Mopping makes Daughters Rich

man-in-pink-cleaning-the-floor

Apparently if I want my daughters to be successful in life I need to scrub the floor more often. A study out of the University of British Columbia suggests that if I want my daughters to pursue a profession that is not stereotypically female that I should do more housework.  Read more of this post

My 3 Mums

Today I celebrate my three Mum’s!  Read more of this post

Trapping the Midnight Turkeys

IMAG0568

The other day my 7 year old was getting frustrated because the trap she had been building while her younger sister climbed the tree was not working. After a short discussion about the value of failure as a learning opportunity I realized that she did not actually know what she wanted to trap and as a result it was hard to know whether or not the trap would work.

IMAG0572

Read more of this post

NO! – A five year-old’s guide to being stubborn

We have three daughters; seven, five and 6 months. Our five year-old has been practicing saying no and she is very, very good at it. This may be a function of her change in status from being the youngest in the family to becoming a big sister and a middle child. It may just be that she likes to be contrary and stubborn and in charge.  I think she offers an excellent example to other kids looking to be the boss of me. Read more of this post

So Much Anger!

Our two oldest girls tend to have fights from time to time.  Sometimes – very unusual I know – there is overwrought emotional expression involved in these discussions.  We have encouraged them to consider drawing their feelings instead of hitting the offending combatant.

On the weekend Laura and I were the recipient of the following expressions of emotion… Read more of this post

uOttawa and Rape Culture

I am a grad of the University of Ottawa and I think it is safe to say that things haven’t been going so well at my alma mater lately.  It is only Tuesday and already this week has seen the resignation of four student politicians as a result of threatening sexual comments they made regarding the Student Federation president.    Yesterday the University announced that they had suspended the men’s varsity hockey team. Media outlets have since indicated that the incident in question was a sexual assault in Thunder Bay a few weeks ago.  To say the least I am disappointed in the behaviour of all of these men.   Read more of this post

Kids are Cramping My Style

DSCN0726

I have three little girls and D3 is just 3 1/2 months old.  D1 and D2 are 7 and 5 respectively.  D1 and D2 like to help with their little sister.  It is great that they are so engaged and helpful.  They like to play with D3 and try to get her to smile.  They pick out her outfits for the day and keep the diaper stockpiles around the house well stocked.  They like to sit and hold her and they are willing to entertain her if she is awake and we need to shower or cook.  So far no one has suggested that we send her back.  I think they have decided that she is a keeper. All of that is fantastic. However, they are starting to cramp my style.

Read more of this post

Response to Matt Walsh on Sex-Ed

Today I read a post by Matt Walsh detailing his views on sexual health education in schools.  I could not disagree more with the position he takes.  He doesn’t believe that schools should be teaching sexual health topics except perhaps anatomy in biology class.  Read more of this post

Welcome to 2014! It’s all downhill from here…

2013 was a great year.  I met some great people, attended some interesting events, learned new stuff, my five year old started school in September, In October we took delivery of daughter number 3, we were the beneficiaries of generosity from family, friends and neighbours, my family is healthy and my now 12 week old greets me with a smile.

So why, one day in, would I say it is all downhill in 2014?  Well there is this Read more of this post

12 Things I Like About Christmas Holidays

We are two days into the school Christmas break and a friend unexpectedly took D1 and D2 for a sleepover tonight so that set me thinking about the things I enjoy about the Christmas holidays.  I haven’t had much time for writing lately as I have taken on a second job for a few months and the extra workload is consuming my blog writing time.

Here are the 12 things I like about the Christmas Holidays.

1) Freedom from the school lunch tyranny

Our school finished for the holidays on Thursday and I was thinking that night about the fact that I didn’t have to make any school lunches for Friday and how nice that was.  At the beginning of the semester I carefully crafted a two-week menu of school lunches that I could work through every two weeks before starting again.  It was nicely balanced in terms of nutritional foods and variety so the girls wouldn’t get tired of eating the same thing everyday.  Our school operates on a balanced school day so there are actually two times in the day when they eat and have longer breaks instead of the standard lunch and two short recesses.  That means a little more work figuring out what food to pack for the day.  That menu is still posted on the fridge for easy reference.  Sadly it didn’t even last through one cycle before the complaints about the food started.  I thought I had taken into account all the food likes and dislikes between the two of them.  I was so wrong.  I forgot that food likes this week can easily be dislikes next week.  The result was that I winged it most days, which made it more mentally taxing every evening.  The break means freedom from school lunches.  Before we go back in the new year I will create a new menu and see how that works out.  Maybe I can at least get a week’s worth of lunch items that don’t result in complaints…

2) Unexpected Sleepovers

We went to D1’s best friend’s house for a gingerbread house decorating party this afternoon and stayed all afternoon and ate candy, chips and icing for dinner.  Then the kids concocted a strategy for turning the whole thing in to a sleep over.  They approached the adults en masse – strength in numbers being part of the strategy – and they fanned out to ask their parents.  nobody asked the host parents.  They had their arguments coordinated and they made their case each in turn.  We knew it was coming because they had discussed their strategy with one of the parents in the room, but they aren’t so hot at quiet whispers.  Thanks to our spy we were prepared.  The first point of their argument was that tomorrow is a holiday and they don’t have to go to school.   It was great of our friends to host 8 girls for an unplanned sleep over.  It is a nice break for us and it will be a fun time for the girls.  Especially since they are all hopped up on gingerbread house decorations!

