The kids are alright. Except, no, wake up, they’re really not.

stig·ma

ˈstiɡmə/

noun

noun: stigma; plural noun: stigmata; plural noun: stigmas

1. a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person.”the stigma of having gone to prison will always be with me”
 synonyms:shame, disgrace, dishonor, ignominy, opprobrium, humiliation, (bad) reputation “the stigma of bankruptcy”

The kids are alright. Or are they?

If you’ve ever hung out with me on The Keswick Blog before, you may be under the impression that I’m not necessarily a champion for Facts. That I am more about feelings, or opinions born of facts, or maybe feelpinions, perhaps? Well, I am kind of a fan of #RealFacts. And it turns out that I’ve become a bit of a curmudgeon and realize that I have have zero time or patience for #AltFacts or #FakeNews. Not only that, but I’m also not a big believer in statistics generally speaking (I could not get through my stats class in university to save my life, I’m telling you). There are just too many ways to manipulate statistics to fit even the wackiest arguments. But with that said, even I will concede that there are a few areas in which facts and statistics resonate with me, and when that happens, I try to share them with others. And this is one of those areas that resonate with me, because for all the iPhones, $200 pairs of shoes, new flat screen televisions in their bedrooms and unlimited data plans to Snapchat their days away, the kids are not alright. And as adults, as parents, as concerned citizens, it’s time to wake. the. fuck. up.

*Warning – I’ll be tossing a few offensive words throughout this post. But if you’re offended by my using the word ‘fuck’ and not by the gross misunderstanding and misinformation that the majority of us are operating under when it comes to our children’s mental health, I’ll bid you adieu right here.

Our kids are suffering. Not all of our kids, but far, far, far too many of our kids. And not enough is being done to help them. WE are not doing enough to help them. And even when a parent, friend, teacher or other adult figure recognizes the signs that a child may be suffering, too many of those children are not able to access the appropriate services to get the help that they need.

Am I talking about cancer? Nope. Am I talking about learning disabilities, closer, but nope. I’m talking about mental health. The mental health (and illness) as it pertains to our children and youth, to be specific. Because contrary to popular views of previous generations, children are people, and therefore completely capable of feeling ALL the feelings and experiencing ALL the complications that make up what we define as ‘mental health.’

I promised you some statistics earlier, and since I almost always deliver on my promises (the exception being if said promises are made while you’re holding a giant Toblerone bar in front of me. In that case, I’m apt to say or promise just about anything to get my hands on it).

But alas, there is no chocolate in sight, so here they are:

  • It is estimated that 10-20% of Canadian youth are affected by a mental illness or disorder – the single most disabling group of disorders worldwide.
  • Today, approximately 5% of male youth and 12% of female youth, age 12 to 19, have experienced a major depressive episode.
  • The total number of 12-19 year olds in Canada at risk for developing depression is a staggering 3.2 million.
  • Once depression is recognized, help can make a difference for 80% of people who are affected, allowing them to get back to their regular activities
  • Mental illness is increasingly threatening the lives of our children; with Canada’s youth suicide rate the third highest in the industrialized world.
  • Suicide is among the leading causes of death in 15-24 year old Canadians, second only to accidents; 4,000 people die prematurely each year by suicide.
  • Schizophrenia is youth’s greatest disabler as it strikes most often in the 16 to 30 year age group, affecting an estimated one person in 100.
  • Surpassed only by injuries, mental disorders in youth are ranked as the second highest hospital care expenditure in Canada.
  • In Canada, only 1 out of 5 children who need mental health services receives them.
    *Emphasis added 
    (From The Canadian Mental Health Association @ http://www.cmha.ca/media/fast-facts-about-mental-illness/#.WNsqPxgZPVo)

And we, as parents, guardians, and a society, still want to insist that the kids are alright? Really? We want to continue thinking that if we just buy the right product, if we just make sure that they have the right ‘stuff’ that everything will be okay. But no. Step back and take a good look at your kids, a real, good, honest-to-God look. Is there something there that you haven’t seen or noticed before? Is there something there that you’ve been  justifying or excusing away that really, should be dealt with? Is there something going on with your child or teen that you’ve been denying, even though you know, deep in your heart that something is just wrong?

