Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Since last February when we changed our babysitter, things have been going really well on the childcare front. Bart and Lisa had a great summer with a nice bunch of kids from their classes at school. Now that school is back in session, the babysitter does half-day care for Bart and after school care for Lisa, and also looks after some of the other summer kids. She also took on a new kid from Bart’s class who we’ll call Nelson. Nelson is a jerk.

It’s not easy for me to call a 5-year-old a jerk, but he is. On his first day, he intentionally bit Bart on the face, breaking the skin. When the babysitter brought it up with his mother, the mom said, “Nelson, that wasn’t nice.” Now, maybe she’s not one to tip her hand in the presence of the new babysitter, but wouldn’t you think that such a revelation would require more outrage? If my kid were the biter, I’d be on the phone to the other mom apologizing and letting her know what the punishment for my kid would be. My kid would be made to apologize to the other kid, probably with a box of Superman Band-Aids as a peace offering.

Both the babysitter and Bart are constantly telling me the rotten things that Nelson does on a daily basis: purposely excluding one or two of the kids from a game; upending a board game or puzzle others are working on; licking another kid’s treat when the babysitter turns her back; hurtfully mocking something another kid likes (like a toy or tv show).

I asked Lisa what she thought of Nelson. Her response? He’s a twit AND he has an older sister and brother, who are also mean little jerks. It makes you wonder what’s going on at their house.

As Bart told me another Nelson tale this morning, I said, “Bart, I don’t think you should play with Nelson anymore.” But what if he yells and says I have to play with him? “Tell him your mom said he’s too mean to play with.”

Bart just giggled.

Nelson Muntz. Not to be emulated by a 5-year-old.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Competitive Spirit

Lisa joined the cross-country team at school. At her age, they’re only expected to run 1 km, which isn’t far at all, not even for a 7-year-old.

After her first day of training, I asked he how it went. She reported that it went well and that she and a classmate had run most of the way and walked the rest. I asked her who had finished the run first. She had no idea.

In this way, she is a very different kid than I was. I loved competition and loved winning. I was more successful as a mathlete than an athlete, but even if I wasn’t the best at something, I always had the finish line in sight and at least knew who it was that I needed to beat. I blame my father, who is a good-natured guy, but also likes to be number one. I would come home and excitedly announce that I got 97% on a test and he would ask where I lost the other 3%. It sounds terrible, even as I write it here, but I never felt demoralized or angered by his comments. He was proud of me, but wanted to ensure I didn’t rest on my laurels, so to speak. My dad and I always had a relationship where he could joke around with me like that and I never felt slighted.

I explained to Lisa that the teachers would be selecting a cross-country team from those that went to the training and that only the first few finishers from each grade would be allowed to go to the city-wide meet. We discussed a strategy to see if she was capable of: 1) running the whole distance; and 2) being a top finisher. After each training day, she would report her progress. As I suspected, running the distance was not an issue, and she now finishes first among the girls, second overall. Next week, she’ll compete in the city-wide event and she is ecstatic. She expects to win. We’ll have to have a good talk about that.

It’s a tricky thing encouraging a competitive spirit in your child. On the one hand, you want your child to achieve his or her best and, of course, you want them to succeed when they do so. On the other hand, there will be many, many times, when even her best won’t be good enough; when she’ll train and try and run her little heart out, but someone else will be better. Will she be crushed? Will she say “better luck next time” and keep trying? Is either of these reactions right or wrong?

Monday, September 22, 2008


I DID make the cinnamon buns and they ARE amazing! And easy! Maggie wasn’t so sure about them as I was rolling them out and spreading the butter, sugar and cinnamon. She kept saying, "cinnamon buns are yuck!" But, when they came out of the oven and I poured on the maple glaze? “Mmmm. I wuv cinnamon buns berry berry much.”

Maggie is at that amazing verbal stage where she speaks very clearly, but when she says something that seems “too old” for her, it’s hilarious. Examples:

Me: Maggie, what would you like for breakfast?
Maggie: I’ll have cheese and crackers, I guess, if it’s not too much trouble.


Maggie to her siblings: You guys are driving me nuts and I am sooo not kidding!


Bart: Guess what chapter I’m on?
Maggie: What chapter?
Bart: Sixteen.
Maggie: Sixteen? Are you serious?


Maggie: Do you want to play Barbies wif me?
Lisa: Maybe after I’m done with Webkinz I’ll play.
Maggie: Don’t you think you spend enough time on that thing? You need a break!

I can’t believe she’s only a month or so away from being three. *Sniff* my little baby's getting so big.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Toast

Dear Jess and Torsten,

In lieu of the traditional champagne toast, I offer an old family recipe. The components of this recipe are said to represent the intricacies of marriage.

Matrimony Cake

The Solid Foundation:

Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.

Combine in a bowl:
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch salt
1-3/4 cups rolled oats
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter or margarine

Press HALF of this mixture into the pan.

The Sweet, Smooth Core:

Combine in a pot:
1lb pitted dates
1 cup water
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice

Bring mixture to a boil. Continue boiling, stirring occasionally, until softened.

Cool slightly and spread over the base.

The Rough Bits:

Take the remaining oat mixture and crumble it through your fingers to top the dates.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes until browned. Cool and cut into squares.

So now, raise your dessert square with me:

Congratulations, Jess and Torsten. May your new life together be filled with sweetness, laughter and love. Cheers!
Go here for more toasts to the happy couple...

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Hey! Nice to see you! My network was down at work this morning, meaning no email, no Internet and no access to the files that reside on the server, so I found myself with a little time to work out a post. Lucky you.

*Homer bought us a Wii on the weekend. I’m not usually too keen on the video games (because I suck at them), but the Wii is FUN! We only have Wii Sports right now, so I’ll take any recommendations you have for more games (preferably active ones). Also, if anyone has Wii Fit, I’d love to know what you think.

*Bart is hilariously awesome at Wii bowling. His high score is 249. Mine is 137. It’s humiliating when he rolls his eyes and says, “Do you want me to show you how to do it, mom?”

*We’ve been battling with some pretty serious skin issues with Bart. The Dermatologist is pretty sure it’s Psoriasis. I’m more upset about the diagnosis than I thought I would be. If you Google Psoriasis, along with information about the cause (unknown), prevention (unclear) and the treatment (dubious), there is a lot of information about the emotional side effects of the condition. I don’t think anyone wants their child to have a condition that produces emotional side effects.

*We currently have five bottles of creams/lotions/potions for Bart’s skin. I am so grateful that, in addition to having universal healthcare, I have a drug plan paid for by my employer that gives me free prescription drugs. These things are not cheap.

*Tonight is Meet the Teacher night at Lisa & Bart’s school. Because we’ll only have a short time for dinner, I whipped together some crock-pot scalloped potatoes this morning. I didn’t have a recipe (or rather I didn’t have all of the ingredients for any one recipe that I could find), so I made one up. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

*Fall must be on its way, because I find myself wanting to bake and make soup and chili again. I saw this recipe on The Pioneer Woman Cooks, and I have since been looking for nice, ceramic pie plates (like this):
for less than $10, so I can make these for teacher/neighbour gifts at Christmas. Of course, I’ll have to try out the recipe first to make sure they are gift-worthy. Mmmm.

Hope you’re having a great day!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

First day of school!

2004 - Lisa starts Junior Kindergarten
2005 - Lisa in Senior Kindergarten

2006 - Lisa in Grade 1

2007 - Lisa in Grade 2, Bart starts Junior Kindergarten

2008 - Lisa in Grade 3, Bart in Senior Kindergarten