{FAMILY} 8 Things That Made Me “The Worst Mom EVER” (Today)

Along with having an 8-year-old daughter comes an elevated level of sass. As she tries to navigate through her pre- pre-teen years and all of the emotions that accompany this fragile age, her strong will and desire for independence are unparalleled, and her emotional ebbs and flows completely a mystery to us as parents.

And as the cherry on top – she is idolized by her 5-year-old brother, whose stubbornness and desire for attention are equally as prominent. The two siblings have created the ultimate duo – rivalling each other some days, and other days teaming up to battle the wicked force that is “mom”.

And always on the sidelines is my littlest. Forever wanting to keep up with her older siblings, she mimics everything they do or say – duplicating and elevating her siblings’ frustrations towards their “unfair mom”.

If they are playing together nicely, I am the enemy who “ruins all the fun”, and if they are battling each other, no matter whose side I support, I become the “meanest mom” for not supporting the other. I’ve learned to accept the fact that I just can’t win – that I’m going to be known as the “worst mom EVER” for everything that I do. And I’m ok with that, because I know that one day it will pass. Right?

worst mom ever

That time when they made ninja outfits – so they could spy on me and ninja kick me.

In the meantime, here are just some of the things that I’ve done today that have earned me the title of “worst mom EVER” in the eyes of my children:

1) I asked them to get dressed for school. -> my 5-year-old son:”MOM! You ALWAYS ruin all the fun. You’re the MEANEST.”

2) I gave my 8-year-old daughter a little pat on the back when I dropped her off at school (respectfully honouring her wishes for me to stop kissing her in front of her friends) -> met with incessant eye rolls, and a loud “PSSHHT Bye MOM.”

3) I offered my youngest her favourite soother when she was acting fussy. -> she threw it at my face and yelled “NO!” and then begged for her “soo-soo” as if it hadn’t just been offered.

4) I offered to put a freshly-made blueberry muffin in my daughter’s lunch for her recess snack. -> met with “MOM! I don’t even LIKE muffins.” (funny, she did last week…)

5) I wouldn’t let my daughter skip her ballet class after school to go on a play date, but offered for her to have one the following day. -> “ugh MOM! I don’t even LIKE ballet. You’re ruining my LIFE by not letting me have a play date.”

6) My two oldest were fighting over which show to watch after school, so I suggested that we turn off the TV and do something else. -> suddenly on the same side: “Mom, you’re the WORST! Why can’t we just watch a show and relax after a busy day at school?”

7) I suggested that my son wear a rain jacket to his soccer practice so that he doesn’t get soaked. -> “I will NEVER. That’s the worst idea EVER.”

8) When asked what we were having for dinner, I responded “I’m going to bar-b-que some steaks and make rice and broccoli.” -> all 3 children “YUCK! That’s not my favourite. Gross.” (littlest just chimed in with “No, no, no” while shaking her head).

Don’t get me wrong, these comments and objections weren’t said without reprimand.

I can remember being in my children’s shoes, and I know that it is a passing phase of self-discovery and desired independence. But, seriously. Whose kids are these?

 

Tooth Fairy Torture

Last night my daughter lost her 7th tooth. As I flashed my best grin and cheered her on with enthusiasm while she recounted her valiant efforts to pull her wiggly tooth from its roots, my thoughts went straight to my late-evening plans, and how they were officially ruined.

I remember writing about how I would never succumb to the over-the-top Tooth Fairy antics. Boy was I wrong. The problem is, as much as I would love to drop a quarter under my daughter’s pillow and call it a job well done, friends talk. And there’s nothing more depressing than seeing your sweet little firstborn teary eyed because her best friend’s Tooth Fairy left her a pony and made real-life magic happen right in her bedroom. Ok, I may be exaggerating a little, but seriously, the things that my daughter hears about from her friends at school leave me pulling my hair out as I try to live up to unrealistic expectations.

