Island Parent Spring 2023

Vancouver Island’s Parenting Resource for 35 Years: Redefining Family • Self-Care for Moms Made Easy • Asking for Help • How to Nurture an Emerging Reader • Teaching Kids Realistic Expectations Around Money • GRAND: A Special Feature for Grandparents

Vancouver Island’s Parenting Resource for 35 Years: Redefining Family • Self-Care for Moms Made Easy • Asking for Help • How to Nurture an Emerging Reader • Teaching Kids Realistic Expectations Around Money • GRAND: A Special Feature for Grandparents


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SPRING <strong>2023</strong><br />

Vancouver <strong>Island</strong>’s <strong>Parent</strong>ing Resource for 35 Years<br />


Redefining<br />

Family<br />

Self-Care for<br />

Moms Made Easy<br />

Asking<br />

for Help<br />

GRAND<br />

A Special Feature<br />

for Grandparents

Did you know<br />

about BusReady?<br />

Children<br />

12 and under<br />

ride for free!<br />

It’s the educational program<br />

for kids by BC Transit.<br />

Visit busready.bctransit.com to learn more.<br />

2 <strong>Island</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> Magazine <strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca

Preschool for today’s child<br />

...and tomorrow’s inner child.<br />

FULL DAY<br />

Program<br />

starting Fall<br />

<strong>2023</strong>!<br />

Young children possess boundless<br />

imagination, perfect openness to the<br />

world and all its beauty, and the inborn<br />

idea that anything is possible. We<br />

believe that these wonderful gifts<br />

should not fade with age.<br />

With an innovative program enriched<br />

by music, dance, theatre and visual<br />

arts, our goal is to enable children<br />

to fully explore and express these<br />

gifts in an endless variety of ways.<br />

Inspiring and nurturing today’s child<br />

firmly implants their future inner child<br />

– that playfulness, creativity, vision and<br />

confidence that will enable them to<br />

realize their dreams.<br />

Preschool to Grade 12 www.ArtsCalibre.ca 250-382-3533<br />

“When I examine myself and my method of<br />

thought, I come to the conclusion that the<br />

gift of fantasy has meant more to me than<br />

my talent for absorbing knowledge.”<br />

– Albert Einstein<br />


CAMP FUN!<br />

All <strong>2023</strong> summer camps are CO-ED*<br />



From Kindergarten to Grade 6 — SMS has more than 30 camps. Adventure,<br />

learning, and having fun. Everyone gets a free camp T-shirt<br />



TODAY!<br />

stmarg.ca/camps/summer-camps<br />

250-479-7171<br />

*except Coder Girl Camp<br />

<strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca<br />

<strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 3

SPRING <strong>2023</strong><br />

Vancouver <strong>Island</strong>’s <strong>Parent</strong>ing Resource for 35 Years<br />


In Every<br />

Issue<br />

5<br />

Fast Forward<br />

SUE FAST<br />


10<br />

Self-Care for Moms<br />

Made Easy<br />


12<br />

Asking for Help<br />


14<br />

How to Tell<br />

Your Child About<br />

Your Mental<br />

Health Struggles<br />


18<br />

Redefining<br />

Family<br />


28<br />

How to Nurture<br />

an Emerging Reader<br />


6<br />

Need to Know<br />

9<br />

I ❤ <strong>Island</strong><br />

20<br />

Businesses You<br />

Need to Know<br />

20<br />

Dad Speak<br />


24<br />

Aging as<br />

an Adult<br />


32<br />

Teaching Kids<br />

Realistic Expectations<br />

Around Money<br />


33<br />

Special Feature<br />

GRAND<br />

Vol. VI, Ed. I<br />

grandmag.ca<br />

Thou Shalt!<br />

A Grandparent’s Guide to<br />

Doing Away with the Rules<br />

Grand Boundaries<br />

10 Baby Shower Gifts<br />

34<br />

Thou Shalt!<br />


36<br />

10 Baby Shower Gifts<br />

for Grandparents-to-Be<br />

EVA BILD<br />

38<br />

Grand Boundaries<br />


22<br />

What’s for Dinner<br />


26<br />

Family Resource Directory<br />

26<br />

Kids’ Reads<br />


30<br />

Play<br />

31<br />

Preschool & Child Care<br />

Directory<br />

On the<br />

Cover<br />

Emiliyah S (8 mos)<br />

Photo by<br />

Chris Higginbottom<br />

chrishigginbottom.ca<br />

Redefining<br />

Family<br />

Self-Care for<br />

Moms Made Easy<br />

Asking<br />

for Help<br />

GRAND<br />

A Special Feature<br />

for Grandparents<br />

Jim Schneider Publisher publisher@islandparent.ca<br />

Sue Fast Editor editor@islandparent.ca<br />

Kristine Wickheim Account Manager kristine@islandparent.ca<br />

RaeLeigh Buchanan Account Manager raeleigh@islandparent.ca<br />

<strong>Island</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> Magazine, published by <strong>Island</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> Group Enterprises Ltd., is a<br />

bimonthly publication that honours and supports parents by providing information on<br />

resources and businesses for Vancouver <strong>Island</strong> families. Views expressed are not<br />

necessarily those of the publisher. No material herein may be reproduced without<br />

the permission of the publisher. <strong>Island</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> is distributed free in selected areas.<br />

Annual mail subscriptions (7 issues) are available for $21 (GST included).<br />

Canadian Publication Mail Product Sales Agreement 40051398. ISSN 0838-5505.<br />

<strong>Island</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> Magazine<br />

250-388-6905 islandparent.ca<br />

518 Caselton Place, Victoria, BC V8Z 7Y5<br />

A proud member of<br />

BC<br />

4 <strong>Island</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> Magazine <strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca


10<br />

Ways to Make the<br />

World a Better Place<br />

1. Give your time, skills and/or money<br />

to a good cause. Not only can this help<br />

the community but it can also improve<br />

our health, ease feelings of loneliness and<br />

broaden our social networks. Whether you<br />

go the official route through a volunteer<br />

organization or come up with ideas and<br />

charities of your own, it’s a win-win-win.<br />

2. Instead of driving, walk or ride<br />

bikes. What better way is there to get<br />

outside and cover some ground than going<br />

for a spin? Not only is it easy on the<br />

environment but it’s also great exercise<br />

and a good way to improve mood.<br />

3. Get creative—and involve others.<br />

A good example of this is Fernwood’s<br />

Pole Painting Project (Fernwood.ca). The<br />

installation of over 100 brightly painted<br />

telephone poles has helped slow traffic<br />

and discourage graffiti while bringing the<br />

community together and creating warm,<br />

friendly spaces.<br />

4. Gather family, friends and neighbours.<br />

Keep it low key and informal,<br />

don’t worry about a messy house or a<br />

fancy meal, the point is to get together to<br />

enjoy each other’s company and connect<br />

despite everyone’s hectic schedules and/or<br />

the busy day-to-day.<br />

5. Unplug. Maybe not for a weekslong<br />

digital detox, but maybe at least<br />

a few times a day. Or create some nophone<br />

and no-screen zones in your home:<br />

in bed, at meals, outdoors. Play a first-tolook<br />

game where the first person to check<br />

their phone has to wash the dishes or<br />

walk the dog.<br />

6. Go out—outside, out on the town<br />

or out of your comfort zone. With<br />

the weather warming up, it’s easier to<br />

get outdoors, go on a road trip or try<br />

something new. Watch how your mood<br />

improves—and how that can spread to<br />

others around you.<br />

7. Spread kindness. Hold a door open<br />

for someone, offer to help carry somebody’s<br />

groceries, drive patiently, bake for<br />

a neighbour.<br />

8. Express gratitude. Did someone go<br />

above and beyond for you? Say so! Did<br />

something work out or fall into place?<br />

Create a family ritual of reflecting on all<br />

the good things that happen each day. Or<br />

create a gratitude journal and invite kids<br />

to add daily entries.<br />

9. Reduce your carbon footprint.<br />

Remember Earth Day is April 22. For a<br />

Footprint Calculator and to learn about<br />

ways to walk softly on the earth, visit<br />

footprintnetwork.org.<br />

10. Do what you love—that alone will<br />

inspire others. For work and for play,<br />

doing what we love brings us—and often<br />

those around us—joy. Better yet is doing<br />

what we love with those we love.<br />


Be curious. Be kind. Be brave. Be you.<br />

admissions@qms.bc.ca<br />

www.qms.bc.ca<br />

<strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca<br />

<strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 5


Earth<br />

Day<br />

<strong>2023</strong><br />

Designed to raise awareness of<br />

environmental action and how we<br />

can all make a difference, Earth Day,<br />

on April 22, is your chance to get<br />

involved. In addition to raising environmental<br />

awareness among many<br />

citizens and organizations across<br />

the country, this campaign also encourages<br />

people to take action. This<br />

year the campaign will be unveiled<br />

on April 6. To find out more and how<br />

you can make a difference not only<br />

on Earth Day but every day, visit<br />

earthday.ca.<br />

Pulling<br />

Together<br />

Volunteers are integral to invasive<br />

plants management and habitat<br />

restoration in Saanich. Share your<br />

energy with the parks you love,<br />

invest in the spirit of ecosystem<br />

restoration and build lasting relationships—all<br />

through volunteering.<br />

If you’re interested in getting your<br />

group involved with Pulling Together,<br />

Saanich Parks, Recreation and Community<br />

Services wants to hear from<br />

you! Neighbourhood groups, school<br />

groups, environment clubs, Scout<br />

and Guide groups, businesses and<br />

faith groups—everyone is welcome.<br />

To register as a restoration volunteer,<br />

visit saanich.ca.<br />

6 <strong>Island</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> Magazine <strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca

Money<br />

Stuff<br />

with<br />

Moms<br />

How do things work in your<br />

household? Who does the<br />

majority of the financial chores?<br />

Do you have separate bank<br />

accounts? What works well for<br />

you, and why? Your input to the<br />

conversation has incredible value<br />

because we can all do better if<br />

we know better. Money Stuff<br />

with Moms is all about answering<br />

money-related questions just<br />

like these. Peek behind the curtain<br />

to see how other moms do money<br />

with local hosts Lindsay Plumb<br />

and Meghan Chomut in their<br />

podcast Money Stuff with Moms<br />

on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and<br />

all the other podcast apps.<br />

I am proud<br />

to continue<br />

my support<br />

of parents,<br />

families and<br />

youth in<br />

Oak Bay-<br />

Gordon Head.<br />

MLA Murray Rankin<br />

Oak Bay – Gordon Head<br />

Murray.Rankin.MLA@leg.bc.ca 250-472-8528<br />

<strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca<br />

<strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 7

Float<br />

the<br />

Boat<br />

The Maritime Museum of BC is<br />

running their third annual fundraising<br />

campaign called “Float the<br />

Boat.” This campaign has a goal of<br />

$25,000 and will run from now to<br />

April 30. Throughout the campaign<br />

the museum will be marking milestones<br />

by filling a tank with water to<br />

float the boat higher and higher.<br />

Supporting this year’s campaign<br />

helps fund the comprehensive<br />

proposal to move the Maritime<br />

Museum into the Steamship<br />

Terminal Building, a perfect<br />

waterfront space.<br />

mmbc.bc.ca<br />

Feel<br />

Out<br />

Loud<br />

Kids Help Phone aims to help transform<br />

Canada’s youth mental health<br />

landscape, starting with the Feel Out<br />

Loud fundraising campaign to raise<br />

$300M. It is the largest fundraising<br />

campaign supporting youth mental<br />

health in Canada’s history. The campaign<br />

is a call to action on behalf of<br />

the 8.2 million young people in Canada<br />

who need space to express their<br />

feelings with confidence, because<br />

the issues that this group faces are<br />

more complex than ever. The Feel<br />

Out Loud fundraising campaign will<br />

help ensure that young people are<br />

seen and heard 30 million times.<br />

youtube.com/<br />

watch?v=Z0mphDDrMfo<br />

8 <strong>Island</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> Magazine <strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca

I ❤ ISLAND<br />

Can’t send Mom to a spa for<br />

Mother’s Day? Bring the spa to her!<br />

Cordova Candles<br />

Cordova Candle Co is an independent candle<br />

company out of Victoria. Candles are ethically<br />

produced in small batches using sustainable ingredients<br />

and packaging. Their mission is simple:<br />

to create candles with captivating scents and the<br />

best ingredients.<br />

cordovacandleco.com<br />

Sea Silk Cleansing Oil<br />

Seaflora’s Sea Silk Cleansing Oil will keep Mom’s<br />

skin barrier happy, healthy and balanced with a<br />

non-comedogenic, vegan, seaweed-infused oil<br />

cleanser. Gently dissolves makeup, sunscreen<br />

and daily grime without disturbing the skin’s natural<br />

oils or clogging pores.<br />

seafloraskincare.com<br />

It’s the Balm<br />

LK Cosmetics The Balm lip balm will put an end to<br />

dry, chapped lips. Get softer and more hydrated<br />

lips with this nourishing mask made with natural<br />

healing plant extracts such as Pomegranate,<br />

Blueberry, Cajupti and Centella Asiatica. Vegan,<br />

cruelty free and free of parabens and phthalates.<br />

lkcosmetics.ca<br />

<strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca<br />

<strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 9

HEALTH<br />

Self-Care<br />

for Moms<br />

Made Easy<br />

If you’re a mom or mom-to-be, I’d bet that “self-care” can<br />

be…a bit of a touchy subject. You’ve certainly heard enough<br />

about it, sometimes being told that self-care is the answer to<br />

all your challenges, or that having some alone time will do the<br />

trick.<br />

Many moms receive the message that self-care is about<br />

pampering—spa-like bubble baths or pedicures. No wonder<br />

it’s a bit frustrating to hear that term, self-care, because it just<br />

doesn’t seem like such simple things could make much of a difference<br />

to your sense of overwhelm or exhaustion.<br />

So let’s start with a more realistic definition. Self-care simply<br />

refers to all the things you do to help yourself feel well, including<br />

meeting your very basic needs. This can range from things<br />

like brushing your teeth, to booking a massage, to actually<br />

showing up for that pap test. Sure, your self-care routine might<br />

include a manicure, but it might also include regular counseling<br />

sessions. Self-care isn’t extra or frivolous.<br />

Self-care refers to all the things you do to meet your needs in<br />

the different areas of your life. We’re talking emotional, physical,<br />

social, intellectual and spiritual needs. If we want to feel<br />

joy and ease, we must address our own needs so that we have<br />

the capacity to welcome those positive experiences. When we<br />

think of self-care this way, we can understand that this isn’t<br />

something you only do when your kids are asleep or with the<br />

sitter.<br />

Self-care also doesn’t have to be so involved, difficult, and<br />

consuming. You don’t have to commit to daily workouts, frequent<br />

meditations or significantly shift your life in order for<br />

your efforts to count. It can be easy.<br />

Self-care is essential, but our approach has to be more realistic<br />

so that it’s not just another source of stress or an un-checked<br />

item on the to-do list. It’s important to shift the conversation so<br />

that what’s supposed to support your mental well-being doesn’t<br />

become another way you feel like a failure.<br />

So what stops moms from practicing self-care?<br />

Your schedule is fully booked! Timing is often the biggest<br />

obstacle that stands in the way of moms weaving self-care into<br />

their lives. You can’t find the time when it feels like a huge extra<br />

task on the to-do list. For moms struggling to find their groove in<br />

early motherhood, taking care of yourself feels like another thing<br />

you have to do. When you neglect it, it feels like another thing<br />

you’re NOT doing—and that can bring you down. So many of us<br />

see the day slip by without taking a moment for ourselves. And the<br />

biggest mistake is thinking that self-care has to happen outside of<br />

your time with your kids. Because for many, that time is fleeting.<br />

Guilt. Mom guilt makes no exceptions for self-care. Taking care<br />

of your needs is not selfish. Taking time for yourself is not luxurious.<br />

Self-care is not frivolous. When you take care of yourself,<br />

you’re better able to become the mom you want to be. When you<br />

look after your needs, your partner benefits, your kids benefit.<br />

Everyone wins! You matter so much. Your well-being affects others.<br />

You deserve your own attention, love and energy.<br />

How should we define realistic self-care?<br />

Making self-care easy for moms is about simplifying what<br />

the concept means to begin with. Believe that self-care is realistic<br />

otherwise it’s never going to happen.<br />

What is self-care, really?<br />

Look for ways to incorporate self-care during the times that<br />

you are with your kids. This might sound hard, but trust me,<br />

it’s an important mindset shift. And sure, exercising with a toddler<br />

climbing at your feet is less than ideal, but it’s better than<br />

not exercising at all.<br />

In my own journey as a mom, making this mental shift was a<br />

game changer. I started looking for ways to infuse my day with<br />

things that were for me, like my music, my candles or oils, my<br />

10 <strong>Island</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> Magazine <strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca

