Thursday, January 31, 2008

Mud Mama and Gifts...

Papa Pan must be worrying the women he works with. There aren't a lot of men in elementary schools, so they end up being pretty female places to work. Lots of baby showers and what not. They know I help him pick out gifts for babies, and a teacher down the hall helps him wrap things. At Christmas he went to a store and described the people he needed gifts for so the shopkeeper could help him pick the gifts. "I need a jam for a woman going through menopause who hates her husband" (I think she got one with quince in it). He dresses kinda like Red Green, he's got a definite wild and wooly mountain man thing going on. They know I'm a good match for him, all hippie like, but they also know I am a WOMAN.

There was an intervention at lunch yesterday. They all came up with nice eco friendly jewellry suggestions for valentines day.

They know I got a beautiful wooden box for my birthday. I'm sure they pictured me crestfallen when I excitedly opened it, and found, an accessory pack of cutting bits and sanding drums for my dremel tool.

What they don't know is that I was literally showered with gifts this birthday. There was a stainless steel compost bucket. I've wanted one for years!!! There was another slim wooden box. As I lifted the delicate brass latches, all my dreams came true - router bits! Which meant there was a router somewhere!!!!!!!!! Now I'm playing with the big girls!!!!!!!

There is something totally frivolous that I want, and won't buy for myself - I'm even a little embarrassed to ask for it.

Dusting Divas line of cleaning products. I can mix up this stuff myself, but I am in love with the packaging (shocking, I know) and marketing (even more perplexing is that I'm excited by an advertising scheme).

Mighty Aphrodite - Tough Love Multi-Purpose Cleaner - made with pure essential oils of cinnamon and citrus...cleans and disinfects - comes in a handy 22 oz. spray bottle - $12.95

Isis - Mother of All Glass Cleaners - made with pure essential oils of lavendar and rosemary...because this is non-toxic, you can breathe easy while making glass sparkle, chrome gleam, tiles glisten and mirrors shine - comes in practical 22 oz. spray bottle - $12.95

Baba Yaga - The Slavic Wild Woman Goddess is present in this super-concentrated soft scrub. Geranium and clove oils bring joy and wild abandon into your life and into your tubs, sinks and toilets. - comes in comfortable container with a flip-top lid for easy use - $11.95

I'm trying to convince myself its okay because I can get refills...and they are a local company....and they promote clutter clearing .... and, and, and I love how the company came into being, and well I *deserve* some goddess power while I clean.

If the women at work are concerned because he bought me tools, think how horrified they'd be if he bought me CLEANING SUPPLIES for Valentines Day! Even one named after a love goddess!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Wild Thing is a pretty easygoing guy. Very sweet, what one friend calls "a nice boy". He was treated very much like the baby of the family. He was slow to walk, slow to talk, still within normal ranges but lagging a bit. Doted on by all, and we all kinda enjoyed the fact that he was in no hurry to leave babyhood behind.

So I was a bit worried about how he'd take to the Sprout usurping him.

He's been a loving big brother. The only hint at sibling disatisfaction was asking me when Sprout would be going back inside my tummy. Sprout was 2 months old then.

His "issues" with having another baby in the family have all been with me. I have been reminded daily that he is still my baby and I am to treat him as such. I think I've dealt with it pretty well, but I have gotten VERY tired of changing poopy pullups. Doing it on a 3 year old who eats like a horse and insists on going "Goo goo gaa gaa" while you wipe his stinky little butt is no picnic.

Today he used the potty *all day* and for pooping into!!!!!!!!

Wild Boy the Pirate

So... this would be my first post here, and I just wanted to show off my OotS comic skills.

This is Wild Boy. Or perhaps more accurately, Pirate Boy.

Note the Hook hand, as well as the gun.

I also have a much bigger one which details my gods/goddesses of my new fantasy world.

The first two figures are the Goddess and God of magic. The yellow one is a High Elf Goddess of good magic, but is evil in alignment.

