BTS With Stationary from @Hallmark_Canada #SchoolAgeActivities

BTS: The New Code Word That Inspires Six Year Old Wrath

My daughter doesn't want reminding that I will be pulling her out of bed two hours earlier in two weeks, so she won't even let me say "back to school". I have tried desperately to restart a bedtime routine for the last three weeks, but the "wiser than mom" six year old has decided that natural consequences will be in her future.  For all the times we don't agree, I'm reminded of the times we are alike. We both love to write, draw, and be creative.  Hallmark Canada has sent me a box of stationary products to get us ready for BTS. I have picked a few of my favourite items, but there are dozens more to choose, including colour and pattern variations. 

Parent/Teacher Picks:
 Notepad $5.95, Monthly Colouring Calendar Planner $14.95, Slim Journal, $11.95

School Ager Picks:
My girl is going to grade 2 and I recently discovered a chewed up, pages missing, note pad that she has made into an informal diary. I have given her a notebook this week and encouraged her to use it as a place to write about herself, her school, or life in general. I have also given her a mini clipboard with note pad and a doodle pad.  This is perfect for us to write reminders to each other, and we like to doodle as we create.
Clipboard, small $9.95, Colouring Memo Pad $5.95, Notebooks, 3 pack, 4 x 6 $9.95

I am wishing you all a happy last week of school break, here in Canada. Some places are already past the first week/s hump, so kudos to you!

Disclosure: I receive products as part of my social media involvement with Hallmark Canada. All opinions are expressly my own. Prices may vary from USA/Canada markets.


Is Your Child Ready For Pets? #archivedpost

Original post from July, 2013
I hadn't even considered the idea that we might have to factor allergies into the equation. We ended up having allergic reactions from our 4 day visit and it was a good trial run. We excluded guinea pigs from our pet list and went with a fish tank instead.
Gus spent the long weekend with us as a trial run for getting our own guinea pig.
Most children like animals, our Princess Destructo has been acquainted with Gus the Guinea Pig at our local Early Years Center for the last year and talks about him often between visits. When they needed someone to take care of him for the long weekend I offered to bring him home. Since we have been considering getting a small pet of our own I thought this would be a great chance to see how Princess handled the excitement of having a small animal in the house.  I wondered if our three year old would have a hard time keeping her fingers out of the cage.  Here are a few tips for deciding if pets are a good idea for your family, and a few benefits to caring for small animals.

Getting a pet should be a shared decision since it should be a shared responsibility for the whole family.  The main question I have to ask myself- Do we would have time to care for another living creature? I knew I would be doing most of the care (cage cleaning, grooming, etc.) and am already working full time and caring for a family of three plus an elderly cat.  Also, I have to consider travel plans this summer. Will I be able to find someone to take care of a guinea pig as well as the cat?

A good way to see how your child will behave around animals is to spend time with other peoples pets to judge wisely.   Young children have a hard time with containing their excitement and with staying within behavioural limits consistently.  The visit with Gus went well, but did I really want to spend the next year asking her to keep her fingers out of the cage if we had a guinea pig full time? Or to remind her to hold him gently when he had freedom on a towel. 

Caring for living creatures can help establish a feeling of responsibility and build confidence.  Princess helped me fill Gus' water bottle and feed kibble and veggies twice a day. She showed pride in her efforts, "Mommy, I'm a good zoo keeper! I'll help him be big and strong."

Our four days with Gus were filled with cuteness and continued desire for a guinea pig of our own.  I haven't ruled out getting a guinea pig yet, but with a few big family transitions coming in the next 6-8 weeks we will definitely have to wait on adding another fur-baby to our home.

How are your children with pets?


Free Child Admission Tickets Available Until August 18 #CNE2016 #LetsGoToTheEX

I look forward to the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto every year and have been a social media ambassador for this iconic event in the past (this is what launched me into social media in 2010). I just downloaded a free child admission ticket from their webpage, they are available to print or load to a smart phone until August 18, 2016. The CNE is generous enough to allow you to add up to ten child admission tickets to your "purchase". There was no purchase necessary and they did not ask for credit card details, only a first and last name of the the parent/guardian and email address. This is also a good time to purchase your Adult Passes, since they are 33% cheaper now than when they open on August 19, 2016. Another budget friendly option is the $6 after 5 pm admission (please visit the CNE site for ticket sale information and terms).

