Déja Vu

by , on
March 28, 2013

Today the kid was overtired, she was a wee bit on the crazy side. She gets this level of tired where she can’t settle, she won’t stop moving, having new ideas about what she wants to do and which toys to play with.

Kitchen gymnastics

Kitchen gymnastics

After she peed on the floor and tore open a pack of pencil crayons. When I asked her why she said she didn’t know and I uttered the phrase that I have uttered before: “You are too much like me, little girl.”

I used to take things apart, rip stuff, colour on things. I was a destructive kid with mostly good intentions. I have to remind myself that she is too.

Mommy Brain

by , on
March 27, 2013

When I was off on leave after having a baby everything was about learning how to take care of a baby, how to take care of myself while taking care of a baby, what this new life was going to be like. (Or so I thought – life with a child changes every day).

When I went back to work there was a whole new learning process. How to fit in family and myself while working 37.5 hours per week with a commute tacked on.

When I left work I naively thought I was moving back to where I had been in leave. Not so much.

Being a stay at home mother has wrung me out. It is the hardest thing I have ever done and it has left me answering a lot of questions all the time. Not just the ‘why why why’ questions that the kid asks every day. (“Ducks don’t fly.” “Ducks can fly.” “Why?” “I don’t know how to answer that.”)

One of the hardest things has been losing the daily stimulation of being totally enveloped in news and politics – two things I love. The kid just isn’t that interested in letting me watch the news, she doesn’t understand why these things are important to me. Given the family she has around her, she will someday, but not just yet. Right now she has things that are more important to her, like Bananas in Pyjamas.

Just not interested

Just not interested

A couple of weeks ago my father sent me an email about a discussion being hosting by the Canadian Journalism Foundation titled On the Hill, Online and In the Loop. There was one panel made up of journalists and a second made up of politicians and they would be discussing social media and how it is changing politics and the coverage thereof.

I registered right away. A talk about politics, reporting and social media – three things that interest me very much. Unlike some things I’ve tried to get out to recently, I made it to this one. I took notes, I tweeted, I asked questions. Upon leaving I couldn’t stop smiling.

After weeks of dealing with all the things the three year old can throw at me, of her refusal to leave the house without a fight, of my struggle to be a human being while all this was going on, I had spent an evening in my brain, listening to intelligent thought about something I find important and interesting.

I feel revived.

She cried when I wasn’t there for bedtime, but we’ll both have a better day tomorrow.

Play time

by , on
March 24, 2013

When my father asked what he could get us for the new baby, I knew exactly what I wanted – a swing. I had found in the short time I had been spending with this little one it was difficult to be holding her all the time. As much as I loved just holding her and staring at her, sometimes I needed to eat. We had a vibrating chair but she did not like that much at all, so I thought maybe a swing was the way to go.

I chose the Fisher-Price My Little Lamb swing (now it’s bunnies instead of lambs, but still soft and adorable). I got it home, got it set up, and both the baby and I instantly fell in love.

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She love the swinging motion, she loved the music, the mirror, the mobile, the softness. Some days it was the only place she would sleep. That swing was where she would happily sit when my husband and I had dinner together and re-connected when he got home from work.

When she got too big for that swing I think I cried. It was such a wonderful thing, to have her happy and comfortable when I needed a break. I am glad to say that we passed that swing on to another family so that another baby could be soothed for a few months.

I was not at all surprised that this swing was one of the Fisher-Price products that made their moms ‘must-have’ list. Nor was I surprised to see three of their Laugh and Learn products on that list. The Laugh and Learn Busy Friends musical table was a favourite when she started standing, and the kitchen was another popular one, but one of the toys she’s had the longest is the Laugh and Learn Say Please Tea Set.

My daughter loves a good tea party. She loves pouring the tea and serving cakes, and I love that the teapot helps remind her to use her manners.

Are your favourites on the Fisher-Price top 12 list? (I still remember my Little People farm). Visit www.fisherprice.ca/fpfavourites to learn more. You can use the code FISHERPRICE20 to get 20 per cent off Fisher-Price products at Toys ‘R’ Us.

Disclosure: I am part of the Fisher-Price Blogger Campaign with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own. 

 

This many

by , on
March 22, 2013

The world lies. All my life people have told me about the terrible twos. I waited for two, I got through 2.

Two was a freaking piece of cake compared to 3.

Three is more energetic, more dramatic. She’s bouncing off the walls.

