Tag Archives: Humour

Dollar Store Mouse

On a weekend shopping trip in early October my husband and I had stopped in at the Dollar Tree to pick up a few items.  The store had many Halloween themed displays and as we perused the aisles we often heard the mice.  Not real mice – these were small, motion activated decorations.  The store staff had placed several of them on shelves throughout the store.  As customers walked past they would trigger the mouse squeaks.

I am easily amused by things like this so of course I wanted one.  Hubby and I thought our cats at home might be tormented like these mice.  We picked up one of the packaged ones from the bin by the checkout.

14-11-mouse01Back at home I unwrapped the mouse and pulled the little tab from the battery compartment.  No squeaking.  My son and I took turns trying to get the mouse to make noise.  We could see the motion sensor but no matter what we tried we couldn’t get it to work.

We decided to take it apart – maybe the battery wasn’t connecting properly.  Once the mechanism was removed from the mouse body it worked fine.  We put it back in the mouse and again could not trigger the sensor.  Defective dollar store mouse.

Having already wasted enough time trying to get the thing to work I gave up and left it sitting on the counter.  Later that evening, when we were sitting in the living room, the mouse on the kitchen counter began to squeak.  No one was in the kitchen – there had been no movement.  Possessed dollar store mouse.

Over the next few weeks the mouse sat on the kitchen counter and continued to squeak randomly.  Sometimes it would go for several days without making any noise. Then one day it would squeak on and off throughout the morning or afternoon and then go silent again.  I’ll admit that it was a little eerie to hear the mouse at night when we were all in bed and the house was dark.

During the day it made me smile when I heard it initiate a conversation – yes, I do often talk to the mouse.  I know, it may not be ‘normal’ but our conversations are often more sensible than some of the conversations I’ve had with toddlers.

Last week the mouse was very vocal.  Sometimes it was very irritating, squeaking almost constantly for several minutes at a time with only brief periods of silence in between outbursts.  I tried moving it to other locations in the kitchen – behind the toaster, in the dark corner beside the fridge, under a towel or even in the bread bin. Still it continued to squeak and ignore my requests that to be quiet.  Annoying dollar store mouse.

It now sits on the plant shelf above the toddler table.  It seems happy there, not complaining as much, back to the occasional squeaking. The toddlers never seemed to notice when it squeaked in the kitchen.  They notice it now – especially at meal times when it interrupts their conversation.  After the mouse squeaks there is always a brief period of silence as the toddlers sit still and stare at each other.

I smile. Mischievous little dollar store mouse. 🙂



Why I Hate Spinach

People who know me are now saying “Huh what? I thought you loved spinach.”

Yes, I love to eat spinach.  It is one of my favourite vegetables – possibly my most desired vegetable.  I love it raw or cooked, in a salad, casserole or sauce.  Since the first time I had spinach (and bacon) on pizza there was no going back to any other pizza toppings.

For our daycare menu it is just used in salads and there is only one child who will not eat spinach salad.  The reason the children refuse to eat it in other meals is mostly due to the ‘cooked’ aspect – they refuse most vegetables that have been cooked.

So now, because there really is one serious reason to despise the stuff, let me get back to the topic of ‘Why I Hate Spinach’.

Spinach is nearly impossible to clean off of plates, bowls, the table, the floor, or anything else.  Try wiping it off while it is still fresh and it simply rolls along the surface to another location and stays there.  I used to think that rice was hard to clean up but I discovered that when rice dries up it can easily be flaked or swept off surfaces.  This is not possible with spinach.

As spinach dries it forms a bond with the surface it is on.  Spinach would make fantastic glue if it wasn’t dark green. Dried on Spinach can be soaked until it becomes wet spinach but then it goes back to rolling across the surface again.

You can’t rinse spinach off a plate.  As cheese, egg or other foods get dissolved by running water spinach leaves just flatten out on the surface increasing their grasp.  They stay there taunting you until you increase the volume of water hoping the extra pressure will work.  Combined with a slight twist of the wrist and this extra water pressure rebounding off the plate can be used to wash your walls/ceiling/face/hair but the spinach will remain.

Giving up on rinsing and putting the dishes in the dishwasher will not help.  Dishwashers only ensure that spinach leaves become permanent features on glassware.  This is why all my dishes have pictures and green ‘patterns’.  Think the plate I served your food on is dirty?  Go ahead and try to clean it – I dare you!

