Mothering without a licence

Sometimes, I have an anecdote that I want to share like I did back in the day, but I don’t have a photo to go with it. Despite having my own stock library of nearly 6,000 images on Flickr alone, sometimes there just isn’t a photo that goes with the story.

And sometimes, I have photos that I like that don’t really have a story.

I’m really sort of appalled that it took me this long to marry the two of them together.

I like this photo, of a red fishing shack full of lobster traps. We discovered it wandering around the fishing village of French River, in Prince Edward Island.

image by Ottawa family photographer Danielle Donders

When Tristan first stayed in the house by himself, I used to make him text me when he arrived and about every hour. That lasted about a month before we both got tired of it. I was less strict when Simon started staying by himself, partly because I had calmed down a bit, and partly because by then Tristan was usually also home with him. They were both quizzed thoroughly on a long line of do’s and don’ts — don’t answer the door, don’t tell people you are home alone, don’t use the stove. Okay, maybe they were all don’ts.

This summer being home on vacation, Lucas learned how to prepare a tin of tomato soup for lunch. A few days later, Beloved and I returned from running a few errands together, having left the three boys with the elders more or less in charge, and saw the soup-rimmed pot and bowl in the sink. We looked at each other, at the intact stove, at the opened tin and dirty pot, and flinched.

As happens so often with the third child, the rules slipped a little bit. Maybe because he wasn’t staying home entirely by himself, or maybe just because he’s the third child and that’s the way it is with third children, Lucas didn’t get the lecture about not using the stove. It’s only the second or third time he’s ever used the stove. He’s not the most attentive creature when it comes to details. Or safety. Somehow, though, he’d remembered to turn off the burner, and to avoid putting anything flammable near the stove, and even put the dirty dishes in the sink.

Of course, everything was fine. I’ve got three more grey hairs, though.


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Today’s entry on the (never-ending) list of things I never expected to do as a parent: ordering Kool-Aid packets off the Internet so I could dye my son’s hair.

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It never gets old, this parenting thing!

It’s not that I didn’t want Tristan to colour his hair, or even that I didn’t want to pay for it. Last March Break, he had a single foil of red put into his hair at his bangs. He quite liked it, and it faded nicely to a copper before disappearing entirely around the end of the summer. In the interim, I had my own hair coloured at a salon for the first time ever, adding all the colours (because really, why limit yourself to just one?) and over the year learned everything I never knew about caring for colour-treated hair.

This spring, I picked up a couple of tubes of semi-permanent colour in cyan and magenta, and we tried to add a little colour to the bottom inch or two of Tristan’s hair at the nape of his neck. First we tried the cyan, which came out more of a murky green on his dark golden hair, and was virtually undetectable pretty much from the first day. A few weeks later we tried the magenta, leaving it on longer, but to the same result. In fact, you could see the magenta dye in my cuticles longer than you could see any trace of it in his hair.

He didn’t want to commit to bleaching his hair as he quite likes his natural colour, but still wanted to have a little pop of colour. And that’s when my brilliant Facebook friends told me about Kool-Aid dip dyeing. Did you know that’s a thing? Maybe it wasn’t on my radar because I never dreamed of colouring my hair until I knew I could have all the colours, but I’d never heard of it before. I poked about for a while on Google, and it seemed simple enough: a packet or two of unsweetened Kool-Aid, some hot water, and 15 minutes of your time. Sure, that’s worth trying.

Problem: did you know they don’t sell those little enveloped of unsweetened Kool-Aid mix in Canada anymore? When did that happen? I have clear memories of buying it for the kids when they were toddlers, but they have no memory of ever drinking it. (I picked up the closest equivalent I could find, those pre-sweetened singles that you add to a glass of water, and they gobbled them up like crack. But – don’t use those in your hair. You need the UNsweetened mix.)

