Category Archives: E

Ice Cream School

By Jac

This is a story about how really believing in something can make it happen. Or at least it can when you are a three-year-old whose mom doesn’t want to break your goofy little heart.

A few months before my oldest daughter went to preschool for the first time, our family talked about preschool quite a bit. G was excited, and we knew that talking about it regularly and positively would make the transition easier. One day, her younger sister (who had just had her third birthday) said, “When she goes to preschool, I go to Ice Cream School!” We all laughed, and said things like, “Oh really? That sounds fun!” I don’t think anyone actually said, “No, honey. You are not going to Ice Cream School because that is not real.” I guess we kind of assumed she knew that. Continue reading

When Kids Review Inside Out

By Jac (and her daughters)

It was quite a long time ago, now, when my two oldest daughters let me interview them for a post. They’ve been asking me to do it again for a while now, and considering that I want them to LIKE my blog, I thought it was time to oblige. So may I present to you: the most convoluted review of a movie you’ve ever heard. Side-note if you haven’t seen it: the emotions they mention are the CHARACTERS in the movie. (To remind you: G is seven and a half, and E is almost six.)


E: G, what should we do?

G: I don’t know.

E (whispering): She’s typing everything we say!

G: Blah.

E: Blah. This is the best blog post ever.

G: How’s it going mama?

Me: Ummm…. How about you start by telling me about your favourite movie of the summer? Continue reading

What Were We Thinking? Picking a Christmas Tree With a Family of Six

I mean that title literally: here’s my best guess as to what everyone in my family was thinking while we walked through the U-Cut tree farm, picking our Christmas tree, just a few weeks ago.

Our thoughts …

One-year-old N: Put me down! I will wiggle and wriggle and lunge for the ground until you put me on the ground like the big kids. Now pick me up! Why am I so far away from you when it’s so cold out and I’m tired? I will cry and reach for you till you do it. Hey! Put me down! It’s boring up here and I want to see what’s down there. No! Pick me up! Continue reading

A Private Conversation

Setting:  Standing at the kitchen counter while Mommy loads the dishwasher.
Context:  None. There was no context whatsoever.

E: Mommy, have you seen my privates?

Me: Your what?

E: My privates. Did you see them? I can’t find them.

Me:  … Your what?

E: My PRIVATES! They are supposed to go in the bathtub!

Me: E, I’m not sure what you’re talking about. Are you saying “privates?”

E: Yes, our PRIVATES. They were right here, on the counter? We got them yesterday at the McDonald’s with Daddy because, remember Mommy, we got Happy Meals? And we got our privates in them.

Me: Okay…? What are they, exactly? You don’t mean your body’s private parts, right?

E (Looks at me like I’m a crazy person):  Mommy. No. From Penguins of Madagascar. Theres a private in it? And me and G got them in our boxes.

Me:  Ah. I see. I have not seen any new toys here on the counter.

G (Calling from the bathroom):  E! I found our privates! Daddy put them in the bathtub!

Well, it turns out that there is a character in the Penguins of Madagascar named “Private.” That’s his whole name! So, now E and G each have a bathtub toy figurine of this guy, and they quite casually refer to them as their “bathtub privates.”

Well, I never thought I'd post a picture of my daughters' privates online.

Well, I never thought I’d post a picture of my daughters’ privates online.

So, thanks, McDonald’s and The Penguins of Madagascar Movie for that confusing and terrible conversation. Thanks a bunch. And a hearty “you’re welcome!” to anyone who comes to our house for a visit in the next little while and gets to have a similar conversation. From now on, can we all agree that every Private needs a LAST NAME? Please? Thanks so much.

How to convince your mom to buy you a t-shirt at Disney on Ice

This past weekend, I went with my two oldest children to Disney on Ice. The tickets were a pre-Christmas gift from their Uncle Al (brother to Aunt-mazing Katy—as I’ve said before, my kids are lucky!), and we were all very excited to go. But the drive to get there was pretty long, and we had to take a detour to pick up Uncle Al, and we were pretty tired. So as we were pulling in to the parking lot at the Pacific Coliseum—ten minutes until show time—the excitement gave way to something else entirely. E (age 5) said those five little words that cause an immediate pit of dread in any parent’s stomach: “Mommy: I don’t feel good!” And then, three seconds later—just long enough for me to say, “What honey? Are you going to throw up?”—she threw up. And then she threw up again. And then again. I made sympathetic noises from the driver’s seat and continued to drive, deciding that we should get to our parking space as soon as possible, even if it meant E had to sit in her own puke for a few minutes.

