We spent last week talking about peace and remembering our veterans and those still serving. I hope everyone had a chance to take some time this holiday weekend to reflect on how fortunate we are to live in Canada and enjoy the freedoms and privileges our veterans have made possible for us.
Teeth brushing has always been a battle in our house. We’ve tried it all–finger brushes, rubber nubby toddler brush, xylitol wipes, super delicious watermelon flavored toothpaste, and cute kid toothbrushes with soft bristles…seriously, just listing it all exhausts me. And ultimately, the routine ends up with the same outcome–one of us pinning the poor kid to the counter while the other one brushes as fast as he or she can, yelling the words to the Raffi teeth brushing song to try to drown out Ben’s outraged shrieks.
That was how our routine used to end, up until a couple of days ago when we finally figured out how to harness the power of a 2 year old’s imagination. It was after bath time, and Ben had just spotted his toothbrush as I lifted it out of its holder. He yelled “NO!” and clamped both hands over his mouth, and as a familiar sense of dread settled over the room, I decided to try something new.
“Oh my God!” I cried. ”I think I just saw a lion in your mouth! Can I check?”
And because he’s 2, he. totally. bought. it. The hands came down, he smiled a little, and he actually opened his mouth….and let out a little lion roar. The toothbrush went in, and he kept smiling! As I brushed, I spotted other things stuck in his teeth: fire trucks, ambulances, monkeys, dogs, and zebras…there were no tears, just smiles and a few sound effects, and I actually got every little last tooth clean!
Now throughout the day, he will open his mouth wide and roar, and say, “Lion?” and Derek and I will respond with excitement and remark that we better be sure to brush extra well tonight.
I don’t know how long it will last, but I love seeing his imagination blossom. It’s so cool to see what amuses him, and to hear him repeating little narratives the next day to continue the game.
And as a bonus, he’ll (hopefully) be cavity free at his first checkup!
One of the themes in my second grade class this spring is environmental sustainability and air, water, and soil. I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to start a classroom compost! We’ll talk about ‘litterless lunches’ and healthy eating, and add our fruit and veggie scraps to our own little worm bin. In June, we’ll use the compost to fertilize some of the flower beds around the school. Maybe the kids will be so inspired, they’ll even do a compost at home!
Like any good teacher, I knew I had to try out a worm bin at home first to work out any kinks. We have a bulk compost in the corner of our yard, but worm bins are a little different. They use red wigglers, a special type of worm that decomposes food fast. Red wigglers produce something called “black gold,” (which is essentially their poop) and plants love it! Worm bins are odorless since they eat through the waste so quickly, and each worm can eat up to half of its body weight every 2 days.
My first step was finding red wigglers. We have tons of earthworms in our compost and our yard, but they’re not the right variety–if you’re setting up a worm bin, the best thing to do is find a supplier of red wigglers. According to most of the vermicomposting websites I’ve seen, a pound of worms should cost around $20, but up here in Canada I’ve found the average price to be about $30-40 a pound.
I found a local supplier on craigslist and picked up about 1/2 a pound from her. I had my supplies ready–a rubbermaid bin (not transparent–worms like the dark!) and some bedding for the worms, plus some scraps that we’ve had in our countertop scrap collector for about a week (the more decomposed it is before you add it, the better). I did a little research about setting up the bin, and I was ready to go!
I followed this guide exactly–it recommended drilling holes in the top and bottom, adding newspaper for bedding, soaking it, burying some food in one quadrant of the bin, and adding the worms. So after a powerdrill lesson from my husband, Ben and I set up our bin (his favorite part was ripping the paper) and added our worms.
Fast forward to the next morning: we wake up to make a leisurely Sunday breakfast in the kitchen, and to my horror, red wigglers are wiggling their way to freedom on the floor all around the bin! I was too busy throwing up in my mouth to take any pictures, which I’m sure you can appreciate. Luckily, my wonderful husband demonstrated reason #893 why I love him and scooped up every last one and put them in a container.
Back to the drawing board: I found these awesome videos from the Compost Guy about creating mini bins. He recommends using a smaller drill bit and just drilling holes on the top and sides. I think with the first bin, the worms were trying to burrow to the darkest point and some of them went out the bottom holes to the dark abyss under the bin. Yuck! Here’s a picture of Bin #2, ready to go:
He also suggests spraying the bedding with water, instead of soaking it, so that’s what we tried this time. We layered cardboard and newspaper strips with some food scraps and coffee grounds, then a little more bedding on top, and dumped in our worms. Here they are! They look just as traumatized as I was by the events of the morning:
So time will tell! Hopefully no one makes a jail break and they’ll remain happy and satiated by all those scraps, safe inside their little Rubbermaid mansion. If it works, I can’t wait to show Ben (and my students) how much we can reduce our weekly garbage by composting our food. The lesson might even be worth finding a hundred wiggling worms on my kitchen floor. Maybe.
