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Homeschool Horror Show

OK, so it’s not really a horror show.  When I first contemplated homeschooling my eldest (gr 6 now) I was lost in all the information out there, and actually, I think it was a little stressful thinking about how in the world was I going to teach gr 6 “curriculum”?  So today I asked HIM what HE thought.  He was actually pretty excited to try homeschooling for a year to see if he likes it.  I even explained to him that it will not be half a day of Minecraft, and half a day of TV shows, it will be actual schoolwork that he would do at school, just he’ll be doing it at home. To my surprise, I am actually pretty excited to teach him my way, and teach him things that will interest him. I’ve even learned that you can check out home school books from the local library, and buy things through local consignment shops. There are numerous support groups for families to interact and discuss the ups and downs of teaching at home, as well as a chance for kids to interact with each other.  Some groups go on field trips and get the group rate at, say, Science World for example.  

So, here I am sifting through a plethora of information on home schooling and resources for parents… and then my mind started to shift towards the topics that he would normally cover in school.  Science, for example, is his favorite subject.  Now I’ve got a list of five different things science-related from biology basics, to ecology, to environmental science, to the science of baking, and alternative energy… and I’m sure I’ll add another few as I continue on this blog.  He is a very creative child–he can draw scenes with amazing detail of characters he just makes up on a whim. I’m thinking he can maybe paint me some of these characters, or even something he’s built in Minecraft, on canvas, with my good paints, and we can continue adding to the children’s art gallery walls in the house. There’s also a pottery shop that is close and can teach him the basics of pottery–which can double as a science project.  I can teach him photography, and he can experiment around the yard with macros, and then use those photos for science projects.  There is just so much to do.  Music? Not a problem.  We can practice guitar for an hour a day, or every couple of days. Gym class?? No problemo.  We can go for a jog, or nature hike, or he can do Kinect Fit on the rainy days, and even yoga.  I can take him to local tennis courts for free lessons from me (I learned in college), on free court time. … I can even sneak in a bit of religion.  I don’t know who’s more invigorated, him or me. 

Now, many will say “but homeschooling, there is no social life, the kids produce poorly on exams, and perform poorly in college”.  Ah, but they don’t!  Home school kids are actually better test performers on ACT and SAT exams, in fact, in the 82-92 percentile (depending upon which report you read), where the average student is in the 50th percentile range.  Ivy League schools are actively seeking home schooled children because they perform better in school, and are able to complete a 4-yr degree in a shorter amount of time.  Socially, the home-schooled child has less behavioural problems vs publicly educated students, according to a 1992 study by Larry Shyers of the University of Florida.  This study involved observing 8-10 year olds in play time to see how they interacted with other children.  

What some may not realize is that the home schooling concept started in the US with a retired US Department of Education minister, as well as his teacher-wife.  The other person who also is credited with the home school movement was a teacher, himself (Holt).  All of these educators had issues with how the schools were teaching children — to recite, not to actually learn, and did not promote thinking individually.  Meaning, kids were taught to do what they were told, all day, five days a week, and not question their teachers.  Now, this was way back in the I believe 1970s (but don’t quote me on it).  

Now, as for reasoning behind home schooling — it’s different for everyone.  For me, my son hates school… and he’s only 11.  School is supposed to be fun, still, at age 11.  Now, he is a highly competitive perfectionist, so life is hard for him and he is his own arch enemy.  This has created years of emotional outbursts, over-loaded teachers who do what they can, and a school district who is only worried about protecting their own not helping my child.  This was discovered first-hand, and is a whole other story.  Schools are supposed to do all they can to NOT let kids slip through the cracks.  I even had the school counselor tell me that hed’ be better in trades school…because she doesn’t think he can amount to anything (if you read between the lines).  I know for a fact that this is BS on a grandiose scale.  If he likes to build things, maybe he will be in the trades, but he will not be pigeon-holed into something he doesn’t like to do because someone else thinks that is all he can do.  Another big FAIL for the district. 

Now, he has had some amazing teachers who have been very creative in trying to get him to react less, think more, but they also have had anywhere between five and ten students in their class with varying degrees of social issues. That isn’t fair for any teacher, I don’t care how good they are.  To me, this is the district failing the student, not the teacher failing the student, for if you do not push the district, they will not help your child (even after requests from the school counselor). 

So, alas, a new journey will begin in the fall. I don’t know what it will entail just yet, but I’m actually pretty excited. … and surprised at how excited I am about this.   I believe that will start a new category of blogging for me… the home school journey.  I like how that sounds.Image

 

I love my boys, really I do, but there are days when you have to just shake your head and walk away before they see you burst a gut.  My #3 son is quite the little character.  A little ladies man at the ripe old age of 4.  His best friend is a girl in the house across from us, he has a sorta big-sister in our tenant’s child, and he just made himself a new friend–another girl that is his age. …  but sometimes I gotta give it to him–he has a creative mind. 

