Posts By: Guest Blogger

Parental Vs Halloween Lessons

By Lisa Van Meeteren

Halloween and I have a somewhat rocky relationship. While there are things I like about it (Halloween candy, bit of a love/hate there really, coming up with Halloween costume ideas for my kids, and putting up Halloween decorations) there are parts of it that I find downright confusing.  You see I’m confused because while Halloween is a holiday for children, some of the messages it sends to kids (especially toddlers) are crazy messed up in my opinion and pretty much negate all the parental lessons I’ve tried to instill. Read on to see if you agree….

Photo via: SheKnows

 

Parental Lesson #1: Candy is bad for you so you shouldn’t eat too much at one time.

Halloween Lesson: Fill up a bag with enough junk food to feed a third world country and then spend the rest of the year begging your parents to eat it.

When my kids were toddlers they thought raisins were candy. That is one “trick” that was blasted by Halloween.  For the entire month following Halloween they are so hyped up on chocolate that I could probably plug them in and run all of our electronics.

 

Parental Lesson #2: Don’t take candy from strangers.

Halloween Lesson: Go out in the dark and knock on as many strangers’ doors as you can.

Do I have to say anything else here? Whatever happened to stranger danger? I tell my kids to stay off of other people’s properties and not to approach strangers. I also teach them that if something looks or feels suspicious it probably is…and on Halloween I’m saying, “Run up to that house with the statue with a knife sticking out of its head and ring that bell, honey!”

 

Parental Lesson #3: Do not watch scary TV shows because it will give you nightmares.

Halloween Lesson: Let’s see as many freaky things as we possibly can and reassure you that it’s okay.

I work hard year round to make sure that the shows my kids watch on television are appropriate and was especially vigilant about this when they were little. I made sure they were exposed to shows and images full of rainbows, love and sunshine so they wouldn’t have nightmares. Then on Halloween night I walk my children past Halloween decorations that consist of severed heads, and skeletons with their eyes popping out, soothing them by saying things like, “Oh, look at the funny guy!” When what I really should be saying is, “Children, if you see a guy with a knife sticking out of his head in real life, you run like Forest Gump on Jolt Cola and don’t look back.”

 

Parental Lesson #4 It’s not nice to play tricks on people.

Halloween Lesson: Yell trick or treat and watch adults play tricks on innocent toddlers!

Kids love to play tricks on people and as a parent is it my job to tell them not to, that it’s simply not nice. So enter Halloween, where adults are constantly playing tricks on kids. There is always one guy on the street who didn’t get to live out his childhood fantasies or who shares a sense of humour with your five year old and can’t wait for Halloween to express himself. Usually this person gets dressed up like a stuffed scary dude staying creepily still until your child nears the door and then jumps out at them. This “trick” nearly put me in therapy when I was six.

 

So that’s it. The ways Halloween contradicts everything I’ve taught my kids so far. But here is another contradiction…I still like it. I still think is a time to get together with the neighbours, let your kids have fun and overindulge, and I guess since it’s a holiday then that part makes perfect sense.

 

What do you think? Do you agree? Do you think Halloween is confusing for toddlers? Do you have any experiences, kid Halloween movies, or healthy Halloween treats to share?

 

About the Author

Lisa Van Meeteren is the mother of two children, ages 5 and 9. She works as a copywriter and has just completed a novel!

 

Halloween a Love/Hate Relationship?

By Lisa Van Meeteren

If Halloween and I were in a relationship we’d probably need counselling. That’s because while I can get into the Halloween spirit like anyone else, helping my kids come up with Halloween costume ideas and putting up Halloween decorations there are still parts of it that I don’t like and things about it that confuse me…I told you it’s complicated. Read on to find out what I love, what I like, things I’m not crazy about and things that confuse me, to see if you can relate.