So, at what point do you stop letting your kids see you naked?
I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve gone to the bathroom alone since Ben was born. Lately he’s right there, spinning the toilet paper roll and handing me a piece before he scoots past me to flush. It’s like having a tiny, doting little servant take care of all the mundane details of life. Plus, although at first it was weird having him sit there at my knees and say, “Mommy pee? Mommy poopy?” I thought if he saw how much fun it was to sit on the toilet, he just might want to try it out himself. So far, that part of the plan has not come to any semblance of fruition, but I keep hoping. (We are making absolutely zero progress with the potty learning. At the moment when he feels a bowel movement coming on, he scoots into the hall closet, closes the door, peers out the crack and yells, “No mommy! No!” if I try to look over at him while he does his business.)
Anyhoo, back to my original question: when should parents start enforcing privacy when it comes to our bits? I ask because this morning, as I was getting dressed, Ben pointed at me and shouted, “I SEE MOMMY BAGINA!” And this was repeated about a dozen times, even after my outfit was on and I had moved into the bathroom to do my makeup. I finally responded with, “Yes, that was mommy’s vagina, and now I have pants on because vaginas are private.” To which he replied, “BAGINA! BEN PENIS! PENIS! DADDY PENIS! MOMMY BAGIIIIIIIIIINA!!”
When does the privacy thing happen? When he turns 2 in a few weeks? Have I scarred him for life? I guess I should tag this one for his future therapist!
If I said that I felt guilty dropping my son off at daycare for the first few days of my two week Spring Break, well, I would kind of be telling the truth. But on day one, that guilt was easily dissolved by a home-made latte, a quiet house, and a good book I’d been waiting to finish. I love Ben to bits, but honestly, recovering the self-time I’d been missing was absolute bliss and I actually found myself feeling giddy at points during the day. He also loves going to daycare and seeing his little friends, doing crafts, and playing in their backyard, which, if Ben could talk, he would describe as “one million times cooler than ours.” But by day three, I’d finally finished my book, done all the laundry, and cleaned the house, and the silence was deafening…it was time for some toddler fun!
Ben is almost two now, and describing him as “busy” is an understatement. He loves to be out and about, and sometimes when he’s feeling cabin feverish he’ll say, “Mommy bye-bye? Ben bye-bye?” and he’ll get our coats and shoes and look expectantly towards the door. We did a ton during our break–the aquarium, the zoo, some local play groups–but my favourite thing we did was visit the Reifel Bird Sanctuary. It’s about an hour and a half drive from us, but totally worth it–nothing could wipe the smile off Ben’s face as soon as we stepped out of the car. The place is absolutely stunning–acres and acres of gorgeous wet land with miles of trails that wind through the migratory bird habitats. I loved being out in the fresh air and getting some exercise, and Ben’s favourite part was feeding the ducks. He grinned and laughed as he threw handfuls of grain, and he was thrilled when the ducks pecked near his boots.
Thanks for the awesome adventures Ben! I can’t wait until we can spend every day this summer together…well, almost every day. I might keep the daycare as a back-up plan, for both our sakes!
Welcome to my blog! I’ve thought about starting a blog for a long time, but really, what would I write about? My crafts are mediocre, I don’t cook very well, I’m not a super DIY-er, and I don’t have a hilarious perspective on life in general. I am totally intimidated by bloggers who refinish the garage sale dining room table during their child’s afternoon nap, because that is so. not. me. and I promise not to make you feel bad about your shortcomings. In fact, I can almost guarantee that you’ll feel better about your parenting, housekeeping, cooking, home improvement projects, and crafting after reading my entries!
Really, I want my kids to have a digital scrapbook of our lives together as a family. I’m writing for them, and I want to show them how funny, challenging, beautiful, precious, excruciating, and full this life is. I want to have a record of the things they do, learn, say, and all the things they teach me. One day, I want them to see my journey as a mother, and I want it to be honest…and I hope it will help me remember all of the little moments of their childhood that seem to get lost in the folds of life as soon as they pass.
And really, if nothing else, they’ll have extensive documentation to show their therapists one day.