Last Day

I find, as I get older, that I get more and more sentimental about things. It runs in the family – my grandfather was well known for getting teary-eyed at every emotional moment, and several of his grandchildren are the same way. Today is the last day of school and I’m a little misty, mostly because next year the Captain will be in grade seven (SEVEN!) and Gal Smiley will be in grade six (SIX!) next year, and that just seems so big.

The Captain’s class made a yearbook this year – everyone made their own page about themselves, listing their favourite memories of the year and their predictions for the future – and then the teacher copied them into a book for each kid. I heard about it on Monday and immediately got a little teary, because yearbooks! So grown up! and then, it was even worse, because he mentioned he couldn’t bring it home yet because he was still getting everyone to sign it. They were SIGNING YEARBOOKS. Are they trying to kill me with tears, here?

Speaking of tears, here’s a word of advice: do not go see Inside Out with your 11-year-old daughter. DO NOT DO IT. The main character is an 11-year-old girl and she’s just feeling all these crazy emotions and the world is so hard and she’s letting go of childish things but not quite ready for grown up things and SNIFF. I was sitting next to Gal Smiley and at the end of it, I looked at her all mushy-eyed and grabbed her for a hug, while she rolled her eyes in true Disgust fashion. MY BABY. Damn you, Pixar.

Tonight is the last night of soccer for the big kids (the Captain’s last game ever, as he’s aged out of this league and unlikely to move on to the next level), tomorrow is the last one for the Little Miss, and after that, there’s going to be a lot of sleeping in, lazing around, and eating of fresh fruit and freezies. Please don’t disillusion me by bringing up the bickering that’s always a hallmark of the first week – it’s enough to make me cry. Happy last day!

Little Updates

I sent a kid to school today with a lunch of chips, cookies, two pepperoni sticks, and a banana. When does school end, again?

——————–

The kids have discovered a croquet set that has been languishing in the basement, unloved, lo these twenty years. Suddenly it’s croquet in the backyard all day, every day. I feel like I’m living in the English countryside. Or possibly the movie Heathers.

The Captain insists on always being red. Should I book him some therapy? Shiver.

——————–

We’re off to see a FIFA game this Saturday. We just thought it would be kind of cool, since it’s a world event and everything, right in our home city. Little did we realize that our city has done everything possible to prevent us from attending, including a) only scheduling matches in the evening, b) not allowing ANY cars to park at the stadium, but instead bringing in people by transit only, and c) scheduling the girls’ end of year piano concert at exactly the same time as this ONE game we were able to attend. Kay, maybe the city didn’t have much to do with that last one, but it does feel like fate is against us.

However, after dithering and possibly giving up several times, we have been saved by my sister FameThrowa and her delightful husband, Mr. Chatty, who will be a) taking the one cranky child who refused to attend off our hands (eleven – it’s a CHALLENGING year), b) dropping us off at the stadium after we drop off our kid, and c) generally being awesome and supportive. We’ve also made arrangements to steal parking from MyFriendAgi, who lives in the neighbourhood, because we have to take two cars due to piano concert issues.

You can’t foil us, FIFA! We’re coming for you, no matter what hell you may throw our way. Prediction: sunburns, boredom, possible starvation as the game is over the dinner hour. FUN!

Summertime, And The Livin’ Is Easy

Just 10 more days of school left here, not counting today, and the kids are getting pretty wound up. Report card marks are in already, the two girls both have one more project due Monday but the Captain hasn’t seen any homework for weeks. Freedom is so close now, we can taste it.

So that means it’s time to start thinking about: Summer of Awesome plans!

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We have an exciting new development on the Summer of Awesome front: the Captain is now 12. He’s been left at home alone for short periods of time now with success, and that means I can now take the girls to smaller locations like the park without him complaining. Which is AWESOME. Although to be fair, his past crankiness about family participation seems to be fading – MyFriendJen says it’s an age 11 thing and that does seem to fit, as Gal Smiley (age 10 3/4) has crankiness on the rise. Sigh.

The Captain has also, by the way, and I can’t believe I’m even typing this, expressed interest in babysitting his sisters or otherwise taking responsibility for them for short periods of time during the day, and that’s just WOW. WOW. A level of freedom I cannot even imagine. We’ll see what happens there.

