Posted in Parenting

Do You Carry Your Child’s Backpack? Don’t!


Do you carry your child’s backpack for them when you pick them up from school?

Don’t.

It’s not your backpack.

It’s theirs and they need to be responsible to know that they need to bring it to school, keep it’s contents safe, and then remember to bring it home with them.  If you carry it for them what message are you sending to them?

I’ll tell you.  You’re telling them that when you’re around they don’t have to carry their backpack.

Today, you’re carrying their backpack because you want to be kind. They must have had a very hard day at school, and you want to show them how much you love them, so you take their backpack and carry it to the car for them.

Tomorrow, and then next day, and the next day, your child walks out of school and hands you their backpack to carry, with a look on their face that it was a very tough day and they totally would feel better if you helped them out and carried their backpack fully of crumpled papers and a bunch of toys.

Then next thing you now it, they’re heading out of school and expecting you to carry their backpack for you.

Or worse, they’re walking away and leaving their backpack expecting you find, it and get it for them.

The entitlement creeps in, but when it arrives, it’s hard to go back on.

You’re setting a bad precedent and creating unrealistic expectations.  You’re not always going to be able or want to carry their backpacks – no matter how heavy it is or how tired they are or how hot it is outside.

Plus, kids don’t know where this kindness starts and where it ends.  Carrying the backpack today, cleaning off the table after dinner tomorrow… Next thing you know, your child will be expecting you so do things for them all the time or when they don’t want to / feel like doing it.

Do yourself a huge favour and make your kids carry their own backpacks.

Additional tips for parents who have already started carrying their kids backpacks:

When they ask why won’t you carry it, tell them it’s their backpack. When you were their age you carried your own. Others kids carry their own.

When they threaten to leave it because they don’t want to carry it – they are testing you – you have to be prepared to walk away from it and leave it there.

Setting clear expectations while they’re young will go a long way towards developing into responsible young adults.

Trust me.

Posted in cars, Community, Daddy, disaster, family, Life, Parenting, school, The Urban Daddy, Toronto

At What Age Will Parents Finally Get It? Re: School drop off


At what age / grade do parents finally have their “a-ha” moment when it comes to dropping off  their kids at school?

I’d like to know, because I’m shocked at the number of parents who just don’t get it.

I see you – every morning – doing the exact same thing, and I’m cursing you. So are all the other cars waiting in line that you have inconvenienced.

What are these parent not getting?

Common Courtesy!

Consideration for others.

Rules of the road.

Traffic laws.

Just to name a few off the top of my head.

You see, most schools have a very limited drop-off window for children and that window is at it’s busiest 15-30 minutes before school starts, and most often, the location for drop off is limited, thus, for drop-off to work effectively and efficiently, it has to be seamless.

The proper drop-off works like this;

  1. Car pulls up to drop off location – not exceeding the speed limit.
  2. Car stops.
  3. Parent says “get out!” or “goodbye”, or “I’ll pick you up”.
  4. Child opens the car door
  5. Child takes backpack.
  6. Child shuts door.
  7. Parent then looks both ways and slowly pulls away from the drop-off area and heads off to do their thing, or if the routine is really organized, then the car pulls forward and away, closely following the car right in front..

This method is so efficient. and so quick, but it never happens…

What really happens:

  1. Giant SUV driven by a very tiny woman zips up to the parking area and stops vehicle where ever she want. In a spot, diagonal facing the curb, on the curb, on the grass… blocking a driveway, or blocking oncoming traffic… Doesn’t matter.
  2. Driver opens the trunk by pressing a button
  3. Driver slowly exits the car in lululemon / workout clothes
  4. Driver then strolls around to the other side of the car and opens the door for the child.
  5. The driver then goes and gets the child’s backpack from the trunk.
  6. Driver helps child out of car
  7. Driver helps child get backpack on
  8. Driver looks child in the face and begins a seemingly long discussion with the child which likely could have occurred in the car.
  9. Driver kisses and hugs the child
  10. Driver points the child in the direction of the door.
  11. Driver waits for the child to enter the school
  12. Driver slowly walks back to the car hoping other lululemon mummy’s will see her outfit.
  13. Driver enters car
  14. Drive pulls away without looking, signalling or waiting, phone in hand, exceeding the speed limit and seemingly unaware that other children are walking on the road trying to get to school.