One day out of the blue I hear “my pee pee smells like fish”. .. .Now what in the world are you supposed to say to that??  Do you egg him on and start asking why it would smell like fish, or do you just sit and wonder what on earth possessed him to smell it in the first place??  Anyhow, so what else would a good mom do? “You probably just need a bath.”  My insides are telling me to walk away, and walk away … now. … Thankfully he just leaves it at that. 

Now, my #4 child is nearing the terrible 3 phase.  I think he’s decided to hit that phase at light-speed Hans Solo style.  He finds it hilariously entertaining to compete with big brother to see who can be the baddest (and that’s probably not proper English, but today it is).  One hot day a week or two ago, he comes outside to find me.  (Where am I? Oh, my little hiding spot, tucked away in the back garden basking in what little bit of nature we have in suburbia.)  I walk over to help him unlock the patio gate, and he has decided to make himself into an art project. Yes, it was rather cute to see a little boy covered in purple marker–thank goodness I only buy the washable ones.  Alas, like peanut butter boy (my #2) before him, we had to get a few pictures before I washed him up. .. Unfortunately, they are terribly blurry, but still, we have the evidence to hold against him for future use. 

If I could… this would be my nightly refuge

Now, my older two are in their own little kingdoms of fun.  My pre-teen thinks he has to do absolutely nothing….and doesn’t have to listen to anything I say, especially when he is focused on the TV or video game (Minecraft is a curse, I’m certain of it).  My #2 son is Mr Socialite who is hardly home during the day because he is off playing with friends of his–which I have no problem with.  What I do expect at any given time is the grocery bill for feeding him.  He is a hockey boy.  He is always hungry.  I know what he’s like.  BUT until I do, off he goes into the wild blue yonder called the ‘hood.  I may see him at lunch, I may not.  He may come home for dinner… at 9pm… or he may be home when I actually serve dinner. Either way, it’s summer, there is no schedule, so they are allowed to have a little bit of fun–but just a little. 

 

 

Not many people are liking the green veggies.  I know that phase where every child sees anything green on their plate it is instantly nasty, just by looks they feel this way.  If you never outgrow that, boy are you missing out on some seriously good-for-you food.

Kale is a relative newbie to the veggie-nutrient craze.  There is tons of research on fellow cruciferous cousin broccoli, and there is a good amount of nutritional research on cousin cabbage, but poor little kale gets all left out. It’s the middle-child syndrome of the veggie world.

If you want a hint of what a little powerhouse underdog this vegetable is, let me spell it out for you.  Kale has vitamins C, A, B1, B2, B3, B12, K, E along with minerals such as calcium, iron, manganese, copper, folate, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, and sulfur.  Oh wait, it doesn’t end there, kale also contains omega 3, forty-five different flavonoids (such as kaempfor & quercetin), cartenoids (including betacarotene & lutein) and even tryptophan (you know, the sleeper chemical in that super-sized turkey).  Kale has been shown in recent studies to combat FIVE different cancers (bladder, breast, colon, ovarian, prostate).  That’s just the tip of the perverbial iceberg. 

For those who are looking to lower their cholesterol intake, kale as ZERO cholesterol and actually is better than prescription drug cholestyramine (hope I spelled that right–my handwriting is more like chicken scratching, in fact I think my 2yr old writes better) at flushing out bile toxins.  Kale also has, on a per-calorie comparison, MORE protein than beef.  I believe Lightning McQueen states it best: KA-CHOW!  

Now, there are some issues surrounding thyroid, liver, and gallbladder.  For anyone with thyroid issues, and they are told to lower their intake of foods that interfere with their thyroid functions, lightly steaming your kale is going to provide a power pack of nutrients, without all the naturally-occuring chemical reactions that may react negatively with your thyroid ((always consult your naturopath–the helpful properties may far outweigh the negative on cruciferous veggies)).  For those who have liver and kidney issues, you also may want to first speak to your naturopath as the oxalates in kale, which aren’t high but do accumulate if you are eating kale for every meal every day, may interfere with your kidney and liver – related health issues. 

For the rest of us who are able to enjoy this delightful little vegetable, always be sure you are purchasing this one in the organic veggie section.  You will get far more nutrient content in the organic kale than you will non-organically grown kale, and you’ll also be ingesting less organophosphates by eating organic kale.  

