Saturday, July 12, 2008

Relationship Economics for 6 Year Olds

This morning at breakfast Frost announced he needed to invite X to his party too. Now X is not someone with whom he is friends. They have never had a playdate. I wondered why?

"Because he always gives money for birthday presents. He gave D $20 and I need $45 to give Alex."

Uh oh, I think, but I act nochalant so I don't scare off this candour.

"Why do you need to give Alex $45?"

"To join his club"

"What's the club called?"

"Well, actually, its TEN CLUBS. First, he said I had to pay him $10 to join his club. Then he said it would be $20 for a few clubs. Then he said $45 for 10 clubs."

"What do you do in the clubs?"

"I dunno. Like, have fun. Do spy stuff. Parker is in the club. Alex said Parker gave him $50 to be in the club. Maybe Rowan is in the clubs too."

"Oh, I see. Can't you be in the club free? Most kids make clubs free?"

"No, Alex says I have to pay him that money so I need money for my birthday?"

"So, if I give you $50 you'll give it to Alex?" [I am still incredulous at my child's credulity]

[Frost senses a trap]

"Well, maybe not."

"Why don't you start a club yourself with Elias?"

"YES! Then I can charge Alex $50 to join!"

"Or, you can make your club free but tell him that you should be in his club free too."

"Yeah... maybe" [Frost is not convinced Alex will buy this deal.]

I leave it there. One day I shall have to explain the term entrepreneur. Meanwhile, I am wondering how to set up a trust fund to prevent Frost giving Alex all his savings when he turns 18.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Remlinger Farm

Yesterday we visited Remlinger Farm and enjoyed the "Country Fair Family Park" which is open through September 21st this year. Wren loved "ride neigh" and "ride boat" and "ride train" as well as feeding sheep, goats and watching hungry bunnies.

Frost was very excited about it too and did all these activities with Wren.

It was hot and Wren was sweaty, more sweaty than other kids or Frost or me. I noticed he was sweaty after running a lot at baby soccer while none of the other kids broke a sweat. It just makes me feel more worried about him, that, and the news via the blog of another Shone's toddler that the surgery she had last year for sub-aortic stenosis is showing a recurrence of the obstruction. Apparently, her LV pressures are climbing and surgery is once again an option, possibly after the next checkup.

I need the facts but I also need the fuzzy hope that this will be the last surgery Wren needs and all memory of it will blur into the mists of time, happy times. Here are some happy times yesterday:

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


These days Wren is prolifically verbal. I can't keep up with his list of words because he can copy virtually every word even though he may not recall the word to use it for a couple of days. Yesterday and today he surprised me with these phrases:

"MY burger!" (as we approached the window at Dicks to order burgers. Of course, he received his own burger to help with his mild anemia. and ate half of it.)

"Cold warm coat!" (on opening the back door at 6am and finding it very cold. I returned with a coat and he seemed almost surprised at his success, repeating "coat, warm" a few times as I put it on.)

"Taste toast!" (when I served Frost toast for breakfast but not Wren.)

Along with his newfound conversational imperatives has come an intense frustration. Half the day Wren is hooting a fierce, loud noise which means he is very frustrated and wants the toy, the brother, the mother or the world to behave differently - as he wants.

[Right now, Wren cries "bonk head" because he has bonked on the table leg as he attempts to climb up me. The moment I do something other than him he comes and demands "more muk" and goes to sit on the couch to wait for me with loud shouting and forced cries.]

Here is a picture of Wren captured in a frustrated hoot as the Duplo blocks fail to connect as he intended.

Yesterday, other moments of complaint included when the pile of river rocks he was making toppled over, when the bugs wouldn't fit in the box, when the animal cards fell out of the tub, when Frost wouldn't let him play with his toys... etc.

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Holiday Weekend

I bet this is not something a parent often says but "I didn't buy enough fireworks." Frost was exuberantly excited about them and managed to wait until 4pm. However, the fireworks I had allowed him did not last as long as his passion. Here he is leaping with energy while watching a blue smoke bomb. Before Josh started to light them, Frost lined them up along the deck in order of appearance. Thankfully, it will be dark earlier for new year's eve and my largesses will be better appreciated.

The other big theme of the weekend was SNAILS. A couple of weeks ago I planted a second batch of beans and some squash starts. Our first batch of beans which Joshua grew from seed were all decimated by snails from a few days after germination until they grew 5" tall. Only 2 survived. This time, I decided to barricade them with inverted soda bottles which I topped and tailed and gave a crenelated border to discourage snailvaders.

The method lasted about a week before the first silver trail and missing leaves announced the offensive. One sunflower and one bean were eaten bare (and the sunflower, beheaded 2" from the ground, before I decided to start stomping on snails. Wren noticed my obsession with snails and enjoys our morning snail hunts. Here are a couple of pictures of Wren on the driveway and pointing out a snail on the wall, which is where they congregate in the hundreds after a rain.

On Sunday, Wren came outside in barefeet and started stomping on snails. Clearly, this was a problem. Plus, as Joshua pointed out, I would have to squash hundreds and hundreds to save a few plants. My first Plan B was to capture lots of snails. Here are the prisoners getting rowdy. Frost was very agitated by the capture and Wren was thrilled. He found he could pick up snails and put them against things and they stuck. He said "on" and then pulled them "off" and put them "in" the cup again. Needless to say, many escaped and the rest of them went into a hardy shrub by the curb. Lauren said she puts them in the yard waste but I couldn't bring myself to do that either.

Our final plan is Sluggo. This stuff is sold for "organic gardening" but I don't think its really in the spirit of organics. It is some naturally occuring iron compound which is delicious to snails but makes them stop eating and starve to death. Frost overheard Josh reading that "the dead snails may not be visible because they may move away into a hidden area to die". Josh and I exclaimed that this sounded awful and Frost is very upset about it. But after another bean plant was eaten to death overnight I have no mercy left. We are now sluggoed and the rate of eating has not stopped, but was much diminished last night.

Wren's Health Update
Wren's fever subsided on Saturday and aside from some unexplained sad wakings at night, he seems back to his usual state of health. He is waking at 5am thesedays but I am doing OK thanks to my naturopath prescribed licorice potion.

I spoke with his doctor today and she mentioned that Wren's platelets are not as low as I thought Thursday. They are actually at 185 (base of low range is 150). Still, I have been giving him broccoli potato soup and oatmeal and am planning on some lamb tonight to help get his iron and vitamin K up.

He is also going to start on a mild iron supplement.

Yesterday I went to our monthly Heart to Heart Support group held at Childrens' Hospital. Usually, the meeting is reassuring but this time I came away with concerns about inexperienced interns (apparently it is inadvisable to be in a teaching hospital in July because the new crop of graduates comes on June 25th lacking experience). Also, problems with weekend staffing and intensivist shortages.

As if the mere procedure isn't enough. Argh.

Today we are going on a school playdate to a local wading pool playground.