She only looks innocent

She only looks innocent

 

She doesn’t want to eat what we want her to eat when we want her to eat. She doesn’t want to sleep. Period. She doesn’t like leaving the house. She doesn’t like being around other kids and she’ll cry when you try to take her somewhere – until she’s been there for a while and then she cries when you try to make her  leave.

This week Joe was away and every day was hard. Bedtime took hours, she woke up in the night asking for snacks. One day I had to fight her into clothes to get out of the house. One day she ate maybe two bites of her dinner and then not ten minutes later – before the spaghetti was even cold – she said she was hungry. Spaghetti being that thing that she’s always asking for.

All my life people told me that there were the terrible twos and it would be the hardest time.

This past week has made me want to track those people down and demand answers.

To sleep, perchance

by , on
March 21, 2013

My kid has vacillated her entire life between being a ‘we got so lucky she such a great sleeper’ sleeper and a ‘she’s never going to sleep again’ sleeper.

She is very much like me in that she hates going to sleep. Actually deciding to shut everything down, shut your book, lie down in bed and going to sleep. She tells me that she doesn’t like going to sleep and she doesn’t know how to sleep and I can’t do anything but empathize because I know exactly what she means.

But here’s the thing: She needs sleep.

This kid never stops moving. Her entire day is spent bouncing around, talking, being active. She needs to sleep. And since she hasn’t napped since she was just about a year old, she needs to sleep at night.

We start bedtime at 5:30 because we know that no matter what she’s going to be awake by 7 am. (There was that stretch of about a month that she was waking for the day at 4 am – that was awesome).

In the last week we have been starting bedtime around 5:30 and it has been rare for her to be asleep before 8 pm. This means a long, frustrating bedtime for everyone, and an over tired, obnoxious child the next day.

(And a mother who has to remind herself throughout the day that she loves her daughter dearly).

Lucky she's cute

Lucky she’s cute

I decided to change the kids furniture around. I thought maybe changing things up would make a difference. I asked her where she might want her bed and what we could do, I moved things around, and when I called her back in she got very excited. She climbed right up onto the bed, she told me it was “fantastic!” She told me she loved it, and crawled under the covers to try it out right away. It was better than any reaction I had anticipated.

I went out to an event in the evening, my mom handled bedtime, and when I got home – at 9:30 – she was awake and Grandma had been sent to relay a message: She wants her bed back where it was.

I was exhausted, it was a frustrating end to a frustrating day at the wrong end of a frustrating week. Without being able to stop myself I broke down in tears just at the words.

It sucked. It also sucked that this was the third time during the same day that I had cried out of frustration.

I’m stuck in this idea that there has to be a solution, but my daughter seems intent on proving that theory wrong.

On Steubenville

by , on
March 18, 2013

Yesterday two boys were found guilty of raping a 16-year-old girl who has been put through hell since last summer when she drank too much at a party and members of the local football team decided to take advantage of that fact.

I was relieved when I heard the verdict, because even though there was video evidence of some of the things they did to her it still wasn’t a sure thing. People had refused to talk to the police even though they witnessed parts of the assault, adults in town were making every kind of excuse for the boys, and the overwhelming message, even after the verdict is that this girl got herself into a bad situation.

The victim was underage, she had too much to drink – apparently she should have expected to be used as a plaything by these boys. What else were they supposed to do? A vulnerable girl, passed out in their presence? Of course they ‘played’ with her, who wouldn’t?

I have only seen one picture from that night and one video of a boy laughing – laughing – about what was happening.

I went to sleep last night angry and I woke up this morning angry.

These poor boys, people said, their lives have been ruined. They had such promising futures – football stars with good grades. Nobody is too concerned about the girl who was treated as less than human and then had an entire community turn against her.

I saw message after message saying that it was her fault. That she got drunk and bad things happened and she only filed charges because she was embarrassed. That she had acted like a slut and got what she deserved. The defence used for these boys is that she never said no. You know, the unconscious girl. She never said yes, but she never asked them to stop.

Bullshit.

I want to ask these men, these boys, what they would say if they decided to get drunk at a party and they passed out and found out later that while they were unconscious they were carted around from place to place with different men put their fingers up his anus, putting their penises in his mouth, videotaping and laughing. Would he feel that he had put himself in that position and he should have expected what he got?

Would he just shrug it off?

