Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Izzy takes a tour through Whine Country...The Were-Woof begins to stir...

We were driving past our favourite field. You know which one I mean. It was particularly ripe, fresh manure spreading and then two weeks of oppressive humidity will tend to make anything hum with a stink like the ape house in a zoo.
Daddy: "Don't ea..."
Isobel: "Don't say it, Daddy."
Daddy: "Don't say what?"
Isobel: "You know what you were going to say."
Daddy: "No, what? What shouldn't I say?"
Isobel: "That Scottish word you always say when we drive by here."
Daddy: "Which one, piobaireachd?" (I knew what she meant but she seemed like she was actually trying to refrain from saying it)
Isobel: "No, that's not the one. What the hell does that even mean?"
Daddy: "OK, I won't say that then."
Isobel: "No Daddy. You know I mean don't say SHITE!..Oh ...crap. I tried, I can't do this."

It seems like yesterday that Isobel was born and a masked nurse called out 'Do you want to hold your daughter, Daddy?' and I actually looked around the room for the father...I didn't fully realize it was me until she physically placed the child in my arms. I was the Daddy. She was pink as bubble-gum and wrapped up like a papoose. She literally, fit in one hand and as I held her I told her all the things we would do together. We would take long walks together and have long, meaningful conversations about important things that fathers and daughters discuss. I would teach her to read and walk first, naturally but these were just minor details and attainable milestones on this amazing journey that was just beginning.
Isobel has leaped over an important milestone this month and kicked the creeping jesus out of it. Isobel has discovered that whining is just about the most unbearable sound that a child can make in the presence of an adult...any adult but most especially, an adult that happens to be your parent.
Every kid whines. I did it once. You did it once. (Yes you did.) Hell, I work with people that still do it and I bet you do too. I remember when The Boy was the age that Isobel is now, he had taken whining to a level that was nearly an art form. Ah but my sweet daughter has surpassed even the master.
I don't know what has happened of late but she seems to have ramped up the whining so she is well and truly incapable of speaking in anything but tones that border on tears. An example; "Would you pick up your plate and take it to the kitchen?" I asked in a non-confrontational way. "I can't pick it up, my leg hurts too much and I didn't put it there anyway. It's not mine." she blubbered. I could see tears welling up. Normally the tears would dissuade me from anything further but it was too hard to resist.
"Really?" I asked. "Who put it there if you didn't"
"I don't know."
The classic kid defense. 'I don't know' is really, the catch all phrase children use before they get older and start lobbing obscenities at you like ripe melons.
"You don't know?" I asked. "Who would know, The Boy? Maybe I'll ask him."
"No," she whined on." He'll be mean to me. Like your being mean to me. Everyone is so mean to me."
"I'm not being mean to you." I explained. "I asked you to pick up a plate. If I were mean I would have said pick up your plate and then go to bed."
"See!" she said.
There is something that shuts down in the adult brain when children start whining. Something vulgar and atavistic is turned on in it's place. I am certain that whining cave children were dealt with in a swift and terrible manner. I have seen television programs about the mummified children of the Andes. Whatever the ancient Incan equivalent of tuna casserole, I have no doubt it was whined about once too often and little Pahuac was suddenly blowing good-bye kisses at Machu Piccu on his way up the mountain. The worst I got was a cuff up the back of the head but the message was the same. Whining will turn your parents into animals who are no longer responsible for their behaviour. Your whinery did this to them and now you have to deal with what you hath wrought...
There is a book that has been floating around here for a while. I'm not certain if it belongs to Isobel or The Boy but in it is a line that goes something like '... from the time you are born, your parents want you walking and talking and as soon as you are, they want you to sit down and shut up...'
Absolutely god-damned right. Notice nowhere in that scenario does it say your parents want you to whine ad-nauseum about everything that is not candy or being lavished with useless trinkets and baubles...thankfully, Isobel has not discovered that whining, when expressed at certain frequencies, will actually cause the adult brain to shut down and agree to anything in order to defend itself from the aural assault.
Now some of you may say that this all seems a little harsh and perhaps a bit extreme. And after careful consideration I can only say that you are clearly not parents and have no idea what you are talking about. You are also likely the only offspring of a loveless marriage. Sit down and shut up...Or even worse, you are a grandparent and you are laughing yourself incontinent while you sit back and watch chicken after chicken come home to roost. 'When you grow up, I hope you have a kid just like you." It has become a mantra around here...

