Category Archives: random

To My Son On His Tenth Birthday (Chapter Two)

My second-born, my baby, you are ten today. How did that happen? You’ve always wanted to be older, and now you are. And I am so proud of you.

There are three years between you and your brother. Because parenting is hard, and it took that long to feel like I knew what I was doing, and like I was ready to do it all again. But surprise—you were your own person from the start, and a lot of what I thought I knew from raising your brother didn’t apply. So I was learning all over again.

And you’ve kept us on our toes: you learned to climb stairs and open doors before you could walk. Enter the baby gates and bolt locks we didn’t think we needed. You’ve been on the move ever since.

You do have some things in common with your big brother. You also thrive best when learning in your own time. When you do decide to do something, though, you are all in.

You are a voracious reader, and will read just about anything and everything I oh so casually leave on the coffee table. You can’t get enough of graphic novels, and have discerning taste in picture books, often telling me which ones deserve my library “staff picks” stickers.

You don’t much like school, never have, but you are scary smart, and love learning and trying new things. You are currently researching poisonous snakes, just because. You love to help in the kitchen, and will probably make your own birthday cake. And it will be amazing.

You have a confidence I envy, and I hope you never lose. You get over anger and upsets quickly, and never hold a grudge. You have always been a snuggler, and will still randomly hug me in public; I hope you always will. I love your uncontained joy for certain things, like going out for sushi, or your pet snake (your birthday present).

You can also be a bit obsessive with things you love. TV shows, video games, drums, breakfast—you go through periods of choosing that thing and only that thing. Your current obsession is playing outside with your neighbourhood friends. Bagels with cream cheese and lox. And trying to convince us to get a dog.

You are a trooper. We’ve “joked” you’ve seen just about every specialist there is at one point or another. And yet, you are far from a sickly kid—you are an active boy with a great attitude. You’ve gone through medical tests, eye patching, chronic illness, and surgery without complaint. In fact at the worst point in your recovery from having your tonsils and adenoids removed, you commented that you “felt sorry for younger kids having this done”. You were six.

Though you try to play it cool, you still adore your big brother. You are both growing up, and have your own friends and interests. You don’t play together as much these days, and can get on one another’s nerves (sometimes on purpose). But overall, the bond is still there, and I look forward to watching it grow as you do.

Happy birthday my sweet boy!

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Filed under parenting, periodic fever syndrome, PFAPA, random, reading, the beautiful boys, Uncategorized

Every New Beginning Comes From Some Other Beginning’s End

Earlier this year, I told my sister-in-law a cute anecdote about something BB#1 had said just before his brother was born. As we shared a laugh, I didn’t really notice that the boy himself had gotten up and left the room.

So I’ll admit, I was a bit floored to discover later that he was angry with me–for telling a story about him without asking first. I didn’t consider the story an embarrassing one at all–it has never been my intention to make my children the butt of a joke or to humiliate them in any way, and I abhor the child-shaming that seems to be so rampant online these days (have some foresight, parents!) In actual fact, the point of telling the story had been to show what a clever toddler he had been! But I suddenly remembered being his age, and how I felt at being the topic of conversation–or more specifically, the source of humour–among adults, and I could relate.

It was probably around the same time that I read this post by Tracy Chappell: Why I’m Breaking Up With My Blog. As an editor and writer for Today’s Parent, Tracy had blogged long before I jumped in. And not for the first time, my friend made me think. Although I had purposely kept the boys anonymous online, hadn’t used their photos, and wasn’t writing for the size of audience she had (*waves to reader: hi, Mom!*) I couldn’t shake the feeling that she was right: that the older my kids get, the less their stories are mine to tell.

So although I’ve never been the most consistent of bloggers anyway, I found it more and more difficult to come up with posts that didn’t make me wonder, “would my son(s) want me to share this?” I suppose I could have just asked them, but really, as Jennifer Pinarski points out in her own blog (suggested reading for new parent bloggers!), that’s expecting a child to make an adult decision.