adult colouring book, or the route that I like to walk. These were<br />

subtle shifts but started to make me feel like my preferences and<br />

needs matter too. I am hoping you can start doing the same.<br />

Here are three areas to being exploring easy<br />

and attainable self-care:<br />

Your Body. When thinking about self-care for your body,<br />

think about all of your physical needs. Nutrition, hydration,<br />

rest, comfort. You need some kind of movement (ideally every<br />

day, if you can). When considering how to care for your body,<br />

ask yourself if there are things you do for your kids that you<br />

neglect to do for yourself. Moms often go to great lengths to<br />

prepare healthy meals for their kids, for example, but their<br />

own meals are an afterthought. I’ve been there too, snacking on<br />

the kids’ leftovers. But why? What if you could also consider<br />

your own nutritional needs? What impact would that have on<br />

you? You might even ask yourself in this moment: what are<br />

some easy ways that I could take better care of my physical<br />

self? Jot down a few ideas, and remember, keep it simple!<br />

Your Mind. Taking care of your mind means making<br />

sure that your emotional and intellectual needs are considered.<br />

You’re allowed to keep investing in your interests and<br />

hobbies. You have the need to learn and grow! Being a mom<br />

shouldn’t put a stop to that. So what interests have you put<br />

aside? Anything you’ve been curious about? Any new hobbies<br />

you’d like to explore? I know that life looks different now,<br />

and you likely don’t have the time to do hobbies like you did<br />

before. Can you find easier ways to fit this in? For example,<br />

instead of setting up an elaborate oil painting area, what if you<br />

tried a travel-size watercolour setup that is easy to pick up and<br />

put down? Even watching videos or tutorials about your hobbies<br />

can spark that interest again.<br />

On the emotional side, it can be helpful to check in with<br />

yourself daily by simply asking: “How am I doing? Where am I<br />

at?” Notice what comes up when you ask that question. Listening<br />

to yourself is self-care. Remember that. And if you discover<br />

some emotions that are harder to sit with on your own, it<br />

might be a good time to reach out to a friend or a professional<br />

to support you.<br />

Your Environment. Have you ever felt stressed out and<br />

then gone on a cleaning rampage and felt so much better afterwards?<br />

Or maybe you redecorated your living room mantle,<br />

hung a couple pictures or bought a new house plant and suddenly<br />

your mood improved? Well, that’s no coincidence! Your<br />

surroundings influence your mood. Think about the area in<br />

your home where you spend most of your time. Is there anything<br />

about that space that you need to change to help your<br />

mood? Creating a calm space in your home could be an act of<br />

self-care because it helps you feel more at ease. What you’re<br />

aiming to do here is notice how your space affects you and then<br />

doing something small to bring comfort.<br />

Remember that self-care is personal: what works for your<br />

friend might not work for you. Allow yourself to explore, try<br />

different things, and drop the things that don’t seem to help.<br />

You are worthy and deserving of your time and energy too;<br />

becoming a parent doesn’t mean that you fall off the priority<br />

list. Little by little, with time and intention, you’ll find your<br />

place back on that list and continue to move toward well-being.<br />

Kate Borsato is a Registered Clinical Counsellor<br />

in BC, and the founder of the Canadian Perinatal<br />

Wellness Collective, a team of perinatal mental health<br />

therapists across Canada. Kate also creates self-help<br />

and educational resources for moms’ mental wellness.<br />

perinatalcollective.com and kateborsato.com<br />

<strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca<br />

<strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 11

HEALTH<br />

Asking<br />

for Help<br />

just finished a 90-minute Zoom appointment with a psychiatrist<br />

and it was possibly the most important call of my<br />

I<br />

life.<br />

It wasn’t easy.<br />

I had to advocate hard for this support through my family<br />

doctor—which I am grateful for—but truly, it was a struggle.<br />

I had to be consistent, following up on what felt like<br />

trivial trial-and-error suggestions for medications and their<br />

amounts, stopping and starting for years.<br />

I always felt pushback at getting a referral for a psychiatrist<br />

because the “waitlist was too long” or “I should try<br />

these other things first.” If I’m being honest, I didn’t feel<br />

seen— but that’s due in part to our overworked system.<br />



AvengersStationCanada.com<br />

© <strong>2023</strong> MARVEL<br />

12 <strong>Island</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> Magazine <strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca

I’ve tried addressing the issues holistically while also blaming<br />

hormones and things like Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder<br />

