Four now

Henry rolled over in bed this morning around 6:15.

Henry: What time do I turn four?

Me: Cornbread, you're four right now.

He jumed out of bed and propped himself up on sleepy legs. He looked down to his feet, then up, then back down.

Henry: Am I taller?

"The Pike Shark Eater"

Henry turns four tomorrow. Four! In honour of the occasion, I share with you a story he dictated to his mother a few days ago. It's for his library class teacher, but I'm sure she wouldn't mind if you read it.

One day, the Pike Shark Eater was eating his prey of sharks and squids. Suddenly, he saw an octopus he thought he could catch. He tried hard. He chased quickly and took speed. He took off down river like a tornado. He fled and tore down the river. He chases and chases and chases and, "Boom!" , he's in a flash. He catches him up and brings him back to his meal. He eats him all up. He's great. He grows big. The End.

Suspenseful, eh? Four!

Manly is as manly does (part 2)

There's a great park at the end of our street with a big lake right in the middle. On this lake live many, many ducks. All spring, we told the kids we'd be seeing baby ducks "any day now." Here's what happened Sunday as we strolled along the banks.

Me: What a beautiful day. The sun is -- heeeey. What are those little things swimming behind that female mallard? They're not -- THEY ARE!

Here's where my mid-baritone shrills unbidden to a shrieking, high tenor.


I run toward the water.


Henry: (to Jane) Daddy REALLY likes baby duckies, Jane.

Manly is as manly does (part 1)

I assembled a bar-b-q this weekend.

Fire. Steel. Tools. And lots of cuss words.

It took 3 times as long as I anticipated. I blamed all setbacks and errors on the (obviously faulty) instructions.

When I finished, only two mystery pieces remained. I did what any self-respecting manly man would do.

I hid them.

A boy?

Erin showed Henry last night how you can feel the baby through her tummy.

Erin: Feel this down here? This is the head.

Henry: Wow!

Erin: And this flat part along here is the baby's back.

Henry: I can feel it!

Erin: And this big lump here...

Henry: That must be the crotch!

Jack knife and duct tape

Erin called me at work the other day to announce she'd picked up a surprise for me at the library.

MacGyver. Season One. Complete. On DVD.

We watched the pilot last night after the kids went to bed. It was so lame! But I was transported back to my 10-year-old self.

I remembered the number of times I almost killed myself trying to re-create MacGyver's tricks. I actually cut a shot-gun shell in half to retrieve the powder. I was just about to ignite my flash bomb before my dad caught me.

It's amazing I survived to procreate. Thank you, evolution. I owe you one.

Truth hurts

As I've said before, Henry's a talker. He was born speaking in sentences. He is very good at articulating exactly what he wants/feels/needs.

He knows he's not supposed to call people names. He tested us once and called his sister "stupid." We put our foot down and he never said it again. Instead, he started doing something funny.

Henry: Jane! You're a miltzaber!

He made up his own words. We didn't know how to deal with it, at first. We ended up changing the ban to include made-up words that are obvious substitutes for bad words (a few times his made-up words came a little too close to the real thing, like the time he called me a "fucko"). In response, he started calling us perfectly acceptable words, with biting tone.

Henry: Mum! Stop being such a sabre tooth!

On one hand, good for him for using language so creatively. On the other hand, what a dink... looking for loopholes to insult his family. Now we've had to ban the intention to insult, rather than just the word content. A few days later, he got angry with me for mowing the lawn when I should have been playing with him.

Henry: Dad! You're such a journalist!

Me: (open-mouthed silence)

Erin: Truth hurts, Dave.

A persuasive argument

Jane: (entering the kitchen) Peese cheese?

Me: It's almost supper, sweetie. Sorry.

Jane: (furrowing brow) Peese cheese!

Me: We're about to eat. You don't need a piece of cheese.

Jane: (running to the fridge, pointing to it) Peese cheese.

Me: I know where it is. No cheese. No.

Jane: (getting serious) Peese. Cheese.

Me: No.

Jane: (changing tactics, smiling) Peese cheese pease?

Me: That's very polite. No.

Jane: Daddy peese cheese?

Me: What?

Jane: (pointing to me) Peese cheese Daddy.

Me: A piece for me?

Jane: (nodding) Peese cheese.

Me: Well... maybe we can split a piece.

A little advice?

Erin was chatting with our next-door neighbour a few days back when he surprised (shocked) her with a bit of news.

"I sprayed your front lawn for you. Just wanted to take care of all those dandelions."

I must be clear, this is a good neighbour. A very friendly man who is great with our kids. He recently retired and spends most of his time grooming his own yard.

His idea of a nice yard, however, differs from ours. We'd rather have dandelions than chemicals. His yard is impeccable; the lawn is a green carpet. I swear, it needs vacuuming more than mowing.

He has lived next door to what is now my house for more than 30 years. And in that time, he's done a lot of work on what is now my yard. The two giant peonies out front, he transplanted from his grandparents house (he's even named them). He also planted the rose bush out back (which he's told me he's thrown fertilizer at over the fence).

