Summertime fun with Netflix #streamteam

netflix logo

It’s summertime, and as we all know, there are very few good, new shows that air during the summer. Or so I thought. A few months ago, after wondering why everyone kept raving about it, we joined Netflix. Oh Netflix. Since joining, our eyes have been opened up to a whole world of cool shows. Old shows, new shows, ones we’ve watched and loved and ones we’d never heard of. Awesome, all of them.

It is perfect for Q – he has found so many new favourites. I could go on and on about them (heaven knows that he does!) but I will save that for another day. Instead, I thought I’d introduce some of his newest, and Canadian (bonus!) favourites that have really sparked his imagination this month.

animal mechanicals

This has been a HUGE hit in our house. It is about 5 animal friends, Rex, Unicorn, Komodo, Mouse, and Sasquatch, who each have a special ability and can transform themselves into different shapes to solve problems. This one has been fantastic for his imagination. He tries to think of fun and cool things that he could do if he was mechana- strong like Rex, or had mechana-gizmos like Komodo, or, his favourite, mechana-stretchy arms like Sasquatch. He has told me stories, both about episodes that he has watched or ones he’s made up, draws pictures about them, and sings the song. I love how this show has sparked some creativity in him just by watching. If it can kill two birds with one stone that way, even better.

franny's feet

Franny’s Feet is a cute show about a girl who travels around the world and learns about different cultures and ways of life. It is a more quiet show, we find, and good for a bit more relaxing time.

superwhy

Super Why gas long been one of Q’s favourites. Wyatt, Red, Pig and Princess Pea have been part of his life since he was quite young. He loved the rhyming games, the alphabet song, and Princess Presto and her letters. Of course, the solving of the question and spelling words with the letters collected along the way is fun too. This is a fantastic show for beginning readers and spellers too, as it helped him with some sight recognition words. There is even an app and computer game that we got that he loved. It’s fun to see how Super Why and his friends jump into the stories to save the day.

As you could probably see, we’ve found some new shows that are both fun and a bit educational. In my experience with Q, kids want to learn and be creative, and this just gives them a bit more to spark that fire with.

Do you or your kids have any favourite shows on Netflix right now?

I am part of the Netflix #Streamteam and I receive some special perks as a part of this. All opinions and anecdotes in this post, however, are mine alone, and, as usual, I’m sharing this because I think you’ll like it too.

Yes, we are done at one

For a while, Q has been asking me about a brother or sister. It is always very innocent, wondering why he doesn’t have a sibling, asking if he could have one, inquiring why he can’t. Every time he asks, it breaks my heart a little bit more.

Tonight at dinner, he said “Mummy, how come I don’t have a brother or sister? If I had one, I would love and care about them you know.” Those little words, said so sweetly, were so hard for me to hear. I wonder if he sees his little friends with their siblings and just wants what they have. Or he wants to have someone here to play with all the time. Or he loves babies and thinks it would be fun to have one. Or or or…

I never quite know what to tell him, to be honest. Most of the time I tell him that we were so happy with him that we didn’t need another kid, or that we are perfect as a family of three. Tonight I told him a bit more of the truth. I explained that having another baby could make mummy very sick, and that we didn’t want that to happen. Obviously I don’t want to go into too many details about it at this point, because as smart as he is, I still don’t think that he’d quite be able to grasp the reasons why.

I’ve written a bit about Q’s birth and what we went through before. After he was born, I was strongly advised not to have any more children, as my risk of having a preemie would be very high, I would be classified immediately as a high risk pregnancy, and would likely spend most, if not all of it on bed rest of some kind. I have had so many people question me on my decision to stop at one, and a lot of times, I am at a loss for words. Sometimes I can come up with a quick and clever retort, sometimes I simply explain that I was told not to by my doctors, but sometimes I just have no words. Some people have been great when I answer, but I cannot tell you the number of times that people have challenged me on it.

