Category Archives: imagination

The Indelible One

It only takes a minute with Nellie. She sees an opportunity and she goes. Not literally of course, but then again she’s not allowed out on her own. No, I mean she dives into her latest project passionately, fully, deeply.

We’re not sure if it’s fashion madness or faux pas for her most recent adventure. It depends on your point of view. Nellie transforms herself into the amazing human whiteboard. She’s her own design playground. Already she can tote up tattoo artist in her experience column. Not a bad job either given the brief spell she is on her own to create this solo work of fun and fancy. The close up of her sole demonstrates her attention to detail and her flair with the marker.

Being at work, I don’t have the joy of seeing this live. As a consolation prize, I do get to show my workmates a photo and share a good laugh about our talented and unrepentant Nellie-Rose. She is a maverick blazing her own trail. There’s a lot more in store for us. We’ll be well educated over the next few years.


Lila Doux

Since the first day she came home from the hospital, she has been Lila doux for Nellie-Rose and Noah-David. I can’t remember which of the two tacked on the ‘doux‘ but it’s sticking. Doux is soft or sweet in French and Lila-Jeanne sends us into orbit on both counts. She’s off the scale.

Noah and Nellie have a song and dance number which, as cute as it is, must just about scare the baby crap out of Lila because of the boisterousness and spontaneity of it all. They usually break it out at least a couple of times a week. For the fullest effect, Lila needs to be either on the floor or at a very low elevation so she can see what’s going on and be seen by the performers. It’s a mad dash sort of dance, round and round and round the little sister until they are almost giddy with dizziness. All the while between giggled breaths, they are chanting a two-word song varying the tone, volume and rhythm, playing it like a magic incantation, like a joyous gift in the making. The lyrics are simple and unforgettable – Lila doux, Lila doux, Lila doux.

They are proud, excited, happy, funny and full of love in these moments of ‘we are three’. It’s a heady engagement in the sibling club. This is an exclusive membership that, as connected as we are in the maman and papa roles, we’ll never be able to join. It makes my heart warm to see this jump-up carnival that celebrates another baby, another sister in the ranks.

Lila doux and I are out on our second solo mission today – Halifax bound. It’s off to the on call doctor at our clinic to get another prescription for thrush. Just a week ago, we cleared up the first infection and now have to start over. It’s not serious but does cause discomfort and interferes with eating. I guess it’s easy for me to say that it just causes discomfort. I’d probably be whining away to beat the band if these nasties invaded my mouth.

We pick up the medicine at the pharmacy and continue to the mall for some shopping prior to returning home. She is in constant sleep mode. She wakes up for a nano-second as the doctor probes her mouth with a depressor and that’s pretty much it until we get home nearly two hours later. Even though she’s snoozed out, enveloped in inertia, everyone remarks on her. She is cute, darling, adorable, a dear, so sweet, a baby by any other name.

Lila and I have the longest conversations of late. It’s now a trilingual household. We’re all becoming very proficient in Gurgle. Don’t ask us what we say au juste. We take our cue from this youngest girl who speaks in tongues. She trills, squeals and sings a poetry of innocence. There are no words to fashion the images she shares with us yet they come across vibrant, bright and crisp. I get lost in her eyes as she tells her story. I am swimming in her light and her words shift my sense, my sound and sight. Everything we need to be is already there shining out at me.

Lila doux calls out in the morning after maman joins us in the kitchen. Some days she can ‘play’ by herself for 20 minutes. When she’s done with the self-directed stuff, she lets us know. She ratchets up her remonstrations slowly. She registers her pique, her disdain, her surprise that no one is with her. This is a good time to grab a quiet moment behind closed doors filled with early morning energy. I lie down beside her on our bed. I tickle, stroke and try the latest couple of colloquial Gurgle phrases I’ve learned. It’s a fine time, a waking dream, a sweet, soft surrender to the now of life.

If you want to try and wrap your tongue around Gurgle, here’s lesson 1.

Skating in the Imaginarium

Noah’s pining for a skate. Since stepping off the ice at Parc Monseigneur-Nadeau’s outdoor rink, he’s been waiting to lace up again. Our regular morning outings at Cole Harbour Place aren’t happening for us this week.

His desire is palpable, bubbling, ready to burst. Noah usually pipes up once a day, “Papa, when are we going skating?” I don’t think we can wait until our next regular Cole Harbour date. I need to check other rink schedules for public skates.

In the absence of getting to the rink, Noah turns the family room and the upstairs hallway into his own private ice surfaces. This is a pretty standard move. They become the arenas for his beloved hockey games with myself, or Nellie-Rose as his doomed-to-lose opponents. The atmosphere here is quite heady with daily dosages of Olympic hockey and Noah’s own brand of early morning, mid-afternoon and evening indoor pick up games.

What is quite remarkable however is Noah’s invention of skates for floor surfaces. He fashions blades with Lego blocks and glides around the basement floor as if it was the most natural thing to do. By now I’m used to seeing Noah and Nellie on their multi-coloured blades but I continue to marvel at the inventiveness that has such transformative powers for Lego blocks. I no longer exclaim about the ingenuity of it all each time I see them but I still smile deeply at the imagination that makes this all possible.

Nellie-Rose is smitten with the new skating technology. She has no ‘real’ skates of her own and hasn’t been on the ice this year. These ‘skates’ put her and Noah on a level playing field. Her recent interest in hockey, gauged by her willingness to play with big brother, has gone through the roof.

The first series of the Lego skates was made with single blocks. Version 2.0 is made with double blocks making for a more comfortably fitting skate. There has also been some experimentation with the blades’ length. The longer blades are hinting at speed skates. Nellie is quite steady on her feet. She moves in an actual skating motion to get her and her Lego from place to place.

Noah takes his ‘skates’ to bed at night maybe in an effort to dream them into real blades. Our lad’s imaginarium is certainly hard at play. It’s great to see him fashioning the world around him and having fun in the process.

This morning he thumped me 10 – 4 in the Eastern Passage gold medal Olympic Classic. That’s right, he was Team Canada.

I’ve got to track down the manufacturer and get myself a pair of those specialty skates for our downstairs scrimmages. Maybe they’ll help me win a game or two.