Reason to Homeschool #997

My boy is a carb/sugar addict. Seriously. The child is senseless and vulnerable in the face of sweets or carbs. The kid could eat an entire box of Ritz crackers and then ask for a chocolate bar.

We work really, really, really, really hard to keep things sensible. We teach him all the time about appropriate eating choices and riskier ones.

The world is against us, though. The grocery stores stock their treats and sweets at kid's eye level. Everything is branded so you're saying no to a treat and no to Spiderman. It's not easy.

But do you know what makes it a lot harder?

When the school sends home homework like this!

Yes kids, today in Kindergarten we'll be learning how to give yourself high blood pressure by choosing high sodium snacks. These are your choices, like it or lump, high-carb, high-sodium snacks with little to no nutritive value or fibre.

Next week we'll be learning how to inject our own insulin and perform CPR!

Even more lovely is their weekly lunch menu. Want to see the reason why I pack ALL my kid's lunches?

Even on pizza day your choices are cheese or cheese and pepperoni. But at least once a week they serve fries! That's a vegetable! And they're oven-baked doncha-know.

And then there's the pasta day. A nice can of tomato sauce adds tonnes of nutrition, especially when mixed with sausage or regular ground beef.

And before you say it: yes I was involved in the lunch committee last year. The school chose to go in a different direction this year and we were told lunches would be taken care of by an outside provider.

It's not just that the homework features bad snacks; the children were also asked which bad snack they wanted.

It's not just that the lunch menu bites; there are actually NO healthy choices. The outside lunch provider decided fruit wasn't profitable enough. So it's now cookies, cheese and crackers, frosted cinnamon rolls, or packaged rice krispie squares for a snack.

I've never seen Jamie Oliver's show (TV is right up there with salty carbo-snacks in my ratings system: fills you up but adds no value), but I've heard about it. And I can see how the idea of fresh fruit and vegetables in schools could be seen as revolutionary. For now I just lodge my mini-revolt protest by sending in healthy apple-bran muffins and fruit plates for my son's class.

Am I over-reacting? Is your school like this?


Potty Mouth

There are things I thought I'd never say. And yet I say them every day.
These are presented without explanation
As there's no explanation for THAT:

  • Don't eat the crumbs from your diaper.
  • Oh, he's spilled gravy all over himself. Oh dear God that's not gravy.
  • Of course you'll gag if you stick your nose in your brother's poo. Don't throw up on the couch.
  • What are you doing?!? How did you get your head down there?!? No you cannot watch your sister's poo come out! Get your head out of the toilet and let your sister shit in peace!
  • It's not a competition. Stop arguing. You are both very stinky.
  • Your pull up is not an extra pocket. Do not keep candy in  there.
  • Don't eat the rabbit food pellets. Oh that's not a food pellet! Go wash your mouth out now!
  • No that is not gum, that's petrified cat poo. I don't know why it's in the sandbox. Probably a cat put it thre. Please do not eat it.
  • Christ it's technicolor. How does one child produce blue, green and orange poo in a single sitting?!
  • I don't know when the last time he had a "bowel movement" was. I don't keep a bathroom journal. Son, have you had a shit today?
  • No, turning your underwear around is not the same as changing it. Now you've got tracks on the front and back.
  • Listen, honey, if you have to grunt and push that hard it's time to give up. We'll try again later. No I will not pull the poo from your bum.
  • Yes, the only way he'll poo is if I stick my finger up there and massage his anus. No, well you wouldn't know as you're not home when I do it. Yes, I do think it's time we saw the doctor about his constipation. Yes, of course I wash my hands afterwards! And before too!
  • When you're done wiping, the paper goes in the toilet, not on your bedroom floor. Why would you leave it there?
I could go on. But that's enough isn't it?


Why I Love EverythingMom.com

Two very simple reasons why I love EverythingMom.com? Completely selfish and kind of silly reasons . . .


Here goes:

1. I won an In the Night Garden pack in one of their review draws. If you knew how horribly unlucky I am at winning things, you'd be impressed. Last time I won anything was at Canadian Tire when I was 8 years old. I won a cabbage patch doll. It was pretty cool.

2. I emailed them an article proposal last week and they've emailed me back with an offer. Whoopee. So keep an eye on this space for my post that "hey, I'm over at EverythingMom.com!"

There's a gazillion other reasons to love the site: all that mom stuff like ovulation predictors and baby name generators; great giveaways and reviews; fun community; connecting with others.

Oh and I have one more reason!
I got both the above pieces of good news on days that were emotionally crappy for me! So they're a great cheering up factor!

Check em out. Go on. Sign up for a profile, find mine and we can be friends. I'll even send you a friendship bracelet (lies).


Will I Ever Be Warm Again?

This is why I want to move:
That's flurries on Friday and Saturday. The days I had planned to do some gardening.
I just want to dig my toes into warm sand and feel the sun on my shoulders. Is that so much to ask?
My husband and I will never cheer up until we get some sunshine in our lives.
My eldest son comes in with wind-whipped cheeks and red hands from playing. He's always wet or cold or both.
My poor daughter is white; she's addicted to the sun and I'm afraid she will wither and die without some sunlight soon.
Vitamin D is important for children with NF. And what's the best source? Sunlight!

 Can this be considered a medical emergency? Do you think our health insurance will cover a vacation?

Little Did I Know

Little did I know when I became pregnant
  • that peeing would become a torture and a victory
  • that "morning" sickness is a misnomer
  • that bleeding and cramping don't signify the end
  • that everything, not just your belly, changes shape
  • that breast pads are essential even before the baby is born
  • that I would suddenly start to like olives and crave meat
Little did I know when I went into labour
  • that nurses could argue with you whether back labour was "real" labour
  • that it would hurt in the way it did
  • that I would forget all the pain
  • that there's a right and a wrong way to push and being told you're doing it "wrong" in the middle of a contraction can make you the angriest you've been in your life
  • that that many stitches could fit in my "down there."
  • that after 30 hours of labour, two vaccuum extraction attempts, and being born sunny side up a baby could emerge without conehead and look so perfect.
  • that, yes, you do actually shit in labour and no one cares, not even you
Little did I know before I had children
  • that they're actually born with personalities
  • that everything I did while pregnant or in those early days would be fodder for my guilt if anything went wrong with my children
  • that little people could be so loud
  • that little people could be so stinky
  • that little people could be do messy
  • that they're not actually little people, despite having personalities and bodies and spirits, they will always be extensions of me and at each moment looking at them would hurt like I had lost a body part and cause great joy like I had created a masterpiece.

How much it would cost? I had an inkling. How hard it would be? I sort of guessed. How wonderful it would be? I fully anticipated.

And yet each day catches me by surprise as I were a child myself.