Anyway! Summer plans! Of course, our major setpiece this summer is our trip out to Calgary/Banff/Jasper. I’ve been planning up a storm, packing lists, grocery lists, addresses of everywhere under the sun. I’ve been prebooking tours and tickets and such and I think we are almost ready to go. It’s weird, a few years ago when we went out to PEI it seemed like everyone we knew was also going, other kids from school and neighbours and bloggers. And now that we’re off to Alberta, seems everyone we know will be joining us there, too. We are trendsetters! Or follow-the-crowd sheep! One or the other.

We have fewer weeks in town this year to explore, but there’s still a lot of stuff on our list. I’m planning a lot of outdoor stuff this year, and I’m worried it won’t compare with the majesty of the Rockies, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. Here’s what’s on our hit list:

  • National Art Gallery – to see the Chagall and Coville exhibits
  • Mooney’s Bay beach, plus a side trip to Hog’s Back Falls – we have actually never been here before!
  • Karter’s Korner – my middle child swears she’s tall enough to ride the go karts on her own this year…we’ll see.
  • Museum of Aviation – all three of my kids went there for a field trip this Spring, and want to go back. I have to say, the Science Museum being out of commission has really been a boon to the Aviation Museum, which picked up a lot of their programming and publicity.
  • War Museum – we’ve never been before and I have passes I picked up at a Silent Auction this winter.
  • Mont Cascades water park – an annual favourite
  • xTreme Trampoline Park – oh, how my children beg and beg to go there every weekend. I’m sure we’ll go more than once.
  • Bate Island – best in the late summer when the water levels go down – or perhaps we will combine this with the Remic Rapids rock balancing event, which is usually on the August long weekend.
  • Gatineau Park – here I am ashamed, ASHAMED, to admit that we have never, ever been to the park. It’s practically criminal. I intend to remedy that this summer with at least two visits – one up to the lookout for a little hike, and one to the Mackenzie King estate to have a poke around.
  • Puppets Up! festival in Almonte – I SAY we’ll go every year, and we never seem to make it. Putting it on the list again this year.
  • Company of Fools Shakespeare in the Park performance – we took the kids last year and it was, surprisingly, a huge hit. This year it’s the Comedy of Errors, always a guaranteed laugh.
  • Upper Canada Village – my kids loved it there last year and although we spent the day we didn’t even get to see it all, so we plan to head back…although I have also heard amazing things about the Cumberland Village Museum in the east end, which is about the same distance drive for us…so I’ll call it between the two when we get to that point on the calendar.
  • Eco Odysee – this is a nature reserve out in Wakefield where you can take a paddle boat around a maze and learn fun facts about nature. I wrote about it for SavvyMom just last week. Bonus – the Wakefield covered bridge is along the way, you’ll go right by it, so stop by for a quick poke around.
  • Parc Omega – have never been. I know, CRIMINAL.
  • Bowling – sometimes the old favourites are favourites for a reason – the kids have been asking and this is a great activity for a rainy day when I don’t have much energy for a big adventure.
  • Park tour – I keep hearing amazing things about the play structures and greenhouse in Brewer Park, so we might go out of our way to check it out; I’m also curious about Strathcona Park which I hear has a nice wading pool. This is likely something I’ll just do with the girls.
  • Statue Tour – Of sketchy appeal to children, I know, but I looooove statues, and I’ve been collecting a cool list of awesome ones in Ottawa, and I’d love nothing better than to spend the day on an Amazing Race style tour of the city looking at them all. I’d have to really sell it, though – we’ll see.

It’s going to be AWESOME.

Want to make your own list? Check my epic list of What To Do In Summer In Ottawa and plan your own Summer of Awesome – and you can also sign up for my weekly newsletter to hear about special events happening that week in town. Here’s this week’s newsletter if you’d like to see what you’d be signing up for.

An Apology, 30 Years Later

Dear Mom,

It will probably amuse you to hear that I now have children who:

  • Take FOREVER to eat a meal;
  • Dance their way to and from school when you just need them to get there already;
  • Have been caught reading when they are supposed to be getting dressed/eating breakfast/doing homework;
  • Cannot find their way to the park despite having being there 1000 times, and it being three streets from our house;
  • Leave their shoes and coat wherever they feel like it upon entering the house;
  • Hate the feel of grass on their bare feet, and avoid the outdoors in general;
  • Hate the feel of grass on their feet, and avoid the outdoors in general;
  • and make me listen to top 40 crap in the car.

So now I say to you: sorry about all that.