Now, back to what I was alluding to above — for those of us who are able to indulge in kale as often as we like, process the leaves in your morning smoothie, add the leaves to your pizza, omelette, and pasta sauce (only add the last 5mins or so before serving to get the best flavor), and you can simply steam them for 5mins, add a little of your favorite oil and a squeeze of lemon juice.  It is also best for the kale NOT to wash it until you are going to use it because the water will be a welcoming host to spoilage.  This, of course, is difficult to do when the stores spray their stuff with water to make it look tasty, but if you grow your own, then you can harvest only as much as you need, when you need it.  You can also sprinkle your kale with fresh lemon juice 5mins prior to cooking–this will enhance the phytonutrient content of the kale.  (I know, right? Pretty cool.)  You can also cook kale stems similar to asparagus — quick boil in salt water.  I personally haven’t tried that yet, but I’ve read it’s pretty tasty that way.  Annnnddd… if you still have an overabudance of kale in your garden, make some kale chips.  Oh yes, they are tasty.  You can get creative and splash them with just a little olive oil and Himalayan (or Celtic) salt, or create your own flavor of kale chips.  They are a healthy little oven-baked snack.  OR, you can first pay out $7 or $8 for a small bag of kale chips at your local organic market before you make your own.  However you want to make it, the versatility of kale is amazing.  I can’t wait to see what other nutritional benefits of kale are studied in the near future.  

Handy Dandy Eggs

You walk into the supermarket and see a wide assortment of eggs–there’s organic, free-range, cage-free, standard Grade A, and whatever other labels are popular these days.  Many people don’t think that there’s any difference between organic and non-organic eggs–aside from the price.((Kids especially have no particular favorite when it comes to smashing them all over your kitchen floor–which just happens to be hardwood–now do they?))  Have you ever thought about nutrient content of eggs?  Why do you see eggs with added Omega 3?  How do they get added Omega 3, anyhow, if eggs are supposed to contain them already?  Are eggs really contributors to high cholesterol like the whole medical association of western medicine wants you to believe?

I never really gave much thought to the nutrient content of eggs.  When I buy my organic free-range eggs, I know that I love the deeper yolk color and general flavor.  I know eggs are healthy for you, but I’m not a big fan of eggs so I don’t eat them often (well, unless you include baking with them).  Some nutrients found in eggs include Omega 3, Vitamins D, A, and betacarotene (you know, the stuff you find in carrots), folic acid, B12, lutein, and zeaxanthin (in fact, egg yolks are one of the richest sources of these two antioxidant vitamins).  You will also find cholesterol and saturated fat in eggs.  Now how much of the latter two you find will depend upon the egg you purchase.

Before you set off on your grocery store run, let’s look at some of the labels and what they mean.  You have standard Grade A eggs, for starters.  This label is a complete sham. It is voluntary, it is unregulated, it is a black spot on the USDA procedures.  All this does is allow egg farmers to boost the price of their eggs.  Then you have free-run or free-range eggs.  This is also a bit of a sham if you aren’t familiar with the farmer you get them from.  As this Ohio Pork & Poultr article depicts, free-run/free-range eggs are merely just telling the consumer that the hens are outside their cages some of the time.  Not necessarily in pastures to roam as they should, they could just be roaming on cement floors for 5 minutes, and be deemed free-range/free-run. ((To be fair, there are good organic farms that label their eggs as free-range which are actually cage-free.)) Not exactly what a consumer thinks when they see the price and the title, now is it??  I was quite honestly shocked, myself, at reading that little tidbit of information.  Now what about cage-free/pastured eggs?  These are the “Maserati” of the egg industry.  These are organic farms that truly care about the health of their animals ((as do some quality free-rangers)).  These hens are foraging in grass, eating insects, catching some rays, enjoying the good life, and the nutrient quality of these eggs proves it.

According to Mother Earth News and the Ohio Pork and Poultry article linked above,  the cage-free eggs have up to 10x the Omega 3 content versus factory-farmed egg (which has to add Omega 3 to their grains), anywhere from 3-6x more vitamin D (in fact two of the cage-free eggs will net you at least 63% RDA of vitamin D), 66% more vitamin A, up to 7x more betacarotene, higher folic acid and vitamin B12 content,1/3 LESS cholesterol, 1/4 LESS saturated fat in comparison to factory farmed eggs.  One of nature’s little powerhouses, there are even studies that are starting to show up which link the good eggs with the job of helping to protect from cancer.  Your own little experiment can show you: fry up a factory vs cage-free egg in your own breakfast one morning.  Can you see how watery the factory egg white is?  Does that even look appetizing?  Maybe to some, but not to me.  

The old adage “you get what you pay for” is very true for pretty much any food we eat today, eggs included. Why pay the big farms for eggs produced by hens whose beaks are chopped off because they are in such close quarters the farmers are afraid they’ll peck each other to death?  Why pay for farmers to add all sorts of unknown antibiotics into the grain feed of their factory hens because they are sick and dying from such unstable pen conditions?  Why pay the big guys for the liquid starvation of their hens so they all molt together?  If you have a conscience and truly want to experience the nutrient density of an egg, visit your local organic farmer–you’ll get it cheaper buying directly from them vs buying in the store.  Most of these farmers will be more than happy to show you where their hens are feeding and housed. 

