Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Hockey Fights & Other Frights

There's a debate going on right now in the world of professional hockey as to whether fighting should be banned.

To state that it's an integral part of the game at present would be a huge understatement. Attend any NHL game and not only is it expected, it's a biggest highlight for most attendees...the shouts of encouragement and the bloodthirsty cries...truly a sight which always leaves me flashing back to the Thunderdome in the movie Mad Max.

Well, Mel Gibson isn't cute anymore, and either is the hockey fighting. Boys are dying from it. And here's a lovely little poem written by my 10 year-old-hockey playing daughter, who attended a Toronto Maple Leafs game last weekend.

Sweaty, fun,
Hitting, slashing, fighting,
Hockey is the best -
Sticking, skating, punching,
Bleed, hurt,

Just about sums it up. Guess all those words from the coaching staff about it all being for fun didn't sink in. Especially not now in their play-offs. Do you need play-offs to see who had the most fun?

Maybe I can interest her in something a little less violent next year - like kick-boxing.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Just Shut Up and Eat

Recently a colleague asked me to provide some tips on how to keep children entertained when eating out for an article she was writing. Here's what I said and hopefully it will help those of you endeavouring out:

1) Visit the dollar store first for new packs of stickers, crayons, colouring books, plastic blocks. New is always exciting.

2) Challenge the kids to draw a picture of what they ordered for dinner and see how it matches.

3) Before you go out, think up trivia questions you can ask each child, in turn. Make each age/subject appropriate. Keeping the conversation going avoids boredom, which leads to fighting and fidgeting.

4) Older children could bring books to read before the meal arrives. Try to avoid distracting and excitable electronic game systems.

5) Assign the seating. Keep warring siblings apart and changing seats is now allowed!

6) Above all, don't linger. Order immediately and have the coffee at home.

Of course, what I didn't mention is to ask the kids how wide the smile on Mom's face is. I didn't have to cook, there's wine available, and if the kids don't like the meal they ordered, they can't blame my crappy cooking.

It's all good.

Monday, February 16, 2009


I finally got down to see the revamped Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) in Toronto.

It was a very grown up day with a friend, and while she is somewhat of an art expert, I am not, and I spent some of my time trying to find busts who looked like Dan Akroyd. We all make our own fun.

When I go to grown up places like this, I often visit them with a "Mom's Eye" to see if I think my kids would enjoy/be well behaved in the same place. (The list is fairly short so always trying to expand).

The Thomson Collection at the AGO is impressive, and the most spectacular in my mind was the massive Rubens painting, "The Massacre Of The Innocents". Not a bright and sunny kind of guy, this Rubens.

You might know that this painting depicts King Herod carrying out the execution of all baby boys upon the news of the birth of Jesus.

The picture is morbid and fascinating at the same time. As was the Mom who was in the room at the same time as us, trying to explain the painter's use of colour and shading (particularly evident with the blue babies), to her FOUR YEAR OLD.

Honestly - my daughter has nightmares about Jim Carrey. This little girl will be totally scarred for life. I assume Mom thought it was worth it so that night at a dinner party she could say to her young progeny, "Honey tell our guests about the Rubens you saw today."

We joked that hopefully she could find a print in the shop she could hang over the kid's bed, or at least a jaunty nightlight with a slaughtered baby glowing blue.

I did love another Mom I observed who was merrily allowing her kids to run around, point at paintings and yell "why would you put cows on a boat?" and then racing through to the next room upon spotting a naked female form. They loved it.

And they won't wake up yelling "there are dead babies in my bed!"

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Could Be Worse...

Lately there's been tons of media around two big motherhood stories.

Unless you live under a rock you know the first.

The 33 year-old mother of six who thought the term "Eight is Enough" was a guideline for childbirth numbers.

In Canada, we've been caught up with the 60 year-old woman from Calgary who just had twins.

Makes me think.

I'm 45. I have four kids. And I often consider myself:

a) to be old
b) to have too many children.

These women blow me out of the water - one is young, but has enough kids to start her own pre-school, and one is geriatric (no, she is - when I had my fourth at age 39, I was called a "geriatric maternity patient", in Canada) but at least she can hold her entire brood in two arms.

All of this makes my complaining a little silly.

They win.

And isn't that what parenting is all about these days? Having the hardest time or the busiest schedule or the best/worst behaved kids?

I hear Jon & Kate are thinking of adopting another 6 just to keep up. Not to mention the frequent flier miles Angelina's looking at racking up.

And on the positive side, I just became a young Mom with a small family.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Valium Anyone?

I can honestly say I've never yelled at a stranger. Never. No; I save my angriest comments and nastiest behaviour for those I love. My kids, mostly. (My husband knows when to keep his head down.)

But yesterday I was at the gym, stretching after a weight class, and like most of the class, trying to do a self-congratulatory pat on the back for working out, while trying to ease our muscles back into shape to face the rest of the day.

As per usual, a few of the ladies were chatting during this longed for cool-down, when a woman at the front of the class whipped around and said in a Linda Blair scary kind of way "Excuse me but this is MY class too. STOP talking!"


It's not the first time I've seen this happen. Someone goes verbally postal at the slightest provocation. As a colleague of mine who suffers from this says, "I'm just a bad mood waiting to happen."

As she stormed out of the class at the end (with all of us jumping out of her way as she slammed her weights back on the shelf) she said "I guess I'm just going to be known as the b*tch in the class now."

Um sweetie I think, given this display, you're probably known as the b*tch in a few other places as well.

So, just a warning, you never know what someone else is dealing with when they lose it this way. I'd like to give her the benefit of the doubt and assume something actually bad had happened to her earlier that day.

If not, save it for the kids like I do, okay? Chances are, they've actually done something to deserve it. You just don't know about it yet.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Suppressing the Smug

This weekend I went to see a Toronto Symphony Orchestra Young People's concert with my nine-year-old daughter and a friend and her daughter. My daughter has been before, and in the fine tradition of her father before her, always manages to sneak in a nap during the show.

But that's okay.

She's quiet when she sleeps.

Unlike the two young boys who were sitting behind us. Their parents, extremely well dressed for a chilly Saturday afternoon, spent ten agonizing minutes before the concert started, telling your their young prodigies what a terrific experience this was going to be, how exciting it was to be there, what the different musical instruments were, etc, etc.

There can be such a thing as too much build up.

These six and eight year olds were expecting a huge musical extravaganza, beyond their wildest imaginations. What they got was a beautiful selection of bright and lively music, full of percussion solos (by the fabulous Evelyn Glennie).

Somehow, not quite enough for them. After the first five minutes, they were both wailing (during those nice quiet pauses) "Mommy take me home!"

Over and over.

While I did manage to stop from throwing one of those over the shoulder "can't-you-control-those-rats" looks, I did not manage to suppress the smugness I felt in looking down at my own peaceful daughter, who five minutes into the show was still awake and enjoying the energetic conductor.

Wish I could control that aspect of my personality, as certainly I've had many, many "moments" with my own four that have caused others great feelings of superiority.

Perhaps I'll just put it down to evening out the parenting karma of those moments, and enjoy it for what it was.

The concert was great - you should go -without too much build up - next one is on April 4th, 1:30 or 3:30. Visit for ticket information.