Daily Archives: November 11, 2008

Forty-One Months Old!

Arthur came over to stay with us the week after Thanksgiving his parents attended an awards dinner, and Liam dashed around the house with him showing him things. My favourite was, “These are my baby fish! They love me!” And I happened to be in the kitchen at the time so I peeked in… and saw Liam standing on his crafts table with the aquarium cover flipped up and his hands in the water, saying, “I will pet them!” That was scotched in a hurry.

Liam, 31 October 2008Have I ever mentioned that he sleeps with BunBun over his head? He does. Still. It’s odd. And he loves homemade alphabet soup. I’ve probably mentioned that before as well. In an effort to slow the mass consumerism that the paper inserts from the Thomas train packages are inducing, we have explained to him over and over that we can’t just go out and buy toys if he decides he wants them. There is a finite amount of money, and the toy budget is not huge. If he decides he wants something, he must save up his money and buy it himself. Now he pores over these papers and says, “I am going to save my money and buy [insert train here]. Then I will save up my money and buy [insert next train here].”

Words being used this month that are newish include transporter (as in a vehicle that moves things, not a Star Trek particle disassembler/reassembler), ricochet, and delightful. He got a little MegaBloks car in his Halloween gift bag from preschool and HRH said, “Hey, cool, it’s an ambulance!” “No, Dada,” the boy said patiently, “it’s an emergency vehicle.” Shows what we know. The other day he suggested something and added, “because that would be delightful.” One day after being with the caregiver he said, “I want a sister.” “A baby sister? Like Tallis or Ainsley?” I said. “No, a big sister!” he said. “Like Grace!” (Er. That might be difficult.)

Liam, 31 October 2008The Incredibles has again become his current favourite movie (thank goodness, as we were getting very sick of Thomas and the Great Discovery) because HRH made himself an Incredibles shirt to wear for Halloween. So Liam demanded that we bring out the too-small Incredibles shirt I made him for last year’s Dash costume, which we will allow him to wear as a sleepshirt only, and now he and HRH wear their shirts together and pretend they are superheroes. Which is just fine.

Starting about a week and a half ago we began curling up in our big bed to read a chapter of the Winnie the Pooh books every night. We finished the first book in a week (okay, I snuck an extra chapter in some nights because I like the snuggling). He loves to pore over the map of the Hundred Acre Wood and trace paths between everyone’s houses. I’m not sure what we’ll do when the second book is finished. I think we’ll try A Bear Called Paddington, and maybe once that’s done we can try The Wind In The Willows again. I’m so thrilled that he’s finally old enough to sit still for chapter books. He’s getting better and better at making up stories. He needs to work on climax and denouement, though. At the moment what happens is the story clips along and then suddenly stops. We know this because he will say, “Blah blah blah, the end. Was that a good story?”

The other day he turned to me and said, “Mama, I think I need my cello.” This was the first time he’d asked of his own accord and not been watching something that he wanted to play along with, or had agreed to a suggestion made by me. As a result he wasn’t super bouncy, which was a good thing. I got the viola out for him and he carried the case into the living room, set himself up, held the bow in approximately the right place and said “I’m going to sing.” “You’re giving us a concert?” I said. “Yes! A concert!” he said, and started singing the Rainbow Connection. He finished and lifted the bow (the way I do, I assume) and looked up at us, and we clapped. Then I was directed to go get my cello so we could do it together and give a concert for HRH. And we did it again the next day. It was terrific. I’d love to have a regular music time every week.

Liam and HRH share oatmeal, 2 November 2008The other evening we were at a gas station that had a Tim Horton’s in it. HRH was putting gas in the car when Liam said, “Mama, roll down my window; I have to say something to Dada.” So I reached back and rolled the window down. HRH leaned over and looked in. “Hi, pal,” he said. “What can I do for you?” Liam leaned toward him very seriously and said clearly, as if he were ordering at a drive-through window, “I would like a medium iced cappuccino, please. And one for Mama, too.” I began laughing hysterically. HRH shot me a Look. “I didn’t put him up to this, I swear,” I gasped. It could have been worse. He could have ordered a double-double.

