Mom blog: Because I Said So! Spring has sprung…

Mom Blogger JacquelynMad linkage from yesterday’s vaccination posting
I said I would have links and here you are:
• National Immunization Awareness Week (it goes until the April 26, so you still have a day or more of festivities
• immunization schedules for infants and children (and adults and travellers too)
• frequently asked questions from the Public Health Agency of Canada
• the Mother of All Immunization Trackers Web Site, where you can plug in your kiddies’ shots info and stop cursing yourself for “putting that yellow folder in a safe place.”
• and thank you, Dave, for an excellent roundup.

Who wrote this?
Spring has sprung
The grass has riz
I wonder where the boidies is

The boids is on the wing!
Don’t be absoid!
Da wings is on the boid! Continue reading


Mom blog: Because I Said So! Vaccination time (again)

So I was simultaneously loading the dishwasher, making two lunches, watching the toaster for smoke and listening to a mini reporter on my mini TV talking about the importance of keeping your kiddies’ vaccinations up-to-date. She said something like, “we have the vaccinations, but they’ll only work if we all keep our shots up to date, and some people aren’t!” in a chiding, thinly veiled, passive-aggressive strident tone. I nodded my head, switching to scouring the counter with baking soda (think green!) to remove any traces of chicken (think safety!) before slicing cucumbers (think healthy!) for said lunches.

Yes, those vaccinations and those people who don’t keep them up to date, I thought. Somewhere from the haze of real estate flyers, bills and offers to do the weeding and feeding of my lawn, I remembered opening and scanning a letter from the city in many, many languages. “Get someone to read this to you” it said. Ha! I’ll read it myself and then I tossed it. I knew exactly where I tossed it (in a file labelled READ). I fished it out, and yes, it’s a reminder to get Luka caught up on vaccines OR ELSE. The OR ELSE is suspension from school. I didn’t figure that would actually happen when I received the same letter regarding Tessa’s vaccines either.

IT DID. Continue reading

Mom blog: Because I Said So! Teen anger (a little goes a long way)

Mom Blogger JacquelynIf you are patient in one moment
of anger, you will escape
a hundred days of sorrow.
—Chinese Proverb

There’s no doubt that anyone parenting a teen, or a pre-teen, or pre-pre-teen post-plain-kid knows about anger and kids. It’s WAY too large and complicated a subject to get at in a blog (or, for me to get into in this blog, because I’ve got a few years’ worth of experience on this one, and if I get started, neither Canadian Living or WordPress will have space for it).

Anger in action
Put succinctly, the person in my house with the most anger issues at this time gave expression to that anger last night. Knowing for certain that no one was in the room, or even on the floor, this person grabbed the closest thing at hand—a new bottle of colourless nail polish—and drilled at a door. Continue reading

Mom blog: Because I Said So! Brody the wonder dog

Each year since 1968 the Purina Animal Hall of Fame has honoured Canadian “true pet heroes,”—109 dogs, 23 cats and one horse. Well, I am nominating my friend Leslie-Ann’s faithful dog Brody in advance of the 2008 awards. Brody’s life-saving feat preserved not just Leslie-Ann’s life and those of her grandmother and grandfather, but also the lives of Connie, the grey tabby, Alistair, the white short hair domestic, and Fionn the ferret.

One recent evening, Leslie-Ann had gone off to sleep after Brody did his end-of-the-day flop and settle at the end of her bed. Usually, Brody doesn’t stir until morning. It was 1 a.m., and he flew off the bed, barking frantically. Continue reading

Mom blog: Because I Said So! My eco-friendly pets

th_dsc03059.jpgOh, I have to pitch in on this one. I think these Green Living Blogs are one of the best blog themes (festivals, blogivals, blemes, I don’t know, make up your own name) around. And Kat has one of the coolest names in existence. So here goes:

Pet food Angel, the Birman cat, is the only cat I have owned in 32 years of consecutive and concurrent cat ownership who has had canned food (the vet said: “She can’t get enough water, so she MUST have canned food”); I buy large cans and we recycle every can and lid. Lizzie and Flopsy, the bunnies, get timothy hay and organic kibble. The fish (more on them next week) get whatever stinky flaky stuff the guy said they already like. We haven’t finished a container yet, but when we do, we’ll recycle.

Pet toys Angel scorns toys. If she wants to play, she’ll find a piece of Lego or marble or feather from a pillow or gum wrapper and bat it around for 10 seconds, then lie down and rest. I bought two bunnies so they could play together—no toys. The fish—are there toys for fish? I’m not buying them.

