Holy Hell! Please Tell Me Today is NOT Monday!


I woke up this morning at 6am with a feeling of dread that today might actually be Monday…

I turned to my wife who was already awake and I asked her, “Is it Monday?”

“Yup”, she responded with a sigh.

It’s not that we hate our jobs, or that we had something to do today which we were dreading, but today came way too soon.

For those of you with multiple children – especially those of you with children in activities – know that this is one hectic time of year.

Programs are ending, programs and starting, and that means 8am-10pm programming and with 3 children and 2 parents, it means a whole lot of juggling and lots of mileage on the car!

Take Sunday for example.  My oldest boy umpires baseball, and as his baseball season came to an end yesterday, he found umpiring work at the Toronto Girls Baseball League, an upstart league created by Dana Bookman, which has taken the city by storm.  Very well run, extremely well-organized, and extremely well supported it’s been a huge success and is growing by leaps and bounds.  Our daughter has played in the league and would play more if it didn’t conflict with her dance classes.

As the oldest, and considering the park was close enough to home, he was the lucky one who had to make his own way to and from the games.  He gathered his umpire gear, made sure he found his bike lock, and set out his water bottle, snack and sun screen the night before.

His younger brother had Sunday school in the morning, followed by his Select hockey practice, followed right after by his baseball playoff game.  He made muffins in the morning which made him happy, and he loved his select practice and his baseball team won (even though he wanted to pitch and his coach wouldn’t let him pitch – which made him grumpy).

As an aside, he’s an outstanding kid – all about fairness and equality for everyone – he knows that he has pitched the least out of all the kids and out of frustration he declared that he’s not playing baseball next year.  Never ever again.  All of this because he’s had the same coach 2 years in a row and he feels that he’s going to get the same coach next season and that coach will not let him pitch.  It’s NOT fair.

Our daughter, fresh off a Saturday afternoon dancing at half-time of the Toronto Argonauts football game, had her day filled with another dancing gig at the Girl Expo Canada, which coincidentally was created and run by Dana Bookman along with Alison Cepler.

After that event, she headed downtown to synchronized swimming practice where 2 hours in the pool tuckered her out.

Back at home, the oldest had a play date with a former school mate, and by the time we all settled in together, it was 8pm and I left my equally exhausted wife with 3 hungry, tired children while I raced out to a 8:30pm business meeting.

I finally returned just before 11pm to find my wife laying in bed – too tired to sleep – but so tired she needed to sleep.  We planned Monday’s responsibilities and I headed down to the kitchen to clean up from dinner, and take care of the load of laundry she ran.

Midnight came very quickly.

She was still awake.

I was wide awake.

“You know, we’re going to close our eyes and it will feel like seconds before it’s Monday morning.”

With that thought, we closed our eyes…

 

(For those of you who are thinking about commenting that it’s our fault for having 3 kids, and for programming 3 kids and that we’re just being whiny for complaining… Yup.  Saved you from having to enter that comment.)

Just thinking about myself as a kid – my parents put me in the one program that they thought I should have been in – and that was the way it was done.  I want my kids to experience plenty of things – we’re smart enough to plan the schedules accordingly, but when programs overlap… So not cool.

 

 

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How to talk about sex with our kids


I’m not ready to have the conversation with my daughter about anything sex-related.  She is just 7-years-old, and after 2-boys, she’s my little girl… I know that sounds like a complete cop-out, but I think I need to leave that conversation to my wife.  Thank goodness my wife is so awesome and started the conversation with the boys, long, long ago.

I thought I was close to having to have that conversation with her in the car the other day, after we heard a news story on the radio about a robbery.

Turns out there were 2 burglars who had broken into someone’s house and instead of robbing it and leaving, they hopped on the couch and starting having sex.

The homeowner arrived and started hitting them, called the police and they were arrested… duh, eh?

Well, my daughter apparently overheard the news report and we had this conversation;

Boo: Daddy what were the burgers doing on the couch that they were arrested for?

Me:  Ummm, they were burglars… Robbers, thieves, criminals and they were, ummm, kissing.

Her: No, I heard the radio.  There were burgers on the couch.  What were they doing on the couch?

Me: They were burglars and they were, ummm, kissing..  watching TV… No, I think they both fell asleep.  I didn’t hear it.