I’ve heard it all before and I don’t know why it seems to be affecting me more now – because of the overwhelming reaction on Twitter of these people who are angry at the victim, or because I have a daughter and this is what she needs to learn about to protect herself. Maybe I’ve just been reminded one too many times and it’s starting to hurt.

Self-made

by , on
March 15, 2013

A little while ago on Twitter I made an exciting declaration:

Screen Shot 2013-03-13 at 11.46.57 PM

 

Now, I had been reading up about potty training and asking people for tips and trying to figure out the psychology of it all, so I thought I would write about it here. What did we do that finally worked?

Nothing.

The best advice I listened to was the advice that told me that every kid is different and you can trust them to know when it’s time.

I got a little frustrated a while ago and I told her that once we finished the box of diapers we were working on I wasn’t going to buy any more, because I knew that she was capable of using the potty.

That backfired.

Not only did she cry and demand diapers, she had accidents and I was afraid to leave the house with her in underwear.

So I bought more diapers, and we asked every day if she wanted to wear a diaper, a Pull-Up or underwear, and we let her do what she wanted. I would ask throughout the day if she needed to go, and she would say yes or no. Often after she got up in the morning and we would go to the bathroom together. And then it all started coming together.

The day she just stopped what she was doing, walked to the potty and went – that was truly awesome. My jaw dropped.

Suddenly she wears underwear most days, and even when she’s wearing a Pull-Up she uses the potty instead of treating it like a diaper.

After the questions and the stress and the frustration, she trained herself. Now she’s working on getting her dolls on the potty.

Poetry in Motion

by , on
March 13, 2013

The other day I asked a friend of ours to be our kid’s science-parent. It’s like a godparent but with science instead of Jesus.

(The kid is not being raised in a religion. I have no ill will towards Jesus, just the way some people interpret his teachings).

Basically I did this because I would love it if she loved science. Personally I was always very interested in science but didn’t do so well in the school part of things. I loved learning about the elements and the composition of things, but I couldn’t for the life of me remember it all for a test. The only high school sciences I did well in were physics, which I thought was kind of awesome, and the genetics portion of biology.

I was also really good at math until they tried to teach me geometry and trigonometry. I still remember the quadratic equation, but ask me to graph something and I’m lost.

Science is awesome, and important, and I would dearly love to see all doors open to my daughter when she decides what she wants to be when she grows up.

People in my family always thought I would go into engineering because as a kid I loved taking things apart to see how they worked, and I always spurned instructions. By the time I got my Cs in Grade 11 bio and chemistry it was clearly not an option.

The stereotype is that girls are meant for arts degrees, but that’s crap. Even The Big Bang Theory addressed the lack of girls going into science. There are all sorts of campaigns that try to get girls interested in scientific careers, and more power to them, but my approach is simple – Show the kid that everyday things are science and that science is cool.

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Hence, our science-parent. Let her see science, let her hear about it, embrace and understand that she’s capable of experimenting, asking questions and finding answers.

So far she loves mixing different colours and finding out what they make, she loves helping in the kitchen, which is all about measuring and chemical reactions, she loves learning about trees and nature (and still remembers what her Grandpa taught her about different trees).

Seriously, if she’s as interested in science class as I am, her excellent memory may be the thing that pushes her through.

Of course, if you asked her right now she would tell you she wants to be an acrobat, and that’s okay too.

In The Loop

by , on
March 13, 2013

I got the chance to attend two panel discussions hosted by the Canadian Journalism Federation titled On the Hill, Online and In the Loop.

The first panel was mediated by Andrew Potter from the Ottawa Citizen and included the Citizen’s David Reevely and Glen McGregor, Kady O’Malley from CBC, Joanna Smith from the Toronto Star and Nick Taylor-Vaisey from Maclean’s.

The second panel was mediated by Christopher Waddell from the Carleton School of Journalism and included the NDP’s Megan Leslie, Liberal Marc Garneau and Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson.

Both discussion were about social media (mainly Twitter) and how the world of politics and political reporting is changing as we all become more connected.

One thing that stood out for me during the journalists’ discussion was the idea of using sources from Twitter.

Nick Taylor-Vaisey opened the discussion saying that he may find someone through Twitter, but will always do some quick research before reaching out to them – to find out if they may be connected to a party or an issue in a certain way. After he researches, he said he will reach out in some other way than Twitter, finding an email address or phone number.

