Adventures in Reading

January has come and almost gone. Throughout it, I have been lusting for adventure. This is as close as I’ve come,

I’ve transitioned from pouting about being house-bound, to falling into the doldrums, to nestling in to a quieter sort of adventure. Where I am immersed in grand stories filled with explorations and discoveries, communicated to me by authors, my kids and even myself.

Oh, how thankful I am to read a really great book, one that sits with me, speaks to me long after the last page has been turned. I began searching for a ‘light’ read. Unfortunately, that led to Sophie Kinsella’s book An Undomestic Goddess which I had on hand. Light, my friends, does not have to mean dumb. Which this book was. To its core. I despised every moment that I was reading it, and in the end skipped to the end to see what happened.

My quest was on to find a smart, light read.

Which I found in Brian Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Absolutely breathtaking, brilliant book. A story in words, and in pictures, part mystery, part character study. I truly was swept away into this world. I look forward to seeing the movie too once it’s out on DVD.

In other big reading news, Kaya is reading now. Whole books! Remember these?

Every time she begins to sound words out, putting letters together, forming words, then sentences, my heart literally clenches, my breath literally catching. Joyous pride mixing with shock at the passing of time.

My girl, she can read!

My girl, she can read?

My girl, well she’s also something of an artist. Taking her home-reading book & buddy, she draws what she read, then writes what she read too.

Yah, my girl she can also print…

Time for Daddy to put away his Tap that Ass Tshirt.

On Friday I asked Kaya what another Mommy helped out with in class that day. She told me they were writing their ‘favourites’ sentences. As in,

My favourite colour is __________.

My favourite food is __________.

My favourite song is ___________.

Kaya told me her answers. Pink, of course.

Bacon. Huh? I ask her why she said bacon. She tells me another girl did so she did. We have another talk about how she doesn’t need to copy everyone else and just to give her own honest answer. She tells me she wants to say rice. That’s my girl.

And favourite song? I ask her. She gets quiet. “Baby Beluga” she whispers. Hmmm, that hasn’t been your favourite song in forever, I suggest. How did you know to write Beluga? “I just wrote Baby” Which is when I knew. Her favourite song was not meant to be Baby Beluga as her teacher had assumed, it was Justin Bieber’s ‘Baby’ that was her favourite, which Kaya confirms with a twinkle and a giggle. Hilarious.

Brennyn, as always, playing catch-up, reading me stories too, though I’d suggest it’s more in Beat Poet form, mixing wheels on the bus and rainbows everywhere with twinkling stars and oh yes, a little ‘Like baby, baby, baby oh…’ too.

This, actually, forms one of those truly great moments that will forever stay in my brain. Cozied up in bed finishing the last 30 pages of Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (another great read though by no means ‘light’) Brennyn comes in wanting my attention. At first, I am annoyed as I just want to finish my book, but I see she just wants some Mamma cuddles so I suggest she goes to get books so she can read beside me too. She grins and toddles off to get some books, then crawls up and nestles in to read beside me. Of course, I get no reading of my own done at this point what with all her beat poet slamming. Then Kaya comes in, Hello Kitty headphones on and Justin Bieber blaring, cozying up amongst us.

I sink further into the pillows, blankets, and my two girls and just gaze at these two kooky, brilliant characters, knowing that I am immersed, this very moment, in the greatest adventure of all.

My family.

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The Real Meaning of Christmas

Overheard this morning over the baby monitor.

“Yah, and it’s Baby Jesus’ birthday.”

“Baby!” replies Brennyn

“Nooo B, Baby Jesus

“Baby cheeses

“Yah.”

“NO B! Only Baby Jesus can go in the baby crib. And we need animals. Yah, like that dog and cat and maybe a horse.”

“No B, no dinosaurs.”

“Awwww” whines B.

“Do you think there was a pirate there?”

“Yah!”

Who knew they knew their nativity so well…

Sound Bites

After trick or treating and visiting a friends pumpkin stroll, we are driving home when B starts singing loud and proud,

“Candy all day long

Candy all day long

CANDY all day long

Candy ALLLLLL DAAAAAYYYY LOOOOONG!!!”

And so on. Upon arriving home, she sees her left behind trick-or-treating bag, runs to it yelling “OH CANDY…” reaches it and gives it a BIG hug then “I MISSED YOU!”

*

Brennyn and I volunteered at Kaya’s Kindergarten class. While I was busy helping kids make candy apples, Brennyn ran around playing with big kids and big kid toys. As it came time to go, I gave Kaya a kiss goodbye. Running up behind her comes B, lips puckered, saying her goodbyes to me too. Cheeky monkey thought she could stay on as she acted the big kid part so well!

*

Kaya- ” We can dream anything we want to, right mom!”

“For sure!”

“When I go to sleep I like to dream I find real dinosaur bones.”

“Cool!”

“But mom,” looking at me very seriously, “not real dinosaurs. Just their bones.”