There is no shame in seeking help for your child and there should be no stigma attached by your or anyone else to your child for his suffering. It is not a failure on your part if your child is struggling with mental health issues. It is not a failure of your child either. Shit happens. We need to deal with it. Because there is very real shame in NOT dealing with and seeking help for issues that are HURTING a child and causing him or her to SUFFER needlessly and alone. Far too often, our egos as parents prevents us from being HONEST about what is going on with our kids. It’s not them, it’s the school. It’s not them, it’s the other kids. It’s not them, it’s our ex. It’s not them, it’s lack of sleep. And you know what? Sometimes is may not be them. But sometimes, it is. And if we’re so heavily invested in it not being them, who is going to step up, step in and help them to deal?

Years ago, mental health and mental illness were taboo, scary, shameful subjects that were spoken of in whispers and largely ignored, where possible, dismissed when acceptable and denied when confronted. The fear and stigma attached to mental illness has likely caused more complications and strife than it’s ever prevented.

My message to parents? Simple. Get out of your own way. So what if your kids aren’t “Facebook” perfect? So your life doesn’t fit into a quirky 140-character tweet. Maybe when we stop living our lives and running our families with the goal to garner the most “Likes” or “Followers” and instead begin to run our affairs in the best interests of our children and our selves with the aim to be solidly educated and productive, contributing members of society, only then will we begin to see some of those terrifying statistics we read above start to change for the better.

There is NO excuse why only 1 in 5 children is getting the mental health services they need. It cannot be said enough. There is NO shame in admitting that you need help to figure out how to help your child. If your child fell, and broke his arm, would you try to set and cast it yourself? Of course not. If your child had a raging ear infection, would you put a band-aid on it and pretend they were fine? Of course not. That would be ridiculous, even downright neglectful. Right?

Well, trying to pretend that a child cannot be suffering from mental health issues when all of the signs and behaviour suggest otherwise is just as ridiculous, and yes, neglectful. Children and youth need us to be strong, capable adults who protect them, guide them, and help them. If our egos get in the way of that, whose best interests are we serving?

So, are the kids alright?

The kids? Oh, sure they’re alright. Except that one over there, the forlorn-looking fella, he’s eleven-years-old and closing in on 200lbs, oh, and that sixth grader, the one with the backless shirt and bra straps hanging out? She threw a chair at her teacher yesterday and threatened another student with a stapler. Oh, right, and maybe that one sulking over there, she used to be a boy, but decided in the third grade that she wanted to be a girl, so we just went with it, but now puberty is starting and shit it getting real. Mom? Well, that’s the kicker, mom says he only eats fresh fruit, vegetables and lean chicken, so there’s nothing she can do about his weight, He’s just big-boned. And about that chair throwing thing? Well, that teacher is a bitch and was ganging up on her daughter demanding that she sit in her seat when all she wanted was to go for a drink at the fountain. The other student? Lying. Staplers are for losers. Do you see this? Are you taking this in? These children are SUFFERING and their suffering makes ADULTS scared, uncomfortable and defensive. It needs to make adults sit up, take notice and start addressing the source of children’s suffering.

For the last time, there is no shame in seeking help. There is enormous shame in pretending that all is well when things are falling apart. Needing and seeking help with mental health concerns is not wrong, for anyone. Seeing or even suspecting that there is a need for mental health intervention and not reaching out and seeking that help on behalf of those vulnerable members of the society is a life sentence. Not merely for the child, but for the rest of society as well.