When she lost her first tooth, she received $5 in her Tooth Fairy pillow, and that was it. She was ecstatic. By the loss of her second tooth, rumours had been swirling that if you left a cup of water by your bed, the Tooth Fairy would change its colour to coincide with the fairy’s colours. Fine, coloured water, done. For the lost teeth that have followed, the antics had evolved to leaving questionnaires for the Tooth Fairy to complete, water for changing colours, a tooth in a special pillow, and a drawing for the Tooth Fairy to take back to fairyland with her.  It’s just too much!

Tooth Fairy

The stress that comes with entering a sleeping child’s room to replace a tooth with a coin is enough to make my head spin, but mom knows no fear like trying to complete a full questionnaire (in whimsical scripture might I add, cause gosh forbid the Fairy has similar writing to mommy’s), dropping food colouring into a shot glass full of water, and leaving money tucked into a pin-sized hole, all while trying not to startle your little one awake.

The worst part of all? Trying to stay awake while you wait for your nocturnal child to fall into a deep enough sleep to complete the list of daunting tasks. Tooth Fairy visits are complete torture. I just pray that the next tooth waits for a few months so I can afford the time and money it takes to make magic happen once more.

 

 

 

Epic Quotes From My Angsty Teen Years

My closest friends and family roll their eyes at me whenever I share a story and say that it ‘happened in grade 9’. They claim that everything I talk about ‘happened in grade 9’. They mock me, but it really was a monumental time in my teen years.

Grade 9 was the year that I fell into a full-blown stage of teen angst. That stage when you hate your parents, your boy crush doesn’t know you exist, your friends are your world, and your self confidence is at an all-time low. You’re consumed by how much your life sucks, and how no one understands you. You’d do anything to fit in, and you long for nothing more than to find yourself.

Grade 9 was a long long time ago for me now, but some of these quotes, shows, songs and moments, will stick with me forever. Because these moments – these epic quotes from my angsty teen years – bring me right back to grade 9. And they remind me of my ‘so called life’ as a teen.

My So Called Life

Long before she played Carrie in Homeland, Claire Danes epitomized my teen self in what will always remain my favourite 90s show of all time – My So Called Life. Swoon-worthy scenes of Jordan Catalano – his perfect coif grazing the brow of his crystal blue eyes as he pulled on Angela’s heartstrings (and ours). One does not get over Jordan Catalano. Not ever.

my-so-called-life-j-leto-and-claire-danes

Ugh, she tried to play it so cool in this scene. Poor, poor girl.

The Cranberries

To this day, whenever I hear an old song by The Cranberries, I am immediately transported to my best friend’s bedroom, where we used to sit together and cry as we sang along to the angsty lyrics of songs like Linger and Zombie.

I’m sure our parents just loved our off-key whining at all hours of the night.

teen angst

Pulp Fiction

The entire soundtrack from Pulp Fiction brings me back to the early 90s – everyone had the soundtrack – and I played this CD on repeat (yes, I said CD). Tarantino was a movie producing superstar – responsible for not only Pulp Fiction, but also Reservoir Dogs, and Natural Born Killers. There are so many great quotes that I could pull from this movie, but this one summarizes the teen rebel that I thought I was at the time.

teen angst

Clueless

While I thought I knew everything, I was completely and utterly clueless. And this quote was basically the worst insult you could possibly give to a clueless, emotional, angsty teenaged girl like me at the time.

teen angst

Reality Bites

Winona Ryder pretty much owned the 90s.

teen angst

And so did this movie.

Lisa Loeb

That little black dress, those thick-rimmed glasses and those lyrics! Nothing got me through my make-believe heart break like Lisa’s words in her chart-topping hit Stay.

anigif_enhanced-buzz-11440-1398803948-4

90210

The real Beverly Hills 90210. So many epic scenes and memorable moments, but none like this one. My best friend and I still reenact this scene from time to time.

Wait for it…

Brenda: “I was always taught that if it looks like a duck, and walks like a duck..”

Kelly: “Go to hell!” (storms out)

EPIC!

Do you have any epic shows, songs, scenes or quotes from your teen years that you want to share?

