Thursday, 27 September 2012

Kingston Writers Fest

I'm volunteering at Kingston Writer's Fest today through Sunday... while there's no post this week - if you're in the Kingston area, come to the festival and say hi. 

Naomi Wolf, John Valliant, Ami McKay, Emily Shultz, Kelley Armstrong, Charlotte Gill, Michelle Landsberg, Shelagh Rogers, Robert Priest ... the list goes on! Visit the website for all the details on authors, playwrights and poets presenting.

I can't begin to describe how amazing it will be. Guaranteed I will have loads of stories after it's all over though. *wink*

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Super Slide Fail

A friend of mine posted this video on her blog this morning and it got me a little riled up, so I had to share. 

While the mom may have not used great judgement, ahem - put your kid on your lap when deciding to take them on a GIANT slide!? I could see thinking that because your child can sit up (they are obviously in full toddler mode) and can handle the little yellow slide at the park that she's ready for a super slide, (!?!??! *scratching head*) but it's not her ignorance or the stupidity she showed in not letting go of her child's hand that had me getting worked up when I saw this.  

Notice the sub title of "I think the dad hit the nail on the head". 

He asks afterwards, "why did you even do that?" Like he didn't know they were about to go down the slide? Like he wasn't filming it and anticipating his little one giggling at the end of the ride!? Sorry Buddy, but when you set up your video camera to record something like this you are just as guilty for the goose egg that will inevitably appear. Is posting the video (and leaving that line in at the end) some sort of way to get validation that you're totally trying to avoid any sort of accountability???

Thursday, 13 September 2012

The Crazy Mama in the Park

This is not a story about me. This is a story about a young woman in the park yesterday who showed up, and there is no other way to politely say this, losing her shit. I'm not talking about asking someone to keep an eye on your little one while you sit for a minute to collect yourself, or so you can have a good cry and move on with the day. I'm talking about flailing arms while walking around in circles, borderline hyperventilating during sporadic bursts of tears and throwing herself on the dirt like a three year old, freak out. It was sad. 

Sad because I knew that this woman was mentally unstable. Or high. Or maybe a little of both. She couldn't have been older than her early twenties. Sad because I knew the little girl with her, I assume her daughter, was bullying a lot of the other kids on the playground because of her mother's actions. And it was mostly sad because I couldn't think of anything to do to help. 

What this woman was going through, wasn't necessarily what had my attention. It was how Penelope was reacting to it.

When this woman's little girl decided to step on P to get up the stairs of the slide, I wanted to tell the woman to get it together and watch her kid. But I knew it would fall on deaf ears, so I simply asked the girl to wait for her turn next time. Like any 4 year old girl, she didn't like being told what to do so she skipped away to another part of the playground. While she chose to pick on other children, Penelope sat on those steps for a good ten minutes, just sitting upright and starring wide eyed at the woman, who at this point was pacing back and forth, smoking a cigarette and talking loudly, to no one in particular. I could tell Penelope was picking up on this "crazy" vibe.

It amazed me how quickly Penelope decided to remove herself from being near this energy. Any time this woman got closer, P would crawl away or throw her hands straight up in the air begging to be picked up. People kept telling me how intuitive babies are. This was the first time I had seen it so obvious with my girl. SO amazing. I hope she always pays attention to the energy around her, the gut instincts and trusts in herself the way she did. 

Monday, 10 September 2012

Baby Brain and the Sweater

Step one: inherit amazingly gorgeous sweater at a clothing swap

Step two: wash it so you don't smell like someone else

Step three: put it in the dryer accidentally

Step four: pull out of dryer, look at the "wool" label and repeat every curse word you know

Step five: set aside for your daughter's third birthday - she now has an amazingly gorgeous dress.

Note to self: NEVER rush putting the laundry over again.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Natural School/Art Supplies

We are blessed to live in a community where local produce is abundant, many people are upcycling and recycling, and many of our neighbours are embracing a more sustainable lifestyle. Once kids come along it becomes harder to live a sustainable life style... but it doesn’t have to be. This series of articles is an opportunity for me to present topics from a “green” and natural perspective (without being preachy).

This is simply what happens when we strip back the labels, the expectations, and take away the commercialism to ponder parenting, sustainably. 