That I didn't know.

And also that the most important thing I ever did or will do is them and everything about them. Even if I cured cancer, they are what I want to be remembered for.

What didn't you know?


Full Disclosure

In the interests of full disclosure, I have something to reveal to you.

No, I'm not a 13 year old boy, or a mullah from Iran. No, I'm not secretly selling my follower information to facebook's advertisers.

I'm a bad parent.

Beyond the I-read-my-email-while-the-kids-make-themselves-sandwiches kind of bad parent. Even beyond the they-didn't-brush-their-teeth-this-morning-and-my-son's-wearing-dirty-socks-and-no-underwear kind of bad parenting. And way beyond the I-yell-at-them-all-day-long variety of bad parenting.

Imagine looking this in the face
My baby - the 19 month old was in this position a couple of days ago. Staring straight into the grille of a large truck while standing in the middle of the road.

He was playing in the kitchen while I was in the next room finishing up some email correspondence.

His brother had just come in from outside.

His brother has a tendancy to leave doors open, despire repeated reminders.

So when it got quiet and I called out his name and there was no response, I should have known right away. And when I saw the mudroom door open I really should have known. But I thought his brother has just gone out again.

It wasn't until I looked out the window and saw two cars stopped in front of my house and one of my neighbours jumping out of her vehicle that I knew why I was feeling so uneasy.

He had put on his brother's shoes, walked out the two open doors and was on his way across the street when our truck-driving neighbour saw him and stopped.

No, there was no screeching of tires. There were no screams of terror, except in my head.

Another neighbour got out of her car, took him by the hand and was leading him back to the house by the time I reached the driveway.

"He's okay," she said, calmly and reassuringly.

"I'm not," I replied.

There were no nasty stares or words of recrimination, just smiles and nods and pats on the arm.

But I'm definitely a bad parent.

There was also the time my daughter, my second born, was ill and had been up a lot at night. She was 2 months old and I fell asleep nursing her on the sofa. She fell from my arms onto the hard wooden floor. She seemed okay, so I didn't rush to the hospital (which would have been a 3 hour drive as we were staying in a cabin at the time). But the next day she started projectile vomiting.

At the hospital, there were smiles and nods and pats on the arm. "She's okay," they said. "I'm not," I replied.

I knew then I was a bad parent.

Then there was the time my eldest, my son, dissapeared while going for a walk with his Daddy at a large mall. He was almost two. "Call security," I told my husband, as I started madly dashing to all the places I thought he might have gone. Ten minutes later he was located; my husband hadn't called security or he would have been found sooner. The store manager with him gave me a nasty look and asked "why was he missing from you so long." I started to explain myself and then got angry.

"He's okay," I told her, "nothing happened. I feel bad enough, but his father was watching him and he got away. It happens to everyone."

"Not to me," she replied.

I guess she's one of those not-bad-parents I hear so much about.

But given the number of times my kids have been close to danger and I've received nods and smiles and pats on the arm, I think the majority of us are more like me.

Strangely enough, I felt like a worse parent when people were sympathetic than when they attacked me. Which means I probably learned a better lesson from those moments too.

So next time you see a "bad parent," perhaps it's more effective to sympathise than criticise.

Just a thought.

Have you had those moments too? Or am I the only bad parent after all?


Lifting the Veil

Can you believe the gall of some women? Really. I mean it's bad enough that fashion allows us to show them off all the time - or even to accentuate them with cosmetics - but to take a part of our body so sexually charged and flaunt them around while supposedly "nurturing and loving" our children? What's a child to learn from that? That public exposure is okay; that common decency takes a back burner to one person's perceived right.

You know what I'm talking about?

Kissing. Do you see all those women kissing their children in public? It's disgusting is what it is!

Yes, fine, I understand that children should be kissed. It's important to nurture them with love and affection. But some women really take it too far.

I don't care what you say about the "benefits" of kissing children, we all know what lips are really meant for.

They're sexual objects. Meant for kissing and sucking and necking and all that a man and woman do together.The fact that a woman would even touch her children with the same lips that she's probably had wrapped around some fellow's - you know - disgusts me!

It's bad enough they insist on doing it. But to do it in public. They're just brazen exhibitionists, that's all. Anyone can cover themselves when kissing. It's just a matter of throwing a blanket over your head. But "no" they say. They tell me to put a blanket over my head!

The most disgusting, though, is these women who kiss older children, often right on the lips! They make me want to vomit. They're obviously getting some kind of sexual pleasure out of that. Or they're absolutely nuts. You'd think that they'd be too embarassed to carry out such amoral behaviour in public . . .

There's a reason in the Song of Solomon he pays such attention to the lips, calling them a scarlet thread and saying they drip like a honeycomb. There's a reason Muslim women are required to wear the Niqab. And there's a reason whores and tramps wear red lipstick.

We all know lips are obscene.

We need to reinstill common decency in our women and children by making them aware that using their lips in public is unacceptable. Fine if a mother insists on kissing her child, I won't argue with the evidence about it's "benefits," but she needs to think about the people around her. To just go kissing anywhere wily-nily with no respect for others is selfish and teaches her children nothing.

Besides, we all know children don't have to be kissed all the time. Even if you're a kissing mom, hugs will do too. There's a reason hugs exist, it's because they're just as good as kisses. If a woman must she can always hug her child in public and save the kisses for home. Or, if she insists on kissing exclusively, she can always put a bunch of kisses in an envelope and just give them to the child that way.

<--Look at that! Gross!

What are your thoughts on publically kissing children? It's time we all spoke out and stopped being intimidated by those rights-espousing women libbers. They make the rest of us look bad, you know.


Below the Surface

Drowning is not so pitiful
As the attempt to rise
Three times, 'tis said, a sinking man
Comes up to face the skies,
And then declines forever
To that abhorred abode,
Where hope and he part company --
For he is grasped of God.
The Maker's cordial visage,
However good to see,
Is shunned, we must admit it,
Like an adversity.
-Emily Dickinson
What is it about? The struggle to live, or the struggle to live the life you want? Today it feels like the struggle against failure. Like drowning in failure. Like sputtering breaths at success and great big gulps of nothingness.
I almost drowned once. In movies it's always portrayed as a slow spiral downwards, but it's not. It's as fast as a single mistake.
Awareness is the spiral.
And the struggle upwards is what we're supposed to do. But it is pitiful. Sad attempts at raising above the surface when every inch of your body is dragging you down. Instinct drives you upward while knowledge drags you down.

*Edit: After writing an posting I realise this could be part of the Writing Workshop, under prompt 2. So I'm entering it. It's not what I intended to write, but it suits.


Magical, Mystical, Mathematical, Mythical: The Power of Three

Three. 3. III
It's the first Fermat Prime number. The first odd Prime number. The first Unique Prime number.

