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A Battle worth fighting?

9 Jan

This morning, on the radio, there was a debate going on about whether or not one of the hosts should allow her 5 year old son to cut his hair into a mohawk style, even though she hated the idea.  It generated some debate, with most people falling into two categories: it’s just hair, let him cut it however he wants; and, you’re the parent, cut his hair the way you prefer.

I started to think about this, because I find myself drawn to the argument that children should learn to accept their parents’ rules, and perhaps we wouldn’t be faced with such a terribly self-centered generation if there was more “because I said so” parenting.

BUT, I also truly believe that it IS just hair, and that we need to allow our kids to make some choices in life.  Especially ones that aren’t detrimental to their safety and well-being!

So, I came up with a Pros and Cons list on the debate “Whether to let your 5 year old choose his own haircut”:

PROS

  • Children should be allowed to make mistakes in order to learn how to own up to their mistakes in the future.
  • Children need to have a strong sense of self, and choosing how they look can be a way to exert independence.
  • If we dictate everything to our kids, they will eventually revolt, and although it might be benign, it could be over something much bigger.  However, if we allow them to make decisions over the small things, they are less likely to rebel over the big things.
  • Children need to learn how to make decisions, so if we always make every decision they will not learn how to a) make decisions b) live with the consequences.
  • Our tastes are not the same as our kids.  Remember when your parent wanted you to wear something hideous?!

CONS

  • Children should look their age, and mohawks are too old for pre-schoolers.
  • Children should learn that their parents have rules that need to be respected, whether they agree with them or not.
  • Although hair will grow, if he doesn’t like the haircut after a few days, are you going to bail him out, or let him live with it (and maybe get teased- which is a harsh lesson for a 5 year-old)?
  • This generation is very self-centered, and not being allowed a haircut of your choice might be a good lesson in learning to live with disappointment.

What do you think?

Great Expectations

15 Nov

Alternatively titled:  Where have all the expectations gone?

Why don’t we expect anything from our kids?

No, really.

What are they expected to do?  Or not to do.  In my house, they are expected to not eat dirt from the plants, pee in appropriate receptacles, not run away…

Um… is that it?  We think that we are allowing our kids free expression.  We tidy up after them because it is easier.  We allow for mistakes, and praise things that, for previous generations,were simply expected.

Good grades?  New car.

Got yourself dressed?  Sticker for the chart.

Ate all your supper?  Or at least half?!  Dessert!

But it is worse than that.

“I could never take my kids shopping, they’d just run all over the store!”

“Oh, we don’t have any breakables- we have kids!!”

“She always screams like that when I say “no”.”

When did we get away from expecting that our kids should just behave?!  I am not a perfect parent, and several of these examples are straight from my house.  But I fear we are doing a disservice to our kids by never teaching them that there are some things that must be done for no other reason, than… it must be done.

If you expect your kids to be misbehaved at the store… guess what?  They will!

If you expect your kids to be afraid of the dentist… be prepared for years of struggles.

If you expect your kids to hang up their coats when they get home… you guessed it- your front hall will be cleaner!  Well, you’ll still have to hang up your husbands’ coat, but that is a different post…

My point is that our expectations for the next generation are WAY TOO LOW.  It seems we don’t expect anything that they can’t already do.  Or, we expect perfection the first time, and then are frustrated and give up teaching our kids to behave in socially conscious ways at all.

If you never allow your kids the opportunity to discover what is expected of him or her, then you are setting them up for failure.  Consider the kid who never stays in the service at church (or the one who never gets sent to the nursery).  When they reach the age where they must/cannot stay in the sanctuary, they will fight you!

What about the parents who won’t take their kids to restaurants.  They are afraid of bad behaviour so they always hire a babysitter.  Well, that’s great until their grandparents come to town and want to take the whole gang out to eat, and the kids are completely unprepared for how to act in a restaurant.

