Just Keep Swimming


So as I was going through Facebook the other day a friend of mine posted her status “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming!  Dory had it right”.  I have to say after the past few weeks I would have to agree with her (both my friend and Dory).  It has certainly been a challenging few weeks both in the media and on a personal side but as our lovely Finding Nemo friend reminds us “Just Keep Swimming”.

 

First off in the news the past few weeks we have been shocked and saddened by a few stories such as the events that unfolded last night in New York when a mother came home to find that her Nanny had killed her two kids and herself.  A fellow blogger I know wrote a post about it this evening and I felt that instead of me writing about it you should read her take by copying and pasting this link:

http://loulousviews.blogspot.ca/2012/10/unspeakable-horror.html?spref=tw

 

On a more personal note I have been dealing with a few issues with my son and myself (I am currently in a cast for the next 4 to 6 weeks with a fractured bone and sprained ankle and really not too happy about it) recently.  My son has been having some issues at school and it got serious enough that I had to go and get him from school on Wednesday and his mom had to go and get him on Thursday.  The challenge with trying to get to the root of the problem with my son is that he really doesn’t tell you much and I say sometimes that getting information out of him is like pulling teeth.  I certainly worry about this because as he gets older he is going to face tougher challenges and how he learns and adapts are going to determine the person he is going to become as he gets older.  Both his mom and I work very hard with him and we of course will continue to do so, fortunately we are working with the school and his EAs and they really do seem to care for him and want him to be a success.

 

He will have his good days and bad days and we are getting pretty good and knowing when the bad days are going to happen.  For example on Thursday I knew it was going to be a bad day, I dropped the kids off at the school for the before school club and everything was fine.  As I was heading towards work I looked and saw that my daughter left her princess water bottle in the car, so I headed back to the school.  When I got there I see my daughter crying and discover that my son and her were playing a game and she knocked over his cups and he retaliated by knocking over her’s and happened to hit her at the same time.

 

I took my son for a walk outside the school to talk to him about what happened and kind of give him a restart to the day.  That worked perfectly!!  He was happy and ready to go back in and play with his Lego, then tragedy struck.  He ran towards his Lego and banged his hip right off of a desk and hit the floor, again I ran in and brought him out to the school kitchen and put an ice pack on his hip and tried to calm him down.  Again he was calm and ready to face the day, but I knew full well with so much chaos starting off his day something was bound to happen at school.  I called their mom and gave her the heads up and sure enough he had a melt down halfway through the day.

 

So today was a bit of a better day but overall it has been a very rough week for him, so keeping in the theme of my title I am going to take this weekend and have a reset with my son and daughter.  I decided to treat the kids to Ray’s Reptile Zoo tomorrow and go shopping for birthday gifts.  I am figuring that will be a fun filled day and should give my son the much needed reset he needs so that he can keep swimming next week at school.

 

There are always going to be challenges to face with both my son and daughter over the years and that is what parents sign up for and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  The secret to surviving it is to enjoy the good and get through the bad and learn from it.  Each challenge we face makes us stronger if we let the negative get us down we will never be able to enjoy the positives we see in life.  So Dory may not have realized it but those simple words “Just Keep Swimming” are actually really good advice!!  Keep the positives in your mind, work through the negatives, and always know if you just keep swimming you will get to that happy destination you are looking for!!

 

All the best!!

What is the World Coming To?


So like most people today I learned about the story of Amanda Todd.  As I read through the various news reports and watched the video that this girl had put together I couldn’t help but feel such a deep sadness.  That sadness has slowly turned to anger towards the people that put this child in this situation in the first place and then fear for my own children.  Is this what the future has in store for my son or daughter?  Will things ever get better or is the worst yet to come?

 

Over the past few years it seems that bullying and cyber bullying has come to the forefront and is well documented and known to the world.  We hear about these sad stories both in the US and Canada, and we have some great campaigns such as the nomorebullies which started here in Ottawa.  The Ontario Government has passed legislation aimed at fighting this epidemic that has already caused so much damage and taken too many young lives too soon.  The problem with all of this is that the more attention this topic gets the worse the stories seem to become.  What are we supposed to do to make this issue go away?

 

Every one of us growing up probably had to deal with a bully, so many people have the attitude that it is part of life and you just have to suck it up and get through it.  Back when the worst that would happen to you was that you got a few wet willy’s, a charlie horse, or maybe at the worst a black eye or a bloody nose, sure I can buy into that it is part of growing up.  The problem is that this is no longer the case, as society has changed and become more desensitized to violence, sex, and drugs today’s youth have to deal with ten times the amount of trouble that we had to deal with when we were their age.  In the age of social media, the bullying not only happens at the schoolyard it follows our kids home!!

 

I read another story about a boy in the US this week that was about to do an interview with a local news channel about standing up to bullies and while they were preparing for the interview and cameras were rolling a few bullies literally came up and attacked this brave boy right in front of the reporter!!  Most of the assault was caught on tape and yet these bullies had absolutely no fear of the repercussions for their actions.  They didn’t care that there was a news camera rolling!!  I was absolutely blown away by what I saw and read and I wondered to myself “What happened to the days when kids respected authority?  What happened to the days when you would be afraid of what would happen if you did something wrong?”