(PMDD) which are probably part of the problem.<br />

But finally, six months ago, after two gruelling years of<br />

following up on my anxiety as a twin mom of three, my doctor<br />

connected me to someone within mental health who listened<br />

for a quick assessment. At the time, the intensity of my<br />

anxiousness was so great that she was able to expedite the<br />

process from a full year’s wait to today.<br />

So I finally got to meet with the psychiatrist and she was<br />

fantastic. This call was the type of dedicated care I wish<br />

could be accessible to everyone— especially mothers.<br />

We spoke of my early childhood, traumas, anxieties and<br />

how they have seemingly translated into why I too often feel<br />

dysfunctional today.<br />

“I can tell you are strong,” the psychiatrist reassured me,<br />

“and that you just carry on with life. You’ve adapted to<br />

being high functioning with high anxiety, but it must be exhausting<br />

doing so.”<br />

I felt seen.<br />

What baffles me is how difficult it was to make this call<br />

happen though, and to finally receive a clinical diagnosis of<br />

three distinct types of anxiety (and probably ADHD) after<br />

nearly 34 years of life.<br />

The silver lining is that the demands of motherhood were<br />

the very thing to dismantle my ability to “just cope” in life<br />

and drive transformative self-improvement instead.<br />

We have a plan and I feel liberated.<br />

Some might call my revealing all of this as oversharing,<br />

but I feel called to enlighten anyone struggling to advocate<br />

hard for yourself.<br />

If I can vulnerably support just a handful of you in the<br />

process of bettering my mental health, then I feel fulfilled.<br />

Natasha Mills, an <strong>Island</strong>er of almost 30 years,<br />

enjoys sharing the journey of parenthood and all<br />

Vancouver <strong>Island</strong> has to offer on her lifestyle blog.<br />

@mommamillsblog, mommamillsblog.com.<br />

<strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca<br />

<strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 13

HEALTH<br />

How to Tell Your Child About<br />

Your Mental Health Struggles<br />

What is the best way to share my<br />

mental health diagnosis with my<br />

child?<br />

There is no simple answer to that<br />

question. It will depend on the child—<br />

their age and level of maturity. It will<br />

also depend on the child’s current circumstances.<br />

We never want children to<br />

adopt the role of “parent” to their moms<br />

and dads, and we never want children to<br />

process with the child. They may even encourage<br />

the parent to bring the child into<br />

a session to discuss the diagnosis during a<br />

family therapy session. If parents are ever<br />

in doubt about how their mental health is<br />

affecting the wellbeing of their child, they<br />

should reach out to a child psychologist<br />

or therapist. Getting your child help,<br />

while you are receiving help, would be an<br />

excellent idea.<br />

to be frugal, as your mental health is tied<br />

to the health of every other area of your<br />

life.<br />

With all of this in mind, here are some<br />

guidelines for how to disclose your mental<br />

illness to your child:<br />

Preschool & Younger:<br />

Children this young typically do not<br />

need to know the diagnosis. This is a<br />

time to shelter stress, as much as is possible,<br />

from your child. Ask family and<br />

friends to come in and help you with the<br />

children as much as possible.<br />

Early Elementary School:<br />

Children this young should be sheltered<br />

similarly to preschool children,<br />

except they could likely handle you explaining<br />

that you are “not feeling well.”<br />

It is important to reassure them and tell<br />

them not to worry about you. Explain<br />

that you are getting help and will be better<br />

soon.<br />

feel like they are somehow to blame for<br />

how their parents are feeling. Sometimes<br />

though, circumstances would require<br />

the child to have some understanding of<br />

what is happening for their parent. This<br />

is especially true if they needed to stay<br />

with an extended family member temporarily<br />

during a parent’s treatment.<br />

If a parent is struggling with mental<br />

health challenges, it is critically important<br />

to get help. It’s not only necessary<br />

for the parent’s wellness but also for the<br />

health of the family as a whole. An important<br />

part of treating mental illness is<br />

talk therapy and the therapist involved<br />

can help a parent navigate the disclosure<br />

The first step is always to talk to your<br />

family doctor to see if there is any support<br />

available that would be covered by<br />

your provincial health care plan. Unfortunately,<br />

there are often long wait times<br />

for this help, and so if you do not have<br />

extended medical that covers psychotherapy,<br />

you may need to reach into your<br />

savings or ask for financial assistance<br />

from others to pay for the treatment you<br />

need. Until our governments recognize<br />

the value of providing coverage for most<br />

mental health services we need to find<br />

other ways to get what is needed to heal.<br />

As hard as it may be to spend or borrow<br />

the money required, this is not the time<br />

Mid-Elementary School:<br />

Children at this age could manage<br />

knowing a little more. You could explain<br />

that you do not “feel well in your mind”<br />

or “in your heart.” It will still be very<br />

important to reassure them, be clear that<br />

this is not their fault in any way and explain<br />

that you are getting the best help<br />

available. Leave them with a feeling of<br />

hope that things will be better soon.<br />

Older Elementary School &<br />

Middle Years:<br />

Older kids could handle a name for<br />

what you are facing. You could say, “I<br />

have an illness called depression. It means<br />

that I have deep feelings of sadness inside<br />

me that I cannot shake off. It drains<br />

me of my energy and makes me want to<br />

sleep all the time. It is nobody’s fault. It is<br />

not my fault, and it is certainly not your<br />

fault!” Share with your child everything<br />

that you are doing to feel better and give<br />

them hope that things will be better soon.<br />

14 <strong>Island</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> Magazine <strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca

Adolescents & Young Adults:<br />

This is the time to have the kind of<br />

conversation you may have been wanting<br />

to have with your child for a while. They<br />

could handle more detailed information.<br />

It’s generally an appropriate time to<br />

explain the medical basis for the mental<br />

illness. You can talk about genetic factors<br />

and environmental factors. You could<br />

explain in more depth the treatment<br />

you are receiving. You can give your<br />

children updates on how you’re doing<br />

and what your medical professionals are<br />

suggesting. You can also ask a child of<br />

this age for a little assistance. Ask them<br />

to help around the house. Ask them to<br />

go for walks with you. Allow them a<br />

sense of agency and give them a way to<br />

participate in the family’s goal of getting<br />

you better. This is also the time to talk<br />

to your adolescent children about any<br />

genetic risk factors they may have inherited<br />

and what to be on the lookout for in<br />

their own lives. Talk about what it means<br />

to practice good mental health care.<br />

When the time is right, I would encourage<br />

you to bring the notion of advocacy<br />

into these discussions with your children.<br />

Discuss how your family can raise awareness<br />

about mental health and spread the<br />

message that the world needs to lose the<br />

stigma and focus on getting help to those<br />

who need it.<br />

Finally, some parents find it helpful<br />

to keep a journal where they write to<br />

their child about what is happening for<br />

them during their illness, how they are<br />

feeling and how they are trying to get<br />

better. They save this journal and share<br />

with their children once they are adults.<br />

This can help the children understand<br />

what the parent was going through during<br />

a time when they were too young to<br />

hear the full story, and may even provide<br />

meaningful insight if they are struggling<br />

with mental health challenges of their<br />

own.<br />

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Dr. Jillian Roberts is a child psychologist,<br />

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Kids, Sex and Screens: Raising Strong, Resilient<br />

Children in the Sexualized Digital<br />

Age and CEO and founder<br />

of MindKey Health mental<br />

health clinics with locations<br />

in Victoria, Sidney and soonto-be<br />

in the Western Communities.<br />

drjillianroberts.com<br />

<strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca<br />

<strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 15

MOM’SPOV<br />

The<br />

Spectator’s<br />

Seat<br />

I<br />

leave work early. I am excited and nervous for my son<br />

to play his first handball game at his school. It’s the first<br />

team sport that any of my children have participated in.<br />

My husband and I settle on the bench next to all the other<br />

parents. We’re ready to cheer.<br />

Our principal, (who is also the coach) explains the spectating<br />

rules. I read three sets of approved encouraging words<br />

on the wall that are suggested cheers. One poster states:<br />

“Need more effort.” This phrase annoys me. Are we encouraging<br />

or offering negative connotation with this phrase? It is<br />

bordering on constructive criticism. Should parents cheering<br />

really be giving feedback as a coach would?<br />

The game begins. I don’t know the rules, but we learn<br />

along with the kids about how many steps are permitted and<br />

pivoting. I embrace the positivity of “Good try” as my standard<br />

cheering words and clapping for both teams. There are<br />

also lots of “ohhhs” and “ahhhs” and “so close” yelled from<br />

all around us.<br />

The game is intense. We are getting slaughtered. I learn<br />

we are playing against a Grade 5 team, but my son and his<br />

teammates are in Grade 4. They will only play Grade 5s due<br />

to a lack of coaches for Grade 4 teams. An extra challenge<br />

for our team. The other team is also much taller than our<br />

team and they are fast at intercepting throws.<br />

Handball reminds me of basketball because opponents are<br />

blocking you as you try to shoot. However, the net is lower<br />

and similar to a hockey or soccer net.<br />

Oh no, the pressure. My son is suddenly in goal. That is<br />

a tough position. Some shots go in, but he looks like he is<br />

having fun. I’m nervous for him. I would not want that position,<br />

but this is not about me. I offer an encouraging smile<br />

when he looks my way. I guess the teammates all take turns<br />

in playing every position. That’s good.<br />

As the ball reaches the back of the net again, the parent<br />

next to me snidely comments: “I think we need a new goalie.”<br />

I’m appalled. My son is in goal, but even if it wasn’t my<br />

son why would you say such a thing? Is this how some parent<br />

spectators get out of hand at children’s sports games?<br />

I say nothing. I don’t like confrontation. My husband offers<br />

a supporting look in my direction. I decide once this<br />

parent realizes who my son is he will likely feel bad and that<br />

is enough for me. I continue to watch the game. My only<br />

comforting thought is that there is no way my son would<br />

have heard the comment over all his teammates and the opposing<br />

team shouting “I’m open,” and “Pass to me.”<br />

It’s the last few minutes of the game. The score is discouragingly<br />

high for the other team. We have no goals. Some of<br />

our players can’t take their eyes off the scoreboard. They are<br />

distracted. They are not blocking their opponents anymore. I<br />

think they have given up. One player starts crying. I feel bad<br />

for that player. It’s an emotional rollercoaster playing sports.<br />

16 <strong>Island</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> Magazine <strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca

None of this matters though. They are<br />

out there to have fun and exercise.<br />

After the game, I tell my son the<br />

score does not matter. They are getting<br />

a great workout, learning how to pass<br />

the ball and learning about sportsmanship.<br />

My son can’t wait for the next<br />

game. I’m glad he has taken the whole<br />

game in stride. He lines up with a smile<br />

on his face and completes his elbow<br />

bump sportsmanship with each player<br />

on the opposing team. I’m excited for<br />

the next game too.<br />

I think back to the only team sport<br />

that I played in elementary. I was on<br />

our 4 x 100m relay team. I was a nervous<br />

wreck. I ran too fast. I did not<br />

pass the baton in the passing zone. It<br />

was my fault our team was disqualified.<br />

I was devastated. I knew the rules, but<br />

in the moment and with the nerves, I<br />

was just too fast before the pass. My<br />

son knows this story and that it’s okay<br />

to make mistakes and fail.<br />

My son’s team finishes the season<br />

with three goals in total. They were<br />

close to scoring goals many other times.<br />

More importantly, my son had fun. He<br />

played all the positions. His coaches<br />

were great. He even made each coach<br />

a bracelet and we wrote them each a<br />

thank you card. He enjoyed a great<br />

workout and improved his throwing<br />

and catching skills. He’s looking forward<br />

to playing again next year, and I<br />

am looking forward to watching. I feel<br />

I’ll be better prepared and ready to empathize<br />

with all the emotions that come<br />

along with sports too.<br />

Serena Beck works full-time<br />

as a Technical Writer. She loves<br />

to write, travel and swim at the<br />

beach with family and friends.<br />

<strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca<br />

<strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 17



Creative<br />

Tech<br />

Camps<br />

Redefining<br />

Family<br />

hen is your Anniversary?”<br />

“W I looked down at my daughter’s<br />

young friend wondering if I had<br />

heard her correctly. I asked her to repeat<br />

herself.<br />

“Your anniversary. When you and<br />

your husband were married.”<br />

Yup, I had heard her correctly. Feeling<br />

a bit stunned that an eight-year-old<br />

was interested in such things, I stammered<br />

out “Well, we’re not technically<br />

married, so we don’t really have an anniversary.”<br />

She looked confused.<br />

“But if you’re not married, then how<br />

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did you have her?!” She motioned towards<br />

my daughter.<br />

The already-awkward conversation<br />

became even more awkward as I wondered<br />

how much I was responsible for<br />

18 <strong>Island</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> Magazine <strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca

Summer FUN at GNS<br />

telling her about how you didn’t need to have a marriage<br />

certificate to create a life.<br />

“Well, um, you don’t have to be married to have a<br />

baby…” I managed to tell her, feeling my face becoming<br />

flushed.<br />

The young girl still looked quite alarmed, and I could tell<br />

she was about to ask more questions I wasn’t at all prepared<br />

to answer. Thankfully a friend standing nearby picked up on<br />

the conversation and quickly interjected.<br />

“<strong>Parent</strong>s and families all look different,” she explained.<br />

“Not everyone is married, and some used to be married but<br />

aren’t any longer.”<br />

And there it was. <strong>Parent</strong>s and families all look different.<br />

I’ll never know if that young girl went home and announced<br />

to her parents that her friend’s parents weren’t<br />

married, but I didn’t get any messages from them asking for<br />

clarification or saying she couldn’t hang out with my child<br />

any longer. I’m hoping if she did tell her parents, they explained<br />

that families come in all shapes and sizes.<br />

Because that’s the thing—over time, the definition of family<br />

has drastically shifted. Gone are the days of families<br />

consisting strictly of a married heterosexual couple and their<br />

children. Today it’s not uncommon for children to have two<br />

dads, two moms, or any other adult figure(s) raising them.<br />

Grandparents or other adults sometimes step in to raise<br />

children when the parents need help. And, as in our case, a<br />

growing number of couples choose not to get married before<br />

they start a family.<br />

I grew up in the 1980s with divorced parents, as did almost<br />

half of my friends. Some of us had step-parents and<br />

step-siblings, while others lived with a single parent. I still<br />

see this reflected in some of my child’s friends, and I imagine<br />

I will see it even more as she gets older.<br />

As house prices rise many people are choosing to have<br />

grandparents, other family members or even friends live with<br />

them. This then creates a whole new type of family.<br />

The point is that a family certainly doesn’t have to be<br />

“traditional” to be considered a family. Families are made<br />

up of care and love, no matter the size or composition.<br />

Glenlyon Norfolk School is offering a variety<br />

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Erika Palmer is a writer living in Victoria with her<br />

husband and daughter. She believes most problems<br />

can be solved with a good cup of tea and a huge<br />

piece of chocolate.<br />

<strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca<br />

<strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 19

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These local businesses are family-focused and<br />

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Support for<br />

Single Dads<br />

I<br />

pull the tape gun across the top of a box, hearing the<br />

sharp sound of the tape peeling from the rest of the roll.<br />

Another box, one of many. This one is filled with my son’s<br />

baby pictures. I exhale and think back to the specific photo<br />

shoot. Thinking ourselves artistic, we took macro snapshots<br />

of my son and stretched them across canvas: the curvature of<br />

a tiny ear, his mouth with baby fuzz above his lip, a tuft of<br />

nascent hair on his head. We used to call him “Kiwi.”<br />

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I realize in this moment, I will soon become a statistic.<br />

The “we” will inevitably dissipate and end in yet another<br />

divorced dad. Before that though, there is this peculiar period<br />

of pulling two people apart who were once so enmeshed.<br />

Moving vans, paper trails, lawyers, memories. The moment<br />

my five-year-old son stands frozen at his bedroom doorway,<br />

seeing his room in boxes. Dividing calendar years into weekson<br />

and weeks-off. What will Christmas look like? Birthdays?<br />

My new role as a single dad would continue to feel uncomfortable,<br />

and things that were once simple would take<br />

on a new, stranger colour. I wanted to arrange playdates for<br />

20 <strong>Island</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> Magazine<br />


my young son but approaching married women when picking<br />

up my kid from school for this purpose felt clunky and unwelcome.<br />

Invites to parties became scarce. I had to adjust to a new<br />

kind of logistical communication with his mother. Clashing<br />

schedules. Trying to remember who had what. Meanwhile, the<br />

confusion on my child’s face was palpable, and I lacked the<br />

toddler verbiage to help him understand our new normal.<br />

It took me three months of flying through different counselors<br />

until I eventually found one that gave me the tools I needed,<br />

and I used his array of coping mechanisms like the multi-tools<br />

in a Swiss Army Knife. His thoroughness and compassion<br />

mixed with his ability to disagree and question my thought processes<br />

was invaluable. When I leaned into my vulnerabilities,<br />

he enveloped me with kindness. I was grateful to employ these<br />

new tools, giving me more peace and clarity to figure out my<br />

life’s “whys?” To discover what is meant to be a dad. To be a<br />

human.<br />

I devoured family-style podcasts and self-development articles.<br />

I went for long bike rides. I had lengthy, challenging conversations<br />

with myself. I was trying to figure out how to exist<br />

as a single dad.<br />

My experience is far from unique. While my West Coast casual<br />

mentality likes to think the statistics are lower on this side<br />

of the country, I found that BC actually came in slightly higher<br />

for divorce rates at 39% of the population. Despite this whopping<br />

figure, I found that support and community for single men<br />

was sparse. After months of trying to find my new place in the<br />

world, I realized that I no longer wanted to go this alone. I<br />

needed an expanded community.<br />

Since I struggled to find the support I was looking for, I endeavoured<br />

to create this myself. Luckily, I now find myself in<br />

a place where I have the time and ability to help change the<br />

status quo for men in a similar situation. Men who are looking<br />

to thrive in their new roles, with the ultimate goal of making<br />

huge strides in their kids’ lives. I know I don’t have the answers<br />

to a puzzle I myself am still putting together, but sometimes<br />

I’m lucky enough to share my story with others who have gone<br />

through a similar experience, and for them to share their stories<br />

with me.<br />

A tribe works best when we uplift each other in our own<br />

journeys. We evolve through mutual understanding. I’m just<br />

a guy who supports some other guys going through it all,<br />

through ideas and collaboration. I’m at the start of exploring<br />

these new possibilities, and I know there is a need out there for<br />

dads struggling to find their place, their community, and just<br />

a little bit of support. This could be simply listening to your<br />

story and sitting in that space with you or figuring out ways I<br />

can offer some of the solutions that continue to help propel me<br />

forward.<br />

Separation with kids involved can be scraggly, uncomfortable<br />

and precarious, but you’re not alone.<br />

Michael Morrell is an empathetic father<br />

wanting to hear your story. Contact him at<br />

michaelrhmorrell@gmail.com.<br />

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<strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca<br />

<strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 21


The Joy of Sandwiches<br />

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When I was a new mom, I lived on sandwiches. They were pretty much the<br />

only thing I had the time/energy/mental power to put together. And they<br />

always hit the spot.<br />

Sandwiches are great for using up pantry staples. They’re always an option...even<br />

when you haven’t had time to go to the grocery store. Add some chopped-up vegetables<br />

and you’ve got a complete meal that didn’t take a lot of time to prepare. Perfect<br />

for on-the-go dinners. Something that I’m going to need to rely on as we roll around<br />

into baseball season!<br />

Cold sandwiches are the stuff of lunchboxes. Here are four hot sandwiches that are<br />

quick to prepare and packed with protein.<br />

When grilling sandwiches there are several options:<br />

Under the broiler: Broil on high for 2–4 minutes on each side. Or if you don’t have<br />

time to watch over your sandwiches, broil on low for 5–8 minutes instead.<br />

Sandwich maker/waffle iron: Sandwich makers were all the rage in the 1990s.<br />

Akin to the air-fryer today. If you happen to own one, they are definitely the EASIEST<br />

way to grill a sandwich.<br />

Stovetop option: We don’t happen to have room for extra appliances in our tiny<br />

townhouse kitchen. So we make grilled sandwiches by heating a frying pan on medium.<br />