The crisp, clear light of the moon filters in through the window and plays upon the face of the sleeping man. Fangs begin to grow in his mouth and fur begins to weave itself in and amongst his hair. His eyes yellow and narrow search the room for his prey as a scowl twists itself across his face...the were-woof rises again!
OK, not really but it has been a rough couple of weeks in the sleeping department and the were-woof has been rattling the cage a little.
It being summer holidays, the kids are without too much regimentation and 'bedtimes' become more and more relaxed.And why not? But it can get a little hairy for two parents who still have to get up and bring home the bacon.
The Boy has been allowed to play video games in bed which keeps his brain active long after it should have wound down. This translates into rough sleep for him and with an already over active imagination, every single noise that he hears becomes terrifying and he comes into our room for comfort. When he does finally get to sleep, his brain will wake him occasionally (as happens to most of us) but he won't go back to sleep. He will come into our room and announce that he can't sleep. Although he has been asleep for some time. One night, it seemed as though he was coming in every hour on the hour. Mrs. Narrator would walk him back to bed and tell him to stay in bed. Every time she got up and got back into bed, I would wake up. It made for two very tired and grouchy adults the next day.
Isobel will wake up during the night but instead of going back to sleep, she will walk herself to our room and leap into our bed. Sometimes from the foot of the bed or sometimes over top of me. Really, the kid gets air...Again, Mrs. Narrator will dutifully walk Isobel back to bed and cuddle until she falls back to sleep. The other night we heard a resounding thump coming from Izzy's room. She trotted into our room and lay down the trump card. "I fell outta bed," she cried. How can you take her back to her own bed after it rejects her?
The last couple of days have remained quiet so far...fingers crossed. It won't be long before I start back on the night shift again and it'll be me crying and falling out of bed and hopefully not growling too much...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Yelling at the kids...My first Dad moment...

I was downstairs running and for a change, Izzy was not downstairs with me. I have known Isobel her entire life, I held her before anyone else save the doctors and nurses who pulled her out. She has seen me shirtless any number of times. When she was an infant and I was the only person she would nap with, I would occasionally be shirtless when we napped...
Isobel: "Daddy?"
Daddy: "Yes Plum Blossom?"
Isobel: "Were you just running?"
Daddy: "Yes ."
Isobel: "On the treadmill?"
Daddy: "..."
Isobel: "Daddy?"
Daddy: "Yes, my daughter?"
Isobel: "On the treadmill? Were you running on the treadmill?"
Daddy: "Yes Isobel. What's this all about? You know I run on the treadmill all the time. Why all the questions now?"
Isobel: "Daddy?"
Daddy: "Yes, Izzy?"
Isobel: "Daddy, you have a hell of a lot of tattoos."

