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Destroy all the things

November 30th, 2013 | Posted by Amy Boughner in Parenting - (Comments Off on Destroy all the things)

Every now and again I am reminded just how much like me the kid is, for example when I have to put a bandaid on her knee or when I find a page torn out of a book or this:

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The biggest difference between the two of us is that I always tried to hide my crimes or blame my imaginary friend (Mr. Nobody, he lived between our walls) while she will come immediately to tell us about the bad thing she had done.

For example, after her bedtime the other night I was in our room and I heard her at her door:

“Mommy?”

“What is it?”

“I did something not good…

“I did something bad…

“I did something that will make you angry.”

With that I decided I ought to go and take a look, and there I saw her, standing in her doorway wearing her adorable little nightgown and slippers. And then I saw the diamond shape she had drawn on the carpet. In black marker.

I didn’t get angry. I told her to get back in her bed and I fetched the carpet cleaner. And I knew in my mind that it was something I probably had done back in my day, and then denied having done.

This is why my mother laughs at me now.

Some days this kid does things I never imagined my kid doing. Like, for example, she decided to go ahead and hit another kid while they were playing after school.

She’s hit me before, in anger, in the middle of a tantrum. She’s been told it’s not okay, it’s not appropriate and she needs to use her words.

But this, I had not even the beginning of a clue how to deal with this. Really I should have been better prepared, kids hit kids, it happens, but when that other little girl started crying and the kid refused to tell me what had happened I got a sudden sinking feeling. When the other mom came over and told me her daughter’s side of the story I knew it was the truth, especially when my kid covered her ears, which is her tell for ‘I just did something really bad and I don’t want to hear about it.’

And that’s when my stomach fell.

There were tears and screaming as I picked her up and took her to the car, fought her into her buckles and settled myself in to drive.

As we got closer to home she told me the truth, she had hit her, she told me her reasoning, which made it worse: She had wanted to hurt her, because she didn’t want the girl to like her any more.

How am I supposed to respond to any of this? Seriously, I am a dumbfounded Mama on this one.

I apologized to the little girl, I scolded my own, I told her teachers about it in case anything else happened between them, I apologized to the other mother, and we made her apologize.

And when I finally took a step back it all felt like maybe too much. I can’t take any of it back now, but I also feel like there’s a big arrow pointing to my head flashing the words ‘Jumps overboard.’

Jumps, get it? Visual pun.

Jumps, get it? Visual pun.

Cream rises

November 28th, 2013 | Posted by Amy Boughner in Work - (Comments Off on Cream rises)

On Tuesday I was invited to attend a series of workshops on the STRUT Tour. It was a fun day in Toronto, driving around in a sponsored Buick Enclave, listening to a lot of smart people talking about interesting things.

In the second workshop, held at a bistro and hosted by Michelle Bosc, the Director of Marketing for Chateau Des Charmes wines, there was a statement made that the whole panel of speakers agreed with – that good content will get someone noticed and that building a strong, active audience is better than building a large following.

Some of those in attendance tweeted this sentiment out and got responses as we were sitting there, which they brought up to the panel – people don’t believe that to be true in all cases.

I, for one, don’t believe it. I have been in too many situation where who you know counts. But I was interested to see how others felt about the idea, and why.

Do you believe that in the end quality wins?

There’s a new button over there –>

It’s pretty colourful, you can’t miss it. It stems from this post by Toy With Me.

Ending the stigma on mental illnesses is a big thing for me. I have now been dealing with clinical depression for half my life. Sixteen years of ups and downs, sometimes sleeping all day, suicidal thoughts on a few occasions, lots of tears and self-blame and pain.

I’ve talked about here before. I’ve talked about my postpartum depression here before.

Mental illness has been a big part of my life, fighting it has been a focus. It’s been a long, long time.

I use this picture to remind me.

IMG_0086That’s me in a bad place, even with my sweet baby girl with me. I remember what it’s like to feel that bad, and I remember what it’s like to feel better.

Photo on 2011-05-13 at 09.50 #2And I know that talking about it makes the difference.

 

 

My sister was very excited to learn that President Obama referred to his grandparents as Tutu and Gramps, just like we do. Tutu was planned – my grandmother loved Hawaii and when my mother was expecting my older sister the title was decided. Gramps was Grandpa for the first while but when we got a bit older it turned into Gramps and he’s been Gramps ever since.

My other grandfather passed away long before I was born but my other grandmother was Granny.

Two distinct titles.

When we found out we were having a baby my mother tried to figure out a name for herself, but I vetoed a few ideas and then we decided to let it just happen organically. Right now that has left us with First Grandma and First Grandpa, Other Grandma and Grandpa Joe.

Grandpa Joe was inherited from my father’s eight other grandchildren.

(Yes, my daughter has a father named Joe and a grandfather named Joe. She also has a great-grandfather named Joe). 

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We’re really not sure where First Grandma and Other Grandma came from. First Grandpa is called that by his association with First Grandma. I’m really interested to see how the terms evolve as she gets older.

Someone also noted to me at one point that this made my mother the OG, which is pretty great.

