Friday, 30 May 2014

No Sugar Tonight

Earlier this year our friend's son was diagnosed with type one diabetes.  Nearly six months later, after a big learning curve for everyone involved they want to share in their experience to help promote awareness and education to parents, teachers, caregivers or anyone touched by by diabetes.  Hopefully this will act as a resource to anyone who has questions about the realities of living with diabetes.  This is a multi-part series and will include the perspective of Martin and his 11 year old son Rehan so stay tuned...

What were the first red flags for you that something was going on with Rehan?
The first time we really noticed something was wrong was around Christmas when he seemed to be drinking A LOT of water.  One time in particular that comes to mind as a big red flag that something was wrong was during a trip to IKEA around Christmas when he seemed desperate for another drink. At first we chalked it up to it being winter and dry, but this was the first time we first started thinking about the possibility of diabetes. Unfortunately we didn't act on it immediately.  As the month of January progressed, he became more and more tired and eventually was unable to participate in physical activity for more than a few minutes without complete exhaustion. He also started loosing weight dramatically from his already skinny frame. The final straw was when the stomach pains started.  We went to a doctor and he ordered a blood test. The results of high blood sugar came in at 1:30AM and the doctor called and told us to go to the hospital immediately, we knew things were serious.

childrens diabag sample diabetic kit for kids
This is a picture of Rehan's 'diabag' containing all of the things he needs to bring with him to stay healthy

"Because we knew nothing about the symptoms of diabetes before he was diagnosed, I feel it is important to educate other parents about the following symptoms":

1. Excessive Thirst
2. Frequent Urination
3. Weight Loss
4. Low Energy / Lethargy
5. Stomach Pains

If your child experiences any of these symptoms I highly recommend seeing a doctor as soon as possible." Martin

What was your initial reaction to the diagnosis?
A combination of relief that we finally knew what was wrong with him, combined with shock that this had happened to our son. He was so very sick through January and was getting worse each day that we were glad that we finally knew exactly what was wrong with him and that it could be treated effectively. We had to learn a great deal about managing this disease in a very short time in order to be able to bring him home from the hospital.

What are some major challenges you face on a day to day basis?
The biggest challenge is just to focus on keeping at it every day without a break. Treating diabetes is a marathon, not a sprint. To keep his blood sugars under control, every thing he eats has to carefully measured and calculated.  He takes at least 4 injections per day and an average of 10 blood sugar tests per day right now. It is a lot of work that doesn't ever take a break for weekends or holidays. Barring a cure, this level of treatment will be with him for the rest of his life.

How has diabetes impacted your day to day schedule?  Your meal planning?
Our day to day schedule now revolves around his insulin shots and meals. Each morning before 8:30 he has to have his basal injection, and another bolus injection to cover the carbohydrates in his breakfast. We prepare his school lunch the night before labelling all the food with the carbohydrate content. At school a nurse comes in for each nutrition break to help him inject insulin to cover the lunch, and keeps us informed through text messages of his blood sugar levels. For dinner, all of the food that he eats has to be weighed and the carbohydrates calculated as he eats it to calculate the amount of insulin needed to cover his dinner. We always have to be prepared with extra food and have insulin available at any time to cover for situations where his blood sugars go out of range.  We test his blood sugar again in the evenings and before bed. If we have to give a correction at that time then we will test again in the middle of the night to make sure he is not hypoglycemic which can be deadly. 

What about the costs of medication?
We are fortunate to have good drug coverage so all of the test strips and insulin have been covered by our drug plan. The bill from the pharmacy is around $500 per month, most of which is for the blood sugar test strips. Next year he is likely to go on an insulin pump which will also be covered by OHIP, and a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) which is not covered. The CGM will cost between $200 and $400 per month.

Stay tuned for the second part of the series about common misconceptions, sports participation post diagnosis and other road blocks.

To celebrate his 40th birthday and run for the cause Martin is running a 5KM to help fight the disease iva JDRF.  To find out more about the JDRF click here.  To support Martin click here

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Old Red Eyes Is Back

I have surrendered to the fact that my children will get me ill.  That is pretty much part of the job description of a parent and even though I know that they're little germ machines who live in the vacuum of disease that is daycare this won't impact how much I enjoy  physical contact with them.  I will still kiss away their tears when they are hurt, share my food with them when they are hungry and hold them tight and close when they are sick.

