Mama, Me

 

My children are alive.

I’m doing okay.

Some days they even thrive.

Hip hip hooray!

Most days they laugh and smile.

I’m succeeding in some way.

They make me laugh too,

every single day.

Sometimes they fight,

but I have some sway.

Sometimes they hug,

and I get my way.

They’ll have rough days,

that might lead them astray.

They’ll have adventures,

that might take them away.

But I am their Mama,

my heart knows no bounds.

Our souls intertwined,

forever we’ll stay.

xxo

C

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Baby J

 

 

Out Of The Cave and Into The Pool

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For us, Winter is about hibernation. We go sledding and stuff but we don’t schedule a lot of activities. I’m not going to be on time. I used to be an “early” person, but my kids don’t care about that. 4 snowsuits, 4 hats, 4 scarves, 8 boots, 8 mittens, I can’t. I just can’t guarantee that we’ll make it. Plus weather. Plus we’ve almost always had a baby and/or toddler to deal with for the last 7 years. Ugh! So we make up for it the other three seasons. Spring is here and so we are diving in! (see what I did there?) Swim lessons have begun. O and E have been before but this is G’s first class. She’s been in our kids pool, but not had a class yet. Here’s the thing though, G is a Stage 5 clinger. She’s not overly shy, but she does need a minute to judge you or the situation. Last Summer she was a little braver in the water than the year before, but still a little weary. She preferred walking around in the pool or floating on a blow-up chair. She’d cling to us anytime we attempted to tilt her. So, yes, I was a little worried that she wouldn’t be having any of it once she actually got to the water. She was really excited though. I think it helped that E’s class was first and had the same instructor. That gave her a chance to make her assessments from the sidelines. Once it was her turn she was ready to go, and she did a great job.

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Registration was actually a pain. They added more days (I was told excitedly) but that actually meant less choice for us. No matter how we spun it, O was going on a different afternoon than E and G, and to keep those two together (or in this case back to back) we had to choose morning classes instead of afternoon. That means I get to trek out to the pool Monday mornings, with 4 kids, while my husband is at work. Big-family problems, am I right? On the plus side, the classes are small and the pool is relatively quiet at that time.

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Because homeschool is actually Anywhere-School, O was able to get some catch-up work done and wasn’t bored waiting an hour for his sisters. Win! (My husband is with him at his class as I write this!)

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When it was G’s turn in the pool, E got in on the school work too! They actually got a lot done and we only had a few little things to do once we got home. Schedule flexibility is definitely a homeschooling pro for me.

I can feel Spring seeping in now. It takes awhile when you live in a place that’s still at risk of snowstorms as late as Easter! It’s been raining all day here. The earth is beginning to warm up. As it stands that scent of fresh air is still marred by the scent of melting dog shit, floating on the breeze, but I know that after a few rains and a few sprouts of green pop up, that good earthy scent will take hold. The really good smell, that makes you want to read beside an open window.

Let’s go Spring!

xxo

C

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Walking home. Always with the branches! 

 

O x 7

Seven. SEVEN? WHAAAAT? How? When? A minute ago he was turning one. Waddle walking around and climbing onto the couch. Now he’s seven. Running, jumping, parkouring off of my furniture seven!

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All of the science says that 6 is a big year. Their brains go through a huge change. Who they really are starts to come through. Some books call it the first puberty. Now that I’ve experienced it, I’d say that’s accurate. O isn’t a completely different person than he was last year but he’s certainly a more multi-faceted creature. There are more layers, more moving parts. He has deeper thoughts and bigger opinions now. One of those opinions is that he doesn’t want to and doesn’t have to. ‘What?’ you ask? Depends on the day or moment! School work, going outside to play, eating ice cream! There doesn’t seem to be a rhyme or reason and I think that throws a lot of parents for a loop, but here’s the thing: we’re all like that! There is no reason, it’s just a human thing. He’s a human, and every day he’s just trying to suss out what that entails.