We had spinach salad with our sandwiches yesterday and I am afraid to empty the dishwasher because I hate spinach.

Acceptable Risk

I have surpassed my Post A Week promise as this is already my third post this week – yeah!  I’ve checked out the suggestions for post topics and some of them look really interesting but at the moment I’ve got plenty of ideas of my own.  I’ll keep them in mind for when I have a dry spell.

It has been a busy week – my regular 60 hour work week also had an additional 4 evenings of networking meetings etc which left me little time to ‘play’ with my new computer.  I use the term ‘play’ here because it is through play that we learn.  Since my new computer has a new operating system, new versions of several of my old programs and some new programs too there is plenty for me to learn.

When I’m busy I easily get frustrated by power struggles with my computer.  The new operating system has added ‘security’ features to keep me ‘safe’ – or to irritate me. Trying to work through some of these issues also got me thinking how much my computer makes me feel like a child with an overprotective parent.

There I was, 6:30am, already finished preparation for the day’s activities and meals and no children due to arrive for an hour – plenty of time to work on a blog post.  First, I’ve got a picture on the camera that I want to use.  Getting it from the camera to the computer took way longer than expected because of the unexpected hide & seek game we played as I tried to figure out where I should stick that card.

Once the picture was finally moved to the computer I was able to edit, crop and resize the photo fairly quickly because I demonstrated incredible self control to not play with all the cool features that the fancy new photo editing software has.  Then, my computer and I had this ‘conversation’;

  • Me: Save photo.
  • Comp: No, you’re not permitted to.
  • Me: Yes I am, try again.
  • Comp: No, it’s read only
  • Me: No it’s not, I checked
  • Comp: It’s mine and you can’t change it
  • Me: I took the picture — I can change it if I want to.
  • Comp: No, it’s mine
  • Me: Fine, keep that one and ‘save as’ a second one that I can have.
  • Comp: No
  • Me: Look, I’m out of time just forget it! Close program
  • Comp: You have unsaved changes. Would you like to save them?
  • Me: Oh! Yes please.
  • Comp: No, you’re not permitted to.
  • Me: Keep your stupid picture and go away.

OK, it was a temporary setback and we’ve worked it out.  I understand the need for protection – I’ve had my share of ‘OMG I can’t believe I just did that’ moments when I wished I hadn’t been allowed to delete two years worth of important data.  But really?  This was an acceptable risk.  What’s the worst thing that could happen if I modified the picture, saved it, and then changed my mind?

We learn from our mistakes and if we are never allowed to take the risk and make mistakes we won’t learn from them.  Overprotected children can’t learn to recognize the risk – to differentiate between the acceptable risk and real danger.

So I say, let’s play, take risks, make mistakes, try something different and learn.

New Beginnings

As we welcome in the New Year many people choose to make resolutions to change certain aspects of their life.  For some ‘Out with the Old and In With the New’ is an exhilarating experience and they embrace the opportunity with enthusiasm. Others are slow to warm up so adapting to ‘New and Different’ can be stressful and demanding even when the change is an improvement. I generally fall into the latter category.

For me this New Year brings a new laptop (Happy Birthday to me) and along with it a mixture of excitement and frustration.  My new laptop has a beautiful brown earth tone color which is visually appealing to me, and it is super fast compared to my old one – an aspect that will be greatly appreciated.  It also has a new, very stubborn, operating system that doesn’t want to let me do things the way I am accustomed to doing them.  In this battle so far the computer is winning as I was up until 2 am – not ringing in the New Year – just desperately trying to synch new and old.

I’ve finally installed the 2007 version of Word that we bought long ago but I never installed because I was working on my CBA portfolio and felt learning to use the new program would just be disruptive.  Even after completing my portfolio the time just never seemed ‘right’ and besides, the old version was working fine and I was comfortable using it – told you I was slow to warm up.

So I sit here at my desk, old laptop and new laptop side by side, importing and exporting, trying and retrying, sometimes successful and sometimes not.  Other household tasks go uncompleted, partially because I am too busy but also because according to my computer there are no ‘To Do’ items due before 2013.  Maybe this is due to an importing error even though I’ve retried it several times – secretly I believe my computer is trying to tell me it will be years before I finish setting things up here.

Still, I vow not to be defeated. Instead, I remind myself of the optimism of the 5 year old who whispered “Welcome to life” as she gently poured water over the soil containing the seed she had just planted.  This too is a new beginning.

