Category Archives: Little Ring

5: My baby, forever you will be

Dear Little Ring,

The other day you came home with an eraser in hand. You were determined to erase the “white lines” on my legs. You scrubbed and you scrubbed.

“It’s not working,” you said, your eyes wide with confusion.

It took everything I had not to burst out laughing as I explained why stretch marks would not erase away.

Dear child, you crack me up.

Every day.


Little Ring dancing – Elaine style! (Photo courtesy of David Eklof Photography)

Tomorrow you are five years old.

I’m not ready for that.

People warned me the time would go fast. I knew it would. But still, I’m not ready for you to be a big boy.

My baby, forever you will be.


First moments

I don’t want to lose our moments: your squishy hand warm in mine; your emphatic, operatic moowhah smooches; our nose-to-nose kisses; the pointing of your finger to your cheek silently calling on mama for a tender kiss; your Oscarsized hugs; the sweet sound of your voice calling out for mommy; the quirky, newness when you say “awkward” or “well that’s so embarrassing”; your knock-knock jokes that always end in banana; our snuggles.

Oh, those precious snuggles.

I do not live in a dream world. I know one day, maybe even one day soon, those moments will lessen.

Every year, shucks, every day, you grow more independent, more sound of mind, more a boy than a baby. A friend recently told me your voice is maturing; I chose to sing tra-la-laaaa (as you so often do) in my head. So many comment on your intelligence, telling me you are beyond ready for kindergarten; I look at them with pride, but also continue to silently sing tra-la-laaaa. You have been telling me for more than a year now that you are no longer a baby; tra-la-laaaaah.

My baby, forever you will be.


Heart-shaped Little Ring (Photo courtesy of David Eklof Photography)

You have grown so much this year, tall enough to go on the bumper cars, a ride you had anticipated a whole year to go on at Playland after being turned away last year. Seriously, we heard about those cars for months, and you had us measure you on the height scale repeatedly. You were determined.

It was the first ride you went on this year.

But still:

My baby, forever you will be.


You still love the roller coaster the most!

Determination is a common theme of your young life.

When presented an opportunity to go down the water slide at Granville Island earlier this summer, you so desperately wanted to give it a try. That first day you repeatedly walked up those steps only to turn back around, the fear of the unknown holding you back. The second day, again, you walked up those steps countless times, and again turned back around. But then, halfway through the second day, something changed in your eyes. I saw it. I watched you climb those steps. I told your daddy he’s gonna do it. I saw you at the top, I saw that focus on your face. There wasn’t a smile, just sheer determination. You sat your butt down and slid.

The smile on your face as you came through the bottom is a smile I will never forget.

And still:

My baby, forever you will be.


Wish upon a dandelion.

For another of our adventures this summer, you convinced me to rent a bike with a trello attachment so we could ride the Seawall together. But as soon as you were on the bike, you didn’t like the idea of not having control of the brakes.

You like control.

You are stubborn.

You climbed off that bike and sat in the middle of the Seawall’s bike lane with the biggest quivering, pouty lip I have seen to date.

That is NOT a place for a kid, or anyone for that matter, to be sitting.

I told you we’d return the bike and go find a nearby park. This satisfied you enough to get out of the bike lane. As I pushed the bikes up the hill back to the rental place you told me you wanted to sit on the trello attachment. Apparently it was okay as long as I wasn’t on the bike too.

About a minute into the push you exclaimed: “Heyyyy! This isn’t so bad. I can do this. Let’s ride!”

And just like that we spent two hours, you and mama, riding (and getting lost) around the Seawall.

You are not a quitter.


My baby, forever you will be.



That smile, melts me every time.

You watch things so closely, silently trying to master them in your head, whether it’s learning how to golf with granny and grampy, or learning the crab walk at soccer, or how to do a three second head tap while riding your bike at your cycling superhero camp. You like perfection in action. You have a fantastic sense of humour, an infectious laugh, but you are also wary of newcomers. You like playtime with others, but you also like your alone time.

Mornings are not a time for others.