Or maybe just a rather mean person. The Second figure is the Drow(Or Dark Elf) God of evil magic, and is a very nice, happy person. The Third is a somewhat apathetic version of my Stepmum, now a goddess of fire, and the last is the Dirt Witch, goddess of earth and plants.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

More than survival

I was reading at a board I love ( and there was a thread about being a good homemaker. You know, the traditional view of that - beautiful decorated house, clean and tidy, wonderful meals every night, as well as being a fun attentive mommy and a fabulous partner in kitten heels and lipstick. Well, a lot of us feel guilt about not doing it "right" and what is "right" and just what would we have to sacrifice to do it "right"

It got me thinking about how I operate these days. Sprout is in a growth spurt - all 17 lbs of him is breastmilk and cuddles - and how absolutely exhausted I am, and how down I am on my lack of any great homemaking these days. I don't feel like the house is falling apart, but I do feel like I'm in survival mode and I'd like some more room for the niceties in life. We've been here two months and I'd like the front curtains up! I hate my brown bedroom! I'd like to really set the table for a meal, you know with placemats and nice serving dishes. Why do I feel bad that I haven't painted the kids room yet, haven't sewn curtains for their windows and closet doors? I am not in a nice little "simple groove" where I can get up an hour ahead of everyone, meditate and do yoga, wake the kids with songs and a hot breakfast, have people over for a playgroup during the day, and have a hobby in my spare time. Oh and while we're at it, I'd like time to get in my studio and paint! And you know, I do have a pretty simple life - very little stuff, a small house, I'm a stay at home mom. Where does the time go???

It is 9:40 in the morning,

I've gotten Nature Girl off to school with clean clothes on, a packed lunch, hair in ponytails, teeth brushed, breakfast eaten, homework done and in her bag, skates going back for skating day. She left in freshly laundered snowgear too, and dry boots (yesterday everything was a sodden mess from playing out in the snow) I remembered to pack $2.25 in case she wants hot lunch at school.

After she left I did a whirlwind tidy in her room. If I don't keep on top of her stuff it very quickly deteriorates into chaos in there and she can't function. So I get her doing something every day - she makes her bed, she puts away laundry in small quantities and she puts away her toys if I manage the number she has in her room. But I take care of most of the clothes and all of the flotsam that ends up in her room.

The Sprout has nursed, been changed, is in clean dry clothes. He's happy hanging out with Wild Thing for now.

Wild Thing has nursed, given a chance to pee in the potty, eaten breakfast, and fingerpainted. He's playing in the playroom.

The cat and dog have been fed, the dog's been out for a pee and a poop.

I've drunk two cups of coffee while catching up online and listening for the dryer to buzz.

Okay, it is 5:02 now and this is what else I did today

I feel like I spent most of today attending to requests for snacks or nursing from children and the dog, doing laundry, tidying up Wild Thing's room, making a hot lunch (left over waffles), cleaning the kitchen over and over again, nursing, changing diapers, giving Wild Thing a bath, talked to my mom for a little while while I cleaned, doing laundry, and dreading making dinner (beets - and I will remember to keep the juice so the kids can paint with it in the snow!). I talked with Dark Mirror for awhile. I played with the Sprout (copying his sounds, doing some finger rhymes, and let him feel a cloth book full of textures. A letter came home about head lice and Nature Girl has OLD NITS - from an infestation back in the fall - do not get me started - but she can't return to school until I pinch out every last mother frigging one of them!!!! No nitcomb in the world can take out old deflated empty nits. There was no evidence of lice THANK ALL THAT IS HOLY) So that, in a nutshell, is my evening too.

I think I'll call Papa Pan and ask he pick up a Pizza on his way home.

I'll change my tshirt when the spit up on the shoulder of this one gets to me - hopefully before Papa Pan gets home. Oh and if you go down to my post about our play and look at the pictures of the playroom you'll see where poor Papa Pan is sleeping right now. He has 3 hours of commuting to do each day and the Sprout is awake so often during the night that he can't sleep well with us, so he's camping out in the playroom.

Just where is the room for niceties right now???

Monday, January 28, 2008

What was that question again?

