Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Status Snackers

Status Snackers are on the rise. Is one of them yours?

Allow me to reminisce about my own childhood power cravings (read: sugar cravings). Raised in a house of brown rice, peas and potatos, sweets were exotic, bordering on erotic. Junk food had that other-worldly magic aura shared by the Easter Bunny and Santa. So, when I entered the real world of Kindergarton and saw how the other half lived, mega watt bulbs no less than exploded in my head.

I don’t remember her name, I don’t even remember her face, but I will never forget what she looked like from behind sitting in the lunchroom. Two perfectly coifed, ringlet pony tails, parted with razor sharp precision - the kind of perfection that must of hurt like a mofo to install. And beyond the back of her pretty little head, was her sandwich. Nutella… on Wonderbread. (Don’t tell me you’ve never tried Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread. Think Purdy’s hedgehogs.)

Next to this vision of beauty, I would sit and crack my wax paper to reveal a dark husk of a peanut butter sandwich. (Remember when we ate peanut butter at school?) This girl was timid under all other circumstances, but she soon discovered her power, at least over me. I don’t remember Ringlets being mean about it, but for a shy girl, Nutella sandwiches were a way of making friends.

With Halloween still rearing it’s ugly head out of our highest cupboards, Status Snacking is rampant right now. It’s all about who has candy and how they work it. There are those that lord it over others and those that give it over for brownie points (so to speak). There’s even status in being a recipient. After all, there isn’t always enough for everyone.

Should I somehow try to strategize against this? Should I make sure I pack a yummy enough lunch that she isn’t deemed powerless and yet not so yummy that she's corrupted by the power? Do I have too much time on my hands??

Signed,

Neurotic

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Busted.

Here's the cachet. All this steel and gunpowder, stashed on top of the fridge.  Well, maybe not stashed.  More like...banished.  Yes, our boys are into weapons.  They're into combat, whether it be with a (plastic) sword, gun, laser, light saber or Wii remote.  They like to blow things up real good.  They like to yell "You'll pay for dis!" and "Fire at Will!!" and "You're going to the Doom Dimension!".  They like the Star Wars movies.  Every last violent detail.

All of this is my nightmare.  Not because I'm a girl, so much, but because I'm a pacifist.  I cry when people are mad at me.  I cry when I think people should be mad at me.  I fight like a feeb and  refuse to play contact sports or anything that might make me fall down.  I want peace and am willing to do pretty much anything to achieve it.  So, to have two screaming small people running around the house (fake) shooting at each other and slashing the air,  rogue jedis on crack candy....it's just too much.  I pluck the above weapons out of their hands whenever things get hairy and send them into exile on top of the fridge.  I plop bags of chips on them and forget they exist.  I shrug innocently when the kids can't find their "piece" and their "blaster".  Even their little lego people are packing heat!

I'm a little worried that these two are going to grow up to be maniacal psychos terrorizing the city with pirate pistols from Disneyland (see above) or worse.  Maybe they'll even start hunting fowl and game.  While living in LA, I visited a hypnotherapist to help me deal with some important life issues.  During one session I expressed concern about my son's need to run around pretending he was shooting a gun, which was actually a curved piece of wooden train track.  I felt that this could escalate and he would scare all his little girlfriends right out of his life.  Matt laughed a little.  Patiently, he explained that as a child he'd careen around with his toy guns playing Cops & Robbers, Cowboys & First Nations People with the best of them...and has grown up to do yoga for 2 hours a day and study Transcendental Meditation.  Truly, he's about as gentle as they get. Sigh.  l guess I should give those machines of menace back over to the kids, and surrender all the nerf darts that I've hidden in my sock drawer.  Soon as my welts are gone...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Guerilla Soup Kitchen

OK, it was nothing so noble...

Saffron and I needed to take some shots for our upcoming website launch (look out!) and we wanted a group of kids in them. It being November in Vancouver, we built igloos and went seal hunting. I kid you. (Us Canadian folk love to mess with the rest of y’all.) Everyone knows children respond to sugar, so we sent out a few quick emails offering a bribe of hot chocolate at the local playground.

As Saf mentioned on Crackbook, my offerings look like the Fraser River. I just wonder what the Health Board would have to say about the unidentifiable dribble coming down that tail light. That which doesn't kill you makes you stronger?

Friday, November 12, 2010

We Have a Winner!

The firecrackers and bottle rockets are flying far less frequently this week and most of our kids have lost interest in all the crap they filled up on after trick-or-treating. Yay! Thank you for your entries, your emails, your comments and memories...and we have found a winner for our Cheapest Costume Contest! Lurene, your son's $3.00 Snake Charmer takes the prize! Thanks to your mother's hoarding instincts (and the power of parachute pants) you've won our Autumn Basket of Fall Treats to help you weather the season!
Rachael, your kids' 0.00 grocery bag masterpieces made us glad to be alive. They couldn't qualify 'cause of their lack of Hallwe'en-ness but they make the ultimate statement about what kids are capable of without a trip around the Costume Store. The rest of us, who shelled out $ to Toysrus or similar, are skulking behind our very expensive wastes of fabric and hoping we can squeeze another year out of the thing...Thanks again for participating and stay warm and cozy this weekend, all!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Hallowe'en & Cheap Costume Contest


