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Party Chaos

It's tomorrow... my son's 4th (wasn't he born just yesterday???!!!), and I'm madly blowing up balloons. I'm taking a quick "blog" break, but I guess I shouldn't linger here too long - next thing I know, a couple of hours will have gone by. It's amazing how the Internet does that to you.

Wish me luck tomorrow!


Free Clipart

I'm working on some graphics for my son's upcoming birthday party, and I needed some clip art. Here's a link I found helpful:

It's free, which helps, and there seems to be a reasonable selection. There was only one item I needed that I couldn't find, so I'm still on the hunt...


How Much Sunscreen Is Too Much?

Yet another dilemma we as parents face - to slather or not to slather (sunscreen, that is). I was a little on the obsessive side with it as my kids are both red heads, but then changed my mind slightly after a conversation with a fellow Mom friend.

She brought to my attention the fact that many kids these days, in part due to lack of sun exposure, are Vitamin D deficient. (It's interesting to note that even if you're diet has ample Vitamin D, the sun's ultraviolet B rays are required to activate it.) Vitamin D not only contributes to good bone health, it can lesson the symptoms of PMS in women, as well as reduce the impact of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) because of its link to Serotonin levels in the brain.

I now have a new approach. I still watch my kids like a hawk while they're in the sun, and cover them with fabric when possible and make sunhats mandatory, but now I wait 15-20 minutes before putting sunscreen on them. Worthy of note is the fact that they have never burned (impressive, considering their milky-blue skin ;-) and in fact have barely even tanned. My daughter's temperament seems to have improved as well; I'm not sure if that's all in my head or in fact a result of the unblocked sun time, but hey - I'll take it!


My New Favourite Kids' Shampoo

I was in Shopper's Drug Mart the other day and bought Baby Einstein Extra Gentle shampoo (it was an impulse buy, I'll admit - the lion on the bottle is the same one as in "Baby Newton", my son's favourite Einstein vid, and I thought he'd get a kick out of it).

I LOVE it!! It leaves their hair very shiny and soft feeling (as though it's very clean with no residue), and the clincher for me was the fact that there were very few tangles in my daughter's hair. I've tried many different shampoos for her, and this shampoo stood out as being better.

I'll definitely buy it again.


A Lesson In Manners

Miss Thing had a moment of triumph at the park the other day... she was able to perform a back flip off a trapeze bar while an older child couldn't.

"I'm five and a half and you're six, and I can do it and you can't? Wow!"

She wasn't intending to rub it in, or make the other girl feel bad, of course - she was just proud of her own achievement. Still, I cringed when I heard her words, but I was sitting too far away to discreetly correct her without everyone present hearing me. Not to mention the fact that in the moment, I wasn't really sure what to say.

I tried to explain the pitfalls of boasting later on that day, but I could tell it was lost on her. She's pretty sharp, so I guess it was my explanation that fell short, rather than her listening skills (although I wonder about those sometimes ;-)

Maybe it was a lesson for me, that the next time I see another child exhibit less than stellar manners, to remember that teaching them proper social skills isn't always easy...


How Many Calories Per Day Do My Kids Need?

I looked this up on a whim and found some info:

My kids are in the 4-6 year category here, and it looks about right:

The trick is making the calories count. I'm lucky that my kids LOVE high calorie foods like avocado, peanut butter and bananas, so I can restrict things like pasta and white bread and not worry that they're not getting enough fuel.

Here's another chart:

My issue is making sure they get enough, and that I'm not too overzealous in my "crap cutting".

My daughter is a skinny mini, and never stops moving. Today she asked me for a hamburger bun with peanut butter on it. Instantly my Nutrition Warden hat came on, and I recoiled at the thought of letting her eat refined, white bread.

"Mommy please? I know the bun has no vitamins, but the peanut butter does, right? Please?"

I gave in, because I knew she'd be back outside in the yard, burning it all off. Sure enough, as I type this, she's hanging from the monkey bars.


Layout in Progress

I'm trying to change my layout here... what I want is for the blog content to span the entire width of the page. This template does that, but now I have to add some interesting graphic elements...


Just A Moment Ago:

JOSPEH: "I love you Mommy!!"

ME: "Aw, thanks Buddy!! I love you too!"

JOSEPH: "I not talking to you, Mommy. I talking to my yogurt tube."


The upside, I suppose, is that the yogurt tube wasn't talking back...


Get Moving!!

My daughter (you know, the Type A one) dawdles. Really dawdles. She could make a sneeze slow.

