Anna is thirteen

Have you been wondering what a teenager looks like these days? Wonder no longer:

My big first baby turned the big one-three on June 24. Next year, I might have to bake a sheet cake to fit all the candles.

At least she gets candles. Fire regulations prohibit candles on my cake now. Safety first, etc.

Here she is, opening one of her few gifts that wasn’t jewellery:

She has a thing about jewellery in the same way I have a thing about books. And wool. And bags. And office supplies. And vegetable seeds.

Here she is with her brudda and sista:

 Three birthdays within a month. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

“You need to have another baby,” Anna said a few days after her birthday.

I know it’s out of character, but I might have said something the tiniest bit impolite, like, “Good God, why?”

“Because three birthdays aren’t enough. We need someone with another birthday so we can have another cake.”

I maybe, possibly, just might have snorted and rolled my eyes. “I think I’d rather skip the baby part and just bake another cake.”

The kids erupted in cheers and exchanged high fives. Snookered me again. This is exactly how I got scammed into owning two dogs, a cat and a fish. These kids are good.

my baby is nine

On June 5, Charlotte turned nine:

 Not nine days, not nine months – nine years. I’m not really sure where those years went.

Oh, wait. Laundry. Yes, that would be it. Laundry and dishes.

She is our girl of many faces, the drama queen, the ham:

Always entertaining.

Foster drew a picture of Jessie from Toy Story on a card for Charlotte:

 Jessie, a spunky cowgirl, is one of Charlotte’s favourites, which pleases me because she is the antithesis of airhead ‘fashion’ dolls. And yes, he drew Jessie free hand.

Anna needle felted a letter C:

That stands for Charlotte.

(You’re welcome.)

And at risk of getting my butt kicked by my photo-averse mother, here is the birthday girl with her Jam:

 Gah, so sweet.

Happy birthday, my baby.

 

 

my boy is eleven

As usual, I’m running about two weeks behind, so without further ado:

Foster the birthday boy as seen on his big day, which was, yeah, okay, last month, but give me a break. I had to get the film developed.

Ha, not really, but I messed you up for a second there, didn’t I? Remember the days of getting film developed? My kids don’t, of course. And that’s when I start to feel really old. “Film, mother?” they ask. (We’re very high class.) “What is this film whereof you speak?”

Here’s Foster revelling in Pirates of the Caribbean Lego:

His longtime career ambition: Lego designer. He’d be great at it.

And the best gift of all, although he might not realize it at the moment – the love and devotion of his sisters:

They’re a tight little unit, these three, and my wish for all of them is that they’re able to carry that closeness into adulthood.

And that they’ll eventually be able to guilt one another into forking over more for a nice nursing home for me.

the most (fill in the blank) time of year

As the kids get older, I find Christmas more and more enjoyable with every passing year. Sure, babies and toddlers are cute and it’s fun to dress them up and watch them scream their guts out on Santa’s knee, but they’re also needy and irritable and poop a lot, none of which are qualities I purposely seek out in friends and companions. This pre-teen age, however, is perfect. They aren’t too jaded or “cool” to be excited about Christmas, they hide themselves away for hours before Christmas to make gifts for everyone and, most importantly, they no longer beg for big, noisy, obnoxious, battery-devouring toys that make me want to hurl them (the toys, not the kids) into the driveway and back over them. Repeatedly.

No, now they want books and clothes and make-up and technology. They want to walk into Future Shop and take one of everything, essentially. Which would be expensive, but still better than having a house that looks like a Toys R Us.

Here are the young revellers, modelling t-shirts and a new tiger hat:

 And here’s Foster, ever-so-slightly pleased with his new Wii game:

And Charlotte (for whom every day is Hallowe’en), cuddled up with Glen in a new fuzzy blanket:

And Anna, trying to put on Glen’s new parka:

See that poor dog? That right there is the definition of resignation. Look at his limp little limbs. Why bother struggling? Just let the giant, pink, tiger-headed girl have her way and eventually she’ll get distracted and move on to something else. Fortunately, he received a ton of new toys and treats to make up for the humiliation.

My birthday, on the other hand, never seems to become more enjoyable. I turned 39 (shriek! how can this be?) on December 28 and my lovely family took me out for Chinese food before bribing me with gifts to continue doing their laundry for another year, then presented me with this:

Cupcakes decorated to look like balls of yarn. How cute is that?

maternal pride and some white-hot anger

The day after my last post, I accompanied Foster’s class on a trip to CFB 14 Wing Greenwood, where Foster promptly stole a parachute and tried to hijack the Hercules plane we were being shown:

That kid. Honestly. I can’t take him anywhere.

Two days later was this girl’s birthday:

Anna is twelve now. Twelve. Crazy. Because her birthday was a “marking day,” Anna had no school and instead spent the day going out for lunch and Frenchy’s shopping with Jam, then opening presents and going to Swiss Chalet for a birthday dinner with the whole family.

Two days after her birthday, Anna had a swimming/sleepover party with four of her friends. Yes, you heard me correctly: a swimming AND sleepover party. Are we not the world’s greatest parents? Yes, I think so. The Boy Wonder took Foster, Charlotte, Anna and four of her friends to the Acadia pool to swim for a couple hours, then they came home, decorated make-your-own pizzas for supper, ate homemade cake and then “slept” in the basement. I think I spent about eight solid hours just doing dishes that day. I won’t post photos from her party because I’m not sure how the girls’ parents would feel about that, but I can sum up my shots by saying the girls were JUST A LITTLE EXCITED.

Two days after that (see the pattern?) was the closing ceremony at Anna’s school, during which she won an Outstanding Effort and Achievement award:

Please forgive the photo; I was standing about a mile and a half away. That’s Anna to the left of the kid in the orange sweater. Her teacher is poking her head in between the two kids. The hoodlums in the back are the other Grade 6 teachers.

Anyway, this is what is printed on the back of her certificate (wording and random capitalization not mine, obviously):

This Award is presented to two students in each Homeroom

Who have Demonstrated an Outstanding Dedication to Learning.

These students have Shown Tremendous Intellectual and Social Development.

Both Exemplify the Academic Spirit and Work Ethic of

EMS to which All should Aspire.

Good God. I weep for the future. Seriously, people, just because you write something in italics doesn’t mean you can capitalize at will. I keep studying this little passage, looking for a pattern and I can’t find one. We have a few capitalized verbs, but not all. We have lots of capitalized nouns, but not all. I hate to be bitchy about it (not really, but let’s pretend), but shouldn’t EDUCATORS pay a teensy bit more attention to these kinds of things? You know, “setting a good example” and all that?

But maybe I’m just punchy because my medical situation has gone from bad to worse: a thyroid ultrasound I did about a month ago has revealed I have two nodules on my thyroid, one on the left side and one on the right. The good news is that the nodules aren’t necessarily cancerous and, even if they are, thyroid cancer is one of the easiest to treat. The bad news is I have to have a biopsy to find out for sure. Big needle in throat = no fun. So the revelation of this whole nodule thing combined with my whacked out hormone levels certainly helps explain my crappy health. Oh, how I’d love to take my ultrasound report and cram it down the piehole of that arsehole endocrinologist who said my problems were all in my head. Close, goofball – they’re in my throat, but better luck next time.