So we parked, with eight minutes until show time. I got out of the van and walked around to the sliding door, which I opened to assess the damage. And it was not good … not good at all. The usual barf culprits were present: the chunkiness, the smell, the sad-looking child. But in this case, it was really the quantity of vomit that was unusual—there was a lot of it, and much of it was pooled on poor E’s fancy-dress-covered lap. I quickly reviewed the supplies I had available to me in my recently tidied van (Darn you, Daddy! You picked the wrong time to tidy the van!). There was one package of wet wipes. And one plastic grocery bag. That was it. No extra clothes, no towels, no coats, no water. But of course I had no choice, and I got to work. I’ll spare you the details, but pretty soon I had a plastic bag full of wet wipes and barf, a child wearing a wiped-off pair of tights with just a winter coat over them, and a brother-in-law who was very impressed with my ability to remain calm in a crisis.

We left the dress on the pavement and the windows of the van open just a bit to lessen the chance of a smelly ride home, and we speed-walked toward the stadium. Six minutes until show time.

When we arrived, we boogied through the crowd toward our seats, but we paused at a booth to buy a pink Disney t-shirt so E wouldn’t have to wear a winter jacket for the whole show, and we put it on her right there in the crowd. We found our seats and shimmied past the people in the aisle seats who had wisely gotten there with time to spare. We sat down. One minute until show time.

Here she is after the wonderful show, wearing her new shirt and feeling much better.

Here she is after the wonderful show, wearing her new shirt and feeling much better.

The opening few minutes of the show were wonderful. We were all mesmerized and delighted. But then G leaned over and said those three little words that cause an immediate pit of dread in any parent’s stomach: “Mommy, I’m hungry.” Well, I’d been so busy cleaning up vomit and spending $25 on a stupid t-shirt that I’d forgotten the snacks in the car.


Footnote: Did you know that the popcorn at Disney on Ice cost FIFTEEN DOLLARS? Crazy, right? Now I’m gonna puke.

When Kids do the Gratitude Challenge

A few weeks ago, Baby N did the gratitude challenge. I read it to my older daughters, and they thought it was very funny, so we decided that I would interview them for their own gratitude challenge. What follows is that interview. I’ve edited my part out if it because it was mostly just, “And what else are you thankful for?” and, “Stop jumping on the couch, please, and talk to me,” and “Yes, I’m typing all the words!” I think you blog readers can do without those three phrases being repeated over and over, right?

IMG_2516And so, without further ado, I present G (age 6) and E (age 5) and their gratitude challenge.*

G: I am thankful for television. Actually, all screen time! I love television.

E: I got one. Is it my turn? I’m thankful for my house. Because otherwise I won’t have any food to eat and just live outside.

G: I am thankful for fires. I love fires. Cause they keep us warm. Outside fires, inside fires, every kind of fire. Except forest fires. Because those are TOO BIG, even bigger than our HOUSE.

E: I am thankful for flowers. Because I can smell them and pick them, and have a whole bouquet—that means a bunch of flowers. A BOUQUET. I like dandelions and buttercups and I LOVE … what are those kinds again?

G: That are swirly?

E: What kinds?

G: (Runs away, for no explicable reason)

E: What are you getting? Where did you go?

G: This picture of these roses. Do you mean this kind?

E: My favourite kinds are roses. And one time I got you flowers, Mommy, because I love you and I love making special surprises for you. Maybe next time I can ask Daddy to make a surprise for you and get you flowers for a surprise. Remember that one time when I got you prickly roses?

G: My turn. Um, I am thankful for crafts. Every kinds of crafts. Especially origami, that I did in kindergarten. When you fold things out of paper. I’ve made a boat, a hat, a wallet, and a heart. Actually I just made a heart; I didn’t make a wallet or a boat. Ms. O from Japan taught me how to make origami.

E, very, very sadly: Mommy, I want to do a craft. I really, really want to do the craft I’m thinking of and I won’t have time tomorrow! I’m thinking of it and I really want to do it, Mommy. It’s drawing a heart and then cutting out the heart—that’s the craft. And I won’t have time mommy, okay? (Sad sigh)

G: You’re supposed to say what you’re thankful for.

E: I’m thankful for clothes. I like dresses! And tights! And dress-up clothes!

G: Now it’s my turn.

E: And I’m thankful for heads! Otherwise we couldn’t see or hear or talk and … we would look really weird.

G: No, our ears could be on our shoulders, our eyes could be on our neck …

E: No, we wouldn’t have a neck.

G: On our chest, then.

E: We wouldn’t have a neck. We wouldn’t have a neck.