You know you’re down the rabbit hole when you are reading Facebook posts lobbying Kraft to bring the unsweetened envelopes back to Canada, and you are really past the point of no return when you decide the best course of action is to actually order some from the Internet. (I found this site to be reliable and quick, should you also be looking for a source.)(Not a sponsored post – more of a PSA!)

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Getting the Kool-Aid was definitely the more challenging part of this adventure. Actually colouring Tristan’s hair with it was surprisingly easy!

I read a few tutorials online to get a feel for the process. (I swear, I will read a 10,000 word blog post before I will watch a three-minute video. I am old skool, give me words, please!) It seemed I had two basic options: mix Kool-Aid in boiling water and dip the hair in it, or mix Kool-Aid with conditioner and paint it onto the hair. I wanted the path of least resistance and most intense colour, so we went for the dip dye.

I put a cup of water into a pot and brought it to a simmer, then added two packages of (unsweetened) Kool-Aid. Tristan chose the Strawberry flavour because we were aiming for more pinkish than red. It was, as you can see, quite red.

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I let it simmer for a few minutes, but because we were on a tight timeline, not for too long. I imagine if you let it boil down a bit, the colour would be even more intense. While it was boiling, I pulled Tristan’s hair into a little ponytail at the base of his neck.

This is where you have to be careful. You want the mixture to still be hot, because heat opens up the hair cuticle so the colour is more fully absorbed. On the other hand, you do not want to scald anyone. I poured the mix into a small mason jar, but a juice glass or mug would also work. Be careful – it will be hot! I let it sit for three or four minutes.

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I sat on the sofa and he sat on the floor at my feet with an old towel on his shoulders. (Important! Kool-Aid may stain your towels and clothes!) I carefully dunked his ponytail and held the jar in place for about five minutes. I think it may have been closer to six.

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And that’s all there was to it! I pulled the ponytail out of the dye mix and carefully squeezed the excess out of his hair, and then released the ponytail and towel-dried the ends of his hair. He let it air dry and this was the result.

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It was a little sticky, but he left it overnight (with a towel for a pillow case!) and rinsed it with lukewarm water the next day. The colour is AMAZING! So much more vivid than the tubes from the beauty supply store! It’s been a few days and I haven’t seen much fading at all. By some accounts I read online, it should last at least a few weeks. Others said it just grew out.

Have you ever dip-dyed your hair? I hear it was quite the thing to do circa 1995, but I totally missed it back then. This was fun, and we still have quite a few packages left over. Heck, maybe I don’t need to go back to the salon for my rainbow touch-ups???

self-portrait of Ottawa photographer Danielle Donders


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This will be my seventh year on our elementary school council, and my third year on the intermediate/high school council. I don’t see any reason why I will not continue to be on the high school council right through Lucas’ graduation in 2026, which means that by the time he’s done school I’ll have logged a full SEVENTEEN YEARS on school council. In fact, I’ll have been retired from my day job for two years before I retire from council.

I didn’t join the school council at the boys’ first school, where Tristan attended JK through Grade 3 and Simon attended Kindergarten before we moved to Manotick, mostly because I was shy and a little bit intimidated. I thought you had to be part of the “in crowd” of moms, the ones who all seemed to know each other at the school fence, who made coffee dates and attended zumba class and didn’t generally talk to me. I thought that because I worked downtown during the day, I wouldn’t be able to participate. I thought you had to be one of those hyper-involved moms with boundless energy and community connections, entirely unlike tired, barely-holding-it-together, socially awkward me.

When we moved to Manotick, though, I thought maybe joining school council would help me get to know our new school and our new community, so I put on my brave girl pants and showed up for the first meeting of the year. The first person who befriended me remains a friend of the family to this day (hi Debra!) and all of the myths I’d assumed about council were dispelled. I didn’t need to commit to hours of activities during school hours, but I did need to commit to monthly meetings. Joining the school council has been great for making friends, occasionally exasperating, an excellent way to make community connections, and one of the best things I’ve done to feel connected to the place where the boys spend so much of their formative years.

Here’s five reasons why you should join your kids’ school council.

