Friday, December 28, 2007

Santa Baby


Tuesday, December 25, 2007

First Haircut


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A Ha Ha

We like the classics around here. Probably the all-around favorite cartoon in our home is is this episode of Speedy Gonzales.

We all watched it together last night. Afterwards, Charlie announced that he was Speedy Gonzales and that, furthermore, he was going to go get cheese. John and I sat upstairs and listened to him run around the house for twenty minutes escaping an imaginary Sylvester, shouting, "A ha ha!" (Arriba!)

He came back with some cheese sticks. We were impressed, and sang "La Cucaracha" in tribute.

Monday, December 3, 2007


Today Charlie:

1) Created Santa's village out of playdoh with his infinitely-more-artistic-than-Mom babysitter--and I mean elves and reindeer and the whole shebang. It took them almost 3 hours;

2) Disassembled a spinach pocket, stuffed all the spinach into an empty playdoh container (I found the playdoh under the radiator later on) and ate it out of the can like Popeye; and

3) bit a licorice stick into several sections and then arranged them criss-cross to create a "net", with which he pretended to catch a bird.

Three is a fun age.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Party Pics


Spirit of the Season

Well, now that we're into December it's all Santa, all the time in our home. There are Santa pictures on the walls, Santa music emenating from the speakers, and plentiful piles of Santa books. We especially love How Santa Got His Job by Stephen Krensky and Where's Prancer by Syd Hof.

The fact that we don't do a "better be good or Santa won't come" schtick--or anything too literal at all--allows us a great deal of freedom in our relationship with the big guy. Charlie loves to put on the red hat and pretend to be Santa, just as he loves to pretend to be Curious George or Speedy Gonzales. He gets quite irritated with me for being so inflexible about a visit to the roof to check on the reindeer. "But they're my reindeer," he remonstrates.

When he is older we'll talk about the mythological tradition of Santa, stretching all the way back to the pre-Christian, reindeer-lovin' Icelandic shamen who wore red cloaks and crawled down smokeholes into doorless huts to go on vision quests. But for now we're having plenty of fun with his modern incarnations. "Ho ho ho," Charlie solemnly chants, as he hands me a rock wrapped in a well-used scrap of snowman paper. "I bring da presents!"

And I agree. For it's true, the very best gifts come from his presence.

Monday, November 26, 2007


Charlie had a wonderful birthday yesterday. It was so full I'm having a hard time writing about it.

We baked a cake together first thing in the morning. The three of us danced to "Birthday" by the Beatles, then Daddy made bacon and eggs. His snowman-themed party was a perfect melee. We gave him a bouncing horse that everyone tried and immediately fell off of (but liked anyway).

If you ask Charlie how old he is now he immediately says, "I'm two!" then thinks about it and admits, "No, I not two anymore. I three now" with a slight tinge of regret for days gone past. "Oh, well. I three now. Can I have another present?"

PS. I was fine with him being three until it occurred to me that in just under a year from now, he'll be four. Now I have to go cry big globby "where did my baby go?" tears.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Feed Me

Charlie and I have been looking at pictures this week. Now that he's on the verge of three, the baby stage is far enough in the past to seem quite strange and interesting to him. We page through his baby book looking at little baby Charlie learning to roll over, or sit up, or smear sweet potatoes all over his plate (OK, some things haven't changed that much.)

He's particularly fascinated by the pictures from his stay in the NICU, which prominently feature his umbilical stump. "What's that?" he asked, pointing at it. I explained how I used to feed him through his belly button, before he was born. "Ah," he said, slowly chewing over the concept. Then he lifted up my shirt and stuck his finger in my belly button. "I'm a big boy," he informed me. "I feed you now" and wiggled his finger around in a frenetic, nutrient-tranmitting kind of way.

And feed me it did--wonderfully, if not exactly in the way intended.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Halloween Pics


Sunday, November 11, 2007

Toddler Dreams

It's 1 AM. Charlie has been sleeping peacefully for hours. Suddenly and with no warning, he flails upright, shouting, "I do it mytelf! I do it mytelf!" Then, just as quickly, rejoins the etherea of slumber.

Autonomy rises, again and again.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Yours and Mine

This morning Charlie was getting ready to go on a playdate with Jonas. I was chivvying him along a bit, as my thoughts bounced around all the tasks I hoped to accomplish while he was gone. (Blogging being one of them.)

"Wait," he instructed me, stopping at a basket of wooden train track and blocks. He wanted to pick a toy to bring with him, a totem of his home for the road. He chose a red freight car and ran for the door.

