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Niko has an interesting way of telling us he’s done his supper.

Step 1) Push chair away from table as far as possible, using the fullest reach of hands and feet against the table to propel to the furthest distance.

Step 2) Grab sock and rip it off.

Step 3) Repeat on other side.

Step 4) Scatter socks on the floor below, while delighting in newfound foot freedom.

With such a show of respect, Niko can only be demonstrating me how much he likes my cooking, right?

And so it is that this habit has developed. As soon as I see that first table push-off with his hands, I pretty much know it’s game over. Unless of course, I tempt him with cookies or ice cream, but that’s not a daily occurrence. And over time this habit has evolved. He used to struggle with his socks, until he discovered that biting the toes really provided that extra torque needed to successfully de-sock himself independently. But that strategy wasn’t sitting too well with Mommy and Daddy, so after a few nights of encouragement he finally figured out how to get the pull he needed by using his hands alone, sans teeth! Phewf.

Anyway, for now it’s socks off to signal the end of dinner time. And we’re left with a barefoot toddler for the remainder of the evening while the spoils of his labour remain scattered on the floor, usually until the next morning.

Pull ‘Em

Typical: Post Supper


Twas the month before Christmas, and all through the house,

ideas were stirring of how to make Christmas the most.

With Ma in the kitchen and Pa on the roof,

visions of baking with toddler danced through our heads…

Ok, so not a complete rendition of the original but you get the idea. As part of building the Christmas spirit with little Niko, I had visions of baking with him: making “special” cookies in honour of the approaching holidays. “Special” because whenever that word is thrown into the mix, his interest is automatically piqued. And what better recipe to try than a simple no-fail one I had picked up in my Grade 7 Home Ec. class. Yes, I’ve kept the recipe all these years and have come to use it as one of my regulars. Which when it comes to baking, is only about once a year. But it’s tried and true and EASY! These little chocolate delights always turn out and are a real crowd pleaser.

So Chocolate Drop Cookies were on the agenda and Niko’s tiny hands were going to be thrown into the labour. And as always he was delighted to help. But something went askew and my vision didn’t quite turn out as planned. Did we have a good time? Yes. Did Niko get his fair share of spoon-licking in? Yes. But when I went to ball up the cookies the mix proved too dry and the best I could get was tiny cookies surrounded by a multitude of crumbs. Ah well…they still tasted good. But next time around, I might try it sans toddler hands. Sorry Niko! But don’t worry, you’ll reap the rewards of my labour once the cookies are done.

Note: The photo of the cookies below, is NOT an image of our cookies, but rather the way they are supposed to look when they actually turn out, and the way they have looked every other time I’ve made them in the past.


It’s November. And despite the fact that the days are getting shorter and the temperature in general is dropping, we’ve had a few nice days. Last week, Niko and I played out front for quite some time. It was sort-of mitten weather, but seeing as Niko was running around a lot, he soon ripped off the extra layer. And even though the sun was shining and he was warm, I was more of an encourager of his actions and kept my mittens on. What better way to drain a toddler’s endless supply of energy than racing back and forth across the front lawn? Anyway, while he was running as full blast as his little toddler legs would take him, I took a more leisurely approach and let him win (most of) the races.

And what better way to reward ourselves for enjoying the somewhat brisk temperatures of a November afternoon than to go inside and celebrate with hot chocolate and marshmallows. Niko didn’t know what sort of treat he was in for, seeing as he’d never had the stuff before, but when I asked him if we wanted any, his enthusiasm gave me a clear answer.

Niko gets so genuinely excited about the little things – even if he doesn’t know exactly what he’s getting excited about! I love it! Although, I suppose anything with the word chocolate in it, is enough to pique his interest.


Our morning routine involves getting Niko settled at the table, usually with cereal or toast, some fruit and some milk, and accompanied by some form of YouTube video: Caillou, Smurfs or Thomas the Tank Engine. In general Niko doesn’t watch a lot of TV, but during breakfast he’s allowed to enjoy his shows while Mommy and Daddy get the morning started – showers, cleaning the kitchen, coffee!, etc.

We know it’s user beware when it comes to the internet, but after months of watching Caillou episodes Borys may have let his guard down this weekend. It seems some people like to tamper with children’s shows, and then post them on YouTube. On this particular morning, Niko was happily settled in for an episode of Caillou and Daddy had stepped into the kitchen to prepare some Cheerios, only vaguely tuned in to what was going on in the dining room, but his senses sharpening when he heard the voice of Caillou let out an very loud and exaggerated “F**k You”!!!. This is how it went…

Caillou (in his regular whiny voice): Mommy…blah blah blah (or whatever he was saying…). Yadda yadda yadda…(you get the idea..).

