Monday, November 30, 2015

Tooth Fairy, Santa Clause and Refugees.

The flashing lights from the Black Friday ads are starting to dim and my finger was hovering over the remote control itching to click on the yuletide fireplace but that Grey Cup thing was on so I didn't scratch the itch. Before I explode into holiday mode, lets take a little look back at what's been filling up November.

Grandma had a birthday...  

Little sister is working on a new hairstyle this week.  Those shaggy bangs are being swept to the side with various hair clips in an attempt to grow them out.  We'll see how the clip wearing goes. I do love the sweet look of fresh cut bangs but I dare not cut them myself.  Sister also lost another tooth. She pulled it out herself in the gym bathroom at school.  She said it was bugging her. She put it in a cup of water that night. Her fairy was green and left her ten bucks for being brave and pulling it out herself.

Now, Callie also lost a tooth last week.  She did not put it in a cup of water.  Instead she questioned me and her dad, at separate times, about the logistics and reality of the tooth fairy.  She baited her dad by saying, "I think you and mom are the Tooth Fairy."  Later, she just out right asked me if I was the tooth fairy. I gently suggested that I thought that she was crazy to think that I would give her my hard earned money for an old tooth. Instead of putting her tooth under her pillow or in a cup of water she decided to hide her tooth in her room with the reasoning that if the fairy was real then she would find it.  It was obviously a very busy night for the tooth fairy and she wasn't up for playing games.  She left the cash by the bed and didn't even bother looking for the tooth. 

Callie's questions didn't just stop with the Tooth Fairy either.  Santa's will be next on the witness stand.  And she also wants to know exactly how babies get in the mom's tummy and how they get out.  Funny how we teach our children to be critical thinkers and then they throw it back at us when we tell them that fairies swoop in and trade teeth for cash and a man in red suit enters our house through a chimney while were sleeping to give us toys and electronics.  Go figure.

I have to say that I am quite intrigued with the workings of Callie's mind as she is growing into more rational and logical thoughts.  I see her going back and forth, somedays she's operating with a black or white train of thought and other days you can literally see the black swirling into the white and mixing together as she realizes that sometimes things are just grey and there is no easy answer.  

Last week, I was helping in Callie's class at school. Her reading group was reading a book about a girl named Phan who was fleeing from her country with her family in a little boat.  When they reached the land a patrol boat said they couldn't land at that refugee camp so they had to keep going.  It was my job to listen to her group take turns reading this story.  This group read the book with ease but when I asked what a refugee was, they couldn't tell me.  I did my best to explain why a child would have to say good bye to everything they knew to get on a tiny boat in the middle of the night with the hope of finding something better.  I tried to have them imagine what it would be like to finally make it to the other side and be told you can't stay.  I tried, but honestly, I didn't really know how to explain it.  And then I told them this is actually happening right now, for real.  And I could see all their little grey thoughts in every "why"question they asked me about refugees.

Later that night, after the reading of Phan's Diary in class, a friend just happened to share this video of refugees from the Middle East being greeted by Samaritan's Purse volunteers on the coast of Greece.  Callie and I watched it a few times.  Her list of "why" questions grew and grew. We talked about how the volunteer workers that were there to help the refugees when they first got off the boat but then eventually the refugees are pretty much on their own to survive.

Callie watched that video a couple of times. She quietly watched and formulated her own eight year old thoughts and understanding of the situation.  A while later she said, "Mom.  I wish those helpers on the shore could just keep helping those people until they found a job a place to live."

I think her heart and mind grew three sizes that day.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

It's Time

For the past three weeks it's felt like we've been living on borrowed time.  We generally hope that winter's snow will hold off long enough for us to take care of the trick or treating duties but after that, it's pretty much fair game.  Go ahead and snow.  So we've been waiting and waiting but Fall just keeps kicking winter's butt out of here.  

This crazy weather gets a persons internal compass all mixed up.  The days have been warm, dark and overcast and short on daylight.  We know we should technically be getting into the holiday spirit but it's almost like we don't know how to without snow drifts and frightful weather.  On the weekend we put up Christmas lights outside while the girls rode bikes and played!

Even the girls' artwork is all mixed up.  Lexi's painting holiday reds and greens and Callie's painting summer landscapes.  And the dad, well he decked the halls wearing shorts and flip flops and a toque.

But today alas, our world righted itself and we got dumped on.  We shoveled snow and talked about road conditions.  We marveled at how much better the lights looked covered in snow. There was barely a grumble about the snow today. It just felt like it was time.  And with nearly three extra weeks of fall you would think that we would be all prepared for the snow today.

But Lexi couldn't find any mitts, Callie's ski pants were too small, and I didn't have a snow brush in the truck.  Ha. Ha.  It was still a good day.  Definitely feeling more festive.  The yuletide fireplace is on the TV.  I was holding out until it felt like Christmas.  I think it might be time!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Butterfly and The Magician

Well, I've eaten all the licorice, Callie's taken care of the Mars Bars, and Lexi isn't fussy as long as it's covered in chocolate.  I'd have to say trick or treating was a success.  

The girls had decided on their costumes early on and there was no mind changing at the last minute. Callie had flipped back and forth between a wizard or a magician in the beginning but she quickly settled on a magician when we found the hat and cape at Walmart.  It was the perfect costume for her. It had a hat and the rest of it was comfortable, pretty much her only criteria.

Lexi scrolled through costumes online a few times and every time she saw a butterfly she said, "that's what I want!"  How could I argue with a girl who knows what she likes.  Yes, she was a butterfly a few years ago and yes, she had a butterfly birthday party when she was five.  What can I say, sister just likes butterflies.  

What about Ozzy you ask?  I don't think he was overly impressed with his cow costume.  It was a little snug around his belly.  A few too many bacon treats maybe?

No matter what costume gets chosen, a Canadian Halloween means covering it with a winter jacket or stuffing one underneath.  We were spared the snow this year.  Instead, we got rained on but even a little rain couldn't slow these girls down!

We hooked up with some friends to make gathering treats even better.  We treated for about an hour and then took a rest, dumped our bags and then went out again!  Nobody tripped, nobody cried, nobody complained!  It was all fun and treats.  And now we're done for another year.  All that's left is bags of candy to eat and empty wrappers to hide!