1. You will know what’s happening at school

The pre-teen’s monosyllabic grunt in response to “what’s new at school?” may be the least informative mode of human expression. This becomes, in my opinion, an even bigger challenge in middle school and high school. Schools try very hard to ensure parents are informed and have many channels of communication, but being on council has been the single most effective way for me to know not only what’s going on with school events and activities, but what challenges the school is facing, what victories they are celebrating, and to get a feel for the culture of the school.

2. You can voice your opinions and contribute to decisions

From fundraising to parking lot conflicts to lunch programs to technology in the classroom, being on council gives parents a meaningful voice in school life. Knowledge is power, and council offers an insightful window on the challenges your school is facing (from funding to enrollment to infrastructure) and what changes are being considered. I can think of a few occasions where the school admin have approached council with a contentious issue, listened carefully to feedback, and implemented a solution based on what they heard instead of what they were originally planning.

3. Builds relationships with staff and community

Through council, I’ve met many great people and made friendships that have extended beyond the school walls. Equally valuable, I’ve had the chance to get to know the school administration and many of the teaching staff. On the very few occasions when something has come up that I’ve needed to talk to the school about a sensitive or troubling matter, it’s been great to be able to rely on an existing relationship to smooth the way. It’s also great to be able to put a face to the names that come up in conversation with the kids, and to feel connected to their school lives.

4. Give back

It’s important to me to be able to give back to my community, and to set an example of community service for the boys. This is a pretty small commitment in the grand scheme of things, and a self-serving one, given the reasons outlined above. Still, it does feel good to be able to volunteer a couple of hours each month to make the boys’ school a better place for them and for their classmates.

5. It’s not as much work as you might think

I think this was my biggest fear about getting involved in council. What kind of purgatory am I signing up for? I’ve found through the years, though, that you can take on as much or as little as you are able. There are indeed some parents who can and do volunteer at the school on a nearly full-time basis, and there are others like me who try to weave it in to the fabric of working and parenting and everything else. If your council has voting positions, you need to commit to attending the monthly meetings so quorum (having enough voting members present to pass motions) can be achieved. Some years, that’s barely all I could achieve. Other years, I’ve been secretary, which requires only showing up and keeping a record of the proceedings and managing the agenda. This past year, in a fit of delusional enthusiasm for Simon’s Grade Six graduation year I was foolish enough to take on the yearbook. I nearly drowned in the 100+ hours it ate through May and June and I learned to sit on my twitchy-to-volunteer hands through forthcoming September meetings. Most councils are open-door, so even if you don’t want to commit to a voting position, you’re still welcome to sit at the council table and listen and contribute to the conversation. This is a great way to find out about other volunteer options, through council sub-groups or school activities like lunch programs and social events.

apple on books

Councils, like schools, each have their unique personalities. I need to mention that we live in a high-privilege community, and the chairs around our council tables are always full, but I have heard that there are schools in Ottawa who struggle to get even a few regular volunteers for council. I imagine this makes things a lot more challenging, as each person has to take on a larger share of the work.

While I’ve found council sometimes frustrating (oh humanity) and occasionally exhausting (when you get up at 5:30 for work, a meeting that runs until 9:30 on a cold February night can feel interminable!) in general my experiences with both the elementary and high school councils have been far more positive than not, and I would recommend that anyone who has an interest in their kids’ school lives consider signing up or at least attending some of the meetings.

What’s your experience? Have you volunteered for your school’s parent council? How did you find the experience?


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So, Pokemon Go. Right? It’s insanely popular. It’s taken over the conversation online, but what’s really stunning is to go to a local park or landmark and see how it really is EVERYWHERE. I have never seen anything like it.

