Sunday, February 10, 2002

Michael & Melissa Meet the Terrorist Ducks

Note: This entry has been reposted courtesy of the waaaay-back machine to offer context for more recent events. It was originally posted on the Edwin Home site in February 2002.

It was a nice Sunday, one week ago today, that we decided to get the children out of the house and into the great outdoors. After some intial waffling about where to go, we finally decided on Reifel Bird Sanctuary and headed out. We stopped at a Tim Hortons for a donut treat and then drove into the beatiful sunshiine, chatting happily - while our children quietly (and very stickily) consumed their donuts.

The only problem to mar this blissful scene, was that neither of us completely remembered the way to Reifel Bird Sanctuary. It took several wrong turns and a couple of un-necessary trips through the Massey tunnel for Allan to hand me (Cheryl) a map to navigate from. As all of you know, that was a tactical error of massive proportions.

I found the sanctuary on the map without any difficulty and gave Allan what seemed to me to be the right directions - and then the road vanished. It simply was not the road that it appeared we should be on anymore. Allan pulls over so Cheryl can look at the map. ??????!!!!!!

Well, it turns out that a little jog on the map was not the same road through the town, but several different roads, and then the main road started back up again on the other side on the other side of town . Well, I figured out what roads we should take and off we go again. Then Allan asks me, "Right or left?"

"ARGHGHG, which way are we going, lets see...we came from....and now we are on....I don't know....LEFT!!!" I reply.

Wrong answer - we are now going the wrong direction.

Allan figures this out because he realizes where we are. It is now MY FAULT we are lost. I try to explain that I needed more time, because I had to turn the map so it was facing the same way as the car. I must have had the map turned the wrong way, I explain to Allan.

"You have to turn the MAP all the time??????" says Allan, now very seriously regretting his decision to have me navigate while he drove. We turn around and go back to the intersection, where we had both clearly missed a sign pointing the way to the bird sanctuary.

Within a few minutes we are there - and it is indeed beautiful. There is a stream and birds (mostly ducks) everywhere. The children are happy and excited. We see we can buy bird seed in $0.50 packs. I go overboard and buy 14 of them. It was a good thing too. When the ducks saw we had bought bird seed, they mobbed us. We were surrounded by what seemed like 100+ quacking ducks. At this point, Allan became very unhappy that the camera had been forgotten at home. That really was quite a sight!

I gave Melissa and Michael each one little packet. They start trying to put their hands in, to get seed to give the ducks. The poor kids never had a chance! The ducks grabbed the bags out of their little hands, ripped them open with their beaks, and gobbled it all up; fighting with each other all the while. Then those ducks started trying to bite us for more! Allan and I picked up our overwhelmed toddlers and hustled them farther into the bird sanctuay - away from where the ducks know the food is sold.

We found a warming hut that I went in to change and nurse Maddy. The hut was set out on pilings out onto a marsh and it had a deck that ran all the way around it. Melissa and Michael had a good time feeding the ducks with Daddy off the deck overlooking the water.

After the pause to attend to Roo, we walked on, stopping at benches on the patch near water to throw seed at ducks. The kids still got mobbed, but not nearly so badly.

Michael was more interested in ducks in the water and Daddy was helping him feed them a handful at a time. Melissa liked to climb on the benches and throw a whole packet at the ducks and watch them fight for it.

"They are fighting", Baboo said gleefully. "No biting ducks! NO BITING! That's NOT nice!", she told them.

At one point, the ducks were overwhelming her after she fed them the birdseed, so she started throwing ROCKS at the ducks.

"Don't throw rocks at the ducks; that's not nice" I said.

"I LIKE SCARE DUCKS!" Melissa said emphatically and threw another rock.

It was time to keep walking. By now we had covered almost a Km. Now that may not seem like a long way to most of you, but it's a long ways to walk with toddlers, especially when we had not thought to bring backpack, strollers, or the wagon.

I got to sit on a bench and nurse Maddy, while Allan continued on wtih M1 and M2. We figured I could catch him pretty easily later.

It was a lovely quiet time; Michael and Melissa were feeding a horde of ducks down the trail and a family on the other side of the pond from me was feeding another horde. I got to feed a few seeds at a time to 4 ducks: 1 female and 1 male mallard, 1 pintail, and 1 coot. It was fun to watch them dunking under the water and hear their distintive voices rather than the loud quacking of a hundred seemingly famished ducks.