“Well, you don’t know what the future holds” is often the response I get. “Your next one might be totally fine.” I have been called selfish more times than I can count for not wanting to risk my health or life, or the health or life of another baby to add to my perfect (for us) family. I have been told that I am ruining my son’s life by not giving him a sibling, at the potential cost of taking away his mummy. I have been told that by “making” this choice, that he will resent me forever. I have been called a bad parent.

Really? Not wanting to subject myself or my family to a high risk pregnancy, or a new baby to potential prematurity or complications makes me a bad parent? I think it does the opposite and makes me a damn good parent. And an unselfish one, for that matter. I have struggled to accept the fact that we couldn’t even try for a second one, that we were done at one before we even knew it. We might have decided ourselves that we felt complete as a family of 3, but then it would have been our decision alone, not one made for us because of medical risk. Please don’t get me wrong, I adore my little family, and I am grateful for the amazing, healthy little boy that we have, as I know that there are many people who don’t even get to have one. I struggle to articulate these feelings, because I don’t want people to think that I am ungrateful, but I have come to realize that this doesn’t make my feelings any less valid. I don’t mind explaining the situation to you if you’d genuinely like to know, but please understand that I, and we, have made the best decisions about this for us, and you and your opinions don’t factor one smidgen into my mind when it comes to this. So yes, in answer to your question, we are done at one.

I am sure that the comments about how “it could be ok the next time around” are meant well, but honestly? They just rub salt in the wound a bit. If you wouldn’t question people on their decision to have two or more, why the judgement about only having one? We are able to give the best of ourselves to him, give him opportunities to do things that we might not be able to if he had a sibling, travel together and see the world. I love my family of three, and I know that it is perfect *for us*.

I wish so much that there wasn’t such a stigma to having only one child. He is not lonely, or spoiled, or unkind. He is an amazing kid who is able to adapt, meet new kids easily, relate to children and adults alike, and would literally give you the shirt off his back if you needed it or asked for it. He has friends, and cousins and lots of people who love and adore him. He is happy.

And next time someone asks the questions, and I really can’t think of anything to say? I will just use one of these lines (especially numbers 1,3,7, or 9).

Sometimes it is easy to forget

Sometimes it is so easy to forget. In the moments of frustration, agitation or anger, how easy it is to lose hold of the little words, the smiles, the little voice. The feelings make it seem like the picture is gray and frowny and just too smooth around the edges, when in reality, it is just the opposite. Brightly colored, full of smiles and rougher around the edges than you would ever have imagined. But yet? It is perfect. Most of the time.

I have been struggling with feelings of frustration, disappointment in myself for being frustrated, agitation, disappointment in myself for feeling agitated, and just general annoyance. Ever since school got out 2 weeks early due to the teacher’s strike, a tough, abrupt ending to the year for sure, I have been struggling with Q’s listening. It seems like the disruption of his routine has caused all kinds of upheaval for him, and it feels like he has gone backwards in terms of his listening at times. He is restless, fidgety, completely spaced out and simply just not listening. Not all the time, of course, but a lot. I try to tell myself that he is struggling to adjust to this new routine, remind myself that he is only 5, try to go with the flow.

It’s hard though. It challenges me to keep my frustrations to myself, to be constructive and positive at the same time, to loosen my expectations. I forget about the moments of peace, or of giggles, or of sweetness. I don’t want to forget those, but when you have repeated yourself half a dozen times in 5 minutes, it can get hard to remember. I feel conflicted. How do you keep it together? How do you cut yourself and him some slack?

I try to think of how it feels when he slips his little hand into mine, or what it sounds like when he laughs so hard I wonder if he might pee, or how his smile, his real smile, can light up a room. I don’t want him to look back on his childhood and think that his mummy was too hard on him. I want him to know that I just want him to be the best he can be, because he has so much greatness just bursting out from within him.