I am digressing from my original point though.  Children who don’t have expectations placed on them will never live up to our expectations!  So, how can we remedy this in our society?  I have no clue.  But, in my house, here are some things that my kids are expected to do, without receiving anything for it:

Get ready in the morning.  Eat their food.  Put away their things.  Not break anything.  Not colour anywhere that is not paper.  Not make messes.  Not run away in the store, park, parking lot.  Hold my hand when we cross the road.  Walk.  Wash their hands, teeth, faces, bums.  Not whine when I turn off the tv!  Not hit people, pets, things.  Not touch things that don’t belong to them.  Come when they are called.  Go to bed when they are told.

Alright alright, so that last one is a work in progress, but you get the point!  I want my kids to grow up to be beneficial members of society, and that means teaching them that I expect them to grow up to be beneficial members of society.

So… what do you expect from your kids?

Spa Season

7 Nov

Men… well, all the men that I know… consider the month of Fall to be “Hunting Season”.  This is a Truth that I grew up knowing.  I knew that my father would be absent in October to a place that I couldn’t picture, and wasn’t invited.  I knew that weddings planned, and babies born in October would not be looked upon as times of gladness and blessing, but of inconvenience, and resentment, and ultimately guilt at having to miss a daughter’s wedding…

I guess my question is, “when is Spa Week?”.  And if there were such a thing, is this how it would go?

“Got my plans all firmed up for Spa Week, honey.”

“You’re going spa-ing AGAIN”.

“You know I go every year.  And can you call your mother and make sure she got the dates right?  Luckily someone in our group got a package this year, so we won’t be exfoliating for nothing”.

“You mean you’re going spa-ing with my mother too?  I thought that you were going to the City with your girlfriend”.

“Oh, I’m doing that too.  This week is for manicures, but the City week is for pedicures.  And I’m going to need to more spa clothes.  Can you pick me up a reversible bathrobe?  I need it to be terrycloth on the one side, but silk on the other….”

“Why on earth do you need two different fabrics?!”

“Honey, obviously you can’t wear silk for the hot stone massage.  It would ruin it with all that water vapour.  But terrycloth is too heavy for mani-pedis.  Besides it’s the law.  I’m also going to need to go out to the spa and clear my area ahead of time.  I need to adjust my chair so it’s the right height, and put out my nail file and clippers.  Plus, I’ll need to pick up half a dozen polishes.  I just have no idea what I’m going to need once I get there.”

“Well, when will you be back?”

“I don’t know, depends if we get the seaweed wrap or not.  Could be Tuesday, could be Friday.  I’m going to need you to get some money for travel expenses and food.  $500 should about do it”.

“Didn’t you just GO spa-ing in the Spring?”

“Spring is facial season and my annual pre-wax, and I only went in the mornings before work, this is the big stuff- MASSAGE.  I just can’t wait to head out every week to a different Spa jurisdiction so I can catch all the legal spa times, and hang out with my friends, and drink fancy cocktails, watch chick flicks and get a few treatments in”.

“Well, why can’t I go?”

“Honey, you know it’s just for women, besides, who’s going to watch the kids?!”

A Tip on Dealing with Nurses… from a Nurse

24 Mar

We had Josselyn’s regularly scheduled check-up with the nurse today to dip her urine and take her blood pressure.  We are into this routine by now, and it barely phases me.  I am aware that the nurses on staff at the health clinic good-naturedly joke about whose turn it is to take Joss’ blood pressure.  I understand.  She screams like a banshee and fights with every ounce of strength in her body.  No one has fun, least of all me.  But we endure it because we have to.

