Your response to guest author, Stephane Shick’s, last post about raising a severely allergic child was amazing. As promised, here is part two of Stephanie’s story. Read more…
I wanted to follow up on the post I did about fashion retailers using models who are representative of all body types. Some of the comments I received were very positive and supportive of this notion…others were somewhat apathetic to the situation. Basically saying…the fashion industry is the way it is and there’s really nothing that can be done to change this.
Some of these comments included: Read more…
It’s understandable that it’s hard for us to confront social sexual taboos to raise our daughters with more honesty. But we would be far less afraid if we reframed the issue as one of daughters wanting to understand, in concert with the mothers who love them, how their bodies work, how love works, and how women young and old can navigate the world together. – Joyce McFadden
I was raised Catholic and attended Catholic schools. I would say that my sexual education was very sheltered. In high school, for example, we did not have “sexual education.” Instead, we had “marriage preparation,” which was ironically (and absurdly) taught to us by a 70 year old nun. Not to say I don’t value the morality I was raised with. I do. However, I also believe that creating fear and repression around sexuality can only cause those very feelings to manifest and have all kinds of adverse effects on us when we grow up. Read more…
I watched the premire episode of the Lifetime series The Conversation the other day. I had been anxiously awaiting the show, hosted by the cute-as-a-button Amanda De Cadenet. In this first episode, one of the women she spoke with was actress, Gwyneth Paltrow.
First things first…I have to admit, I’ve never been a huge Gwyneth fan. I was one of the people who thought she didn’t deserve the Oscar the year she won (my pick was Cate Blanchette in Elizabeth). I’ve found Paltrow’s communication style pontificating and her “lifestyle” blog, Goop, pretentious. But, I was going in with an open mind because this show is all about “the universal language of women,” and I, myself, have talked about how important it is to stop “broad-bashing” fellow ladies!
I recently read an article in the Globe and Mail, which talked about a checklist released by the National Trust, a charity that looks after historic buildings, gardens and forests throughout Britain. It was a bucket list for young children and it suggested 50 activities they should undertake before they are 12 years old…
The article states that these days
…there’s much more focus on the danger of being outside of the home…We’re a bit more paranoid than we need to be. Conversely, parents seem less concerned about how a couch-potato lifestyle is hurting their children. The World Health Organization has warned that obesity rates among kids are rising at an “alarming rate.” A study published this month in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine showed that half of preschool children in the United States don’t go outside to play on a daily basis.
Are we, as parents, really so buttoned up, paranoid and regimented that our kids are really no longer just “going outside to play?” Not the case for my kids. My mom has a saying, “a dirty child is a happy child.” I love this rule of thumb and it is so true. My kids are the happiest when they are outside in our garden digging in the dirt, playing with worms and making mud pies. Sure, they love watching tv and playing on the computer, too, but their imaginations are engaged and energy burned off (can I get an AMEN??!!) so much more effectively when they are crafting, chasing, climbing and, generally, mucking about.
Most of the items on this list are things we all did as children. Our parents likely didn’t show or direct us to do the many of them as they are part of “experimental” play that comes naturally to children (or should – and perhaps, herein lies the real problem). Other items do require an adult’s help and I think it is sad to think that any parent wouldn’t think to introduce these activities to their children without a reminder of how much fun they are. Having a child is one’s chance to re-live your own childhood! So, my suggestion would be that this list not just be for kids under 12; it should also be for their parents — you will be surprised how much fun you will have doing many of these things (with or without your kids).
Here are a few examples of the “bucket list” activities:
1. Climb a tree
2. Roll down a really big hill
3. Run around in the rain
4. Fly a kite
5. Play conkers
6. Throw some snow
7. Make a mud pie
8. Dam a stream
9. Set up a snail race
10. Swing on a rope swing
11. Watch the sun wake up
12. Catch a crab
13. Go on a nature walk at night
14. Plant it, grow it, eat it
My husband calls me “chicken little”. I am a born worrier and my little girl’s apple didn’t fall far from the tree. At least once a week, just before bed, she anxiously tells me about something she has been thinking about or something that is bothering her. Last summer we spent a wonderful weekend at a friend’s cabin. When we got home, C realized that she had forgotten a beloved stuffed animal. She was distraught and near tears. She was so worried that she would never see the toy again. I had two choices. I could dismiss her worry or I could respect it and help her work through it. It was a good parenting day for me, because I opted for the latter.
What resulted from our conversation was the following little story we wrote together about her worry…through it, we devised a way for her to express her anxiety, without letting it keep her awake or upset all night.
C’s Big Worry
One night C was going to bed after coming home from a fun weekend at the cabin. Her mummy had tucked her in and she was just about to fall asleep when she suddenly realized, “oh no! I forgot Heart Bear at the cabin!”
