Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Words of Wisdom: My kids in 140 characters or less

We spend a lot of time with the minions and I'm fortunate enough to record the things that they say and do so I can look back on it and laugh.  Some of it makes the blog and other smaller moments don't.  One of the brilliant things about Twitter is how it's the ultimate parenting "elevator speech", because you have to keep it short. Below are Tweets, conversations, parental musings and things that the minions have done or said over the past two months, for your reading pleasure that haven't made it to the blog.

The Naked Princes in all their glory!

  1. Me: what do u want to bring to grandma & grandpas? J: hmmmm. How about the naked princes?
  2. J: If Rob is a Zombie why is he singing? Zombies can't sing (Apt questions asked during decorating)
  3. J: Don't worry mommy, I hardly eat any car food anymore. Me: What's car food? J: Stuff that I find on the floor of the car
  4. That moment when you laugh at the angry dad shaking his fists at the school bus & then you make eye contact
  5. Who needs car air fresheners when your children leave rotting cores in the backseat of your car?
  6. While watching M: Why do they keep calling Falcor a dragon when he's clearly a flying dog?
  7. J: M's swim teacher is named Dave Me: is it really? M: No J: I've decided when i don't know someone's name I'm just going to call them Dave
  8. Me: No you can't sit in that chair because it's in someone's garbage and covered in garbage
  9. Having mixed feelings telling my daughter it's inappropriate to yell Shut Up at Map
  10. (While watching for the first time) M: How come is the only one who understands what's going on?
  11. M: Thanks 4 breakfast milk servant Me: I don't know what that means, but don't call anyone that M in tears: But I said thanks!
  12. J: Bro, you totally forgot my pretzels Me: No I didn't & don't ever call me bro again, I'm your mom J: Chill out bro
  13. Potato leek soup prep time 90 min, time kids spent complaining about leeks, 20 min, time spent sifting out leeks 5 min, silence = golden
  14. Today I refereed a tearful & heated argument about whose nose an imaginary spider lives on
  15. Proud moments When ur son asks u 2 play at dinner but then u drink the milk with the iocane powder, inconceivable
  16. M: I need a toy human to play with Me: you mean a doll? M: I guess that will have to do
  17. M: J you don't need to watch the movie with me, but can you cover my eyes during the scary parts? J: Sure
  18. Evening with M at game: Why does grandpa keep yelling at the ?
  19. Me: We didn't get done so u need 2 wear a or your brother's underwear M: grabs suit annoyed,rolls eyes

    To view my last two Twitter round-ups click here and here

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Multiple Momstrosity on Twitter @Sarabethbug

Monday, 24 October 2016

Do Your Ears Hang Low? - Infants, Kids & Ear Piercing...The Debate Part 3

This post is part 3 (and the final portion) of the infant ear piercing debate and discusses while some people wanted to wait, and some thoughts on why others were glad they didn't.  To read part 1 about the benefits for piercing an infant's ears click here to read part two click here.

Picture of a standard piercing gun courtesy of Wikipedia 

Avoid the piercing gun

Earring advocates and piercers everywhere will be able to tell you about the benefits of going to a professional piercer, not a kiosk at the mall, to get a piercing. Piercing guns can’t be sterilized the same way that a needle used by professional piercers is cleaned. While it may seem strange to take a child into a tattoo parlour or piercing salon to get something as simple as an ear piercing, by hiring someone trained in piercing parents gain access to a professional and a higher quality of earrings available for purchase.

Coping when a piercing goes wrong

Infections can happen with earrings to adults, kids, and babies. What’s done is done, but being prepared and knowing what to do to treat a potential infection is key. Knowing the difference between an allergy and an infection will help you better treat the ear. An infected piercing will look red and swollen and contain a pus discharge. The solution is to clean daily with soap and water in addition to using alcohol twice a day. If an infection doesn’t clear within a few days, it’s best for parents to connect with their health care practitioner to get a prescription for an antibiotic cream or oral antibiotic. Infections should clear up within four or so days when using antibiotics. An allergic reaction is more likely to cause dry, itchy or peeling skin. If it’s an allergy the best bet is to take out the earrings and let them heal over, making sure that when the ears are re-pierced (it’s best to wait six months to do this) that stainless steel earrings are used.

