9:56 pm 3 August 2001
Wow. How to describe today. Frantic at the start and frantic at the end, but very enjoyable in the middle. If you want to describe a five-hour drive enjoyable. Here we are at the Clansman Inn in North Sydney. It's about a five-minute drive to the ferryboat which we will be going on tomorrow morning to Newfoundland. You're flopped in the bed on your back, fast asleep. Mommy is lying next to you just having opened a bag of "sugary junt". It was difficult getting you to sleep. It took between a half an hour and an hour. You were full of the dickens again tonight, a bedtime routine that's becoming despairingly familiar. Lots of biting and slapping and pinching. I don't think you're trying to be bad; it's just what you do when you’re wound up. So Mimmy and I wear the welts and the bruises and try to tell you no, it's bad and sometimes I slap your hand to tell you no (which Mimmy doesn’t entirely approve of). But still you persist. We take our sole comfort in knowing this is a phase. Everything is a phase. That was tonight. This morning was related chaos as we tried to get on the go but since a Boy doesn't know what we're up to, a Boy can't help with the flow of getting ready, and consequently works against it. And then Kiki runs out the door, and everything goes to hell in a hand basket.
But in between....
We listened to Fantasia 2000 in the car on the way up. The first leg. The phase of the trip between the start and the stop for lunch. There was a little bit of crankiness coming from the back seat (that would have been YOU, by the way), but all that disappears when Fantasia goes on. I'm starting to think that there isn't anything that the Fantasia 2000 CD can't cure. We kept watching you to see when you were going to go to sleep because that was going to determine where we stopped for lunch. Truro went by at almost noontime and you were still awake. So we were shooting for New Glasgow, but ten minutes out you were really heavy-eyed and drifting off, your little head turned to nestle back in the corner of the car seat, a sure sign you're ready for sleep. So I launched my campaign to keep you awake, asking you to find me some cows, can you see the cows, and gamely you lifted your tired little head up to peer out the window to search for cows (there were none, only woods on both sides of the highway) and I'd tickle your feet from the driver's seat and you'd laugh and giggle (sleepily) and then I'd ask you to look for cows or planes and then we were in New Glasgow and heading for McDonalds.
The first new first of the day.
You had a Happy Meal for the first time. Nuggets and fries and a milk. You dipped the nuggets in the ketchup (you'll eat the ketchup straight out of the dipping cup sometimes). You tried the sweet and sour sauce and scrinched your face up against it, yuck! I got you an ice cream cone afterward and a Smarties "McFlurry". You keened for a mouthful of McFlurry and it was no sooner in your mouth than you were spitting it out. *g* Still not a fan of chocolate. You were very helpful when Da was cleaning you up, pointing out the bits that had fallen on your leg for Daddy to wipe up.
You slept all the way from New Glasgow to Little Harbour, about an hour and a half. You woke up just when the road ended and we had to take an unplanned ferry ride, a small little boat that crossed a narrow little harbour, ferrying only a handful of cars at a time. A Happy-Meal sized ferry crossing to preview the adult portion that's on tap for tomorrow. The music that was on the CD at that time was the soundtrack for the City Of Angels. We were listening to "Further On Up The Road" as we went across on the boat. And much to my surprise and delight, you started dancing in the back, "cherry-picking", trying to snap your fingers, grinning and swaying and bobbing your head. When it was over you prompted for it again ("Guin!"). And then again. And again, and again and again. We drove a long way up the road listening to the same song over and over. I loved it. Mimmy, not as much. So that was the second "first" of the day. The first rock song you've liked. You picked a good one.
We got to the hotel at just before quarter after four and were soon in the pool. You were your usual splash in your Ozone suit, playing to a new crowd. The water in the pool was heated. Not hot, but not cold like Poppa's pool or even the ocean in PEI. So it was no problem getting in the water, and once in you started swimming. Not floating and bobbing around like last time, but moving yourself through the water, orienting yourself to look toward me or Mimmy or the stairs to the pool. At then end of our time in the pool, you were playing a game with the rope that was strung across the width of the pool, marking the beginning of the slope of the pool bottom to the deeper end. You would raise the rope and go under it, turn around, raise the rope, go under it and turn around again. Then when you all done with that, you propelled yourself from the rope back to the steps, a full one-third the length of the pool. All by yourself. I swam beside you and only watched, proud and very impressed with you. That was the third first of the day. Real swimming.