The hardest part of being a parent is forgetting what it's like to be a kid...
I may rant a bit here so bear with me.
The Boy has ADHD. it's not something we have ever gone to any lengths to conceal nor is it something we have ever worn on our sleeves. It is what it is and it plays a role in who he is. It does not however, define him. He has his moments but what ten year old boy doesn't? It seems like we are constantly having to defend his behaviour because he has those four letters associated with him now.
I like many, had misconceptions about what the condition entails and I can say that there is definitely a difference between when he is on his meds and not, but (and this is an important but) it does not turn him into a complacent perfect angel of a boy. Good god if that were the case there would be a line of parents around the block of every drugstore in the world to lay hands on this miracle drug...my parents would have bought shares in the company based on the three of us kids alone...The difference is that when he is off his meds, he is a ten year old boy-amplified. When he is on them he is able to make sense of the tornado of information whipping around his head. It helps him put things into order and perspective. But on or of the meds, he is The Boy. He is bright and funny and charming and a pain in the ass and a joy to be around and a stubborn mule of a just like his mother and everything else that any other ten year old kid is. And like all ten year old kids, he will try your patience-that's their job.
We lost a sitter today, which in and of itself is not a big deal but it is the way she went out. It was not particularly classy... it was downright low rent. Without going into too many sordid details, we were informed that she was no longer going to watch The Boy but that Isobel was quite welcome to come over. I can't help but feel that her decision is based wholly on in part on those four letters. I am flattered that Isobel has made such an impression as to be quite welcome but she is a package deal. Izzy herself told me she wasn't ' going anywhere without The Boy.'
Some accusations were made where I had to bite my tongue as the incidents were recounted to me by the baby sitter. The Boy is no angel but the things that he was accused of were so completely out of character for him that I have to call bullshit on all of it. I have know him for half of his life and he is a lot of things but The Boy is not a violent or vindictive kid. Not by any stretch. Nor is he any more aggressive than any other ten year old boy involved in a contact activity.
I get it, he can be a handful and he can try your patience. And you can lose your patience and say and do things you regret...I know. There are a couple of major differences however. By virtue of testosterone and a thickening of my vocal chords my voice tends to have a timbre that inspires discomfort in the children when the volume and emotion levels tend to rise. (did you get that? When I yell ,the kids tend to get a little panicky) However, I make it a point to apologize to the children when I cool down. Always. it is important for them to know that it is just frustration making me yell and not genuine anger. Secondly (and I think both of the kids have caught on to this) thanks to a Sterling upbringing and life long influence of virtually every female in my experience including Mrs. Narrator I am now possessed with a sense of guilt as wide as the mighty Mississippi and if I have shouted at the children, there is generally shopping or general spending of money on the way. My point is I have yelled and made the kids feel bad and felt bad about it myself. They're my kids. It doesn't make it right but I am a father, their father...both of them.
You can't tell me that The Boy is the bad seed and then of good conscience say that Isobel is welcome over anytime she likes. How dare you? Who do you think you are? You can't tell me that you have experience with kids with ADHD and then fold when you are put to the test.
It just seems a little odd to me that since The Boy had been going to our old sitter who recently retired (sort of) since he was four or five and not a single report of this kind of behaviour ever greeted me or Mrs. Narrator when we went to get him. But he goes to this present sitter from the beginning of the school year until now and he turns into Fred Krueger, laughing and hacking his playmates while playing capture the flag? Come on lady. It doesn't take a rocket surgeon to smell the crap piling up. It also strikes me as odd that these incidents all seemed to occur around her own two children...if you don't like my kid, come out and say it but don't play the sensitive care-giver card with years of experience and then treat him like a pariah...
There is an old expression that goes if you screw with one of us, you screw with all of us. We lost a sitter today but it's not so bad, Mrs. Narrator is going to stay home and watch the kids. Though its going to prove difficult for her to supervise the children while she is locked in the bedroom. She is not nearly as calm about this as I am and god help us all if she stews about this over the next couple of days and decides to give out a few pieces of her mind...we'll need more than a new sitter.