Then… dun dun dun… F**k You!!!

At this point Daddy’s ears were alerted and he rushed in to change the video. At which point Niko looked up at him and said quite seriously, “Daddy, Niko no like it.” (Note: Yes, he officially started referring to himself as Niko, instead of Kiko.)

Good boy Niko. Good boy.

Note to self: Must pay closer attention to what is being shown on YouTube.


One thing about a toddler is that they like hanging around with their parents. Whatever the task, however meaningful or menial, these little tykes can be found lingering underfoot, just looking for ways to get involved. In these situations there are two options: include them or don’t. But whatever you decide – to include or not to include – their little hands will find things to occupy them, and if it’s guided by you, you might appreciate the outcome a little more than if they’d gone off and say just decided to colour on the wall or something (but I’ll leave that particular story for another post).

Anyway, Thanksgiving was upon us last weekend, and the cooking escapades started around 9:30 am, with just enough time to enjoy a couple cups of coffee before the labour began. Of course little Niko was lurking, literally squeezing his way in between me and the counter and doing his best to see what was being chopped and diced on the area just above his eye level. (See pic in top right corner: Innovative Niko standing on a makeshift stool – a.k.a. ice cream container – just trying to get a glimpse of the action.)

At first I sort of let him do his own thing, which involved rummaging through his favourite kitchen cupboard, and pulling out whatever caught his eye. Which on this particular day was the empty ice cream container. Oh the fun a toddler can have with an empty, ice cream container. He carried it around with him, doing laps, banging a spoon on it and eventually ended up putting it on his head in an attempt to sing Happy Birthday (see video clip 0:17). How does he think of these things? It was then, when I saw him donned his make-believe birthday hat, that I decided to get him involved in helping, and didn’t he turn out to be a willing set of extra hands. Mind you the tasks did take a little longer, but having him there and focused with me, just enjoying his company and still getting the stuff done that needed to be, was all worth it.

That day I was thankful. Thankful for those little hands that just wanted to help – or colour on the wall, whatever the case may be. Love you big guy!

HOW MY TODDLER HELPED WITH THE THANKSGIVING PREP…

He blended,

picked up the squash rinds,

and put them all in the compost! What an environmentally conscious little guy.

Break time: Snacks replete with complimentary dance moves and giggles (see video clip 0:22).

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I’ve been experimenting with cooking. This week on the menu? Chicken Club Salad, courtesy of my culinary guide extraordinaire, Betty Crocker. And when it comes to supper, Niko usually eats a version of what we’re eating with slight (or major) modifications. For example, this salad was on a bed of baby spinach, so Niko’s version was hold the spinach (he’s had some gagging-on-spinach-issues in the recent past, hence the spinach hiatus). Anyway, the dressing for this salad was loaded with cooked red onions – another ingredient from which he is shielded. However, when I looked over at his plate I noticed that some renegades had made their way into his dinner. As I picked them off his plate, I wondered aloud: “How did these little guys sneak there way onto your plate?” The rest of the dinner conversation went something like this:

Borys: I put them there.

Me: Oh. I don’t think he really likes onions.

Niko all the while is watching and listening, as I put the spare onions on the edge of my plate.

Niko: Mine. Mine onions. Mine onions.

To which I responded by slipping a mock look of mild exasperation at my lovely hubby, and begrudgingly passed the onions back over to his royal highness – aka Niko-man.

At this point, even though the onions had remained untouched when they were originally on his plate, Niko’s interest is now spiked and he pops them in his mouth.

And his response? Chew. Slowly chew. Then he spat them out into his tiny toddler hand, looked over at me, and reached out with his half-chewed and slobbery handful and said: “Dirt. Dirt.”

Personally, I liked the onions better when they sat on the edge of my plate, sans slobber and sans bite marks. Ah well…


Round two of the cupcakes was a great success!

Moist Cake? Check!

Homemade Icing? Check!

A Happy Birthday-Toddler? Check! (Except for that part where he reached out to touch the candle wax after blowing them out. “Ouch Mama”!)

These pics tell the story…

And voila! Niko’s Birthday Cake is ready: complete with homemade Cars decor!

Happy Birthday to Niko, Happy Birthday to you…

Time to blow out the candles. Only one to go. He’d been practicing all week!

“Ouch Mama! HOT!”, he exclaimed after reaching out to touch the wick.

Mmm…Cake! Or should I say… Mmm… Icing (because that’s what he enjoyed the most out of his two cupcakes!) Guess the homemade icing recipe was all worth it!


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