As mom to three boys, I know a little bit about Charmander and Squirtle and Ash Ketchum and the tree professors that comprise the Pokemon universe. A little bit. Like, all the words to the theme song, the world’s most unshakeable earworm. Each boy has been a Pokemon fan to one degree or another, and so I’ve been in the room when every episode ever produced of the TV show and several of the films have been playing (though admittedly, I’ve become quite adept at filtering them out) and we have Pokemon stuffies, boardgames, Pokeballs, t-shirts and of course, trading cards.

Our first Pokemon

Our first Pokemon


My 14 year old has been steadfast in his appreciation of all things Pokemon, and has come full circle as his friends embraced the game, moved on and told him Pokemon was for babies, and watched with a smirk as the entire population came tumbling back to the Pokemon world that he never left.

All that to say, I was predisposed to like Pokemon Go. When a friend offered me his credentials to sign in to the US iTunes store a full week before the game was available in Canada (the night before we left for PEI), I downloaded the game immediately.

Best. Mom. Ever.

We chased Pokemon around Watson’s Mill that first night. It was bloody hot and after one sweaty loop, I was done, but the two eldest begged permission to take my phone and walk a few blocks more, to check the local library and other Pokestops. The next day, we chased Pokemon across Quebec and into New Brunswick. At every stop, the boys begged to use my phone to explore the local Pokestops. We found them on the beach, in our rental cottage, and across PEI.

This one from downtown Charlottetown is probably my favourite:

The Father of Confederation and a Zubat

The Father of Confederation and a Zubat

So we’ve been part of the craze from the beginning, and we enjoyed having it as part of our summer vacation trip. It has only been in the past week or so, though, that it has started to seep in just how massive this game is right now. The kids come home from criss-crossing the village with reports of bands of players coming together, from kids to grown adults, to compare recent acquisitions and tips for nearby stops. They collaborate with lures, drawing more Pokemon to the group. And all of this in our sleepy little village on a weekday morning!

That was my first inkling that maybe this whole Pokemon Go thing was even more than the hyperbole had expressed. And then we went downtown. We’d met up with friends to check out Buskerfest and Ribest on a sunny Saturday afternoon, and on our way from one to the other we walked through Confederation Park. I have been immersed in the madness that is Pokemon Go right from the start, and I was still amazed by the sheer number of people obviously playing the game. Look at the crowds behind our gang – I’d say easily 3/4 of the people in the crowded park are on their phones, playing Pokemon Go.

Pokemon Go

I had to tip my hat to the ingenuity of this entrepreneur, selling actual Pokemon team hats and team badges. Again, look at the people on the fringes – almost all of them are playing.

Pokemon Go entrepreneur

It’s seriously crazy! I have never seen anything like it.

The only thing that’s more fascinating to me than how madly popular it is might be the volume of vitriol being hurled at the game. Haters gonna hate, right? Aside from the fact of its ubiquitousness, I really can’t see why so many people have such a hate on for the game. I’m sure it’s quite obvious by now that I love it. I think it’s clever, weirdly insidious, and awesome. Here’s five reasons why this (nearly) 47 year old mom thinks Pokemon Go is the best video game ever.

1. It gets the kids out and moving

The whole basis of the game is to go out and explore. You can only “hatch” some of the Pokemon eggs you find by walking 2, 5 or 10 km. Kids show up on our porch at breakfast time to collect one (or two) of the boys to go out Poke-hunting on their bikes. They zoom across the village together, and if they keep their speed below 20 km/hr, the game gives them credit for distanced traveled to hatch their Poke-eggs.

2. It’s social and collaborative

While there is an element of competition, the game is mostly collaborative. You can only “battle” at designated gyms, and even if you lose and your Pokemon gets killed, you can revive it. Mostly, though, it’s collaborative: several people can catch the same Pokemon, so you can let your friends know when there is a good one nearby and you can all catch it. You can actually hear a ripple of excitement in a large gathering when one of the more rare Pokemon appears. People naturally congregate and collaborate, with strangers chatting amiably about their experiences and acquisitions, and it’s amazing to see youngsters tutoring adults on various aspects of the game.

