We’re done having kids. The boys are now 8 & 11 so we’re out of the baby/toddler/preschooler stage. I have loved every stage but the older they get the more I see a little baby and want to squish their little cheeks and start again. KIDDING. I don’t want to start again. But I need something to keep me company during the day while the boys are in school. Pets are not an option (WAY too much work plus the whole allergy thing) so I’m becoming a Plant Mom.
The day is almost here! The day that your children, if old enough to talk, have probably been going on about incessantly since school started: HALLOWEEN.
This day can cause a lot of stress for parents. There’s just so much excitement, sugar, sensory overload, sugar, late bedtime, sugar, excitement, sugar…. which, for most kids, means eventual overwhelm and meltdown. What I’ve learned in my 6 years as a “Halloween Parent” is that you gotta do you, mama. When I was a new mom there was a post by a mom blogger essentially shaming moms for not trick or treating around their own neighbourhoods…. Obviously that stuck with me because I still remember it. Guess what? Who cares! Forget about what others think you should be doing on Halloween and just do what you think is best for your kid(s) AND your sanity.
My daughter has seen her share of bullies and she’s only in Grade 2. From preschool on there’s always been that one child. She has been the child who runs to the teacher immediately so has been a “bully” target because of it. My initial reaction is Mama Bear but almost always secondary I wonder about the child. We know that kids who bully are sometimes modelling behavior they’ve seen or as the Have You Filled a Bucket book says, they have an empty bucket and don’t understand that hurting others won’t fill theirs.
Honestly, I’ve thrown my Judgy Jessie hat on more times than I care to admit when watching said children’s interaction with their parents. Saying to myself, “Ah, now it makes sense”. Does it though? Do I know the back ground of what’s going on with that family? No, I don’t and I hate judgment. I feel guilty every time I think back to any time I decided to do that to another human being.
Let me tell you why this has suddenly become so clear to me that it’s the wrong thing to do. Because recently, it was MY daughter that was the bully.
And I am sort of ashamed it came to that. I’m not going to get in to great detail but she made some bad choices, along with some other kids that were making bad choices. The only reason I know is because her little bro ended up being involved.
When she finally opened up and let me know what was going on I was in shock. It was like the first time you realize your parents aren’t perfect. MY DAUGHTER? The “tattle tale”, help everyone who’s in trouble, compassionate, smart, funny little girl had made the CHOICE to treat others badly. Needless to say it was a very long conversation. Followed by further conversations with her AMAZING teacher, and at least one apology letter being written.
In the end, I feel like the whole situation was one of the best things that could have happened to our family. They say kids teach you more than you teach them. Truth. I had to hold in my reactions and think a lot about how to make this a teachable time. I also took this as an opportunity to remind her that I’m here to help her get through mistakes like these. She learned from this, showed remorse and even now, weeks later, we discuss it as a cautionary tale.
Cause kids make mistakes. Our kids make them, other kids make them and we make them too. Our job as adults is to help them through, learn as we go and withhold the judgment against other adults who are maybe just doing the best they can.
I know that’s what I am hoping for the next time either of my kids decide to dabble in bad choices. I’d love to say they’ll never do anything like this again, but if I thought that, then this situation would have taught me nothing.
For as long as Finn has been able to put on his own shoes, he could care less about his shoes being on the wrong feet…that is until he started preschool and kissing dots were introduced. Now he’s obsessed.
I wish I could take the credit for kissing dots, but all of the credit goes to Finn’s preschool teacher Ms.Rebecca.
It’s not just HIS shoes though that he wants to put kissing dots on, it’s everyone’s. Recently he was super upset when his older brother absolutely refused to even entertain the idea – they aren’t cool when you’re 9! Nevermind that daddy has black shoes, his solution….coloured paint (I mean it’s actually a good idea).
It’s also expanded to strangers. When we were out at a local indoor playground recently a parent was telling their child to put their shoes on the right feet and Finn loudly said: “You should get some kissing dots”. I’m sure had he known that I keep a permanent marker in my purse he would have offered that as well.
How Do Kissing Dots Work?
- Get a permanent marker (or paint)
- Grab the shoes
- Put a dot on the two inner outsides of the shoe so that they can “kiss” when they are together
- That’s it
It is literally the most simple solution that I can’t believe I’ve never heard of before, but you know what? Finn has put his shoes on the right feet since then.
Christine Bruckmann is one of the founding members of Alberta Mamas and is known to everyone as the research ninja. You can also find her writing on her blog Just Another Edmonton Mommy.
The weather outside is getting colder and mountains are slowly being capped by snow. The cold weather and extra layers to go outside and explore with kids can be a daunting task. It is not always easy convincing toddlers and preschoolers to keep their mitts on. However, it is worth the struggle. Trust me. The trails turn into a beautiful winter wonderland. For children, this means entering the land of “Frozen”. Hot chocolate by the fireplace is also so much more enjoyable after a day of exploring in the cold. These 4 hikes, located in the Born to be Adventurous “Hiking Guide for Families”, are perfect winter hikes for everyone to enjoy. They are rated for little kids and range from easy to difficult for little feet. This means that toddlers and their grandparents can find a hike to enjoy together this winter.
