Foiled by the littlest pig

Alice and I made breakfast this morning while the Three Little Pigs (Erin, Jane and Henry) snuggled and giggled upstairs in the big bed. The Big Bad Wolf in me couldn't let this go uninterrupted.

Me: (from the bottom of the stairs) LITTLE PIGS, LITTLE PIGS: LET ME COME IN.

Three Little Pigs: Not by the hairs of our chinny-chin chins.


Three Little Pigs: Eeeeek!


Three Little Pigs: Squeeeeeeal


I ran bellowing up the stairs. Alice, who until this point had been very patient with our foolishness, lost it.

Alice: Waaaaaaaah!

Me: (running back downstairs) It's ok, Alice! Don't be scared.

Three Little Pigs: Hurray! Alice saved us!

At the very least, it's downward-facing.

I do not pretend to be a yoga master. Or even to be very good at it, really. But I've taken a few classes, and I find five or ten minutes in the morning, even if I'm being climbed on and yelled at, tends to make me feel a bit more human.

This morning, I went through a bunch of cycles of my sunrise salutation (a pre-set series of positions to help start the day). Every time I got to the downward-facing dog position, Henry turned my back and legs into a bridge over which he marched his toy dinosaurs. Then he marched them under me, which was funny, and forced me to the hold the pose longer than I would normally.

Henry: I think you should call this Downward-facing Dino Bridge.

Henry had moved on to something else by the next time I got to downward-facing dog. Instead, Jake, who has a wonderful knack of knowing exactly when someone has placed something as comfortable as a yoga mat on the ground, came out of nowhere, and flopped right under my face.

Me: (staring into a smiling doggie face) No, I think 'dog' is appropriate.

Salty Peanuts? Simple Pleasures? Snake Pimples? Secret Pelican?

Erin brought me home a ball cap the other day from the second-hand store. It's fabulous. Bright red, with the letters "S" and "P" written in bold, black print. Only problem, it's much, much too small for my huge head.

Luckily (and unluckily), Henry has inherited my huge head. (There's an image. Did it come in a box?)

It fits him perfectly. And, it looks great on him. Very little-boy like. Which is appropriate.

So: what does SP stand for?

We've gone through several ideas. For the a while, it was Super Penguins. Today at lunch, we decided it's Shark Punchers.

Awesome, right? What could be tougher than a team of dudes who are willing to punch a shark? (They also have bats)

Any other ideas?

That's what she said (but with emphasis on the verbs)

Erin and I sit on the couch, the baby sleeping in her lap. The end credits of the movie we just watched roll up the TV screen.

Erin: I can't believe we watched a whole movie.

Me: (almost asleep) Mm.

Erin: This is nice.

Me: This is nice.

Erin: (looking down at the sleeping baby in her lap) She's good stuff.

Me: She is good stuff.

Erin: (resting her head back, a contented grin on her face) They're all good stuff.

Me: They are all good stuff.

She pauses a moment.

Erin: You're not capable of independent thought past ten o'clock at night, are you?

Me: I'm not capable of independent thought past ten o'clock at night.

My boy.

We stayed with friends for a few days on/in PEI. They just returned from a visit to Quebec City; Friend Stef showed Henry the photos she took at the big aquarium.

Stef: Do you know what this is?

Henry: (scrutinizing a fuzzy picture) No.

Stef: It's a jellyfish.

Henry: (nodding in recognition) Oh, yeah!

Stef: Do you know what a jellyfish is?

Henry: It's an invertebrate with stinging tentacles.

Stef: (mouth agape) You know what an invertebrate is?

Henry: Yes. A creature with no backbone.

Stef: (mouth agape) !

This is the same boy who stares at me as if I am speaking Latin when I ask him to clean up his Lego.

You're welcome, Nature.

The kids were fantastic sports on the long-haul drive yesterday from Sydney to Charlottetown. It was mostly without incident. Mostly.

Henry: I have to poo.

Erin: (reading a sign indicating the next town is 39 kilometres away) Can you hold it?

Henry: Yup. (suddenly squirming, leaning forward) Nope. Dad!

Me: No worries, Cornbread. We'll find you a spot.

Erin skillfully navigates us off the main highway onto a side road, and eventually onto an out-of-the-way lane in the bush.

Henry: I'm going to poop in the woods? Cool!

I lead him from the car to a nice quiet spot. I hold his arms as he hunches over.

Henry: (looking me in the eye, speaking between held breaths) This is really valuable for the soil.

Big Questions. Big Answer.

The kids and I walked this afternoon around the lake at our local park (yes, that one). The sun shone warm on our faces, but the wind blew a chill through our jackets.

Henry: I hate this wind. (shuddering) Who controls the wind?

Me: That's a good question. Some people think there's a god who controls things like that.

Henry: What do other people think?

Me: Other people say no one controls the wind. That wind comes from the heat of the sun, the cool of the water, the bumps and ridges of the earth, and a whole lot of other things working together.

Henry: (thinking)

Me: And some people think a god controls the sun, water, and earth in order to make wind.

Henry: (more thinking).

Me: What do you think?

Henry: I think I want to play hide and seek.


I started re-reading my grandfather's copy of Pierre Berton's Vimy a few nights ago, vaguely realizing the battle happened around this time of year. It has just worked out, by coincidence, that tonight I begin the chapter in which the four united Canadian divisions start their assault on the ridge. That day was April 9, 1917.

92 years later....


As I walked the kids around the lake at our local park yesterday morning, Henry let me know how stupidly boring it is to walk around stupid, boring lakes.

Me: I'm not bored. I'm having lots of fun.

Henry: But we're not talking about you, Dad. This is about me. I'm bored.

Me: I'm sorry to hear that. (something catches my eye) Woa! Did you see that?

Henry: What.

Me: That duck that just landed. Have you ever watched how they land? It's kinda like a float plane coming in for a slow landing. Look! Here comes another one.

A female mallard eases herself out of the sky. Her wings are held back and slightly cocked. She comes in at a low trajectory, getting closer and closer to the water before finally touching down with her feet, skiing for a moment on the surface, and eventually bobbing in place at the end of her long wake.

Henry: Her feet are pontoons!

We spend the next twenty minutes watching ducks take off and land. He anticipates each landing with an uncontrollable flapping of his own. He then turns his attention to the gulls.

Henry: They don't land like planes! Watch!

A screeching gull glides out of its obnoxious flight in wide sweeping arcs.

Henry: Coming around... Coming around...

When the arcs finally sweep to about half a metre from the surface, the gull seemingly gives up on the concept of flight and drops unceremoniously to the water.

Henry: Wee! Flop! (peels of laughter)

Another twenty minutes later, I drag him away from the stupid, boring lake.

Super Dad will follow up this victory by displaying how cool it is to watch bread turn to toast through the little window on our toaster oven.

Wisdom and perspective

My 81-year-old neighbour stepped out his backdoor to visit me yesterday as I shoveled the 40 centimetres of snow that had fallen in the last day.

Roy: So, they gave you the old heave ho, did they?

Me: It's not 100%, but we're pretty sure.

Roy: (nodding) Hmph.

I shoveled for another minute.

Roy: Well, suck it up. You've got three beautiful kids.

Me: (pausing mid shovel) I will. And I know.

Roy: It's damn cold out here. I'm going in.