Wednesday, 30 October 2013

A Temper Tantrum? Oh Really?

When I witness a so called
temper tantrum, I immediately think ,"That poor child" rather than, "That poor parent"

If I had to divulge one secret, which I was fortunate enough to discover early in my
mothering career, it would be, "Never let them get over tired and never let them get too hungry."
There is a universal image stuck in our brains of a screaming toddler throwing a tantrum on the floor of a grocery store as disapproving strangers shake their heads over the behaviour of spoiled brats. Even the best parent becomes a helpless victim in such a situation because nobody is as miserable and disagreeable as a hungry, exhausted, overwrought baby, toddler, or small child. 
This so called temper tantrum is really a baby style, nervous breakdown; the little person, who is mostly  preverbal, is simply so over-stimulated, under nourished, physically exhausted and lacks the most basic coping skills to help them vent their frustration. Think what it would be like to be in a position of total submission, unable to meet any of your own needs yet the person in charge is ignoring you. Most adults would become furious in short order. So why are we surprised when toddlers lose control in a similar situation?
When I ignored the warning signs that my kids were reaching their limits of endurance, I created either a clingy, whiny shadow or a screaming monster.Then nothing I did or said seemed to help the situation.
I might have looked like a self-sacrificing mother but I was merely acting out of a sense of self-preservation when I put my kid's needs before my own. No time for resentment or pity parties because happy and satisfied kids were worth every "sacrifice" I made. The peace was worth any compromise or self-denial. Well rested, nourished kids are happier and more content, easily amused, entertained and distracted from prohibited behaviour.
One niece once told me that many people had given her books worth of advice when she became a new mother but the only thing she always remembered and practiced was,
"Never let them get tired and never let them get hungry."
It works. It really does. In fact it is like a magic key which seems to elude many seemingly intelligent adults. Perhaps they have never put themselves in their kids shoe's.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

An Honorific: To The Courage of Newborns

Recently, I decided to write an article about someone who deserves to be commemorated. The first person to pop into my head, was my five-week old old granddaughter, not some famous person who has accomplished great deeds.
What I found most startling about this little person, called Lila, was a look of utter surprise as she surveyed the world. When Lila turned at the sound of my voice and looked at me for the first time, her eyes widen suddenly in recognition. It was if she thought,
"Ah, so this is what you look like. I remember your voice."
She remembered the sound of my voice from her time in the womb, and at 6 hours old, finally put a face to that voice. Lila has been thrust out from the safety and security of the womb into a huge, cold world, with bright lights and loud abrasive sounds. She is wise, an old soul who connects with my spirit when we look at each other. It would be an unnerving experience, if it were not so profoundly sweet.The words of C.S. Lewis reverberate within me:
"You do not have a soul. You ARE a soul. You have a body."
Although Lila's body is helpless and fragile, she is a person, albeit a little person with a definite personality. The looks we exchange with each other are not fleeting, but penetrating, because our eyes truly are the windows of our souls. Without words, we recognize each other as sisters, fellow travellers who have come from God, who are made from the same stuff. This soul knows I see past appearances, right to her true self, just as she sees past my appearance right to my core, my inner spirit.
So I salute this brave person.In fact, I salute all infants for bravery, in the face of powerlessness, as they begin their life on earth.

Monday, 28 October 2013


"The word silent contains the same letters 

as the word listen"- Alfred Brendel

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Why It's Better to Be a Canadian!

the northern lights

 an amusing yet valid list of why I love Canada, more than the States.

