Archive for March, 2010

From iPod to iPlay

I have to warn you this post will put me squarely in danger of being labelled an old fogey. Despite what you think I am not a hundred years old, please bear with me, I promise not to use the term “whipper-snapper” or “shenanigans” at all.

During this past March Break, I had 2 separate moments that caused me to consider the world around me, specifically the preteens I came across in two different places. I began to reflect on this incredible phenomenon of youngsters growing up too fast and whether or not this is something that I can control in my children (7&4) As I am a fairly observant person, I tend to pay attention to other people arround me when we are out and about. (my hubby calls in nosy)

I took the children to a local Maple Syrup farm with some of our friends and they spent the day learning all about the making of maple syrup, eating pancakes, petting baby lambs and playing in the giant playbarn. As I stood at the only exit to the barn trying to keep track of the multiple children we had brought with us, I was momentarily annoyed by a group of teenaged boys running and jumping throught the levels and obstacles of this big barn. I was worried that one of them would squish one of the little preschoolers toddling around, or worse, knock over my daughter. As I mentally berated them for being too big to play in here and wishing they would leave, I considered the value of at least approaching them and asking them to take it easy. When all of a sudden, it occured to me that these youngsters were just the sort of hooligans teens that I tend to see leaned up against the wall outside the local mall, up to no good, talking on their cell phones and listening to music with foul lyrics on the latest iPod offering. And yet, here they were running and jumping (using their imaginations!) in an innocent game of tag in a childrens play barn. Hm. Interesting.

The second event that sparked my interest was as I sat with my hubby in McDonalds the other day, when I saw a Father with two young girls pass our table with their meals. I would guess the young ladies to be roughly 11-13 years old. The were both furiously texting messages on their cellphones, it struck me that girls so young had cell phones (I know it’s common, but I still find it sad). Later on after our meal we sat and watched our little ones running up and down the restaurant playland and I was surprised shocked to see those same two young ladies come into the play area and take off their shoes in order to run up the inside of the play structure. I had to take a minute to be sure what I had seen; these professional texters dressed like Rihanna, were now careening down the slide in Ronald McDonald land! Huh. Very interesting.

Having had a few days to ponder these things, I have come to the conclusion that children these days are in fact growing up too fast, which is no earth shattering revelation. However, what I think people have failed to realize, is that children don’t necessarily WANT to grow up this fast. Deep down inside, I believe that our kids want to play and have fun; sometimes they have grown up desires that will hurt them in the long run, but it is our job as parents to help them make more appropriate choices. The media tells us that children have the right to make all their own decisions, that they have spending power and therefore must have the wisdom to know how to wield said power. Not only is this selfish of them for trying to sell their product but it is a lie. Similarly, and lottery winner who becomes an instant millionare does not necessarily have the financial wisdom to properly care for and spend their new-found fortune. Children and teenagers need guidance, not to be controlled, but guided into making choices that will be in their best interest. I believe that is why God has given them parents, we don’t give birth to children and them push them out of the nest to fend for themselves. We are supposed to teach them, guide them and even sometimes deny them something that will be less than beneficial to them. It’s how we show them that we love them.

Think about when your child was small, you didn’t let her eat the whole bag of halloween candy right? Why? Because it would have made her stomach hurt. You didn’t let your son ride his bike off the roof into the swimming pool even though he thought it would be fun right? Why? Because as his parent, you had the wisdom to know it was a bad plan even when he couldn’t see the possibility of injury. It’s our job to see those dangers and to protect our children from all manner of harm, even when they think they know what is best for them and what they are capable of handling.

I wonder sometimes why parents feel that they HAVE to give their children all these new “toys” that come out like cell phones, iPods, laptops etc. I know my opinion is unpopular (it often is) and sometimes comes across as judgemental, but the truth is parents all over are caving to the pressure from their kids, the television, movies, AT&T and MTV. My biggest concern isn’t even that parents are buying their children cell phones, my biggest problem is that they don’t see the tremendous disservice they are doing towards their offspring. Children don’t need any more help growing up too fast, it’ll happen whether we encourage it or not, but why accelerate that maturing if we don’t have to?

Does anyone besides me even remember when we were 11 and 12? We weren’t watching shows filled with sex and drugs, we weren’t texting our friends and spending 6-8 hours a day on the computer. We were having sleepovers with nailpolish, potato chips and freezing each others bras. We were flipping through Tigerbeat magazine, swooning over Kirk Cameron (uh oh, I’ve revealed my age) not counting the bracelets on our arms to see how many dates inappropriate sexual encounters we’d had. Is no one paying attention? Doesn’t anyone see that deep down these kids just want to be young and play like children? We are not helping them by letting them do whatever they want, they won’t thank us for it. Trust me.