So, how was your Hallow's Eve?  Ours was Good Times, considering the boys were recovering from strep throat.  And that Dawk Vader wiped out face first in his helmet right out of the gate in broad daylight.  He spent most of our trick-or-treating time in his stroller, helmet-free.  Cody from StarWarsCloneWars brought home a heavy bag of loot.  And Daddy and I went as lazy pirates.  Camille's girl was a wizard!  Don't call her a witch or a fairy, she hates that!
that is not me in a thong



THANK YOU for your pics for the Cheapest Costume Contest!  Here are a few entries!  TWO DAYS LEFT to win our secret prize, so if you're reading this, use the email button in the sidebar or just email me directly from your address book and attach your pics and prices!  Contest ends Friday November 5th!
From Grace, we have:
The witch was 7.00, hat and dress from the thrift shop. Indiana Jones was: Total $11 , $2 hat at Thrift shop, mint condition GAP boys cowhide jacket Value Village $9 (will be used as a jacket for some years as it’s big! LOL) whip was from Santa last year rest was regular clothes and some brown makeup for 5 o’clock shadow

 Adding to show you my ghost and vampire from about 4 years ago, shredded sheet, cheesecloth, and makeup, regular clothes and $2 thrift shop vest + generic cape from VV did the trick!! Those were my cheapest yet.  And the scariest actually, kids at preschool found them a bit too scary....Grace(yes, Grace, they scare the crap out of me, too!)

From Rachael:
                                             
Ha! Well written, that made me laugh both in rememberance of my own Halloween years and also for the irony of your post and how closely it resembles my own sentiments  about our excessive consumption as a population in general. I'm frugal like you, for the most part. Costumes for my kids usually come from Value Village.This kittie costume from a couple years ago cost $4.99, all second hand.  


The picture of the kids wearing shopping bags are not Halloween costumes but they were costumes the kids made for fun, which I realize may me look like I am too cheap to buy toys but the truth is they did this themselves. I do feel that  kids have more fun creating imaginary play than they do playing with painted plastic, that's why they play
 with the box at Christmas time....Rachael

and From Lurene:
Rock Star.  $7 total.  Wig $7 (USA yeeeeeeeeears ago....) / vest $0 (mine, from my closet yeeeeeeeeeears ago..) / pleather pants? $0 (MINE ...from yeeeeeeeeears ago....) / electric guitar? $0.  His Dad’s (from 1983) 
Snake Charmer / Aladdin.  $3 total.  Vest $0 (again,...mine...) / pants $0 my sister Shannon actually WORE these in the 80’s  - God love my Mother “the Hoarder”!  Shoes. $0 They were a gift from James on a recent trip to India.  Turbin. $0 it’s my favorite scarf.  Sword. $3 Value Village (yeeeeeeeeeeears ago).....Lurene

And we've got a surprise posting from our own mama!  I am busted for not remembering my costume correctly--here is the real deal and some perspective from when we did it Old School:
Here’s an archival photo of the blogging sisters (Saf & Camille) dressed up for Hallowe’en the old fashioned way.  Not a sheet but a really nice (but old and stained) tablecloth sacrificed for the occasion and the Christmas tinsel on the end of a chopstick was not to be sneezed at either...  Cost: $0, result: a fairy or an angel?  A bit of makeup to paint a big smile onto our clown, a minor investment for a red bowler hat, a borrowed tie and the cost probably came to $2 on that costume.  Every Hallowe’en there was a scramble to cobble together something.  Imagination was a key ingredient.  It was fun! Mama

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Used To Be All Mine

My daughter as Richard Simmons. Remember when we could live our Halloween fantasies vicariously through our children? (The Princess/Enchantress/Fairy thing is getting a bit tired these days.) PS No, I don't plan on scooping the wicked surPRIZE from y'all (immediate family is exempt, of course), but I'm proud to say it cost me $0 and provided more entertainment than a jug of wine.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Dawk Vader and The Costume Woes (send pics for a prize!)

                                            Ghost in Damask Standard Pillow Case
Camille and I are from an era where there was no massive online vacuum sealed Hallowe'en Costume Mecca.  Grew up in a house where your folks would take a holey sheet, belt it with some Christmas tinsel, tie more tinsel around your head, cover a chopstick in tinfoil, stick some of the above-mentioned tinsel on the end and BAM!, you're an Angel Fairy!  Later, rich teenagers would rent from the costume store, or wore their parent's work uniforms and spilled drinks on them at parties (not me, I swear).

 By the time I got pregnant with our first son, not only were Old Navy and the Gap pumping out adorable, plush, probably slave-laboured costumes with tails, ears and padded feet for a pretty penny but, though we hadn't installed MacOS9 yet,  the flimsy online costume craze was quietly gathering momentum.

