Saturday, October 16, 2010

Curiosity Killed...

Life is not easy when you are the third boy in the family. Everything you wear and play with has usuallly been worn or played with by someone else; no matter what you do you are very rarely the first in the family to do it and everytime you ask a question, one of your older brothers calls you dumb for asking.

P-lal asks some really interesting questions. We have been spending some time alone together recently, sans older brothers, and I have come to appreciate P-lal's curious nature, while also being somewhat concerned by the nature of many of his many queries. Here are some of the questions that he has asked me in the last week or so...

Is there such thing as a bug that can kill a human?
How does snake venom kill you?
How did Hitler die?
Why did he commit suicide?
Who started World War Two?
Who started World War One?
Who would win if a bear and a lion fought?
Is it possible to hold your breath for a whole hour without dying?
Would I die if I jumped off the fourth diving tower and did a belly flop?
What would happen if there was a World War Three?

Are all 8 year old boys this violently morbid? He looks normal enough...


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Proud Parenting Moment

Today as I was reading a blog post by another of my favourite bloggers I felt a bit sheepish. Then sheepishness turned to chagrin, which in turn led to good old guilt. You see, I was reading about how much Melissa would like to be able to give her daughter, who happens to be A-lal's age, more freedom. She mentioned free-range parenting, a concept that I have embraced whole-heartedly in the last year or so.

In fact, I think I might be embracing free-range parenting a little bit too tightly recently. On Saturday night Y-lal and I went out for dinner with our good friends to celebrate Y-lal's birthday which was on Sunday. I decided that it would be a good opportunity to see how A-lal would do looking after his brothers at night. Really though, I was being lazy and cheap, not bothering to find a sitter for them or wanting to add the cost of a sitter to what was likely to be an expensive evening. First though, I did a thorough google search to ensure that there was no law regarding the age of babysitters. I'm feeling a bit sheepish about this now.

A-lal is a very physically mature kid and he is probably more psychologically mature than most boys his age as well. He has also been left in charge of getting his brothers on the bus in the morning for almost a year now. I sometimes forget that he is still just 11, and there are days when I'm not sure that I can handle being left home alone with P-lal and M-lal, who have an "on-again, off-again relationship at best. Apparently on Saturday night they were not "on again". Chagrin.

It also didn't help that the bear that has visited our deck in the middle of the night recently, decided to make a late evening visit on this particular night. When we returned home from dinner that evening, Y-lal found A-lal lying in our bed with an upset stomach. When Y-lal took him to his own bed he headed for the bathroom where he spent some time sitting in front of the toilet. Guilt.

A-lal was fine the next day, but I'm not so sure that I will be repeating this experiment anytime soon. Maybe I'll enroll A-lal in a "wildlife" management course first.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

More Evidence

I thought it would happen differently. I thought we would talk about first, that we would discuss the pros and cons, talk about how to do it safely, about the kinds of people who should be allowed that kind of access.

Last night, though, I was confronted with the evidence that it has already happened. No debate, no discussion, he just went ahead and did it. I guess this is one of the drawbacks of having an independent child.

A-lal has a Facebook account and I was unaware of it until Facebook suggested him as a possible friend for me. According to his profile, he's interested in women and so far all of his friends appear to be girls. The last time A-lal's friends were girls he looked like this...


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Rewind and Repeat

Yesterday morning when I staggered down to the kitchen in search of my morning coffee, this is what I found...

P-lal was sitting on the kitchen counter, with my sunglasses on, listening to my i-pod. You see, my youngest son is currently obsessed with Harry Potter. On our summer adventure we downloaded and listened to the Harry Potter series, from book 2 to book 7 (we had already read book 1). I am one of those mean (and apparently rare, according to my kids) mothers who tried to encourage her kids to read, by not allowing them to see any of the Harry Potter films until they had read the books.


Admittedly, I lost the reading battle this time, but at least they heard the books before they saw the movies. When we returned from our trip the boys watched all of the movies several (dozen) times.


The problem for a Harry Potter fanatic like P-lal (and the explanation for the morning seating arrangement), is that the book 7 film has not been yet been released. So, in order to enjoy book 7 over and over again as he likes to do, P-lal has to listen to it on my i-pod. P-lal has listened to book 7 about 5 times since we returned from our trip 2 months ago, this might even be his sixth time through the book. Yesterday morning, my i-pod needed to be charged, and the docking station is located on the kitchen counter.


The sunglasses, who knows? It wasn't even a particularly bright morning.


