Monthly Archives: September 2012

Turkey, Turkey

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I was looking for poems about turkey’s for the Princess and I to sing and I came across ProTeacher and I found this poem.  You sing it to the tune of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.  I’m not sure who wrote it but it is very cute.

Turkey, Turkey

Turkey, turkey look at you.

Please be careful what you do!

Thanksgiving Day is almost here.

We eat turkey every year.

Go and hide out in the woods.

We’ll eat pizza like we should!

Image from theqshack.com

Our Sunday Routine

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Of all the days in the week, Sunday is our relaxing day.  We very rarely plan anything to do but stay in a spend quality time as a family.  Between work, school and extracurriculars, the week can get crazy, with Saturday left for errands, the big clean and going out.  But Sunday is family day.

We usually start our day with a big breakfast.  Whether its bacon and eggs, or pancakes and peamale, or my favourite, BLT’s, breakfast is a big deal on Sundays.  After that its pretty easy-going.  We usually stay in our pj’s for a majority of the day.  Hubby likes to take this day to makes his soups and sauces, but today he is making Patyczki and Kapusta, delicious Polish dishes that I ate for the first time while visiting his grandparents when we first started dating.  When he is in the kitchen, that means that Princess and I are either at the park, watching a movie or doing crafts.  Today, it was crafts.  While I made Christmas cards, the Princess made her herd of dinosaurs.

So on Sunday’s, what does your family do?

 

We Need to Talk About Kevin – The Movie

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Back in February, I read “We Need to Talk About Kevin” by Lionel Shriver.  While I struggled with the first part of the book, I did enjoy it.  This epistolary novel tackles the question that parents do not ever want to ask themselves about their own children; Are killers born or made?  Shriver succeeds with this novel by providing many instances throughout where it is left up to the reader to argue whether it was Eva’s fault that Kevin turned out the way he did, or if Kevin, was born evil. Her focus on this theme is demonstrated by the characters themselves; Eva, and her ambivalence toward motherhood, Franklin, the high hope, “my child can do no wrong”, optimist, and Kevin, the antithesis to a loving child.

So when I heard that it was being made into a movie I was really excited.  Now whenever books are made into films, I do try to see the movie first because if I read the book first, I find the movie is ruined for me.  I know how things are going to end, I already have what the characters look like in my mind and things that are omitted from the movie that were in the book irritate me.  But if I watch the movie first then read the books, I can still enjoy both for what they are.  There are scene, lines and characters that weren’t in the movie that are in the book that let me differentiate and enjoy the book.

With all that in the mind, I did read the book first, attended a book reading of Lionel Shriver where she spoke about the book and had her sign my book, so I had high expectations of the movie.  And they didn’t meet them, whatsoever.  I have to say that for the most part, the characters were horribly miscast, especially Franklin, played by John C. Reilly.  With that said, Ezra Miller who played Kevin and  Ashley Gerasimovich who played Celia, were how I imagined them.

I think the thing that bothered me the most was that the movie felt almost like “Art for art sake.”  With the odious music that often drowned out the conversation and the montages of Eva scrubbing the red paint off of her house, the blatant metaphor of “blood on her hands,” I found myself wanting to turn it off.  The movie failed to capture the struggles between the main characters and some of the things that Kevin did in the book.  The movie implied the struggle between Eva and Kevin without showing it, at all.    So if I had to choose, the book all the way!

I Got Beef…Well Sorta

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Sometimes when I have had a long day and need to turn my brain into mush, I will watch TV.  And of course you cannot watch TV without watching commercials every 5 minutes.  I drown them out as commericals are crap but sometimes a commercial will play that makes me scream out “I call Bull $hit!” A Boston Pizza commercial was unfortunate enough to receive such an exclamation.  My beef, claiming their “All Meat Wings” are actually chicken wings.  Here is a definition of a wing;

Wingnoun, either of the two forelimbs of most birds, corresponding to the human arms, that are specialized for flight.  A wing consists of a wing shoulder, feathers, drumettes, mid-joint wing, and wing tip.

This is a chicken wing!

I am no Ornithologist or understand the complete skeletal system of a chicken, but having raised 200 of them from chicks to sending them on their way to the slaughter-house, I will tell you what I know for sure.  Wings have bones in them. Boston Pizza’s Boneless wings, don’t have bones in them, and are not made from wing meat!  Again, I call Bull $hit!  On their online website, their “supposed” boneless wings is “a boneless wing, lightly breaded and fried, made with seasoned chicken breast.”  Wait, what?!  Did they just say that their “wings” were made of “seasoned chicken breast”? Umm.  I didn’t know breasts could fly?  Oh, that’s right, it’s bull $hit!

