She's not angry. She's just trying angry on to see if it fits.

Alice walks in the room. She's wearing and old dress-up tutu.

Alice: I bal-reena.

Me: You sure are. And the prettiest ballerina I've ever seen.

Her brow furrows. 

Alice: I bal-reena, Dad.

Me: Yes. A ballerina. That's you.

She purses her lips.


Me: (a teensy bit terrified) You bal-reena.

She folds her arms.

Alice: (speaking slowly and deliberately) NO, DAD. I. BAL. REENA.

She stomps out of the room before I can reply.

Alice: No talk to me, Dad. I bal-reena.

Awesome Humility

This morning in the big bed. I am barely awake.

Henry: (just stirring) Mornin', Dad.

Me: (stretching) Mornin', Cornbread. How are you doing?

Henry: Awesome. How about you?

Me: Also awesome. Jane, how are you?

Jane rolls over on her side.

Jane: Awesome.

Me: That's awesome.

Henry: Totally awesome.

A few moments pass.

Me: Look at us. Just laying here. Being awesome.

Henry: I think we're the awesomest three people in the world.

Me: Yeah.

Jane: (sitting up) What about Mum?

Henry: She's awesome!

Jane: -and Alice!

Me: She's awesome, too.

A few more moments pass.

Henry: Maybe we're just the awesomest family ever.

Jake: In a better place

A rare event: I slept in this morning. What a wonderful feeling. My eyes popped open and the only one left in the big bed with me was Jane.

Jane: (eyes closed) We're still sleeping, Dad.

Me: (pulling the blanket higher) I know. Isn't it great?

Very quickly, however, things were not great. In the kitchen, Erin was pouring Henry a bowl of Cheerios. One of the Os fell on the floor.

Erin: Jake! Come get it!

No response. 

No scampering claws. 

No thunderous appearance in the room. 


Erin: Jakey?

Henry: Jake?

Alice: Jakey? Where are you?

I jumped out of bed.

Erin: He must have slipped outside last night when Jonah went home.

(Our neighbour came over to watch the first period of the hockey game with Henry)

Erin and I exchanged a concerned look. The kids were getting scared. I put on my rain jacket, grabbed the keys to the car, and stepped out the door.

(Before I go any farther, I must explain why it's possible that out dog can be absent for 10 or more hours without us noticing. If you have ever met dear Jake, you know what a saint of a dog he is. Quiet. Well mannered. Friendly. And with a bladder the size of a small child. After being inside for 12 consecutive hours overnight, he will not go outside to pee if it's raining. Or snowing. Or windy. He can hold it forever. He spent a night outside this summer without us noticing. I woke up one hot morning to find him sleeping quietly in a cool corner of the deck. Not a peep or bark of complaint.)

I drove up and down our street going 10 km/hr. Not a trace of him.

He is not a wanderer. I couldn't imagine him going far. Still...

My mind started to put together scenarios if I found him in the ditch. As the time ticks by, this seems more and more likely.

My phone rings. I pull over.

Me: Hello?

Henry: We found Jakey!

I raced home. The kids had become fairly weepy, and so were trying to think of any hiding place they could. Henry was the first to suggest the basement. 

Erin opened the door and walked down the rickety stairs to the cool, dank room.

Erin: Jakey?

A rustle in the far corner. The sound of a tail flapping against something soft.

The dog had discovered our discarded futon mattress in the corner of the basement. No wonder he hadn't complained. It was probably the most comfortable night's sleep he had in years.

Dream a little dream

Middle of the night. Henry is dead asleep.

"So, is your husband driving?"

I lay awake, my whole body heaving from the giggles I am trying to repress.

Five minutes later.

"We made it."

I am so relieved. 

I have so much to teach the next generation

Saturday morning. Erin has taken Jane to her dance class. Henry and Alice decide they'd like to do a bit of homeschoolin'. These days, they get in the schoolin' zone by way of the bus, which oddly resembles a line of chairs in the dining room.

I sit in the head chair. Henry and Alice wait patiently beside me.

Me: (stepping hard on the brake) SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEECH!

I open the bus door.

Me: What?

Henry: You're the bus driver. We'd like to go to school, please.

Me: OK. Get on. Sit down quick, I ain't waiting here forever.

They sit in the chairs behind me.

Me: Hold on.

I close the door, slam the bus into first gear, and give 'er the gas.

Me: VROOOOOOOOOOOOM! (change gear) VROOOOOOOOOOM! (change gear) VRRROOOOOOM! (wrench the wheel to the right) SCREEEEEEECH!