I noticed the other family was using birdseed in a plastic bag - much cheaper, I thought. We'll have to do that next time. Then I was able to catch up to the others.

Then it happened - Michael headed for the water. Not nice water, but yucky, mucky, duck-poopy water. Allan was already catching Melissa and I was readjusting a very fussy Maddy in the sling. We didn't catch him in time and he started walking into the water. We yelled at Michael to come out of the water, but the poor boy, in trying to turn around and look at us, fell completly in!

His coat, books, socks, and pants were soaked through and covered in mud and duck poo. Since Maddy was screaming anyway and Allan was ahead with Melissa and they were still enjoying themselves, I headed for the car with Michael in tow. Well, Michael was tired, wet and cold and he did not want to walk. He walked just far enough to get us well away from Allan and Melissa. With my directional ability (ha!), I wasn't going back to try to find where those two had gone. However, I did not want to pick him up because Maddy was in the sling and I didn't want all that duck poo and yucky mud on her. So we walked, well, I walked, and had to half drag poor Michael. He sat down every few steps and cried. Maddy kept on screaming in the sling. It was absolutely awful.

I finally picked up the boy by the back of his onesie and carried him out to the side away from my body on one extended arm. We finally made it to the car: Michael and Maddy both still wailing. By now I am feeling like everyone else must think that I am the world's worst parent. This alternates with thoughts of "well, if they think that they could have offered to HELP me here".

I put Maddy in her carseat and let her fuss. I strip Michael outside of the car and realize that Allan has the backpack with spare clothes and diapers. Fortunately, we had stopped at Walmart and purchased diapers and wipes on the way. I put his yucky clothes & boots in the Walmart bag and wipe him down with wipes. He is very cold, but not crying so much anymore.

We continue to get strange stares from passing people. Then I diaper him and search the car for clothing. I find the smaller LL Bean fleece; brought along as a spare in case Maddy spit up. She had spit up all over her fleece by now, but now that the spit up was finally over, she was sleeping and I figured Michael was the more dire case!

On went the fleece over just the diaper! As soon as he was in the fleece, he gave me the big, happy, Michael grin. I picked him up and we fed the terrorist ducks a bit more by the car. There don't seem to be as many of them there now.

Soon after this Allan showed up with the Baboo and we get ready to head for home. Baboo is not happy about this - she wanted to feed more ducks.

"All done feeding ducks, the duck food is all gone" we tell her. She cries anyway. Michael goes to sleep, then Melissa goes to sleep. When we get home we discover that we still have a packet birdseed in the backpack!

Other Notes

Melissa came to me the other day and said "Look at my fingers". She wiggled her fingers at me.

"How many fingers to you have?" I asked.

She looked at me.

"Let's count them," I said and started counting, "1,2..."

Melissa continued "fwee, four, five, six, seven, EIGHT fingers!"

"I think you have 10 fingers, lets count again" I said.

"No," said Melissa "two, twee, four, five, six, seven, eight and MY THUMBS!"

I was amazed; she was RIGHT she does have eight fingers and her thumbs!

I think this is all for today. Maddy slept 6 straight hours last night from 2am-8am, then was awake. So I've been up, fed her, showered, folded laundry off the line, wrote (while she's been in the bouncy seat next to me), and now she's asleep in the seat again, but I hear Michael!

Thursday, February 07, 2002

Life with Toddlers

Last Friday was quite a day. I was attempting to run laundry, cook, and do the Friday cleaning. The toddlers could sense my distraction and took full advantage of the situation. Here are a few of the highlights.

While Melissa and I mixed muffins, Michael played on the computer. He managed to scratch the Reader Rabbit Toddler CD so badly that it no longer plays. Melissa is very sad about that. We have a Reader Rabbit Preschool (ages 3-5) CD somewhere, but we can't find it, and she is not old enough yet for Reader Rabbit Kindergarten.

