Tag Archives: kids

How to turn your Mini-Van into a Man-ly Van

I have a special post today for dads on How to turn your mini-van into a man-ly van.  Look no further – today you will learn how to improve the self-image of your mini-van!

If you’re reading this post to get ideas on how to surprise your dad by converting the van for him, let’s cover the basics:

1.  First of all, it’s important to remember that a mini-van and a mini are two different cars.

2.  If you don’t know the difference then here’s a clue:  If you have more than two kids in your family, it is not very likely your dad drives a mini.

So ….

For the dads out there, here’s a wonderful video.  The site is not rated, so please make sure you’re young enough to watch.  You should be fine if you can say, “Mini-van Manly” out loud at least ten times in a row!  Enjoy ….

The Manly Minivan (please click on the link)

For those of you who weren’t able to say, “Mini-Van Manly,” don’t be disappointed.  We aren’t all perfect.

Our next treat of the day is our Father’s Day Gift.  The kids and I finally narrowed down our choices for AJ and here they are:

1.  A tie

2.  New underwear

3.  A tie

4.  Soap on a rope

5.  A tie

6.  Loofah sponge mittens

7.  A tie

8.  A funny YouTube video sung by us

As I have had a croaky, hoarse throat for two weeks, we decided on a YouTube song of course.  Move over Simon!!!  Actually, this one definitely won’t win Canadian Idol (or any Idol for that matter).  Here it is …

Our Superdad (please click on the link)

To all the wonderful dads and AJ …… HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!!!!  We love you!!!!

Acknowledgements for “Superdad”

Original tune:  “Now you see him” from Little Mermaid

Words:  Chocolatecherrypie

Croakals:  Chocolatecherrypie

Vocal backup:  Claire

Piano:  Chocolatecherrypie

Camera:  Violet

Music recording:  Therapynotesfrommypiano

Editing:  Chocolatecherrypie

Soft, warm and … scary?

There are only two conditions that cause me to become naked in public.  One of those is my daughter, Claire, who has no inkling of what I go through to keep myself decent when she is around, and the other is the introduction of someone’s small, furry dog.  The combination of the two is highly embarassing.  It is also very difficult to wrestle my skirt back down over my head while trying to pry Claire’s foot out of my mouth as she desperately clambers up my body in an attempt to escape what she considers is certain death.

Julie, being visually impaired, has never had any exposure to pets other than the sensations of soft, warm, and furry.  She’s heard us yelling at goats trying to eat her wheelchair, deer trying to consume her science projects, and seagulls divebombing her sandwich … but has considered this a wonderful joke.  When she was younger she happily experienced hippotherapy (believe it or not, this involves horses not hippos) and has a soft spot for dogs.  Unlike her calm, collected older sister, Claire’s relationship to canines is tentative at best.  I have assisted her to overcome her fears – mostly in a gentle way – but have failed miserably!  After all, she’s still scared of dogs.  I’ve tried almost every technique I could think of, including persuasion, rational emotive therapy, and a Rogerian approach whereby I encouraged her to “just talk” about her fears.  The only technique I haven’t tried is “flooding.”  I will describe flooding for those of you who have never taken Cognitive Psychology, but please, please send all children out of the room while you read – it’s nasty and you may scar them for life …. are they gone? … here goes …

If, for example, you’re using flooding to cure someone who is arachnophobic, then your goal is to expose that individual to spiders.  You may start off with introductory visualization exercises – ie., “Picture a spider on the opposite end of the football field.”  Eventually, though, you may progress to locking that poor harmless innocent in a room with hundreds of spiders until she calms down enough to realize that she is still alive.  (Honestly, though – do you think a person would appreciate this type of therapy?????)  If I were locked in a room full of spiders I’m sure I would say a lot of things I would later regret.  I might even fake a heart attack to teach that nasty therapist a lesson!

Strangely enough, Claire’s fear extends to dogs but not to other animals.  She is the self-proclaimed “guardian” of the garden, watching vigorously for errant squirrels, crows, racoon, and deer.  Fortunately for our little animal-lover, we live in Crazy Camera, Canada – which is teeming with wildlife.  Today, alone, Claire managed to stalk a squirrel, “rescued” five slugs from her murderous mater, and stood sadly by the grave-site she had built for “Alice” – a young squirrel who had died in a windstorm.  (I’m rather glad Alice is still there, actually, as she wanted to dig her up to show to a friend last week).  Claire is also the “protector” of Julie’s strawberry and tomato plants.  Bounding up the rocks yesterday and screaming the blood-curdling scream of a five-year-old banshee, she charged an adolescent stag at full tilt in order to save Julie’s greenery.  She was completely oblivious to the fact that this badly-behaved beast sported adult-size antlers.  Apparently he was too, judging by the expeditious rate at which he turned and bolted!

While Claire may not appreciate canines, she is very aware of the wildlife around her and our role as protectors of the environment.  For Claire, this fragile balance was never more obvious than this weekend when we went for lunch at an outdoor beach cafe.  She watched impatiently while crows and seagulls dive-bombed our platters of saturated fat and then decided to chase them away.  After running around and screaming, “Caw! Caw!” at the top of her voice she managed to scare all the crows and seagulls for miles.  She soon realized that she had made a big mistake – birds are much more interesting than going for lunch on the beach yet again!  For the next ten minutes we were relegated to the sight of Claire running round and around in a circle, waving her arm in the air and trying to tempt the birds back with a large, crispy onion ring!

