Spring Has Sprung, the Grass Has Riz, I Wonder Where the Birdies Is?!?


Ahh, spring.

Ahhh Spring…

Ah-chooooooooo… Damn.  It’s spring.

 

Spring time is finally appearing here in Southern Ontario and aside from the increasing temperatures, here are the 13 most obvious ways to tell that Spring has Sprung.

  1. Sports cars in need of muffler repair and convertible cars are zooming around, blasting their horrid music and looking for attention

  2. A.L.L.E.R.G.I.E.S

  3. People are wearing colours again!  Yay.  Winter is dreary enough and everyone in black makes it that much more bland and blah.

  4. People begin to stink.  Not from sweat, at least not yet, but now is the time of year when they think a little bit of cologne or perfume might be a good idea but it’s not.  It’s horrid if I can smell it over a super-stuffy nose. (See 12)

9.  TAXES!!!  It’s tax time!!  Don’t forget to file, even if you think you don’t owe.  File, file, file!  If you need help anywhere in Canada, search up and hit up inTAXicating.

8.  Flips flops and PJ’s make their returns to coffee shops.  In the winter it’s just too darn cold to roll out of bed and drive or walk to the local coffee shop, but not in the spring!

7.  Exposed skin everywhere on everyone, male, female, young, old… If it’s in combination with leggings or yoga pants, it’s a bonus!

6.  I see neighbours!  Seriously, I cannot believe how little we get out in the winter – especially with kids programs keeping us out and around – I found out this morning that our neighbour had a baby and we didn’t even know she was pregnant.  So hard to tell covered in a giant Canada Goose jacket.

5.  Bikes everywhere!  And I’ve mellowed over the years, so I want bikes and bike lanes everywhere.  I also want safe and clean public transit and I want better roads and more parking for cars.  I want everyone to commute and be happy and healthy and safe.  Hey, City of Toronto… If you want business owners to thrive and survive, back off the parking tickets for people who park in actual spots.  If they park illegally, or block traffic, tag and tow them, but let businesses earn money!

4.  Joggers abound!  I’ve always said that out-of-shape joggers (like myself) run at night when no one can see them shaking and bouncing around or hear them gasping for air.  The fit joggers run during the day where everyone can see them.  Whatever your motivation, just run!

3.  My lawn kicks ass!  My front lawn is very green and soft.  I put the snow on it in the winter before the City salts the street or sidewalk and in the spring, and it makes a difference.  It’s so nice, and I have a neighbour who doesn’t talk to anyone but I catch him walking across the street and touching my grass in awe.  Love it!

2.  Change!  Changes come in spring.  People clean their houses, change their jobs, their clothes, their demeanor, and even the homeless-looking guy who visits the Starbucks I frequent cut off his ridiculously long white beard.  Wouldn’t have recognized him – looks somewhat respectable now – except for the same army fatigue pants he wears every day and the shmatta (towel?) he covers his head with.

1.Spring means an end to winter programs for my kids, so say goodbye to hockey, but it also means saying hello to baseball (call me “coach”) and to being able to throw a ball around and walk to park and shoot hoops, or go for a bike ride, and work at losing the winter gut and getting back into a shape that doesn’t resemble a pear.

3 cheers to spring!

Hip hip, hooray

Hip hip hooray.

Hip… Hip… Achhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhooooooooooooooooooo

 

Geez, I hate spring!

 

 

 

So THIS is How Children Get Interested in Things…


I’ve been trying for what seems like forever to get my children interested in sports, but to no avail.  Even when my middle son, Stewie, went from not being able to stand on ice skates just 2 years ago, to playing houseleague hockey this year, I cannot convince him to watch hockey on TV.

Frustrating!

Plus, I LOVE watching baseball on TV, win-or-lose, Blue Jays or any other team, yet my kids would sit for a minute – declare it boring – then move on.

I did manage to get them to like / love the Toronto Rock Lacrosse team – as a season ticket holder since their inception – I always thought it was because of the in-game activities like the lights, music playing throughout the game and food, more than the fact that the Rock were the team that won the most in a City starved for sports success.

I remember when the Boston Bruins were good, just a couple of seasons ago, and my oldest son Linus declared his love for Tukka Rask and other Bruins over the hometown Maple Leafs.  I was disappointed but it was then that I realized kids what to support a winning team.  How else can you explain all those fans of the Montreal Canadiens?!?