Boston Pizza Meatless Chicken Wing

Now some may say I’m being nitpicky or that I am wasting my time complaining about the difference between a wing and a boneless wing, but if you are going to essentially make a chicken nugget, just call it a chicken nugget.  I know there were and probably are a lot of people who saw this commercial and went out and bought these little gems.  Sheep!  Sheep I tell you!  Did you know that Boston Pizza sells Thai Chicken Bites and Chicken Fingers that consist of seasoned chicken breast and are LESS expensive than those so-called wings?  If I were a patron of Boston Pizza, I would not pay a chicken wing price for a chicken nugget.  But people did and people still are.  Don’t be fooled by the flashy commercials and their motto “here to make you happy.”  They are here to fool sheeple and cheat them out of money!

Quotes about Sisters

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I am going to go visit my sister this weekend.  She is having a baby and we are going shopping for baby clothes.  As I am the more seasoned sister with a child already, I will be the dutiful sister and provide advice on buying clothes for a child you’ve never met.  Really, I think she just doesn’t want to shop alone, but I’ll take it.  I am the oldest and I have 2 younger sisters, one that is 24 and 1 that is 19.  We’ve yelled, we’ve cried, we’ve laughed and we’ve beat the crap out of each other.  We’re sisters and I wouldn’t change a thing.

Having a sister is like having a best friend you can’t get rid of.  You know
whatever you do, they’ll still be there.  ~Amy Li

A sister  is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost.  ~Marion C. Garretty

Is solace anywhere more comforting than in the
arms of a sister.  ~Alice Walker

Big sisters are the crab grass in the lawn of life.  ~Charles M. Schulz

If you don’t
understand how a woman could both love her sister dearly and want to wring her
neck at the same time, then you were probably an only child.  ~Linda Sunshine

You can kid the world.  But not your sister.
~Charlotte Gray

I would like more sisters, that the taking
out of one, might not leave such stillness.  ~Emily
Dickinson

Help one another, is part of the religion of
sisterhood.  ~Louisa May Alcott

Sisters never quite forgive
each other for what happened when they were five.  ~Pam
Brown

In thee my soul shall own combined the sister and the
friend.  ~Catherine Killigrew

A sister can
be seen as someone who is both ourselves and very much not ourselves – a special
kind of double.  ~Toni Morrison

Children of the same
family, the same blood, with the same first associations and habits, have some
means of enjoyment in their power, which no subsequent connections can
supply…  ~Jane Austen, Mansfield Park,
1814

What’s the good of news if you haven’t a sister to
share it?  ~Jenny DeVries

Sisters is probably the most
competitive relationship within the family, but once the sisters are grown, it
becomes the strongest relationship.  ~Margaret Mead

Bless you, my darling, and remember you are always in the heart – oh tucked so close
there is no chance of escape – of your sister.  ~Katherine Mansfield

A sister smiles when one tells one’s stories – for she knows where the decoration has
been added.  ~Chris Montaigne

More than Santa Claus, your
sister knows when you’ve been bad and good.  ~Linda
Sunshine

If sisters were free to express how they really
feel, parents would hear this:  “Give me all the attention and all the toys and
send Rebecca to live with Grandma.”  ~Linda Sunshine

My sister taught me everything I really need to know, and she was only in sixth
grade at the time.  ~Linda Sunshine

I, who have no sisters
or brothers, look with some degree of innocent envy on those who may be said to
be born to friends.  ~James Boswell

How do people make it
through life without a sister?  ~Sara Corpening

If your sister is in a tearing hurry to go out and cannot catch your eye, she’s wearing
your best sweater.  ~Pam Brown

Sisters are different
flowers from the same garden.  ~Author Unknown

There can be no
situation in life in which the conversation of my dear sister will not
administer some comfort to me.  ~Mary Montagu

I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out
and buy new ones.  ~Author unknown, attributed to a 4-year-old named
Lauren

In the cookies of life, sisters are the chocolate chips.
~Author Unknown

For the Love of Reading

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We’ve been having our share of up’s and down’s with school, but Princess had a great day today.  When I picked her up, I asked her how her day was.  She had the biggest grin on her face and triumphantly told me that she had reading buddies today.  Once a week, a grade 4 student comes to her class and they are paired up and read to the Kindergarten students.  With all the stuff that has been going on, I can’t express how overjoyed I am that she has found something that makes her happy.

Since the Princess was a baby, I have been reading to her.  She has a collection of books and I read to her every night.  Her tastes vary.  Some nights she wants Goosebumps or Harry Potter, Goodnight Moon or Dr. Seuss.  I am an avid reader myself.  The multi-sensory experience of it gives me immense pleasure and I am glad that the Princess is finding joy in it too.  I’m sure that Princess will read books that I think are literary garbage but as long as she is reading than I cannot complain.  My mom always read true crime novels and I prefered the literary classics such as Byron and Shakespeare.  I am varying my tastes a bit and reading books I maybe would not have read before.  I hope that the Princess’ joy of reading continues as the benefits of reading are tremendous and here are just a few of them.