Now Hallowe'en is totally out of control.  Yards are decorated and lit with the same holiday fervor as at Christmas time.  Peanut free chocolate is shoveled into plastic pumpkins with handles...what happened to paper bags and pillow cases?  And, strangest of all, online stores and Hallowe'en warehouses are selling scads of mass produced licensed costumes from tv/movie hits of the moment---Avatar, Star Wars, Jersey Shore (what the heck is that?), Buzz Lightyear...Do you know how hard it was to find a size 8 in the Cody from Star Wars Clone Wars costume?  And that my 8 yr old was not only willing to be clothed in head-to-toe white spandex, but was also willing to wear a half-helmet with an elastic across the back? Once he says thank you for his candy and turns around, it'll be painfully clear we could only afford the 19.99 package.
...weapon not included

I'm not sure just what I'm getting at, but I needed to write a bit about Hallowe'en so that I could:
1) post this picture of The Duck, who is going to be Dawk Vader (though there were a few dawk moments where he changed his mind back to Michael Jackson and then a Scuwvy Pirate AFTER we bought the 40.00 talking helmet).  I can't quite get over how much he looks like Rick Moranis in Spaceballs.  And he's not afraid to use the fowce.

  On the night he'll wear dawk shoes, of course.

2) (way more importantly) ask you to send us a picture of YOUR kid(s) in costume, along with the grand total $ you spent on their outfit.  The lowest cost costumer will win a prize!!  Not telling what, and hand-me-downs don't count.  Please use the "email" button on the right side of our blog and attach a picture (jpeg) along with your comment.  Your child will be cooed over on our blog, and I'll get to see how the other parents do it.  Contest ends on November 5th!  






Friday, October 1, 2010

Total Recall

OK, this time it’s not about lead or cadmium content, it's about… wait for it… a perfectly rounded plastic ignition key (see the purple nub?) and it's outrageous potential for danger. I have to say, this massive Fisher Price recall kinda makes me laugh… and I do realize that’s a tad inappropriate. I can’t help but regret that I didn’t come up with the brilliant idea of letting my daughter ride her Dora bike at 100 KM unattended! I’ll just have to get brainstorming for an even more creative lawsuit... CA-CHING!
Now, I do understand the ‘small parts’ concerns, although how many of us have actually banished all items smaller than baseballs from arms reach for fear of choking the chitlens? The grapes from the crisper? Felt circles on dining room chairs? Buttons on OUR clothes?? Signed, Safety Goose (might have to pass the crown soon)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Free $ or Child Labour?

How do you administer the dole?

There seem to be 3 schools of thought:

1) Make them work for it

2) Make them divide it up responsibly

3) Just give it to them and let 'em do whatever they want with it - sheesh.

I, being a near professional fence walker, have decided to apply a combination of all of the above.

When it seemed like time to give our girl an allowance, a few very debatable questions arose. First one - should she have to work for it? My initial instinct was, heck ya. How else will she know the value? It was then pointed out that WE don’t get paid to clear the table or to make our beds. Perhaps these tasks could be framed as “Household Responsibilities”, things that are expected of us and don’t hold monetary value. So in order to avoid committing to any one school of thought, we've kept her allowance meager in order to allow for ‘work opportunities’. So if she wants to save enough to buy a WII, she can scrub spots off the walls. For a long time. (OK, I’ll admit it. We’re cheap. And we’ve found a way to feel good about it.) Bonus dough is there to be made with little extra jobs around the house. Cleaning her room and clearing the table remain mandatory.

In my search for kiddie finance wisdom I came across the 3 Jar Method. I need these jars! (May seem elementary to some of you, but I’m financially challenged and am one step away from storing my savings under the mattress.) This brilliant system just seemed too responsible not to explore, although enforcing it feels a tad controlling… But really, I have so many other enticing areas of her life to micro manage! With fingers crossed, I presented my daughter with the 3 Jar Method and thankfully she was game. But in retrospect, what 6 year old wouldn’t like the idea of decorating jars and playing banker?

As it stands, our daughter puts $1 in each jar every weekend and is responsible for cleaning her room and clearing her spot at the dinner table not because her allowance depends on it, but because…well, it’s a hard knock life. Has she bit the carrot and made herself rich with endless odd jobs while her dad and I lounge in our spotless palace? Far from it. Turns out, this girl doesn’t have a capitalist bone in her body. If a clean bedroom wasn’t an absolute requirement, her Dad and I would be navigating boas and Barbie combs to kiss her good night while she lay in her pigsty bed, gleefully broke.

Of course, our system is very much customized to our daughter’s personality (and my half-assedness). So when it comes to the dole, what’s your deal?

Monday, September 6, 2010

The ball, The Chain, The Homework



                                                      
Ack!  As we review the limp and rather stained lunch box, assess how many inches from the floor the bottoms of Mr The King's jeans are now rising, and search for last year's pencils in the folds of the couch and car, our thoughts turn to the most harrowing of all back-to-school revelations...here comes HOMEWORK!

Unlike many of you, I have not been pulling out workbooks all summer and preventing the draining of the brain.  Mr The King has been spoiled in true style with wading pools and grandparent visits, bicycles, playdates, squirt guns, barbeques, baseball, popsicles, concerts and water parks...and he's realizing that it's all about to come crashing to an end.

"I'm not going to grade 3.  Won't be there.  Can't make me...I'm not scared of school...I'm scared of TEACHERS!"