Is there a health risk?

Many people wonder if there are any health risks associated for their child getting a piercing, whether their 12 months or 12-years-old. The American Academy of Pediatrics believe that there is very little risk for children getting their ears pierced at any age, so long as the piercing itself is performed in a careful, professional, and safe manner. No ice cubes and sewing needles at home people! They also recommend that parents wait until the child is old enough to care for their own piercing. All of this being said, the decision needs to be based on what is right for the family, their preferences, culture, or traditions.

After Care

By purchasing quality earrings that will stay in place parents can reduce the instances of piercing related infection in their children. It is recommended that new piercings not be removed at all for the first six to eight weeks after the piercing. To prevent infection in a new piercing a clean cloth with some rubbing alcohol should be wiped around the ear two times each day. Twisting of the earrings once a day is also recommended. New earrings that are made of surgical steel or gold 14K or greater are the least likely to cause an infection.

To read part 1 about the benefits for piercing an infant's ears click here to read part two click here.

To get access to the newest posts from Multiple Momstrosity and more on Facebook click here and follow today

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Saturday, 22 October 2016

Do Your Ears Hang Low? - Infants, Kids & Ear Piercing...The Debate Part 2

This post is part 2 of the infant ear piercing debate and discusses while some people wanted to wait, and some thoughts on why others were glad they didn't.  To read part 1 about the benefits for piercing an infant's ears click here.

A parent child moment

I decided I wanted to get my ears pierced when I turned 9-years-old. My mom and dad bought this for me as my birthday present, including a pair of good quality sapphire like stone keeper earrings to avoid infection. I wanted the earrings for about a year before I got them, so I was ready to take my new responsibilities seriously, plus I was old enough that I wanted to be “brave” through the pain. It hurt a little bit, but the pain wasn’t too bad. I held my mom’s hands while I was pierced, and then we went out for ice cream afterwards to celebrate. It was such a nice, small bonding moment that this is something I’d like to share with my own daughter when she gets her ears pierced. I was happy to have the choice and the experience.

This is one of the first pictures of me in existence wearing earrings...I believe these are parrot ones...and I know what you are thinking, why isn't this adorable child with her eyes perpetually half-closed not a catalogue model?

Keep in mind daycare regulations

When I saw the waivers that I would have to fill out at daycare for a child with earrings should they accidentally get pulled out it cemented my decision not to pierce my daughter’s ears. Kids get into things and I didn’t want to deal with an earring getting caught in hair or being pulled out by my daughter, her brother, or another child at the daycare facility. For those who want to pierce their child’s ears they may want to mitigate this procedure with the risks associated with earring holes being torn or earrings getting lost. By selecting earrings that are small in size (well suited to the age of the child), and as flat to the ear as possible you can minimize any potential loss or tears. Dangling earrings are not recommended as not only is it easier for baby to pull them out, but also because they present a choking hazard. Even so many daycares ban children wearing jewelry altogether as the items can get tangled, lost, broken or pose a choking hazard for children.

There may be social shaming

Since there is some controversy surrounding ear piercing, infants’ parents with young children who have pierced ears may experience some unwelcomed commentary, questions or criticism from others. Christina discovered how strongly people felt about infant piercing early, she says, “It's amazing how much hate there is online. I did a couple of searches to see if there were any recommendations for a good place to get a baby's ears pierced and would see people attacking the person asking the question. It was filled with ‘why would you mutilate your baby, why wouldn't you wait until they could choose on their own, you're a horrible mother for putting you baby through unnecessary pain’. Ultimately I didn't pay any attention and had them pierced when they were 6 months old.” Michelle says, “We get comments sometimes about the girls having their ears pierced so young but I feel like we made the right decision for them - their experiences were way better than mine and we make sure that they are wearing very small earrings that suit little girls. They never change the earrings themselves or anything like that - they wear the same ones for a long time before we change them. They feel special when we change their earrings.”