Lynn

Generation Gap

The other day I caught an episode of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air on Much Music, because I was looking for something family-friendly to put on while I made dinner. The kids wandered in halfway through and actually recognized Alfonzo Ribeiro, who played Carlton on that show. In fact, in their world, Alfonso is a pretty big star, because he won Dancing With The Stars last year, and made a couple of guest appearances on the show this season as the returning champ. Plus, he’s the host of a cheesy game show called Catch 21 which I have been known to watch, because I am the hugest game show slut in the world, AND he was recently announced (on DWTS no less) as the new host of Gal Smiley’s favourite show, America’s Funniest Videos.

So yeah, they knew who Alfonso was.

This particular episode featured the aunt and uncle returning to the set of Soul Train, a dance show, where they got engaged 25 years ago, and as a result of the parents angle and the dancing angle, Carlton had a huge storyline and a 10 minute dance solo at the end. I tried to explain that Alfonso was not, in fact, the star of this show, but rather that other guy in the too-big pants and backwards ball cap, but they did not actually believe me.

Then, yesterday, they were watching a Disney teen show – A.N.T. Farm – and the girl on there mentioned how she’d love to meet Will Smith, and the Captain said, “Who the heck is Will Smith, anyway?”

Who would have guessed back in 1992 that the Fresh Prince would have to step aside for Carlton in the next generation? It’s like I don’t know the world AT ALL.

Milestones

Last week, assorted kids and I got a ride home from a soccer game with a neighbour of mine. As everyone was piling in, he asked if the kids could all buckle themselves up and I realized, yes they can.

I am living the dream!

I used to have three kids all in five-point harnesses and I used to fantasize, EXTENSIVELY, about the day when I’d say, “Let’s go!” and I’d put on my shoes, grab my purse, head out to the van, get behind the driver’s wheel, and then just drive away – with everyone else having put on their own shoes, and opened the car doors themselves, climbed in, and buckled themselves up.

I gotta tell you, it seemed like crazy science fiction at the time, and yet now here we are, at exactly that point – only one booster seat remains – and trust me, I am GRATEFUL.

The next milestone, I think, will be when everyone is tall enough to reach dishes in the kitchen on their own. We have a small pile of cereal bowls at kid-level since our oldest became a preschooler, but I didn’t want to move all the plates and cups and everything into a low cabinet because that was just weird. We’re now at a point where the Captain and Gal Smiley can, just barely, reach things on the lowest shelf, meaning they can get their own cups of juice and plates for toast and what have you. The Captain can even, just with his fingertips, load and unload things from our above-stove microwave.

The Little Miss is our holdout, but she does do her best – she’s recently figured out how to jump up and pull herself onto the counter so she can get her own stuff, and again, I am grateful for the independence, and she likes Taking Care Of Business and also Being Really Helpful. But still, it seems like she is always sprawled bodily all over the freakin’ counter exactly when I am rushing about trying to make lunches or throw together dinner, plus I don’t know how many times she has whacked herself on the head while trying to open a cupboard that she’s sitting in front of, so yeah, it’s a work in progress, that’s for sure.

Really looking forward to the day when I can tell the kids to just set the table, or get their own snack, and anyone who is around will be able to reach whatever they need.

But until then, pretty stoked about the car thing.

Keep It Positive

It’s almost the end of the school year – the Little Miss brought home a note this week saying it will be the last week of homework and spelling practice, which was mind blowing and exciting and impossibly soon, all at once. At this time of year my thoughts turn to teacher gifts.

I am the queen of the gift card, but I also give each teacher a hand-written note, because I have read multiple times online that teachers really appreciate a personal note of thanks, and between you and me, I ROCK a good thank-you note. I find there is always something specifically positive to say and I’m quite happy to have the chance to let the kids’ teachers know how awesome they are. This year, for possibly the first time ever, one of my kids has a teacher who they are not exactly fond of, but even then, I think just getting up every morning to face a classroom full of kids is a heroic task, so I’m sure I will be able to find something cheerful to write about. Keep it positive, that’s kind of my life mantra.

Gal Smiley this year has one teacher, Mrs. P, who is legendary for her awesomeness. She’s super enthusiastic and energetic, and she’s a great teacher of the basics, too. Most of all, though, she really cares about the kids – she unfortunately missed a couple of months this year due to a medical issue and the day she came back, kid after kid literally came running out of the school shouting, “MRS P IS BACK” to their parents. Writing her thank-you note is going to be a breeze.

