Keeping Them in the Dark?

I’m a worrier by nature.  Can’t help it.  Always have been.  So deal with it… I know I have to and so does everyone around me.  As a kid growing up, I remember every time Peter Jennings broke into Happy Days with a “Special News Bulletin” I was sure it was due to imminent Armageddon.  The Soviets were surely pointing nukes our way or maybe Aliens had just blown up Tokyo, London and New York.

When the Shorties came along, I didn’t want them to experience the shroud of worry that hung around my youth.  So I thought it was better to just keep the bad news from them.  No need to have CNN on in the background, lets just keep things light and airy.  Now they are venturing into the world and there are more and more people around them, introducing, sharing and growing their circle of influence.  Not to mention the fact that they are wildly unprepared for the millions of scary things that could befall them on any given day.  It never occurred to me that I would one day need to warn them of the dangers that could befall us at any moment.

I remember the day #1 came home from Kindergarten and told me about all the various drills they learned at school.  The usual – fire drill (“We all line up and go outside.  We DON’T run!”), earthquake (“We make turtles and cover our heads with our hands” and finally the Code Red.  “What’s that?” I asked.

“Oh, that’s when we close all the blinds and the teacher locks the door and turns off the lights and we have to be quiet.”

I nearly fainted from the grave reality of what a Code Red actually was.  This is what it is to be a kid in 2014.

That was the day that I realized that I had done a shitty job of preparing my kid for just how scary and messed up this world really is.  Now what do I do?

We had a friend over for dinner the other night and he was recounting the story of having the news on and his son hearing about a rather horrific murder/ suicide involving a dad and his two kids.  Our friend M was so upset asking how do you help a kid un-hear something like that?  You can’t erase that kind of information.  It imbeds into kids and becomes part of their psyche.  Or it rolls in one ear and out the other leaving no impression at all?  Tough to know what will stick but you never know and who wants to play Russian Roulette with which scary stories will live with them forever.

Its a fine line of keeping their optimism alive in hopes they can carry the future out of the constant brink of calamity that we seem to live in.  But at the same time teaching them street smarts so they can stay safe.  I don’t know what the answer is, other than to just do our best.  Its all we can do really.

PS – I realize that this topic is a departure from all the travel, fashion and nonsense I usually write about.  But its my blog, so I can do whatever I want, right?

 

 

D-BAD: An Introduction

I’ve decided to create a weekly post called D-BAD aka DON’T BE A DOUCHE.  Each week I get to call out someone/ someplace or something for being a total DOUCHEBAG.  Its when I get to vent and take out my frustration on whatever makes me nuts each week, are you in?  Feel free to share your D-BAD’S anytime!

THIS WEEK – The BC Liberals

Dear BC Liberals:

Its almost August.  The teachers are still on strike.  We haven’t heard a peep from you for weeks.  The first day of school is almost a month away.  What gives?  Are you all on summer vacation?  Are you meeting with the BCTF in secret?  C’mon, throw us a bone.  Let us know what’s going on.  If there is NO chance we’re going back to school on September 2, can you give us a clue?  I don’t want my kid to experience any more disappointment or disruption because you can’t get your shit together.  DON’T BE A DOUCHE.

Love,

The R&R Mom

Holy Shit!

So, you may recall that we are deep into Potty Training time with Shorty #2.  We were on a roll, it was going great.  Until tonight.  Tonight we suffered… a set back.  A small set back.  Ok, it was more like one small setback and another, well, much larger set back.

You can picture it.  A lovely long weekend getaway.  A nice dinner in a sweet local restaurant.  Dappled sunshine reflecting off the crystal, jazz playing in the background, a nice wine ordered.  #2 fresh from a nap, a swim and a bath ready to face the evening as she had many times before.  The only difference this time is that she was diaperless.  All was going swimmingly until #2 had a little accident.  #2 had a #2.  No harm, no foul.  We swept her up into the restaurant loo for a quick clean up and wardrobe change and no one was the wiser.

The dinner carried on.  Lovely, delicious, delightful.  Everyone laughing and enjoying.  Our girls befriended the other little girls at the next table and they had fun playing tag on the patio and through the gardens.  All fine until #2 came running over to me with a look of horror in her eyes.  “Mama, I gotta poo.”  “Hold it!” I cried.  But it was too late.  Way too late.

This wasn’t just a poop accident.  This was like a “Night of the Living Dead” sort of explosion.  Poop everywhere.  J scooped her up to rush her into the bathroom, poop dropping everywhere.  I was like the “Cleaner” from Pulp Fiction – trying to erase all the evidence, the poop that had dropped out of #2’s skirt all over the patio floor, before any of the other diners had noticed.