#EndStigma #LetsTalk #KidsHelpLine #TheKidsArentAlright #KidsDoGetDepressed #GetLoud

Kid conversations. Or, Being schooled using a banana analogy

So, this conversation happened at my house tonight:

10 year-old: UGH! This banana has a HUGE bruise! Blech! *insert lots of gagging noises*

6 year-old: *insert hand gestures and adult tone of voice* Okay. I’ll tell you the story of how I ate my bruised banana. Ready? I opened my banana. It was bruised. I just it ate through it and didn’t say a thing about it. Not a word. And that’s how I got through it. Just eat through it. See?

My six-year-old is wiser than me again. You’d think that I’d be used to this humbling truth, but the fact is, I am not. It takes these moments in time, these overheard conversations to remind me that for as much as I think that I’m teaching them about life, it is they who are teaching me.

Because Miss Moon’s banana story is a lot like life. Sometimes, you just have to keep moving forward, not complaining about anything, and just get through it. Sometimes, it really is okay.

Like Miss Moon and Shia say, sometimes, you just have to do it.

Conversations with kids thus far in 2017

As some of you know, Miranda and I just returned from an adventure at the hospital that included an over-night stay. While we were waiting for a room in the Hospital for Sick Kids E.R. Miranda announced to me, rather urgently, that she needed the bathroom. So, off we went, dragging the IV trolley beside us in search of a bathroom. We found one close by.

“Oh, wait a minute, honey. The seat is a mess” I told her once we were inside the little bathroom. She looked over her shoulder at the toilet, “Ugh! Who PEES like that?” she asked incredulously. Before I had the chance to answer, she spoke again, in a low voice while looking downward and slowly shaking her head. “Boys.” she said. “Boys pee like that” she sounded so mournful, so disappointed and just so defeated that I had to stifle a chuckle. She cut a comical, yet heartbreaking figure, all six-and-a-half years of her wearing nothing but dark grey cotton tights and 3/4 sleeve purple top, now cut up the side of the left arm to accommodate her temporary plaster cast, which was supporting her broken elbow.  Her other hand was incapacitated by the i.v. drip and sponge block the nurse had just finished setting up moments before. Her beautiful blonde hair a tangled mess of curls, hair elastics and sleep. And, as I hurried to clean up the seat for her, using the hospital one-ply and a prayer (honestly though – who does pee like that? And more importantly, who leaves it like that?), I had to agree with her, “yes baby, boys sometimes pee like that.” And, hoping that she would sense my solidarity and hear me telepathically, I thought “and sometimes, it’s just enough to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. I hear ya, kiddo.”

**************************************************

And then this exchange just happened:

Paxton – Mummy, do you know what I’m really good at?

Me: Everything?

Paxton: Yes. But no. Really. I mean do you know what I’m really good at?

Me: What?

Paxton: I’m really good at sticking my head in a bucket of water and getting an apple.

Me: Bobbing for apples? That’s what you’re really good at?

Paxton: Yup! *beaming and proud as punch*

Me: … *with visions of a 50 year-old Pax living in my basement flashing through my mind*

Thank you, Mr. Einstein for this invaluable insight and truth. I am a believer.

The problem is not kids these days. It’s us.

one-bookone-penone-childand-one

As much as we want to blame the internet, the kids, the teachers, the schools, the media, none of those things are the problem. This is not a fun message to send or receive. The problem with kids these days is us. Children watch the adults around them (and their parents more specifically) and what they observe shapes the foundation for their views on the world. These observations help to develop how they, themselves react and behave towards others over the course of their day. And let’s face it, the majority of their day is spent at school.

Many parents and adults are polite, considerate, lovely people. They are not the problem (clearly). Many other parents and adults are loud, rude, angry, confrontational and reactive. They are the problem (clearly).

Today, the common thought by professionals in the education and helping professions is that children need to learn how to “self-regulate” and that being a successful “self-regulator” will resolve much of the behaviour and acting out that many schools are forced to deal with everyday, all day, with a greater number of students than ever (at least so it appears based on anecdotal evidence). Behaviours that are often serving as a barrier to accessing a solid education by all students, not merely the ones acting out.

