Conversation at 5:30 am

Our little girl has been waking up very early lately. Often before 5. Always before 6. And even though we let her cry until (about) 6, she doesn’t seem to get it. Her brother is exhausted because she wakes him up and he doesn’t fall back asleep or nap. When he’s tired, he acts like he has ADD. So life is… full of surprises. Which let to this conversation:

Zak: We need new kids.
Me: … (with a blank stare)
Zak: I don’t mean more kids, I mean different kids.
Me: Oh… That makes more sense.

Don’t worry, we don’t mean it. We love our kids. But you know what? Some kids sleep for 12 hours straight after just a few months. My daughter still can’t sleep more than 10 on most days – and if I put her to sleep later, she still wakes up at 5:30 but is more tired and cranky. That is hardly fair. There are days when I wonder if it will ever get better.

Of course, it will. And then another problem will crop up. And when we find a solution to that one, it will be something else. Until… well, until we’re dead, I guess. Even when children are adults, they still manage to bring us problems.

Fortunately, they also bring a lot of joy. And they’re cute. So we’ll deal with it. But for now, we’re tired and cranky. Just like the kids.

The swimming lesson

I went with Zak and the kids to the pool yesterday for their swimming lesson. While Zak went in the water with our baby, I watched our son and his group. It suddenly struck me that 9 out of 10 instructors were male – for preschool swimming lessons.

It is unusual to see that many male instructors with kids that young. I find it tremendously positive. In a world where the extremely large majority of my son’s teachers will be female, it is even more important for him to have positive male role models. True, it’s often in physical education and similar contexts that you see male teachers. But better there than not at all. So I was happily surprised. Especially since our son is usually more comfortable around women – he’s a flirt – I find it important for him to be challenged out of his comfort zone.

But it also made me feel better about society. I read Lenore Skenazy’s Free Range Kids Blog, where she talks about helicopter parenting, but also about how paranoid society has become when it comes to kids’ safety. The two subjects go hand in hand, since it is this constant fear for children’s safety that stops parents from letting them enjoy the freedom they, themselves, enjoyed at the same age. In one of her latest entries, Skenazy mentioned an article in a parenting magazine that suggested how to react if you found out, after telling your daughter she could have a sleepover at her friend’s house, that only her divorced single dad would be there. The article suggested telling the dad that unfortunately you did not feel comfortable with the situation and would be willing to have the girls at your place instead. I found this appalling – as if all males were potential pedophiles and you had to keep your kids away from them, and from great experiences, instead of teaching your kids how to react if someone touched them inappropriately. (Not to mention that, if you really want to be paranoid, inappropriate things could happen even if the mother was in the house.)

Anyway, seeing the male swimming teachers made me feel better. They have to touch the kids! They help them climb the ladder, hold them when they’re lying back in the water, etc. And, thank God!, it doesn’t seem to create any issues with the parents.

Maybe there’s hope for the future of society?

Let it snow

It took me a while to realize what my daughter was saying, partly because it didn’t sound much like the original and partly because Christmas is now a thing of the past. But regardless of the date on the calendar, Zak has been singing Let it Snow. I think he sings it year round.

Oh, the weather outside is frightful
But the fire is so delightful
And since there’s no place to go

And my daughter chimes in:

Leio! Leio!

We should really tape some of that stuff before she grows out of it. A music lover like she is, who knows, maybe some day she’ll be a stinking rich recording artist and those videos will provide us with a large retirement fund.

Or maybe when we’re 80 we’ll be glad to watch those videos on the old, old laptop computer we’ll have kept way past when the technology changes to make sure we could watch those old 2-D, non HD “videos”. If you can still find a plug in those days.

Either way, it would be worth it.

Growing up

My son is growing up. I just noticed yesterday that he doesn’t say to-food anymore. He has learned that the proper word is tofu. I’ll miss it.

My friend was also telling me recently that her son has stopped saying “coote” instead of “cute” – as in “[my daughter] is the cootest baby in the world mama, I hope she never grows up so she’s always so coote”. Yeah, he has a bit of a crush on her. But he’s almost 6 and she’s 1. So they’re not allowed to date until she’s 18. – and she misses the cooteness too.