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Yeah, they noticed.  By the time we all returned to the table with the now-fresh-as-a-daisy-thanks-to-the-WHOLE-pack-of-Huggies-wipes Shorty #2, all eyes were on us.  I tried to smile and keep up a brave face, but as the aforementioned kids from the other table were herded back to the side of their “single-child” parents with their judgy eyes pointed in our direction, I could hear the disdain in their eye-rolls;  “I would never let my kid poop in such a fine restaurant!” and “That will NEVER happen to me.”  I’m here to prove that this was one of those days where what I wanted, preferred or felt was the cool or OK was NOT in the cards.  I had no control in this situation and neither will you Judgy Judgersons!  It  was time to make a quick exit.  You just try and keep up a brave face in moments such as these.  “Yes, my kid just SHAT on your patio and we’ll have another bottle of that pinot noir.”   Needless to say, we tipped VERY well and hightailed it out of there.

Maybe next time we’ll just get a sitter…

Going Diaperless

Woohoo!  #2 is on the potty training kick FOR REALS!  I am so freaking excited.  Can you tell?  No more diapers, no more wipes and for the LOVE of GOD – NO MORE STANKY DIAPER CHAMP.  That thing was a blessing when we were dealing with tiny little baby poops but it is no match for what a toddler can throw at it.

I’m a big believer in letting the kid decide when its time to go diaperless and #2 is finally there this week.  After 6 months, she’s keen to wear the Minnie Mouse panties and be free.  She’s just 3, but she’s pretty good at knowing when she needs to “go”.  Last night she kinda forgot and we had a major accident.  Lovely, charming, delightful – poop everywhere!  Yet, we shall persevere.  We will endure and stand up to these messy incidents looking ever to the future and a diaperless lifestyle.  One where there’s no need to carry a diaper bag.  One where a cute clutch purse is all I need to carry on an outing with the whole family.  How exciting!!!

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Don’t get me wrong.  I loved the baby times.  I remember those days of breast feeding and high chairs, baby gates and bottles fondly.  But the day that I was able to pack up all the gear – necessary and TOTALLY unnecessary and share it with a friend expecting her first little bundle, was a day I will never forget.  We cleared out half of our storeroom in under 10 minutes.  Yippee!

I know, I know.  It goes fast.  I shouldn’t wish for time to move forward and live in the now.  I do.  I am.  But man, the clutter of baby gear is one aspect of parenthood that I am happy to bid a fond farewell.

Mama Bear is PISSED

In most situations, I tend to ride down a tempered path when it comes to my reaction to life as a mom.  I prefer to to see both sides of the story before I react, working to keep the peace and introduce calm when things get hairy.  Taking things with a grain of salt and compassion.  But today I’m mad and the Mama Bear in me is ready to roar.

Mama Bear is Pissed Off!

Mama Bear is Pissed Off!

Regular R&R Mom readers and those who live in our neck of the woods are aware of the fact that we’re in the midst of a teachers strike.  Its been a crazy couple of months as we parents sit helpless, watching events unfold with our kids’ education hanging in the balance.  Embattled educators are caught between a raging government that claims to put families first (but does the exact opposite) and a Union that is doing a terrible job of delivering their message.  Salary bumps and benefits aside, the teachers have some serious concerns about how our public education system runs and we have seen first hand how those shortcomings have effected our kid in the classroom.

Through this whole situation, I’ve felt helpless.  What can I do?  I’m just one person with one kid in a system of thousands.  So I wrote a letter to my MLA, the Premier and the Head of the Teachers’ Union.  But they don’t really care what I think and they made that abundantly clear in the form letter each of them sent in reply.  The Head of the Union told me that I need to stand beside the teachers and write to my MLA.  The MLA wrote about how its all the Premier’s fault and that her party were liars and cheats.  And the Premier, well of course, she never responded.

So now I feel helpless AND REALLY pissed off.

The common response around here when we discuss this situation is to put our kids in private school.  For many reasons, that’s not in the cards for us right now.  So we continue to sit and wait with our Shorty merely a pawn in the political posturing and rhetoric.  Helpless and now steaming mad.

 

Dear Provincial Government Hacks

Oh hi. You don’t know me, but I voted for you. I gave you my vote and my trust that you would do the right thing for our community. That you would act in the best interest of my family and most importantly, my kids. Yeah, you’re not really doing that right now.

There are many aspects of government that are of vital importance – public safety, health care, infrastructure, etc. I get it – you’re busy. But just between us, one of the most important things on your agenda is (or should be) education. And right now, you’re kinda sucking on that big time.

