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An update I would rather skip

I have been asked what has become of our child’s friend who is dying of cancer. Well, as you can imagine, the cancer is still progressing and the child has not been miraculously healed. I so which it could happen! I so wish I could pray to someone and believe it actually makes a difference…

I have not seen my friend or her child recently because they have been traveling, and then with the arrival of fall kids don’t play outside as much (it’s dark early, it’s wet and cold, not exactly the perfect situation for an ill child). But by all accounts of people who have seen them more recently than I have, things are not going well. The cancer has grown. The child is now barely able to walk and has lost the use of one eye. Language is long gone. And a permanent cough has appeared that seems to be caused by failing lungs and not by an infection.

I am not sure if I should wish for a prompt resolution, so that life in that family can go on (especially for the little brother who will soon turn 2 and who is being somewhat “neglected” in all of this – and I put “neglected” in quotes because I don’t want to assign blame, they are doing their best in the circumstances), or if I should hope for more time for the family to come to terms with the unavoidable end. Of course, my wish would not change anything anyway. Things will go on until the tumor kills all life in the body of that 5-year-old. And my guess is, after this year, Christmas for that family will  never be the same again.

I need a child to hug…

Calling my son’s bluff

My son is lying through his teeth these days. I think it’s a normal developmental milestone, but it’s kind of annoying. Luckily, I’m getting pretty good at calling his bluff.

This weekend, we went shopping for boots. Right away, my son picked a pair that was all black, with fur at the top, and silver righting. It looked like policemen boots. It was a good pair for a decent price, but the boot was shorter than I wished and didn’t have a drawstring at the top, so I was concerned snow would poor in (when we go to the mountain), especially since his winter pants are kinda short. I made him try another pair that was also black, but lacked the fur and the shiny writing. It was slightly higher, with a drawstring at the top, but he complained the boot hurt his feet.

To be fair, the two boots of the “pair” he was given were of different sizes. Once that small issue was fixed, he still claimed they hurt, but I had trouble believing it. He had tried another pair first and the way he was describing that they hurt when he moved his foot seemed plausible. With the boots I liked, however, he was remaining vague and I was pretty sure he was lying. So I told him that it was ok, if these hurt we would not buy them, but we wouldn’t buy the other (preferred) boots either, we would wait and find some different ones somewhere else that would be comfortable to him, but still made sense to me. All of a sudden, the boots didn’t hurt anymore. Funny that!

This morning, my son got up earlier than he is allowed to (before the alarm clock turned his light on) and complained that his tummy hurt. He has been doing that quite a bit lately, and it’s really hard to believe he’s telling the truth. This morning, I was pretty sure he just wanted an excuse to get up. I told him to go back to bed. He said he couldn’t because he was going to throw up. I stood next to him by the toilet bowl for a minute and it was obvious nothing was going to happen. So I brought a bowl to his bed and told him to lie down, that it would make him feel better, and hoped I was right that he was faking it.

When the alarm clocked turned on 10 minutes later, he was strangely healed of any nausea or tummy ache. I stuck to my guns: if he had really been sick earlier, he was not going to preschool, even if now he felt better. When he asked for an extra portion of scone, I said he could not eat much since he had been feeling sick. I was really hoping my strategy would work, because if not Zak was going to be stuck with him at home all day and hate me for that! But after a long, stubborn while, it worked. He admitted that he had lied about being sick, and in exchange he was allowed to eat some more and go to preschool.

Of course, there is a danger here… he could have really been sick and changed his tune in order to go to preschool, or the boots could have really been uncomfortable but he said the opposite because he really likes new stuff. The lying is so hard to deal with! I try to explain that I can’t believe anything he says anymore because of it and he says “But it’s really real!”. But he always says that, even when he lies! So how am I supposed to tell the difference? This morning I was pretty sure I was right since I don’t think 10 minutes of lying down should have cured him if he was really sick. But it’s not always that obvious.

How do you deal with lyers?