It's the number of golfballs on the moon.

It's the number of wishes you're granted. The number of obstacles or tests a hero faces.

It's the Three Bears and Three Little Pigs and Three Billy Goats Gruff and Three Blind Mice. It's the Three Musketeers. It's the Three Stooges. It's the Three Wisemen

It's the Trinity, the Trimurti, the Tridevi, the Three Jewels, the Three Patriarchs, the Three Pure Ones, the Triple Goddess.

It's the id, ego and super-ego. It's Divine law, Natural law, and human law. It's sign, signified, signifier.

It's the three-dimensions. It's breakfast, lunch, and supper. It's morning, noon, and night. It's birth, life, death.

Three is a powerful number. There's no escaping three.

Especially when it's the number of kids you have.

You might think the difference between two and three is only one. Right? 3-2=1? You would be wrong. At least when it comes to children. There are many differences between two and three. These are a few:
  • Two parents. Two children. Add one more child. Now the parents are outnumbered. Not just outnumbered, but imbalanced. Bedtimes, outings, mealtimes: one parent has to handle two children, the other handles one. Parenting dynamic goes kablooie.
  • Two children can fight with each other. There's a single scenario. Three children can fight with each other. Number one can fight with number two. Number two can fight with number three. Number one can fight with number three. Four scenarios for sibling rivalry and arguments now.
  • Adding only one child increases mess, noise, and germs exponentially. Trust me.
  • Two children close in age play together, use the same toys, do the same activities and watch the same programs on TV. Three children (when they're young) means at least three years between eldest and youngest. That means no more shared toys, activities or playspace. Double the clutter and amount of space you need in your home.
  • No matter what someone might tell you and how hard you might try, you cannot safely fit three car seats in the back of a standard sedan. Three children equal one mini-van.
  • No matter what someone might tell you and how hard you might try, you cannot get three children to sleep in their own beds. Three children equal one king size bed.
  • A diaper bag packed for two weighs only half of what a diaper bag packed for three does. Try it.
Yet, while the mess, noise, arguments, work, sleeplessness, germs, and food expense increase exponentially, so does the love.

That's why three is such a powerful number.


Let the Sun Shine In - Easy Earth Day Craft

Earth Day is coming up! April 22nd.

We've been trying to decorate our living room window thematically each month. So we've worked on some Earth Day themed decorations.

I came up with this one while at my parents over Easter Holidays. Unfortunately my camera has just about breathed it's last breath so I don't have step-by-step photos. I took a pic of the final product using my webcam:

Earth Day Suncatcher

You will need:
  • Picture of Earth
  • Clear contact paper*
  • Scissors
  • Playdough (blue and green)**
  • Rolling pin

*If you don't have clear contact paper you can use wax paper. It will stick to the playdough. However, your suncatcher won't be as transparent and I imagine once the playdough dries a bit the paper won't stick to it.

**If you don't have playdough, make some. A good child-friendly no-cook recipe is to mix 1 cup flour with 1/2 cup salt and 1/2 cup water. Mix until doughy then add food colouring and knead until smooth. You only need about 1/10th of this for this craft so you can make a smaller batch if you prefer.

How to:
  1. Show your child the picture of the earth. Discuss its shape (spherical or round). Show them how the majority of the Earth is blue because it is covered in water. Talk about how the green land (continents)is surrounded by water.
  2. Double over your contact paper. Trace a plate or other round object or freehand cut a circle. You will need two circles for each child.
  3. Pinch off small pieces of playdough. Explain that we will use more blue than green because there is more water than land on the earth.
  4. Peel the paper off of one contact paper circle.
  5. Have your child place small amounts of playdough sticky side of the circle. They don't need to cover the entire surface as it will squish out. Remind them to make islands or continents of green surrounded by blue.
  6. Have your child squish the playdough with the heel of their hand.
  7. Peel the paper off of the other contact paper circle and lay (sticky side down) over the playdough.
  8. Press down and smooth out.
  9. Roll over with the rolling pin. Excess playdough will seep out the edges. Once it's perfectly flat, trim the edges.
It lets the light through really well and looks beautiful. If we had any sun you could see how well it works as a suncatcher. We're just hoping it will catch us some sun.


The Unbearable Lightness of Parenting

I'm not the world's worst parent. Despite what I may sometimes think. I do sometimes do things right. And it's actually showing and rubbing off on the kids.

The Incident
Teaghan was eating a butter sandwich (don't ask). Harrison was eating an orange.

Harrison: "it's a good thing it's not a blood orange because then I'd turn into a bloody bad werewolf" (don't ask).

Teaghan: "I hate blood oranges. I don't want to be a werewolf. Mommy! I'm eating a butter sandwich. I'm going to turn into a butter-wolf. They're scary!"

Harrison: "That's not true Teaghan. There's no such thing. That's a lie"

Mommy: "Harrison it's just a story she's telling"

Harrison: "Stories are lies." (this from the boy who has so many stories his school has no idea what's true and what isn't)

Teaghan: "It's not a lie."

Harrison: "Is too."

Teaghan: "No Harrison. It's not. I'll tell you what it is."

Harrison: "No! I'll tell you what it is!"

At this point he runs toward her, looking like he's ready to strike. I drop the toast and head to intervene.

Harrison: "It's a GREAT BIG KISS!" He gives his sister a big kiss and hug and softly says "I love you Teaghan."

Sometimes when Harrison is being completely inflexible and arguing with us for the sake of arguing, I lighten the mood by grabbing him like I'm angry and then kissing him or tickling him (not sure what I'll do when he's too big to manhandle). He used the exact same technique to diffuse the argument this morning! I'm so proud of him. And me!


I'm a Drop Out

I'm going to let you in on a secret.

For it's not good to keep secrets, is it?

Okay. Here goes. Are you sitting down?

Take a deep breath.

No, not you, me!

I hate shopping.
What, you didn't hear? You're going to make me repeat it? Oh. Okay.

Be Brave.

No, not you! Me!

There. Now you know.

I am a woman that hates shopping. There is no bargain glory for me. There is no retail therapy or girl's day at the mall. Yes, if I love you I'll begrudgingly drag my feet behind you offering helpful advice as you engage in the world's most boring activity. If I really love you I'll let you help me shop, trying on badly made third world clothing I hate and can't afford anyway. I'll even pretend to enjoy myself. But mostly the smile on my face will be at the thought of visiting the food court or the book store.

Though truthfully I don't even enjoy shopping for books anymore.

Shopping is boring. Shopping is sad. Malls are hot and dusty and make me sneeze. The crowds are annoying. The lines at the check outs are long and tiresome.

No wonder the kids have a tantrum shopping. I completely understand. I'd like to lay down on the floor and scream too.