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O is a really good dude. He’s fun, funny, kind, and caring. He loves playing with his siblings, is an excellent helper, and adores when his cousins visit. He’s hesitant about trying new things like putting his face in the water at the pool, or washing his hair in the shower by himself, but he’s learning about bravery and how it’s not about fearlessness, it’s about thinking it through and then doing the right thing in the face of fear. He’s understanding larger concepts now and is getting better at engaging in conversations (although he is still the  master of soliloquies and monologues!).

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Super Into

Minecraft: All day, everyday, always, forever. The bulk of his monologues are Minecraft related.

YouTube: Go ahead and guess what kind of YouTube videos he prefers? Yeah, Minecraft. I mean, come on!

Savoury Foods: He likes candy and cake like anybody but he’d walk away 3 bites in if he felt like it. He really likes savoury. He’s always been a broccoli guy, but recently he’s been upping his pallet game for things he didn’t care for previously like onions and veggie lasagna. He’s always been a BBQ sauce over Ketchup kind of kid.

Role Play: Acting out characters is big for him right now. It helps that G is a consummate actor and E has an excellent imagination and flare for costumes, so they can play pretend for ages. He enjoys make-believe and that fills my heart.

Lego: This kid is all about that Master Builder life! He loves putting together the kits as well as creating his own. Bricks, Batman, video games, Lego has got O covered. He loves all of it.

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Becoming a parent makes you really think about what kind of life you want to lead. The kind of person you want to be. The kind of example you want to lead by. Having him, kicked off this amazing adventure. He is the driving force behind our life outside the box. Our fiery Aries, with his big personality and quick temper. With his quick tears and larger than life joy.

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To you, my O, my Monster, my burning heart, I dream you’ll have a life of adventure. That you’ll remember to use safety gear while diving in with both feet (which you will do even when you’re scared.) I wish you friends that have your back and love that fills your heart. I hope you are always as empathetic as you are right now and that you never stop wearing your heart on your sleeve. I wish you the strength and perseverance to stand up for what’s right and fight for those that can’t. I hope that your life is full of magic and light and that your childhood bolsters you against the naysayers. You are a believer, a wizard, a beacon. I hope those qualities stay and grow with you. Above all else I hope you feel loved.

Because I love you hotter than the sun my love.

Call me anytime you need. Night or day. 2am. Whenever. I’ll be right here. Always.

xxo

C

 

One

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That first year. Oh man, that first year. No matter how many times you do it, it’s a whirlwind. Love, hormones, exhaustion, schedules, diapers, outfit changes, milestone after milestone, (did I mention the love?) all coming at you from every direction. Whirling, spinning, tightening, and releasing. I made a conscious effort to savour the moments. I took deep breaths. I tried not take on too much. I chose snuggles over schedules. I chose giggles over battles. I chose one day at a time, and yet here we are, a year gone by, and it felt like a second. Like a heartbeat.

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This guy right here. Baby J. He’s such a little character. Dubbed (by me) The Happiest Babe In The Land, he has no shortage of smiles. He has his crusty moments (currently cutting 4 teeth!) but the smiles, the giggles, they are plentiful. He’s our little Good Time Charlie!

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A year is so short a time to change so much. Every week he’s a little different. Every growth spurt matures his tiny face. A moment ago he watched, wide-eyed, from his swaying bucket seat, now he’s into everything. EVERYTHING! He’s really hitting his fresh toddler stride right now. Touching, climbing, pulling things out, pushing all of the buttons, pulling all of the strings.

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I’m not one to compare my children in a ‘one vs the other’ kind of way, but I do think it’s funny to see who they act the most like. In looks? He’s O. Fairer, yes, but O in the eyes, ears, mouth, and nose. His attitude though? E. E all the way! The Tank is our woo girl, but also the sassiest little sass monster you’ll ever meet. Baby J is her mini. The two of them are always running around together, screaming, dancing, and carrying on. He loves all of his big sister’s nonsense. They laugh the biggest and cry the most outrageously. You know the cry I’m talking about. That real open mouth one. The one that sounds a little like a siren, like they want to make sure you heard it, but it sometimes turns off abruptly when they get what they want. Uh-huh…

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Baby J is the sweetest last babe a parent could ask for. He’s a solid snuggler, a great hugger of late. He’s just figured out the open-mouthed drool kiss which is gross to a non-parent but oh so sweet to us seasoned vets. His laugh is so pure and smile so bright it does make me feel like I’m doing okay in the Mama department. It’s inspiring really. To love life so purely. What’s that quote, something about sun shining out of your face?

