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.