And the last one was riding on one of those super market rides. A mechanical horse, drop your quarter in and it bobs and rocks until your quarter's spent. You pined for each of these rides when you past them; Mimmy said there were several you wanted to ride before she finally put you on a purple horse. I spotted you from the pharmacy (you and Mimmy had left the restaurant and crossed the road while daddy paid for supper and drove the car to the parking lot ... We needed Gravol and Ihle's paste). So I was at the counter and paying for the stuff when I saw you and Mimmy and went over, excited for you, to see how you were doing.
You were hating it.
The movement of it frightened you. It was something too new and you decided that it wasn't for you. You weren't ready for it. So instead of leaning forward and holding on the metal handle posts, you leaned back, frightened of the horse head while Mimmy held you and steadied you and tried to reassure. You were having none of it. But when you past first a mechanical elephant and farther up the mall a mechanical duck, you wanted to ride them.
Just as long as nobody dropped a quarter in.
9:58 Newfoundland Daylight Time, 4 August 2001
We had another fairly good day. It was a long day, a long ferry ride and a long drive off the ferry to Corner Brook. The ferryboat ride lasted 6 hours and the car ride afterward was another 2 hours to Corner Brook. You were running all over the boat. Wanting to go up and down the steel steps by yourself, blithe to any peril. Mommy and Daddy weren't blithe so we were scampering around after you for most of the time, trying to keep up and keep you safe.
You napped for only about an hour, maybe not even for that long.
There was a play area in the lounge, a padded room with large, padded blocks in the shapes of cylinders, pyramids and cubes, about a foot and a half high. There were any number of other kids inside this little cave, older than you and more aggressive, throwing these things at each other and falling on each other. You went in and the battle was joined, without so much any introductions or by your leave, running around and falling on top of the other kids (strangers all), throwing the blocks around which at your age and ability was akin to letting them drop at your feet. You had a great time.
The trip to Corner Brook got a bit squirrelly when you wanted to get out and you were tired of being strapped in the car listening to the same old stuff on the CD. "Further on Up The Road" got you to dance for a bit, but not for long. We did get you sufficiently distracted for a fairly calm arrival to Nanny Michael's and Gidi's. They took to you immediately and after some initial shyness you warmed up to them very quickly. Nanny let you play with your golf set all through the house. Gidi was overjoyed that you came over to him four times to "give him a love" before you went to bed. You were a very tired boy and dropped off quickly tonight.
8:30pm 5 August 2001
At the moment you’re in the living room, playing with your golf clubs as Mimmy and Nanny talk amongst themselves. You're dressed in your Superman sleeper and your hair is still wet from the bath but combed in a very neat part. You look exceptionally sweet.
We had a walk around the park today. It was part walk part chores. You had a great time pitching rocks into the river and pumping the little legs, running headlong along the rocky path. We ended up in the Sobey’s where we bought diapers. Size FIVE for the first time, the last few weeks having a few to many leaky moments around the legs.
You bit Daddy on his face today which made Daddy very upset, almost crying. Mostly because he got so upset with a boy and slapped his hand. You were cranky and disinterested in lunch, so I took you upstairs to bed for a nap. You protested strongly, but before long you snuggled into me and dropped off. I took two pictures of you in your green-striped Blue's Clues shirt, lying on your stomach, hands tucked in beside you, little bum raised up in the air.
Mimmy took you back to the park in the afternoon and you had a great time in the river, not swimming because you didn't have your lifejacket. But you had a great time. The water was cool, wonderful relief from a very hot day.
I just blew you a kiss. Here you come over to talk to me and pat my arm, chatting, cuddling into my arm, eating your cookies.