It's so bad that her teachers made reference to it on her report card, and she's in Kindergarten where (in theory) they can do no wrong. She told me one day that her teacher made her miss playtime because she took too long doing her work. (Secretly I was glad that her teacher did something about it.) Every school morning I feel like a Drill Sargent in my efforts to get her to class on time.

Then one day... I remembered the Type A thing. You know, the win at all costs, beat the timer mentality. Ha! The timer!

If I tell her to hurry up getting dressed, it takes about twenty minutes. Not sure what she`s doing, other than it involves a lot of talking to herself and mulling over which socks to wear.

However if I set the timer for, say, five to seven minutes, she beats it every time (and looks pretty pleased with herself). I don`t have to nag, and she feels like she`s won.

Works for me :-)


Raising My Type A Child

Sports day bike parade...

(First of all let me reiterate that Alyssa is 5 1/2, and in Kindergarten. She is the youngest in her class, but has more than enough attitude and spunk to compensate.)

So we're moving around the back field of the school in the bike parade. Picture bumpy grass, and a long hill. The older kids are not really having any problems, but many of the younger ones are having to get off their bikes and push.

ME: "Darlin', just get off and push, ok? We're going to be left behind."

A: "No Mommy I want to pedal! I can DO it!"

She's pedalling furiously as the back wheel of her bike spins without gaining any traction, because, of course, her training wheels are hung up on lumps of grass.

I grab her handle bars in an attempt to help her along, only to be vehemently chastised:

"MOMMY!!! I want to DO IT MYSELF!!"

She won't let me pull, she won't get off and push, and she's stuck in the grass. I can feel my blood boiling out my ears as my own Type A control freak tendencies are being grossly stressed. I finally resort to threats:

"Do you want to go home??!!"

(oh the joys. Isn't sports day a hoot.)

We eventually make it to the gym, where the bikes are stored during the events, but not without her teacher having to hunt us down because we were so late.

All was well in the end, and we didn't miss any of the events. We even ended the day on a good note, with minimal head butting between us.

One of these days I'll figure out how to handle her in a way that is not as confrontational. Meanwhile I just take it day by day...



Ooh I want this book:

WOW does this describe my two kids, from the silliness to the moodiness, and the emotional volatility.

I try and keep their sugar intake low, but I'm reluctant to cut them off completely, because I worry that they'll want it even more. I guess I figure that if I give them a little bit (i.e. about 1/4 cup of Daddy's Pepsi in their own cup, for instance) then their craving will be satisfied.

It's scary how the sugar adds up. Everything seems to contain it. There's the refined processed stuff that's in things like peanut butter, and the natural stuff that's in fruit and vegetables. To completely eliminate sugar from a diet would involve giving up a lot of foods that have other benefits.

Still, I think my focus going forward will be to reduce my kids' consumption of sugar even further. For instance I can put less peanut butter on their banana slices.

First on the agenda will be to get rid of the leftover chocolate birthday cake I made for my husband so the kids won't have anymore. As a dedicated Mother I guess it's my duty to take care of that ;-)


Who Put The Play Doh Away?

When no one is watching, my almost four year old has little moments of big kid responsible behaviour.
For instance yesterday, I went down to the basement to find that the Play Doh he had been playing with had been put back in the containers with the lids sealed. Today his lunch plate was put on the counter after he'd finished eating, as was his empty juice cup the other day.
I'm finding examples like this daily now, which make me think that either we have a ghost or my incessant nagging has finally kicked in.
Then there was today... I heard him coming up the stairs from the basement, muttering to himself:
"Hafta take deez off. Dey all wet"
Hmmm. "Buddy... what's wet?"
"Mine pants, Mommy"
I met him at the top of the stairs to see that he was stripped from the waist down, carrying his underwear and pants. When I asked him how he'd gotten wet, his response suggested that we still have some work to do on the big kid stuff:


My Issue With Futility

Enough said. Do I really have to continue with the rest of the post?

Ok fine. Albert Einstein has been quoted as saying insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Why I clean my house and expect it to stay that way must therefor be a sad sign of the state of my sanity.

Realistically, while you're dragging the vacuum cleaner across the carpet, aren't you thinking "ahh, now it's clean"? I know when I scrub the toilet, the little voice in my head is saying "take that, germs! Ha!". Every single time. And yet it never stays clean.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not suggesting that we never clean. But geez...

It could be worse. At least now my kids run for the nearest couch to get off the floor when they hear the vacuum start. My four year old son even puts the chairs up on the snack table for me.

Sometimes he does this even before I get the vacuum out. I'm not sure what he's trying to tell me...

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