I have to be honest with you, and with myself when I say that I hate March Break. I always have, and to be honest, I likely always will.
Growing up, I attended public school and we had March Break, but my family was not big into travelling so we never went anywhere, never had programs to attend to and never did anything interesting which at the time suited me and my anxiety just fine!
Yes, I spent the week playing street hockey from morning until dark and that was awesome, but that was all that I needed. The break from school was much needed.
Fast forward to having children, all of which attended private secular schools which did not celebrate March Break (we had our break over the holiday of Passover instead), so while we were working and the kids were in school, people were heading south to the warmth and sunshine while we shovelled snow and continued living life as normal.
Now, with one child left in a secular school and the others in public school, I have some of us in school and some of them on break and my wife and I hard at work.
So now, March break consists of driving the kids to, and from programs, work, work and more work, and whenever I check social media, I see friends and family living it up down south in the sun, sand and surf.
It’s very much like previous years’ where March Break is not a time to go down somewhere warm and sandy but couldn’t because the kids had school and we had work.
I’ve asked all the travellers to please bring back the sun and warmth…
They’ll all likely forget because they’re having such a great time, or at least their social media posts depict a great time.
On the positive side, I was able to spend a considerable amount of time this March Break with my middle child at his hockey camp. He attended Creative Hockey Development’s (creativehockey.ca) March Break camp – which was put on by my friend, Dusan Kralik, and his new business partner Daniel Erlich.
The camp was incredible!
The hockey skills and pace of the camp were fast and the players even faster. I think Dusan found a match in Danny as someone who possesses an incredible hockey IQ to go along with his world class skills and speed.
The camp was well run, the kids came off the ice tired and they learned more than just hockey this past week.
Now, as for March Break itself…
Going forward, I’m have to make sure that I refrain from checking social media that week.
I feel like I am preaching to the choir when I start a post on a blog aimed primarily at parents which has the title; “Can I Please Get Some Sleep!” As mommies and daddies you know that when you decide to have children one of the most important things you have to come to grips with is the fact that sleeping in, and 8-9 hours of solid sleep are a thing of the past. It’s just no longer a part of your life, much in the same way combing my hair became a thing of the past when it all started to fall out. You have to accept it, give it up and then move on, otherwise you will find yourself a constant ball of angst and stress.
Even though we have long since accepted the fact that sleeping a full-night’s is no longer an option for you, the past couple of weeks at The Urban Daddy household have been like no other…
Let me explain what is happening here.
First off, our kids have always had a very structured day, so their evening begins with dinner, followed by kitchen clean up, bath/shower time, a snack, book (us or them reading) and then lights out by their set bedtime. Boo, at just over 3-years-old is the first off to bed. Her bed time is 7pm. Ever since our summer vacation she has decided that bed-time routine begins with her falling to sleep in our bed, laying on mummy, in “Mummies bed” as she likes to call it. She also needs to have pee’d, brushed her teeth, and have at least her favourite stuffed animal of the day snuggled against her before she dozes off.
Once Boo is asleep, I carry her to her room and hope that she stays asleep during the walk. It’s a temporary move, however.
Boo is now at that age where we need to teach her to tell time so she will not get out of her bed before 7am (like her brothers), so right now she meanders over to our room at all hours of the night, blankies tucked under he arms and she climbs into our bed and snuggles up on top of my wife / her mummy.
Problem is, one awaken, my wife cannot get back to sleep. I’m not so unlucky, and all I need is 10 seconds and I am back out cold. So of course, Boo comes in, wakes up my wife, who 1 minute to see if I wake up too (which I do not), then kicks me to take our daughter back to her room, which I’m happy to do.
But parents, you know that once a child arrives in your room, they do not want to go back to sleep in their bed, so Boo then goes through her routine of stall tactics; “I have to pee”, “I want you to sleep with me”, I’m thirsty”, “I’m hungry”… Once all that is taken care of, I convince her that I am going to lay with her until she’s asleep, and once she’s back asleep I slide back to my bed, or sometimes I just fall back to sleep there beside her and hope that she hasn’t jumped back out of bed and into our room.
The problem continues because I’m trying to not fall asleep in her room – I want to break her of the habit of coming it and waking us up because she knows she either sleeps in our bed or she gets me to stay with her. It’s tiring.
So it figures then that once we start to break the pattern we get a night like the one I’m about to describe, which happened last week.
Early last week, Boo arrived in our room – an hour and a half after her bedtime – and hoped into bed. We were watching TV together so I got up to tidy up the house and let Boo and her mummy lay down to sleep. Before I left, however, Boo asked me for water. “I’m thirsty”, she said.
I gave her water and she guzzled some back, then she started to cough / choke, so we both turned to look at her.
“I almost threw up!” she said.
Third child, I’m thinking in my head, “No, you were just choking on the water. You’re okay now, go to sleep, I reassured her.”
“No, I’m going to vomit!” she follows with, now opening her mouth to show me that she threw up in her mouth and did not appreciate the acidic taste.
“It’s okay, just got to sleep, please” I replied.
“No, I’m going to vomit” she repeated to me. “I’m going to the toilet.”
Up she popped out of the bed, and then she tore off into our bathroom.