 

 

I’m back! … =)

DSC_0586 Doesn’t this just invoke feelings of relaxation? This is what you have to picture when you have FOUR boys running and screaming around the house at 9:00 am. I feel for the tenants, really I do. I mean, it’s super loud here, and I’ve been downstairs when they were running around the house — let me just say, we have the most awesome tenants.

Now, I’m one to speak out about organic living, and how healthy it is for you and the environment. I was reading an article in Nature’s Fare magazine” the good life” about the depleting salmon stocks. This was such an eye opener! I never really thought there was much difference between farmed and wild salmon. We used to have a stocked trout pond in Ontario, so this is what I imagined salmon farms to be. Except they are not. Well, you do have some that are fresh water farmed, which is definitely healthier option if you choose farmed salmon, but little did I know how the government of Canada has brought about their silencing tactics that would make Monsanto proud.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) gave permission to have geneticist Dr. Kristi Miller test the coastal salmon and see if they were carrying any of a few different diseases that are related to die-offs of salmon stock. These are the salmon version of the flu called ISA–infections salmon anemia virus (who knew salmon could catch the flu), and the parvovirus (salmon leukemia). Her findings astounded the science world. When she reported that it was the parvovirus that had a very strong link to the dying of the salmon stocks, she was immediately side-railed and told never to report her findings. Not only this, she was financially threatened, which means that she would not receive any more grant money to do her research.

Her case isn’t the only one. Another scientist named Alexandra Morton, a marine biologist, was doing a study of her own on the amount of dead fish that she was observing along salmon run routes. She decided to take samples of these fish and send them off to the only two labs in the world which are recognized for the testing for ISA — a lab in Norway, and a lab in PEI. The results showed that the same virus first found in European stocks had been found in these Pacific coast salmon. What happened to her was this: The Canadian Food Inspection Agency took it upon themselves to denounce her findings. Not only did they do this, they also started a discredit campaign against the nation’s lab in PEI–which has been recognized by the World Health Organization as a go-to lab for ISA testing. Why in the world would Canada’s government organizations do this?? Why are they taking on Monsanto style tactics?? Money.

There is a new business in farmed salmon which can bring in millions or more for the government. Although the DFO’s primary purpose is supposed to be protecting ocean life, they are caught between a rock and a hard place. In order to get government money, they have to do what the government tells them to do, even if this means decrying excellent resource work such as that by Dr. Miller and Ms. Morton. By pushing farmed salmon as equal in nutrient content to wild salmon, there is a new market for farmed salmon being born.

So, back to something I alluded to earlier: the difference between wild and farmed salmon. Now, many of us don’t really think that there is much of a difference, but there is. Farmed salmon are being held in mesh netting so they don’t travel up or down stream. They are smaller in size compared to the wild salmon, and they carry numerous viruses and bacteria which wild salmon are not accustomed to. The wild salmon at spawning time will catch these alien bacteria and viruses, then ultimately die. There are three zones that were determined with the help of Native fisherman, environmentalists, and the DFO. The green zone means that this area is good for farming salmon, the yellow zone means that the farmed salmon need to be kept under a very watchful eye, and the red zone means it’s a no-go for farming salmon. What’s happening is that many of the farmed salmon you see in the store has been farmed in the RED zone. This is the most dangerous zone for wild and farmed to co-exist, yet there is not a single person within the DFO actually enforcing these farming zones. If there were, then you would see less red zone farming, and more green zone farming with respect to salmon.

So, as a salmon consumer, you have to wonder what in the world can you do to help? First of all, check for the Oceanwise label. The Oceanwise program is a pet project of the Vancouver Aquarium with the primary goal of giving restaurants, retailers, and consumers a knowledgeable choice in their fish consumption. Another great program is the Sea Choice program, which is more of an educational program that enables consumers to make a more informed choice with the consumption of sea food. BUT, if you want an easier guide, look for wild Alaskan salmon. This is the most sustainable choice for salmon. There is a yellow light on wild British Columbian salmon because the stocks are low in numbers and there is concern in the marine world regarding these–primarily sockeye, Chinook, and Coho. Farmed salmon is really a big no-no, but if you feel the need to purchase them, look for freshwater farmed salmon. If you aren’t sure, ask the store if they know the source(s) of the salmon. You don’t want to be eating diseased salmon. It is along the same lines of eating diseased beef, pork, and poultry. The affects on human system by diseased salmon is not yet fully realized. Do you want to be part of that experiment, too?

((Check out this recent news article on the farm salmon business http://www.motherearthnews.com/nature-and-environment/farmed-fish-production-overtakes-beef-zwfz1306zsal.aspx#axzz2Yxr3nkGT   by Mother Earth News.))

No = laugh??