When I started this blog, I wasn’t sure of my focus–would this be a “mommy blog“, or a collection of thoughts on random topics? My most popular and most commonly shared posts have been those about reading. And when visitors discover my blog through search terms, it tends to be in their quest for information about PFAPA. When the boys first started having these periodic fevers, there wasn’t much about the condition online, so I chose to share our stories in the hopes of helping other families dealing with it. I hope that I have.

In 2015, my top five posts have been:

But the fact is, this blog is called Mum2BeautifulBoys. And as I wrote early on, one of the main reasons I started blogging was to keep a record of some of the little things about parenting I would otherwise forget over the years if they weren’t written down. So while I’ve explored other topics, it has usually been through my parent-lens. And if I want to shift my boys’ stories offline, I’m not sure M2BB has a reason to exist any more.

So what does this mean for 2016? I’m not sure. I will continue writing, but I may need to create a new space, with a new focus, and a new name (got any good ideas?) And pick up a pen to record my family’s more private moments.

In the meantime, Happy New Year, Mom! 😉

 

*These posts are apparently “out” for 2016.

 

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Filed under breastfeeding, education, house hunting, moving, my kid just said, parenting, PFAPA, privacy, random, reading, real estate, the beautiful boys

Feminism is Dead

Today Chatelaine released the results of their This is (40ish) poll of Canadian women. As a 40ish woman myself, this is something I can definitely relate to. But the stat that really jumped out at me was that 68% of women surveyed said they were not feminists.

Based on the other responses, it seems to me like most of these women work outside the home, even though many also have children. Some are making good money, which suggests they had access to a high level of education. It seems many are married or in a relationship, presumably of their choosing, while others have exercised the right to divorce. I know for sure they all have the right to vote. All things women here in Canada can do thanks to feminism.

Surely these women don’t want to go back to a time when these things were not possible. So I wondered, what gives? Why would so many reject the label “feminist”? Then it occurred to me: it must be because feminism is no longer needed!

So, that must mean that women–all women, white women as well as women of colour–must earn the same amount as men for the same work!

It must mean that movies and TV now feature 50% female lead characters—and they DO stuff to move the story along (as opposed to being just the wife, girlfriend, damsel in distress, or token female in an ensemble).

Our government is made up of 50% women too, and not just the cabinet.

It must mean that boys and girls can choose to play with and read what they like, without so much as raising an eyebrow.

If feminism is no longer necessary, it must mean “like a girl” is not the worst possible insult that can be hurled at a boy or a man.

Women are no longer judged almost exclusively by their appearance. There is no market for photos of female celebrities without make-up, or wearing bikinis on the beach (even if they have cellulite). Because women can wear whatever they want now.

I guess there are also no more mommy wars articles, because women can not only choose to stay home or to go out to work, no one suggests one is better than the other. Plus, since men now also have this choice, and can exercise it without being criticized or professionally penalized, the term “mommy wars” simply makes no sense.

Women are no longer targeted and threatened by online trolls for expressing opinions, or even for playing video games!

If feminism has done everything it can, I guess women who are harassed or assaulted aren’t automatically asked what they were doing there, what they were wearing, how much they’d had to drink. Even better, it’s great that women can now go out and about just like men, day or night, without fear of being sexually harassed or assaulted at all!

So thank you feminists, but it seems like everything is completely equal now, so we don’t need you anymore.

Oh, wait…

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Filed under gender issues, in the news, pet peeves, random, Uncategorized

Portrait of Christmas Past

I bought the first stocking long before we were even trying to have a baby. Red felt with white snowflakes across the top, a happy reindeer, and one word across the toe: JOY. When we finally had our very own bundle of joy, we put his chubby, four-month-old self right into the stocking and used the photo for our Christmas card.

It was fitting, because stockings have always been my favourite part of Christmas morning.

The next year, he couldn’t fit IN the stocking of course, but we dressed him in some festive jammies and a Santa hat, and he held the stocking that once held him.

It became our own little tradition. By the fourth year, there was another baby boy, and another stocking: a sweet snowman with bell at the top of his jaunty red hat. The brothers wore matching pjs: blue, with red santas. Big brother’s smile in the photo that year revealed a grey tooth, which he’d bruised in a fall. Little brother, barely two months old, had no visible neck.

