Posts Categorized: Family

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!

 

The PANK Perspective: I’m sexy and you know it.

This video was circulating a short while ago showing the emotional side of a 4-year-old boy who was told by his mother that the girl he likes is interested in another boy. Knowing that her son was going to get upset and over-exaggerate his feelings, as most 4-year-olds do, she filmed it. But then not only did she film it to show her husband, her friend or to watch again later for her own entertainment (if that’s what you would call watching a child cry) –she uploaded it to the internet.

Why?

Everyone seems to want their 15-seconds of fame. Remember when it was 15-minutes? Now it seems that any sort of recognition, good or bad could turn you into an overnight sensation. Look at David After Dentist, Rosie and Sophia or even Charlie Bit Me. All of these memorable YouTube funny videos started as parents videotaping their kids and then posting them to social media.

So, this got me thinking; not just about why parents are exposing their children as entertainment to the masses, but the content they’re sharing. This little boy’s meltdown about a girl was odd to me in a few ways.

  1. Why are these videos considered funny jokes? Is it funny and or entertaining to purposely make a child cry? Want the toy? Can’t have it. Well, okay, here you go – Nope! Basically, this mother is a bully.

 

  1. Why is a 4 year old boy concerned about a girl liking another boy? I get that at a young age we can formulate a fondness for someone, but to be able to relate the feelings of rejection at such a young age over a crush? Now, that’s heartbreaking.

This video, is just a few minutes long, but was on my mind for days, as I thought about my 4-year-old nephew. Now that he’s in Kindergarten he has met new friends; boys and girls. The other day my boyfriend heard him mention a little girl’s name and promptly asked him if she’s his girlfriend. He teased him about liking her, asked him if he thinks she’s cute and asked him why he likes her. Sure, it’s cute to see a child smile, blush and look away with shyness, but to refer to a new friend as his girlfriend? What is that teaching him?

Another incident was related to me the other day when I was talking with a friend who’s a mom to a 2-year-old.  She told me that at a recent play-date with another mom of a girl the same age she heard a word that she didn’t think would or should be used to describe a toddler; sexy. Sexy girl. Talk about your oxymoron. Apparently, the girls were dressed up in their Disney Princess dresses, singing and dancing along to a pop song. The friend’s daughter began to shake her hips and wiggle her chest in a way that was simply far too mature for a 2-year-old, maybe courtesy of watching sexy videos of her favourite pop stars who knows. That girl’s mother asked, “Are you sexy So-and-so?”

My friend was shocked. Did she just ask her daughter if she thinks she’s sexy? Wow. Referring to a young girl as cute, adorable, beautiful, charming, smart, talented, courageous and sweet are fine in my books, but sexy girl; no way. Why would you want such a young child to know what that word means? Why would you want to encourage sexuality at the age of 2?

Children are growing up faster than ever, and why? Because parents, the media and society want them to. Gone are the days of Sharon, Lois and Bram (yes, I’ve just dated myself with this reference). Gone are the days of using their imagination; I don’t know a toddler who doesn’t know how to use an ipad better than me. Gone are the days of innocence. And I don’t mean that children aren’t innocent anymore, because they are, in many ways. But what are the consequences of posting photos and videos of them on social media without their permission or consent? Children are innocent because we make decisions for them. Has posting their moments online changed the way they learn and behave?

When I was a kid growing up in the early late 80’s and early 90’s, I had my photos in an album. An actual hard-cover album. I had crushes on boys and wrote about it in my personal diary. Not on my Facebook page or on Twitter. Social media marketing didn’t exist. The only time I dressed like a Disney Princess was on Halloween. The TV shows and music I listened to were monitored. The first song I ever heard with a curse word was a Green Day song in the 7th grade; I was 12.

Am I old-fashioned? Do I have a false perception of what the world is like, or should be like? Some might say so, but I’m a firm believer that children should have a childhood that is filled with things for children, not adults.

Childhood 
The period of life between infancy and puberty.

There are many times in a lifetime that the words boyfriend/girlfriend and sexy will be used. There will be many tears shed over love; young and old. But none of these times should be at such a young age like 2 and 4. And in no way should they be broadcasted for the world to see. Life is meant to be shared with those you love, not strangers.

Okay, I’m done ranting.  But I have to know, do you agree with me? Do you think using the word sexy to refer to a child is inappropriate? Do you think using social media marketing and posting videos of children’s emotional meltdowns as funny jokes is acceptable?

 

About the Author:

Diane Morris is a PANK; Professional Aunt, No Kids and works for Mabel’s Labels as the Sales Coordinator. She’s an Aunt to two boys, and an “Auntie” to her boyfriend’s niece and nephew. She’s a sucker for romance, country music and peanut butter.

 

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