I have pink eye and surprisingly I can't blame the minions for it.  I contacted the daycare and they haven't had any outbreaks for a few months, although apparently Hand Foot and Mouth is going around - so at least I have something else to look forward to this spring provided it isn't the same strain we already endured a couple of years ago.

Chris and I are making an extra effort to check things off of our "Honey Do" lists and I have been proud of our pro activeness.  This is why on Friday after work I went to get fitted and fill my prescription for glasses when I really wanted to go home and take a nap.  I carefully selected the pair that I wanted, looked into the little binocular doo hickey they use to measure you, paid my money and am awaiting the call to say that they are ready.  It is VERY LIKELY that this measurement tool was swimming with conjunctivitis and in retrospect I should have been suspicious that they didn't use sanitary wipes before or after they measured me.  By Sunday morning my right eye looked like one of those Spooky Eyes Gumballs and my doctors office confirms that the time line points to this vision centre as the source of my zombie eye.

candy eyes

Who in their right mind thought this would be an appetizing treat?

I have taken appropriate measures and added a giant pack of Lysol wipes to my epically gigantic "mom purse".  I have all sorts of room because I have had to throw out all of my brand new eye shadow and mascara to save me from reinfection - first world problems I know.

When I had kids I knew I'd be a part of a germ Petri dish, but there is something particularly irritating about contracting something so preventable.  The question of the day is I report this to the store where I filled my prescription, the health department or both?  When I go to pick up my glasses next week I'll be sure to saran wrap my face to avoid further contamination.

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Monday, 26 May 2014

The Whole World is Our Playground: Playground Review of Charles G. Williams Park

This Toronto playground was recommended via Torontoist in their Best Playgrounds feature so we decided to make it a part of a weekend visit to the shops and fruit markets in Roncesvalles Village.

My park review disclaimer: If you don't live in the area I hope you enjoy the pics and can use some of the ideas to inspire and explore in your own city. If you have any recommendations for great playgrounds (or new criteria I haven't thought of) please post a comment on this post or email me.

Charles G. Williams Park Playground Review Toronto

Park Name:
Charles G. Williams Park

 There is a decent amount of paid street parking on Roncesvalles for $1.50 an hour.  The park is about a 15 minute walk away from Dundas West Subway Station. 

Charles G. Williams Park Playground Review Toronto
Theme of Park:
Traditional community playground.

Ground Coverage:

Variety of Equipment for different ages:
 This park is a toddlers paradise as most of the equipment is standard fare that is designed for children 4-5 and under.  Most climbing structures are fairly small and won't be daunting to little ones.

Charles G. Williams Park Playground Review Toronto
I have no idea why both of my children insisted on wearing coats on such a warm weekend.

Charles G. Williams Park Playground Review Toronto

Best Parts of the Park:
The park is fenced in and has a dedicated sand box for little ones to play in.  The absence of bigger kids and low to the ground monkey bars can help little ones build up their climbing confidence.  Jack hung from the climbing structures giggling maniacally for most of our visit.  An added bonus to parents and "snacky" children is that Sunny Joe's Cafe is situated directly opposite the playground. 

 This park is a little aged and rough around the edges in terms of paint and wear and tear.  It doesn't have any innovative or accessible equipment either.  If you're looking for anything beyond standard fare, this park  probably is not for you.   

Charles G. Williams Park Playground Review Toronto

Overall Rating:
This is the first time Molly has had the confidence to tackle some of the bigger climbers without a helping hand.  It was great to be able to encourage her and hear her declare "I did it!" when she reached the top.  This is a great place for a break or a picnic with your little kids as a reward after enjoying some shopping in Roncesvalles village.  Rating 3.5/5.

Charles G. Williams Park Playground Review Toronto

Read my review of Jamie Bell Adventure Playground

Read my review of Pricefield Park

Read my review of Dufferin Grove Playground 

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Friday, 23 May 2014

Don't Jump the Shark Before You Save the Whale

When I was learning how to read I took every possible opportunity to show off my new skill to anyone and everyone who would listen.  I'd read street signs, headlines and labels on products just to show the world, "Hey look at me!  I can read!"  I'm certain it was incredibly annoying.  I was exposed to all of these new words and had a lot of questions about their meaning.   This is part two of the "Why?" phase that evolved into the "What does that mean?" phase.