Then we place a cast iron pan on top to give it that pressed sandwich feel. Frying<br />

a sandwich takes 2–4 minutes on each side, depending on how hot your pan is.<br />

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Fancy Cheese Toasts<br />

Honestly, is there anything better than a grilled cheese sandwich? However, if you’re feeding<br />

a lot of people and don’t want to spend the time to make a bunch of individual grilled cheese<br />

sandwiches, cheese toasts are a good alternative. Children love them, and you can make a bunch<br />

at once.<br />

Raid your pantry to make fancy cheese toast. Pull out whatever you’ve got and let everyone<br />

build their fancy toasts!<br />

6 Slices of bread 3 Tbsp butter 1 1 ⁄2 cups of grated cheese<br />

Fun toppings: chopped tomato, crispy bacon, thinly sliced onion, roasted red pepper, zucchini<br />

medallions, spinach, thinly sliced apple.<br />

Butter each slice of bread on one side. Place the bread on a baking sheet, butter side up.<br />

Let everyone decorate their own toasts with whatever fun toppings they want. Then divide the<br />

cheese between the slices of bread. Broil for 2 to 4 minutes until the cheese browns.<br />

Grilled Peanut Butter & Banana<br />

This was my favorite as a kid. It’s a sweet treat as well as a protein-packed sandwich.<br />

4 Slices of bread 2 Tbsp butter<br />

1⁄4 cup of peanut butter 1 large banana, chopped into thin circles<br />

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Make a peanut butter sandwich with bananas in it. If you want, you can add a bit more sweetness<br />

with a drizzle of honey or chocolate chips. Butter the outside of the sandwich to add flavour<br />

and prevent it from sticking to the grill. Grill for 2 to 4 minutes on each side, until the bread is<br />

toasted and the sandwiches are warmed through.<br />

22 <strong>Island</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> Magazine <strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca

Scrambled Egg Sandwiches<br />

Fried egg sandwiches were my go-to when I was pregnant with my<br />

daughter. However, they can be a bit time-consuming to make if you’ve<br />

got a few people to feed. Here’s a recipe that allows you to make a<br />

bunch of egg sandwiches all at once.<br />

These can be served open-faced like a cheese melt, however, I’ve<br />

written the recipes for a closed-faced grilled sandwich which is a bit<br />

more filling.<br />

8 eggs 1 ⁄2 cup of milk<br />

1⁄2 tsp salt & black pepper, to taste 1 Tbsp oil<br />

8 Slices of bread 2 Tbsp butter<br />

2 Tbsp mayonnaise 1 tomato<br />

1 bunch of washed spinach 4 slices of cheddar cheese<br />

Mix the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Heat the oil in<br />

a saucepan over medium-high. Add the egg mixture and place the lid<br />

on the pot. After about 2 minutes, stir the eggs with a spoon. If they<br />

have started to set, then continue stirring, scraping the spoon along the<br />

bottom of the pot until all the eggs are fully cooked. If the eggs haven’t<br />

started to set, put the lid back on and let them cook for another few<br />

minutes. Make egg sandwiches with mayonnaise, spinach, tomatoes,<br />

scrambled eggs, and cheese. Butter the outside of the sandwiches.<br />

Grill for 2 to 4 minutes on each side, until the bread is toasted and the<br />

cheese is melted.<br />

The Ultimate Beans on Toast<br />

Beans on toast are definitely a dish that inspires nostalgia. However,<br />

it’s a bit like KD, in that it never tastes quite as good as you remember.<br />

This recipe adds a bit more flavor and pizzazz to this simple dish.<br />

1 medium onion 1 red pepper<br />

1 clove of garlic 1 Tbsp oil<br />

6 Slices of bread 2 Tbsp butter<br />

1 can of baked beans in tomato sauce (14 oz)<br />

1 cup of grated mozzarella<br />

Finely slice the onion and red pepper. Mince the garlic. Saute the<br />

vegetables in a small frying pan on medium-high heat until soft, about<br />

5 minutes. Butter each slice of bread on one side and lay them out on a<br />

baking sheet, butter side up. Divide the baked beans among the slices<br />

of bread. Add a large forkful of the cooked vegetables on top of the<br />

baked beans, then top with grated cheese. Broil on high for 2 to 4 minutes<br />

until the cheese is melted and starting to brown.<br />

Emillie Parrish loves having adventures with her<br />

two busy children. You can find more of her recipes<br />

in her recently released cookbook Fermenting Made<br />

Simple. fermentingforfoodies.com<br />




at<br />

UVic!<br />

Develop skills, meet new friends, explore<br />

creativity and experience exciting activities<br />

in a fun, safe and positive environment!<br />


See complete camps listings online:<br />

vikescamps.com<br />

Presented by<br />

Summer Camps <strong>2023</strong><br />

• Basketball Co-Ed • Judo<br />

• Youth Leadership • Soccer Co-Ed<br />

• Girl Power • Track & Field<br />

• Vikes Kids • Vikes Sports<br />

• Land Explorers • Softball<br />

• Mini Vikes • Swim Camp<br />

Full Day<br />

• Yoga<br />

• Outdoor Rock • Tennis Camp<br />

Explorers • Archery<br />

• Fencing<br />

and more!<br />

<strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca<br />

<strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 23


Aging<br />

as an<br />

Adult<br />

As a frustrated eight-year old, I<br />

remember writing a poem called<br />

“when I am nine” that described all<br />

the many possibilities the world would<br />

have to offer me when I was just a little<br />

bit older—old enough to get my ears<br />

pierced was the main one—but also, old<br />

enough to stay up later, old enough to<br />

have more friends over for my birthday<br />

party, not quite old enough to babysit<br />

yet but old enough to start thinking<br />

about the coveted Saint John Ambulance<br />

course.<br />

Now, of course, growing older has<br />

less appeal, and with a milestone birthday<br />

approaching I’m realizing that the<br />

second half of my life will be quite different<br />

from the first. Ahead of me are inevitable<br />

life events, ones I am fortunate<br />

not to have experienced yet: my parents<br />

passing, health problems, my hair going<br />

grey. And yet, I realize that for the rest<br />

of my life I will look back at myself now<br />

and wish I was that young again. As one<br />

friend put it, growing older is a gift, or,<br />

as my grandmother always used to say,<br />

it’s better than the alternative.<br />

The other day I went to a new hairdresser.<br />

I’m not for everyone, he warned me.<br />

Then he proceeded to tell me that my<br />

hair was “losing pigmentation.”<br />

Yeah, you’ll have a big grey streak<br />

here, he noted matter-a-factly as he<br />

combed through my part. I texted my<br />

What’s App mom friend group after the<br />

appointment to vent. Everyone chimed<br />

in how they were starting to get greys<br />

too. When I mentioned it to my Pilates<br />

teacher, she simply stated well, that is<br />

what happens as we get older as if expecting<br />

anything else just didn’t make<br />

sense.<br />

My daughter is starting kindergarten<br />

soon and one of the things I’ll have<br />

to grapple with in the second half of<br />

my life is her growing up. Life as I’ve<br />

known it for the past few years is ending<br />

and in its place is a new life with an<br />

older child, one who talks and wipes her<br />

own bum and doesn’t need a highchair<br />

or soft food or sleep sacs or Baby Yum<br />

Yums. At soccer, she now kicks the ball<br />

instead of just running over it. She can<br />

sit through plays and go hiking without<br />

a carrier. Although there’s still the occasional<br />

tantrum, she more often negotiates<br />

with the prowess of a Bay Street<br />

lawyer.<br />

Recently, we went on a plane for the<br />

first time since the pandemic. It was the<br />

first time in my daughter’s memory. She<br />

got scared of the small bathrooms and<br />

didn’t go the entire time. As we landed,<br />

she started crying because her ears hurt<br />

and she had refused to suck on the candy<br />

we’d given her. After we landed back<br />

home, I tried to comfort her by telling<br />

her what a great traveller she’d been.<br />

You know, the plane is the worst part<br />

of travelling—it’s being in other places<br />

that’s really fun and seeing different<br />

people. She looked at me and countered<br />

but the plane was the best part!<br />

It was then that I realized how many<br />

more wonderful things are ahead of me<br />

in this next decade. I’ll have a not-solittle<br />

child who just enthused about flying<br />

minutes after wailing from ear pain<br />

and not peeing for hours. She dances<br />

in the living room and makes cards to<br />

give to everyone she meets. We can go<br />

camping without hauling a pack and<br />

play and sippy cups. We can sit in coffee<br />

shops without running after her the<br />

whole time. Soon, she’ll have sleepovers<br />

24 <strong>Island</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> Magazine <strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca



Come experience a new sport or activity, and for those<br />

that have serious athletic goals enjoy the opportunity of<br />

working with some of our world class coaches.<br />

in our rec room and have crushes and<br />

play in real soccer games. We can learn<br />

about stars and make models of the solar<br />

system. Eventually, she can get her<br />

ears pierced and we can get pedicures<br />

together. Maybe she’ll even make me<br />

pancakes. She looks forward to getting<br />

older too—being able to read soon, using<br />

a real computer, being a cool “big<br />

kid.”<br />

It’s time I start seeing the bright side<br />

as well. Life might be different with a<br />

few grey hairs, but it’s also the start of a<br />

new era. A different season of parenting.<br />

Although I may already have my ears<br />

pierced and be well past the babysitting<br />

stage, I also have a lot to look forward<br />

to as well—regardless of the ticking of<br />

time.<br />

Julia Mais is a policy<br />

and communications professional<br />

in Victoria. She looks<br />

for beauty in the everyday<br />

through writing, photography<br />

and the outdoors. She<br />

lives in a messy, cheesefilled<br />

home with her husband and preschooler.<br />

RUGBY<br />




SQUASH<br />





YOGA & DANCE<br />





1975 Renfrew Road, Shawnigan Lake, BC<br />

<strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca<br />

<strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 25

FAMILY<br />



The Family Resource<br />

Directory is designed<br />

to highlight the caring<br />

community that we are<br />

a part of. This directory<br />

showcases organizations<br />

and businesses that provide<br />

services and support for<br />

families and children.<br />


Cheers to the<br />

Women We Know<br />

If you’ve looked at a calendar recently,<br />

you might’ve noticed that Mother’s<br />

Day is creeping up on us quite quickly.<br />

In honour of that special day, let’s focus<br />

on the women who inspire us, from those<br />

who know who they are and what they<br />

want to be, to those who are still figuring<br />

that out. No matter which mother-like<br />

figure you’re celebrating or remembering<br />

this month, I hope you and your children<br />

find these women inspirational too.<br />

Navigate is an award-winning<br />

school, recognized nationally and<br />

internationally for our innovative<br />

approach to blended learning.<br />

We’ve implemented the new BC<br />

curriculum and built unique, flexible<br />

learning options for every student.<br />

This allows us to meet a diverse<br />

range of student needs, abilities<br />

and learning styles.<br />

Discover more at<br />

NavigateNIDES.com<br />

Thriving Roots<br />

Wilderness School<br />

Thriving Roots provides hands-on, wilderness<br />

education and counselling services for youth<br />

and adults. Our year-long programs and summer<br />

camps are immersive in nature, fostering<br />

connection to land and community through<br />

earth-based skills, play, music and more.<br />

thrivingroots.org info@thrivingroots.org<br />

Anne and Her Tower of Giraffes by<br />

Karlin Gray and illustrated by Aparna<br />

Varma (Kids Can Press, 2022) explores<br />

the story of Dr. Anne Innis Dagg, who<br />

was the first Western individual to study<br />

wild animal behaviour. Anne adored<br />

giraffes. She wanted to know everything<br />

there was to know about them. But Anne<br />

had a problem. There wasn’t a lot of<br />

information known about giraffes when<br />

she was growing up. So, she decided to<br />

study them for herself.<br />

The delightful and warm illustrations,<br />

breathe life into this beautifully written<br />

biography. And if you have a budding<br />

giraffologist in your life, the book also<br />

contains a Q&A with Anne as well as<br />

some additional resources for you to explore.<br />

For ages 4 to 7.<br />

A Person Can Be… by Kerri Kokias<br />

and illustrated by Carey Sookocheff (Kids<br />

Can Press, 2022) highlights how hard it<br />

can be to figure out who we are. So often<br />

we are labeled as one thing or the other,<br />

but A Person Can Be… reminds us that<br />

we can be both. In this story, where the<br />

illustrations tell a story all their own, we<br />

learn we can be brave and afraid. We can<br />

be lonely and not on our own. We can be<br />

this and that, it doesn’t have to be one or<br />

the other. For ages 4 to 7.<br />

The International Day of the Girl by<br />

Jessica Dee Humphreys and the Hon.<br />

Rona Ambrose and illustrated by Simone<br />

Shin (Kids Can Press, 2020) celebrates<br />

nine girls from around the world who<br />

have stood up in their own unique ways,<br />

26 <strong>Island</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> Magazine

