Monday 26 April 2010

Hijacking my own blog...

This blog was started for the purpose of chronicling our lives and making sure those little moments don't get lost in time. It's also a great way for family and friends to keep up with our goings-on on their own terms (rather than being inundated with emails as they were at the beginning of Alexandria's life!) It's a light, little personal blog. Today, though, I'm hijacking my own blog because I need to say something.

Last week the Ontario government announced - and quickly backed down from - a new sex ed curriculum. These changes had been "quietly unveiled in January. To see the changes, one would have to read through the entire curriculum", according to this article. Last week, however, they were officially announced. This drew an immediate, loud and reactionary uproar. The government quickly shelved the proposed changes. McGuinty said, "that after listening to what parents had to say, it appeared that many of them were not comfortable with the content -- and that the changes had not been communicated very well." Ya think?!

The last part of his statement is where their biggest miscalculation came. This was not communicated well at all. (Most) people did not read the actual curriculum and just reacted to some key points. The fact that the public outcry was so loud and fast shows most people did not sit down and look at the changes (except whatever brief explanation there was in whatever article or newscast or friend's comment they were taking their 'facts' from.)

I agree that when I first saw 'anal sex' and 'vaginal secretions' being taught in Grade 6 and 7, I was taken aback. (Actually, to see 'anal sex' and 'vaginal secretions' in print took me aback.) I was also unsure of gender identity being taught in Grade 3. This is the one I'm most curious about HOW it will be taught. To just say to a group of 8-year-olds "sometimes girls feel like boys on the inside" would be very confusing. I believe we do need to teach inclusion right from the start. Some people are attracted to the same sex. Some people are attracted to the opposite sex. Some kids have two mommies. Some kids have two daddies. Some have one mommy and one daddy. Some have one mommy. Some have one daddy. Some kids have foster parents. And on and on....

We need to teach kids these things BEFORE they get to a point where they are confused and scared and have no idea what is happening to them. As far as the teaching of oral and anal sex to kids in Grade 6 and 7, the government is not proposing a how-to guide. These forms of sex are being looked at as attractive alternatives to intercourse and kids do not know the risks of these activities. THAT is what we need to teach. Information does not lead to doing. It's going to lead to more informed kids. More informed kids are going to be more confident. More confident kids are going to - for the most part - make better decisions.

This new curriculum also focuses on abstinence. Something I think we can pretty much all agree on is that we want our kids to WAIT.  There are some interesting stats in this article by Ann Douglas about 'abstinence-only' versus 'abstinence-focused' (meaning contraception is also taught) programs. Ann Douglas has some great links in that article as well, and has written a series on this whole kerfuffle.

My kids are 3 and 5 1/2. My son knows he has a penis and under that penis there's a scrotum that houses his testicles. He knows he the same as his daddy. He also knows his sister and mom have vaginas and that we all have bums. My daughter knows she has a vagina and a vulva and is aware of the parts her brother, mommy and daddy have. They understand we don't all have the same parts. MOST of our parts are the same, but there are distinguishing features each gender has.

Vagina. Vulva. Penis. Testicles. Scrotum.

Did those just make you uncomfortable? If so, why? My kids are fine with them. Just as they are with ear, eyes, knee and ankle.

If we teach our kids along the way all these things that we feel are scary get light shed on them. Then we realize it's the unknown that's scary. Kids will find this stuff out on their own. They will. They will learn from other kids. They will learn from YouTube (maybe not at your house, but somewhere). They will learn by doing it themselves. I had no idea penises got erect. Or at least, no idea that they pointed up when they did, until I encountered one.

Arm them with knowledge. Instill them with values and be there when they need you. Be their parent, not their friend and let them use you as an excuse to not do stuff. (That's a topic for a whole other post!)

There are groups on Facebook that have formed for and against this new curriculum. There is a petition to bring back the new curriculum.

I'm not telling you which way to go or what to think about this. I want you to inform yourself fully.

Please take the time to look over the three page summary of the proposed changes. Really think about what is being suggested. Think rationally on how this will be taught. Then decide where you stand. Please educate and inform yourself before you form an opinion. Just as we hope our kids will.

Wednesday 21 April 2010

A good day so far

So last night we filled Zachary's room with balloons while he was sleeping. I snapped this picture after we put them in there. A little risky since the dude was sound asleep, but I wanted to make sure I got a picture of them all over his floor. You can't see all the balloons in the shot. There were about 45 in there.

He slept right through last night. (Yay!) The last couple nights he's ended up in our bed around 4am or so, so I was a bit worried the balloon thing might fall flat. But nope. He slept until 7am. I heard him as he was waking. He was shuffling around in his crib and was talking softly to himself.