“If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.” Roald Dahl

That’s what I wish for you my sweet babe. That your thoughts are good more often than not, and that you have the strength, the magic, to fight the bad ones when they come. For they will come ever so often, such is life. I’d love to keep them from you forever but that will do you no favours. What I can do is build you up. Fill your cup. Make your life beautiful and magical for as long as I can. I don’t want you to build walls, I want you to build paths. I wish you a long life to explore them. Great friends to hike them with. Wondrous love to keep your heart, and warm hands to hold on your journey. And when you’re out in the great big world, remember my Baby J, my little, my last,

I love you hotter than the sun my love.

Don’t forget to text me back!

Happy First Birthday

xxo

C

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Goodbye Baby, Hello Threenager!

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Baby G is no more. She is, officially, a Threenager. It’s been about 5 days and she’s already changing so much. Her sentences have really expanded in the last few days, and her pronunciation has sharpened. To some that may sound trivial, but most parents know how drastic that can feel. These are the years when a toddler can go through a cranky, achy, feverish growth spurt and come out the other side 100 years older! (Or so it feels.)

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She still seems so small to me though. She’s always been a tiny sprite. Fairy-like, bouncing from petal to petal, riding the breeze. Maybe it’s just because O and E are beasts! G is small but she is a force to reckon with. It is the batting of her beautiful wings that starts many a tornado.

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G isn’t our loudest, but she is our most animated. Ever the actress she is prone to the angriest tantrums (read: semi-hilarious rage planks) but with big emotions comes big love and big joy. Big smiles and big hugs. She loves pretend play, whether it be with toys or siblings. G is also weirdly good at pantomime. If she offers you a pretend snack from an imaginary plate, you believe it! She would be an excellent Lost Boy. Bangarang!

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You know those great kid-adventure movies from our childhoods? The Goonies, Hook, The Challengers (Canadian content!), E.T, basically any movie where they get on their bikes (hockey stick on the back possibly included) and just ride off on an adventure that would make their mothers sweat? Yeah, that’s G. She’s one of those kids. She’s Mickey arm in arm with Data, skipping down the hill to the Lighthouse Lounge without a care in the world! I hope she never loses this sense of adventure. I’ll sweat it out if I have to.

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G keeps me on my toes. O and E are different, but similar in many ways. G is in a league of her own. Sometimes I think she was built solely to put E in her place. She takes no shit from her big sister. E’s personality is huge. She is loud and chatty and exuberant and bossy. G is a scrapper. She will not be quieted, spoken over, ignored. She will not be taken advantage of. I love that! Although those traits sometimes drive me nuts, I know they will serve her in life and I know that they teach E some valuable lessons on sharing, kindness, and team work.

To my tiny sprite, my adventurous pixie, I wish you a lifetime of warm breezes to ride on. A plethora of adventures and good people to enjoy them with. I hope you feel loved and give love freely. I hope you keep  your fire and fight and use them appropriately. I hope you soar. I will be here (sometimes sweating) to catch you if needs be and provide you a safe place to land.

And even though you just said that “daddy is my best fwend not youse!” I love you hotter than the sun my love.

Happy Birthday

xxo

C

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E 5.0

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E turned 15 5. I’m not sure who gave her permission, but she did. She’s changing so much and so fast, every single day. Growth spurts are rolling through, sometimes overnight, that change her. Little by little, into someone new but ever the same. her little shoots are gaining length and strength, a few buds have sprung up, even a tiny leaf or two have opened. As always, it’s my job to quench her thirst and ensure she has adequate sunshine, but my privilege to watch her grow.

