Sunday, 19 July 2015

Malcolm at 7 months


Nobody loves Peek-A-Boo as much as Malcolm Warner.

One night, while Scarlett is tucking herself into bed, we scheme about how to scare Daddy when he comes up for his good-night kiss.  We plan it all out in the twilight of her room.  When we get to the end, we say "Boo!"

Malcolm is on my hip, in the dark, listening to us.  After we say "Boo," there is a giggle -- or, more accurately, a guttural "Haaaaaaaaaaaah.  Pause.  Haaaaaaaaaaaah.  Pause.  Haaaaaaaaaaaah."  We practice the "Boo" again, and again the laugh.

In Malcolm's mind, Boo means only one thing, and he thinks it is hilarious.  We think he is hilarious, so instead of scaring Daddy, we all pretend to play Peek-A-Boo in the dark and giggle at each other and 7-month old jokes.

Friday, 17 July 2015

The Killman Zoo

Killman Zoo.  Killman Zoo.  The foreshadowing didn't elude me.  If I ever write a short story about lions or tigers or bears attacking people, it will be set in a place called Killman Zoo.

So there we were, unpacking the kids in a gravel parking lot beside a quiet country road.  "Just wait until you see it," my brother had said. "You don't really understand how big a tiger is until you are standing beside one."  I hadn't taken him too seriously until that moment, standing on the gravel, when I looked to my right and found a lion lazily looking back at me, three feet from the path.  This was going to be death defying.

There is a certain thrill that comes with touring through predators that are fenced in with glorified chicken wire.  It's kind of like skydiving: you've got an insurance policy, but it seems a little flimsy.

The kids thought the giant cats were great.  It was the emus that freaked them out.  The big birds with tiny little heads and long necks, perfectly evolved to fit through chain link fences and beg for peanuts from children.  The owner of the zoo must have a dark sense of humour because he put them on both sides of the four-foot-wide pathway.  If you don't have peanuts in your hand, its kind of funny.  If you do, its a gauntlet.  And did you know Emus make dinosaur-like clucking noises?  They do.  You look into their ugly little faces, listen to them purr, and start to imagine what it is like to be in Jurassic Park.  Its thrilling.

Shawn's favourite part was the cougar.  Entirely because an unsuspecting wild rabbit with a death wish slowly bounced towards its cage.  It was a wildlife documentary happening in real time.  All that was missing was the slow motion and the Sir David Attenborough narration.  When the rabbit bounced in the cage, we knew we should probably shield the children, but we couldn't take our eyes off the scene.  The rabbit narrowly escaped.  We decided that we would never walk alone in a forest again.

Killman Zoo.  Perhaps the most fun you can have without actually risking your life.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Camping with a baby


We went camping this weekend.

Let me give you the punch line first: Malcolm woke up with a tooth on Saturday morning.

Now I'm not sure I need to tell you the story, but I'll list a few eternal truths so that this might serve as a cautionary tale for all those ambitious young camping parents in the crowd:
1. Rocking/swaying a crying baby to sleep is not easy when you are hunched over and your head is crooked to accommodate the low ceiling height of a tent.
2. Infants do not like the sound of zippers.
3. Nursing in the pitch black on the ground is not easy.
4. You can not move if you have a baby "sleeping" with you on an air mattress.  The baby is not actually sleeping.  It is just pretending, and when you shift it stops pretending.  This is especially bothersome if you forget your pillow at home.
5. At family friendly campgrounds, there is often more than one child under the age of 2.  Sometimes they wake each other up.  Kind of like bullfrogs, only the opposite.

For those of you that are keeping track, yes, this is the second camping failure of epic proportions.

On the plus side, we had a blast with the older kids.  We went to a water park, shared campfire laughs with neighbours, ate marshmallows and happily cut our loses at 9pm the second night to head home to our own beds.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

I spy with my little eye


Canada Day.  Warner family van, on a back road somewhere outside of Gananoque.  3:13pm.

Scarlett: I spy with my little eye something that is black.
Nevin: The road?
Scarlett: No.  Its on Daddy's phone.
Nevin: Daddy's phone?
Scarlett: YES!  Good job, Nev!

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