Step mom hugs

July 31, 2009

When I dropped one of my kids this morning at camp, I got to chatting with another mom — we of course began talking about the heat, then went from there. Since we were enjoying our chat, I waited for her to say goodbye to her kid and then walked back to the cars with her. What surprised me, though, was that she turned out to be the stepmother, yet she still got hugs and kisses at the goodbye.

I don’t even get hugs when dropping off my own kids half the time, and here was a step mom getting them. I think that’s so lovely!

I’m a stepmother myself, although my stepson is grown now and doesn’t do vistation anymore. And our situation was hardly normal. However, I never did the hugs and kisses thing with my stepson. So I guess I’m jealous, but also touched. It’s lovely to see a stepmother (she said she’s been his stepmom since he was 3) who can have such a happy relationship with her partner’s child.

It gave me a warm fuzzy this morning. Of course, my mood is greatly improved now that the weather has cooled a bit too.


Hot, hot heat

July 29, 2009

I am cranky from the heat. My husband is super cranky because he can’t sleep in the heat. The kids, surprisingly, are not very cranky from the heat, although maybe they’re just too withered from the heat.

I know we’ll all regret bemoaning the heat once the cold weather returns, but why can’t it be lovely during the day and cool and breezy at night?

How are you coping with the humidity and hot weather? Im considering checking us into a motel for a night just to get a cool, air-conditioned night sleep.

Are my kids Generation Z?

July 27, 2009

I read Douglas Copeland‘s novel Generation X when I was in my 20s, and it really put a fine point on all the angst, anger and alienation I’d been feeling my whole life living in the shadow of the boomers. It defined my generation for me, and gave me such clarity about my life.

Now that I’m a middle aged, parenting Gen Xer, I observe subsequent generations with a more detached view. I know now that not everyone is defined as easily as I felt Generation X defined me. Still,  I do find generational definitions have some merit. Like the way Generation Y is defined as having strong egos and an endless supply of self-esteem.

My favourite example of this was an episode of American Idol (which someone of course pointed me to on youtube back when) when a really bad singer had her tryout on one of the early episodes. The judges told her she couldn’t carry a tune and should stop trying to force her singing on anyone. She left the room head held high and told the camera “I don’t care what they say. My parents always encouraged me to believe in myself. I know I’m good” or something to that effect. Gen Y grew up with their boomer parents constantly feeding them positive self esteem to the point that these kids had their cups running over with it.

Anyhow, that’s old news now. Gen Y has grown up, and they’re becoming parents now too. They are learning humility to go along with esteem, just like we Gen Xers learned humility to along with the chips on our shoulders.

But whither Generation Z? That apparently is the moniker given to the next group of kids, which according to some demographers includes my kids, born in the early 2000s.

I read a column today by one of my favourite bloggers, Penelope Trunk, called What Generation Z will be like at work. She says that Gen Z kids will not be team players (that’s my youngest!), will be more self-directed (my youngest again), will process information at lightning speed (my oldest for sure and possibly my youngest) and will be smarter (both my kids, but of course I say that, they’re my kids!) than Gen Y. So perhaps my boys are smack in the definition for Generation Z. I hope they won’t grow up bitter like my Gen X gang, nor self-absorbed like some Gen Ys tend to be (Please don’t flame me. You know it’s true!).  Of course, considering the back talk my older one has been exhibiting the last couple weeks, maybe he’s still in the Gen Y cohort. Or not.

Are your kids heading towards the definition (so far) of Generation Z? Or is it too soon to predict what our kids will be like as adults. Discuss.

A night alone

July 24, 2009

Last night hubby and I had the house to ourselves. The boys’ day camp took both of them on an overnight, so from 9:30 Thursday until 3:30 Friday, we were free of children. For a couple without family around to take the kids for us, this was huge!

But of course we had to work, so we didn’t really get to take advantage until late afternoon. But then we did. We went out, we went for a walk, went for drinks, went for dinner, then went to a baseball game. With no kids. And we didn’t have to race home for a sitter.

But the best part, of course, was this morning. We slept in. Okay, we only slept in about 20 minutes later than usual, but I think it’s the first time we’ve been able to do that in years.

I hope the boys had fun on their overnight, because I know we did.

He read the book — should he see the film?

July 20, 2009

My eight year old is a very good reader. He just finished grade two, and in French Immersion at that, but this summer he’s jumped his (English) reading level to serious chapter books.