I know you are growing. I love that you are growing. I love that we are now reading Harry Potter, and that you can write your own name, and can count to 100 (I find it especially warming that you get 30 and 50 mixed up). I love that you want to learn new things, and that you ask me about the spellings of words we read in books. I love that you are broadening your vocabulary (I silently laugh, and don’t correct you, when you repeatedly use detached instead of attached). I love your sincerity and interest in my disease. I love how your little mind solves daily puzzles. I love our moments now, and I know I’m going to love our future moments.

And yet, still:

My baby, forever you will be.

Happy 5th birthday my baby bug! Mama loves you! Always ❤

Ps. We’re totally playing hooky from life tomorrow!!!


My baby. My superhero.



An inspired mom’s day perfection

It has been 214 days since I last ran a race. I haven’t been itching to get out there. Some of my runs have been serious struggles. Mental struggles more than anything. They haven’t been the great fun they once were. In fact, it was only just this week that I had a run I thoroughly enjoyed from tip to tail. The weather was perfect, not too cold, not too hot. The speed wings were soaring. My breathing was heavily laboured. My eyes were focused forward. There was no stopping, just go, go, go.

Both Big Ring and Little Ring have been champing at the bit for me to get back to my racing roots; Little Ring mostly because he remembers the juices he used to get at my races. But personal eagerness hasn’t been there.

Until yesterday.

Yesterday, I switched roles.

Yesterday, I got up early.

Yesterday, I went to the race start.

Yesterday, I cheered my beautiful niece out of the gates and back to the finish line.

My 25-year-old niece ran the Shoppers Drug Mart Run for Women 10 km race at Westbrook Mall near UBC. She used to be quite active in the running scene back in high school, but after an extended hiatus only began running again two months ago.

I made a sign.


We got laughs 🙂

I cheered for all the runners: “Have a good run! Run hard! Run fast! Run smiling!”

I nearly peed my pants when I saw my niece pass by, jumping up, clapping so hard, super excited.

Little Ring was cheering too: “Bye! Bye! Bye! Bye! Bye! …” He totally sounded like the pelican from Finding Nemo.

When I saw my niece at the race clock’s 57 minutes, I knew she could see the finish. Her face was hard and focused. The muscles in her arms were flexed tight. Her body was perfectly positioned. Her legs rotating with impecable cycle.

So fast.

So strong.

I started jumping. Little Ring was clapping. She was laughing. All of us smiling.

The clock had just ticked over 58 minutes when she crossed; her goal was under an hour. Oh my gosh, the pride this auntie had for one of her first littles, wow, my heart was near bursting!!!


So, so, so proud!!!

And that, my friends, was the inspiration I needed.

• 10:30 a.m. BG before: 6.4
• Temp. basal: -50% 1.5 hours (started 1/2 hour before)
• Fuel: 4 dried apricots
• Time: 39:54 minutes
• Distance: 6.29 km
• Average pace: 6:20 min/km
• Workout:
– 10 min warmup: 6:20 min/km
– 10 x 1’ fast, 1’ easy: 4:39; 4:34; 4:56; 4:35; 5:26; 5:16; 4:51; 4:48; 4:38; 4:30 min/km (fast)
– 10 min. cool down:
• 11:30 a.m. BG after: 6.1
• Temp. basal: +50% 1.5 hours

To kick off Mother’s Day, Little Ring and I went out for speed intervals this morning; he’s training for a cycle race this summer 🙂 and me for what may come. It was fantastic. Again, I felt my speed was great: Little Ring kept me in line; my fast twitch muscles cycled my feet with optimal turnover; and the rest of me surged with a smiling lightness.

It was Mom’s Day Perfection!


Instead of celebrating the day in a loud, over-crowded, stuffy, over-priced restaurant, I suggested we have a Parisian-style picnic with supplies for making baguette sandwiches obtained from our local bakery and deli. And because it was cool and grey at the lunch hour, we transformed our living room into a bistro and had the most lovely, tasty, un-stressful, super smile-worthy indoor picnic.

