Pointless Arguments

These are the conversations that happen when we are trapped indoors because of cold, rainy weather outside.

Mat: “I want to wear my nacho”.

Me: “What?!”.

Mat: “I want to wear my nacho”.

Me: “you want to eat some nachos?”

Mat: “No, I want to wear my nacho”.

Me: “How exactly do you propose that you wear a nacho?”

Mat: “I will pull it over my head, I put my hands in the hand holes and you tie the bottom.”

Me: “Oh! You want to wear your poncho!”

Mat: “Yes, I want to wear my pacho.”

Me: “You can’t wear your pONcho. Your pONcho is for when it is raining. You are indoors and it does not rain indoors.”

Mat: “I want to wear my pACho.”

Me: “No.”

Mat: “Yes.”

Me: “No.”


Me: “No.”


Me: “No.”


Me: “You can’t wear your pONcho. Your pONcho is for when it is raining. You are indoors and it does not rain indoors.”

Mat: “Can I wear it tomorrow if it rains?”

Me: “Yes.”

Mat: “I hope it rains tomorrow too. Then I will wear my pACho and be a superhero.”

Me: “OK”

Mat: “Can I have nachos now?”

Breaking the Unbreakable

I have a running joke; that no matter what you do to them, my children will never stop moving. Even in their sleep, they both run. And never in a million years would I ever say that there is such a thing as too much running, jumping and playing for either of them.

But it turns out there is such a thing as too much and I found this out on Sunday.

On Sunday, it was the warmest day that we had had in about 8 months. The temperatures were in the low twenties, the sun was shining and there was the tiniest of breezes. It was a lovely day to do something outdoors.

And we did a lot of things outdoors.

It all started around 10. The boys went on a bike ride with Millhouse. They went around the block twice. Then we went on a 2km hike. Then we got back home and the kids all spent the afternoon in the backyard as I made dinner. After dinner, they went back out into the driveway so that they could play on their scooters. There was about eight hours of physical activity.

It was wonderful.

Until bath time.

By the time bath time rolled around, the boys had accumulated a good amount of overall grime on all visible surfaces of their bodies. Plus, they were sweaty and hot. The heat was starting to make them miserable so I let them forego the regular shower for a bath in the big bath tub. The big bath tub makes a really good quasi swimming pool when you are in a pinch. And given how much running, jumping and craziness they had done for most of the day, I figured it would be a nice treat for them.

I filled the bath tub with warm water and salt and let them each have their turn to splash around and cool down. Mat’s bath went down without a hitch. He was in there for about 20 minutes just chilling.

Then I drained the tub and repeated the process for Maks bath. The majority of Maks bath consisted of Maks floating in the tub, just chilling. He was having a good time up until I told him it was time to come out. When I told Maks it was time to come out, he tried to stand up and he couldn’t. His knees had locked themselves into place and it really hurt for Maks to bend his legs. It was so bad; Millhouse had to be called in to hoist Maks out of the bathtub. By the time he got out of the bathtub, Maks was in tears, he was in that much pain. He is a pretty tough kid so seeing tears tells you; he must be hurting a lot.

I figured he must have aggravated his legs with all the physical activity and just needed to relax a bit. He got some children’s Advil and lay down under the blankets to take it easy. I fully expected him to fall asleep and be better by the next day.

Didn’t happen.

All night he kept waking up because whenever he moved, the pain would be too much and wake him up. He barely got any sleep and the next morning the pain was just as bad. So we kept him home from school and made an appointment for the doctor.

When I told him he was going to the doctor, he burst into tears. I thought he was scared because he thought he would get a needle. But it turns out he was scared of climbing the stairs to get to the doctor’s office. Our doctor is on the second floor of the medical centre and there is usually a line up for the elevators so we generally bypass the elevators and just climb the stairs. The pain was so bad the idea of climbing the stairs made him cry. I told him he did not have to climb the stairs at this appointment and he will be taking the elevator to the office and he calmed down.

The doctor confirmed that Maks had pulled the muscles in his legs. He said he would be better after a couple days of rest. He was concerned about the muscle mass and ligaments around his knees though. The doctor wants Maks to go for an x-ray to confirm the ligaments are not damaged. He also suggested that Maks do some more running to build up the muscles in his legs.