Adult Adoption: My Journey

I was adopted twice. In the first year of my life fate brought my adopted mother and I together in an unconventional way, and at the age of 5, I was adopted by her and my first adopted father. 16 years later, I was adopted again by my stepfather, who had become my primary father figure. The adoption process in my adult years was unconventional as well. In fact, after nearly two years of attempts and a final, dramatic courtroom session, the results of our adoption journey set a new precedent for adult adoptions in Canada.

THE FIRST TIME

In 1979, as a way of celebrating the International Year of the Child, a special woman with a big heart and a passion for children set out to help a family in need, so she posted an ad in the Buy & Sell offering child care services. My biological mother came across the ad and jumped at the opportunity to receive help. Fortunately for me, a babysitter who was found by chance became my mother by choice. She married soon after our meeting and the couple added me to their small family through private adoption. I lived with both of my adoptive parents until the age of 6.

When I was 6 years old, my adoptive parents divorced. While I lived full time with my adopted mother, my adoptive father moved to another country and remarried. As his new family grew, our relationship dwindled, and we eventually lost touch during my teen years. Meanwhile, at the age of 9, my adoptive mother began a relationship with a wonderful man, who would eventually become my father.

For most of my childhood and throughout my teen years, this man played the role of “father” in my life. Because he had two children from a previous marriage, he and my mother had decided to take their relationship very slowly. They married in an intimate ceremony in our home seven years after they started dating, when I was 16. Afterwards, my mother and her new husband sat all three of us new step-siblings down and told us that we would have equal rights in our family. For my new stepfather, this meant that I was officially accepted in his heart as one of his own children.  For me, though, it wasn’t enough to feel truly accepted as his daughter.

WHY ADULT ADOPTION?

For me, the difference between having him as my stepfather and my legal father was similar to the difference between having a common-law partner and a husband – there was something extra special about making the relationship legal.

I had accepted him as my father figure, but I wanted to take on his family name as well. I wanted my university degree to display the last name that represented the father who had raised me. When I married, I wanted his surname to be recognized as my official maiden name. I wanted to share the same last name as my mother. To me, it was a symbol of our blended stepfamily becoming a true family unit.

My stepfather had made the decision to marry my mother as a way of legalizing their union (and ours), and I felt as though it was my turn to make a similar gesture with the same sentiment, but on my own accord. At the age of 19, I decided that it was time to make our roles as father and daughter official. I wanted to present the idea to him through a sentimental gift, so I purchased a small mahogany clock and had it engraved with the words, “It’s time you became my father.” I presented it to my stepfather and asked him if he would like to make his role as my father legal. He welcomed the idea with open arms, and we started what became an unexpectedly lengthy and almost impossible adoption process.

THE CHALLENGES

While we were sure of our decision to legalize our father-daughter relationship, we were unsure of how to start the official process of an adult adoption, so we sought out the legal advice of a lawyer and close family friend. Because I hadn’t maintained a relationship with my biological parents, and I had lost touch with my adopted father, we thought the process would be as simple as submitting a petition of consent signed by myself (as an independent adult), and my soon-to-be father, but after some careful digging, our legal counsel found some roadblocks in the system that would make our case nearly impossible.

Our lawyer concluded that without certain parental permissions, the process of adult adoption would be very difficult for us due to the precedent laws in place. The adult adoption process required permissions in order to legalize the union, and in our case, there were two required permissions in particular that we were unable to provide.

The first was “permission from the natural parents of the person who is to be adopted”*, or in my case, permission from my legal adopted father. This seemed like a reasonable request, as in most cases of adoption it would make sense for the legal parent to be required to give their permission to revoke their parental rights; however both my natural and adopted fathers were no longer present in my life.

If we were unable to provide signed consent from the biological or adoptive father, then we were required to meet the second form of consent noted in the adult adoption law: permission from the spouse of the person to be adopted.* I was unmarried at the time, and we thought this requirement was absurd and archaic. Why should a female adult need permission from a spouse to complete the adult adoption process?

Why should a female adult need permission from a spouse to complete the adult adoption process?

