Category Archives: Behaviour

Wiggling broccoli with stems that burn!

The dinner table discussion this evening began with one of our younger son’s facial expressions. He has some of the best looks a 7 year old could have, honestly, they can be laugh out loud funny. The conversation evolved into our elder son asking what the funniest face we ever remember him doing. Now, my husband is usually very good at regaling these kind of memories, & often when prompted he can recall the incident/occasion, which is what happened this evening. However this evening I was the storyteller, the one who remembered those moments like they were yesterday.

So what was his funniest facial expression? For me his most memorable was when he was beginning to eat more solid food. I used to steam large florets of broccoli so they were not quite mushy soft but not crunchy hard. When preparing them I left a long stem so that he could hold them & chomp on the soft floret. It was a great way to get him feeding himself. However, although he loved broccoli he didn’t take to it the first time he tried it. Like most kids he required several patient attempts before he eventually decided he liked something. I always remember when he did try something new, like the first time he tried broccoli, he would examine the foodstuff intensely for a moment before taking a bite. Then would come the highly amusing, & very sharp sideways wiggle of his head. The look on his face would resemble someone who had just tasted a corked wine. Lucky for us he grew to be a big fan of vegetables & still is to this day. Then the conversation moved onto the first time our younger son tried his first floret of broccoli…

The immediate reaction to the stem being placed in his hand was priceless. He sat holding it in exactly the same position for several minutes with a look of horror on his face as he examined it (I have a fabulous picture of him doing so). At first I thought he wasn’t going to even attempt a bite, but he obviously decided that it was worth a try. That look of horror intensified as he thrust it into his mouth & couldn’t even bring himself to chew it, instead, the entire contents just cascaded down his chin & into the tray of his plastic bib. He then dropped the stem as if it had burnt him – all equally as hilarious as his big brother’s sharp wiggle. Seven years later I am pleased to announce that broccoli is one of his favourite vegetables.

Of course there were other memories that I would love to share, but it’s impossible to describe the facial expressions that made that moment so memorable. I capture as many as possible & scrapbook them, so that one day when they hopefully have children of their own they can slide the memory out from the shelf & share it with there own family, probably because their own kids have done or do something similar.

The parking lot…

You may remember I became the owner of a disabled parking permit a little while ago, something I have been using more than I would have liked due to the ongoing knee saga. The place it is used most is at school. My boys school has no on-site parent parking, only street parking & if you’re feeling cheeky enough, underneath London drugs/IGA is a great spot. Needless to say wherever you park, unless it’s your lucky day for a spot right next to school, you have to walk a couple of blocks.

When I talked to the head of the junior school way back at the end of last year when I had the fixed brace on, about my obvious difficulty in with walking, she arranged for me to use the disabled parking spot in the staff underground parking lot. Now, to give you some idea of what a big deal this is to a random parent at the school, every year they give away one of these spots away in the live auction at the winter gala. The first year we attended the gala that spot – which you can only use for one school year – went for nearly 20 grand! Yes 20 thousands dollars for the privilege of parking your nice shiny Ferrari (because lets face it only someone who could afford fancy wheels would be stupid enough to drop that kind of money on parking it for 10 minutes to pick their kid up!). So as you can imagine when I was given this privilege for free I didn’t advertise the fact.

Now, most mornings I just do drop off outside the front of school, which in itself can be as traumatic as trying to find parking. A local security company controls the ‘flow of traffic’ & takes it a little to literally for my liking because they don’t actually let you stop your vehicle to let your kids get out. They should be thankful I’m not one of those Grade 12 helicopter parents who stop the car right outside the door, physically get out to retrieve their young adult’s’ bag out of the trunk & then watch them go inside! Nope! I’m a terrible mum, I open the automatic door with the flick of a button, bid them a good day, tell them to hurry up, & then quickly move along with the door half open (usually because the security guard is shouting at me for safely allowing my children to leave a STATIONARY vehicle!)