Each year it continued: different jammies, same stockings. Digital photography meant we could take as many shots as necessary to get the perfect one. Which was good, because some years it took more than 100 to get one where both boys were smiling, had their eyes open, and weren’t making a goofy face. The outtakes are as precious as the final portrait. But the best part was always seeing my two beautiful boys, arms around each other’s shoulders.

This year, I let the boys help me choose the pajamas they would wear for the photo. And though they went with “cool snowboarder” over “cute snowman”, it seemed like at 8 and 11, they were still happy to continue the tradition.

But cue all the versions of Landslide, because the annual photo shoot didn’t go as planned, and I don’t think there will be another sitting.

Just like that, things change.

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There’s More Than One Way to be a Family

There are 1,000 ways to be a family an I’m excited to be guest-posting as “family 162” on thenewfamily.com! Thanks to @bweikle for the opportunity to share our story.

http://thenewfamily.com/2015/10/1000-families-project-andrea-and-family/

You can also listen and subscribe to the just-launced The New Family Podcast, the show all about families like yours and mine!

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Filed under parenting, periodic fever syndrome, PFAPA, random, the beautiful boys, Uncategorized, working parents

Buried in Stuff

It’s almost October, and I’m just finally sitting down to write: what I did on my summer vacation. I moved. Which, if you’ve moved, you know is a special kind of hell.

Spent the month of June trying to keep the house in “showing” condition. Spent the month of July sorting and packing. And spent the month of August sorting and unpacking. Okay, starting to sort and unpack. The basement is still full of boxes, but at least there are just semi-organized piles instead of the labyrinth that took our moving guys a good 12 hours to create! So that’s progress, considering one of them commented “You aren’t going to have a basement when we’re done, you’re just going to have boxes!” Did I mention we moved on the hottest day of the year? Sorry, moving guys!

Turns out our 1,300 square foot townhouse actually had quite a bit of storage space, including built-in shelves, a good-sized utility room, a cold room and a loft in the garage, that our only slightly larger new-to-us detached home does not have! And we had made good use of that space, storing things that had actually never been unpacked when we moved in to our first home almost 11 years earlier! So instead of squirrelling away the bins and boxes, we actually have to look at them.

Which really begs the question, why on earth are we keeping all this stuff?!

We did spend some time prior to the move decluttering. For example, I gave away or donated or recycled probably 15 large boxes of books. Which left a mere 30 large boxes of books. What can I say, we love books! I kept my very favourites, any signed-by-the-author books I’ve received over the years, and kids’ books–for the boys, and for my classroom (which I currently do not have but you never know…)

I also parted ways with essays I had forgotten I’d written, journals I wish I’d forgotten  I’d written, and a bunch of other things including toys. Mine and my husband’s, not the boys’. Those we still have in abundance.

The good news is our kitchen is quite a bit bigger, and I now have cupboard space for things like serving trays and glassware that we got as wedding presents but never used. (Did I mention it was our 15th anniversary this month? Heh.)

But I’m still overwhelmed by what we do have, to the point where I don’t know what to do about it. Keep it? If I’ve held on to it this long, it must be important to me, right? Like my vintage Cabbage Patch Kids, circa the original craze in ‘84. Throw it away? Ugh, the landfill. And the memories! Sell it? Who else would want it? We’re talking well-loved Cabbage Patch Dolls here, not never-played-with, still-in-the-box. Donate it? If it’s too grungy to sell, it seems wrong to donate it too.

The thing is, we’re constantly at our boys to consider donating or otherwise parting with their plethora of “things” too—especially the papers and the toys. But how can we expect them to do so when we have difficulty with this ourselves? I know I’ve changed from a little girl who expected to live in a large Victorian-style home with a room just to display her doll collection to a woman who hates to dust and fantasizes about a kitchen counter with nothing on it. But actually throwing out those dolls, even if they are just taking up space in a box right now, is another story, one I can’t seem to write The End on yet.