G: I am thankful for being silly. Because being silly is weird and I like being weird, sort of.

E: Weird means silly for me.

G: Being weird means sticking your butt in someone’s face.

(Maniacal laughter from both children for five minutes while they repeated this phrase over and over.)

Finally …

E: You’re weird! (And then, looking at me and whispering because she knows she’s not allowed to call her sister that) Weird means silly.

G: I’m thankful for E because we can be silly together and pretend we have two heads.

E: I’m thankful for G because she hugs me so tight and we both play and we really do a good time.

G: You mean HAVE a good time.

E: Right. A good time.

And then they started to hug each other while spinning around as fast as they could, with no coordination or planning, and then G knocked her teeth on E’s forehead and started to cry, and then I comforted her and sent them off to brush their teeth before bed, feeling grateful myself for these two silly sisters, and also for the fact that it was finally bedtime.



*Please note that I know how these kids of mine like to give the “right” answer, even if that answer is a bit boring to read about. So I told them that they were not allowed to say that they are grateful for family or friends or God or love, because I KNOW they are grateful for those things and I wanted to be surprised by their answers. Which I certainly was, in the end.

Cuddle Friday

Cuddle Time. That’s what I call it when I don’t feel like getting off the couch but the kids are all needing things and Super Why is over. I tell them it’s cuddle time, and they lay on top of me. Due to the number of elbows and feet they have between them, this does not usually last long, but it buys me a few more moments of quasi-nap and then it motivates me to get moving, because I need to get away from the general squirminess of the situation.

Last week, though, G was off on a playdate and both of my smallies were napping, so E and I were having some lovely one-on-one time. I informed her that it was “Cuddle Friday” and so we spent a long time together chatting and hugging while she played with my face. You know what I mean, right? That thing where kids poke your eyes and pull your lips and pinch your nose, but they’re being quiet and you’re lying down, so you let them? That. She’d say, “Mommy, are we gonna get off the couch?” and I’d say, “Nope! Because it’s Cuddle Friday” and give her another squeeze. (I do feel the need at this point to remind you that I have a baby, and she had not slept well the night before. Had hardly slept at all, in fact. And I’d already done breakfasting, and clothing, and teeth brushing, and kitchen cleaning, and playdate organizing, and toddler re-directing, and nap commencing … Basically, I’m defending my lazy couch hour of TV time and cuddling.)

E is a marvellous hugger. Here she is hugging her Mommy, her Oma, her biggest sister, and her littlest one.

E is a marvellous hugger. Here she is hugging her Mommy, her Oma, her biggest sister, and her littlest one. (I am enjoying her snuggle, but that picture was taken in the middle of  a cool hike/climb we were doing and it was rather difficult. I’m trying to look relaxed, but my forehead vein is betraying me.)

We did eventually get off the couch, though, and one of us started to make messes while the other one cleaned them up. But throughout the rest of that day, every time she passed me on her way to wherever it is five-year-olds go throughout the house—probably to make another mess—she would remember, “Oh! It’s Cuddle Friday!” and come running to me for a quick hug along her way. And thus, a lovely, weird family tradition was born. Now we regularly shout, “Cuddle Friday!” before we pick up a kid for a snuggle, or maybe we even whine, “But it’s Cuddle Fridaaaaay!” if our Mommy says she can’t hug us right now because she is making everyone lunch.

The next day, I asked E for a cuddle, but then I sighed and said, “Never mind. It’s not Cuddle Friday anymore, so we won’t cuddle today.” And then she said, “Don’t be silly, Mommy. Every day is Friday!”

If only that were true, darling girl, if only that were true. But come on over here and give me a hug anyway. For another chance to cuddle you, I’m gonna enjoy all the Fridays I can get, even the Saturday ones.

Everything You Need to Know, You Learned When Your Sister Went to Kindergarten

Summer can be long, and I’m very much looking forward to getting back to the routine September will bring. Last year, my oldest was in a half-time Kindergarten program, so she only went to school two or three days a week. E (my second oldest) was in afternoon pre-school, which ran the same days as G’s Kindergarten. “How nice!” I thought to myself as I signed them up, “I’ll only have to worry about driving them anywhere two days a week, and I’ll be able to keep my Littles (the toddler and the born-in-October baby) on their nap schedules the other days!”

Well. Hopeful Jac was so naïve, wasn’t she? By the end of the year, “half-time” Kindergarten was actually “not-nearly-enough” Kindergarten, and my bored and housebound older children were quite literally bouncing off the walls (we had an old, bouncy couch and lenient jumping rules). And then the long Summer break began with an even more full-time wall-bouncing schedule.

