Thursday, June 27, 2013

Going for a Read-Along

Remember these records?


A few years ago, I gave my parents the "okay" to pass on our old collection of these records to charity. The booklets were missing, and the record player needed a new (expensive) needle, but I still kind of regret getting rid of them. I loved listening to these records as a kid, and reading along in the books. The Rescuers was one of our favourites, even though it sent my cousin, my senior by four years, running back home to her house next door crying, furious with us for playing a story sad enough to make her cry. 
O found a read-along book and CD at Value Village the other day and has listened to it a few times every day. It's a nice change from hearing "Mommy, can we watch a show?" five times before
breakfast. I suppose it's still a passive activity, but I think that listening to a story, with or without a book, engages the mind much more than watching a show.

If you are looking for some good podcasts for your kids to listen to, the BBC has some fantastic podcasts for kids; all of them are listed here. My kids' favourites are:



Listen and Play (BBC Learning): Stories, songs, rhymes for kids aged three to five, usually updated once a week

Let's Move (BBC Learning): This podcast is great for getting your kids up and moving around, with dances and acting. 




Another good podcast is Storynory, which has a large collection of audio stories for kids. For older kids, Books Should Be Free has some classic stories recorded for your listening pleasure. If your library card gives you access to Tumblebooks, you can listen to a large selection of kids audio stories. This site also has animated stories, read-along stories in several languages, videos, and puzzles related to stories.

Happy listening!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Escape Artist Extrordinaire

My O is becoming very skilled at sneaking out of bed after bedtime without inciting a total meltdown on my part. Once the kids are finally tucked in bed, my list of chores and good intentions for accomplishing tasks without "little helpers" fades as I sink into the nearest chair, couch, or maybe even the floor for at least fifteen minutes as I fool myself with celebratory thoughts that "my shift is over". I usually indulge in a little culinary treat because I can eat it without having to hide in the closet, or pretend I'm sticking my head into the farthest reaches of the kitchen cupboard to find something, for fear of having to share. So, when I hear little feet padding down the stairs, I stifle my inner groan and remind myself how lucky I am, even though I am never actually off-duty. Sometimes, my nocturnal visitor reminds me himself with his impishly sweet grin and carefully crafted excuses for being out of bed.

Escape number one:

"Mommy, I remember that you said you miss me when I'm not with you...so, here I am!"

Escape number two:

"Mommy, you are so beautiful, I just had to come and see you again.

Escape number three:

"Mommy, I just can't wait to see you tomorrow morning."

On the other end of the sleeping hours, T has been waking up at 5:30 for the past week and calling me from his crib.

"Mommy, where are you?"
"Mommy, come heeeeere!"
"Mommy, T have vitamins?" (I regret ever giving my kids sweet gummy vitamins. I hear this request from T an average of fifty billion times a day.)
"Mommy, T watch a show?"

He's going to have to take some lessons from his big brother and up his game to get me out of bed at that hour!




Saturday, June 15, 2013

Linking Up

During the day, I often make mental notes to myself to check out various things on the internet once the kids are in bed and I have a few moments to myself. Important things like the date of Fathers' Day this year (this Sunday, eep!), the status of upcoming bill payments, and not-so-important things, like whether the story I read to the kids about the first ever hot air balloon ride is actually true (barnyard animals were the first passengers?). More often than not, I sit down with the laptop and I'm lucky if I can remember one of the ten things that I wanted to search. I'm batting a mental ten percent, people. In fairness, I was warned about "mommy-brain", but I was under the impression that one's normal mental acuity would be restored once the children made it past the baby stage. The only time that I remember what it was that I wanted to search for is the next day, when the toddler has peanut butter stuck in his eyelashes, and the preschooler is asking me what a "wedgie" is, while I'm trying to think of something other than spaghetti to make for dinner, and wondering if I accidentally paid the hydro bill twice.

On the plus side, during my free surfing time, I occasionally come across some interesting pieces of reading. Here are some links that piqued my interest in the past few months, and that are worth a read:

Rage Against the Minivan: Shame-based Sex Education: We Can Do Better
I attended a private Christian high school, which, unsurprisingly, advocated for abstinence outside of marriage. While I do believe that this is best for a number of reasons, I agree with this writer that we too often equate virginity with one's identity and worth. I remember one of my teachers actually giving a similar lesson to the one that is spoken of in the video at the end of this post, in which two of my classmates were given a beautiful red rose each, which were to represent their virginity or sexuality. One girl was instructed to keep the rose to herself, and not allow anyone else to touch it, no matter how persuasive they were. The other girl freely passed her rose to anyone who asked for it. By the end of class, her rose had been crushed, stepped on, and ripped apart. Who would want that rose, compared to the pristine rose of the other girl, right? We all thought it was hilarious, but it made an impact because we talked about that lesson for several years afterward. But...is this really how we ought to teaching our girls (and boys) about their sexuality? That if they don't hold to their ideals, or if there is a situation outside of their control, or if they decide on a different path for their lives, that they are worthless? That nobody will ever want them?