Winter baby

November 26th, 2013 | Posted by Amy Boughner in Parenting - (Comments Off on Winter baby)

There has never been any doubt that the kid is a big fan of winter. She was a January baby and she once fell asleep in the stroller as I walked into a -35 degree windchill.

Joe calls it her ‘Spirit of the North.’

She gets excited about the snow as soon as there’s any hint of it. When we finally get snow that sticks she’s out playing it in as quickly as we can get her snow-pants on.

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On Saturday it started snowing as we were out at breakfast. She’d had a busy day already, first swimming lessons and then gymnastics, but as soon as we got home she was ready to play. After about half an hour she came in for some hot chocolate, but it didn’t take too long for her to head outside again.

I love it. Winter is a big part of our lives here, taking over December, January, February and March at least, and she stays active that entire time.

While I’m away today and tomorrow I expect she will take great delight in the expected 15 cm or whatever ends up on the ground. She has been jumping up and down for every perceived snowflake since October and the snow is finally here.

Giving Thanks

November 25th, 2013 | Posted by Amy Boughner in Personal | Work - (Comments Off on Giving Thanks)

I have been thinking again about people in my past who may not realize the change that they created in my life, as per Drew Dudley’s closing keynote at Blissdom.  This comes from current events. I was recently hired for a regular contract. It’s been my goal since I left my full time job to work from home, and the person hiring me is one of the people I have to thank.

Since I knew American Thanksgiving was coming up, this seemed as good a time as any.

One person, Laura, I have thanked in passing a few times, but I don’t think she knows the full extent of the help she gave me.

She hired me for my job with the party. It was a short contract, or it was supposed to be, and my confidence level with my work was in the crapper, but immediately Laura became a person I did not want to disappoint, and when I felt like I was disappointing her we sat down and talked.

Working with her and the team in that office helped build me back up bit by bit. I was surrounded by smart, talented people and I wanted to prove myself among them, so I worked very hard to be everything they needed and more.

Anne Marie was the woman I replaced. She was wanting to move on and she took a leave and I got to replace her. When she moved officially and permanently into her new job and I officially and permanently took hold of mine she came to say goodbye and I surprised her by getting a bit teary. The moves she had made in her life had changed mine for the better, and she didn’t even know.

Ian and Gaby were two people who were constantly supportive and full of energy. Karl was someone who scared the crap out of me and made me better at finding answers for fear of disappointing him.

And then there was Kathleen.

Kathleen took over where Laura left off. The two of them together turned me into a much better employee, a much better worker, and pushed me to excel, and someone I am proud to be today.

Part of a legacy.

photo 2

Bucket Filler

November 24th, 2013 | Posted by Amy Boughner in Personal - (Comments Off on Bucket Filler)

I wrote here not too long ago about my bucket list. I’m not even sure how many years ago I made the list, more than a decade ago at least. There are a lot of things checked off now, but my life has also changed quite a bit – partly due to checking off ‘Get Married’ and ‘Be a mom’ –  there are things on my list I don’t care about any more, things that are too vague, and things that I think I’d like to add.

A few things I’m thinking about:

  1. Visit Cape Breton and the territories
  2. I made Joe promise me that at some point during out marriage he will take me on a cruise around Greece
  3. Visit Hawaii (my mom loves it there, I’ve seen pictures but never been)
  4. Go to New York City, take in every Broadway show I can manage
  5. See where I came from (Ireland, Scotland and Coventry, England)
  6. Write the book I know I have in me
  7. Be fit

I’ll add more, I’m sure I will. I’ll retroactively add things that surprise me (like when I lived in Montreal for two months and realized that it was a really great experience that I’d always wanted).

What’s on your list?

Eight years ago you were born, and just eight weeks later you found your new home with us.

Teeny tiny

Teeny tiny

When we first met you were called Tiny Tim, but as soon as you licked my nose I knew you were our Henry.

We’ve been through a lot, some things have changed. 

Photo on 2009-11-24 at 12.05

What is it?

What is it?

But we still do pretty well you and me.

Photo on 2013-11-22 at 8.46 AM #2

Stay healthy puppy.

 

Clean up, clean up

November 22nd, 2013 | Posted by Amy Boughner in Parenting - (Comments Off on Clean up, clean up)
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My little Swiffer

 

Since she was very little the kid has been a fan of helping me sweep. She loves to sweep, she loves to dust, she sees me cleaning and wants to help. For this I am very thankful.

She also loves shovelling snow, which is great, especially if that continues through the teenage years.

I have spurts when I feel like cleaning – nothing feels better than scrubbing and shining and washing, working up a sweat and coming out on the other end with a clean house. It’s not a perfect system, but I get things done, and she likes to help.

When I was in high school I knew people who were totally unprepared for university. One girl in my accounting class was two years older than me and confessed one day that she had never done her own laundry, her mother still cleaned her room, and, of course, she didn’t know how to cook. I could do all those things when I left home, and when I moved back after college I took over the grocery shopping and making dinners.

I’m aiming for my daughter to have the same level of independence, or at least self-preservation skills. So far so good.

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