By Colleen Baird


Something that I love about parenting is listening to the ridiculous things that come out of a child’s mouth. I can’t get enough of those little slips of tongue and those completely silly responses. I’m terrible at writing downs things that I want to remember, I’ve made a big mistake in thinking that my memory will serve me in any way. Occasionally I remember to text things to myself if I really want to remember that moment later. Here are a few of my random collection; the most memorable things can come out of random moments.

Don’t worry, I’ll land on my feet.” That’s classic Sullivan speak. The boy has been a thoughtful little daredevil his whole life!

Can I have a sip? Just so I can see what the bubbles tell me to do?”

Good thing I don’t have any problem with cake!”

I loooooooooooooooooooooove……..TO EAT!”

One word – “Tormado” I believe the sentence was “Can a tormado break down a building?”

You can tell that I’m not done evolving because I still swing from branches.”

Can you take out your teeth and feed them to me for dinner?” Chances are that if I went through the trouble, he wouldn’t eat them anyway!

Gluten free trees are real

And post-meltdown “I actually kinda like freaking out.” …lucky, lucky me…

I’d love to hear some of the funnies that keep you giggling with your kids!

Water Conservation at Home

This past Thursday I took part in one of my favourite New West activities – The Royal City Farmers Market. I’m there most weeks, getting my cookies at Delish and stocking up on berries and kale. I spend at least an hour watching my kids cross the stepping-stones over and over. This week I was able to experience the other side of the market. Alongside Jennifer Lukianchuk, the city’s Environmental Coordinator, I hosted a table to discuss water conservation.

The table was a great success and I had so many fruitful conversations. We collected people’s water saving tips, including some I had not heard before. We talked about the fear that this bone-dry season has caused many of us, and the fact that some people are still acting oblivious. We talked about the intense amount of water it takes to make our food and small things we can tweak in our diets. I was also impressed at the number of people who were committed to staying away from bottled water. Canada is a large consumer of bottled water without much need to be, but if the citizens of New West are a good indicator, that will change. Do we really need to drink water that requires 5 litres to produce only 1 litre of usable product? That ratio becomes far worse when you are importing water.

I think that most of us are mindful of small things, we teach our children not to run the water when brushing their teeth, we don’t just let the water run for no reason. But I don’t know that we are actually aware of how much water we use in our day-to -day lives. If you had to guess how much of this liquid gold you go through a day what would you say? 100 litres? 200 litres? That’s about two bathtubs full. Try to picture two bathtubs full of clean water and ask yourself if you could get through the day with that amount. It seems like a reasonable expectation, but in truth the average person in BC uses at least 350 litres of water each day. I know that we can cut that number significantly, without making too many sacrifices.

Can you take this opportunity to let go of things that don’t need to be done so often? I’ve cut way back on my laundry by only washing when it’s really needed and who among us doesn’t want to lighten that load? I’ve fully embraced the mantra “If it’s yellow, let it mellow”, which we were already doing but is now a point of weird pride for the kids. An older toilet can take 25-30 litres to flush, with four people in our home we are easily saving a couple of hundred of litres a day. I’m struggling to cut down on my shower time as that is where I hide…but I do collect excess shower water in a bucket and then use it to clean off the worst of my boys’ filth, or to clean the bathroom. Most of the changes I’ve made at home just take a little bit of awareness and haven’t changed our lifestyle.

The biggest change I’ve made is going back to being a vegetarian. Once I really accepted the fact that it takes 15,000 litres of water to create 1 kg of beef I realized that all of the water saving measures I made at home, were nothing compared to the water it takes to make my food. So, meat is out, dairy is on its way out and coffee is…in. I’m just not there yet!

I know that the changes we’ve made may be modest compared to the massive policy changes we need, but I think that it is the change in awareness that makes the most lasting impact in our personal lives.

Share your water wise tips with us, spark more conversations about conservation in our neighbourhoods!

The Dudes’ Abode

I am surrounded by dudes. I married a man, I birthed two boys, I adopted a male puppy. Actually, I arranged to adopt a brown and white female puppy. I left for work that morning, expecting to come home to a sweet little lady pup. Instead, I came home to a black male puppy…the deck is firmly stacked against me.

By no means am I a girly-girl. My nails are for chewing, not painting. Make-up is for special occasions and work. Ponytails are forever. But even though I eschew many things that may be typically feminine, I am still not a part of this goofy, gross boys club. When I was pregnant, I didn’t really care if I had a boy or a girl, I knew enough to hope only for a baby who would sleep. Still, when that baby was brewing, I often saw myself with a mini me, a little girl, something familiar.

