Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Teacher Teacher

I'll admit that through my writing, and my own big mouth, I'm known for giving teachers a hard time. Partly this is due to my jealousy over their summer break, and partly it's because I have way too many close relatives in the field to ignore the easy jibes.

But this past week, it was my privilege to judge entries into Staples "Teacher Appreciation Contest" which rewards both the student entrant as well as the teacher with some fabulous prizes. I was blown away by some of the stories of dedication by the teachers, and the inspiration they provided for their students. We received entries from all across Canada - there are truly great teachers from coast-to-coast. Winners will be announced November 14th.

The truth is, my kids have had fabulous teachers who have laughed at my goofy son, comforted my shy daughter, and obligingly moved my chatty kids from one side of the room to the other...and back again.

So, to my sister, my two sisters-in-law, and two brothers-in-law who persevere in this vocation...well done. You're setting a great example for my oldest daughter, now in Grade 12, who is applying to enter university next fall...in a teaching program.

Awesome. I'll have someone to hang out with in the summer.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Pretend We're Normal

This is advice that I often give to my children, my husband, and whisper like a mantra to myself when entering social situations where I am about to inflict my family on innocent bystanders. Such will be the case tonight, when we venture into the treacherous land of the Public School Open House.

I'm somewhat of a veteran at these affairs (given my oldest children are in high school), and I have insider knowledge from my sister-the-teacher, so I thought I'd share some tips for newbies.

1) This is an Open House, not a teacher/parent interview. Likely there are 25+ kids who are all clamouring to introduce the teacher to their Mom or Dad. Say hi and step aside. You'll get the signal if they need to talk to you some more. They want to go home.

2) You're there for the kids - admire the classroom, see their desk - you can gossip about whether you think the head of the school council had Botox or not later (chances are, she did - she fought to be head of the school council so we know she does weird things).

3) If you bring flowers or any sort of other butt-kissing present to the teacher, they will know that you think you need to apologize for your behaviour in advance. Yes, of course your child is more special.

Above all, avoid using the phrase "well I don't know where he learned that!" in front of the teacher - she knows where he learned it.

Act normal.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Cast Your Vote

Nah, I'm not talking about those of the two BIG, IMPORTANT elections that are going on right now.

It's something far more interesting. Well, to me and my trash magazine reading friends anyway.

Earlier this summer I taped an episode of Much More Music's popular "Listed" program, on the Top 20 Hot Celebrity Baby-Makers. It's airing tonight at 8:00 (eastern time).

I know you know who's at the top of that list, but tune in anyway.

The best thing about this? It makes all the time I spent reading Star Magazine and cruising through www.perezhilton.com become legitimate research for this gig.

Now if I can get my kids to change the channel away from Hannah Montana, I might actually get to watch it too.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

No Time To Pre-Soak

One of the things I love most about my life is the variety of things that I get to do. One of the things that is hardest about my life is making the transition between the variety of things.

Mondays are always a very exciting day for me as it's Laundry Day. Four messy kids and a slight A Personality means I do it once a week - to get it done - and to check it off my list.

Two loads done, four lunches made and sent with (hopefully) the corresponding kid, moving to a Total Body Conditioning Class I'm still feeling two days later, back home to work on edits for my next book, take some calls, get some groceries, then finally get that shower in. I realized I was attending a ceremony where the finalists for the Mississauga Arts Awards were being announced later that evening, so I put the outfit on for that, zipped to the bus stop, handed over my car to my daughter for her part-time job, shoved dinner down the kids and noted the just-in-time arrival of my husband, dropped two of them at a neighbour, raced out to the ceremony, posed with my certificate, raced home, picked up the kids, checked the homework, filled out the innumerable school forms, finished folding the laundry...and marked October 20th in my calendar - the day the Arts Awards will be given out.

I'm up for the Established Literary Award (I refuse to believe that "Established" means old, versus "Emerging", which means young.)

I should have something clean to wear anyway...as it lands on a Laundry Day.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Hey kid get out of my shot!