Easy geography classes: we only have ten provinces and three territories.
We spell colour and neighbourhood the right way.
Anne of Green Gables
Canada has coasts on three oceans.
We know how to make good, strong, hot tea.
Second largest country in the world and largest prosperous country in the world.
Our national animal, the beaver, is industrious and rugged.
Lenard Cohen
We are more popular; wearing a maple leaf on your backpack means people treat you well in other countries.
When spring comes, we appreciate it.
No one ever won between the French and the English: we just compromised!
We can read the cereal box and road signs in two different languages.
We say eh? This is a word which reaches out to include the listener and invites his response. Now huh sounds like the speaker himself did not understand what he just said.
Americans always make fun of us because we are polite. We always say. "I'm sorry" but researchers at the University of Waterloo say it is boosts happiness. Apologizing to the police for speeding results in an average drop of $51 in fines.
We love to make fun of ourselves and we love to make fun of people who don't know anything about us, especially Americans.
Toques and the salmon run are found only in Canada.
We live longer, about an average of 3 years longer than Americans.
The wilderness because we still have lots of it with one square kilometre of land for every three people. The north is a land of untouched beauty. Driving for miles across the flat prairies, we spotted a farmhouse that was 60 kilometres away!
Fewer homicides per person and mass murders are rare.
The change of seasons makes life interesting.The weather is a legitimate topic of conversation and we always talk about the weather.
Our judges are appointed not voted in.
A whole T.V. channel dedicated to politicians bickering
Place Names that come from Aboriginal languages
We have better skiing with more ski trails, longer runs and more snow on Canada's Whistler Mountain compared to America's Vail
We dominate hockey; it is Canada's game.
Newfies; I love their accent and sense of humour. They are the salt of the earth.
We get visits from the Queen and other Royals. We are proud of our British roots.
An almost peaceful history.
Coffee Crisp, ketchup chips and buttertarts can't be found in the States only.
Affordable university tuition.
Lots of fresh water!
We're less pushy than some other countries.
We let everyone come here, and do their thing. Even if they wouldn't do the same for us.
Moose, elk, deer, brown bears, polar bears.
So many rivers and lakes... I live in an area near the St. Lawerance River called the land of a thousand islands.
Great fishing, especially in the fly in camps up north
Majestic mountains
Aboriginal people who have fought in all the wars, with an astounding war record
There is an official recognition of rights of Aboriginal Nations embedded in our national constitution.
Enormous National Parks
Lots of hockey rinks, great outdoor skating rinks in almost every village, town and city.We even have one in our village and our population isn't even posted on our village sign!
Car heaters that plug-in when it's cold. Even store parking lots provide plug-ins in some provinced.
Icicles- some are 3-4 feet long from our roof.
Skating and hot chocolate with stands selling Beaver Tails, a hot flat bread sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.The longest skating rink in the world is on Ottawa's canal.
The sound of Canada Geese flying back from their holiday in the South.
Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis.
Terry Fox was one of us.
Gordon Lightfoot
Incredible beauty.
The tundra.
Best opera house in North America is Toronto's Four seasons Centre built by Jack Diamond who built Mariinsky 11 theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia by invitation of Valery Geriev

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Due North

Suddenly I realized how wild and barren Canada really is.

I live in an area surrounded by forests and thousands of inland islands on 7 acres but most Canadians, even those who live in big cities, live less than an hour or two drive from open country.
I was listening to an interview on the car radio as we drove through farmland and uncultivated stretches into town the other day. Apparently, an enthusiastic British woman devotes an entire blog to her experiences in the wilderness that makes up much of Canada. To her friends in England, Canada is an exotic foreign land.
I laughed, of course, at the idea that I live anywhere that could be possibly called exotic but then I stopped abruptly.
Suddenly I realized how wild and barren Canada actually is. Canada is one of the First World Countries but it remains largely undeveloped. There is a reason that the entire focus of the 2010 Winter Olympics  opening ceremonies in Vancouver was the stark beauty of millions of square kilometres of vast tundra, sweeping prairie grasslands, mountain ranges, and forests.
A couple of years ago, I was on a plane, coming into land at the great Ottawa International Airport with its arrival area's two baggage carousels, when an excited little American boy questioned his mum,
"We are real close now to Ottawa, right mom?"
"This is the capital, right mom?"
"But where are all the buildings?"
"I just see trees."
"Huh mom, huh?"
"Where are the buildings?"
"I thought you said we were coming to the capital of Canada?"
I had to smile because as we coasted up to the terminal, it looked more like a small, airport for a little town. Of course, Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver are bigger and support bustling airports but there are hundreds of kilometres separating our large urban centres.
In fact navigation across Canada is relatively simple. Take the directions I gave my parents who drove from the West Coast to Eastern Ontario, some 4,000 kilometres.
"Take the Trans Canadian Highway through the Rocky Mountains, across the foothills of Alberta, through the Prairie Provinces, drive 18 hours from Northern Ontario to South-Eastern Ontario, turn left at the hamlet of Antrim and we are 3.1 kilometres on the left."
My dad drove right up to our door without needing further instructions

Friday, 25 October 2013

Who Needs a Teddy Bear When You’ve Got a Teddy Baby?