It was Mom’s Day Perfection!


And then to cap the day, we went into the city for a park adventure and the most tasty afternoon ice cream treat at Earnest Ice Cream. I had my go-to Whiskey Hazelnut (I sample and sample but always go for the same). Little Ring had Seriously Chocolate (and it is!). Big Ring had Blackberry Cheesecake (Super decadent. Super good.)

It was Mom’s Day Perfection!



The boy’s first with Earnest; he’ll be back again!

This boy makes me want to do everything better: running, schooling, adventuring, ice creaming, everything ❤

And so much of the goodness in me is this woman, which I spent the full day with on Friday.


Love! Love! Love!

Together, they have made me the best me!


Huge credit to this man for helping to make this day the full specialness it is ❤

Happy Mama’s Day everyone!

Hospital: the first

Dear Moms,

I am sorry I was such a sick kid. I am sorry I got whooping cough at three weeks old. I am sorry my appendix nearly burst at three years old. I am sorry about the whole diabetes diagnosis at nine years old that caused a tumult of ER runs and hospital stays. I am sorry I threw my lunches into the bushes and gave your plants my insulin doses and gorged out on chocolate under the covers of my bed, which no doubt added to those aforementioned sick-induced adventures. I am sorry I got jaundice at 11, and a near concussion at 17. I am sorry your mother’s intuition was forced to work over time for so many years just to ensure I made it through the night.

Never in my 38 years did I imagine the anguish I put you through until now.


NYE: The Sickness part 1

It is an anguish all parents go through, I am sure, but one I had yet to truly experience until recently.

On Christmas Eve Little Ring woke up with a cold. He’s had colds before, but this one was a doozy. He was lethargic; his head seemed to be in a thick fog for most of the day. Still, not a huge deal. Just a cold. On New Years Eve, he started puking. He is not a puker; I think he has puked once, maybe twice, prior. He was scared. He started screaming to scare the “fire in his belly” away. That was hard. It was the flu. Every parent has handled the flu. We could handle the flu. Two days later, his spirits were back up, his appetite was regaining steam. We thought we were in the clear. We took him sledding.


If only the squeals had stayed joyful

I will forever feel guilt for that decision.

Oh he laughed and squealed with glee. Every ride down was better than the previous. We were out for about an hour. I was getting cold. I suggested we head for hot chocolate. His steps up the hill slowed; his body slouched. It was as though he were lugging an elephant up the hill with him. I had seen this before. It was classic Little Ring style. He was tired. He was dramatic. He wanted mama to carry him the rest of the way.

We got to our hot chocolate haunt. He and Big Ring sat down with their mugs, while I talked to my favourite tea lady at the tea counter. He came over to me and declared he wanted to go home. I thought it was exhaustion. He grabbed his head and started crying.

We got home. He laid on the couch, tossing and turning, writhing in pain. He had a fever. His ear was hurting. We gave him baby Advil. I was on hold with the nurses line for over an hour. By the end of the call, his fever had dissipated and he was chewing dried apricots, which seemed to help.


With “fire in the belly” lying down was the go-to position

It was just an ear ache; parents deal with ear aches all the time. We were sure it would go away.

Mild fevers came and went for another week, but nothing too extraneous. On Jan. 7, he was nauseous, and feared the red bucket, again screaming to scare the pukes away. The next day he seemed fine. The fevers were on and off, but he generally runs hot. During the day he was eating, energetic, playing, building Lego, fighting superhero crime, cracking perfect Little Ring jokes. But at night, the ear pain continued to present itself.

We gave him baby Advil to make him comfortable. By Monday, we took him to see our bow-tie loving family doc. Dr. Nick looked in his ear, said there was some redness, but nothing overly concerning. He was loathe to prescribe antibiotics, which we were in agreement with, advising that it would likely clear up on its own and to continue prescribing baby Tylenol and Advil for comfort.