One of the things that makes her so great is that she personally emails the parents of kids in her class all the time. Just little notes, but always something positive. I often get, “Gal Smiley had a great day today! She is a delight to have in class!”, but sometimes more specific stuff, like “Gal Smiley did awesome on her math test! Yay!” or “Gal Smiley has really improved in her reading level, awesome!”. I know she is definitely looking to say something positive about every kid, but it’s still very sweet and reassuring to feel like hey, someone at the school NOTICED my child and CARED.

I got one of these emails this week, which was nice, and while I was riding that high, I had breakfast with a few of the other moms from the school, moms I know well and have known for years. We talked of many things, but one short conversation involved one particular boy who has had run-ins with a few of the kids represented at the breakfast, and, who, it seems, is getting a bit of a reputation as a bully. I know the family at an acquaintance level and they seem perfectly nice and so I was surprised, but I guess you just never know.

I’ve been turning over these two incidents in my mind, though, ever since, because I was wondering: do you think this boy’s parents actually know? I mean, do they know their son is rough sometimes, or hurts feelings with insults? Or do they just hear from him that he had a good day at school with his buddies (“cronies”, from other points of view), and then they get cheerful emails from the ever-positive Mrs. P that say he had a great! day and is doing awesome! – and that, for them is the end of the story?

Suddenly I had a good, long look at my own kids, and possibly for the first time ever I thought of them being thought about by third-party adults, not just their teachers, but the parents of their friends, and parents of their enemies. Have my kids ever been mean? Has another child gone home to their parent, complaining that one of my own called them a name, or excluded them from a game? Something my own kid considered a passing moment, not worth mentioning – or possibly worth hiding – and yet, such a big thing in the life of another?

Are my kids secret bullies? I mean, it’s possible, don’t you think? How much of their social interactions do you really know about? What kind of real, schoolyard reputations do your kids have?

I wonder. At first I was thinking, I wish someone would tell me. Then I thought, maybe I don’t want to know. Keep it positive, that’s my mantra. My kids are a delight! to have in class. Cling to that.

But as a parent, it’s kind of important to me not to raise any little jerks. So if my kids actually ARE jerks – yeah, fill me in.

Crafting With the Turtleheads

The Captain was away at Scout camp this past weekend. He left on Friday around dinnertime.

Thursday, after school, while packing: “By the way, Mom, I need to have a costume for camp.”

Like, what kind of costume? Something we already have in the basement, fingers crossed?

“It’s a movie theme and we are the concession stand and we have to dress like food.”

Sigh.

Thursday evening we had an end-of-year Brownies party coinciding with a soccer game and so it was all up to Friday. I set aside all planned work to make a Can of Coke costume. Kid – YOU OWE ME.

So of course I thought I’d blog it up here, because what is the use of frantically throwing together a last minute costume if you can’t document the process for the world? If a costume is made and we don’t blog about it, did it even happen? I think not.

You will need:
* two small hula hoops – I found small ones at the Dollar Store
* some foam board – the thicker the better
* duct tape
* fabric for the background – red, for a can of Coke – about 1 m of 150cm wide stuff, something sturdy but not too heavy, preferably on sale
* felt for the writing/image
* white glue
* a large container of jellybeans and an enormous pot of tea

So first, measure your kid and then do a whole bunch of math to figure out how big to make everything. You’ll want the hoops to be about as wide, in diameter, as their shoulders, plus a couple of inches. For my kid, this was 16 inches (don’t worry if your hoops are bigger than this, we will be cutting them to size). For length, you want the distance from their shoulder to about mid-calf – for my kid this was 31 inches.

(Sorry for the imperial – I always go imperial when sewing and crafting.)

Next, cut two panels of the red fabric, one for the front and one for the back. Get a calculator, because you’ll need it, and have tea handy for fortification.

The width of the panels is the circumference of the hoops, divided in half, plus 1 1/4 inches for seam allowances. So for my kid, this was (3.14 * 16 / 2) + 1.25, which is about 26 1/2 inches (rounded up a bit, this isn’t rocket science).

The length of the panels is the height you measured plus 7 inches for seam allowances, so in my case, 38 inches.

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Once the panels are cut, choose one to be the front and put the design on it, making sure to leave at least 3 1/2 inches at each end, which will become the tubes for the hoops.

To create the design, I grabbed the biggest logo I could find online and inserted it into a Word document, then printed it out in Poster Size (my printer can do this – take a one-sheet and print it huge, across four sheets). It turned out that even this was not big enough, so I ended up splitting the logo in half (using a graphics program) and poster-size-printing each half, then piecing it all together like a puzzle.

Have another cup of tea before your brain starts hurting.

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Now pin the logo pattern onto some white felt and cut out the pieces.

