Tag Archives: E2

Jeneral finds of the week: 2016-09-20

One man’s constant connection to the endless news and media feed and how it broke him. The differences between being rude, mean, and a bully. And the amazing tale of two brothers’ discovery that their parents were not Canadian emigrants to the US, but rather Russian spies. That’s the Jeneral Finds of the week: 2016-09-20

This is your brain on continuous information feed

The pervasive usage of digital devices is on my mind a lot lately. And by lately, I mean for the last two years. It started off as an exercise to come up with a strategy of how and when I would be comfortable getting a mobile phone for my daughters. As I read and think more though, the exercise is quickly morphing into examining what my own device usage is doing to me.

Andrew Sullivan’s long-form piece “I used to be a human being: Technology almost killed me” in the New York Magazine this week is an eye-opening cautionary tale. It is all the more terrifying to foresee how easily many more of us will experience the same breakdown as Sullivan.

Rude vs. Mean vs. Bullying

My younger daughter got pinched and pushed to the ground by another unknown child at school last week. When she later worked up the courage to tell me about it, she started off her story with “I was bullied today”. A phrase that sends the heart up the throat of any parent.

The info in “Rude vs. Mean vs. Bullying: Defining the Differences”, by Signe Whitson, was helpful to keep in mind while I assessed whether I needed to be alarmed about the occurrence. (thankfully it seems to be an isolated incident of a kid being super rude) With the hyper awareness and classroom discussion on the issue of bullying now in our schools, it is not surprising that she labels all aggressive behaviour as “bullying”.

Most of all, I am so proud of her that she put her hapkido self-defence training to use. She told us she immediately confronted the child by making a stop sign with her hand and saying assertively, “Stop that! That was not nice!”. She was shaken up by the experience that day, but she seems be be okay now.

The Spies who loved me

The day we discovered our parents were Russian spies“, by Shaun Walker in The Guardian is a fascinating read. The title of the article says it all; it’s a crazy story out of a TV show plot that happens to be true and real life.

~Jen

Daddy has the Magic Touch

We were just starting our drive home from our regular Sunday dinner at grandma’s and grandpa’s house.

E1: “Do you think we’ll get stopped at Hood Road again this time?”

Our route home takes us through the intersection of Denison and Hood Road, and it feels like we get faced with a red light 95% of the times we pass through going west-bound. It is particularly frustrating because A)it is approximately 100 meters from another set of traffic lights at Warden; B) it always seems to turn red seconds after the lights at Warden turn green, giving you the initial false hopes that you can pass through; and C)stays red for an inordinate amount of time, especially considering at 9pm on Sundays there is zero traffic driving on Hood Road. I had made enough comments and complaints about it on our drives home that E1 and E2 both knew the location and to look for the light.

Denison_and_Hood_Road

This week was one of those odd occasions where T was driving. I pulled my neck a few days earlier and couldn’t really turn my head well, so we all agreed it was safest to have T drive.

Me: “Well, we can only wait and see when we get there. Daddy does seem to have better success at getting through Hood Road without getting a red light though. I always seem to get stopped.”

T: “Probably because you drive way more than I do.” I laughed.

E1: “Well Mommy, I remember on Thanksgiving you got a green light.”

Me: “True, but that’s like the only time I remember.”

E1: “Daddy must have the magic touch.”

T, chuckling: “People have been saying that about me for years.”

E2: “So why does Daddy still get stopped sometimes with the red light there?”

Me: “His magic for Hood Road must be depleted and I guess it takes a while before it gets replenished.”

T: “That’s called mana. My mana must be depleted each time I get through Hood Road without a red light. You guys know what mana is?”

E1: “Yeah! Like the magic in our Magic Quest wands. Before we got them activated again, it kept saying to us ‘Your wand’s mana has been depleted’ when we tried to use the wands at Great Wolf Lodge.”

E2: “What does ‘depleted’ mean?”

Me: “Depleted means used up, drained, finished.”

E1: “Ahh, I don’t talk about it right now, or else Daddy’s magic will go away!”