I'm sure some of my disenchantment comes from the lack of money to actually buy the things I want. There are very, very few things I really want. But the reason I want them and don't have them is because they're so expensive. A nice couch for the livingroom would be lovely. A good pair of fashionable shoes would be nice. A home gym would be fab! New beds for the kids . . . you get my drift.

A lot of my ambivalence - okay let's call it hatred - towards shopping comes from the sameness of it all. Haven't you noticed that all the stores are selling the same thing? And they're all badly made, probably by children in Malyasia? The ongoing consumer battle for the latest innovation in the exact same product drives me nuts. I can't keep up. I don't feel compelled to keep up. I'm a make-do or do without kind of person.

I'm a consumer drop out.

Before I became this radical retail-hating xenophile I did enjoy shopping for kitchen appliances. But I've since learned that the majority of them are crap and don't actually do anything new.

I have a waffle-maker. It also serves as a grilled cheese sandwich maker and a panini press - yes your panini has little square marks in it, but that just adds to the charm. It's good at quickly defrosting things too.

I have a food processor. It's also my juicer. Seriously, I'm going to spend another $100 to buy a juicer that removes the fibre (yes, yes I know I can use it in baking) when instead I can puree whole fruit, add yogurt and give the kids a real treat - a smoothie? It serves as my grain grinder too, and does a decent job though I'm sure a grain mill would do better.

I don't have sil-pat - I use wax paper or parchment paper. I don't have a garlic press - I use the side of the knife. I don't have rice steamer - I just use a pot. I don't have a double boiler -I use the microwave to melt/heat. I don't have a stand mixer - I prefer trying to estimate where the drops of whip cream will land. In fact sometimes I use a whisk instead of my handmixer. I don't have a pizza stone or a deep fryer or jello molds. I once had a capucinno machine but it broke. So now I brew extra strong coffee, heat my milk in the microwave and "foam" it by whisking really quickly.

Yes. I admit. I occasionally browse amazon and see things I think I need for my kitchen. But really. I'd have to buy a new kitchen if I bought all those appliances! So perhaps my doughnuts aren't perfectly shaped and occasionally I have a yogurt fail because I haven't bought an incubator.

Puts a little variety and excitement into my life, that's all!

Oi, okay, now THAT is sad.

How do you feel about shopping? Are you a have-to-have-it-now kind of person, or like me have you dropped out? Have you quit because keeping up is an impossible task or because you enjoy the challenge of making do?


A Little Bloggy Love Carnival: Follow Friday April 16th

Instead of engaging in the insaneness of Twitter Folllow Fridays, I've decided to have my own Follow Carnival on Fridays.

Twitter's 140 characters doesn't always allow me to convey to you why I think you should follow the blogs/people I recommend.

And I think that's important; don't you?

So, every Friday I'll post ten blogs/people I think you should follow.

There's a couple of things about this list, though.

If you already have 100+ followers I probably won't list you. Not because I don't love you. And not because I'm jealous. But because I've always been one for supporting the underdog! I think you'll probably get lots of people tweeting you anyway. I want this list to be truly helpful, to show you people and blogs you might not have heard of before. Sometimes that will mean popular blogs are listed, because I think people who read my blog have perhaps not read theirs, but usually not so. Heather, Karin, Valerie, you won't see yourselves on here. Please don't be offended, but everyone I know knows you already!

I'm trying to keep it balanced. Some blogs are British, some Canadian, some American. There are "mom" blogs and "dad" blogs. There may even be craft blogs.

Each recommendation will be based on something the person I'm recommending blogged this past week. Something brilliant or insightful or thought-provoking or brave.

If you want to be added to the list, I've included a McLinky. Post a blog post from last week or this week (the McLinky is active until Thursday midnight) that you're proud of. Title it however you want but be sure to include your twitter name. Hopefully I'll find some new people to follow too! At the end of the week I'll tweet #FFs for all linked posts.

Feel free to take and use the Follow Award I've created too. It's kind of childlike but so am I:

So, without further ado. Here are the bloggers (in no particular order) I recommend you follow this week:

  1. Mari's World. For this beautiful tribute to her friend. Mari is an amazingly refreshing and honest blogger who's been there-done that and is ready to share. You can follow her on twitter using @mariannewhooley
  2. Crazy Adventures in Parenting. What's more awesome than a mom of six who still finds time to get ripped? A mom of six who knows the true meaning of family: sharing ice-cream! Yes this is a blogger with a lot of followers already, but I don't think any of my followers follow her and that's a shame! You can follow her on twitter using @crazyadventures
  3. Drowning in Kids. Jess is this really smart wonderful writer whose blog is pure grit. She tells it like it is and this week's "like it is" reminded me so much of how it is for me. I really admire her strength yet fragile openess. Wish I could visit her outside corner too! I have no idea how many followers she has - probably a lot - or if she's on twitter.
  4. Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip. You know that sweet yet snarky friend that you giggle in the corner with at all the mom's groups and playgroups and mind-blowingly boring parent events? Or well, you know that friend you wish you had? This is Naomi. Full on snarkiness and humour with just a touch of cool-whip sweetness. You must read her and you can follow her on if you she's on there - I don't know. Naomi? Are you there?
  5. Almost Unschoolers. And now for something completely different . . . okay I'm sure we don't share religious views or taste in clothing, but any mom who will let her kids experiment by dropping eggs onto the living room floor so that they can learn something is a friend of mine! If I start homeschooling, this woman is my mentor! Until then we still enjoy trying some of her experiments and resources at home. I don't think she tweets, though, so you'll just have to follow her blog.
  6. Beta Dad. I met him over at Dad Who Writes' blog and we exchanged compliments. That alone will make me follow someone! But this guy is quirky and funny and a really cool dad. He's a great writer and in his post on poetry he teaches you how to be one too. He's yet another blogger that if he's on twitter I have no idea how to find him. So you better just follow his blog.
  7. Diary of a First Child. Because no mom deserves to be told off for loving her child too much! Isn't it refreshing to read about a mom that doesn't hate her child/feel great anger about her child/feel overly guilty about her child? Luschka is a tender soul, an amazing mom, and a supportive presence in the blogging and parenting community. And she's also a gaga mama. She's on twitter @LvanO
  8. Livi's Little Bubble. Okay, first off, Livi never sleeps; so if you need someone to moan to on Twitter, she's there. Seriously! She's funny. She's smart. And she's one of those people that always has something nice to say to/about you (as long as you're not her in-laws). And she's not afraid to admit that she's a wee bit envious of how good the Stepford Wives make wifliness perfection. Go ahead, tweet her @Princess_L_88
  9. Bumbling Along. First, because it was her twitter discussion about followers and tweets and facebook and stats that made me think of this idea. Second because only a truly brave woman would reveal her true geekiness by firstly taking this photo and then posting it under a joy theme. She's a great tweeter, always one to open a discussion or offer advice, and her blog reflects that too. You can follow her @BumblingTweets
  10. The Life and Times of a Househusband. What's with this guy? He's just a househusband! You'd think he'd have plenty of time to be blog posting! Perhaps he's too busy partying with the boys and revealing all. Jamie's not the most prolific of bloggers but the wait is worth it. You will laugh lots. And you'll identify lots. But mostly you'll think: why the heck doesn't he write more? Catch him on twitter - if you can - @goonerjamie.
So that's it. I promise not to be so wordy next week. Now it's your turn. Link a post and make sure you leave your twitter name (if you have one) in the title. Or, link someone else's post and really spread the love.