I had a long day at school Tuesdaay; I was out of the loft by 6:18 a.m. and didn’t get home until 8:15 p.m. meaning I didn’t see the boy at all. Big Ring texted that Little Ring had swelling around his ear, but wasn’t complaining of pain. He woke up at 10 p.m., crying out, his blanket over his head. His ear hurt. The swelling was significant. Behind his ear, his head was so swollen, his ear was pushing forward as thought it were Spock’s ear. It was red and tender. His lymph nodes were also swollen.

That was it.

Off to the ER we went. The first for the boy.


Dear kid, PLEASE don’t become a regular like your mama.

Nearly three hours later, we had a diagnosis. The infection was in the early stages of attacking the bone. It was mastoiditis. If left untreated, it could be serious. I didn’t know the implications. All I knew is that the doctor, who I think might very well be Royal Columbian’s version of McSteamy (and he knows it!) caused my child to cry out in pain. I know he had to do it. I know they needed to see his pain level. With my fists clenched in my pockets, the nails of my fingers digging into my hands, the feeling of wanting to jump out of my skin, it took every piece of strength I had not to attack.

My eyes shot daggers.

We were prescribed a heavy dose of antibiotics; so heavy even the pharmacist winced. I didn’t ask McSteamy about the side effects, I didn’t ask if there were any other alternatives, I heard “serious implications” and everything stopped. I just wanted my boy better. It wasn’t until I got home that I started questioning the prescription.

It’s taken my control away. It’s taken Little Ring’s control away. Neither of us like losing control.

For the first 20 years of my life, without realizing, I watched as my moms protected me. I watched her advocate for me, press the doctors  and other such medical professionals for the utmost best care, and challenge them if they didn’t give it to her standards. I watched as her face never cracked. She was calm. She was patient. She rubbed my back, never showing weakness – not in my presence, nor the doctors’. She was strong. She was fierce. She had an Elizabethan fire in her not to be stoked.

Last night, I wanted to cry.

My moms never cried.

Neither did I.


She will forever be my hero ❤

36 months: Stink in my butt!

Dear Little Ring,

How is my baby already three?

How are you already walking, talking, loving, listening, joking, imagining, creating, mischieving, tuning your mama out, running, playing, learning, laughing, being your own you? How is that possible? Just yesterday you were my baby.

11 days old.

11 day old sweetness.

How do you already have a heart full of compassion? While you don’t readily hand out I love yous (it’s the German thing) when you do, you make them count. Like that time a few weeks ago, when I was in the mud of finals, and was telling Papa Big Ring about my meltdown earlier that day. Your little ears perked up:

Did you cry? you asked, a look of concern painted all over your face. Yes, a little, I admitted. Two tears? you asked, a question that seemed completely sound from your mouth. Yep, just two tears, I said, a smile taking over the curves of my lips. And with that, my dear boy, you wrapped your arms around me, nuzzled your neck into my chest and half whispered, half shouted “I love you.”

That is my everyday love.


I would carry you at 100 pounds if it still meant I got Little Ring cuddles.

How do you already know so completely the things you love. Like that space dude, that’s apparently not a toy, Buzz Lightyear. You have loved him for more than a year, and so fierce is that love, you can recite nearly every line of “Toque” Movie (which you did for the first 30 minutes, at least, of the outdoor screening we took you to!) some of the lines albeit a little Oscarcized: “STINK IN MY BUTT!!!” (Hehehe.) The evil Zurg laugh has become your all-the-time laugh. And with every lift off, even if it’s only for a short trip, there is always the proclamation: “Toooooo infinity… andbeyond!!!”

That is my everyday love.

Best buds!

Best buds!

How is your brain already so incredibly full of the smarts? Everyday you blow me away with your new knowledge. I’m not gonna lie, there have been times over the last year where I would have traded my lifetime of memories in for your sponge of a brain. In. A. Heartbeat. Every page of your favourite books, memorized. Even ones you haven’t seen in months, we pull them out, and you’re reading them to us. Puzzles, they’ve got nothing on you, not even the advanced five-year-old ones. Sometimes though, I wonder if maybe you’re a little too smart. Like when you decide you’ve had enough of learning at daycare and gather a bunch of toys around you and then start playing in your magical world, a world that no adults can enter, a world where your ears do not register the sound of adults. Turkey.