As a parent I find it difficult to understand why a child would be comfortable with most animals and be terrified of dogs.  I suspect that because we warned Claire at a young age to be careful of strange dogs that she may have mistakenly assumed all dogs were vicious.  Julie, being confined to a wheelchair, received no lessons in fear as she was unlikely to run after any little dogs with the intent of pulling their fur.  Our lives aren’t exactly fraught with danger at every turn (ok … I’ll admit we sometimes have cougar sightings in amongst our picturesque rose bushes), but we often feel the need to protect our kids from their natural inclination to explore and experience.  Unfortunately for me, I will now have to “undo” the damage that has been done – which means that our future might well contain leashes, walks with Daisy-belle, and pooper scoopers.  Until then I will have to embark on my obligatory duty to protect Claire from all public beaches, parks, playgrounds, friends houses, schoolyards, tv shows,  and internet sites that have been exposed to snarling coal-eyed canines!

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Graduation

I dragged myself out of bed this morning, madly throwing clothes at people, and finally we were all dressed for Claire’s preschool graduation.  Except for me, of course.  For those of you who don’t know, we are staying with the in-laws while our house is being “renovated.”  Challenges on days like today include finding items that you just knew were there last time you looked.  I looked everywhere for my good shoes but eventually had to clunk to the car at top speed donning wide-toed flats.  Under normal circumstances these shoes look rather good with dress pants.  Today, with an elegant skirt …  well … let’s say they weren’t exactly the height of fashion!

To be quite honest, my five year old thinks I’m beautiful in a variety of unlikely circumstances and I also don’t have any challenges from my thirteen year old who can hear my voice but whose visual impairment protects her from knowledge of my flaws.  How could your mother be anything but beautiful if you can’t see her clearly!  Even if I was the most ugly woman on the planet, their view of me is guaranteed to make me feel like a million dollars no matter how I’m dressed!

The other day I heard a radio announcer discussing physical appearance – most specifically the “average” woman.  For those of you who don’t know, Barbie is not the average woman!  The average woman is, in fact … ME!   After listening to the John Tesh Radio Show I discovered that I am the epitome of “average.”  I am the average height and weight of all women in North America.  Just imagine – even if you don’t know who I am, you could get an idea by walking down the street.  Anyone who looks “average” could actually be me!

In my desire to look a little better than average, we were actually late for Claire’s graduation.  When we arrived there was a cheer in the room where the kids were anxiously gathered, and I hurriedly took out my makeup purse, powdered Claire’s nose, dragged a brush through her hair, and then chased her with lipgloss while the kids started to line up at the door.  It was definitely worth it.  When her class entered the auditorium she was literally glowing!

Claire wore a long pink cotton dress and looked so cute!  She rubbed at the powder on her nose, scratched at her leggings, but then soon settled down.  She looked so gorgeous up there – my heart glowed and I was a really proud parent today!!

Claire’s best friend, Daisy, was in the front row.  Her biological dad hadn’t come, just her adoptive grandparents, and it was hard not to notice how sad she looked.  My heart went out to her, and I wondered if he knew how much he was missed.

Claire surprised me by knowing all the words to the songs.  She, and her fellow grads sang about fishes bubbling in the sea, monkey’s in the trees, and God’s love for everyone.  After this, she lined up with her fellow grads for her graduation certificate and a photo with Miss Terry her favorite teacher who has a lovely smile and long, blonde hair.

The mood following the party was somewhat jovial, spoiled by a momentary fight between Claire and her friend Daisy, who was still not feeling as happy as she could be.  Claire ended up in tears until Daisy relented, and then the little divas had a goodbye hug before piling into their respective cars.

We took our kids, the happy grandparents, and Julie’s helping friend Violet to Tim Hortons for a celebratory doughnut.  Poor Julie had sat so patiently through Claire’s graduation ceremony, and decided to let us know that she was not going to sit still a moment longer.  It’s very difficult when a child who is in a wheelchair doesn’t like to be thus confined, and she cried and fussed until AJ lifted her up.  When I returned to the table with our doughnuts and coffee, it was to the sight of AJ sitting with our thirteen year old draped over his shoulder – a rather tall thirteen year old who was obviously experiencing cramps in her crooked back from sitting still for so long.  When she had been given a backrub and returned to her chair, she did what teenagers do very well, and inhaled everything she was fed.  It was lovely, for me, to have her helping friend along today, as Claire didn’t want to share me with anyone on her special day.

As a special treat, Claire was allowed a small iced cappuccino, which became self-evident on the way home.  After bouncing up and down a few times, rolling her window up, rolling her window down, rolling her window up, rolling her window down, rolling the window up, rolling the window down, etc. (I’m sure you get the picture), AJ finally reached the end of his patience and clicked the “parent control” from the drivers seat.  I caught a gasp and a momentary look of dismay on Claire’s face as her window closed.  “What’s wrong?” I asked.  “Nothing!” she hissed softly.  Then, seeing the look of enquiry on my face she leaned over and confided in a whisper … “When the window closed, my piece of snot was trapped!”

Well … so ends another wonderful day in chocolatecherrypie land!