I remember sitting in the bathroom with my mother while she was running me a bath.  I was reading all of the labels on the soaps, bath wash and shampoos to entertain myself while I waited.  Tangent: I still read labels in the bathroom when I'm bored, as does Chris: I know this because of the many lectures I've sat through about Toxic Shock Syndrome every time I attempt to purchase a box of super tampons at the grocery store.  The man is incapable of purchasing anything beyond a regular tampon because of something he read in the bathroom one day.  I picked up a bottle of moisturising bubble bath and began to read the label and asked my mom what the ingredients that I didn't recognize were.   At five years old I thought my mom knew everything and was unaware that you need a chemistry degree to crack the ingredient codes on many household products.  This was the 1980's when no one seemed to mind what chemicals they were bathing in so I can only imagine what wonderful ingredients were in some of the items we used daily. This was also and before access to search engines that would allow you to Google the answers to whatever ridiculous question your child asks you so you can maintain your status as all knowing parent a little bit longer.  My mom did what any parent would, she made up her answers.  One in particular is Urea: my mom told me it was shark pee and I believed her.  Urea is really a chemical common in beauty products that is made up of H2N and NH2.  She then went into great detail about how difficult and dangerous it was to collect the pee from sharks, so I needed to be careful not to waste it.  Apparently I'd been too generous in my distribution of bubble bath for my mom's liking.

Starbucks cup mistaken identities
My friend has an unusual name that the baristas at Starbucks can't seem to right.  Pictured above is one of the only times he was THRILLED with his mistaken identity.

Yesterday morning it was finally warm enough to wear a dress without leotards.  As I put Molly's shoes on her she asked, "Momma why aren't you wearing any pants?" I explained to her that it was spring, I was wearing a dress and that I didn't need pants that day.  She then attempted to take off her pants, because she didn't need them any more because it was spring.  I tried to explain to her why she needed to wear pants to daycare and eventually convinced her to keep her red trousers on with minimal tears.

Clearly I have some work to do.  I only have two years to develop my improv skills to the level where I can artfully mold answers to questions into lessons about why we don't waste bubble bath.

Read my opinion on why giving birth surrounded by dolphins is a bad idea

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Just another Brick In the Wall - Non-Traditional Playground Reviews

There are lots of traditional playgrounds around the city where we take the minions that I review for this blog, but there are also a lot of other destinations designed to keep both big and little people entertained. 

My park/outdoor destination review disclaimer: If you don't live in the area I hope you enjoy the pics and can use some of the ideas to inspire and explore in your own city. If you have any recommendations for great playgrounds (or new criteria I haven't thought of) please post a comment on this post or email me.

Park Name:

 There is a decent amount of parking for $6-8 full day on weekends and holidays or $1.50 an hour.  The park has a shuttle bus that runs every half hour from Broadview station on weekends and holidays.

Theme of Park:
Brick works is a community environmental centre that inspires and equips visitors to live, work and play more sustainably.

Evergreen Brickworks Toronto

Ground Coverage:
 Mixture of hiking trails, markets, quarry and children's gardens. 

Variety of activities for different ages:
There are a lot of activities at Brick Works, all updated frequently on their event/main page.  We went on the holiday Monday to play in the Children's Garden and enjoy the Brewers Backyard offerings at Brick Works.  Every Saturday from May 1st - November 1st Brick Works hosts a farmers market with over 65 vendors from 8am-1pm.  May 18th marked the first Junction Flea - Brick Works  Market of the season.  

Best Parts of the Area:
There are a lot of different areas for kids to run and play and the beer garden hosted a variety of foods that kept Molly and Jack entertained while we enjoyed the sun and a tasty beverage each.  Sweet Pete's bike shop is on location so people looking to get a ride can shop/ get a tune up on site.   Brick Works is dog friendly with restrictions on where puppies are allowed to play.

Evergreen Brickworks Toronto

There were a lot of kids ages 4-5 who were really enjoying building stick and brick sculptures in the Children's Garden, but Molly and Jack weren't really into it beyond exploring the grounds. I imagine there is a lot of novelty in getting your hands dirty for those who are raising their kids in a condo or high rise, but since we had just spent the majority of the weekend working on our own personal garden with the kids the space didn't hold their interest.  

