Oh Daughters


So I have been spending the majority of this blog sharing experiences about my son, life in general, and sometimes both of my kids.  This time around I wanted to dedicate something to my amazing little girl, she is my pride and joy (as well as my son) but she also scares me half to death.

 

I am not sure about the differences in girls and boys but I am certainly learning as I go.  My daughter is 4 years old and I like to say that she will be turning 16 on her next birthday.  She is so sharp and catches onto things so fast it is scary, hence I am scared to death.  For dads dealing with a son is pretty easy, you play sports with them and when they fall down they get right back up because they are supposed to be tough.  Little girls on the other hand are daddy’s little angels and in most cases they know it!!  My daughter is no different, she is absolutely beautiful and the most beautiful little girl in the world in my opinion.  The problem with this is she knows it and she knows she has daddy wrapped around her little finger, no matter how many times I deny it to her LOL!!

 

So for all the dads out there I wonder if you are all in the same boat as me.  I think we are all the same way with our daughters and no matter what happens as they get older they will always be daddy’s little girl.  As they get older they will most likely fight with dad a lot more once boys enter the picture, I sincerely hope that my daughter will forgive me the first time a boy comes to the door and I put the fear of God into him!!  I also hope she is ok with it every other time a boy comes to the door in general!!  

 

Maybe I will relax about these types of things as I get older but as I mentioned before our daughters are our little angels and as their fathers we are supposed to be their protector, friend, and the person they turn to when they need that big hug or shoulder to cry on.  Of course these are roles that all dads should be proud to take on with moms as well, but that protector role seems to be meant for dads.  I remember in my teens when I started dating girls running into those over protective dads and how we feared them and sometimes made fun of them (when they were nowhere nearby of course).  I remember how embarrassed the girls were about their crazy dad, and how their dad’s made seeing boys very challenging to say the least.  Back then I wondered why these dads were like this, and who would have thought it but 20 years later I have visions of myself turning into that dad!!  Oh well I guess the old saying is what goes around comes around!!

 

I just hope that as the years go by that my daughter knows how much her dad loves her and how amazing, beautiful, smart, funny, and great she is.  Part of my job is to constantly remind her of that and I am more than happy to take on that task because as I said before no matter how old she is or what she does she will always be my beautiful little angel.

 

All the best

 

By the way I will be writing another blog shortly as a contributor for parental advice in the Ottawa area.  My first post is in and the site will be going live on September 10th.  I will post the link as soon as it is up and running.

The Importance of Co-Parenting


For a lot of families out there in this day and age life is a lot different than when we were kids.  There are more and more separations, divorces, and single parent families out there than years ago.  This has lead to parents being pushed into parenting their children with their former spouses, now of course this means that these former spouses have to set aside their differences, get along, and be on the same page when it comes to the kids.

I have heard stories of people that could not get past their own relationship issues to be able to be successful at co-parenting their kids and to be quite frank that is not acceptable.  I feel so fortunate that my ex and I have always and will always put our kids first, sure we have disagreements about each other but the bottom line is that when it comes to the kids we are a co-parenting unit.  If she says no to them for something and they come to me thinking they will get a yes out of dad the answer is still going to be no.

A funny story comes to mind about this.  I was on vacation with the kids and my daughter was acting up a bit (being a little on the bratty side which I do not tolerate), so I sent her to her room and told her she could come out once she was ready to start being nice again.  She would try to come out and I would send her back in, she cried, said she hates me, and then started to say in a sobbing voice “Mommy, mommy”.  I opened the door and gave her my phone and said “go ahead call mommy, do you think she would appreciate the way you are acting??”  She went back into the room and eventually came back out ready to be nice again.

So once I get back home and their mom comes to pick the kids up I tell her the story.  To my surprise my ex tells me that when our daughter gets in trouble with her and goes to her room she does the same thing except she says “Daddy, daddy”.  We both cracked up and came to the realization that these kids of ours are testing us constantly and we have to show a united front as parents.  I am so happy to have such a great co-parenting relationship with their mother, we may not have been the right people for each other but we sure to make a great team when it comes to our kids.