“Education is learning what you didn’t even know you didn’t know.” --- Daniel J. Boorstin

Heading back to school was always such an incredible time for me. Not only did I get to see my friends again after a long summer, but all the kids also got new clothes and school supplies. Or, in my case, new to me school supplies. I was always the kid who wanted the bright funky binders and multicolored pens and markers. I never got them. I was given short pencils found around the house. You know the ones that have half the erasers chewed off the ends? Those would be the ones. And having siblings much older than me, I was loaded up with the binders my brothers used before me. I seem to recall their main use was for hiding hockey cards and letters from girls from my step mom.

I didn’t understand my parents’ need to recycle school supplies until I was much older. It wasn’t just about saving money, but also about reducing waste. And now that I’m a mother, I realize that I’m learning things I didn’t realize I needed to learn. Like how many pencils are produced each year, how much paper that’s collected actually gets recycled back into paper products. I’m not going to spout off a list of stats for you, check out Canadian Industry Statistics if you’re interested.

I’m simply saying that there is a huge responsibility, as a parent, to maintain or reduce our carbon footprints, despite the fact that we are now a couple, plus one or two. Or in the case of you crazy ambitious parents out there, 3, 4 or 5. But it’s not always possible to do the second hand thing. So while you can shop at vintage shops and consignment stores for fall outfits, you can’t always get everything we need for back to school second hand. 

We’re lucky to live in a city that has a few different stores that you can purchase environmentally friendly school supplies. And they are out there. When you take into account that you’re buying new items every year, why not just spend a little more for quality eco friendly items, which will last you longer? And then, once your child is done with them, leave a little less in our landfills. Like this awesome "Go Green Lunch Box" from Go Green Baby.

I’m lucky my daughter is only one and I don’t have to worry about school supplies just yet. But I do have to consciously make a choice about the materials I’m using for her early education. Things like finger paints, crayons, play dough, sketch pads and books. And if you ask around town you’ll find there are people right here in the Limestone City who make some of these items! I’m finding all kinds of DIY projects that are sustainable and might just be more fun than the pre packaged options. Colour me happy!

The Clementine Crayon Rocks are one of my favorite finds, you can grab them at The Rocking Horse. And the Botanical Paints from P'Lovers are really beautiful too. Especially when you think about how much paint your child is going to eat. (These and other brands of natural crayons, paints and pencil crayons are available at Go Green Baby too)

These are a few of my favorite finds around town, and I know there are other stores that carry great eco-friendly products so feel free to share what you've found! There are so many other amazing products. I’m hearing a lot of my friends, with school aged children, getting especially excited about the pencil crayons made from recycled newspapers, the eco friendly binders and the pencils made from used CD cases. What's the greatest product you've discovered?

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

A farting doll you say?

I just read an article called "Farting Doll is Gross" and I'm really on the fence about this one.  Part of me applauds the company that has produced a doll that farts. Part of me is pissed that the doll blushes when she does...

There are dolls that pee, there are pee and poo dolls. There are breast feeding dolls and skeletal block toys... hell there are posthumous hip hop producer toys. So, why not have a doll that farts? I'm put off by the title of "Farting Doll is Gross" in that it implies our bodily functions are gross, when in fact it's really a sign of your body working as it should.
Now, I won't deny my pregnancy gas didn't want to make you hang your head out the window, or that my baby daddy doesn't gag out my mother's fourteen year old neighbour while playing Pictionary from time to time BUT it's something OUR bodies do, why wouldn't a doll, who is created in image of our tiny selves, do it?
What does bother me (way more than I realised it did, until I started drinking the 21 year old scotch in the liquor cabinet while writing about this) is that the doll blushes. If you didn't watch the commercial go do that. I'll wait.... 
Done? Okay. See what I mean? Why are we STILL being raised to be embarrassed about something that EVERY SINGLE PERSON ON THE PLANET DOES???  I think it`s a little refreshing that there is a doll in existence like this. Now, to order one for my daughter. I don`t think it`s rude, or against `etiquette`to break wind. If you have the chance to step away from people when you do it, that`s courteous and I recommend it (not everyone has a sense of smell that's so forgiving but hey, it happens). Whether it belongs as a feature to a child's toy or not, I ask a very simple question: Why not raise our children to be comfortable in their bodies, and with what their bodies do naturally?