I for one, will continue to monitor what my children watch on t.v and in the movie theatre, even if they claim that the entire school has seen the latest vampire movie. I will decide what time my children go to bed based on what I know to be a healthy amount of sleep for children their age, regardless of how many times my son tells me he doesn’t need to go to sleep before I do because he’s not tired. I will determine what music, video game and internet usage my children are exposed to despite the ever increasing number of children under 13 on facebook. I will continue to do innocent fun activities with my children like snowball fights and hide-and-seek, assuming that they will have fun and making sure that they have lots of non-electronic, child-friendly leisure activities to choose from.

Maybe these teeny-boppers are just waiting for someone to invite them to put down the cell phone and go play in the playland with them. Maybe as parents we should put down OUR cell phones and do the same.

A Few of My Favourite Things…

You may think that you know me pretty well already, but there are a few things that you maybe didn’t know…

1. I love Chocolate, plain uncomplicated chocolate. I will take a chocolate easter bunny or Aero Bar any day over truffles and bon bons. I prefer my chocolate without nuts, fruit, nougat, orange, cherry etc. mmm…Easter chocolate is out in stores now…hmmmm

2. I absolutely adore all the Barbie movies; Rapunzel, Princess and the Pauper, 12 Dancing Princesses, Mariposa etc… I don’t care about realistic body image or feminist complaints about the evils of Barbie. I love love love these movies and I don’t even need to pretend that the kids are watching them with me, I have no problem just sitting down and watching Barbie in Swan Lake or Barbie in the Nutcracker all by myself!

3. I love going to Canada’s Wonderland. Even more than the children. The truth is, every year we go as a family on Mother’s Day, purchase our Season’s passes and spend the day at Wonderland. Most Mother’s would rather do ANYTHING on Mother’s Day, but I get tremendous joy out of spending that time going on rides, eating funnel cake, and watching the shows with my children and hubby. (who is a reluctant participant…he doesn’t enjoy the rides at all),

4. I love movies. However, I have never seen some of the most popular movies of all time, much to the chagrin of my cinematic (cinema-fanatic) friends. Which movies you ask? Let me see…The Matrix, Fight Club, Pulp Fiction, Pirates of the Caribbean, Lord of the Rings trilogy, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Rosemary’s Baby, Monty Python, Kill Bill or The Exorcist. There are a lot of others that I have not seen, but these seem to be the ones that cause the most distress to movie buffs.

5. I really really love George Lopez and Lopez Tonight. I mean I could give up just about everything else on t.v just to keep George Lopez. I often wonder if maybe being married to a latino make the jokes funnier to me or if everyone laughs themselves silly while watching him.

6. I Love Tea and have given up Coffee. Well for the most part. I used to drink a pot and a half of coffee minimum every day. Then near the beginning of this year I contracted chicken pox. I was so sick to my stomach I couldn’t handle the tast of coffee, so I tried tea and now that’s all I drink. I think I have had a total of 8 cups of coffee since January! I think I’ve used my poor coffee maker only once! Apparently though, my addiction is to slow-sipping hot liquids as opposed to the coffee (as so many people assumed) because I drink the same amount of tea now as I did coffee before.

7. I love to chew ice. Not just when I am in labour but whenever. It’s probably not the best things for my teeth and once and a while I get a shot of sensitivity through my teeth and gums, reminding me that I am over 30 years old. But most of the time I find it an entertaining way to let the waitress know that perhaps it’s time for one of those free refills described in the menu.

8.  I love to sit and read cookbooks! For years my Gran, my mother and I have shared this quirky past time, sitting around together looking through the recipes and when we find one we like, we share it out loud. Now with the onset of the internet, I can peruse thousands of recipes including photos at my fingertips. I know, it’s weird.

9. I love my dog Bailey. He’s a pain, lazy, useless, stinky breathed mutt who likes to sleep on my bed with his head on the pillow. But he brings me great joy. Not just because he belonged to my Mother before she passed away, but because there is an unconditional love that dogs give. He is easy to please, gentle and forgiving, patient with my constant squeezing and snuggling. I love him, much to my husband’s constant irritation.

10. I love my children. For all the crazy stories that I share here in my blog; for all the anecdotes, and frustrations I pour out onto these pages, I have given birth to two of the most amazing, surprising, quirky, smart, hilarious, freaky, loving, cuddly, wondrous children ever born to a woman. I love them so much it actually hurts sometimes!