This is not a joke, nor meant to be a satire. It’s what happens daily.

Cars get frustrated, children are late, and there is a lot of honking.

 

Why can’t parents drop their kids of quickly and let the kids be responsible for getting out on their own?

These are likely the same parents who carry their kids backpacks and don’t get me started on that!

So please, parents… Teach your kids to be considerate of others around them even though you clearly have no hope.

Hopefully, you’ll get it…

One day…

 

 

Posted in Being Jewish in Toronto, Daddy, disaster, family, Life, Parenting, The Urban Daddy

July Was a Very Shitty Month!


What an absolutely shitty month, July turned out to be!

July last year was great! It was the first year that my wife and I had the pleasure of enjoying our @kidfreejuly (yes, we have that Twitter nickname) while all of our kids were enjoying PlanetArowhon. We went out for many dinners together, we tore apart the house and cleaned it from the bottom to the top culminating in a huge garage sale, and we even celebrated our wedding anniversary with our friends.

We were looking forward to more of the same this #KidFreeJuly. Very sadly, however, this July just sucked!

Kid free July began with my epic passing out routine, 45 minutes into an hour fitness class, and only got worse – I know, you’re thinking how much worse can it get than being the old dude walking out of a fitness facility accompanied by a stretcher and 2 EMT’s…

Well let me tell you!

A week after fitnessfailgate, my wife and I flew to the Big Apple, New York City, to meet our friends and enjoy a few days sightseeing, and attending a Billy Joel concert at the famed Madison Square Garden (a huge highlight for me).

We stayed in the lovely Carnegie Hotel, enjoyed a plush, comfy king bed, the snacks, and the 5pm wine and cheese. We had some fantastic meals, including one of the best meals I have ever eaten in my life at the Candle 79 Restaurant.

We walked on the High Line, then stopped in the Chelsea Market for a bite to eat when my wife’s cell phone rang. She answered, and within seconds, spun in her seat to face me – a look of shock in her face – placed her hand on my arm and said, “Oh my G-d, I’m so sorry Warren”.

My mind began to race… You see, my mother has not been well.  She was diagnosed with liver cancer a couple of months ago, and given a year, to a year and a half to live. Hearing that was extremely difficult for me. My father passed away 17-years ago, after my wife and I had been married for just a year, and my dad never got to meet his grandchildren.  Not a day goes by when I wish he could have met them and visa versa.

A year after my father died, my grandfather died. He was one of a kind. One of the kindest, sweetest men I have ever met. He was such an inspiration for me.

After losing my father and grandfather, my mother’s 2 brothers began to leave me, my wife and eventually our kids out of family functions, instead choosing to invite just my mother and sister instead.

I didn’t know what I may or may not have done, but for the longest time it really bothered me because it was a huge cause of stress for my mother and grandmother.  I tried to figure it out and resolve it. I apologized for what I thought I had done, and for what I may or may not have done, and I even asked for a face to face meeting to put all of this behind us.

They never responded. Like, ever.

They kept leaving us out, and kept expecting my sister to choose them over me and her niece and nephews.  Whatever… Everyone has family issues, right?

Getting back to that phone call, though… unbelievable.

My grandmother had passed away, just 8-days after her 96th birthday.

Born in the Ukraine, my Bubi was a true balabusta (Russian for homemaker), and to be honest, I thought she was never going to die. She lived alone right up to the end, and she was fully functional and fully operational, not like the Death Star from Star Wars. She was awesome, and for a long time, my sister and I had our grandparents to ourselves until it was finally time to share them with the other grand kids.

We used to visit all the time, help them out in their store, take care of their gardening, help around the house, and I was the only grandchild that my Bubi allowed to help with the hand washing of her dishes.

