Posted in Canada, Daddy, family, government, Life, Parenting, politics, The Urban Daddy, Toronto

More Kid Kontent: Gross Commercials, Politics and Tik Tok


Today, April 19th, 2021 is the first Canadian Federal budget in over 2-years. It’s been a hot topic of conversation amongst my friends, my colleagues and, yes, my kids.

At work, and among friends, we are concerned that the only way this Liberal government can pay for all the massive spending they’ve done over the past 7-years is through increased taxation. Increased taxation to Liberals tends to mean, calling taxes anything but taxes, so “levies”, “fees” and other cute names get thrown around, while the Liberals continue to push for increased taxes on the “wealthy”. Unfortunately, “wealthy” in Canada now becomes anyone earning over $80,000, or combined income of “$120,000”, which essentially becomes the “middle class”.

But I digress.

Whatever I know about politics in Canada I have earned through a specialized honours degree in Public Policy and Administration at University, plus an additional 10+ years of working for the Canadian government. That, however, still doesn’t make me qualified to educate my children about government-related matters because my kids know more. They have Tik Tok.

From Tik Tok, they learn a ton. A lot of it is really helpful, and useful, and informative. The facts that these kids pepper me with are factually correct, and legitimate. Considering the chaos around schooling during a pandemic, it’s nice to see the kids are learning important facts, however, some of these facts are a bit, shall we say, too far to the left, and blur the lines between what’s going on the in the US, and what political life is like in Canada.

The extra scrutiny of the Trump Republicans in the US has caused kids to not only tie together Conservativism in the US with Conservatism in Canada, but it also brought along the stereotypes and misinformation from the US, up to Canada. I can’t say how many times, I’ve mentioned that the Canadian conservatives won’t allow guns, won’t discuss abortion and that conservatives are not Neanderthals who treat people different by race, age, sex, religion or nationality. It’s not a thing.

With all of that being said, I do welcome the attention that they now pay to politics, and enjoy the dialogues that we can have around what’s best for Canada and what’s best for Canadians. If my kids know anything, it’s how to spend only the money they have, and not the money they hope to have or hope to borrow, thus making themselves fiscally responsible. They also know that this government in particular is fiscally irresponsible and they do not like the concept that their taxes will be higher as they start to earn money.

When prompted what they would do if they strived to be a high income earner, to start a business, employ and support others and earn as much as they could, they were quite frank in their replies. They would take less money to offer their employees a higher wage/salary. I commend them for that. Unfortunately, when prompted about what they would do if the government took 60% of their income or more, they simply replied, that they would move to a country which took less.

This is my biggest fear with the way this government has gone about their business.

When an election comes, they spend, spend, spend, because they know 3 things. First, that ordinary Canadians appreciate the spending and think the government is doing something for them. Second, they know that if either of the governments are critical of the spending, they would in turn be criticized by Canadians, and third, they know that when a new government takes over and has to balance the budget, by spending less or cutting costs, that narrative doesn’t go over well at all, and can be used as a re-election strategy (re-elect us, because we don’t cut everything like they do).

With all that being said, I expect this will be an election budget, not a pandemic budget, meaning, spending a LOT of money on everything and not making any controversial decisions. No taxes. No cuts. Just spend, spend, spend, without any regard for who is going to pay and when.

Can’t wait to discuss this with the kids, at a more appropriate time.

We started to have this conversation but then one of 2 dreadful commercials came on the TV. It’s a commercial with Heinz Ketchup (a brand we love), in which a potato with a face gets cut up and eaten. It’s enough to not want us to eat potatoes anymore, and just barely exceeds that horrible Pepsi commercial with ice cubes with faces are plummeted into a glass where they melt to death.

As the kids pointed out, we don’t eat as much mean because of the efforts associating the food with a living being that has feelings. After watching those commercials, the kids want to establish a charity to save the potatoes and save the ice cubes.

UGH.

Posted in Daddy, family, Life, Parenting

Kidversations


There is nothing better than conversations with our children, no matter their ages. Granted, the conversations we had when the kids were really young, were a lot more humourous, as they just tended to say really funny stuff, but as the kids get older, they know what they’re saying, and most times, they mean it.

Take this conversation that happened last month between myself and my youngest, Boo.

Boo: Daddy, can we play tennis today?

Me: Sweetie… It’s winter. The courts are covered in snow. It’s cold, and we’re under a lockdown due to COVID. The tennis courts are not open.

Boo thinks about it for a few seconds…

Boo: Daddy, I just don’t care. Play tennis with me or I’ll take off your head and use it as a ball.

Me, absolutely dying on the inside as she is standing there with a tennis racket in her hand and the funniest look on her face.

Boo: Well?

