Friday, April 28, 2006


I just saw about a dozen yellow schoolbuses parked outside Roy Thomson Hall. If Oliver had been with me, I'm sure he would have been getting very excited and saying 'Soobuck!' (which has so far been interpreted as 'shoebox' and

subak, the Korean word for 'watermelon').

Thursday, April 27, 2006


Oliver found out that pointing at an 8-year-old (that's Daddy's guess) and saying 'Baby' will greatly amuse the 8-year-old's older brother.

Also, Uncle Barry now has a name: Unky Bear.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Rainy weekend

No biking or swimming this weekend, but we invited our friends Dennis and Milena over for brunch on Sunday (waffles for all!) and Oliver had a great time playing with their little girl, Skyla. So much so that he had a three-hour nap afterwards (which Mimi and I really appreciated).

They brought tulips and now Oliver keeps pointing at them and saying 'Dennis!'.

'A photo? Okay, but I don't have time to pose. I have to go dap some puddles!'

Dap!: something Oliver likes to say when he stomps in puddles.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Tricycle Diaries

'That six-year-old in the Che Guevara T-shirt was oddly possessive about his bike (too big for me anyway). Fortunately, this trike belongs to everyone (hence the crooked handlebars and missing pedals).'

'I am officially too cool for school. At least for now, anyway.'

Monday, April 17, 2006


Oliver combined two phrases that Mimi taught him and came up with 'Little ball ... I love you'.

Biking II

Saturday's ride led Oliver to have an afternoon nap of almost three hours. I slept for half an hour during that time until Oliver briefly woke up at one point and I was so disoriented that I said 'Good morning' to him.

Mimi and I took him for another ride on Sunday and he fell asleep again but did not continue his nap when we got home, nor after I took him swimming later in the afternoon. On the plus side, he fell asleep very quickly after his bath and storytime and aside from stirring a little at 2:30 am and again at 4, he slept all the way until just after 7!

Getting used to riding with the added weight on the back of the bike - still feels a little wobbly at low speeds. Need a mirror on the handlebars to see him while I'm riding. Figured out the velcro straps to keep his feet in place.

Another trip to the corner store, where Oliver transferred much of the Dubble Bubble into the jar of caramels and appeared to advise a woman shopping for fruit. 'BanaNAAAA', he said, patting the less ripe ones on the lower shelf.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

The first actual bike ride

We set off on Saturday afternoon with Oliver in the new seat on the back of my bike and Mimi riding in front of us.

While we were waiting at a red light, a couple crossed in front of us with their child deep within a car-seat stroller.

'How old was your baby when you first put him in that seat?' the woman asked in a familiar way.
I said that he had been a week younger than he was now; Mimi gave his age and asked how old their baby was. Nine weeks, was the reply. A little early to be thinking about bike seats.

(Later that evening I noticed that the safety notice on the back of the seat said 'Child must be old enough to sit upright attended while wearing a helmet'.)

About 2 km into the ride, Oliver started to seem very quiet and when I felt the helmet against my lower back I knew he had probably fallen asleep.

We're going to try again tomorrow.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Guilt revisited

Starting to wonder (with some prompting) whether this blog seems too self-pitying and I am taking some things for granted. I really do have a good life as a father and husband; while some friends and acquaintances have expressed admiration that I am involved with Oliver to the degree that I am, I shouldn't forget that he still spends more time with his mother and that she does the majority of the care-giving, especially during the day. I am grateful to my mother-in-law for taking care of him 2 days and 2 nights of most weeks, which gives me and my wife Mimi the chance to get things done and if we're sensible, get some extra sleep.

Mimi often thanks me for getting up to attend to Oliver when he wakes at 2 AM, or 4 AM, but it has become second nature to me and really seems a more practical thing to do than to try to continue sleeping or assume that she'll take care of things. When he wakes up closer to 5 or 6 and I feed him and bring him to our bed, Mimi sometimes says she feels left out when Oliver falls asleep with his arms around me, but I would rather have that happen than be the kind of dad who never gets up or resents having to share the bed with his child.


