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Behind the scenes
Do any of your kids love trucks and books about trucks? My kiddo does, and maybe your kids do too. If that’s the case, here are some of our family favourites to buy or borrow from the library.
1. Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site. This is the perfect pre-bedtime book to read to little construction enthusiasts. It’s sweet, not too long but not too short.
2. Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things That Go. Remember Richard Scarry’s amazing books as a kid? You can enjoy them all over again with this hugely detailed, fun and whimsical book. (Apologies for the fuzzy image, folks. I’m working on getting a crisper one.)
3. My Big Truck Book. Lots of trucks, every kind you can imagine, in this board book for the youngest of truck lovers.
4. Got a hard-core truck loving kid who wants to know about the workings of specific trucks and vehicles? Then try anything in the series of Mighty Machines books, like this one: Trucks. The series includes a book about loaders, fire trucks, tractors and diggers.
Do your kids have any faves that I haven’t mentioned?
We have a reader, who may or may not reveal herself in these comments, that reminds us rather politely that the beautiful lady in this photo is a married woman by the name of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. And emphatically not Kate Middleton, which is what we usual call her in our headlines. We sometimes do call her by her title, just not in the headlines.
So why do we insist on calling her Kate Middleton and not Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge? Here’s the thing. Very frankly, people are searching for “Kate Middleton” (just try Googling a recently trending search term like “Kate Middleton grey hair” for yourself) and we want our blog posts, which we invest time and energy and love into, to be read. It’s quite as simple as that; no disrespect is intended.
Canadian Living Moms is in respectable company, too. The Guardian, Times, and Telegraph, all newspapers out of the UK that are not nasty tabloid rags, also call her Kate Middleton. This is not some ignoramus North American invention, we promise. Here are some recent examples from the overseas press:
From July 2013: The Guardian, “Welcome, Kate Middleton, to Planet Baby…”
From November, 2013, The Telegraph, “Kate Middleton’s Fashion Hits and Misses in Pictures.”
From November, 2013, Times, “Kate Middleton on target list found in phone-hacking raid.”
If you glance at these dates, you’ll see that the UK press is still calling her by her maiden “nickname” as of this writing. And we will continue to do so, too.
Yet make no mistake about it, we love us some Kate Middleton, in fact, here are 4 of the simplest reasons we adore the Duchess of Cambridge.
And watch this: Just for fun, here’s a silly photo mash-up of what it would be like if Catherine had married Prince Harry.
“It could be a monsoon and we’d still be going out,” says fellow mom and Senior Features Editor Robin Stevenson. I agree, Halloween is the one day of the year you can’t let wet, blustery weather stop you from being outside. So what should you do on a rainy Halloween?
1. Get over yourself. Your kids don’t care that it’s raining, or even hailing snowballs, so don’t be a drag. You’re going out. Alternative: Pay off a younger and more energetic family member to take the kids around using beer and pizza and Halloween candy as a bribe. This works especially well with the just-out-of-university crowd. They are young enough that they yearn for the trick-or-treating days, they’re broke and thus they’re always down for pizza, drinks and junk food.
2. Buy a few clear umbrellas clear ponchos. You’re a parent. You always need extra umbrellas. Next year, you can use that clear umbrella as part of the Glowing Jelly Monster costume, above, and the instructions are here. And ponchos come in handy too.
3. Wear your rain boots. Why don’t you have a pair of rain boots? This is an excuse to go and buy a pair. And once you own proper rain boots you’ll wonder why you never bought them earlier.
4. Go to fewer houses. Every kid has a different sogginess saturation point, so maybe you’ll be lucky and your kids will call it quits after ten houses.
How have you dealt with rainy weather on Halloween?
One thing we can all agree on is that the Duchess of Cambridge looks amazing in hats and fascinators. Here is Duchess Kate at Prince George’s christening, wearing a Jane Taylor cream sinamay ”hatinator” with “a delicate silk organza rose and classic veiling trim” according to Jane Taylor’s Twitter feed. ”It was an honour to design and make a bespoke piece for the Duchess of Cambridge, she looked beautiful and elegant in a classic outfit,” says the milliner.
Hatinator. How fun. I’ve never heard that word until now. It’s “a small decorative hat, worn on social occasions” that is a combination of a hat and fascinator according to Collins English Dictionary. Kate’s is actually a beret according to Jane Taylor, which sounds more jaunty but too casual for this lovely creation. So we’re sticking with hatinator.
