Thursday, May 28

Thoughts from a 4 Month Old

Hello, my name is Rhys
and I hate sleeping.
Once I go to bed, it means the night time games begin.
I usually take naps for 45 minutes before I wake up my mom to play.
She always tells me she loves being up all night
so I do it as much as possible.
Sometimes, I'll sleep for a whole 2 hours by accident.
Then I will wake up and scream extra loud
so mom knows I didn't forget about her.
We play the funnest games during the night.
My favourite is Guess What I Want to Make the Crying Stop
Mom loves that one,
she always says "here we go again!"
Mom tries to trick me with soothers,
but I only suck the gripe water off them before spitting them out.
She always checks my diaper too,
but I wait until she takes it off before I pee.
It would be silly to waste a whole diaper.
Mom always figures the game out though.
She knows that I like to be held
but only when mom is standing up,
in the living room,
with my head resting on her left arm, not the right.
Sometimes I like to change the game up though.
That's usually when Mom says that she quits
(I win!)
and she takes me to her bed.
Sometimes she sings about "three little monkeys" in the bed,
because Finn takes up most of the room.
She always says that she hopes she's the monkey to fall out and hit her head,
because then maybe she will get some sleep.
I know she is just kidding.
I also let her know that I am super comfortable in her big bed
by spitting up all over her new bedding.
Mom will start speaking to our Lord after that,
so I join her for a quick night night prayer.
I can't wait to go to bed the next day and start it all over again!
First I have to nap all day so I have the energy though.

Wednesday, April 15

That time I had Tinder for 30 minutes

Everybody is doing it. You don't have to pay, answer 100 personal questions, or go through a drawn out communication process. It's the 2015 version of Hot or Not, only if you both answer 'Hot' then you can immediately start texting each other. It's shallow and degrading, it diminishes all the fun out of meeting someone, and is apparently the only way people meet these days. I did not want Tinder, I needed it. I needed to see what all the fuss was about. I downloaded Tinder, put up (what I considered) to be attractive photos of myself, and starting judging people based on information that fit in my palm.

The times I swiped left:

He had a tattoo of a turtle on his neck
His bio said he "wasn't douchey" - probably was
He was wearing a tub hat
He had stretched ear lobes that I could fit a slice of pizza through
He had a pet snake
His picture was a selfie where he was pretending to be sleeping but was giving a kiss face
His only photo was a personalized bobble head
He had three photos giving the middle finger - probably uses the C word too much
He was gesturing the Shocker
He had two cats - cats hate me, it is actually a serious issue. They always scratch my chest.
He was wearing a man thong - this is Tinder, there is no time for questions
He was licking someone's foot

I had exactly one match.  A match! I couldn't even remember swiping right. I went and viewed the person's profile. He had one photo up.  He was showcasing his muscular body, apparently fresh out of the shower and still dripping water.  The picture had been cleverly cropped approximately one inch above his assumed naked penis, avoiding any unnecessary full frontal exposure at 2:00 in the afternoon on a Tuesday. There was a tattoo on his arm but he had blurred it out as to remain anonymous, as well as his face.

My thoughts on my match:

Is this like instagram when they have sponsored posts? Does Tinder sponsor people? Is Tinder sponsoring him because he is trying so hard? How did I get matched to him? Aren't you supposed to show your face? Isn't the whole point of Tinder to let people X you based on your face? His name is "Dark." That can't be his real name. If that is his real name, that's a stupid name. Who tries that hard to remain anonymous but shows that much body? I wonder why he would show his treasure trail but not his face. Does this actually work for girls? I wonder how many girls swiped right for him. Do girls post pictures like this too? I don't think I would post a picture like that. I only posted selfies from days I actually bothered washing my hair. I wonder if I posted a picture like his if people could tell I had a C-section. Is this the normal criteria for dating now? Maybe I should change my preferences to searching for a woman so I can see how everyone else is setting up their profiles. I hope I'm not breaking some unspoken Tinder rules. Maybe I should google the dos and don'ts. I wonder what his tattoo is of. I bet it's his name. Did I swipe right? I don't remember doing that. He doesn't really seem like my type. Where does it say if this is sponsored? I bet he pays monthly for the better Tinder. How do I get unmatched? He is my only match so maybe I should consider this. This is seriously my only match? His abs are pretty nice. No, I don't think I like this.

Then I remembered!

The time I swiped right:

My dog bumped into me and I accidentally swiped right.

Friday, September 26

BREAKING NEWS: 27 Years Old with a Sex Life

When I first found out I was pregnant, I swore to myself that I wouldn't turn into one of those people who only ever talks about being pregnant, motherhood, how cute my child is, how big messes get, and how much a baby cries. However, if my obsession with my dog is any indication of how my future posts are going to look, I may be in a bit of trouble.

This is one post I have been thinking of writing for a while but have put off.  I may share a lot about my personal life, but I have always made a conscious effort not to air my dirty laundry over the internet, and those who commonly do drive me just the littlest bit crazy. I will say this and then I'll drop it, and I won't mention it again...

This is to the person who asked me where my wedding ring was, to the person who rolled their eyes at me instead of offering a congratulations, and to who asked if I knew who the father was. This is to the person who asked how I got pregnant, which forms of birth control I used, and who forgot that abstinence is the only protection that is 100% effective. This is to the person who told me not to worry as everyone makes mistakes, to the person who suddenly wanted to know details about my dating life after a year of not speaking, and the person who responded to my announcement by saying, "that sucks."

How dare you judge me.

A family is not defined by a mother, father, and two biological children.  Families can have one parent, no parents, step parents, or grand parents.  Families can have two mommies and no daddies and vice-versa.
Heterosexual couples raise amazing children, just as much as homosexual couples who raise amazing children, just as much as single parents who raise amazing children, just as much as adoptive parents who raise amazing children, just as much as parents with shared custody raise amazing children, etc, etc, etc.

Had I been married, would you have asked if I was on the pill?  Had I adopted, would you have asked about my finances?  Had I gone through in vitro, would you have given me a lecture on how difficult parenting is?  Let's not forget that a married couple does not automatically mean happiness; not everyone who is single is lonely and not everyone who is taken is in love.  A marriage with a planned pregnancy is not a one way ticket to perfect children.

People get pregnant and it isn't always a scheduled part of their day.  A baby is a miracle.  There is a tiny human inside of me, and no matter how or when it came about, that in itself is amazing.

This is to the person who congratulated me, expressed excitement for me, and asked how the baby and I were doing, to the person who gave me a hug and meant it, to the person who told me I'd be a milf.  This is to the person who rushed to pick out onesies, the person who said they had always pictured me as a mother, the person who wanted to be involved and offer their assistance, and the person who said they cannot wait to read my blogs about it.  This is to the person who immediately wanted to discuss baby names, to decorate my spare room, and spend the summer at garage sales looking for items I needed.
- Thank you. 





"I was born to be stubborn, to be a little bit bitchy, to push people, to push myself.  I was taught never to take life for granted, to live a little, to love with everything I had, to never give up, to believe in myself, but most of all to fight for myself."

Tuesday, August 19

McBaby

I have finished school (seriously, can we get a 'Hallelujah'), I did a ton of traveling (to which I have requests to blog about but really don't know how to), and am now expecting!  2014 has so far been a bit of a whirlwind.

Is it annoying if I say it again?  I am done school.  I am a university graduate.  In other news, I am also getting an award for the longest it ever took anyone to get one degree. 

People keep asking how my trip went and of course I want to tell them how amazing it was, except my Visa bill is still sort of haunting me and my scars haven't quite completely healed, but we are getting there!  I am still hoping that applying Bio-Oil to half my body will start to make a difference soon because until it works- my mom will continue to remind me to use it every single day.

Yes, the pictures on Facebook are real, I'm not just stuffing my shirt and posing with fruit, I am having a baby! A tiny human is growing within me and it blows my mind every time I feel it moving around.  The first time it moved I thought it was just my stomach digesting my cucumbers, but nope- BABY! It's also pretty cool that McBaby has been to 5 different countries already!  It's like my own little Travelocity Gnome that goes wherever I do. 
I know what everyone is thinking (mostly because everyone has asked outright), you want to know who the father is.  You've creeped my Facebook and my Instagram and you can't figure it out.  Well, to that I remind you of a previous person I dated (for a very short time) who I had pictures of on my Facebook shortly before he turned from McDreamy into McNeedy and eventually to a pseudo-stalker, who to this day continues to ask my BFF "how is she." Let's all collectively agree that it would be best to avoid that situation from happening ever again.  Therefore, this time I am keeping my private life private; which is surprisingly turning out to be a pretty amazing concept to some people. 

So here I am, working the same two jobs I have been for a few years, while preparing for my world to change.  I've painted the baby room a solid white, updated an old toy box, and was reacquainted with a very old/ mind-blowingly comfortable chair. 

Finn made for a lousy helper

BEFORE

AFTER


At my last ultrasound, the tech was able to determine the gender, so now I am looking forward to my gender reveal BBQ, where I'll learn if McBaby is a boy or girl at the same time as my family and friends! :) 

Friday, April 11

Aboriginals

My class has had a number of fairly controversial debates over the past four years, including the discussion of abortion, the death penalty, and euthanasia (holy depressing theme...).  The most recent open discussion was one that left me really frustrated and it wasn't because of the content being spoken of, but the way people were quick to respond defensively, as if they had been attacked. Now, I admittedly am not very good at articulating my thoughts verbally or in the heat of the moment. 20 minutes later, I had a hundred things I could have said but refrained from doing so in class as I had already done a pretty good job of making myself sound like an ass.  Lucky for Cassy and her family, they got the privilege of listening to me get all of those thoughts off my chest over lunch.

Sometimes I feel like the only person who does not remember learning about/ was never taught about the Canadian residential schools.  If you're like me, then you will find this very interesting, although if I have gotten something wrong- please correct me.  Residential (boarding) Schools were created for Aboriginal people of Canada, funded by the Federal Government and administered by the Catholic and Anglican Church.  They were seen as a way to assimilate Aboriginal people into a European-Canadian society.  These compulsory schools (for status Indians under 16 years old) forcibly removed children from their families, and if their families failed to send their children then they were threatened with fines or prison.  The children who attended these schools were deprived of their ancestral languages, underwent forced sterilization, and were exposed to physical and sexual abuse, neglect, and torture from the hands of the teachers and other students.  Overcrowding, poor sanitation, inadequate heating, and a lack of medical care led to high rates of influenza and tuberculosis.  It has recently been reported that at least 50 000 children died in these school, mostly from disease.  These schools originally opened in the 1880s and the last one closed as recently as 1996.  In 1996 I was in grade 4 (right?).  I was playing rep soccer for the first time with my dad coaching my team.  I lived in a large house, ate dinner with my family every night, and had a pet dog.  I was not taken away from my family and exposed to various forms of abuse, nor did I ever think for a second that kids my age were living through such horrific experiences.  This part of Canadian history has been referred to as a cultural genocide, which our nation is severely undereducated about.


Impacts from Residential Schools are intergenerational. The parents who were forced to send their children to the schools had to deal with effects of separation, without the opportunity to be informed of their well-being or to speak with their child for months at a time. The children who attended these schools and suffered such atrocities, resulted in feelings of alienation, shame, and anger, which is passed down onto their children and grandchildren.
Attachment to caregivers is significant on a child's development, and an attachment to a nurturing and reliable caregiver is essential for healthy growth.  Children of Residential Schools were not given that experience once they were removed from their homes, and as a result they continue to struggle today with the ability of forming attachments and relationships with others.  Consequences of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse continue to be felt in each subsequent generation.  Traumatic wounds exist in the lives of many Aboriginals, as they had been raised to believe that being Aboriginal was something to be ashamed of.
I can't remember where I initially heard this, but supposedly it takes 7 generations to overcome such a traumatic life event, like living in these Residential Schools.  If that is the case, we are currently only 1 or 2 generations in.  It is pretty scary to think that this type of maltreatment among citizens of Canada has occurred during our lifetimes.

Recently, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was in Edmonton.  For those who do not about the TRC is, it is committed to establishing new relationships between First Nations, Inuit, Metis, former Indian Residential School students, families, communities, religious entities, former school employees, the government, and the people of Canada.  There is an emerging desire to put the events of the Residential Schools in the past and works towards healthier futures.  The TRC was attended by my class, which prompted the conversation surrounding the Aboriginals living on reserves.  I have a ton of empathy for the families affected by the Residential Schools and I wish there was more than I could do for them.  Many of the children I work with are Aboriginal or have Aboriginal ancestry, and I can see the effects of Residential Schools on a daily basis, however, there were a couple of things mentioned in our class that left me thinking about them outside of class...

1.  It was brought to our attention that on one of the reserves North of Edmonton, approximately 75% of the homes are missing front doors.  In my ever-so-delicate manner I asked, "why can't they fix their doors?"  This sparked a bit of a discussion.  All of the houses on reserves are paid for by the federal government.  The residents live there mortgage/rent free.  Many have lived in the homes for decades, but technically the government could evict them at any time.  These houses are not up to a typical standard of living.  Many are made of wood, which warps and burns, slanted porches, leaking roofs, rolling floors, and bad or no plumbing at all.  There are even reports of people resorting to housing in insulated sheds.  One way of looking at it was that if there is a large family living in a rent-free home in Alberta, then it would seemingly be in the family's best interest to block out the harsh cold winter by having a closed door.  Others believed that due to Aboriginal's nomadic history, lack of home ownership, and governmental responsibility that they should not be on the hook for home upgrades.

2. The federal government recognizes each First Nation band as an autonomous entity, and therefore provides separate funding to each one.  Non-Status Indians, Metis, and Inuit people are not part of this government system, which results in the major differences between their legal and social situation than that of the First Nations.  (This is getting confusing)  Each band is provided a certain amount of money from the government each year, which is then dispersed by the Chief or Band Council around education, housing, etc.   Unfortunately, not all of those in charge of these funds remain completely honest with their bands, and at times keep extra money for themselves.  This rattled up a discussion on who is to blame for the decreasing number of Aboriginal high school graduates and post-secondary students.  While the government provides much less funding to schools on reserves than it does to provincially run schools, is it the government's fault that the funds aren't reaching the educational systems?  Also to note, it is up to the band whether or not they will pay for post-secondary education.  This can result in situations where a student has had a couple years of university paid for, when it suddenly gets pulled.  Frustrating as all hell, but at the very least they were fortunate enough to have free education for at least part of their schooling.  Not all post-secondary students can say the same.

I don't know what I hoped to achieve with this post, other than to spread awareness and maybe create discussion or provide some context.  At the very least, I believe this dark side of Canadian history should be known and understood by all of us.

Lauren Kent

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