(Ha! Ha! Ha! It sounds so simple when you write it out in a single line like that! In reality I was pinning and cutting, with very tiny scissors, for like an hour and a half. GAH.)

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Here I will mention that we got the whole idea for this costume from this link over here, and they painted on the logo with fabric paint instead of using felt, but it took a long time and I was on the clock. I figured felt would be faster, and I’m sure it was, but maybe more annoying. Your call.

Finally, lay out the letters on the fabric.

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I had originally planned to lovingly sew them on by hand but by now I had less than an hour until school ended, so after some tests on some scraps I said SCREW IT, and glued it on with white school glue. Seemed to work just fine.

While the glue is drying, it’s time to prep the hoops. Peel off the stickers hiding the join, and use pliers to pull out the staple holding it all together:

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(It’s very tricky to take a photo with your left hand while using pliers with your right hand. How do left handed people ever take pictures?)

Then pop the hoop open and measure it carefully to determine how long you’ll need it to be. Mine, remember, needed to be 16 inches in diameter which means about 50 1/2 inches in total length around the outer edge of the ring. My rings were 20 inch hoops, so (more math) I needed to cut about 15 inches off of it, so I measured that out and marked it with a pen and then clipped it with my garden shears:

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Aside: those garden shears were a gift from my mother many years ago and they are seriously the most useful tool we own. Those suckers will cut through ANYTHING.

Second aside: I always wondered what they put inside hula hoops to give them that shaky-shaky noise. When I was a kid I imagined it was jewels, or jellybeans, or sparkle sand. Turns out it’s just a bunch of little pebbles:

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So I ate a whole bowl of leftover jellybeans from Valentine’s Day to ease the disappointment.

Third aside: the leftover bits of the hula hoop are now the most coveted toy in our household. FIGURES.

Onward! Now that you’ve got two hoops cut to size, trace one of them onto your foam board, and use a box cutter to cut out the circle.

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Here’s where the awesome photo essay part of this post breaks down, by the way. From this point on, I had to stop working and go pick up the kids from school. Then, I realized I still hadn’t packed the Captain’s food bin (he has to bring all his own food because UGH, allergies) and we were short of the kind of cookies he likes, so I continued working on the costume while baking cookies AND packing food, and so you can imagine, photos fell by the wayside. Also, Sir Monkeypants came home early (THANK GOD) and took over the making of the top part, and he ROCKED it, but is not that into Pinterest so yeah, no pics.

Here’s how you wrap things up, though:

  • Find a tupperware container or pie plate or something else round that is about the size of your kid’s head (don’t forget to leave ear-clearing room), and trace it into the centre of the foam board circle, and cut it out too. Don’t make your hole too big, as it lets the costume slide around too much and they look like a can of Coke from back in the days when it was called “coke” for a reason, if you know what I’m saying.
  • Cover the whole ring of foam board with strips of silver or grey duct tape to make the top of the can.
  • For the tube part, first put the front and back fabric rectangles together, right sides facing, and sew down the side seams. Remember to leave a hole in each seam for the arms to come out. I sewed about 5 1/2 inches from the top, then left a hole of about 9 inches, then sewed the rest of the way down.
  • Press those seams out, and where the arm hole is, top stitch around to hold the seam allowance back.
  • At the top and bottom, roll over 1/2 inch and press all the way around; then roll over 1 1/2 inches and press. This creates a pocket for the hoops. Sew each pocket all the way around with top stitching.
  • If you forgot to leave a hole for the hoops to be inserted, no one here is going to judge you, NO REASON, just rip open a couple of inches somewhere.
  • Thread each hoop through its little pocket, then snap them back together with the snapper thing. I meant to secure them with a bit of tape before sewing up the pocket opening but I forgot. But you could do that, and it would be a good idea. Then sew the pocket holes shut by hand.
  • Last step! Attach the top to the base. I admit here: I had no idea how the heck to do this. We ended up taping the top to the base underneath with more duct tape. Duct tape fixes ALL.

And that is it! Results:

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I was pretty freakin’ proud of myself, let me tell you.

Sunday, upon return from camp:

How was your costume?

“It was overkill. Most other boys just had a plain t-shirt with the name of some candy written on a piece of paper and stuck to it.”

FIGURES. Guess what you’re being for Halloween, kid.