I have always known he’d be a reader. As a baby and toddler, he loved stories. Any stories. If anyone was reading aloud, he was there listening. At five, if someone was reading a baby book, he’d stop. He was sounding out words before kindergarten, and able to slowly push his way (with help) through easy Dr. Seuss going into grade one, but somewhere at the beginning of grade two, it all really gelled.

He was reading all the time. As in me shouting “Get your nose out of that book and go do (fill in whatever activity he needed to get done, like homework, practice piano, brush teeth, eat breakfast…).” He was reading the same level of books by midway through the school year in both English and French. These were short chapter books, like Junie B Jones, Magic Tree House and Geronimo Stilton adventures. By the end of the school year, if we went to the library, he’d come home with about 20 books and next week do the same thing. His English reading is now better than his French, but then it’s summer, so he’s not really reading French a lot right now.

I have always read a lot to my kids. When my first was a baby, I took him to a Mother Goose program, where we learned rhymes and songs, but where where the children’s librarian who ran the program told me my baby could have his own library card and that kids’ cards had no fines on them. So we began with books very early. And as my boys got older, I started reading chapter books to them at bedtime (one chapter a night). We are currently reading Sunwing, the second book in the Silverwing trilogy, and recently finished The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe. My rule is that I’ll read the first two books in any series, but after that they’ll have to read the rest of the series themselves.

Turns out it was a great idea I had. Because I read the first two books in the Harry Potter franchise to my kids (I re-read it to my younger kid, but of course my 8-year-old listened in — see above). And my eight year old decided last year that the summer after grade two, he’d read the third. I thought it would take him all summer to get through that book, so it seemed like a great project.

Well he read the book in four days. And has now read the fourth Harry Potter book. And now I have a dilemma.

I believe that he’s old enough to read these books, even though they are probably more appropriate for a 10-12 year old. He’s pretty mature, for starters, and what he gets out of these stories is at a level appropriate for him (we grownups get other stuff out of it, but the kids enjoy it at their own understanding). But does that mean he’s old enough to see the films?

In BC, the Harry Potter films are rated PG. I’ve seen them all (not the new one yet), and think they might be too dark for an eight year old, and that perhaps I should make him wait a couple years. Or should I? If he can handle the book just fine, can he handle the film?

This dilemma will likely continue to haunt me, since he’s obviously reading above his age level, and so many great kids books are being made into PG films.

What do you think?

Deadlines and self-employment

July 17, 2009

I think the summer is my favourite time to be self-employed and in control of my own schedule. Especially on Fridays. I usually don’t have a tonne of work on Fridays in summer (having slaved all week), so I can take it easy.

During the school year I find Fridays to be a tough day for work, with lots of deadlines, but in the summer, it seems like all my clients take it easy and no one is around Friday afternoons. Friday mornings, sure. I get lots of summer deadlines for Friday mornings. But Friday afternoon, everyone seems to be on the golf course or at the campground.

And this is one of those that summers that so far, I’m not freaking out about how much work I do or don’t have, so I am trying to really enjoy my Fridays. Today we’re leaving at lunchtime for a getaway. And this morning, all I need to do is pack and send out my e-newsletter for Movies for Mommies.

And no deadlines. Gotta love Fridays!

Spontenaity and kids

July 16, 2009

I think I am a spontaneous person. At least, I used to be spontaneous. Summers were always great for last minute things. Heading to a patio because it was hot. Going camping because we had no plans and the weather was good.

Even after we had a baby we were still semi-spontaeous. Okay, we had to spend an hour or more packing the trunk with portable cribs, strollers, food, diapers, and on and on. But we went on last-minute excursions, I think.

Somewhere in the past few years though, I’ve lost my last-minute-ness. It’s too much effort planning food, clothes, schedules and activities for four people (since you know hubby leaves it all to me!), so I’d rather take fewer get aways, fewer outings. I prefer the comforts of home so I don’t have to worry about what the kids will do when we’re out.

Well now we have two school-aged kids, and I’m trying to regain some spontenaity (gee, I hope I’m spelling that word right since I’ve used it so much!). I recently proposed a weekend getaway on one day’s notice, and the rest of my family stared at me in shock that I was the one to suggest it.

I still have to plan food, activities and packing for all four of us, but with only clothes to pack and kids who can eat at regular restaurants, it’s a lot less of a hassle. And while I know the kids will be sleep-deprived and a getaway won’t be as unplanned as the olden days B.C. (before children), I am proud to be regaining some sense of my old last-minute self.