Then he said, "no, wait," perhaps to me or perhaps to himself, and returned to the basket where he selected a green freight car as well. Jonas is passionate about green. It was the obvious choice. And then hands full of fun, we were on our way.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Turtle Fight

Charlie and I drove up to Halifax the other day to meet a group of homeschoolers for a fun outing. We stopped at On The Grow to work off some excess wiggles before heading into the city. Having just received some birthday $$ from Naomi (thanks, Naomi!) we dropped by Uncommon Kids and picked up that Bilibo I regretted leaving behind the last time.

At 1:00 we proceeded to the park on the Commons to meet our friends. They weren't there. After waiting around for some time we schlumpfed over to the rain date location, the Museum of Natural History, where we continued to not find our group but had too good a time to care. Charlie was fascinated with the plexiglass beehive (plexiglass walls and tubing, real hive with real honeybees). When Kevin the museum docent came by with sugar water to feed the bees, Charlie grabbed him by the hand and gave him an explanatory tour: "Let me show you, here are the bees, an' dat's the honeycomb, an' dat's the honey! I want to eat the honey!" Sadly for Charlie, he didn't get any.

Just before we left we stopped by the turtle habitat to say goodbye and caught the turtles in the middle of some drama. Perhaps it was a mating ritual. One turtle watched the fight from a high rock, ocassionally spinning around in a circle of excitement, while two in the water clawed at each other's heads. They looked like junior high girls in a slap fight. But I guess those claws are pretty sharp. Charlie and I chanted "fight! fight! fight! fight!" until we got a dirty look from the gift shop attendant. Oops.

We never did find our friends, and the sky poured rain on the way home. It was, nevertheless, a great day.

Spurned Monkey

Thanks mostly to Curious George, Charlie has been on a monkey kick for some time now. "Hoo! Ha! I a mokney!" he chants, loping around the house with a bruised and battered banana in hand. So, depite an utter dearth of sewing skills, I assembled a little monkey costume for him out of brown sweats, felt patches, some cut up tights, and the plundered guts of a tacky stuffed panda bear.

He loved it. He wore it for days--to the park, the post office, even to the pool. All of Lunenburg has heard "Hoo! Ha! I a mokney!"

The night before Halloween we took Charlie trick or treating at his Nanny's house. "Time to put on your monkey costume!" I said. "No," he stated firmly. "I a bunny." There was no changing his mind. So I fished a dollar store bunny mask out of the costume box, pulled a carrot from the garden, and Ta Da! instant bunny.

He has refused to even look at the monkey costume ever since, although he has played dress-up with Jonas and taken turns as a pirate, a cow, and a dog. Jonas won't wear the monkey costume because he is scared of the tail. Moral of the story? Toddler plus planning ahead = needless angst. So here's to the joy of living in the now! (Not to mention this gets me out of trying to sew again. My needle-pricked fingers are thankful.)

Monday, October 29, 2007

More Fun

On further consideration, there are of course other activities that Charlie enjoys besides stories and fantasy play. His third favorite activity, for instance, seems to be tracking the coming of winter. It was quite cold this morning, so I put a fleece hat on him before taking him over to play with Jonas. He was ecstatic. "This is a snow hat!" he informed me. "Where's the snow? Is the snow coming? Merry Christmas! Can we go get our tree now?"

He also loves things that flow, such as blue paint, Charlie Parker, and especially water. He often takes two long baths in a day, painting the sides of the tub surround with a little paint roller and singing a little riff to himself. "I'm the boatman. I'm the boooooooooooat... MAN!"

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Play's The Thing

We went to the monthly coffeehouse at the Waldorf school the other day. I bought Charlie a cute little wooden puzzle of cars and trains. He's not much of one for puzzles (unlike his friend Jonas, who lives for the fit between this and that) but I thought this one would capture his interest. And it did... he took all the pieces out, gave them names, and acted out stories with his new cast of characters. Over hours of play they never did make it back into the puzzle frame. "Put pieces together to make a whole? Can't you pay someone to do that?" seems to be his attitude.

It was typical of Charlie's play. The child lives in narrative. His very favorite thing to do in the world is read books. His second favorite thing to do is to take the characters from books and cartoons, or to make them up whole cloth, and create his own stories. There is no third. In the bath he narrates conflict between the fire truck and the bubbles. At the dinner table his hands turn into birds and lay eggs in the "nest" of mashed potatoes. In the car seat the two edges of his belt buckle have an argument with each other about whether they should stay locked together. He doesn't like being presented with "facts" head-on, but turn it into a story and he can get enthusiastic about anything. I love it. And I'm so looking forward to the years of fantasy and exploration through narrative together.