Thomas, He’s The Cheeky One

We are having a small Thomas The Tank Engine resurgence in our house, and it’s so sweet and adorable. The Captain was really into Thomas when he was three, and we own a lot of Thomas stuff, which we will be keeping forever and ever so my grandchildren can come over and play trains, and man, I cannot overstate enough how much I am looking forward to soft-lit afternoons with cherub-cheeked children, whose diapers I do not have to change, putt-putting around tracks like ye olden days. I’m sure I will be bitterly disappointed by grandchildren who hate trains, or hate me, or live in Africa and thus never visit, but for now, let me have my little dreams.

The Captain still speaks fondly of Thomas, and when I tried to sell his Thomas sheet set a couple of years ago he balked (and frankly, I did too, because MAH BABY). We still get the trains out every Christmas for an old fashioned wooden toy extravaganza around the tree, and the past couple of years the Captain has actually been more into it than ever, now that he’s old enough to manage the design and planning of the track (resulting in some hard feelings from younger sisters who are expected to be the obedient construction crew, but still).

Recently we saw the trailer for Ant-Man and although I am quite skeptical of its quality, we will absolutely be going to see it purely for the teased scene in which miniaturized Ant-Man is battling a miniaturized bad guy along a track with a speeding train, and then it pulls out to reveal that the track is just a Thomas setup with a cheerful Thomas himself chug-chugging down the track. ADORABLE.

(Fast forward to about the 2:15 mark to see Thomas in his glory.)

At Easter I am always looking for little toys to put in their plastic eggs, due to allergies preventing the use of cheap candy (OF COURSE – someday I will write a post about the added costs of having food-allergic children, and I am going to realize I could have been the owner of a couple of Porches and a yacht by now). And when found out that Thomas now comes in little blind packs, with a tiny little plastic engine from the Island of Sodor inside, I was sold.

(Aside: actually, I was more than sold – I immediately wanted to purchase the entire set – because I have serious collector problems, I cannot own PART of a set, and the Captain is exactly the same, which is why we already own every wooden Thomas train and every LEGO set and every Pokemon card in existence, and we probably need a good 12-step program to attend together.)

So I put a couple of little Thomas trains in the eggs, and now we are all loving on Thomas. There’s singing of the theme song (“they’re two, they’re four, they’re six, they’re eight”) all over the house. The Captain’s stuffed monkeys play trains all day while he’s at school, we say. The Thomas sheets are back on the bed. We often ask each other if we can have a “special” today.

monk-and-thomas (Small)

It’s sure to be a brief moment but for now, it’s soft-lit days full of a cherub-cheeked boy, calling out “choo choo!” with glee and reveling in the last days of childhood. Him and me both.

Running Away

Here’s a recent picture of the back of my two oldest kids, Captain Jelly Belly on the left, Gal Smiley on the right.

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They’re only 18 months apart, and Gal Smiley has started to shoot up while the Captain has not, and as a result they are now just about the same size. Add to that the fact that the Captain has now hit the three year mark without a haircut, and their matching uniforms of track pants, t-shirts, and hoodies/sweatshirts, and they’re getting pretty hard for laypersons to tell apart from the back. They’ve started to be quite commonly mistaken for each other by kids at school, their aunts and uncles, family friends, and their soccer coach.

When they were young, like 1 and 2, people at the mall or the grocery store used to ask me all the time if they were twins. “No, just close in age,” I’d say. But now, it seems like prophecy. I had to buy a second pair of size 3 rubber boots, and a second pair of size 3 soccer cleats, because they’re the same size. They’re both a little cranky these days, a little sassy, as they are both hitting the same preteen angst at the same time. Quickly our house has become divided, two and one, as the older two become like a matched set, tweenaged salt and pepper shakers. I guess the benefit is only having to grope your way through the grey and hazy Parent Of A Teen years twice, once for the dynamic duo and then just one more time for the little one bringing up the rear. Lucky.

I wanted to get a picture of them from behind for this post, and it turned out to be not so hard. In fact, looking back at my photos from the past few years, there are so many taken from behind. As I pause to get out the camera, stand still for just a moment to take a snap, they’re already gone. Moving forward, unable to slow down, deep in conversation or looking eagerly ahead to the next bend. There are times when, in the minute it takes me to get the camera ready, they’ve already gone to maximum zoom mode, as far away as they can be and still be recognizable through the camera viewfinder. I have to snap quickly, another picture of the backs of their heads to add to my collection, and run to catch up.

Right now I can still catch them, but soon they’ll both be running out of my reach. Two kids, the same and yet totally different, on the same path, walking it with their own style. I’ll blow you a kiss from back here, my dears.