Dear Dragon – Welcome to Level 4

Dear Little Dragon,

It’s been a big year for you.

Since your last birthday you’ve:

  • Potty trained to a point of no accidents;
  • Learned the alphabet in English (working on french);
  • Learned to count to 10 in English (working on french);
  • Learned to write your letters (better than me);
  • Graduated out of a booster seat at the dinner table;
  • Gone to Disney and your first rides;
  • Been an excellent if over-enthusiastic big sister;
  • Watched a lot of movies
  • Started école
  • and a lot of other fantastic things.
Dragon talking to fantastic FadhiliTheOne for a birthday video chat.

One of my favourite memories from this past year is the long-weekend we spent just you and me. You’ve already forgotten most of it, so you say, but it was fun. It was Halloween and we hung out, watched Phineas & Ferb, went to the cinema, played video games, and of course trick or treated. It was nice to have time just you and me.

On the bus on our way home from seeing Abominable in cinema.

Another great memory is you dictating your Christmas letter to Santa and making sure you told him what Adrien wants. You truly love him and want to take care of him. It’s sweet and I hope that love and the adoration I see in his eyes don’t go away as you age.

One of your favourite things right now is to snuggle into someones lap and play video games with them on their phone. I’m not sure if it’s the game or the bonding you want but I’ll take the snuggles. (You’re already asking for your own phone by the way.)

I guess I can’t talk about this year without talking about Covid-19, or as you call it The Virus. You love being around people and last year you went to conventions with us, parties, and Disney. Then March came and everything stopped. It’s been hard for you and I’m so glad we podded with your grandparents.

I miss going shopping with you, I miss going to the park, I miss not panicking every time you touch a package. You have been great though. I’m not sure how much you get the concept, but you seem to understand it’s important.

One great thing about it, is that you have me home. I still hope you’ll be able to go to école for your first grade but everything is up in the air until a vaccine.

You’ve grown physically, mentally, and emotionally so much since you turned 3. (Oh man am I glad you’re no longer having full-on sensory overload tantrums anymore.) I can’t imagine what you’re going to be like next year, but I look forward to being there and finding out.

Happy Birthday, love you!

Your sappy Papa

Making things comfortable

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Before the pandemic I liked being at home. I had done a lot to make our home comfortable.

I am extremely lucky that my work has been continuous and that I have the privilege to work from home.

Unless my work situation changes, I’m lucky enough to be working from home for the foreseeable future. Because of that, I’ve found things that didn’t bother me before are bothering me now.

I’m proud of the things I’ve done to make my home more comfortable for this new Office/School/Home/Cinema situation.

So far since quarantine I’ve:

  • Cut new shelves for our cups and glasses
  • Measured and listed all our coffee/tea cups
  • Built new organizers
  • Upgraded my work computer screen
  • Re-organized our basement so that it can work as a video conference/recording area as well as gaming and watching tv
  • Rebuilt our Coffee store to include crochet and buttons
  • Organized the kitchen gadgets and put away those that I didn’t use

I also worked on our backyard. I’m not an outdoors person; I’m allergic to bugs and nature. Since we couldn’t take our kids to the park, I got a good deal on a play structure and some deck tiles so that they can play back there.

Then there’s the garden. I’ve been gardening for almost 6 years and frankly I suck at it. I’m doing my best to treat it as a hobby that makes pretty flowers. (Zucchini, pumpkin, and acorn squash have lovely yellow flowers.) So far, we’ve gotten a handful of cherry tomatoes (I thought the plant was supposed to give me full sized) 1 bean and a lot of rhubarb, chives, thyme, rosemary, and dill. My zucchini plants are all but dead. First the squirrels ate them, but then the squash bugs and squash burrowers decimated them. Hopefully the pumpkins will survive.

Next year I should really read a book or watch a tutorial on how to properly garden… maybe buy some chicken wire or something.

What have you done to make your living area more comfortable during quarantine?

Stay safe,

Éric

Disney Vacation Posts

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

For the next few weeks I’ll be writing articles on Disney Vacations. I’ve read horror stories and seen terrible things.

I’ll offer tips and tricks, tell you how I felt, and all kinds of other ridiculous stuff.

And don’t worry I’ll have cute pictures of the kids too.

Later Days,

Éric

Dear Dragon – Welcome to Level 3

Dear little Dragon,

You’ve grown so much in every way possible. Today you turn 3. The last year has been absolutely amazing to watch. You’ve learned so much.