Evergreen Brickworks Toronto

Who should visit Brick Works Any Day:
Photographers, hikers, bikers, urban/ environmental enthusiasts. 

Overall Rating:
I would  highly recommend going to Brick Works to explore a beer garden or market event, but  personally wouldn't come out on non-event days as there isn't enough to hold Molly and Jack's attention here for a few more years.   The event we attended was a wonderful blend of adult activity in an environment where both adults and children could feel welcomed. 

Evergreen Brickworks
Jackie in a failed attempt to drink some "grown up juice" from an empty cup.

Visit my post on High Park Zoo

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Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Octopuses Garden

This spring our yard looks like the gopher from Caddyshack won.  Each year we forge an uphill battle against an aggressive weed that is seeking dominance in our yard, we call her Audrey, spending hours trying to keep her at bay .  We know that it will take a lot of work over the next few weeks to get our garden planting ready and our backyard summer ready.  We also need to get things done with our little toddler "helpers" close at hand.  Below are some tricks and techniques to help entertain little ones while you clean up your yard and actually get work done.  This weekend we were able to clear our yard of five giant garden bags worth of sticks, weeds and rubble, all while the minions were in the yard beside us.

Gardening with children

10 Ways to Get Yard Work Done With Toddlers
  1. Set out a multiple course picnic that features their favourite foods. Raspberries, granola bars, Watermelon...anything they love that will distract them.
  2. Suggest that they pick all of the yellow flowers (dandelions), preferably by the root (they totally won't do this) and then put them in a bowl.
  3. When the confines of a gated yard just isn't enough, strap them into a swing and push them every few minutes while you work.
  4. Never underestimate the power of simple games like catch or kicking a ball back and forth while you work.
  5. Side Walk Chalk.
  6. Set up a toy car wash - here's how.
  7. Give them assignments: collecting all the little sticks and putting them into a garden bag or collecting random rocks around the yard so you won't run them over while you mow the grass are helpful and time consuming tasks.
  8. Let them pick out a plant of their own to water and care for.
  9. Know when to divide and conquer.  Certain tasks, say painting picnic tables, are best tackled during nap time or during TV time.
  10. Be prepared for some short shifts and sometimes frustrating shifts on yard work  They will undo some of your work, and that's okay - those topiary bushes that look like your family crest probably aren't going to happen this year.  Sometimes scheduling half an hour after work every day for the week is the only way to get things done.

watching gardening
Watching dad work from the top of her slide.

bowls of dandylions
Bowl of dandelion heads.

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Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Won't You Be My Neighbor

Ever since we became parents, I find myself more drawn toward stereotypical parental "grown-up" things. I see it in my increasing appreciation for brunch and media that is geared towards parents.  I really wanted to see Neighbors, because it intrigued me.  It's the first time post Knocked Up that we get to see Seth Rogen in the Role of Dad, so we decided to go for a date night last weekend.

Movie Review:  Neighbors

Movie review Bad Neighbours

I blame Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo for the parental culture crisis my generation is facing today. Something about their painfully awkward portrayals of how incredibly uncool parenthood is has somehow amplified our arrested development.  The entire premise of the movie embraces this identity struggle we face as we redefine our image and wrestle with the demands of responsible parenthood and our inner teenager telling us to just be cool.

Best Parts of the Movie
Previews of the movie have succeeded in remaining spoiler free leaving some of the best moments of the film as a surprise.  Rose Byrne and Seth Rogen truly capture the awkwardness in their roles as young, hip wannabes and some of the intimate moments of their relationship feel real, as does the theme of brotherhood amongst Efron and Franco.

Worst Parts of the Movie
The movie had the basic framework to be funny and great, but I just wasn't laughing as often as I wanted to.  The escalating one upmanship of the movie has all the pieces but not quite the same heart as it's predecessors.  For those interested, there is a lot of shirtless Efron, but you have to pay the tolls by enduring the same amount of shirtless Rogen.

