Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Colour of Flowers

Join Down Wit Dat on the 21st of Every Month!

I wonder why many nations on this planet wait until politicians are old and tainted by age before their public elects them to perform as their representative.

The greatest thoughts come out of idealistic young minds. The most fantastic I've heard to date just came out of my (almost) 3 year old daughter.

Erin: "What colour is Erin?"

Me: "Mmm, I don't know. What colour is Erin?"

Erin: "Erin is the colour of flowers 'cuz I smell good."

Granted, the comment is cute coming from a young child. The innocent logic behind it is brilliant. How many times have you heard someone say or yourself said, "It's what's inside that counts."

For some reason, that principle doesn't apply to people. Why?

Why are we so insistent on dividing ourselves into black or white, yellow or brown, striped or polka-dot? Smart or stupid? Christian or Muslim?  Abled or Disabled? Go on and poke any two people with a stick until they bleed. There are over six billion people on this planet and all of them have the same shade of red blood.

Maybe there will soon come a day when the people on this little blue and white marble will look beyond the pigment of skin, IQ, religion and ability and really see what lies beneath. Maybe there will soon come a day when we are all the colour of flowers.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Day In the Life...

Baking has never been as much fun as it is with the assistance of two ambitious and intelligent toddlers. One will give the impression that they are eager to help in the manner carefully described by mommy while the other samples the batter. The sampling starts harmlessly enough. A little dip of the fingertip, then the whole finger, soon by the handful and if left unattended for more than 8 seconds, I'll surely find two delighted children, covered in cookie batter from the waist up.

Ty's "cheeeese" face

Yesterday I made banana muffins. From the moment I measured the butter (the first ingredient), my mission was to protect the batter (well, butter) from curious fingers by racing around the house, the bowl under one arm, whipping and mixing with my wooden spoon in the other hand, stopping only briefly to measure and add the next ingredient, all the while being relentlessly pursued.

Finally, I had all the ingredients added and mixed. All that needed to be done was put the batter into muffin tins and deliver them to the sanctuary of the oven. I put the bowl of batter on the kitchen counter and turned my back on it only long enough to open a cupboard door, bend down and pick up two muffin tins. When I turned around, I discovered that if Ty stands on his toes, he can get his hand in the muffin batter all the way up to his elbow.

"I wuv mama muffins," he says between swallowing one fistful and cupping his hand for another dip, "Deeeee-lis-us!"

* * *
This morning, I opened the door to the kids' bedroom and was warmly welcomed with big smiles and a hearty stereophonic "Hi Mommy!" Ty reaches for his morning mommy hug and races out of the bedroom.

"I build a big rocket ship!" This proud exclamation I normally expect from Ty, but he's happily awaiting "mail" in my bedroom closet. Erin stands in front of me, beaming.

"Oh! Did you?" I respond, now noticing the open and empty top drawer of their dresser.

Erin and Buzz Lightyear

Did I say empty drawer.  Make that drawers.  And the closet it empty.  Sippy cups, assorted toys, and every piece of clothing they both own is piled in a heap on Erin's bed.

"I build a big rocket ship!"

I'm rarely described as jovial first thing in the morning, and never before I've had breakfast and a coffee. Faced with a rather large project to content with before I can pry both my eyes open doesn't do much to improve my morning disposition. That being said, there's something uniquely disarming about a smiling toddler touting her creative achievements .

"Is it boo-tee-fol?"

"Yes sweetheart," I respond, smiling, "it's beautiful."

* * *
"Ty, how old are you right now?"


"And how old are you going to be on your birthday?"


"Erin, what would you like for your birthday?"


"Sure, you can have candles for your birthday. Ty, what would you like for your birthday?"


Erin and Ty snuggling in the satellite chair

"Balloons and candles! That sounds like fun! You guys are getting so big, do you know what you want to be when you grow up?"

To which Erin quite seriously replies, "Bigger".

Friday, September 12, 2008

Mother's Little Helper

Wanted: Toddler size body armour with well-padded helmet

Whoever up or out there in charge of life, the universe and everything, I want to personally thank you for all I've been blessed with and smack the stuffing out of you for having such a wickedly sick sense of humour.

Wednesday afternoon, we were all making our way, our usual careful way, up the stairs for naptime. The kids are very good with stairs in both directions, and maybe that's why my guard went down.