A New Home

Last year's leaves slime the sidewalk,
As she carefully picks her way,
Past puddles and sodden debris.

The baby's blanket makes trails,
Through wintered gravelly mud.
The stroller wheels catch and drag.

Her son's face shines with sunlight,
Her shoulders are warmed by it's rays,
A smile settles her weary face.

Boxes and bags forgotten
They laugh at crow's strange walking
Picking its way past puddled dirt.

Later he'll point to his paints
Tell the tale with coloured fingers
She stores the blanket and moment

This is the tale of my first day in Corner Brook. It was early February but unseasonaly warm. Tired by the packing and unpacking and needing a few little items for the house we were staying in I packed Harrison in his stroller and we waddled our way downtown (I was 6 months pregnant at the time).
I was sad to leave our previous home and our house. We were in a temporary lease until we could find something. But I was looking forward to the promises of a new environment as well. The day seemed to reflect my mood, not-winter-not-spring.

When we got back to our house, Harrison created these paintings:

One, full of colour - and what looks like a crow seems to reflect the joy and promise of the day. The other is dark and smeary - like the sidewalks that day, like the future ahead of us, like the feelings about our leavetalking.

Coincidentally, the picture also happens to be the 10th in my oldest folder. Therefore this post is for Josie's Writing Workshop, Tara's Gallery, and fulfills the photo meme Paula tagged me with. Talk about something being imbued with more than one meaning!


That Loving Feeling

Last night I had to pop down to the corner store to return a movie and get a loaf of bread (ok, yes, I admit, I also wanted to buy a chocolate bar for myself).

Harrison was playing outside and unfortunately caught saw me and asked to tagged along.

courtsy of criswatk http://www.sxc.hu/photo/204141

I warned him I wouldn't be buying treats for him as he had been to the store earlier. I told him we wouldn't be renting another movie as we only get them on the cheap days. I said "a loaf of bread and Mommy's going to look at something. That's it." (the something being the chocolate bar I was going to try to sneak onto the counter without him noticing).

"Yes, Mommy" he agreed. "Maybe just a botttle of flavoured water for me?"

So, yes, I agreed as long as he agreed to share it with his sister. He argued that one, wanting one each, but I persisted and he complied.

He actually behaved quite well in the store, but I was feeling kind of cross as the walk there was supposed to be my break - five minutes of away time. Plus it was becoming rather obvious that I wouldn't be getting that chocolate bar.

Everything I looked at or picked up he had to have an opinion on. Natter. Natter. Natter.

My frustration at being thwarted in both my quest for silence and my quest for chocolate grew.

Finally we were headed home. He was lagging behind.

"Are you coming?" I said rather crossly.

"Yes Mommy," he said sweetly, skipping up to me and grabbing my hand. Then he pressed his body into me giving me one of those full body hugs that are becoming rarer as he gets older.

My frustration melted away. I said in a slightly choked voice "I love you honey."

And he skipped off in glee laughing:

"I FARTED on you Mommy!"
"Oh Mom!P-U!"
"You reek Mom, don't walk near me."

"At least he's happy, " I thought. And then "I'll get you you little bugger!"


Crap Shoot

I have writer's block.

I'm feeling down about this whole blogging lark and just can't inspire myself.

So there you go.

If I could get 5 minutes silence in the house and had the ability to wrap my mind around these subjects here are some of the topics I was going to write on:

Am I a feminist? I've been attacked for not being one. So I'd like to write about what feminism looks like to me and why feminist doesn't have to mean sexist.

Pedagogy of the Opressed. How Paulo Friere's theories on literacy and education apply to children in a school environment. Why sight-words and the whole language curriculim is producing more low literacy at a faster rate.

Mother-Hate: Has it become fashionable for us to hate our children and husbands. Are we supposed to express our undying agony instead of our undying love? Why is it so difficult to accept that some women are happy and comfortable being mothers?

Mother-Hatred: Why do mother's get blamed for every thing. I mean every little thing. From nose-picking to picking on others.

Dad-Disrespect: I wrote a couple of columns on it but could go much more indepth in my blog. How can we raise our sons to be good men and good fathers when the prevalent social attitudes tell them that they can't be either of those things?

Happy 101 Award - the ten things that make me toe-tingling, orgasmically happy. Except I'm having trouble coming up with ten. I know there are at least ten, but I haven't the mental energy to catalogue them.

Plastic Joy Award - is it sad that I can't seem to come up with 7 actors/characters that make me want to jump in the sack?

How tos: a planet earth playdough suncatcher for Earth Day, dragons blood/fairy potion, a specail phonic clean-up game.

Everything's piling up and I'm not writing any of it which just makes it harder to write anything at all. Every time I sit down to write I'm dissapointed because I haven't the time or energy to write what I want.

And then there are about ten things I would love to blog about but can't because either they're not my stories to tell or they might involve people who could possibly read this blog and repercussions would not be nice.

And maybe that's why I'm blocked. How do you handle the things you want to write about but are not appropriate for this space?


Money Making Idea 1

As you know if you've read my Fair Trade Worries post, I'm scratching my head to come up with money-making ideas.

I've been advertising to do tutoring or afterschool homework help for ages, but no bites. Which is really funny considering how often I used to hear parents complain that tutoring and after school care/homework help were really hard to find. I'm hoping to get more word out about these soon, though, so who knows.

I've also advertised part-time care/preschool for 3-4 year olds as I thought Teaghan would enjoy having a couple friends around while we're learning our ABCs and 123s. Again, no bites!

I'm now thinking of offering a summer camp program as the town has cancelled their summer recreation program and I could see parents scrambling this year. But until we get a fence built it's not a good idea. And we haven't the money for a fence.

What this all brings me to is this. A short while back I submitted a manuscript and some ideas to a children's publishing company looking for graded readers for the school market. Plus, before Emerson was born I worked in Early Literacy. In fact, when I showed some of the materials I had created for our literacy program to a teacher in the Early Childhood Education program here, she insisted I should be doing this as a living.

