My Reading Buddies

Most of the time I feel like we’re in over our heads with this whole parenting gig. What the hell did we get ourselves into? None of this was in the brochure.

Can’t I get a refund?

Can’t I get an exchange?

In-store credit perhaps?

The noise! Oh the noise. Why do they insist on playing so loud. I swear their voices must be heard by a few other countries. If anyone is wondering what the constant sound of thunder is, it’s coming from our house. If they’re not playing loudly, they’re pissing each other off loudly. Usually for fun. Except it’s only fun for one of them. The other one just screams and screams.

Then there’s the dirt. Don’t even get me started on the dirt. And laundry. And messes.

Through all the noise, the dirt, and the messes there comes a time when something remarkable happens. A time when it gets quiet even though they’re still awake. A time when the messes don’t really matter even though they’re still there. There comes a time when they prove they really do love each other.

Crash disappeared to the basement for awhile the other day. No biggie. I thought he was playing Lego or Wii. Or on the computer because I forgot to sign out. That boys can smell when a computer is logged on three flights of stairs away. That’s where I found him, but he wasn’t watching Minecraft videos. He was writing a book for his brother. I thought my heart was going to burst with pride.

Mind you, it was only 4 pages long, but it was a book to teach to his brother! That’s like finding out Putin is sending food supplies to Crimea.

Bang learned it in no time. Of course, he simply memorized it. However, he has learned the beginning sounds for words. He knows the sound each letter makes at the beginning of words. When he comes to a word he doesn’t know he will start with that beginning sound. From there, he just takes a shot in the dark as to what the word might be.

Through the noise and the dirt and the mess there comes a time when we know we may not be getting everything right. Usually it feels like we’re getting nothing right. In th

ese quiet revelations I realize we’ve nailed this parenting gig. We have fostered the love of reading and books and words and questions.

Yesterday I wrote about our trip to Uisge Ban Falls. In that post I told that we had more traveling to do after our hike. That trip was to the mall. The boys spotted the book store and asked to go.  How in the hell could I say no? I could spend hours there. I have spent hours there. DW left us to go get some perfume. She knew we’d be there looking at books longer than it would take her pick out a new smelly. The boys went straight for the kids section. Then I was told ALL children’s books were 20% off. She might as well have told me DW just bought herself a Princess Leia costume (you know which one). Okay, maybe I wasn’t that excited, but you know what I mean.

The three of us bought two books each. When you have a whole bookstore to choose from, how do you pick just one? I was lucky to make it out with just two.

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Bet you can’t guess who bought which books… Which to read first…

Now that you’ve made it this far, here is a 30 second video of a 5 year old learning to read.

(I silenced their names)

Getting Lost in October

I can find my way through October without a map. I’ve done it 39 times already.

I can’t find my way through a corn maze with a map. I tried. Next year I’m giving the map to DW to see how she fairs. Chances are good she’ll succeed where I failed. That’s what DW does. I’m okay with that.

We visited Riverbreeze Farm last weekend and we had a blast. There were some new attractions along with the old favorites.

  • Corn maze
  • tractor ride
  • pumpkin patch
  • Gator (the 4×4 kind) train
  • tetherball
  • bouncy pillow (much like a giant trampoline)
  • goat feeding
  • petting area (llama, sheep, bunnies, goats
  • tube slide
  • hay bale “Castle climb”
  • tug of war
  • sling shot
  • tractor tire obstacle course
  • spinning vortex 
  • laser tag

So much to do in one afternoon. We skipped the first three items on the list. We saved them for the end because we knew they would take the most time. Plus I sure as hell wasn’t walking around a farm all afternoon carrying pumpkins through a corn maze. I love my kids dearly, but even that’s pushing it. 

So we ran willy nilly from riding to petting to climbing to tugging. The boys were having a blast while DW and I were bobble heads trying to keep up with them. 

Finally the time came to enter the corn maze. They warned us to allow at least an hour to get through it. The fun part of the maze is the “who done it” puzzle you solve as you find your way through. There are 6 stations set throughout the maze and each one will give a clue as to who “killed” farmer Joe with what weapon and where. By process of elimination you solve the puzzle and earn an extra chance to a win a trip “down south”. With a map and a clue card we set off.

This is what we got ourselves into…

Only 2 farms in Canada were given permission to use Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

Station 1- check

Station 2- check

Station 3 – Anyone know where are? I hear voices, follow them.