When would I Let Molly and Jack watch this movie?
I'd say this is a PG 13 type of movie that I would be comfortable with Molly and Jack watching as they approach their teen years.  There is swearing, vulgarity, nudity and drug/drinking reference - realistically nothing that they wouldn't be seeing in reality come junior high.  That being said, I'm also the parent who sat up watching Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle with Molly the last time she was sick.

Overall Rating
I would rate this movie 3.5/5. It's not Babysitter worthy*, but catch it on Netflix or TV when it came out.

*The parental version of Seinfeld's infamous "sponge worthy".

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Monday, 12 May 2014

Where did you sleep last night - Mother's Day Weekend

I've been told that women forget the bad parts of pregnancy, labour and the challenging days of infanthood because the survival of the human species is dependant on it.  Apparently the same thing can be said about Mother's Day weekend in our house when Chris and I completely forget the way that my children make us earn our titles of parents in some sort of deranged test.  Last year we were tested by illness. I couldn't find any record of the year before that, but because of my complete momnesia I can only assume the worst. 

On Friday at daycare pick-up, the minions had Mother's day presents waiting for me on top of their cubbies.  As we approached our car, Molly decided she wanted to hold all of the presents, including two plates, each containing cupcakes (one for mommy and one for the respective child).  Knowing that Molly acting as "the keeper of the cupcakes", would be a disaster I assured her that I would hold onto them and we would enjoy them  together with tea, all four of us, when we got home.  That was not the correct answer.  Molly had a complete meltdown and screamed all the way home about how Mommy was going to eat all the cupcakes herself and Molly wasn't going to get any.  Chris chimed in, "Mommy shares everything with you, what makes you think that this will be different?" The theatrics escalated and got so intense that Molly was given a timeout as soon as we got home.  

toddlers baking cupcakes
I know what you're thinking...

toddlers baking cupcakes
There is nothing more appetizing than food prepared and decorated by toddlers.

When we presented the cupcakes, both children ate the icing and threw away the cake "husks" and began playing quietly.  Eventually the kids will learn that Chris and I would never eat their food in front of them.  We wait until they go to bed like any sane parents.  

Since Jack moved into "a big boy bed" on Saturday, sleeping has been a challenge in the house.  Both children have been sleeping poorly and tottering on the edge of bleary eyed/sleepy mean since their graduation from cribs.   Thankfully, they both behaved on Saturday while we prepared and enjoyed a lunch with my mom.

Later, nap time comprised of:

  • Jack knocking an end table over by opening the drawers and using them as stairs.
  •  Both minions trashed the nursery like they were rock stars fuelled on whiskey at a four star hotel
  • And the coup de grĂ¢ce on Sunday afternoon, Chris caught both children trying to climb into their wardrobe as if it were the gateway to Narnia.

transition from crib to bed disaster
The floor post-nap time Saturday.

transition from crib to bed disaster
But they eventually fell asleep and this is why they're forgiven....

Sunday we were awoken at 6AM by Jack who had fallen out of his bed, AGAIN. Chris took the shift because it was mother's day and he wanted to let me sleep in, which was hard to do after being awoken by the blood curdling screams of a toddler.  My mommy spider senses just wouldn't shut down.  Then Chris attempted to make me breakfast, cinnamon bun pancakes, while the over-tired toddlers spun around the house.   They were delicious, despite Jack's refusal to eat because this wasn't really the "cake" he felt he had been promised.  Later we went for a walk along the lake to enjoy the weather and eventually collapsed onto the couch exhausted on Sunday evening.

Every day, Molly and Jack change so much and even though parenting can be extremely frustrating, I'm so happy that we can celebrate together as a team.   I am also thankful that all four of our parents (and one grandmother) are able to watch Molly and Jack grow-up and that by next year I will have completely forgotten about the weekend the minions refused to sleep.  Happy Mother's Day: may your selective memories prevail!

handmade mothers day cards
Mother's Day Cards!

Mother's Day Fridge Art by toddlers
Mother's day canvas's/ fridge art

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Friday, 9 May 2014

Ever Ever After

Just over a month ago I posted about some changes we had to make in the nursery, namely the removal of a The Cure - Boy's Don't Cry poster because it turns out, Robert Smith was no longer a suitable roommate for wee Jack.  Essentially he was terrified of the poster, so we moved it down the hall to my office.  Things calmed down for a few days, but then he wanted to visit the man, obsessively touching the poster to make sure that it wasn't real.  He started doing an impression of the man's laugh, which apparently is an evil villainous cackle -  poor Robert.