Appel à tous

Pour mes lecteurs francophones… Je suis en train de jeter les bases de mon nouveau blogue en français, et j’aimerais trouver des surnoms pour mes enfants. Comme je l’ai déjà expliqué, je ne veux pas les nommer sur mon blogue, je ne trouve pas ça juste pour eux, mais je trouve ça tannant de toujours dire “mon fils” ou “ma fille”. J’ai remarqué que la tendance sur les blogues de maman est de donner un faux nom à ses enfants. Je suis donc à la recherche de surnom qui iraient bien aux miens. J’ai pensé à Tigresse pour ma fille, étant donné son caractère bouillant, mais je ne suis pas certaine – qu’en pensez-vous? Avez-vous de meilleures idées? Et pour mon fils?

Toutes les suggestions seront les bienvenues, même si je ne vous promet pas de les adopter! Merci!

My daughter’s progress

I just thought I should write a post about all that my daughter is now doing that seems amazing to a parent but will probably bore the hell out of anyone else.

Yesterday was really the first time that she ate with a spoon. Normally, we just put food on the table in front of her and she feeds herself with her hands. We tried plates or bowls, but she just threw them on the floor. We would sometimes use a fork or spoon to try and entice her to eat a few bites, but she would usually just throw it on the floor, too. So with just a bit of food in front of her at a time, she will still sweep it to the floor when she gets bored, but it’s not as much of a mess (yes, I do wash the floor underneath her chair every day, sometimes more than once). Last night, we were eating soup and she loved it! So we put some in a bowl and gave her the spoon and she was actually trying to feed herself. Really, she was just dipping the spoon in the bowl and then licking the tiny bit of mush that stuck to it (when I say soup, if you have ever had some here, you know I mean more like stew). But it is definite progress.

She has also discovered the fun of pretending to eat food. It started with play-doh waffles, but now when we are trying to spoon-feed her, she’ll grab the spoon, aim it at Zak and demand that he pretends to eat it. Then it’s my turn. Then our son’s. And only then will she sometimes put the spoon in her mouth. Or not. And she does all this while opening her mouth wide in the cutest of expression – I know, I need to show you a photo. I’ll try to do it tomorrow. She also pretends to eat food (especially when she doesn’t like dinner) making “mmm-mmm-mmm” sounds. Adorable!

Which is good, because she can also be a little devil. If you don’t do what she wants the minute she wants it, she starts screaming and collapses on the floor in a full-blown tantrum. At 14 months. She’s starting early, but maybe it means she’ll stop early as well? Usually, I am able to find it funny and just let her blow off some steam. She comes around relatively quickly. Except when she doesn’t. I mean, she’s awfully stubborn, but since most of our fights are when I’m not in a rush and I can wait her out, it’s not too bad for now. However, I do fear for the future. And when I’m trying to change her diaper and I have to physically pin her down because she only wants to get up, it’s not much fun.

We recently bought her some slippers to keep her feet warm inside, since with her socks she slips too much on the hard floor. She fell in love with them. When she wakes up, she finds them and brings them to me, pointing at her feet, so I can put them on. When she loses one, she makes it known – loudly. When I take them off to change her, she grabs them in her hands and if she drops one, she squirms until she can get it back. She would sleep with them if we let her. They are soft and fleecy and I have to admit I am slightly jealous! She does the same with her Halloween costume, which is a fleece with ears and a tail: she grabs it, brings it to us and requests to put it on, inside. It works well since it’s so drafty in our house!

She is lively and spunky, and despite the fact that she is already a “difficult” child, she is also obviously bright, happy and very affectionate, which compensates tremendously. There’s nothing like a big hug and a kiss when you didn’t expect them to make you forget about tantrums. All in all, she is, of course, wonderful and I can’t imagine our life without her. I mean, it would be much, much quieter. Maybe almost boring. And it would be missing something.


My daughter was up at 4:30 this morning. Well, to be fair, she also woke me up at 3:15, but that time we all went back to sleep quickly. At 4:30, though, we didn’t. We dozed off here and there, but after a few minutes of silence, she would go back to crying very, very loud. But it’s not just crying anymore: she can now talk a little bit. So in between the screams, I could hear the occasional “No! No!” as well as “Maman!”.