9:35 6 Aug 2001
Today was another driving day. We left Nanny’s and Gidi's house at noon time after lunch and drove to Uncle Gerry's father's house on Norris Point (see the web page for the trip to Gros Morne that Mommy and I took, all those years ago). You slept for most of the way. Just the way we planned it. You were a good little boy today. We went to the Mall before we left Corner Brook to get you some party supplies for the pre-birthday party your cousins wanted to have later on the week. When we got to Norris Point we settled in, played some golf in the side yard and then went out to the pool, where you continued impress Mimmy and me with your improving prowess in the water. At supper time, you were tapping the waitress’s hip with a fork as she was taking our order. I told her it meant that you wanted her phone number and she laughed and said maybe in a couple of years. So go look her up, a cute blonde girl, I think her name was Nicole.
When I got home from fishing with Uncle Gerry, Mimmy had just lain down with you to help you go to sleep. I took over for her and you snuggled into my arm. "Da," you whispered.
"Boy," I whispered back.
10:44, 7 August 2001
Full dickens mode and a bit cranky, maybe because you weren't feeling quite up to par. You had a bit of a runny nose and were sneezing a fair bit today. This followed a rough night of high winds that screamed through the house by the cracks in the windows. The house shook and the wind blew, the rain poured in heavy, noisy sheets and the thunder boomed and the lightning flashed. You kept searching out Mimmy for comfort.
We went to the pool again and the happy little face broke through like sun from behind a rain cloud. You had a wonderful time, swimming all over the place all by yourself. A constant smile on your face showing off all your sharp, little white teeth.
For supper, Uncle Gerry made some scallops for appetizers and you made the most of your main course. Delicious! Auntie Stephanie brought out some marshmallows later on and Daddy made a trick of having them disappear and you knew where they had gone, pointing to your ear and I'd pull it out from your ear and you'd take the marshmallow and eat it all at once, making Auntie Stephanie laugh.
10:15pm 8 August 2001
What an exciting day! We woke up and you and I went down after breakfast to the rocky beach and pitched stones into the water. Wah! (rock) you said, another new word. We went in the car and drove around to the other side of Bonne Bay (it was into one side we pitched the stones and to the other that we drove). We traveled along the base of the Table Lands, high mountains with flat tops and brown coloured stone. There were two dimples in the sides of one hill that still had snow showing. We visited the Discovery Center in Trout River and you whooped it up in the good acoustics. We lunched at the Seaside Inn and it came too late for you; Mimmy ate your meal of wonderful cod fillets and vegetables, you had filled upon bread, milk and some fish from Da's chowder. The waitress was so taken with you (even though you felt up her hip, or maybe because of it) that she gave you a brown bag full of red jellies which you ate very contentedly in the back seat. Before we left though, you and I walked along the boardwalk and pitched stones in the surf. "What does a crashing wave say:" I asked. “Psssssssht!" you'd answer.
All you wanted today was Mimmy. You would say it over and over again, forsaking me when I went to pick you up or hold you or hug you. It was very disheartening. I would say to Mimmy with a sad face, mostly feigned, "A Boy doesn't love Daddy anymore."
You napped as we drove to Lomand, a place where Uncle Gerry used to live as a kid before the government forced them out and off their land and made it all into a National Park. On the rocky beach you waded and pitched more rocks. We walked over around the point to Muddy Cove where Mimmy and I waded out to our waists in the warm water. We invited you out but you decided to stay by the shore investigating all the rocks (never met one you didn't like) until Da looked up some time later and there you were up to your knees, on the way out with no lifejacket on and you walked all the way to your Mimmy and Da, the water right up to your chin before you started to look nervous and took Da's hand.
When we got home you played with your cousins outside and around the house, jumping on chairs and beds. Sometime later you had a little fall down the stairs, but were very quickly okay, a scare and nothing more. You and I played Eensy Weensy Spider for a while before having your bath and after that you went out in your sleeper and your sweat suit to the fire Uncle Gerry had built on the beach and had some roasted marshmallows. Quite a full day for our little Boy!
12:05am 10 August 2001
It looks like I skipped a day, but I didn't really. One of my favourite authors, Ed McBain, goes on about that a lot in his stories, how people would still think it's the 9th of August even though the clock had pushed through midnight and it was really the 10th, but people would still figure the day hadn't changed yet because they didn't go to sleep.