3. Any age can play

As a mother to a teenager, a tween and an eight year old, I can tell you that it’s a challenge to find an activity that’s equally appealing to all of them. The older kids may play with a higher degree of finesse, but the game is very easy to play from the first time you open the app. Anyone who has mastered the screen swipe can spin a Pokestop to retrieve the items and throw a Pokeball to catch a Pokemon, and for the youngest players (or the most Poke-obtuse parental ones!) that’s more than enough to get full enjoyment out of the game.

Pokemon Go Lucas

4. It’s free!

It’s a free download, and while there are in-app upgrades and items available for purchase with real dollars, you don’t have to use a credit card to set up or play the app. (I’d be careful to make sure you don’t have any disposable income in your iTunes account if your kids aren’t reliable enough to not accidentally make in-app purchases.) You do need a data plan, and while the game is a notorious battery hog, we don’t find it consumes too much data. I’ve read it consumes approximately 30 MB for an hour of active play.

5. It’s fascinating

I’ve read stories about people with mental health issues leaving their homes and making contact with people for the first time in years because of the game. The guy in line in front of us at ribfest had walked 67 km since downloading the app. Parents can play with kids, kids want to roam and explore, and the community is generally genial and friendly. It’s surprisingly neat to see photos of local landmarks integrated into the game (on the back of Google maps technology), and there has never been an uptake of technology on this scale before. It’s wicked cool to watch and be a part of it.

What do you think? If you hate it, care to share why? Are you or your kids playing? What’s the most fun thing you’ve seen?

Edit to add: almost forgot! If you want to see the phenomenon live in action, the Agriculture Museum at the Central Experimental Farm is holding Pokemon lure party next Saturday, August 6. It’s free if you show you have the app installed on your device!


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I’ve always taken articles about the dangers of posting photos or personal stories about children online with a grain of salt, and any perceived risk seemed infinitesimally remote, especially when compared with the vast richness that the blog has brought to our family’s lives. That’s why I was taken aback when a few bloggers with whom I came of bloggy age back a decade or so ago have reacted to a New York Times blog article titled “Don’t Post About Me on Social Media, Children Say” by saying it moved them to delete their old parenting blogs entirely after reading it.

The article quotes a study that found that children aged 10 to 17 were three times more likely than their parents to think there should be rules about what the parent posted about the child on social media. It goes on to say,

With the first babies of Facebook (which started in 2004) not yet in their teens and the stylish kids of Instagram (which started in 2010) barely in elementary school, families are just beginning to explore the question of how children feel about the digital record of their earliest years. But as this study, although small, suggests, it’s increasingly clear that our children will grow into teenagers and adults who want to control their digital identities.

While some of the bloggers who have chosen to remove their blogs wrote in a style that was perhaps more raw than mine, I think the early success of the blog was largely due to the personal anecdotes rich with intimate details. Even as I occasionally cringe at how there was nothing too personal or too mundane for the blog back in the early days, I don’t think I could bring myself to pull the whole blog down. There are so many beautiful memories bound in its archives, and one of my favourite things about the blog is coming across an old post in the archives that brings me instantly back to a moment in time that would have otherwise been lost forever.

header history collage

That’s not to say that the blog hasn’t been at the root of a few awkward moments. There was the time last year when my eighth grader casually mentioned that they had had my blog up on the smart board in his class that day. As I asked for a bit of context, I frantically scanned my minds’ eye back on the previous three or four months of blog posts for possible perils. How exactly did that come to be? His English teacher asked if anyone kept a blog, and he casually piped up that no, he didn’t have one, but he was IN one, and provided my URL. And as a class, they examined it. One of Tristan’s friends casually mentioned the next time I saw him how much he likes my photographs. Then there was the time a few years back when the principal called me in to the office to have a discussion about what she perceived as a slanderous post about rain pants. And of course there was the whole creepy thesis debacle. Every now and then I do a search on the boys’ full hyphenated names, and I am always relieved that Google has generally failed to connect them to the blog. Not that someone with time on their hands couldn’t make the connection, but at least it’s not too easy. Until they put it up on the smart board in front of their classmates, at least.