I have to let her cry. I cannot respond to her when she wakes up that early or I will not survive much longer. I already have trouble with the 6.5 to 7 hours of sleep a night I am getting. But it’s hard to let her cry, and even harder to ignore her when she’s calling out my name.

I gave up at 5:45. But it has been a short night. It seems like whenever I actually manage to go to sleep at a reasonable time, I end up waking earlier. I can never get more sleep.

On the bright side, my work day is supposed to be quieter today so nobody will notice if I walk aimlessly like a zombie. At least I hope so!

Winding down…

After four years, I am thinking of abandoning this blog.

When we created it at the end of July 2007, it was meant to be a common project for Zak and I. Trying to research green options before the birth of our son, we wanted a forum to talk about the choices we made, help people make more informed decisions and talk about remaining close to nature despite living in a city. The truth is, we lost sight of those goals pretty soon.

First, it quickly became obvious that blogging was my thing, not Zak’s. Out of 413 published posts, Zak has authored 7. Either he’s really too busy or he would just prefer to do something else with his spare time, I’m not sure. But I’m the one who posts, even though it’s not regular. And I found that what I talk about the most is my life and my kids. Not being wild in the city.

Which brings me to my second point: we haven’t remained very wild. Especially since the birth of our daughter, we haven’t been hiking much. We will go back to it now that she’s a bit older, but the truth is we’ve been somewhat overwhelmed and in survival mode for a bit. There is always someone who’s sick. We never sit down on the couch thinking we have finished all of our daily chores: we always leave something for the next day because there are just 24 hours in a day.

So although I have prioritize posting once in a while, Zak hasn’t. I wrote mostly in English so that Zak, his family and our English friends could read the blog. I wanted friends from afar to be able to keep in touch. But these days, judging by the few comments I get, the main readers of my blog speak French anyway. I know of only one person who reads the blog regularly and doesn’t speak French. So I sometimes feel silly to write in English for French-speaking people.

The main reason behind my change of heart, though, is simple: I miss writing in French. I recently participated in Radio-Canada’s short story contest, and although I have absolutely no illusions about anything coming out of it (since I wrote my story in an evening and never had time to edit it much after that), it made me want to write again. I wish I could write a novel, but I know it won’t happen. Not when the laundry basket is full, the dishes are piling up and my son just wet the bed again. What I know I can write in these conditions is blog posts. It’s not much, but I like it. And I want to do it in French.

So I will post here the link to my new blog when the time comes, and I will probably come back once in a while if there are subjects that just work better in English. But it might not happen, because I’m lazy. If I manage to update one blog it will already be a pretty good effort, let alone two. Or I might find that it’s too hard to talk about my daily life (which happens mostly in English) in French, and come back here. Only time will tell.

But I feel like it, so I’ll do it. And I’ll talk about whatever I please. Because it’s my space and it’s my pastime and that’s how I want it. There.

I have the nagging feeling that this is how my daughter would sound if she could express her thoughts…

What do you think?

People are funny. They see what they want to see. I am talking here about children and their likeliness to their parents. I remember once reading about how people tend to see the resemblance between a child and the parent they know best. But I can tell you it’s not always the case, judging by how some coworkers tell me my daughter looks more and more like Zak. Except for those who say she looks a lot like me. And then there are those people who say that she doesn’t look like my son at all, and the others who say they are just the same.

So how about you be the judge? I submit to you three photos. Me as a toddler (one of the only photos that exist of me at that age, big thanks to my brother for scanning it), my son at about a year and my daughter at 13 months. Missing is a photo of Zak, so you can’t really judge who they look like the most. But do they look like me? Do they look like each other?

Me in my high chair... who knew I once had chubby cheeks?

My baby girl on Halloween

My son clapping at a friend's birthday















If you want my opinion… I look like me. My kids? I can’t tell. I don’t find much resemblance between either of us on these photos – maybe if I could have found more similar poses?