A newborn can see clearly for about 8″, just far enough to focus intently on his mother’s face. It is almost as if the initiative to bond comes from the baby first, especially when I consider the fierce hand grip that they are born with. To ensure an infant is fed, he is born with an incredibly powerful rooting reflex. These traits help to draw out strong protective love from both parents. For me it was almost a magical transformation from an exhausted woman in labour to a glowing mother adoring her newborn.
Even when all the kids were still little, I decided to share this magic with them. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made to enable mutual respect and love to grow in our family. However, at the time, I was forced to literally watch the clock to make sure everyone would get a chance to hold their new sibling . It seems to me that the children bonded to each other because even our toddlers were given the privilege of holding the baby. With excitement twinkling in their eyes, barely containing their joy long enough to sit still while I propped up one of their little arms with a pillow, they looked extremely proud and pleased as they too held the baby.
Bedtime became something to look forward to for about three months after the birth of our newest addition. I would wrap the newborn tightly in a warm blanket and let each child cuddle up to a living and breathing teddy baby. This quiet time, to be alone with their sibling allowed warm, nurturing, love to flow between both children and it eliminated jealousy The focus was no longer just on the baby but attention focused on an older child and the baby.
As I nursed, it was easy to give the older children my mental and emotional attention by listening, talking, reading books to them, helping with homework and even playing with play dough with one hand. I can honestly say that no one resented all the time each newborn demanded because we were all part of caring for the baby. Little ones were proud to run for diapers, clothes or blankets and older kids would choose rocking or pushing a colicky baby in the buggy over washing dishes any day.
One of our family jokes concerns the day I managed to relate to five people at once! I was laying down on our bed, back to back with my husband as he read and I nursed a newborn. A toddler lay curled around my head, playing with my hair, I was fixing a knitting mistake for a seven-year old and talking to a ten year-old.
I am pretty proud of that statistic.

Thursday, 24 October 2013


Children have so much to teach us if we but stop and listen and learn.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Life and Death: A Four-Year Old Chooses

The following is a true story of a four-year old child, in a coma, following a serious car accident.

Chandra was still not conscious when she began to speak to her parents in the ICU unit. She spoke as if in a dream, describing a big room with two doors where she sat waiting with several other people. She explained that she had to decide which door she wanted to walk through. A really nice man, dressed in white smiled at her and told her that she was completely free to walk through either door. One door would bring her back to her life on earth. If she liked, she could across the room, take the nice man’s hand and walk through the other door.
In the beginning, Chandra spoke weakly, in a disjointed manner insisting that the nice man loved her so much that she wanted to be with him. As the days passed, she spoke in a stronger voice and began asking her parents,
“Do you love me?” they assured Chandra that they loved her she answered,
“Wellll…I don’t know. I really want to be with him. Buttt…maybe I will come back”
The next couple of days were spent in an almost comical dialogue as Chandra asked if her siblings, grand parents and extended family all loved her. After each confirmation , she emerged slowly from her coma, answering in an ever more confidant voice,
“Maybe I will come back!”
Throughout the discussion, Chandra described the other people in the room, casually mentioning two people who stood up and walked across the waiting room, walking through the second door with the nice man.
One was a young guy, who looked just like her young uncle and another an old woman who was like her grandmother. Within minutes of Chandra’s announcements, an elderly woman and a day later a young man died in the ICU.
For her parents, the most startling fact of this entire experience was that the week before, tiny Chandra could perhaps choose between an apple or an orange for a snack. On earth, she would not make any major life decisions until she was 18 years old. Yet she was deciding whether to live or die.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Bonding Before Birth

An unborn child hears and reacts emotionally ,
not only to his parents but also to all the other people and activity whirling around him.

Prenatal babies have personalities before they are born. As any mother can tell you, some babies move around energetically both in and out of the womb, while other infants are physically passive. Some infants are night owls both in and out of the womb and others actually sleep well at night.
Nurses will point out to new parents that their newborn quickly turns towards the voices of their mother, father, siblings and even grandparents. So that means that an unborn child hears what is happening and remembers what he has heard while he was still in the womb. These memories are conscious for the first couple of years of a young child’s life but later they lay deep within their subconscious. For example, some musicians, when first introduced to a piece of music, already know how to play it without even rehearsing. Later they discover that their mother had practiced that very same piece of music while she was pregnant with them.
Great Paintings - Mother6Understanding the implications of these tidbits of trivia, I convinced my son to try this experiment with his pregnant wife a couple of months before the birth of their first child. Actually, this is something I did during all my pregnancies. Often my kids laugh and dismiss some of my beliefs but this time David took my suggestion and put it into action.
David gently placed his hand on one side of his wife's stomach and then spoke aloud to his unborn child, welcoming her into their family. He told unborn Eva that both of her parents loved her already and that they would protect her and supply all her needs, physically, emotionally and spiritually. He concentrated on pouring love into his unborn baby’s spirit. As David loved his baby by talking and placing his hand on Erica’s right side, unborn Eva kicked and pushed on that side of the womb! When David placed his hand on the other side of Erica’s stomach and repeated the ‘prayers’, their unborn daughter placed a few good kicks on that side instead! Obviously, pre-natal Eva heard everything and she was happy and excited by what she heard.8UZDF00Z
As a result of Eva’s parents consciously soaking her with nurturing love while she was still in the womb, she is a peaceful, content baby who is a joy and a delight to everyone she meets. None of their friends can quite understand how Eva can be such a good baby. Basically the answer to their question is that my son and his wife connected with Eva’s heart, mind and spirit before she was born. After birth they knew how to respond to Eva’s none verbal communication. David and Erica were in fact Baby Whisperers.
In the hospital, while holding his newborn daughter, David turned to his dad and said,
“I think this is the best thing that I have ever done!”mother_and_child-huge

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Defying Reality

Think about the last time you broke a rule (a big one, 
not just ripping the tags off your pillows). 
Were you burned, or did things turn out for the best?

