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Friday, November 30, 2007

Tis the Season...

So tomorrow is December 1. That means that the tree will soon come out of the closet and I have to find the Advent calendar. I only have one. I know that some people get one for each of their kids, but I think it is important for them to learn to take turns. On the 25th, the pocket in the calendar is big enough for 2 candies so they each get one on that day. Once again I face this season with mixed feelings. The gift giving thing is fraught with peril. With some people I feel like I never get the right thing and that it one of my major issues. I am trying to "give it away", but I want to feel like the thought was appreciated. The other major gift issue I have is because I find the season so excessive especially with the kids stuff. I don't want my kids to feel deprived because they didn't get as much stuff as others, but they don't really need anything and some people give way too much to their kids. I shouldn't worry. My kids are pretty good about appreciating what they get. I know that no matter how restrained I think I am being, after the wrapping paper is disposed of, I will feel like it was all too much. So, what to do? I don't know.

I put lights up on our little tree in the front yard. I have always wanted outdoor lights on my house and for some reason Mark has been resistant to doing it. I couldn't handle getting on a ladder, but I bought a couple strings of lights and popped them up on the lilac tree. I also have indoor lights hanging in the front window so it feels festive to me. I don't really know why I want them, but the kids like them and so do I. Gibson actually gets distressed when they are not turned on - but I explained to him we turn them off in the daytime.

I also wrote my Christmas letter. Then I read a smarmy article in O magazine about those letters and I feel crappy about it. I don't write the letter to brag, but because I like to read what others are doing so I assume other people do too. Some things, particularly negative things, don't feel appropriate for those letters because they go in every envelope. What I might say to my best friend is quite different from what I would tell Mark's great-aunt. The letter has to be generic enough for everyone.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Parenting, who's doing it?

On Tuesday (Nov 27, 2007) I was pleased to see my letter to the editor was printed in the Journal. It was in response to the previous day's piece calling for publicly funded day-care. I bristled at the original article for two reasons.

1. The writer sounded so incredibly spoiled and she lamented that her father had promised her the she could "have it all" and she was terribly disappointed to discover as an adult that she couldn't, or else that she could but it would cost her a lot and be (gasp) hard work. I had a great deal of difficulty feeling any empathy for her since, for a lawyer with multiple degrees, she sure sounded like a spoiled little 8 year old who didn't get the pony she wanted. She took exactly the tone that I hate. I find so many people totally oblivious to what is involved with parenting a child. Her father obviously was, but he probably had no idea. She should have taken his promises with a grain of salt and then gone and spoken to her mother for the real deal. I find we have so many adults in our society who want everything done for them and who think that they should get everything they want. And they are raising their children the same way. Yikes!

2. The other problem I had was that she clearly felt that society only showed it valued children and mothers by providing publicly funded daycare. NO. It shows value for working moms or moms who want to use daycare, but not for any other mom out there and not necessarily for the children involved. Why should I pay for their childcare? Are they paying for mine? Only if I put my kids in daycare. Which I don't think is best for my kids or for most kids. My fear is that we will take away the choice for those who want to raise their children themselves. I also think it devalues and undermines stay-at-home parents because it does not encourage people to stay home. I think more people should be spending more time with their kids. I felt this as a teacher and I feel this as a mother.

I know that a lot of my argument comes from my personal situation. I know that. As a teacher I dealt with so many kids whose parents over-compensated with stuff and permissiveness because they didn't put the time required to properly parent. This didn't do their kids any favours. Those same parents were often unable or unwilling to do what was needed to really help their kid. Instead, they wanted me, the teacher, to fix the problem. They were paying me, right? Well, they were paying me to teach their children, not raise them. But, when your kids are in daycare from infancy and you have always passed parental responsibility onto someone else I guess you think that's what a teacher is. The last year I taught I had so many moments where I literally thought "I could be at home with my own child, instead of dealing with someone elses" mostly because of frustrations I would feel from dealing with idiotic parents. This made me realize that there are severe flaws to the way so many people send their kids out to be raised by someone else. It also made me realize that I wasn't going to be one of those parents who didn't do the job myself.