The problem with self administered tests is that you are aware of what you're being asked about.

"Do you have a hard time doing an assignment when it gets boring?"

"what was the question again?" running out the door

"Come back here and I'll ask it again, do you have a hard time doing an assignment when it gets boring?"

Standing on head, looking at belly button, "what was the question again???"

Wash, rinse, repeat 4 times.

"Okay, last time I'm asking this, Do you have a hard time finishing an assignment when it gets boring, never, once a week, 2 times a week or nearly every day???" PEN CLENCHED TIGHTLY IN FIST

"ohhhhh....I'm thinking....NEVER!" runs off down hall again.


Its a good thing I have to fill out questionaires and so does her teacher!


This is the play house part of the playroom. Abandoned while they were outside playing. Usually a hub of activity.

Nature girl and her zoo. I'm building new shelves to hold the baskets of toys but for now they just live along this wall.

The herbivore paddock, cows, goats, sheep, and giraffes.
"Mine peoples are canoeing. Mama? Go away, I'm busy playing."

I don't get nearly as many pictures of my kids as I'd like. Maybe if the camera was always out. Generally I feel like I'm interfering in my kid's lives if I start taking pictures though. I think a lot of waldorf families have the same kind of experience. I feel like I'm being let in on a really special secret world when my kids are playing imaginatively around me. If I pull out the camera they get self conscious and my invitation to their private inner world gets rescinded.

Today there was a lot of play I got invited to watch. There was a zoo built out of cloth and with wooden animals. There was a giant paddock with all the animals that could get along together (herbivores), and individual pens for each of the carnivores. There was pirate adventures in the tub, there was a big meeting of mythical creatures, elves, mermaids, unicorns and what have you on the livingroom couch, there was a great shovelling wet snow adventure in the back yard. I got a few sneaky shots of the playroom and they don't do any of it justice.

Friday, January 25, 2008

How to spend all day with people with ADD

I parent one of them and I'm partnered to one of them, and I may even be a bit of one myself, so I should know right?

Well apparently not! We visited the ADD Clinic yesterday and it was quite the education for me.

The office was full of confidence boosting "ADD is Great!" posters and articles and everything was in point form and shiny and attention drawing in some way. Amongst the posters were directives by the office too, posted multiple times and in big bold letters.

First, I noticed there wasn't a cancellation policy defiance of popular logic, there is a confirmation policy instead. No, "If you no show without cancelling we'll charge you an annoyance fee" instead, "if you do not confirm 48 hours ahead we're cancelling your appointment, and our office staff will only call ONCE to remind you you have an appointment to come for".

The second thing I noticed was that if you insist on gabbing away to the doctor past your scheduled appointrment time, she's going to charge you for every minute! The sign for this listed the fees.

The third thing I found interesting was that EVERYTHING is done in writing, no "here's your next appointment" chat, or appointment written on a little card. Instead they mail this info to you in big bright - can't lose it in a pocket - envelopes.

Isn't that a positive way to save your sanity, avoid saying things like "You're always late and I'm not staying late to accomodate you" and "I know you're going to forget what I'm saying, shall I write it on your forehead???"

This morning I taped all our bills around the house next to big shiny posters that said things like "Papa Pan! You look marvelous in that flannel shirt!" and "Being spontaneous is great!"

I need more glitter though.

Its nesting season!!!!! Its nesting season!!!!

Yesterday on the way out of town to a doctor's appointment do you know what I saw? A mated pair of BALD EAGLES sitting in a tree!!! I've seen about a couple dozen eagles since I got here, but these two were the most wonderful by far!!!

Rolling down Main Street, early morning golden sunlight flashing off the white caps and matching yellow gleam of their eyes. Just sitting in a tree outside someone's house.

They looked utterly majestic and mundane at the same time. Thats how wildlife should be, startlingly beautiful but totally normal to see around us.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Today was a red letter day for the Sprout. After a week of frustration trying to roll from back to tummy he shook things up by rolling from tummy to back.

Onlookers hooted and hollered in support. Those that missed it demanded an instant replay.

