nodding & smiling

ceci n'est pas un bébé lala

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Fitness Friend

My unique, fiesty, caring daughter

My unique, fiesty, caring daughter

I never put much stock in the whole Nature vs. Nurture debate as much as I did after I had kids. It was immediately apparent to me that these kids simply were who they were. Their parenting was the same, after all, even though I was a bit older the second time around.

My eldest was always easy to please as a child, was happiest when making others happy, set (and accomplished) admirable goals, but was never much interested in babies. My younger daughter was so different: not easily content, very fiesty and a true tester of limits (especially mine!) – except when it came to younger or differently-abled kids. In those cases my younger daughter was always all patience and kindness.

I wasn’t surprised when my younger daughter was paired in Kindergarten with a differently-abled student as a “Fitness Friend”, after watching her play with her younger cousins with such enchantment. Fitness Friends assist each other in gym class and make sure everyone’s included in games at recess. Katherine always spoke of her Fitness Friend with sweetness and included her on birthday invitation lists. Year after year, Katherine was placed in the same class as the student.

I’m pleased her inclusiveness is the first things teachers will tell me about her, and I can’t wait to see what my fiesty, bright, and caring daughter will do next.

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Feeling Safe at University

Sexism and Rape Culture at Dal?

Sexism and Rape Culture at Dal?

When I sent my daughter across the country to attend university at Dalhousie, I did so confident about the school and faculty I was entrusting her to. My biggest fear was about the male student population, and the mob mentality at this age. I’d read horrifying headlines of college parties involving rape and young women and didn’t want my girl to experience any of it. Having done my research, I was confident that the school’s culture and values reflected my own (to a certain extent), and that the president Richard Florizone encouraged a culture of hard work, responsibility, accountability and fun.

I was as shocked and disappointed as anyone when I first learned of the Dalhousie School of Dentistry scandal, and along with the rest of the country, eagerly awaited the school’s response. Would these so-called “gentlemen” be suspended pending investigation and resolution? Would the school do the right thing and expel them? And most-importantly to me, did I send my daughter to a school that values women’s rights to feel safe at school? Is she safe at school?

Time will tell.

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The Time My Daughter Forged My Signature

At my younger daughter’s school they have a process when kids get sent to the Principal’s office for breaking the rules or acting disrespectfully. They have to think about their actions, and write about what happened and what they should have done instead. Then they discuss it with the Principal.

When Katherine was in grade 2, this is what happened with Katherine and a boy at recess one day:



Katherine talked it over with the Principal, who asked her to bring the “Think Sheet” home to discuss with her parent, and have a parent sign it:




Katherine chose instead to forge my signature. At the tender age of 7.

Turn down for what? 🙂


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Handling Conflict

My kids hamming it up for the camera a few years ago.

My kids hamming it up for the camera a few years ago.

Although I want to be able to protect my kids from other kids, at the end of the day, I know it’s best just to arm them with as much self-confidence and as many social tools as they need in order to navigate the choppy waters of youth. I was on both sides as a kid. Sometimes bully, sometimes bullied. It hasn’t gotten any easier this generation.

Recently, my younger daughter told me a friend used physical intimidation on her at the playground. I spoke with the friend’s mom, who was understanding of my concerns. I’m happy we were able to resolve the issue between the kids with no hard feelings. Life’s about learning lessons, after all, and when to give second chances is an important one.

With older kids, intimidation can be uglier, sneakier. When “bad blood” creeps into social platforms, they become rife with bullying, name-calling, rumour-spreading, threats. I can’t imagine going through my teenage years with texting, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and the like around.

As a parent, I am very glad I stayed one step ahead of my kids when it comes to social media and that we’ve got a “not unless mom gets the passwords” policy. It can be vicious out there!

As for dealing with cyberbullying, people advise “don’t feed the trolls” (meaning, if someone’s trying to get under your skin, just ignore them). My elder daughter can teach me a thing or two on how to ignore a troll (because my first instinct is to attack back). I have so much respect for her and the restraint she has shown online. That said, my trigger-finger’s always on-the-ready to call the police if I deem it necessary and I’m always watching.

As a parent, have you had to deal with trolls/bullies, online or IRL?