So it's the 9th really, because I haven't gone to sleep yet. I'm writing in the little downstairs bathroom and it feels like the room is moving on waves because I was out in the boat today twice with Uncle Gerry and my middle ear or whatever it is trying to convince me I'm still on the water and it's doing a pretty good job because I feel like I'm rocking all over the place and I feel dizzy.....
Mimmy took you to a beach by the river today and you got your bum all full of sand, a fine family tradition. Ask us about Parga bum sometime if we haven't told you already.
When you got home from the river I saw you outside and shouted, There's my boy! And we ran at each other across the lawn, like some hokey, romance movie, arms out to each other, running into each other's arms and I picked you up and whirled you around and you laughed and said "Ghin!" Over and over we did our little scene.
We also went to the pool and you had a grand time there as always. You still are showing a preference that's almost a compulsion for Mimmy, and it makes me a little sad. Especially today when you bit me hard on the chin and later clawed at my neck. But at nap time you settled so comfortably in my arm and we had a snooze together, and you cuddled into me so nice, and the same when I put you to bed tonight, you raising your little hand above your head and saying something like "Twik, twik,' until the dawn finally broke for Daddy and he realized you were holding up a twinkle star and sang you the song a few time. After songs and whispers and cuddles you finally went to sleep. It was very nice, feeling loved by a Boy.
When you woke up an hour later, you cried bitterly, wanting Mimmy and no one else. Oh well. Easy come, easy go.
9:05 pm 10 Aug 2001
Last night for the second time during our stay at Norris Point the thunder crashed and the lightning flashed. A Boy slept through most of it but Mimmy and Da were kept awake. The rain poured down hard and the morning dawned gray and angry. Throughout breakfast the sky cleared and cleared some more and the water got calmed to the point where we almost went out, you and I, in the boat. All the arrangements were made, until quick as a flash the wind came back up, the water got very choppy and the rain threatened. So we didn't go. We packed up our things and headed out for a walk at Berry Hill, well a little father up the line than that, Mimmy knows the name of the place. We walked all around a pond. "Paw," you said.
We had another drive back to Corner Brook and you slept all of the way, right into Nanny's driveway. Everyone was glad to see you again. Later in the day with your cousins Elizabeth and Sarah, you ran out to play in the sprinkler (it was hot enough to kill you in Corner Brook, go figure). Sarah and Elizabeth were in their swimsuits; you were in your clothes. I got some nice pictures of you, soaking wet.
Mimmy and Nanny Michael and Aunt Stephanie went out to the mall and you and I had a nice evening together, dancing, playing golf, watching TV, playing on the bed and having our bath. Your last diaper of the day had a lion on it and you were able to make the new sound ("What does a lion say?" / "Rowr!")
8:40pm, 11 August 2001
Another very big day for a little Boy. Today was the prelude party, a birthday celebration for you a full 20 days before the real date. It wasn't so much for you as for your cousins Sarah and Elizabeth. The exciting part happened after you had your nap. Actually, you were asleep when the gang arrived, but they weren't in the door for long before your little voice was heard upstairs, and then there you were at the top of the steps. We had balloons out and hung up here and there, there were streamers in the dining room hung from the light in the center, radiating out in four directions all at 90 degrees. Streamers were hung in alternating colours, blue and white, hanging straight down to form a sort of curtain in the living room door. Run through it, Heeeere's Johnny, that kind of thing. The girls showed up and you played musical chairs with the couch cushions. You were the first one out of course, what the heck did you know from playing musical chairs? But you had a great time running around the cushions, bumping into your cousins, pushing them along.
You would drape yourself all over the twins, Elizabeth especially, in great, long prostrate hugs. She looked a little intimidated by it all and laid there, a funny look on her face, afraid to move.
We had pizza and Dairy Queen ice cream cake and we sang Happy Birthday and clapped and you looked a little overwhelmed by it all. I wonder when it all happens again for real on the 31st if you'll remember this and figure it's old hat by then.
