Thursday, 29 November 2012

November is for Santa Claus Parades!

My mom is a dog groomer - she has owned and operated her business since I was born - let's just say it's been over 30 years.  She has been participating in the parade since I went to college or just before, at least 12 years.  My kids have been in it every year since I was pregnant with them - except this year :(  Which my mom reminded me of just a few times...."I miss my grandies"
What she does that makes is extra special, is how she decorates her dog, Toqui, to work with the theme.  Some people have complained that it's cruel - but honestly, it's gotta be less cruel then piercing an infants ears!  She feels no pain from getting her hair died, she doesn't mind the process of grooming, and she absolutely loves the attention. 

Kids in Barrie (2012) waiting for the parade
Pierre got to drive this year, so excited (2012)

Toqui is the Grinch and Jenna is Cindy Lou-Who
I am the over-dressed photo-bomber
Now this is cruel...says Sneakers.
Mila and Sneakers as "Whos" 2012
The Grinch and The Whos - Sneakers always looks beaten

Xmas Santa Toqui 2011
Candy Cane Toqui

Attachment Parenting Causes Divorce???!!!

Did Attachment Parenting Contribute to Mayim Bialik’s Divorce?

Well this is an interesting story.  Everyone remember Blossom?  Now Amy in The Big Bang Theory?

What is Attachment Parenting?
The term and the theory was originally developed by Dr. Sears.  I like the guy, I bought his books, I read them, and I used a lot of his ideas.  I think that in any parenting situation, the best parent is the parent that takes what they learned from different outlets and uses what they feel works best.  I found his theories interesting and I adopted a lot of them with both my kids.

8 Steps to Attachment Parenting
  1. Preparation for Pregnancy, Birth and Parenting
  2. Feed with Love and Respect
  3. Respond with Sensitivity
  4. Use Nurturing Touch
  5. Ensure Safe Sleep, Physically and Emotionally
  6. Provide Consistent Loving Care
  7. Practice Positive Discipline
  8. Strive for Balance in Personal and Family Life

There are a few criticisms to his philosophies.
1. It's too strenuous and demanding of parents.
William (2) and Charlotte (9.5months) 
- The idea is to create a unique bond with your child through nursing and continuously holding or touching your baby.  This worked for me, I nursed both my kids until they were over a year old.  Mainly because they were both tiny and because it gave them the best chance for development.  It was a heck of a lot cheaper than formula and certainly helped the mommy waste-line.  My theory was to dodge the formula get them to a point where they just needed regular milk.  I was uncomfortable with the idea that my kids could remember nursing or to the age where they could verbally asked to be nursed.  I also don't have any pictures of me nursing, I wasn't comfortable with that either and typically chose private locations for my own securities.
- I also slept with my babies until they were 2-ish. This was mostly out of convenience.  It's a lot easier to nurse a baby when they are right beside you.  I was a single mom when they were 2 and 9.5 months, so it was comforting to have them close by when I was alone.
- They went everywhere with me.  They didn't stay the night without me until they were over a year and they stayed with their father.  If I couldn't bring my babies, I didn't go.  It wasn't hard for me, I didn't feel like I was missing out and I knew that it was all just temporary.  It's a way of changing your life for your kids, like not drinking while you are pregnant or working from home so they didn't go to daycare.  It's not meant for everyone, but it worked for me.

William (2) and Charlotte (9.5months) 

2. Co-sleeping is dangerous
- Well, I can see this.  It worked for me, but then as soon as I felt the blanket come up too high, I was awake.  Again, just a change in lifestyle - less sleep is part of parenting and only lasts a couple years.

3. Creates Attachment disorders
- I'm really unsure of this.  The idea is that it's suppose to create children that are able to leave the nest.  I never had any issues with my kids being attached.  They were and still are quite the opposite in this regard.  William and Charlotte have always been comfortable saying bye to mommy and are never ever afraid to leave me.  They know I'm always there when they need me and I'm pretty sure that's because of the attachment lifestyle we adapted.  Maybe it's because I have always been comfortable letting them go too, I encourage "you will be fine without mommy" atmosphere even if it hurts me to say goodbye.  

- Is Attachment Parenting the right way - well that's anyone's opinion and in all honestly, I believe that my approach worked best for my kids and whatever approach anyone else may have, works for them and is not my business or my concern.
- There is definitely no question that Mayim and her exhusband were on the fanatical side of attachment parenting.  But is it the cause of divorce?  Honestly, there are probably more issues in their relationship then how they raised their kids, if they can be compared to my situation.  I can't speak for my exhusband, but I'm sure that nursing, cosleeping, and carrying my babies wasn't the reason we are divorced now.  If it is for some people, then you are probably better off single!

Monday, 26 November 2012

Charity and Kids

Tis the season for giving and every parent can to attest to the importance of instilling this in our children. 

Check out some ideas I found on different ways to teach charity to our kids.
       1. Donate Clothes – so easy, we all do it!  We just let the kids know why it’s done.
       2. Help Neighbours – our kids love this.  During tax season, I have a few clients that are in nursing homes and are older than 80.  I offer to pick up and drop off their taxes free of charge and I almost always find the time when I have some kids.  They love the trip and the seniors love the kids and the extra service.

      3. Give Blood – It’s been awhile since we have done this, better put that on my “to do” list.  We try to bring a couple kids along for this trip, but it’s tough with impatient nurses and excited kids!  Maybe they need some volunteers to entertain the kids for a bit, wonder if that would increase their donations.
      4.       Make Birthday’s Charitable – Lauren had a little buddy that did this.  She asked for donations to the food bank instead of gifts!
       5.       Donate to the pets – Humane Society is always looking for donations and it gives the kids some time to mingle with the inhabitants for a bit
      6.       Food Bank – Of course, we do this so often with the school but it’s important.  Interesting fact, the Food Bank takes opened bags of pet food, found this out just after I found out that Mila has food allergies :D
      7.       Change for Difference – This is fun, create a little change jar to collect spare change.  Use that change to buy something for someone else!
      8.       Community pitch in – This is just as easy as picking up garbage at the park with the kids – with a goal in mind.   
       9.       Pick your favorite charity and get the kids involved in making a change – We pick the MS Society because my brother was diagnosed a ways back.  A personal connection makes it so sentimental and worth-while.  We have done a walk in Barrie every year for 4 years now.  The kids love it.

Elf on the Shelf

December 1st is elf on the shelf day! 

I was introduced to the elf on the shelf phenomenon last year by Mason.  Elf was the talk of his class and a couple of his friends had the little buddy.  Mason added him to his letter to Santa, and like any other toy I haven’t heard about, I Googled the thing. 

Apparently Elf on the Shelf was developed by a mom a while back, who saw the income benefit and developed a marketable product.  He (and now available in she, so I hear) is less that appealing in looks and requires a bit of parent time. 

We probably over-do it a bit.  We bought our elf about half way through December last year.  We wrapped him up in parcel wrap, included a letter from Santa and left him in the mailbox for Mason.  Pierre and I named our elf “Joey” before the kids came home to dodge the name fight. 

The kids wrote Joey a letter or drew him a picture every day or two – which meant we spent most evenings writing on Joey’s behalf – lazy little bugger didn't come with thumbs for $39.99.  Joey also followed us to 
Port Elgin to celebrate Christmas with my parents.  He got around quite a bit and made Lauren nervous enough to dress in the bathroom one night he was in her room. 

For the last 11 months, Charlotte has been missing Joey, she has been asking at least once a week about Joey.  The older three kids started talking about Joey over the last couple weeks.  And the good news is, Joey popped out of his hiding spot this weekend and is waiting in hiding for his appearance on December 1st – which has already been planned by four excited kids.

Check out this link – 100 Mischievous Elf Ideas for some fun spots and ways to hide your elf.

Packing the Lunches for School

I love Pizza Wednesday and Hot lunch Friday.  William and Charlotte don’t like pizza, so at least I get a break on hot lunch Friday.  For $5 a kid per week, they get a hot lunch.  Last week they chose between meatballs or nachos and carrots and watermelon.  It’s expensive but it’s worth every penny for the time it saves me not making a lunch! 

Four kids, four different tastes, mean four different lunches every morning.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not a catering type of mom.  They get the same meal every night at supper time, no complaints allowed.  

However, I could make them all the same lunch and it just comes home and goes in the garbage, it’s a waste otherwise. 

I came across this fun website recently.  I have yet to find the containers they use for their little “lunchable” type meals – but I will post it as soon as I do!

Have fun mom’s!  Lunch is cool again!

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Hooray for Midwives!

It's been nearly 6 years since I had my last baby, but I thought an important kid-related subject to discuss with you is midwifery.

When I was pregnant with William, my first baby, back in October 2004 - I called my best friend right away to share my news.  Carla suggested that I look into a midwife.  The first thing that came into my head what a picture of a Mary Poppins type woman with a big doctor bag and seriously dated birthing techniques.  I'm assuming that because of my silence, Carla knew that I was thinking something very close to that.  She explained what she knew and how they could help and that was enough to make me interested.

Child birth and pregnancy is scary!  I'm an anxious person to begin with, add a baby in my tummy and I'm teetering on neurotic.  I called the Sages-Femmes Rouge Valley Midwives - the next day.  And a good thing I did because apparently midwives are in demand, as they should be! 

I met Carolynn Prior - she would later be my midwife and my friend through the whole process of the birth of my two children.  She came to our house and we had an interview.  I signed up and schedule myself in for her monthly appointments, which at the time were done in my home.

Anytime I had a question or a concern, I could call up the midwife's answering service and have Carolynn paged.  She had a back-up (Lisa) that could fill in if she was busy with another client - which is completely understandable. 

I remember when I was pregnant with my daughter, I went to Nova Scotia that summer to celebrate my grandparent's anniversary.  I was 5 months pregnant that week and I started to bleed, fairly significantly.  I called up Carolynn and was able to get support and encouragement.  They checked up on me by phone and I was able to call them anytime of the day and night.  Everything was fine, they were right - but I can bet that no doctor could do what they did for me.

I laboured for William for 36 hours, I was dedicated to having him naturally.  I was sure I did everything right, so it should just be that easy!  I went pain-med free, so I was hurting considerably but the midwives were there to rub my back and talk me through it all.  William was a cesarean birth, which is performed by a obstetrician - who made me cry within 2 minutes of meeting me - but my midwives were there the whole time for William when he was born.

When we left the hospital and went home, Carolynn came to the house daily and then weekly to check on his progress and make sure my emotional and mental health was ok.  I remember sitting with Carolynn and a midwife apprentice and just talking about personal experiences they had with their own infants. 

Such a fantastic experience and I wish my blog will help someone else considering a medical practioner for their pregnancy/labour.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

How to Calm William

William Tallis - He's dedicated, focused, innovative, and has a huge heart - but when something doesn't work his way and he loses some control of a situation, he loses his patience fast.  He's just like his mommy, the apple did not fall far - so I can relate. 

William's goal in life is to reinvent everything; it can always be better in his mind.  I call him my little engineer.  I bought an electric fireplace that came in two large boxes.  William loves boxes and loved the fact that these boxes contained styrofoam molds.  His mind started cooking at 6:30am - because he doesn't believe in sleeping in - sleep is a waste of create time.  William built a styrofoam sled with his new materials and three rolls of tape that I constantly supply him with from the Dollarama (fuel for his creativity).  I knew the design flaw, but every good engineer learns from his/her mistakes... right?  I suggested using it down the stairs with stuffed animals as his riders to save it from total destruction.  That worked for the morning.  After school, he tried it on the driveway using his sister as the driver - fail.  He was beyond consolible.  Lost his brains and started throwing it around with tears flying everywhere.  I felt bad, a little amused, but I knew that he needed to calm down and secondly - learn from it.

There's a few options if you have a son/daughter like mine.  William is 7 years old - so I find the calming jar to be a fantastic idea! 

If you want to make your own calming jar (good for moms as well) they are really easy! All you need to do is:
  • jar or bottle with a lid
  • 1 tbsp of clear glue (or glitter glue) to each 1 cup of (hot) water to fill the jar
  • add in glitter (I added about 1 inch of glitter)
  • food colouring (optional)
please note: Do not, I repeat, DO NOT give this jar to your child when they are in the middle of a fit… glass and angry/upset child will likely result in this beautiful jar smashed to pieces. If you would like to make one of these for a younger child I recommend a plastic bottle or jar instead. Also weather you are using a glass or plastic container please do not leave your child unsupervised when they are using the jar. There are many sites out there with variations on how to make your own “calming jar” (as we call it in our house) or “mind jar“.
I have been working on some relaxation techniques with William. 
I find that these are best after he has let his jar "calm" down

1. Move to the quiet place.

2. Sit on a chair, beanbag, or on the floor.

3. Think about a place that is relaxing for you

4. Breathe slowly and steadily.
5. Tense shoulders up, relax shoulders down.

6. Tense hands, relax hands.

7. Tense toes, relax toes.

8. Breathe slowly and steadily.

Finished !