Latina Fatale: How to Talk to Little Girls
I'm guilty of "our culture's standard talking-to-little-girls ice breaker" - complimenting their looks, or their pretty attire. Even as I'm saying those things, I realize that it's just reinforcing our culture's obsession with women's physical appearances but I seem to channel my inner robot and end up saying it anyways. Perhaps it is an echo of what I heard when I was a tot. I like this writer's idea for an alternative opening in a conversation with a little girl, and it inspires me to create some new "scripts" of my own for meeting new little people. It also makes me wonder what the equivalent ice-breaker script is for talking to little boys that I'm not even aware of.

Five Kids is a Lot of Kids: On Being a Mother and a Time Traveler
I love this blog, and this post is especially full of feel-good tears...

Five Kids is a Lot of Kids: On Being a Mombie and Cutting Ourselves Some Slack
....and this one is full of hilarious tears. If you are a mother and you've experienced mental fog as a result of lack of sleep (so, pretty much every mother in history), then you will find this post and especially the comments pretty funny. Here is my anecdote of mental fog that I posted in the comments section:

A couple of months ago, after buying groceries at the local produce store, the cashier asked “Do you want a copy?”, obviously referring to the receipt. Obvious except to my sleep-deprived brain. I asked him to repeat what he said because I thought he asked “Do you want a coffee?”. Even the second time he said it, that’s what I heard. I was so confused…Why is he offering me coffee right now? I don’t drink coffee, but I don’t want to insult him. Is he asking me out for coffee, and if so, WHY, because my husband and kids and I go to that store all the time and have had several conversations with this man, who seems to be married to one of the other people who works there! I stammered and blushed and made some unintelligible sounds until he took mercy on me and pointed to the receipt machine and carefully enunciated every word “Do you want a copy of your receipt?” Ah, right.
I laughed until I cried reading the other comments here last night. About twenty minutes later, I lifted my hand and felt some leftover tears around my eyes and wondered what I had been sad and crying about.
Oh dear, I fear for you, my little sleep deprived brain.

Slate.com: Drowning Doesn't Look like Drowning
This is important information if you ever go to a pool. Or the ocean. Or the lake. So, it's pretty much important for everyone, right?

Relevant Magazine: Stop Instagramming Your Perfect Life
Sometimes I look at my newsfeed on facebook and see so many photos of people's fancy restaurant dinner plates, and I long for the good old days when you had to take film photos of your dinner and get them developed and then show your friends next week what you ate for dinner at the restaurant last week. I also suffer from "bookshelf styling" envy. Just google it. What do these people do with their actual books?

MessyNessyChic.com: The Fake Townhouses Hiding Mystery Underground Portals
This one makes me wonder about living in a townhouse...

moms.popsugar.com: Should You Teach Kids to Share?
I disagree with most of what this writer proposes in this article. When I take my kids to Strong Start or someplace of a similar context, the need to share toys always arises. My general feeling is that kids should be encouraged to share communal items in a reasonable length of time. There's definitely a tenuous, difficult balancing act to teach your children to be generous and not to over-value material items, while also teaching them to be assertive and not to allow others to bully them. The author of this article argues that "I think it does a child a great disservice to teach him that he can have something that someone else has, simply because he wants it. And, I can understand the desire to give your children everything they want, we all have it. But it's a good lesson for you both to learn that this isn't always possible, and you shouldn't step all over other people to get these things." Somehow she misses the point that you are also teaching your child that exact selfishness by not encouraging them to share.

Huffington Post: Why Brent Rathgeber Quit the Tories
Once upon a time, I was a card-carrying member of the federal Reform Party. My political leanings have long since swung to the left, and my cynicism of the current governing party has grown immensely in the past few months. It's refreshing to see MPs like Brent Rathgeber who are willing to potentially commit political suicide to hold to their personal values.

Vancouverstreetstories.com: Lost streams of Vancouver
Interesting tidbit of local history

Answers at Yahoo: Rubick's Cube
I somehow stumbled upon this page, and it gave me the giggles. I don't think I've ever solved a Rubick's cube in my life without peeling off the stickers, and this guy says "I don't mean to be mean, but 1 minute isn't fairly fast. I am averaging 15 seconds with full Fridrich, and I don't consider myself fast." Apparently, there are actual named methods and algorithms.

National Post: Truck Carrying Fireworks Hits Moose
Poor moose, but at least he went out with a bang. Sorry.

And on the health front, we have:

Washington Post: Roundup is tied to infertility and cancer; herbicide's maker calls it safe

Huffington Post: Yaz, Yasmin Birth Control Pills Suspected in 23 Deaths

And to end on a high note, here are some pieces of inspiration:

CNN.com: Woman Challenges Tradition, Brings Change to her Kenyan Village

DLMayfield.wordpress.com: Kids on the Block

How about you? Have you found anything interesting in the vast waste-time-land of the internet lately?
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