Inappropriate Birthday Gift???

Tonight we bought Keilan’s main birthday gift. His birthday is in August. However, he needs a size 6 winter coat next year. I was at Children’s place buying Keilan pants (great sale at $3 a pair!). I saw a super nice coat. After the multiple discounts it was $12.

So, I decided to give it to him for his birthday. Yes, even in August. Sure, I’ll buy him a couple of toys to play with too. But what’s wrong with my 6 year old running around in swim shorts and a winter coat? Running through the sprinkler on a hot august day in a brand new winter coat. Of course it’ll happen. It’s Keilan.

But I still plan on giving it to him. Christmas is too late. He’ll need to wear it by October…

So what do you think…

Is a winter coat and snow pants an appropriate gift for a 6 year old boy in August?

 

Stinky Shirts

My eldest son plays hard. He plays soccer and referee’s it too.

He wears almost exclusively microfibre shirts.

The thing is, he sweats in them and they don’t smell pretty…at all! They reek!

All the other clothes are fine. But that particular fabric seems to hold odors quite well.

I do use vinegar for getting out smells, like when I leave a load of laundry in the front load washer overnight. However, it doesn’t help these shirts.

I read that salt would help. So, I gave it a shot.

1 cup of salt and put on a pre wash and regular soap. Smell all gone!

Works awesome! No more stinky kid!

Little Helpers

I have never stopped doing anything because I have had wee little ones. If anything, I have done more.

I have always allowed and encouraged my children, regardless of their age, to serve with me. My children have always been my “little helpers.” Countless times I have “created” tasks to occupy them and make them feel useful and helpful while I did some task. If I was setting up for a luncheon I would have my 2 year old carry napkins to the tables and my 4 year old carry plastic cups. Sometimes they wouldn’t even be putting the stuff where it needed to go. It didn’t matter, they felt like little helpers and they weren’t underfoot (if only for 2 min.).

I have always, and still do, believed that we all learn by example. So, if I want my children to learn to serve others, then I need to show them me doing it AND allow them to do it to.

Sometimes, it is exceedingly difficult to find a way for your 1, 2 or 3 year old to actually help you. They WANT to help, but they aren’t capable. However, even making them think they are helping is good enough. It is still teaching them to serve and it’s keeping them busy while you work – even if only very briefly!

My children all know how to serve and help. Some actively search for ways to be helpful. Some wait until they are asked. But (as long as it isn’t coming from me ;)) they are always quick to step in and lend a helping hand.

My oldest daughter has taken on helping every week set up the “coffee” time tables at church. Our oldest son will always step in and help where ever asked. He might not be the best at looking ahead to see what’s needed, but he is more than willing to take direction and help. My middle daughter has taken to helping me set up her class at church on sundays. She adds to my power point slides and is able to see what I need done often without direction and just does it. She is very helpful at home too. My youngest daughter will help if her friends are around or there’s a reward. Or if her siblings aren’t around to try to pass the task off to (because she’s too small – yeah right!). She requires lots of direction, but she does help.

My youngest son is definitely a helper at heart. He wants to be like everyone else and do whatever everyone else is doing. He carries huge, heavy things because “he can”. And there’s just no saying “no” to him. He won’t listen to the argument “you’re not big enough”. And his help is usually actually helpful. He is super strong, and where his strength fails, his determination picks up!

keilan_shovelling_steps

Today he shoveled the neighbor’s driveway (he has a shovel his size, but refuses to use it. He’s big enough to use the regular one) and was super mad at me for doing their sidewalk and helping him with the little drifts left behind. Before I even knew what he was doing (I had run inside to use the washroom) he had shoveled our sidewalk and the neighbors on both sides.

snow_at_neighbors_house

So, although finding ways for your little ones to “help” is very difficult…it is well worth the result! Let me encourage you to keep at it, it will eventually pay off big time!

Secure Children

This morning my last student got on my bus, and promptly got back off. She asked if she could run say goodbye to her mom again and give her another hug. I waved her off.

This child is at my last stop. She has had some anxiety over the years. More often than not her mother ends up driving her both to and from school.

Sometimes she has gotten on my bus holding her mittens, then come running to the front with tears in her eyes saying she forgot her gloves and could she go back. Of course, this was obviously an excuse to run back. I have always sympathized and allowed her to return. Most times she hugs her mom and comes straight back. Sometimes her mom ends up driving her anyways.

