Wednesday, November 30, 2011

At Least I've Still Got My 'Sanity'...Right?

This morning I dropped off my 6 year old son at school.  I waited until the bell rang, and when he got into line, I moved to hug and kiss him good-bye.  When he saw me coming, he stuck his arm straight out to stop me, and said, "Don't even THINK about it!"

(I need to take a moment.)

I won't overreact, or anything.  I mean, I've been down this road with my oldest son.  Been there, done that.  I'm so over it.  It's just that it has happened even sooner than with my oldest son.  I thought I had more time!

I decided just to go home and hide in the corner with a bottle of Scotch and a bag of chocolates. 

Hmmm.  I was just joking, but that actually sounds like fun.  Is that bad?  If everyone just left me alone, I think I could cheer myself up quite nicely!

No, I'll just talk myself out of it to preserve my 'sanity'.  My son is still very affectionate at home, all the time.

When he was sick last week, he wanted me to stay with him all the time, "because just being with you makes me feel better", he said.

And the other day, when his older brother wanted to battle me in a new video game, he looked worried for me, and said to his brother, "Just...go easy on her, okay?"

I'll take it.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Parenting Perks

Tonight my son read to me.  And not only did he read to me, he chose the book.  And not only did he choose the book, but he chose Robert Munsch's 'Love You Forever'.  I know some people think this book is a little strange, with the mom driving to her son's house to rock him.  But I think the author took creative license to show the love of the parent, no matter what and no matter where the child is.  And it shows how love comes around, when he begins the 'cuddling song' with his baby daughter.  I always get a little teary at the end.  Anyway, having my son read this book to me, a book I have read so many times to each of them, was amazing.  He even made up a melody to go with the song when he sang it.  It was a great moment; a 'full-circle' moment.  It should keep me going for another several years, at least.  Maybe more.

My Powers Are Limited!

My daughter was being 'Super Hero Ella'.  She had on her brothers' blue superhero cape plus her sparkly pink ballet slippers.  My kind of hero.  Anyway, she was 'flying' around, asking all of us whether we needed any help.  She kept saying, "I can do ANYTHING, anything at all, anything in the world!"

Her brother asked her if she could stop her other brother from fighting with him.

Ella stopped in mid-flight, mouth wide open, with a shocked look on her face.  "I can't do THAT!"

So much for unlimited powers!  I guess we need Tony Blair in here, but it might be too much of a challenge for him.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Parent Interviews = Fun

I've never had a problem with parent interviews before.  They were fine.  They didn't cause me any stress or worry.  Until now.

I went to the one interview slightly, okay very worried, because I'd gotten a note home about behaviour in my son's agenda a couple of days prior.  I made him write a note saying sorry to his teacher.  And he has been doing great academically, so I was hoping this was just an anomaly.

It's not that he has ever been a child who behaved badly.  I mean, all children behave badly, but you know what I mean.  He is just very active, very energetic.  He is constantly on the move.  He stands on his head.  (Literally.  All the time.  And where did he get that?  My husband and I don't just stand on our heads.  I know that's surprising.)  And if someone asked me to just randomly pick an adjective out of the air to describe him, it would never occur to me to say 'obedient'.  However, I would say 'sweet' and 'smart'.  In any case, we had not had a single issue all through JK and SK, so I guess I became complacent.

Anyhow, I sat down in front of his teacher, full of hope.  And the first thing she says to me is, "Do you know what your son said to me today?"  I shook my head mutely.  She continued, "He said, 'whatever' and put up his hand (as in 'talk to the hand')."

I'm not sure I could have been more mortified than I was at that point.  And I thought to myself, "REALLY, honey?  Really?  Not the day before, not the day after, but the actual DAY of my parent interview, you have to be rude to your teacher?!  Your timing is impeccable."

I think the teacher could tell by the horrified look on my face that I was afraid things were really bad.  Luckily, she hastened to reassure me that she had a class full of boys, and he wasn't the only one she saw this behaviour with.  And he is doing extremely well in other areas.

Still, I wonder what I am doing wrong.  I feel like he should know that is completely inappropriate.  I'm always talking about good manners. I would like to think we have a pretty good discipline structure.  Yet he seems to always want to test all his limits out.  Sometimes over and over again!

The teacher said she has realized that he just needs to be constantly engaged.   At all times.  I agreed with her, and said, "Yes, please - just keep him busy.  Make him mop the floors or something."

She hesitated, "Um - I was thinking more along the lines of extra projects and things."

"Oh!  Of course, of course...that's what I meant too..."

(That was a joke about mopping the floors.  Although maybe that would make him think first before being impolite, and if so, hey - I'm all for it!)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Parenting: Easy? Never!