Self-regulation is an excellent idea. It is a great theory. It fails in practice. Why? Because until the PARENTS are able to self-regulate and behave in polite and civilized ways, children do not stand a chance. Until the PARENTS begin to support educators and the importance of being educated, their children will continue to act out.

Children’s behaviour is NOT a school board’s responsibility. Children’s behaviour is the parents’ responsibility and if the parents need support, then THAT is where to school board can provide assistance. Educators and school staff are not there to RAISE children. Schools exist to educate and support children and help to guide them toward successful and productive citizenship. Schools are NOT daycares, babysitters or nannies.

This goal of educating and guiding children cannot be met when parents abdicate their parental responsibilities once their child(ren) pass through the doors of their first school. I have had parents say to me ” meh, it’s their [the school’s] problem to deal with, he’s with them all day. He’s perfectly fine at home. What do they expect ME to do about it if he’s not listening to them (replace ‘listening’ with any of these: hitting, acting out, swearing, fighting, refusing to work, spitting, running away, bullying, etc)?”

My opinions on raising children, school, and parenting are not popular and I accept that. I did not become a mother in order to have a bunch of new friends, or create my own clique, or to be popular with tiny people. I became a mother to raise good humans and pass down some of the skills and knowledge that I had gathered in my lifetime (turns out some those skills were somewhat less developed than I thought!) and sometimes that means that I am about the most unpopular person in the house, possibly the planet (just ask my kids!).  I am the primary caregiver in our family, and as such it is one of my jobs to set and enforce the majority of the routines, rules and consequences. I do not make excuses for my children’s behaviour when they make poor choices. They must take responsibility for their choices and they are held to a higher standard than “I don’t know” or “well, everyone else…” I do not let things that are wrong slide. We talk it out and problem solve what they could do differently next time. They do not get away with blaming others for their choices. Because they always have more than one choice. We all do.

I am not writing this from a place of infallible, perfect parenting. I am not the perfect parent. My kids are not perfect. One thing that I am though, is constantly aware, constantly watching, listening and seeking better ways of doing things, handling situations, and guiding my children (and the children with whom I work) toward making conscious choices rather than following the crowd, acting on impulse or simply being reactive.

And you know what? Sometimes it works. And sometimes it doesn’t. When it does, great, when it doesn’t, we try again.

One thing that every parent needs to know (in my unpopular opinion), is that it is the PARENT’S job to parent, that as a parent that you, and you alone are your child’s first and most important teacher. With that responsibility comes the requirement to work WITH educators and other helping professionals to ensure that your child is giving and receiving all of the effort and cooperation possible to ensure a successful result. When parents are combative to or confrontational toward the very people they are depending on to raise their children, it only serves to escalate the problems the child, and therefore the school and the rest of the children, must deal with.

This quick post has grown slightly longer than I expected. In the end, here is my wish list for all of us:

  1. Demonstrate the behaviour we want our kids to copy;
  2. Instill a love of learning and a sincere belief in the importance of being educated in all areas of life (i.e. history is not pointless and French is not dumb);
  3. Bring back social etiquette and manners – across the board;
  4. Place the responsibility of parenting back on the parents and provide support where needed and when necessary;
  5. Allow children to be children and to make mistakes without rushing in to ‘rescue’ them from all natural consequences of their choices;
  6. Learn, teach and share problem solving and dispute resolution skills with children from a young age (but it’s never too late to start);
  7. Spend less time on ‘devices’ and more time interacting, in REAL LIFE with our families – no more technological babysitters and distractions;
  8. Realize that not everything is personal or requires your response. If I say that I don’t like the colour blue, and your shirt is blue, that doesn’t mean that I don’t like you, it means that I don’t like blue. Period.
  9. Stop jumping to conclusions or attributing the worst possible meaning to everything. Give people the benefit of the doubt first.
  10. If you’re talking, you’re not listening. If you’re not listening, you’re not learning. If you’re not learning, you are standing still (and possibly moving backwards). Talk less, listen more.

And that, my friends, is my (consistently) unpopular two-cents on the subject.