“Got it. Thanks for the clarification.”

*

“Mom, dreams are funny that you see it in your head but not really real, like in front of you real, but real because it’s in your head…”

She may be a genius…

*

On a routine walk to school one morning, before any coffee I might add, Kaya asks me,

“Mom, why when we look at outerspace, our whole wide world is spinning, but we are on the world and we are not spinning?”

I ramble on a bit about sunrises and sunsets and enormity and rotations around the sun, none of which makes much sense but I ask “Cool eh?” anyways. Her lack of response or follow-up questions leads me to believe that it is not, in fact, cool eh.

 

The Best Thing My Daughter Has Ever Said

I may have said that title line pretty much every time I do one of these ‘Conversation’ posts. But really, this time, truly the best. This girl rocks my world.

“Mom, remember Big Bar Lake with all those mosquitoes biting me?”

“Yah.”

“Well, I wish that butterflies drinked blood instead. Butterflies all over me would be better.”

Vampire Butterflies girl? Could you be any cooler?

*

She says other funny stuff too.

“Mom, when B was in your belly, was she naked?”

“Yes.”

“Just with diapers on?”

“No. All naked.”

“Bwahahahahahahahahahah!!!” Fits of giggles at this until she just has to share this news with B.

“BRENNYN!!! DID YOU KNOW YOU WERE NAKED IN MOMMY’S BELLY. YOU POOPED INSIDE MOMMY! ISN’T THAT FUNNY?!”

*

Looking at this picture

Kaya asks what she was doing.

“High-fiving my belly and your baby sister.”

“Just a gentle high-five right mom?” worried that she might have been hurting her.

“Yes, but my belly was really hard. Remember that? So you couldn’t hurt the baby with a high-five.”

“Yah, and now your belly is really soft.”

Yes, yes it is. Thanks kid.

*

Upon driving into Squamish after our 2 week roadtrip, Kaya starts chatting.

“I missed my home. Did you B?”

“Yah.”

“I missed my bike!”

“Me too!”

Bal joins in, “I missed lounging around.”

I decide I should play too. “I missed…”

But before I have the chance to say, the peanut gallery in the back finishes for me,

“YOUR COFFEE MAKER! Right mom?”

Yes you cheeky (and very wise) monkey. Yes indeed.

*

We often give ‘special deliveries’ in this house. Usually of food or in my case, coffee. The other day I gave Kaya a piece of freshly baked chocolate chip banana bread. After taking a bite she blurts,

“Now that’s a special delivery!”

Brilliant use of intonation my love.

*

Kaya had her official graduation from preschool ceremony a couple of days ago. Since Kaya hasn’t actually gone to preschool for 2 months now, I wasn’t feeling overly emotional about it. Other mamma’s, however were.  The same feelings I had too, only two months prior. Still, I got a little choked up when the owner got teary reminding us that some of these grads were the very first kids at the then new daycare. And now they are on their way to Kindergarten. Wow.

Kaya wasn’t emotional either. Just excited to be back for a little play with her friends. She makes this very clear upon stating at the end of the ‘ceremony’,

“I don’t like wearing a garbage bag and wobbly hat.” Whereby she rips them off and goes tearing off after her friends.

Saving the tears for Kindergarten Day 1 then…

(Not to be outdone, Brennyn just walked in as I was editing this and apparently wants to be in quotes too. “Look Mom! Kaya look like a princess!”)

Speaking of Perspective…

“Did you have fun camping Kaya?” I ask.

“Yah.” Pause.

“But I don’t want to go there again because there are too many mosquitoes.”

“Yes, there were a lot. But we should try to remember all the good stuff that happened camping too and not just focus on the one bad thing. Can you tell me your favourite part about camping?”

I’m expecting her to answer something along the lines of butterflies, motorhome play, canoe rides, Smores but instead get an emphatic,

“Smashing the mosquitoes!”

A Sprinkling

Been feeling rather blah of late. No inspiration to write. Blaming the weather and the fact that I haven’t run since the half-marathon. Regardless of the gloomy skies and cloudy mind, the busyness of life with two young kids carries on. Here, a catch-up:

Gloomy skies and blahs you say?Yah, my kids like to make a liar out of me!

Even when we are stuck indoors, we make the most of it. Since Bal was flying home from a business trip, we decide to do some air travel of our own. Just so you know, cardboard boxes, scissors, felts, glue and a whole lot of ingenuity make for hours of fun. Hours I tell you!

We camp one weekend with friends. Is there anything better than Smores with friends around a campfire? The kids would probably tell you yes actually, a Bear Hunt! Oh those kids, they marched and climbed and shimmied through the forest around us.