We were tight. I loved her dearly.

Even as the years progressed and as my mother’s brothers convinced her that I was the problem and they were justified in their actions, it took just one visit, or phone call for her to understand it was all crap.

I spoke to her on her birthday. She sounded great.  This loss hurt.

So after receiving the news we quickly moved to make arrangements to leave NY, get to Northern Ontario, pick up the kids from camp and attend the funeral. The only wrench in the plan would be in they planned a quick funeral.  We contacted Camp and learned that our eldest was in the middle of the wilderness on a camping trip, and while they had an emergency phone, it would only work if the trip leader called the base, at which point the could send a helicopter in to retrieve our son.

He was, however, coming back on the Sunday – just 2 days away – which meant any time Sunday in the afternoon, or Monday for the funeral would be best.

I reached out to my mothers younger brother to explain the situation, that we would need a bit of time, and it her could plan the funeral for the afternoon at the least, it would work out..

He basically said, tough shit, the funeral is planned.

I explained our intentions – my son being the oldest great grandchild, and knowing that he would really want to be there and speak at her funeral.

Again, I was told that there was no chance it was being moved.

Frantic, I offered to pay for the funeral, contact the funeral home, and let everyone know that the funeral has been moved from Sunday morning to Sunday afternoon.

He replied that it was the last he was going to talk about it, and that it was the last he was ever going to speak to me “as long as he lived”…

… okay…

He went on to say that I didn’t attend the mourning period for my grandfather (called a Shiva) and that I hadn’t visited my grandmother in the hospital.

I needed a second to comprehend what he had told me because that Shiva was 16-years-ago and also because I was at that Shiva each and every day.

Yes, I had not visited my grandmother when she was in the hospital because no one told me that she was there, but I did speak with her several times.

Frustrated like never before, I unleashed my thoughts to him in text, and in typical fashion, faced with the truth, he chose not to reply.

So my wife and I changed our flights and just made it home in time for the funeral.

My kids remained at camp, completely unaware that their great grandmother, their last great grand parent, had died.

They were going to be CRUSHED when they came home from camp and learned the news… My heart breaks for them.

During the funeral, I was a mess. I was super close with my grandmother having done so much for her before there were any other grandchildren, and recently watched as my mother and sister picked up the slack and helped her out.

My mother was unable to attend her mother’s funeral and she had been rushed to the hospital and was not doing well in her own right.  I know my mother wanted to be there, but the only bright side was that it saved her from hearing stories about how much her brothers did for my grandmother considering they had to pick up the slack only recently as my mothers health took a turn for the worse. They made themselves seems like such wonderful children…

Then, just 2 weeks after my grandmother died, my children arrived home from camp and after hearing what an amazing time they all had, I had the break the news that their great grandmother had passed away.  You could have heard a pin drop, and that silence which seemed to go on for hours was quickly shattered with the sound of crying.

My oldest was really upset. Why didn’t we come to get him? He was not happy at all knowing that my mothers brother – who cut his own 3 children and 7 grandchildren out of his life – had refused to wait half a day longer for them.

It was their great grandmother!

My kids were crushed. Devastated.

Then I had to break the news about my mother, whom the kids were REALLY close to. They loved her so much. When they saw her, or spoke to her you could see and hear the unconditional love in their emotions. The feeling was very much mutual.

We went right from the camp pickup point to the hospital to visit my mother who’s health had deteriorated to being in the 3-month to 6-month range, and we had no idea what we were about to face…

My mother was not doing well this day. She was in pain, and although I had come and spent time with her, supported my sister, over the previous 2 weeks that she was in the hospital, my mother just wanted to know when she could see the kids.

When my eldest arrived, my mother smiled for the first time in a very long time and told him how much she loved him.

Over the next hour, while being whisked from room to room and from doctor to doctor, to learn that my mother had days to live, she managed to tell all my kids that she loved them.

Later that night, she passed away.