The doctor feels Maks needs to develop the muscles in his legs because right now he does not have sufficient muscle mass to support his rapidly expanding body and if he doesn’t develop more muscle mass soon, his body will not support itself the way it should.

After three days Maks is still hurting. He went to school yesterday and today with a note excusing him from any physical activities. The teachers have been really good at having Maks just sit and relax while the other kids are running around losing their minds. The last couple nights he has had the lay in bed with the heating pad across his knees. The pain seems to be the worst in the evening, when the excitement of the day has worn off.

I am hoping his muscles recuperate soon because even though Maks hurt himself running around, he needs to run around some more.

Weird, right?

The Gentle Giant

Maks is a pretty big kid. A lot of people look at him and don’t believe that he is really seven years old. He is tall and stocky and most people think that he is closer to ten than he is to eight. He is also really strong. He can really hurt a smaller child if he is not careful but most times he is careful. He tends to err on the side of caution when he is around smaller children just because he knows that he is strong enough to hurt me, a grown up. And if he can hurt me then he can really hurt a little kid.

There have been times where his size has made doing normal seven year old things hard for him. He has grown into his body so quickly that he has not had a chance to get used to the changes he is experiencing and he is awkward a lot of the time. As of right now, he stands a head taller than all of the kids in his class. He weighs more than the NP and Mat combined. But he doesn’t see his size as an advantage; he sees it as a hindrance. He is so big that he tends to distance himself from the other kids because he just doesn’t fit in with them. The awkwardness is palpable some days. I feel him willing his body to shrink away so no one notices the giant standing in the corner. The outgoing demeanor is slowly being replaced by a more introverted, quiet child; one that just blends in.

He doesn’t fit on the same toys that the other kids do, he cannot climb on the same things that the other kids can, and he does run as fast as the other kids because his body mass is bigger than theirs. And he doesn’t want the other kids asking him to play because he knows that once he starts playing with them, the other kids will notice just how big he really is. At Judo, no one wants to be his partner for sparring practice because the other kids are afraid that Maks will hurt them and if I was a parent of one of the smaller children, I would think the same thing.

The other night, I walked into the boy’s room to check on them while they were sleeping. (Yes, I still do this.) Both boys were sprawled out in some twisted poses that would make a contortionist proud but then I noticed something that made me gasp. Maks’ legs were flung across Mat’s torso and stomach. Maks’ legs, like the rest of Maks’ body, are heavy. I know this because when he falls asleep with his legs flung over my lap; the pressure slowly builds and my legs start to ache after a while. I didn’t know how long his legs were on top of Mat but I knew Mat must have been really uncomfortable. So I wiggled myself in-between them and moved Maks’ legs off of Mat, Mat sucked in a really deep breath and rolled over. Maks had, inadvertently, pinned his brother and was squishing him and it was enough to have be worried.

And I am his mother.

And I know that he had that trying to squish his brother on purpose.

But I considered having his brother not sleep with him anymore because I was worried Maks would inadvertently hurt his brother.

Physically, he is a pretty tough kid. It takes a lot to knock him down and keep him down. But he has feelings too and they are starting to get hurt.

I have to confess; there are times I forget he is as young as he is. He is my giant. I tend to believe there is nothing I can throw at him that he cannot handle. And there are times I have to remember he is still growing and he needs to be treated like the little boy he still is. Not the indomitable giant he appears to be.

Close your eyes for a minute, or ten

So remember how upset I was yesterday about Maks not getting his award?

Well, that is not exactly how it happened and so I need to correct some things.

First, Maks was not deflated. He was actually pretty damn near elated because it turns out that he was called out at the assembly and got the recognition that he had been waiting for.

Second, Millhouse did not see any of that part.

Now here is how all this went down. Millhouse was at the assembly. He showed up early so he could get a good seat and make sure that Maks saw him there. He ended up getting a seat towards the back but on the end so there was no one blocking him but he was not front and center.

The first part of the assembly was dedicated to the individual awards. It was for the kids that had gotten the principal’s award or the character awards. After that part of the ceremony, it turns to student performances. So they have the kids singing and putting on skits. After that part of the ceremony, all the kids that had won student awards; so outstanding keyboarding, outstanding reading and the gym awards are all called up together to stand at the front and get their round of applause. Then at the very end then they have school announcements about upcoming events and the principal gives her update about the state of the school. And then everyone is dismissed.