Thoughts on growth and ear symmetry

Sometimes it’s not a matter of tradition, but a matter of practicality when it comes to making a decision as to when to pierce a child’s ears. Katie had her daughter wait until she was 11-years-old before getting her ears pierced. Katie says, “What I know from working in the tattoo industry and very closely with many piercers is that the ear lobe continues to grow as the child does. This growth, combined with elasticity in parts of the cartilage, combined with gravity causes changes in the ears. The piercers have noticed that girls that had their ears pierced when they were infants often had non- symmetrical holes or holes that were lower on their earlobes than the ‘ideal’ placement.”

A chance to allow your child to be responsible

As children get older, giving them more responsibilities like chores, choices over their own clothes or self-care for newly pierced ears just makes sense. Katie says that age and maturity was an important factor in allowing her daughter to pierce her ears, “I wanted to make certain that she had full intention of being responsible for maintaining her health and not lose a $200 pair of earrings. We are pretty snobby about earrings in general and wanted her to wear quality jewelry that wouldn’t cause infection. This meant no nickel plated or dangly inferior quality stuff, and no belly button or nose piercings until after 16 (hopefully she gets a driver's licence instead).”

The number of averages

A lot of parents will wait until their child asks them to get their ears pierced before taking the child to get a piercing. A recent poll conducted by Compare Jewelry found that about half of the population of UK girls have their ears pierced, with the average age of piercing by 7-years-old. This average is six years younger than just a few generations ago, the parents of kids today were usually around 13 years old when they had their ears pierced. Miriam Kaufman, a paediatrician at The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto in an interview with Today’s Parent suggested that caregivers unsure as to whether or not a child is ready for the maintenance of ear piercing give them another regular chore before okaying that pair of new studs. Kaufman gave an example for parents to explore with the kids, “‘(Tell your child) I want to see you brush the dog (or clear the table) twice a day for three weeks, without me reminding you.’ And then at the end of the trial you can say, ‘That’s great, you did it’ or ‘You know what, honey, you only did it for the first three days. You would have infected ears — you’re not ready for this.’"

To read part 1 click here.

To read part 3 click here.

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Friday, 21 October 2016

Do Your Ears Hang Low? - Infants, Kids & Ear Piercing...The Debate Part 1

To pierce or not to pierce, a question that leaves many parents ears ringing! We make so many decisions for our children, many before they are even born. Some of these have to do with personal preference, convenience, what a particular parent experienced as a child themselves, or embracing a meaningful cultural tradition.

While these choices are up to caregivers to make, there is lively debate surrounding what the “correct” decision is. The parental preference on whether or not to pierce an infant’s ears is no different. This, after breastfeeding vs. bottle, cloth vs. disposable, and a handful of other parenting controversies ranks pretty high in the parenting world of strong opinions and heated arguments, to the point where some people refuse to discuss it at all.

Online and in person, friends, family, and complete strangers make adamant comments on the choices people make for their children, poking holes at choices, ear piercing included. For those debating the best time to pierce a child’s ears this is the place to get judgement free information based on the experiences of real life parents. Should a parent pierce their infant daughter’s ears?

Part one is the pros...or reasons to get your child's ears pierced as a baby...

Image courtesy of Stylish Board

An Infant won’t remember the pain

Michelle’s own painful experience of getting her ears pierced at age 12 swayed her decision to pierce both of her daughter’s ears when they were babies. Michelle, mother of two girls, says, “I had my ears pierced when I turned 12 and my parents thought I was grown up and responsible enough. It was a horrible experience with one of those piercing guns with really thick earrings. The first one hurt so much that I didn't want to have the 2nd one done. Then, my ears kept getting infected. It wasn't a great experience for me.” Christina, mother of two girls says a benefit of early piercing is, “There would be no advance fear because they wouldn't know what to expect, the pain quickly fades and they won't even remember it. If they ultimately decide they don't want their ears pierced (and I can tell you right now my oldest loves her earrings) then they can just take them out.”

