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cmkl: My girl learns code

Few things in life give me more joy than walking down the street, hand in hand with my daughter. One of them, which I experienced for the first time today, is walking down the street, hand in hand with my daughter, talking about building websites. At Irene’s suggestion, I checked out Girls Learning Code Day … Continue reading My girl learns code →

A Puff of Absurdity: On Childhood Angst

Can children be existentialists? What I’m asking isn’t so much whether or not it’s possible, but should we allow it?  If I dare to claim to define some central ideas here, the part about living authentically and embracing the freedom that comes with taking responsibility for all our choices with no excuses, that side of it is, I believe, pretty useful for everyone. But what about the darker edges of the philosophy? Life is objectively meaningless, and, since being unceremoniously dropped here, we’re each of us alone in our quest to find meaning for ourselves. Things don’t all (Read more…)

cmkl: Waterskiing

A happy reminder that my daughter is not me.

A Puff of Absurdity: On Guilt and Responsibility

I grew up in a family with a strong work ethic. You couldn’t read the comics until you finished the world news first. Sitting to do anything other than read something educational or literary wasn’t acceptable. We were made to feel guilty for every minute we wasted.

Since childhood, I’ve tried to counteract this teaching. No matter how good parenting is, kids will always be trying to shake off whatever form of oppression they felt though the misfortune of just being born to these particular people. These days, I’m trying to play without thinking about work. I’m trying to just (Read more…)

A Puff of Absurdity: On Thigh Gap

My daughter is worried about it. She just turned 11. She’s been sick from the heat a couple times because she wears jeans everywhere. It’s a problem. I told a friend my concerns, and he advised me to ban the internet. But all she looks at on there is Heartland shows and facts about horses. When he drops by he sometimes announces, in a celebratory manner, how much weight his sister or mom lost recently, and when he stayed with us a while, I used to have a “no calorie counting at the dinner table rule.” He doesn’t think (Read more…)

A Puff of Absurdity: Upset Them at Your Peril

Professor Edward Schlosser wrote an interesting piece in Vox about, in part, the power his students have to call the shots these days.  I can attest that it’s at best, defeating, and at worst, absolutely terrifying.

First of all, to clarify, my students are typically a delight, but the current system is fostering behaviours that are a serious concern.

I have had some students, 15-19, insist that we have to do something fun on their birthdays.  When I rejected their proposals, it might take several days of arguing at the start of each class before I can convince them it’s (Read more…)

cmkl: Handed in our notice at the day care

For the last eight years every working day our daughter Mallory has been in the care and tutelage of the teachers at Glebe Parents Day Care. I still remember those days in July 2007 when I took Mallory to the toddler room at the main centre for her integration week.  I was far more freaked … Continue reading Handed in our notice at the day care →

Dead Wild Roses: All About Love: bell hooks.

Just started reading Hooks’ treatise on Love. Only twenty two pages but already word-gold is present:

One of the most important social myths we must debunk if we are to become a more loving culture is the one that teaches parents that abuse and neglect can coexist with love. Abuse and neglect negate love. Care and affirmation, the opposite of abuse and humiliation, are the foundation of love. no one can rightfully claim to loving when behaving abusively. Yet parents do this all the time in our culture. Children are being told that (Read more…)

cmkl: First solo walk to school

This actually happened Monday, but things were too squirrelly to note it then. However I cannot let this even go unmarked. Lately she’s been walking to school with her next door neighbour and friend C. Which has been great – school is not far, there’s a crossing guard and C. is older by a couple … Continue reading First solo walk to school →

cmkl: Nine

Almost a decade. I take a lot of photos of Mallory. And each in each one I see a child who is so grown up. It’s always been like that. One year old Mallory looked “so grown up” – no more infant eyes. All alert and vocalizing. Newly walking. Four year old Mallory looked ‘so … Continue reading Nine →

cmkl: Rite of passage

I got a pound of Bridgehead coffee for Christmas. From Mallory. She slid her debit card into the reader, punched in her PIN and did it, I’m told. I knew she was up for it because the day before, she and I had gone out to the Lindt store to get Irene a bag of … Continue reading Rite of passage →

Christy's Houseful of Chaos » politics: How does one homeschool, with all the intensity that involves, and be a compassionate, informed person at the same time?

Sometimes it is really hard to keep balance. How does one balance parenting with everything else? I don’t want to undervalue my husband’s contribution to our family life – his is amazing – but I suspect I’m the support pole the children lean on and there are times when the burden of having them lean on me feels to tough. I feel all hollow and empty and like I have nothing to give them and then I’m so keenly aware of them pulling on me, talking to me, seeking approval and asking for attention and I don’t know what to (Read more…)

Progressive Proselytizing: Peter MacKay’s wife doesn’t help his – or our – cause

The latest flap over sexist comments from Justice Minister Peter Mackay came about when a Mother’s and Father’s Day emails from Peter Mackay to his staff were leaked to the media. The comparison isn’t pretty: put side to side it makes it seems like mothers should be applauded for doing housework like changing diapers and making dinners while fathers are praised for moulding, guiding and influencing their children. Sigh.