Her: No.  I heard the radio.  Oh, I know.  They were hit because they had sacks on the couch.

Me: NO.  They were kissing!

Her: No daddy.  It was sacks.  They had their 2 sacks on the couch.  The sacks must have been dirty and the owner told them to remove them, but when they didn’t, she hit them.

Me: (phew)… Yes. That was what happened.  Good thing you were listening.

They grow up so fast!

 

The Urban Daddy: Back from family vacation. Europe V4.0.


So we have returned from our annual family vacation – I’m back at work, the kids have one week left before school starts, and my wife has the absolute pleasure of coordinating the back to school festivities.  Dentist appointments, vaccinations, clothes, shoes, school supplies, and most importantly, scheduling!

Forget the programming of extra-curricular activities and sports programs, because that is just going to have to wait… So many commitments, and such little precious time.

You get it!

But normally, I do not like to speak publicly about personal matters, however this summer’s vacation is worth sharing not because of what we did, but because of how we did it.

This was our 4th summer in Europe.  As a family.  We plan the trips in October / November and in the summer we pack as little as possible into backpacks, and we go and explore the world.

Since we are a family of 5, staying in a hotel is not a viable option, so we resort to using Air BnB’s so we have choice of location, a kitchen and sometimes other exciting amenities, such as a pool.

With the kitchen we avoid the costly dinners out and instead hit up local grocery stores and eat breakfast and dinner we’ve made ourselves and if we decide not to pack lunch, we can eat out before heading back for a siesta.

This summer took us to Dublin, Barcelona, Madrid, Malaga, Seville, and London with many stops along the way via the train, or the car we rented for a week.

We don’t have a home base for the entire trip, instead we stay in places for anywhere from 2-5 days before moving on.  Each new country, city, town bring a new experience and the excitement of a new place which might be better (or worse) than the previous one.

We’ve yet to be disappointed.

I’d say after 5-years of family travels, the one disappointing place we stayed at was in Rome 2-years ago which was in a fabulous location, but the Air Conditioning didn’t work and it was during a hot spell, where the average temperature was 45 degrees Celsius.

This year also represented the first year that our bags were lost during a transfer at airports, and our bags were lost twice, the final time, only 3 of our 5 bags made it home.  The final bag arrived 3 days after us.

Kudos to my wife for planting the seed of travel into our kids.  Imagine taking a 4-year-old back-packing as we did 3-years ago, through Paris, the south of France, Amsterdam and Belgium.  She was an absolute trooper.  No strollers, just walking, looking at art, and enjoying ourselves.

Now at the ripe age of 7, she’s a pro.

I encourage parents to explore travel with their children to introduce them to how the rest of the world lives.  Sure, we had gone on a family cruise before, and we took the kids to Disney, but before we headed overseas, we explored the East coast of Canada – New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and PEI – to see if we would do driving trips overseas and after that success, we took the plunge.

I love that my oldest can easily navigate the Paris Metro, or the London Underground.  Even the Seville Metro and Brussels subway pose no issues with him.  Our middle child has found an appreciation for art, museums, and the food and drink that other places have to offer.  He’s in his element wherever he is, and that warms my heart.

Our youngest, my daughter… Such a trooper, and with a strength in languages, she enjoys what we all enjoy… the sites, the food, the language… the experience.

As someone who had to find ways to cope with some significant undiagnosed anxiety in my life, the travel bug has bitten me and I look forward to the flights, train rides, and bus, tram and subway rides because of what they bring.  New experiences, new adventures and quality family time!

For those who knew of our travels, we appreciated the texts and messages as we were in Barcelona one week before that horrible murderous act by a group of criminals.  We were on the exact stop where the van came to rest.  We also were at Buckingham Palace in London a day before some mentally unstable resident showed up with a 4-foot sword there.

But it’s great to be back home, back in Canada, back to the greatest country in the world.

 

 

 

Nosey ass neighbours


http://goodfullness.com/jacqui-child-services/?utm_source=vn&utm_tracking=11&utm_medium=Social

Can you please give good parents a f#@king break??

I grew up playing in the park with my friends with no parents watching, riding bikes on our own, walking to nearby friends – christ, my mother should probably be jailed according this nosey neighbour.