Thinking about what happened yesterday. Still have to remind myself that Oliver is, has to be, my main priority when I'm looking after him, and I can always ask for help. I don't have to assume that I can or should do everything myself. The cat vomit can wait.

Managed almost eight hours of sleep for the first time in a long time, but somehow not very rested or refreshed. Oliver was awake for about three hours in the middle of the night and his grandmother very gamely tried everything to get him to go back to sleep. I don't think I would have been able to deal with it and I feel a mixture of guilt and gratitude for not having to.

Re-reading Brian Eno's diary lately, with a new perspective on his fatherhood. He seems almost impossibly busy and yet manages to spend a lot of time with his daughters (3.5 and 5 at the time of writing) and be energetic and creative with them too.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


'Oni' (macaroni) and 'oni' (canneloni) are both types of 'tassa'.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Sleepy rider

It was a pretty good weekend for naps. I could have used one myself though.

Starting to use the iPod more in the car (must get back into the habit of loading music onto it regularly). Oliver responded to Olivia Newton-John's musical question 'Have You Never Been Mellow?' with a perfectly timed snore at the end of the first chorus.

He's noticing streetcars now, no longer viewing them as a kind of bus. At one point we were driving over a bumpy concrete track bed and he called out 'Streetcar!' with some vibrato in his voice and there were no streetcars in sight!

Bought a bike helmet ('hel-mote!'), attached the new seat and kickstand and set off on a walk to get him used to the ride.

Let's roll!

The scenery's not very interesting around here.

Wake me up when we get home.

All that's missing right now is some consistent good spring weather and we'll be riding every weekend.

New concept

A conversation this morning.

Oliver: Grandma!

Me: You can see grandma in a few days. Two more sleeps and grandma will be here.

O: Sleeps?

Me: Yes, sleeps - you'll sleep tonight and tomorrow night and then grandma will be here.

O: (concentrating) Sleeeeps.

I think he was analyzing this new way of marking time, although his mother suggested he could have been questioning the pluralization of 'sleep'.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Old and new

Some things come and go. The store itself has been gone for a long time, but the sign remains.

Some things are very, very old.
This basic igneous boulder was found at a depth of 12 feet during the course of excavation for this school.
The composition is a very rare type and is assumed to have been carried here from Caribou Lake, north of Parry Sound, by a glacier during the Great Ice Age, approximately 12,000 years ago.

Sometimes old things are made new. This house (and several others) was damaged by fire and the inhabitants had to move out, but someone else already wants to live there.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


A café in our neighbourhood has suddenly and inexplicably closed - from one day to the next, the windows were covered with garbage bags on the inside.

More than for the place itself, I'm going to miss it because of the association I have with going there with Oliver when he was just a few months old. I would strap him on in the Baby Björn and go for a walk in the area. He would either fall asleep while we were out or when we got to the café, and he would nap nestled against me as I read the paper and had a coffee. It was a refuge in hot and cold weather alike, a way for me to get out of the house and give his mother a much-needed break.

You can put me in a snowsuit...

... but you can't make me stand up.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Oliver's abridged alphabet

(more or less to the tune of 'Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star'/'The Alphabet Song')

A ... C ... D ... C, G, M! Yaaay!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Guessing game

It's hard to anticipate what Oliver wants for breakfast, and almost as difficult to tell whether he really wants what he's asking for.

The scene this morning:

Oliver, do you want toast?


(rising tone, almost as if pleading) Waffle? Waffle?

At which point I jammed a frozen homemade waffle into the toaster and when I put it on plate in front of him, he looked at it and asked:



Oliver awoke from a nap of just over an hour, late on Sunday afternoon, and was very cranky for a while. I decided to take him into the bigger of the two convenience stores near us to let him explore. He began identifying letters and numbers on the displays and products on the racks in front of the counter, which greatly impressed the woman working there, so she let him walk behind the counter.

'What's this?' she asked him, pointing to a pack of duMaurier on the shelves.

Aargh, don't teach him about cigarettes now! I thought.

Oliver remained silent.

'Red!' she said, and I was relieved to discover this was going to be a primer on colours, not tobacco products. Yellow for Matinée, blue for something else (Dunhill, maybe?), and so on.