We took Robert down from the wall and moved him into storage in our basement.

Classic Boys Don't Cry Poster
The Poster

Once upon a time there was a young man who considered himself an alternative music junky.  One night, while at a Cure concert he met a girl.  They spent the entire evening dancing and talking with a candidness that he had never had with anyone else before.  They even talked about having kids and boy names that they both liked.  Before she left, she bought him a Boy's Don't Cry poster as a token of the evening.  She wrote her phone number down on the back of the poster, which made her seem even cooler. He was supposed to call her the following week to arrange their first date.

In an unfortunate and debaucherous turn of events, our hero had a little too much fun at said concert and misplaced the poster.  He had no way to contact his maiden fair, so he did what many young bachelors would, he tried to chalk it off to the fact that it was only a girl and that it didn't matter.  Later he tried to re-trace his steps but came back without his glass slipper.

In the three months that followed, he karmically attributed every piece of bad luck he encountered to the loss of the poster.  His mind kept drifting back towards the girl.  He was taken aback at how easily he fell into conversation with this girl, pushing down the this could be the one thoughts that kept crossing his mind.  He eventually came across the poster in his basement storage which in his stewed state the night of the show he'd cleverly "put somewhere safe" so he wouldn't lose it.

He picked up the phone and called the girl immediately.  She wasn't buying it.  Eventually he persuaded her to give him a second chance.  His hunch was correct and they dated for seven years, then got married. Their first baby is due to arrive July 4th.

Prince Charming is in charge of designing the nursery and he wants to incorporate the Boy's Don't Cry poster into the decor.  Unfortunately after, 15 years and several moves it has gone missing,  AGAIN.

That's how Prince Charming (aka Jeff) found me, Jack and Robert Smith.  He wanted the exact same poster to complete the design of the nursery which is apparently quite difficult to procure in the specific size of the original poster and as a part of his Google searching stumbled on my post.

They don't know the gender of the baby yet, but are determined, either way, the poster will adorn the baby's room with a remarkable story behind it. Jeff's wife plans on jotting her old phone number on the back just like the original.  And, they have just begun the process of picking a girls' name...just in case.

The phrase Boys Don't Cry is a part of their history that they want to commemorate in their nursery.

The Cure means a lot to Chris and I: Chris proposed to me while the album Disintegration played on a boom box when we were camping and our wedding song was Just Like Heaven, but the absence of the poster wouldn't take that away.  The poster has limited sentimental value for Chris and I.  We inherited the poster, along with a box of records and some amazing Sid Vicious pictures that are framed on our wall in the music room from an old co-worker/friend of mine.  This was Chris' second Boys Don't Cry poster: the first one was destroyed by a bottle of mustard (a long story involving a former roommate of Chris' which I am glad was long before we ever met).

 I think this is the best possible home for Robert.  After all, otherwise he may just get lost in our basement storage and that would be tragic.  In Jack's words, "Man is happy now, Man all gone.  Bye bye man."

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Thursday, 8 May 2014

Lie to Me

In the throws of colic and infantdom, Molly was the difficult baby.  Once crawling became walking and walking became running our new hurdle was managing a mischievous Jack, who spent every waking moment bent on self-destruction.  The tables have turned again, as I was told happens all the time with twins, and Molly, Queen of Drama reigns once again.

toddlers with sinister looks
I have been told that the above photo makes Queen Molly (age 14 months) look "Evil" and "Sinister"

On Saturday the minions were playing at my parents house while I completed our taxes online.  When it was time to go home Chris helped the kids tidy up the wreckage from the toy bomb they'd detonated all over my parent's house.  When my mom and I commended the minions on what a good job they had done tidying up, Molly informed Nana that she had cleaned up because "Daddy hit her".  My mom tried to explain to Molly that she was mistaken and that it wasn't nice to say someone hit you when they didn't. Tangent: My family has this weird rule where you don't call people out on being liars, even though Molly was obviously lying.  It's not uncommon to hear me or one of my siblings call someone a pathological mistaker because my mother taught us that calling someone a liar, even when they were clearly and deliberately being untruthful, is just bad manners.