Then I heard him say (to himself) "What's this?"
And then louder, "Mommy! What's this?!"
I replied, "What, Sweetie?"
Z: "Mommy! There are balloons in my room!!"
Me: "Balloons?"
Z: "YES!! All over my floor!!!"
Me: "Well, what day is it today?"
Z: "It's MY BIRTHDAY!!!"

I went in to let him out of his crib and he was just beaming. Bouncing up and down, so excited. I let him out to run free with the balloons. It didn't take long for Alexandria to wake up and join in the excitement. The best part? These balloons kept them occupied for over an hour while Daddy and I got to stay in bed. Happy birthday to us!

We ended off balloon-fest by stuffing all the balloons into Zachary's crib. The pure joy and bliss a simple thing like balloons can bring is amazing.

Then came the birthday waffles and muffin. The cake will come on Sunday when we have his party.

We capped off "Birthday Morning" with a series of clues and riddles for Alex and Zach to find throughout the house. I'll get that video edited and up soon.

Here are the clues:

1)  Rub a dub dub; There's a clue in the ______!

2)  I know your favourite colour is green; Now go to the castle to find a queen.

3)  Where does Mommy doze and sleep? There's a clue hiding there with a sheep.

4)  There's a place Alex lays her sleepy head; You'll find a present in her ______.

5)  Where do we get the muffin mixin'? There's a present for you in the kitchen!

6)  The biggest present you still need to find; It's under the place where we change your behind.

How the hell did this happen?!

My baby. My little baby boy. My little baby boy is THREE. Zachary is three years old! (I'm not going to even think about the fact that Alex is almost 6...)

How did we get from here:
To here?!

Love you lots, Baby Boy!

Thursday 15 April 2010

Zachary's birthday and birthday party countdown calendar

Every day Zach's been asking, "Is today my birthday?!" So... today we made a countdown calendar. :)
And here is some wall art I won from Grace Announcements :)

While walking home from school today...

Alexandria was just ahead of me on the sidewalk. I was pulling Zachary in the wagon and in a rhythm. Alex stopped and stooped over a bit.

I said: "Alexandria, please don't stop."
To which she replied: "But Mommy, I wanted to smell the flowers."

Thanks for the reminder, kid.

Here is a picture of our "pet" tulip. Alex has taken a real liking to this flower. We pulled out everything in the front gardeny-area (or, really, my dad did most of the work). Everything including the bulbs were ripped out (or so I thought.) Landscape tarp was laid and mulch was put over it. One tenacious tulip has sprouted. It must have grown sideways until it found a way up and "pop"... tulip!

Zachary obviously remembers dandelions can be blown on, but doesn't remember what state they need to be in for that to work. Too cute. He tried a few times, harder and harder, to blow on the dandelion.

Tuesday 13 April 2010

Overheard in the bathroom

Alexandria: I like your little penis.

Zachary: I like it, too.

Monday 12 April 2010

While I was cleaning up...

I was going through one of those places where "stuff" goes. You know those places. I'm sure you have those places. I have LOTS of those places. Too many...

Today I came across something Jean-Paul gave me when we were dating. I'm posting it on here for a few reasons. 1) To share. It makes me smile. It might make you smile, too.  2) So it will be kept in another place, just in case the original is ever lost.  3) So it can be a part of the yearly blog books I'm making, and therefore be read years later by my kids.  4) So I remember what that new relationship felt like, and maybe, just maybe, recapture some of that and help it work its way back into our lives. 'Cuz, really, we're more like roommates with kids at this point than husband and wife. Typing this out is an exercise in remembering the important stuff.

So, here it is - "Top 50 Things About Jacki Allin" by Jean-Paul Yovanoff - Cheese Cards - 1999

50. Can understand my crazy theatre schedule
49. Will work for me in a pinch or for money
48. Loves animals, except Omar* at times
47. Does not date other people anymore
46. So cute
45. Looks 18, and probably will for life
44. Doesn't mind me cooking
43. Puts up with Christian**
42. Is a Big Sister
41. Doesn't mind me reproducing
40. Does not mind hockey
39. Thinks Mike McDonald is funny
38. Not liking my sister more than me. Either of them
37. Keeps me warm at night
36. Accepts my being a nude model
35. Watches 'Whose Line is it Anyway?'
34. Watches 'Friends'
33. Still so damn cute
32. Doesn't mind me watching wrestling
31. Good sense of direction
30. Will drive 100km to see me
29. Laughed at the movie 'Happiness'
28. The 3 Cs: Cash-Car-Cable
27. Quit smoking
26. Had a pet chicken
25. Loves calzones
24. Likes men in tights
23. Did I mention that you are so cute
22. Remembers things for me
21. You do the dishes in my house
20. Twisted sense of humour
19. Likes poor men
18. Told me how porcupines masterbate
17. Wants to move in with me
16. Can put up with my mood swings
15. Thinks Colin Mochrie is sexy
14. Can sleep at the drop of a hat. No wait, I hate that
13. Can lie in bed all day watching tv
12. 27" tv (stereo)
11. I think I said this in #23, but you're so cute
10. Likes Ben & Jerry's
9. Does not get jealous
8. Pizza bagels. Mmmmmm. Need I say more
7. Loves movies
6. Loves retro
5. Happy with Pedro
4. Plays NTN (and well)
3. Love Angry Beavers
2. Loves theatre
1. Loves me

