Sticks and Stones -The Power of Words

Words are powerful. My dad was an English teacher and word junkie so we were always taught to use our words carefully. The lesson has stuck with me and I have found that in raising my kids, I’m careful about not using vocabulary words that I don’t like. There are certain words not in my personal dictionary, that I’m pretty sure they’ve never heard me use. The short list includes:

“Best friend”

I just don’t like this term and never have. It feels exclusive and it inevitably leads to annoying sentences like “I’m not your BEST FRIEND anymore” and “Sorry, but Jenny is already my BEST FRIEND”. I find the newer terms like “BFF” and “Bestie” far less annoying because they seem to be used more generally and don’t seem so serious. The term “best friend” feels like it should have a ring and commitment ceremony attached to it.

“Tomboy”

Just because a girl is sporty and adventurous does not make her like a boy. It makes her sporty and adventurous. These kinds of gender stereotypes have no place in my home (or society).

My girls are not “tomboys” because they like power tools

“Fat” and “skinny”

As a general rule, I don’t speak about appearances in front of my kids. I specifically try to stay away from comments regarding body shape when describing how someone looks, and particularly these two very loaded words.

“Diet”

My kids have never heard me say this word and certainly not in the context of me going on one. My hope is that my daughters will never feel like they need to diet. I like to think that I will face most parental challenges with a certain level of comfort and confidence. I know the exception is eating disorders. I have three girls and if any of them were sticking their fingers down their throat, you would find me in a corner rocking in the fetal position. The thought of facing eating disorders horrifies me and my heart goes out to families raising girls and dealing with it.

“Waitress” and “Mailman”

My kids never hear me use gender when describing a job or career. Yep, this PC mama says, “Server” and “Mail Carrier”, to name just two.

“I hate you”

My kids have never heard me use this term nor has anyone else. I don’t think I’ve ever used this phrase. Words cannot be taken back, even when you are sorry you said them.

Do you have parenting tips on any words that you keep out of your personal dictionary? What words are on the “no say” list in your house? Do you hear any words that make you cringe or that you try not to use in front of your children?

About the Author:

Julie Cole Mabel's Labels

Julie Cole

Julie Cole is co-founder of Mabel’s Labels Inc., the leading provider of kids’ labels, and a proud mom of six.

The PANK Perspective: What should I name my baby?

Joe, Jim and Jack. That’s my dad and his brothers. I’ve asked him why my Grandmother named all 3 of her sons with names starting with “J” and he didn’t really have much of an answer for me except, “those were popular baby names back then.” It seems like it might still be on trend. He told me that when they were little she added “y/ie” to their names. Joey, Jimmy and Jackie. He hated it.

My SIL had considered naming my second nephew with a name starting with the same letter as his older brother, but because her and my bro couldn’t agree, she forfeited and let him choose. He didn’t have it start with the same letter.

A few months ago my boyfriend’s sister had a baby boy. His name was chosen well before he arrived, and it starts with the same letter as the names of his Mom, Dad and sister. She struggled with picking a name for the longest time, should it be a popular baby name or a unique baby name? She liked one, he didn’t. He liked another, she didn’t. Finally they decided, and this new bundle of joy fits perfectly within the ‘family club.’

So, this got me thinking…how do you go about naming your baby? Choosing a name for another human being that they have for a lifetime?

My Mom wanted to call me Laura, one of the popular girl names at the time, but my Dad thought it sounded funny with my last name. I wasn’t named until I was born, and she chose Diane. Not quite sure why, but she jokes it’s because Diane/Diana is “Goddess of the moon” and I was born breech.

Not many parents-to-be back then found out the sex of their baby before it arrived like they do now. So, when my brother arrived prematurely my parents didn’t have a name chosen. The doctors warned my parents to quickly name him because his chances of surviving were slim. They named him after my Dad, and obviously the little fighter lived and I grew up in a household with two people with the same name. Very confusing once my brother’s friends entered puberty and called for him. “Sr. or Jr.?” I would have to ask each time. Argh.

So, if you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know that my name is Diane, and my brother’s is Jack. Yes, just like the song; Jack and Diane. This wasn’t on purpose, however the song was released two months prior to my arrival, so perhaps Mom listened to it many times and in her exhaustion after 16 hours of labour she subconsciously chose my name.

I’ve fantasized about what I would name my would-be child. For a boy, I like a few, some of which are included in the top baby names such as; Kevin, Joshua, Randall, Benjamin and Elijah. If I do get pregnant and have a girl, I’ll need to resort to the trusted baby name book to assist me with girl names. However, right now, I really like the name Bridget. But then I played the “Banana-Rama” song with it and realized that it rhymes with a name that I wouldn’t wish upon her. I’m only 5’3” so if she inherited my short stature she’d be picked on. Kids are mean. This is the kind of stuff I sometimes think about. Whacked.

So, how did you come up with the name for your child(ren)? Are you a fan of popular baby names or uncommon baby names? Did you name your child after someone as my brother was? Did you want them to have the same initials as their sibling? Or, did you had the name chosen well before you met your bundle of joy?

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.

Practice barbecuing and food safety!

It’s burger season! And every burger season we hear about ground meat being pulled off the shelves due to contamination with E. coli. The reason burgers are more at risk than other meats is because the flesh is ground which increases the surface area. Proper cooking of ground beef is the only way to make sure all illness causing bacteria is killed. Chicken, fish, lamb and beef burgers should always be cooked well done.

Stay safe during BBQ season!

Burgers are such a pleasant part of the season that they are worth having, as long as you keep a few grilling safety guidelines in mind. (Also remember to choose lean meats and your binders and side dishes wisely to avoid derailing your diet in one barbeque.)

Here are some tips to minimize the risks of barbequing while maximizing safety and taste.

  • Always use a meat thermometer on ground meats. Insert it horizontally and check a couple of spots in the thickest part of the burger.
  • Use your thumb to create a dimple in the middle of each burger. This will fill in as the meat shrinks during cooking and ensure that the heat reaches the risky middle.
  • Chicken, beef and salmon all need to be fully cooked to well done. One small speck of E. coli or salmonella can cause tremendous illness.
  • Use moist and nutritious toppings to enhance flavour and juiciness.
  • Gourmet ingredients can elevate your burger: ricotta cheese, blue cheeses, pesto sauce, a variety of mustards, fresh vegetables, baby lettuces and sprouts all add a burst of taste.
  • Go beyond the bun! Paleo friendly lettuce wraps, kale or nappa cabbage leaves make great bases. If you do choose bread, keep the burger to bun ratio in check and don’t be afraid to try different grains and flavours.

So now that you are armed with these food safety tips get out there and grill!

About the Author:

Theresa Albert

Theresa Albert is a Food Communications Specialist and Toronto Personal Nutritionist. She is @theresaalbert on twitter and found daily at www.myfriendinfood.com

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