But a key point that should be noted for all this is that the microphone was broken at yesterday’s assembly. That meant that at some points of the program, it was hard to hear what was going on because even though the principal is extremely loud, a lot of the other teachers are not. It was especially hard to hear at the back of the auditorium, sitting behind ten classes of elementary school students who were all fidgeting around.

Now Millhouse remembers seeing everything except for the part where the student award winners got their round of applause. He swears that that part of the ceremony never happened. But Maks swears that that part of the ceremony did happen because he was there and he went up with the other kids for his accolades.

They were both able to tell me about things that happened at the beginning of the ceremony but Millhouse gets fuzzy towards the end.

Based on both of their versions of the events that took place, I have deduced that this happened; Millhouse feel asleep. Not a full blown snoring, drooling type sleep. More like let me shut my eyes for a minute because there are thirty children singing in French and I really don’t need to pay attention to this and he ended up keeping his eyes closed for more than a minute. He probably did not open his eyes and fully comprehend what was going on until the very loud principal started saying her closing remarks. So even if he did open his eyes during the performances he did not fully wake up to pay attention. And since he was dozing in or out, he would she would have missed when the softer speaking teachers called up the students for their student awards. Also, if he did wake up and look up towards the end and see a large group of kids standing around the stage, he most likely would have assumed that it was just another performance, not the student awards assembly. So he would have gone back to dozing until the announcements from the principal came down. Millhouse vehemently denies that this is what happened. But based on what I heard yesterday, I think that this is pretty much how it went down.

Now, I know you are asking why Maks did not see Millhouse. Well, it goes like this; he wasn’t looking for him. Remember we hadn’t told Maks that morning that his dad would be there for the ceremony and since Millhouse was in the back, if Maks did look out he would not have seen him. And even if he did get a glimpse of him, he would not have made the connection that it was Millhouse and he most likely would have just written him off as someone else’s dad and not retained it to memory. If Maks knew to expect Millhouse there, he would have made a conscious effort to look out for him and knowing Maks, he would have found him even if Millhouse was in the back of the crowd asleep.

So I learned two things from all this.

  1. Never send a sleep deprived Millhouse to a school assembly because it is just cruel and unusual punishment for him and it will only result in an peeved off phone call later in the day
  2. Always tell Maks when we are coming to the see him at the assemblies. Because even if we don’t see him, he will always find us.

Next time we will be better prepared.

Fool me once

Maks is getting an award!!

He is finally getting an award from the school.


It is not the Principles award or a character award. It is a gym award.

He is getting an award for outstanding sportsmanship and fair play.

It is not quite the award that I had always imagined him getting but it was an award and he was super excited to be getting it.

He told me about it on Tuesday. Now the thing is, usually the teacher(s) will send home a note saying that the student will be receiving an award and they will invite the parents to come in and watch the festivities. But I never received anything. At that point I was not sure if Maks had misheard the teacher and was not really going to get an award. He had already brought home his certificate on Tuesday so I had a feeling that he would not be getting recognized during the actual ceremony itself, which really upset me. If Maks has really convinced himself that he was getting an award and I didn’t want him getting disappointed by not actually getting recognized during the assembly.

So I emailed both of his teachers this morning to make sure that Maks was indeed going to get an award for gym today. And both of his teachers emailed me back and said that yes, Maks was going to get an award today. They also told me that he would not be called up individually to get his award; instead he would be recognized as part of a group of children at the end of the ceremony.

After they confirmed that yes, Maks would be getting an award, I called Millhouse and asked him to cut his sleeping short so that he could go into the school and cheer Maks on as he was recognized for his accomplishment. I thought that it would be a nice surprise for Maks to see his dad there. He had told us about the award but we never told him that one of us would be there to see it. I could not leave the office to get to the school in time. Millhouse would be sleeping at that time but if we timed it right; he could get up, go to the assembly, cheer Maks on, and then come back home to sleep.

