Sunday, Sunday, glorious Sunday!

What an epic day! When I say epic, I don’t mean in the sense that a crazy adventure was had; we didn’t all go bungee jumping together or anything remotely crazy like that. No, an epic day for us is one where everyone is happy to do their own thing and chores also get done in the process.

Today was one of those glorious days where the children were totally compatible and spent the entire day cavorting together without a single fight as they morphed from one fantasy world to another. They started off the morning as pirates and turned our sofa into their pirate ship, sailing the seven seas in search of adventure before my husband and I were enlisted to plan and map out a full on treasure hunt. This went on for quite a while before the pirates decided they were hungry and I was called upon to make Pirate PBJ sandwiches.

With full tummies the pirates then decided they were done hunting for treasure so opted to go for the next best thing and watch Scooby Doo (the 1970’s version) while giggling at the slap-stick antics.  During this time I was upstairs re-organizing our bedroom closet and giving the whole room a good old fashioned sweep-down.  I purged the shelves of clothes not worn and did away with holey socks and t-shirts. I dusted and hoovered (vacuumed) like a mad woman and the result was a blissfully clean, organized and zen-like room complete with fresh sheets and puffy pillows to which I’m looking forward to getting cozy with tonight.

As I finished my chores my daughter approached me and “ahem”-ed me. I turned and was greeted by a dazzling pink princess. “Mummy, I am now Queen and you must do as I say,” she informed me as her brother came racing into the room in his Spiderman costume and declared for all the neighborhood to hear that Spiderman had arrived. With eyebrows raised I accepted this new change in family hierarchy and asked if there was anything Her Majesty required at that present moment in time. I was told no but to be aware that a demand may happen at any moment unto which I would be promptly informed. They both then hurried out of the room and descended the stairs to the basement where they began a whole new fantasy game. They also spent time crafting crowns for themselves out of construction paper, the remnants of which now scatter the playroom floor. Throughout all this my husband and I pottered about doing our own thing, casually remarking at how beautifully the offspring were playing together and how lovely it is not to hear fighting and bickering.

This game continued all the way up through dinner and let me tell you, it was amazing seeing the clean plates! Usually my children are fussy eaters but not tonight; those plates were cleared by mini tornadoes before they were off again to continue their game of Queen and Spiderman. Nothing makes a parent feel more accomplishment than when their child has scarfed food they have prepared without a complaint! Bath and bed time was a breeze and now I sit here while my husband plays video games, children all nestled in bed, a sense of peace and happiness floating through the house. Like I said, it really was an epic Sunday.

Summer Holidays are stressful, right?!

Sidewalk chalk shouldn't be just for the sidewalk!
Sidewalk chalk shouldn’t be just for the sidewalk!

For many of my friends back in the UK the summer holidays are only just starting but here in ‘Tronno’, we’ve been at it for 3 weeks now. We get to have 8 weeks of attempting to keep kids active, interested and off each others backs! So far I think I’m doing OK but it’s still early days.

I am sure, like many parents, I desperately searched for activities to do, places to go and camps to enlist with before the holidays happened but as per usual, I left it too late! Parents sign their children up in March for camps! I always assumed camps where just made up things that you saw in kids movies but it’s a real thing! I suppose I did a version of camp…it was called Boarding School.

So here I am in one of the biggest cities in Canada and I have absolutely NO IDEA what to do with my kids! It isn’t as if there isn’t any choice; we have museums, parks, an aquarium, pools, galleries, beaches, you name it. What fills me with dread is the fact that every other kid in Toronto will be there too. I once did the Science Center during a holiday and I swore never again – chaos, tears, stress, even my poor children hated it and they usually love to learn things but they don’t like having to fight for something and they don’t enjoy being watched by impatient children who are attempting to telepathically will them off a toy/ride/game. They will happily fight and bicker with each other but not with other children so I always take that into consideration whenever we decided to go somewhere. Nine times out of ten we usually stay close to home and play and I will make each week a specialty week. For example, during March Break, I devoted a week to Science. We made Ooblek, Volcanoes and sun-catchers using glue and food coloring and the children loved it. With the summer holidays I have 8 weeks to plan for and the more I investigate, the more excited I become about doing things at home.