Anyway, today there is a new nurse in the room.  She introduces herself and I ask if she is new.  She reveals she is actually a student and tomorrow is her last day (score one against her for not disclosing her identity as a student immediately).  I have taken off Joss’ sweater and am sitting with her on my lap (like usual).  She turns and asks me to take off my sweater (score two against for not bothering to check the age of her patient).  I patiently inform her that the blood pressure will be taken on the Baby.  She sighs and declares she’ll need to find a smaller cuff (score three against… are you getting the idea?).  She returns and Josselyn is struggling even before she places the cuff on her arm.  I need to interrupt my description of our visit for a minute to explain how much better she has been since being on her diet.  She cried, yes, but there was no arching of her back, slapping me in the face, or otherwise going limp and boneless to the point where I can’t even hold her.  Not to mention the glaring.  Seriously the worst part.  So, when Miss Student Nurse announces that her reading would be artificially high due to her excessive reaction to the blood pressure cuff, I wanted to cuff her.  She is a BABY.  If you’d had any experience with children at all, you’d realize that unless the child is extremely ill or something, they will all have the same reaction to having their arm squeezed really hard by a stranger.  You sort of have to account for it.  Not repeat it 6 times to get a more accurate reading.  Because, believe you me, repeating the test will only serve to increase the falsely high reading not, somehow, calm the child down… sheesh!  I, politely, explained that we do this every month and no one has ever had the balls to try more than once insisted on trying to take her blood pressure reading more than necessary!  Especially since the initial reading was fine, despite the crying.  She shuffled out the door muttering about asking the other nurse.

When she returned she looked a little like she’d been thrown under the bus, and I don’t blame her, but I wasn’t through yet.  I asked her if she planned on dipping her urine before we left so we could make sure it was clean.  She wanted to know what she was looking for.  She wanted to know why we didn’t just send it to the lab.  I wanted to know why she hadn’t read the chart before she walked in here (score 274 against… game, set, match!).

The girl couldn’t help herself by this point.

“But why are you doing all this?”

So I explained all the symptoms, and the diagnosis etc.

“I’ve never even heard of that before” she whispered.

I did not roll my eyes.

Later when we were making our one hundredth next appointment our regular nurse came out.  I was a little ticked that she had sent in a student to work on Josselyn.  I know that students need to learn, and I am all for learning on real patients etc, but Joss is kind of a difficult case at the best of times.  We chatted a bit and she asked all the right questions.  And she asked about Joss’ diet, and she remembered Holly’s name, and I remembered why I like it there so much.  Besides, maybe Miss Know-Everything Student learned something that day.

I know when I was there, I made mistakes too.  I hope I learned from them.  I hope I am still learning.

Untitled

9 Mar

It has been a long day…

And it is only 1pm.

Josselyn was up for several hours last night with her, what I now call, stomachache scream.  She finally settled after I handed her a sippy of (chocolate) almond milk and left.

She has been doing really well.  She doesn’t seem to be missing out on the foods she used to eat.  She no longer asks for yogurt, or cheese, and is content to eat applesauce instead.

At church, on Sunday, she brought the nursery worker an old goldfish cracker instead of eating it herself.  And, I was told, she also brought a plastic Ritz cracker which she was given permission to “eat”!

Last night at Pioneer’s I had to bring the girls since it was Bruce’s monthly night meeting.  Usually I would skip, but it was Talent Night, and I really wanted to see my group perform the play they’ve been working on, and spectators were also more than welcome.

Holly just joined in Bronwyn’s group, even getting up on the stage and singing along and trying to follow the actions!  Too adorable for words, really.  Josselyn sat with me and amused herself by clapping after every act.

Following some advice from the ladies at my Bible Study, I taped a sign to Josselyn saying:

PLEASE DON’T FEED ME!

Despite the sign, and the fact that I never let her out of my sight once the food was put out, I still witnessed several people trying to give her food!  They weren’t trying to be malicious, it is just second nature to push your plate closer when a small child tries to dip her carrot in your creamy ranch sauce.

I’ll have to be more vigilant than I thought this weekend.

I also think I will make her a button!

So, I don’t know what she could have eaten yesterday that sent her into such a tizzy.  She was unsupervised (by me- the workers are excellent, but are no match for the dedication born of knowledge of the consequences!) for the morning during Bible Study, surrounded by food in the evening, and ate a few chocolate chips that had soy lecithin in them.

This is harder than I thought.

On the plus side, Melanie (for those of you who read this and know who I am talking about) is stopping by Ulrich’s this afternoon to buy me some wheat-free, dairy-free hot dogs!

HOT DOG!

Cookie Connoiseur

7 Mar

Ok, I have to say it:  MEN!