(And perhaps eventually he'll warm up to puzzles!)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

City Day

Yesterday we took Charlie's nanny to Halifax for a doctor's appointment, which turned into a 5 hour testing session. As a result we had a lovely spontaneous city day. Charlie chased pigeons all around the Commons, watched some fancy tricks at the skateboard park, and threw coins into the fountain for good luck. We also visited a fantastic new store, Uncommon Kids Gear. Their buyer has wonderful taste--(ie my taste!)

They had Charlie's dollhouse, Charlie's rocking horse, Charlie's favourite monkey plate... all items I coerced poor grandma to ship to us from the States! I bought a Plan Toys vegetable garden for the dollhouse, a Curious George Christmas book, and an abacus. They had a supercool toy I'd never seen before called a bilibo that I already regret not buying. Between them and Lagoon Nova Scotia may actually be joining the 21st century.

As a crazy bonus, the attached coffeshop was possibly the best I've been to in Canada, and immensely child friendly. I think we have a new favorite spot. Who wants to meet us there?

Su Doku es Mi Doku

Charlie's not shy about letting me know when he wants attention. His latest trick is to claim ownership over any article that competes for my interest. "That's not your newspaper... that's my newspaper! That's not your broom... that's my broom! That's not your 'doku... that's my 'doku!" Then he grabs it and runs around, yelling "Charlie's 'doku! Charlie's 'doku!"

But hey, there's an upside to every annoying toddler behavior. After I start filing paperwork with the provincial department of education, this will be creatively classified as "math".

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Rink Rites

The skates were a huge hit. The skating itself, a bit of a bust. We inched out onto the ice, a parent on either side. The three of us shuffled forward for about forty-five seconds before Charlie was ready to call it quits. "It's too slippery," he proclaimed, as if he were just a little bit disappointed in us for our lack of judgement. He wore his skates in the stroller home, though, and asked for a book about skating the minute we walked through the door.

So perhaps next week, or perhaps next year. It's lovely to live without expectation, when we can manage it. We test the waters--frozen as they might be--together.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Art of the Word


Thanks to Snapshirt for this "word cloud" generated from the text of the blog! (And thanks to Still Snarky for the link.)

Sunday, September 30, 2007


Yesterday we went to Kevin Veinotte's Open Woodlot Day. He didn't bill it as an extravaganza, but that well describes what we found waiting for us at the end of a wooded path just down Mossman Road. The Department of Natural Resources had set up an eight-stop display of sustainable tree farming, riparian habitats, log milling, and more. We (okay, I) drank free Laughing Whale coffee, donned the mandatory hard hats and listened to some interesting speechifying from the various parties involved--most notably the Ecology Action Centre. They promote Kevin's organic, sustainably harvested trees over artificial trees.

Charlie loved wearing his "Bob hat". He watched the saw mill turn trees into lumber, he ran around the Christmas tree forest, and he especially loved exploring the DNR's super-sized helicopter parked in the meadow. On the way home we detoured through Mahone Bay's scarecrow festival and stopped at The Biscuit Eater for bat cookies. It was a whirlwind of outdoory goodness kind of morning.

Tonight is the big debut of the new bob-skates during family skating hour at the rink. Details to follow.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Cranberry Bog

OK, now we know. Cranberry bogs are not very attractive. And I (Mom) am the only person in the family who actually likes cranberries. Next year we are definitely visiting an apple orchard instead. (If you want to learn way too much about apples, btw, visit my professional blog).

Across the road from the bog was a little sign for a barn sale, pointing up a wooded lane. We couldn't pass up the opportunity to explore Heckman's Island further. I flipped through stacks of ancient 78s while Charlie ran around a beautiful old barn high on a hill overlooking the sea.

We came home and ate nachos de puerco with Daddy before taking a walk to visit the "snow" (a pile of ice shavings our zamboni deposits outside the community rink). Charlie made his first official snowman of the year, complete with a gravel face and rock top hat. He fell asleep in the stroller on the way home, with a smile on his face and a big slab of ice shavings melting on the tray in front of him.
It was a good weekend.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Fall, Soon to be Winter

The leaves are starting to turn here, and not a minute too soon for Charlie. There are a few themes he's been harping on as of late, all to do with the change of seasons. "I want to get a Christmas tree," he says. "Where's the snow? I want to build a snowman." "I want to go ice skating. " "Where's my sled?"