 I did not simply break a rule here and there;  no, like every other human being, I continually break the most fundamental law of the universe without any conscious effort by refusing to accept reality. Instead of realizing my place in the universe, as one of God's creations, I put on masks and false personalities in a vain attempt to deny my very nature. In pride, I acted like a queen at the centre my own little world.

According to Thomas Merton (Seeds of Contemplation), a frog or tree are holy simply because they are who they were created to be. On the other hand, I broke all laws of nature out of pride. Steeped in delusion, I clung to a false persona and refused to relax and accept the reality that I am not the centre of the universe.
The result? I was not simply burned. Oh no, I created an utterly miserable, guilt filled prison sentence spent suffering like a pitiful victim. Yep living like the world revolved around me was not fun and carrying the burdens of the world on my emotional shoulders.
large_1332363232This illegal activity is best illustrated by watching toddlers, those young tyrants of every family. There are countless examples of a two-year old, refusing any help, only to get into all sorts of trouble. I can laugh indulgently at my kids amusing escapades but guess what? God also laughs lovingly at me, waiting for me to exhaust my arrogance and embrace reality.
I am part of the Community of Saints, surrounding God who is at the centre of the universe. Everything does not depend on me when I let go of arrogance and give God His job back.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Monday, 7 October 2013

From Around the Web: joy of nine9 on

joy of nine9

           often quirky slices-of-life short stories that are heartwarming

and humourous /thoughtful and thought provoking

articles form BrooWaha, ReadWave, Soring Scholar, Association of Catholic Bloggers, mother of nine9, joy of nine9

Saturday, 5 October 2013

SOCKS: A Subversive Plot

Socks Need To Be Paired! Or Do They?This was the brilliant question I asked myself
The only thing that will kill you as a mother of a large family is pairing socks.
There are solutions. Some are outrageous. For example, I remember a crazy kids, campfire song, that we usually sang in rounds.
The “Black socks, they never get dirty;
The longer you wear them, the blacker they get.
Some times, I think I should wash them
But something keeps telling me
Oh, not yet, not yet, not yet” ♪♪
I did not seriously consider this option, though. After ONE day stuck inside an active child’s running shoe, socks reek. I had 154 stinky socks to wash every week, at the bare minimum. Oh well, sometimes I did four loads of laundry a day and socks really didn’t take up that much room.
Still socks disappeared into mountains of laundry and I could never find them all.
Do you have any idea where 154 socks can hide every week? I had to look between sheets, under Chesterfield and chairs, behind closet doors, inside wet boots, in school bags, under toy baskets, inside of pant legs and even, if I was lucky, in one of eleven dirty clothes baskets and still I could not find them all.
had to pair all the socks!
Or Did I?
That was the brilliant, out of the box sort of question I asked myself one day.
New solution:
Buy lots of black socks in every size. Surely some semblance of a pair of socks would be easier to find.
That was the new plan.
I simply tossed the black socks into a wicker basket with a three-foot circumference and a height of two and a half feet and hoped for the best.

However, I had managed to overlook one important fact. I had six daughters. Little girls don’t like black socks. They like pink socks. To make matters worse my mother bought cute socks with frills and bows and patterns that the girls really needed and loved.
None of them were the same! So although I used the toss and throw method of pairing, some mornings found us frantically searching for some appearance of a pair.  
At times I had to literally toss the newly discovered pair over the upstairs railing. One of my kids, who already had their coat and school bag on their back, would catch them in mid-air. They quickly pulled on their socks, stuffed their feet into boots or shoes and flew out the door, barely making the school bus.

People joke about washing machines eating socks. Rationally, I know that this is a silly answer to my dilemma but the more I think about it, the better I like the whimsical answer. I could kill myself trying to control eve


People are still reading this blog and it still has a better page rank than my other two newer blogs so, I will keep this site updated. If readers remain loyal to me, I will remain loyal to readers.As for my paranoia with the thought that read views seem too high due to spam, it does not seem to bother any other person using blog spot, so I will ignore it too. Maybe people simply read the archives!