Ladies, are you with me?

*I apologize in advance to any men who are reading this (it has come to my attention, that although I have a faithful readership, this rarely includes husbands, so I am not really worried about alienating anyone).*

Anyway, Bruce is CRAZY!

Anybody following my random Facebook postings today might have noticed that I was going to attempt to make gluten-free, dairy-free chocolate chip cookies.  I used this recipe (replacing the almond flour with rice flour, the agave syrup with brown sugar, and the grapeseed oil with vegan margarine, and adding 1 c almond milk because the texture was too crumbly).  You might reason, that since I took the time to write all that, I would now proceed to tell you how great they were!

Not quite.

The batter was delicious, the cookies not so much.

It tasted… healthy.  Even though it wasn’t.

And when they finished baking, they crumbled.  Not the texture you are looking for in a cookie for a 21 month old.

On a side note, I think I will try again with an egg, and see how that works out.  Also, I might try the almond flour, as I heard rice flour tends to crumble in baking.  This learning curve is a steep one, friends.

So back to MEN!

After devouring a delicious stew (mostly meat) Bruce flips a cookie off the tray and pops it in his mouth.  He chews for a bit and pops a second.  Having not tried the finished product yet, I calmly ask, “how are they?”

“Well, I ate two”.

?!?!?!?!?!??!?!?

What?!

So, does that mean you like them, or…. not?

I mean, normally, Bruce would eat half a dozen chocolate chip cookies in one sitting.  Chocolate chip is his favourite cookie (it should be everyone’s, but that is just my opinion), and I don’t make them enough (he says).  His 40 year old waistline will thank me…

But, if they weren’t that good, why did he eat TWO of them?!?!

NB  Normally I let Bruce read any post that is going to be about him before I publish it.  But tonight he has gone to “meat-fest”.  For those of you who are not men, and don’t have a husband, brother, son etc that partakes in this sort of event, it is a get-together that includes food made of meat.  Vegetables are not allowed.  I have been told that onions used for seasoning are tolerated… barely.

Who aaaarrrrreeeee you?

5 Mar

WordPress (like most blog platforms- even the free ones) have site stats that you can look at to see how well your blog is doing.  This can be addicting.  Especially when you announce that you will be blogging every day for a month (and you have a large family) so your stats have skyrocketed and you are left to wonder who all these people are who have suddenly taken an interest in your boring life.

My site stats for March, so far, have shown an average of a hundred hits a day.  They don’t show you who is viewing your page, just that there have been so many visitors.  Granted, my mother could be clicking on this blog a hundred times a day, but I doubt it.  For two reasons:

1) She’s very busy.  So busy, in fact, that I  can’t even get a hold of her in the evenings.  I compensate by calling her during the day.  At work.  During office hours.  She has one of those jobs that comes with a desk, and a door, and her own phone extension, so she can’t really get…away…from…me…. (that is me trying to get my voice to face in print… not easy).

She tries.  She says she’s busy, and that she has lots of work to do and all that.  But I don’t believe her.  So I talk and talk and talk, and sometimes she answers.  I don’t think this is because she’s not listening, but more because she’d prone to water in her ears and has a hard time on the phone.  At least that’s what she tells me…

2) She doesn’t read things twice.  Not not EVER but not usually.  This could explain why there are literally thousands of books in my parents home.  You might not notice if you only ever see the main floor, but upstairs?  A whole other story.  My mom has floor to ceiling bookcases in her bedroom- packed with books.

And that is not all.  Oh no, that is not all.

There are also boxes of books in the closets.  I suspect that they are there from when we moved… nearly 8 years ago.

My dad bought her a Kindle for Christmas.  He also bought her 4 matching, blue Snuggies.  But that is another story.

I think we can say, with confidence, that the number of hits to this site are not just a case of a mother’s pride in the achievements of her offspring (although, after this post, I might be banished to the bottom of her bookmarks).

So, anybody want to reveal themselves?  Send me a note, email, Facebook message, or comment at the bottom.  Thanks!  And happy reading.