Well, I’ve spent the last 6 years navigating unfamiliar territory. In this wild land, arm punches can be traded like currency. Farts are funny, mom farts are HILARIOUS. Nature isn’t something to watch, it’s something to feel. This unfamiliar territory requires hands on experience. You won’t make it through this jungle without a scraped knee and dirt firmly caked under those unpolished nails. You may get away with standing on the sidelines for a while, soaking in the little bit of silence, but then a sticky, sweet, excitable little creature will somehow shimmy right up your body and drag you back in. I may have always lived in this land, but it’s my wild boys who have taken me from sitting under a tree reading, silently observing to really being in this world.

Life with the dudes is loud, it’s boisterous, it’s chaotic. Life with the dudes is smelly and messy and oh, so active. But sometimes life with the dudes is sweet and cuddly. It’s Easy Bake ovens and playing married. It’s My Little Ponies and making up songs. Life with the dudes is just perfect, as it would have been had it been a life with the girls.

My Celiac Son

A couple of short years ago I had a very tired, chronically ill little boy on my hands.  My boy was that kid who caught every cold and flu passing through town.  We were the family that missed daycare, work and birthday parties because he was sick again. My son stopped growing completely in his third year, his energy levels were…still higher than mine, but not on par with the other kids around us.  He was moody, he was angry; I often wondered if he could be depressed at the age of three.  This poor little guy complained about his stomach daily.  He had to use the bathroom every time he ate.  I drove myself crazy trying to figure out what could be wrong with him.  He seemed to be mirroring some of the more unpleasant aspects of my childhood.

I grew up with chronic pain. Daily, excruciating stomach pains that would fade, but never disappear.  It affected every aspect of my life.  I was tired, I was always worried about what could be wrong with me, I lost all faith in a medical community that couldn’t tell me what was wrong or how to fix it.  It wasn’t until I hit my 20s that a doctor told me I had IBS – irritable bowel syndrome.  Finally!  I had a name for what was wrong; I assumed that I would have a way to control it after the “diagnosis”.  Unfortunately, the diagnosis of IBS brought me no relief.  This syndrome is really only a cluster of symptoms, with no clear cause and no clear path to resolution.  My pain continued, some days it would be so intense I would drop to my knees.  My pain continued, with no real follow up, it continued with no testing, it continued with no guidance and it continued with no hope of relief.  I honesty gave up the notion that it may one day get better…and then, celiac disease got it’s 15 minutes of fame.  Celiac disease, the disease de jour.  The disease that became famous because its kryptonite, gluten, had become a no-no in many celebrity circles.  I began to wonder if that could be an issue for me.  I went to my doctor and asked to be tested; his response was I didn’t need to be tested, because if I had it, I wouldn’t be struggling with this persistent weight problem.  Sigh. So I went to see a naturopath, I stopped eating gluten…I experienced some relief, actually, I had the first stretch of time that I can remember with almost no pain!  Could this be what was causing my son so much pain and anxiety?

Off we went to a pediatrician, off we went for blood tests.  When I got the call from the pediatrician, she told me that Kieran’s blood tests indicated celiac disease and he was deficient in many areas.  I chose to forgo any further testing and yanked all of our gluten foods out of the pantry right away. From that second forward he was gluten free.  Well, I thought he was gluten free.  It soon became apparent that eating gluten free food was not the same as not ingesting gluten.  After many weeks of eating gluten free we started to see changes.  He didn’t need to use the bathroom as often, his energy levels started to increase and he was more interested in getting out and playing. He started gaining weight, sprouting muscles and getting colour in his face.  We started seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.  But then things would shift; it would start with a dark mood, uncontrollable bouts of temper, a restless night and then the stomachaches.  As hard as we were trying to keep him healthy, we were failing.  We realized that it was going to take so much more than gluten free food to keep this guy going.  He needs a gluten free house, he needs CERTIFIED gluten free grains, not just grains that *should be* gluten free, he needs to stay away from certain craft materials, lip balms, moisturizers.  He needs to stay away from the crumbs at the lunch table; he needs to not eat those fries that may have shared a cooking space with gluten.  He needs your child to wash his hands before they play.  He needs the cook to know that a dirty cutting board or spatula can mean pain and darkness for weeks. He needs time, patience and understanding. He needs people to know what this disease really is, not the host of reasons that eating “trendy” gluten free foods is annoying.

What we both needs is to keep advocating for ourselves. To stop questioning ourselves and start believing our own bodies. To have the confidence to push back when someone else questions us. What we need is to get back to basics, to slow down and cook, to stop running from place to place, at the expense of our health.

As hard as this road has been, I’m so grateful for all of the healthy days to come.