I really think that for the good of everyone parents that separate really need to make sure that they can work together as parents.  It is a shared responsibility and your children are going to need the both of you on their journey to adulthood, so no matter how many issues you may have with your former spouse people need to check their issues and egos at the door when it comes to being an effective co-parenting team!!

My Favorite Day


I have to admit it has been a busy and fun summer and I haven’t had much time to spare to write.  The summer has been fantastic for both myself and the kids, the hot weather here in Ottawa certainly helped for sure and the cool breeze we had on our trip in Newfoundland was certainly bit of relief from that heat.

Today is Wednesday and to most that is called hump day, the middle of the week, and so on.  To me it is truly my favorite day of the week, reason being is that it is the day I get to pick up the kids from their mom and spend time with them.  Being in a co-parenting relationship certainly has its perks, you have additional freedom when the kids are with the other parent and of course you have that quality time with the kids when it is your turn.  I have my two with me 50% of the time and love every single second of it.  I am the type of dad that doesn’t want to miss a thing and when my kids are with me there is no event that will tear me away from them (hence I don’t get babysitters).  As far as I am concerned this is our time together, the rest of the world can wait.

I was actually having a conversation with a friend of mine about this today.  While we were chatting she mentioned that not all dad’s have the same attitude as me.  I was quite surprised and a little saddened to hear that, she mentioned that there are dad’s that don’t share my attitude about their kids.  My response to her was quite simple “Those dads are the ones that haven’t yet realized how important the time you have with your kids are”.  There are people out there that manage to find other priorities out there instead of their kids and unfortunately for them in the long run you are only hurting yourself.  You see I have a niece back home in Newfoundland, she is the same age as my son and her mother (my sister) passed away after a long battle with cancer when my niece was just little more than three years old.  She was an amazing person and mom to that little girl (and still is wherever her spirit is), she dedicated herself to her daughter and as I see my kids go through things (first day of school, losing a tooth, etc) as happy as I am to see these things as a dad, as a brother I am sad knowing that my sister who loved her daughter more than anything in the world isn’t there to see her daughter have these experiences.  So for me to hear that there are truly parents out there that take these things for granted, whether for careers, stress, or just plain not having an interest in their child or children I really had to take a step back.  How can that even be possible?  Do they not realize that this could all be taken away from them in an instant??

I guess my reason for sharing this today is the hope that maybe some people read it, some share it, and maybe just maybe it will reach a person that needs to hear it.  You need to hold on to every single special moment you have with those you love especially your children because someday it could be taken away.  So to all the fathers out there, I know most who read this blog have the same attitude as mine, and to those who don’t I hope you can change yours before it is too late, go upstairs right now and hug that son or daughter of yours.  Tell them that their dad loves them more than anything in the world and remember to make everyday your favorite day.

Why toys R Us Why!!


You have to wonder sometimes why the hottest and new toys out there always seem to be out of stock and the only way to find them is to go to the store all the time and hope you get lucky and find them. As most parents out there may have already heard of the latest and greatest game out there these days Skylanders, and as with everything else that comes out for some strange reason there is a shortage of characters for the game.

Now I thought I was ahead of the game with Skylanders, I bought it for my son’s birthday back before the Holiday rush and started getting characters whenever I happened to see some there. As this was happening I thought how great this game was for my son, each new character we would get would have new powers, open up other areas of the game itself and it was fun for all of us to play together.

Let’s fast forward to now, I have taken my son to Toys R Us, Walmart, and any other store that I think may have Skylanders only to see an empty display and a very disappointed little boy on multiple occasions. Then I look online to see if I can find some for him and see lots for sale at double, triple, or even quadruple the price!!! So after seeing this I turned to social media to find out why this is the case, according to Activision (the makers of the game) their distributors are shipping out skylanders weekly and according to the stores I have been to (Toys R Us, Walmart, etc) they hadn’t seen a shipment in three weeks. So who is lying and who is telling the truth?? I had heard rumblings that Toys R Us has been holding back stock for a big release on March 21st and that there would be plenty of Skylanders that day. Well today is March 21st and my parents are in line at Toys R Us in Florida and have been there since 8am (by the way thank you mom and dad for doing this you are the best parents/grandparents in the world) and they have been told that there are 4 different sklyanders in, they have 10 of each in stock, and you are only allowed to buy 1 per customer. I have to say that is just plain brutal!!