Now it should be noted that Millhouse sleeps from 10am to about 3pm. This gives him around five hours of sleep a day. Some days, he falls asleep sooner and some days he falls asleep later and sleeps in to compensate for his lost sleeping time. Asking Millhouse to cut short his sleeping time is a pretty big deal because he gets so little sleep to start with.

Side note over, back to my story.

Millhouse cut his sleeping short today and got up at 1pm so he could get to the school in time to see Maks’ award assembly. He sat through the hour awards assembly and waited, and waited, and wait and eventually the ceremony ended and everyone left. And Maks got no recognition. There was no group recognition for the kids that had all won gym awards. There was nothing.

Millhouse was livid because he had lost sleep to watch other people’s children get awards. He was so mad that he couldn’t end up falling back asleep and ended up running errands. If he had known ahead of time that the gym awards would be cut from the program because of poor timing, he would have stayed at home and slept some more. Maks did see him there and he knew that his dad had come to cheer him on and I am glad for that. He knows that his dad was there to see him get his award and that was a bittersweet surprise.

Maks was deflated. He sat through the entire thing thinking that he would finally be recognized for being outstanding at something and he got nothing. I feel so bad for the kid. He tries so very hard at so many things and he knows he is getting better. And even when he is supposed to be treated a little bit special for trying hard, he gets nothing.

It would have been really nice if he just got the damn recognition.

Back on nights

After two months of being off work, Millhouse is back at it.

He started back on the night shift on Sunday.

And after two days, he hates it.

This shift is better than the original nightshift. He is closer now. Instead of driving for an hour and a half (each way) to get to work, he now has to drive a half an hour. So he doesn’t have to leave the house two hours before his start time and doesn’t get home two hours past his finish time anymore. His shift is also better. He now works 9pm to 530am; Sunday to Thursday. This allows him to be present for dinner, homework, bath time and bed time. He can be home when the boys are at home and he can take them to school in the morning. Plus he gets a pretty long weekend. When he gets home on Friday, he can sleep and then he is left with all day Friday, all day Saturday and most of Sunday.

In theory, it is not so bad.

It just takes some getting used to and that is why he hates it right now. The shift itself is long because he is constantly moving. Where he is working is huge. To get from one end to the other takes 20 minutes of swift walking. There is no golf cart or walkie talkie system so if he wants to talk to someone across the way; he needs to walk over to them. He is constantly on the move, trying to find people or get things fixed. Since the operation is 24 hours, it means that meals are eaten on the go, drinks are drunk on the go, and potty breaks happen in a bathroom because otherwise that would be gross.

I admit, it is a lot.

He hated nights to start with and really didn’t want to go back on nights. When he got this job he was supposed to have been working the day shift but somewhere between getting hired and starting the job, the shift changed from days to nights. They tried to change it to afternoons but he was not having that. He would have been happier on days but nights are better than afternoons.

Overall, he is adapting but he is not used to being up all night anymore. He is doing all this stuff so he is really tired. And even though he is sleeping from 9am to 3pm, he is still really cranky.

But I know that he is eventually going to get the hang of things.


Just like me

On Saturday Mat went to his very first non – family member birthday party. This was the first party that he went to without his brother. It was for a little boy that was in his class and he plays with him pretty frequently so when we got the invitation he was all about it. We received the invitation about a month ago and for the past month all Mat could talk about was going to this birthday party. He asked every other day when the party was and why it wasn’t that day.

Then the day came.

And boy was he ready. He completely shot down the outfit idea of dark jeans and polo shirt that I selected for him and decided that he would wear navy sweat pants and a ninja turtle t-shirt to the party. He didn’t want to wear party clothes because they just were not his thing and he wanted to play at the party and the outfit I picked out would not let him play. So I let him wear what he wanted and he got dressed two hours before the party was supposed to start and sat and waited pretty impatiently for the party to start.

Even though the party was right down the street, since Mat was in countdown mode we ended up leaving 20 minutes before I was planning on leaving and getting to the party 15 minutes early. In order not to be the first people to walk into the party, we walked around the rec centre for a bit and walked into the party 3 minutes after the start time on the invitation.

Mat was the third kid there. But he didn’t know any of the other kids there.

So he stayed with me. And he remained with me for the first 45 minutes of the party.