Not to mention, our current reality is that my husband works from home and requires a great deal of equipment and a space to do his job, and I have only just begun my teacher hoarding. And with kids there comes a certain amount of stuff—we may have left behind the baby swing, stroller, and Thomas train years but have entered the snowboard, electric guitar and amp, adult-sized bike years. And then there’s the Lego…

We’re going to need a bigger house.*

 

 

*expect I’m never moving again, so I guess some of this stuff is going to have to go…

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Twenty Questions (2015 Version)

Inspired by my late friend, Tracy Chappell, I ask the boys the same twenty questions each year around their birthdays. It’s a fun tradition (they now ask, “when do we answer those questions?” and insist I include pauses and “ums”!) and I love comparing how their responses change (or don’t!) year over year. So in honour of BB#1’s eleventh birthday (I can’t believe it’s been a year since I wrote him this! or that his baby brother is going on eight!), I’m finally posting (it’s been a busy year, more about that later!)

Look back at:

2012

2013

2014

1.What is your favourite color?

BB#1: Green. I think.

BB#2: Probably, I don’t know, purple.

2. What is your favourite toy?

BB#1: Lego?

BB#2: Lego and my Bionicle six arms awesome guy.

3. What is your favourite fruit?

BB#1: Peaches I guess?

BB#2: Peaches and strawberries.

4. What is your favourite TV show?

BB#1: Wakfu. That’s pretty much the only TV show that I watch. [This is a French show he watched on Netflix this summer. We don’t have cable.]

BB#2: (long pause) I don’t know. [See above]

5. What is your favourite thing to eat for lunch?

BB#1: I have no idea. Crepes I guess.

BB#2: Pizza.

6. What is your favourite outfit?

BB#1: My black pants that are like jeans and a t-shirt, and maybe a hoodie with a zipper.

BB#2: My all-black outfit.

7. What is your favourite game?

BB#1: I going to say a board game because that’s easier. I think Apples to Apples.

BB#2: Spore. [A computer video game]

8. What is your favourite snack?

BB#1: Crackers and cheese.

BB#2: Dried mangoes.

9. What is your favourite animal?

BB#1: Crested gecko. That one’s easy.

BB#2: A snake. [He wants a milk snake as a pet…]

10. What is your favourite song?

BB#1: I can’t decide between “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zepplin or “One” by Metallica.

BB#2: “Lose Yourself” by Eminem.

11. What is your favourite book?

BB#1: The Kill Order from the Maze Runner series.

BB#2: Harry Potter. [We’re currently reading Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix together.]

12. Who is your best friend?

BB#1: I don’t have a best friend, I have only a bunch of friends.

BB#2: I have two, Jason and Kian.

13. What is your favourite sport?

BB#1: Snowboarding.

BB#2: Basketball, soccer and football.

 14. What is your favourite thing to do outside?

BB#1: Snowboard.

BB#2: Swimming and biking.

15. What is your favourite drink?

BB#1: Pina colada.

BB#2: Lime smoothies, like the ones at Cuba. [Where we spent March Break, and also drank pina coladas. Virgin, naturally!]

16. What is your favourite holiday?

BB#1: Christmas? No, Halloween, Halloween is my favourite holiday.

BB#2: My birthday. [Last I checked, still not a national holiday…]

 17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night?

BB#1: My big dog.

BB#2: My one of my tiny dogs and my biggest dog.

Note: all of these dogs are of the stuffed variety.

 18. What is your favourite thing to eat for breakfast?

BB#1: A bagel with cheese. Unless it’s a super egg sandwich, with ribs on it and bacon and cheese. Because I love that.

BB#2: Waffles!

 19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday?

BB#1: (shrugs) Steak I guess. I can’t decide. We kind of eat everything that’s special treat dinner every few weeks. So steak or salmon. [We’re having steak.]

BB#2: Pizza, ribs, or filet mignon.

 20. What do you want to be when you grow up?

BB#1: A rock star? Or a professional snowboarder.

BB#2: A singer.

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Filed under favourites, my kid just said, random, the beautiful boys, traditions