Sun 22 May 2016

The science of motherhood

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In early April, the school sent home a registration form for a six-week science camp. I didn’t think that Abby would be interested, so I tossed it into the recycling bin without talking to her about it. A few days later – the day after our recycling was picked up  – she asked if I had signed her up yet because she really wanted to go and knew that the form was due soon. Worst. Mother. Ever. I quickly wrote a note to Abby’s teacher to see if I could get an extra form and I registered her just in time.

As a woman with a math degree, you would think that I’d encourage our daughters to try any and all STEM-related activities that come up. And I do. But, I also recognize that our kids’ interests lie primarily in the arts right now, so I choose to support them as they explore and expand those interests rather than worry about whether they will develop an interest in STEM. I’m less concerned about how our kids are using their brains as long as they are using them, but it’s a tough call to make sometimes. I see the value in arts – STEAM vs STEM – but I also see how females are discouraged sometimes from pursuing STEM-related activities and I don’t want to inadvertently do that. But, there’s only so much nudging toward STEM that I can do before it becomes pushing. And I won’t push. Just because I think that math and science are interesting doesn’t mean that our kids have to follow in my footsteps. And an interest in arts now does not preclude an interest in STEM later.

I didn’t completely dismiss the idea of encouraging Abby to go the science camp, but I had dismissed it for this year until she brought it up. I dismissed it for the simple reason that she was at the bottom end of the age range for the camp so I was concerned that the material would be geared to the older kids and that she might be overwhelmed and end up not liking it; I would rather wait and have her love it than push it too early and have her hate it. But, I was wrong about her not being ready for it. She’s doing fine in the camp. And I’m excited by the things that she brings home! But, it seems that I’m the only one who is excited; although she really enjoyed the first few weeks, her interest has waned over the last few. Still, I’m proud of her that she tried it.

And, I will admit that the mathie in me was really pleased that almost half the kids in the science camp are girls and it’s run by a woman!


Mon 17 Nov 2014

It’s a wonderful (beautiful) life

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For all the things that I try to teach my kids each day, Evelyn taught me an important lesson today. She asked me a simple question: “How was your day?” I was getting dinner ready at the time, and was slightly distracted. So I answered with the standard “My day was fine.” I did have a fine day. It was productive but I didn’t think that it was particularly good or bad. Just fine. And then she asked “Was your day wonderful and beautiful?”

And I had to stop for a second. Yes. Yes it was.

I saw two young kids building a snowman. Their enthusiasm and joy was wonderful.

I dropped off some clothes at the consignment store that I’d been meaning to take for a few weeks. It felt good to get that done, and I got a pair of jeans for Abby that I thought would make her smile. And they did make her smile. That was wonderful.

I shovelled the driveway with Abby after school and the snow falling was beautiful.

When we picked up Evelyn from daycare, she greeted me with an enthusiasm that was wonderful.

It’s so easy to think that my day was fine if nothing out of the ordinary happened. But it’s good to be reminded that my day doesn’t have to be extraordinary to be wonderful and beautiful.

Sat 28 Jun 2014

One down, thirteen+ to go

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Thursday was Abby’s last day of JK. I don’t know how the year went so quickly (or, really, how the last 4.5 years went so quickly!), but there she was, no longer an JK, now an SK! The younger kids I don’t think really grasped that they wouldn’t see their friends over the summer, or see their teachers again at all. It was just like any other day for them, and they occupied themselves on the climber and slide while waiting to go home. On the opposite end, it was an interesting contrast – several of the kindergarten teachers were crying as they said goodbye to their students for the last time, and the older kids were running by yelling “Freedom! FREEEEEEDOOOMMMM!!” with a giddiness that couldn’t be contained.

As we walked home, I realized that every year for teachers was like the last day on the job, regardless of whether they were coming back to the same school or not. Saying goodbye to kids that are moving up, saying goodbye to colleagues who are moving on. And I remembered how hard my last day has been the two times that I’ve made the decision to move jobs. How, even though it’s been my decision, it’s still hard to say goodbye to the work and to my coworkers. Every year is like that for them. Every year.

Yet another reason that I couldn’t be a teacher. Hats off to all those who can.

Sun 11 May 2014

Happy Birthday Mother’s Day

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After a week of sick kids+husband, what I was really looking forward to this Mother’s Day was the possibility of a healthy family. No-one yelling “Snot! SNOT!” at me. No feverish kids. No couch-bound husband. Actually getting more than four or five hours of sleep.

And not cooking.

The not cooking thing worked out for the most part. The rest … not so much.

Although the “Snot! Snot” shouts have been less frequent, there were still a few middle of the night wakeup calls last night, and the pugs and cats had me up at 6:16am, although technically it was the brief power outage that occurred a few minutes prior which knocked out the baby monitor, which then made it beep incessantly, which made Paco whine, which set the cats off … that got me up. But since it’s hard to get upset at a power outage, I simply let the dogs out, and then curled up on the couch until five minutes later when Abby wandered downstairs and started her non-stop chat stream. At least the first words in her one-sided dialogue were “Happy Mother’s Day!”.