I don't have a solution. And I don't think that all working parents are bad parents. Many are wonderful, engaged parents who do the work required and who rise to the challenge of juggling parenting and work. And I know some stay-at-home parents who are not the best at it and whose children might have been better served by being out of the home. I just know it isn't as simple as pouring a lot of money into providing child care to a select group of people just because they want it. What I'd like? Well, I don't think children under 5 should be in full-day mass child care. I look at my 3 year old and know the institutionalized care of day-care is too impersonal for him to be there for a full day. There is a good reason why Kindergarten is half day. I know there are a lot of people who want full-day Kindergarten, but the "results" of that are only shown to be beneficial for lower-income high-risk groups. There is no benefit to the average or above-average income low-risk child. Day homes and nannies are a compromise, but I really think part-time daycare or shared parenting is a better choice for your children. I want to support choice, but I want people to make the choice not just for themselves but for their children as well, and I want more options than just mass daycare to be considered valid and important.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Bouncing Back

Today I felt so much better. I think the marathon sleep on Saturday night and the really good sleep last night helped. So I cleaned my kitchen. That felt good. And I made a big casserole type meal that can be frozen for future days when I don't feel like making anything. That felt good. I also went to Safeway, in the snow - brrr, and stocked up on things but avoided impulse 'bad food'. That felt good. Oliver got 10 stickers in school today (the max is 4 - so it must have been an awesome day). That felt really good. Especially to see his face when he counted them. He was just delighted. I worked a little on my novel, which is over the 50,000 word hurdle but now needs to be finished. That felt good. I will do more on that later tonight. I also wrote and sent in a letter to the Journal in response to the editorial on daycare. That felt good. I know not everyone may share my opinions on this, but it rubs me the wrong way for someone to say they are arguing for everyone to have daycare when it is really because they want it. Why punish those who don't have their kids in daycare by making them pay for you putting yours in (via taxes)? It's not fair if it's only fair for one group of people, no matter how hard you argue. Oh well, don't get me started... Let's end on a good note. It is good not to feel like crap anymore.

Friday, November 23, 2007

A funny way to diet...

This week I stopped eating meals and it worked. Don't be alarmed. I am still eating, but I have always had trouble controlling my snacking. That is my major problem with eating. So I would snack and then have my breakfast, lunch and dinner and when you combined all the food it was way too much. In the past I would try to stop the snacking and I would invariably fail to do that well. So, this week I did my snacking (trying to keep it fairly nutritious) and just didn't have the meals. I stayed within my points for the day and I am optimistic about tomorrow's weigh-in. Cross your fingers.

Friday, November 16, 2007

A Little Radio Play...

I went to see/hear/participate in Fulcrum of Evil at Walterdale Theatre tonight. Usually Walterdale does not rent to anyone other than the ADFA and Fringe, but CBC Radio was looking for a place to tape a Radio Play written by Marty Chan and they wanted an audience for reaction, etc... So anyhow, Walterdale made a special arrangement. It was a lot of fun. My mom looked after the boys, so Mark and I both got to go and I was quite glad that I bought tickets today during the afternoon, because there was a waiting list to get in. Jam packed it was! The highlight was definitely Jeff Haslam as Faz Rool (sic). He was tres hilaire! I have read a lot about him in the Journal but this was the first time I had actually seen (and heard) him on stage. He was channelling Jack Benny and I quite enjoyed it. I also got to see Davina Stewart and Mark Meer and I had never seen them before. They are worth the hype they get. Script, hmmm? It was good, but the actors made it better than it was. It was a cool little night out and I was glad that I got to see/hear it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I Organize my Life but,...

There's still never enough time. Sometimes I leave extra space in the day and then things happen that suck up that time. Sometimes those things are controlled by me (Scrabulous, games, writing) and sometimes they are dictated by others (errands, Gibson, store related things). Just cross your fingers that tonight I will be able to cross some things off my list. I think I can, I think I can...

Monday, November 05, 2007

Hotel Room Euphoria...

I had a lovely weekend in Calgary. The conference was great and I so enjoyed the hotel life. I pampered myself a bit, but for me the sleep in itself was pampering. Room service breakfast and movie rentals and slowing down. It was lovely. Just the little things like putting moisturizer on my legs without the cat pestering me (she like the taste of moisturizer and will lick my ankles with her annoying sandpaper tongue - HATE it!). I also got to see Wanda's house and we had a great evening venting (we shared many vent-topics). It was all good!