Conversations about parenting you never thought you’d have: Vol 1. Act 1



We are the loving parents of two fantastic girls under the age of 3 as well as two wonderful mutts Dublin and Sally. Sally is a rescued 35 lb. Mexican Street Dog and Dubby, as he is affectionately known, is a 12 lb Chihuahua Beagle Jack Russell.

Sally, very comfortable in her own fur, is amazing with the girls and trots off doing her own thing as often as not. Dubby, while older, is the one who has always been a bit skittish around them and while he loves them both he is very excitable and doesn’t always know his place in the family pack.

When dogs are unsure of their place in the pack they often resort to mounting (aka humping). They can mount other dogs, inanimate objects or even people. It can be a sign of looking to establish dominance or seeing how those around them will react to it and where they fit in the hierarchy.

Recently Dubby has started humping Emmi as she crawls around the floor or the couch. Usually it’s in the midst of a high level of commotion in the house; Mommy’s just come home from work, Miia is racing around yelling, Emmi is whipping around the floor and the dogs get super excited.

Sally reacts by prancing down the hall like a deer and careens off into a breakdancing spin.

Dubby reacts by chasing down Emmi and humping her.

This happened again yesterday.

Ensuing conversation between Dad (me) and Mom (Joline)

Dad: (in between bouts of uncontrollable laughter) Jo look! Dubby is at it again, trying to hump Emmi!


Dad: You think it would be ok if next time I caught it on video for the blog??


Dad: Why?

Mom: Because one day your teenage daughter is going to read your blog and I don’t think she would appreciate seeing herself getting humped by a dog.

Dad: Good point

Endnote: Dad does not endorse or condone the mounting of small children by dogs. If and when it happens it is immediately halted and said dog is roundly scolded.

Daddy Daycare?


As we folks of Finnish descent celebrate Finland’s 100th birthday this week (DEC 6) a slew of interesting articles have been published by media all over the world recognizing the milestone. Amazing how much international play the event has stirred up for a country of just over 5 million people tucked away near the Arctic Circle. One of the pieces touched on parenting in Finland.

Check out this read on how Finland is the only country in the developed world where daddies spend more time with their kids than mommies. How bout dem applies?

Finland: the only country where fathers spend more time with their kids than mothers

And the government formally promotes this agenda with their recent ad campaign that proudly illustrates a buff cartoon dude pushing a stroller in

It’s Daddy Time

Here in the Raty Family we fully support this agenda! 😉

Oh, and for those of you who read the article more on the Baby Box in a future post.



The Magic Smartie

taco 1

So I imagine this is how dinner goes down for most of you parents out there: everyone is home by 5 and the perfectly balanced four food group dinner is ready by 530. The kids, who have been reading history books and practicing Bach, come running. Three year old Bobby says ‘Dad, why so little broccoli?’ and 2 year old Suzie chimes in ‘Mom hit me with some more carrots’ as they sit down, join you in a blessing and proceed to gobble down their food with perfect British table manners.

Well in our home that isn’t quite how dinnertime unfolds. Emmi who until recently used to eat everything now violently swipes off anything you put on her Bumbo tray like it’s poison and Miia screams bloody murder at the thought of eating anywhere but the couch as she wails for Peppa Pig. Try and put her on her chair and she goes limp, slides onto the floor, sprawls into snow angel position and proceeds to unleash biblical tantrums.

Enter the Smartie. Good old-fashioned American confectionery that has been making kids happy since 1937. A dietician might tell you that Smarties do not belong in one of the four food groups to which I would say humbug. Just because it is not of a particular group does not mean it does not belong with a particular group. In fact the Smartie is part of a very important fifth food group called Meal Enhancers.

Insert a Smartie of any colour into an otherwise healthful vegetable and protein laden soft shell taco such that it visibly protrudes from it and you have a cosmic confluence. All of a sudden it’s as if the seas have calmed and the winds have stilled. Our good ship is back on course.

