Monday, May 23, 2011


Our kids had a gift from a very generous family this week. One of the incredible education assistants I get to work with told me that her kids had outgrown their trampoline. She wanted to know if Maya and Ben would like it. Gratis.

Um, yes please.

On Saturday morning Eric went out back to set up the trampoline, or as Ben calls it, the pompoleen. The tubes frame all went together quite easily. It took all of 5 minutes for Eric to put the frame together. The kids put the springs on the frame. Everything was going smoothly. Everyone was smiling. Everyone was excited to jump on the pompoleen.

Until we tried to attach the mat to the frame.

It took over an hour to attach the mat. We would get halfway done, but then the mat would pull so tightly in one direction we couldn't attach it on the other side. After about three different tries, 46 curse words, and 11 cigarettes, Eric finally relented and googled trampoline assembly. Ten minutes later Maya and Ben were bouncing happily. Eric and I were collapsed in lawn chairs, totally spent from the sheer effort.

We had a hot and sunny long weekend, so the two monsters had plenty of time to jump their hearts out. It didn't take long for word to spread through the neighbourhood that Ben and Maya have a trampoline. Soon our yard was swimming with children all wanting a turn. I innocently stepped into the backyard with a cup of coffee and my laptop, hoping to enjoy a bit of sun while watching the kids revel in their new toy, perhaps even get a little blogging and planning done. When I walked behind the house I found fourteen children back there.

Seriously. There were fourteen kids in the yard. And I only knew the names of about three of those children, including my own.

All hopes of a relaxing spring afternoon were gone as I was instantly transformed into the role of yard supervisor. To keep my own sanity amongst the chaos, I actually started a Word document to record a waitlist of names and used an online stopwatch to keep track of the time.

On the up side, I now know the names of the neighbourhood riff raff. Maya and Ben both made some new friends. After watching all of them play I know who  will and won't be invited back to play.

On the down side, it was crazy, chaotic, and definitely not the relaxing Sunday afternoon I had in mind. My arm is still aching from pulling on the springs while trying to attach the mat.

But seeing how much those two crazy kids of mine love the pompoleen makes it all worthwhile.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Wise Beyond Her Years

Out of the blue yesterday, Maya asked me "Mama, who's that Bin Laden guy I keep hearing about?"

Ugh. What a kick in the gut. I was hoping I wouldn't have to explain to my seven year old quite yet about the evils of the world. I was hoping to shelter her from the fact that world is sucky place sometimes, shelter her from ideas of terrorism and hatred.

However, I am a firm believer in giving age appropriate answers to all questions my kids ask. She asked, so I did my best to explain to my sweet girl about a man who claimed responsibility for the 9/11 attacks and the ten year hunt that ensued. We talked about why people choose to terrorize others and how it might feel to be on both sides of that terrorism. I told her about how the US Navy Seals had been watching a home for months and decided to swarm and kill the man they believed to be Osama Bin Laden.

She listened very quietly while I told her about how sucky the world can be sometimes and then said "but Mom, that doesn't make any sense."

Crap. I thought I had done a pretty decent job explaining the situation in terms she could understand. I needed to find out what she was confused about so I could clarify it for her.

"Mom, it doesn't make any sense that they would just burst in and kill him. Why didn't they take him to jail and then talk him through it?"

So wise beyond her seven years. Children have such a simple, innocent, and yet thoughtful view of the world and solving conflict. When do we cross over to cynical and jaded views of the world? And how can I help her hold on to this incredible judicious wisdom?

Maybe I don't need to shelter her from the world at all. The world needs to hear her seven year old voice.