Mystery of Time

Christmas is almost here and everyone is busy finalizing the details of their Holiday celebrations.    I don’t take any vacation time during this time – my childcare home is only closed for the three holidays (Christmas Day, Boxing Day & New Year’s Day).  Although some parents work in schools or offices that close for all or part of the holiday season others don’t and therefore still require childcare.

Each day at pick-up time parents are informing me which days their children will be absent from childcare to attend family events.  As I tally up the expected attendance I realize that this year may be a particularly quiet one with as few as two children here most days.  I realized that there may even be some days with no children at all prompting my husband to make a comment about what I would do with my extra time.

Extra time?  There is no such thing as extra time.  I realized long ago that time must be carefully constructed and arranged to accommodate the tasks and activities that need to be scheduled.  Every new event requires careful manipulation of time to create a slot to insert the activity.  If at some point a period of time is not needed for the prescribed activity it will simply disappear if another activity is not there to hold the space.

I believe that blank time slots actually implode and they sometimes create vacuums that suck up nearby time as well.  Let me give an example.  I used to do Wii Fit every morning for up to 30 minutes.  Some days, when I needed more time to prepare for another activity, I would borrow some of this 30 minute slot and only do Wii Fit for 10 or 15 minutes instead.  Then, one day I didn’t do any Wii Fit exercises and I didn’t fill the slot with anything else.  Guess what – Wii Fit time is gone!  It has been incinerated or simply evaporated but I cannot find it anywhere!

This has happened to other things as well.  Their time slots have been lost and so these tasks and activities just float around waiting for ‘extra time’ that does not exist.

So, as much as I’d like to envision a period full of extra time I know that it is simply a fantasy – something that will never happen — like the items on the ‘to do’ list who’s time I borrowed to write this blog entry.

Schedules & Conversations

Today was one of those days — I called it ‘busy’.  Parents asked what we did that was so exciting but I couldn’t really answer that because we didn’t really do anything.

According to the dictionary ‘busy’ means ‘full of activity, eventful, demanding, tiring, and hectic’.  It is the last three of these that most accurately describe today.

Now, one of the things I like about Family Child care is the variety.  Sometimes I have more infants and toddlers enrolled so feeding, changing and cuddling take up much of my time.

On school holidays when the school-age children are here all day we often get immersed in elaborate activities that continue for hours, days or more.  I actually find these days to be the least busy as the children take the lead.  I mostly just follow along, ask questions, observe and provide supplies.  These are my favourite days.

Currently I have an older preschool group – no infants – and with the school-age children away all day and one Kindergarten child away half days I have a small group most of the time.  The problem is that we don’t have any blocks of time where the children can really engage in anything.

Our day looks like this; Come in, play, say good bye to the school-agers, play, clean-up, eat morning snack, bathroom break, circle/calendar time, get dressed for outdoors, play outside, clean-up, walk to the school to get the Kindergarten child, come back, undress, play (very quickly), clean-up for lunch, greet school age child, eat, clean-up, bathroom break, say goodbye to school age child, get cots ready, nap time (clean the kitchen), get children up, bathroom break, play, clean-up, greet the school-age children, eat afternoon snack, clean-up, play and the parents arrive.

Now keep in mind that some days – like today — each one of those transitions requires me to repeat instructions to each child individually and sometimes several times.  Then there are the questions and stories and games that go along with the instructions.  It is all the mundane conversations that get to me. My head hurts and I really just want this day to end.

Then at afternoon snack we have this conversation as I hand out yogurt, crackers and juice;

What kind of yogurt is this?


Mmmm, my favourite.

Mali (the cat) get out of the closet or you might get locked in.

Why are you going to lock Mali in the closet?

I don’t want to.  I opened it to get a bib and she tried to sneak in.  If I didn’t notice I might have accidentally closed the door and locked her in there.

Is she being bad?

No, just curious.

Are you going to lock her up?


Where is my friend?

Not back from school yet.

Are you going to put her in the closet too?

No! Why would I do that?

You locked the cat in the closet.

I didn’t lock anyone in the closet!! Eat your food!!

If I spill my juice are you going to lock me in the closet?


They’ve gone home for the day.  I want to go to bed.  I haven’t even had supper yet.  I’m expecting phone calls from parents who ask their child ‘what happened at daycare today?’