So I Didn’t Marry Superman…

Just over 11 years ago, I married Superman…well I thought I married Superman. It turns out that he couldn’t fly, or leap over tall buildings, he couldn’t see through my clothes with his x-ray vision (a fact for which I am eternally grateful) and he didn’t have superhuman strength. It turns out that instead of marrying Superman, I actually just married a plain old Super Man. He’s a fantastic father, a great friend and lover, a quality human being and about as dependable as you could ever ask for in another person. He’s Super, not like Sarah Palin Super… but actually super!

A couple of years ago, I was part of a woman’s bible study called “A Wife of Noble Character” and one part of the group study was a section that challenged us to make a list of all our husbands qualities that we appreciated. Not a list of things that we wish they would change, instead we were to focus on seeing the good in them and looking to articulate our gratitude for the things that we loved about them. I discovered that I actually married several men in one package. I thought that would share this list of husbands that I am married to, a sort of public recognition of all the wonderful qualities my hubby posesses and all the things I just appreciate so much about him.

1. The Spider-Slayer – He willingly kills all the bugs and spiders that cross my path, even if it means waking him up in the middle of the night to show him an ugly black spider on the ceiling right above my bed. He has trained me so that when he is at work, I can buckle down and kill a spider, but I still prefer him to do it when he’s here. I’m sure he’d feel less than manly if I did it when he was home…right?

2. The Music Man – He is a wonderfully gifted musician, I fell in love with him and his guitar and every time I hear him play, I get giddy with girlish glee. God has given him such a wonderful talent!

3. The Rock – I am the sensitive one in our partnership, he is the one I turn to when I am hurting or upset. My husband is very loving and gentle, however given that I am a marshmallow and easily offended, it is really good that he is so solid and strong. I need that, and God knew it. 

4. The Armadillo – There is nothing that anyone can say to hurt my hubby, he is so confident that he rarely feels slighted or gets his feelings hurt. He seems to be impervious to all forms of insult, sarcasm, manipulation and the other common things that other people find offensive. I greatly admire this quality, except of course when I am trying to goad him into an argument. 🙂

5. The Superhero – Each evening as my husband walks through the front door and I am overwhelmed by the screaming, jumping, shouting, and running that immediately occurs. They greet him like he is Spiderman swooping in on a hanging web or a conquering hero returning from defeating evil in all corners of the universe! As much as I get a tiny feeling of jealousy in the back of my heart because they never greet me like that, I actually love it. I think that children should believe that their father is superman; that he will protect them, care for them and fight of all the bad guys (and unworthy suitors). And the truth is, he really is a superhero trust me, I do the laundry. Who do you think washes his cape? 

6. The HandyMan – Some women complain that their husbands couldn’t fix a toilet or light with two hands, a manual and a home depot associate in their pocket. My husband on the other hand can fix anything, truly. He has a knack for problem solving and carefully examining a problem to see what is not working. He is methodical, diligent, incredibly patient and will relentlessly continue to try various solutions until he finds the most suitable one for the problem at hand. If you can’t figure it out, call my man, cause he’ll get the job done no matter how many hours it takes.

7. The Romantic. Although life often gets in the way, and he doesn’t always think of the most romantic things to do or give me. My man is in fact a romantic at heart (probably has to do with being a musician) he will often send me loving text messages, or leave me little notes to encourage me and remind me that he loves me. He is big on loving nick-names, and tries really hard to love me according to my love language, even though it is different than his own. Fortunately I have learned to recognize some of his strange expressions of love and I appreciate him so much for it.

8. The Neat-Freak – This personality has been forced to spend the last 11 years shackled to his messy and unorganized wife, so it has sustained some long-term damage. However my husband is very organized and prefers things to stay in order, he is good at picking up after himself and cleaning up proficiently. I often say that he is a better house-wife than I am! If only I could adopt some more of his neatness through osmosis…

9. The Worker Bee – Many people work hard and there are probably people who work even harder than my wonderful husband, but I don’t know any. He never shies away from a difficult task (unless it’s an explosive diaper) and he will willingly take on any job, large or small, dirty or difficult. He is driven to achieve his goals and is uncomfortable coasting or sitting back and letting others work hard. He’s the guy that you can be sure will show up, diligently get the job done, and clean up after.

