Five Star Service

After reading a book last night about chameleons, Henry transformed into Dr. Atkinson: the world's foremost expert in chameleons. Our house became a bed and breakfast he was staying in while visiting from his research station in Madagascar.

Me: Would you like a nightcap before retiring, Dr. Atkinson?

Henry: Yes, I would. What's a nightcap?

Me: It's a little drink before bed to help you sleep.

Henry: Does this bed and breakfast have cold water?

Me: Yes. Would you like it in a dinosaur cup?

Henry: That would be excellent.

We walk to the kitchen.

Me: This room serves as both our kitchen and dining room, Dr. Atkinson. This is where we'll be serving breakfast tomorrow morning.

Henry: It's very nice.

He puts down his glass.

Henry: I think I would like to go to bed now.

Me: This way to the stairs, Dr. Atkinson.

Henry: Can you carry me up?

Me: Of course. It's a service we offer all our guests.

I pick him up. Erin meets us on our way to the stairs.

Erin: Will you continue telling me about your chameleon research at tomorrow morning's breakfast, Dr. Atkinson?

Henry: It would be a pleasure.

I carry him up the stairs. We walk down the hall to his bedroom.

Me: I should tell you, Dr. Atkinson, we're a bit over booked tonight. You'll actually be sharing your room with a young lady.

Henry: Really? What's her name?

Me: Jane. A lovely woman. She's actually sleeping right now, so we'll have to be quiet.

I walk him into the room, place him on his bed, and tuck him in.

Me: Comfy?

Henry: Mmm hmm.

Me: Would you like me to lie beside you for a while, Dr. Atkinson?

Henry: That would be nice.

Henry hugs his stuffed dog. Eyes closed, his mouth pulled to a sleepy grin.

Henry: (sigh) This is a very nice bed and breakfast.

Help a very pregnant woman

People say the silliest things to pregnant women. Erin is now 2 weeks from her due date. One woman insists on telling her how huge she is every time they meet.

Woman: Oh, god. You are huge.

Erin: I know.

Woman: No, seriously. HUUUGE.

Erin: Yes. I'm pregnant.

Woman: You must be due, like, any day now. 'Cause that thing (pointing to belly) is huge.

Erin: Yes. I'm a fat, fat cow.*

(*she doesn't really say this)

More often than not, these things are said by women (mothers) who should know better. Perhaps they're saying it in sisterhood, but it doesn't come across that way. Amazingly, Erin finds the most helpful statements come from older men. Like this exchange yesterday:

Man: Look at you. That's wonderful.

Erin: Thank-you. It doesn't always feel wonderful.

Man: Not in this heat it wouldn't. How are you feeling?

See? Simple. Sympathetic. Helpful.

Erin can roll with the punches with almost anyone (she married me), but there's one statement that drives her crazy. It usually comes when she's out with Henry and Jane.

Random Person: You are going to be busy.

Erin has yet to find an appropriate response. Here are a couple I suggested:

-"Yes. But there will also be joy."
-"I know. It will take a lot of work to track down your home and begin my campaign of pestering."
-"And you will eventually wither and die."


Why Henry never wins pillow fights against me: A List

1. Weight disadvantage of nearly 1:4

2. Height disadvantage of nearly 1:2

3. Poor pillow selection. He always chooses for size, rather than density or even available pillowcase to use as a handle.

4. The giggling (doesn't take this seriously).

5. Always falls for The Oldest Trick in the Book. He swings and misses with his gigantic pillow, which pulls him slightly off balance and leaves his backside completely exposed for one good whack, which sends him tumbling.

6. His inability to capitalize on useful alliances which could bolster his chances (example: Jane).

7. Lack of killer instinct (see #4).

8. Poor recovery technique. After a fall, he always tries to get up butt first, giving me an excellent target.

9. Lack of intimidating vocabulary (example: "Bring it, Weeble.")

10. I completely rule.

Me: killer of hares

I killed a snowshoe hare today.

There it was - hippity, hoppity - scurrying along in its beautiful, brown summer attire. It hopped in front of the car I was driving.

This is one of the reasons why I've been proud to not own a car for the last five years (I was driving a work vehicle today). I grew up in the country. Driving in the country, you kill a lot of cute things.

I hit a little cottontail rabbit with my first car within a week of buying it. I remember wondering if my need to get from Point A to Point B really trumped the bunny's need to be alive.

I also saw a red fox today. I didn't kill that.

I did, however, ride shotgun in my dad's car when he did kill a fox. He was driving me home from the airport one summer evening. We came up over a crest in the dark road and there it was: bright red fur with a fluffy, white-tipped tail, and thin legs tapering down to perfect black socks. As it darted across the road, it glanced up and had just enough time to think the word "crap."

Dad and I rode on in silence for a full minute.

Dad: That was a really pretty fox.

Fish cakes for supper

I love Cape Breton.

The garden: year one

We weren't going to put in a vegetable garden this year, seeing as it's our first summer and we have lots to do around the house/yard. But suddenly, there I was at the beginning of June, digging up a strip of sod behind our deck with dreams of beets and tomatoes dancing in my head.