Anticipating that Kate Middleton would be rocking a hat or fascinator or hatinator as it were, a few of us ladies at the office wore our favourite hatinators and fascinators, too. Here we are, hard at work. Yes, we always have a wee drop of bubbly during royal baby christenings, don’t you? (Actually we were celebrating a coworker’s impending nuptials. Mazel tov, Andrea K!)
Video: Do you know who Prince George’s godparents are? Pippa and Prince Harry were left out, which surprised many royal watchers.
Have you heard about Maria Kang? With this one photo, posted to her Facebook page, Maria Kang, a California mom of three (stating the obvious here) has kicked off a fiery internet controversy. As of this writing, her post on Facebook has had over 200,000 Likes, and 24,279 comments. Most of the ones I read were supportive, some very scathing.
If this is the first time you’re seeing this photo, how do you feel? Pissed? Shamed? Admiring? Bullied? Inspired?
Yes, maybe Kang is antagonizing us (though she says that isn’t her intention), but that doesn’t make her a “bad mom” or a “rich bitch” as I’ve seen in some of the comments on her Facebook page.
Here’s the thing though. If she were a dad, who would care? Would we feel so judged? Would Jezebel be writing about this? Would Yahoo? Would I? Would there be twenty thousand comments on her Facebook page?
Are we trying to muzzle her because it’s unbecoming for a mom to be boastful or antagonistic? What’s going on here?
What do you think?
Mom, did your babies have nighttime diaper leaks? I’m trying to think back now (five years in my case) and I think it wasn’t a weekly issue because my infant was always awake in the middle of the night anyway and diaper changes were part of the 3 a.m. routine.
Leaks did happen though, and nighttime leaks sucked cause I’d have to change the crib sheets, or my king-size sheet the times we were co-sleeping, not just the baby’s sleeper. I remember thinking during these neverending nights, How exhausted would I be if I were back at work? Thank goodness for one year of paid maternity leave, I would say to myself. More on that in a minute.
So here comes Pampers with the fix for leaky diapers, I learned. Back in June, I got to visit NYC to check out Pampers’ latest product innovation: super-duper dry diapers. Apparently the Baby Dry line can hold 95 per cent of nighttime loads according to the fact sheet I got.
That’s a whole lot of pee, which I got to see for myself in a demo. These diapers really do hold a whole lot of blue liquid. Oh, I also learned that Pampers is making Swaddlers up to size 5 now, which is great for parents who love them. It’s a pain to switch diapers when you don’t actually want to, they just stop making them in the size you need.
Cool. Anyhow, I want to bring this around to maternity leave policies. As I was sitting down listening to Pampers’ expert talk about the importance of sleep, I had a revelation. Baby nighttime sleep is a big, big deal for American moms and I am going to contend it’s a bigger deal than here in Canada because of the lack of proper maternity leave in the States. Sorry, but six weeks, three months…actually anything short of a year, in my opinion, is indecent. If I had to get up at 4 a.m. to change a cranky four-month-old’s wet clothes and linens and start up a load of laundry and drive to work two hours after that…I’d take the pack of unused diapers and drop-kick them out the window in rage. So drier diapers for little babies = good.
So my question is…is baby sleep more important when you’re back at work? Or am I somehow slighting moms that are home with their infants, cause that’s hard work too?
This tiny cutie, above, is not my son…he’s the tot featured in the viral Tumblr blog Reasons My Son Is Crying. No one’s asking me, but I hope no one ever tells this little boy to stop crying. I don’t really want anyone to tell my son, 4, to stop crying. Here’s why:
1. Kids need to cry. Sometimes. Oftentimes. All the time. They do it for years. Eventually they stop. They grow up, they self-regulate, and they stop crying, and they slam the door instead. Look, in a fit of frustration I’ve told my kid to stop crying. I’m not perfect. But I don’t recommend it.
2. I don’t have proof of this, but I think boys are admonished to stop crying more than girls. Do you agree? I hate that, because boys grow up and they really won’t ever cry because they were shamed for crying when they were little. That’s not better than crying, we can safely say.
3. Kids (usually) need a hug or love of some sort when they are crying. A certain family member of mine has said to my son “Put your tears away!” or “Stop crying!” on about two or three occasions. (Which never works on him, incidentally, though I suspect it does on the little kids in her classroom. She’s a teacher.) I don’t make it an issue (with her) because he doesn’t cry that much when he’s around others, he saves it for me. Crying with mom and dad is showing emotion and/or being temperamental in a safe place. Of course, kids have tantrums too! But saying Stop Crying doesn’t usually end those, not in my experience. I only have one kid, not five, so it’s safe to say I am not a tantrum/crying expert.