Pet gifts This is so weird and sad, people spending fortunes on doggie raincoats and tennis dresses, Swarovski crystal barrettes, kitty cologne. I have three kids, so the pets are not on the Christmas and birthday buy-gifts list (alright, we made a big deal about the bunnies’ birthdays, but we didn’t buy gifts, we just showered them with attention and photo-ops). When people have fewer kids and more money and already give to charity, I say go nuts and buy them a GIC.

Spay and neuter Angel is spayed. Bunnies are sisters and have no boyfriends. Abigail the hamster is a girl and, like the bunnies, is dateless. The fish? If by any chance one of them has babies, I imagine that will be recycled as instant bigger-fish fish food. That’s pretty eco in a cold way.*

Litter We use recycled newspaper pellets. All of it goes in the green bin.

Fur We are planning to have the bunnies’ fur spun and knit into a shawl. Failing that, we are also leaving it on our squirrel and bird nut table on the front porch so it can be carried home by our wild friends to line nests.

Acquisition and dispatch I bought Angel from a reputable cat breeder (along with her sister, Lily, who outgrew our family when Graydon came home with leukemia and the whole vibe in the house changed. I hunted for a loving home for her, and she found one with Brian, an architect in Cabbagetown in Toronto whom I have lost touch with—if you know him, tell him to mail me!). We would have taken in previously loved bunnies, but there were none on Kijiji or Craig’s list at the time. The fish, well, it’s more the dispatch—we wrap them gently in paper towel and it into the organic green bin. From the sea to the land.

And that’s the eco-pet story in our house.

*Not as cold as one of the neon tetras, who died on Tuesday and had to be put in the freezer until next Monday’s internment service and the green garbage pick-up on Tuesday morning.

Mom Blog: Because I Said So! Getting kids to read

wfmwsmall1-1.jpgI’m having a huge challenge with my seven-year-old, Luka, when it comes to reading. He is lagging behind the other kids in his class, and while I have hung onto the “he was born December 21, he’s really a year younger than lots of these kids” I’m getting worried. He has been scheduled for some testing at school (I am not holding my breath with the way funding is going these days). But at home, I have thrown all caution, creativity and frugal values to the wind with our new LUKA LEARNS TO READ program. Read 10 books out loud, with NO help—his blue eyes are so beseeching that he has learned helplessness down to an art and a science—and get a Pokemon stuffie. Read 15 books, with NO help, and get another. Read 20 books, no help, get another. We raided Wal-Mart on the weekend and bought five Pokemon stuffed characters, which are now in the front closet. He can see the bag, but can’t look inside until he hits the next level. Luka is now reading two books a night. It’s crass, it’s commercial, but IT WORKS FOR ME!!

Now click on over to Rocks in My Dryer to read all kinds of useful Works for Me Wednesday tips!

Mom blog: Because I Said So! Another motherhood thought, this time from Angela

Mom Blogger JacquelynHey, Angela, you truly understand! (Angela left a comment on my post of Friday—click over quickly and read it.) I have lately felt like people look at mums as people who had nothing “going on” in their lives so they had kids. Not so! And you don’t become a parent because you’re challenged by a good tea party or Hot Wheels race.
I babysat very profitably in my teens, and still wasn’t sure if mothering was something I could do. Luckily one of my sisters had the first baby in the family, and we lived in the same neighbourhood, so I volunteered to babysit baby Jay one night a week so sis and BIL could get out of the apartment and date. It sounded selfless, but it was totally selfish. I spent that time with Jay practising (or mostly inventing) a mothering style. I tried soft voices, Slovenian accents, Italian accents, South African accents, goofy voices, sound effects. I sang, did silly tricks, carried him around as much as he’d let me, diapered him too much to check on the timing and quantity of output. I gauged his eye movements and pupil dilation as I held up different toys and pictures. And I stared at him and sniffed his head and stroked his skin.

By the time they moved out of town (I tell myself it had nothing to do with the charts and journals and camera equipment I brought to each babysitting job), I knew I was going to be a decent mum. I had the feeling.

Weird thing was, I also knew I had to have three kids if I had one, and it turned into such a biological imperative that I was astounded by my own desperation to have baby number 3.

You said it just right:
“The way I have grown as a person would not have happened without them.”

I’m going to put your quote right beside that of India’s, which I’ll repeat here:
“Motherhood is the answer to everything…. It takes away that ghastly thing of looking at yourself too much.”

I love kids. Especially mine. But don’t try dropping yours off at my place or anything—my hands, plates and trunk are full!

Have a thought or two about how you came to parenting and what it’s been like? Leave me a posting and I’ll quote you, promise.