Tiny Inspiration

My kids like to bring a toy with them to hold in the car when we go out. And the mornings are no exception. The Little Mouse especially loves to have something to give a big hug and kiss to before going into the daycare.

And so every morning, said toy gets left in my car.

This morning, that toy was Tiny Might.

 

Tiny Might

 

She is Dyna Might Lalaloopsy’s little sister, for those not on the up-and-up with their Lalaloopsy trivia.

Both Tiny and Dyna Might were sewn from a Hero’s Cape. They both have capes, masks and boots.

According to Lalaloopsyland wikia, Tiny’s name is based off her somewhat tiny stature – and her unwavering might!

She’s my hero today…and my inspiration! I’m putting on my mask and pulling up my boots, so lookout world. Here I come!

 

I hope your day is a mighty one!

Why I’m not a fan of The Little Mermaid

This week marks the 25th anniversary of Disney’s The Little Mermaid. She would be just a bit older than me, if she were a real person.

But she’s not.

And that is one of the reasons why I’m not in love with this movie as much as everyone – my kids included. Please don’t get me wrong, it was a good movie. The soundtrack was good too; one of the first I remember actually being able to relate to. It was funny and well made. And the animation was spectacular for its time and the storyline increasingly better than those before it. And Ursula is outstanding!

Yet it didn’t jump to the top of my favourites’ list. While I too was a teenage at the time it came out, I couldn’t relate to wanting to defy my parents THAT much for the sake of a boy.

But I’ll get to that in a bit.

In a high school English Literature OAC class (yes, I’m old enough to have had OAC classes), I decided to do my independent study on The Little Mermaid and got to dig a little deeper into why I’m not so in love with the red-headed teen princess.

Ariel

 

Here are a few reasons why I’m not a fan of The Little Mermaid:

 

  1. She has a good life. I mean, her father is the king of the ocean. She’s not cleaning after two wicked step-sisters or anything. Yet, it’s not enough. Typical, right?

 

  1. She gives up a part of herself. She very easily hands over that one thing that makes her special – her voice, in order to get what she wants. That is her one talent, and something she is known for, but when told that men prefer quiet girls, she willingly hands it over.

 

  1. She changes herself completely! She can’t be human, yet this is something she yearns for. It’s one thing to want to change socio-economic classes; go from poor to rich (right, Cinderella?!), but to change from one thing – in this case a mermaid, to a human, is something totally different? She wants what she wants so badly, she’s willing to physically change her body to get it. And all this before the plastic surgery obsessed world we live in now.

 

  1. Number 2 & 3 are all for a boy she doesn’t know.

 

  1. She’s a brat! While I do agree that she depicted teenage behaviour more realistically than the princesses that came before her, I think her selfishness and entitlement is unforgiving. Not only do her friends help her out of a jam (breaking that shell to get her voice back), but her father agrees to become Ursula’s slave in exchange for Ariel’s release. And she barely utters a thank you for that. She’s ungrateful, rude, demanding and all that behaviour is just tolerated and not addressed.

 

  1. She runs away to be with a stranger. Okay, I can’t hold this one against her too much, since so do Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White. So that one I blame on Disney’s bad storylines of the past.

 

  1. She never learns a lesson. She acts horribly to her friends and family, is willing to give herself up entirely for a boy, is stubborn and a brat and that’s okay. Never once does she realize that she should have acted differently. Instead, she happily changes herself and walks into her new life. (Pun intended).

 

This is not the kind of role model I want for my kids. I don’t like the message that Ariel represents.

And with that being said, both of my girls love Ariel. The Little Bird has an Ariel doll, a costume and shoes and at one point subjected us to listening to the CD on repeat until our ears bled! We even met Ariel twice at Disney World, once as a mermaid in her grotto and once as a human at the castle.

What are Ariel’s good points? The red hair is hard to ignore, as she stands out among the rest. She isn’t soft spoken, stands up for what she wants and is fearless (to a fault). I suppose you could argue that she is a leader, not following her sisters and other mermaids, feeling like she doesn’t fit in and is willing to do whatever it takes to change that.

But it’s that part I can’t let go of. The ‘whatever it takes’ attitude of this teenager outshines those strong character traits.

 

disney_princesses_with_anna_and_elsa_by_elemental_aura-d6ke31i

 

So I try to get my kids to watch Brave more often, as Merida is brave, strong-willed and fearless too. In addition to not needing or wanting a man at all, Merida certainly didn’t want to change herself, her body or even her mind about that fact.

In the meantime, Ariel remains on the shelf, and in the viewing rotation. And since it’s not going anywhere anytime soon, happy anniversary Little Mermaid!

I still remain hopeful that one day my girls will see her the way I see her and realize there are better role models out there than a red-headed, back-talking, insecure little mermaid who is so willing and eager to change herself, when she was perfectly fine the way she was!

 

Adios [snow]

Ugh…

There is no denying that winter is upon us now, as we are in the middle of a pretty decent dump of snow from Mother Nature.

I am not ready for this. Not mentally, at least.

Yes, our snow tires are on. And the ice scraper is in my car. We have our winter boots on and the kids have been wearing their hats and gloves since about Halloween. But to see it fall…blanketing everything in white, just makes me feel blah.

Snow

My view this morning…

 

 

On my way into work, not only did I navigate “new to winter driving” drivers; but the radio stations. I was hoping for something that would lift my spirit; put me in a good mood. At least make it bearable to be surrounded by the snow.

I was disappointed and decided to take matters into my own hands.