Anyway, all that to say that eating tofu last night made me realize how little time I have left before my son is all grown up and doesn’t say funny stuff anymore. I have to remember to write them down so I can savour them for years to come – and tell his future girlfriend.

Dinosaur porn

I probably shouldn’t write that post – God knows who’s going to end up on my blog after that searching for all sorts of crazy porn-related stuff! But it was funny. So here goes the story.

Yesterday morning, we were having muffins at breakfast when my daughter suddenly started roaring while moving her arms like a robot.

- You’re a dinosaur?, asked Zak.
She nodded.

- You’re a muffinosaurus, he responded. Then he tried to find a way to shorten it.
- You’re a muffosaurus.

I looked up from my muffin, trying not to laugh too openly…
- No, that one is not going to work, I said, and Zak stopped in his tracks.

But by then our son had picked up where we left off, oblivious to our unfortunate puns.

- She’s a fartosaurus (yup, he’s four!).  A spitosaurus. A sushisorus. A phallosaurus.

I looked up again. Zak was laughing.

It reminded me of that little application that made the rounds for a while: enter your name and find out your porn star name. Well, I don’t know about mine, but I just found two great porn names for dinosaurs: muffosaurus and phallosaurus. And it’s all the kids’ fault!

Tired child

We went to Stanley Park last night to take the Christmas train and see the Bright lights. We had a blast, and we stopped for a slice of pizza on the way home. It was pretty late by the time we put the kids to bed: 8:30. Of course, they didn’t wake up any later than usual, quite the contrary. My son was up about half an hour earlier than usual, and the first thing I heard from him was a whiny complaint:

- My pants were clean and now they’re not there anymore.

Yup, I grabbed their laundry when I put them to bed last night and apparently I also grabbed his pants which he claims were still clean. I patiently explained that he had other pants he could wear. To which he responded, in tears:

- But there was my snot cloth in my pocket!

My son was upset because the washcloth he had been using as a handkerchief had been put in the laundry… You think he was tired?

So fast

On Monday, I saw my friend’s child, the one who is dying of cancer… As I mentioned in my last update, it had been a while, but even compared to what I had been told of the state of the child by others, the situation was far worse than I could have imagined. In fact, the family left yesterday for Canuck Place, a pediatric palliative care hospice, and they don’t expect to come back with that child. It’s the place where terminally ill children go to die.

I had a chance to say goodbye and I will treasure that chance forever, even though I wish there had not been this 2-month period during which I didn’t see them at all. The child is now in bed, not able to see anymore, and we don’t know for sure what the awareness level is, but there is no obvious reaction to anything. It was really sad to see, but at the same time the child still looked “normal”, was not obviously emaciated, and I’m glad my son had a chance to say goodbye.

He went back yesterday and spent an hour and a half reading stories with his friend. The mom curled up with her child and fell asleep (much needed, I’m sure) while Zak read stories to the four kids (the sick child, the little brother and our two happy, healthy, LUCKY children). It sounds like it was a nice, peaceful moment that will help both father and son to come to terms with the situation.

We will try to go visit them at Canuck Place, but we don’t know how long they will be there for and we don’t know if it’s going to work. We don’t want to intrude. But we did want to have a chance to say goodbye, and to give that chance to our son. He refused to hold hands or kiss his friend (him who is usually all about showing affection), but it’s ok. It is a weird situation for him. At least, he wanted to go back and read to his friend. And I think seeing the child like that, at the end of life, will be good for him since the last time we had seen them the child was still walking and aware of everything. I didn’t want my son to think you can go from that to being dead all of a sudden.

I know, it does happen. But I don’t need him to worry about it just now.

So here we are, pondering how fast a child can go from running around (albeit in a less coordinated fashion than usual) just after a diagnosis four and a half months ago to being in bed, blind and unaware or at least unresponsive. We always knew that a short-term death was unavoidable, but being face-to-face with it is still hard.