoiled milk collection

There was a full 4L jug of 2% milk in there, a full 1L carton of 3.25% milk, about half a 2L carton of 1% and another 4L jug of 2% with less than a liter left. How fridge has this strange ability to freeze the items at the back while keeping at the front cool. I figured I’d try that full 4L jug since it had been at the back. If any of the milk was still good, that would be it. Sadly, Aiden informed me that it tasted a little funny (all milk tastes funny to me). So here I am with approximately 7L of sour milk all for the sake of a few ounces.

When he got up this morning, I informed him that he may no longer (not that he was allowed to in the first place) get his bottle out of the fridge during the night. He must get a parent to get it for him.

I hope we’re not in for another round of refrigerator wars. I also hope that Callan won’t cause as many problems with the fridge as Liam has. It’s not even a full day after I declared my intent to make sure that we’re not wasting very much food and now I’ve got to figure out a way to use all that milk so that it doesn’t go to waste.

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Lesson of the Week: Don’t Leave Your Bike Out…

This week’s lesson: Don’t leave your bike out or it may get stolen.

In a way, this lesson has been in the making since last year. We were still in the rented house over the summer and it had steps leading down to the garage. These steps, combined with Mr. Forgetful’s innate ability to never be responsible for anything led to him not putting his bike away for the majority of summer last year. Ian would frequently remind him to put it away, and yet he would leave it out for weeks at a time (apparently being in the fenced-in back yard protected it). We moved. There are no steps leading to the garage – though there are a few once you get IN the garage…unless you go in from the back alley, in which case there are none.

In the spring, he passed a bike safety test so we told him he’d get to ride to specific places in the neighbourhood this summer. He didn’t. To be fair, the first part of the summer saw the boys banned from playing in the yard due to a massive ant population that Ian was trying to deal with (ask me about the ant wars sometime). I’m convinced that since the survivors merely migrated to the back corner of the lot that they actually won, but that has nothing to do with Aiden and his bike. Later in the summer, he would occasionally go to the park by our old place to play with the kids he played with last year. I recall one incident where his chain came off and he left his bike on the side of the road to continue home to get a toy!

Finally, September rolled around and we sent him off to school..on his bike…with a bike lock. Pretty much the whole household was sick at the beginning of September (I blame Ian). One morning, Aiden left his agenda on the table when he left. I (while still sick) took it up to the school for him and took that chance to check out his bike. He was actually using his bike lock! And then he would come home and leave his bike in the backyard. Of course, he learned last year that a fence would protect it!

Nearly two months went by with Aiden leaving his bike in the yard instead of the garage and Ian reminding him, to no avail, to put it away. Then a few things happened: first, Aiden broke the lock on the gate (I swear it sounded like he was trying to kick the door in). Second, he brought friends over (one of whom  had never met before but that’s a story for another day) through the backyard where his bike supposedly still was. Third, when he left to go to school on Monday, his bike was missing. Not only was his bike missing, but Mr. Forgetful forgot what he had done with it. He grabbed my key to check the garage, then checked his backpack to see if he had his bike lock in case he left his bike behind at school on Friday(!) and then he started thinking that he had left it across the street on the weekend even though he hadn’t touched his helmet since he got home from school on Friday. I believe reality set in a little when he had to walk to school Monday morning…especially since he had been wasting time before getting ready to leave and didn’t have time to go across the street to look for his bike.

Ian replaced the lock on Sunday and I didn’t hear anyone trying to get in the gate after that, so chances are that it was gone before then. It may not have been one of the kids that Aiden brought over on Saturday, but the timing strikes me as odd since he’d left the bike out for months and it only disappeared after a couple of shorter kids realized that it was really easy to open our gate when the lock was broken.

This is by far the biggest ticket item that he has lost over the past year (the others being 3 water bottles and a pair of snow pants). Unsurprisingly, he’s not too concerned about replacing his bike now that he knows he’ll be paying a portion of the cost of a new one. In fact, when I informed him that he’d be shelling out some of his own money for a new bike, he resorted to his standard passive-aggressive behaviour for when things don’t get handed to him for nothing and told me that he didn’t want a new bike anyway. The sad news there is that he doesn’t have much of a choice. If he wants some freedom, he’s going to want a bike and he’ll have to take care of it, too.

Really, this boils down to two lessons: 1) don’t leave things out or they may get stolen and 2) listen to your father when he tells you to do something.

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