Station 4- check

Station 5 and 6 we walked in circles for a while until we found a family who was more competent with a map. In my defence, I’m excellent with a road map. I spent years driving around scouting corn crops. Some weeks I would drive 1400 miles. I know how to use a map. This was completely different! 

Yes, I got us lost. We knew it was going to happen. It’s part of the attraction. So we followed the 5 year old. “Follow the sun.” he told us. With a little help we found our way out. 

With a half hour to spare we jumped on the last wagon ride to the pumpkin patch. The commentator told us that the pumpkins were $5 each. But we could get them for free if we came back at night. He told us if we took that option we better cross the field in 9 seconds because the bull can cross it in 10. 

In the patch, Bang picked out a pumpkin. The smallest, green pumpkin. DW and I wanted our $5 worth and we wanted pumpkins we’ll be able to carve. Bang was sad. So he and I returned to pick out a 3rd pumpkin. We agreed on a small, “ghost” pumpkin. It was pale yellow, almost white. 

We headed back and caught the wagon ride back to the main area, Bang carrying his ghost pumpkin. It didn’t make it off the farm. He dropped and it broke right in half. DW and I fussed at him for not being more careful and for wasting $5 on a pumpkin just for it to smash. He was okay with it. “I wanted it in two pieces, anyway.” 

UGH!

Overall, it was great day. We all had a blast. We can’t wait to go back next year!

Eager Beaver

You know you’re in for a great story when your 5 year (and 5 day) old comes running to your bed at 6:30 in the morning asking to do the dream question for your blog. Bang LOVES that question. Hence, it has become a staple of the “10 Questions I Ask My Kids” on Thursday. But today is only Wednesday, so you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to find out what he dreamt.

Sorry not sorry.

Tomorrow will fun. I found some science questions to ask the kids. You will read tomorrow how they view the world. You will find out truth to such things as rainbows and the sun’s heat and why magnets stick to each other. All science related. If you aren’t enlightened you will at least be enlaughened (that’s a word now).

As you probably know, a bunch of driveways were being repaved last week. The gravel was laid and rolled and all was ready for the paver. We just needed clear weather. Both showed up Monday and “The Excavator Spectator” was on high alert. He became the paver spectator. Too bad he had school! After school though? He had the same reaction.

ARRHHHHHH!!!!! THE MACHINES ARE HERE!!!!!!

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of him watching the paver in our driveway. He sat on our front step and watched the whole thing.

*Funny story: The paver laid a thin strip of asphalt about a 1/3 of the way down our driveway then stopped. The paver driver parked his machine. DW asked what was up. He told her, “They gave us enough asphalt to do the 10 driveways and we just ran out.” Naturally, DW was a bit confused (and bit pissed that they ran out of asphalt). Then she clued in that he was just kidding and they had a good laugh. 

paver

Front row seats!

That was our big excitement over the last few days… watching the driveways get paved. Be prepared for all the paving questions to be answered this Friday in the next issue of “Go Ask Your Father”.

 

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Why Do Boys…

Eli, the Coach Daddy, started a questions page over on his blog titled What would you ask of a boy. He was simply asking people to ask him “boy” questions because actually being a boy qualifies him to answer such questions.

So, to help him out, I typed “Why do boys” into Google so it could take a guess at what I was going to ask. It did a pretty good job. It came up with some good questions. I’m here to answer them for you in as a PG-13 way as I can. Because I’m a boy. I’m not sure what Google is.

1. Why do boys have nipples

According to IFLS, all babies begin life as a female embryo. If a Y chromosome is present then that chromosome (or a gene on that chromosome) limits the breast development to just a nipple. This doesn’t happen until the 4th week of gestation. So we both get nipples but only females get developed.

I think it’s so we don’t look weird. It’s so, as toddlers, we can pretend to be mommies with baby dolls. Also, they work as thermometers letting us know when it gets cold. While not entirely useful, they’re not as completely useless as the screen door on a submarine. Back hair? Now that’s completely useless.

 2. Why do boys like girls?

Google didn’t have an answer to this one. It answered “what do boy like about girls”. Close, but no cigar. I think from an evolutionary stand point, boys like girls because that’s how we keep the world populated. Unfortunately, that’s how the world will get over populated too. But really, we probably like girls because they have better nipples. Nipple envy.

But I also know that not all boys like girls. Some boys like boys. Maybe that’s why boys have nipples. So the boys who like boys won’t be nipple envious of the boys who like girls have nipple envy.

