Thursday, May 31, 2007
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
You know that spunky, sparky little girl on Treehouse TV-- the one in the orange shirt, always trying out funky new activities, and as precocious as the day is long?
Well, I'm here to tell you that she's living a double life, people. And the other half of that cute-as-a-button little twerp is wreaking havoc right here in my house.
It's hard to believe, actually. I mean, come ON. Filming that series must take up the majority of her time. There would hardly be any spare moments for academic study (not that she needs any-- she clearly knows it all), or even for sitting in front of the mirror at night, jamming her fingers into those mega-dimples of hers, just to make sure she never misplaces them...
But, there MUST be more than 24 hours in a day for Emily Yeung, there just has to be-- otherwise she would NEVER have the time to get up to the kinds of mischief I am assured she does, right here under my own roof, on a daily basis. Sometimes SEVERAL times a day, in fact.
It all started when Child Number Three began to speak in full sentences. No sooner had she learned to RESPOND to questions, the questions that other family members ASKED most frequently seemed to begin with the same word: WHO.
Well, the answer to ALL of these questions and MORE was simple, according to my youngest daughter:
Child Number Three began making this prophetic statement initially with a look of innocent, wide-eyed wonder on her face... as though she could hardly believe that her televisual heroine could transcend the Treehouse Channel and take time out of her busy life to terrorize our home. But, as time went by, and Emily was named as the main suspect for more and more criminal activity around here, Wee Three's accompanying facial expression changed to one of deep seriousness. Her verdict was made with concentrated certainty. Most recently, she has begun slowly shaking her curly little head as she says the words, as though she is imagining the terrible fate that Emily would have to endure, should she ever be caught in the act by me, Mother Of All Mothers and Domestic Goddess.
Emily Yeung was going to catch it in the neck if she was ever caught pilfering chocolate chips, and then wiping the residual hand-stickiness on the white wainscoting in the hallway. She was going to be sent packing if she was discovered fingerpainting with leftover hotdog mustard on the kitchen floor. The police might have to be called if she were found to be stirring the cat's litterbox with a wooden spoon. And as for adventures with mud and the garden hose in the newly manicured garden?? Forget about it. It would be GAME OVER for Emily.
I wish I could catch her in the act. Just once. Then there would be considerably fewer "WHO??" questions around here, and more WHATs, instead... As in, "WHAT AM I GOING TO DO ABOUT THIS KID??!!"
I've got a pretty good idea WHAT, too. For starters, I'd glue the little culprit's behind to a time-out chair for so long, she'd miss at least a month or two of taping that television show of hers.
Come on, nobody'd really miss her.
Especially since I've got another little girl, recently turned three, who would just LOVE to be her understudy for awhile....
Posted by Candygirlflies at 6:17 PM
Monday, May 28, 2007
Posted by Candygirlflies at 8:15 PM
Saturday, May 26, 2007
Friday, May 25, 2007
Posted by Candygirlflies at 6:48 PM
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Posted by Candygirlflies at 9:41 AM
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Posted by Candygirlflies at 4:42 PM
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Posted by Candygirlflies at 10:23 AM
Saturday, May 19, 2007
Posted by Candygirlflies at 6:34 PM
Posted by Candygirlflies at 8:08 AM
Friday, May 18, 2007
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Posted by Candygirlflies at 10:43 AM
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
She made her rounds of the puddle-splashing circuit on her way to and from school. She attempted to "share" her chocolate chip cookie snack with our two guinea pigs. She ate her alphabet soup, letter by letter, with her fingers at lunchtime. She pilfered her older sister's makeup bag, twisted up all the lip glosses, and then jammed the tops back on, just to see what would happen. She sneaked into the bathroom, turned on the faucets, and tried to make "boats" out of individual squares of toilet paper... which, of course, sank, clogged the drain, and overflowed the sink by the time she was discovered. She "flew" her toy bunny rabbit over the banister in the upstairs hallway, knocking a Chinese lamp off of a table on the main floor. For her final act this afternoon, she found three contrabanned markers, and drew a large "mural" on the wall.
Tonight, she accidentally-on-purpose tipped over her "goodnight" glass of milk onto the kitchen table and began to "finger paint" with it...
Child Number Three: (Innocently, hoping cuteness will diffuse Mother's Reaction) I fink I needs a BABY SIPPY CUP...
