Adventures in Babysitting

“No plan survives contact with the enemy”

– Field Marshal Helmuth Bernhard Graf von Moltke

Monday October 7

Yes, I know what the date says up at the top but today, we’re talking about Monday, October 7. We’re a day behind…it happens on the coast…something about the Sun, the angle of the Earth’s axis and one of the ocean currents…I don’t know precisely which one (there’s a surprise)

We’re picking up the kids this morning. Zohan and Teddy are in town and Colin has a ton of work to do soooo…Uncle Stevie and Auntie Wendy are stepping into the breach

In addition, Wendy and I have received information from Kellei that our 1st Aid course begins tomorrow and ends Friday. Kellei has sent along a list of gear that we will have to bring with us into the bush. Some items…like fire starter…are missing from our packs and we’ll have to be well organized in order to accommodate the kids fully and still find time to prepare for the rest of the week.

We spent last evening discussing strategy, we have factored in every contingency and we believe we’re good to go. Now we’re going to find out if our plan survives first contact.


0930 – Wendy heads out to pick the kids up (she can’t wait)…I stay home to shower and drink coffee (well someone has to do the grunt work). She’s meeting Colin and the little ones at Roberts Creek beach where she arrives just in time to watch Zohan tie a young manchild to a tree.


It’s okay, the kid gets his revenge while Teddy stands by, watching enviously (that kid has a much better strategy than ours)

Unshackled at last, the kids greet Aunt Wendy who pops them into the car.

09.50 Wendle takes them out to buy some incense…(it’s a stall, pretty sweet eh)…giving her more time alone with them and me time to finish my coffee. I have a feeling I’ll need the caffeine boost.

10.15 They arrive back at our place and I’m ready to go. So far…so good. Let’s take it down to defcon 5.

First thing on our to-do list is breakfast at the Gumboot restaurant. We all have bacon and eggs and…wow these guys are hungry…they eat everything on their plates and some potatoes off of ours.

While we’re eating, Zohan asks about our nephew Will (aka Willis, The Dude). She has taken a shine to big Will and she wants to know what he’s up to. Wendy tells her that he’s off at University.

Zohan says, “So, he’s a young adult now.”

Wendy laughs and says’ “Yes he is”

To which Zohan replies, “So now he can live by himself if he wants.”

Colin has arranged for the little ones to participate in noon recess activities at their old school. Wendy takes them (what a trooper), while I walk back to our place.

As the kids hit the schoolyard, they get a little shy and stick close to Wendy. That lasts about as long as it takes for them to spot their respective friends and go screaming off in diametrically opposed directions.

Wendy is suddenly set upon by a pack of boys who want to wrestle her. She runs…it’s a rout (full retreat). One kid, with an earring, wants to sword fight and plans on cutting off Wendle’s legs with a stick. A teacher steps in and takes the stick away from the kid. Wendy and the teacher laager in together and chat (watch your six). While she’s there, she bumps into Brian’s daughter, who upon seeing her says, “Hello person”. (that kid-person is awesome!).

Wendy is fascinated by the schoolyard dynamics. Teddy and the boys are in constant movement for the entire half hour…Zohan and her friends stand and talk, then disperse into other groups, stop…and talk again. This continues, in three minute increments, throughout the recess.

Everyone arrives to pick me up at around one in the afternoon. We have stuff to pick up at the London Drugs in Gibsons (which by the way is a fantastic store…it has simply everything).

On the way, Zohan asks Aunt Wendy whether she sleeps nude or in pyjamas. Wendy says she sleeps in pyjamas.

I say, “I sleep in pyjamas too.”

Teddy pipes up, “What…fat pyjamas?” (oh, aren’t kids cute)

During breakfast, Zohan had mentioned that her little watch wasn’t working. Well, London Drugs can help with that…and in mere minutes, the helpful staffer has replaced the battery. That done, we re-synchronize our watches.

Our plan for this evening is to make our own firestarter. For that we have to purchase wax, cotton balls (make sure they’re cotton), rubber gloves and find some chopsticks. We decide to take full advantage of London Drug’s cornucopia of stuff and so, instead of rushing, we leisurely browse the many aisles.

Teddy asks, “What are we looking for?”

“Oh nothing, just looking at the cool stuff”, I answer dreamily (wake up dammit…it’s an ambush)

You know, I should have known that a store that had everything would also have a well stocked toy department…it just never crossed my mind. Somewhere deep inside of me, I sensed a voice yelling…too late…the tripwire snaps as I bring my boot fully up to my mouth and say “Yes” when Teddy asks…

“Can I get a new toy?”

Oh my gawd…what have I unleashed?

Actually, at first it goes reasonably well. Teddy loves cars and machines and there is an ample supply of stuff for boys. He’s particularly entranced by a Hot Wheels paint station and it’s undeniably affordable at fourteen dollars so I say, “Sure, get that one”.

Teddy is as happy as a ______________ (your answer here)

Now, a lot of you, particularly those of you with young children, will know that I have made a huge error in judgement. Because fourteen dollars may buy a toy that amuses a five year old…but it won’t even begin to cover the cost of placating a sister, three years older.

Oops…my bad

There is nothing at London Drugs that even comes close. We’re heading to Canadian Tire next…maybe the right toy will be there. (‘Stay Calm and Carry On’)

Well, Wendy and I have finished all of our shopping…all except for one thing. Yup, you guessed it…the toy. Note to self…Canadian Tire’s toy section really sucks (who said that? ya got nuthin on me copper)

Wendy has one more idea, while we’re at Clayton’s, why not pop into that great little toy store that’s nearby and see what they have. Genius! All parties concur. Mutiny averted.

We pick up dinner and, at the Chinese restaurant, two pair of chopsticks. We have time now to trek over to the toy store where thankfully, Zoe covets several packets of Playmobile Lego. And…Ba-bam…just like that, everybody is happy.

Colin returns around six and finds the kids fed, sitting on the couch with Wendy and watching ‘Polka Dot Door’ (bet you just said ‘Polkaroo…Polkaroo’ in your head). They are pooped. That is the sign of a job well done.

After the kids are sent off to bed, Wendy and I get cracking on our preparations for tomorrow. Rather than talk everyone through it, we’re going to put up a link to a recipe to make these amazing fire starters. We followed the directions, except we placed our product on an old pizza sheet and melted the wax in a mason jar. We made sixty of them and put those into small, waterproof containers which take up a very small space in ours packs. (‘and they really really work’).

and here is the ‘Red Cross’ list of things you should take into the bush with you

Goodnight all

Moose and Wendle


For all you kids out there…

(ya gotta love the doctor)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s