Hmmm...you know,  I think I am too!  I'm already stressing (privately) about how we'll get our student shackled to the table and get down to business.  Second Grade homework was a bit of a Gong Show.  He didn't bring it home half the time,  and when he was forced to pull it out of his backpack and uncrumple it, he looked at it in horror as if it were his toothbrush (whole other story).  I'm talking 45 minutes of 'process' for a 15 minute task.  Am I alone here?  Many children I know have much more of a work ethic.  I liked the accomplishment of homework,  my husband just didn't bother arguing with his parents,  and most of my friends' kids are much more task-friendly than our guy.   Much, though not all, of his learning problems are about this unwillingness to just plain Work.

This year needs to be very different.  I need to give homework a solid spot in our schedule and I need to work it around the school day, dinner, soccer practice, cub scouts....somewhere before bedtime...hmmmm...when do you pull out the homework chair and play prison guard?  Am I being overdramatic?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Value of Prunes

Motherhood is a neurotic time, and I'm not one to miss out on opportunities for self-inflicted torture. But really, it's our job to keep babies alive (No pressure!) and as a result, us parents spend gross amounts of time imagining their demise. Or at least I do. These days, the seasonal nightmare that loops in my subconscious involves drowning. #1 cause of accidental death for kids, after all. Knowing this you'd think I'd have my daughter in swimming lessons but they've never been convenient for us, she's never begged for them, and frankly, I don't want to have to wax my bikini line that often. Have I mentioned that I'm a bad mother? Good news is I've discovered a single wax approach that's way more fun than the bi-weekly gridlock to the petri dish! It's called...wait for it... The Family Vacation! With limitless access to a hotel pool, we racked up a good 24 hours of consecutive swimming time (breaking only for snacks and naps) while our daughter went from a terrifyingly weak dog paddler to swimming laps with the breast stroke and scavenging pool toys 7.5 feet under just for kicks. As long as she loses the high-pitched dog whistle that squeaks from her nose (chlorine anyone?), I think we've come out ahead and have one more great reason to take family vacations.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Bad Wrap

Aw, crap.  This morning I saw a headline that made me panic: "Get Rid of Plastic Wrap".  I mean, I did have an idea that it's not great for us or the landfill.  And I've not only stopped using any plastic in the microwave, but have also stopped using the microwave 90% of the time....but upon reading the article in question I realized many more of my plastic/aluminum sins.  PVC (polyvinyl chrloride) has the worst environmental problems of all plastics!  Apparently Glad Wrap and Saran Premium Wrap produce less dioxins, but are obviously still a major disposable threat to the environment.  Giving up plastic wrap and freezer baggies altogether would be so hard.  Impossibly.  But when I hear the words ~Hormone Disruptors~ I do have to think of my two boys getting boobies or not being able to have children of their own one day.

photo found at aboutmyplanet.com
Solution?  I'm going to try to hunt down some non-toxic wrap.  If it exists.  And I pledge to use actual containers even more (I like to store food in the fridge in a ceramic bowl with a plate on top, or in metal).  And I highly recommend reading the article--much of it you already know, but perhaps not all.  It's a good primer for detoxing your home and yourself, as Natasha Turner, ND (author of The Hormone Diet) urges us to do.  I think she has some good points.  And I bet mom agrees!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sleep, The Holy Grail


This guest post isn't just about getting your little one to sleep through the night....it's also for those of us grown-ups who just aren't getting our rest while everyone else is snoring contentedly.

Our mommy friend, Cea, wrote this note:

So my lovely friend Tish tells me about this stone called haemetite; you put it under your pillow and you are supposed to sleep better. I tend to be sceptical about such things, but I am also the mom of two and therefore desperately sleep-deprived...so willing to give it a try! Well, it has only been two nights, but I can tell you that both {hubby} and I have slept better, and even more valuable than this, both boys slept through the night (ok, baby was up once) until NINE OCLOCK!!...Pick them up cheap at any shop that sells crystals and stick them under all pillows. Thank You, Tish!!

And thank you, Cea!
After a  few nights of post sleepus-interruptus insomnia  (after the kids did their nightly wake-ups I couldn't get back in the zone), I am going to dig through the jewelry box for the piece of haemetite I used to wear around my neck for 'grounding' in the early 90's.  Hope Cea's sleep rubs off on us all...and of course we invite your success stories!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Ah Summer... Part 2

There's a thin line between love and hate. It was May the first time I heard La Cucaracha pumping through the streets this year. An unseasonably cold, cloudy day. Not your typical Cucaracha kinda day. It's difficult to describe the cocktail of emotions I felt in that moment: Anger, fear, lust, hatred... I scrambled to the front window to confirm the obvious. And in my mind, I waved my fist. When I was a kid, the ice cream guys were hunky, shirtless teenagers in tight cut-offs who rode bikes with freezers soldered to the front end. Oo la la. They had dark tans, money belts, freedom... and they had ice cream. Now I was a pretty private kid but, overcome by emotion, I confessed to my mother that I would one day marry a DickeeDee. These days, ice cream sales have gone a little more corporate. It's now a camper van (heh?) that rolls by echoing robotic music, hand claps and literally calls out to kids. Total pediphilemobile. As a parent, I now hate the ice cream man. WHY are they combing the streets, interrupting our bed-time stories and our nourishing dinners, turning innocent children into intolerable whiners? I used to want to marry a DickeeDee. And now I want to kill him. A natural progression?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The truth about "Sunscream"