Don’t get me wrong, the times have changed, I likely wouldn’t do some of the things my parents did, but playing in their own fenced in backyard is now grounds for calling child services? WTF?! looks like I’m likely gonna end up in jail too…

Stay the hell out of parents’ child rearing, unless you’ve got a damn good, JUSTIFIABLE reason not to.

My kid’s got a ‘weird’ name – How I’ve helped him embrace it (read: how HE’S helped me learn to love it!)


In my culture, kids tend to be named after loved ones who have passed away after living long fulfilled lives. My husband’s tradition is to give the first born grandson the same name as the LIVING paternal grandfather. When hubby first told me this I’m pretty sure my word-for-word response was something along the lines of “Not a f@#%ing chance is that happening.”

Fast forward 6 years and I’m preggo with boy/girl twins. During those 6 years I went though a lot of heart break – I lost my grandmother, grandfather and uncle, all of whom basically helped raise me. So when I peed on that stick, later confirmed at the fertility clinic (another post for another time), I knew right away that my kids would be named after my dearly departed family… In pipes hubby reminding me about his family tradition.

My hubby’s traditions are important to me, but my feeling goes like this: if I’m the person growing these tiny humans inside me, puking my guts out for 3 months, not sleeping for 4 months and having major surgery to have said tiny humans removed then you better damn well believe I’m making the final decision on what I’m going to call the little monsters.

I spent the next 35 weeks and 6 days going back and forth about what I’d name my son. It was like mental tug-of-war. Who’s gonna be offended? Is it really a bad omen? Do I really want my kid going through life having his name mispronounced? Back and forth, back and forth.

D-day comes and I still haven’t made a final decision. We arrive at the hospital, still no decision. Prepped for my c-section, still no decision. Getting sewn up, still no decision. Puking my guts out in recovery and still no decision. Finally I get to the ward and hold my son for the first time. Instinctively I look at my hubby, who’s fighting back tears of love, joy and fear and behind all of it, I see pride, so much pride. In that split second I gave my little man the same name as his grandpa. When my father-in-law found out my son’s name he cried tears of joy and the same pride I saw in my husband – like father like son.

Even after naming him, I wasn’t so sure about my decision. I was worried he wouldn’t like his name as he got older and went to school and heard all the other kids with ‘normal’ names and decided he didn’t want his name. Mostly, I wasn’t sure how to instill pride about a name I was still iffy on.

At about 4am, after feeding the kids and wanting to scratch my eyes out I went online (because isn’t that the normal thing to do when you’re sleep deprived?) and saw an ad for a book called “The little boy who lost his name”. The books weren’t cheap but I figured it was worth a shot if it would help my son embrace his name, so I bought one for him and of course one for my daughter (twins and all). The books arrived and they were absolutely incredible, and worth every penny. The kids were too little for the books at that point but both loved their books when we first read it to them and still love them 2 years later! It’s not really a book they grow out of until much later, and then it becomes a keepsake.

So, when the company contacted me a couple months ago about their new book “Kingdom of You” I figured I’d give it shot (nothing to loose since they were sending the book free for me to review). My concern was that having twins meant needing 2 books, and while they offered to send 1 book for review, I couldn’t get one kid a book and not the other. Once they found out about the twin situation they graciously sent one book for each kid – now that’s great customer service! The Kingdom of You books are just as well written and beautifully illustrated as the Lost My Name books. The kids get lost in their own personal fairy tale – isn’t that what every kid wants? Anyway, back to my son’s name…

In the end, it isn’t a book that gives my son pride in his name, it’s the fact that our family takes such pride in the history of his name, we tell him about all of the men in the family with the same name and what incredible people they were and still are. Sharing a name with his grandpa gives my little man such pride, you should see the look on his face when he tells people “Me and Grandpa have a the same name!” I love his name because HE loves his name, its history and what it represents. It doesn’t hurt that he’s growing up to be quite an incredible little person.

What’s in a name? I guess that depends who you’re asking…

Until next time,

Your fav Urban Twin Mommy

P.S. Stay tuned for the company’s upcoming book which will feature the option of multiple kids in 1 book!

 

 

Disclosure: I was provided this product to share my honest opinion and believe me, I’m gonna tell you the truth, be it good, bad or ugly!