What struck me when I walked into the kitchen this morning, was not the odd fact of my youngest child perched on the kitchen counter wearing a pair of oversized sunglasses. Let's face facts, strange things happen in my house all the time, I'm not even sure what a normal day would look like anymore. No, what struck me is the fact that six years ago, this same child was perched in that same spot, wearing a pair of my sunglasses.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Totally not cool dude.

Most days Mlal is 9 going on 18. He is very independent, with a wry sense of humour and is usually very aware of what is cool (or as he would say- sick) and what is not. I can't remember how many times over the past year or so I have heard my students using some new slang term, only to come home and hear Mlal using it correctly and completely naturally. Because of this, I sometimes forget that Mlal is indeed only 9 years old.

Recently, though, I have been reminded of this fact. On this particular day, Alal had a few of his hockey buddies over to hang out ( when did we stop having play dates?). Mlal, who is usually very cool, admires this bunch of boys, and clearly wanted them to be impressed by him, so he brought out his briefcase. That's right, Mlal has a briefcase. And he thought that this fact would impress his older brother's friends.

At this point, I really didn't know what to do. I wanted to protect Mlal from the ridicule of the older boys, but at the same time, I didn't want to be the one to have to point out that the briefcase was really not cool. I feared that the second Mlal realized the truth about the briefcase, it would be abandoned, like all the Jonas Brothers paraphernalia that is currently mouldering in the depths of his closet. I really enjoy 9 year old Mlal, while the teenage Mlal can sometimes be a bit trying. (Last year, when I stayed home from school with him while he was sick one day, he demanded that I take him to the local bar so he could shoot some pool...it gets a bit much sometimes)

What I ended up doing, was physically shielding Mlal from the faces of the older boys as he presented his briefcase and hurried Mlal and the others in opposite directions as quickly as possible. The older boys didn't say anything (to their credit), though the looks on their faces spoke pretty clearly. I'm happy to report though, that the briefcase is still one of Mlal most prized possessions.



Monday, September 13, 2010

The Beginning of the Story

Every weekday morning, after I have fed and dressed myself and my three kids, made sure teeth are brushed, clothes look moderately presentable, and school bags are packed, I leave the house at 8 am and begin the 12 minute drive to work. Most days this is the calmest 12 minutes of my day. Some days, I sit in the parking lot at work and stretch my 12 minutes to 15, or even 18 minutes, of tranquility. Meanwhile, at home, Alal is earning 2 dollars per day to supervise his brothers for 25 minutes and ensure that they get out the door and onto the school bus.

Tonight at dinner, Alal announced that he needed to report an incident from this morning. Our conversation went something like this.

Alal: I need to tell you about my brothers' behaviour this morning.

Me: Okay, what happened?

Alal: Well, Mlal took Plal's scooter and threw it in the bush, then Plal jumped on Mlal's back and started pulling chunks of his hair out.

Me (to Mlal and Plal): If you two can't behave yourselves in the morning, then one of you is going to have to go to the before school program at school, and it will be you Mlal, because you seem to be the one who starts these incidents.

Mlal (indignant): That's not fair, Alal didn't start at the beginning of the story.

Honestly, I couldn't even be bothered getting to the bottom of the incident because in my opinion, this story begins sometime back in late 2002 when, ten days late and after hours of back labour, Plal arrived.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

La Rentree

I love the French phrase for back to school. Like just about everything in French "la rentree" just sounds so much less pedestrian than "back to school". I used it as much as possible this past week.

So far our back to school has been reasonably painless for everyone. While no one was exactly thrilled to be going on the first day (see Exhibit A below), the boys seem much happier now that routine and structure have been restored in their lives. Of course, due to the fact that it is also back to school for Ylal and I, and the fact Mlal and Alal insist on playing hockey (and that is another post altogether) which also starts up at this time of year, our lives have gone from almost completely unscheduled to insanely over scheduled in the course of one week. Its enough to make my head spin.


I recently read this post by a blogger that I just started reading. It made me realize that I no longer get "homesick" for Montreal every fall. For many years after I graduated from McGill and moved back to my hometown, I used to long for autumn in Montreal.

For me university represented a chance to completely reinvent myself after some lonely and unhappy high school years. I purposely chose a school that no one I knew was attending, that was located in a city far different from the one where I had grown up. I suppose that each September of my university years I experienced that feeling of escape again and again. Looking back, I realize that is why, back living in my hometown after university, I used to miss Montreal every fall.

I guess it is a good thing that I no longer feel "homesick" for Montreal. Maybe I've finally created a life for myself in my hometown that makes me happy. Or maybe life is just too busy at this time of year to think of anything else.

 

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