Wednesday, April 28, 2010

::My Children::

My cousin Maryanne regularly dwells on the beautiful uniqueness of each of her four children. It has been a long time since I have done the same.


She catches any and all hypocrisy and presents us with her findings. She mulls over any scrap of information she comes across until she understands it to her satisfaction. She asks the hard questions, fully expecting to be satisfied with the truths we offer. She clings tenaciously to her convictions. She is aggravatingly hard to sway but I am secretly thrilled because I have often regretted the inconstancy of my own character. She is at once boldly herself, yet timid in the face of too many faces.

She exudes creativity and joy. Her greatest pride in me is my artistic ability. She watches me closely and emulates. She is classically feminine: prancing about the house in tutus and relishing the diameter of her twirling skirts as she pirouettes. She leads her brothers, with increasingly less co-operation on their part, in rounds of imaginary play. She LOVES to laugh. She has a rolling, inhibit-less laugh. She comes by it honestly.

Anecdote: After a particularly chilly morning run I sneaked up on Aidan and placed my freezing hands on his bare back. We proceeded to play tag for fifteen minutes around the house, tearing around the island and eliciting uproarious laughter from our children. At that time Caelah had asked us why Aidan and I touch each other so much. I explained that touching is a by-product of loving someone so very much. That evening Caelah watched Aidan and I very closely as she headed up to bed. She wanted to know why we stay up long after they all go to bed. I was not entirely forthright in saying that we simply liked keeping one another company. But she saw through it. "I know what you do. You kiss and kiss and kiss." And when we had a good laugh she added slyly, "I am pretty good at figuring these things out."

Favourite Words: "Right, Mom?"


A deep well, this one. All at once the most complicated and most misunderstood. This boy has a reputation. The boy with the twinkle in his eye. The one looking for trouble. Yes, he is very quick to irritate and pester. And yet he is quicker still to defend and plead on another's behalf. It seems he has a very strong sense of justice. Like many troublemakers, he understands the 'law' and so breaks it artfully and willfully in his sin. And yet his awareness of right and wrong is so acute that he feels compelled to champion anyone dealt an unfair hand. If he is wrongly disciplined, which happens frequently, as he is most often the guilty party, he descends into the pits of despair. When rightly disciplined we must push beyond his resistance to the wonderful place that lies beyond: his warm well of a heart.

He works with his hands to produce the most intricate creations and is simply bursting with pride upon discovering they function exactly as he had intended them to. I foresee him to be an invaluable help to me in my ineptitude with all things mechanical. This gift is both the element that draws him to his brothers, as they watch amazed and become students. Yet it can quickly dissolve into war as his carefully constructed masterpieces risk destruction at the hands of littler hands. I look forward to older days of tree houses and teamwork. What will be created with three sets of boy hands and loads of time?

Favourite Saying: "But, but, but. . ."


The talker. This one is very rarely quiet. He was late to speak and is more than making up for it. My heart is often burdened for this one. He is classically stuck in his middleness. I tend to be pulled to the oldest and youngest and Gabriel gets neglected. This may be the reason for the tendency to whine. He is quick to cry and slow to quiet. I must intentionally seek him out and give myself wholly to him for a time. He thrives when I do.

Whatever the reason, the conditions of his young life have nurtured him into a lover of people. He sidles up to any and all only to share the contents of his mind fully and at length. He relishes the listening ear and takes full advantage of any quiet moment or idle stranger or family pet. And when no other soul can be found he is content to talk to himself. He find himself to be a very good audience.

Favourite Words: "Why?"


Isaiah must be fully engaged by me or he will make good use of his free time creating a mess of epic proportions. I have never had a more destructive child. Isaiah can draw across three walls, empty my wallet across the floor and play in the toilet before I have had my morning coffee. Seriously. And this is a daily occurrence. He seems to have no interest in toys. He wants to get into the interesting stuff.

However, engaging this boy is a delight. He snuggles into me as though I were warm winter blanket. And he simply sits. His words have been slow in coming, but I don't mind. These quiet moments will soon be gone and I am not eager to see them go.

Favourite Words: "No."


It is hard to determine the personality hiding behind a nine month old. But she certainly has a temper. It erupts if I move beyond her range of vision. I must be right by her or she lets us all know she has something to say about that. Partly, I am relived to see the strength of her spirit. Her spunk will give her a foothold in the whirlwind of a larger family.

Favourite Words: In my arms; "Ta-ta-ta-ta-ta" Out of my arms; "Roarrrrrrr!"

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


I am often draw into conversations about the number of kids I have, but this one took a different turn. Mike, the portly French-Canadian passport official liked the names I had chosen for my children, and said as much. Between data entry he asked many questions about how we raise them and which of them share my features versus my husband's. We passed what might have been a very tedious 40 minutes in companionable chatter. And then he shot a question out there from left field. I should say that if felt like it came out of left field to me, but in hindsight, I suspect Mike had been steering the conversation to this very moment from the first 'Hello'.

Waving a hand at the stack of passport photos, he asked; "So, which is your favourite?"

He wouldn't look at me when he asked this. Head bent low over his typing fingers.

"Not a chance!" I said. I explained that I know that favouritism exists out there but I simply couldn't grasp how that is possible.

This man looked up with tears falling from his eyes and told me; "It destroys kids. Destroys them." Then he added, "I left my wife because of what favouritism did to our two sons."

Monday, April 19, 2010

Aidan has kept all of our e-mails. Awhile ago I asked him to send me the bundle of them. It was amusing to read over the earliest ones. We were doing our very best to flirt with our words. Much is lost in an e-mail. You simply can't replace face to face interactions. I wanted to share one of our first notes to one another. Note: Aidan lived in the same duplex as I did.
Me to Aidan:

. . . I'm sure you are sitting right next door as I am
writing this. I'm also sure you saw me coming in. This
is so weird. I am typing a message to you, from a few
feet away. It's a strange concept, but I'll get over
I just wrote a really great exam, picked up my history
essay which I got an A on, and I am very- giddy.
That's a good word to describe it.

I just thought of something that could potentially be
embarassing for myself. When I am, say, singing at the
top of my lungs, which I do very often, can you hear
me? Or maybe, when I yell at my brothers? That would
be something. If that's the case, then hey, I will
forever be comfortable in your presence. After that,
nothing I could do could possibly be as embarrassing.


His response:

Well, it's only 1 wall... Ya, I've heard you... Of course nothing to
cause me to cringe. yet... I'm supprised I haven't had any of you
knocking on our door asking me to shut up sometimes... My roommates
tell me to all the time ;-)


Wednesday, April 14, 2010


elcome, little Julia.

You are loved.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

::One of those mornings::

t has been one of those mornings.
Each of our children have challenged us uniquely and elicited serious rebukes before 8:00 a.m. We woke to the buzzing sound of a razor, shortly followed by the discovery of Gabriel's anti-hawk. You know, the reverse Mohawk look? We did not approve and spent a good part of the early hours of the Sabbath shaving the rest of an unhappy boy's hair off. Another child's theft was uncovered and dealt with at the same time as the second child's tattle-tailing. The youngest family members were crying and squirting juice all over the floor and their siblings. And then Gabriel topped it all off by gashing his lip open on the driveway.

Aidan and I wrote off our Sunday service and Gabriel was taken to the hospital for stitches. He was a trooper. Apparently he was so busy peppering the doctor with questions he forgot to cry. He got a popsicle in the end. What that a reward or a mouth-plug? Shrug.
The boys were rewarded on the way home with a stop at the firestation where a truck was being cleaned. Here's to hoping the day has taken a turn for the btter.