~A.

Are you in on the craze of the season? Just stop. Please.

69edaf97a73f4335e00cd8749dd356ab

Are you in on this Hatchimal craze?

I’m not. My kids are not. And if they were, I’m afraid that they would be sorely disappointed. Because Christmas is NOT about getting the latest fad or the most expensive doodad. It’s about sharing time with your family, giving gifts that hold true value to the recipient, not just over-advertised, over-hyped and over-priced poorly made and likely soon-to-be recalled pieces of garbage.

Sound harsh? Yup. I probably am. But I feel like I’m fighting an uphill battle to raise good humans, people who care more about other people and the world we live in than they do STUFF.

A lot of people pay lip service to raising kids with manners, a lot of people complain about the quality of education their children are receiving, a lot of people are so worried about keeping their children HAPPY, that they are not actually doing anything to prepare their children for reality.

The reality that people are not ALWAYS happy. That not everybody is going to give you what you want. That sometimes people say NO and you need to accept that and move forward, not throw a fit or fall apart. The reality is that you really can’t always get what you want, but, if you try sometimes, you just might find, you’ll get what you need.

And yes, I realize that I am quoting The Rolling Stones to try to get my point across, but hey, they had it right. So why fight it?

Fussy eater making you crazy? Try these and watch the magic happen.

Generally speaking, I won the kid lottery when it comes to eating. For the most part, my kids eat what I make and don’t complain too much. Notice the ‘too’ in that sentence. I mean, sure, Deacon may gag and dry heave at those chunks of tomato in the gorgeous sauce I serve with spaghetti and meatloaf may have the power to turn his sunny mood positively foul and Paxton may burst into tears if his food is so much as kissed by ketchup, but overall, they’re all good and will power through whatever I’m serving.

But, I am also well aware that not all parents are so lucky. So many, no, too many parents have a daily battle on their hand with a picky eater and by the sounds of it, kids today are taking being picky to Olympian heights.

And I’m a helper. And a bit of a foodie. But also kind of an asshole. So I took it upon myself to seek out alternatives that make WHATEVER you are serving suddenly become the best thing ever.

Without further ado, may I suggest:

1. Forget Roadkill cuisine. Try this instead.

Not just any possum in a can. Oh no. This is CREAMED possum in a delectable COON FAT gravy and delicately garnished with sweet potatoes. Yummy.

Not just any possum in a can. Oh no. This is CREAMED possum in a delectable COON FAT gravy and delicately garnished with sweet potatoes. Yummy.

2. He can count by twos and tie his shoes…

Not feeling the possum? Looking for lighter fare on a chilly fall evening? Well, step on over and grab your bowl of Ready-to-Serve REAL TURTLE SOUP. Mmmmm. Franklin. Double Yum!

Not feeling for possum tonight? Or maybe looking for lighter fare on a chilly fall evening? Well, step on up and grab your bowl of Ready-to-Serve REAL TURTLE SOUP. Mmmmm. Franklin. Double Yum!

3. Pasta with an identity crisis with a side of Oh God.

No? Resistant to the possum AND the turtle. Well, fine then. How about a wonderful plate of Tenderoni?

No again? Resistant to the possum AND the turtle? Well, fine then. How about a wonderful plate of Tenderoni and liverwurst? The kids will devour it, everybody loves it and hell, it saves work, worry, time and money. It’s a miracle in a box, really.

4. Chiquita’s outfit isn’t the only thing that’s slammin’ here.

The perfect storm is this. Right here. You've got your fruits, protein, and dairy groups all present and accounted for. That they look like little displaced penises will only make mealtime more jovial.

The perfect storm is this. Right here. Ham Banana Rolls. They give the ham top billing, but really, we all know that the bananas are the star of this show. You’ll be serving your little humans a full serving of fruit, protein, and dairy all in one convenient roll. For good measure, the Chiquita Banana sweetens the deal by adding some prepared mustard to the meal. That the end result looks like little displaced penises will only make mealtime more jovial. I mean, kids love bananas and anything to do with bums and burps. Really, this is a meal primed for hours of dining hilarity.