That's what my kids call it...they really think it's sunscream.  hee hee.  Now, rather than tell you what I know about how to keep our kids safe in the sun (besides the obvious long sleeves and pants and hats and staying in the basement playing wii unless it's raining), I want to ask YOU what you know about sunscreen.  Please send me your wisdom.  I'm confused by 'all natural' 'kid friendly' 'waterproof' 'no tears' and all that.  Does it have to be opaque with zinc and aluminum in it to work?  Does everything except organic stuff fill our kids pores with toxins?  And don't we want them to have a little Vitamin D?  Dermatologists are saying that even getting a tan is the body desperately defending itself from UV harm.  Aw, crap!  Seems to me I've heard there's more incidence of cancer because we are missing that sunshine vitamin.  I'm flustered.  Then again, I'm of the generation that slathered on baby oil and iodine...Help a girl out!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Word to Your Mother

A friend posted this article (click on actual article for easier reading).  



The funny part is I had just heard from someone, who does not have the joy/massive undertaking of children, wondering why I hadn't responded their email yet.  I think they were feeling a little ignored...I shot back a slightly hysterical and over-informative list of obstacles that preclude even reading emails and then wondered if I shouldn't have clicked "Send".  Then I tripped on this article and laughed my butt clear off.   Hope you like it too.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Ah, summer...

Ah, summer... Time to bare it all. And discuss it with your children. Mini Me: "Are those your veins??" Me: "They're called Spider veins. Lots of people get them when they're older." Mini Me: (With an exhilarated sigh) "I can't WAIT to see where I get them!" ...And if you're really lucky you'll get crows feet, corns and pee your pants in public! Is this why it's 'no minis over 30'?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Karate Kid Konsequence


Daddy took our kids to The Karate Kid the other day.  Thought it would be a fun, maybe slightly educational ("wax on, wax off" with Arnold from Happy Days, y'know?) and entertaining movie.  But it sounds pretty hardcore.  Apparently, there are some  freaking scary bully moments that I don't remember Ralph Macchio, or myself as a chickensh_t  pre-pubescent patron, having to endure.  Or did I?  Apparently the kids weren't sure they wanted to stay!  Do you ever totally whiff it when it comes to age-appropriate movie content?  "Sorry, Junior, mommy didn't realize the whole town was going to be obliterated by a radioactive serial-killing asteroid!  Shall we change your pull-up?"

Ultimately, the kids survived and came home with mini posters of Jaden Smith doing that wicked cool kick.  The Duck held his up to a light and said "Look, I'm woasting my postew!".  But then the real danger that arises from age-inappropriate exposure kicked in....there was about an hour of hand to hand combat while Daddy desperately called out "No, No, karate is what you do so you don't have to fight.  It's for making peace!"  Kidney chop, roundhouse, wild poking motion....sigh....

By the way, if you'd like to get the Full Scoop on what your kids are about to go see, or rent, go to screenit.com (scroll down on the left to Australia says new 'Karate Kid' too brutal for kids) and you'll get an extensive, comprehensive description of the content provided by and for parents who want to know these things. Wish I'd done that.  Apparently The Karate Kid is great for 12 year olds.  Our kids are 7 and 3.  Whiffed it.  

Monday, June 21, 2010

Where there's smoke...

Okay, I can't resist.  I know this is old news.  And I did not want to stoop but down we go....
It's the smoking toddler in Indonesia.  He's on my mind as I lie awake.  2 packs a day.  If someone doesn't intervene with some Nicorette or a patch or Wellbutrin or NEW PARENTS there will be an international disturbance (and we already have enough of those).

What freaks me out further is that in the picture I saw he's wearing a leather jacket while he smokes.  So now toddlers everywhere are going to think it's cool to smoke.  Rim shot, cymbal splash.  There are so many jokes swirling around this awful situation, but it is so Not Funny.  His father claims he has tantrums when he doesn't get a cigarette.  Not sure where to go with that, except possibly jail.  Please, some Human Rights activist somewhere, please take care of this.