She held on long enough for her grandchildren to return from camp, before she succumbed to her ailments and 2 weeks after the passing of her mother, she left us.

What came next makes me shake my head as I write this…

My mother would have wanted the family to mourn together for the week-long Shiva period, but that was not to be the case as her brothers decided they were going to observe their mourning period about 10 minutes away in the condo that belonged to my grandmother.

At the funeral, the youngest of my mothers brothers ignored me, my wife and my kids, instead embracing my sister while saying “I’m so sorry for your loss”.

Against the advice of the Rabbi my mother’s eldest brother announced to the attendees that he had some “issues” with my mother and that they “made peace” and that out of respect for my mother, they were sitting separately.

Absolutely disrespectful. If making peace means apologizing for 17-years of family stress by treating one of her children poorly (and his family), then one does not then continue the pattern and do exactly what my mother would not have wanted.

Then, not 5 minutes after we had buried my mother, he texted my sister and asked her to come mourn with them. Completely disregarding the fact that it’s our mother who died and that we actually had a relationship with her and didn’t cause her stress over the last 15 years with made up stories.

They never reached out to me to see how I was.

They emptied my grandmother’s condo without even asking me if there was something that I would like.

None of them – 4 adults and 6 children – contacted me in any way to offer condolence.

My eyes were open, but they have been opened even wider now.

I don’t know why they continue to put my sister in the middle of their childish stupidity.

I’ve come to realize that the opposite of love is not hate – I don’t hate anyone – but indifference.

I’m indifferent to them.

But Karma… She’s a bitch…

Posted in Canada, Daddy, disaster, events, family, Food, health, Life, The Urban Daddy, Toronto

Can’t Tell You How Much I Hate Getting Older…


Words cannot describe how much I hate getting older.

The grey hair.

The lack of hair.

The grey arm hairs… Ugh. I’m not even that old. At least I don’t feel that old.

Well, I didn’t feel that old, until this morning. This morning was a big ‘ol dose of reality check for me.

You see, up until a couple of years ago, I played competitive ball hockey in a league, as I had been doing since I was 19-years-old. That makes it around 25-years, give or take a year here and there.

Some years I played on 2 teams, some years 3-teams, and at the time when I met my wife, I was playing 4-nights a week.

Those 4 nights dwindled to 2-times per week, and then to once a week. A torn calf ended my ball hockey play and I haven’t played since. I think about playing again, but at my age, and having gained a “few” pounds paired with the fact that I’m out every evening with the kids at programs, means I just have no time.

Fast forward to November 2018, and I accepted a contact with Intuit Canada, the makers of TurboTax, to be their spokesperson, and blog editor. The job was amazing! The people were amazing. My boss was beyond amazing and the role was so much fun! The only downfall was that I literally sat at my desk for 8-hours a day. I had an hour drive to get there and an hour drive home and there was no time for exercise.

I put on a few more pounds.

I was feeling very uncomfortable.

Walking up the stairs became a chore, and I was winded when I got to the top. I knew it was time to focus back on fitness. When the kids went away to camp, was when I started exercising again. Walking on the treadmill, eventually running on the treadmill and trying to ease my fat ass back into working.

I even agreed to do a fitness class with my wife (something we have never done together) at the fitness studio that she goes to. I did a class called Chiseled. She took a different class.

The class was great, and the instructor was awesome. She was dynamic, engaging, informative and she helped me sort out the exercises and the correct techniques.

Almost 3/4’ers of the way through the circuit, I felt that I was done. Exhausted. Not that I couldn’t lift anymore, but that my heart rate was elevated, and not having had breakfast, I felt nauseous. I just needed a break.

I’ve had this feeling before when I played ball hockey and took time off due to children or injuries. The next game back was usually a tough one.

So I sat down on the chair to catch my breath.

And passed out.

When I awoke, there was a juice box in my mouth, I could hear, but not yet see, the trainer and a participant who happened to be a doctor, checking my pulse, and when I opened my eyes, and started to feel a bit better, I apologized (I’m so Canadian) and said that I over did it.