Mother: (Through clenched teeth) YOU, my little friend, need a TRANQUILIZER DART.
Posted by Candygirlflies at 8:18 PM
After eleven years of raising small children, I have finally given in to what my BRAIN has known for two years, and have rounded up all of our baby equipment, ready to tote it off to the re-sale shop. It's all sitting in the trunk of the loser cruiser, right now. Just waiting for the final drive to Hand-Me-Downs.
Here's the thing: for some reason, the act of releasing all of the things I have lovingly collected over the past decade feels like MORE of a closure to the decision my husband and I made a few years ago than any medical intervention could.
Why is that??!!
And what's more, why is the act of getting rid of the baby stuff so gut-wrenching for me??!!
It's just STUFF, after all. All replaceable, should the need ever arise (and both my head--and my husband-- assure me that it WON'T).
Why can't I stand the thought of parting with things that we are DONE with?
Well, of course, the obvious reason is the memories associated with it all. I can still picture my first-born nestled into the infant sling. My second-born wailing away in the swing, while I frantically attempted to throw ingredients together for dinner. My last-born staring wide-eyed at me as I gently shook rattles to entertain her.
But, I have kept one small box of the "important" stuff... the favourite rattles, tiny books and dolls that my girls might like to have for their own children someday...
It's the "heart" response I'm having trouble with, clearly. I love babies, and no matter how sleep-deprived and blues-y I may have felt when each of my three girls were born, the baby-hood experiences in no way diminished the feelings I had of absolute, besotted, infant-adoration. Each time was the best time of my life.
My heart is finally clueing-in today that this part of my life as a mother is over.
My head knows that it's time to be done, though. My head knows that while the capacity to love grows each time a new baby is born, the ability to spend quality time with each child-- to give the very BEST of yourself to each child-- diminishes a little bit. I absolutely know that I am at the point where I have some balance in our family. The girlies are getting a little bigger, and a little more independent. And I'm FINALLY becoming able to make sure that each of them gets an equal part of me.
My head also knows that we have simply GOT to get the baby stuff out of here, or this house is going to explode. Growing girls need more grown-up things. And the more they grow, the less space we seem to have around here.
My husband wisely says that I need to learn to look at situations like this as POSITIVE change. He says that the world is finally starting to open up to us again, now that the family is complete, and the girls are becoming old enough for us to give them new experiences, take them to explore new places, and do more things.
He also says that I should be feeling happy to be "getting my life back" a little.
Well, I suppose all that's true. But today, I don't feel happy. Today, I feel strangely mournful, even though I know we have made the right decision, a decision that I am not going to regret.
Because for more than a decade, these little girls HAVE been my life. And I love my life. I just don't want it to.. slip through my fingers... QUITE so quickly....
Posted by Candygirlflies at 9:26 AM
Posted by Candygirlflies at 9:18 AM
Monday, May 14, 2007
This morning, Child Number Two, aged six, straggled down to breakfast later than usual. After a very full weekend, which included her very first sleep-over and a LOT of swimming in the newly-filled pool, she was clearly exhausted.
Posted by Candygirlflies at 9:39 AM
Saturday, May 12, 2007
Mother's Day should come more often.
I'm not talking about the overly commercialized, sugary sweet, flower-filled consumer extravaganza that North American Mother's Day has become.
I'm talking about a day that comes around more regularly... say, every couple of months, where mothers and their children take time out, and make an extra special effort to appreciate and enjoy one another.
I love Mother's Day. I love that the kids make an effort to do something nice to make me happy. Their hand made cards, macaroni necklaces, and decorated picture frames are treasures that I value more highly than diamonds. I love that they are at home with me, with no interruptions from playdates and extra curricular activities. A stroll around the pond, then pushing my girlies on the swings at the park is a more appealling adventure to me than a grand tour of Europe. It's an opportunity for me to deliberately try to cement in my long-term memory the delightful little people that my three children truly are.
Little girls are little for such a terribly short period of time... Today, I'm going to savour every minute of it.