We were at the mall a while ago, in the record store. I like to take my kids to the record store (Haven't ventured into a real one yet I'll get them warmed up in the minors before taking them major league) and show them all the joys that music can bring. The Boy usually peruses the kick knacks and video games but Izzy will generally follow me and look at the cd's on display around her.
At one point she let out an audible gasp and pulled me toward a cd. "Cool," I said. "An all girl metal band." I briefly glanced at the cover and saw four cute girls in goth type make up but the studs and spike told me that this was not a forlorn band.
"Can I get the cd?" she asked.
"Let's go home and see if we can find them on the computer and if you like them we will come back and buy your very first cd."
It was a proud moment for me, buying my little girl a cd that was not Barney or Bieber. And she's only five!
We got home and I dutifully looked up the band on YouTube. They were even cuter in the video. Not my cup of tea but still not I love you, you love me or Baby oh Baby.
Something struck me as a little odd though. The singer's voice seemed a little deep. I looked them up on Wikipedia...they are called The Black Veil Brides. They are Izzy's new favourite band. They are all boys. They are a metal boy band from somewhere in California. I am no longer cool, I have become my father staring at a poster in my basement room wondering who Ned was and why anyone would want to Damn him...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Children become Siblings...Daddy's little Maniac...

It was bedtime and I came into her room to tuck her in.
Izzy: "Daddy, can I have a rug in my room?
Daddy: "Sure, we can get you a rug."
Izzy: "Good. If I have a rug, that way my room will be special to friends."
Daddy: "Oh...o.k. Do you want me to snuggle with you?"
Izzy: (Video Game in hand) "I am playing my game. I don't require you."

I am certain that somewhere there are brothers and sisters who help each 0ther to muddle through this life or form an equal parted, mutual admiration society. Somewhere there are parents who intone the wonder and joy of raising children who love on another and always do as they are told. Somewhere all of these things exist...perhaps not in this world...and it damn sure isn't in this house.
It wasn't that long ago that Isobel couldn't wait for her brother to get up so that she could just watch him...I'll say that again...just WATCH him. She asked me early one morning, ' When is he getting up?'
'Soon," I said. 'Why?
'I just want to watch him.'
'Watch him doing what?' I asked.
'Just watch him.' she said.
She was enamoured of him. Hopelessly gaga for her big brother. Just a word from him could make(or break) her entire day. And The Boy to his credit, was almost always totally accommodating . He would wait for her when she was trying to catch up to him, if she got hurt in some way it was as though he could feel the pain himself and if she was crying he was the first to try to assuage her tears. He was a model big brother and it was no wonder she just wanted to watch him.
"Oh somewhere in this favoured land, the sun is shining bright.
The Band is playing somewhere and somewhere hearts are light."
But not here...
At some point during his ten years(nearly eleven, he would want me to point that out) The Boy has developed a brain and a mental acuity so devious, his Mother and I actually fear for our safety if he ever decides to use his new found gifts for evil purposes. He has somehow developed the ability to make his sister lose complete control of her senses without actually doing anything. Certainly nothing punishable, anyway...Brilliant and evil...
The hand full of times that he has been caught doing something, anything, it has been so minute that he still manages to evade any repercussions. He has the ability to get under his sister's skin and spread out his tendrils like an allergic reaction. Not enough to do any real harm but enough to make you snap and get yourself into trouble.
"I just want to SMASH him!" Isobel screamed one day. He had gotten to her.
We have a rule in our house that clearly states 'One child per cushion of the couch.' It preempts any question as to one's place in front of the television. We have had the occasional flare ups but detente is the general order of things. At least it used to be. Isobel loves to recite the rules (she is a girl) but The Boy found a loop hole. By virtue of his age and speed, he can move his feet fro his cushion and touch them onto her cushion with just enough time to get her attention but not actually break any rule. It drove her mad, quite literally. All I could think was ' My god, the genius of that.'
I would like to say that my daughter is calm in the face of adversity, that she takes this all in stride. And she does. Mrs. Narrators daughter however, is a raving lunatic and is currently no match for The Boy's evil.
She was making a card for friend she would see the next day and The Boy looked at her. (his gaze has become evil now) In his look burned the scorn of failure and the laughter of a thousand tormentors. I may be paraphrasing, it was difficult to make out what Isobel was saying through the growls and the tears. After the shredding of her first attempt, she had a second go at the home made greeting card. Both Mrs. Narrator and I had tried to write out what she wanted to say on the card so that he could copy it. The Boy looked at her again. The second attempt was torn from it's stapled backing. The tears flowed freely.
"What's wrong honey?" I asked.
"I can't do this. He keeps looking at me and I CAN'T do this right!"
"Let me see it," I said. "Let's see if we can fix it."
She picked up the piece of paper and crumpled it up into as tight a ball as she could muster. The look on her face said 'You stupid, stupid old man. We can't fix this. Not now, not ever!' and she snapped.
She picked up a baby blanket (hardly a punitive implement but it was close at hand) and began to wail away on The Boy. He laughed, which enraged her further and she swung the blanket with venom and vitriol, growling and spitting like a wild beast. It was only a shout from Mrs. Narrator that brought Isobel back to her senses and she began to cry.
"Come on you, let's go to bed." Mrs. Narrator said.
"O.K." said Izzy through the tears. I picked her up and carried her to her bedroom. In the blink of an eye, they had gone from brother and sister and a close as they could be to SIBLINGS. With rivalry firmly in place.
The Boy came up shortly after that and because he hadn't actually done anything but look at her (and not even in a particularly sinister way) he skirted any sort of outcome other that the precise one he wanted....Genius, pure evil genius...
We were going out one day and his hair looked as though he slept with curlers that someone had wrapped in a wet sweat sock. I offered to comb his hair before we went out, under the guise of making him look presentable...I thought better of it...if you don't see that birth mark it doesn't exist, right?

