Friday, May 26, 2017

50 thoughts heading into dance recital weekend

  1. Will these tights look dirty on stage?
  2. Nah, the lights are bright.
  3. Bright lights are like the theatre version of an Instagram filter.
  4. I hope the bun looks good.
  5. I think I made it too high last time.
  6. Where *is* the crown of a head, exactly? The top? The back?
  7. Augh! I love my precious little ballerina so much!
  8. Shoot! Do I need to steam the costume?
  9. I think it's OK. 
  10. I don't dare iron it -- I'd probably melt it.
  11. How many hairnets do we have left?
  12. Hairnets are weird. They look like a dust bunny.
  13. What colour is my daughter's hair, really?
  14. Dirty blonde sounds too grown-up for a five-year-old. Light brown? Hmm.
  15. "OMG I can't wait to see you on stage!"
  16. "You're going to be SO PERFECT UP THERE!" *kiss*
  17. SNACKS! She needs to bring snacks for backstage!
  18. They have to be healthy. 
  19. I totally didn't send a snack last time. #badmom
  20. So, OK, a healthy snack.
  21. And a water bottle.
  22. And some kind of activity to do backstage?
  23. Didn't send one of those last time, either. Whoops.
  24. Definitely not markers. She'll get it all over her tights.
  25. Oh God, I'd die if she came out all covered in marker.
  26. What kind of activity is quiet and doesn't involve colouring?
  27. Should I send the UNO cards?
  28. She's certainly obsessed with that game. She might lose it.
  29. No, she'll definitely lose it.
  30. Better send something from the Dollar Store.
  31. "... and we'll see your FRIENDS on stage, too! Oooh, you're all going to look SO CUTE!"

  33. Never mind, I have some. 
  34. Oh, I didn't like it as much as the stuff from last year, though.
  35. Should I wash her hair after the rehearsal tonight?
  36. If I don't, will it be too crunchy to work with tomorrow?
  37. What did I do last year? I can't remember.
  38. Speaking of baths, I need to scrub those band-aid marks off her arms.
  39. Maybe I'll use nail polish remover. Then I won't have to scrub as hard.
  40. Oh right, she needs makeup, too.
  41. I love how she looks in mascara.
  42. I wish I had eyelashes like that.
  43. Better darken her eyebrows, too.
  44. "Eeeeek, I'm getting so excited!"
  45. If she puts a hole in these tights right now, I'm gonna lose it.
  46. One more day and then it doesn't matter if the tights get ripped. 
  47. Just ONE DAY, Tights. Keep it together until noon on Saturday!
  48. Don't forget the flowers!
  49. I can't wait to see her twirling around up there. 
  50. God, I love Dance Recital Weekend.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

What you probably didn’t know about wetting the bed

The following is a sponsored conversation with GoodNites® but all opinions are my own.

So let’s start with me admitting that I was really, REALLY wrong about bed-wetting.

When I heard a few friends talking about how their own children, who are almost five, were still wearing diapers at night, I admit I was really shocked. Had they missed a potty-training memo? Why the heck weren’t they figuring that out because, yeesh, who wants to be changing the diaper of a kid who’s learning to read?


Neither of our kids had an issue with night-wetting -- yet, at least -- and they just automatically stayed dry overnight once we stopped putting them to bed with diapers on. In my mind, it was the “last stage” of potty-training, and then I sold the cloth diapers and never thought about it again.


So when the team at GoodNites® sent me some info on nighttime wetting, I was really surprised (i.e. horrified) by what I’d once thought.

They gave me the chance to chat with Canadian child and family therapist Michele Kambolis, who is the author of Generation Stressed: Play-Based Tools to Help Your Child Overcome Anxiety, since May is Better Sleep Month -- and for many children, nighttime wetting is keeping them from sleeping through the night.

Here's what Michele told me about nighttime wetting ...

Nighttime wetting is WAY more common than you thought.

1 in 6 children wets the bed at night -- that’s 15% of ALL four-year-old to 12-year-olds! 1 in 10 seven-year-olds still wet the bed at least once a week.