Continue a family tradition

Some families pierce their children’s ears when they are very young as a part of their personal lineage tradition. Christina says, “I got my ears pierced when I was three months old and it was always just a normal thing (European I guess) so I knew that I would get my girls' ears pierced when they were young. So I guess it wasn't so much a case of why but of why not.” Latin, Indian, and European cultures very commonly pierce their children’s ears when they are babies and many new parents want to continue to pierce their daughter’s ears as a type of tribute to their heritage.
Gaining an experience similar to mom

Many parents believe that what worked well for them will also work for their children and make this a part of their decision making process, ear piercing included. Jennifer, mother of one daughter says, “There was no major reason. I had my ears done at an early age and I liked the idea of her having them done while she was young too (as selfish as that was). I have no regrets having them done at an early age.”

A chance to enjoy gifts from relatives

In many different cultures and families earrings are a very common baby gift for a little girl, by piercing a child’s ears when they are very young they are able to “enjoy” these gifts from their bassinette. Michelle says, “My eldest daughter received gold earrings as a baptism gift when she was six months old. I ended up reconsidering piercing because lots of cultures do have the baby's ears pierced, including the Latin American culture our family wants to celebrate.”
What about infections?

Parents have very different opinions on when is the best time to pierce and avoid unnecessary infections in their children because of piercing. Michelle says, “Because my eldest was really young, she didn't touch her ears or grab the earrings or anything. It wasn't a problem at all. My youngest was almost 1 when I got her ears done. She was aware of it and did touch her ears and earrings, and it was a pain - so much harder than with a younger child. We've always had to use the screw in earrings (a ball that screws on at the back) with her too or the earrings disappear.” A key to avoiding infection is keeping little hands off of the ears and earrings, so many parents find that the polar opposites of piercing a child’s ears really young, or when they’re much older is one of the best ways to avoid infection.

To read part two click here

To read part three click here

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Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Furry Happy Monsters

A couple of weeks ago Maleficent popped up as a choice on the minions' Netflix profile.  Molly begged us to let her watch it.  I had previously watched, and reviewed the movie when it first came out in theatres back in 2014 (you can read the review here).  We both paused a little bit, before finally allowing the kids to watch the film, bracing ourselves for nightmares and anything else that could possibly follow.

One of the best things about routinely writing about your kids, and children's films is that you have access to a written record of what really happened, compared to a fuzzy memory of a movie you watched several years ago.  At the time I watched Maleficent I decreed that I would allow the minions to watch the movie (under supervision) when they were around six years old, if I felt they could handle it.

Creepy Clown's don't faze Molly, At All!

We sat down on a rainy weekend afternoon and watched the film together, pressing pause when the kids had questions, and being very active in the premiere viewing.  They weren't scared, they weren't bored, they (Molly in particular) were entranced.

This movie was a game changer for the minions.  Certain moments, experiences, and life teachers can alter a person's way of thinking, this movie did that for the kids, and it was freaking amazing!

Maleficent is about how someone can be both a hero and a villain.  It explains regret, and the grey areas.  It talks about greed, ambition, anger, regret, and forgiveness.  It shows the other side of a story that both Molly and Jack know well, but will never look at the same way ever again.

Their minds were blown...and I doubt they'll ever look at good and evil quite the same way ever again, and it's awesome. The conversations sparked were interesting and insightful.  For them five was the absolute perfect age to watch this movie (DISCLAIMER: please don't blame me if your kid watches this movie and has nightmares).

Chris and I love Halloween, we quite honestly have more Halloween "stuff" than we do Christmas stuff.  For years we've toned down the creepy level of our decor in favour of a little more family friendly options.  We've also waited on watching one of Chris's favourite films, The Nightmare Before Christmas, fearing that it, specifically the Oogie Boogie Man, would give the minions traumatising nightmares.

Welcome to Skull City

Last weekend we put on the film Nightmare Before Christmas and crossed our fingers.  As the song played explaining Halloween Town, and how all of the creatures had a job to be scary, we paused to see if the kids were okay.  Molly said, "So it's their job to be scary, but they're not mean, just like the song....kewl kewl kewl." and that was the end of it.  (She didn't actually say kewl kewl kewl, but the sentiment was there, I assure you).  Following the film we listened to the soundtrack on our way to a hike while the Molly and Jack played with old Nightmare Before Christmas "action figures" (toys) of Chris's.