  1. A stronger relationship between the reader and the person being read to.
  2. Academic excellence.
  3. Basic speech skills
  4. The basics of how to read a book.
  5. Better communication skills.
  6. Mastery of language.
  7. More logical thinking skills.
  8. Acclamation to new experiences.
  9. Enhanced concentration and discipline.
  10. That reading is fun and can take you to places and meet people you would not meet in the real world!

Just One of Those Days

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Today has been one of those days where I am doubting my parenting choices.   Every little choice, decision, point, etc has been called into question but probably none more so than our decision to put Princess into Junior Kindergarten.  To put it bluntly, our Princess is not adjusting very well and we have seen backward steps in almost all areas of her development; behaviour, sleeping, eating as well as using the potty.   We had been under the assumption that these issues were contained to home as her teacher and ECE said nothing to alarm us of the contrary.  I had spoken to them prior to orientation night and everything was jovial.  “She is so popular, she is such a character, oh she plays with everyone” and so on and so forth was what we were told at Orientation night.  However, literally the next day, I picked our Princess up from the Principal’s office.  Never in a million years did I think that would happen.  Upon talking to her teacher, she’s been having behavioural problems at school since the very beginning.  The teacher thinks the behaviour is out of jealousy but we have until the end of October to correct it our they will be removing her from school.

I listened attentively, taking in all that was said and pondering how this had been happening and nothing was said to us.  We asked our daughter everyday how she was liking school and everyday it was the same “I like it, my day was good.”  Hubby was upset for two reasons; 1)that Princess was getting into trouble and 2) that over the numerous times that we spoke to her teacher, nothing was said until that Friday.  If something was a consistent, ongoing problem, why not bring it to us sooner so that we could have nipped it in the bud earlier?  Now we are seeing the repercussions of her actions.  Hubby and I do not condone poor behaviour so Princess had to accept and deal with the consequences of her actions.  She was grounded from TV, all her toys were taken away, she is going to be earlier and no special treats.  We had a big conversation about respecting personal boundaries.  We also set up a reward system for good behaviour.  For each day she behaved, she would get to pick one of her toys back.  So far, we have only had good days and her teacher telling me that she has been improving.  But while she has been having good days, I have noticed a change in her and I’m not liking it.  Her confidence and out-going personality has taken a back burner and I now have a very subdued and insecure little girl.

I know that I am her mother and of course I think she is truly amazing, but many other people have said how much they adore her too.  She will talk with anyone, regardless of religion, colour or creed, loves to play with all children regardless of age or sex, and loves to help people.  Her teachers at daycare cried when she left and her friends there had their parents call us to set up playdates because their children missed her too much.  A friend of mine hates children, but she adores the Princess for her outgoing personality.  She is a good girl, I swear, but school has changed her.  Today I witnessed how alone she really is.  Today we were waiting in line to go into school when another little girl came up behind her.  The Princess said good morning and politely asked her mother if said little girl could come over to our home to play.  Perhaps it was because I was standing back that the mother felt compelled to say what she really thought, thinking I was not in earshot.  The mother matter-of-factly said “No, she doesn’t like you.”  I gasped.  I couldn’t believe it.  A simple “maybe another day” would have sufficed, but was it necessary to point out to a 3-year-old that your daughter doesn’t like her?  As more children lined up, my Princess sat quietly in the corner and spoke to no one, her hands holding up her sad face.  I cried all the way home.  My little girl has gone from having lots of friends to none.  She has gone from being vivacious and witty, to sullen and withdrawn.  I have seen her apologize to her family that calls to speak with her and having her ask me over and over again “Mommy, am I going to be kicked out of school?”

And now the question that is wracking my brain is “Did I make the right decision by putting her in school?   I have been weighing the pro’s and con’s to said decision and whether or not pulling her out is a good idea either.

KEEPING HER IN SCHOOL

PRO’S

  • She will learn that even if something is hard and tough, she has the inner strength to stick it out and flourish
  • Her education is very important
  • Even though she isn’t making friends right now, she will make them soon enough

CON’S

  • Low self-esteem and self-worth are a possibility
  • She’s unhappy
  • She is lonely

PULLING HER OUT OF SCHOOL

PRO’S

  • She will be able to start fresh in one more year
  • She will be more mature and better prepared
  • She will get one more year at home with me

CON’S

  • She will think that quitting will solve her problems
  • They will expect more from her next year and the pressure will be greater
  • She will miss out on all the things she will get to experience this year

 

I feel a tremendous amount of guilt for putting her in school in the first place.  I really thought she was ready.  She is potty trained, had 2 1/2 years of socialization with children her age and teachers, she met all her milestones and was ecstatic about going.  I tell her every night how beautiful, special, kind and nice person she is and that even though things are tough right now, they won’t always be this way, and that things will get better.  Right now, I just have to figure out what is best for my Princess.