Thinking back to a few years ago I remember when the Wii came out, I remember the massive shortage of Wiis, the massive line ups at Toys R Us trying to get one as well as the way overpriced Wiis on ebay. Now you can walk into any store anywhere and there are plenty of Wiis for sale and for very low prices. The question I have is why?? Why is it that when something first comes out you can never find it and once the hype is over they are easy to get??

The answer to this in my opinion is simple, these companies want you in the store. If you have to come in every week to look for something that is not in stock you may buy something else. I get it, but I really think it is going too far now and may start having the opposite effect. I am at the point where I am so ticked off with these companies that if I have no other choice but to go there I will but if I can get what I need to buy elsewhere that is where my future money will go. I think if more people started doing this these companies may just smarten up and stop this strategy of limiting supply to increase demand and these scalper types who buy low to sell high would end up out of business. I read on a blog the other day about a skylander which I bought for $10 was on ebay for $75 and I feel bad for the parent that will end up paying over 7 times the retail price to get this skylander for their son or daughter.

The funny thing about this is the fact that we all know in about 6 months time there will be plenty of skylanders in stock everywhere and they will be easy to get. Unfortunately the next big thing will be out and we as parents will be forced to move heaven and earth to find the next big thing for our kids.

The School System Needs to Grow a Set


What is Going on with Today’s School System

As many parents know, school is not what is used to be.  Back when I was kid the teachers, principals, and school board were authority figures.  If you did something wrong you got in trouble, if you failed a test you failed, if you didn’t pass in an assignment you got a 0%.  The children that were in school back then from what I can see have become mature and responsible adults.  Now fast forward to the present time, what has become of our education system?  It seems like kids are getting worse not better, test scores are dropping, more and more kids are dropping out of school, and bullying and school violence is at its worst.  What could be causing this??

As a parent I actually fear for the future of our children and after having plenty of experience meeting with teachers, principals, and talking with the school board I have come to a conclusion that I believe could be the problem.  The education system has become too soft!!  Kids (and young adults) can do whatever they want in school and get away with it.  Teachers have lost the ability to discipline their students, if a teacher yells at a student now they risk being sued by overbearing and “not my kid” type parents.  Teachers and Principals have been handcuffed by the overprotective education system and the results are scary, kids are doing things now that would have never happened years ago.

Of the people that may read this that are over 30 years old, how many of you ever heard of a kid in your school showing up with a knife or gun?  How many of you ever saw a kid completely trash a classroom and have nothing said to them??  My guess is not too many of you.  Next I would like to ask why didn’t that happen back then?  The answer to that is quite simple, there are a few reasons:

  1. If you did something wrong or were a disruption in class the teacher would have no problem yelling at you, kicking you out of the classroom, or sending you to the office.
  2. Kids actually respected their teachers because they knew full well if they were out of line there would be consequences.
  3. If somebody did something that warranted a suspension they were suspended instantly.

There are other answers as well but they all boil down to the same theme when we were kids the teacher was someone we respected and the principal’s office was a place we were afraid to be sent to.  In today’s society this is certainly not the case, when things like this happen today kids are handled with warm and fuzzy statements while the parents of these children are left wondering why kids are getting worse.

Now many people will read through this and simply state “It is not the school’s job to raise someone’s child.”  While I agree with that statement to a point, there is certainly a counterpoint to this.  How a child is raised and disciplined at home is the parent’s job for sure.  The school has to maintain that consistent discipline while the child is in their care.  If a child is well behaved at home but constantly in trouble at school what is a parent supposed to do?