“Mom, mom!” Kaya runs up to me at one point chattering fast, “We’re on a bear hunt and we found 10 CLUES Mamma! And now we’re finding 11 clues which is THE BEAR. Mom, I’m a little scared but I’m super brave too. Bye Mom!” Whereby she runs back into the woods to what I hope are imaginary clues…

Later that day, when the kids are all dispersed with parents and naps and such, Kaya wants to take me to a clue. She grabs my hand and we climb over a log, under some brush and alongside towering trees until we reach a nurse log. Kaya points out the teeth bites (peeling bark) and a claw mark (more peeling bark) and then finds yet another clue, “What is this mark mamma?” Without waiting for an answer, she continues “It’s not a bear clue. No, it’s something else. Probably from a bunny.” And with that, hunger supersedes more exploring and we head back to camp (but not before pointing out the bear paw print (our dogs) ‘RIGHT BESIDE OUR TENT MOM!’)

Bal doesn’t see or hear any of this since he is too busy biking for 67km that day. Wow! Here’s him coming into the finish with a smile still almost on his face. We cheered him from camp when he went by and we cheer him at the finish 5 hours later for the finish. Brennyn shook that ‘GO DADDY GO!’ sign for all she was worth. Yay Bal!

Father’s Day brings the Kids Mini Metal bike race. Brennyn likes to cause the mayhem, not be amongst it apparently…

Though the Mini Metal is chaotic, having twins has got to be more so! Kaya and Brennyn welcome their new twin cousins Kaley and Alexa!

Seeing the pure exhaustion from the parents of twins makes you really appreciate these toddler/preschooler years.

Unless of course they find a recorder.

And join forces with their friends.

To make a neighborhood Recorder Band.

I’m pretty sure I saw a new ‘For Sale’ sign go up after about 45 minutes of this.

Us parents couldn’t decide between tremendously adorable or horribly annoying.

At first.

Then we all agreed, after confessing migraines, to hiding the recorders forever after.Beyond blacking out the bedroom windows, there is nothing we can do about the girls screaming at the top of their lungs to their 3-year-old friend whose bedroom window is directly opposite them. Through windows across the road, they mime, they scream, they plot bike rides and lemonade stands…

One day as we’re leaving the house, Kaya yells, “BYE BYE BUM BUM!”

To which her friend responds, “BYE BYE POO POO!”

To which Kaya replies, “BYE BYE PENIS!”

I says pardon?!

*

“Mom, did you know sometimes I don’t like princesses?”

“Oh really? Like when?”

“Not really on Saturdays and Thursdays.”

So there.

*

And we end with a perfectly coherent conversation:

(Heard from behind closed doors as they wake from a nap)

K “Do you want to sing Oh Canada Brennyn?”

“No.”

“Do you want to sing Baby Beluga?”

“No.”

“Do you want to sing Goo-goo-ga-ga-bum-bum?”

“Yah! Yah!”

“Okay.

Goo-goo-ga-ga-BUM

Goo-goo-ga -ga BUM BUM

We like to sing googabum, googabum…”

B chimes in,

“Bum, bum, bum, bum, bum…”

“Goo goo goo goo ga ga ga ga,

“SINGING ABOUT GOOGOO BUMS!”

B still goin,

“bum, bum, bum, bum…”

Seeing Flowers Through the Rain

Doing everything possible to ward off the blahs. 7-day forecast of rain and gloom keeps extending itself.

So I position flowers accordingly.

Real ones,

And crafted ones,

Changing my view from gloom to bloom.

Literally and figuratively.

Kaya helps with this mindset, reminding me that the rain helps our newly planted flowers grow. Just like vegetables help her to grow, she suggests.

“Look at me mom!” said glowing, “I am 40lbs!”

Which means she has graduated to a booster seat leaving us both doing the happy dance. Me because I am tired of cursing her car seat and the lack of cooperation I got in doing up her belt. Her because she is tired of my ‘fwustwation’ doing her up daily.

“I’m not little anymore mom. I’m a big girl. I don’t need a car seat and I got a Kindergarten shot (immunization). Before I am even 5 mom! That means I am big.”

Yup, no gloom here, all bloom.

Well, maybe a little gloom.

“Mom, when you’re 101 will you be dead?”

And how can I answer that but truthfully. Then,

“Am I going to die?”

Again, truthfully. With lots of ‘in a long, long, long, long time’ talk and existential ponderings (blabberings) about circles of life and how souls and love live forever.

“I don’t want you to die.” Tears here.

“I don’t want to die.” Full on crying here. Tears now on both sides.

And hugs. Big, delicious, grasping, squeezy hugs.

Arms wrapped around me, she spots Fin (Canucks mascot and FAVE stuffy of the moment)

“Fin’s not gonna die!” Adamant. Insisting.

“That’s true.” I agree, happy that can provide some comfort.

But instead,

“I wanna be a stuffie!” Insisting. But also knowing.

Around this time she farts. I do not react, but she does. Big giggles which make me giggle which leaves us both giggling. Amongst the tears. Still holding tightly to one another.

Yes, rain is necessary for growth.

Literally and figuratively.