 

I really don’t want to sound like one of those old school, hard line people but I really feel that something has gone wrong when it comes to discipline with the kids of today.  Kids have no fear, they know that they can’t be touched for doing something wrong, and if they don’t have the moral compass needed to determine right from wrong we end up with the bullies of today.  They don’t care if the teacher sees, they don’t care if the police are called, they don’t care if their parents find out, and as long as they can beat up or harass their victim they are going to do so without remorse.   I see what is happening today though the stories like Amanda Todd and I wonder what it is going to be like for my kids as they get older.  They are in their first few years of school I have never been so afraid of what the future could bring.  Could I end up seeing one of my kids in the hospital?  Could I see one of my kids in tears at night looking at a phony facebook page?  Or worse, could I see one of my children making a similar video?  I can only hope and pray that I give my kids the confidence and strength they will need to deal with the challenges they are inevitably going to face, because unless something dramatic happens soon there will be no avoiding the bullies out there and the tactics are only going to get worse.

 

So what are we as parents supposed to do?  How can we put an end to this epidemic once and for all?  There is plenty of awareness out there now but these things are still happening everywhere!!  I personally think that there has to be a way, there has to be a way to take the schoolyard, parks, and streets back from the bullies.  It is just a matter of finding it, and I hope we find it soon. 

 

I had written a post awhile back about the school system needing to take a stronger and more aggressive stance towards discipline and I certainly stand by the statements I made in that post.  I also feel that parents need to step up to the plate and take a firmer approach when it comes to keeping our kids in line.  In most cases parents have become too soft on our kids (I can say I have been guilty of this from time to time as well), but for the most part I am very strict but fair with my kids.  I really think that the only way to get through to the kids is through the parents, maybe if the parents of the kids that are bullying are identified and embarrassed enough they will take the hint and work getting their kids back onto the straight and narrow.  Maybe if there is a 3 strike and you are out policy at school and the parent has to take time off work to stay home with their kids or find them a new school that will take their kid they will realize there is a problem that needs to be addressed.

 

I know from personal experience with my son that when there has been an issue at school with hitting or anything I am so worried about him getting kicked out of a program I am at the school or camp in a heartbeat trying to work with them to come up with a solution.  My son has had the odd issue with hitting but his mom and I never ignore the problem and work side by side with the schools and camps to find a solution to the issue and use appropriate discipline and have been successful in doing so.  Are we strict with our son and daughter?  Yes, and we are consistent at both of our houses.  If they are in trouble and not allowed to do something at mom’s the same rules apply at dad’s.

 

Overall I have to say that the saddest part about the fact I am writing this post tonight is that I had to hear about a poor young girl, who could have had so much potential in life had to take her life to get me to write this.  This story and others like it are too much to bear and we as a society need to find away to work  together with parents, kids, schools, politicians, police, and everyone that can help to find a way to put a stop to this.  I hope and pray that Amanda’s life and the others before her can at least teach us the valuable lesson that bullying is wrong, no child should have to endure what these kids have had to go through, and no child should ever be put in a situation where they feel there life is worthless.

 

I hope and pray that someday there will be no more children taking their own lives because of the cruelty of someone else.

 

Rest in Peace Amanda Todd, I never knew you but something tells me I will never forget you.

 

 

 

What a Week!!


Well to quote my title what a week it has been!! First off I want to acknowledge the successful launch of the the CHEO blog for moms and dads. This is a blog that has so many fantastic contributors, writing fantastic posts for parents in the Ottawa area and I am so happy and honored to be included with these great bloggers. You can see the blog at the following link cheomoms.com and find myself and some other great people contributing their stories and advice for you to enjoy and learn from.

I also had the honor and privilege to see two of the happiest and nicest people I know celebrate their third anniversary together and to the surprise of one of them we got to share in a great marriage proposal (which of course was accepted). As I mentioned before this couple has to be one of the nicest and happiest couple I have ever met. They are the type of people that no matter what the issue, what is going on, wherever you are, if you need them they will answer the call and never hesitate to do so. They are also two people that I am proud and honored to call friends.

Watching this couple evolve and go through the ups and downs of the modern relationship has been a learning experience for me. In this day and age most of the people that get together have a much different set up than years ago, you see the majority of couples that are out there now may have former spouses, children, and a host of other things that the old traditional family didn’t really see. When people get together now in a relationship there are a lot of factors to consider compared to the past and with that comes questions that need to be answered.

When should I introduce my kids to this person?

How will this person be once we have committed ourselves to a relationship?

Will we be able to accept the new roles as step parent?

Do we have the same attitude and values towards parenting?

There are so many other questions and this list could go on but I am assuming you get the picture. The problem with these questions is that there are no easy answers, and I personally think that you have to learn as you go and sometimes mistakes can be made. Fortunately life is a learning experience and although all of the answers may never present themselves the lessons learned will make a person stronger and smarter.

To go back to my friends, I have seen them go through the ups and downs and each time they have learned from the experience and their bond has gotten stronger through each challenge they have faced. They both have children from previous marriages and have done an amazing job of working together with all of the children and have managed to be able to co-parent as well (with the odd issue but it seems to work out for the best).

So my final note to these two amazing people, congratulations. I couldn’t be more happy and more proud of the both of you (I also can’t wait for the wedding, it will be a blast). You both have found what so many people look for in life and you will make an amazing husband and wife combination.

All the best 🙂

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!!