5. Only if I can follow it up with kidney pie and haggis, please.

I don't know about your house. But around here, we can't get enough of that organ soup. Mmmm. Mmmm. Good. Now, the Libby's isn't quite as good as the Campbell's, but in a pinch, the kids will suck this back like you've just passed them an ice cold beer on a hot summer day. Except, you wouldn't do that. Because that would be wrong. And we all know that. We also know that there is not a kid around who would touch this soup with his brother's mouth.

I don’t know what is a popular go-to meal at your house. But around here, we can’t get enough of animal organ soup. Mmmm, mmmm, sumptuous. Now, the Libby’s isn’t quite as good as the Campbell’s, but in a pinch, the kids will suck this one back like  an icy beer on a hot summer day. Except, we wouldn’t let them do that. Because that would be wrong. And we all know that. And while we’re busy be honest, we also all know that there is not a kid around who would touch this soup with her brother’s mouth and her sister’s stomach.

6. Bodacious breasts and a meal? Oh yes, please!

Now, this one wouldn't normally make any list I would make in relation to kids, except that right at the end of the product description, it saves itself from omission by adding these two little words: "Or Food."

Now, this one wouldn’t normally make any list I would make in relation to kids, except that right at the end of the product description, it saves itself from omission by adding these two little words: “Or Food.” So, I suppose that this is really just an all-around superfood. See, Mom rubs this cream on her chest to irritate the fuck out of her boobs, causing them to swell. This makes Dad happy (which once her boobs hurt, Mom could care less about and actually makes her feel quite stabby, thus leading her to suggest that Dad feck off and go rub some on himself – whether he accepts the challenge will vary from family to family). But the children? Well, the children, sweet and innocent that they are, still must eat. Having used the cream once and suffered the painful, swollen side effects, Mom decides to take Sears up on their claim and feeds it to the family for dinner, possibly spread on Ritz. Because after all, it is “Bust Cream or Food.” Nothing like a plate of trauma pie for dinner.

7. Potatoes? Yes. Fudge? Hell, Yes. This? Oh no.

Ah, feck it. Just bake them a potato (don't worry if they hate potatoes, we have a plan) then crack open your jar of Potato Fudge and drop a big 'ol spoonful all over it.

Ah, feck it. Just bake them a potato (don’t worry if they hate potatoes, we have a plan) then crack open your jar of Potato Fudge and drop a big ‘ol “swirl” all over it. Is it good for them? Who knows. Kraft brought out both chocolate or butterscotch flavours, and in true Kraft fashion, even provide you with a few recipes to choose from. Fudge Nugglets anyone?

8. Enough people enjoyed this enough that it needed to be canned and marketed?

Still crying because your delicious Lasagna casserole is yucky? NO PROBLEM! Just crank open a can of new and improved Buzzard Gizzards (in a cream sauce, of course), and watch the tears fade away. They won't be able to gobble this up fast enough!

Are they still crying because your delicious Lasagna casserole is icky? NO PROBLEM! Just crank open a can of new and improved Buzzard Gizzards (in a cream sauce, of course), and watch their tears fade away. They won’t be able to gobble this up fast enough!

9. Ugh. Oh, and for the record, fish don’t have fingers.

Fish sticks are yucky and make you hide under your chair? Gotcha covered, small human. Sit on up here and dig into your delicious SPAM Sticks. Because nothing says yummy like tinned meat fried up nice and rectangular.

Fish sticks are yucky and make you hide under your chair? Gotcha covered, small human. Sit on up here and dig into your delicious SPAM Sticks. Because nothing says yummy like tinned meat fried up nice and rectangular.

10. Time to lube up those arteries and veins, kids! Have at it!

You know what? Just forget it. Picky eaters are just more determined, have longer stamina and know our weak points. Just throw it all aside and let 'em eat butter. Lots and lots of butter. Because 'butter is slippery' just like these little con artists crying into their broccoli are slippery. They have no idea how good they have it with the meals you're offering up.