10. The Perfect Husband– Perhaps not according to Hollywood Movie standards, but according to real life and God’s plan, my husband is the perfect husband for me. He compliments me, challenges me, protects me, lifts me up and makes me a better person in general. I am so grateful to the Lord for giving me the perfect partner…a Super-Partner if you will.

10 Things I Hate About The Gym

1. The Evil Eyes. The way everyone looks at me like I am out of place. Of course I’m at the gym, I’m not very fit (understatement) where else should I be?? I mean, if I was at Krispy Kreme, you’d been telling me to go to the gym! Besides, fitness centres were not made for people who are in perfect shape and perfectly skinny and healthy! They were made for people who can’t tie their shoes…so there!

2. Lack of eye contact. The thing is, now that everyone has an iPod or mp3 player, they are completely oblivious to the fact that there is anyone else at the gym. I understand being absorbed into the music while you are doing your cardio, but it appears that the affixing of the earphones causes the departure of all social skills. Is it so hard just to nod in passing or smile when someone says hi to you?

3. The Booster Juice Bar. Premiere Fitness has a Booster Juice franchise at the entrance of it’s clubs and honestly, I find it pretentious and irritating. Why can’t they just sell regular juice, water, pop etc.. I had a low blood sugar episode soon after I joined the gym and I came stumbling out of the changeroom to buy a bottle of juice and spent 6-7 minutes trying to negotiate a plain glass of juice with no acai or wheat grass. The poor kid behind the counter was so bent on selling me some life changing smoothie with health benefits that would rock my world cost me $20,  that he missed the point that I desperately needed a glass of juice…just juice!

4. The Awful Stairs. I’m of course referring to the huge stairway that takes me up to the second floor workout area. As my health club has a wonderful pool on the lower floor, I have to walk all the way up a giant set of stairs before I can even start working out. Now as much as I loathe the climbing of stairs in general, I specifically have a problem with this set because, after I have killed myself on the eliptical machine I have to then maneuver my shaky legs down a precarious set of steep stairs with some semblance of dignity. Fortunately due to number #2 on this list no one looks at me, so even if I fall, it is unlikely anyone will even notice. 

5. The Divas. Ok so I understand that I am one of the less-than-beautiful people that the club has permitted to join (probably in an effort to remind members what will inevitably happen to them when they stop going to the gym!) But I find it irritating to walk into the change room and see some little blond twit preening and adjusting her bust into just the right angle to ensure that she looks super cute in her workout gear. Who started this? Aren’t you supposed to look terrible when you are working out? Why are girls putting on makeup and fixing their hair and bras to ensure they look sexy before the head onto the floor to sweat and grunt?

6. The Mirrors. There are mirrors EVERYWHERE in the gym! Why? Is our workout routine somewhat more effective if we can see our movements on one of 17 mirrors? Does it help us lose weight when we actually see every ripple and bulging blob move at the worst possible angle? Mirrors in the class rooms, the change roooms, the waiting room, the bathroom, and every mirror has at least 3 angled mirrors attached! Enough! I know I’m out of shape…I don’t need to see all my flabby angles in triplicate!

7. The Naked and Unashamed. Ok so while I’m changing into my workout gear in front of one of the 67 mirrors in the changeroom, I will inevitably see the reflection of someone who is walking around buck naked on their way to or from the shower. Is this uncomfortable for everyone or just me? Why can’t you wrap yourself in a towel? Do you brush your teeth and put on makeup at home in the nude? Does it not even occur to you that the fact that some of us are covering up to change might be an indication that we are not ALL cool with the random nakedness? I’m just saying…

8. Spinning Class. ’nuff said

9. The Televisions. In theory, t.v’s at the gym seem like a great way to keep you entertained and pass the time while working out. Unfortunately they always seem to be left on some stupid channel with a boring show and food commercials or worse a cooking show. Because when you are sweating your butt off on the treadmill, you definitely don’t need to see Rachel Ray slathering pasta with parmesan and serving it up with garlic bread and wine! Of course it doesn’t matter at my gym, where each machine has it’s own t.v with 3 channels, but I always seem to pick the eliptical with the broken t.v…good thing I brought my iPod so I could ignore other people.

10. The Fitness Assesment. When I joined the gym, I had to pay the club my intro fee and also $50 for a session with the personal trainer, where he measured and “assessed” how fit fat I was. Really? Can’t you tell by looking at me that I am fat and out of shape? Could we just agree on that, save my $50 and go for a coffee or something? Or better yet, maybe I could pay $75 and you could tell me that I am NOT fat! That would be a very rewarding trip to the gym.

%d bloggers like this: