Friday, June 29, 2012

Sharing our Canadian Childhood Experiences

I overheard my husband doing a little French action rhyme with our son the other day. It was a song from his childhood.

Although we were both kids of the '80s, we didn't have entirely the same cultural experience as kids.

For example, growing up part of English Canada, my TV hero was Mr. Dressup, while my French-Canadian hubs had never heard of him (I know, right?! I can't believe it either). He, like his peers, was into the children's show Passe-Partout, which I'd never heard of until my late 20s. As far as I can tell, Passe-Partout was a Quebecois kid's show with creepy puppets that do skits and sing songs.

(Aside: Alright, I guess you might say Mr. Dressup's Casey and Finnegan were somewhat of 'creepy puppets' as well... what with their black soulless eyes, and Casey's talking-but-not-moving mouth and Finnegan's moving-but-not-talking mouth. But these guys were worse.)

So where was I?

So I overhear my husband singing a Passe-Partout rhyme with sonny, which talks of the parts of the body: "I have two eyes... two ears...two shoulders..." etc. Cute song.

Then I really pay attention to the lyrics.

OK, maybe it would be the equivalent of "buns" in English, but that's still a hilarious idea.

Ah, the richness a child gets when parents bring their varied backgrounds, including the songs and stories they grew up with, to the parenting table. It's a learning experience for us, too. I get to see what delights I've missed out on.

Wishing you all a Happy Canada Day-- whoever your childhood Canadian 'heroes' might be!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

"Smile Because it Happened"

You know that saying, "Don't cry because it's over; Smile because it happened"?

I would like my son to learn that philosophy, please.

Okay, so I have quite a happy-go-lucky kid who's mostly quite adaptable. But he's still little, with almost no control over how much fun he'll get or how long it'll last. 

Disappointment is tough. But it's even worse (on me especially) when the rage and tears seem to outweigh any of the happiness gained during the good times. It's as if it would have been better for all had I not offered the experience in the first place.

Here's what I mean:

Poor kid! I get it. It's hard when good times end. I feel that when coming back from a great trip, or finishing a really good book. I will definitely feel it when I first have to drop him off at daycare and return to work (although, in my years, I have learned not to make the same kind of scene, especially on the bus).

But, I want to tell him, you know what? I know you can handle it. Plus, there are other good times to be had. More adventures to look forward to. There will be other blueberries to eat, more baths, more buttons to push and light switches to flick. More things to be part of that AREN'T dangerous. You haven't even seen the half of all there is to see, my dear boy!

So in the meantime, please come to bask a bit in contentment from having had the experience instead of melting down when it's done. Otherwise, I might just press the elevator button myself next time.

Friday, June 15, 2012

"All-weekend badger-fest"

This is the card I drew for my dad for Father's Day.

Picture it: Nova Scotia, 1988, two parents and three kids midway through a five-hour road trip to Cape Breton to visit the grandparents.

About halfway through this trip, we'd pass a go-kart track by the highway. Without fail, my siblings and I would commence with hysterics to get my parents to stop.

Come on, what's half an hour and twenty bucks if it means GO-KARTS? Totally awesome. I could not understand why my parents didn't see the awesomeness.

I could hear the groan in my dad's voice. Most times we had to accept that it was not in the cards, but every once in a while, they would stop and treat us to our go-kart fix.

That's me on the left.
It would be the same for those fairs that show up in town for the weekend. I'd spot that Pirate Ship being put up a mile away, and it would be an all-weekend badger-fest until we were taken to go on some $3.00, 2-minute Scrambler rides run by scruffy, be-mulleted teenagers (it was the eighties, after all).

Don't get me wrong; my parents enjoyed sharing fun experiences with us. But sometimes we had our own idea of what would be fun and when. "What" was often a ripoff, and "When" was usually the most inconvenient time. Yes! Water slide park half an hour before supper! (Hmm, no wonder there's so much controversy about advertising to kids)

So, as I've written about before, it's Payback Time.

As a parent, I'm already seeing how you can't put much past my kid. He officially notices now if we're having takeout pizza while he's eating leftover stir-fry like a sucker. I also have to discretely place food items in the shopping cart so he doesn't notice until we get home.

It's only a matter of time before we'll have to take alternate routes home during 'fair' season, or distract by pointing out a nonexistent deer... if only to limit the amount of things to have to say 'no' to. You know, unless we planned to take him anyway.

Happy Father's Day to my dad, my kid's dad, and all the great dads out there who humour their kids just often enough to make badgering worthwhile.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Tips for the Independent Eater

To me, the family dinner is truly one of the nicest parts of the day. The three of us even clink glasses/sippy cups before eating (although sometimes my son just wants to clink glasses the whole meal).

One of the great things about when kids start eating more independently, besides the whole pride thing, is that parents can enjoy their dinner while the little one takes charge of his or her own eating. The kids seem to love it, too. Win-win.

Periodic intervention and guidance continues to be necessary, because as with anything, independent eating is a work in progress. I think that babies and toddlers learn tips from the same manual, though.

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