Yes. This. Finally. This should solve just about everything. Quit pushing all of those fruits, veggies and whole grains and just let ’em eat butter. Lots and lots of butter. Because ‘butter is slippery.’ Much like these little con artists who crying into their broccoli that they are ‘full and can’t eat anymore’ only to turn around five minutes later and ask for a cookie because they’re “sooooo hungry!”

So, go ahead. Offer up a few of these bad boys and watch your kids beg for your ‘noodle surprise casserole’ or extra cauliflower. Because once they understand that possum and liver soup are on deck, it makes what’s in front of them so much better!

#ParentingWins

A mish mash of our summer so far

This summer, like every summer before it, is flying by far too quickly for my liking. On the upside, we’ve been so busy enjoying it that I haven’t had time to breathe, let alone blog. But, this morning, I have carved out a bit of quiet time (thank you, Scooby-Doo DVD and card games!) so I’m hopping on here to share a quick peak into the first half of our summer through pictures with just a pinch of words on the side.

We hung around at home, jumping, swimming, going to the park
HomeJuly2016
We headed up to the cottage

Fire, fishing, and flowers. Not my usual 'F' words, but they get the job done in this case. ????????????

Fire, fishing, and flowers. Not my usual ‘F’ words, but they get the job done in this case. ????????????

The smalls went to Latvian Cultural Camp for a week
Tervete2016

Mr. K.B. and I checked out Vermont and Mont Tremblant (recommend both!)

The world's tallest filing cabinet? Yes, please! There were some other cool things about Vermont, but really, how do you top that one?

The world’s tallest filing cabinet? Yes, please! There were some other cool things about Vermont, but really, how do you top that one?

We hit the drive-in and a couple other movies
DriveInJuly2016

We said good-bye to toddler beds and hello to ‘big kid’ beds (don’t recommend)

Good bye race car bed ???? This is the first time in almost ten years that we are without a crib, toddler bed or any other baby-related paraphernalia ????

Good bye race car bed ???? This is the first time in almost ten years that we are without a crib, toddler bed or any other baby-related paraphernalia ????

We checked out Fenelon Falls car show and flea market
Fenelon2016We helped a fella win a bet with his girlfriend

We don't know what the bet was, but Mr. K.B. helped the fella win. But I'd say we were the real winners, wouldn't you? ???? When life hands you plastic flamingo wine glasses, you have choices to make, people. Choose wisely.

We don’t know what the bet was, but Mr. K.B. helped the fella win by taking the set of four home with him. We don’t know what the fella won, but I’d say we were the real winners, wouldn’t you? ???? When life hands you plastic flamingo wine glasses, you have choices to make, people. Choose wisely.

So, that covers July. I’m ready for the second half of our summer (and a nap!!) now, I just wish we could have a third and fourth half too. ????

How to ask for a refund for your recalled Children’s Advil Products

Having a few kids in the house, I tend to make sure that I have fever medication on hand in case one (or more) of my mighty minions comes down with either a high fever or an unshakeable fever. One of the products that I have in my house right now is Children’s Advil, Dye Free. When I heard about the recall, I went online and found the Lot numbers affected and soon figured out that I had two unused bottles of the recalled product.

advil_recall

Without much thought, I took them to Wal-Mart with me the next time I needed to pick up a prescription. I handed them to the pharmacy assistant and she took them, said thank you, and turned away. I asked if I should just take two others off the shelf and she looked perplexed and said no, that they don’t do that. So, I quickly figured out that I was handing over $12 or more to Wal-Mart without receiving any benefit of a product or service, and I asked for them back. I decided to call the manufacturer (Pfizer) directly.

Bada-boom Bada-bing. My refund cheque should be in the mail in 4-6 weeks.