3) Christmas lights

We have had lots of snow around here and there are plenty of houses with Christmas lights outside.  Coming home tonight it was cheerful to see the lights and come home to our own house with Christmas lights and see the lights of the tree through the window.  Our house is by no means significantly decorated.  I am not sufficiently organized in the fall to make that happen, but we have coloured lights and a couple of candy cane lights outside and it just makes things brighter during the longer nights.

4) Gatherings

December is always a month with lots of opportunities for holiday-related gatherings.  I have quite a few work-related opportunities because I am working two jobs and I have a few offices for one of my jobs so I went to a few work parties and opted out of a couple of work parties.  We were also invited to a number of parties at people’s home and made it to a few and didn’t make it to a few others.  We spent the afternoon today with other parents telling and sharing stories.  We are hosting friends on Christmas day for dinner.  We have family coming to visit for the week after Christmas.  One of our traditions that we won’t be participating in this year is that my extended family gathers with another family on Boxing Day.  This is a tradition that has been happening for more than 60 years since my grandparents and their friends immigrated to Canada from England following WWII.  Boxing Day is typically the only day I see our family friends these days, but they are family and it is a tradition that I cherish and will miss this year.

5) Giving stuff to people

We don’t have a lot of spare cash lying around – hence the second job – and I don’t have the means to give people gifts whenever the mood strikes me.  I would like to be able to give more.  I’d like to be able to give to more charities and I’d like to be able to buy my wife flowers, etc. just because I feel like it.  I can’t afford to do that throughout the year.  However we always manage to pull it together around Christmas and I give myself permission to spend the money I don’t really have to give things and experiences to others.  I love watching people open their presents and their reactions.  I enjoy picking things to give others and while I am not a fan of mall crowds I don’t mind too much when I know what I am looking for because then I can do my in and out shopping and avoid the frustrating wandering with all the other aimless shoppers.  I am not a window shopper and I don’t get pleasure from shopping as an act in and of itself.  I do enjoy giving meaningful things – and maybe the occasional rubber snake in a stocking for my mother.

6) Family Time

The kids are home, I have a few days off and work is slower which means I can have a more relaxed approach to life for a few weeks while everything slows down.  It means I get to spend some more quality time with the girls and with Laura.  I can never have enough time to spend with my family.  Life and work get in the way of that.  We all live with many conflicting priorities and need to make choices about how we allocate our time and resources.  I choose to get up early to have time for myself before getting D1 and D2 up for school.  I choose to be home for dinner and bed time pretty well every night of the week.  Sometimes work and other commitments get in the way of that, although not often.  I choose to attend school assemblies as I am able and work from home time to time so that I can pick the girls up from school on occasion.   I am not religious and so Christmas is an entirely secular holiday for me and is all about family and friends.

7) Playing in the Snow

We live in Ottawa and Ottawa gets snow.  Lots of snow.  It is one of the things I like about living here.  I love the snow – in spite of having to clear the driveway.  I enjoy the opportunities for playing in the snow.  We will make time in the next couple of weeks to go tobogganing.  The girls make snow angels and climb snow mountains.   We have snowball fights on the way to school and sometimes I pull them to school on a sled if the sidewalk ploughs haven’t cleared all the snow on the sidewalk yet.  We live on a main street so the plough has typically been by at least once by the time we walk to school.  During the holidays there are more opportunities for playing in the snow and I will do my best to take advantage of those opportunities.

8) Sleeping in

Since there is no school I don’t need to incorporate waking the girls up and getting them ready for and to school before I go to work.  That means I don’t have to get up as early in the morning.  Of course they wake up earlier when they don’t need to be pried out of bed for school and sometimes D3 – although she is sleeping through the night most nights now – chooses to wake up earlier than I want to be awake.  I do get to sleep in some days and I am always good for a bit more sleep than usual.

9) Cooking

Cooking goes with gatherings and spending time with friends and family.  I like to cook and I especially enjoy making bigger meals.  I enjoy the logistics of it and the creativity required.  I especially like the fact that I get to eat the end result.

10) Cookies

Sometimes at Christmas there are cookies.  I don’t like making cookies since I tend to burn or otherwise wreck them.  I do enjoy eating cookies though.  They are yummy.  MMM Bring me cookies!

11) Christmas Movies

I am a sucker for a good Christmas movie.  Miracle on 34th street and Rudolph are my favourites – I haven’t seen them yet this year so I will need to see if I can find them on netflix or otherwise online.  I pretty well respond as the movies are designed to make me respond.  I always feel like I am watching them with a smile on my face and I feel good after watching them.

12) Jolliness

Shopping crankiness aside, I feel like there are more smiles on peoples’ faces in the lead up to Christmas.  I feel pretty excited and positive about Christmas.  I don’t like the commercial aspects of it.  I love the spirit of the season.  I enjoy having a bright light to focus on in the dark months of winter.  I enjoy the rituals and the excitement of kids and the things I have mentioned above.  New Years is a part of it too.  There is a sense of renewal or at least contemplation about the year that has passed.  Even in crappy years there are always things to celebrate at the end of the year, even if it is just the fact of having survived another year.  I am an early Christmas Day riser because I am excited about what the day will bring.  I am excited to watch people open their presents.  I am typically awake around four or five on Christmas Day.  I take after my grandfather who was always up early for Christmas and my Dad who was an early riser when we were kids.  It is a joyful, jolly time of year and I love it.

 

So HO HO HO Merry Christmas to all of you!