4. Kids that cry a lot don’t end up being adult brats. Isn’t that what, ultimately, we’re worried about? That’s not how it works. Some people are sensitive, and they cry more than others. So what? Some people have socio-emotional regulation issues, so they cry a lot. So what? Some people are less verbal than others, too. That’s not a sin.
So you can stop crying, if you want to. Just don’t tell my kid to.
Above: A slide from 5 post-baby secrets for a flatter tummy.
Since you’ve had a baby, has your tummy shape been the same? (Me: Yes, but it took years. And I’ve only been pregnant once.)
I’ve often wondered how celebs get their pre-baby shape back so quickly….haven’t we all? I’m not so naive to believe celebs don’t undergo cosmetic interventions ie. nips and tucks and suction, but I’m also not so naive to believe that celebrity moms don’t start out with high fitness and nutrition levels to begin with. And then looking good is a lot easier with full-time caregivers, stylists, trainers, chefs, right?
I put the question of celebrity moms and their post-baby bodies to celebrity trainer Nathan Mellalieu, owner of Studeo55 in Vancouver. He says:
“[Celebrities] bounce back quickly due to a couple of reasons:
1. They are fit/ healthy before and throughout their pregnancy
2. They commit at a very high level to get back in shape. They combine nutrition, exercise and typically world-class expertise. They do this because they have the resources (time, money) but even more because they have the motivation necessary to put in the time and effort required.”
So what about us non-celebrity moms? How can we tune up our post-baby tummies? ”Women need to be gradual both in exercise choice and intensity, easy planks from the knees are a nice start, side lying leg lifts are also a good starting point,” Nathan says.
My exercise of choice was (and is) Pilates. What about you?
Anyone who knows me, knows that my winters just aren’t complete without spending some time down on the frozen pond.
Last winter crushed my spirits.
With temps barely making it below the freezing mark, the pond was off limits all season long.
We tried making up for it by visiting skating rinks – both indoors and out – but they just weren’t the same.
There’s something special about the pond.
There’s something special about heading down there with a shovel in hand and clearing our own patch of ice.
There’s something special about strapping on our skates, grabbing hold of a hockey stick and yelling: “Game on!”
There’s something special about enjoying a hot chocolate break on the sidelines of the makeshift rink.
Luckily, the pond froze over just enough for us to be able to start of the new year the best way I know how… by gliding around its smooth surface, taking in the crisp winter air and enjoying the serene surrounding of the pond.
I walked away that day exhilarated and looking forward to the next time.
Sadly, this past Sunday afternoon, I found myself enjoying a brisk walk around the pond instead of skating on it.
Mother Nature wasn’t on my side and the temperatures were back up above freezing.
I hope New Year’s Day isn’t my one and only 2013 pond-skating day.
I hope Mother Nature works with me on this one.
We’re meant to be together throughout the winter months, that pond and I.
After all, isn’t this what Sunday afternoons in Canada were meant for?
I’m raising a gloved, hot-chocolate-holding hand and pleading with Mother Nature to help reconnect me with one of my all-time winter loves.
Please come back to me, pond.
I miss you.
When our children are babies, we endure a lot of sleepless nights.
Late-night feedings and middle-of-the-night diaper changes.
Sometimes a week seems like one crazy run-on day.
As time goes on…
They grow up and, for the most part, our nights are back to what they should be: full of blissful sleep.
There comes a time when they turn sixteen and tell you they’re going to a concert downtown and you find yourself driving them to the GO Transit station on a cold, dark and stormy Sunday night.
And you tell yourself: “They shouldn’t be out here. They should be home with us. That’s what Sunday evenings are for. That’s the way things have been for the last 16 years.”
But their excitement is infectious.
They board the bus and you wave goodbye.
As you drive back home, you feel a lump form in your throat and tears well up in your eyes and you think to yourself: “They’re just going to a damn concert!”
But that’s not really the issue, is it?
Will they get off at the right stop?
Do they know the way to the venue?
Are they making the right choices?
Will they make it back to the station before the last bus departs for the night?
Are they OK?
And once again, like that first night home from the hospital, when everything was so new and you were so unsure of yourself, worry creeps in and the sleepless nights are back.
Only this time…
As much as you couldn’t wait for those sleepless nights to end…
Today, you’d take them back in a heartbeat.