Tag Archives: Parenting

Seriously?!? I need to rant…

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I don’t often go on a public rant, but the fact that some people are actually complaining about Thursday night’s Amber Alert in Ontario… it makes me want to simultaneously cry and vomit.

It doesn’t matter if you thought it was too late at night (around 11 pm) or if you were woken up from having the absolute best sleep of your life, this was an alert about a CHILD who’s life was in IMMINENT danger. This was an attempt to save the life an 11 year old girl.

Here’s a recap:
At 3pm Thursday, Riya Rajkumar was dropped off to celebrate her 11th birthday (also Valentine’s Day) with her father. After they failed to return as expected at 6:30pm, Riya’s mother alerted the police that her daughter was missing. Reportedly, she also subsequently received messages from her ex-boyfriend that he might harm Riya and himself. The first Amber Alert was issued around 11:00 or 11:30pm (reports vary). About an hour later, the police had cause to enter a house where they found Riya already deceased, and the alert was cancelled. Shortly thereafter, a motorist reported the suspect’s car, the police executed a “high risk” vehicle stop, and Riya’s father was apprehended. Police confirm that this arrest was a “direct result” of the Amber Alert. He has since been charged with the first-degree murder of his daughter.

So, back to the people who were so terribly inconvenienced by this Amber Alert…

It’s not like this is happening every day. Amber Alerts are only issued under the most exigent circumstances, when it’s believed that that a child has been abducted and that they are in imminent danger.

Statistics show that almost every missing child (99.8%) is returned home safe, but this is in reference to all “missing” children. This includes those that just miscommunicated their plans, misunderstood directions, became lost, or ran away from home. Even when children are abducted as part of a custody dispute, the majority are never in serious danger. But these aren’t the case in which Amber Alerts are issued.

Between 2003 and 2012, Canada only issued 64 Amber Alerts, involving 73 abducted children. Of those, 70 were recovered and returned safely and three died.

As for those people who were so rudely disturbed in Winnipeg (even though the alert was an hour earlier due to your time zone), I agree that you were too far away to be of any help. Unfortunately, the technology isn’t perfect, but it’s a hell of a lot better than it used to be.

When the Amber Alert was first introduced in the US in 1996*, it’s broadcast was limited to interrupted programming on radio stations, and a “text crawl” along the bottom of TV programs. When the technology became available, electronic roadside signs would also display the alert, but it’s only very recently that Amber Alerts began broadcasting on mobile devices and social media. On April 6, 2018, the CRTC placed mandates on Canadian service providers to ensure the majority of wireless carriers across the country became compatible with the alerts. (Canadians cannot opt out.)

This is a GOOD THING, people! The speed at which an alert is broadcast is a HUGE factor when a child’s life is in danger.

In cases of child abduction and murder, delays are critical. In fact, retrospective review shows that missing children who are murdered are killed within a very short period of time. Incredibly, 44% of the children were dead within only one hour after their abduction. 74% were dead within three hours, and 91% were dead within 24 hours after being taken.

When Abducted Child Was Killed
<1 Hour                         44%
Within 3 Hours            74%
Within 24 Hours          91%
Within 7 Days               99%
Within 30 Days             100%

So yeah, even if the latest technology still has a few glitches and it means a couple of times a year a few people are “disturbed” or “inconvenienced”, based on those timelines, it seems pretty clear to me that it’s vital we use every tool at our disposal to broadcast Amber Alerts as quickly as f*cking possible

Seriously, if you’ve chosen to keep your cell phone turned on at night and by your bedside (maybe in case someone YOU love has an emergency), and you are awoken by one of these rare Amber Alerts, I really don’t think it’s unreasonable for you to be able to control your anger enough that you don’t feel the need to complain to the police by making your own 911 call.

Do I feel the need to rant about this because I’m a parent and one of my boys is 11 years old, the same age Riya Rajkumar had just turned? No… it’s because I’m a responsible member of society and a decent human being.

* The first Amber Alert was issued in Texas, after 9 year old Amber Hagerman went missing while riding her bike. She was found murdered four days later. The case remains unsolved. (The US Department of Justice subsequently created the backronym, America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response.)

Happy Halloween!

The first Halloween we were in our house, all of the neighbourhood kids were still babies or toddlers. When we took the boys out trick-or-treating, we only went to a couple of houses and then we parents all gathered on the sidewalk in front of our house to chat. The next year, someone produced a bottle of wine and a tradition was born.

Eight years later, the kids are old enough to go around the neighbourhood on their own while we parents hang out and party… on the sidewalk… all in full costume.

This year I was Boy George.

This year I was Boy George.

We have a communal table full of candy for the trick-or-treaters.

Our kids!

Our kids!

And treats for the adults too!

My shortbread zombie eyeballs.

My shortbread zombie eyeballs.

Up the street, they go all out with a wicked haunted house.

Truly scary!

Scary inside and out!

The kids have a blast, of course, but so do we. I love our street and our neighbours for so many reasons, but Halloween is one of the big ones!

(Thanks to Lorin for the pictures.)

Did you do anything special for Halloween?

11 things for which I am thankful

Thanksgiving centerpiece from our backyard.

Thanksgiving centerpiece from our backyard.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my Canadian readers!

We hosted both sets of parents for dinner yesterday and now I’m taking a moment to put my feet up and reflect. I have so much to be thankful for…

11 THINGS I’m thankful for

1) My dog – Is there anything better than the unconditional love of a pet? He has only been with us for six months, but Dexter has quickly become a full member of the family. He came to us as a chained dog who didn’t know how to show affection. Now he is quick with his kisses and never wants to miss out on a family hug. He’s also learned how to play without getting rough. I’m thankful for the daily smiles he brings us.

2) My country – We are about to vote so I’ve been reflecting on my country a lot recently. Although there have been some things that we haven’t done right lately, I still feel supremely lucky to live in Canada. We owe a big part of our happy and healthy lives to the fact that we were born and live in Canada and we try to instill this appreciation in our children as well. My time off with my babies, our healthcare, our beautiful wilderness, our clean water… there are a lot of Canadian things for which to be thankful, eh?

3) My job – I have a great job. It pays well and has excellent benefits. Also,  I only work four days a week so if gives me a day off to get all of the other stuff done. I love my time spent with patients and truly like my coworkers. I’m thankful that I get to do something that I enjoy and that I’m good at doing it.

4) My creativity – This isn’t something I’ve always appreciated or used effectively, but it has now become a keystone in my life. Whether it is painting, knitting, felting a necklace, or writing, my creativity is an outlet that helps keep me mentally stable. It allows me to step away from the everyday and reorganize my psyche. I’m thankful for the way that my mind and hands connect.

5) My neighbours – We moved into this house when I was pregnant with ET and CJ was not yet two. It quickly became a home. We are surrounded by wonderful people who look out for our kids as if they were their own and the boys have best friends to play with everyday. Our neighbours are friendly and funny and I love spending time with them. I’m thankful for their friendship and for their kids who keep my boys occupied.

6) My friends – I can be a hard person to be friends with. Sometimes I’m distant or distracted, or even downright unresponsive. Still, have the most amazing friends. They are supportive and loving and make my stomach hurt with laughter. I’m very thankful for those that have persisted and not allowed me to push them away.

7) The Sister – I have the most wonderful sister. Sometimes I just sit back and marvel at the pure love that seems to shine from her. She has laughed in the face of misfortune and come out more radiant than ever. She may be the kindest person I know and I’ve been the luckiest of people to have her in my life. I’m thankful that she has always been with me as my steadying force.

8) The grandparents – It is so wonderful to watch my children interact with their grandparents. We are fortunate to be living near them and they have contributed so much to the raising of the boys. CJ had a project to do this weekend about spending a million dollars and part of it was to interview an older person to find out what you could buy with a million dollars fifty years ago. This turned into a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner conversation of reminiscence among the grandparents about  the cost of haircuts and movies which led to a hilarious discussion about moonshine and barnyard stills. I’m thankful the boys will always remember their grandparents’ laughter.

9) The Husband – Not only did he set a beautiful Thanksgiving dinner table, he also cleaned the chandelier! More importantly, he is the one who is on the ice every weekend morning at 7 AM helping to coach the boys’ hockey teams and on the bench in the afternoons running the defence. He is the one who is taking courses to be the best Cubs leader he can be and helping the boys build their Cub cars and earn badges. He is the one who is checking the math homework and listening to them read (his French is much better than mine!) While I may be the parent who makes sure that the kids are fed and clean, he is the one who does everything else. I’m thankful to have such a great partner in parenthood.

10) My boys – Except for ET’s current broken arm, my boys are healthy and have always been so. (Excuse me while I go knock on wood.) Whenever I’m grumbling about the toys strewn about the basement or sports equipment left in the driveway, I stop myself and remember those who aren’t so lucky to have rambunctious boys running around making messes. I’m thankful to have loud, loving and happy kids.

11) My life – As you can see, I have a blessed life full of wonderful people and gifts.  I’m thankful to be alive and surrounded by love.

What are you thankful for?

A backcountry adventure

Filtering water for breakfast.

Filtering water for breakfast.

My boys are away on their annual camping trip to Kejimkujik (while I’m stuck at work). But this year it is with a twist.

Yesterday, The Husband left the comforts of car camping and took the boys on a backcountry adventure. They are strapping their gear to their backs, portaging with the canoe, and venturing out to camp on a remote island site.

This is very exciting for us as parents because this is the way we always camped before we had the boys. We would hike or canoe for hours to get to a site. There is just something magical about being out in the woods with no one else around; no light to dim the stars and no noise to drown out the loons.

Fingers crossed that the boys love the experience as much as we do so that this can be something we continue to do as a family. Although, as long as they still get to roast marshmallows, I’m sure they’ll be happy.

Do you have a passion that you hope to pass on to your children?

11 ways I know we’re parents of little boys

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I know none of these are exclusive to a house with boys but, as a whole, I think the gender of our children is pretty clear.

1) Random toy collections litter every surface of our home. 

2) There is a high-tide line in our bathtub. 

3) “Wash your hands before you touch anything!” is a standing order. 

4) We have a mysterious “trail-mix” factory in our car.

5) We are grateful everytime the puddle on the bathroom floor is only water.

6) We know the excruciating pain of stepping barefoot on Lego. 

7) The only “F word” in our house is fart. 

8) We have a “no bugs/rocks/sticks in the house” rule. 

9) We can’t make plans until we check the kids’ hockey schedule.  

10) The laundry never ends. 

11) Our house had a stinky dog odor before we even got a dog!

Do you have boys, girls or a mixture? Does your house have a particular gender flavour?

Funny things my kids say #22

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This morning the 9-year-old was overheard sharing some wisdom with his friends…

“Note to self: when parents say “maybe” they usually mean no.”

True dat!

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Funny things my kids say #21

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Before bed, there was a pause in the 7-year-old’s toothbrushing so that he could yell a question downstairs to his brother…

“CJ, what did you name the freckle on my butt?”

The 9-year-old hollered back,

“Jeff!”

Ahhh… Of course.

Previous: Funny things my kids say #20