Wednesday, March 27, 2013

LAST CHANCE: Early Bird Pricing on Ultimate Camp Packs from Lovable Labels!

I've been posting about this all month, so if you haven't taken advantage of the early bird pricing on the new Ultimate Camp Packs from Lovable Labels, here's your final warning:

You are almost out of time! Order now!!!

The Ultimate Camp Packs from Lovable Labels contain over 150 labels, making this their best value pack to date!  This pack includes 30 sticker labels, 40 slimline labels, 12 shoe labels (I can never have enough of these), 72 Press N'Stick Clothing DOTS, 12 square labels, and 2 mini metal tags.

Remember, these aren't just "stickers."  These labels are dishwasher and microwave safe, washer and dryer safe, bleach safe, UV resistant, sunscreen safe, and water proof.

Remember, you must sign up for the Lovable Labels Newsletter by March 31st to receive this special price of $5 off!

Don't forget you can also use my code, MonikaWLB1, for 10% off as well.

I write about these labels all the time, and I've told you all how they've saved my kid's stuff more than once.  Remember, you do NOT need to be sending your kid to camp to benefit from these; they aren't camp specific or summer specific.  Heck, you don't even need to have a kid... I have a pack of labels with MY name on them so that I don't lose items that I use for my family child care.

I didn't talk about this in previous entries but... the new designs they have for the Ultimate Camp Packs are really cute. I think I'm going to struggle when choosing which Aias will like best, and these aren't even all of them, just a few of my favourites:

Movin' & Groovin'
Hoo Am I?
Metal Men
Ahoy Ye Matey!
Don't Bug Me!
Monster Mash

Head over to Lovable Labels, sign up for the newsletter, and get your order through before it's too late!
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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Save $5 on a Lovable Labels Ultimate Camp Pack!

All my blog readers, friends, and family know that I can't say enough good about Lovable Labels.

I want to remind you again that now is your chance to sign up for their newsletter so you can order their Ultimate Camp Pack for $5 off the regular price of $44.95.

The Ultimate Camp Packs contain over 150 labels, making this their best value pack to date!  This pack includes 30 sticker labels, 40 slimline labels, 12 shoe labels (I can never have enough of these), 72 Press N'Stick Clothing DOTS, 12 square labels, and 2 mini metal tags.

You seriously can't ever have too many of these; every style has its own merits.  The slimline labels seem to be on everything my child owns (I rarely let him leave the house with anything that doesn't have one on it) and the clothing and shoe labels are invaluable.  This package has a particularly impressive amount of clothing and shoe labels.  Even if your kid isn't going to camp, these are great for preschool, daycare, school, traveling, etc.  They are also timeless, because your kid is probably not going to be changing their name any time soon :)

Remember, these aren't just "stickers."  These labels are dishwasher and microwave safe, washer and dryer safe, bleach safe, UV resistant, sunscreen safe, and water proof.

Remember, you must sign up for the Lovable Labels Newsletter to receive this special price!

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Stereotypical Boychild I Never Thought I'd Have

I'm surrounded by things with wheels.

Seriously, if I look around my apartment I can count probably 1,000 wheels if not more.

We found out Aias was a boy halfway through my pregnancy.  I thought this was great because we are such open-minded people and I thought for sure we could take on the project of raising a boy who played with all toys, whether society deemed them "for boys" or "for girls."  He would be gender-neutral, open to all things, and totally not a stereotypical boy because of his super socially aware parents (us!).  We figured the universe is always sending little boys who want to wear dresses and little girls who wouldn't dream of it to conservative parents who won't have it, so instead, the universe could send one of those kids to us.  Right? Right?

When we started buying Aias toys, we kept an open mind. He had blocks, trucks, dolls, toy food, a stroller to push his dolls in, a mini dollhouse set, toys that were pink, toys that were blue.  We sat down with him and tried to play with them all the toys with equal enthusiasm.  We did crafts, we played house, we did it all.

At 13 months old Aias was given his first toy train.  It was love at first sight.  It was also the love that has yet to die.

After he got the train, all he would say is "choo choo!" Everything with wheels was suddenly the epitome of all he deemed worthy.  No wheels, no interest.  Things like blocks and lego were ok, but only because they can make cars and trains, or they can become roads and tracks for cars and trains, or they can become places for cars and trains to park.

