Take back the outdoors!

A few days ago, a stay at home mom in Canada, was visited by a child welfare agency.  The crime?

She let her kids play in the fenced in backyard.  (find the story here)

Not only was she supervising from her living room, but her oldest is 10 years old (the other two are 5 and 2).  A nosy neighbor,  too busy to be bothered to simply come by and chat with mom, called child protective services.

*Insert world’s longest eye-roll*

What was this anonymous neighbour afraid of?  A scraped knee?  Sibling fighting?  Imaginative play?  These things are all necessary for growing up…Amen?

This story hits close to home, because my kids are in our backyard for hours each day.  Admittedly, we have a very safe fenced in yard, windows running along the whole back wall of our home, and I am always very nearby supervising.  However, I do wonder if neighbours would ever be concerned watching our not quite 2 year old running wild back there with her 3 and 5 year old siblings.

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When I was growing up, I have very fond memories of my mom shooing my sister and I outside until dinner time.  Since I’m a millenial, (click to hear an informative song about millenials) my parents were either very early adopting free-rangers or we were just that annoying.

We currently live in a time and place that is one of the safest in history.  We should not be afraid of our kids getting snatched or getting bumps and bruises.  We should be afraid of our kids being useless because they have never experienced the responsibility of organizing their own play, mastering interactions with others without parental interference and improving physical coordination through free play.

With the current epidemic of obesity in youth and screen addiction, parents and communities should be rallying around children’s rights to access the outdoors, not limiting it!!

My favourite author on this topic is Lenore Skenazy who wrote Free-Range Kids.  She breaks down a lot of the crazy fears that parents share and puts them into perspective.  Mrs. Skenazy also gives many practical ideas of how to prepare your little ones to become an independent grown up at some point, because that’s the goal, right?

Another recent favourite is Julie Lythcott-Haims who wrote How to Raise an Adult. Mrs. Lythcott-Haims is a dean at Stanford for undergraduate students, and a parent herself.  In her book she breaks down our current culture of overparenting.  Readers learn about why parents these days are helicoptering over their children and how North American parents compare to our international peers.  The book also teaches strategies to help our children become independent adults.

Reading these books really inspires my husband and I to give our children more freedom.  We want our children to gain creativity by making up their own games, and finding fun on their own when they are bored.  We want our kids to have disagreements, and learn how to problem solve and work as a team.  We want to give them enough space that they can experiment with different activities and figure out what works, what they like doing and what inspires them.

However, hearing stories like this one, causes us not to fear for our children’s safety, but of overly nosy neighbours and children’s services.  At what point should a government be allowed to interfere with parental rights?

We will continue to let our children play in the backyard.  Do you dare to let your kids into the backyard?  *horrified gasp*

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You cannot make this stuff up!

I am offering the vacation of a lifetime!

I am offering a no-sleep guarantee.  If you want more than 3 hours of sleep, we will require a deposit of an angry crying infant, extra loads of spit up and dried breast milk laundry.

On occasion, we even offer a bodily fluids extravaganza tour, complete with explosive diarrhea and vomit on clothing, walls, carpet, nooks and crannies of furniture and of course you.

The bathrooms are state of the art, and not to worry, you will be accompanied on each and every visit to do your business (non-optional).

At no extra fee, you will benefit from extra shiny skin and hair, from not showering… ever.  Also, at no extra fee, we offer a detox program, called “post-partum hormone crying for no reason”.

We offer a very relaxing spa experience, where we offer an infant continuously biting, squeezing and hanging off your breasts.  Not to mention the wonderful upgrades that will be taking place in your nether regions.

I cannot fail to mention our out-of-this world dining experience, which features never having a chance to eat when you are hungry, and not having time to prepare what you would like to eat, when you can.

….. fun?

Well, according to Meghann Foye, it is completely unfair that mothers get to have a leave from work to have time to themselves.  She complains that women who do not have children do not get to partake in this glorious vacation experience, and should get their own “Meternity

Sorry if you just choked on your coffee!!

Having children is an amazing experience, and I am so thankful to be able to spend this time with them.  But, never have I ever described my time with my little people as a vacation.

….of course she has just released a book…. you can find it here, Meternity
… I wish this woman all the best in her quest… and I hope she gets to enjoy a maternity vacation in the near future. *winky face*

What was the highlight of your “Maternity vacation”?

Meternity

(Picture taken from amazon.ca)

 

If you give my mouse his cookie…

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He will ask for Books! Books! Books! We love books! ….and cookies. And if you can combine them, around here, that’s a winner.  We’ve been reading If you give a mouse a cookie, and my little guy just loves it.  He now references the book in his every day play, “if you give me a peanut butter sandwich, I might ask for some jam… and if you give me some jam.  I might ask for some chocolate”.  (because in his mind, everything leads to chocolate).  If you aren’t familiar with the book, a mouse asks for milk, which leads to asking for a cookie, which leads to a mirror, which leads to a haircut, and on and on.

I know I’ve already mentioned our love for Sonlight’s preschool program. But I must say it one more time. How many programs include baking and eating cookies as part of the curriculum??  Cookies are not the only benefit we’ve been seeing.  Even though Caleb can’t read yet, you’ll often find him snuggling in a corner with a book and his little sister has been copying him.  She carries around books she likes, and will ask us to read at every opportunity.

Elise has also recently decided she doesn’t want to miss out on story time, and instead of wandering off to play with other toys, she’ll get up on the couch to hear the stories.  We’ve started reading her some of the simpler stories from the beginning of Caleb’s curriculum, like Goodnight moon, which she almost knows by heart.

 

Beach reading!

These days, I’m having trouble remembering what I’m doing, as I am doing it.  So, finding a book that is interesting enough to keep me captivated is quite a challenge.  I’ve started a few books, only to put them back down within a few chapters, which is unusual for me, I’m a book addict!

These are my most recent favourites, mostly fun, easy breezy reads, that’ll keep you thinking about the plot while you’re changing diapers and tickling toddlers.

1.minding frankie

 

2.jane green

3.sarah's key

 

1. Minding Frankie, by Maeve Binchy, is not a complicated plot by any means.  It’s a sweet story about a “surprise” baby, with some plot twists and well thought out characters.  You’ll be rooting for the underdog, and end up liking the bad girl.

2. Family Pictures, by Jane Green, another easy breezy read.  If your husband works and travels a ton like mine… it’ll definitely keep your interest.  I was able to finish this book easily in three days… because I kept going back to read just a little bit more.

3. Sarah’s Key, by Tatiana de Rosnay, is an amazing book, but does not fall into the easy breezy category.  It is a story of french jews during the holocaust.  There are very graphic descriptions of horrible conditions and events.  But the story is well written, and if you’re keen on historical fiction, this might be a hit with you too.