Who knew a child’s math would be so creative?  Mommy says “no”, baby gets the giggles because it’s just too fun being bad….   My #4 turned one last month.. … and already he’s a game boy.  Everything is a game.  He takes his socks off, mommy gets his toes, he laughs. … he grabs the phone and holds on for dear life while you are trying to make a phone call… he laughs. .. He chews my cellphone, thus it is in need of repairs, and he laughs.. in fact, he thinks it’s his because apparently all one-year-olds need cell phones these days.  He squeezes the milk out the nipple of his bottle (which is supposed to be a no-drip nipple)… he laughs (he’s been doing that trick since he was 10mths old)..  when mommy says “Drink your milk, not play”… yep, he laughs. … silly silly baby.

Yesterday, oh yesterday, how I do not miss you.  My #4 discovered the toilet.  Not that he’s potty training, but that he’s enjoying have a bowl of cold water exactly where he can reach it, with a seemingly endless water supply to test the water retention of toilet paper, and empty toilet paper rolls.  And, while he’s at it, tests how long it will take for hardwood to buckle under a puddle of toilet water (at least it was clean water.. as opposed to the half-flushed pee water that daddy leaves behind every morning).

My #3, on the other hand, doesn’t help.  He now talks in the third person, which is quite hilarious, I must admit, and has transformers and teddy bears potty training with him… in fact, the other day, bear got so excited about potty training, he managed to fall into the toilet….  at least, that is what I think my 2yo is trying to prove. … His own potty training is going well, quite frankly.  He’s 2 1/2 (have to get that extra 6mths in there) and already he takes his pull-up off when he pees, and empties his poo into the toilet.. by hand.. but has yet to remember to put a clean pull-up back on… he’s half-way there, so that’s great !  He’s ready for real big-boy underwear, now… not that I am, but he is.

 

But some days…  some days… #3 needs a real swift kick in the pants that would pretty much get me put in jail, so I refrain, and instead I toss something.. .. preferably soft, but last week.. it wasn’t quite such a soft little stuffie… more like a plastic square plate that apparently makes quite the interesting frisbee… as it sailed across the room… and cracked the glass cupboard door which houses those rarely used punch bowl cups (and punch bowl… which is ironic, now, isn’t it?).

And to what do I owe this display of square frisbee-thing delight?  One of my many many pet peeves: lack of cleanliness. .. Apparently, as a mom, your sole duty is to clean up after your kids, no matter what the age, and do so with a cheeky grin on your face and skip in your step.  I’m sorry, I really am, but I despise housework.  Especially when I spend hours mopping the floors (‘cuz I mop old-style, bowl of hot water + organic vinegar + cheap olive oil … for hardwood).. only to find within fifteen minutes of said floors now shiny clean…  some lovely little man decides it’s OK to leave food on the floor for me to clean two days later (because nobody notices food on the floor beneath the table?)… and we all know how much fun it is to clean food that’s been stuck to the floor for two days in which nobody bothers to pick up after themselves…

And so.. it is with a house full of men. … =)   All my pet peeves rolled out into one chaotic household. …. Don’t think that the big man on campus is all clean and tidy either… he’s just as messy as my 2yr old…  in fact, my 2yo is a mini BMOC…  which is, quite frankly, scary. … almost evil, really, how I’ve been blessed with a child who tests my patience 24hrs a day, and to which I fail miserably 98% of the time. …

Word to the wise: When you ask for something, be careful what you ask for..  I asked for help with my lack of patience… and I get a child that just pretty much reiterates the fact I have zero patience on a good day.  And he really is a good kid, he just gets bored…which is why he, just last night, decided to draw pictures on his once nice clean walls.. in black pen.. that he stole off the end table.. sometime in the 5mins it took me to see the BMOC and his friend off to a manly fishing trip…  (insert: beer, bonfires, and boating..although, not necessarily in that particular order)…  Needless to say, I wasn’t too entirely impressed… and once again.. patience was the last thing on my mind.. the first? well, a few nasty expletives that I won’t repeat here..  followed by a why would you do that.. followed by a few more expletives and bedtime. … pretty much in that order. … this morning… you can’t help but admire the ingenuity of his artwork, that is in pretty straight lines for a 2yr old, and he even tried to draw his hand… which kinda looks like a cross between a venus fly trap and … some sort of alien design…

kids… big and small… what can ya do?

 

OK, here goes. I have been away for quite a while (a newborn, now 11mths, will do that), but decided to jump on the coconut water bandwagon. .. and what a lovely jump it was!

I have bought and tried 3 different brands–Taste Nirvana, Vita Coco, and Zico.

Let me start with Vita Coco. I read about this company online after seeing the CEO/Founder in an hour long special on Bloomberg News. So, I dug a little more. … I love his story, the company seemed like a great investment and worth the try. Even if he sells his product in WalMart across America. So, was it worth the hype? For me, NO. I find this brand has a bitter taste to it, for lack of better descriptive. Great for cooking muffins and the like, but not my favorite for drinking. Perhaps best for washing your hair, as Brazilians do. I don’t know if its the coconuts he uses, or what, but not impressed… at all.

The second brand, Zico, has much the same flavour as Vita CoCo… I’ll drink it because I bought it, but again, for my tastebuds, best used in cooking and washing your hair.