Alice: This fast.

Henry: Mum doesn't normally drive the bus like this.

Me: You're mother's not here. (change gear) VROOOOOOOOM!

I look behind us.

Me: Oh, great. The Fuzz.

Henry: What's "the Fuzz"?

Me: The Cops, man. Let's lose 'em.

Alice: Cops, man.

We drive as fast as our yellow bus can go, turning screeching fishtails around every corner. Henry flaps his hands in excitement.

Henry: (glancing back) They're still following us!

Me: I have an idea.

I turn toward a stretch of road that heads toward the river.

Me: The bridge is up. (eyes narrow) Just as I suspected. 

Alice: Cops, man!

Me: VROOOOOOOOM! (change gears) VROOOOOM! We're going to jump the bridge! Hold on, kids!

We speed to the edge of the open bridge and soar through the air, taking note of the many boats and sharks below.

Me: (shaking violently as we land) GOOOSH!  We made it! Henry, are the cops still there?

Henry: They fell in the river!

Me: Yes!

We high five, then drive the rest of the way to school.

Later, we do a math sheet.

Dad in the Ladies Room

I was reading a poignant post (Dr. Snip!) over at a Peek Inside the Fishbowl when I realized I never cross-posted the bit of guest blogging I did over there. So, here, from waay back in August, is "Dad in the Ladies Room."

I cannot believe I’m in the Fishbowl! Gosh. It’s much roomier than I thought.

I’m Dave from over at Tomato Transplants. My wife, Erin, and I grew up in Leamington, Ontario — the Tomato Capital of Canada. We’re raising our three kids on Prince Edward Island. Henry is six. Jane is four. Alice turns two this week.


It’s Friday. Erin is still recovering from her surgery. She feels good today. She looks good. We celebrate by taking the kids out for a rare restaurant meal. We choose an Italian place on Victoria Row — a pedestrian mall in Charlottetown.

The kids behave splendidly. Erin’s dark hair and sunglasses shine in the evening sun. She is beautiful. I am so lucky.

We pay, and linger on the street for a few moments. A band plays. The kids start to dance.

Erin: I’m going to run into the Confed Centre to use the bathroom.

Me: OK. Kids, do you have to go?

Kids: (dancing) No!

Me: Are you sure?

They look at me as if I am a moron.

Erin leaves. I’m left with two twirling dresses and a six-year-old boy trying to look cool. The tie helps (he dressed himself).

Alice: (twirling) I’m drunk!

Me: (blushing)Oh — heh — don’t say that, sweetie.

A few faces turn to us. I kick myself for laughing uncontrollably the first time she ever said this line.

Jane: I have to go pee.

Me: What?

Henry: Me, too.

Me: But we just asked -

Alice:Haff to pee.

Me: You wear a diaper!

I think a minute. I can take them to the Confed Centre, but I don’t want to risk Erin missing us when she returns. She’s still awfully tired. I’ve been counting her steps all night, and can imagine her searching far and wide for us if she finds us AWOL.

Me: How bad do you have to go?

Jane/Henry: BAD.

We rush into the Confed Centre. We don’t meet Erin on the way in. I assume she is still in the Ladies’ Room. I realize if we go to the Men’s Room, she — again — might miss us on the way out.
Jane’s seems to be the more urgent case, so I let her into the Ladies’ Room. I call into the room as Jane enters.

Me: Erin — It’s us. Jane is coming in.

I wait a minute.

I hear Jane yell something from inside the bathroom.

I crack the door open.

Me: What’s that, Janey?

Jane: I said, I’m pooping.

Me: (panicking slightly) Is Mum in there?

Jane: I don’t know. Mum?

No answer.


Where is she?

How am I going to deal with Janey? She has wiped herself before, but with mixed results.

Jane: I’m done.

I make a decision.

Me: Janey, you’re going to have to wipe yourself.

Jane: I can’t!

Alice squirms on my hip. Henry does the Little Boy Pee-Pee Dance. A stream of people walk past. I can only imagine what they think of this man yelling into the women’s bathroom.

Woman: (smiling) You’ve got your hands full.


Alice: I’m drunk.

The woman scoots away.

I convince Jane she can, in fact, wipe herself. “I be-lieve in you!”

We return to the street, and find Erin waiting patiently. She had, as it turns out, gone on from the bathroom to buy tickets at the Confed-Centre Box Office for a show that’s coming to town in a few weeks. That’s why we missed her.

Erin: What happened to you guys?

Henry: Dad made us go in the girls’ bathroom.

Alice: I peed!