My soon-to-be father had experience in the courtroom, both through his previous role on the parole board, and through acting as the legal representative for businesses he ran. He realized that we might be able to circumvent the formal legal barriers ourselves. Our attorney wisely suggested that his idea wouldn’t work, but she did agree to arrange for a hearing before a BC Supreme Court judge on our behalf.

THE DRAMATIC COURTROOM SESSION

In BC, adoption is a BC Supreme Court matter. Traditionally, appearing before a judge in a Supreme Court setting requires the presence of legal representation, but since the traditional legal process had not worked in our favour, we decided to represent ourselves. Our plan was to throw ourselves at the mercy of the judge and hope for the best.

As we anticipated our court date, we rehearsed our argument, aware of the challenges we would face by stepping into a courtroom without a lawyer by our side. When the time finally came to approach the bench, the judge started the session by asking in a stern voice, “Where is your lawyer?” My father held his head high and responded with confidence, “My Lord, lawyers cannot help us any longer. We are here to appeal to you directly.”

The judge, looking perplexed by the fact that we would even attempt to appear before him without a lawyer, paused for a moment. We were waiting for him to ask us to leave his courtroom, but the stars lined up and he replied, “Tell me a little bit more.” At that point we knew that we had a chance.

My father proceeded to tell the judge about our journey, that the process had taken far too long, and that our only desire was to join together legally as father and daughter. As he started to address the challenges we had faced, the judge interrupted him and asked us two questions. He began by asking me, “Do you want this man to adopt you?” I quickly responded, “Yes, my Lord.”

He then asked us, “Are the people who are interested in this adoption in the courtroom today?” We looked at each other, and then looked at my mother who was watching on eagerly, and we replied, “Yes, my Lord.” Caught up in the moment, my father continued with his explanation of the challenges we had faced. He hadn’t seen or heard the drop of the judge’s gavel.

The judge leaned forward and focused his eyes on my father, who was still speaking passionately about our journey. “Mr. Dueck,” he began in a loud voice. “Mr. Dueck! I have already granted your request.”

The courtroom, which was full of strangers waiting for their turn to be heard, exploded in applause.  They cheered for our family and for the kindness that had been shown to us by the judge. My mother, father and I burst into tears, thanked the judge, and left the courtroom overjoyed.

As we left the courtroom the judge ran after us and stopped us in the hallway. We froze, sure that he had changed his mind. “I’m going to expedite the paperwork for you,” he said. “You’ve been through enough.” He brought the paperwork to the clerk himself to ensure that our adoption was processed immediately.  As a result, a document that would have normally taken 6 weeks to process was delivered to us within days.

We had challenged the sexist, archaic laws around the adoption of an adult, and as a result, our case has set a new precedent for Canadian law in the case of adult adoption, all thanks to one judge who chose to take a chance on a young woman and her desire to make her stepfather her father forever.

Adult Adoption

* as outlined in the Adoption Act, Section 3(4), (5) and (6).

This article was also published in Focus on Adoption, Winter 2015 Issue

Swimming Lessons: Overcoming Failure

Swimming lessons are not optional for my kids. With a rushing river steps from our door, and regular family outings on our boat, learning the life skill is mandatory for the kids in our household. Unfortunately, what I thought would be a quick and easy accomplishment for my firstborn, has become a seven year battle.

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again…or take a break and try again in a few years?

In the beginning, swimming lessons were fun for my oldest. When she was 6 months old, a group of my mommy group friends and I signed up for Mommy and Me swimming classes. Each class, my girl splashed and giggled with enthusiasm, her sparkling eyes begging for me to dunk her head under the water again and again. Unfortunately when she was 1, I returned to my full-time job and found it difficult to keep up with the lessons, so I put them on hold.

We did our best to take her swimming regularly, but our visits to the pool were few and far between. When she was 3, I decided it was time to start up the lessons once more. Unfortunately, her love for water had dissolved, and the lessons were everything but enjoyable for her. She failed Tiny Tots 1 – the entry-level swimming stage. I enrolled her again, and again she failed. After 6 failed sessions, I decided to give her another break. Why beat a dead horse? She’ll come around eventually.

swim

With the arrival of our second child and two busy careers, swimming lessons were on our minds but fell by the wayside. Again, we did our best to take our kids swimming, and while they loved to splash and play in the shallow end of the pool, both children refused to submerge their faces in the water.