He was so afraid to interact with anyone. I tried to make him talk and play with the other kids but he just was not having it. I walked him over to some kids and started talking to them but he refused to join in. When I left the room to go hang up our coats, he stayed standing in the corner of the room until I came back in.

20 minutes into the party, he asked to leave. He was pretty close to tears at that point and he just did not want to stay and was very uncomfortable with the entire situation. I told him that we would give the party another half an hour and if he was still feeling shy, we could go.

And then Spiderman and Wonder Woman showed up.

That changed the whole dynamic of the party.

Seeing them made Mat forget just how nervous and anxious he was, because the superheroes were there! And in Mat’s world, there is nothing cooler than the superheroes. He just wanted to get close to his heroes and hang out with them. Thank goodness they showed up because if they didn’t, then we would have ended up leaving the party early. Once Mat starting interacting with the super heroes, he gradually started playing with the other kids. When it came time to eat, he chose to sit at the end of the table away from the kids and not have anything to do with them at that point but just having him sit at the same table as the other kids was a major achievement.

Once the super heroes left for the day, and the cake had been cut, Mat was ready to go. He was very brave and said goodbye to his friend and his friend’s parents but not to the other kids. That was asking too much.

Mat is me. I see myself in just about everything that he does. The way that he processes situations, is the same way that I would. He has my personality and that frightens me. I knew exactly how he felt at that party because I have had that feeling so many times in my life. I still feel like that a lot of the time. I would rather retreat than stay and socialize. I don’t want him having that fear, that anxiety whenever he is in a new place or surrounded by new people. But I am not sure how to alleviate his fears because I haven’t alleviated mine yet.

My son cannot juggle watermelons

After two failed attempts, I know this to be true and factual and can emphatically state that it is accurate.

And no, juggling watermelons is not code for anything.

Maks has tried and failed at juggling watermelons.

Now, in his defense, he was not actually attempting to juggle the watermelons, per se. But given the outcomes of the two times that he has handled watermelons, I will not allow him to juggle them.


Don’t be.

All that rambling is just to say that Maks tends to drop watermelons. Not full sized watermelons because I cannot carry those either. But the mini watermelons. The ones that are the same size as a large honey dew melon. No matter where we are, if mini watermelons are placed in his clutches, Maks will fumble the watermelon and it will end up smashing on the floor.

Need proof?

Well, there was the time when he was three and he saw the mini watermelon on the counter. He thought it was a rubber ball and thought that it would be a good idea to pick it up and bounce it.

It didn’t bounce.

It made a lovely “splat” sound as the watermelon exploded all over the tile floor in the kitchen.

You would have thought that would have been enough for him to know to stop with the watermelons. But it wasn’t.

More proof.

Last week he was in Walmart with my parents and he decided to “help” them put the watermelon into the cart so he threw it in gently (his words) and again, a lovely splat sound as it hit the bottom of the cart. My mother, being my mother, panicked when the watermelon exploded and grabbed Mat and the NP and fled the scene pretending that she did not know my father or Maks and abandoning them to fend for themselves with the watermelon splatted shopping cart. Now my father, who was equally as panicked as my mother; because he is also not good in situations that involve squashed watermelons and was looking for assistance from his wife but his wife had abruptly abandoned him with the watermelon smashing culprit and was now pretending not to know him, so my father was on his own. He managed to call over a produce guy who helped with the splatted watermelon situation. And Walmart didn’t charge them for the watermelon because apparently this happens a lot. Needless to say, no watermelon was had that week.

And what happened to the watermelon smasher?

He is now banned from ever going near a watermelon again.

Recipe: Plantain Waffles

The quest for gluten free continues.

The latest adventure has taken me into the world of breakfast foods. I need to have some sort of carb goodness when it comes to breakfast. I have tried to just have protein and fiber that just leaves me not feeling full.

So I did what I always do when I don’t know what to do, I googled. And then I found a recipe of plantain waffles. Now plantain is a staple in a Trinidadian diet. We have it green or ripe, boiled or fried, on its own or as a side dish for something. We also have it for breakfast, so making it into a waffle is not that far-fetched. It is just a new way of looking at an old food. This recipe you need really ripe plantains, the kind of ripe where the plantain peel is almost completely black. Having the peel that colour, pretty much guarantees that you will have a super sweet waffle.