T: “That’s called, ‘Jinxing’ it.”

We drive along Denison and get stopped at the red light on Warden Ave behind several cars, one light away from the infamous light.

E1 cranes her head to check out the Hood Road light situation. “Oh no! The light is green! That means it’s probably going to turn red by the time we get there again!”

E2: “Oh no oh no oh no!”

The light at Warden turns green and we drive the 100 meters towards Hood Road. Amazingly, the light stays green.

Me: “Oh my gosh guys! We’re going to make it through Hood Road! The light is staying green!”

All in the car: “Yaaayy!”

E2: “Daddy really *does* have the magic touch!”

~Jen

Parenting is hard: when to allow our kids to have mobile phones

As I write this, E1 is 7 years old and E2 is 5 years old. Yes, definitely too young to be having mobile phones, but these rascals grow so quickly! It seems like yesterday they were still doll-sized, so I just know they’ll be pre-teens in a blink of an eye. And wanting their own mobile phones. So to avoid having to respond in a wild-eyed, unprepared and panicked manner, I think we gotta plan now for when to allow our kids to have mobile phones. (*ugh*)

I definitely think anytime before they are in Grade 7 is too early. But after they are going to middle school and extra-curricular activities by themselves? I don’t think that age alone should be the determining factor. Hence this haphazard plan below.

I don’t profess to have a grand manifesto that I’ve been planning for ages. These are just some of the random ideas and “risk mitigation strategies” that have been floating around my head lately. Maybe I’ll add to this list or take things away as the years pass. Definitely this post will be updated as things change. Looking at this list below, the daughters are going to have to do a lot of work to convince me! That might be enough to discourage it for a few years. But who knows, i’m writing this now in 2015 without knowing what the social and technological environment will be like when they are 13 years old. I’ll try not to be too hard on myself if this current best-laid plan doesn’t work out. Continue reading Parenting is hard: when to allow our kids to have mobile phones

Scene from a household: That time E2 got a hamster stuck on her head

I was trying to not laugh too hard in her face. This is one of those parenting moments where your child faces some sort of misfortune of their own doing that is as hilarious to you as it is embarrassing to them.

It was near the end of our bedtime routine. E2 had already finished brushing her teeth and was in their room. I left the bathroom and rounded the corner to the girls’ room, E1 hot on my heels.

Me: “E2, why do you have a hamster on your head?”
She turned and looked at me with wide eyes. Continue reading Scene from a household: That time E2 got a hamster stuck on her head

Scene from a household: E2 practices her powers of persuasion

It was a warm day this week when I picked up E2 from her summer day camp. Her group had been outside all afternoon at a Blue Jays game, and she had a sweaty look to her face.

E2: “I’m so hot… It’s so hot outside,” she lamented dramatically. After a pregnant pause, she states, “I think we should go get some gelato to cool down, Mommy.”

Me, with one eye cocked: “Oh really? You’re that hot?”

E2: “I’m *super* boiling. I think ice cream will be perfect to cool me down. So cold, and creamy…You look like you’re pretty hot too, Mommy. I think you would enjoy some gelato too!”

Me: “I dunno, that would be having dessert before dinner…” I had to admit to myself that some gelato just then did indeed sound like a pretty great idea.

E2: “It’s like a snack! I promise I’ll eat my dinner, and I will only have fruit for dessert after.”

Me: “Well, let’s go pick up your sister and then see.”

E2: “Couldn’t we go get gelato first, and just not tell her?” She smiled a cheeky, conspiring grin.

Me: “E2, that’s not nice, you know how you’d feel if you found out I took E1 for gelato without you.”

E2: “But I won’t tellllll… OK, OK, let’s go get E1,” she concluded, somewhat reluctantly. “But then we’ll walk straight-away to Hollywood Gelato.”

And wouldn’t you know it, we did indeed have gelato that afternoon *before* dinner.