I have worked hard building a relationship with her. She is such a sweet and kind girl. I have tried very hard to show her that I’ll have patience and understanding, but she needs to be honest too. So, she has learned to trust me and is honest now about what she needs. I believe that this is the healthiest way for her. Lying to cover up a need, isn’t healthy for her. Nor is being too embarrassed by her need to allow others to help her meet it.

She has a fantastic mom. She’s very understanding and supportive of her daughter. And she meets her daughter’s needs, but also gently pushes and encourages her so that she can slowly move past them.

I could refuse to let this child get off my bus and go back. After all, I am always at least 10 min. late by the time I even get to her stop, because my run is poorly timed and the school board won’t add more time because it would mean the run takes more than 50 min. – the designated time for bus runs. Other bus drivers have done this. And honestly, by doing it they didn’t do anything wrong. I could choose to let this child off and drive away. Again, I’m not actually doing anything wrong by doing this.

However, I choose to look at this child’s needs and see a small way I can help her. I choose to be patient. And I choose to see her not as insecure. I choose to see her as very brave. Every day she bravely faces her separation anxiety, just some days it’s a bit harder for her. I choose to see her as a brave and healthy girl who is in touch with herself and knows her own needs.

So many of us have the same feelings or similar ones as this child. If we knew what it took to get us through, wouldn’t we hope someone wouldn’t keep that from us?

So, I choose to see her as very in touch with herself. She knows she just needs an encouraging word and a hug to get through her day. She knows (as do I) that without this, she will make herself physically ill before we get to school and will go home sick. So, I choose to give her that 60 seconds, when she needs it.

And you know what, she needs it less and less.

I choose to see this child and her needs and try to see how I can do a small thing to really help her. I truly believe that people are the most important thing. People are more important than rules or regulations or standards. I believe that people and their needs should be first. I do my best to do this. Sometimes I fail miserably. Sometimes I do ok. But I always try to see a person as a person. See them as a fellow human being with needs and wants. Try to see if I can find a viable, reasonable, realistic way to meet their needs. Sometimes I just can’t. No matter what, I just can’t. However, more often I can. Perhaps not their full needs, but some portion of them.

When I can’t meet a person’s needs I feel helpless and discouraged. But when I can meet some portion of their needs, I am energized and enthusiastic. Helping others reach their potential is an amazing feeling. And, the thing is, it’s not so nearly unattainable as we often perceive it!

So, give it a try. Try to meet someone’s needs in some tiny way. See how hard it is and how it feels for yourself!

Large Families

I am the mother of 5 children. By all accounts our family of 7 is a “large” family.

I love having a “large” family. I love that my kids have numerous play mates and built-in friends. I love that the idea of sharing isn’t an optional idea, but a necessary way of life. I love that my kids share bedrooms, it makes them closer friends. I love that I am not able to do everything for them, so they have learned to be independent and creative problem solvers.

My kids are rarely lonely. They learn quite well from all the constant examples all around them all the time. They aren’t too spoiled, because it is much more difficult to equally spoil 5 kids. They have learned that they don’t get everything they want. They know that sometimes they have to earn their own money to buy what they want for themselves.

My kids are not wanting. They have their own bikes and scooters. They have game systems and tablets. They are in all the activities of other children like dance and piano and soccer and drama and kung fu. We have RESP’s for each of them. We send them to summer camp, even though it costs $1000.

We have a budget. We do ok. But we don’t save anything. And we never really get ahead. I don’t begrudge my children. I want them to have all of this.

What I do get, is annoyed, at the people who get upset when my family pays the same as their family. It isn’t “fair”. People get quite upset. I just get annoyed at the complaining. These families make more money than mine. They spend far less on groceries and activities etc. I rent my home, because I would need to save at least $20000 to get into a home, at least.

I have chosen my life. I chose to have 5 kids. None of them were “accidents”. I provide for my children. I choose the life we live and the opportunities I offer them. I don’t complain about my sacrifices. If I can’t afford something we just don’t do it. We have expenses that most don’t even think of: school fees…well over $1000 a year, and increasing every year. Bus passes for my teenagers, fuel for a beast of a van (but my kids can bring their friends to church and other outings and do), winter boots for 5 growing kids, coats, going to a movie (3 adult tickets and 4 kids)…

So, if you are a small family, enjoy your family. Live how you would like to. But, please don’t complain, when for once, my family of 7 gets treated as the “family” it is and pays the same price as your family of 3 or 4. For me, I often feel discriminated against that my “family” isn’t a “family”. Many, many things my family can’t afford to do because of this.

So, let me enjoy – in peace, the extremely rare time that we are treated equally to you and my “family” is recognized as a “family” and we can afford to do the same family outing as you.