These are a few of my favourite things…

What I love:

Halloween memories:

Halloween was the first time my husband told me he loved me when we were dating. And FYI he was dressed like a priest and I was wearing a Catholic school girl uniform. I know. That’s why it took me a week to say it back. I wanted to make sure he loved me. Not the fantasy…

Being a kid and dragging a pillowcase behind me full of candy and just as I felt like my legs couldn’t go one step further, my Dad would lift me up and carry me on his shoulders, pillowcase and all.

Sharing that same candy with my best friend who wasn’t allowed to go out for Halloween.

Making new memories:

Watching my kids get dressed in their costumes, decorate and get excited.

What I like:

Cobwebs in your house become homemade Halloween decorations (I think I heard this on T.V, and realized that yes there are a lot of decorations in my house.)

A bad hair day becomes a good hair day-if I wake up looking like road kill I can just call it a costume!

Pumpkin seeds- I love these suckers roasted with some sea salt! It almost makes pulling out the goopy strain pulp worth it.

Watching other people carve pumpkins- or better yet watching as my husband tries to use one of those pumpkin carving stencils and not lose his patience. I know it’s a bit sadistic but hey it’s Halloween!

Halloween Horrors! What I don’t like:

Dressing up. I know. Boo me. It always makes me feel silly. The odd thing is I like acting and don’t mind donning a costume on stage but in real life no thanks. Even as a kid my costumes were lame. Cow girl anyone (yes it’s jeans a scarf and a hat-about how far I was willing go in order to get candy.) I am an expert at easy Halloween costumes. One year when my daughter was a toddler and didn’t want to put on her costume, I pulled a robe on over her jammies, and tossed a roller in her hair and let her just got to one house.

Me! Or at least the person that takes over my body as I try to get the kids ready on Halloween night. That person runs around like a headless chicken searching through the freezer for hot dogs or pizza or some other nutritionally defunct fare that can be ready in ten minutes and gobbled down in five while simultaneously searching for missing parts of costumes. That person looks like someone from the night of the living dead with wild eyes, that bug out, yelling, “Hurry Up!” every five minutes in a voice so high that it alerts the dogs in the neighbourhood and generally acts like her kids are going to be late for their stage debut on Broadway.

Rude kids or kids that look like they could shop at the LCBO and not get carded. How come there are still teenagers who look like they are old enough to sport mustaches ringing my bell and asking me for candy at 9:30?  Half of them have jobs and probably make more than I do. Go home. Go to a party. Leave me alone.

Candy fights. No I don’t mean we throw chocolate bars at each other. (Hmmm date night?) I mean getting asked every day by my kids if they can have a candy in their lunch like other kids, me saying no, them whining…you get the picture.

Sneaking candy. Not the kids. ME!! I tell myself every year…thou shalt not eat a bowl of mini-chocolate bars just like thou wouldn’t eat more than one regular chocolate bar at a time. Those little suckers are dangerous. Logically I know that just because they are the mini version doesn’t mean I should sit down to a whole bowl of them- I mean pizza pockets are the small version of pizza but I wouldn’t scarf down an entire box at one sitting.

So that’s it my dysfunctional love/hate relationship with Halloween. The good, the bad, and the mini chocolate bar bad…

Happy Halloween! Are there also some things that make you anti-Halloween? What are some things you love, like, or dislike? Do you have any special Halloween memories you’d like to share?

 

About the Author

Lisa Van Meeteren is the mother of two children, ages 5 and 9. She works as a copywriter and has just completed a novel!

Should You Co-Sleep…with your partner?!

By Lisa Van Meeteren

 

I haven’t had a REM cycle since 2002.

Or at least it certainly feels that way. It’s no coincidence that it’s also the year I got married. While many debate about whether or not to co-sleep with their children-that was never a consideration in our household. I have enough trouble getting quality zzz’s without inviting another human being into my bed, as it is already occupied, quite fully by another. Yes, the love of my life, sigh.