When asked how he felt about this he stuck his thumb in his mouth as if to say "Look what else I figured out today!"

Stay tuned for more action packed updates!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Nature Girl loves being part of a big family...

Now that Sprout is smiling and cooing and trying to roll over and scooting about on his belly, generally being cute as a button, Nature Girl has begun asking when I'm going to have another baby.

"I think I'm done love, five children, 4 babies is enough for me."

"But what if you had a surprise baby?"

"I'd love the stuffing right out of it, but I don't think we'll have any more babies here."

"Don't you want more?"

"Well, really, I don't think I'll ever get enough of kids, I love babies and children and every day I love you all even more."

"Then we need to go to an orphanarium and get some more."

The I Hate It Rap

Wild Thing is going through a rough period. He's given up napping and by bedtime is a surly little drunkard.

Yesterday was a particularly terrible, no good, very bad day. He fell down the stairs TWICE, got sent to his room for dumping Sprout out of his chair so HE could sit there, and then to add injury to insult, when I carried him to bed oh so lovingly, I accidently whacked his head on the headboard putting him down...and so began the rap...

I hurting my head I HATE that.
My head needs kisses and I HATE kisses
I no need a nap I HATE naps.
I want the dark to go away I HATE night time
I no want any apples I HATE apples
When we go to the farmer's market I HATE the man who gives children and mamas apples
Those apples are YUCKY, they no been washed and I HATE that, and, and they have bruises and I HATE bruises on mine apples.
I want mine apples clean and cut up because I HATE seeds and skin, but, but I no want my skin cut off because I hold my apples by their skin or they are YUCKY and I HATE yucky apples.
I HATE yucky peaches too.
I HATE the pit in mine peaches.
I HATE their yucky furry skin
I HATE their yucky peach cause mine hands get all sticky.
And, And, I Wild Thing and thats why I HATE peaches.

I really couldn't keep up with the litany and if I tried to interject with something positive it just got him going even faster with what he hated so after about 10 minutes of this, and trying not to laugh outloud (luckily we were in the dark cause he would have HATED to see my smile!) I said I had to go and yes he HATED that too, but I said I'd be back and that was okay.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


First of all everyone slept in .... ah bliss! 8:00 feels so decadent these days!!!

Nature Girl played in her room with Pollys until she was ready for breakfast.

Wild Thing and I cuddled until he was ready to get dressed. Nature Girl helped him.
We had a snow day breakfast - toast with almond butter and blueberry jam, mincemeat pie...and olives. Hmmm, my kids have strange palates what can I say?

The Sprout woke up in a fine mood.

Wild Thing and I played with the recorders.

We moved bookcases around in the Family room.

Nature Girl read to Wild Thing - Mouse Paint -

I read to everyone. The Mare's Egg -'s+Egg+-+Books

I did laundry while Sprout napped and they played pirates. They drew monsters too.

When Sprout woke up Nature Girl changed his diaper and got him dressed with just a little help from me.

We played yoga games -

We had sloppy joes for lunch.

They played fishermen. They bounced on the bed downstairs "On your bums only and watch those elbows!"

When Sprout went down for an afternoon nap we went out to play in the snow. I shovelled the driveway until my asthma made me stop, Nature Girl did the walkway and the steps. Snow angels fill the front yard.

I got out fish for dinner.

We all sat around eating mandarin oranges and chatting. Apparently, pirates always listen to their mummies, and they like eating carrots, broccoli - if it is cooked, and chocolate Santa figures. I never knew!

Papa Pan got home and made us his special fish fry (yummmmm!!!!) while I worked out the issue of where to keep the television in the Family room. We've agreed we watch it SO little that we might as well put it in the closet and plug it in when we want to watch something. Which of course will mean we watch even less - always a good thing.

We ate, did more spelling homework, and Nature Girl read The Mole Sisters and the piece of Moss

Bedtime for Wild Thing and Sprout, I read Sun Bread to Wild Thing. Some Club Penguin time for Nature Girl, then her bedtime. We read Sky Tree -

I nursed a lot, changed diapers a lot, tidied a lot, checked email occasionally, joined a Facebook group - The Story of Stuff, and signed a "Save Scrabulous" petition.