Now that my oldest is 10, I’m noticing he is paying attention to everything baseball, and why not!  The Toronto Blue Jays staved off elimination last night with a 7-1 win over the Kansas City Royals and for the past month instead of playing hockey in the basement, we play baseball.

Winning gets the kids attention!  It is winning that get children interested in sports and other events… Other events like politics.

With the Canadian Federal election a couple of days in the past, I can tell you that my children sure as hell know more about the next Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau than I do.  They know he was “Just Not Ready” and that he walks a lot (up a down escalator in one campaign ad, and in a field in another).  They also know that he dropped out of a lot of courses in University and that he is going to spend Canada into massive debt.

They’re not impressed but they are listening to the TV and radio and they are reading articles about the PM and they are watching Trudeau and the Liberals (both Federally and Provincially here in Ontario) like hawks.

It’s also the age.

My 10-year-old and now 9-year-old know every player on the Blue Jays.  They know the scores, they know the batting averages and as a result of post-season baseball for the first time in their lives, they know about stealing signs, the pop-up slide and catchers framing pitches.

I’m excited.

They’re excited.

This is how kids get interested!  It’s part parental encouragement (which sometimes acts as a detriment) part success and part coming of age.

In the meantime, I cannot get my kids to watch the Toronto Maple Leafs – the main discussion here surrounds the proposed name change to Toronto Maple Leaves and my child’s constant joke about the 1-3-2 Leafs and how they, like the “real” leafs “fall” this time of year… Every year.

Ouch.

Go Jays Go!

#ComeTogether

Resiliance! A Great Trait For a Child To Have, and Also a Concern…


My oldest child has become VERY resilient!  This is a good trait to develop, but also has a pretty huge downside.  Can I explain how we’ve come to figure this out…

  • Kids can be mean.
  • Kids can also interpret the words and actions of others in a completely different way then it is intended.
  • Kids also don’t always fit in to their surroundings, we all know that, especially at school because who can predict what the best school is for a child before having an opportunity to learn about how your child learns and what they need.
  • How kids handle themselves – the only thing they can (presumably) control – can make the difference between them having a great time at school, or them being miserable every day.

After that, you either wind up with a resilient child who can take it and move forward, or it breaks your child and they either fade away or strike back.

Take, for example, this scenario:  My oldest son really wanted a pair or wrist bands.  Badly.  So when we found a pair at Dick’s Sporting Goods in NY, he was over the moon and he wore them to school every day… Every day until someone commented on the fact he wears them every day – and that comment might have been just a comment, or a judgement – but my son has not worn them every single day since.  In fact, he went a while without wearing them, but has slowly started to wear them where appropriate again.

He knows he has to be his individual and generally he does what he wants, but he felt they were poking fun at him, and he dealt with it by not wearing them at school.

Resilient?  Nope.

But it made him very aware of what others felt about him and he has always been quite very aware of his own self, so he adjusted his actions and his behaviour to fall in line with his peers as best as he could in order to stay under the radar.

Quite un-sporty, he even started playing sports with the sporty kids so that he could fit in better and while below the experience and skill of his classmates, they mostly tolerated his presence but he played anyways because he knew the only way he could improve was to play and get better.

From that came the courage to try out for the soccer team.  We were thrilled.  He didn’t make the team, but he tried and we were very supportive and encouraging, as were his friends.  Then they added him as a call-up and eventhough he played less that the other kids and the kids bugged him about that (“you really didn’t make the team”) – he went out, tried, and had fun.  By the last game of the season, ignoring all the comments from the other kids, he improved a lot and was on the top line with his best friend and the team’s best player.  They played a lot, and he got to show his skills.

I helped to coach by coming to the games and encouraging the kids, supporting the team and cheering them on.  I heard the comments and I felt bad for him, but he didn’t care.  It was less important than his opportunity to play in a team environment, learn the game and be one of the boys.

My oldest boy also swims… Well.   He has been in a pre-competitive program where he became the dark horse according to the program’s director.  He spent the first 4-6 weeks cruising along the side wall where he could, but by the end of the program, he was the top swimmer, and his breast stroke and back stroke were referred to as “a thing of beauty” and that he was “graceful” and “surprisingly strong”.

His first crack at competitive swimming saw him win his first 2 races by a substantial margin, and a second place finish in his third race because he stopped to see where the end of the pool was.  He cheers on his teammates, and in competitions, he cheers on everyone in the water.  He’s that kind of kid.