Then there are choir days like today. Younger child & I drop off elder child outside the door at 7.30, but younger child can’t go into his classroom until 8am. So we trundle around to the parking lot & hang out in the car while he does the reading he didn’t have time to do the night before because of field hockey. This is the most interesting time to be in the staff parking lot…

The same people arrive at the same times, park in the same spots, & proceed to follow the same routines. It’s hilarious to watch if someone has taken their spot, which is usually a chain reaction that started with one person parking in a different spot causing everyone else to.

Usually just after we arrive, teacher mum arrives with her 2 kids. Then, one of the kindergarten teachers, who has a great sticker on her rear window ‘Caution! Driver singing!’ She parks up & drops her sun visor down so she can put her face on, she starts with concealer…

Then the office receptionist arrives, she’s the school equivalent of a doctors receptionist but much much nicer & very approachable. She parks, get’s out with 2 bags – her purse & her lunch – then clicks her heels so they echo across the concrete, waves & smiles at us, then disappears up the stairwell. Meanwhile Ms. Kindergarten is applying blusher…

A senior school teacher arrives on his bike & enters the changing room looking like Lance Armstrong & reappears 5 minutes later looking like a Calvin Klein model. Ms. Kindergarten is applying lip gloss…

Various office staff arrive & a grade 5 teacher who also remains in her car enjoys a quiet breakfast while supping a coffee. Then she too applies lip gloss, picks up 3 bags & makes for the stairwell. Ms. Kindergarten has now got out of her car & is changing her comfy Toms for a pair of pumps – todays were sparkly. Then she too picks up 3 bags & heads for the stairwell.

It’s a good job my 7 year old reads very well & is advanced for his age. We have tried to read in the library but he finds it distracting, I actually find it more distracting people watching in the parking lot. I sit there listening to him of course, but I play games with myself, predicting what each person is going to do next – there hours of fun to be had, & it’s important that one finds some entertainment in being at school at 7.30 in the morning!


Game of Bones…

Since the arrival of our guest, Tess has been very accepting of another dog sharing her patch. The two are quite amusing together. At only 8 months old Java is head & shoulders above Tess, but she seems to understand that Tess is still top dog. I had forgotten how much work a puppy can be, but even at this young she appears to be better trained than Tess has ever been. However, although I give my girl very little credit, I have begun to realize that she has calmed down significantly, is actually quite obedient, & now extremely tolerant. She doesn’t have much choice to be really, Java follows her everywhere. She will not go out unless Tess goes out, she eventually will lay in her bed when she sees Tess lying in hers, if Tess has a toy, Java wants to play, & so it goes on.

Tess has never chewed bones, of any sort. She has 3 of those rolled up hide things on the go (I think there were 4 but heaven knows where she’s buried that one!), she walks around the house with them in her mouth, and then buries them behind my cushions. If she takes them out into the garden she will dig the biggest hole causing dirt to fly everywhere, drop the bone in, then flick a bit of dirt over it with her snout & walk away – bone completely visible. She has never once chewed them until last night when Java stole one hers & proceeded to gnaw on it. After watching for a few minutes, Tess then found another one & set to work only to demolish the whole thing in just over a hour. Java gave up after a while and left about 4 inches. They both forgot about it until this afternoon…

Java strolled into the kitchen with said bone the look on Tessy’s face was priceless. Despite the fact she had no claim to it really she was determined it was hers when it was whole, & it will be hers again – half eaten. However, there wasn’t any aggression, what followed was actually quite amusing. In my wisdom I thought it best to go and retrieve the 3rd bone, a delicious chicken flavor from Santa. Like all the others it was completely in tact, not a tooth mark on it. Of course this wasn’t acceptable, Tess wanted the eaten bone, but Java then wanted the chicken bone. So they swapped & all was well for about 30seconds. Then Tess got into Java’s bed, with the eaten bone, Java dropped the chicken bone, Tess got out of the bed & took the chicken bone to her bed. Java didn’t dare try & take the chicken bone from Tess’s bed, but now didn’t want the eaten bone either, she paced & paced until Tess left her bed. These shenanigans went on for about half an hour. Every time one left a bone unattended, the other one took it, the boys & I lost count of how many times they changed places.