Posted by Candygirlflies at 8:37 AM
Friday, May 11, 2007
Posted by Candygirlflies at 6:01 PM
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Posted by Candygirlflies at 10:07 PM
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
Posted by Candygirlflies at 10:39 PM
Tuesday, May 8, 2007
Posted by Candygirlflies at 8:18 PM
Every year, I try and add one tree to our large lot... We have an older property, and were told when we first moved here that the basic plantings were original to the house. The real estate agent wasn't fibbing, either-- we had enormous, overgrown juniper bushes, wild and tangled half-dead purple-leaf sandcherry trees, out-of-control yews... Over the past few years, as my children have gotten a little bigger and able to amuse themselves while I work, I have taken on the Hurculean task of taming it all. At first, gardening seemed like just one long slog, a nasty chore. But as I ripped things out, got sight of some soil, and began churning it up... my love of gardening slowly began to grow.
It started, of course, from the fact that there's nothing like a little destruction to alleviate pent-up frustrations. And boy, was I frustrated... I had just given birth to my third child, my husband had started his own company, and it felt like we had more duties, responsibilities and expenses than we knew how to handle.
Digging helped. Every night after dinner, once the two eldest children were safely in bed, I would hand the baby over to my husband as he walked in the door, put on my grubbies and grab a gardening fork. By the time the sun set and I could no longer see what I was digging, I was filthy and sore... but strangely serene. Digging became "me time", when I could think my own thoughts, get a little exercise, and enjoy the satisfaction that I was in the process of creating something beautiful.
Once the beds were dug and an enormous bag of topsoil had been worked in, I realized that there wasn't much more that I would be able to do without the aid of... Power Tools.
My gardening obsession reached a whole new level once I embraced the world of power tools. The electric hedge trimmer, the gas powered weed whacker... But what I REALLY needed was a chain saw. Not a BIG chain saw, I told my husband, just a little one-- tiny, really. Just enough power to start hacking out the nastiest of the junipers, and the weirdest, deadest sandcherry trees...
My request (as a Mother's Day gift, actually) was firmly denied. My husband knows me too well-- he was convinced, after seeing the enormous bags of clippings I had produced with the hedge trimmer one particular week, that if I were ever to get my hands on even the smallest chain saw whilst on one of my pms benders, I could do serious damage not only to myself, but also to other people. As in, loved ones. Specifically, himself.
So, I approached my father for support. He is the ultimate gadget collector-- if there's a weird appliance on the market, he's either bought it, or is in the process of phoning around to all the merchants within a reasonable radius of his home to find out who's got it for sale for the least amount of money.
He was nearly apoplectic in his response. No chain saw for HIS daughter, No Sir. Being a physician, he tried to scare me off by telling tales of re-attaching severed body parts.
So, I started collecting hand saws instead. I'm a right sight for the neighbours to see, sallying forth, loaded with lethal-looking weapons of mass destruction... It sometimes takes hours and hours, but slowly I've sawed most of the Major Uglies out of the garden. Then, instead of hauling the roots out with a wynch, I drill a few holes in the stump with my new friend, the cordless power drill, and inject a stump-rotting solution. After one winter, the area is ready for new planting.
But back to the tree. Today, I felt our garden was ready for a new tree to take the place of an unfortunate sandcherry I attacked last spring. Above, you can see a picture of what I chose. It's called a "Tinkerbelle" Dwarf Lilac... As my good friend, Bill from Sheridan Nurseries, steered me around the tree lot, I caught sight of the beautiful lilacs, full of buds, just about ready to bloom. This colour was the prettiest, and when I saw "Tinkerbelle" on the tag, I knew it was the tree for us. The girlies are delighted with it. I've put it right next to the bed where all our lillies of the valley and violets come up in spring. It's going to smell heavenly out there next year. I can just see the little girls playing on a blanket spread out on the grass...
The song of the birds for mirth,--
One is nearer God's heart in a garden
Than anywhere else on earth.
Posted by Candygirlflies at 5:54 PM
Monday, May 7, 2007
Posted by Candygirlflies at 3:52 PM
Sunday, May 6, 2007
Well, some buy little Canadian Flag Pins, some bring home incredible amounts of Maple Syrup... You'd think that I'd at least have visited the Tulip Festival Tent and purchased samples of my favourite bulbs...
But, NO. Hey, I gotta be me, people!
Here's what I bought:
* Discovering truth will make me free.
Not far off, let me tell you, after five hours in the car with three kids...