I finished the juice box, and started to regain my focus when the doctor / participant said, don’t worry, the EMT is here.

My eyes popped wide open.

Umm, you called the ambulance?

Always do, she said.

I was so embarrassed. This has never happened to me before. Ever.  UGH.

The EMT’s checked on me, and we agreed that it would be best if I could, to walk outside so they could run some tests. I walked out on my own power – now feeling almost completely back to normal, and into the ambulance.

The look on my wife’s eyes was something I will never forget. She didn’t say anything, but her eyes spoke volumes. Then she said to me, “When I said to you don’t die in the class, I was joking.”

I explained that I overdid it and having not eaten, my blood sugar must have bottomed out.

In the ambulance, they checked my blood sugar, my heart, my blood pressure, and all we fantastic.

I was totally back to normal.

I signed some papers, agreed to go visit my family doctor soon for a physical, and I ate a whole lot of humble pie.

We got into the car, drove home, and all I kept thinking was that I’m not that 20-year-old kid anymore who could play 4 games a week. I’m older, heavier, and man, do I hate getting old.

So how was your Monday?

 

Posted in Canada, Community, Daddy, events, family, Life, news, Parenting, Recommends, The Urban Daddy

Thomas the Tank Engine is Coming to Uxbridge, Ontario! August 9th to 11th AND 16th to 18th


Upon learning that Thomas the Tank Engine is coming to Uxbridge, Ontario for Day Out With Thomas: The Steam Team Tour 2019, I could not help but get flooded with great memories of a fun event, with lots to do, and not just on the railway, but also in beautiful Uxbridge.

It’s a fun event, even if it’s really hot outside, and the kids are cranky, etc. It’s a train ride! It’s Thomas. There is music, games, food, activities and fun.

All aboard! 

Thomas the Tank Engine invites little engineers to go full steam ahead for a day of engaging activities and fun adventures at Day Out With Thomas: The Steam Team Tour 2019. 

Thomas pulls into York-Durham Railway on August 9th-11th and 16th-18th.

It’s been a few years, mind you, but with 3 children we’ve had more than a few opportunities to come to Uxbridge and spend time with Thomas and friends. It’s always been an enjoyable event with lots to do, plenty of parking and the picture! Yes, the picture of your family in front of Thomas. We have them all over the house and we look back at these cute family photos fondly.

In addition to riding on the famous train, we met Sir Topham Hatt the Controller of the Railway and enjoyed a day of Thomas-themed activities including toy play, photo ops, and more.

What’s amazing is that this tour is now in its 24th year. Man, I feel old! In addition, the tour now makes 37 stops across the Canada and the US and is expected to welcome nearly one million passengers in 2019.

What do you get:

  • 25-minute (approximate) ride with a talking Thomas the Tank Engine
  • Meet & Greet with Sir Topham Hatt, Controller of the Railway
  • Thomas & Friends Imagination Station featuring a variety of activities
  • All-new “Ask an Engineer” booth, where several kids can talk to an engineer and learn about trains and working on the rails
  • A ‘Passport to Adventures’ booklet for children to track their journey at the event and receive a special prize upon completion.
  • Thomas & Friends-themed activities including toy play, photo ops, and more

 

TIME:       9am-3:45pm

WHERE:  York-Durham Heritage Railway

19 Railway Street Uxbridge, ON L9P 1E5

 

Tickets for Day Out With Thomas: The Steam Team Tour 2019 are on sale now and available by calling Ticketweb toll-free at 866-468-7630, or by visiting www.dayoutwiththomas.com. Ticket prices are $28.65 plus tax for ages 2 and up (service charges and fee may apply).

 

For more information and directions, contact the railway here ydhr@ydhr.ca. or visit ydhr.ca/thomas

For more information about the wonderful world of Thomas & Friends please visit: www.thomasandfriends.comwww.facebook.com/thomasandfriends and for bonus material and exclusive content www.youtube.com/user/thomasandfriends.