Me: Let’s hope my head bounces. LOL

So we went to the basement, and I taught her how to use a softer ball and hit the ball against the wall on her forehand and backhand. That activity lasted about 20 minutes until I got bored and we wound up playing a game of dodgeball with a stress ball and tennis rackets.

She won.


In the weeks prior, we had a discussion about how eating asparagus can cause some people’s urine to smell.

Apparently, I read somewhere that it’s not that there is a change in the urine, but that it’s a sensory issue and that asparagus changes the smell of everyone’s urine, but that only some people are able to smell the difference…

After a fairly lengthy discussion, this was the conclusion… I was asked if people are allowed to call in sick for work if they eat too much asparagus because everyone shares the bathroom and it wouldn’t be nice to “make everyone smell your stinky pee”.

They clearly didn’t pay attention earlier.

But is it worth taking a day off after eating a bunch of asparagus? Probably not.

Posted in Canada, Community, Daddy, disaster, events, family, Life, Parenting, The Urban Daddy, Toronto, urbandaddyblog

More Questions Children Ask About the Way We Do Things


Building on the previous questions – the post a few days before this one – that children (my children) have asked about the way we do things, and why.

  1. How is the US possibly considering taking away women’s rights to do what they want with their own bodies? If the US is REALLY pro-life, then they would ban guns, and murder, and violence, because who says the life of an unborn baby matters more than the life of a child or adult who are killed for the colour of their skin, their sex or their ethnicity?
  2. If police here in Toronto really wanted to crack down on cars that speed, don’t follow street rules, and have tinted windows, they should make a law. (We have the conversation about the fact there are laws). In that case, if they break the law, they shouldn’t be allowed to drive. They should be forced to make the changes to their cars. In the mean time, they should have to take public transit. And they should have to pay a fine. That money should go into educating drivers what will happen if they break the laws. If they drink and drive and hurt someone or kill someone, they no longer get to drive. If they damage someone’s property, they should have to pay for it. There needs to be accountability.
  3. The funniest of these very serious conversations came while discussing limits on screen time. We have always limited screen time, and sites kids can and cannot visit. When parents, my kids say, they will not restrict screen time. They will instead, have serious conversations with their children about when they can access screens and for how long.

When asked what they would do to ensure that school work was completed?

Take away the access until it was done?

Nope.

They would “discuss” the importance of making sure school work is a priority.

How about if they work still isn’t done?

Take away access?

Again, no, it would make much more sense to have a conversation with the children to let them know that school work comes first and electronics second.

So I asked… What if they lie to you about having work done, or don’t contribute to the house chores? Don’t help with meal prep? Don’t set or clean off the table? Don’t take their laundry downstairs, or don’t take their wet towels off their beautiful hardwood floors?

Without missing a beat, they said; “They will”.

Puzzled, I asked, “so all I needed to do was have a serious conversation with you guys about responsibility, but give you free and unlimited access to electronics and you would be help out more around the house?”

“Absolutely!”, was their response…

“But”… was their next word… “You guys are terrible parents so we likely would have just been on our devices all day!”

I sat there blinking my eyes at them.

“Parenting is really not that hard, you just have to know how to do it properly.”

At which point I stopped the car (we were home) and pointed to the outside, and said, “OUT!”

… and they disappeared with devices in hand, never to be seen or heard from again, or at least until I yelled, “dinner!”.

Posted in Canada, cars, Coffee, Daddy, news, Parenting, politics, The Urban Daddy, Toronto

Things Discussed With My Kids: Yesterday


The joy of teenagers, and I have 2 of them now, is that they know everything. It’s amazing, it really is.

When they are not telling me how little I know, they’re usually on a device somewhere out of sight, playing games or “talking” to their friends.

Sometimes, however, we talk about stuff.

Here are a few topics of conversation for yesterday.

My middle child – bless him – just realized the irony of the fact that his mother does not like / hates coffee, yet eats Coffee Crisp chocolate bars… (Mind blown). The funny thing here is that she’s never had coffee that he’s ever seen. She’s eaten coffee crisps as long as he’s known… The so-called penny dropped.

If there are speed limits which should / must be adhered to, and there are significant penalties for violating these limits, and getting caught… Why are car manufacturers making cars that can go upwards of 250km/h? If speed limits are 100km/h, and cars exceeding 150km/h are deemed to be “stunt racing”, then shouldn’t cars not be allowed to exceed 150km/h, rather than 250km/h?

Rather than spending my time helping Canadians with tax troubles, my kids suggested that I should explore a career far more lucrative, such as owing a Subway franchise, South Street Burger, or a Tim Hortons location. Why? So they can have free stuff, of course…

Why do the parking enforcement officers (parking police) always park illegally when they’re out on their rounds? Because there are no parking spots for them to park in! So why doesn’t the city create more parking so people can park? They’ll make more money from parking, right? (future politician)

If the government wants more people in cars, why don’t they take away cars from people who do things illegal with their cars, thus forcing them to have to take public transit for the rest of their lives. That’s appropriate punishment, isn’t it?