Miia hops right back on her chair with ramrod posture and with perfect manners asks for her dinner. And true to form Emmi follows suit, albeit in her own language. Sure it’s a bit of sugar and perhaps it wasn’t included in my Parenting 101 manual but man, on occasion it is precisely the right antidote to Acute Caloric Intake Aversion.

taco miia 1JPGtaco miia 2

Endnote: While Miia may have resumed dinner on her chair she finished it 30 feet away by the Christmas tree where I finally cornered her after her mid-meal escape.



Our dear Sally poo

Sally Poo

Here’s the thing about having dogs. You might think they’re fully trained, predictable little puppies but add kids to the mix and you just never know what’s going to happen.

It was an otherwise innocuous Sunday evening; the girls had just finished their bath and before we could get their jammies on they escaped for a few minutes of naked wandering. Of course Emmi promptly decided to shit on the kitchen floor and then walk through her work of art as if smearing finger paint on paper.

Back to bathroom and into the tub for a wash before a full fecal fest ensued. The doo doo on the floor could wait. It wasn’t but three minutes before I got back to the kitchen to clean up and what did I find? Nothing! Nothing but a spotless floor and our lovable pup Sally licking her lips with a sheepish, guilty grin on her face.

Sally of course, had cleaned up Emmi’s mess for her. I guess sometimes Milkbones just won’t do.

Morale of the story: my Mom was right again. Don’t let your dogs kiss you on the lips.

*above photo taken moments after the evidence had disappeared.

A letter to my girls


Life is experienced as a series of moments, each one ideally cherished in its own right, the sum of which provides the mosaic that is our personal stamp on this world. All too often these moments are gone in a flash as we race through life without taking the time to relish and revel in each one. But sometimes, if we are present and aware enough, if we are lucky enough, we get to live through these moments in slow motion.

This has been the case with my last 36 hours here on the shores of Mountain Basin, holed up in our little lakeside cabin with nary a sound to be heard save for the comforting roar of the sauna stove and the faint hiss of the falling snow melting on the stove pipe outside.

This time in silence, surrounded by the best of what nature has to offer has given me pause for reflection and time for my mind to be still. And it is in this moment that I want to try and capture the essence of this magical place for my little daughters to relive through these words some years from now.

Dear Miia and Emmi,

You will have heard this from me by now many times over so I hope this letter is but a gentle reminder to you of the importance of being still and letting the power of nature wash over you as often as you can.

Exactly 30 years ago your grandfather, my father, built this place from where I write this letter. He was a mountain of a man with too many virtues to mention here but suffice it to say he was a wonderful father and husband and a charitable man who always provided for those less fortunate. And it was here, on these lands where he was happiest.

However, the world he built this cabin in was a far different place than the world you girls are being introduced to. Technology is evolving at a frenetic pace and virtual living threatens millennia-old real world human traditions. The art of living slowly and being one with nature are endangered species, especially for the ever-increasing number of city slickers on the planet.

But, the more some things change; the more other things stay the same. Just 200 km north of your Toronto home is this secret little spot that looks exactly the same as when your Dad was a wee youngster. The same waves wash up on shore, the same winds whistle through the pines and the same eagles circle high above the cliffs that loom over me. This is irreplaceable, this remoteness. So close to the bustle of the city yet a world away.

And your grandparents knew that. They discovered this precious 400-acre patch of hinterland and in 1984 paid the princely sum of $70,000 for it. A small fortune for them in those days. And then in 1987 your late Grandpa Pertti built this perfect little cabin here in the woods perched on the edge of this perfect little lake.


This cottage and sauna that I cherish so much are part of their legacy, their ongoing gift to our family and to you girls. A place where you can escape to the solitude of the great forest and the call of the shimmering lake. A place to reflect on the importance of the people in your life and the land beneath your feet. A place to be still.

It is here that I am at my happiest and I hope the same of you one day.

Your Dad