3. Why do boys like breasts?

When they were young toddlers, both of my sons would put their hands down the shirt or up a sleeve of the person who was holding them. They loved to feel skin on skin. Occasionally, that hand would find its way in their mother’s bra. It was comforting to them. And warm.

Breasts are the givers of life, sustaining our children in the first six months to year of their lives. They’re packed with all those minerals, nutrients, and antibiotics. We look at children’s mother and see the bond they form during feeding time. Envious? Even when they aren’t in use as a food supply boys are looking for one.

Also, because we don’t have them.

*Sidenote: Men can get breast cancer, too. However, they account for only 1% of all breast cancer cases.

Boys are such weird creatures. Does anyone really know why they like what they like? Might as well try to solve the Bermuda Triangle mystery.

Once Upon A Wish

Once upon a time, I used to wish to have a baby girl. Sugar. Spice. Everything nice. Pony tails and painted nails. Tea parties and cute dresses. Turns out my Y’s are faster swimmers than my X’s so we only make boys. Welcome to the boys womb. Where there’s always, dirt, noise, and pee on the toilet seat.

Just like my parents before me, we have two boys, Crash and Bang. Perhaps you’ve heard a bit about them? We have been asked numerous times if we’re going to try for a girl. We’re good with two boys. I’ve heard stories about people “trying for a girl” and end up with 6 boys. No thanks. We’re good.

If I am their Superadad, they are my Supersons. We fight off villains with Nerf guns. We embark on grand adventures through the high grasses of the small field behind our yard. We climb trees and “mine for gold” (aka dig holes in the mud). We slop when we eat and we rarely make in the toilet when we pee.

Their energy knows no bounds. They show no signs of slowing down any time soon, either. That’s okay. I wouldn’t want them, too. Trampolining, playgrounds and bike rides in the summertime. Sledding, snowballs, snowmen, and igloos through the winter. After all of this they still have the energy to play inside. Legos, floor hockey, and sword fights. Hide and seek, jumping on beds, and practical jokes (everyone loves a good scare except the person getting scared).

They drive us absolutely insane sometimes. They kick off their muddy boots. Literally. Mud right up the walls. Wet snow clothes in heap by the back door. Toys strewn everywhere. The video game craze and all things Minecraft, Mario, Lego and trucks of every kind. Everything they touch falls to pieces. Some of the stuff they broke we thought should be indestructible. Guess we should have known  better.

They make us laugh. They decide at bedtime, after fifteen minutes of laying quietly, that it’s time show us how to do the whip and nae nae dance they learned at school. Stanky leg included. They come screaming down a hill on a sled and hit the jump at the bottom then hit the ground rolling with laughter. Then do it again and again. They talk to themselves while sitting on the toilet having a poo. And he’s not done pooing until he’s done talking to himself so don’t bother interrupting. They tell the same joke a thousand times because it was funny the first time. But mostly because it’s the first real joke they learned to tell.

What do you call cheese that doesn’t belong to you?
Nacho cheese.

They make us say things we never dreamed we would say. Stop playing with your pee pee. Don’t touch your brother’s pee pee either! Where are your pants? Don’t sit on your bother’s head. Don’t fart on his head either. Who wiped their booger on the couch? Who peed in the garbage can?

But most of all, they make us feel loved. When we find ourselves in a quiet moment, they snuggle up so close we can feel their breathing slow as they drift off to sleep. When all they want is a hug. When they think of each other and want to buy two chocolates instead of just one for themselves. When we get a random “I love you” from them for no reason other than to remind us.

I no longer wish to have girls. We may not be all ponytails, painted nails and everything nice around our house. But we do have a well balanced life of love, happiness and frustration. Or perhaps we just love to be happily frustrated?

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When ya gotta go

So the other day Crash and Bang had friends over. They happen to be sisters. The oldest is a grade behind Crash and the youngest is Bang’s age. They’ll be in class together in September. The four of them played and had a grand time while DW and I chatted with their mother about camping, and work and stuff. Continue reading

T is for…

T

Trucks: pick-up, transport, garbage, recycling, tow, cement, dump, fire, poop waste disposal, monster, etc… Trains. Tractors. Tricycles. Tires. Anything with tires, treads or tracks. Race cars, planes, excavators, bulldozers. If it has wheels our boys love it.

They always have, too. It’s not that we pushed them towards that stuff. They chose it. They have a doll named Sweet Baby they play with on occasion, but it’s the trucks and trains they are attracted to the most. They play with their kitchen set sometimes. However, it’s the shopping cart they prefer. Well, here. Let me show what you might get to play should you stop by for a visit…

Just a hint at the number of things with wheels.