Since your last birthday you:

  • have learned to speak in full sentences;
  • learned to jump (but not land softly);
  • learned your numbers (mostly);
  • learned to dance;
  • gained a little brother;
  • started going on the potty;
  • played a tabletop RPG with us;
  • and I’m sure there’s more.

It feels like each year of your life we’ve taken a trip. This year we went to Stratford, Ontario for Katie and Mike’s wedding. Everyone loved you there and you really didn’t want to leave. You danced all night and made Katie and Mike really happy. It was your first long car ride and you did great.

You also went to your first Opinicon, the Coderre family reunion held every 5 years, you absolutely loved it. You said hi to everyone, played with your cousins and had a great time. In 5 years you’ll love it even more.

It was another year of conventions that you both helped prepare and are starting to help sell at. You went to Can-Con, Comic Con Holiday Edition, Ottawa Comic Con, and Geek Market. Your Mum and I love that you can hang out with us and help for 8+ hours a day at conventions.

I both love and fear your strength of emotions. When you’re feeling a strong emotion, everyone knows and it’s just like I was at your age. Thankfully you always swing back to happy quickly.

This year Baby Pegasus joined the party and you’ve been fantastic with him. He adores you, choosing to follow you more than anyone else (with his eyes… I can hear you saying, “He doesn’t walk yet.”) he smiles at you and you can calm him. You are a little too affectionate but you’re learning.

You are strong willed, clever, passionate, loving, curious, and you make everyone smile. You frustrate me with your procrastination and your stubborn streak but you also make me proud, every day.

The year coming has so many exciting things and I look forward to sharing them with you.

Happy Birthday Little Dragon and welcome to Level 3!

Papa

Dear Dragon and Pegasus – Your Mum

Dear Dragon and Pegasus,

As of this writing, it’s been exactly 4,950 days since I met your mother. On Wednesday, it’ll be our 13.5 year dating anniversary and our 10th wedding anniversary.

By the time you read this, you’ll probably think we’ve been together forever. Sometimes I feel that way too. It’s hard to imagine my life without her.

The two of us have been through a lot together. She’s helped me through some of the toughest parts of my life. To you, she’s just your Mum, but I don’t think you’ll ever understand how much she loves you. (I’m not sure she does either.)

If there’s one thing you have to know about your Mum, it’s that she’s always thinking of your best interests. (Well maybe not always, but in all the big things.) She wants you to be happy.

She’s not perfect; she’ll get completely sucked into a game or story. She can get overwhelmed and get grumpy. She’s WAY too hard on herself about almost anything. But no matter what, she will drop anything for family, friends, and especially you; to listen and support.

She throws herself body, heart, soul, into her relationships. Because of that, she leaves herself open to being hurt, but so often she makes amazing friends. She sees the best in everyone and loves everyone.

If you reach out to her, she will always be ready with a hug, an attentive ear, and a kind word.

There’s a lot in this world that’s scary, a lot that is bad, and even more that’s sad. Count yourself lucky that you have a Mum that will hug you and be there for you when you need her. The world can’t be all that bad when it has someone so open and willing to love.

She’s my favourite person, my best friend, and by far the best part of me. Remember to take care of her the way she will always take care of you.

Your loved Papa

P.S. She gives great hugs.

Dear Pegasus – Fear of Cults

Dear Baby Pegasus,

You are on your way and I’m both excited and nervous. I wrote about my anxieties in my previous letter but I left one out.

I’m terrified because you are a perfect target for cults. When your Gramma was young, she joined a cult. They separated people from their families, fed them little, sleep deprived them, and made them believe that the central figure was faultless if not deific.

When I was young I noticed similar behaviour in school. In this case, it was a teacher with bad intentions who used all the same tricks to turn the class into his own private cult and he took advantage of select people. Even when he was caught, there were elements of the conditioning left in the class to make people want him to return.

You are growing up in a different age than your Gramma or I, and in some ways it’s wondrous. The entirety of human knowledge is available to you with little to no effort. As is the entirety of misinformation and hate that we as a race are capable of. It means that cults today don’t need a compound, they don’t need their old tricks. They have direct access to you through multiple channels and they prey on your fear, distrust, hurt, and pride.

Modern digital cults are cults of hate. They’re not new but they are much more far reaching. I’m scared I won’t have the ability to save you from them; I’m scared I won’t be able to prepare you to defend against them; and I’m scared they will steal you before you know what’s going on.

Your Mum and I do, and will do, our best to raise you and your sister to think rationally. To look at the evidence, opposing views, and make a critical decision based on that and your values.