We kept pushing and encouraging other things, but if it didn't have wheels, it didn't have his interest.  Trucks, construction vehicles, cars, and above all, trains.  Boats and planes slowly became acceptable as well, I think probably because of the engine noises.

When started going to drop-in groups when he was around 2, Aias consistently made a bee-line for anything with wheels.  Baby dolls, wheel-less and engine-less, stayed largely ignored.  I handed him a doll a few times, showing him how the doll could be a passenger in a car, and he asked me "Where the wheels?"

No matter what we did, Aias only wanted to play with stereotypical boy toys, and it started to drive me crazy.  I knew and know, damn well, that cave people did not have toy cars.  Aias did not have a drive toward engines in his blood, did he? Not possible, I figured.  I kept up with getting him toys that were "intended for girls" as well as toys that were "intended for boys."  The "girl toys" have since gone largely untouched, except for when well, a girl comes over.

I was pretty alarmed by this for a while.  I was worried we were somehow imposing this on him and that this was a detriment to his development and overall personality.  I was worried we were somehow subconsciously creating a stereotypical male child out of a "blank slate" of a child that we felt we had in the beginning. My worst fear, of course, was that we were creating a human being that would perpetuate a stereotype.

The truth is, I have no idea why my kid is obsessed with wheels and trains. I have no idea why he thinks dolls are boring.  But one thing I'm certain of is, we never had a "blank slate" to work with.  We weren't "creating" a human being, we were just nurturing one.  For whatever reason, this kid is who he is and he likes what he likes.  We can't force him to like anything, all we can do is expose him to as many things as possible so that he's given an opportunity to choose what he likes. And if what he likes is vehicles, then that's what he likes.

Personally, I feel pretty neutral about cars and trains.  I happen to be female, but I don't think that's why I feel this way. It's just who I am.   In Aias's opinion, they are the most beautiful and magical things ever.   As his parent, all I can do is respect that, and get over any weird guilt I may have around his interests.  It was never within my control in the first place.  Finally, I have to remember it's not my responsibility to try and encourage him to go against a stereotype that has existed long before he was born in some futile effort to change the world through him because in this case asking him to do that would be asking him to go against himself and what he truly enjoys.
Watching a cement mixer pour cement, as though it's the most fabulous thing in the world. 

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Friday, March 15, 2013

Awesome Ikura: A Shockingly Perfect Toddler Treat

I've talked a lot about how selective Aias is with eating and how stressful that is for everyone, himself included.  Trying to get protein or actual nutrients into him is a constant uphill battle. However, every once in a while the universe throws us a bone.  This time, it's in form of a very unusual "safe food" that Aias has been willing to eat for quite some time now.

The food is: IKURA!  Ikura is a form of nigiri sushi that is made up of rice wrapped in seaweed and then topped with salmon roe (eggs).  Not exactly a crunchy beige food, right?

We think the reason Aias likes Ikura is that the little balls are bright orange and round which make them basically look like a gummy candy, but they are salty in taste like the savoury foods he likes.  They are on top of rice which is a safe food at times, and wrapped in seaweed which is another strange food Aias seems to accept from time to time.

Aias had his first Ikura a little over a year ago but we never really persisted with it.  About 3 months ago we started to introduce it again, and he's accepted it almost 90% of the time, I'd say.  Sometimes he only has a few bites of one, but now more and more often he's willing to eat 1-5 of them in a sitting.  This is basically amazing, because even if he eats nothing else all day, at least we know he has the nutrients from the rice and the protein and omega-3 from the eggs themselves.

A few weeks ago I casually Googled the benefits of salmon roe, and I was really excited to come across this article which says that Salmon Roe is "unsurpassed for nourishing the brain" and goes on to say:

"Salmon roe has the highest level of omega 3 of any other food.  The omega 3 fats (EPA and DHA) in one ounce of salmon roe equate to 1800 mg.  This is 3.5 times the amount in salmon (from the highest omega 3 species).
In addition to being rich in brain fats, salmon roe is rich in antioxidants and fat-soluble vitamins including high levels of vitamins C, D and E, thiamine, folate, vitamin B12 and selenium.  Fish eggs are also high in protein, with one ounce of salmon roe containing 6 grams of protein.  It is also a good source of cholesterol for those children who are allergic to chicken eggs."
I had no idea it was this awesome, I was just impressed he was eating anything that contained any amount of protein!

