Tag Archives: girls

Where have I been? On Mars?

( Photo:Trooper walks to school)

Yes I know I have been quiet. Things at Camp Hormone however have been busy and that has been stealing my attention and time away from all the fun over here at 3limes.

So what else has been going on? I know one of you is interested because I got a concerned email.

Trooper has turned into a sports fiend. Once a week she wakes up at an ungodly hour, before it is even light, and heads out to jump into a cold cold pool to do laps. From where did this girl appear? Handsome Husband has gallantly taken it upon himself to do early morning swim drives. As he so nostalgically put it:  “If I was in Canada I might have to be up and driving to Hockey! At least I am not standing in a cold rink holding bad Tim’s coffee.”  Well put, I thought. Then in the afternoons she can be found chasing a ball around a soccer pitch. I, being the unsupportive mother who has little faith in her football abilities rudely posed the following questions:

“Did you foot actually touch the ball?”

“And did your foot actually move the ball?”

It appears she is rather good. So she has obviously not inherited my attitude towards school field hockey: A great excuse to stand around and gossip.

Saturday she spent the entire day pool side representing her school at a meet. Each morning she walks to school.

I look at her, shake my head in wonder and think envious thoughts about her new found love of exercise.

Princess is quickly growing out of her name. There is nothing Princess about her at the moment, save her bright pink bedroom wall. Having returned from her class camping trip she has decided that she is a bona fide camper and wants to start a camping club at school. Apparently two nights in a tent was not sufficient. She has told me, in her sweetest voice that she thinks she could easily manage two weeks.

Again, there has been more head shaking and bemused looks of wonder. Where do these children come from?

I, on the other hand, have been staying well away from tents, cold pools and soccer fields. I am still walking the dangerous path to school every day and I have seen enough on those walks to fill a blog post. One will be forthcoming. Instead I have been spending my time either buried in essays or streaming the first few episodes of season 7 of House, Grey’s and Entourage.  Over here we need our fill of American Culture, just to remind us that we are all on the same planet. Sometimes I feel as if I were on Mars.

With campers and exercise bandits.

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Peter Rabbit I miss you.

I miss the days when Trooper, Princess and I used to tuck ourselves up into my big bed to read bed time stories. I miss the company of Mother Goose, A A Milne and Beatrix Potter and the characters we used to chat about. Those early years of childhood pass too quickly and bed time stories quickly become a ritual of the past. Now it is Trooper in bed with her Vampire books and Princess with Meg Cabot or Jacqueline Wilson, meanwhile Handsome Husband is laughing his way through the erudite wit of David Sedaris and I am ploughing through IGCSE and IB book lists. Do you think they would mind terribly if I invited them back for a spot of Jemima Puddle-duck?

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We got to rub elbows with the Famous: Photo # 17.

Yes I caved and spent the precious dollars. Madame Tussauds is not the # 1 Tourist Destination for Nothing. It is a whole lot of fun.

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Taking Girls to Museums. Photo # 4


I simply love taking my girls out to museums.

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I have a teenager.

I have a teenager.

Thirteen years ago today I gave birth to Trooper. When I went into the hospital in Winnipeg it was the tail end of a cold and strange spring that will forever be remembered for the devastating Red River flooding. When I came out 4 days later it was scorching hot and summer had arrived. Such are the weather patterns of the prairies.  She was born on her due date and has been punctual and exact ever since. She always wants to be ahead, and constantly appears older and more mature than her years. She stood up alone at 6 months and took her first steps at 9 months. By the time she was 11 months she was dancing like a tiny midget on the dance floor of a Chinese restaurant during mother’s day.

She came home from hospital in a bright orange 1973 Volkswagen Beetle named Lolly. 10 minutes after arriving at our apartment I burst into tears, flooded with a storm of hormones and frankly tired and in pain from a difficult caesarean. I was also petrified. Handsome Husband and I were 28 and 30. Did we have a clue what to do with a tiny helpless infant? No. Luckily for us she was easy from the start and we enjoyed the Winnipeg summer days by frequently plonking her into her car seat and under the table at our favourite outside cafe. At 4 weeks she was on a plane heading to my sister’s wedding and the travel bug must have infected her since she has found airport, planes and travel trouble free and fun ever since.

She is loved by everyone who meets her, with her infectious giggle and her cheeky smile. I cannot believe that 13 years have passed since those confusing and thrilling hours in the hospital. She is too big to fit into my arms now but she is always welcome to try. I am immensely proud of her beauty and spirit, both inside and out.

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Sunday Night

Sunday evenings have never been my favorite night of the week,. There is always that dreaded back to work feeling that looms over everything; and there are always plenty of pesky little jobs that need doing, papers to stuff into bags, uniforms to arrange, permission forms to sign, last minute French homework to complete. My mind starts to wonder towards all the things that need doing this week, what is on the agenda for Monday morning and who I need to call or email. If I am in a particular Sunday Night Frame of Mind, I might even jot down a few meal ideas on a scrap of paper, one that will inevitably end up under a large pile of papers, hiding by Wednesday night.

Coming home after a lovely Sunday evening spent with friends is hard because it is always later than it should be “OMG is it already 9pm???” and we are all a little impatient while running around squeezing all those Sunday tasks into a very short time frame and to be honest, while in a smooth white wine haze.

Tonight was the kicker. We got home at 9.05 and the house was dipped in a dark cloak, suggesting a power cut.

“Damn. I hate coming home to a power cut,” I grumbled as I carried three bags out of the car, one full of wet towels that would need to be hung up, and one filled with shopping that needed to go in the fridge.

I crossly stomped into the house, groped for matches and lit a few candles.I opened and closed the dark fridge and hung the towels on the backs of chairs. It was then that I remembered the storm. Earlier that day, while at the pool attempting to get some sun, the skies had opened and unleashed buckets of rain. the like of which I had not seen in some time. It was as if a damn had broken up there in the heavens and no one could find the plug. The kitchen was flooded. At least two inches of water lined the floor and the counters were a fine mess too. But the worst sight was the girls’s bedroom. Their carpet was drenched and stank like wet sheep. The floor was a pool with odd birthday cards floating next to a fluffy cat. A bucket and a few tea towels repeatedly squeezed did the job, as best as possible, considering that there was no power and it was dark.

Tea lights are all very romantic but one cannot mop a floor effectively by their lovely glow.

Tonight is also the Super Bowl somewhere in the far off Great Shiny West. My crazy husband seems to have temporarily forgotten that he is not 21 and is considering waking up at 2 am to drive to a friend’s house to watch it. I would hope that when the power returns, so does his sense.


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Miss Teacher

I’m on a bit of a mission at work. It has long been a point of fact that I have zero tolerance for any type of bullying. This includes any of that mean talk that kids indulge in, including notes passed in class with petty slanders about the girl in the corner. I believe passionately that no child should have to suffer in silence and if more teachers made it their personal mission to stand up and say no then the frightened victims would finally have someone on their side. Too often educators turn a blind eye to the cruelty of children and teens, stating that it is “just a phase”, “I wouldn’t know what to do”, “it will pass”, “it is all part of natural selection” or God only knows what else.

 

When I was 11 and 12 and one of the only English girls at my predominantly American girl’s school in Japan, I was bullied. Rude things about me were written in soap on the bathroom wall, my pencil case was thrust down the toilet to a chorus of laughing girls and the entire time no one did anything about it. Even my own mother said at one point “ Well did you do anything to provoke them?”

 

I feel no shame in the fact that I was bullied. Occasionally I search for reasons why it was me that was relentlessly picked on and I come up with the idea that perhaps I was different from the others. I spoke with a different accent, I wasn’t allowed to wear make up or go to see movies like Endless Love or Blue Lagoon. I spoke off the cuff, tried too hard to have friends…. I have no idea what combination of facts led to me being the IT girl for those girl’s nasty behaviour. I do know that while I was pinned down at a sleep over and rubbed all over with lip sticks that stained my pajamas, that there was nothing I could do to stop it.

 

The other day in PSHE ( personal, social and health education) I combined both Year 7 ( grade 6 ) classes to discuss this very subject. I told them that I would not tolerate any unkindness of any sort and that what they might deem funny could, in fact, be very painful to the person involved. I also told them about the importance of the bystander and witness and how powerful a role that person plays in stopping the meanness. I explained that I knew how hard it was to be a snitch and tell on someone and for that reason they could, at any time, drop a note on my desk explaining anything they had seen.

 

Bullying is not rife in my school by any means. It is a small school where every one knows each other and I don’t believe that any one of my students is particularly cruel. However, things do happen as I was soon to find out. I handed out sheets of paper to all 40 students and asked them to anonymously write down anything they had seen or done. Reading these notes later made me quite sad. One boy was pushed into the gym shower where three other boys turned the tap on soaking his clothes. One person confessed to breaking into a few lockers. Someone else explained how they had passed mean notes in class. Simply the act of writing these facts down helped to make these 11 year olds realize the little cruelties they were inflicting on their classmates.

 

Since that PSHE class I now have a reputation for being a fighter for all students who feel excluded. My door is always open to any one who feels slighted and they all know that I will always be on their side. Just the other day I received  note from a sweet young girl who is certain that none of the girls in her class like her. She wrote a litany of examples of times that she was excluded or sniggered at. I will invite all the girls involved into my class room for a chat next week. Once they realize that some one is watching, someone who refuses to stand by and allow meanness to exist, maybe they will think twice.

 

I am not a fool and I know too well that girls between the ages of 11 and 15 can be extremely unkind. I also know that I cannot change this fact, but I can let the victims know that some one has their back. I will not stand by and do nothing, at the very least for those kids who have the bad luck to be the chosen targets.

 

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