“Turn on the light!” she blurted as she zoomed into the bathroom. I looked at my wife and we nodded in agreement that I should at least go turn on the lights for her.
So of course, upon turning on the lights, she proceeds to vomit into the toilet… Twice.
Oops, I thought.
“I vomited in the toilet”, she pointed out to her previously unconvinced father.
“Yes you did. How do you feel now?” I asked her.
And this episode was just the beginning, which saw us change our bed twice, including the duvet and it’s cover off to the laundry room with her blankies, her bed sheet, her under-pad and about 10 towels.
Now, Six-year-old Stewie is a completely different story… This kid looks like he is going to pass out exhausted by 7pm, and he gets right into bed and reads or draws, but he sleeps SO soundly. He gets up at the creak of the floor or the sound of thunder and races into our room and snuggles in to bed with us. He’s getting so big that he can’t sneak in any more, we have to make room for him.
We now tell him when it may rain at night and he always asks if he can come sleep with us if there is thunder. We always say yes.
Then there is Linus.
He’s a great sleeper. We had Stewie at home and Linus slept through the birth.
So what would be the perfect gift for my wife??? A night at a hotel. Imagine… Food, WiFi, TV and a soft, comfy bed without distraction… I’m shuddering just thinking about it… For me. 🙂
This afternoon I caught a glimpse of how my boys are going to be when they are both in University, together.
Linus, 2 grades ahead of Stewie likes to be bossy and tell people what to do. He coordinates, sets down the rules and you play by them or he kicks you out. Stewie is a good kid who gets better the more Linus gets worse. I love it. I was like that with my sister. The more she got in trouble, the more helpful I became.
So here is the scenario…
We’ve been sick a lot as a family the past couple months, and in conjunction, I noticed my boys do not drink enough water (I see lots of yellow pee). So on Saturday I decided that every hour on the hour we were going to wash our hands and drink a cup of water.
By 11am, I was feeding the baby, Berry, and there was Linus on the counter taking down a cup for him and cup for his brother so they can have a cup of water. While feeding the baby, I obviously became focussed on her because I missed the scene that was developing behind me.
When I turned around this is what I saw…
Stewie sitting at the counter with 5 cups of water surrounding him.
Linus sitting on the counter with the water running, filling up the 6th cup.
Turns out Stewie had already downed 3 cups of water… Linus was re-filling them. He wanted to see how much Stewie could drink. Happy to oblige, Stewie would have drunken until he passed out.
I could picture the boys in University in the bar. Stewie with 10 beers in front of him and Linus – with no beer – chanting “chug, chug, chug” to his brother until he passed out or puked all over the place.
Needless to say, Stewie’s pee was crystal clear the rest of the day and night.
I want to talk about snacks with the parents in the house.
Is there a protocol? An unspoken rule? Please… Enlighten me. I want to explain what happened to us in the spring when Linus signed up for t-ball, and compare that to what happened to us during the boys soccer season (currently underway).
Essentially, t-ball snack time went something like this. After the t-ball game all the kids ran over to the designated snack-providing family, at which point the parent(s) would open a bag and produce a juice box and a rice krispies square for all the kids and siblings. They are nut-free and if you buy them at Costco, quite inexpensive. Problem is, there are brutally unhealthy and full of chemicals.
Drinking juice at 8pm made my son nuts – his bed time is usually 7pm, or just after – and the rice krispies burned my kids (and some parents) lips. That is just disgusting. But the precedent was set. Week after week, parents produced the sugar water and bag of chemicals and the kids loved them… Until it was our turn. We brought watermelon. The kids LOVED that. They ate it all up, as did some of the parents.
So fast forward to soccer. As I’m sure I mentioned previously, I am coaching both my boys soccer team, one on Monday and the other Tuesdays, and being the coach, I get to arrange the snack schedule. So I made sure that myself, or a friend of ours who share the healthy, no-sugar / chemicals mentality, brought snack for the first coupe of weeks so that we could show the parents what to bring and instead of seeing a steady stream of crap, we get some healthy snacks… It is summer afterall, and fresh fruit is a plenty and quite inexpensive. What would you rather have – let your kids eat? $3.97 box of Rice Krispy treats, $1.99 bag of 12 fresh oranges? It’s a no-brainer.
But last week at soccer, someone brought flavoured, frozen sugar “juice” and another brought some product called a dunk-a-roo. Those are the cookies that come with a cup of “chocolate” to dip the cookie in. Not great for 8pm. Tonight, the kids had juice and Bear Paws (chocolate ones) after the game. As a result, Linus did not get to sleep until 9:30pm.
So my question to the parents reading this is;
Do you think it is irresponsible of parents to bring unhealthy snacks for kids after sporting events? Or is “unhealthy” up for debate. Granted the snacks are peanut-free, the sugar keeps some kids up for hours.
I bring this up as a father commented to me that some of the moms were clearly disapproving of the snack last week and he wondered how I felt about it and whether I should address it – to those Moms – not to be picky or choosy. I disagreed with him and explained that some moms do not allow their kids to eat processed sugary foods and it was well within their right to be displeased about the snacks.
Apparently a lot of people won’t be buying it either and a lawsuit has been launched against Coca Cola, the manufacturer, by a non-profit organization which feels Coke made “unwarranted health claims” through this product.