I then went up to get laundry and came down to discover that Michael had learned to get into the "new" diaper pail (an actual pail with lid that even I have a hard time removing). Dirty diapers were scattered all over the house. Michael was gleefully carrying one of Maddy's poopy ones around! UGH! I cleaned up Michael and washed his hands, cleaned up the diapers and washed my hands, and then explained that diapers are dirty and are to be left in the pail. Michael just looked at me like "I" was the one who was nuts here!

While this was happening, I managed to burn the muffins I had in the oven. They were black on the outside and the house was filled with smoke. I got them out of the oven, opened windows, and turned on the vent.

"Muffins! Muffins!" said Melissa.

"The muffins are burnt," I told her.

I got the muffins out of the pans and let them sit on wire racks to cool down before I threw them out. Then off I headed to get some laundry to hang on the lines. When I came back down, I saw the toddlers. They had burnt muffins. They were splitting them open, eating the middles, and then throwing the burnt outsides on the floor.

The toddlers, kitchen floor, table, kitchen counter, and some of the living room were covered in burnt muffin bits AND mushed blueberries. These were blueberry muffins!

"I eating muffins" said the Baboo, followed by "I all done".

I cleaned up both children and sent them out to watch "Mr. Rogers" while I worked on the muffin mess. [Yes, I resorted to television.] I threw the rest of the ill-fated muffins in the garbage (after munching a few muffin insides myself) and cleaned the counters and the table. Then I vacuumed the living room rug and the kitchen floor, moved the table into the living room, mopped the floor, then washed the dishes including the charcoal muffin tins.

You would think that I would have clued into the fact that they were hungry, but no such thought entered my head. From there, I actually left them in the living room again while I went upstairs to do laundry. When I came back down I discovered a big wet patch on the living room rug. I looked around for a spilled cup. What I spotted was a jar lid on the floor. Close by were the toddlers huddled together - very intent on something. That something turned out to be a new open jar of dill pickles -- minus most of the pickle juice!.

Michael had the jar in one hand and a pickle in another. The jar looked as though it could slip out of his little hand at any moment. Melissa held a pickle in each hand and there was a pickle sitting on their little table. The pantry cupboard was wide open. Michael had learned to break through the double cupboard door locking device!

I removed the pickle jar from Michael, put the lid on and stuck it in the fridge. Then I soaked up as much of the pickle juice as I could out of the rug. The toddlers continued eating their pickles over the living room rug. When they were done, I washed up their hands and resorted to BOTTLES!!

Michael got a bottle and was put to bed for a nap. Melissa was having her bottle in the living room watching more Mr. Rogers. Maddy was sleeping too, so I thought it was safe to go hang clothes on the racks. Then the phone rang and I was in the middle of answering reference questions for a potential employer of one of our friends.

When I got off the phone, I noticed there was a draft in the house. The door was open. I yelled for Melissa and got no answer. Panicking, I ran outside into the snow with my bare feet and yelled "Melissa!" again.

A small voice answered, "I outside".

She was outside in the snow wearing a little cotton dress and daddy's running shoes. She had opened the deadbolt, opened the door, and then left the house. I hadn't even heard her leave! I grabbed her hand and headed inside.

"NOOOOOOOO!", screamed the Baboo! "I want go outside!".

I explained that she would be cold without a coat and it is not safe to be outside without anyone with her.

"Yes, I need coat", said the Baboo, so in we came. I took off the big shoes and then followed Melissa who was intent on finding her coat to go back outside.

Then I saw it: BLOOD spots all over my clean tile. The Baboo must be hurt!

"Where are you hurt?" I asked her.

"I NOT hurt" said the Baboo.

"There is blood all over the floor; you are bleeding somewhere", I lifted her onto the table and started checking her for blood.

"I NOT bleeding, Mommy, the FLOOR is bleeding" said Baboo.

I couldn't find blood anywhere on her.

"Floor bleeding", said the baboo again.

Then I looked down: my own foot was bleeding from a scrape that I must have gotten racing out to bring her in from the snow.

"Mommy is bleeding, Mommy needs a band aid", I said.

"I need a bandaid too!" said Baboo and the lure of the great outside was forgotten: eclipsed by the fun of bandaids.

Melissa and I each got 2 bandaids and then got Michael and Maddy up from their naps. It was time to start supper. The day was almost over and Allan would soon be home from work. Amazingly enough, the day ended with clean children, clean bathroom, clean floors, clean kitchen, and even some edible food!