Browsing Posts published on February 7, 2010

I have had a chance to do a tiny bit of writing today in the form of marking grade one homework, a task I do not look forward to. It is usually a battle with my six year old who would rather be playing “ship” a game where she and my three year old load up our family room bench with every toy they can find in the house. The carpet is the water where the sharks are and they must try to position themselves on top of the toys on the bench to avoid being eaten. Ship is a game that takes twenty seconds to set-up, fourteen seconds to play to completion and three hours for me to tidy. Homework is usually the last thing on her mind and today was no exception. After going over a couple of erroneous math problems and having her fix them it was time for page number three and we were both dripping with sweat.

The instructions to the student were to find the opposite of a word, write it underneath it and then fill in a crossword with the newly written word. Okay, that sounds a bit hard for grade one but she knows the material, she just won’t sit still long enough to work her way through it. She dances around her chair, she finds crumbs on the floor and squishes them together in her hand, she sharpens her pencil, she checks the ink levels on her markers, the stickiness of her stickers, the crispness of the paper and we’re finally ready to begin.

The first word is “last” and she has to find the word “first” on the sheet. She struggles and I ask her, “What do you think is the opposite of last?” (in a very calm and loving way of course)

Hanna: Week?
Me: Last week?
Ellie: whispering in my ear, “FIRST mommy?”
Me: Yes Ellie

Hanna then attempts to read the next word on the page. It is “whisper”

Hanna: Whippers!
Me: Try again
Hanna: Whippers?
Me: Very close

Hanna, soft and confused: whippers?

Me: No


Me: Sound it out

Hanna: W-H-I-P-P-E-R-S?
Me: No, try looking at the page, not at me and sound out each letter
Hanna: Whippers?
Ellie: whispering, “Hanna, see what I’m doing?”

Storytime at the library again this morning so no time to write. I did have a lovely conversation with some of the mommies today about embarrassing moments. I couldn’t help but tell the story of the blackbird and the turtles. I would also like to point out, as determined by our group of fashion mavens, just because they are called “skinny jeans” doesn’t mean they make you skinny. It means, you are meant to be skinny already to wear them out of your house.

Arriving at playgroup one Tuesday morning when my daughter was two was perhaps the first (of many) times I would come to realize that children speak loudly. They interpret stories, situations and conversations on a basic, human level and have no fear or filter when excited about discussing an important incident that has happened in their lives.

Even an event that took place over a week earlier seemed as fresh as the moment it DIDN’T happen, in Hanna’s mind.

I found myself needing to explain the lead up to the punch line (if you can call it that) as I did that day to every parent Hanna shockingly blurted out her version of the story to.

Every spring, there is a turtle migration through our backyard. It is absolutely amazing to watch these tiny creatures crawl their way from the pond across the road, to the swampy marsh on the other side of our street. I realize I’m not painting  a very nice picture of our neighbourhood but it’s the country feel and wide open property that initially drew us to this lifestyle.

It was a Hanna and Mommy day at home and we were enjoying our front row seats to the turtle migration. We watched a cluster of about four or five little ones make their way across the lawn and one very special  one stopped in front of our swing set, we assumed for a break from the very long walk. The turtle’s body didn’t appear to be moving but we noticed it was digging a hole under itself and then something extraordinary happened. Over the span of a couple of hours, after the hole had been dug, the turtle, who had hiked what must have felt like 100 km’s under the warm spring sun, began to lay an egg. Hanna and I felt as though we were experiencing something magical and further, we felt a little like we were intruding on a special moment between a new mother-to-be and her young so we scurried into the house to watch from the upstairs window.

Imagine my rage when a huge blackbird descended from a nearby tree almost as though it had been watching as intently as we had for that egg to appear when it swooped in to destroy all of the exhausting efforts the turtle had made for the past several hours.  It pecked at the shell of the egg and began to eat the contents. It didn’t take long for two more birds to swarm the egg. I was stunned.

I was very aware of Hanna’s presence and I knew I couldn’t swear or scream too loudly to frighten or upset her. At the same time, I was so angry that I found myself knocking on our window and shouting at the bird to stop pecking. My exact words were, “Stop that pecking!” in between knocking as loudly as I could on the window.

Hanna’s recollection of the experience, while not totally inaccurate, had slightly skewed verbiage. In her 2.5 year old body, with a 30.5 year old voice, she began to tell everyone in the room that some turtles came into our backyard, laid some eggs and then these birds started to peck them. “Mommy yelled, “ (oh God, it haunts me just thinking about it) GET OUT OF HERE YOU BLACK PECKERS! GO AWAY YOU BLACK PECKERS!!!!!!” I spent the rest of playgroup explaining to everyone that while they were in fact “blackbirds”, that was not at all what I was screaming. This while planning my escape and my excuse as to why this would be our last visit to playgroup for a very long time.

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