I spoke recently to someone at the school board about my son, he has been getting into trouble at school and both his mom and I have been trying to figure out why this is happening at school and not at home.  While speaking with the person from the school board, I made a simple suggestion that the staff should not hesitate in raising their voice to my son if he is acting out of line.  The response I got shocked me, I was told that they can’t do that??  They can’t raise their voice to a child??  They can’t raise their voice and say “Stop doing that!!”  I was at a loss for words.

Kids are becoming worse and worse these days, and the soft handed tactics employed by our new and improved education system is a major part of the problem.  As parents his mother and I are doing our part to maintain core values, respect for adults, and respect for authority through the way we discipline our kids at our respective homes and due to a number of different factors the school system seems to be dropping the ball.  The soft and warm “no kid left behind” approach is doing more harm than good for the kids of today; this is a major problem that is going to have negative implications now and for future generations.  If things are this bad now, what is it going to be like for the next generation??

It is high time that the education system grew a set and start putting more focus on discipline as opposed to this nanny like treatment they are giving kids now.  Make if being sent to the principal’s office is something a child would be afraid of and maybe just maybe these children will find the respect for authority that has seemed to disappear over the past decade.  I am not saying it is time to go back to the strap or anything crazy like that, but a teacher or principal should have the ability to raise their voice and be firm with a child without fear of negative consequences.  If we as a society want to stop going down the path of school violence, kids turning to gangs, guns coming to school maybe we as a society have to stop coddling children and start disciplining them both at home and school.  That takes co-operation from the parents, teachers, principals, and school boards.  If this doesn’t happen soon I fear for the future of our children and their children as well.

Letting Kids Float Through

Another very scary trend that seems to be happening in today’s school system is the tendency to just let a child float through the system.  Instead of working with the child specifically it seems that the system will just give a child a pass and send them to the next grade.  Is this doing any good to the children of today?  One personal example of this is my son; he is currently in grade two and from what I can see as a parent the school system is dropping the ball with him.  There are some discipline issues which I believe I have addressed those issues in the previous paragraphs but here are some issues about his education.

On his latest report card he was given a low rating on his reading skills.  The normal reaction to that is to focus on improving these skills so that he can start catching up on his reading skills.  That is what should be happening but it is not, he has had the same two books in his backpack for his homework reading every night since school came back in session in January, both his mother and I have asked on his reading log for the school to put different books in his backpack for reading and it hasn’t happened.  My son has read “My Ponies” and “The Old Truck” so many times now that he could recite it back to me without looking!!!

My son has good and bad days at school which is unfortunate but at home there are never issues.  I have struggled to find out why he can be such a good boy at home (never hits, puts his plates away after meals, and does what he is told, etc) and such a problem at school (runs out of the classroom, says things like “I hate school”, etc).  His mom asked the principal to video tape him so we could see what was going on and we were shocked to see the images.  He would run out of class and instead of bringing him back into the class they simply let him go to another room on his own (supervised by his EA).  So while class is going on and students are learning my son is in another room by himself missing out on the lessons being learned.  Is this helping him??

The more I reflect on this and search for answers the more I find myself coming to the conclusion that no matter what happens at home and no matter how hard parents try the school system is starting to become more of a problem than a helping hand to the children of today.   It seems like instead of working with parents to help a child with disabilities to make sure that child can be the best they can be the schools of today are just content to simply let the child float to the next grade.  That way the child becomes another teacher’s problem and not their problem anymore.  To me that is unacceptable, and part of me thinks that it is not the teacher’s fault but the system’s fault.  I know a few teachers and they have told me that in most cases their hands are tied and there is not much they can do.  They want to help but they can’t for fear of negative ramifications from the school board.  Is this the right way to educate our children??  I certainly hope not because if it is just imagine what our world will be like when the next generation of students become the next generation of our work force, our community leaders, or our politicians.

Good Times and Bad


My apologies for not writing something sooner, it has been a very hectic couple of weeks and I am just now managing to have a few minutes to sit down and write. As I have mentioned in the past life is always filled with good times and bad and in order to survive you have to be able to take the bad with the good.