Other Liam posts this past month:

practising for Hallowe’en: “I say ‘trick or treat!” and they give me… good luck.”
Sparky upholds voters’ rights
the parent-teacher interview: “My son has minions!”
memo to the weather gods: please do not indulge the small child


There’s a whole bunch of stuff going on inside me and it’s hard to sort it all out. As many of my readers know, Emru has been in palliative care for several days now and things are coming to an end. The stem cell transplant was successful, but his cancer has not gone into remission. Most of the time I’m handling a classic set of grief-related responses: I’m angry; I’m scared; I’m reminded of my own mortality and of that of everyone around me; I’m reminded of how random death and disease really is; and perhaps most of all, I’m drowning in empathy for Emru, Emru’s sister, his parents, his wife and son, his extended family, and his closest friends.

HRH and I stayed at the dinner table after we ate the other night and did some serious drinking and talking about past experiences with death. HRH has mainly dealt with deaths of older family members, while I’ve dealt with the sudden death of a close friend at the beginning of university as well as relatives and parents of friends. We talked about what is worse, losing someone immediately and having to deal with the shock and pain of not being able to say goodbye, or watching someone die slowly over a long period of time and having to deal with that long-term pain but being able to tell them what they mean to you. There’s no correct answer, of course. Actually, there is, but it’s an implied answer: Tell the people you admire, honour, and/or love on a regular basis how much they mean to you, and then you won’t have to regret a lost chance.

That session with HRH at the dinner table did help me realize something important, though. All my friends are above-average people, so when they are taken from us of course it seems extra unfair. Of course it seems as if the best of the best are being taken away, and we feel even more pain for the best of the best who are left behind and those who have to deal with the immediate loss. Emru isn’t a close friend, but we work in related writing and editing fields and have interests in common, so we cross paths frequently enough. He’s pointed me in the direction of a couple of job posting lists that netted me a contract or two; he deftly touched up an article of mine and made it stronger. I’ve always respected his opinions and his work, enjoyed seeing him at movie premieres or when he visited us at the F/SF bookshop to discuss animation, and was honoured when he invited me on board the contributing staff of the revived fps magazine. Many of my friends are his close friends, however, and I count his sister among my own set of close friends.

Anyway, all the empathy and frustration at the injustice of it all has been playing havoc with my equanimity. Most of the time I feel frustrated at being useless in this situation. And there are other private things going on that are big-ish and messing with me, too. Plus it’s no-light/no-love/no-hope/November, eternally grey and inconstant in temperature. I have no energy, and food holds no attraction. I restored my higher dose of fibro meds last night to help me sleep. (Yes, my doctor okayed it.) The main goal is just getting through the day. The secondary goal is to keep writing, because if I stop at this time of year it’s very, very difficult to get going again. Associated with that secondary goal is the handing work in on deadline. Other things are constantly being shuffled to the next day’s to-do list, and I’m not beating myself up about it. People will understand. And if they don’t, well then, I refuse to beat myself up about that either.

The logical part of me (taste that irony!) is pointing out that the SAD season is beginning, and on top of that it’s the traditionally dead or absent part of the spiritual year when the energy slows almost to a standstill, turning in on itself in to lie fallow and rebuild strength. Come Yule I know things will pick up. But solstice is six weeks away, and the pain is happening now.

Lest We Forget

I honour the men and women who volunteer or whose job it is to go out and risk their lives in confrontations beyond what most of us can envision. I honour their commitment and courage. I honour our peacekeepers too, the people who go to other countries to help rebuild after times of turmoil. And support staff — doctors, drivers, cooks, all those people who are necessary to the machine of war and who rarely get recognition for being in danger as well. And those left at home, who carry the double burden of hope and dread for their loved ones.

There has to be a better way to solve problems than going to war. But even when someone figures it out, I’ll keep on saying thank you to all those individuals who gave lives, limbs, time, and innocence to the wars. I honour and respect their personal decisions, even if I disagree with the governmental decisions that created the need for them.