The recipe itself is a total win. It has no gluten, no dairy and no soy so it was perfect for me. Me being me, I tweaked it a bit, here and there. I used my friend’s Turon* recipe to make it more to my liking and viola; I now have breakfast. I make a big batch and keep in it the fridge for during the week. When I leave for work, I just grab a container and some syrup and I am good to go.

Here is the recipe. This recipe makes two regular sized waffles. Double it up for as many waffles as you need.

Plantain Waffles


1 ripe plantain

1 egg

1 tsp of oil

1 tbsp of brown sugar

Dash of cinnamon

Dash of vanilla


  1. You take all the ingredients and throw them into a blender.
  2. Blend until you get this really smooth, runny batter.IMG_0674
  3. Pour into your waffle maker and make the waffle according to your waffle makers instructions.

And that is it.

You get these wonderfully light, crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside waffles. I was expecting the waffles to be dense but they were not. They were very light, not greasy and reminded me of carb goodness waffles.

And it is the easiest recipe ever!

You can tweak the waffles to your liking. I have a sweet tooth so I use the full table spoon of brown sugar. But since the plantain is sweet to start with, if your sweet tooth isn’t as advanced as mine, you can reduce the sugar. Plus, I have thrown in other sweet spices; nutmeg, allspice and almond extract and they all work just as well in this recipe.

And if you don’t have a waffle maker, no worries, pour your batter into a skillet and make pancakes. It takes a while for them to fluff up but be patient, it’ll work.

This is a definite win for me.

*Turon is a Pilipino spring roll that is filled with plantain, brown sugar and cinnamon and then deep fried. It is fantastically wonderful.

Nightmares Upon Nightmares

I have been having some really terrifying nightmares lately. They are the kind of nightmares that make me scream out loud and make me want to leave the room. Literally, there were a couple of nights that I have had to leave the bedroom because I was that scared.

At first I thought I was having these nightmares because I would take Tylenol before bed. Generally Tylenol knocks me out but I figured that the nightmares might be a side effect of mixing it with the other medication that I am on. So no matter how bad the headache was, I stopped taking the Tylenol before bed hoping that that would make sleeping better, but the nightmares did not stop. I also thought that the dreams were just tied to the spare bed in the extra room. The worst nightmares would always happen whenever I slept in that room so I stopped sleeping there. Then the nightmares started happening in other bedrooms. It is gotten to the point where I am apprehensive to sleep in any room because I know the dreams are coming.

The majority of the nightmares that I have revolve around this ghost, that I know it is there, but it never makes itself seen. I assume that it is a man that is really mad at me. I am not sure why, I just know that it is a man even though it has never spoken to me. I figure he’s mad because the anger and meanness just radiates off of him. In most of the dreams, he is so mad at me that he pins me down so that I cannot get up, speak, or move. He holds me down until I am terrified yet he never says anything. He just holds me down so that I know that I am trapped and that I cannot get away. It is always so that I can see the door and I know that Millhouse and the boys are asleep in their beds and they cannot hear me. I am trapped in the bed, pinned down and then he lets me go. I was so scared that the last time I had the dream I sat straight up in bed and screamed in real life.

Last night’s dream was different. Last night there was no ghost. I was at a beautiful all-inclusive resort with the boys and when I looked down I noticed that my legs were covered in these weird bumps with black dots. In the dream Beanz told me that they were spider eggs so I wanted to dig them out because I didn’t want spiders hatching out of my legs. As I started digging the eggs out, it turned out that the eggs were not eggs but very skinny sea lamprey. And as I squeezed; more and more lamprey would come out of the bumps up to the point when a whole bunch squirted out of my leg and turned the skin on my leg inside out. Some were imbedded into my skin with their teeth facing out while the others were on the bed wiggling away. I called out to Millhouse to come and get them out of my skin but he couldn’t find a paper towel to wipe them off. And in case you were wondering, I knew they were sea lamprey because of the teeth. Because of Beanz and shows on National Geographic, I am pretty versed in sea creatures and sea lampreys are some ugly buggers. They look like eels only they have these round mouths full of these sharp white teeth. In my dream the sea lamprey were not thick like eels, instead they were very think like hair brush bristles only with teeth.

It was horrible.

It was not worse than the ghost but it was pretty close.