But, I still had a great Mother’s Day. The “Happy Mother’s Day” refrain was repeated when Evelyn came down and again at a few other points during the day, sometimes morphing into “Happy Birthday Mother’s Day!” which made me smile. At school Abby made me the mini garden above, as well as a “bouquet” of flowers, and then I received another bouquet of flowers from my brother and sister-in-law.


And my garden gnome collection grew again by one. It’s a good thing that we have a big garden 🙂

My favourite gift of all though was the start of a lovely Mother’s Day book, forgoing store-bought cards from the kids in favour of a book of pictures and notes. Of course, since the kids are small the notes were short (and Ev’s was written by Abby/Charles) but it was still lovely!

*After a filling brunch out, I did have to make and serve dinner, but technically I didn’t “cook” it.

Fri 25 Apr 2014

Potty training, round two

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The biggest challenge in potty training Evelyn hasn’t been getting her to start using the potty, but figuring out what to do with the occasional dirty diaper when she doesn’t quite get to the potty in time. Well, more accurately, how to continue using cloth diapers during this time.

When Abby was potty training, Evelyn was only about nine months old so I was still regularly doing diaper laundry and a few less diapers didn’t really impact the frequency. But with Evelyn I’m really struggling lately since I don’t get enough dirty diapers in a reasonable amount of time, so I’m faced with the dilemma of doing diaper laundry less often, which isn’t ideal, or doing it as often, but with much smaller loads, which also isn’t ideal. I could switch to disposables, but I feel like the cloth diapers are actually helping potty train since she can really feel when she is wet and she’s learning to like being dry!

Now is not the time for me to learn how to hand wash diapers.

Sun 13 Apr 2014

Step on a crack …

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I’m grateful that Spring is finally starting to show its face, even if we’re briefly detouring back to Winter and sub-zero highs two days from now. The insane piles of snow have almost melted from around our house, the swings went up yesterday (even though the ground is still a bit squishy), and even our little hibernating hermit Evelyn is starting to enjoy getting out more and doesn’t fight me (as much) when we have to leave the house.

Since she spent the Winter being hauled back and forth on the sled when we had to drop off or pick up Abby, when that no longer was an option I thought she wouldn’t be particularly enthusiastic about walking the distance again. But she’s been quite the trooper, and has even taken to entertaining herself on the trip with games.

Like “Stomp on Momma’s Shadow”.


And her new favourite, “Jump Over Every Crack”.

(Every. Single. One.)


It’s been fun, Winter. Who am I kidding? GOOD RIDDANCE WINTER!!

Thu 6 Mar 2014

My little traveler

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Now that we are finally (knock on wood) getting out of the deep freeze we’ve been in, the sidewalks and streets no longer maintain the thin layer of snow that they have been. Which is great for walking/driving, but not so great for trying to pull a sled with one or two kids on it. But the field that we have to cross still has too much snow to use the wagon, so I’ve been a bit stuck on the best way to make the twice-daily trip to Abby’s school.

So I was grateful that Evelyn agreed to try the carrier instead of the sled. And not only does it solve the issue of pulling a sled across dry concrete, it also cuts our dressing time in half since I don’t have to fight her to get her into her snow pants! And she thinks it’s so fun to be perched on my back, she sings the entire way.

Although I am also grateful to get her off my back when we get home since she is a bit of a heavy load. A cute load, but a heavy load.

Tue 25 Feb 2014

Little schemer

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No picture, but definitely a proud and grateful moment tonight with Evelyn. We’ve been having a few missteps with her transitioning to swim classes without us – last week we had to get her after only ten minutes – and tonight was setting itself up as a repeat. She refused to go with her instructors at first, and finally only went once the head instructor was called over. Five minutes later, we saw her instructor flagging the head instructor down again and she was taken out of the pool and they started to walk towards the door. I went down to meet them, only to be told that she said that she needed to pee!

Which is fully plausible except that she’s not really potty trained yet. I fully suspected that she was just playing them, but I dutifully took her to the bathroom and held her over the toilet, only to hear the tinkle of pee! When she was done, I suited her back up, stuck her under the shower for a minute, and then sent her back to the instructor.

And then promptly bought a chocolate bar from the vending machine so that she could have a treat when she was done her class 😉

Mon 24 Feb 2014

Gooey, squishy fun

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I’m grateful that I’m not the mom who forgot that it was our turn to make and bring in the play dough for the kindergarten class. The fact that I remembered at 11pm last night and made it at 7am this morning is not important.

Sun 23 Feb 2014

Do these shoes make my feet look small?

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I’m grateful that bowling with our kids was a success. Evelyn even had the highest score until almost the end.