3 Winter Hiking Tips:
Bring along Ice Cleats in the backpack in case the trail gets slippery.
Plan to take a little longer finishing the trail as hiking in the snow can be a little more challenging for kids.
Be prepared and consider using some of these 7 hiking tips for hiking in the winter with kids.
4 Beautiful Winter Hikes for Families around Calgary
Troll Falls is an easy 2.4 km hike with minimal elevation located in the stunning Kananaskis area. In the winter, Troll Falls turns into a natural frozen masterpiece. Use caution when exploring the falls as it is very slippery, and pieces of ice can break off from above. Park at the Troll Falls Day Use area. The trail starts passed the end of the parking lot on the left side.
If the trail is packed down with snow in the winter, then consider bringing a sled to pull the kids when they get tired of hiking. Even though the downhills are not too long or steep, it is best to get off the sled during the downhills to avoid accidently hitting a tree or another hiker.
The pressure on a mom is unlike anything I believe. There is the old motivational quotes about diamonds being coal that did well under pressure. They turn out to be these beautiful things because so much pressure has been put on them.
I don’t know about you guys, but I think I would settle for a pretty rock found on the beach instead of a diamond. Worn smooth by the ever changing flow.
As women we have come so far. Even from just a hundred years ago. A Beyonce says in the song We Run The World, “we smart enough to make the millions, strong enough to bear the children, then get back to business.” Now I’m not one to argue with the Queen B herself of course, but this is the exact problem.
So much pressure to do it all.
- We should be great mothers.
- We should be awesome kick ass business runners.
- We should be gorgeous.
- We should have clean homes.
- We should be patient, kind, loving, understanding and strong.
- We should be amazing cooks and bakers.
- We should be top notch crafters.
- We should be able to mend worn clothing, sibling rivalry and broken hearts
As my teachers say “Stop shoulding on yourself”.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we give you – Thankful for…..
1. That two hours of sleep you got between feedings. Cause, you know, it could have been just one.
2. That silence you had for 20 min. It was great, until you find them “painting” with your Sephora make up.
3. That 5th time you said their name and they responded to you vs tuning you out.
4. Booking that dentist appointment once a year. 45 whole me time minutes.
5. That 5am Saturday morning wake up. Cause dragging them out of bed all week has been super fun.
6. All the extra room in your massive purse. Because you need a change of clothes for each kid when you go out, snacks – oh and your husbands wallet.
The other night as I frantically finished up the evening chores and sent the kids off too bad my daughter came up to me and asked me if I would cuddle with her in bed. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has answered this way but I told her “just let me finish up the dishes and what I am doing here and I will come cuddle with you.” I guess deep down my hope was that she would fall asleep and I could continue finishing up cleaning up the kitchen, putting away toys they had missed, hang up jackets, prep snacks and lunches. That I could finally sit down and throw on some Netflix or do something that I had been wanting to get done the whole day and needed my alone time to do it.
After about 3 minutes of silence I hear her say “mama are you still coming?” I instantly felt bad, she had actually been waiting. I had given her this hope that I was coming when I didn’t really have the intention of coming to cuddle with her. This mom guilt came over me and I dropped the sponge and went to her room. I invited our son to come and cuddle with us too. I mean was it going to take an extra two minutes of my time, five minutes even to lay in bed with them cuddle recite some Quran and make them feel like they are loved and cared about until the very last minute of the day. It’s about them going to sleep feeling like it was a good day no matter what happened at school or whatever fears or struggles they had at the end of the day it’s us against the world and no matter what mama is there. It was just a simple moment that she’d asked for but I was telling her without really telling her that I had other things that were more important than her.
Perhaps in my head I justify it as I had spent the day with them, running errands for them, rushing around for them, cooking for them taking them to the library, driving across the city with them and many other “mom duties”.
We have had the absolute pleasure of working with The Know Tribe Edmonton and had the opportunity to showcase Alberta Mamas alongside many other amazing lady run businesses in Edmonton in The Know Book.
The reason we love everything about this endeavor is that it’s really all about women supporting women. Marina, Renata and Stephanie (Know Ambassadors) are women helping other women get out there and be seen. Not just creating connections within the group but with The Know Book, exposure that can be touched, felt and picked up by people all over the city.
It’s a vetted guide that highlights dynamic women that are often under-the-radar, behind-the-scenes, and are busy perfecting their craft. It is a diverse collection of women from all walks of life, industries, ages, and backgrounds.
It’s a casual place where high-level, like-minded women come together to create and foster relationships. There are absolutely no mean girls allowed. We are a sisterhood.
The events that you can take part in are incredibly fun. One of the best parts is being in a group and realizing you are meeting people you follow on social, and admire, IRL. Connecting, inspiring and learning from each other.
You can even see what others have said about being part of the Tribe on YouTube!
Get In The Know 😉
There’s an event coming up that you can attend to really see what it’s all about.
October 17 at the Creative Hive! Check out the Eventbrite for all the details.
‘YOU CAN ALWAYS TELL WHO THE STRONG WOMEN ARE. THEY ARE THE ONES BUILDING ONE ANOTHER UP RATHER THAN TEARING EACH ANOTHER DOWN.’