I know I am lucky because I work from home so I have the time to be able to spend with my kids. Many parents don’t have that option and find sending their kids to camp the only choice until they have their vacation too. I dread to think how expensive it all becomes; a week long camp at Ripley’s Aquarium is close to $400 per child. I have a friend who just put both her kids, aged 5 & 7, into 4 separate camps; over $1,200 to cover just 2 weeks worth of the holidays.They are also planning to go on vacation for a week which was in the region of around $3,500 (flights, hotel, etc). I know having children is expensive but these days it seems just unrealistic at times. Having said that this sort of thing seems to apply to younger kids; the older they get, the more independent they become and the money once spent on camps is re-directed towards other ‘essentials’ teenagers ‘need’.

Today my kids have drawn life-size silhouettes of themselves on paper and are currently embellishing them with a ridiculous amount of tissue paper, sequins, and fuzzy balls. (I’m looking forward to that clean up later…) The point is, they have been occupied for over an hour with this. I’ve broken up 3 fights, all from the comfort of my desk chair, and they are learning (with some degree of stubbornness) the art of sharing. The TV is off, Jazz music is playing softly in the background and I’m sure once everything is done we will have some pretty spectacular pictures!

I live in the city so there are programs and camps all over the place so here is a question: Is it easier or harder to plan summer holidays if you live in the country vs the city? Working parents vs. stay at/work from home parents; how do the long holidays effect you?

Whatever you get up to this summer I hope you have an enjoyable holiday and get to enjoy some quality time with your children.

 

There is a line, but can I cross it?

If someone told me how I should mother my children, I would tell them where the shortest cliff was so they could take a long walk off it. Recently, however, I have found myself itching to do just that: to tell parents to do or not do something involving the care of their child.

When I was a kid I grew up under the ‘children should be seen and not heard’ rule. I was taught it was rude to behave badly when out in public. I had to to be quiet when in a shop or cafe or museum and I was always informed of my manners (or lack thereof!). When at home I was free to do what I wanted (within reason) but if I went to a friends house or out with my parents, the Good Act had to be played as I’m sure it did with most kids. Keep in mind I lived in the UK where people are much more outspoken and you got in s**t for anything so I’m wondering if being in Canada things are a little different or if it is just a sign of the times? Remember that age old threat, “Wait till your father gets home!” Apparently that doesn’t work anymore.

What the heck happened?!

Today, as I was enjoying a coffee in my favourite cafe with my three year old son, I witnessed a whirling dervish of a child who was a ball of running, screaming, dangerous energy. He couldn’t have been far off my sons age and his mother was looking after something even smaller. I know what it is like to have two kids under the age of three – I did that – however I don’t think that can excuse you for knowingly letting your child run up and down a very small space, screaming loudly and disturbing other patrons. This child was a health and safety nightmare! The cafe is on a major road with lots of cars, trucks and large streetcars. The front door is usually always open during the summer to let in the cool air so it wouldn’t take much for him to run clean out and meet with an unhappy accident. There are also shelves with breakable items on them and, let me see, oh yes! People with scolding hot coffee walking around. If he ran into them, another accident. And yet his mother just sat there, watching, with a look of, ‘isn’t he precious!’ on her face.

Looking around I could see patrons were getting irritated by the noise. The staff within the cafe were also looking nervously at each other and I’m sure one of them was wondering if something should be said.  When I worked in a restaurant I did have a few occasions involving unruly children – any kids who ran around or were uncontrolled I had no issue telling their parents to deal with it. I told them it was too dangerous and we wouldn’t be responsible for any damages to their kid if he/she got burned, tripped or walked into. I have also seen other patrons taking matters into their own hands but it never worked out too well. I think parents get embarrassed and angry, even though they have no intention of fixing the problem in the first place.

In this situation there were a few things I wasn’t sure of, for example was the mother a previous employee and a friend to everyone there? Was she the owners sister? Perhaps she was well known in the community and this sort of thing was the normal routine! Regardless of all that would it be bad to say something about her child’s behavior? Would it be bad if I walked up to her and said ‘Shut your child up and control him before he has an accident!’ Should this be the line that can be crossed?

I’ve had a total stranger walk up to my infant daughter and physically pull her thumb out of her mouth because they said it was wrong of her to so that. The person was lucky to be able to walk off the subway train. That is a line wrongly crossed. However when it is something that is inherently annoying and rude and potentially disastrous, is it OK to assume something can be said or just wait for the inevitable to happen and then think, ‘I told you so,’ before feeling guilty for not preventing the disaster.

Before I had the chance to actively carry out this thought the delightful party left but it made me wonder: if I had stood up and said something, would it have caused a huge fuss? Would I have been glared at for crossing that line?

Your thoughts? Would you say or have you said something in a similar situation? Have you had a total stranger tell you how to be a parent and was it positive or negative?