Wait....stop the presses.....as I write this, I learn that this little boy is now getting some help (though if you click that link you will be disturbed by the reason).  Alright.  Except when I googled "toddler smoking", pictures came up of more toddlers smoking.  And I learned that, to quote reporter Trish Lamonte of syracuse.com,
"a study by the child protection commission in Indonesia shows a growing problem among children. Between 2001 and 2007, the number of children between the ages of five and nine who smoke increased 400 percent, according to the study."
What the? Is Indonesia the only country where this awful increase is happening?  I have a feeling it's not.  I'm now not feeling so bad that my kids had 2 desserts today.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Bad Mothers

Last week was a whirlwind of migraines, stomach aches and tragic food choices - not for my kid but for myself. If I can't take care of myself, who can I take care of?? Sheesh. Bad Mother. To top the week off, our fab fellow blogger Rachael Chatoor allowed us the pleasure of hooking up with mommy celeb Erica Ehm who's apparently ALL ABOUT being a Bad Mother. Or bad-ass, anyway. In her YummyMummyClub you too can feel like a M.I.L.F. Thankfully, Erica's new definition is "Modern Inspired Life-makers Freakin' multi-tasking babes". And I can work with this. If you feel like your kids don't fully support your bad-ass self, just read them the Mischievous Mom At The Art Gallery a few times (written by the queen of bad-assness herself) to get everyone straightened out. A'ight?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

VE HAF A SCHEDULE! - A Response to "TV Time"

Did y'all get to read Saf's post with the results of our TV Time poll? Here's the thing. My kid is a junkie. Some people have addictive personalities and some don't. Then there are also those of us that can go months blissfully without a glass of wine but won't sleep a wink knowing they're in a house that's void of caffeine. (I like to comfort myself with this. Maybe television is the only addiction our daughter will ever wrestle? Stupid fingers crossed.) TV changes my daughter the way booze can make your favourite person transform into a two-headed monster. Gradually her colour goes, her brow furrows, she barks for snacks like Cruella Deville and can no longer support her own body weight - even when she's trying with all four limbs. It seemed cruel not to give her a TV schedule. We figured with firmly established parameters, TV time wouldn't have quite the same charge and would keep us out of that place of constant negotiation. How about TV every other day? Sounded like a reasonable plan at first, but it turned out each day became defined by whether or not she'd be plugged in. On her non-TV days it was like she was living for the next day knowing she'd finally get her fix. The obsession factor was going nowhere. Thankfully, she was young enough at the time that we got away with revamping the system without her realizing she was being duped. We decided to do something that may seem a little radical to some - TV only on the weekends. You may argue that rationing television exposure is only going to make kids want it more. And you may be right. For Saf and I, our childhood television was carefully rationed. We even had periods of not owning one. How did this affect us? Well... both Saf and I are completely, ridiculously, rattled by watching onscreen violence. And when I say violence, I mean yer basic fist fight. We've got it so bad that unless we're willing to risk a lame-ass sleep of nightmares, us Henderson sisters are almost completely limited to Jennifer Aniston and Will Ferrell movies. My theory is Saf and I weren't appropriately desensitized. We're still working on the cultural catch up. (Next we'll have to post about how being raised in a tee-pee has affected our table manners...) When I was finally free to make my own decisions about TV, I was terrified that I'd have no self control. I was certain I'd give myself over to any talk show/game show/soap opera out there, never leave the couch and inevitably lose grip on life altogether. I begged room-mates to keep our communal house TV free and then eventually losing that battle, rallied to at least pass on cable. Once faced with All Access Exposure, I actually kinda surprised myself with the ability to keep a grip. Does this mean I'm someone who chooses to watch only quality television? Are you kidding?? I couldn't stand to hear about Bret Michaels' Celebrity Apprentice Win second hand! So yes, Ve Haf A Schedule. But don't get me wrong. Rules are meant to be broken, after all. These days it's not uncommon for us to have a hockey game going during the week or to watch the occasional nature program over dinner. The beautiful thing is that our little junkie's so freakin' hungry for the boob-tube that she's just as mesmerized by the lost puck and flying squirrels as we are!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

TV Time

Remember the poll about how much tv you let your kids watch?  Les Results:

37% let their children watch up to half an hour per day 
12% say an hour's alright
25% are allowing up to 2 hours
37% voted "Ve Haf a Schedule!"
0% were cool with 2-4 hours or unlimited access.  

Looks like most (or at least those willing to vote) are pretty sparing with the tube but I must say, personally, it is one fantastic reward/consequence tool.   I fall in the "up to 2 hours" category.   Go ahead, judge me.  There are days of even more than that, and days with none or little.  2 hours fly by on a Saturday morning while you're doing your toes, sipping diet coke and reading People while chatting on the phone.  Or cleaning up barf and looking up your horoscope while scrounging for Easter chocolate, as the case may be.

Yes I've read all the horrible things tv does to children (eg. childhood obesity, violence and branding),  and also some good advice about how to handle the spiritual vaccum that television can be.  I take heart that my kids enjoy Word World as much as Star Wars.

We currently allow some morning for those who stay in bed all night.  And if both of them stay out of ours, they get breakfast while they watch!!   Bribery, yes, but Daddy and I are luxuriating in more time and space without feet in our face, and we pay in permissiveness.   Like potty training with candies as a reward, I'm hoping the expectation of morning tv will fade into the background as they master sleeping in their own room.

On the other hand, there seems to be nothing (except canceled playdates) as devastating as hearing there will be no tv for the next 24 hours or even whole week.   The truth is that Mr The King is actually quite a fine kid without it---a slight nuisance,  but once he's pulled out every toy and game he owns and costumed himself in a hard hat, my nightshirt, a toolbelt, swimgoggles and rainboots to dance to his little brother's MJ playlist, he's been a happy, creative and engaged child.   Much as I'd hate losing the Me Time that them watching tv provides,  if ours goes on the blink I'm gonna replace it reeeeeeeeeeaal slow.....