Find the list of effected Lot Numbers here: Healthy Canadians – Government of Canada

Lot numbers are printed on the bottom of the box and also on the side of the bottles. If you have one that matches up, send an email to: pchinfo@healthconnect.ca and make sure to include:

  • The product name;
  • The product size;
  • The lot number;
  • Your complete mailing address, including unit or apartment number;
  • Your telephone number.

If you’d rather leave a voicemail with all of that information included, call 1-888-275-9938, choose 1 for English (if you want), the choose 1 for the recall line. Dollars to donuts they will be experiencing ‘a higher than usual volume of calls’ so if you’re like me and hate donating life hours to being on hold, go the email route. ????

Once you hit ‘send’ you’ll receive an auto-reply that says:

Thank you for contacting Pfizer Consumer Healthcare. Your email inquiry/request has been received and we will respond at the earliest possible opportunity.

Sincerely,

Pfizer Customer Service

Your refund cheque should arrive within 4-6 weeks.

Easy-peasy. For once.

He has a suspicious mind, that one.

It is no secret that my Paxton loves him some apples. Like, he LOVES apples. All four of my smalls do, but Pax, in particular, is the most emotionally invested in them. Our household will easily go though 20 or more pounds of apples in a single week. Raw.

But right now, it is also the second-coming of teething season here at headquarters, as all four of them are now in one stage or another of losing baby teeth and growing ‘grown up’ teeth to replace and displace them. So, biting into an apple, at times, becomes an issue. Particularly if the apple is lovely and crunchy the way I prefer and the way they used to prefer our apples.

So, being the mindful and caring momma that I am (stop snickering!), I starting to set a bowl of apples out on the counter for those of them who either were in the ‘sensitive to cold’ or the ‘it’s wiggly and hurts to bite down’ stages of his or her teething journey. And Paxton, seeing the apples so readily available on the counter, just started to default to the bowl instead of the refrigerator every time he wanted an apple (often 6-8 times a day – no lie).

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But one day last week, he by-passed the bowl and opened the fridge. He found himself eye-to-drawer with an entire produce drawer full (15 lbs, give or take) of freshly washed and ready-to-eat apples. He dug around for the largest one, closed the fridge and took a bite. Then he turned to walk out of the kitchen, shooting me the side-eye and saying suspiciously, “Oh, I see you’ve been hiding apples from me. Huh.” He took another bite and sauntered out of the room, clearly a changed boy whose trust had been compromised on the deepest of levels.

He still tells me he loves me everyday but I wonder, if, in the back of his mind, the idea now lurks that I’m just not quite meant to be fully trusted.

He’s keeping a close eye on me now. I can feel just it.

EDITED TO ADD: I don’t know WHY the picture is sideways. It appears to be right-side up on my screen, in WordPress, in my previews and in my media library. But here? On Facebook? It’s freakin’ sideways. The universe is messing with me again. Like I really need outside forces playing with my fragile grip on sanity. ????

A conversation with Miss Moon.

“Mumma! It’s beautiful out here! You should have the front door wide open!”

“Yes, baby, it is beautiful. I have the window on the door wide open, but I keep the door closed so that the bugs don’t come inside.”

“Ah. Well, you better close the window at night though. It might storm.”

“Oh, I will. And it’s safer that way too.”

“Yes. From bad guys. And robbers. [pauses to think] Mumma, you should have your purse in your room. And hold on to it!”

“I should, should I? Well, I can put it in my room, but I’m not going to sleep holding onto my purse.”

“Well, okay, but you’d better zip it up and put it under your bed then.” [whispering like we are co-conspirators] ” ’cause, you know. Robbers.”

Then off she skips into the backyard, her head full of blonde curls bouncing joyfully with each step she takes, clearly without a care in the world. And I’m left standing in our foyer, broom in hand, now worrying about home invasions and losing my purse while trying to figure out how my five-year-old is so security conscious and why, when I was five, my main concern was with how to avoid eating the peas at lunchtime without being caught by the daycare Gestapo.

Sometimes my life makes my head hurt.