This past Fall, I registered both kids in Tiny Tots 1 together, hoping that my oldest would find motivation in helping her little brother. And with determination and a lot of assistance from her instructor, she passed. She was proud of herself, and I felt a huge sense of relief. My big girl was finally learning how to swim.

Drive, determination…and heartbreak.

With the pending arrival of baby #3, I again chose to give my girl a break from lessons.

With the approach of Summer, her friends began inviting her to pool parties, and it didn’t take long for her to realize that she was more than behind in her swimming skills. Her classmates were all doing cannon balls in the pool, practicing hand stands and wooshing down waterslides on their bellies, while my girl watched enviously from the sidelines in her swim vest. “I want to learn to swim like them mommy, I feel so embarrassed that I’ve only passed Tiny Tots 1 and have to wear a vest” she said to me one day, and I knew it was time to re-enroll her in lessons.

Now 7, my girl is too old to continue with the Tiny Tots sessions, so I enrolled her in Stage 1 lessons – the first level for school-aged children. I promised that she would catch up quickly, as the class was 5 days a week. She was excited to get started, and showed up for her first lesson grinning from ear to ear.

She jumped into the pool with her fellow swimmers, and awaited the first command from her instructor. “Ok kids, front crawl to the end of the pool and then dolphin swim on the way back. And GO!” Immediately, the kids dove in facedown, and splashed across the pool like a school of fish. My girl, who had just finally dunked her head in the water for the first time in her last class (nose plugged with her fingers), looked at the instructor in awe. “C’mon, let’s go!” the instructor persisted.

My girl began splashing and flailing her arms around as she waded across the pool. She tried to put her face in like the other kids, but each dunk resulted in a nose full of chlorinated water. She hadn’t yet learned how to breath underwater without plugging her nose.

Gasping and choking, she just kept trying. My heart sunk and my eyes began to well up as I watched my little girl try and try again.

And then it got worse…

As she approached the pool’s edge, a boy kicked off and his foot hit her square in the face. Already humiliated, my girl pursed her lips and tried her hardest to hold back the tears that were welling up in her eyes. She glanced over at me, and her face fell as sobs forced their way through her tiny pout. But she still didn’t give up.

It took everything I had to resist the urge to scoop her up out of the pool into my arms, but I wanted to let her decide when she was done – she was just so determined. So I watched wide eyed, my heart racing and my throat choked up with empathy for my baby girl.

From failing to winning, and what finally worked.

When class was over she rushed into my arms and sobbed uncontrollably. I hugged her tightly and told her how proud I was of her for trying so hard and doing her best. I promised that she wouldn’t have to return to that class, and that I would find a more suitable option for her. After a lengthy discussion with the head lifeguard (who explained that although it was indeed the beginner level for school-aged children, my daughter had happened to land in a class where all the children had completed all 4 levels of the Tiny Tots sessions and they just happened to be a more advanced group), I made the decision to pay the additional fees for private lessons.

Although the cost was almost triple that of the regular swimming lessons, private lessons seemed to be our only option. But costs aside, it has been totally worth it.

swim 2

After one session, my girl was bobbing under water without plugging her nose. Now five sessions in, she’s swimming on her back unassisted, dunking for rings without hesitation, and approaching the ability to do a proper front crawl. She’s actually learning how to swim, and more importantly, she’s loving every minute of it.

Signing her up for private swimming lessons was the best decision for my girl, and I’m so happy that I did it. Fingers crossed that my next two little ones will love the water from the beginning, but I’m also going to make more of an effort to enroll them in lessons earlier, and to keep it up regardless of the obstacles that might be in my way.