Joanna Smith said that it is alright to use a quote from Twitter as a source, especially in a case where that’s the only place a politician talks about an issue. Kady O’Malley used the example of Rona Ambrose on the sex-selective abortion issue. I didn’t realize this, but apparently the only place she explained her vote on the Stephen Woodworth motion on abortion was on Twitter, as O’Malley said “…that was the record.”

Smith said “It’s public and it’s valid” when politicians make a comment on Twitter, but also said she will always call the office to try and get more.

In terms of coverage, the panel seemed to agree that Twitter has hurt serious coverage. Reevely said it’s been good for humanizing politicians and reporters, as well as helping reporters establish credibility on the topics they cover, but “Twitter rewards zingers and that is very dangerous,” but the panel agreed that Twitter has provided more transparency for people following. O’Malley pointed out that readers can see the conversations between journalists and politicians and come to their own conclusions.

The second panel was made up of three elected officials who all admitted to enjoying connecting through Twitter. The conversation touched on Facebook (and Megan Leslie noted that she’s on LinkedIn but doesn’t remember her password). All three said that their Twitter accounts are run primarily by them – 90 to 95 per cent. While Megan Leslie said the NDP sends suggestions for tweets they have no control over her account (and cited Pat Martin as proof of this fact), Marc Garneau said that as a member of a caucus you can’t just freelance. For his part Jim Watson said that at the local level there are no parties, so you can say what you like but you have to live with the consequences.

All three politicians agreed that Twitter can make things difficult. Leslie said that during the campaign it was difficult to keep up, and she has also received a number of sexist comments. Watson said Twitter breeds an expectation of immediate response, which is unrealistic. The character limit also makes it difficult to discuss complex issues.

Both panels seemed to agree that Twitter is changing things, but no one was sure if it was for better or worse.

Glasses are cool

by , on
March 12, 2013

TV has been a big part of my life for a long time. I work well with background noise and TV had usually been my thing. I’m not usually too picky about what I’m watching. When I was in college I actually became a fan of Blue’s Clues, which was on in the mornings when I was usually getting ready to head to school.

(All of this meant that the job that involved four TVs in my office was kind of made for me).

Now we have this kid, and she’s a preschooler, and we’re trying to figure out what she should watch. There are the classic that I’ve tried to introduce – Sesame Street, the Muppets. I bought Mr. Dressup on DVD but the one attempt I made she wasn’t interested.

We’ve had success with Toopy and Binoo, which we both enjoy. There’s Special Agent Oso a formula show that’s got some jokes for the parents too (like Oso, voice by Sean Astin, teaching a kid named Rudy how to throw a football). Doc McStuffins, featuring a little girl – African American no less – who is a doctor for her toys just like her mother is a doctor for kids.

She loves Stella and Sam, and so do I – Stella is a great sister and she’s got a great imagination.

I give Strawberry Shortcake a pass because I watched it when I was a kid and it didn’t do any damage. She’s started watching Team Umizoomi recently, which is all about using math to solve problems, so that’s great.

But she’s started watching this show called My Big Big Friend and I just don’t like it.

The show is about three kids and their three imaginary friends – Lili and her giraffe Nessa, Yuri and his elephant Golias and Matt and his kangaroo Bongo – and they go on imaginary adventures, as you do.

At first I couldn’t put my finger on it, but after a few episodes I figured it out: I really, really don’t like the way the lessons are being taught.

The kids are presented with a situation and they respond to it in the completely wrong way and then they keep responding the totally wrong way until something happens that makes them realize that it is wrong and there lies the lesson. In one episode, Lili is asked a question that she can’t answer at show and tell, and instead of saying ‘I don’t know’ she makes something up, and continues to make things up until she gets stuck and has to ask for help.

Yuri gets a special treat from his mom, and his friends try to force him to share and when he won’t the treat falls in the mud. Eventually Yuri learns that he should have just shared in the first place – which is total crap. Good friends will understand when your mom made something special for you and you don’t want to share.

There has also been an episode in which Lili declared ‘real princesses don’t wear glasses’ – That one made me really mad since I wear glasses and all signs point to my kid needing them by high school – and another in which she wore a fairy dress and refused to play because she didn’t want to get it dirty.

The fact is, this show present a scenario and by the time they present the alternative – the way you want your kids to act – it’s too little too late as far as I’m concerned.

So have you ever said no to a show, something your kid enjoyed?

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