As a new parent, taking your baby to the doctor for her first set of vaccinations can be a nerve-wracking experience. In fact, some parents consider delaying their baby’s vaccinations because of the pain it can cause. This can leave a baby exposed to serious diseases. Because every parent wants a happy, healthy baby, I asked Dr. Shirley Blaichman, a […]
Whenever I’m asked about potty training, I find it hard to remember the exact method I used for my daughter. Some tactics worked, while others did not. However, there has always been one game-changing piece of advice I happily dole out whenever a parent mentions […]
My four-year-old daughter thinks everyone is her friend. Not just the older girls in the neighbourhood, whose heels she follows around endlessly like a little puppy — everyone. Her “swim buddies” at the pool, who she just met, the kids at the playground, even teenagers skateboarding at the nearby elementary school.
Layla’s whole purpose in life is to have as much fun as possible, with as many friends as possible. It’s what I love about her. What I admire.
This past summer she grew a little too, learning how to ride a bike like those older girls in the neighbourhood. Every morning, before we were even out of our pajamas, she would ask to go out and ride. She’d click on her helmet and pedal up and down the street, waiting for someone to play with. It was the summer of Layla. That is, until she received her first dose of rejection.
Layla was riding her bike near the other girls in the neighbourhood. Assuming she was invited to play, she followed them to the front steps of another girl’s house.
“Layla, you’re not allowed to play with us!” shouted the girl, before slamming the door in Layla’s face.
I watched as Layla backed her bike up and slowly rode to me with her head down. My heart broke, right there on the sidewalk.
She had tears streaming down her face and it was hard to hold back my own. My kids are the only two in our entire family, and I have only one or two friends with children. Friends are hard to come by for Layla, and she just wanted someone to play with.
So I did the only thing I could think of in that moment that I knew would lift her spirits. I took her to the candy store.
While she combed through the aisles with a smile across her wet, blotchy, cheeks, I started to plan the inevitable. How I would explain rejection and inclusion to my then three-year-old.
It’s not always easy telling a child that some people are mean for no reason, but I tried. I started by explaining that she did nothing wrong. That sometimes people just want to play by themselves, or just with others. That sometimes they just don’t express this in the right way. More importantly, I told her how proud I was of her for wanting to play with everyone.
Including those who exclude
We did meet up with that girl again, when her friends were nowhere in sight. She asked Layla if she could play with her. I seized the opportunity to point out to her how she rejected Layla so coldly. The girl denied it, shrugging her shoulders while donning a wicked grin. In that moment, I had to remember that I was a parent and not a prosecutor. So I invited the girl to play and opened our gate. “Everyone is welcome to play with us,” I said.
I believe in leading by example, especially when the opportunity is right there, ready to be seized. Rather than lecturing Layla about how she should act, I want her to see it. I want her to see the response she’ll get from her actions. At home, I encourage her brother to come and play with us, and she sees how happy it makes him feel. I interact with her friends at preschool and at the playground, so she can see the impact of including others.
And if she doesn’t want to play with them, that’s okay too. We just express it in a kind way.
I know that Layla’s Mean Girl experience is only the beginning as she approaches school. Hopefully by teaching her about inclusion, I can put her on the right side of that slammed door. Hopefully one day she’ll be there for someone who needs a trip to the candy store.
Life can be one big blur of diaper changes and spit-up once your baby finally arrives. And when you’re just trying to survive the day, it’s hard to think about the essential things you need now that you’re officially a family. Here’s a handy to-do list to help you along the way.
Create a will
No one wants to think about the unthinkable, but without a will, there’s no saying how your estate will be handled and who will raise your children when you’re gone. The cost of a will depends on your situation and the professional you use. Here in Vancouver, notaries charge anywhere between $400 and $600, but it’s a small price to pay for peace of mind. The good news is, there are more than 80 notaries in Vancouver that can help guide you through the process.
Consider life insurance
If your family should ever have to use a will, life insurance can help with the financial impact. If you already have insurance, you may want to consider additional coverage. Some workplaces offer life insurance options, but it may not be enough. For the cost of a few lattes a month, it can give your family that added security.
Open an education savings plan
Put baby’s first birthday cash to good use by setting them up for a solid education. In British Columbia, you contribute to a Registered Education Savings Plan or RESP, and the Government of Canada contributes to the account as well (as long as your child does attend post secondary education). The amount depends on your own contribution and your family circumstances. Head to any bank, trust company or credit union to open an RESP, but before you do, make sure you and your baby have a social insurance number.
Apply for child & family benefits
Every family can use a little extra help with the added costs of raising a new baby. Again, across Canada, you can sign up for benefits pre-baby by using the Automated Benefits Application, or afterward on the province’s birth registration form. If you’re a few months behind, you can still apply to get those payments you missed.
Oh, and get some sleep…lots of sleep!
Transitioning from my daily corporate gig to a full-fledged baby raiser has certainly been an eye opener to say the least. It’s been a little over two years since I traded in my blazers for baby bottles, and while I don’t miss the daily grind […]
October is pumpkin picking time. If you’re heading to the patch this weekend, here are three things you can do to create a great experience for you and your family.
Pick the right patch
It’s not all about the pumpkin these days. Most families heading to the pumpkin patch are looking for a whole day of family fun, filled with hay-rides, corn mazes, petting zoos and more.
If you’re in Vancouver and looking for a pumpkin patch trip with all the bells and whistles, check out these top patches.
Pack the essentials
Besides your typical haul of diapers, bottles, and many, many, many snacks, don’t forget these essential items:
Cash – not all patches have a debit/credit machine.
Rain boots – Pumpkins are downright dirty, and here in Vancouver, we get a lot of rain, so waterproof boots are a must-have for stomping around the pumpkin patch.
A change of clothes for the kids – There’s nothing worse than having your little one fall down in the mud right out of the gate, packing a change of clothes or Muddy Buddy could save the day.
Reusable grocery bags – These are a perfect fit to carry your pumpkins in. They are more durable than plastic grocery bags, easy to pack, and they help keep dirt at bay.
Wheelbarrow/wagon – If you’re heading home with a ton of pumpkins, consider bringing a wagon with you; it also doubles as a stroller when your little ones get tired.
Head out early
Hundreds of families flock to popular pumpkin patches each October. Consider going as early as possible to grab a parking spot, or even towards the end of the day when most families head home. And if you can swing it, weekdays are always a favourable time to head to the patch.
Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and in the Robertson household, we take turkey time very seriously. To help get in the spirit of the holiday, and add a little seasonal décor to the home, we decided to make a few simple crafts. All you […]