Why My Kids Are Allowed To Watch TV #KidoodleMom

I grew up with a TV in my bedroom – a necessity for my single mom who was juggling two jobs and an active little girl on her own. I was raised in a household where TV viewing was considered a positive activity for children (in moderation of course, and when balanced with reading and physical activity).  I didn’t have adult supervision when watching TV, and was free to watch whatever I chose – opting not only for The Muppets, The Smurfs and Jem, but more mature shows like The Love Boat and Three’s Company. I was oblivious to the mature jokes and connotations that arose in those grown-up shows, and it wasn’t something that the parents of my generation ever worried about.

Many things have evolved since my early childhood days. Children now have their own iPads, iPhones and iPods. Content has become more easily accessible, and parents have become more concerned about the affects of TV on their children.  TV channels have been created dedicated solely to younger audiences, and parental controls have been enabled in devices to ensure children’s viewing habits are within their suitable age range. But with all the new technology in place, children are still finding ways to access mature content. And parents who were raised in my generation are starting to worry about the content that their children are exposed to in their early years, and how it may affect their development.

With all of the concerns in the media about TV and children, I feel completely comfortable with my children watching TV. I monitor what they watch, when they watch it, and how much they watch, and I make sure that they have a healthy balance of down time, versus outdoor activity, imaginative play, and educational exercises. When it comes to electronic devices I set time limits, and for my school-aged child, I ask her to read a book for 15 minutes in order to earn 15 minutes of game time on a device.

But there are still some difficulties that we face around our house. We only have one TV, so my children are often frustrated about having to compromise and watch each other’s favourite shows. My husband has introduced them to some of our childhood favourite cartoons, but the only channel that plays those shows, also plays inappropriately mature commercials (my kids really don’t need to watch an Axe commercial or a commercial for lubricants thankyouverymuch). When we record movies, many of our favourite family-friendly animated movies are aired on channels that also run adult-focused commercials (is a commercial with a woman scantily clad in lingerie, rolling around in the sheets with a shirtless gent really suitable for children who are watching Over The Hedge?).

Cue Kidoodle.TV. When I heard about the Netfix-like video service focused on content for kids, I was intrigued. An ad-free streaming service that offers many of my kids’ favourite shows (Super Why!, My Little Pony, Inspector Gadget, National Geographic animal shows, and so many more), available on any device that has access to the web? Yes please! My kids love being able to watch the shows of their choice on separate devices, and us adults love that we don’t have to watch kid’s shows or deal with the bickering that comes with it. We can set time limits on the device, and can select from a menu of age-appropriate shows for the kids to access. Built for kids, and loved by parents. Ain’t that the truth.

Read below to learn more about Kidoodle.TV and how you can try it out for FREE!

Benefits of Kidoodle.TV include:

  • Kidoodle.TV is a safe, ad-free streaming video service that youKidoodle.TV can customize for your kids according to your preferencesand theirs.
  •  Create up to 5 custom profiles for your kids.  Choose content based on your child’s age or on a show-by-show basis.
  • The secure Parents Room includes a setting where you can set viewing time limits, allowing families to balance the time spent on Kidoodle.TV with other important activities.
  • Kids can watch Kidoodle.TV on the go – all that is needed is web access.
  • Kidoodle.TV has a wide range of safe, kids-only content, including retro content from your childhood like Jem and the Holograms and Inspector Gadget.

Special Promo Code & Giveaway:

Try it out for yourselves! A subscription to Kidoodle.TV costs only $4.99/month, but you can receive a special 25% off discount on a one-year Kidoodle.TV subscription when you register using the code MCC25. Offer expires on June 30th, 2014.

You can also enter for a chance to win a ONE-YEAR KIDOODLE.TV SUBSCRIPTION FOR FREE below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please Note: Although you may enter to win through multiple blogs, you may only win on a single blog.  Entrants must be a resident of Canada, however those in Quebec are unfortunately unable to enter the giveaway.  Winners will need to provide their email addresses to you to be provided to Kidoodle.TV.

Kidoodle.TV is also giving away 3 iPad Minis in March and April! Enter to win one on the Kidoodle.TV Facebook Page.

To learn more about Kidoodle.TV, check out their website.