Luckily for Charlie the rink opens this week. We just ordered him a pair of bob skates, so he can really get his feet on the ice this year. And next weekend is Kevin Veinotte's open woodlot day (Best Woodlot of Nova Scotia 2007!), so we can go visit our organic, sustainably harvested Christmas tree while it's still growing.

What's with the winter fun fascination? It must be his Canadian blood. I'll strive to keep up.

Tomorrow is Open Farm Day in Nova Scotia. We're planning a visit to the local u-pick cranberry bog, Terra Beata. We've been making our own granola lately, and I think we'll use their cranberries to make a holiday granola for friends and family. Let me know if you want some...

Friday, September 21, 2007

Nature Boy


Here are some pics from the last few weeks... you can see we've been spending a lot of time outside!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Kick It Up a Notch

OK, now we're writing our own books. Yesterday we (okay, I) wrote and Charlie illustrated The Big Mess. It goes a little like this:

Charlie made a big mess.
Actually, he made a lot of big messes.
"Eeek! I'm going to crack up!" said Mommy.
"Can we clean it up together?" she asked.
"OK, Mommy!" replied Charlie.
And they did.

Okay, the cleaning up part is still mostly me too, but it's a step in a hopeful direction!

We're making maps now, too. Charlie is a big map-o-phile. We're mapping the whole neighborhood. Now we're headed out for a walk, to check out The House With Dogs That Bark Loud and Early Every Morning and The House of Those People Who Really Like Firecrackers.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

I Go Camp

Mom's a slow learner.

Charlie had to say "I wan' go home" approximately eleventyjillion times before I thought to ask, "What do you want to do at home?" in response, struck in my desparation by the thought that maybe! just maybe! if I got specific we might find a way to meet his needs in the campground.

"I wan' read book," he said.

"Oh," I replied. "We have books here." And he was most content to sit on my lap on the beach, reading One Monkey Too Many and One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish while adorable little Livia from the next campsite perched next to me and watched. After he'd had his fill of literature, we waded through the water catching and releasing minnows and a baby frog.

I wasn't so successful with his next most persistent request, "I wan' go kayak." Maybe next year we'll rent a canoe.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Old Growth Forest, Here We Come

We're off to the Not Back To School Camp in Kejimkujik National Park for a couple days.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Carrot Soup Part Two

I e-mailed John Segal to tell him about our soup-making adventures and linked him to the blog post. He promptly wrote back and offered to send Charlie a hand-coloured Carrot Soup bookplate.

Did I mention that I love children's lit authors?

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Carrot Soup

The pigs are on hiatus. It's all about the rabbits this week.

Charlie is completely taken with Carrot Soup by John Segal, wherein an unsuspecting rabbit is feted by friends of every ilk with (cue drumroll...) carrot soup. There's a recipe in the back. Guess what we made today?

Charlie's Carrot Soup (An adaptation)
As many carrots as Mom has the patience to wash, peel and shred (maybe a pound and a half?)
4 old cubes of chicken bouillion in water, even though there's an organic chicken carcass in the fridge begging to be made into stock. We'll plan ahead next time.
1 large onion, chopped
A big dab of butter
Fleur de Sel and cracked pepper
Some dill that Shirley gave us from her garden just yesterday

1. Dice and sweat the onions in the butter and salt. Remember the ocean when you add the salt. Add the shredded carrots and broth. Bring to a boil.
2. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about a half hour.
3. Puree the mixture in a blender.
4. Add pepper and minced dill to taste. Serve to Daddy with love.

Monday, August 27, 2007

August Pics


Piggies, Piggies Everywhere

We have been making a LOT of trips to the library lately. And not just the local library--whenever we visit one of the neighboring towns we check out their kids collection. From time to time we also visit our friend Nilanjana, who is the librarian for the mobile bus that visits all the wee hamlets on the South Shore. Charlie thinks that a bus full of books is pretty neat-o keen, as do I.

This week, Charlie has been particularly fascinated by a trio of library books; Small Pig by Arnold Lobel, Piggies by Audrey and Don Wood, and The Three Pigs by David Weisner. They have inspired him to fill his sandbox with water so he can be a piggy in the mud. I'm happy to oblige, just as long as he doesn't get any fancy ideas about Halloween... we already have the monkey costume!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Service, please!

Charlie runs most of my errands with me. This week, he decided to show off how much he's learned on our outings.

Yesterday at the mall he crowed, "Bookthtore!" and made a run for Chapters. By the time I caught up to him he had visited the kid's section, chosen a promising story, and was headed for the counter. He artfully evaded my grasp, put the book up on the counter, and eyed the cashier expectantly. (Almost successful--we ended up negotiating for another selection.)

