Archive for the ‘Toddlerhood’ Category

Viruses.  As a molecular biologist, viruses fascinated me to no end.  So tiny and so simple.  Often with such narrow, narrow habitats that you wonder how they can flourish while orangutans, who can live anywhere in the whole damn jungle are dying.  As a parent, viruses piss. me. off.

Case in point, my kids have the croup.  It’s my daughter’s first ever time having croup and it’s the worst croup we’ve ever seen in our house.  Almost ER visit level of croup.  Lady Fair has a beautiful, complex genome.  Her tens of thousands of genes make everything from intestines to eyelashes.  Gorgeous eyelashes, if I say it myself.  Her genes let her walk, talk and think.  Imagine that, we think because of the structures our genes build.  Someday her genes will let her build a whole different person right in her body.

And then she got croup and it kicked her ass.

A teeny tiny virus.  It has like six genes, did you know that?  It has a gene (or two) to make the tools to copy itself.  Basically a microscopic photocopier.  No, not even a photocopier, more like carbon paper!  Then it’s got a couple of genes to sew itself a coat with.  Poor virus doesn’t want to get cold, don’t you know.  And maybe, maybe it’s got a gene or two to help it get around in the world.  That’s it.

Then let’s consider the habitat.  Croup takes up residence in the upper airways of the itty-bittyest people on the planet.  Lady Fair’s whole neck is about 26cm in circumference and this little jerk of a virus has not only found its way in there, it has also found her even smaller larynx.  Think about that.  And think about those orangutans with all their own beautiful genome and all of that jungle.  And really, it’s the virus who wins this game?

Pretty much proof of Darwinian evolution.  If there were a supreme being up there (wherever ‘there’ is) putting all of this together, that being would have done a much better design job.  Then again, maybe the being is there, and he’s a giant jerky virus in the sky.


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This post is a bit of a sequel to Parenting Pipedreams.  Some of them are starting to look a little less Pipey.


I love babies.  I really love my babies.  I love the squishy-ness, the contact, everything.  Parenting very small people is fantastically delicious.  It’s also INtense.  And as much as I love it, I have to admit that I’m also a little bit happy that the intensity is starting to subside a little.

As of the last time I risked putting a finger into Lady Fair’s mouth, she had 15 teeth.  That makes us 87.5% done teething.

Since Lady Fair is super into doing EVERYTHING like her brother, I estimate we are also about 88% done diapers.

The kids sleep in (read: >6:30 a.m.) more often than not now, so we’re about 75% done with ridiculously early mornings.

We’re 99.9% done with baby gates.  In fact, I had taken the gate down, but Mr. Fair inexplicably put it back up.

I am 50% done wrangling small arms into seemingly smaller shirt sleeves.

Now that I leave the house three whole days a week for school, I get to drink 14% of my coffees while they’re still hot!  That might not seem like a lot, but let me tell you…

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Yup, Little Man is at the ‘Why?” stage.  Except that he actually asks “How” instead of “Why”.  All day, it’s “How this?” and “How that?”.  And lately he’s also caught on to the fact that I find it a bit… tiresome.  So do you know what he’s started doing?  Asking endless series of “Hows” with a big smirk on his face.  So yesterday, I put my many years of higher education to work to nip this poop in the bud enlighten him:


Little Man: “Hey Mom?”

Me: “Yes, sweetheart.”

Little Man: “How did Dad go boat fishing?”

Me: “He drove in the car.”

Little Man: “How did he drive in the car?”

You want to know how Dad drives the car? I can tell you. How much detail do you want??

Me: “On the road.”

Little Man: “How did the car get on the road?”

Me; “He turned it on and drove it on the road.”

Little Man: “How did he turn it on and drive it?”

(are you seeing now why I find this so irritating??)

Me: “With his hands and feet.”

Little Man: “How did he drive the car with his hands and feet?”


Me. “Well, you see, the nerve impulses, what are called action potentials travel all the way down the neuron from his brain to his hands and feet and when they get there, the positive membrane potential causes acetylcholine to be released into the neuromuscular junction, which causes the muscle fibres to contract so that his hands and feet move.”