Lets face it, you’re not very good at taking care of kids. We live in an expensive place so its pretty common that both parents need to work. When that happens, someone needs to look after the kids. Public daycares, preschools etc are super important to our society because second to the parents, these caregivers spend as much or sometimes more with our little ones. Helping them to grow, learn and shape their view of society. Right now, we are facing a shortage of excellent and affordable early childcare solutions for our kids. So that in and of itself is kinda bad.

Now, you’ve locked out our teachers, forcing a strike vote that will more than likely end up in a full blown strike ending the school year two weeks early. Yeah, that’s kinda bad too.

You don’t know my kid, but she’s 7. She’s really cute and funny and smart, but for various reasons she struggles with her reading. She is barely able to read at a Grade 1 level and needs extra care to help her so that she won’t be held back a grade.  She WANTS to go to school. She desperately WANTS to learn. So thanks, thanks for encouraging that in her when she needs it most of all. Locking out her teacher so that we can barely find a minute to catch up on her progress and possibly causing the cancelation of summer reading camp which would ensure her progress through the fallow summer months. We appreciate your support of her enthusiasm for education which as we all know with all kids lives on the edge of a sword. When you’re 7, even one bad experience can make a kid hate going to school. So thanks for that too. We really appreciate it.

I’m sorry to have taken your time up when you’re clearly busy fighting for pipelines and spending our tax money on fancy trips to “encourage trade”. But if you could see it within yourself to let our teachers go back to work so our kids can get busy learning, that would be awesome.

Love,
The Rock and Roll Mom

Wanna Hang Out?

We’re back on the dating scene.  Playdating that is.

Kids hanging out in this day and age is a totally different ballgame from when I was a kid.  We used to run around from neighbor to neighbor ringing doorbells to see who was home and wanted to play.  We played without adult supervision until the street lights came on and we knew it was time to go home.  Simple.  Easy.

Today, its a whole other thing.  Playdates are prebooked and marked into the calendar.  Parents are often present for the duration – at least for the under 6 set.  These things are SCHEDULED.  You text back and forth with the other parents, booking the event around swimming lessons and art classes, soccer practices and violin lessons.  They are capped at 2-3 hour window of time and recur only once a month or so.  Its like casual dating.

Shorty #2 just turned 3 but she’s already all about booking the playdate.  This morning she asked me to set up a play with a new neighborhood friend.  I promised I would reach out to the kid’s parents and # 2 says “Just text her Mom.” then shoots me the double guns.  When did my kid become a CAA agent asking me to arrange meetings for her.  I’m surprised she didn’t ask for the playdate to happen over lunch at the Four Seasons.

The other element to the playdate is the parent hang.  With really little Shorties, you have to stick around and make sure they are well behaved.  This means you’re on a double date with the parents of said kid.  Sometimes this is cool, but sometimes its a bit awkward.  Now you’re spending the next 2+ hours of your Saturday wrangling kids with another adult you don’t really know and may only have in common a toddler kid.  Sometimes its awkward.  Do you offer them tea?  Wine?  What?  And God forbid the Shorty wreaks havoc (Hello little biter – I’m looking at you), now you’re really on the spot.  Discipline with an audience.  Fearing judgement you need to find the right level of admonishment so you appear just firm enough according to the other parent’s standards.

Seriously, dating in my 20’s was easier than this.

Maybe that’s the answer.  We need Tinder for playdates.  “40-something mom and 3-year-old seeking same for fun times and laughs in the East Van neighborhood.  Our likes are finger-painting, applesauce and finger-painting with applesauce.”  Here’s our profile picture:

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I miss the days of ringing doorbells and asking “Marky’s Mom” if Marky could come out to play.  It was easier.  If the parents were around it was because they were ordering pizza together and there was usually beer involved.  What’s happened to us that playing is such a production?

 

Hot for Teacher

The British Columbia Teacher’s Federation are on strike.  What does this mean?  I’m not totally sure.  The Union has begun rotating strikes  and in retaliation, the provincial government has locked them out.  School is still in session – for the most part – but it means that we have occasional school closure days (at least two so far) and that the teachers cannot be in the classroom outside of regular school hours.

This is a prickly issue – the teachers are looking for a pay raise, reasonable class sizes and other important things.  The cash strapped government continues to run school boards at a deficit each year further cutting back an already lean public school system.  So what next, who pays the price?  This generation of kids does.  The kids getting ready to write exams and graduate (although exams and graduation ceremonies are still on the books for now), the kids struggling with their education that need the extra care helping hand.  This issue has been dragging on forever it seems.  Just two years ago the teachers were forced to take job action for an entire school year.  That issue was resolved and the teachers came back so how could we possibly be back here again just two years later?