I mentioned the article to Beloved and the boys, and the boys affirmed that they actually like having their stories online. Both of the older boys have used Google to search within the blog to find family photos for school projects, and even Lucas in Grade 2 has used Google to find pictures of him with Willie and Bella. I was particularly surprised by Beloved’s reaction to the idea – you might remember that Beloved almost DID pull the plug on the blog many years ago after the first time a blog reader recognized him and the boys in Costco. We were talking about the idea of the boys’ stories being their own, and he said “yes, but their stories ARE our stories.” Similarly, the article talks about how parents connect and find solidarity in sharing stories online about the challenges of raising children, saying:

But that kind of sharing — about food issues, potty training and tantrums — is exactly the kind of sharing that can be valuable. “Children benefit from the community created when parents have the ability to share their stories,” said Ms. Steinberg. Those posts about picky eating might have helped my friend find solutions, or a fresh wellspring of patience for a behavior her child would eventually outgrow.

When parents share those early frustrations, they don’t see themselves as exposing something personal about their children’s lives, but about their own. As a society, says Ms. Steinberg, “we’re going to have to find ways to balance a parent’s right to share their story and a parent’s right to control the upbringing of their child with a child’s right to privacy.

There are many ways to be protective. Some parents don’t use names, or don’t post pictures with recognizable faces. Some blogs are completely pseudonymous. It’s just a little bit too late for me to consider any of those options, so we’ll muddle through together. I try to think of as many potential audiences as I can while I am writing a post (the boys’ peers, their teachers, my peers, my boss, potential photography clients, the boys’ future bosses, Beloved’s colleagues, and people who might wish us less than well are only the short list of various audiences that make me wary) and I usually ask at least the older boys to read blog posts with references to them to make sure that I’m not overstepping my limits. I admit that the posts I struggle with the most are their annual birthday love letters – it is increasingly difficult to express in unself-consious and fully Google-indexed detail the wonders and peccadilloes of their personalities and my infinite love for them. I almost didn’t post Tristan’s last year, and this year I only posted it when he specifically asked if I’d written one. I only published it after he’d read it and given me explicit permission.

I truly feel that the many gifts that the blog has brought to us, from tangible goods to career paths to the simple archiving of memories, far far outweigh the potential perils. In the end, I’m reasonably confident that I’ve found a balance that works for our family, and that’s the most important part.

For those of you who have blogged about your children in years gone by, have you left the archives intact? Do your kids know about and read your blog? Would you want them to? Have you ever had an awkward moment when something you posted online was taken out of context? As always, I’d love to hear what you think!


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Thanks to Facebook, I know that five years ago today I wrote this post. Tristan is now in middle school and safely walks to and from the bus stop without incident. What I find charming is that he was in Grade 3 when I wrestled with the idea of the risk of letting him walk home by himself, and Lucas in Grade 2 has done it several times now without incident or angst on my part. Not only do the boys grow up, but the parents do, too. :)

I am standing at the fence as I do every day, waiting for the bell to ring and the tsunami of energetic children to come spilling out of the school. I brace myself, as I do every day, for Simon’s enthusiastic hug that will one day knock me clear off my feet. Tristan too still hugs me, but in a more reserved and shy way that leads me to believe that while third graders still bestow public hugs upon parents, I’d best be prepared in case fourth graders do not.

WalkingWe’re headed toward the car together when Tristan stops. “Mom, can I walk home by myself?” he asks. We’ve talked about this a few times before. We live exactly 0.9 km away from the school, down one reasonably quiet and safe street with a sidewalk and two very quiet streets with no sidewalks. We’ve walked it together on many occasions, and I know Tristan prefers to walk. Most days, however, we have to drive as I make it to the school from work with barely a few minutes to spare, and we still have to drive over to pick up Lucas from daycare a couple of blocks in the opposite direction.