Little Man: *blink, blink, vanishing smirk* “Hey Mom?”

Me: “Yes, sweetheart.”

Little Man: “Do you want to see me do a big jump?”

Me: “I sure do!”

Mission accomplished.



PS Many thanks are owed to Charlotte Youngson for her excellent physiology teaching.


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The other day Mr. Fair and I had the following hilarious conversation.  Little Man was away at his grandparents’ house and we were discussing what to do with an evening with only one small(ish) child in the house.  Can you guess where this is going?

Mr. Fair: “We should watch a movie tonight.  And, drink some wine too.”

Me: “Yup.  And hey, we could even DO IT!”

Mr. Fair: “Ya, while we’re drinking wine!”

Me: “And here’s a crazy idea: we can do it in our bed!!”

(NB. The current sleeping situation consists of DH and Little Man in the ‘Master Bedroom’ and me and Lady Fair in the ‘kids’ bedroom.’  So Little Man’s absence frees up what is ostensibly the grown up bed)

MR. Fair: **Gives me a slightly quizzical look.** “Ya, I guess we could… Wait… Aren’t we talking about folding laundry?”


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To bring you this video I just found in the archives that has me sitting up at the computer at midnight hitting replay.

I was about 38 weeks pregnant and Little Man was giving the belly some love while he nursed.  Although this was the phase when he insisted it was a piggy, not a belly…


I promise, the rest of the BLW series will be back when my ovaries stop tingling for another baby (which we’re NOT having).

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OK, you’ve all heard the cliché about the big fancy toy in the cardboard box.  This is not about that, but it is about the other random, mundane, unexpected and even weird things that I’ve discovered have the ability to captivate little ones for far longer than anything Mattel makes.

Silicone pastry/basting brush: If I were planning on roasting my baby, she’d come out so juicy and golden brown that Martha Stewart would be envious.  That’s how much Lady Fair likes to be ‘basted’.  She vibrates with happiness when we tickle her feet with it.  The best part is that it’s totally dishwasher safe, so when Little Man decides to grab it out of his sister’s hands and tickle his scrotum with it (boys and their dangly bits, I tell ya) we can clean it right up.

Spoon: Little Man was NOT a toy-lover.  In fact, the first ‘toy’ he ever paid attention to was a spoon and that was when he was sitting up in a chair.  I suppose it’s a nice teether, especially if run under chilly water first.  The main benefit from a parent’s perspective though is that you really never have to pack it.  Every relative you visit and restaurant you patronize has a spoon on hand.  It’s a lazy mother’s dream.

Pill organizer: It should go without saying that I’m talking about an EMPTY pill organizer.  Not sure why, but something about opening and closing (and opening and closing) each one of those compartments is positively addictive.  It also serves as a perfect storage spot for little rocks (read more on rocks below).

Keys:  Keys, keys, wonderful keys.  How would I ever get through a grocery shopping trip without you?  I bet you didn’t know the coin slot on your grocery cart was actually a lock waiting to be opened by a toddler with keys, did you?  Well, I did because Little Man’s been working on that lock weekly for the last 18 months or so.

Rocks:  Luckily he doesn’t actually look like the Rock Biter, but Little Man’s taste for putting rocks in his mouth is straight out of the Never Ending Story.  Which also brings me to thanking goodness we did Baby-led solids, so his skills with foreign objects in his mouth were very advanced.  When he’s not eating them, he’s banging things with them, stacking them, filling his pockets with them.

Clothes pins:  Not only are they good for pinching your frenemies, they double as jewelery and hair clips and you can make sculptures out of them.

Peri bottles: Yes, you read that right.  The thing your midwife or OB gave you to wash your bruised and battered bottom after you pushed your kiddo into the world, don’t throw it out.  In just a few short months that will become the most sought-after bath toy of all time.  Consider disinfecting it in the meantime though.

And then of course, there’s that cardboard box too…

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Cosleeping already, awww.

If you look closely you can see the head of his baby triceratops poking out of the pajama bottoms that I rigged into a sling. He wanted his baby to be “nice cozy like baby sisser”.  That dino has also been nursed on several occasions by me AND Little Man 🙂

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