The 3rd brand I’ve tried is Taste Nirvana. Let me tell you, the name says it all… mmmm-mmm–good. It has a light sweet flavour, very refreshing, and comes in pulp-free, pulp inclusive, and aloe inclusive (aloe, I know!). I’ve tried all three of this line. I do like the pulpiness, actually, but it wouldn’t be everyone’s favourite, I’m sure. The aloe gel, it’s different. I didn’t mind it much–and aloe is good for you inside and out–but the gel chunks may be a bit hard to swallow for some. Some may not like the chunkiness of it, but I certainly didn’t mind. This company, btw, uses young coconuts from Thailand, fair trade, eco-friendly farming practices. So I like the company’s mantra, as well, for their products.

When going organic, it’s great to just try different things. All of these brands are also in similar price ranges. Zico and Vita CoCo come in tetra paks, but Taste Nirvana comes in glass jars. Maybe that’s also why I like it… it’s like reading a book vs iPad touch… nothing says a good book like the feel of the paper back, dog-earing pages, making notes in the margins. … Drinking Taste Nirvana is just that… a good old-fashioned reading.. in a bottle.

Raising Boys: Part I

Let me start by saying “expect the unexpected”.  As a mom of four (yes, four) boys between age 1 and 9, you realize that just when you think you’ve seen it all…. you are quickly reminded that you haven’t.   Just when you think there are no more tricks in the book of boyhood… you learn about one more hidden page with invisible ink that only a little boy can read and understand.  Apparently, with each successive boy comes each successive new trick of the trade.  This is what you should expect with having boys.

My eldest is 9 1/2.  His personality: highly competitive, perfectionist, and sensitive.  This is a perfect storm of ups and down, and with him being the first, you don’t realize that a three year old who screeches at the top of his lungs when something doesn’t his way, isn’t necessarily normal.  You think “these terrible threes are awful”, instead of “yikes, I should try to figure how to change his mentality”.  Had we known when he was three that his screeching is a little excessive, we would have figured out ways to intervene earlier in life.  He’s a super great kid, don’t get me wrong, but sports bring out the worst in him. 

Sports are highly competitive as it is, but when you have a personality that has high competition as one of the top traits, this makes sports that much more difficult.  Not because he doesn’t enjoy sports, but because he has to win.. ALL the time.  He has to be the best… ALL the time.  He doesn’t have a concept of “practice makes perfect”.  This personality of his says “I must be perfect when I practice.”  This is tough.  A lot of coaches who don’t understand his personality think he’s a spoiled child, but once they realize what kind of child he is, they are usually great to work around it. 

School: that’s a whole other concept.  When you mix in there easily stressed in that top five, you get a child who needs to know in advance when he will need to put down his project and switch to something new.  Now, this could have been partly me: I always made sure to let him know “ten minutes to story time” or “I’ll just be five minutes in the washroom.”  You don’t always realize that you are training your child to expect a warning prior to a change in events.  That’s not how we think as adults, so that’s not how we think a child will think either.  I always thought I was just letting my child know as a courteous thing, much like the first bell at school warning kids to start heading to home room.  Now, that’s not to say I caused that in him, it’s just to say I probably didn’t help, but I also didn’t understand his personality when he was three.  So, he stresses over the little things some days more than most.  He’s a super creative child, and enjoys designing things and drawing alien invasion scenarios with a bit of a robotics flare. 

So, there you have my first personality: the perfect storm of emotional ups and downs.  Now that he’s in that pre-teen phase, it’s also the start of these weird flaps on the floor and “I don’t want to” or “I always have to”, both of which are far from the truth, but apparently normal.  Ah, boys.

My second child is 7. His personality: laid back, quietly determined, social, managerial, and feisty.  He is an interesting child, too.  He is what we call, our little manager.  He would much rather have someone else do the work for him, then to have to do it yourself.  (Don’t we all?)  He is our little socialite-he thrives in the more social environment.  He is also our little scrapper-he was always the one who’d stand up for his big brother and be ready to throw a punch should the need arise.  Today, not quite so much, but when he was two and his brother was four, it was quite hilarious and also comforting to know that he’d have his brother’s back when they got older.  He also excels academically and seems to have a natural flare for all things English (such as grammar, spelling, sentence structure).  He is a very coachable child in sports because he listens, and does exactly what the coach needs him to do.  He doesn’t have that high-competition/perfectionist combination.  He is more interested in the fun of the sport, not just the winning.  