You were tuckered out by the end of it all, and you went up for an early bath which turned out to be a shower. Dressed in your Superman sleeper you were just in time to say bye-bye to the twins and your Aunt and Uncle. A tired little boy, I took you up early to bed, and you cried from being over-tired before cuddling into me tight, me lying on my back, you on my chest, your arms wrapped around my neck, your face buried into my neck and before long you were asleep. A wonderful way to end the day, cuddled up with your Da.
11:30pm, 12 August 2001
A quiet day. Mimmy was sick and Da was hobbled. Not much happened in the forenoon. We went for a walk and returned the video Mimmy and I watched last night. You ran, I hobbled, trying to keep up. You saw the moon in the sky and pointed it out to me over and over. "Moo! Moo!" you would say. Then we'd walk a little farther and pass under some trees that would block the view of the moon and you'd shrug your little shoulders and put your palms up and say, "Aw Gaw...!" (All gone!)
You played with some leftover birthday balloons and that was lots of fun, bouncing them around with Mimmy who set them to you like volleyballs, and then later you would chase one around, batting it in the air with one of your plastic golf clubs. I let that go on probably longer than I should have.
In the afternoon we went to the Corner Brook Stream, Somebody Bowater Park. You went with the twins and Nanny Michael and me and Mimmy. You didn't really go into the water, just down a few steps. It was pretty cold, the water. You slipped and fell from the steps in the water once, so I guess you were swimming a little.
10:30pm, 13 August 2001
It's Grandmother Shipley's 60th birthday today. You spoke to her briefly on the phone but only to do your "What does a --- say?" She tried to get you to sing Happy Birthday, but that was a bit beyond your ken.
Cousins left today to go back to Clarenville. Before they left you helped draw on the front walk with giant pieces of coloured chalk. You gave them all a love and waved to them as they left.
Mimmy and Nanny took you for a walk along the path by Corner Brook Stream. You ran from one end of the park to the other. Mimmy and Nanny were properly worn out at the end of it. After all that running around, you think you'd be tired, but when you came back out of the park, apparently you wanted to go play on the playground. It was a bit much for the grownups, though.
We played with the balloons again today for a bit and sometimes when they were batted up into the air, you twirled under them and down they'd come, floating gently and you'd clap your hands together around the balloon --- and catch it! It's the first time we've successfully done throw and catch.
On a related note, when Sportsdesk was on this evening, they had a baseball highlight. Crack! The ball was hit. I said, "It's a deep fly ball to center field, waaaaaa back! To the wall! It's ..."
And I looked at you.
And you looked at me.
"Gaw!" you said.
We all laughed and cheered.
10:25pm 14 August 2001
A fairly quiet day for us all today. Mimmy and Da went out by themselves for a while to do some shopping. You stayed home with Nanny and had a good time reading books and running around out back and drawing with chalk.
After your nap we drove out to Marble Mountain and took a walk up to Steady Brook Falls. We got up high enough to see the water (which wasn't very far) and you decided to go back. We went to George's Dairy Bar and had an ice cream. Some of us ate it, some of us wore it (point, point). Then we went over and sat in a really big chair. A really big chair. Did you get that? It was a chair that was REALLY BIG. The three of us all sat together and watched the big trucks go by.
We got home and had supper where you went around the table introducing everybody to everybody else (Mimmy, Nanny, Didi (Jidi), Da, Ah-een (Ian). Gidi has been saying for the last number of days, "Ips me cocker!" (who the hell knows what THAT means...) and during supper between introductions and playing with Gidi's moustache, you said very clearly "Cocker." So that will make for interesting conversation when we get home....
We watched Blue's Clues (yes, all of us) and when the first clue came on you said, "A Cloo!"
You went to bed very well tonight. Only took 15 minutes. The vacation is taking a toll on a boy if one can gauge by how ready you are for your naps and bedtime. Which lately has been very ready.
11:50pm 15 August 2001
Today was our last full day at Nanny and Gidi’s. Gidi is very pleased, by the way, that you call him Gidi.