Let's Go To The EX! 

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post, though I did win a free 2016 Adult Admission pass from my social media interaction with the CNE.


Humble Pie: Feeling Sorry and Being Sorry Are Two Different Things.

My blog post title has changed five times, and it has taken me three weeks to write this confession. I am moving past feeling sorry for my actions and words, and trying to find a way to BE sorry, or show my desire to amend damage I may have caused in relationships with friends and family over the years.
[sor-ee, sawr-ee]

1.feeling regret, compunction, sympathy, pity, etc.:
to be sorry to leave one's friends; to be sorry for a remark; to be sorry for someone in trouble.;dismal.  

I have a problem. I'm weird and anti-social in my personal time. Too often I say things without intending harm but am misunderstood. Or I say nothing and leave people wondering.  Other times, I blurt things out.  Without weighing the damage those words may cause, or the fall out I may face. I don't think I'm a terrible person, I devote my life to working/volunteering for a charity and am an early childhood advocate, loving wife and mom. I just have a know it all attitude that is squished for 40 hours a week to keep the peace at work.  Sometimes my mouth runs away with me and says the wrong thing at the wrong time, to the wrong person.  Like the day a lady asked me for directions as I was walking down the street towards work and happened to ask me about my thoughts on the state of downtown development in the city, and I gave her my very honest answer, not complimentary to say the least.  Hey, I was on my lunch break, on a stress filled day, and a stranger invited the exchange. That lady turned out to be our Mayor. I found this information out when she came to a fundraiser at my workplace. She recognized me, and was gracious. I burned with embarrassment. Some of the things I said about our downtown were true, but the attitude in which they were said were not kind.  I have burned many bridges with my fire breath. And have a hard time saying sorry. I tend to just slink away instead.

"If you don't have anything nice to say..."

Fast forward fifteen years. I still work for this charity, but in a different role, with many more responsibilities. I'm busier than ever as a working mom.  I try to be involved in my daughters school life, but don't consider myself a helicopter parent or whatever the term for hovering happens to be now.  My one frustration with her previous school season (2015-16) is not meeting her teacher. With Durham Region still rebounding from the teacher strike in the Fall of 2015, there were no school events, open houses, parent & teacher meetings, etc. There was a Breakfast with Santa run by volunteers in December and a Holiday Concert, I went to both of these events, and brought a teachers gift.  Mrs. Z was not there either time.  She didn't attend the class trip in the Fall or Spring. And didn't attend the Spring Concert. I purchased a yearbook, and she wasn't in it either. By the end of the school year I was more than a little irritated. I had no real concerns with my daughter's education or progress, so no real reason to call or bother her teacher. Teaching is hard work, and I understand how much energy goes into this career. But I had to shake my head and wonder, "Who the heck does she think she is? Does she think she doesn't need to attend any school event, ever?" I wanted to put a face and voice to the person who had been passing hurried notes back and forth at random times in the school year, and I was not always kind when ever someone asked about my daughters school, or teacher because I resented the absence.  School finished and that was the end of that chapter, or so I thought.

Two weeks into Summer vacation, we travelled to a park that is an hour away from home because we really like its splash pad. Our first stop was the changeroom/bathroom. My six year old shouts, "Mom, that's Mrs Z over there!"  I said, "Who?"  Six year old, "My TEACHER!"  I said, "That's nice. Lets Go."  We ended up crossing path's later since Mrs Z made a point of coming over to say hi.  I was cold. Not going to lie. I had no relationship with her and the year was done, I just wanted to chill and have family time, not confront her about skipping every event in the school calendar.  I tried to be polite while we made small talk, "Isn't it funny to meet up in a park so far from home, to finally put a face to the famous Mrs Z that my girl talks about every day?" We went separate ways after a minute or two. We met up again on the way out of the park and Mrs Z's family was with her this time.  I won't give specific details, but I was knocked silent by what I observed. Even as I type this, I feel a bowling ball of conviction in the pit of my stomach. She is a teacher, a mom, and wife.  The reason why she was never present at events was probably because she has a very close family member with physical challenges, and likely needs constant care.   My daughter had a few questions about what we observed, I answered them as best as I could, and told her it was not very nice of me to talk about her teachers absence from events because she seems to have a very good reason to excuse herself.  Silently I cried for shame on the hour drive home. We ate lunch, and I could hardly swallow for the shame and remorse I was feeling at my terrible attitude.

