There is absolutely no point in agreeing or disagreeing with the premier or the B.C. Teachers' Federation if we the parents don't speak up and have a voice in how our children are being taught in the 21st century. Our school has a large computer centre with its own teacher. I have NO clue what is taught there. The kids bring home printouts about "online safety," but I don't think these courses actually mention things like Facebook or Twitter.
It was a busy week. We learned some lessons about text messages in my family, watched an eight year old give a great pep talk that would inspire anyone, learned that Conrad Black is back, contemplated the make-versus-buy Valentine's Day card dilemma and we read in horror about babies getting tattoos.
When I was in university, one of the requirements for my degree was a political philosophy course. It was not the best class I ever took, although the professor tried really hard. As the old adage goes: it wasn't him, it was me. I knew I wasn't alone in my struggles with the material. In fact, the class had a battle-weary mentality about it. We would commiserate about the volume of reading and reassure each other that we would make it through together.
Not only are buses not designed for strollers (especially folded up), our culture is not designed for it either. People on buses and the Skytrain are not very friendly. They don't appreciate anyone who is not fully compact with those annoying backpacks and totally tuned out on their iPods. Anyone with wheelchairs, bikes, packages or babies are considered an infringement on their right to travel without acknowledging those around them.
The curtains are drawn, lights are dimmed and the books are ready to go back on the book shelf in exchange for a night of happy dreams. Instead, your little ones are full of stories of their own. You just know the road to dreamland is at least another hour away. Falling asleep is difficult for many toddlers and pre-school children. Research shows approximately 21 percent of pre-schoolers deal with at least two sleep challenges, including nightmares, difficulty falling asleep, repeated night waking or daytime tiredness.
Here is a true story that never made the headlines. Their marriage was in trouble, harsh words were spoken and now they feel they cannot go back. Her husband leaves. They have one child and now she finds out she is pregnant. With her husband gone and not much family support, the economic presures to the government's free elective abortion are overwhelming. Unless, we the people, say we care, because we do.
More words were exchanged between us two just the day before. Trying to sort out the tangled web of emotions from the days prior. He, with a hoodie pulled over his face. Me, raw emotions and bundled nerves pleading for answers. Both of us feeling raw and exposed. On a road of good intentions, going nowhere fast.
I was introduced to Minecraft by my son, who was nine at the time. I would ask him to stop watching Minecraft videos, which he seemed addicted to. When he started playing, I asked him to get off the computer and get outside. All parents do this, but few of us take the time to truly understand what it is our kids are really doing on that computer. Well my son, now 10, has taught me a huge lesson.
I know some parents who can function on very little sleep and so can quite handily go to bed late and still be fine when their offspring disturb their slumber. I'm not one of them. I need sleep - the undisturbed, drool-on-the-pillow-and-wake-up-when-I'm-damn-well-ready kind. And I'm sure I don't have to tell you that I haven't had enough of that in the last four-and-a-half years.
If you're a parent, you know that your little darlings may not always be telling you the absolute truth. Yes, it's hard to believe, but kids lie. A lot. Just because you've been lied to by your child doesn't mean that it has to continue. It's you against them when it comes to the truth. You're their parent, so you should win.
In a nutshell: life is chaos, it's all my fault, but I just can't help it so bite me. I'm a busy woman who is chewing what she has bitten off as fast as she can. I'm a hot mess, always in a rush to get where I'm going, dragging my poor son behind me. But damn it, I'm doing it. I'm getting there. There is room for improvement for sure. But at this dawn of a new calendar year, I'm not going to make a grand pledge to change.
I am trying to understand why my old, cool friends have gotten so high strung and opinionated after becoming parents. In fact they actually seem to be shells of their past selves. With no energy to do yoga, or write or think about creativity or their dreams because now they are intent on micro-managing their child's every interaction. Am I destined to do the same thing?
I am learning, slowly, but surely, that life is not about taking the perfect picture. It is about the big picture. And the smaller ones that define and describe who and what we are. Husband turned and said to me, after the snowman fell and we were rebuilding a second, "He's just like all of us. Falling apart and getting re-built bigger and better again."