They both started out evenly just ahead of me, but Erin rounded the corner at the top and took the lead. We have a gate installed at the top of the stairs, mostly to keep the cat out of the bedrooms and I had to unlatch that to get Erin up to the top floor so she wouldn't be precariously perched on a narrow piece of floor. I opened the gate, and made sure Erin was safely balanced on the floor and turned my attention to Ty.

As I was on my way down the two steps to get behind him, he tried to climb up to the next step and missed. He sat down, his first instinct when gravity exerts an unequal force on his frame, and planted his bum on the stair beneath him. That started a horrific chain of events that involved him falling backward and head first down the stairs, catching his shoulder on a step that flipped his entire body over his head onto his belly and the sommersault finally ended with him on his back on the bottom landing.

Meanwhile, I'm just a step behind him with 2 Buzz Lightyears in my hands - which get tossed I-don't-care-where and I so badly want this tumble to end, but I know if I intervene at the wrong time, I could hurt him worse than the stairs.

Finally he stops and I'm beside him on the bottom landing, carefully, methodically, quickly looking for anything out of place. Is he conscious? Is he breathing? Is he....

And he wails, "Kiss it betterrrrrrrr!"

A couple hundred kisses and a big hug from mommy made it all better. Ty and Buzz Lightyear were reunited and we went back up the stairs for that naptime. Except this time, I carried Ty.

Up in bed, I told Erin that Ty had a big owie. She climbs over into Ty's bed and kisses him on the head and as she gently rubs his chest, asks, "All better, buddy?"

This morning, I was admiring the little bit of rug rash on Ty's neck - the worst of injuries sustained from his battle with gravity. I am just starting to entertain the notion that maybe the experience will teach him to be a little more careful when Ty highdives off the sofa, to the floor (onto his head, of course) and crashes into a pile of hard plastic toys. He barely whimpers as he shows me where I need to plant a kiss on his forehead. Then he gives me a big smile, jumps up and races back to the couch for more.

It's been said that fate protects fools and little children. Kids are seemingly indestructible by design. Myself on the other hand, well... let's just say I have a new appreciation for the Rolling Stones...

"running for the shelter of her mother's little helper..."

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Two years

"I'm still wild but not lost from the thing that I've chosen to be"

Wow - the kids are two! I know I've been pleasantly distracted by the endless stream of changes and developments in our lives and I apologize for the lack of photos to share with everybody. It just seems that when I finally get the time to upload a batch of photos, I have a hundred or so more to download off the camera.

Ty and Erin had their 2 year checkup last week. Ty weighed in at 26lbs and Erin has overtaken her brother at 26lbs, 7oz. I've abandoned all hope of getting Ty to eat what I cook for Erik and I. While Erin will eat anything she can catch with a fork or spoon, Ty prefers pizza and a homemade vegetable conglomeration of squash, carrots and potato spiced with cinnamon. I often hear of parents hiding veggies in their children's pasta. I have to hide pasta in my son's vegetables, as futile as that would be because he consistently finds the offending noodles and ejects them, clean.  Every. Last. One.

Both are talking up a storm. Erin is quite the chatterbox and a budding macaw. Needless to say, any and all words of an unsuitable nature are carefully avoided - not always successfully. Ty on the other hand doesn't have Erin's vocabulary, but I was relieved to discover after reading the milestones in the Toddler Years Handbook that Ty's vocabulary includes at least 50 words - evidently the minimum for a child of two. I'm sure nobody but Erik and I care, but here they are...

apple, again, arm, banana, blue, bye, call, dada, down, dessert, eight, eye, fan, feet, fish, five, fork, four, grapes, green, hair, hello, help, hide, home, knee, knife, mama, milk, more, night, nine, nose, oatmeal, off
okay, on, one, onion, orange, purple, red, run, seven, shoe, six, so, ten, three, two, up, yellow

There are more than this list and I hear new words every day.

They're into size 4 diapers, size 7 shoes and balls of all sizes. Erin loves to help me make banana muffins and spinning in circles until she's too dizzy to stand. Ty loves playing the piano and building tall towers with lego.

They are learning how to be gentle with the cat and Riley has been extremely patient with both of them. An astounding feat considering he was never fond of anything less than 4 feet tall.

Two years.

"Because you thrill me, silence me, still me. Prove things I'd never believe"

Two years ago, I was so unprepared for this journey. Two years later, I can't fathom the passage of time that has brought us to this point. Whenever we can share a snuggle or a passing hug, I instinctually call them both "baby". Erin will now stop and look me in the eye as she claims, "I'm not a baby. I'm a big girl."

In two more years, I'll be registering them for school...