Anyone reading this may think I am a little nuts. I don't think I expressed exactly how much this chance meeting affected me.  I was brought low, and for good reason. Call it Karma, or pay back. I don't believe in coincidences. We were meant to run into Mrs Z. even though we were running an hour late in our schedule and far from home. I was meant to meet her family and get the Karma slap in the face as a warning to smarten up, and be a better example of kindness and compassion for my daughter.


Here We Go Again: Banishing Germs And Dealing With GASTRO-Sickness. An Annual Tradition Relived

We love to pick up germs on vacation, and now my girl is in swim camp, so the tradition of sharing has continued. We have been passing around a stomach bug for two weeks, and all seems quiet for now. I am still on vacation until August, so here is another old post from the toddler days. This post was the first account of our ordeal with a two year old that contracted salmonella, but we wouldn't find that out for two more weeks. The best advice of all is to avoid salmonella by not eating undercooked meats, or eating picnic foods that haven't been kept, warm or cold to proper temps!.

We had just gotten home from a Labour Day Weekend road trip, and a stomach bug dared to attach to us as a stow-away.  Princess Destructo has been down for the count since late Monday Night.  The symptoms were mild at first, but a raging fever started on Tuesday. Little One is too tired to even fight the Advil doses. So while she is napping, I am cleaning and over-dosing on caffeine to make up for being up 24 hours straight.

I brought her to the clinic at the 30 hour mark, even though I was pretty sure the conversation would go something like this:
Zombie Mom: My 2 year old has had diarrhea for 30 hours, and a low-grade (100 F) fever for 20 hours.

Doctor: It's likely a Gastro-intestinal virus. Keep her hydrated with pedialyte, and dosed with children's Advil for fever. This could last 7 days, if she gets significantly worse, go to EMERG.

For the most part the clinic visit went exactly like that. But I was stopped in my tracks when the Doctor said that I could give her apple juice right away.  I quickly spoke up before she she could turn and dash from the room to see other patients. 

Zombie Mom: We saw you six months ago with a similar illness, you said apple juice increases diarrhea. 

Doctor: Giving her apple juice will help get nutrients in her.

Zombie Mom: Oh, okay.

So we came home and gave her a little apple juice diluted with water. Not 5 minutes later it was running through her.  Which was way worse than the hourly or bi-hourly episodes.  So using my better judgement, I banned the apple juice again, then spent most of the afternoon looking for better hydration options.  There are some articles that suggest white grape juice is better than apple juice, so I have switched to giving her a little of that diluted with water. And I'm sticking to the BRAT-Y diet for her too.
What to Eat
A common diet that's recommended for 2-year-olds and other young children is the BRAT diet. Central Connecticut State University states that the BRAT diet is used to treat nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The letters in BRAT stand for bananas, rice, apples and plain toast. AskDrSears.com recommends adding a "Y" to the BRAT diet for yogurt. Yogurt contains probiotics, healthy bacteria that can help promote healthy digestion. Until your toddler's condition improves, do not give her any other foods.
Dehydration Prevention
Dehydration prevention is critical when it comes to a diarrhea diet for your 2-year-old. In order to prevent dehydration, increase the amount of liquid your child is drinking. White grape juice can be used along with electrolyte-infused beverages made for toddlers. If you child will not drink more liquid, purchase electrolyte-infused ice pops that your child can suck on.
 Quote from LiveStrong 09/07/11.