I have spent a lot of my time focusing on the good aspects in my journey and will always do so but to be fair I have to share some of the bad as well. My partner and I have been together for 8 years or so and a few months back made the decision to separate, the reasons for this are varied and I have been dealing with it in my own way. The challenge with this of course is we have 2 children together and for the past few years my now ex has been a stay at home mom to care for our kids. She is in the process now of opening up a daycare and is slowly but surely getting it running, but due to the financial circumstances we are going to be stuck in the same house for a while. This is not the best situation to be in but right now it is the only option.

This living arrangement has been going on for a few months now and there have been some challenges associated with it. Neither one of us can really move on to the next stage of our lives until there is final closure on this part and when kids are involved you have to be able to deal with things without impacting the kids. I remember hearing a statistic when our son was diagnosed that the divorce/separation rate for parents with a child on the spectrum was 89% and thought to myself “no way would that happen to us”. Apparently I was wrong, not to say that having a child on the spectrum directly caused our relationship to crash and burn because it that is certainly not the case. My thoughts on what brought us to this point were due to a lot of circumstances that were out of our control. We never really had an opportunity to get over the bad and focus on the good, if things were bad we would have to put our own feelings on the back burner to take care of our kids, deal with a family tragedy, or move to different part of the country. As soon as the opportunity came for us to work on us another roadblock would get in the way, so after so many roadblocks I guess my partner reached a point where she felt it was impossible to go back and repair the damage our relationship had taken.

At first I was angry about the whole thing but that eventually changed to worried about the future. How will the kids react to the new living arrangements? What will it be like not having two parents in the same house? What about birthdays, Christmas, school, beavers, etc? These are questions that I can’t really get the answers to until the day that these changes come into effect. Also I have to think of myself, I am 34 years old and about to start over from scratch and that is a really frightening thought. If it is anything like the past few months I am really worried due to the fact that although I have many people around me for some reason I feel alone. Fortunately I have two amazing kids that love their dad and have the amazing ability to brighten up the darkest days.

Birthdays and Halloween!!


The next few weeks will present some very fun times and some frustration. First off the fun times, Halloween and birthdays!! Of course this Sunday will be trick or treating with the kids which is always a blast but also a challenge. With my son’s strict diet most of the candy he gets he won’t be able to eat which is kind of sad. To combat this I try to pick up some candy and chips that he can eat and just switch it out from his treat bag which seems to work well. Both kids are very excited for Halloween and have been putting on their costumes already.

Food is always a challenge when it comes to things like Halloween, birthday parties, school events, and so on. Whenever there is a birthday party my son doesn’t get to eat the cake (has his own brownies or cupcakes brought from home). When he was younger this wasn’t much of an issue but now you can tell that he wants the cake or ice cream that everyone else is eating. Even with school pizza days and hot-dog days this challenge comes up. A note came from school a little while ago and stated that he was the only kid in the class that wasn’t signed up for pizza day. Of course this would make him stand out with his peers and that can be very tough for a kid his age because we all know other kids can be cruel when someone is different. Again though there is a happy ending to this story, his teacher contacted us about this and wanted to help and we worked with them for a solution. For Pizza day the Boston Pizza near the school was nice enough to give us a deal on a package of their Gluten Free pizza crusts that we can leave at the school along with some sauce. So now on Pizza Day he gets to have pizza with all the other kids, which is fantastic. Thanks to this Boston Pizza will be getting my business from now on!!

On the Birthday side of things the kids are very excited and can’t wait to pick out their presents. I think they are both going to have a blast and these is going to be the best Birthdays yet for them. My son was also invited to a classmate’s party next weekend which is a movie party. This should prove to be very interesting as my son has never been to a movie theater before (not sure if he could actually sit still for that long). So to prepare for this I am going to take him to a movie on Sunday to see how he does. I am hoping that he will be able to handle being in the theater and can make it through the whole movie so we will see what happens I guess.

On a side note, from my branch entry.  The branch was finally taken away, so I was overjoyed to see it gone however I came home the other day from work to see a new branch sitting on the front lawn!!!