Just a hint at the number of things with wheels.

That green recycling truck is Bang’s favorite. For about a month after he received it, no one was allowed to touch it. Not even if we asked nicely. Even now it’s iffy.

They find the real ones even better, of course. At the bus stop, Bang loves to see the log haulers, transfer trucks and the cements trucks go by on the highway. He can watch excavators and backhoe loaders for hours. He is best friends with the garbage men. Though he doesn’t like to get to close to the trucks because they’re too loud. (Ironically enough, he also doesn’t like silence).

The other “truck game” he likes to play involves a front loader and dump truck. Use the loader to pick up blocks, drive up a ramp and dump the load into the dump truck. We continue this until the dump truck is full. The dump truck dumps it’s load and we start all over. Speaking of which… it’s now time to go play!

L is not for …

L

L is not for lawn. It’s still 90% buried in the snow.

L is not for lawnmower. Sure, it might be spring. But here in Atlantic

No lawn here. Nothing to mow... move along now.

No lawn here. Nothing to mow… move along now.

Canada, Mother Nature likes to be temperamental. The snows didn’t start until February this year. Last year, it started in November and lasted until April. We got the same amount of snow as last year, just

over a 3 month period instead of 6. So I won’t be needing the lawnmower for another month.

L is not for ladybugs. See the above and you’ll understand why.

L is not for lucky or lottery. We won’t be winning it any time soon. Our last ticket had 2 out of 25 numbers. Not even close. Not even on the same continent as close.

L isn’t for any of that stuff. Here’s what it could be for…

L is for laughing. Who doesn’t like to laugh? Especially during ticklefests. Bang likes to crawl and lay on our lap and tell us, “run and tickle”. No need to chase him, he’s in our lap. So we tickle away until he tells us to stop. Then tickle again. Then stop. Then tickle again and on and on and on goes the game. Tickle me, don’t tickle me.

L is for lefties. Both boys are lefties. Crash eats, writes, and kicks with his left. This makes life interesting because this causes some of his numbers and letters to be backwards. No matter how much we practice with him 5’s, 6’s, S’s, g’s and a few other random letters still come out backwards when he writes. Bang will be the same because he does everything lefty; eat, write, throw, hit, and kick. Weird, because both DW and I do everything with our right.

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L is for loud. If it’s not their voices it’s their crashes and bangs. If it’s not their crashes and bangs it’s their games. If it’s not their games, it’s their music for their “dance party”.

L is for leaches. That’s what our two boys are. That’s how they get so much energy. They leach it off their mother an I. That would explain why we’re so low on energy and they’re so high.

Bang on the snow bank

Bang on top of the snow bank this morning

My parents are going to be making a trip up this summer. They’re thinking of coming in August. I’m thinking this would be the best time because the snow should be gone by then. Even the boys are sick of the snow and they’ve loved winter and being outside. Now Bang wants a giant vacuum to suck up all the snow and make it summer. I don’t blame him.

G is for …

GGentle. Like holding a newborn baby who is quietly falling asleep in soft, bouncing arms. Gentle. Like two kids kindly sharing crayons to color a picture, carefully staying inside the lines. Gentle. Like tiptoeing into your child’s room in the middle of the night to make sure they are warm and comfortable. Gentle. Like the sounds of crashing waves on a summer’s eve of a secluded beach. Gentle. Gentle? Seriously? I have two sons who I’ve nickname Crash and Bang. There is nothing gentle in this household.

Here. Let me show you how our house does “gentle”.

Yeah. That’s about right. We build towers to knock them down. We jump on beds. We jump down the stairs. We jump off swings. We jump in puddles. We jump on each other. We play kickity kick ball in the house. We soak the ceiling and flood the floor while splashing in the tub. We run and we ricochet off the walls. We spin until we’re so dizzy we fall down. We climb trees. We crash and we bang.

We’ve become numb to it. So long as no one is in real danger of hurting themselves, someone else or breaking the house, it’s tolerated. They can be gentle when they have to be. Babies, pets and stuffies are safe. They get careful hugs and sweet kisses.

The rest of us aren’t so safe. They’re not mean, just rough and tumble and “all boy”. Bang loves to wrestle his big brother. Jumps on him, tackles him, squeezes him, rides him like a horse. Most of the time it’s fun to watch.

They can be gentle. But it’s not in their nature to be.

*When I say “we”, I usually mean Crash and Bang. Not me. Usually.