There are times in one's life when you must take your mind elsewhere. Times when you need to let your mind go for a little walk, away from where it currently is. Perhaps a place of sorrow or pain, perhaps something as simple as skull crushing boredom...Your Happy Place. 'Go to your Happy Place, Sid.'
I always thought that my happy place would involve music and me playing it in front of millions of adoring fans. But it wasn't the right fit. I though maybe it would be the birth of my daughter, which although a joyous and wonderful experience, left me confused and frustrated and fightened. And as it turns out, woefully unprepared for the for the skin peeled back, exposed skull and goggle eyed lunatic ravings of a hormonal mother. (Experienced father's know of what I speak. New father's...you have my sympathy)
I think I spent a lot of time looking for my happy place...maybe too much time. I mean I didn't let life rip itself from under me as I pondered my Happy Place but I did spend a fair amount of time (and no small amount of scotch) looking for it...but devoted readers I have found it. At last I have found my elusive Happy Place and no matter what the situation, I know I can think back on this one moment and smile...laugh even.
I was outside edging the garden of all things, when Isobel came out and asked what I was doing.
"I'm edging the gardens," I said.
"Can I help?" she asked.
"You can help me mulch, after I do the edges."
"No," she said. "I want to use that." She pointed to the weed whip that doubles as an edger.
"Oh honey, I don't know..." I thought about it a second and figured a way that would dissuade her quickly. "OK, but you need to put on long pants and proper shoes. No flip -fops."
The thought of putting on shoes will usually stop my barefoot hillbilly girl from doing just about anything. In a flash she had disappeared into the house and re-emerged wearing black tights and pink wellies. I was on the hook now. How dangerous could it be if she just hacked at the weeds around the yard?
She took the spinning beast from my hands with the skill of a surgeon. My fear of her injuring herself melted away and my fear of the new personality that emerged from my daughter kicked into overdrive. Buzz-uzzz-uzzzz. She set upon the weeds with glee and began cackling as they fell before her. Lopping off heads of flowers as she went.
She stopped briefly and turned around. 'It's making me a little bit wet, on my face.' her face and hair was covered in the green gore of mutilated weeds.
"Well Pick, you can't be a homicidal maniac without a little blood splatter." I said thoughtfully.
"What?" she asked.
"Skip it."
Buzzz-uzzz-uzzz. She cris-crossed the yard for about a half an hour, killing as she went and suddenly came over to me looking upset- squeezing the trigger with no result.
"The battery died." I said.
She threw down the weed whip that doubles as an edger. "Damn it." she walked toward the house, crestfallen...my pink wellied murderous happy place...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Of Summer Vacation and Swimming and Sleeping Bears...Parenting is ruining me...