Over the next several weeks, we built up the soil with some bagged stuff from Sobeys, and a nice load of 9-year old, composted manure from a local farm. We didn't put seeds into the ground until after the solstice, but then again, in the Maritimes they say not to plant until after the full moon in June.

Our meagre, first-year attempt is growing quite well. Here's an inventory:

-2 rows of Swiss chard (we've been eating this for a week or so)
-2 rows of beets (ditto on the greens. ate some the other day)
-2 rows radishes (Henry: "Hot!")
-3 rows peas (love 'em)
-2 rows carrots (obligatory)
-a whack of onions (Henry: "I hate onions!")
-big patch of garlic chives (I'm rarely seen without one sticking out of my teeth)
-3 sweet pepper plants
-a box with basil and cilantro

and, of course:

-2 tomato plants, transplanted to pots.

A Prayer for Creamy

Creamy, Henry's best stuffed pall in the world, is going under the knife this morning.

He's never had what I call a surplus of stuffing. Indeed, a recent density scan shows he's deficient in both grain and batting. Dr. Erin believes the only solution is a transplant, which she will perform this morning.

Henry is pacing around the kitchen, wringing his little hands, mumbling about all the times he should have told Creamy he loved him, but instead chucked him across the room to see if maybe he really could fly.

I'm reminded of the music box-ectomy my own little dog, Spot, underwent when I was about Henry's age. He recovered, but the scar of red thread never truly healed.

Dr. Erin tells me she has to go in through the neck. Apparently, this is due to the fact that many of Creamy's seams come together at this point. I'm also keenly aware it also makes the surgery much more dangerous.

I also find very little comfort in the callous attitude of Nurse Jane.

"Cut! Cut! Cut!"

Update: I saw Creamy after he came out of recovery. He's quite groggy, but much more full (of cotton). He's a much fattier Creamy: maybe even 18% milk fat.

Colours: by Jane

"Pink, boo, pink, wed, pink, geen, pink, hello, pink, bown, pink, pooplay, pink, oh, pink."

Flippin' babies!

That's not a swear word substitute, our baby truly has flipped.

One more month to go and everyone is pointed in the right direction.

Cue the narrator

Henry recently started narrating his adventures as they happen.

"Suddenly, he leapt out of the darkness..."

Which is cute, but often spoils his advantage of surprise in an attack.

Here's my favourite narration to date. He was pretending to be a squirrel.

Henry: He came bounding through the branches to speak to the hiker. Hello, Hiker.

Erin: Hello, Squirrel. How are you?

Henry: Very exhausted.

Erin: Why? Has your squirrel father been forcing you to pick too many nuts?

Henry: He has.

Me: We have quotas. How do you expect me to fill them?


Henry: No one answered.

Too hot to type

I find relief standing in a kiddy pool filled with ice-cold water. How about you?

Sweet Jane. Try again.

Henry woke up this morning feeling a bit upset. He realized he had slept the whole night without his best pal Creamy. Here's the conversation I heard tossed between beds.

Henry: I want him!

Erin: He's downstairs. Why don't you go get him?

Henry: Ooooooh!

Jane: Me!

Erin: Are you going to get Creamy for Henry?

Jane: Puppy!

I hear the patter of bare feet running down the hall, climbing down the stairs, then scampering around the downstairs. Several minutes later, she comes back empty handed.

Jane: No puppy.

Erin: You couldn't find him?

Jane: Puppy.

Erin: It was very nice of you to go and look for him for Henry. Wasn't that nice, Henry?

Henry: Thank-you, Jane. But it's just not good enough. You're just going to have to go back downstairs and look again until you find him.

Jane: Puppy?

Not Irritable Uterus

As quick as Erin's contractions came, they went. She felt the last one at about the same instant I posted my last entry.


Oh wait.

Our fabulous midwives visited on Friday night. It took about 30 seconds for them to discover Erin wasn't experiencing Irritable Uterus, as her doctor suspected. Instead, the baby spent the last week turning into the breech position. This, with only about six weeks left until her due date.

Think downward thoughts for us.

Irritable Uterus

We tried to get away earlier this week to the other side of Cape Breton, which we did, but the trip was cut short. Erin started having some pretty intense contractions six weeks too early. I won't go into the details, but we ended up making a midnight run across the island to the Sydney hospital for some tests.

She's not in labour. She' s not having Braxton Hicks contractions. She's experiencing something called irritable uterus.

Good news is, the baby is fine. But Erin is feeling lots of pain and is very tired. The contractions occur mostly at night, so you can imagine how much sleep she's getting.

I'm trying to give her as much rest as possible and time from the kids. We've fabulous neighbours who have been a great help.

I'll let you know if anything changes.

P.S. Despite the suckiness, life goes on: including a shirts off, lying down, make-out session between Jane and our 4-year old neighbour. I had a brief glimpse of what life will be like when she's 15. I knew I shouldn't have let her wear that dress.