On more than one occasion, he has said to me, "If your lawn looks green, my lawn looks green."

Erin was too dumbfounded to say anything. She, pregnant, mother of two small kids who like to roll around on grass and shove everything in their mouths.

I've got to talk to him. I don't want to insult him, or his yard. What should I say?

Fathers Day Weekend

It was a nice one.

-treated to a shave and a haircut here.
-slept in Sunday 'til my eyes popped open.
-received hand-made cards, including one on which Henry painstakingly wrote the words 'HAPPY FATHERS DAY'
-was serenaded with several random choruses of "Happy Birthday" by Jane
-ate french toast and fried potatoes for breakfast
-spent the morning throwing sticks in a lake with the kids
-spent the afternoon preparing the backyard veggie patch for planting (I broke a spade!)
-ate hoppin' john (spicy black-eyed peas) and johnny cake for supper

All this can be yours, for the low, low price of Fatherhood.

Girls just wanna have_______.

Erin: Do you want me to paint your face this afternoon?

Jane: Yap!

Erin: What animal do you want to be?

Jane: Pink!

If you have six spoons at your place setting...

...don't be alarmed. Jane's been setting the table. She tends to err on the side of redundancy.


You pull down my pants.
I quickly rip off my shirt, and then yours.
I let my my underwear drop while you do the same with your pants.
I sit back and watch as you carefully, delicately remove your underwear and bra.
Now we're tied in a confusing tangle of summer-scented sheets and tugging hands.

Thanks for helping me take the laundry down from the line.

Leaky deck

Henry played this afternoon in the back yard while I mowed the lawn. He would hide a little Spiderman toy in funny places, then ask me to find it. Every four or five passes with the mower, I would take a break to look for Spidey.

"Is he over here by the tree?" I'd ask.

"May-bee!" he would giggle.

I made a big production of looking in places I knew it wasn't. Henry was having a blast.

Which is probably why he allowed his bladder to get as full as he did. He was playing with himself little-boy style an awful lot.

"Hey, Hen. Do you have to pee?"

"Nope," he quickly replied. "Now where is that Spiderman?"

Finally, he announced he had to go. I told him to go ahead and run upstairs. He ran to the back door, and froze.

"Dad. I need help."

"You know how to open the door," I said. "Go on up. I'll be right here."

"Daaaaaaaad. I need -"

A little stain appeared at the front of his grey jogging pants.


He looked so disappointed with himself. I could see him straining to hold it in.

"It's OK, buddy." I said. "Just go, man."

Relief. And a huge pee stain on my deck.

I'm secure in the knowledge that Henry doesn't feel bad about his little mistake... and that it's going to rain tonight.

Love is...

...the 8 pack of Heinz Tomato Juice Erin bought for my lunches.

She's sexy and thoughtful.

2 afflicted comedians

Since June began, we've been eating most of our meals on the picnic table on the back deck. Henry and Erin spent most of last night's supper working on their routines.

Erin, upon getting her fourth black fly bite, got a little frustrated at why they seem to like her so much. I told her I'd read somewhere they're attracted to pregnant women.

Me: Pheromones, I guess.

Erin: It's not fair-imone.

A few minutes later, Henry was trying to find a way to be too sick to finish his tomato and lentil soup, but not too sick for dessert.

Henry: Ugh. My tummy is feeling...... ice cream sandwichy.

At this point, Erin high fived him and declared theirs the "hilarious side of the table."

Now if she would only go...

Jane was in a giggly mood last night while I tried to wrestle her into her PJs. Mid-way through (when she was buck naked), she got a funny gleam in her eye, hopped up and ran out of the bedroom. I found her down the hall in the bathroom.

She grabbed Henry's potty seat and slammed it on top of the toilet. She then dragged the bathroom stool to the base of the toilet and used it to hop up.

We haven't even started thinking about training her yet, so I was interested in what she would do next. She's obviously been paying attention to Henry, because she had (nearly) the whole ritual down. Her feet dangled. She played with the toilet paper roll. She sang a tune to pass the time.

"Happy birfday, Mummy.
Happy birfday, Mummy.

She didn't actually go to the bathroom, but she was very proud of herself. Then, after about her third time through Happy Birthday, she hopped off.


She even washed her hands.

Lobster litter

It's such a sunny, beautiful day. It's the first day that it really feels like summer might actually come. I went for a stroll over lunch. I wasn't paying close attention to what was at my feet, so the lobster took me by surprise.

There it was. On the sidwalk. Staring at me.

Not actually staring at me. It was missing its tail and claws and was a lovely, boiled-lobster shade of red, so I'm quite sure it was dead. Still, I nearly jumped out of my skin when my foot almost landed atop its giant, insecty body.

Oh, Cape Breton.

The Walk

A comic worth reading.

And underneath the mint-green stucco...

...the brightest gold paint money can buy.  And lots, and lots of drywall dust.