Disclosure: I am part of the Kidoodle.TV blogger program with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Preparing For Baby #3: Room Sharing

While I now have a large and diverse family, most of my childhood was spent as an only child with a single parent, so watching my children grow together as siblings has been a new experience for me.

When we bought our house, I thought we had planned it perfectly – a separate room for each of the kids, and a playroom downstairs to share. If only I had known that we would have a change of heart and make the decision to add one more to our family.

As I move through my final trimester of pregnancy, I am starting to prepare for the arrival of my third child, and am realizing that it’s a whole different planning process. The first big step: moving my two older kids into the same room.

Room Sharing

The thought of moving my son into his sister’s room has given me a little anxiety. Will he feel resentful losing the freedom of having his own space? Will it be strange for a sister and brother to share a bedroom? 

So far they’ve been in the same room for two nights, and while the sleeping at night part has gone smoothly, things have been a little different during the day. When the sun rises, so arises a few issues with their new accommodations.

This morning my daughter woke up early and wanted to turn on the lights so she could play, while my son wasn’t ready to open his eyes, hoping for a little more rest in the dark. I awoke to a frustration-fuelled squabble over the light switch. And as I rolled out of my bed to help them sort it out, it happened. “This is MY room, MY rules!” my daughter screamed at her little brother.

I talked them through it, explained that the room is now a shared space, and that they’ll need to make some compromises to make it work.  While that little spat was quickly resolved, I wondered how much more challenging it would be when the third is added to the mix.

My plan is for the two older children to share a room until their new little sister is ready to move out of her crib (and is sleeping through the night), and then we’ll build a new room, or move the girls into the same room. Until then, I’m approaching this new challenge with bated breath, and making sure that each of my children feels loved as we prepare for the arrival of their new sibling.

I’d love to hear your input – did you share a room growing up? Do your children share a room? Any tips?

CHSC Family Concert Featuring Jennifer Gasoi (Giveaway)

Imagine giving birth to your beautiful baby, and finding out after a series of routine screening tests that your baby has been diagnosed with severe hearing loss in both ears.

Imagine finding out when your child turns one, that all of the I love you‘s you’ve whispered into their little ears have gone unheard.

Imagine wondering if the only way you will be able to communicate with your sweet child will be through sign language. For these families, as well as many others in BC and across the globe, these stories, worries and concerns became a reality when they received hearing test results for their little ones:

Thankfully, in 1963, The Children’s Hearing & Speech Centre of BC (CHSC) was born – the first and still the only certified, licenced, independent school in Western Canada focused on providing hearing and speech programs for children and families who are deaf or hard of hearing.

“Deaf and hard of hearing children are learning to listen and to speak…we optimize children’s opportunities. We give hope words.” – Children’s Hearing & Speech Centre of BC

To support these important programs and services, the CHSC will be hosting their 3rd annual Family Concert on April 12, 2014.

Featuring the 2014 Grammy award winner for Best Children’s Album, Jennifer Gasoi, the annual event will raise funds and bring awareness to the non-profit organization that is known for teaching deaf and hard-of-hearing children to speak and hear.

Jennifer Gasoi

Grammy winner, Jennifer Gasoi

Known for such jazz-infused children’s hits as “Throw A Penny In The Wishing Well”, Jennifer Gasoi will have your family dancing on their toes and singing along, all in support of a great cause!

You may wonder – how can children who are deaf or hard of hearing enjoy music? At CHSC, children who are deaf and hard of hearing are learning to listen and to speak. And while sign language was once considered the most common and visible option for deaf and hard of hearing children, today a deaf child may begin to wear a hearing device when he or she is in infancy. The combination of technology and listening and spoken language education makes this dynamic – a deaf child listening and speaking – a reality. – Children’s Hearing & Speech Centre of BC

Want to see Jennifer Gasoi perform live at an intimate venue here in Vancouver? Spread the word about this fantastic initiative, and you could win 4 tickets to the show!