I also joined a new site/service - - no it isn't a dating site! It is a networking site for drivers with space to spare, passengers and stuff in need of a ride. Check it out, and reduce your carbon footprint!!!

It was a really easygoing day for me - Nature Girl entertained the Wild Thing, and Papa Pan made us dinner!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Decorating with kids

Wild Thing's room is first on our list of rooms to personalize. It shares a wall with our room and it is so big and empty and hardwood floor-y that you can hear a pin drop. Its usually towers of blocks dropping though. I'm starting to get a little shellshocked. We've been on the look out for SOFT furnishings that will deaden the noise.

The room is being decorated around 3 items - a night light that Wild Thing is absolutely in love with (it changes colour and I let him push the button if he uses the potty), a banner of dragons that his Oma brought back from China, and his new monster pelt.

We were in Costco stocking up on spaghetti and olives and I saw a giant pile of colourful (!!!???) sheepskins. It looked like a pile of skinned muppets, and I said as much while holding up a blue one. Nature Girl said "No it's SULLY!!!" from Monsters Inc. Well I could just see the scene from the sequel in my head - Wild Thing, not only unafraid of the Monsters in his closet, but hunting them down and displaying their skins as trophies.

Wild Thing has been upset about the Sprout using HIS sheepie, so we bought it for him.

He adores it.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Two Peas in a Pd

In October I read an amazing book called A Pace of Grace by Linda Kavelin Popov. Its a program for using universal Virtues to create a really sustainable lifestyle.

There are 4 components

1. Purify Your Life
2. Pace Yourself
3. Practice the Presence
4. Plan a Sustainable Life

My greatest Vice is Excess. it is usually wrapped up in a bunch of Virtues though - like Compassion for others, Enthusiasm, Generosity, Idealism and Zeal, and I burn out on all my good intentions. It has been hard to see the harm this has been causing me because of all the good things tied into it. This program has been helping me find a balance and to practice Mindfulness and Moderation.

At the same time as I've been putting this program into action in my own life I've been facing Nature Girl's diagnosis of ADHD and worrying that the school will insist on medicating the Energy, Independence, Creativity, and Individuality out of her. This is a wonderful little girl who is very eager to please and wants to be obedient, and the deficient attention often get her in trouble in school. It has had a serious effect on her self esteem and her joy about learning. She doesn't do well with the school format of competitive spelling challenges, timed note taking, timed tests, and memorization of math facts. One on one or in a very small group she excels though. She excels when she's studying something of high interest (Natural science and history). So I've been researching alternatives.

I found a program that is individualized - the A-4 Healing Program

Nutritional Therapy, Supplementation, Detoxification, and targeted Medication (and we aren't talking stimulants, we're talking anti-fungals, antivirals, and targeted psychiatric medications to deal with specific symptoms) - very similar to "Purify Your Life".

The doctor/author who is pioneering this approach is very clear that the goal with treating ADHD should be to allow the person to remain true to their personality while treating the issues that cause suffering - to them, not the people around them. He is an advocate for the normal variations in personality seen in kids with ADHD and points out that these "problem" kids do just fine in unrestricted environments and that the phenomena of "growing out of ADHD" is more an issue of reaching adulthood and then seeking out environments that are of their own choosing, as they work on tasks that interest them.

The trick is for them to make it to adulthood with their self esteem intact so they feel they can make those choices. From the research I've been doing this task is MUCH harder for girls than it is boys. Mainly because girls are more socially keyed in and aware of their differences and bothered by it. I see this in Nature Girl, and it scares me. The thing is, Nature Girl has taken part in many extracurricular activities and none of those teachers would ever say she had any kind of a disability or attention problem - soccer, skiing, art classes, dance classes, violin lessons, and her Baha'i children's classes. Ideally I'd have her in a private school environment that met her social needs and gave her the interest driven curriculum, and one on one attention she needs for academic success. Or we'd home-school within a good cooperative social network. I'm not allowed to explore either option with her, she must be in public school. So what now? How do I advocate for her at school? It seems her best option is to be identified as having a marked disability and singled out for intensive resource help and even given the help of an aide in class for the one on one she needs - I have to play the role of uncooperative anti drug mum in that event. She will recognize that she is being treated as "different" though, and I'm afraid she will see herself as less intelligent than she is.

