nodding & smiling

ceci n'est pas un bébé lala


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FOMO

Alex has admitted many-a-time that she has FOMO (“fear of missing out”).

When she was little and went out, she’d ask, “What will you be doing, Mommy?”

I usually replied, “Going to the bank then taking a nap” (those were the two most boring things in the world to her, and I didn’t want her to think I might dare have fun without her).

She knew when she moved away for college or university, she’d have no choice but to miss out on some things. But this one hit her hard:

Two more days till you're home, honey!

Two more days till you’re home, honey!

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Gimme Gimme Gimme

Little Cousins' Gift Exchange - aka "FamJam"

Little Cousins’ Gift Exchange – aka “FamJam”

Christmas and the holidays are a wonderful time for families. We get to unplug, reconnect with loved ones, spend time together. There is also the magic of the season, with all its treats and treasures.

If you’re like me, you love spoiling your kids and seeing the delight on their faces when they unwrap a special gift, but also worry that they will lose sight of the spirit of the season focusing on “getting stuff” instead.

This year, I’m happy that we will be going almost gift-free among my family. That means that aunties, uncles, parents and grandparents won’t be showering the kids with gifts as we usually do. Instead there will be a single gift exchange at the kid-level (read: no adults participate), and then Santa will do his “thing” (which at our house is a bountiful stocking and one or two special gifts for each child).

The focus will be on finding ways to spend special time with our family, playing games, baking, watching movies, going on walks etc. rather than gift-giving. Best part is the kids seem totally fine with the whole thing!

Happy Holidays to all!


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Stress and Homesickness

Ramen noodles. Of course!

Ramen noodles. Of course!

Alex finally started missing home this week. I say ‘finally’ only because I thought it would set in sooner, not because I wanted her to become homesick (well… maybe a little bit… KIDDING!).

I’ve put two and two together and realized that she is becoming increasingly homesick relative to the rate at which her stress-level is also increasing (exams).


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Straight As

My amazing 10-year-old who doesn't achieve straight-As

My amazing 10-year-old who doesn’t achieve straight-As

I’ve never put a lot of stock into report cards.

Don’t get me wrong – I value school and all that it exposes my kids to. I want them to do their best and to feel successful. But I don’t think a report card tells the full story, in the same way that my resumé or annual review wouldn’t sum me up as a working professional.

My 10-year-old brought her progress report home last week, and it confirmed that she was progressing along as she should be. Great! I’m happy with that. If it had highlighted an area or two in which we could focus to help her catch up with the class, I’d have been just as happy. I didn’t worry that there were no notes indicating that she was ahead of the class. I don’t push her to achieve As. I simply want her to put forth her best effort.

With a daughter already in university, I now have the benefit of hindsight. I’m no longer iffy about my position on report cards. I firmly stand my ground, loud and proud: earning straight-As on a report card is not the be-all-end-all it’s made out to be. Marks are only one piece of the pie.

Many of the extra-curriculars and hobbies that helped Alex choose her university program of study (Commerce) had nothing at all to do with academics.

If I’d insisted on straight-As, Alex might not have had the time to try her hand at photography and cooking and other pursuits that eventually helped narrow down her interests to what would make her happy, and think about what career she might excel at.

Straight-As and no other experience in sports, volunteering, working, leadership, camps, music, Junior Achievement, art and social settings might not have allowed Alex to be the well-rounded student that attracted Dalhousie to her.

So when Katherine’s teacher told me at our meeting that Katherine was progressing well, I was pleased.

But when she told me Katherine is a good friend in the classroom, volunteers at the kiss-and-ride, helps with the announcements, is in the ukelele club and spends extra time at recess and during lessons to make sure the differently-abled kids in the classroom feel included and to help them keep up, I was over the moon. These are the things that make my child a “good student” in my eyes. An active citizen in her little society at school, and a well-rounded kid. For these things – all of them, “okay” grades included – I am thankful.


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Visiting Her Town – Part 2

Would love to walk through the Halifax Public Gardens. But first, let's take a selfie!

But first let’s take a selfie!

So. Much. Eating! When you’re in a new town, it’s important to taste the local cuisine, right? Not to mention, these girls are pretty much over university meal-plan food already. We have enjoyed lots of lobster and sampled many local restaurants.

It was a great weekend all around. Loved spending the time with my girl, shopping, walking, eating, movie-watching, bus-riding, and being tourists in Alex’s new town.

I also really enjoyed the fact that Alex’s friend Megan invited her own ringette-loving mama (Nancy) for the weekend. Nancy is super-cool and had the same philosophy as me: to let the girls direct, and follow their lead. It was such a good call, because we got to see the town through their eyes, run for a bus we thought we’d miss (only to burst onto the bus in a fit of gasping laughter and probably scaring the other riders), source cute guys (for the record, anyone Nancy and I pointed out was a No), and just enjoy each others’ company in a totally relaxed, unplanned way.

I highly recommend it.

 


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Visiting Her Town – Part 1

My favourite things

My favourite things

A few weeks back, Alex texted to invite me to visit her during Dal’s November long weekend. She would have two days off school, and would be playing two ringette games. Right away, I found awesome deals on both room and flight, and replied, “Absolutely, I’d love to!” that same night.

Because Alex’s burgeoning independence has manifested in her staking her ground when I attempt to swoop in and solve, plan, or take things over, I was cautious to not try to schedule my time in “her” new town. Making this easy was the fact that I’d be arriving on my birthday – she would plan the weekend.

When I arrived, Alex presented me with a birthday gift (Mason jar filled with my favourite things in it). Then she took me to her favourite restaurant, and pulled out her debit card and treated.

The next day, I got to watch the Dalhousie Tigers play two ringette games and Alex, her friend Megan, Megan’s mom and I took a late-night walking trip around the waterfront area, finishing the night with 1am pizza and drinks. Loving this trip!