Category Archives: R

I Don’t Feel Bad About Missing My Kid’s Birthday

By Jac

Three more sleeps. That’s how long I have to wait until my husband and I leave for a week-long, kid-free vacation. Seven nights with just the two of us, while his parents stay at our house and look after our children. I keep thinking about that moment when I arrive at my gate at the airport, and I have made it through security and checked my luggage and found my gate … and then I’m done. I will pull my book out of my bag, and I will start to relax. I can’t wait.

But because I am a normal human mother, I of course feel a bit guilty. Continue reading

Too Cute

By Jac

One of the best things about toddlers and preschoolers is that they are so adorable when they get words all mixed up. There are always certain things that I hope my kids never learn to say properly because it’s so cute when they say them wrong. I remember trying to trick my oldest into thinking “packpack” was the correct pronunciation until Dora and her friend the Backpack undermined my awesome parenting. Anyway, our current family favourite is that R says “too” instead of “so.” Or sometimes “too” means “very,” apparently. She just says “too” a lot, and it’s adorable. So here are some frequently heard phrases, as well as some pictures of the goofy kid who says them. Continue reading

That time I lost a toddler in IKEA; or how I busted my side-view mirror

By Jac

Well, you see, I had to pick something up from Coquitlam, and I had the two littlest kids with me. We’d been stuck in the van on a hot day for quite a while, and even though I knew it would be pretty stressful to go to IKEA with two toddlers, I just needed one item — a picture frame — and we were driving right by it. RIGHT BY. So I turned, even though I hadn’t been planning to, and I parked in the underground parking lot, and we headed to IKEA.

Once I had made it through the parking lot with two toddlers, a bag, and no stroller, I dragged the kids up the escalator to the showroom to find a cart. Continue reading

An Easy Only

By Jac

I think some people have personalities that are perfect for being only children. I don’t say that to defend people who decide to only have one child (they don’t need me to defend them; only children are usually wonderful), I say it because one of my four non-only children illustrates this for me daily. R, who just turned three, is unbelievably easy to parent when she is alone, and often very difficult when her siblings are around. I’m starting to suspect that if she were an only child she would be ONLY easy.

When R is home without any other children around, here is how she typically likes to divide her time: 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

The Pros and Cons of a Chalkboard Wall

By Jac

When we moved into our new house, I decided to paint a chalkboard wall in the playroom. Here’s my opinion of how that decision worked out, six months later.

Pro: It is something that entertains the kids but takes up almost no space. You basically only need a little container of chalk, some kind of eraser, and, you know, a wall. It’s good for the clutter problem that all the other kid things seem to cause.

Pro: This is related to the previous point, but it helps reduce the craft crap. My kids can draw and colour and explore their creativity, but there is no expectation for me to “keep” their work. It’s better for the environment than using paper after paper after paper, but much better for ME, too.

Pro: These days, you can get chalkboard paint in any colour. That means that when my kids stop using the wall as a chalkboard, we can wipe it off with a wet cloth and it is instantly just a regular wall. There will be no embarrassing evidence of my ridiculous failed optimism (“I thought they’d use it! But it was a huge waste!”) because it’s not “blackboard black” or worse, that green colour from my elementary school memories. It’s actually “Amazon Soil,” which is kind of a cross between chocolate brown and a delightful plum.

Pro: Look! They love it.

Chalkboard Wall Girls

Chalkboard Wall lessons

In this picture, you can see my oldest daughter teaching her little sister and their friend how to read. Great, right? (You can ALSO see why they chose that particular activity: it was too messy in there to do anything else. Don’t feel bad for them, though. Who do you think made that mess?)

Possible Con: Before I got the chalkboard wall, several people warned me that I would hate all the dust it caused. Well, for a variety of reasons, I have not found this to be the case for us. I do want to mention it, though, because if it was in a room with carpet, or if it was in a room that was regularly used by adults, or if I had the personality type to hate chalk dust getting on my kids’ clothes, I can see how this issue would be a deal-breaker. But for us, I find it’s not difficult to sweep up once in a while and it’s also not difficult to ignore for long periods of time. So this possible con hasn’t been an issue for us, though it could easily be for others!