So thanks Ricky Martin, for releasing new material! And for it being exactly what I need to get through the day. Our winters are long – really long – here in Canada. So before we can say Adios, we just have to grin and bear it! And if seeing Ricky in various rolls doesn’t help, I don’t know what will!

Here’s Adios, by Ricky Martin. Happy Music Monday!

 

Patience and progress

 

It’s the time of year when things come to a head; the days are shorter, the cold is upon us and it’s time for teachers to send home the progress reports.

The Little Bird has seemed very happy in grade 1. There have been no incidents, no phone calls and no notes home. She even proudly, yet matter-of-factly told me that she was going to be good this year. She would not go to the office to get into trouble.

I was happy to hear that.

And then just last week she said that she was having a great year. Her teacher told her so.

Again, I was so happy to hear that.

So when that brown envelope came home this week with my interview time, I felt a little nervous. She’s always done well with the academic part of school, hitting all the marks and levels she should be achieving for her age and grade. We struggled with her ability to express herself, and more importantly her anxiety and frustration resulting in some not so acceptable behaviour in the past.

So to say I was nervous going in, would be fair.

I met with the French teacher first, since I was early for my timeslot. I told her teacher that I often hear the Little Bird rhyming off the days of the week, her numbers and colours in French. In fact, just the other day, she and her sister counted up to twenty in French. She is clearly enjoying learning languages, and the teacher confirmed that. “She is eager to learn, always volunteers to help out and is a joy to be around.”

I felt a bit more at ease as I went into to meet with her teacher next.

She shared with me that there has been a huge difference in her since the beginning of the year. She is more mature, able to use her words to tell the teacher when something is bothering her and knows when to avoid a situation that will get her into trouble.

I felt such a sense of relief and told the teacher that we could see a difference in her at home too. She was so happy to do her homework and proud to do it on her own. She was happy to go to school, talks about her friends and the lessons she learns.

The teacher told me that the Little Bird was really good at assessing herself now. She is the first to offer her help to her friends who need it, is a great helper in class and has found a couple of friends who are quiet and calm, which seems to be really good for her. She rarely overreacts to situations and demonstrates the ability to work through her emotions, which is sign of her maturity. The teacher told me about a time where the Little Bird leaned over to whisper about another student who was fooling around at the sharpener, and she joked that it was as if the Little Bird was telling her she wasn’t doing her job!

“She is a wonderful student who is kind and sensitive and helpful to her friends and to me,” her teacher said. “A real pleasure to have in my class.”

I was elated! I am so proud of her for making good choices and for learning that tears are not the solution to a frustrating situation.

I quickly met with her Italian and gym teachers, who both said similar things. Signora, the Italian teacher, said at times the Little Bird is impatient with her, but the teacher said that she was okay with that, as it meant that she is eager to learn more. I assured her that we heard lots of Italian songs in our house lately and she seems to show a real interest in learning more.

I can’t wait for her to share the songs and prayers with my parents and in-laws.

The gym teacher said that she is very helpful and is the first in the class to help out another student if they need it. If they don’t have a partner, she’ll volunteer to be with them. She is full of energy yet has a calmness about her, which is great in gym class. It did take the Little Bird a couple of classes to get comfortable to the new teacher, but once she was okay, she hasn’t looked back. Again I heard that she was so great to have in class.

I even bumped into the Principal on the way out, who has had her fair share with the Little Bird last year and she assured me that this year is a huge improvement over last year. The Little Bird is doing really well and seems to really be enjoying herself this year. I told the Principal what the Little Bird said to me about how she would not be going to the office to get into trouble this year, and she laughed saying that was fine with her!

I left feeling so happy. So proud. It took me everything not to go inside her room and hug her last night, so instead I hugged her this morning. I told her that she was making excellent choices this year and to keep it up. I told her she was right and she was having a great, fantastic and fabulous year and I was so proud of her.

Her face lit up and she hugged me back.

Way to go, Little Bird! We are so proud of how far you’ve come.

Missing Eileen

Elaine

 

Today is the birthday of a dear friend. A friend who I met long ago, when I took a writing course. We bonded over words and cigarettes.

We came together, bringing the writing group I had together with the writing group she had into a group of people that still stay in touch.

We emailed every day. She could make me cry laughing with her words. And always signed her emails with; Best, Eileen, sparking from a joke we shared.

She booked my honeymoon vacation, as she moonlighted as a travel agent by day – her true dream to be published. She then rebooked my honeymoon after it was cancelled because of a hurricane.

She used her stove to store books, and was the first to admit that she hated cooking.

She became my friend, not just an acquaintance from class, or a smoking buddy on break. She became my husband’s friend too.

She never got to meet my kids. And I could cry because of that. Her picture remains on my mantle at home, and watches over my kids while they play.

Today is her birthday.

And it is also Remembrance Day.

It’s been 5 years since she died.

On the day of her wake, her good friend started talking to me about how life was with a new baby, when she suddenly realized that Elaine had a gift for the Little Bird in her apartment. She went upstairs to give it to me and I bawled my eyes out.

I had spoken to her about a month before she died, and we said that when she felt better, we would get together so she could meet my little one, who was about 8 months old. We never got that chance, yet she bought the cutest outfit for her; coral coloured pants, matching top and sweater.

I still have that outfit.

After her passing, her friend had her book edited and published. Hunting for Poison available on Kobo for free. It’s a great read…download it!

My heart hurts that she never saw her book published; that she never met my kids and most importantly that she isn’t here to send emails to, hang out with and laugh. She would be proud of me that I am writing again, and I think would get a kick out of this blog.

I miss you, Eileen! Happy Birthday!

Best,

Tania