*Omar is John and Shannon's cat. They were my roomies at the time.
**Christian was one of our best men and still a great (high-energy) friend.

Thursday 8 April 2010

She's getting it

Alexandria is getting smart when it comes to her little brother.

We were at my parents' place over the Easter long weekend for a few days. They have a wall of storage and cubbies. Alex and Zach like to play in the cubbies. Alexandria was in the cubby and Zachary wanted to join her. She didn't want him in there with her. After briefly struggling, Alex went under the bench and said, "I'm going to my own cubby over here." She then waited for Zach - who she knew was inevitably going to follow her - to want to be in that one instead. After he went for her "new cubby" she happily got to have her original spot back. And everyone was happy. Smart girl. ;)

Wednesday 7 April 2010

Shut Up and Eat - Day 5 - Chocolate Pie

I totally plan to get to the salsa roast and meatloaf very soon, but I took the (really) easy way out today and made another super-easy dessert. Well, one that should be super-easy. Unless you're me.

This recipe is simply a pre-fab graham pie crust, chocolate mousse, marshmallows (or chocolate chips) and freeze. Simple, right? Unless you're me.

I went to the store today and got the graham pie crust and some chocolate chips. I was planning to get chocolate mousse, but I couldn't find any. A tiny snag. Not a big deal. I got chocolate pudding instead. I didn't get any marshmallows because we had some at home. Ok. I thought we had some at home.

So, I get home. Get the pie crust, get the instant pudding mix and the Cool Whip to mix it with. (Look at me being all creative in lieu of mousse.) Me and the boy mix the pudding and Cool Whip. Then, I go to get the marshmallows. You know, the little wee multi-coloured ones? The ones I thought we had? Well, we don't have them. They were apparently eaten. A bigger snag. But, me being a domestic diva who can think on her feet.... Ok. Stop laughing. I'll wait. You done? Anyway, we had the big marshmallows, so I got a few of those and cut them up into eighths to make teeny marshmallows for the pie. Me and the boy folded those into the pseudo-mousse mix, sprinkled a few chocolate chips on top and stuck the pie into the freezer. Voila. Easy peasy dessert.

Friday 2 April 2010

The day has arrived

Today was the day. The day that looms every spring. The day I look upon with fear and anticipation. It happens every year. Once a year it comes. And today was that day.

I pulled out the clear, plastic storage container from under the bed. Got out a pair of capris that had been hibernating for months. And not just "a pair" but my favourite capris. The really comfy grey ones.

And now... the moment of truth. One leg. So far so good. The other leg. Still looking good. Pull up... around the waist... Ok... Now, here we are folks. It's that moment. This is it. The one moment that will make me feel like spring is here and I can do anything. The moment that puts that spring in my step and that smile on my face. Or... it's the moment that will start me on a spiral of crappy self-body image and self-doubt. The moment that will be hard to get past.

And.... THE CAPRIS DO UP. PERFECTLY! No struggling with the zipper or button. They fit perfectly fine and they are even comfortable. YAY! Bring it on, Spring. Glad you're here.

Thursday 1 April 2010

Shut Up and Eat - Day 4 - Nacho Buffet

Ok. That's not really a recipe from the book, but I stole Kathy's buffet idea. I had left over chicken from the Easy Chicken and Rice Casserole from the day before, so I looked in my recipe box (yes, I have one) to find a recipe that called for chicken. Nachos! Fun. So, the leftover chicken cooked and cubed was one of the options; and I added tomato, avocado, carrots, blueberries, strawberries, broccoli and salad. Some of the options were more "sides" than actually intended to go on the nachos. I cooked up some tortilla chips with cheese and tomato, set the buffet and let the kids go to it. (And look - they both chose broccoli and carrots along with the fruit.) Easy, yummy and all the foods groups were accounted for - which Alexandria pointed out. :)