Con: Chalk is not a food. My big kids have difficulty remembering to put the chalk away, so inevitably the baby finds it on the ground and sucks on it. Anyone with a baby is familiar the question, “What are you chewing on now?” The answer in my house is almost always: “chalk.”

Con: It seems that, “Yes, you can draw on the wall, but only THAT wall, and only with chalk” is a bit too confusing for my toddler.

In case it’s difficult to see, I’ll just tell you that every single one of these pictures is a DIFFERENT place in the house where she has drawn on the walls, my magazine, the countertop, or her sister. Also, she has used crayon, pen, pencil, marker and chalk, because she likes to experiment with different mediums.

Chalkboard Wall Consequences

walls

I should also add that this isn’t even close to all the places where she’s done this.

In the end, despite all of the cons, we have decided that we definitely like the chalkboard wall, and we are learning to live with the crayon on all the rest of the walls. And, slowly but surely, we are teaching R that she may draw “only on paper!” and not on walls or magazines or sisters. Although, I may have some trouble convincing her not to draw on ALL the papers … I’ve had to write a note on G’s homework several times already, and there have been a few close calls with some important documents that I left lying around for too long (like, five minutes). Oh well. It’s the price I’m willing to pay for my cool Amazon Soil chalkboard wall, and she’ll grow out of it, right? RIGHT?

R’s In Charge

It’s official. My two-year-old daughter is in charge of our household. She won’t let the baby play with big kid toys, or the big kids play with their own toys, and she continually draws with pens all over my floor, and my table, and my countertops, and my walls. She chooses what to watch on TV (surprise, Frozen again!) and insists that her sisters play the same “games” with her over and over (even when those games involve her sitting on their faces). I genuinely don’t know how to maintain control unless I watch her or play with her constantly, which is pretty unrealistic considering that I occasionally have to go to the bathroom (and if I take her in there with me I know she’ll just point at the tub and shout “bath!” until I give her one).

How did this happen? I think, on the one hand, it’s because she is just so adorable. When she’s happy and she asks you in total gibberish to do something, you want to do it because she rewards you with the greatest giggle and grin combination you’ve ever seen. She really is a delight, much of the time. But, on the other hand, when she is not cheerful she ruins everything. She cries and screams and throws things, so you just give her whatever you can think of to make her stop crying. A cookie? Sure. A cup of water she is definitely going to spill? Absolutely. My iPhone? Really? Okay, fine.

This is the ice cream cone she got the other day when I needed her to want to stay home with me instead of chasing her sisters down the road. Yes, those are marshmallows on top.

This is the ice cream cone she got the other day when I needed her to decide to stay home with me instead of chasing her sisters down the road. Yes, those are marshmallows on top.

Oh yes, and then there’s her current bedtime routine. R may be behind the curve in talking, but she is well ahead of other two-year-olds when it comes to climbing. She’s been climbing out of her crib for months now, even with the mattress at it’s lowest, even while wearing a sleep sack. It’s not even difficult for her; she just glides on out of it, landing cheerfully on her feet, free to wander her room as she pleases. She already has a twin bed in her room, so our current strategy is to put her into that, her “big girl bed,” and then just shut her door when we leave. She then uses her entire room as a giant crib, getting out of bed to play with toys, looking at books, hiding in the closet, all the while singing and talking to herself. Before we go to bed, one of us goes into her room and picks her up from wherever she has fallen asleep—the foot of her bed, the pillow on the floor, inside her closet, directly in front of the door, anywhere but the crib, really—and tucks her gently back into bed. We occasionally try lying down next to her, but this has never worked because of how pleased it makes her to have the company. The other night my husband tried to put her to sleep in our bedroom because of the air conditioning in there. When I peeked into the room half an hour later, he was asleep and she was sitting up in the bed, happily pulling the pages out of my journal.

But it’s fine. Whatever. She’ll definitely outgrow most of this when she learns to talk and begins to use even small amounts of logic or reason, and then we grown-ups will be in charge again. This is a short-term problem, for the most part, and I can ride it out. Waiting until she grows up is a plan that actually does work for most problems at this age, as I have learned twice already (even if the other two did talk more and climb less).

Unless you are planning a road trip, of course. Then you’ll be paying for a hotel room just for your toddler and wondering where it all went wrong. Or so I hear. Sigh.

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