I read an article in the paper today entitled, "Parenting Is Not Always Easy".  What?  That seems to imply that parenting is usually or even sometimes easy, when my opinion is that parenting is never easy.

And don't get me wrong. I love being a parent.  It's my most favourite job.  Is it completely worthwhile?  Yes.  Would I do it again?  Yes.  Is it often fun and interesting and wonderful?  Yes.  But easy?  No way.

It's the hardest job I have ever done.  Again, not because it's so terrible, but because it's so important.  We are raising these three little people who will become big people who we hope will be compassionate and positive contributors.  This is a huge job.  There are so many things that can go wrong!

And children are extremely vulnerable.  The worry alone is hard.  Worrying about whether they're eating right and enough.  Worrying if they're sick.  Worrying if they get a note from the teacher about behaviour and whether it will become a pattern....or maybe that's just me.

And there are so many details; so many decisions to make at all times.  You think planning a wedding is hard?  Try raising a human being!  The details never stop!  With every phase, they just change to different details.

Thank goodness we have the hugs, the 'I love you's', the holiday excitement, the fascination with watching little people learn and grow.

The worst part is that, although I want to do the right thing, it's not always clear what that is.  Most of the time you just take a deep breath and take a leap of faith.  You do what you think is right and you hope against hope that everything will work out okay.

All you parents out there, I think you know what I mean.  I've decided that the hardest jobs are the most worthwhile.  And anyway, easy jobs are for amateurs.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Voice Recognition Schmecognition Software

I had a question about some tickets I had bought online with Ticketmaster.  I was trying to reach a real person but this was seemingly impossible.  I was talking to a computer who was supposedly working with voice recognition software.  I was meant to say the number of my order into the phone, and it would repeat it back at me.  I said each number slowly and clearly into the receiver.  And, contrary to the usual background of screaming/crying/yelling kids, it was surprisingly quiet at the time.  That was because I was alone in the house.  Which almost never, ever happens.  It was a miracle, in fact.  However, that's another post. 

Anyway, the computer said, "This is the number I heard," and said a number.  Of course it was wrong.  It asked, "Is this correct?" to which I answered, "No!"

"My mistake," it continued pleasantly (for a computer), "please repeat the number."

So I did, this time enunciating even clearer and stating it very loudly and slowly.

Wrong again.  This time when it asked if it was right, my "No!" was a little testy.  But the time I'd repeated the very long number for the third time, I was starting to curse the automated voice in my head, and my tone was downright irritable.  I finally hung up on it, which didn't make me feel better at all, because it was a COMPUTER!  I didn't even have the satisfaction of annoying someone else the way they were annoying me.  Although I guess you can say things to a computer that you wouldn't dare to a human, like, "You are stupid!  Did you recognize that?!"

I mean, what about people who don't have English as their first language?  What about people who have a speech issue?  I haven't had a lisp since the fourth grade and I still have trouble.  How do other people deal with these voice un-recognition software things?  This isn't the first time this has happened to me.  I have tried them when I'm trying to find out the extension of a person working in an agency.  I'll say, "Jane Doe" and it will say, "I am connecting you to 'Frank Logan'."

"No!"  I will yell, "No, no NO!"

"I am connecting you to Jane Doe now..."!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Glen Hansard - Say It To Me Now

This is my new favourite song.  It's not a current song, but I've just discovered Glen Hansard.  I heard his music and then watched the movie 'Once' that he acts and sings in; it's based on his music.  I love the way he sings.  He really gets into the song.  His lyrics are great as well.

Who Knew Tinkerbell Had a Job?

My daughter loves Tinkerbell.  However, she has only ever seen Tinkerbell in a movie, not on TV.  So when she saw an ad saying that Tinkerbell would be in a new TV show on our channel, she was perplexed. 

"Mommy!"  she yelled, "Tinkerbell is going to be on my home show now!  I didn't know that.  I've never seen Tinkerbell on my TV before." 

She paused, thinking.  "Where has Tinkerbell been, anyway?"

She thought hard and then finally said triumphantly, "I know!  Tinkerbell has been at work!"

Tinkerbell - the Modern Working Woman.  She does fix things, after all.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Now That's Sincerity!

My sons were arguing, as unfortunately they do a lot.  My one son had written his brother a note that said, 'You are a big fat dummy!'  I was happy he was practicing his writing skills, but really... the content left something to be desired.  Deciding that a 'natural consequence' would be best, I told him he now had to write a note saying sorry to his brother.

He wrote the note and I took a look at it hopefully.  It said, starting off in really tiny letters that coincidentally kept getting bigger and bigger:  'I am sorry  that you are a BIG FAT DUMMY!'

Ah, sincerity.  It's a beautiful thing.  On to the next note...