Just the other day was his year-end swim competition and again came 2 first place finishes, and then with a race right after his previous race, and double the distance, he swallowed some water and came in 3rd.

Incredible.

He’ll be joining a swim team next year!  He wants to go to the Olympics.  He gives partial credit to @HarveysCanada (more in a future post).

He had an opportunity to swim for his school and he was really excited about it, until a kids in his class told him that “swimming was stupid, you get a better workout playing hockey”.  It crushed him… For a day or two, but instead of arguing and debating the issue, he recognized it was factually incorrect and he chose to leave it alone and move on.

He went to the school swim meet as one of only 2 boys there and he swam against kids much bigger and stronger than him, and he came in 3rd in the races he competed in.  He was thrilled, he were proud of him and the swim teacher saw this bright, sporty kid, step up and support his school.  Even the older girls at the meet cheered him on and supported him because he was an unknown to them and here he was at one point moving from last in a race to 2nd.  #Guts.

Now, he has found a love for baseball.

I love baseball.  LOVE it!  I never played but I should have!  I’m a pitcher to the core and I wanted to play but according to my parents, I never asked to play, so I did not.  Obviously, those days are behind me but I can live through my son, right?  🙂

My son tried out for the school softball team and didn’t make the starting squad – there were kids from both grades who has played in leagues in previous years which he did not, but he was added as a call-up.  He cannot go to any of those games because they conflict with his hardball baseball season which he just stated and his swimming program.

I was concerned that being left off the school team might hurt his confidence more than it would fire him up, but I was wrong.  He has started this season – his first – on fire and he is tearing things up.  His first game he went 2 for 3 and stole a base.  His second game 2 for 4 with 2 stolen bases and his third game he got to pitch and in the 2 innings he pitched, he struck out 4 and got the save as his team won the game.  He followed that up by going 1 for 3 and by throwing out a running at home from right field.

His baseball coach loves him!  With a little more practice, his coach figures he might be the team’s best pitcher.  He already throws hard and is very accurate.  In his eagerness to put the ball in play, he struck out twice last game watching the ball sail out of the strike zone but called a strike by the umpire.  By not watching baseball, he doesn’t know things like that can happen.  He’ll learn.

He doesn’t tell the kids on his school team, nor does he mention it to his gym teacher, but he humbly accepts that he’s good at baseball and he loves being part of the team.  He’s been a great teammate, and he’s been a cheerleader on the bench in between innings.  He has showed his empathetic-side when one of his teammates got hit by the ball and was hurt, by going over to check on him right away.

He has turned negative situation after negative situation into positive ones and I tip my hat to him.

But with the good comes the bad, and the biggest concern with a resilient kids, is the internalizing.

The appearance that he’s okay with all of the negatives, and the accepting of being treated this way can have serious long-term ramifications as he learns to ignore poor treatment and convince himself that that it’s okay.  It absolutely bothers him, and he absolutely keeps it all in at that moment.

One day he’ll need to speak to a professional or I worry that he will snap.

I’m glad that most of this revolves around physical activity and I hope he will be able to channel this frustration into energy to perform better at whatever sport he is playing, but until that happens I worry that these disappointments will impact his ability to enjoy sports and he’ll be too worried worrying about what others will say if he does not succeed to play well and enjoy the game.

The Moral Decline of Society


There is a reason we do not let our children have access to electronics during the week, and limit no only the amount of time they spend on it on the weekends but also what they have access to.

The Internet is nasty.

TV is nasty.

Even some music is nasty.

Yes, we cannot shield our children from these forever, but I feel that a responsible parent doesn’t just let their kid(s) have access to the remote or a web browser and let them loose.

Deep down inside, I can’t help but worry for future generations when there is way too many shows like “Dating Naked”, “Sex Sent Me To The ER”, and “I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant”, and not enough shows like “Growing Pains”, “Brady Bunch” and “Full House”.

Honestly, is there anything worse than “TMZ”?  Yes.  “TMZ Live”.

I think a good balance of TV shows for kids include the original reality TV, sports, cooking shows, pretty much anything on TVO or to do with animals, history or the planet.

Cartoons are okay too, but like sweets, should be taken in moderation and never before bed time.

Now excuse me while I click through Kardashians, Honey Boo Boo’s and Millionaire Matchmaker looking for something to watch.