Posted by Candygirlflies at 9:53 PM
Saturday, May 5, 2007
Posted by Candygirlflies at 10:54 PM
Friday, May 4, 2007
Posted by Candygirlflies at 9:25 PM
Thursday, May 3, 2007
Posted by Candygirlflies at 9:48 PM
Posted by Candygirlflies at 10:23 AM
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
And step into your dairy hold,
If not a bowl of cream, my dear,
For the Lord knows we shall meet again,
A branch of May I brought you here,
'Tis but a sprout all budded out,
My song is done and I must be gone,
God bless you all, the great and small,
Posted by Candygirlflies at 7:41 PM
Today on Yahoo's main page, I found an article, entitled "Video Game Aims to Hook Children on Shakespeare".
Ladies and Gentlemen, we have officially sunk to a whole new low.
Is this generation of youth so incredibly hooked on video games that we can think of no other way of introducing them to Shakespeare??! Holy shamoley, people, are we really that dense, not to mention completely unimaginative?! Do you HONESTLY think a game that will allow kids to shoot down enemy spaceships, if they type in a few choice words, will teach them APPRECIATION OF FINE LITERATURE? This is just pandering to children's addiction to mindless entertainment, with a little brainwashing thrown in for "good" measure. In being encouraged to spew out a few lines or a few facts, our children become no better than the machines that they are playing with.
Um, "Educational Professionals"? Even WITH the computerized weaponry, these kids are not going to discover any meaning, much less true pleasure in Shakespeare.
How about this? How about using the equivilent amount of the money you've just wasted to buy tickets for kids to go and SEE a good play, done live, right in front of them? Or, even better-- create a kit full of costumes, sets, props and a guide, so that the kids can put on the show themselves.
Shakespeare, and ANY play for that matter, is not simply text. It is not just Great Words. A play should be EXPERIENCED as theatre. And kids who have never experienced theatre need to be taught: they need to be taught what the play is about, and how to be a good audience member. They also need to be taught what goes on behind the scenes in the theatre, how a play is "worked up" and "put on". It is a fascinating, magical process... from both behind the curtain, and in front of it. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, should have the right to enjoy experiencing it, whether it's at the front of a classroom with their peers playing the parts, or at one of the finest theatre spaces in the world, starring all of the greatest actors.
I admit that I am biased. I am a theatre maniac. My kids started being encouraged to dress up and make-believe for an audience (me) as soon as they were able to stand up. To us, the power of imagination is everything. We LOVE a good story, especially if we get to make it up ourselves, sometimes based upon ideas we get from a book.
The very first play my girls came to love was the one that first "hooked" me all those years ago. I read my children the Lamb's Tales version of "A Midsummer Night's Dream". Then, I played them the ballet music, and we picked out all the characters and plot developments in the sounds of the music. And then we made tiny pairs of "fairy wings" out of bent-up coathangers, old pink nylon stockings, and glitter glue. Soon, we had tiny, informal neighbourhood productions being performed in our basement, with all the girles and their friends taking part. They used their own words... and the plot was a little different every day... but it was a truly wonderful first experience for all of them. It was Magic. And it was one of the best damn productions of the play I have had the pleasure of watching ANYWHERE. They were in love with what they were doing, and it showed.
I'm sorry, but I don't believe for one single minute that it is all that difficult to help kids develop a love of Shakespeare. The single greatest thing about his plays are that they are timeless... You can take any single one of them, stage them in modern-day designs, and their messages are just as fascinating and thought-provoking for people today as they were all those years ago.
It's all in the approach the teacher takes. Teaching The Bard is not for Lazy Sissies.
Kids will NOT enjoy Shakespeare if they are simply being forced to read it, and memorize a famous speech or two. Teachers need to make the text appealling, and bring it to life... they need to carefully explain the poetic language while firmly keeping their eyes on the plot, and bring out the emotions and messages...
This is no easy task for educators. This is highly creative, hard work, not Coles Notes. Making ANYTHING fun for kids takes imagination and effort. So, why not exert a little into the teaching of poor old "Billy the Shake"? He's got it ALL-- he's funny, he's romantic, he's action-packed... What more could you want?!
When it comes to William Shakespeare, give the kids costumes, not computer games. Or it will be our children's imaginations that are ultimately shot down, not just a couple of alien spaceships.
Posted by Candygirlflies at 9:40 AM