So you’d think he’d be an easy child to raise.  Well, yes and no.  He apparently has decided that when his friends are present, he can say whatever he wants and do whatever he wants without consequence.  He will not think twice about throwing a punch (still), and will worry about the consequence of that at a later point in time.  I don’t know how many times I’ve seen him punch his little brother (not hard, but just the fact he thinks he can is enough for me to give him a good scolding along with some undesired workouts).  He is the one that our number three looks up to and shadows.  SO, naturally, whatever he does, little brother does, too.  Whether it’s hopping a chainlink fence, or throwing a ball in the house, or play fighting with big brother, everything he does, little brother mimics.  That part has not yet sunk into his head.   This is what causes a lot of the issues.  “He won’t stop kicking me.” … I don’t know, maybe it’s because you showed him that it can be fun?  Our number two son has been hit in the head with a glass jar (by our number three son) hard enough for him to see stars.  Luckily, he didn’t get seriously injured because the glass jar broke after it bounced off his head. BUT, this stems from the older two throwing stuffies at each other, and younger one not knowing that actual hard objects can hurt people. 

Our number two son is also on his very own time, much like his dad.  Things do not move at my fast pace with him.  It is more like the “I’ll get to it when I get to it” attitude.  This makes for school days that must start with an hour to ninety minutes of leeway time in order for him to get up, for starters, actually get his own breakfast (which he likes to sit on the couch and think about it for twenty minutes first), fix his lunch, change his clothes, and brush his teeth.  This whole process usually takes minimum one hour.  Now, if it’s hockey he has to get up for, that’s a different thing altogether.  Funny how that works, and he likes school, so it’s not like he doesn’t like to go to school–he has to, his personality won’t allow him to be a hermit. For him, it’s just that he does things at his own pace-it always has been that way, so I have had to adjust how much time I need to get ready to go places.

This is sometimes, but not always, the case with our number three son.  His personality, so far as I can tell: care about nothing, limits are for sissies, rules are meant to be broken (at the very least, bent), and anything goes.  He is a loving child, so he likes to get hugs and kisses, but he also is bold and loves to be the center of attention.  This is not exactly the safest type of child to have.  At age fifteen months, he stealthily climbed out of his crib escaping all harm. At the ripe old age of just two, he’s realized that countertops are much more fun to stand on than chairs, and besides, there are many more interesting things inside those top cupboards than the bottom ones.  At two and a half, he’s figured out how to bust the child-safety door knob so he can escape out the front door.  I don’t know what I’m going to do when he realizes he can reach the lock and turn it.  He has figured out that climbing through the screen window on the greenhouse is much more fun than actually opening the door.  He’s discovered that the true reason Rubbermaid garbage can lids exist, is so he can imagine he is sledding down the biggest hill of snow he’s ever seen (aka, the wheel chair ramp at the local hockey rink).  It is hard not to laugh at his antics.  BUT, when he sticks steak knives, and sharp vegetable cutting knives in a 10-lb bag of flour, because he can, you realize he’s a dangerous child now, forget what he was like a week ago.   When he discovers how much fun it can be to cut your own hair.. twice in the same day, you realize he’s probably a little too bored.  When he loves to draw, with marker, on his arms and legs because paper isn’t handy, and quite simply isn’t nearly as fun… you have to watch him around all writing utensils.  When he decides to paint lovely pictures on your nice bathroom cabinet doors… with an old supply of cream foundation, you start locking bathroom doors.  We are probably the only house in the neighborhood where kids get a crash course on b-and-e.  When you have to hide the floss because it becomes just another piece of endless string on this funny roll… you realize you forgot to lock the bathroom doors– you thought he was out of that phase.  I mean, really, how many two-year-olds can actually use a scooter AND hop a chainlink fence?  All in the same ten-minute span? Then, proceed to use said scooter and work his way to the play park using the greenspace trails behind our home.  Needless to say, I’ve already been introduced to one of our city’s local police officers. (And MANY a-thanks to the woman who called the police and walked my child to the playpark to keep him safe until the police arrived.)  

There is never a dull moment with my two year old, who, by the way, also now loves to “help” with dishes and cooking.  He has a personality that I’m thankful wasn’t in my first child, because there would be five years between him and the second, if he was my first. (instead of 19months between him and baby brother)

Baby brother is going to be just as wild.  As far as I can see, so far, his personality is going to be similar to child number three.  How did I get so lucky?  Apparently, you can thank my husband for that.  He said he was a bit wild when he was little (and never really grew out of that until we had kids).  So, for all those single ladies looking for love and looking to settle down, be sure to get the inside scoop on your future husband BEFORE you have kids.  You will almost certainly have one just like him (or two, in my case).   You know, check out the baby stories from mom and dad (if they are around-I was disadvantaged here, my husband’s parents both passed away before we met); ask his friends what he was like as a teen; ask his childhood bestie what it was like when they were growing up.   Do your research.   THEN, maybe give him a yes when he proposes. 