You and I went for an outing by ourselves before lunch. We went to Bowater Park and I followed you wherever you wanted to go, giving you free reign. You had a moment on the slides, then a moment on the swings, then you walked up to the top of the park and to the tunnel that goes under the road, toddling off to the adjoining part of the park where the swimming hole is in the Corner Brook Stream. I took off your sandals, and my own socks and shoes and you splashed a bit. Then you splashed a bit more and started crouching down, so I stripped you naked so you could play in the water, and all you really did after that was get dirty sitting on the steps and pick at old cigarette butts to throw in the water. We got dressed again and went back through the tunnel and had a good time on the slides. You weren't all that interested in playing on them, too slow, till I started coming down after you and then it was, "Ghen, ghen!"
We had lunch and no nap for you. The plan was for you to sleep while we drove to Bottle Cove, about an hour away (we could see the Table Lands that we had visited last week across the water from where we went). You finally went to sleep about five minutes before we got to Bottle Cove (and never slept at all on the way back). Nanny and Gidi came with us. We got to the beach (little stones more than sand, awful stuff to walk in) and we went for a little hike up to the end of the Captain Cook Trail where there were cliffs and a monument and a great view. On the way back you and I were walking in the water. You ducked yourself all the way in where the little waves were washing the shore and propped yourself up on your arms, your little bum and sneakered feet sticking up, surfing the little waves in place. We had to get back and I was enjoying the water, so you and I went in the hip-deep-on-me water, and I carried you, then I put you in the water and held you up around your waist and you kicked your feet and moved your arms, shouting happily. I suspect there weren’t many things at the moment that you enjoy more than swimming.
That night when it was time for bed, you lay next to me giving a whispered roll call: Nanny. Mimmy. Da. Beh.
4:24, NS Time, 16 August 2001
It wouldn't be a trip to Nanny's and Gidi's without getting your face bashed in.
On your last visit you were just learning to walk and tripped coming in through a door, landing on the little piece of flesh between your lip and your nose and cutting it open. Today there was a crash from the hallway and a thump and then you were crying. I picked you up and held you for a moment before inspecting for damage. You had a cut about an inch long that followed the curve on top of your right eye, apparently having fallen in the hallway and striking your face against the edge of the table. An angry looking little gash. You cried and cried, pressing your face into Da's white and now bloody t-shirt.
We went for a drive and visited CIBC and Esso and you were as right as rain after that. Every now and then you'd cautiously touch the tip of your finger against the swelling around your eye. "Boo-boo," you'd say.
We said our sad goodbye's to Nanny and Gidi, holidays almost all over. You slept most of the way to Port Aux Basques, waking with a sore eye and a somewhat forlorn little face. We had a bit of a wait to get on the ferry and again you were pre-occupied with the cut on your head (do you have a scar now? We wondered if it would leave a scar).
Anyway, here we are on the ferry now, about a half an hour out of Newfoundland, on our way home. Mimmy has you someplace now to run around the ship and I thought I'd write your entry a little early today. We're going to get into North Sydney around 8:30 tonight, so I would expect that most of the action is done for today. I'll add more if something else arises.
Poor little boy with his angry, red cut.
(You just reappeared with Mimmy. "Da!" you exclaimed. "Boy!" I answered back.)
Many times during the holiday I've played a little game which both you and the twins both enjoyed. I'd hold a golf ball or small toy or piece of Leggo in my left hand transfer it to my right hand and ... Lo and behold it had disappeared! "Gaw!" (gone!) you'd say. Knowing the game you would point to your right ear, and that's where I would make it reappear, or in your shirt or your mouth or somewhere.
Today at dinner after I did this trick a few times with a grape. Then you took one, switched it to your right hand, covered it with your left, looked up, shrugged your shoulders and exclaimed, "Gaw!" You had learned the trick. Da laughed, delighted.
Boy, this feels like a long ferry ride....
The music coming out of the Killick Lounge was too much to pass by, and your legs started to pump and your arms started to wave. Jigging and reeling was a boy to the live music and you created a stir, an absolute sensation! People all turned to watch you and laugh and clap. You got everyone's attention, including the performer. An older lady from Ontario joined you in the dancing, referring to you as "boyfriend" the next few times she ran into you (on one of your many excursions to run around the ship...)