So why don't I?

What I'm thinking is offering a website that provides literacy information, advice, tips and resources for ages birth to ten. There would be ebooks that could be downloaded or printed, videos of fingerplays, songs, and how to read to a child, book reviews, tips, advice, all that. I was thinking of offering the ebooks for $2.50 each or a subscription to the site that would allow access to all the ebooks, plus everything else and weekly updates for your child's age for $30-$40/year (maybe $36 or $3/month). The ebooks would be reader style and also coincide with curriculim guidelines for social studies, science or health. There would be 12 of them for each age range/reader level (from ages 6-10) - updated monthly.

My questions:
1. Is this something you think would be useful?
2. Is the price right?
3. Am I leaving out anything?

I sure would appreciate your input. I'd love to offer it all for free, but it involves a lot of work and we really do need some kind of income. If I could get 100 annual subscribers that would probably pay for the amount of work I'd have to put into the readers alone. At least the cost to me would be low. Except for my time the only other thing I might require is a decent digital video camera and an ebook publishing software like adobe. And, of course, the website hosting and maintenance.


Seven Reasons You Might Think I'm Weird

I've been tagged! Yippee. Whoppee! Ye-haw!

I've been sort of feeling sorry for myself because nobody's been tagging me with any of the memes that have been circulating. And then I got three all at once.

So in true procrastinator fashion I'm doing the last first.

Garry (or is it Stephen?) or Him Up North (how many names does this guy have?) has tagged me with the Kreativ Blogger Award.

Not quite sure why we're mis-spelling creative? Can anyone elaborate for me?

Anyhoo. I'm supposed to write seven things you probably don't know about me.

Not sure why that's creative, unless I lie?

Well here goes. Seven things you probably don't know and probably don't want to know and will make you think I'm kinda strange.

1. I used to be a Stripper
Okay boys stop salivating. Not a hoochie-mama stripper, more like a neighbourhood exhibitionist stripper. When I was two and three years old my mother would put me out on the front lawn in my playpen. I'd then proced to strip off all my clothes and my diaper and toss it out of the playpen. I couple times I even managed to get out myself, hide my clothes and run around the front yard naked until one of the neighbours snitched on me informed my mother. Tell the truth I never really outgrew. Childhood photos always show me with my dress skirts up over my head. When I was nine, my father had to inform me it was time I started wearing a shirt. And my husband's uncle once caught me streaking through the house after a shower (dirty bugger didn't even turn his head).

2. I used to be a Hooker
Got you again, didn't I? You're some dirty-minded is all I can say. Hooker was the rugby position I played in high school. Loved rugby. Girl's rugby is a bit different from boys. I can remember being in the midst of a scrum and complimenting the opposing team's hooker on her nail polish. Course I also remember being bloody competitive and rough. Girls are brutal on the sports fields.

3. I was part of a Sting Operation
Yeah, no, nothing so glamourous. I was stung by a Portuguese Man-of-War while snorkelling off the Florida Keys. Actually, silly conk that I am I swam right into it and it wrapped it's tentacles all about me. I pretty nearly drowned as the pain paralysed me to the point I couldn't swim. Two strokes closer to the boat is all I managed and that was just far enough for the captain to hook me out (literally, with a hook). I've been through a total of about 60 hours labour, one c-section, several emergency-room worthy migraines, fibromyalgia, kidney stones, second degree burns, a fractured skull, and several broken bones and the Portuguese Man-of-War is still my 10 on my pain scale.

4. I've two Left Feet
I'm pretty sure I do, literally, you know. Did you notice the broken bones and fractured skull up above? Yes well I've actually fractured the same thumb three times. Fractured three fingers on my right hand and also fractured that thumb in a seperate incident. Three fractured vertebrae in my neck from two separate incidents. I've dislocated my shoulder twice, my hip once, and my big toe. I've torn every muscle on the right side of my body. I have a bump on my leg that's been there since I was 12. I tend to be a little accident-prone . . .
5. I see Dead People
Yeah, so rather go into it all again, just read my comments on NotesfromLapland's Do You Believe in Ghosts. I've also seen fairies, for real, up close. I'll write that story one day. And I tend to have a weird effect on electrical appliances (plus they have a weird effect on me).

6. My Organs are in Weird Places
I first discovered this fascinating fact when hospitalised for some stomach troubles I was having. They were doing one of those barium swallow scans when the technician piped up "When did you have your appendix removed?" "Huh," I answered, "I haven't!" "Oh," he replies with a scrunching of his forehead, another whiz around with the scanner and then a puzzled look. Next thing I know I hear the door closing, didn't even know he had gone out. Shortly after he arrives back with three or four important looking fellows in white coats. They've got another on speakerphone. There's talk of journals and permission forms and photgraphs. Then one of them spots it. Apparently mine is shy, hides behind my colon. My kidneys are funny looking too aparently; my uterus is tilted; and there's something odd with my ribs. Apparently a shy appendix isn't as publication worthy as one missing entirely, so I never did end up in a medical journal.

7. I Know Things I Shouldn't
I don't know, maybe this belongs with "I see Dead People." But anyway - I know things. Call it intuition; call it instinct; call it creepy weird. I'm horrible at remembering names, but on first meeting someone I can sometimes sense things about them - their favourite food, the recent death of their grandmother, whatever. I tend to know if someone's going to die and if it's within the week can tell you how many days. I tend to know if someone's sick too and what they should tell their doctor to look for. I also know about big things. Like Lockerbie (but surprisingly enough not 9/11).

So anyway, there you go. Happy now? Now you know things you shouldn't too.

I've got to tag seven of you now, so:

Entropy Girl
Mad Mom at The Mad House
The Princess at Livi's Little Bubble
Emma at Me,The Man And The Baby
Louise at Wee Wifie's World
Kathryn at Crystal Jigsaw
Audrey at My Mummy Wrote This For Me


My Nanny's Night Terrors

My grandmother had a stroke last month. It's left her virtually crippled. She's dependant on her attendants for eating, changing her soiled "incontinence pads," putting a straw into her mouth so she can drink her water. She can hardly move and has no awareness of the passing of time. Her days are spent dozing and eating and seeing therapists but she doesn't seem to know when day has ended and night has come.

She struggles with sleeping. She awakes a lot, sometimes because she's thirsty, sometime's she's wet herself, many times she's scared and feeling alone and needs to just see a smile and hear a gentle voice, maybe have her hand held for a few minutes while she slips back into sleep.

I visited her last week. She's in a nursing home that seems like a good place. Her nurses, though, were mentioning all the night-time disturbances. So I thought I'd come back and spend the night, comforting her as I could. I anticipated it being fairly difficult as she can't really communicate and I wasn't certain how I would know what she needed if and when she awoke.