It's hard to tell if switching to white grape juice is helping to decrease the episodes, or whether the illness is simply running it's course. As I type, Little One is munching plain toast and watching her favourite show "In The Night Garden" for the first time in two nights.

I would like to know how other families cope with sickness? Do you rush to the doctor, or try to use family advice and your own best judgement?

*I am not a physician, and any advice contained in this post should not be taken as expert opinion.


Praise for the 3 Day Potty Training Method! A Milestone Revisited

While I'm away on vacation, I wanted to share one of my favourite posts from the goo old days of toddlerhood.  There's a reason why this blog is called Humble Pie...My know-it-all attitude has me eating it on a regular basis.

I have written about potty training a few times and could never follow up with a "WE'RE DONE" post.  It's been a long messy road and I found myself weeping with every case of diapers I bought.  You see, I began training my daughter at 2 years old and only resorted to using diapers at night or long car trips.  After a few months she regressed to the recent stage of refusing to sit on the toilet at all and relying on diapers 24/7.  My husband offered to take over this monumental task and I agreed with a snicker.  Sure buddy, if think you can do a better job go right ahead.  He researched the 3 day potty training method, came home with a 30 page print out of rules and asked me to read it.  I refused.  I've heard a little about it and don't like it.  If you're taking over, you do it.  

On Wednesday I was awakened an hour early to strange stirrings.  *Crinkle clatter bang* I stumbled out to see our living room re-arranged with furniture pushed back and a shower curtain spread on the floor.  Hubby had showered and dressed, then moved on to make lunch and set it aside in the fridge (at 6:30 am). I went to the bathroom to get ready for work and saw that he had a laundry basket ready and the top portion of the Dora potty was set on the toilet.  I was informed (very seriously) The 3 day training starts today. I am not leaving this house until she is trained. If you can't read the manual and support us then don't interfere. If you want to help, you need to follow the manual as written with no compromise. I shrugged, kissed them good bye, and left.

I went to work and returned home that afternoon with a sense of dread. I expected a mountain of laundry and a ticked off 3 year old.  In reality, I found an exhausted Daddy and chipper daughter.  Princess was a little emotional that evening, but had handled the changes to her routine better than could be expected. She was proud to show me her progress chart and dry (for now) undies (She had 2 accidents that day).

Day 2 was emotional for dear hubby since he was still mentally exhausted from the constant vigilance of the previous day. I offered to give him a break.  No, you don't get it, you can't leave her for a second. She hasn't had a BM yet and I'm expecting she's going to try and hide away for a poo-tastic explosion.  Princess had a stellar day filled with more success.

By day 3, hubby was confident that she was done her training. After lunch he left her to play in her room for 10 minutes and returned to find the poo-apocalypse he was dreading. By now I had read the manual and offered to gave him a break for the rest of the day.  Some of the rules were completely opposite the methods I use for children at the daycare, but I stuck with them.  We considered doing a 4th day at home but we had committed to a road trip to see his grandparents. I adapted some of the night-time rules to get her ready for the one hour drive before heading out that morning. She hadn't had anything to drink for 2 hours before we left, she sat on the toilet before we packed the car, and again before we buckled in to leave.

She stayed dry for the car rides, and in fact stayed dry all day!
My favourite potty converts from a potty throne, to toilet seat cover.  The top fits directly onto
the toilet and the insert comes out. The base can be flipped
over to be used as a step stool.

The Challenges:

  • Constant vigil on your busy child is exhausting. I had promoted my child's independence, ie. she could play in her room with no direct supervision - though I could see or hear her from my kitchen sitting room.
  • Wiping your schedule clean for 3-5 days is hard, but worth the effort.
This method promotes copious amounts of positive re-inforcement, bans punishment (for soiled undies), and celebrates the transition to BIG KID.  The download price tag is reasonable.  It cost just $24 USD to download the file and get access to a membership complete with mentoring and support.

The method works though I wish I had discovered this a year ago. My 3 year old was resistant to the drastic changes on the first day because we were now trying to undo all the previous habits and training.

Where to find the complete information to download:

My other potty training posts:

(Original post 2012)

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions remain my own. 
Image credit: www.walmart.com

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