A very astute group of students in Surrey, BC have built a Facebook page calling for a province wide walk out of students on Wednesday to protest being caught in the middle.  Good for them for speaking up because the simple fact of the matter is that most kids are not actually applauding the school closures.  They want to be in school every day getting down to the business at hand – learning.

I wonder if the people handling the negotiations on this issue are listening.

We live in a city where childcare is a complete nightmare.  You can get it – if you’re willing to pay a lot.  If you’re not able to cough up the extra $1500 – 2000 (or more) a month to pay for daycare or a nanny, the options are marginal.  Kindergarten comes on as a great relief for many parents as we trust in the public school system to offer excellent education standards and care for our kids.  What is early childcare and education but a foundation for the future for our little ones.  Its clear that the government are not placing importance on this or are they considering the ramifications for the future.

So what do we do as parents?  Go to public hearings and try and be heard over the din of a very heated debate?  Write letters to the editor (or blogs) that no one who is handling this issue will never read?   I’m tired of government rhetoric and choices made with re-election in mind rather than the greater good.  All I know is that I don’t really want to see the Shorties caught in the middle on this one.

PS – if you like what you read here at The Rock and Roll Mom, please feel free to vote for this blog for the Top Vancouver Mom Blogger Award here: http://vancouvermom.ca/best-of/vancouver-mom-bloggers-voting-2014/

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I Am The Baker. Kookookachoo.

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It’s the annual spring carnival at Shorty #1’s school. We’re new to the school so we (this of course means I) would like to try and make a good impression by helping as much as we (I) can. So we’ve donated items for the silent auction, have volunteered for a shift in a booth and tonight made cupcakes for the bake sale.

It’s probably more accurate to say “attempted to make” as the results are somewhat lacking. I’m not 100% sure where it all went wrong. Was it because I hoped to make the cupcake baking an activity by enlisting the Shorties to help? Was it because we began the whole process at 7pm on a school night when J was out at a late business meeting so I was flying solo in the parenting department? Was it because I let les petites sample the chocolate before we started? Or was it because I tried to get fancy and try something new?

Ah yes, I created the perfect storm.

It all started ok. The batter was mixing nicely. #1 in charge if the cupcake cups going into the tray, #2 at the controls of the stand mixer. Everyone suitably satisfied with their role. But soon enough it was time to spoon the batter into the cups. #1 – the sole beneficiary of said bake sale in the household was taking the responsibility of ladling the batter. I was preoccupied with #1’s progress and completely missed #2 with the beater from the mixer in her mouth. When, I took it away she was clearly pissed. Cries of “No fair” rang out across the kitchen.

Finally the cupcakes made it into the oven. And this my friends is where the real folly took place. Personally I blame Martha Stewart, Nigella Lawson and all those other Food Network domestic goddess-types that get all fancy with things like cupcakes and make non-baking, non-culinarily inclined types like me feel pressured to try something fancy. Oh yes! Why not create a hybrid of two recipes – roasted marshmallows instead of icing! A revelation!!! These revolutionary cupcakes would be easy, charming and the hit. Until we actually tried to execute on my brilliant plan for bake sale domination.

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Now we are left with 18 (okay 17 – we HAD to try one) crappy looking hockey pucks of melted goo and drippy butterscotch sauce (the latter a last minute attempt at a save) and nothing remotely presentable for human consumption least of all to sell to strangers! Shorty #2’s reaction was to wipe out her mouth with a paper towel after she tried hers. Me – I’m battling a little nausea.

I think I need to accept my inner undomestic self. Baking is not my thing, least of all with 2 Shorties assisting. Next time I’ll know better and offer to do the selling instead of the baking. Or will I????

File Under: Blatant Self Promotion

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A great big thanks to VancouverMom.ca for selecting The Rock and Roll Mom as one of the Top 30 Vancouver Mom Bloggers.  I started this blog because I love to write and everyday life just doesn’t provide enough opportunity for that creative outlet.  Before I started the R&R Mom, you should have seen the notes I wrote to the Shorties’ teachers.  Seriously, its amazing to me that all of you actually read what I write (and come back again to read more).  Now to be honored by my fellow Vancouver Moms, its really kinda sweet.

So thank YOU for clicking though and having a read (and I hope having a laugh here and there) and thank YOU VancouverMom.ca for caring enough to acknowledge the genre of Mom Blogs!

xoxo