Today we were at a coffeeshop in the middle of an excursion with our friends Katja and Lilly. They had some highly beguiling cupcakes in a glass case, just at Charlie and Lilly's height. After an extended discussion of cupcakes, including the cupcake he had eaten twenty minutes previously and the likelihood of getting a cupcake from the coffeeshop later in the week, Charlie again went to the counter. "A cupcake," he confidently ordered, pointing at his selection.

I had to stop the tickled countergirl from giving it to him. Another near miss with success. No doubt he'll get past me someday soon!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Just my Imagination...

Charlie is rapidly getting more verbal these days. As he learns to express himself, we're enjoying the ever-widening glimpses into his imagination. He can almost always come up with something to amuse himself. He plays endlessly with his hands , turning them into birds that flutter in the sky, or spiders that crawl up and down our arms, or a snake in a snake house. The other day we were driving to the farmer's market in the next village and he conducted a dialogue between his tounge and his teeth the whole way there. "Where are you, tounge? Right here, teeth! How are you, teeth? I'm OK!"

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Moo, Baa, Quack

Last week we went to the fair. Charlie loved playing games on the midway and watching the rides, although I think we'll wait until next year to actually tackle the Teddy Bear Whirl-A-Round. He ate poutine and cotton candy with gusto. If you don't know what poutine is... well, you're probably better off.

The highlight of the day, though, was the petting zoo. Among the many animal barns--draft horses, show horses, dairy cattle, beef cattle, oxen, 4H--was a cool, dusty manger with a dozen kinds of babies. There were tiny goats, one week old, and goslings still wet from the shell. Charlie's initial favorites were the day old fuzzy yellow chicks peeping in their incubator, but he was slowly worn over to the baby mini-donkey, all twenty pounds of him butting against the stall rails for a head scratch. We especially loved watching him nurse with his (also tiny and friendly) mommy.

At home, Charlie has been imitating all the animals we saw. "I duck! Quack Quack! I cow! Moo! I horse! Neigh!" Non-stop. They obviously made a big impression. We can't wait to go back next year.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


It's frog theme day here at Charlie's house.

First, we spent the greater part of the morning reading "A Boy, A Dog, and A Frog" by Mercer Mayer. We have a few great wordless books, and this is one. (The Red Book is my other favorite.)

Then we took a trip to the post office, where a package from Grandma was waiting. We rushed home, opened it, and found not only a new pair of froggie boots, but a beautiful frog umbrella! Charlie insisted on tromping around the back yard with the boots and umbrella--and ONLY the boots and umbrella. Apparently clothes would ruin the froggie vibe. He marched about, looking up into the sky hopefully for rain. Eventually we had to turn the sprinkler on to give him the proper effect.

Thanks, Grandma! You made Charlie's day. And Mom's, too.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Ahoy There, Mateys!

It's the Tall Ship festival in Lunenburg. Charlie and I went down to the docks to explore some of the visiting vessels. We watched sails unfurling, sailors climbing the rigging, and boats cruising in and out of front harbour. Charlie knows the name of a dozen kinds of boats--dinghy, dory, trawler, sloop. It's a constant source of bemusement to my corn-fed, Midwestern landlubbing self to see how connected he is with the marine environment. As we stood at the edge of the crowd a solitary man paddled by. I pointed him out. "Look Charlie, a kayak!" The man corrected me. "Actually, it's a dory-kayak", he said. And so it was, a wooden dory body with a covered, kayak-type top. A very Lunenburg creation.

Charlie's favorite boat, of course, was the great big bouncy gym shaped like a boat on the dock. He jumped up and down yelling, "Aaargh!" with the rest of the pirates. He loves to run around the house being a pirate, too, in his little pirate costume. I'm already assembling my defenses for the "why we can't get a parrot" discussion!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Charlie and I are sitting in the green room, reading a story. We hear John coming up the stairs.
Charlie: "Daddy! Daddy! I hide Daddy!" (dives under bedsheet, giggling)
John: (entering room) "Where's Charlie? Oh, where did Charlie go?"
Charlie: (jumping out dramatically) "BOO! BOO!" (turning to me) "I boo Daddy!"
John: "Boo? I've never heard you say 'boo' before. Where did that come from?"
Charlie: (pauses thoughtfully, then points to his face) "From my mouth, Daddy!"

Saturday, July 7, 2007

We've Discovered a Superpower

Charlie is an enthusiastic cook. Every time I walk into (or near) the kitchen he runs after me, chanting, "I help, Mama? I help, Mama?"