It's funny to me the total lack of any sense of embarrassment that kids have. Either one of them (though it tends more to be Izzy these days than the boy...he is entering that all important pre-teen phase of his life) can and have walked into the bathroom while Mrs. Narrator or I have been doing anything from shaving to teeth brushing or hair-do doing, dropped trow and taken care of business right there and then. They will carry on conversations as though they were sitting casually at the kitchen table. Just such a conversation took place the other day. I was shaving and in walked Isobel who proceeded to 'have a seat'.
Isobel: "Daddy, how do you spell toilet?"
Daddy: "Why?"
Isobel: "Don't ask, just how do you spell it?"
Daddy: (firmly affixing smart ass cap) "C-R-A-P"
Isobel: "Really?"
Daddy: "Yep"
Isobel: "Daddy, you might hear a sound of something falling in the (sounding it out) Cr-aaa-p...Hey that's not toilet!"

It seems like just yesterday that I let go of Izzy's hand and watched the single silent tear run down her cheek as she got into line with the other kids on her first day of school but here it was, the end of her first year already. I picked her up at the sitter's and gave her a big hug. The kind that starts low to the ground and ends up with the child firmly in your arms and the two of you spinning slightly.
"Daddy!" she said excitedly.
"Well," I asked. "How does it feel, done school and everything?"
"What!!??!" she asked incredulously.
"School's out, your finished now."
"I'm finished school? That was fast. D said I had to go to school for a long time and I told him I didn't have to go to school anymore."
"No, no honey. You just done school for this year. It's the summer time now but you have to go back to school in the fall."
"Yes my cooing dove?"
"My teacher said that this is summer vaction."
"Yes," I agreed. "VaCAtion That's right."
"So where are we going to go?" she asked.
"Where are we going to go where?" I puzzled.
"My teacher said that people go away for summer vaction. Where are we going to go?"
"I don't know if we are going to go anywhere for vacation. I don't get any holidays this year and we went to Mexico in the winter."
She sighed a giant sigh like one would make after finally landing a job on Star Trek and being handed a red shirt.
"What's the matter honey?" I asked her.
After another big sigh she finally said. "First you tell me I am NOT finished school forever and then you tell me we are NOT going on summer vaction, I guess that means we are NOT getting a puppy either?"

We Barbecue pretty much all year long (if the weather isn't too horrendous) but Izzy made her first burger a couple of weeks ago. I did the cooking and she did the flipping...and I did the cleaning off of the burger after she flipped it on the deck and I did the eating of the burger after it was on the deck because 'No way am I going to eat that, Daddy. No way...seriously I can't eat it now." I tend to make an extra or two for just such an emergency.