On the weekend I had the opportunity to participate in the launch of a new children's store, called La Compagnie Des Petits. This cool children's clothing store has been around in Europe for years, but the first North American location just opened this weekend at the Bramalea City Centre in Brampton.

My six year old son Nicholas was invited to model some of the clothes (he loved his outfit - judging by the fact that he refused to take it off for 48 hours afterwards). I'm not sure if I was pleased or not that he seemed quite comfortable with the flashbulbs and attention. Is there room in my family for two attention seekers? I tried shoving my free book draw poster in front of his smiling face as the photographers snapped away, but they seemed to prefer him over me.

We also had the chance to meet the mayor of Brampton, Susan Fennell, who had the "coolest necklace" according to Nic, and who was nice enough to let him help cut the ribbon.

Check out the store if you live in the area - and enter the book draw!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Free Pierogi With Every Book

Just found out from my U.S. publisher, Sourcebooks, that foreign rights have been sold for my first book (The Secret Life of Supermom) to Poland. This follows up sales to Indonesia and China. I'm thrilled that the book is selling to these exotic locations - but I'm thinking maybe that they'll find the trials and tribulations of the typical North American woman to be quite different than what they face.

While we all juggle work, kids, home, hubby, I'm sincerely hoping that the age of the "Helicopter Parent" hasn't yet invaded Poland.

Actually, forget the free pierogi with every book; what every Supermom needs, worldwide, is a free bottle of vodka with every book. I'll see if we can work that into the next deal.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

There IS an age limit...

Or at least there should be. For their own good. No, not talking about women over 40 wearing belly tops, men over 10 wearing "short short" athletic shorts or even anyone over the age of 6 months wearing socks and sandals. I'm talking about the woman in France who just gave birth to triplets. At age 59.

A few years ago I wrote an article about a woman, who, at the tender age of 57 gave birth to ONLY twins. She was, apparently, an amateur. Still I believe some of the observations I had still hold true for this new crazy lady.

Click here if you wanna read it.

Friday, September 5, 2008

One week down, about 40 to go...

So the first week of school is almost officially over. My youngest started Grade 1 French Immersion and is convinced he will be fluent by next Tuesday. I admire his confidence. I do think, however, that I shook it when yesterday he tried to share some of his language skills with me, with his declaration at our local McDonalds of "Je m'appelle toilet." Hmmm. Was the name calling starting already? I insisted, no sweetie, it's "Je m'appelle Nicholas."

(This is the same kid, who minutes upon landing at the airport in France a couple of years ago, passed gas and announced "My butt says bonjour!" I'm already looking forward to potty talk in two languages).

Yet he started to get quite irate and red in the face with his "my name is toilet" statement, insisting he knew what he was talking about until he finally blurted out "I can't think when I have to pee! I need to GO to the toilet!"

Multi-tasking has never been a man's strength.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Mom Overboard!

That was the theme of the Babes & Tots speaker series I participated in this morning in Mississauga's Living Arts Centre. Moderated by the lovely Erica Ehm (that girl never ages, I swear, even though she was cursing her newly acquired glasses backstage), and it was great fun sharing the stage with Ann Douglas and Alyson Schafer, who never run out of fantastic parenting advice. We are all what you might call a little verbose - not exactly an introvert convention. Gave away some prizes, chatted with the audience, shared some stories...all good.

The seminars will continue this evening at 7:00, and then carry on every Tuesday for the month of September until we move the show to Ajax in October, and London in November. My next appearance will be October 7th at 10:00 a.m. in Ajax, so if you live in the area, try to come by. There's a consumer trade show component as well - check out their site.

The best part? (Besides hanging out with these wonderful women of course). I got to miss the first day of school and let my husband handle the Grade 1 tears while I spoke at the media breakfast this morning. The tears? No, they weren't about little Nic missing Mommy all day...it's knowing his days of having exclusive access to the television in the mornings while his 3 older siblings were at school, have come to an end. That, and the fact that "big boys" can't take their blankies to school- I've got it waiting by the front door right now. I'm trying not to miss him too much.