Strangers with candy. It happened. Today. To us.

Today we were out for a typical Saturday afternoon with the kids. We walked along Oriental Parade. Emory was riding his bike for the first time in a long while. Jasper was in awe of his big brother cruising at seemingly break neck speeds. We headed back towards mid city to get some coffee and do a few errands.

We were walking along the relatively bustling sidewalks of downtown Wellington, right past my office. Emory was trailing behind us, as he does. I turn to look where he was. I didn't see him.

Then Emory caught up to us and said, "A stranger just offered me lollies."

I was caught off guard, "What? Where?"

As I was turning around to look a hand reached down to Emory's face and put a candy bar under his chin, "Here...you want some lollies?"

I looked up at the person. At first glance he looked like maybe a homeless person or a drunk. But he was neither.

He had a look in his eyes that I will never forget. He was a predator. He had a victim locked in his sights.

I grabbed Emory and yelled at the guy in an angry voice, "No thank you! Please!"

WTF? God, tell me why, in the face of pure evil, I have to be polite?

He was surprised and taken off guard by my presence, as if he didn't realize I was standing there when he approached Emory. I suspect that he was so focused on what he was after that he could see nothing else.

He bitterly barked back at me, "I was only trying to give him lollies!"

He gave me a menacing leer and then quickly started walking away, but with his head twisted around looking back at us the whole time.

With Hadley pushing Jasper in the stroller, I grabbed Emory's handle bars and pulled him across the street.

When we got to the other side I got out my phone and called 111. While I was standing with the boys I explained to the emergency dispatcher what happened. Hadley started tailing the guy from our side of the street.

After some confusion we lost the guy. He was ducking in and out of shops all along the street. Then we saw him again. The operator told me to follow him and not let him out of my sight.

As I was following him I saw a police car drive down the street to where Hadley and the kids were. Just then I lost sight of the guy. I started heading down the nearest cross street and saw him again. As I got closer I think he saw me. He quickly ducked into a cheap jewelery shop. I was still on the phone with the operator when a police car drove up in front of me.

Two cops got out and I ended the call. The cops asked me where the guy was and then wanted me to explain to them what had happened. After I briefly explained to them what happened they went into the shop to question the guy and told me to stay by the police car.

A few seconds later they came out with the guy, questioning him. The guy looked across the street at me and he was looking distressed.

One of the cops came over, pulled out his note pad and asked me to give him a full account. As we were going over my statement the guy was being put into the back of the police car. The guy shot a few nasty glances at me.

After I signed the statement, I asked the cop if they could contact me to let me know what happens. I said I wasn't sure if there was anything they could do, but I thought that if the guy had a record or is a known child predator then maybe they could do something. He said they would take him in to be questioned by a detective and that we did exactly the right thing.

I walked back to Hadley and the boys. As I explained what happened, the police car drove past, stopping right behind us at the traffic light, before it disappeared.

At the time, I was pretty cool headed about the whole thing. I was mostly relieved that we "got" the guy. Now, a few hours later, it's really sinking in what happened. It's shocking how text book it was. We've told Emory many, many times that there are bad people that will offer him candy, who will try to take him away from us. We've always questioned ourselves if it's a little too much, wondered if we're a little too paranoid, or if we are exposing him to something too heavy. But we've always trusted ourselves. And Emory. It's not a pleasant thing to have to tell a small child, but it's a deadly important thing to talk about.

I hope this gives us more credibility in Emory's eyes. To really listen when we tell him these things. I'm a little worried that Emory just sees it all as a little excitement, like a TV show that, as always, has a happy ending where the good guy is saved and the bad guy gets caught. I don't want him to be terrorized by this incident, but I do hope it sinks in for him too.

August 8, 2004 in Emory, family, Life | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Emory hits a fever of 103 107º just in time for Hadley's birthday

We had a bit of scare this week with Em being sick. It was terrible. For a few days he was having bad poo (kid friendly terms please), but nothing unusual or alarming. Then all of a sudden he came down with a fever. Again, nothing alarming. The fever started on a Saturday morning and we began administering meds immediately. Then on Monday night his fever hit 103F (39.5c). Em has been 103 before. It's not pretty. He's burning hot, quivering like mad and he gets delirious - babbling and screaming, having terrible nightmares. Tuesday night he hit 107F (41.7c) with vomiting and horrible diarrhea. That was terrifying.

We had already taken him to the doctor Monday morning. Doctor Claire gave us some Ibuprofen and she suspected a virus that would go away in a day or so. When he hit 107 nothing was bringing his fever down. And I was really beside myself. We took him into the after hours clinic, where some dick head of a doctor (fortunately a rare exception in our experience) noticed that Em was getting tonsillitis - which is a secondary infection - the real cause is still unknown.