Approaching this school year, I am hopeful again. I will have a full-time Grade One kid and a full-time Kindergartener, and I will have just the Littles to parent all day long, five days a week! I think I will actually get to enjoy a quiet time every afternoon!* So I’m excited about sending my darling, lovely Bigs off to school, where they will learn important things from their trustworthy teachers.

But, luckily for me and for E, G has already started sharing many of her Kindergarten lessons with her little sister, including this little gem, overheard from the back of the van. (Note: my daughters have a cousin their age—M, mentioned below—who was adopted from Sierra Leone, an older cousin they adore who is from Ethiopia, and an Uncle-like family friend from Cameroon whom they have known their entire lives, plus they watch Sesame Street, so they take it for granted that people just have different-coloured skin and/or are muppets. We have talked about skin colour before, but I guess some of the terminology didn’t quite stick when it was coming from me.)

G: E, did you know that you’re white?

E: (Looking frantically at her arms) What? Where?

G: No, that’s what your colour is called! White!

E: No.

G: Yes. I learned about that in Kindergarten.

E: Really? I’m white?

G: Yes. And you know M?

E: Yes.

G: She’s black!

E: No she isn’t!

G: Yes, she is.

E: She is dark brown.

G: I KNOW. But I told you, you call her black.

E: Why?

G: I don’t know, but I learned it in Kindergarten. Man, you really need to go to Kindergarten, E, so you can learn that you’re white.

E: I really need to go to Kindergarten. I didn’t even know I was white! I can’t wait for Kindergarten.

So, on second thought, maybe I should just keep them at home? Because apparently G can teach E everything anyway, and maybe they both know more than enough already.

Possible caption: Here are G and E on their first day of school and preschool last year. They look so hopeful and excited ... Also, I was taking these pictures eight months pregnant and holding a one-year-old. Ah, memories. (If you want to see pictures of them on their first day of school THIS year, you better like us on Facebook! That is, if I decide to send them to school at all, of course.)

G and E on their first day of school and preschool last year. They look so hopeful and excited. … Also, I was taking these pictures while I was eight months pregnant and holding a one-year-old. Ah, memories. (If you want to see pictures of them on their first day of school THIS year, you’d better like us on Facebook! That is, if I decide to send them to school at all, of course.)

*Yes, I know this is not going to be true. Shut up.

Six Fun Kids!

When the two fun moms get together to have a playdate, we bring our six fun kids together too! Last week we went to have a swim in Jac’s parents’ pool, and because we try to make the most of the time we spend together, we of course decided to post about it.

We took a picture of each of the four “big” kids making their best silly faces, and then we interviewed them about what they thought of their Mom’s blog. Each child was supposed to answer the same question in his or her own cute and hilarious way, but—in a development surprising to absolutely no one—none of the kids behaved as they were supposed to. But it’s okay. We fun moms can make it work. We’ll just tell you some things they did say.



: So, you know how I’m writing all the time? Do you know what I’m writing?

A: Uh-huh

Juli: What do you think we should write about? What would be a good story idea for us?

A: Um … A banana with a moustache and nothing happened!

Juli: Nothing happened to him?

A: Yeah!

Juli: So … He’s just hanging out and enjoying life as a banana with a moustache?

A: Yeah! Um … A banana with a moustache jumping into a swimming pool!

Juli: ….

A: And then it could be about Spider-man, who loses the fight, and throws a moustache into the swimming pool, then jumps out of the swimming pool and jumps into a bucket of bananas, and then gets out of the bucket of bananas, then he’s covered in monkeys, and then he gets chomped by this giant Pac-man.

Juli: Um. Okay!


IMG_0624Jac: What about you, G? Do you know what I’m writing?

G: No.

Jac: Yes, honey, you know, when I’m on the computer all the time? Writing?

G: Um… No.

Jac: And you sit right beside me, and ask what I’m doing, and look at the computer, and there’s a drawn picture of me and Juli and all you kids, and—

G: Oh!

Jac: Right! It’s called a blog, remember? And we write about our lives and our kids and stuff? Do you have any ideas? What should we write about? You can say anything at all!

G: I don’t know.

(And when I want her to be quiet, she’s FULL of chatter. Sigh.)



: S, how about you? What do you think mommy should write abo—


Juli: Uh, okay. (Gets water). Okay, what do you think we should write about, if we could write any crazy or cool story in the world?

S: Um … (chugging water) … um … um … Frozen, goes in a pool, he saves some superheroes, and then, he jumps into the pool, and then, uh p-, uh, a giant monster came and … hurts the girl, and then the superheroes comed and saved the girl.