On Tuesday morning Molly decided she didn't want any part of getting dressed to go to daycare.  She pulled off her pants, writhed on the floor, screamed, cried, kicked and did everything in her power to ensure we were late for work.  Since Chris and I generally find it works best not to acknowledge negative behaviour until after Molly has tapped out on her tantrum, we got Jack and ourselves ready and stepped over her while she spun like the Tasmanian Devil.  She had finally stopped crying, and had her pants back on, when we strapped her into her car seat.  She told Chris that I had hurt her arm: another blatant "mistake".  Apparently I needed to kiss it better.  She later explained that it still hurt from two weeks ago when I had accidentally shut her jacket in the car door when she was waving her hand around.  My head nearly exploded.

On Wednesday night when Jack was sitting in Chris' lap playing, Molly decided that she wanted to be the only one curled up with dad.  She climbed up and began to kick Jack off using her feet.  Jack shoved her back, gently, maintaining his spot. We didn't step in because we are trying to encourage referee free conflict resolution.  Molly marched over to me and told me that Jack had hurt her legs.  "He hurt me, Jack hurt me." she repeated.  I corrected her, "You mean you hurt your legs when you were kicking Jack?  Maybe you shouldn't kick your brother." I corrected her as calmly as I could.

Later that night Molly freaked out because Jack stole her Dora the Explorer fruit snacks.  This time she wasn't lying, so I tried to make it a teachable moment about credibility.  I'm not entirely sure if my message resonated.

A while back a friend sent me an article about a study showing how toddlers lieThe study focused on two and three year olds and even the researchers were surprised to discover that 25 percent of two years olds would lie to them. Apparently by seven years of age nearly 100% of children will lie to cover up mistakes or transgressions.  The silver lining is that this means that Miss Molly is more cognitively advanced than her peers, although we're not exactly toasting this latest development.

I am searching for a copy of The Boy Who Cried Wolf  because Mensa still hasn't returned our calls about entering our pathological mistaker into their scholarship program so she can pursue her career as a criminal mastermind.

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Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Meagan's Walk

Last year, as I've talked about in great detail, many of our friends entered the world of parenthood. Last April my friend gave birth to her first child, a little boy named Emmett.   After a remarkably uneventful pregnancy and a straightforward home birth they were ready for an equally smooth transition into their new lives as parents.  Sometimes an event that takes just a minute can change a lot in your life.  Below is a story about friends of ours and their new Mother's Day tradition inspired by one of those minutes.

Within a few days after Emmett was born it became apparent that something was wrong.  Their son was born with Esophageal Atresia with Tracheoesophageal Fistula (EA/TEF). In short, his mouth pipe didn't connect to his stomach pipe. Only a few days after he was born he underwent surgery to connect the pipes.

As new parents they essentially moved into Sick Kids hospital where they hunkered down for Emmett's recovery, all while learning how to cope with parenthood and deal with everything that had just happened.

After a successful surgery they set to work getting Emmett to take milk (an excruciatingly slow process). They soon realized that they would be celebrating Gwen's first Mother's Day at Sick Kids. As the day approached they were confronted with bittersweet emotions. The love and support of friends and family helped, but most parents don't envision celebrating their first Mother's Day inside a hospital.

Meaghan's Walk, Sick Kids, Mother's Day Tradition
Emmett Celebrating his first birthday last month.

When Mother's Day came they were both feeling pretty low. As they sat in Emmett's room an announcement was made that all parents and kids who were able should gather at the exterior windows at 11:45 a.m. for the end of Meagan's Walk.  Welcoming the distraction they bundled up Emmett and wheeled his IV/feeding pole down with them to the atrium windows.

They watched as the street below was filled with people in Meagan's Walk t-shirts. Adults and children, many from inside Sick Kid's who could make it outside, stretched as far to each side of the hospital as they could see. It felt as if everyone on the street was looking directly up at their family.

At 11:45AM. everyone below joined hands, took several steps backwards, then wrapped the hospital in an enormous hug. Instantly, they felt a rush of calm for the first time since Emmett became a Sick Kid. Waving to everyone below, it was impossible not to feel hopeful -the participants seemed to know how much everyone in that hospital needed love on Mother's Day.