That is my everyday love.

We learn. We play.

Life is a playground.

How is it that you are already so filled with a humour that has me laughing every day. Your pretend snores. Your belief that breasts are elbows. Your knock-knock jokes that don’t really have an ending. Your “writing” directions on your hands (just like mama does before a run) and then your sprints up and down the condo before flopping onto the hardwood in exhaustion. Your never-ending negotiations, and the eyes that almost always win me over.

That is my everyday love.

That smile!

Gets me every time!

Dear boy, three years ago I was freaking out with your unexpected earlier than already planned early arrival; two years ago I was marveling at the warmth filling my everyday heart; one year ago, I was reluctantly learning to let you go a tiny smidge each day. Today, you do not let me go a day without smiling, without laughing, sometimes without pulling the hairs out of my head. You do not let me go a day without telling me you’re a big boy, not a baby, without instilling your will, whether it be wearing rain boots every day during the hottest summer on record, or playing “just a few more minutes” on the ropes at the park, and without your night-time cuddles where you tell me every piece of your day well past the eyes drooping down point.

You are my love. You are my warmth. You are, and always will be, my baby.

Please don't stop saying

Please don’t stop saying “hairplane” 🙂

“When the road looks rough ahead and you’re miles and miles from your nice warm bed, you just remember what your old pal said, boy, you’ve got a friend in me.” ~Randy Newman, Toy Story

30.6: “As soon as I saw you, I knew an adventure was going to happen”


Dear Little Ring,

My sweet, sweet baby who is no longer a baby.

You are the boy who I swear went from two to two and a half in the blink of an eye.

The boy who used to let me cuddle him for hours, but who now can’t stay still for more than a second and more often than not squirms when I try to sneak in a hug or kiss. Sigh.

The boy who’s been talking for some time now, but only now has truly become a proper parrot as evidenced by your beloved copycat phrases: grody and boogers; oh my gosh; and, oh man, I try not to explode laughing when I hear it, HOLY CRACK!

The boy who is so full of thrill and adventure. “Where am I going?” is the first question you ask in the morning, and one of the last you ask before your eyes take their final flutter of the evening. On your bike, it’s down ramps, stairs, dirt piles, up slides and giant rocks that you most like to be. And at the playground, your eyes are so focussed on the big kids, so eager to do as they do. Your arm pointing, “I want to do that!” Whether it be ride the big swing, climb the ropes “to the top!” or hang from the monkey bars.


The boy who likely is one of the only two and a half year olds in North America talking about Jacque Anquetil and Eddy Merckx every day, (who sadly are currently in the hospital) along with their cycling buds Thomas Voeckler, Andy Schleck, Bradley Wiggins, Jan Ullrich, Francesco Moser, and “Cippollini!!!”

The boy who doesn’t know his mama is different, but knows her differences. You know that honey and dried apricots are part of my medicine. You know that the machine attached to me at all times, tempting as it is for you to press the buttons, is part of my medicine. You point to my blood testing tattoos, “What’s that?” you ask. And because I don’t know how to explain it in a way that you, a two and a half year old, will understand, I tell you straight up it’s my callouses. And again, with your reply, you blow me away with the incredible sponge of your knowledge, the eyes of your wisdom. You know it’s not a fun thing, you know it’s not a nice thing, you know it’s not a pleasant thing. “It hurts,” you say, as though you too have felt the lifetime of multiple daily finger stabs.

You may not feel it, but you see it, I know you see it.

“You eat your owie?”

Ah, yes, leave it to you my dear child to point out that grody little habit of mine I’ve had for oh, going on 28 years now, that no other will.

Every day you make me laugh, you lighten my world, you warm my heart. Every day you ask “You want to play with me?” And every day, today, tomorrow, an infinity number of days from now, I say yes. I will always say yes.

Forever. Love.

“If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you.” ~ Winnie the Pooh