I want to find that balance, but I wonder sometimes if it exists. I have seen what inconsistency can do to a child, and I don’t want to be that person. I also know that parenthood, like life, really, isn’t all sunshine and roses. You see the perfect pictures, Facebook statuses, blog posts about the amazing lives that people have, but you also know that a lot of it is for show. No one wants to admit that they had to take a time out because they were so frustrated by their kid that they could hardly speak. But maybe we should. It’s ok to forget for a moment, we all do it, and I’ve come to realize that it is what comes after that is more important. Do you let you child go to bed on a frustrated note or a positive one? Do you end time-outs with a hug? Do you still say I love you even when you want to tear your hair out? Do you return the little smile?

I know that I put so much pressure on myself to be a great mummy – he deserves no less than the best of me, but I have to remind myself that I am human too and that it is ok to have less than stellar moments. I hope that he won’t remember the times that I scolded or was cross with him. I hope that he won’t remember when I was frustrated with something that he did or didn’t do. After all, it is easy to forget. The love? That is much harder to forget.

The politics of female friendships

Sometimes I really wonder if I am the only girl who struggles with a lot of aspects of female friendships. There are times that I find myself really struggling to relate to other women, and to be honest with you, it leaves me feeling lonely a lot of the time.

I have always been what you could call a bit of a tomboy – growing up I liked hot wheels more than Barbies, enjoyed climbing trees and playing in the barn and hay loft (we called it a hay mow but my husband insists that is not actually a thing, ha), played sports and just wasn’t all that interested in makeup and clothes. I went through phases of being “girly” in my teen years, including a brief stint in modeling (don’t laugh) but they never lasted for too long. I joined the Army at the age of 17, literally right out of high school, and have been in a number of jobs where the guys outnumbered the girls ever since. I’ve never lacked for friends, but I also feel like my friendships with women are so much more work than those male friendships I have. Why is that?

Even as an adult I find it easier a lot of the time to relate to guys than I do to a lot of women. I find that a lot of times in female friendships, there is drama, and that is something that I struggle with, if I’m being honest. I find many women to be catty and judgey, and want to change you. They think that if you don’t do a full face of make-up before leaving the house every morning, or have perfectly styled and coiffed hair, that you are not good enough to hang out with. They may mean well, but sometimes it is hard to tell. Certain topics of discussion are off limits, and heaven forbid anything controversial be talked about. There seem to be these unspoken “rules” that I don’t know, and so much of the time, I feel like I am lagging behind. I don’t dress the right way, look the right way, or say the right things. I just feel like I don’t fit in.

Of course, don’t get me wrong, there are exceptions to this. I’ve been really fortunate to find some friends in my adult life who love me for exactly who and what I am, and have no desire whatsoever to get me to change. People who “get” me and whom I really feel that I can just be myself with. People who don’t give a flying fig if my shoes don’t go perfectly with my outfit, or if my jeans are too loose or if I am in basketball shorts, a tank and a ponytail. People who don’t feel the need to comment on my (slight lack of) fashion sense, or tell me that if. I wore makeup every day I I would feel better about myself. People that I can send a picture of myself to, with wild hair, no makes up, my glasses on and my tongue sticking out and who will reply, in all seriousness, that I am beautiful. Ones who can be who they are with me too.

I love the caring and nurturing aspects of being friends with girls, but so much of the time, I sense an ugly undercurrent of competitiveness too. It’s only natural to want what you don’t have, but in my experiences, at least in the last several years, it can run much deeper than that. I also struggle with the superficialness that I’ve encountered. People will talk a big game about being your friend, but when push comes to shove and you actually need them, they have moved on to the next thing, or person, or whatever.

I don’t know what it is that makes female friendships so much more difficult. I find that there are times when I’m with other women that I feel really alone, even when I am at a table surrounded with people. Is it that I haven’t found the right people to spend my time with? Or that I really don’t understand the politics behind female friendships? I’m curious to hear your thoughts on this. Or am I just weird?