I arrived and checked in at the nurses station around 10:00pm. It was now an hour and a half after lights out. The night-nurse was sitting at her desk looking at her computer screen. Over her head a red light was flashing.

"Aren't you going to get that," I asked, watching the light frantically jumping on, on, on.

She had the buzzer sound turned off but she knew what I was talking about.

"No," she replied. "They've all been fed and freshened and tucked up. There's nothing they need."

"What if someone's sick?" I asked, getting alarmed.

"No one's sick. They do this all the time. They just want me to go in and tuck them in again or hold their hand. They're being so manipulative, expecting me to run to them whenever they're a little upset."

"But that's your job," I reply, as a suspicion firmly grounds my stomach.

I run down the hall to my Nanny's room and find her awake and terrifed. Tears are streaming down her face as she frantically pushes her call button. I don't know how long she'd been like that before I arrived.

She can't talk but she's whimpering and making gutteral groans.

It's more than I can bear to hear. My poor grandmother, alone, in the dark, terrified. I don't know what she wants or needs, but I speak to her softly; take the call button from her hands; slip my arms under her head and hold her against me, swaying back and forth to rock her into comfort. When she's calm I may try offering her a sip of water or checking her undergarments to make sure she's not uncomfortably wet.

I feel so angry and frustrated with the nurse for leaving her like this. I push those feelings down so I can concentrate on comforting my Nanny. She doesn't deserve to be so scared and alone. She just wants to be held and comforted and soothed back to sleep.

I hear the nurse enter the room and I try willing her away. But she's persistent.

"She's got her days and nights mixed up," she says. "She'll never learn to sleep properly if you keep coming when she calls. You'll spoil her."

"Get out," I mutter through gritted teeth. "Get out and take your little insights with you!"

Can you beleive it? Can you believe one human can treat another that way? Can you believe the things she said? My Nanny is manipulative and demanding! She needs to be "trained!" She's not a dog, she's a person!

I believe it. I believe it because it's what we tell parents to do to their babies.

I have let my children cry themselves to sleep, but only when I know that the tears are going to be short-lived and are due to tiredness only. If they awake in the night, of course I go to them. How could I not? They need me. They need me for nursing or for comfort or for the knowledge that I'm there.

How can this be wrong? How can any of those things be considered unimportant for a helpless baby? Why do parents who prioritise those needs of their baby over their own needs for sleep or relaxation feel like martyrs who are doing something "wrong."

And no, my grandmother has not had a stroke and this story didn't really happen. But in homes all around the world, a very similar story is happening because some "expert" decided it's important to train children to sleep.

The Most Ridiculous Facebook Conversation Ever

Not feeling up to writing a real post today. So here from my "OMG I have to copy that and save it to use as something someday" MS Word archives is "the most ridiculous facebook conversation ever." That's the filename I gave it and I do believe it's true.
Names have been deleted to protect the stupid. If you recognise one of these comments as yours. Well . . . ummm . . . wasn't me!

Anonymous Ignoramus 1:  is questioning this whole December 21st, 2012 thingy?!?!?

Yesterday at 21:59 • Comment • LikeUnlike

Anonymous Ignoramus 2: That's the first time I heard of it, and I just checked it out. Get ur survival kits and emergency supplies ready! :S
Anonymous Ignoramus 3: whats going on??????!!!!

Anonymous Ignoramus 3 (again): thats on ryans birthday !!! lol

Anonymous Ignoramus 4: what are you talking about AI1?? doesn't sound to good!! Should I get my suit on and be ready for a big emergency?!?!?! :S

Dara Barrett Squires
have you read this one?
That's me trying to send them to some real information so that they would understand the "real" meaning of the Mayan End Calendar. But obviously no one read it.
Anonymous Ignoramus 5:  don't read that...read the bible:)

Anonymous Ignoramus 1: lol I believe what the bible says over science. AI4, scientists say that the world will end on December 21, 2012....but i think it's a load of crap! lol I did not think my status would have this many comments!

Can I just pause here to say:
1.It is not "scientists" that say the world will end. But of course when you're dealing with AIs (Anonymous Ignoramuses or Artificially Intelligents) you'll always run into this science vs. religion debate.
2. The link I provided was very informative and absolutely said that the Mayan's did not predict the world will end, just that the times we live in will end and a "new world order" would emerge.
3. The girl who wrote this does not in any way, shape, or form, have any idea what "the bible says."

Anonymous Ignoramus 4: why would it be over then?? like global warming?? that stuff!! geessss i hates this shit!

Anonymous Ignoramus 4 (again): and where did you read or hear this shit from?? i gotta read up on this girl lol
Obviously she didn't see my memo.

Anonymous Ignoramus 1: my nerves r shot! yea go on youtube theres a load of stuff on there.

I always rely on YouTube for my information needs. Oh yes indeedy!

Anonymous Ignoramus 4: right on!! getting on that asap... why do scientist have to say anyhitng lol.. thought we was getting the samething in 2000

Anonymous Ignoramus 1: apparently it's bigger than that now! but like AI5 said u should just believe in the bible instead of science it makes more sence

I've always loved how the bible makes more sence(sic) than science. I mean it tells me all about the apocalypse in Revelations and that acid trip of a story does not ever mention 2012. So obviously the scientists are wrong.

Oh wait! That's right, scientists have said nothing about 2012, other than that they thought the movie was overated. So it's the Mayan's who are wrong.

Oh wait! Mayan's didn't actually say the world would end. Just the calendar and possible the geo-political atmosphere.

So who's wrong?

Oh wait! I know! All the idiots who can read and yet chose not to take advantage of that wonderful privilege. Obviously their skills are ahead of their intelligence. Upsets me that I've worked with so many learners who's intelligence is ahead of their skills and struggle so hard to read. Then I find people like these who can read, but throw that opportunity away to watch Youtube. Brilliant! Bleeding Brilliant!

If my children grow up to be like this, I'll shoot myself.


From the Mouths of Babes

We've been having so much fun during our visit to Nanny and Grandad's house. I can't get over how much easier it is to get stuff done and enjoy ourselves with just a little extra adult help.

The children are much more relaxed here (probably because Mommy's more relaxed) and able to enjoy the outdoors more - not just because the weather has been mostly cooperating, but because the "outdoors" is right outside their door.

Plus Grandad has built them a great sandbox and there's a bonfire area too!

They've been saying such cute things. Things that seem a little beyond their years but are very indicative of how they're feeling.

Sunday night as she sat on the ground next to the Bonfire Teaghan said:
"Today's is a day I'll never forget"
She sounded so content and yet a little wistful. Like she understands that as she gets older such days will be rarer or her enjoyment of them will be coloured by adult concerns.