After Isobel's watershed(literally) moments in Mexico, we knew it was just a matter of time before she was leaping headlong into the Grandparents pool. She didn't disappoint. It was a ridiculously hot day and without any debate it was decided we would go to the Grandparents and go for a swim. To give you some idea of the temperature, even Mrs. Narrator got in the pool. No wet hair but in the pool just the same. Izzy had gone over in her bathing suit and spoke about nothing but the pool until she was finally in it...Though she insisted on waiting for her mother to go swimming and wouldn't go with anyone else first...strange for her but the first swim of the year is often about testing the water in more ways than one.
At first she was a little clingy and unsure of herself but when she discovered that she could touch bottom in the shallow end (another first) all bets were off and she was a mad pool leaping fool.
"Daddy, watch this."...splash.
"Opa, watch this."...splash.
"Oma, watch this."...splash
"Mummy, watch this."...splash... sputter... hack... hack... gag... sputter... hack.
"Keep your mouth closed, baby." I said.
"Don't drink the pool water, Izzy." said Mrs. Narrator. "It'll make you sick."
It's funny that even as recently as in Mexico this past winter, we would be in the pool with her always touching her to make sure she was not in any sort of aquatic danger but as soon as she was able to touch bottom at the grandparents pool, the panic seemed to abate. Not that we weren't still attentive, quite the opposite but Mrs. Narrator' parents' pool has become something of a summer yardstick and as soon as the bottom is touched then the race is on and the fact that the kids are growing up sinks in...
Isobel wore her bathing suit to the grandparents house and brought along a change of clothes with her. I should say some thing about this suit. It was a hand me down from one of her friends and it is a little on the big side, it has at least two holes in it, a mild stain on the front of it and it is absolutely Isobel's favourite. She has newer ones and better looking ones but they did not come from this particular friend and so they are substandard. Oma wanted Isobel to leave it there so she would have a suit to wear when she goes over for visits and over-nighters this summer. Isobel was not interested in leaving it there.
"Isobel why don't you leave your bathing suit here, so you'll have one to swim in the next time you come over?" Oma asked.
Isobel just shook her head.
"But Izzy, I need a suit." Oma repeated.
"It would never fit you." said Isobel.
Mrs. Narrator's cousin was also at the Grandparents house with her two sons and it was nice to see The Boy have someone his own age and gender to play with. Not that it isn't great that he likes to play with his sister but sometimes a boy needs to be a boy. Loud and crazy and splashy and...a boy.
Inevitably, it being the generation of electronics, a video game emerged and the three of them disappeared to play it...and suddenly there was silence. But not a suspicious silence, no just the rapturous silence of three pre-teen boys who had found something to amuse themselves that didn't involve noise or property damage.
Perhaps it is a generational thing or maybe it is because when this silence erupted with their own male children (who had no video games...certainly not hand held ones) it absolutely meant they were up to no good but when the silence comes the grandmothers... can't seem to leave well enough alone.
"What are they doing in there?" Oma asked suspiciously.
"It's quiet and nobody is running out looking for something to do or tattling or bleeding. They're fine. Leave them be."
"Please don't poke the sleeping bear." said Mrs. Narrator's cousin." If you poke the bear, it will wake up and then it will be all grumpy and whiny and want it's parents to spend money."
The boys were in the pool room for quite a while. They came out from time to time and went swimming. They were loud and splashy and boys when they came out but then they got out of the pool, ate snacks and went back into the pool room and played games again and were quiet as could be. And The Boy was right in the thick of it and it was great to see him running with his own herd...

I always considered myself a fairly rugged individual. I mean I wasn't a huge fighter but I could handle my own and there were very few things that bothered me on an emotional level. Death, war, suffering people on the televison, strife and all the other things that transpire everyday in this modern world just didn't phase me too much...yeah, then I became a parent and became the seething cauldron and often blubbering mess you see before you.
I have often caught myself posturing like some kind of silverback gorilla at the mall when I see people pass near my children that I perceive as a possible threat. I have felt my back arch and my chest puff out in attempts to make myself appear larger and more fierce. I'm dead serious. I've caught myself in the store window and only then asked myself 'what in the hell are you doing?'
The worst however, is the other end of the scale. I saw a clip of a movie about two of the worst people in Canadian history (yes, those two) and found myself constantly checking on Isobel as I was outside cutting the lawn...she was ten feet away from me. There's no harm in being cautious?
The other day I was driving home and saw a dead raccoon kit on the side of the road. It is that time of year and there seem to be a lot more dead young ones than usual. On this occasion the mother raccoon was trying to decide whether to remain by it's offspring's side or go back across the road and nearly got hit herself...by me and the car coming the other direction. Sad? Absolutely but the first thing that ran through my head was 'Oh, that is so terrible. Kids should never go before their parents do.' Oh my god...really!!? over a mother raccoon...no more kids, it's turned me into a cream puff.