Back to baby brother: he is only one, but I tell ya, he is taking in way too much of what big brother number three has been up to.  He already tries to climb, and just the other day, I watched him reach up to the door knob (we have the lever type) and try to pull on it.  This, by the way, is where our number three started with opening doors (and around the same age).  This is a scary proposition.  I already have nightmares and visions of how number four provides the distraction while number three causes mayhem.  Four boys! …

You know, when I tell people I have four boys, I hear “Oh my, poor mom” almost as often as “So, when are you having a little girl”.  See, it’s trying to have that little girl that got me four boys, so apparently, not everyone is meant to have girls.  I wouldn’t have it any other way, though.  I know what I was like as a little girl, and how much trouble I got my big brothers into because they wouldn’t let me tag along, or play their games.  BUT, I was their salvation when it came to after-dinner treats.  One big sookie face, with big brown eyes, got us ice cream every time.

OOOh, I know, I know, “you don’t understand the complexity of how cancer genetics works”….  I have heard that argument from a scientific friend of mine.  She’s not so far off-I don’t know how the genetics portion works.  Yes, it is somewhat complicated.  BUT, to this I say “open your mind”… 

Let me tell you WHY I say cancer is the world’s largest fraud:  You have a business, (because it is, essentially,a business) earning multi-Billions annually through various money-making schemes disguised as “research awareness” campaigns (think pink ribbon, yellow ribbon, daffodils, walks, etc), yet, why is there no cure??   Let me repeat this:  WHY  HAVE  THEY  NOT  FOUND  A  CURE?  I mean, really, you’d think with all that money coming in from not only awareness campaigns, but also research grants from the government, that they’d have already found the cure to cancer.  A Ponzi scheme at best.   So why haven’t they?  Let me let you in on a dirty little secret: because they don’t want to.  GASP! (I know) Seriously?  Why don’t they want to? Because it will put thousands of people out of a job.  It will bankrupt the pharmaceutical industry, whose main cash cow is that which we call cancer.  Instead of taking the chance at being the hero, they’ve decided it’s much more profitable to NOT cure cancer.  In fact, I bet they don’t even educate their patients on anything but drugs and mutilation (in the form of mastectomy).   Why?  Because that’s how they are trained–to treat symptoms, not the cause.

Did you know that most cancers take 20 YEARS to grow large enough to become visible by today’s “wonderful” technology?  Did you know that alternative methods have treated, and essentially CURED cancers at various stages??   Let me tell you how:

Gerson Therapy– these clinics operate in Mexico, California, and Hawaii.  They are life-changing clinics.  They teach you about nutrition, and the power of fresh, raw, organic juices.  Through their program, they’ve cured “incurable” diabetes, they’ve cured cancers.  www.gerson.org

Burzynski-Many think this guy is a “quack”.  Why? Because his antineoplaston concoction has cured inoperable brain tumors, has cured cancers at the latest stage when there is no other hope but to die by chemo. His clinic runs out of TX only, as this is the only state he’s allowed to do his work. YET, he’s been the target of FBI raids, his client files stolen, his work has been attempted to be stolen, even by his own researcher.  When FDA wastes $60M+ of taxpayer money to steal his secret concoction, you know it must be good.  And the only reason that FDA couldn’t get his antineoplaston to work, is because they set up the study to fail miserably. using lower doses than normal in their poorly screened test patients.  www.burzynskiclinic.com

Vitamin B17 – what is this? It’s found in the seed inside the pit of I believe apricots.  It has been found to target cancer cells, and kill them.  www.vitaminb17.org  (note the dietary requirements at the bottom of this site’s page)

Heat therapy – this is the targeting of infrared heat, if I remember correctly, directly at cancer cells.  All healthy cells remain in tact, thus the person under this therapy remains healthy while undergoing treatment.  http://www.naturalnews.com/030817_heat_treatment_cancer_tumors.html

So here you have FOUR, count them, FOUR different ways to cure cancer at various stages.  YET!  Because they can’t necessarily be duplicated/copied by big pharma industry, they are not as well-studied by big pharma (at least, this is implied). … so big pharma, who also pays out for research in cancer, will not approve of these different methods that help people from all around the world. 

We have personally seen chemo kill (because it’s the chemo and radiation that kills, not necessarily the cancer itself) 1 young mom, and working on a 2nd all in the past 4 weeks.  When I ask about alternative treatments, it’s the ol’ “this is what the doctor recommended” stand-by. … why not think outside the box here and live a long life?  Why let drugs kill you slowly and make your life miserable?  These are things I do not understand.

The best way to cure cancer, is to live a lifestyle that prohibits it in the first place.  Raw, organic, juices every morning, freshly made with a good quality juicer.  Take your high-quality vitamins (yes they cost more,but that’s because the ingredients are purer), get a little bit of sun (it won’t kill you, contrary to popular belief), and if you don’t like the sun, take your extra vitamin D….  take your spirulina and chlorella pills to clean out the toxins while you sleep at night. … take your green tea extract and grape seed extract pill at night to clean out the toxins …. enjoy a nice sauna…   get rid of artificial colours, flavors, MSG, fake sugars, etc from your diet…   this is how you will beat cancer, and live a vibrant, energy-filled life.

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