“It’s so important for parents to reassure themselves that there’s nothing physically or emotionally wrong with their child. It’s a completely normal part of growing up,” Michele says. “Everyone’s body grows at a different rate, and their body just needs more time.”

Potty-training and night dryness are two DIFFERENT developmental milestones.

Michele says most parents (like me) have no idea that they’re completely different -- and that’s a problem.

Using the potty is something you can control, but nighttime wetting is involuntary. Michele says kids are usually potty-trained by age four, but nighttime wetting can last up to adolescence.

Since potty-training is such an “emotionally-loaded” process, with parents jumping up and down, praising, rewarding, etc. like crazy, this can make nighttime wetting feel like a disappointing setback ... but it’s not.

Never reward a dry night.

I'm all about the reward system (candy is literally the way we potty-trained both of our kids) so I was surprised that it's a no-no for nighttime wetting.

So how are you supposed to react if your child wets the bed? Michele says it’s important for parents to have a “non-reaction.” No scolding, no sighing, no complaining about having to change the sheets -- none! Just calmly remind them it’s nothing they can control -- it’s their body needing more time.

Do NOT use a sticker chart or rewards for when they have a dry night -- just like you wouldn’t reward them for waking up with curly hair or blue eyes. They can’t control it, so it doesn’t get to be rewarded OR punished. It is what it is.

Wetting the bed is highly genetic.

If you wet the bed as a kid, your child has a good chance of doing it, too. Michele says if you and your partner BOTH wet the bed as kids, your child has a 77% chance of nighttime wetting, too. That a really high percentage!

The parent’s bed-wedding history can also give you a good idea of when your child will stop. A child’s nighttime wetting almost always resolves within a year of when it stopped for their parents -- if your husband stopped when he was eight, your child will likely stop around the same time.

Wetting the bed isn’t something that’s “cured” overnight, and it can come back years later for no reason.

Sometimes it happens right after they’ve potty-trained during the day, and sometimes nighttime wetting doesn’t happen until years later.

So what does it mean if your child has dry nights AND nights where they wet the bed?

If they are always dry at night and suddenly start wetting, it could be a sign they have a bladder infection or even that they’re constipated.

But if they’re wet some nights and dry other nights, that’s totally normal. Michele says there can be “stops and starts in development,” so it’s not uncommon for this to happen. It does NOT mean that they’re stressed, sick, scared, etc. or they’re acting out.

She says kids are often very upset and discouraged when they wet the bed, especially if they’re potty-trained during the day -- or if they haven’t wet the bed in a long time.

“Reassure them, let them lean into you, and tell them their body is right on track for developing exactly as it should.”


One of the MANY ways nighttime wetting is different from potty-training has to do with undies -- and a lack of undies.

A good potty-training tip is to put a child in underwear during the day so they can feel when they wet themselves. Soggy underwear don’t feel very good, and this can help them recognize the feeling of needing to go and hustling to the toilet.

I’m sure some parents think putting their nighttime wetting child in a diaper at bedtime might be delaying the process because the child may think they are "training" for the the potty again. (After all, they don’t feel when they get wet because it’s nice and absorbent, so how will they learn to wake up and get to the bathroom?) I totally would have thought this, since it’s what makes sense during the day.

But NOPE! Totally not the right way to go.

“You need to focus on keeping your child comfortable so they’re able to sleep through the entire night. Getting enough sleep is so important for brain and body development,” says Michele. “We don’t want them waking up in the middle of the night and disrupting their sleep.”

Since it’s important for potty-trained kids to feel proud of the fact that they’re no longer in diapers, Michele recommends overnight bedtime pants -- like GoodNites® -- that have fun patterns, are easy to pull on and off, and are designed to look more like real underwear.

GoodNites® just launched a new Extra-Small GoodNites® Bedtime Pant that’s designed to fit snugly on three-year-olds and four-year-olds (28-45 lbs) who are transitioning from potty-training.

But they also have sizes that can fit kids up to 125 lbs. They’re slim-fitting so you couldn’t detect them under a pair of PJs, which is important for older kids going for a sleepover.