We had an interesting discussion about Donald Trump which was more a conversation about a left-wing media, and the general dislike of right-wing politics. As a result, we’ve discussed that the US needs a third party that falls in the middle of the democrats and republicans and one which allows voters an option that isn’t either pro-or-against-guns, or pro-or-against-abortion, but one that caters to the voters. Unfortunately getting information from typical “left-wing” media, the soundbites that kids get fed these days don’t tell the full story on every political issue in the most transparent way. a lot of media circulated is slanted one way or another and a lot of kids can’t tell apart facts from biases. For example, the kids were surprised that Trump paid on $750 in taxes and while they do understand that its possible to pay that little in taxes by using the tax system to it’s fullest (see, I have taught them something), they just knew it didn’t pass the smell test.

So I asked them if Trump paid $400,000 in taxes would that be better? As Trump was one of only 2 US Presidents according to snopes.com, who have donated their entire Presidential salaries to charity.

Sure, they said, but all Presidents donate their salaries… Not true, but certainly there are a lot of clips stating that to be the case.

All I ask my kids, is if they are going to follow, support, understand, politics, they should take what they hear and read with a grain of salt, make sure they research it, and try not to spread inaccurate facts, if at all possible.

Not a pro-Trump moment, because between Trump and Biden, I think we all feel sorry for the American voters because they’ve been given some pretty sad choices. Not that things are better here in Canada with our questionable leadership from our Liberal government…

Posted in Canada, Community, Daddy, family, Life, Parenting, school, The Urban Daddy, urbandaddyblog

Tips for Balancing Remote Work and Parenting During Covid


Tips for Balancing Remote Work and Parenting During COVID-19

Written by: Sheyla Scaffo, People Experience Associate & Executive Business Administrator at Bunny Studio

Parents navigating their working from home while taking care of their children is the new norm. As school picks back up and with the uncertainty of what a day at school will look like (home, at school, 50/50, etc.), figuring out how to balance their schedule and a full-time job sometimes feels totally unmanageable.

Most parents have had experience working remotely in one-off, unplanned situations. However, working at home day in and day out for the foreseeable future while also caring for (and in some cases, teaching) kids at home proves to be a major struggle without careful planning where needed and flexibility when possible.

Here are some tips to create better routines and habits that can help parents maintain a healthy work-life integration:

1. When possible, keep things flexible
This is often easier said than done. However, when you do have the ability, consider getting creative with your work schedule to base your hours around your kids’ schedules. Giving yourself the flexibility to work differently during this time is crucial to maintaining work-life balance. 

This can work in a variety of ways. For example, if you’re an early morning person or a night owl, or you are used to commuting a long way, consider working on projects during these times when kids are usually sleeping. Of course, there will always be vital tasks and meetings that require collaboration with your colleagues during regular work hours, but finding ways to give yourself time for small breaks during the day will help you and your kids stay on track.            
 
2. Establish a kid-free zone
There will be times when you need to hunker down and complete work items free from distractions, which is why it is important to establish an area of the house where you can separate yourself from your family. 
 
Not only is it important for this space to be free from other people, but it also needs to be free from other distractions such as dirty laundry and other messes. Keeping the area clean and organized will keep you from wanting to disengage from work to complete other tasks.

3. Clearly communicate with your family
If you have a partner who is also working from home and sharing kid duties with you, it is crucial to communicate the times you can and cannot help out during the day. Setting these expectations will allow for a much smoother daily routine.

It is also important to communicate with your children if they are old enough. Set expectations for when there will be breaks in your day that you can check-in, whether it be a quick snack break, lunch, or even hourly check-ins. 

4. Utilize special toys and screen time during work hours
Set aside designated toys and other gadgets, as well as movies or TV shows, to be used when you need to focus-in during the day. This will give your kids something to look forward to and will allow for some distraction-free work time.
 
5. Don’t overwork
During this time, it can be easy to feel like we need to push ourselves to work extra hours, but the reality is that taking the time to unplug and reset each day is critical to success as a parent and an employee.
 
With schools and offices closed, parents are likely finding themselves faced with a to-do list that has only grown. Although many of us have now had a few months to settle into fully-remote work, that does not mean keeping up with distance-learning while figuring out the best way to accomplish your work has gotten any easier. Designing a schedule that fits your needs is easier said than done, but following the above tips should help ensure you are on the right track.

Should you find yourself out of work during this time, consider that there are other work options out there, such as freelance and contract work, that may help you meet your scheduling and finance needs. Freelancing is also a great source of supplemental income for people while they look for new full-time employment. Just make sure you choose the right platform to help you get the right kind of projects, such as Bunny Studio