~Jen

Little joys: May 2015

I think I need a little reminder of some the little joys I’ve experienced this month. More than just the smiles and amusements from things in my FB feed. It’s a balm against the negative news, fear and frustrating experiences I’ve encountered in the last few weeks. It’s something Janice had me do during our sessions together, to just explicitly and deliberately recognize the good things in life. It’s a habit I’m trying to get ingrained into doing, instead of always focusing on trying to fix the negative and problems at hand. So here goes. Continue reading Little joys: May 2015

Parenting is hard: sibling jealousy

I’ve been noticing in the last few months that E1 has been taunting her sister more and more, or doing things just to bother her. Putting her foot on E2’s chair. Purposefully taking up more space so there is no room for E2. Belittling things or accomplishments that E2 wanted to share with the family. They still had lots of moments where they got along great and have fun together, but the ratio was starting to to the other way.

I decided to address it at our family meeting this week. Continue reading Parenting is hard: sibling jealousy

My parents don’t work: Scene from a household

Background context: A couple of weeks ago, E1 was the “student of the day” which meant she could bring in something for show and tell. We decided to bring in a bunch of coins from different countries, since many kids probably haven’t seen money from outside of Canada or US. We had different denominations of Euros, yen, British pounds/pence, and even a rupee.

E1: Wow, how did you get all this different money?

T: Well, you know how I sometimes go on business trips to other countries? This is the change I get when I buy things in those countries.

E1 and E2 both nod understanding. “That’s cool, Daddy.”


Fast forward a few days.

I go to pick up E2 from school, and her teacher greets me with a little smirk.

Teacher: We were having a circle-time conversation today and E2 announced that “My parents don’t work.” I asked her to clarify more, and she just simply said, “My Mommy and Daddy don’t work.” So I challenged that a bit, saying that they must work, otherwise how do they get the money to buy food, and clothes and pay for other things?

“My Daddy just flies to other countries, meets with people, and then they give him money.”

Well…she’s not wrong.

Have a safe flight, honey, on this Valentine’s day as you travel abroad. Go and get that money from those people you’re going to meet while you’re not working. We have swimming lessons to pay for. 😉

~Jen

E2: I’m going to marry Collin – Scene from a household

As I pull the car away from the curb in front of E2’s daycare, I hear E2’s little voice pipe up.

E2: “I’m going to marry Collin.”

This takes me by surprise. Typically I have to fish information about her days at daycare out of her, so that this came out unprompted was unusual.

Me: “Oh really? Why do you think so?”

E2: “Because he loves me.”

Me: “And how do you know he loves you? Does he treat you nicely?”

E2: “He hugs me, and holds my hand. He always sits next to me.”

Me: “I see. And how do you feel about him? You should love him too if you are going to marry him.”

E2: <with a world weary sigh> “Yes yes, of course I love him too.”

Me: “Ok. Well, you are only 4 years old, I’m just warning you that a lot can change by the time you are 18 years old. (And please wait until you are at least 18 years old to get married. Preferably at least 25.) For example, your sister when she was your age she thought for sure she and this boy named Matthew were going to get married. Now she barely remembers what he looks like.”

E2: “I’m sure!”

The next day I decide to ask her teacher about it. During drop-off I see this boy make a beeline for E2, and gives her this big hug that is prolonged into this swaying, rotating, squeeze of a hug. Both have big grins on their faces.

Me: “So…E2 told me yesterday that she wanted to marry Collin. Have they been playing together a lot?”

Teacher: <amused>”Oh my goodness. You should see them together. He is so sweet to her, and they spend quite a bit of time playing together. When E2 is grumpy as we wake her from her nap, he comes over and pats her back or strokes her hair to comfort her.”

Me: “Oh really? And what do they talk about?”

Teacher: “You know…it’s like one of those relationships where not a lot has to be said.”

Oh my sweet E2. I hope you always remember this first love of yours, how nicely he treated you, and how good you feel to be around him, because that is the way you should feel with someone you love.

~Jen

The Mystery of the Blue Hand: Scene from a household

It likely will be the enduring mystery of 2015 for the Toh family: The Mystery of the Blue Hand. Continue reading The Mystery of the Blue Hand: Scene from a household