And he does help. He gets the colander out and puts it in the sink, he puts silverware on the table, he returns the milk to the fridge. He loves to stir the contents of a pot, and his absolute favourite kitchen task is whisking an egg. The eggs we get from farmer Kevin are a bit more diverse than the ones you buy at the store--some are big, some are tiny, and some are bumpy in a way that makes me awfully glad I'm not a chicken. When I'm busy and Charlie is dying to help, I often give him a bowl, a whisk, and one of the smallest (or strangest) eggs and let him go to town at the counter of his play kitchen.

Recently I went to clean up after an eggy adventure and noticed that not only was the egg pretty well whisked, there wasn't a bit of shell in the bowl. The next time I gave Charlie an egg I watched him closely. He cracked it one-handed on the edge of the bowl with the casual insouciance of The Naked Chef, tossing the neatly broken shell to the side as he threw his whole being into the whisking.

He didn't learn it from me, because I can't do that. Not the one-handed part, anyway. Yesterday he made cupcakes with a babysitter, and she said that he directed her in every step of the process. The kid better be careful--at this rate he'll be taking over family dinners by the time he's five.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Rain, rain, don't go away

It's a cool, stormy summer in the Maritimes. Yesterday Charlie and I planted another little garden patch--onions and melons this time. Charlie is getting quite good at poking each seed down. It might be too late to start onions, but time and the weather will tell.

Today we thinned out the carrots. It's amazing how much green grows in proportion to the root. They are just starting to get a tinge of orange to them. We took a couple indoors, washed them and ate them. They were far more like parsnips in taste and texture than like mature carrots, but a fun treat all the same.

Now it's raining outside and Charlie is curled up in front of Harold and the Purple Crayon, listening to an eclectic musician sing "Blame it On the Rain". I don't know about blame, but we're thanking the rain for all the lovely growth in our garden as well as this quiet, cuddly indoors day.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Mom is learning (slowly)

We went for a hike this morning. Or rather, attepmted to go for a hike. Silly Mommy, trying to hustle through the best "school" in the world, aka Nature.

We stopped to look at slugs, at dog poop, at small sticks of various lengths, and at several pairings of "baby rock" and "mommy rock". The lupines were in full bloom. Luna sauntered about madly, thrilled to be on the trail with both of us. She's starting to understand Charlie's commands, so he coached her through some sprints. "Yoyo, DO! "Yoyo, come DACK!"

He would love to walk her on the leash, but 30 pound boy plus 70 pound dog on a gravel trail sounds like... about a hundred bandaids, to me! (Who said unschoolers can't do math?)

Monday, July 2, 2007

Pics from June


Here's Charlie with Grandma and Grandpa, plus a few from the Waldorf School.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

There's some good news and some bad news...

The bad news: the photo place didn't make a CD of our photos, so no pics of Charlie with Grandma and Grandpa until next week. Boo hoo. The good news is that they're worth waiting for.

And here's some great news: Naomi came to visit! We had three wonderful days of talking, walking, and playing together. She brought a great book about typing cows for Charlie, and Vosges chocolate for Mom and Dad! We went to the beach together yesterday. Naomi showed Charlie starfish, razor clams, anemones, and about a hundred other sea creatures. We waded in the tidal pools and listened to the clams breathe. Now that Naomi's on her way back home we're looking at pictures of swamps and crocodiles. One of these days we'll get down to Florida to visit her and Aster, and we'll be all ready to identify her local flora and fauna.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

What's Small?

We worked together in the garden this solstice. Charlie is a vigorous thinner of carrot seedlings. We're actually getting enough mixed baby greens for salads every day now, and the beans are sprouting out of the 3 sisters garden. Summer comes right on schedule here.

In one of the Curious George stories we've been reading this week George is frustrated by being small and dreams about growing big. Charlie kept asking, "What's small, Mammoo?" I have tried many ways of explaining "small", all of which leave Charlie looking vaguely skeptical.

Today at the grocery store Charlie was standing next to me in the check-out, then started to slowly edge away. "I right back, Mammoo," he assured me. "I right back" usually means "Don't follow me because you might stop me from doing what I want to do." I picked him up, gave him a cuddle, and said, "I know you'd like to explore, but I need you to stay with me so I can keep you safe." He sighed, put his head on my shoulder, and said, "I small, Mammoo."

Small but growing every day, my monkey.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

It's All About the Monkeys

OK, Mom loves Curious George as much as the guy, but if I have to say "This is George. George was a good little monkey and always very curious..." one more time this week, I may begin to bleed spontaneously from the eyes.