I take a searching look at his face, weighing in my mind the walk, the traffic, the buses, the snow, his relative trustworthiness, how long it will take me to pick up Lucas and make it home, and my mother’s reaction if and when she ever hears that I’d let him walk by himself. Another part of my mind is busy admiring the fat snowflakes caught in his gorgeous eyelashes and how his gray-green eyes mimic the stormy clouds above us. He looks so grown up to me in that heartbeat of a minute, pleading his case not with words but by simply returning my gaze. It’s the briefest of exchanges, and yet it resonates with me as a milestone in progress. I can trust him or not, trust the world or not. The choice is mine.

“Are you sure you know the way?” I ask. I make him describe it to me, each corner and turn. We’ve walked it a dozen times and driven it a hundred — I’m pretty sure we could both do it blindfolded. I briefly wonder if we should ponder this more, hold a family council and debate the pros and cons, but in this moment I trust my instincts and acquiesce.

“Okay, but you go straight home,” I tell him. “And if you get lost, I want you to step back from the road and just sit down on someone’s lawn, okay? No wandering around. If you make a wrong turn, stop moving and I will come and find you.” It’s less than a 10 minute walk with three intersections. There is really so little chance of him being lost that I can only laugh at myself and the lasting impressions of the time I got lost the first time I walked home by myself from a new school back in 1975. Remember that one, Mom?

As expected, Simon also wants a piece of the deal once it’s brokered, but I’m having none of that. First, being older must come with some privileges, and second, I think walking home is enough of a test without being responsible for minding your little brother at the same time. Simon, who generally prefers driving to school over walking anyway, is easily persuaded that walking alone is more of a second or third grade sort of activity.

As we pull out of the parking lot, I scan my rearview mirror for signs of Tristan and can see him bobbing along in the stream of children burbling down the sidewalk. It takes me only a few minutes to retrieve Lucas, and although respect all traffic laws regarding speed and full stops, I do forgo the usual end of day chat with his caregiver in my haste to pack him up and get him out.

We pass by the school, and I begin scanning the sidewalk and snowbanks for Tristan’s blue snowsuit and black watch cap. There’s no sign of him on the way home and as I pull in to the driveway I catch sight of him, swinging gently and patiently on the porch swing, with not even a self-satisfied grin on his face.

The next day when I meet them at the fence, I expect Tristan to ask to walk home by himself again. I’m secretly pleased when he does not. He may have trod a few more snowy footprints on the road to independence, but I’m glad he still knows I’ve got a warm car standing by for those most bitter and blustery days.


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World Diabetes Day: Dylan’s Story

14 November 2015 Life, the Universe and Everything

In 2013, I had the pleasure of meeting and photographing a charming extended family on a farm just south of town. It was truly one of the warmest, most fun days of portraits and play in the five years I’ve been in business, and since that warm summer day on the farm, I’m happy to […]

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In which she fights the urge to wrap her boys in bubble wrap

18 June 2015 Mothering without a licence

Help me navigate this one, oh wise and experienced bloggy peeps. I’m trying to be free-range relaxed, but my inner helicopter parent is screeching for control. As I’ve mentioned, we’ve signed Lucas up for soccer. He’s loving it and to my great surprise, so am I – so much so that I regret not caving […]

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In which she capitulates to being a soccer mom

1 June 2015 Mothering without a licence

We are not exactly, if you haven’t yet noticed, a sporty family. I’ve made great strides (pun intended) this year to lead a less sedentary life, though, and have been encouraging the boys to be as active as possible as well. So when Lucas expressed an interest in soccer for the second year in a […]

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Is fruit juice bad for kids?

19 May 2015 Eating and thinking and thinking about eating

This is timely. I was just thinking about writing a blog post about kids and their drink choices when I came across this article in the Ottawa Citizen about how fruit juice may be dropped from Canada’s food guide as a healthy choice. The article illustrates two sides of the argument: on one hand, fruit […]

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