When we were sat having dinner, Java had taken possession of the chicken bone & was determined not to loose it this time. The 3 of us were sat round the kitchen island eating while Java walked around us over & over again with the bone in her mouth. The best of it was that Tess had long since given up on the game; she had put herself to bed, letting her have whichever bone she wanted. Java being too young & stupid no notice this almost wore holes in the floor with her pacing. She finally settled down to enjoy her prize about 3 hours after she’d originally clapped eyes on it in Tessy’s mouth. It is now lying half eaten on kitchen floor by her bed, the other one hasn’t been seen for a couple of hours. So if you ever visit & sit on my sofa, be warned, you might get more than a comfy cushion to support your back!

Holy pants!

I can’t speak for everyone, but I know that other mum’s who are good friends of mine agree that if you make a promise to your children it is very hard to go back on it. This is especially poignant when that promise is made to teach them a lesson. My younger son puts his knees through every pair of trousers he owns. This is not surprising when you see the state of his knees in summer when he wears shorts everyday. My brother attended a primary school that required the students to wear shorts all year round – even in winter. I am currently wishing that my boy’s school did the same to be honest, particularly for the younger grade boys.

I think we started this school year with 6 pairs of school pants for elder son, & 12 pairs for younger – yes that’s effectively 2 pairs a day. Of course I didn’t hang them all in his closet, that wasn’t the intention, I held half back. There are now, with still a full term to go until the end of the school year, only 5 pairs left. When he was in kindergarten last year I stupidly did not consider how abused his pants would be, therefore, after only being in full time school for 2 months I had to place an emergency order with grandma to bring several pairs of new pants from good old Marks & Spencer’s of course. This was when I made my promise to him, or to be truthful, my threat…

‘I can’t be buying new school pants for you every month. You need to take a lot more care when wearing your uniform. If you don’t start doing so, & you continue to wear out the knees of every pair of pants within a month, then I will buy you a girl’s tunic & you can wear out your own knees & not our bank account!’

My son was horrified. He has a Scottish friend at school who wore a kilt on international day. Apparently this friend appeared unhappy to be wearing a ‘skirt’ to school. My son was desperate to not look like a girl, so for a while he did take more care. However, I still didn’t trust this would last, so that’s why I ordered twice as many from grandma for this year.

It was pointed out to me by a mum at the school, a good friend who’s daughter is in the same grade, that if the problem does continue I will have to carry out my threat. She even offered to lend me one of her daughter’s tunics. As I mentioned, he is now down to a weeks worth of pants, & I still haven’t been brave enough to follow through. My friend suggested that I put him in the tunic when he gets dressed, but then allow him to change before going to school, then say that I will make him go to school wearing it if there are anymore ‘holy’ pants.

Well this evening I discovered that pair no.5 now also have holes. Help!!! What should I do? Do I borrow the tunic? Tomorrow is the last day before Spring break so no tunics will be worn until next term anyway, but will it have lost impact then? Or, do I just carry on making this threat, but not actually carry it out? Cleary it’s not working, so I shouldn’t really carry it on, I need to find another strategy, because buying 18 pairs of pants next year is definitely NOT happening!!

Mouth before brain – AGAIN!!

It was far too early to be stood on the side of the pool this morning; 7.40am & only 3 mouthfuls of coffee had been consumed. The last school swim meet of the season for child no.1 & school had requested parents drop the competitors at UBC aquatic centre – otherwise it would have been an even earlier start if they’d taken the school bus. At some point in the last couple if weeks the teacher who coaches the team asked for parent volunteers to help out with timing. I don’t remember actually saying I would be able to help, I think I mentioned that I might be able to. It would appear that might actually really means can!