I decided to take the following day off from work to help out and take care of Em. It so happened that was Hadley's 33rd birthday!! Yay for her. It was nice that I could help take the load off her and watch Emory. I also did some special cooking. Breakfast burritos in the morning with a new subscription to the Dominion Post addressed to Hadley coming to our door every morning. And that night I made some mean ass Fish Tacos that were sooooo yummy. Many thanks to the ever dependable Kevin for the fish recipe.

It would have been nice if Em could have gotten better on her birthday. But he didn't. He had terrible diarrhea for the next FOUR nights, with the high fever of course. It's only now on Wednesday, 10 days later that he's nearly recovered.

As my dad wrote to me, there is a positive spin..."as you may know yourself, some of people's best childhood memories are of the times when they were sick at home." Which is so oddly true. In fact, I definitely feel like Em and I had a really amazing time, bonding in ways that will last forever. I'm just so happy that we're on the other side of it now.

December 10, 2003 in Emory, family, Food and Drink | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Force Is Strong With This One

Last year, when Emory was 2 1/2 years old he did something so incredibly thoughtful for me. It was father's day and Hadley took him to the $2 Shop to get me a gift. He chose a back scratcher because he remembered that I had one in California. How he remembered that and the fact that he was able to make that connection still impresses me. The back scratcher really makes me happy, almost every day. I am so grateful that he thought of it, and thought of me.

Tomorrow is his birthday party (his birthday is the 9th). There are some presents I bought for him before he was even born. I got two special Lego sets: a Stars Wars X-Wing and a Tie Fighter. He loves Lego, he loves Buzz Lightyear (a Star Wars knockoff) and he even loves Star Wars.

I hope he likes the Lego as much as I love my back scratcher.

October 3, 2003 in Emory, family | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Master Jasper

My nesting time with the family is almost over. It's been really wonderful and I'm sad that it's ending so quickly. I took three weeks off from work to dedicate to delivering and then getting to know the new baby Jasper. I've also been spending heaps of time with Emory and pitching in to help run this crazy production we call family.

Master Jasper has been remarkably sedate. He's taking his sweet old time, snoozing through the days AND nights. And you know that's more than fine by us!! Emory absolutely adores him and Jasper is quite noticeably alert and enthralled when Emory is near by. Emory wants to help out with the baby, but having a 4 year old's help is like having a crack addict help you do calligraphy.

I've been feeling a little guilty during my paternal leave, having brief panic attacks about the work that needs to be done at Shift. But honestly, that feeling instantly evaporates when I think about the quality time I'm spending with the family. It truly is priceless.

The best thing about my time at home since Jasper was born is the opportunity to do the simple things and not worry about much else. Truly live in the moment and enjoy it. No worries about the future or the past. Whatever is happening at the moment is fine and interesting and all that is important. Spending time playing with Emory. Tidying things around the house. Being the chauffeur. Getting the groceries. It's so gratifying because it's so easy and I'm spending time with people I love.

Granted, at times it has been difficult to be content 'as is'. Since I've had 'so much time' at home I started noticing numerous little things around the house that are annoying. Squeeky doors, loose nobs, things left out that should be put away. Aww shit...that's all Dad stuff. Bugger. Oh yeah, and I've noticed a LOT more gray hairs on my head and in my goatee!

One of the highlights this week was going on my first bike ride in 2 years!! I can't believe it's been that long. It was fantastic. I used to ride my bike much more often and I'm hoping to finally do a LOT more riding this year. Which would be really nice considering all the 'sympathy pregnancy' weight I put on.


As a side note: you might not have noticed, but I've been updating the photo galleries (currently linked from the right column) quite regularly.

October 2, 2003 in Emory, family, Jasper, Life | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Any Day Now

talking to the babyWe're getting close to the due date. Hadley is beginning to feel the drain in a big way. The exhaustion, the fatigue, the immobility. We all know what's about to happen, yet we have no idea.

Tonight I started explaining to Emory what's about to happen. I told him that the baby "is starting to wiggle his way out", just like Emory did when he was in mommy's tummy. It's amazing explaining these concepts to a 4 year old. I'm still so perplexed and dumbfounded by the idea myself.

And I'm so, so, so glad that we waited until Emory was this age. I just love being able to talk to him and know that to a large extent he understands. I love that he's involved, that this is not happening to him, it's happening with him. He is really looking forward to it and he will get so much out of it. And I think this baby will to.

August 3, 2003 in Emory, family, Life | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

3 going on 12

The other day we watched some home videos of Emory. It was amazing to see how much he's grown over the past year. The most interesting thing was to see how adorable he was and how sweet his voice sounded at 2.

We knew he was cute at the time, but seeing it really gave me an appreciation of how young and little and really cute he is now. We already think of him as a big kid. He pretty much says and does anything that needs to be done or said. He can articulate himself very well, so it seems like he's practically 'full grown'. I sometimes imagine him as an 8 year old or even a 12 year old.

For the first time in a long while, after watching those tapes, I saw him as a little 3 year old.

July 18, 2003 in Emory, family, Life | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack