Reading the newspaper and sharing current events with kids


Pretty much every day of the week we have the same routine. Get up, get dressed, come downstairs, make coffee and breakfast, and read the paper. We are still stuck in the dark ages, and get the newspaper delivered. My husband reads all his news online, and I do as well, but there is something about a hot cup of coffee and opening the paper that just screams morning to me.

Soren is now at the age where he is very interested in the news. If you ask him what he thinks about Trump, he'll give you an earful:) Poppy is only three, but she'll pick up on what we are discussing and sometimes ask a few questions or throw in her own two cents. We never have the tv on during breakfast, nor do I check my phone. It's a nice start to our morning to talk, and usually events reported in the newspaper will lead to some interesting conversations.

I'm a little more reserved on what I think the kids need to know about world events, while my husband will pretty much talk to them about anything. A couple of days ago I read about sugar and how it's added to pretty much all packaged foods. This morning when I offered Soren a bowl of cereal, he protested - telling me that cereal is a packaged food and sugar is bad for us. He often understands complex issues that we just brush over, thinking that he's too young to understand.

When I was in high school, I had a world issues teacher who expected us to read the news everyday. He ran his class like a university lecture, and would often start by calling on someone with a question like 'What is your take on the big merger that happened this morning?' If you didn't know the answer, you lost participation marks. At first, I'm sure some of the tenth-graders were a little put off by his tactics, but I had a university prof later operate his class in much the same way. It's good to be aware of what's going on around you. In the work place, so many meetings or conference calls start with 'small talk' about a current event. If I have no clue about what's being talked about, I feel like an idiot.

We do get the occasional raised eyebrow when Soren will join into an adult conversation, but I don't worry about it much. Knowledge is power, and he knows he can talk to us about anything - because we do! As he gets older, I suspect our conversation topics will easily transition into 'serious' talks about drugs and sex and all that fun stuff. Hopefully, since we are well-versed in talking, these talks will occur naturally without the stress that is sometimes put around them. Of course, there are a few things that we would not share with him, and in those instances it helps that he cannot read yet!

Tobogganing - The best way to ensure your kids will sleep well at night


While we like to play outside in the winter, we surprisingly don't do a lot of tobogganing. It may have to do with the fact that we don't own a proper toboggan... or perhaps the idea of walking up and down hills isn't always high on my priority list. Anyways, we were in luck at Fort Whyte, because not only do they have toboggans you can borrow, but they also have an amazing wooden slide! No need to worry about rocks or steering around trees.

We found ourselves sledding on a beautiful winter day over the holidays. The snow was falling and there were surprisingly few people around. That seems to be one of the special things about Fort Whyte, its usually feels like you have the place to yourself. Soren, Poppy and I climbed the wooden structure for the first slide, and I must admit, it was a little nerve racking! We whooshed down onto the frozen lake, and had barely come to a stop before the kids were calling to do it again. On the second slide, Soren almost chickened out, but then continued for as long as we would let him - eventually going all by himself!

We even convinced our resident photographer to take a slide... and I got to snap a few pictures! If you are looking for a fun family outing, tobogganing takes the cake. We all got some fresh air, exercise, and some excited screaming in before we headed for hot chocolate.

Going to the Nutcracker Ballet with a three and a five year old


A couple of nights ago, we did something a little scary - we took our three and five year olds to the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. My husband figured we might get twenty minutes out of the performance, while I was hopeful we could stay until intermission. To say we were pleasantly surprised to stay through the entire performance would be an understatement. The evening was a complete success!

When the traditional Nutcracker Ballet began advertising in november, I thought about perhaps taking just Poppy. The two of us could have a special date night, and I figured she could probably handle sitting through the performance as she loves ballet, and anything 'adult' really. She would be pleased as punch to dress up and go out with 'just Mommy', at night! Then, as we talked about it Soren overheard us, and enthusiastically claimed he would like to go as well. 

I took advantage of a black friday sale, and was able to get four tickets for a reasonable (still expensive) price. As christmas approached we talked about the ballet - how we don't talk while it's on and a little about the storyline. We told the kids that they could get a special treat at intermission, but only if they sat in their seats nicely and behaved. 

Walking into the theatre was quite a magical experience. The kids were impressed with being downtown, at night, at a special 'adult' event. Yes, there were other children at the performance, but not a lot. As at most adult events, there is a quietness that varies greatly from childrens events. We chose not to go to our seats until the five minute warning bell chimed, thinking it would be better to let them walk around for a few extra minutes. 

I purposely separated the kids - Poppy on one side, Soren on the other. I had read this article about getting your childen to enjoy the ballet, and the writer had actually purchased tickets in different sections for the two children - the idea being that they couldn't play/fight with each other if they got bored. 

As the lights went down and the orchestra started, the kids faces were priceless. Both on the edges of their seats, mouthes slightly open, as they craned their necks to see what would happen. And then - the ballet started! Full of beautiful costumes, music, lights... they were entranced. The first half is very kid-friendly, with dancing polar bears and toys and of course the rat king. Tyler and I breathed a sigh of relief and settled into our seats. I'm sure those around us did too.

At intermission, we fulfilled our promise and bought the kids (and me!) massive ice-cream treats. No one asked to go home, or said they were bored. We talked about our favourite parts and then took our seats for the rest of the show. The second half is much more serious, with solos and quiet music and less overall theatrics. About halfway through Soren fell asleep, while Poppy cuddled on my lap and watched till the end. The kids have enthusiastically talked about it ever since, and have already asked to go back next year. I think we have a new tradition.