So there I am hanging out with some of the other poor unfortunate mum’s, & it was a relief to find that one mum in particular was also there. When I say she’s a mouth on legs, I mean it in the nicest way possible. Although my ears are bleeding by the time we part, she is always very entertaining & can turn the most tedious of situations into quite the event. While stood talking (believe it of not!) we witnessed one of our rather substantial grade 3 students pull out a large tub of gummy worms & proceed to offer them around – FOR BREAKFAST. It was barely 8am for the love of god! As you can imagine neither of us could understand why a parent would allow their child to even bring such a thing. It was another one of those moments when my mouth worked faster than my brain. I turned to her & declared that having candy for breakfast was clearly why he was overweight, but at least he won’t sink. After almost inhaling coffee she agreed with me, I apologized for my mouth, & she announced that she thought it but her mouth hadn’t had as much caffeine as mine yet.

Fast forward to the first event that this child was competing in. I’m stood with my clipboard looking all official, & I’m partnered with another mum from our school. The gun starts the race & the child belly flops into the water. It was painful to watch, but at least the kid was trying. He’s going flat out, but stayed in the same spot. When he was almost at the end, myself the other mum cheered him on, she declares how awful & embarrassing it all is to have him on our team because he’s overweight. I reply by saying that it’s not surprising he is when he eats a pot of gummy worms for breakfast. What followed could have quite easily been even more embarrassing for me…

The mum was furious with her child for bringing the worms without asking, & who knew they were not supposed to be taking them to school or to any kind of school activity. She was actually quite glad I had shopped him. I had a sudden moment of wanting to jump in the water & drown myself but thankfully she was more furious with him than with me – PHEW!!



Party people…

We entertain a reasonable amount, which is always fun, but hard work. So when we’re invited to someone else’s gathering it’s even more fun because we are spared the hard work. It is always interesting to meet new people, inevitably when it’s your own do you pretty much know all the people. No matter how big or small it brings together all works of life. Being married to a physician, & having been a nurse BC (before children), it is not surprising that most of our friends are part of the medical/nursing world too. Then through a few other professions, most of us have kids, some at the same school/similar ages, we live & work in the same city… you get a wide variety of discussions & story’s.

Today while all the kids watched movies & destroyed the basement of our friend’s new house. Us grownups gathered in the kitchen where all the best parties happen (because why would we want to sit on a comfy couch in the nice spacious living room to enjoy our wine & nibbles?). All the walks of life & ages put the world to rights & shared stories of life experience. My favourite one was shared while the host was making coffee (for me being the designated driver today). It began when my husband announced how fantastic it is that he can order his coffee from the hospital Starbucks now via a new app so that it is there waiting for him, therefore avoiding the queue of 30+ people. This particular Starbucks lineup was then discussed at length.

One of the guys who also work at the hospital, someone I know but see very infrequently, has obviously studied this particular lineup in great detail. Of course, the first discussion was about my husband ticking everyone off by jumping the lineup to pick up his order. It must make no difference to those waiting that this ordering system is perfect for people like him who only get a matter of seconds between cases to grab their fix. The fact remains that to them he is somehow jumping the queue. The coffee lineup expert then amused us with a clear description of who the real queue jumpers are.

It’s the ones who see a friend or colleague who conveniently happens to be about 3 people from the front. They sidle up to said friend & get chatting, announcing at some point that they should get coffee together now that they are at the front. Meanwhile, there are several faces behind them looking like slapped backsides!

He then went on to describe that moment when a drink is announced & placed on the countertop, & 4 hands reach for it. He gave us the perfect look that the individual to whom this beverage really belongs to would give the caffeine thieves – a look I can only describe as a Paddington hard stare. Clearly this guy had been in this position enough times to perfect the art of making those hands 3 hands recoil and apoligise instantly for their mistake.

Of course this has all set a standard for my future visits to any coffee shop really, not just Starbucks. I shall now be watching the lineup with great interest, & in turn the collection bar. All the time while listening & watching this guys account of coffee bar behavior I was thinking that this scene needs to be in book…