(There’s actually a whole section on the site with tips on handling sleepovers, like sliding a pair of GoodNites® into your child’s sleeping bag so they can secretly slip them on right before going to sleep.)

“When children are armed with the knowledge and the products that remind them it’s ‘no big deal,’ it helps ensure they’re confident and happy,” says Michele. “That’s what we all want for our children.”

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Taking the pressure out of summer

School’s out in about a month and that means we’ll have a little more than two months of summer stretching before us — a blank calendar without too many possibilities.

Scenes from last summer -- where we got it *almost* right.

It’s not just that there isn’t elementary school or preschool to keep us busy. There also isn’t our weekly ballet class and taekwondo class. There are many, many empty hours to fill, so it’s understandable that a lot of families rush to fill them up.

It used to be us, too, because we thought that’s just what you were supposed to do. Except my husband does shift work that keeps him out of the house most evenings, so the schlepping around to activities was left to me. (Along with working from home, of course.)

The first summer of soccer wasn’t too bad, since it was only one night a week. I swatted at the bugs and chased our daughter while our son played. It was when we got into T-ball territory — two nights a week — that I felt my sanity start to wither.

I was co-assistant coaching (that’s a mouthful) and trading off wrangling the little sisters. While it was cute to watch our son play, it was frustrating dragging two children to a dusty field when they both just wanted to stay home.

Last summer, I decided I didn’t want us to do T-ball or soccer and neither of the kids noticed or cared. They went to day camp some mornings while I worked and afternoons were spent at home or at a park.

But while the evenings were sport-free, they weren’t commitment-free. I’d bought a family membership to a local outdoor pool with the idea that we’d meet up with friends for nightly swims. Surely it would be better than the kids and I being home alone every evening, I thought optimistically. But since it made sense to go enough to justify the cost of the pass, I felt pressured to go on evenings when I really didn’t feel like swimming.

I didn’t count on the fact that we’d never seem to see our friends there much, as they’d either go later or on different nights entirely. It was mostly just me and the two kids, alone in a pool of strangers, wondering if anyone we knew was going to show up ...

Continue reading in my weekly parenting column, The Mom Scene ...

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Monday, May 22, 2017

DIY signpost deck decor

It’s not often that I come across a Pinterest project I haven’t seen before. So when my friend texted a picture of a brightly-coloured signpost — each sign pointing to different north, south, east and west destinations — I was intrigued.

This friend moved into a new home fairly recently (and yes, it does feel like ALL of my friends are building gorgeous new homes) and she wondered if I would create something like it for her back deck. Of course, I agreed — what a perfect housewarming present — and I wound up doing the whole thing last Sunday.

I had my friend start by making a list of destinations that meant something to her family, along with their cardinal directions (north, south, east, west) and their distance from her house. No way was I being trusted with those details. I still use Siri’s voice prompts to direct me to places 10 minutes from home.

(And let’s not talk about last summer when I was horribly lost in the woods of Victoria Park behind my house.)

Read the "Heather gets really lost" story here

She close nine places — hometowns, favourite vacation spots, locations of their relatives and even her husband’s in-home brewery — so I cut nine two-foot boards on my mitre saw. They weren’t even exactly the same width, but I knew it wouldn’t matter. Then I nipped two tiny triangles off one end of each board to make a point, like a directional arrow.

It was a very windy Sunday morning when I dragged all nine boards outside to be painted. I picked nine different colours from my paint arsenal — some Fusion Mineral Paint and some old CIL samples — ranging from orange and mint to navy and black. The only criteria was they needed to be dark enough to support white lettering.

The combination of the sun and wind dried the boards super-fast — two coats on each side — and then I brought them back inside to do the lettering. (And warm my freezing cold hands.)

I typed up the city names and distances in a free serif font (Coolvetica on, printed them out and cut them into strips. The pile was daunting — nine city names and nine distances, times two because the signs needed to be double-sided ...

How did I finish the sign? Continue reading in my weekly DIY column, My Handmade Home ...

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