It was that moment when they decided to join Meagan's Walk. Both feel that this is something that really makes a difference for parents who find themselves scared and uncertain how things will go for their child, no matter their reason for being a Sick Kid. A "hug of hope" goes a long way.  They are thrilled that this year the entire family (Emmett included), along with some of their friends, will be walking as "Doc and the McFlys" in the hopes that their love and participation will help and comfort others in the way they were.

The money raised from Meagan's Walk goes towards the Meagan Bebenek Endowment Fund and awareness, research and treatment of paediatric brain tumours at Sick Kids.

If you would like to support Doc and the McFlys, they would greatly appreciate your donation.

You can see where your donations go here

Monday, 5 May 2014

She Don't Use Jelly

There is no sound quite like the thump of a head hitting the floor.  On Saturday, during nap, time Molly climbed out of her crib to give purple bear to her brother and landed on her head with a terrible thud.  Chris and I both immediately ran upstairs to comfort her and make sure she was okay.  A scratch on the forehead and bruises aside, she was okay.  That evening, we converted her crib into a toddler bed leaving Jack's crib in tact, especially since it's significantly harder to get out of.

We had been avoiding the crib to bed conversion for almost a year now, but were preparing to move Molly first.  I had spoken to other parents of multiples and been warned to keep them in their cribs for as long as possible because this is a challenging transition.  Phrases like, "drunk on freedom", "2AM play parties" and "mass nursery destruction" kept us dragging our feet.  Eventually we decided that we felt that Molly was almost ready.

toddler in bed
Molly in our bed at seven months

About a month ago we began to read the minions Elmo's book, Big Enough for a Bed to help ease them into the transition and asking Molly periodically whether or not she wanted a big girl bed.  Just last week Molly informed us that she was finally ready.  We were proud of how clever we were to stagger this transition because Jack just didn't seem ready yet.  We worked on a plan to move furniture around the house, including the procurement of a low sitting book shelf from my parents to replace the hutch that housed their books, which Chris remembers knocking over onto himself several times as a child.

Saturday night we had time to remove the precarious hutch from the nursery and we would set up the new furniture the next morning.  Molly was a little nervous that daddy had removed the side of her crib in the conversion, but eventually settled into the bed and went to sleep.

Sunday morning we were awakened by the sound of Molly knocking on the nursery door.  We were shocked to find Jack standing on the floor beside her, apparently he could already climb out of his crib at will.  That morning we rearranged the nursery and set down several thick blankets beside Jack's crib should he try to get out at nap time.

A couple of hours and a lot of giggling into nap time Chris checked in on Molly and Jack.  He was quite confident that neither child had slept at all.  Upon opening the door to the nursery he discovered both children, out of bed, agleam.  Upon further inspection he discovered that they were dripping from head to toe in massive globs of Vaseline.  They proudly showed daddy that they had made a present for mommy (who had hurt her back in other toddler related incidents earlier that weekend) to make her feel better.  Despite their best intentions, their shiny happy art project did not make anyone feel better.  Chris called me upstairs to assess the damage AKA thank them for their creative gift.

Both children have been obsessed with the movie Frozen, particularly the song Do You Want to Build a Snow Man? They had decided that they would build me a snow man in the nursery using nothing but shredded baby wipes (the most expensive kind) and Vaseline.  They were both so proud and greasy that they jumped up and down and couldn't quite figure out why Chris and I were so annoyed.  We gave them a bath....which did nothing.  Next we hit Google...I baby powdered Molly and Jack like they were adorned with Victorian wigs to help absorb some of the oil and bathed them again while Chris took on damage control in the extra glossy nursery.  A few hours later we powdered them up again, which proved to be extra challenging as both children were sleepy mean from skipping their afternoon nap.  They both still look like members of the T-Birds (Danny Zukos gang in Grease) and my sister assures me that it will take at least a week of nightly Victorian head powdering before their hair even resembles normal again (My niece C had done something similar a few years ago).

I had to send an incredibly awkward note to daycare explaining our weekend and assuring them that we did not beat Molly up and then throw her into a vat of olive oil alongside her brother.  We've covered the floor of the nursery in shock and oil absorbant blankets should Jack attempt another great escape.  This week Jack gets his toddler bed and weekend nap time will never be the same again.

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