Last night we put out all of the Halloween decorations, no scary ornament left in a box, and they didn't care.  I think they'd still be scared of the Shadow Man from The Frog Prince, but so am I (that guy is terrifying). I can't wait for them to see Wicked!  This is a whole new world of parenting fun, and I'm thrilled to get started.

To Read about combatting nightmares click here.

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Multiple Momstrosity on Twitter @Sarabethbug

Monday, 17 October 2016

Oxford Comma - My Writing Other Places

One of the things I struggle with the most as a writer is promoting myself.  I am very proud of the work I do, don't get me wrong, but I have some sort of block from screaming from the mountain tops about promoting the words I write.  A lot of that is silly because much of the inspiration behind my parenting themed writing is creating resources that I have wanted myself and struggled with finding. I have a lot of fun learning from others, researching, and sharing, but can't seem to put myself out there as often as I should.

Nowadays as my full-time job I write and ghostwrite articles for online publications, organizations and blogs, in addition to providing public relations services.  It's also why I've been writing on the Multiple Momstrosity platform a bit less than I used to, unfortunately.  That being said: once a month I'll be posting links to some of my other articles here that will help educate, inform, and entertain you. 

But don't worry, the minions are still up to their usual antics, and I have plenty more to write about on that front.  Click on the links for the topics that interest you most, and if you enjoy what I wrote please share, like, and follow, and keep parenting on!  If you have any ideas for a story, playground review, or article on any front, feel free to share it with me!  I'm always looking for new sources of inspiration!

Parenting Themed Writing

Photo from BabyGaga Article on 15 Things that Make Babysitters Run

Dating & Relationship Writing

Entertainment Writing

Image Courtesy of Canadian Movie Web

Thank you again for reading, and for your continued support!

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Friday, 14 October 2016

The Whole World Is Our Playground: Donnybrook Park

On the rare days where we have had rain in the forecast for Toronto we still try to get out.  This park review is from a couple of weeks ago when we rushed out for a quick play to beat the incoming storms.

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 at multiplemomstrosity @ .

Park Name:
Donnybrook Park
Dundas and Montgomery (Just east of Islington)

There is free street parking on Loyalist Road and Allanbrooke Drive (on either side of the park/parkette)

Theme of Park:
Classic playground in mini shady community based area. 

Ground Coverage:
The playground is surrounded by grass and has sand around the majority of the equipment.

Variety of Equipment for different ages:
This playground is great for little kids and is pretty much a toddler's paradise, with a big focus on smaller equipment for little kids.

Best Parts of the Park:
When your little ones are exploring the park there is a mini take a book, leave a book library located right beside the perfect reading bench.  A lot of buckets, shovels and other toys have been left for kids to play with, so this is a great, shade covered space to do some digging.

Lending Library

This park is pretty small, and geared towards little ones.  Bigger kids will need to amp up their imaginations to avoid getting bored.  Molly utilize the base of the play structure as a pretend restaurant and spent most of her time serving pretend meals to patrons of the park.

Overall Rating:
I would rate this playground a 3 out of 5.  The kids had a lot of fun, but were a little old for the space, but at ages 2-4 they would have been in heaven.  Daddy monster spent a lot of time chasing Jackie around, but it was a nice, quiet, and safe space to wear off some energy before the storm hit, on our drive home.  I would go back again with slightly younger kids or a ball to enjoy some other playground play.

To view my playground review of the playground with the boat (Vermont Square) click here.

To view my playground review of Pricefield Road Playground click here.

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Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Happy Wanderer - Hiking at Ball's Falls

Crisp air, cool mornings, and fall colours have us motivated to get outside and enjoy nature with Molly and Jack.   I'm still wistful with memories of pre-children days when weekends included lengthy, challenging hikes, followed by even lengthier afternoon naps.  The minions can now handle an hour to hour and a half hike alongside us, particularly if we bring snacks.

This weekend we set our sights on Balls Falls, located near Beamsville (between Hamilton and St. Catharines) to enjoy the fall colours, some exercise, and each other.  We probably should have researched our path a little more, and the weekend, as it ended up being the Thanksgiving Festival, which meant our hour and ten minute drive there was more like a two hour journey.  However, it also meant we could bribe the minions with promises of hot dogs and time shooting down the inflatable slide after they slugged it out on the hike along the Bruce Trail.  Cost of entry was $6 for adults and free for kids.