I invite you to comment and to elaborate on how you manage your child's tv time...and Camille, I invite you to post your perspective.   How did you vote?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Another Winner!

Here it is....drew it on random.org again and this time our lucky number is...................wait for it....here it comes:

Numero.....

Janet, get your Chilliwack Tshirt on, you're headed to the River Rock!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
Again, thank you everyone for your wonderful comments....we can't stand not giving everyone tickets after that show of affection and devotion.  If we somehow get access to more, you're going to hear about it!

Camille and Saf

Monday, May 17, 2010

We Have a Winner!

Please Note:  There's a second draw happening!  Click HERE to enter!


First of all, thank you for participating, people!  Nice comments.  Nice enough to make us wish we had tickets for every single one of you.  Hope that most of you will still get to the concert because it is going to be a great experience.  At least it will be for us-- we've been rehearsing our butts off.   


So....went to random.org to draw a number and ta-da, the big winner is Comment number....drumroll.......wait for it.....comment numberrrr........
Jeanne F , get your hair did,  you're going to the River Rock for the
                       CHILLIWACK 40th ANNIVERSARY CONCERT!!!!!!!!!
Congratulations, and hope you guys enjoy your date night!  We'll contact you privately with all the secret details for Saturday night's show.  


Everybody else, thank you so much for your comments--it was a thrill to read your thoughts and stories and I think it will make the band feel pretty tall, too.


Camille and Saf
                                     

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Win Date Night with CHILLIWACK!

That's with Chilliwack, not in Chilliwack. 
Rock On.

What's a blog without free stuff?  Whether you have children or don't care for small people, you must admit you need
Date Night.  So we're giving away 2 tickets to Chilliwack's 40th Anniversary Concert at the River Rock Casino for Saturday May 22nd FRIDAY MAY 21st!  THIS IS OUR 2nd GIVEAWAY!!
That's 100.00 value, dudes.  Win the draw, secure the babysitter, and you're in for a great night out!!  

All you need to do is leave a comment below this post that answers our question:
"Who would be your date at the Chilliwack Anniversary Gig and why?" (if you've already commented, you're already entered in the draw for the Friday Night Tickets)

Post your comment before 8 pm, Wednesday May 19th.  To be totally fair, we will draw the winner using random.org.  Winner will be notified & tix will be shipped or left at will-call.

Rules:
1.  One entry per person
2.  No anonymous comments
3.  Entrants must be 19+
4.  Entrants must be able to get to Richmond, BC on their own and be willing to cut us in on any jackpot won before or after the gig.  A couple thou will do it.

Good Luck, Date Nighters!  You're all winners!
Peace,
Saf & Camille

PS-yes, that's our dad's band.  yes, we're shameless dad-promoters.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Ever think your kid ought to love something... because you do?

My daughter is in the The Coolest circus gymnastics program ever. Since I basically tricked her into enrolling twice, she's coming to the end of her second year in this program. What can I say? I thought she'd get hooked! I banked on this extra year for developing deeper bonds with kids (which I was ready to facilitate by hosting as many play-dates as necessary should there be even a glimmer of kiddo chemistry), taking pride in the more elaborate tricks and (fingers crossed) wearing a recital costume that has her begging for another year of fabulousness -It seems costumes trump all other decision making influences. Well, the kiddo chemistry has been remarkably limited, the elaborate tricks just scare the s*#t out of her and the costume... is pending. It being a non-profit organization, I'm not holding a lot of hope. She'll likely be donning yet another recycled, camel-toe inducing leo that peaked in the 80's. No, I won't corner my daughter into another year of this. She's made it pretty clear that that's not gonna fly. Ever think your kid ought to love something... just because you do? If there are any parents out there who've never blurred this line, come forward (onto the chopping block) and let yourself be known. Signed, Defensive Stage Mother

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Another Recall...part 2

Thought I'd add this for Canadian users, which I just read on yahoo, written by the Associated Press:


 In Canada, it said Saturday the impact is limited to all lots of children's Motrin and infants' Motrin liquid suspension products and children's Tylenol cough and runny nose liquid suspension only.
The company is recalling the products because some did not meet required quality standards, it said in a statement Friday.
Some of the products recalled may have a higher concentration of active ingredient than is specified on the bottle. Others may contain particles, while still others may contain inactive ingredients that do not meet internal testing requirements.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Another Recall...

Yipee, another recall!  This is one that most of us will want to check our cupboards and lot numbers for and it affects Canada and the US, as well as several other countries where these products are distributed.  McNeil Products is recalling liquid infants' and children's Tylenol, Motrin, Zyrtec and Benadryl, and the notice is dated April 30/2010.   Why, I only just used some berry motrin for The Ducks ear infection...who woulda thunk?  Not sure what "concerns with quality control" are (a phrase I found on a local news feed), but here's a quote from the above site, in case you just had a little freak while reading this:

While the potential for serious medical events is remote, the company advises consumers who have purchased these recalled products to discontinue use.