C was worried. She thought about Heart Bear all alone at the cabin. She wondered if he would be lonely and if he would miss her terribly.
C lay in her bed thinking about Heart Bear and the worried feeling wouldn’t go away. So, she crept downstairs. Mummy must have heard that creeping because she met C at the bottom of the stairs.
“What’s wrong, sweetheart?” Mummy said.
“It’s Heart Bear,” said C, “I left him at the cabin and I am really worried about him!”
“Oh no!” said Mummy as she gently took C’s hand and walked with her back upstairs. She tucked C back into bed and said, “I know you feel worried and that is okay. Being worried means you really, really care about something….Do you know what I do when I have a worry and I can’t fall asleep?”
“No,” said C, “what do you do?”
“Well, I whisper my worry into my hand and put it under my pillow. If the worry is still there in the morning, then I talk to someone about it…like Daddy or someone else I trust.”
C took her hand from under her covers and gently whispered into it, “I’m really worried about Heart Bear at the cabin all alone.” And she took the worry and put it under her pillow.
“Now,” said Mummy, “if that worry is still there in the morning, you tell me and we will talk about it some more and work it out.”
“Okay,” yawned C, “but I’m feeling really sleepy now.” She drifted off to sleep, feeling much better because she knew that she could talk about it with Mummy again in the morning if she still felt worried about Heart Bear.
- The End -
I think kids, like anyone else, need to feel like their concerns and anxieties are valid. Providing them tools to express themselves and simple ways to cope, like in the story, give them a sense of control. Essentially, I have taught C to “sleep on it” when she has a worry and that she can always talk to me or her dad when she has anxieties…I think that’s a good foundation to start with. Maybe the sky won’t fall, after all.
I’m always trying to think up different ways to get fresh fruit and vegetables into my kids. This quick and easy carrot slaw was a huge hit with my little boy tonight. My daughter is “not a huge fan” (her words) of carrots, so she wasn’t as keen.
Easy Carrot Slaw
2 medium carrots grated
1 medium apple cored and sliced
1/4 cup of raisins
2 tablespoons of mayonaise
1 tablespoon of vinegar
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Could substitute apple for celery or add some chopped almonds or walnuts for extra crunch.
I have come to the realization that I need to cut back on our family’s sugar intake. How did I arrive at this? Well, it was probably a few weeks ago when we were on vacation. The little fella (as we call my three year old son) was getting ready for bed. He stopped midway through brushing his teeth and exclaimed, “But, Maaaaaaama…I didn’t have my treat.” When I explained that we had eaten enough treats that day (ice cream, candies, cookies etc.) a full on tantrum a la “The Exorcist” ensued. I finally got him to settle down and off to sleep (celebrate small victories!). To my dismay, when he awoke the next morning the first thing he asked was, “Mama, can I have my treat NOW?”
Enough, I thought. I am really going to have to cut down on this stuff if I want to have any sanity. Although there is no conclusive evidence that sugar causes hyperactivity or misbehavior in children, I feel that, for my kids anyway, there is a definite psychological effect. Because treats have become part of their routine (i.e. desserts after dinner, rewards for good behavior, markers for special occasions) when my husband or I say “no,” all hell breaks loose. So, instead of becoming the “treat police” (and subsequently losing my mind) or removing them altogether, I decided that I have to get creative and find some tasty, healthy sugar-free alternatives. The philosophy in our home with diet is “everything in moderation.” So, I won’t completely eliminate candy, ice cream etc., but I am determined to make a conscious effort to reduce refined sugars.
I found this quick and simple recipe, which the kids were easily able to help out with. I find if they have a hand in making it, they are really excited to eat it, too! I made a few adaptations (the original recipe was for cookies, but I ended up making them into bars)…So, no sugar for my kids last night! Unfortunately, this did not make bed time any easier than usual. Sigh…
- 1/3 cup peanut butter (if you have peanut allergies, you could use any sugar-free nut butter)
- 2 ripe bananas (overripe is fine)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 tbsp soy milk (I used almond milk)
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 ½ cups quick cooking or rolled oatmeal (I use the kind with flax in it)
- 2 tsp of chia seed (my addition as its a great source of Omegas)
- 1 cup raisins (could substitute any dried fruit)
- dash cinnamon (optional)
- 1/4 cup flour - I omitted the flour altogether
In a large bowl, mash bananas with a fork until smooth. Add peanut butter, soy milk, vanilla and maple syrup and mix well. Add remaining ingredients and stir until well combined.
Flatten dough out on a rectangular non-stick baking sheet. Bake for 13-16 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Cut into squares or rectangles to make bars.
Additional recommendations: I think these would be great with some carob chips or shredded coconut added in!