Tag Archives: expectations

Inventive… I like it!

4 Feb

Tonight, Bronwyn and I went grocery shopping late, after the other kids were in bed.  This had a dual purpose: spend some one-on-one time with my eldest… and, hopefully, wear out a kid who (even after spending the day outside in the snow) wasn’t even close to tired at 8 pm.

To keep her occupied, and let her be helpful (and who doesn’t like free kid labour?!) I encouraged her to grab things off the shelf whenever possible.  This also allowed her a chance to practice her reading in a non-threatening environment, and try to recognize familiar brands etc.

We were almost done, and the store was very empty, so I sent her on ahead to get bananas.

“Get a bunch with 5 or 6 on it” I instructed as she ran off.

She returned with 7.

I inspected them thoroughly (I think that kids should be able to choose good quality produce at any age) and indicated that although they were a good colour there were too many brown spots.

She quickly returned with a second bunch.

“Too green” I countered.

I left her to scrutinize the remaining bananas while I threw more food into the cart.  She had been gone a little longer than I expected so I headed for the banana section.  That’s when I saw her, deep in conversation with a produce employee.  He was a guy about 17 years old, and I watched as he listened intently and walked all around the huge stack of bananas while she gestured and gesticulated what I could only assume were my previous instructions on Proper Banana Choice.  At one point she looked over at me and saw me watching her.  She indicated with a look that she had asked this guy to help…

She returned, triumphant, with a bunch of bananas.

“That man said these are the best bananas he has.  I couldn’t find the perfect ones, so I asked someone who worked here”.

I don’t know who was more proud: Bronwyn for having found the perfect bananas, or me, for witnessing my child engaged in such a grown-up solution.



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”:


  • 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?!


  • 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?

Healthy Choices

3 Oct

We”ll just skip the “where have you been” and the “why haven’t you been posting” and other such whining and just acknowledge that sometimes I don’t feel like writing.  After my determination to write one post a day for a month, which I thought would kick start me into a better habit, I realized that being forced into writing only produces sloppy and boring work.  Besides, I write this blog to remember events, and update a few followers, and give an outlet to my creativity.  So, this is the last time I will mention a gap between posts.  Let’s continue…

Last night we were invited to a house-warming party at some friends’ house.  By the time I got all the details, and looked through my cupboards, the only thing I could think of to bring was a chocolate zucchini cake.*

While we were there, someone commented on the cake, and how moist it was etc.   And I replied that it was the zucchini that made it so moist.  He looked at me a little funny, and replied that he didn’t even realize that there was zucchini in there.  And then he asked me if I did it as a way to sneak in vegetables into my kids’ diet.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I have no qualms about sneaking veggies or anything else into other foods, but I also don’t shy away from just, you know, giving them those foods too.  Kids will never learn that they like a certain food, if they only eat it unknowingly.

I like to drink smoothies, and lately I have been throwing a handful of spinach in with the other fruits.  Bronwyn looked at hers one day and asked me, very suspiciously, if there was SPINACH in her smoothie.  I mustered up all my courage, and boldly declared that there was.  She looked thoughtful for a minute, then announced, “I think you have found a way I like spinach”.

So, if I am not throwing random vegetables into sugary treats because I can’t get my kids to eat them otherwise, then why bother?

I just find that adding extra ingredients doesn’t alter the taste or texture (negatively anyway) and adds extra fiber, nutrients, and variety that would be missing otherwise.  So, I guess my question is, why wouldn’t you add vegetables to your baked goods?

Here are my favourite ways to “sneak” veggies into foods:

Add pureed pumpkin, beets, squash, avocado, apples, mangoes etc to a boxed cake mix.  Half the other ingredients.  Bake as directed.  I would advise using chocolate for most of those as it disguises the colour and flavour perfectly.

You can substitute plain unsweetened applesauce for cooking oil in baking.

Automatically use half the amount of sugar called for in a recipe.  I bet you won’t even notice.

Use spelt flour instead of all purpose.  Except for a slightly nutty flavour, you will not notice.

Go ahead.  Give it a try.  And let me know how it goes!

* Chocolate Zucchini Cake

1/2 C butter, softened (or marg)
1 3/4 C sugar
2 eggs
1/2 C cooking oil (feel free to sub equal parts applesauce instead)
1/2 C sour milk (or 1 T vinegar plus milk to equal 1/2 C)
1 t vanilla
2 C grated zucchini with peel (but not seeds)
2 1/2 C flour (I used spelt)
1/3 C cocoa pwd
1 t baking soda
1/2 t baking pwd
1/2 t cinnamon (do not omit!)
1/2 t salt

3/4 C semi-sweet chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs. Mix in oil, sour milk, vanilla and zucchini.

Mix dry ingredients (not choc chips). Add to wet. Stir to moisten. Spread in a greased 9×13 pan

Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Bake at 350 for 35 min or until done.


April 20, 2011

21 Apr

Depressing isn't it...?

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.

11 Resolutions for 2011

16 Jan

I have been pondering this post for… well… over 2 weeks already, and all I have is the title.  Since I wasn’t really feeling this concept, I am changing it up a bit.

Instead of 11 resolutions, I am going to make 12 life changes.  Each month I want to commit to doing something every day for 30 days.

I can’t say I will keep at each one every day for the next year, but some might stick longer than its month.  I hope so!

January: luckily, I have already started this one.  I am exercising daily for 30 days.  I aim to be leaner, trimmer, and stronger by the time February rolls around.

February: for this month I have decided to devote myself to reading my Bible every day.  I know that it is a shorter month, and that I won’t be getting my full 30 days, but I hope it will jumpstart my reading for the whole year if I do it early.

March: I am going to pledge to blog every day for the month of March.  I chose March for this one because I hope to have a lot to write about;  upcoming spring, March Break etc.

April: for April I chose to dedicate myself to drinking more water.  So for this month I am going to drink the recommended 8 glasses a day.

May: Let’s call this dental hygiene month.  My dental habits are not stellar and I would like to improve that.  This one is for you, Joan!

June: I hope to run every day for the month of June.  I may switch it with May if the weather is awesome.  I reserve the right to do that!

July: for this month I am going to attempt not to buy anything superfluous.  Which might be hard since it is the month of Bronwyn’s birthday, but we’ll see how it goes!

August: I want to set aside this month to do something fun with my kids every day.  Whether it is a walk, going to the beach, or playing cards;  something that is not already part of our routine.

September: this one will be “healthy eating month” which isn’t something I will DO, exactly, but I pledge to not eat any junk food for the whole month.

October: I am going to call this Organization Month.  I want to organize a different part of my house every day.  Even a bit of decluttering will do.  Just something every day.

November: I am going to redo my exercise routine from January.  This way I can be fit and trim for the holidays.

December: tbd

Alright, I am afraid I have forgotten an important one that I had intended to include, so I am leaving December blank in the hopes it returns to me.  Also, if anyone has any ideas for things to do, I’d love to hear them, and maybe even use them!