 Good luck everybody.  Hope the font on the bottle is readable...
PS--to view the list larger, just click on the link in the post or click on the jpeg below and you can easily zoom









Monday, April 26, 2010

Deadbeat Blogger

So,  I haven't posted in a while.  You see, I've been very busy.  For the past two months, I've been sitting in meditation at the centre of a circle full of parenting books and baby gear and Little League paraphanelia, burning patchouli and connecting to the Universal Mother while our 3 year old gently (ha!) bangs a gong.

Does that sound like bs?  Because it is.  I've actually been busy yearning to hide under the covers with a mediocre book (and occasionally succeeding, but only occasionally).  Busy obsessing about how Jesse James could shatter Sandra Bullock's dreams and how his kids may never forgive him--that's got to be worse than divorce, or even jail...Busy wondering how children of reality stars will ever experience reality...  Busy contemplating the cost of living versus the value of our earnings.  And busy fretting about parenting these two monkeys without them noticing that mommy has postpartum and the last partum was three years ago!  I hear there's medication for that...

Now, rising from the abyss, there's so much I want to talk to you about--polls, news, all the topics Camille and I have been tossing around, and to hear about what your topics are these days...

Most important thing I can tell you, though, is that we're about to bombard you with weekly updates. Oh, yeah, look out!!  This blog is about to break the sound barrier!   The sound barrier part will happen in a month or so.  In the meantime, please visit us and comment wildly and freely!

Friday, February 19, 2010

More Hazards of Being a Girly Girl

They don't call me Safety Goose for no reason. Big thanks to Kiki for informing me of more girly hazards and appealing to my Sky Is Falling sensibilities (but it really IS!). If you've ever bought or received children's jewelry, you may want to consider running into that kid's classroom right now and ripping the Devil's Bling right off their wrists, throats or god forbid, out of their mouths and taking it to some kind of toxic waste depot. You might want to wear gloves. (Anybody know how we're supposed to dispose of this crap?)

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Not So Secret Love Life Of A Seven Year Old

There is some serious romance taking place in my daughter's life and... I'm invited. Her suitor has "loved her since Kindergarten", keeps momentos of her on his bedroom wall and was agonized with anxiety while awaiting her RSVP to his 8th birthday. They haven't kissed yet (phew!), but her best friend has kissed him (what the?). She nonchalantly details all of this at the dinner table while I try my best to appear unrattled, consciously keeping a steady chewing tempo. Her Dad, on the other hand, can't muster a poker face and has to leave. You see, it's a goal of mine to keep the taboo topics comfortable so that she'll remember me as a resource when the sh#t really hits the fan in high school. So, straining for casual, I listen on while grinding a steak knife into my faux Kolbassa sausage. (Don't dig too deep for symbolism here.) Rumour has it, suitor-boy has big plans for her and with the consult of a male relative is "Shopping For A Special Gift". It's no secret that my girl and this boy are discussing the prospect of marriage and as part of their vision for the future they plan on keeping one of their (male) friends around as their maid (!?). My God! Will we find out more on next week's episode of "Cribs"??

Friday, January 15, 2010

On Turning 3


Oh dear!  Please help me name this phase.  All of a sudden he's more articulate...more perfectionistic...more rude...and in the week or so before and after his 3rd birthday, The Duck has, in chronological order:

--taken his grandmother's passport from her purse and stowed it in a remote cupboard (the morning of her flight home)
--pooped his undies (fully) for the first time ever
--emptied half a family size box of cereal on his bedroom rug
--drawn an extensive mural on our living room walls
--sent my cell phone to the "Doom Dimension" (wherever his favorite hiding spot of the moment is)
--screamed about the shape of his waffles
--eaten a contraband lollipop while hiding under his bed at bedtime
--told me all the food I give him is Dumb
--ground playdough into the playroom carpet
--called me Butt Face
--told me my face looks like a Butt

So I bet you're wondering what I was doing while all these things happened?  Well, the usual.   Laundry,  talking to my sister on the phone, working on my computer, preparing somewhat balanced snacks or meals, crying about Haiti, cleaning, handling Mr The King, chasing The Duck himself to retrieve the stolen goods while threatening a MAJOR time out (imagine his mocking chipmunk voice: "Ha!  Time outs have no power over me anymore, cardio-challenged Mama!").  A few of the above events occurred while Nanny L was around too, I'll have you know.

 Up until now, The Duck has been the Easy Child, as opposed to his big brother.  I swear this kid needs six times the supervision he did a few weeks ago!  His twos were not terrible....but what do we call this already rocky year?  Threatening Threes?  Thrilling Threes?  There'll be a prize for anyone who can nail it!

Signed,
Knee Deep

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy New (Phew) Year!!!

Anybody else feel like they need a vacation after their vacation? I'm not talking jet lag (cause parents don't need to travel to feel that way), I'm talking ALL KIDS ALL THE TIME! I even caught myself doing the 'all done' sign unconsciously the other day, and it's been about 6 years since we've used sign language in this house. Apparently, I'm regressing. Honestly, there have been some lovely Norman Rockwell moments over the course of this holiday season,... but mama never looked forward to packing that lunch bag more than she does tonight! Happy PHEW Year Everyone!!!

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