Sunday, 22 September 2013

Kind caring men who can bake pies

Friday after school I asked Deaglan how he did when it was his turn to tell the class how his parents had chosen his name.

We’d practiced the story the night before, how originally he was going to be named Patrick after Daddy (Shaune’s first name is Patrick) and Great Grampa but then Daddy decided that he needed his own name and after disappearing into the basement for 20 minutes to consult with Google, came back with the name Deaglan – pronounced like the more common version Declan but spelled the Celtic way. After I pared the story down a few times, we settled on this version: Daddy found my name on the computer. Mommy loved it. My middle name is William after my Grampa.

“I didn’t get a turn to talk about my name but I told everybody that my Mom is from Bangladesh.”

I’m always surprised when he mentions something about my childhood to other people. I don’t talk about it all that much and when I do I’m careful not to overwhelm the kids with too many stories. It’s a fight in me that I will never resolve. On the one hand I am desperate to teach them that they were born into this abundant life not because they are more deserving than the millions of kids who were born into severe poverty, but by chance. And yet I am acutely aware that belaboring my point for any length of time could have the opposite effect so I choose carefully when to bring it up.

More than anything, I want to raise kind caring men who are aware of the inequality that is so common in our world. I also want them to be happy. I want them to find good partners and good jobs and be surrounded by good loving friends. I want them to care about the world and contribute to making it better.

I also want them to live on the same street as Shaune and me for all of their live long days and provide me with a handful of grandkids.

But that’s a whole other post.

Deaglan told me that he couldn’t remember why he told everybody where I was from but everybody had lots of questions that he couldn’t answer. I made an excited mental note to show him again where Bangladesh is on the globe. But because the moment had presented itself, I took out the letter we’d recently received from one of the girls we sponsor.

Keerthana is the same age as Deaglan so we had a  wonderful discussion about the differences of being in grade one in Canada and Sri Lanka.

Today Shaune took the kids to the apple orchard  and taught them how to bake a pie.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

60 one hundred lasterdays

If I’m going to be completely honest, I’ve resisted just about every new phase of parenting.

There was that initial few months with the first new baby where a part of me couldn’t help but think – this is a bloody nightmare, and though the strength of this sentiment eventually rounded and fuzzied itself out in my heart and mind, there was still a fair bit of swearing under my breath when both kids began crawling, and then again when they needed to be toilet trained and weaned from the things they didn't want to give up.

I almost always trip a little when my sense of control is challenged.

Three years ago when Deaglan first started skating lessons, I again felt light-headed at the thought of spending every Saturday morning of that winter shivering behind dirty glass watching him fall and then get up, fall and then get up.

Each fall a physical blow as if to my own body.

We’re a bit seasoned now, two skating sessions and three years of soccer under our belts, some baseball and swimming too. And so it should be no surprise to you that this weekend we entered into that rite of passage so many Canadian families enter willingly – we suited up our skinny kid, handed him a stick and hoped for the best as he slowly made his way onto the ice. We again stood watching and cringing and this time I saw Shaune vomit a little in his mouth when a more experienced parent mentioned that the hockey season includes every Saturday and Sunday right into March.

I was tempted to weep that hockey would rob us of any overnight weekend plans but then I remembered how we felt at the end of this last soccer season: A part of something with the other parents. We all cheered our kids and the kids on the other teams; we didn’t care about goals and winning. By the end of the summer all of us parents knew all the kids’ names, cared for them as if they were our own, unwrapping granola bars and wiping chins, bringing extra treats for the younger ones that weren’t old enough to play.

This morning Naveen came into our bed and asked if we were going to the hockey balrena like we did lasterday. I squeezed my eyes shut tight. A few minutes later Deaglan crawled in, cuddled up close to me and whispered I love you Mom, I love you 60 one hundred times around the world. You’re the best mom a kid could want even when you’re mad at me. For no reason whatsoever.

I sunk into acceptance. What else was I going to do this early on Sunday morning?

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Teachable moments

The best part of my summer was having Shaune at home.
A home feels complete and balanced when one person is allowed to focus solely on it and the kids while the other person can focus solely on work. And if the working person takes on some of the routines in the evenings and weekends, well then you really have something. I tried to imagine a more ideal scenario but couldn’t.
Okay, that’s not completely true.
Ideally we would have someone come in to cook and clean. And iron. Oh, and run through sight words with Deaglan a few nights a week because I’m learning that I’m just not cut out for the patience it takes to teach a little person how to read. Come to think of it, I could also use a hand doing my hair in the mornings. I’ve painted myself into a corner with this new cut and frankly, I’m exhausted. So is the blow dryer and straightener.
I worked from home yesterday so I could be flexible for the first day of school. Both kids did great and I think, so did Shaune. He said it was surprising how much more respectful and not mouthy the teenagers are when they know you’re their full-time legitimate teacher versus just a supply.
One of the educators at Naveen’s daycare asked me if I was sick. Before I could answer, she continued by clarifying that she was only asking because my face looked tired and swollen. That’s likely the last time I’ll make eye contact with her. Coincidentally, I’ve looked into the curriculum for the Early Childhood Education program over at the college. I’m seriously thinking about lobbying to make Social Skills 101 mandatory in the first year.
Unfortunately I don’t know when I’ll find the time.
It’s five in the morning and this is the only time I could find to update my blog. I did however, remember to take a picture of the kids yesterday. I even made a sign. I also reminded both of them that they were to listen to their teachers and be good and kind people. 
I thought hard about reminding Naveen again that he was not allowed to say “What the fuck”, but decided against it. I think I made my point the day before. I’d even patted myself on the back when Deaglan piped in to really cement my teachable moment. In a wise older-brother way, he told Naveen that those kinds of words were pretty bad and that he had to wait until he was a teenager to be able to use them but even then he could only say them to himself or his friends. Never teachers. Never bosses. And never ever to Mommy and Daddy.
It’s nice when you can witness first-hand the fruits of your parenting labor. Don’t you think?

I don't even know why I bother to ask them to smile. Naveen decided that this was his new "cweepy, picture face."

I also found these pictures on the camera.

Deaglan lost his first tooth and got five bucks from the Tooth-fairy. I don't see any hopes of us becoming a single-income family any time soon. Five bucks!

If Shaune isn't thinking about us or work, then he's thinking about Hallloween. I'm not sure when he took this but I'm not surprised. Both my boys have inherited the "Halloween should be a national holiday" gene. Naveen could imitate a Zombie even before he could fully pronounce his own name. My husband was never more proud.