(This didn’t make much sense to us, either.)


IMG_0629All E would say when we asked her anything about the blog, or Mommy’s writing, or story ideas, or computers, or absolutely anything was “I don’t know.” So we’ll just share something else funny that happened.

Jac’s sister-in-law arrived after we got home from the pool and the kids were playing. She peeked into the playroom, and said hi to the kids in there.

E saw her and started to jump up and down with excitement. “Hi! Hi! Hi! This is my friend A!” and then she bent down to where he was sitting on the floor and KISSED HIM ON THE HEAD. Oh, and did we mention that this was the first time that they met? A was perplexed, to say the least. But he kindly went back to his block tower without comment.

Finally, I’m sure you want to know what we snacked on while we were together. We of course had fresh, home-made baking. Presentation is key.


To clarify, this is what they looked like BEFORE we started to eat any.

So there you have it! A glimpse into the minds of our six (well, four) fun kids! You’ll be pleased to note that we will likely not be writing the stories that our children have suggested. Unless we get really desperate, of course. In that case, a banana with a moustache may start to sound like a pretty good idea.

E Wants to Tell You Something. Or Nothing. For Five Minutes. When You’re Already Late.

“She’s never pleased when she can be delighted, never annoyed when she can be furious.” (From Kate Morton’s The Secret Keeper) In this picture, my E is obviously delighted.

“She’s never pleased when she can be delighted, never annoyed when she can be furious.” (From Kate Morton’s The Secret Keeper)
In this picture, my E is obviously delighted.

If you had to describe my E (age 4) in five words, four of them would be passionate, and the fifth would be focused. This has always been true of her, and when she was two and three years old, it made her a very tiring little girl indeed. She was passionate but also irrational, which made for a lot of screaming. If you said no to giving her a cookie, she would follow you around, screaming and crying, for twenty minutes or more. Because she really, really, really wanted to eat a cookie. Now.

But as she has moved deeper into her fours, her “exuberance compass” is now most often pointed to cheerful. I hear, “Thank you so much Mommy! You’re the best Mommy in the whole world!” more in one day than most moms hear in a year. And this is a very nice change. (Side-note: sometimes I take these over-the-top thank-yous and apply them to the past. So when she says, “Thank you, thank you Mommy, for helping me find my sock! That was so so so so so so nice of you!” I choose to hear, “Thank you, Mommy, for having patience with me in the middle of the night that one time when I screamed at you for an hour because my pillow was touching my pillow.* I don’t know what I was talking about.”)

But. BUT. Even though E has mostly outgrown her rip-roaring tantrum stage, her super-enthusiasm can be a little … wearing.

Here’s an example. One day we were on our way to pick up my oldest from school, so I was wrangling E and her little sisters into the car, buckling and packing and hurrying and gathering, when E asked if she could run back inside to grab her Pink Pony for the drive. We were only in a bit of a hurry and it seemed like a reasonable request, so I agreed, saying, “Yep, run in quick and grab her, and then come right back out, okay?” She responded with grateful enthusiasm and started to walk toward the house. On the way, she slipped a little and almost fell down, but didn’t. I witnessed this non-event with my own two eyes, so naturally E decided to tell me all about it.

“Did you see that, Mommy?”

“I did, yes!”

“I almost fell down.”

“MmHm, I saw.”

“Mommy? Did you see? I was walking toward the door to get my pony and then I started to trip or something.”

“Yes, but you didn’t fall down—get going!”

“I just wanted to get my pony! And I started to fall!”

“E, go!”

“And I put this foot out to stop me, right Mommy? Right? So I wouldn’t fall down? I was going to get my pony and I started walking, and—”

“Go get your pony, or you’ll run out of time!”

“That was a close call, wasn’t it, Mommy? When I almost fell down? Did you see it, Mommy, I—”


Can you see how this kind of conversation would be adorable the first few times, but not so adorable five times a day? I end up yelling at her, even though she’s not even doing anything wrong. I think the solution here is to distribute her laser-focused enthusiasm more evenly. We need breaks from her little chats, just like sending her to Grandma’s gave us breaks when she was in her tantrumming twos. She needs access to more grown-ups to tell about the hilarious thing that happened yesterday. (Spoiler: she dropped her toothbrush and the baby picked it up! Wonderful!)

I guess what I’m saying is: I can’t wait until September. Her Kindergarten teacher is going to love her passion and energy, and for only six hours a day, which is significantly fewer than my current 24. It’s truly a win-win. Win!


* She only had one pillow.

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