Around the Table

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Some of my most favourite memories are centred around the kitchen table.  My parents always insisted on having dinner at the table.  My parents would cook and my sister’s and I would set the table.  We would all talk and joke around and even after the meal was finished, we would still sit and talk more.  When we had guests over, we would all converse around the table and eat and laugh until late.  The topic of conversation varied, but the food and drink were a constant.

Sometimes when my sister’s and I recall these memories, the conversation always sounds like “Oh remember that time when Mom made that chili,” or “Remember when Nan made her spicy spaghetti and Mom at it and the baby started doing back flips in her stomach?”  Most of the stories can be tied back to a table and food.   During my second year of university, my roommates and I would sit around the table and eat dinner together.  When Hubby would come and visit, this is where we would all sit and drink and laugh.

Now that I have a family of my own, dinner time is such an important of our daily routine.  We all eat dinner together, that either Hubby or I have made and sit down as a family and eat together.  We talk about each other’s days, what’s the plan for the rest of the evening, anything special or interesting happening, etc.  The TV is off, but as a family, we are tuned in.

There is nothing spectacular about our dining table or the kitchen where we prepare our meals, but there have been many memories made at both.  Hubby and I love to cook.  We make our chicken broth, Hubby is notorious for making big batches of soups, sauces and meatballs and I love to bake breads, roasts and appetizers.  We love trying out new recipes and the Princess loves eating them.  I hope that when the Princess grows up and has a family of her own, she will carry on and eat dinners at her table and make new memories.

The Death of Play

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Princess is entering her third week of kindergarten and we have had some mishaps along the way that were brought up at orientation night last Thursday.  Like all parents, I received a booklet of the ABC’s of Kindergarten, examples of kindergarten homework, handwriting tips and a poem called “Just Playing.”  I quickly flipped through it there, and then spoke with the teacher of how we can help ease the Princess’ adjustment to kindergarten.  After all was said and done, we went home and I read the booklet more thoroughly.  After everything, all I can say is that I feel bad for the generation in which my daughter was born, for it is the generation that could be easily labelled “The Death of Play.”

This is the first year of all-day kindergarten in Toronto and it is clear that most teachers, parents and students are having some trouble adjusting.  The teacher openly admitted that come 2:30, it becomes “The Twilight Hour” with a portion of the children in full on meltdown mode.  Princess even fell asleep on her desk last week.  The children are tired and from 12 pm to 3:22, they are inside a classroom for “play based learning.”  Granted I’m not a teacher or  an Early Childhood Educator, but perhaps it would be good for the children to have a short outside break in the afternoon.  Most children have the attention span of a gnat and being cooped up may be the cause of the “Twilight Hour”.

But the main point of my argument is that in this booklet, the poem that was included to represent the “play based learning” curriculum.  In it, when a child is at the kitchen centre, we’re not supposed to say “they are just playing” but instead say “they are learning to be mother’s and father’s someday.”  When a child is painting, we’re not supposed to say “they are just playing” but instead say “they are learning to be an artist.”  While I am in complete agreement that children certainly excel developmentally and socially through play, let’s leave it at that, play.  I feel that if play no longer is just play, and it becomes muddled and adds more stress and pressure onto children.  Instead of correcting children and  saying “No you aren’t playing, you are learning” maybe just say “go enjoy yourself.”  Maybe the Princess doesn’t want to be a Mother when she’s older, maybe she doesn’t want to be an artist.  She just enjoys playing.

I remember what play felt like as a child.  I didn’t have special toys that encouraged learning, I found a million different uses for a skipping rope.  I wasn’t “learning” how to use my muscles, I was playing cow girl, or the skipping rope turned into a circular force field against the alien menace that was after us.  When I climbed trees, I wasn’t “learning” about ecology, I was building a fort or hiding from my friends.  I enjoyed being a kid for the sheer fact that play was simple, pure and innocent.  I didn’t feel pressure to “learn” and I think I turned out ok.  I am a confident, well spoken,  contributing member of society.  I don’t think it is unreasonable to wish that for my daughter too.

Children today are more medicated, have higher stress levels, are more likely to become depressed and suicide rates are getting higher for younger children, some as young as the age of 9.  I believe the insane amount of pressure that is put on children to be the very best is leading to this.  Honestly, at the age of nine, what stresses should you really have?  Whether to play tag or hide and seek?   I want my daughter to do well in school academically and apply herself and develop a great work ethic, but I also want her to be able to say “well now that school and homework are done, I am going to go have fun and not worry what I should be learning while running away from the big bad Monster Poo Poo Pants.”  Children and childhood are pure and innocent and should be left that way.