That the comparison is clearly sexist shouldn’t exactly be controversial to most readers of this blog, but the blame game is a little less straight forward. Let’s get a few things (Read more…)

cmkl: Growing by leaps and bounds

I daily marvel at my daughter. I expect I’m like most parents. But I often get caught in the mental rut of baby parenting, despite the fact that Mallory’s eight. The baby parenting rut assumes the child is totally incapable of almost everything. But every now and again Mallory does something (or several things) to […]

A Puff of Absurdity: What’s a Mother to Do?

It’s always harder to have something taken away than to never have it in the first place.  But still…

A local high school is removing a few dozen students from the school bus route because the board realized the kids are within official walking distance to the school – 3.2 km.  Families are upset because they can’t afford the bus fare, their teenagers can’t be expected to walk that far, and, during a couple weeks of December and January, the sun will be just about to rise when they embark on their morning trek.  One parent commented in The (Read more…)

Christy's Houseful of Chaos » politics: Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is one of those weird non-holiday holidays. There’s issues with the ethics of cut flowers and a need to buy ethical fair-trade organic chocolate. There are those who complain about it making single people feel bad and others who say its all just a marketing scam. Yet this year, despite the strangeness, I’m drawn to the idea of Valentine’s Day.

See the 14th isn’t just Valentine’s Day. In Canada it’s the day of the missing women memorial march remembering native women who have been murdered and/or trafficked. In other countries it is the day for One Billion Rising, (Read more…)

cmkl: Balance beam

Balance beam. As the family photographer it fell to me to attend Mallory’s last gymnastics class. She had an ear to ear grin on during the entire class. Except when she was really focussed. Of all the activities we put her through this is clearly her favourite.

350 or bust: For Our Children: Stand Up, Speak Out

It`s TED Talk Tuesday on 350orbust. Marianne Williamson, an internationally acclaimed spiritual teacher and New York Times bestselling author, spoke at TEDx Traverse City earlier this year. I love that she`s running for Congress in 2014; she could be a game-changer. *

cmkl: On the occasion of the website re-launch

So today marked the finale of a two year campaign to re-design, re-engineer and re-everything the flagship website where I work. And after the most excruciating day of bickering about DNS changes, being incredulous about block translation bugs, and general angst, this was waiting for me at home. My heart melted.

A Puff of Absurdity: Paternity Rights in Rape Cases

It’s an interesting moral dilemma to have a judge decide a child has access to a father when the only contact the mother and father had was a sexual assault producing this child.  This isn’t entirely the story here.  In this article, it could be a case of statutory rape.  It’s possible there was a relationship for a while, that led to vocally consensual, yet not actually legal, sex.  It’s not clear from the article if it was a guy jumping out of the bushes or a romantic tryst gone wrong or something in between.

The young mother, H.T. (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On factory families

Sure, some are responding to the Fraser Institute’s “study” on the costs of child-rearing with mockery and/or outrage. But in fairness, let’s acknowledge that the study’s validity simply depends on the accuracy of its assumptions, which may well vary from parent to parent.

And given Christopher Sarlo’s reliance on children costing precisely zero in housing, furniture and care expenses, it could be that he’s found a highly profitable enterprise for anybody who sees this as a model for a happy and healthy family:

A Puff of Absurdity: On Categorization of Behaviours and Abilities

People are always looking for the single magic bullet that will change everything.  There is no single magic bullet.  - Temple Grandin

Some people are quite upset about the recent change to the DSM that removes Aspergers as a separate category from Autism. Now kids formally diagnosed as having Aspergers are on the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) instead. The WHO advocates using the ICD anyway – where Aspergers is still a separate category; the DSM is more American than universal.  Whatever. I’m more bothered by how the DSM and ICD are set up to begin with.

Why do we want (Read more…)

cultural sn:afu: Little Victor Update | Finally, he can fly

A few days ago Victor and Andrew, his older brother, were playing what was essentially ‘motionless tag’ in the living room. Basically it was Victor tapping Andrew’s shoulder, then yelling “tag, you’re it”, and Andrew immediately doing the same right … Continue reading →

mark a rayner | scribblings, squibs & sundry monkey joys: Parenting Level: 100

I’d love to see her take on Barbie. Alltop can take itself too humorously sometimes…

cmkl: Mallory read to her parents tonight

Warning: braggy parent post trigger warning. At least I can promise I will keep it short. I wanted to mark the occasion. Mallory read ten pages of Charlotte’s Web to Irene and I tonight. We were coaching her a bit but she was doing it.