Monthly Archives: January 2008

Thousands expected to protest culling of the toys

Thousands of angry elves are expected to descend on a small British Columbia city this weekend to protest the annual culling of the toys.

“It’s barbaric,” says Jolly Happy, head of the Society Against Nasty Toy Abuse (S.A.N.T.A.). “The father of this family is about to commit toyicide and we must stop him.”

“There’s just too damn many toys in our house,” says the beleaguered father. “With Christmas and 2 birthdays within the span of 5 weeks, we’re overrun with Dora, Strawberry Shortcake and Tinkerbell crap. We have to get rid of some.”

“I’m not sure why they (S.A.N.T.A.) are so pissed anyway,” says the father. “The vast majority of these toys will find a better home in second hand stores and charities.”

Despite the humane assurances, worldwide reaction to the planned toy cull has been swift.

“He better leave the Lego alone,” says the Danish Toy Council.

In Sweden economic sanctions are planned against Canada should the toy cull result in the premature death of toys created or purchased at Ikea.

And in Brazil, the Brazilian government has offered amnesty to all soccer related toys and equipment, a sentiment supported by the government of Italy.

However, the father plans to proceed despite the international outrage. “I don’t care. I’ve done my last middle of the night step on some stupid stuffed squelchy animal. Look out, Little People, I’m cleaning house!”

The cull is planned for Sunday.

Six Ways to Be a Media-Savvy Parent This Year

The Girl is now 4 and interested in all things video screen. If it has a screen, she wants to be there. Small battles have been erupting over screen time in our house. Not huge tantrum issues, but whenever it is time to turn off the tv, The Girl begins negotiating harder than a John Grisham lawyer.

The computer is not quite as bad. She does enjoy some of the activities at the CBC Kids site and the occasional stop at the Pingu website. But other than that her favorite activity on the computer is watching home videos and our photo slideshows. But I know the day is coming. The world of online games, social networking and questionable media role models is just around the corner.

Common Sense media has just posted a basic little media literacy list called Six Ways to Be a Media-Savvy Parent. The theme of the list is a good one. Rather than advice on how to isolate and monitor our kids, the list focuses on helping parents become educated and active participants in our kids media lives. We can’t turn it off, so we might as well educate ourselves and try to be involved.

At the very least, you might be able to leverage some of the tips into a convincing argument that your family really needs a personal digital recorder and a new Wii. Really, it’s for the kids.

A sad day (yes, this post is about beer, glorious beer)

There are 2 little pleasures in life that I enjoy on an almost daily basis; 2 small rituals that, day in and day out, I look forward to with unbridled enthusiasm.

No matter how crazy my days get, I wake up each morning with the happy thought that it is time to slosh back a cup of coffee.

The second is the unbridled joy the final sip of a good microbrew gives me at the end of each day – yes, I am not ashamed to admit it – I have one just about each and every day. It’s good for you. Really.

So today’s news that a looming shortage of hops is forcing some of my favorite beer companies to reinvent their signature lines and, gasp, in some case raise prices is being met with great sadness in our house. Join me as I raise a bottle and mourn the lose.

He’s 1, she’s 4 and Dad caught a real Man Cold

The Girl turns 4 today. A month ago, The Boy turned one. In between there was the month of December where Mom headed back to work after her 1 year mat leave and I (temporarily) stepped off the work track and climbed back in the SAHDle again.

It was only for a month, but I was looking forward to it with great anticipation. Too bad I didn’t follow my own rules, especially #1 – Lower Expectations.

The plan was supposed to be to not only spend time with the kids, but also begin acclimatizing The Boy to daycare in preparation for the new year when both my wife and I would be back at work. Along the way, The Girl was going to continue her 3 days a week routine at her preschool. It all looked good on paper, as they say. A few days a week with both the kids, a couple days with just The Boy and me and, depending on how the transition to daycare went, perhaps even a few days to myself in there.

Oh, how much I would get done! Imagine – having a full day to yourself? Oh the wonderful things that could be accomplished. Why, I could design a rocket ship, create a new high yielding crop that would triple the amount of food farmers could get off their land, and maybe even cure a horrible disease. And then after lunch I could paint the living room, watch the entire first season of the BBC’s version of The Office and catch up on all those 2006 World Cup soccer matches I recorded but never got around to watching.

Yes, I had plans. However, the plan I needed the most was a contingency plan. Three days into my month long “vacation” The Girl came down with the flu. She was out of action for a week. Meanwhile, The Boy and daycare was proving to be more difficult than I had imagined. I ended up spending hours with him at the center, trying to get him used to the new routine.

And then, (no doubt helped along by getting puked on by The Girl at 2 am one night) it was my turn. Now this wasn’t a normal flu…this was a full blown Man Cold.

The good news was that we were all fine by the time Christmas rolled around and had a great last week before we headed into our new routine with 2 working parents and kids in daycare.

So, while December didn’t turn out quite like I expected, I am grateful that we have managed to juggle everyones schedules enough so that the kids are in care only 3 days a week, thanks to some great bosses, creative scheduling and a very helpful daycare & preschool. Sure, Mom and I have wonky work weeks, but if it means that the kids get to spend more time with their parents then so be it. For them they have “Mommy days” where Mom is at home and Dad is at work, “Daddy days” where I am at home and she is at work and days at daycare. The downside to the working family schedule is that we only get one day a week (Sundays) where we are all together as a family. But for now, it’ll do.