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5 brings with it new skills, new understanding. She’s grasping new concepts. She’s devouring new materials. E loves “school work” and by that I mean she loves crafts! She even enjoys the worksheets and printing practice as long as she can go fast. She loves to go fast. She has little patience for waiting around. Not for her, slightly bigger, brother to catch up, or for her (woefully slow) parents to get ready to go. She is, however, very helpful and doesn’t mind lending a hand to get you going. E has been ready to “giv’er” since before she was born. A tiny babe, jazzercising in utero, to the noisiest/chattiest toddler I’ve ever met. She’s always had something to say and has always been on the move. She likes a fast scooter, fast feet, and a fast mouth!

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E has always been her own little person and 5 has already brought more of that big personality to the surface. She is quite sassy (don’t look at me like that, I can’t control genetics!) and gets in quite the little mood when she doesn’t get her way. Sometimes I look at her and think “Who spoiled you? Who told you that you could have whatever, whenever? Me? I think not!”. She’s a sore loser and (possibly) worse winner. She’s competitive which will serve her well, but sometimes causes arguments with her siblings. She rarely stops talking. She opens her eyes in the morning with dreams on her lips and snuggles into bed with a lively retelling of the days events. She could be a beautiful story teller one day. I imagine her encircled by listeners as she regales them with Robert Munsch level enthusiasm. Or maybe she’ll play rugby for Team Canada, I wouldn’t even be surprised.

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I have so many hopes and dreams for my E. I dream of her being happy, most of all. I hope she is content with her life, that she fills it with true friends and warm family. That her heart is full. I don’t know what that will look like in 20 years, in 30. Right now, all I can do is try my very best to make her feel that way. To fill her up with joy. To keep her safe, and make her smart, but let her soar even when it means she might fall. Parenting: The Never Ending Balancing Act.

So to you my E. My Tank. My daughter. Who pushes my buttons, boundaries, and patience. Who fills my heart with joy and my life with laughter. To you I promise to try my very best. To water you daily, and let the sun shine on your face. To enrich you soil. To step back when necessary, and watch you grow.

I love you hotter than the sun my love.

Happiest of Birthdays.

xxo

C

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Big Kids At The Park

I don’t think I’m the only parent that prefers an empty park. Who tries to avoid the after school rush when possible. When your kids are still small it can be fairly stressful and frustrating. Sometimes there are pushy kids, bitey kids, sand throwers, and grabbers. Sometimes there are snot covered kids, and kids who scream and cry setting off a chain reaction of screaming and crying. Sometimes there are big kids.

Big kids are hit and miss. Some of them don’t know how to interact with the smalls of the world. Sometimes they play big kid games with complicated rules. Sometimes they do death defying stunts on the play structure. Sometimes they use not so nice words. Sometimes they break things. Mostly they get to stay as long as they want (or at least until dinner) and my kids alway cry because they want to stay with their new best friends in the whole word that they just met!

Some big kids are great! The other day we got to the park far too close to the after school rush. There were big kids. Aged maybe 9-10. There was a very acrobatic boy who jumped and swung and dove on the play structure. He had to have been one of the most encouraging kids I’ve ever seen. His friend, the skull tuqued girl, was weary of taking a big jump and he coached her through it. When the Alvin (and the Chipmunks) kid said maybe she shouldn’t do it, that first kid said “don’t UN-COURAGE her!” Making him the best kid of the day. He and Alvin also encouraged O to pass through a climbing part that he was kind of scared to go through before. They were so kind and so cool and O didn’t want to be a baby, he wanted to be a big kid, and now he can get through there no problem. They helped E climb up the slide, and patiently explained the rules to tag a few times (it was news to E that you couldn’t tag everyone around you). And when their other friends came Alvin, very kindly and clearly, explained that they were going to play a big kid game out of the park, and maybe they’d see them again another day. And my kids cried, because being the smalls of the world can be tough.

So to the parents of those big kids, wherever you are, you’re doing it right. Your smalls are now a little bit big and they are rad little dudes. Thank you!

xxo

C


“Your girl is calling me a scumbag!” Yeah….sorry Skull Tuqued Girl, she’s a scumbag!