Outside of school we'll continue as we have - a moderate number of extracurricular activities that give her a place to excel, chores that help her with organization and attention, and a spiritual education that promotes the Virtues and an understanding of the Gifts she has been blessed with. Here we have Popov's- Pace Yourself, Practice the Presence, and Plan a Sustainable Life.

Nature Girl and I are very similar and maybe the secret is for me to model the self-esteem she is going to need.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The start of something good....

Mornings are feeling pretty sane here. Nature Girl doesn't have to leave for school until 8am (in Quebec she had to be out the door to get her bus at 7:30) and we've been having no arguments about getting up, clothes, breakfast, tooth brushing, or hair pulling...I mean combing. I'm not sure if it is an existing calmness or if I'm actually creating something here but after breakfast and before tooth brushing I've instituted a new morning ritual.

Cuddle Cards.

I'd been meaning to get these for some time, and then they fell in my lap. Kinda like kids and cuddles. They're waldorf inspired positive affirmation cards for kids (and kid lovin grownups). This morning Nature Girl got "Friendship - What would you be without friends?" Both Wild Thing and I got Music cards. Today we'll think about and act on our Cuddle Card thought.

Nature Girl immeadiately remembered to put a notebook in her backpack to get neighbourhood kids' phone numbers. Wild Thing strolled away humming a seemingly Russian tune. I have been aware of how much I hum and sing us through transitions during the day.

They seem to be a very sweet way to make the day start out hopefully.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

I no longer do New Year's Resolutions...

But I have been trying to prioritize the goals in my life after a long period where I feel like I've been stuck in a holding pattern.

-finish unpacking and organizing house
-establish some simple sane routines with the kids for housekeeping - Nature Girl and Wild Thing are going to start sorting the recycling for returns for instance. They get to keep the money
-Give the bedrooms and family room personality

- see the dentist regularly
- get asthma under control
- kids to see specialists that are not drug pushers

-Officially Declare
-Virtues Project with Kids
- 12 Service Projects in next year - tiny steps

-Table at Farmer's Market for Toys
-Playgroup/part time daycare
-Submit work 2 x a year

-Date night 2 x a month
-Solitary artist's date 2 x a month

Monday, January 7, 2008

the 3200 km trip back to Quebec we just took was a piece of cake...

next to the daily walk to and from Nature Girl's school! We live on the very edge of Wolfville - across the street, orchards start, above our street is the highway. If you live in town limits there is no bussing to and from school. 100 metres from our front door, there would be bussing.

Going to school is relatively straightforward. Walk a kilometre through a nice forest full of trails and dogs and smiling happy people out for a daily stroll, a beautiful vista of the Minas Basin and Cape Blomidon down University Avenue until you reach Highland. Turn onto Highland and walk another kilometre. Try and keep your balance while going down the steepest street I've ever walked on in my life. It is so steep I actually worry I won't be able to stop at intersections as I'm holding back the jogging stroller.

Walking back again is daunting, not for Nature Girl, who has several hours to rest up before climbing back up the mountain that is Highland, but for me, pushing a jogging stroller with a 35 lb preschooler in it, and with a 16 lb Sprout strapped to my chest after just finishing the first leg of the journey. I got to do it TWICE today, going to school, and again after school.

Today I watched a mom ahead of us on Highland hauling a crying 6 year old up, over and over again, as she tried to lie down for a rest on the climb. I could sympathize, but Nature Girl got home and said "It is so much easier walking home than going to school!" My thighs and shoulders disagree.

On a positive note, I have no need for an expensive gym membership. If I needed any push to take classes at Acadia while the kids are at school, well, I can avoid the climb home for a few hours by attending a lecture!