When I first began to share my bed with my husband, (earmuffs, Mom) I didn’t mind his “quirky” habits. Everything he did, including throwing his legs on top of me until I dreamt I was in a fifty car pile-up on the QEW and snuggling me until I dreamt I was being “heimliched ,” was a part of his charm. And he didn’t seem to mind that I stretched out like a giant starfish every night. As these sleep habits became less charming we adapted, and invested in a little thing I like to call, the marriage saver, otherwise known as a king bed. Problem solved. Sleep once again became a reality, until…children. And we all know how that goes, so once again sleep deprivation ruled my life, and I obsessed over sleep like some dieters obsess over cheeseburgers, refusing to give into the temptation of sleeping pills in case I was needed.

Then once my kids grew a little older and when they managed to stay healthy, guess what? I still couldn’t sleep. After years of training myself to remain half alert in case a baby, toddler, or sick child needed me, I slept on half alert, like I was taking a light nap. Which meant I heard- EVERYTHING. Every timbre of every snore my husband orchestrated, every slurp, bodily function and whistle annoyed me. I needed a solution so I bought marriage saver #2-earplugs. And it worked. Every night I shoved those babies into my eardrums so hard that I probably have more hearing damage than your average groupie. And not only did I not hear all of my husband’s snoring as an added bonus I didn’t hear the kids the first time they cried either. This meant for the first time since their birth, my husband woke up before I did and attended to them!

So all was good in the universe was again, until….my husband took up night running. I don’t mean he left the house and went jogging, I mean in bed in his dreams. Every night he would run marathons in his sleep his legs whirling around like electric mixers jiggling me awake the second I started to dream. (Which explained how he looked so trim and why the circles under my eyes would make any nocturnal trash loving beast, envious. Yes, raccoons.)

Once again I began missing my beloved REM cycle. I started to think that maybe Victorian couples were on to something in the days of candlelight and separate bed chambers with a “nookie” door. Sounds romantic to me. Imagine this. After a blessed night’s sleep, you awaken refreshed and greet your mate all groomed and ready to go maintaining illusions of grandeur. I could do that. There’s something enticing about my husband not witnessing me with my mouth guard, earplugs, and eye mask, all part of my womb-like and completely unsexy sleep ritual. And just when this was on the forefront of my mind, that’s when I saw it on TV, dangled in front of me like a beacon of hope.

“Many couples are choosing to have two master bedrooms now,” a designer said. He went on to talk about other bedroom ideas, including the new trend of homes being built with two master bedrooms, a preference of many busy modern day couples who are making the quality of their sleep a priority. I wondered…was this solution #3?

So we tried it. Not on purpose at first. My husband had a cold, and his snoring was an operatic assault to the senses, breaking all sound barriers, including my earplugs, and the pillow I shoved over my head. I kept kicking him, (it started out like a love tap, a gentle, ‘hey, you’re snoring’ and it turned into a ninja- like assault) until he finally woke up and said, “I need to get some sleep!” Ditto pal!

He plodded off to the guest room and for a moment I languished like a child making snow angels stretching out as far as I could go. Then I began to feel guilty. He was the one who was sick. I should have left. I didn’t get much sleep that night. The next night he automatically went to the guest room saying that he wanted me to have a good night’s sleep and I did, sort of. His cold improved but the following night he remained in the guest room and it felt odd. Like we were fighting, though we weren’t.

And it hit me. I missed sharing a bed with him. I missed a friendly tap on the shoulder when I’m grinding my teeth, or a sleepy back rub to calm me down. I missed spontaneous morning cuddles that sometimes led to something more. So I googled restless leg syndrome cures, gave him magnesium (solution #4) and invited him back into our bed where he belonged. I knew I was taking a gamble on whether or not I would get a REM cycle but felt like it was better than gambling with the intimacy of our marriage. So, my take on co-sleeping with my partner? I’m all in. Gassiness, snoring, kicking, cuddles, comfort and closeness- in.

Would you consider the nouveau bedroom ideas that include couples who sleep in separate beds in order to get a quality night’s sleep? Do you have some marriage advice or solutions you’ve come up with to overcome insomnia and sleep deprivation?

 

About the Author

Lisa Van Meeteren is the mother of two children, ages 5 and 9. She works as a copywriter and has just completed a novel!

 

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