The skyline from our journey into the Conservation area

Our  pathway

The creepy tree Chris named the Stranger Things Portal to "the Upside Down"

Our hike was great, not too many people at the festival were interested in the paths along the Bruce Trail, so we had the space to ourselves.  Since the section of the trail we were on didn't have loops we ended walking out for around 35-40 minutes and then turning around to ensure the kids wouldn't get too tired.  

Following the leader, Molly always wants to be at the front of the crowd

There are spectacular views here, especially as the fall colours come out.  Be warned that people with kids need to be particularly careful since there are numerous big drops and cliffs along this trail.  We ended up playing a few games of red light/ green light on the hike to ensure Molly didn't get too far ahead.

Plenty of logs to use as balance beams

Balancing together

In a week or two these colours are going to be brighter and better, and it will be a much shorter journey from Toronto, since there won't be any festivals in town.  Hikers be warned, this was a really dry summer, if you're hoping to catch a flowing waterfall, this isn't the place to go.  The falls are non-existent right now, but the changing leaves are spectacular.  I'd come back here again, probably in the spring when there is hopefully some movement on the waterfall.  Stay tuned for more fall pictures and hikes!

The still waters at the top of Ball's Falls

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Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Looking for Jack

The minions show affection and love in very different ways, despite being twins, raised in the same house, by the same people, simultaneously.  Molly shows it in a very traditional way.  She cuddles, she asks for hugs and kisses, tells us how much she loves us (unprompted) many times each day, and routinely gifts us with family photos she's drawn or painted at school. I don't think Jack's ever drawn us a picture (unless specifically instructed by someone to do so).   Molly makes a pointed effort each day to ask both Chris and I how our day was, picking up on social conventions and niceties really early.  Jack shows his feelings quite a bit differently.

Sure he still hugs us, and cuddles us, and says I love you (but significantly less often than his sister). Whenever we pick him up, he runs with full force, sometimes pushing his sister out of the way even though he knows he'll get in trouble, just to leap into our arms first for a one minute hug.

Still one of my all time favourite photos of me and my son

Molly is social and gladly lets just about anyone into her world.  Jack does not.  No one in our family wants to force Jack (or Molly) to be affectionate with anyone in a way that makes them uncomfortable).  It takes time to be awarded with a place in his world, which is mostly inside his vibrant and vivid imagination.  If you can make it in there, it's pretty amazing.

There are a few things he does when you're really "in" with him.   I'm happy to recognize these as special gifts of affection as readily as I would a kiss or a hug.  Here's how you know if you're one of Jack's people.

1) He teases you...even if you are an authority figure
Jack routinely calls me a butler....this is because he believes the job has something to do with butts, and come on that's hilarious when you're 5.
2) He gifts you a toy to take care of
A few of our sitters, friends and family members have been "gifted" with Jackie's toys to take home with them, so they can go on adventures.  While many people feel uncomfortable borrowing a small child's toy, they can rest easy knowing that he really wants Sizzles the wiener dog to go on an adventure.  He also trusts that you'll bring back the toy safe.
3) He feeds you
Yes it's super annoying, and distracting, but it's his way of sharing.  Even though it grosses his dad out beyond belief it's fairly sweet.
4) He asks you to party with his toys
Just because Jack is going to bed, it doesn't mean the party has to end.  Once in awhile he'll ask his dad or I to have "some beards" (beer) with a favourite stuffie after he goes to bed.
5) He gifts you with an imaginary friend to live with you
Jack has many imaginary friends, and I was just gifted with one of my very own a few weeks ago.  "Little Guy" is green, and wears pyjamas with stars on them.  He lives on my shoulder and talks to me through Jack every evening when I pick him up.  It's strange, and magical, and wonderful.

These gifts from Jack are certainly unusual, but I'll always remember them, and I must admit I'll be sad when he outgrows them and was happy to use this forum to record them.  It took me a while to wrap my head around how Jack didn't show his love in quite the way I expected, but I'm glad I finally figured it out.

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