Event Date: April 12th, 2014
Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre, Jewish Community Centre
950 W 41st Ave, Vancouver

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Unleashing Our Disney Side

Let’s face it, for many of us parents Disney vacations aren’t just for the children. While a Disney vacation may be a magical jaunt for the little ones — a fun way to unite in a fun-filled, virtually rules-free environment — it’s Disney Sidealso a welcome opportunity for parents to lose all inhibitions and succumb to the magic that Disney and all of its timeless and enchanting stories represent.

When our family recently enjoyed a Disney World/Disney Cruise vacation, my first thought was that the trip would be all about the kids. “It’ll be nice to see the wide smiles on their faces. That alone will make the whole trip worthwhile”, I thought to myself. But when we walked through those magical gates, my eyes widened and the five-year-old me was released full-force.

My heart raced as I scanned the perimeter for the faces of familiar Disney characters. Suddenly, I had no problem with skipping down the street, wearing mouse ears, and singing my favourite childhood tunes in public. The sight of the world-renowned giant mouse gave me butterflies in my stomach, and I had to resist the urge to push little ones aside for my turn at a hug with the loveable rodent. And I was captivated by the angelic voices of our favourite Disney princesses as they gracefully glided past us as though they had strolled straight out of the movie screen and onto the street on which we walked.

Our trip was a whirlwind of adventure, magic, and ongoing fun — and not just for the children, but for us adults as well.

Since returning home to the monotony of daily routines and overbooked schedules, we try our best to relive our favourite Disney moments whenever possible. Many nights are spent curled up as a family watching some of our favourite Disney movies — Peter Pan, The Little Mermaid, Tangled, and Toy Story are just a few of many favourites in our home. We sing our favourite Disney tunes in harmony (the latest: “Let It Go” from the Frozen soundtrack), and play make-believe with Disney figurines. And on occasion, our pancakes take the shape of Mickey Mouse, which never ceases to light up the faces of our little mouseketeers.

I think it’s important to take time out of our busy lives every once in awhile, to relive our childhood memories and create new ones for our children. And in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we could all use a little more light-hearted childhood fun, am I right?

There’s No Party Like A Disney Costume Party

Since taking her first steps and speaking her first words, my daughter has loved Disney princesses. For hours she would play in her room, adorned in tiaras and floor-length gowns, serving tea to the guests in her Disney Costumeprincess castle and speaking gently in a high-pitched princess voice. When her game was complete, the floor of her room was littered from end to end with sparkly, crinoline-lined pink, yellow and light blue dresses, multicoloured tiaras, and magical wands. We would pack up all of her costumes into a Disney princess-covered dress-up trunk, and tuck it all away neatly until the next royal visit.

When my son was born, he had no interest in princess play, but was immediately drawn to the captivating characters of such Disney favourites as Toy Story, Monsters Inc. and Cars. He would spend hours lying on his stomach on his car track play mat which covered the floor of his bedroom, with his miniature Lightning McQueen figurine in his hand as he vroomed! and beeped! it around the track. Speaking in a deep and raspy voice, he would command the other cars to follow closely. When he wasn’t playing with cars, he was jumping off surfaces with a rocket ship in hand, pretending to be Buzz Lightyear adventuring through space. And as he grew older, a cape became a daily must-wear accessory, and The Incredibles his new obsession. Suddenly his life revolved around superheroes and the desire to possess superpowers.

My children are now four and six years old, and while they used to play separately, unable to find a way to combine the magical princess play with the rough and tumble cars and superheroes, they have now begun to find ways to combine their differing interests and play together happily.

Mimicking their favourite characters from Disney’s Frozen, they wrap blankets around their necks and hang buckets on their heads, pretending to be Elsa and Kristoph as they march around the house singing “Let It Go” in harmony while dancing in imaginary snow. They build ice castles out of sheets hung from the edges of couches and chairs, and talk to an invisible Olaf, laughing at his jokes and slapstick tumbles.

In a world where technology has begun to dominate play time, I’m so thankful that my children enjoy playing dress up, engaging in imaginative play, and acting out scenes from their favourite Disney movies. I’m going to continue to encourage it, and hope that it continues for years to come!