Early Monday morning (too early by my count), Harrison crawled into my arms and we snuggled on the couch. We were the only ones awake. He looked up at me, put his hand on my face and said:

"Mommy, I'm going to be a very good boy today."
"Mommy would really like that if you tried hard to be a good boy." I replied.
"No Mommy. I'm not going to try. I am going to be good. All day. Just for you."

Now how sweet is that? I can't believe he already understands the difference between commiting to try something and committing to do something. And you know what? He remembered that promise all day. When his behaviour started getting out of hand I could see him correcting himself - reminding himself of his commitment to be a good boy. It was astonishing to see him behave in such a mature way; he is only five years old after all!

There have been other really wonderful things they've said and stories they've created. Aren't there always? But these are the ones that have stayed with me the most and the ones that caused me pause when I heard them.

It seems now that we're all a little more relaxed, with no school to get ready for or housework (except what I've done to help out my parents and tidy after the children) to do, I'm better able to really listen to what they're saying.

Now if only Emerson would take this advantage to roll out a few new words of his own. He sounds like a guinea pig squealing "see!" all day long! I've been trying to entice a "juice" or "drink" out of him, but nothing doing. He has started saying "Nana," at least. I'm so glad I've gone through the late-talking with my eldest already. Otherwise I'd be incredibly worried about his language development now. There's a large difference in my feelings around Emerson's language development and Harrison's at the same age.

Someone once told me "little kids; little worries. Big kids; big worries." I think they forgot how much we worry when our children are very young.

This little one gives me enough to worry about - he's developed three new spots during the time we've been here. I gave up counting them ages ago, but these new ones are very noticably new. Of course the number of spots and their location are not supposed to be indicative of anything, but a mom still has to worry.

Tommorrow I'll post about what gave me my biggest worry this weekend. But today I wanted to share my utter delight with these children and their burgeoning awareness and abilties.

What have your children been doing to delight or worry you this long weekend?


Hunting that Bunny!

At my parent's house for Easter Weekend. We plan to stay a few days, so blogging may be scarce. Don't take it personally!

My parents live really far back from the road with a lot of land around them and a paved parking lot in front.

My mother is the minister at the Anglican church in the community and the rectory is right next door, at the end of the parking lot.
Out front, all that paved expanse for bike riding thrills the kids!

And at back it faces upon a wooded hill, full of mystery and fun.

Today we went hunting the Easter Bunny. We were well prepared with funny hats and an axe.

First we had to stop and chop a few things. I mean, come on, have axe will chop!

We tryed to stay together in case that Bunny got violent!

But despite our best efforts, we couldn't find that bunny anywhere. Not under the car, either.

We did however, come across the fairy houses we built last year:

Harrison's didn't survive very well, but it didn't look that solid to begin with

The frond roof on Teaghan's had fallen away, but otherwise it stayed up very well

And the one we all three built together, nestled against a mossy rock, well, I'm sure the fairies had just left as we definitely saw some smoke coming from the chimney

At the end of the day, one tired Mommy didn't really want her son snapping her photo, but there you go, look lovely and refreshed from that time outdoors, don't I?

Best part was watching Emerson wandering everywhere, discovering twigs and trees, throwing rocks in window wells, chasing his brother up a muddy slope. He doesn't have this much freedom of movement at home. He took all the wet and mess and a few tumbles too in his stride and didn't stop smiling and squealing the whole time we were out.

How has your family been spending Easter weekend? Hope you're having as much fun as us!


Heaven is Boring - Writing Workshop

"Mommy," my son begins seriously, "I don't want to die. Heaven is boring."

"What do you mean?" I ask

"I don't want to fly around with wings and talk to God all the time. I want to play with my friends and watch movies and chew bubble gum." (watching movies and chewing bubble gum being two things Mommy doesn't let him do as often as he'd like)

"Well, honey, by the time you do die you may feel differently about that."

"When will I die, Mommy?"

"Not for a long, long, long time" I answer - "I hope," I add under my breath.

"But sometimes children die. Right Mommy? You told me."

"Yes honey, sometimes children do die."

"Where do they go?"

How to explain?

What I'd like to tell my son:
I'm not really sure where we go when we die, my sweet boy. According to our religion we believe "in the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting." Does that mean we'll arise whole from our graves, as Jesus did from his tomb?

I don't think so. What I think happens is that our body becomes one with the Earth again. From ashes to ashes. And that essence that created us, the energy that resides in every cell of our body is set free from the earth.

If we are ready to journey on then we may find our unconscious selves joining in with a collective unconscience, in which we are unbound from the pettiness of our human earthly lives and find ourselves in an arena of spiritual exemplitude.

We will become part of the universe and the power that drives it. We will become angels in the truest sense.

If we're a person who has embraced evil in our lives than we won't journey to that plane. Instead we will find ourselves in a cacophany of tormented energy. We will become one with evil and work our power upon the earth in horrible ways.

Amd if we are unable to embrace our journey, we will stay here, the energy that surrounded our death creating a vortex that holds us and haunts as us much as we haunt this plane.

This is what I feel is true. Our body is nothing and we are everything. The choices we make in this life, the power that we allow to rest insde us, the connections we create and nurture are all part of our journey. No one thing will define our future, but the lives we embrace will guide us.

I don't know if this is truly a Christian way of thinking, my dear boy, but this is what I feel when I let my mind go and don't think too hard. This is where my heart leads me.

But he is five years old and all he needs is for Mommy to hold him and reassure him. He needs an answer but is it right for me to give him mine? Shouldn't he find his answer the way I found mine.

So instead I tell him:
"They go where God loves them and makes sure they're happy."

"But Mommy," he whines "I don't WANT wings and to sing all day."

"Then you won't, honey. God won't make you do what you don't want in heaven."

"Will I go to hell?"

"No, sweetie. Hell isn't real. It's like a story." (Curse that Catholic School!)

"Then where will I go?"

"You'll go where God needs you to be and where you want to be."

"Maybe I'll be a guardian angel, mommy. They don't fly around singing, do they?"

"You'd make a great guardian angel, I think."

"I'll have to tell God that's what I want."

"Okay, my love," I say hugging him as tight as his little body allows, "but not anytime soon, okay?"

"It's okay Mommy, I won't be dead for years and years. You'll be very sad when I die, won't you?"

And that's the topic for another discussion: is it horrid to hope you die before your children so that you won't feel that wretched grief and yet by hoping such doom them to grieving you?

This post was written in response to the writing prompts posted by Josie as part of her Writing Workshop at Sleep is For the Weak. This week I chose prompt #3 - Write a story or poem or something descriptive to try and share your view of what happens when we die.

Head on over and check out the responses to this prompt and the others.

But before you go: where will you go when you die?