We have monkey books, monkey band-aids, monkey socks, stuffed monkeys, and a monkey towel that doubles as a costume. When he's not being a troll or a squirrel or a horse or a dog, Charlie is a monkey. "I monk, mammoo! Ee ee ee!" And then he pulls out one of the many CG storybooks that I thought I had hidden and demands another recitation.

Well, at least it's easy to get him to eat a banana these days.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Keeping Up

Whew! Long time, no post. Pictures of the visit with grandma and granpa will be up in about a week.

Charlie's verbal skills have been exploding recently. We always knew he wanted to be involved in everything we did, and now he can tell us about it. Mom's taking the garbage out? "I come! I help!" Dad's cooking? "I stir! I cook!" If we tell him something is difficult to do and perhaps not for little people... "I try!" As my mom commented during their stay here, true learning is internally motivated. Our task is just to keep up with him! Mom and Dad are both feeling old and slow these days.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Family Fun

Grandma and Grandpa are here, and we're having a ball. Yesterday we took a family shopping trip and put together Charlie's new rocking horse. We went to the beach before dinner. This morning we went to the farmer's market, and this afternoon we'll think about a cruise out in the harbour. Granpa and Charlie have some game worked up in which they hit one another with dandelions and giggle. More on our adventures soon...

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Runaway Doggie

Charlie's favorite new game is "Runaway Doggie". John and I build a "crate" out of cardboard bricks in the corner of the living room. Charlie stands there saying "woof woof", and then busts out of the pokey and runs around the house giggling maniacally while John and I pretend to try to stop him, call the doggie, and build roadblocks.

We had planned on camping this weekend but got rained out. We had some quiet, relaxing time at home instead. Grandma and Granpa will be here Tuesday, so we're preparing the house. Here's to a fun week ahead...

Thursday, May 31, 2007



Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Reaching and Growing

Charlie's becoming quite a climber. I say "no" to him in the house more than either of us would like. No, you may not climb the cabinet pulls to stand on the kitchen counter and eat sugar out of the sugar jar with your hand. No, you may not dance on top of the piano. No you may not dance naked on the radiator (see a theme here?) in the living room picture window. That's not the picture we'd like to paint for the Zincks next door.

So we went to the park, where Charlie climbed several ladders he had never been able to manage before. His 5 yr old friend Elias Asks A Million Questions was there, so we mostly climbed and talked with Elias. Later at home we finally set up the garden. We never ate the eggs we coloured last week, so they became compost for the sunflower seedlings, lettuce, and carrots that we planted. Thanks to Godmom Naomi for the seeds!

Swimming to the Oldies

Yesterday morning we awoke to grey skies, so we decided to go swimming indoors. The pool we go to has a glass wall with a view of the ocean and an island in the background--reputedly the one where Captain Kidd buried his treasure.

We had the place to ourselves for a while, and then at 10:30 the Elderfit aquasize class filtered in. Charlie was highly pleased to aqua dance to Chuck Berry and Elvis along with all the grandmas. Further to his delight, they insisted on sharing their kick boards and noodles with him.

We stayed quite a bit longer than I had intended. After much sweet talk and promises of snacks, I was able to extricate him from the pool. "Die! Die!" Charlie called, waving at his new friends. And a pool full of elderly ladies doing the twist waved back, yelling, "Bye, Charlie dear!" in unison.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

30 Months (and counting...)

Charlie officially turned 2 and a half the other day. He just tipped the scale at 30 lbs/13.6 kg. His car seat is only rear-facing to 30 lbs, so we turned it around. He's about 34.5 "/87.5 cm tall. He's following the same growth curve he's been on since birth--bang on the 50th percentile for weight, and around the 15th for height.

In other words, a little on the short and tubby side. ;-) He still has a bit of that adorable, chubby baby look, although people no longer yell "Gerber baby!" at us from across crowded restaurants like they use to.

Pics coming in 3-4 days! Stay tuned.

Postscript: The above growth chart references are based on the World Health Organization growth charts for breastfed boys. Many doctors in both the US and Canada rely on growth charts that describe patterns of formula fed infants, who follow a different growth curve. In addition to the WHO growth charts, we are using CDC growth charts to track Charlie's progress.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Schools Day

Busy and hot today! We all went to the Waldorf school Mayfair in the morning, then across the street to the French school for Rowan's birthday party. We gave her a baby tree that we transplanted from our garden plot. Back at Waldorf we made some crafts in the craft yurt (seriously), watched some Morris dancers, and picked up a play kitchen for $4 at the yard sale. After a lunch break at home, Charlie and Mom went to B'water to check out the homeschooler's craft fair at the mall. When we came back the lawn mowers had been here, so we went out in the yard for sand and water play while Mom set the fence back up. Now we're cooling off inside while Charlie alternates watches Little Bear and listens to Mom read stories. He's back on a Babybug kick, and slowly warming up to Green Eggs and Ham.