I just hope it’s enough. I hope that in your darkest moments where you consider joining or participating in these things that you know you always have us to talk to.

I love you so much and I’ve yet to meet you,

Your Papa

P.S. This article explains a lot better what could happen.

Dear Pegasus – Being a Man

Dear Baby Pegasus,

As a parent, my goal is to help you be the best version of yourself you can be. That’s the goal, but on a daily basis I’m usually just trying to make sure you and your sister survive with limited trauma.

You’re on your way, two months now before you get here and I’m terrified. I feel like I just got used to having three members of the family. I have no idea what you’ll be like, or how you’ll get along with your sister and it scares me.

I also harbour a strange fear. I’m not sure how to raise a boy. I’ve spent most of my life surrounded by girls and when I made friends with boys it almost always ended poorly. I often have no idea what to say or how to act around other males. I can count on one hand the men I’m close to and feel comfortable with.

Gender is a social construct, but with it comes social constructs on behaviour and shared truths. I feel like I missed the “male” seminar and that means in groups of men I often feel like I’m missing something. Some subtext that I just don’t follow.

Yes I’m empathic, yes I’m a writer, and yes I am a man. But those are despite my anxieties, not because of them.

All that to say I have no idea how to raise you to be a good, great, or any sort of a man. Sorry.

What I do know is that I’m going to do my best to raise you as a caring, intelligent, and good person. It means I’m going to try and ask myself if I treat you differently than your sister and if it’s because you’re a boy. I want to make sure you don’t just respect others but have genuine compassion.

No matter what, know that your Mum and I love you and want what’s best for you,

Your Papa

Top 5 Silly Things all Parents Do

Every child is different and every parent is also just as different, but there are some things we share.

5. Attempt Escape

Everyone has days that they just want a few seconds of quiet where no one is asking to climb you. Kids are awesome, but they’re draining and sometimes you just need to hide. I’ve been known to take my phone into the washroom and maybe spend a little extra time.

4. Hear a Boom and Freeze

You’ve been there. The child just falls, hits something, knocks something over, or goodness knows what. You freeze and wait for the scream, cry, shout, or other loud reaction.

It’s a “do I need to intervene” or “should I wait for them” kind of moment.

3. Not Sleep

Yes, kids like to stay up and wake you at all times. Some are worse than others, but that’s not always why we’re tired as parents. Sometimes you wake up early to get some work done or go to bed late to watch something without having to name each jelly bean’s colour and flavour.

2. Cringe

This is doubly dangerous. Everyone knows kids love to repeat things. One “What the Heck” and they’ll be chanting it for weeks. We went to a party where one of the adults peppered their speech with the F word in the way that I like to spread peanut butter. Keladry walked around for three days chanting “Fok fok fok”.

What people rarely tell you is that it works both ways. They’ll use a turn of phrase or tone and you’ll suddenly be saying, “Oh, yes!” to the waiter. I’ve been told it only gets worse.

1. Secret Snack

There you are with a warm ball of energy on your lap and you’ll want a cookie. You can share your favourite cookie or you can sneak one the next time they leave the room. It’s not just that you don’t want to share, it’s probably not good for them, it’s messy, and gosh darn it they’ve had enough sweets.

My cookie!…


Did I miss anything?

Éric

Dear Pegasus – Being Fair

Dear Pegasus,

A lot of people and media will tell you that life isn’t fair. It isn’t always, but your Mum and I will try to be.

We understand that your sister is a strong personality and demands a lot of attention. She’s adorable and uses that to get her way. It’s her strength that makes her both impressive and a little frustrating.

We will try our best to make sure you both get our attention, you both get to do what you love, and most of all, that things are fair for you.

It might not always seem that way. If you need more sleep but refuse to get it, we might give you an earlier bedtime. That will make you feel like it’s not fair, but it would be unfair of us to let you be tired all the time. (Trust your Papa, it’s not fun being tired all time.)

There will be times where one of you demands that you deserve something (bad idea – I don’t like demands) but we’ll try to make things work.

The absolute most important thing is to talk to us. Not yell at us, throw a fit, but actually talk and discuss. I’m sure you’ll hear this a lot (your sister certainly has) but we have reasons for what we do and we will gladly explain.

We want you to have everything you need to make you the wonderful man I know you’ll be, but sometimes you won’t get what you want. You’ll feel it’s unfair but we always have a reason.

I love you Baby Pegasus,

Your Papa