We've been getting Aias ikura every day for about 10 days now.  He will sometimes eat only one, and one day he actually ate seven of them!  To make them even healthier we often order them with brown rice.  We're lucky enough to live within walking distance of dozens of really fairly priced sushi restaurants.  The price of a single ikura ranges from $1.25 a piece to up to $3.50 a piece.  Buying the eggs at a Japanese food store is another option, but we don't bother since the trouble of getting there and then keeping the eggs fresh just isn't worth it when you can buy them pre-made so cheaply.

If you have a picky eater, give these a try.  You may be surprised!

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Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Day the F*cks Were Gone

Pardon my french, but I'm only telling it as it is. 

Back before I had my son, I had many, many f*cks.  So many f*cks I couldn't even count them.  My cup runneth over with f*cks.  If you had asked me to give a f*ck, I could have given you dozens and it wouldn't have left a dent.

And then the onslaught of f*cks began. 

A few of my f*cks went to worrying constantly that something would happen to him while I was pregnant. Ok that's a lie, I gave many f*cks at that time. 

Many f*cks went toward researching vaccinations and birth.  Many more were given to learning about Attachment Parenting, and planning on how I was going to be the most perfect parent ever and how I would, in turn, be given the perfect child.  During this time I gave an abundance of f*cks to things that were really needless and careless ways to give f*cks; other people's parenting choices were a big one.  Looking back, I think I could have prevented all of this if only I had kept my f*cks to myself on that one. 

Anyway, before I knew it, I was bleeding f*cks.  A super ton of f*cks went into breast feeding and co-sleeping.  More went into not giving him sugar and junk food.  Before I knew it, I was giving a f*ck at every twist and turn of my life, as this roller coaster of parenting continued to get faster and faster and faster. 

Then my kid started to leave babyhood and enter toddlerhood.  He started to express himself, and started saying "no" all the time.  He started protesting things like what he wanted to eat (or not eat), what he wanted to wear (or not wear), etc.  Tantrums started to happen.  Screaming started to happen. I was giving a few f*cks here and there for a while, but over time, it seemed like I was able to give fewer and fewer. 

I don't know the exact date or time it happened, but at some point I can only assume something came along and sliced me open and all my f*cks came pouring out of me.  I was hemorrhaging f*cks.

I started experiencing a serious f*ck deficit.

Now here I am, almost entirely unable to give a single f*ck sometimes.  To be perfectly honest, parenting has driven me to this and I've come to terms with it.  The truth is, in a lot of ways, it's made me a way better parent.  At the same time, it's always nice to have a few f*cks on hand, just in case. 

Now things like this happen to me and because I have so few f*cks to give, it's all good:

Child refuses to walk, pretends to be homeless on busy sidewalk.  Elderly folk glare at me about my horrible parenting abilities.

Child has fit in grocery store because I won't buy him Sunny Delight, which he's never even had before and I'm pretty sure would put him into a diabetic coma.

Child eats goldfish crackers off floor pretending to be a cat.

Child empties drawer, completely unrolls million foot long roll of wax paper. I had to clean that up, you know!

Child refuses to walk (again).  Won't be put in carrier, refuses stroller. Thinks he can hide behind pole because he doesn't understand physics.

Child wears pants never.  Has tantrum and falls asleep under kitchen table. This is because he didn't want to wear pants, but required orange juice, which we didn't have, and insisted we go to the store to buy it but only if he could go with no pants.
Child refuses to walk, basically attempts break and entering into the yard of a complete stranger.
At this point you are probably like "where are you going with this, Monika, is it good to have f*cks or not!?! Make up your mind!"

Ok, ok:

The moral of my story here is that you should hold on to your f*cks if you can.  You should have f*cks for sure, but you shouldn't be giving them all the time.  A f*ck doesn't have to be given about every little thing. Sometimes f*cks are necessary, and while it feels like you should give a ton of them, maybe you should really only give one.  If you are giving f*cks all the time, you will eventually run out of f*cks.  Then you just turn into an asshole.

Right now I'm in the process of slowly regrowing my f*cks.  As they regenerate, I'm very careful about how I give them.  For example, if other people parent differently than me, that's not really worth a f*ck.  If my kid is about to run into traffic, that's worth as many f*cks as I can muster.  

Don't worry too much about me with regard to this; I've learned my lesson and now I'm just really careful about when I give a f*ck.  It would be nice to have my f*ck stores replenished but since I was so careless with them for so long I recognize that may take some time. 

I'm sorry if this post has offended you, but you will understand when I say that I can't give a f*ck.

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Lovable Labels Camp Packs are Back!

I'm excited to let everyone know that Lovable Labels Camp Packs are back!  I've written on here about Lovable Labels quite a few times, and that's because I truly love them.  They are probably the baby/toddler item I've use the most, literally daily, second only to diapers, since becoming a parent. 

Just to give you guys a heads up, if you sign up for the Lovable Labels monthly e-newsletter you will get exclusive deals that aren't available to the general public.  We've taken advantage of this at Christmas, and I was able to get all the kids in my family these really awesome labels at a fantastic deal.  These labels are the ULTIMATE gift to get any kid that already has everything; durable stickers that they can put on their precious belongings!  Remember, Lovable Labels are waterproof, dishwasher safe, washer and dryer safe, sun safe, bleach safe, sunscreen safe and temperature safe.  Pretty incredible, right?

For the first time ever, Lovable Labels will be releasing Early Bird pricing on their Ultimate Camp Packs, which are one of their best sellers and their best value pack available.  This pack features over 150 labels for only $39.95!!!

I've done a lot of blog reviews.  Lovable Labels is by far my favourite product I've ever reviewed, and this is why I've continuously featured them on here.

***Remember, you can also use my code MonikaWLB1 to get an additional 10% off your order!***

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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Navigating Swimming Lessons for Preschoolers in Vancouver

My mission for today is to try and navigate swimming lessons.  I don't know why I do these things to myself. 

I think swimming lessons are really important from a safety perspective and I'd much rather Aias learn to swim from someone who was actually taught to teach kids to swim, rather than from me.  I will be anxious and panicky and I'm certain he will perceive this, so he cannot learn to swim from me.  

To make this happen I need to get my crap together and figure out how to get him into a course. The only problem with all this is that apparently signing kids up for swimming lessons is a huge pain in the ass.

For like 2 years I've had every intention of registering Aias, but the classes always fell during times where I've been watching another kid.  This year I'm not watching other kids nights and weekends, so we can finally sign up for swimming lessons.  Every other time I've planned well in advance of the registration date, but not this time (of course, duh, thank you Murphy's Law, etc).

My first place I thought to look was the Vancouver Aquatic Centre.  Why? Pure laziness. We can walk there in 20 minutes.  I couldn't find the program guide online because my Google-fu when it comes to that is apparently garbage.  I managed to figure out the online registration but everything is in categories like "turtle" and "starfish" and I have no idea what those things are. So I called the centre, but when you call them, you get a generic front desk that is manned by the city of Vancouver. When I asked them my questions, they finally directed me to the real live Vancouver Aquatic Centre front desk. Woo hoo! Or so I thought.  Apparently Aias is a "Sea Otter" because he's not had lessons before. Good to know. Except every class is full. Evidently Vancouver is full-o-sea otters.

I put him on two wait lists, he's number 14 on one and number 8 on the other. I asked the girl if she felt it was a futile move on my part, but she assured me that a few weeks before the course starts, her manager looks at the wait list and generally creates another class for the kids on it. I thought that was pretty sweet.  

Next I Googled other options: ie Aquaventures. This would be a pain because it's in Kits and we'd have to bus there.  Of course, Aquaventures is $188 for a 30 minute course and $277.50 for a 45 minute course. No thanks.

And Mommy Makes 3 brought up the Robert Lee YMCA because apparently kids who are members get free swimming lessons.  I'm leery of the Robert Lee YMCA programs because I'm generally dissatisfied with their instructors (at least, the ones I've been in drop-in programs with).  Free is free, though.  I looked at their website and it does list some times, but it says to go to the online registration site to find the courses. So, I did. And, none are listed at the Robert Lee YMCA, only at the "Tong Louie Family YMCA" and the "Chilliwack Family YMCA."  So, I've called and left a message.

Basically I suck at this swimming lessons thing.  Here's how to not suck:

1.  Have a plan, research a few months in advance.  Have a Plan A and Plan B.
2.  Mark the registration dates on your calendar in large writing.
3.  Register at the exact earliest moment possible.

Other tips:

* Don't do this at the last minute
* Be willing to claw through other parents to get a great spot

That's all I have to say about this. 

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