Another quick hats off to Grandma, who gave Charlie the big cardboard blocks. In addition to building towers and houses, he loves to put them end-to-end to make a balance beam and then run back and forth on the top. They're his most played-with toy these days.

I No White

"I no white" said Charlie.

"Oh? What colour are you?" asked Mommy.

"I Charlie colour."

Yep, that's it in a nutshell.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Fractured Frog

Charlie's worn out his first pair of shoes in his life. The honour falls to a pair of green froggie boots, size 7. They were a gift from grandma. After hundreds of puddles and thousands of steps, a crack has developed over the left frog's eyebrow. I don't think I can bear to throw them away.

Today we went to the Waldorf Parent and Tot program in the morning, and Charlie and Dad took a long walk to the harbour and Nellie's lunch bus in the afternoon. We're all about to sit down for a Chinese food Friday.

Postscript: We've been receiving complains about a lack of pics on the site. My witty prose isn't enough for you people? No worries, a slew are coming next week.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Cooking Monster

Today was the farmer's market, digging up worms in the garden, a playdate with Wylie, and a visit to the Fish Museum to look at the cod and the scrod.

To let us know he'd like to play outside, Charlie stands at the back door yelling "Woof! Woof!"
Hey, it works for the dogs.

Lately he's taken to running around the living room with an oven mitt on, saying "Raaaaaarh! I cooking monster!"

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Quiet Day

Charlie was a bit subdued all day today. We watched some vintage Heckle and Jeckle together, did the grocery shopping, and baked cookies. In the afternoon Angela came over to play for a bit. Charlie went to town on the water table and sandbox in the back yard and got messy with some new sparkle glue (somebody needs to learn to not buy sparkle glue for a 2 year old!) After several more iterations of Curious George he dropped off to sleep early. Tomorrow morning we'll go to the Farmer's Market in the morning, and perhaps the Fisheries Museum in the afternoon.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Library Day

Jonas came to play for the morning. Both boys hid in a pile of clean laundry, raced bikes around the house, jumped up and down on the bed, drew on the chalkboard, played with the dollhouse, and took turns being monsters. We all read a bunch of books together. Now Jonas and Lucas are off to Germany to visity their Oma and Opa!

This afternoon we went to the library for a new pile of books, then took a walk down to the harbour and to Frenchie's. Charlie helped knead some homemade playdough (plus we actually dyed the Easter eggs--the brown eggs look especially pretty). We read Curious George about a bajillion times, blew bubbles, and cleaned up the kitchen together. Charlie is getting mighty handy with a mop.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Home, Friends, Home, Friends, Home

Today Charlie went over to Lucas and Jonas' house for the morning. When I went to pick him up he was in Jonas' crib pretending to be a monkey at the zoo (Jonas was a dog and Lucas was a bunny rabbit). We came home for a Curious George reading marathon. We played with the hula hoop in the back yard. "Hoowa! Hoowa!" says Charlie.

In the afternoon we went to visit Tina. Trey and Maya were both there playing. Charlie eschewed their company in favor of Trey's Playskool garage. Trey has all the cool toys. Then we went to Save Easy. Charlie marched right to the cookie aisle, picked out a box of Fudgeeos, and went and stood in line at the express check-out. He put the cookies right on the counter and then turned to me in an "ahem" way. Right, Mom still has to pay.

This evening we're painting the inside of the tub surround again and looking at D'Aulaire's Book of Trolls. Charlie loves any kind of monster. "I troll! Aaaargh!"

Sunday, May 20, 2007

A Day Well Wasted

Today Charlie experimented with his new chalkboard and chalk techniques. We read Harold and the Purple Crayon and All Kinds of Children. There was a copious amount of tower-building. In other artistic news, we drew with markers, sculpted with playdough, and painted the inside of the tub surround with washable paints.

In the mid-afternoon we went for a walk to Save Easy, returned a movie, and chatted with some of our friends there. Both of us talked to Grandma on the phone. Now Charlie's watching the Harold and the Purple Crayon video while I boil eggs on the stove. He wasn't quite ready for decorating Easter eggs at Easter, but he seems ready now. Good thing I never got around to putting the supplies away!