from getting a school built in Northern<br />

Canada to making communities safer in<br />

Russia and refugee camps. For ages 8 to<br />

12.<br />

Walking for Water by Susan Hughes<br />

and illustrated by Nicole Miles (Kids<br />

Can Press, 2021) is about a thirteen-yearold<br />

boy who noticed that his twin sister<br />

stopped going to school because she was<br />

needed at home to help out with all of<br />

the chores. That didn’t feel right to him<br />

so he decided to do something about it<br />

and help out even though it was weird<br />

and unusual for a boy to collect the water.<br />

This is a beautiful story about equality<br />

and sibling love. For ages 4 to 7.<br />

Her Epic Adventures: 25 Daring Women<br />

who Inspire a Life Less Ordinary by<br />

Julia De Laurentiis Johnston and illustrated<br />

by Salini Perera (Kids Can Press,<br />

2021) features 25 snapshots of different<br />

women who have done incredible things<br />

from Bessie Coleman, the first Black<br />

aviatrix, to In-Young Ahn, the first South<br />

Korean woman to conduct research in<br />

Antartica, to Arunima Sinha, the first<br />

female amputee to climb Mount Everest.<br />

Each of these well researched tales<br />

sheds a bit of light into some phenomenal<br />

woman to inspire your kids to live lives<br />

that are less ordinary. For ages 8 to 12.<br />

Between these five books, there are<br />

more than 30 women (and a few men)<br />

that are worth celebrating any month<br />

of the year. Maybe you don’t think the<br />

special woman in your child’s life is as<br />

inspiring or noteworthy as the women<br />

on this list. But to expand on Kokias and<br />

Sookocheff’s idea: you can be anonymous<br />

and known, and you can be “imperfect<br />

and treasured.” And so, I hope you have<br />

a wonderful Mother’s Day no matter<br />

who you choose to celebrate.<br />

Christina Van<br />

Starkenburg lives in<br />

Victoria with her husband,<br />

children and cat. She is the<br />

author of One Tiny Turtle:<br />

A Story You Can Colour<br />

and many articles. To read more of her work<br />

and learn about her upcoming books visit<br />

christinavanstarkenburg.com. Facebook:<br />

facebook.com/christinavanstarkenburg<br />

and Twitter: @Christina_VanS.<br />

STAGES<br />

Summer Programs<br />

Running This July & August<br />

Preschool Dance Camps<br />

For 3-5 year olds in Ballet, Jazz,<br />

Musical Theatre & Tap<br />

Youth Dance Camps<br />

For dancers 6-12 years old in<br />

Jazz, Hip Hop & Acrobatics<br />

Dance Intensive<br />

For dancers 11 years old & up with<br />

Jazz, Ballet, Hip Hop & Acrobatics<br />

Little Dancers Classes<br />

Are running through the summer for<br />

those 18 months to 3 years old<br />

Come Dance With Us<br />

Call (250) 384-3267, email: stagesdance@shaw.ca,<br />

or visit us at www.stagesdance.com<br />

<strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca<br />

<strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 27

LEARN<br />

How to Nurture<br />

an Emerging Reader<br />

ost big ideas don’t seem like big<br />

“Mideas at first. So, be on the lookout<br />

for little ones that seem kind of hohum,<br />

let-me-floss-first kind of ideas.”<br />

I saved this quote, but sadly not the<br />

attribution. I love it.<br />

Years ago, I heard about a program in<br />

Canada and the U.S. that brought young<br />

kids to read to shelter cats—a reciprocal<br />

program to serve emerging readers<br />

and emerging adoptees! It inspired me to<br />

launch a similar pilot project last spring.<br />

The world is coming undone. Experiences<br />

of suffering and challenges to the<br />

human spirit are on the rise. It’s led me<br />

to embark on projects, initiatives, and<br />

volunteering that I can’t not do. As a<br />

co-founder of EPIC nature school in Victoria,<br />

for K–Grade 5, I knew this pilot<br />

project could benefit youth and animals<br />

in search of their fur-ever home.<br />

I reached out to the local Victoria<br />

SPCA branch. “Can I bring kids a few<br />

times a month to read to cats?” They<br />

said, “Yes!”<br />

At EPIC, a founding principle is to address<br />

disconnection from the self, others<br />

and the living world. It’s a significant<br />

step to reconcile some of the root causes<br />

of our climate emergency and ecological<br />

collapse. School is also a wounding place<br />

for kids. The classroom often lacks the<br />

emotional safety kids require to be at<br />

rest, free from alarm. If you’re alarmed,<br />

you cannot learn.<br />

Kids are under great pressure to read<br />

by certain age, from a one size fits all<br />

formula. The pressure to read— from<br />

parents, peers and teachers—can put its<br />

unfolding on pause. The child also adds<br />

their own pressure to perform. It may<br />

explain, a genre of children’s books called<br />

“Reluctant Reader.” What an unfortunate<br />

and defeating label.<br />

The benefits of reading to cats for<br />

the kids is they can read aloud free<br />

from correction, minus judgement from<br />

their peers, and take a break from what<br />

doesn’t work at school. Many children<br />

took this task on as their job! “I must<br />

read to this cat” one child announced.<br />

Kids 5 to 10 years old brought in board<br />

books, picture books, chapter books and<br />

novels. They also read books about cat<br />

behaviour, cat breeds and wild felines.<br />

Kids get a cozy room with one cat and<br />

take turns meeting various cat personalities.<br />

Some are playful kittens, others<br />

quiet seniors and many required space<br />

and time to warm up. There are options<br />

to read in outdoor “catio,” a room with<br />

a couple of cats and outside of dog kennels,<br />

too. Kids also sat in or out of a<br />

bunny enclosure.<br />

Children (and their parents) signed<br />

up because the program sounds fun and<br />

unusual. Often families had allergies<br />

in the home and couldn’t be pet owners.<br />

Children also learned about animal<br />

care—from bunnies to skinny pigs to<br />

dogs and rats—like the benefits of calm<br />

energy, how to read body language and<br />

what they eat.<br />

Benefits to the animals were a calm,<br />

quiet presence in child form. Cats felt a<br />

friendly stroke or scratch in an unfamiliar<br />

place, a cozy lap to call their own or<br />

someone to meet their play energy! Being<br />

in the company of kids tells staff more<br />

about the animals’ personalities. This can<br />

make them more adoptable. A true opportunity<br />

for cat enrichment.<br />

Side effects of this humble program has<br />

children connecting to more sources of<br />

energy and love to support them. They<br />

discover animals are great listeners. Kids<br />

could also be themselves and feel unconditional<br />

acceptance. A few participants<br />

became foster families or pet owners,<br />

too. Surprise!<br />

You can also create better ways to<br />

be in this world together. Help kids see<br />

themselves as part of something bigger.<br />

I recommend:<br />

Reach out to your local animal shelter.<br />

Visit the space to see what its looks<br />

and feels like.<br />

Ask the shelter the best day and time<br />

to visit.<br />

28 <strong>Island</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> Magazine <strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca

Take small groups of five kids.<br />

Read to pets at home!<br />

I arrange visits based on what works<br />

best for the shelter and when I can supervise.<br />

I always bring a variety of books,<br />

too. <strong>Parent</strong>s are often eager to attend. I<br />

choose professional development days,<br />

after school or on a holiday. Invite kids<br />

from your school, neighbourhood, local<br />

Girl Guides or Scouts or home learning<br />

community.<br />

Highlights this year include seeing<br />

kittens only a few hours old, watching<br />

animals heal from an injury, celebrating<br />

adoptions and petting skinny pigs (AKA<br />

hairless Guinea Pigs)! Each visit is like<br />

opening a well-wrapped present. We<br />

never know who we’ll meet.<br />

I am grateful for this partnership with<br />

the Victoria branch of the SPCA. Time<br />

spent in relationship with non-human kin<br />

is fundamental to human wellbeing. It’s<br />

uplifting to support kids to reach their<br />

potential. You’ll witness generosity and<br />

compassion for themselves and community,<br />

too.<br />

Register Now!<br />

July–Aug <strong>2023</strong><br />

Summer Camps<br />

Campers will explore the life of pollinators, shoreline<br />

plants, inter-tidal special and coastal birds, practice<br />

their discovery skills, expression of gratitude and<br />

respect for self and others through play!<br />

We are escited to offer week-long camps in July and<br />

August as well as one-day camps on August 8th, 9th,<br />

10th and 11th. We incorporate COVID-19 advisories into<br />

our programming and daily routines to ensure a safe<br />

and fun experience for all campers.<br />

Lindsay Coulter is a writer,<br />

educator, facilitator, naturalist,<br />

community catalyst, soul<br />

activist, mentor, and<br />

dedicated mother of<br />

two. She’s the Director<br />

of Communications, Culture<br />

and Community at EPIC<br />

Learning Centre, a forest<br />

and nature school in Victoria. Find her<br />

@SaneAction on Instagram and Facebook.<br />

<strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca<br />

<strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 29

PLAY<br />


Frozen Jr.<br />

Earth Day Celebration Event<br />

Join CRD Regional parks naturalists this Earth Day (April 22) from<br />

11–2 at the Elk/Beaver Lake Regional Park Nature Centre (at Beaver<br />

Beach). You’ll be guided through fascinating exhibits, displays<br />

and various activities suitable for all ages. Guided walks will introduce<br />

your family to the incredible nature and animals that make<br />

up our beautiful parks. crd.bc.ca/parks<br />


Over 60 students from grades 4 through 11 from St John’s<br />

Academy Shawnigan Lake are excited to perform Frozen Jr. for<br />

the residents of Cowichan Valley at the Cowichan Performing Arts<br />

Centre on April 21 and 22. Revisit Elsa, Anna and the rest of Arendelle<br />

in this show for all ages! Tickets available now.<br />

cowichanpac.ca/event/frozen-jr-02<br />


<strong>Spring</strong> Fling & Easter Things<br />

On Saturday, April 1 visit the Courtenay Museum between 11–2<br />

to celebrate <strong>Spring</strong> and Easter in the Comox Valley. This family<br />

friendly event will include many different activities, prizes, a dinosaur<br />

egg hunt, fun kids crafts and even a petting zoo with chicks,<br />

rabbits, ducklings, hedgehogs and more! Admission by donation.<br />

courtenaymuseum.ca/events/spring-fling-and-easter-things<br />

Science in the Park<br />

This Earth Day (April 22) join the Regional District of Nanaimo<br />

Parks and Recreation at Moorecroft Regional Park in Nanoose<br />

from 11–2 for a family day filled with fun. Families will learn about<br />

the biodiversity of the park and how they can help to protect the<br />

earth with science games, art projects and nature exploration<br />

hikes. rdn.bc.ca/recreation<br />


Need help with the Affordable Child Care Benefit?<br />

Looking for child care? Taking care of children?<br />

Need child care training?<br />

Call your local CCRR for free referrals and resources.<br />

Victoria & Gulf <strong>Island</strong>s: 250-382-7000<br />

Sooke: 250-642-5152 ext 239 West Shore: 250-940-4882<br />

Cowichan Valley: 250-746-4135 local 231<br />

PacificCare (Ladysmith North): 250-756-2022 or 1-888-480-2273<br />

gov.bc.ca/ChildCareResourceReferralCentres<br />

Your community’s best source of<br />

child care information and resources.<br />

Funding for the CCRR is provided by the province of B.C.<br />

30 <strong>Island</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> Magazine <strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca


v Comprehensive programs for<br />

Preschool through Grade 11<br />

v Delivering academic excellence through<br />

music, dance, drama and visual arts<br />

v Outstanding educators,<br />

locations and facilities<br />

www.ArtsCalibre.ca 250.382.3533<br />

ENROLL<br />

TODAY!<br />

Come Learn & Grow with Us!<br />




Cloverdale Childcare Society<br />

Vic West Site<br />

at Vic West Elementary School<br />

cloverdalechildcare.com<br />

250.995.1766 cloverdale@shawbiz.ca<br />

Christ Church Cathedral Childcare<br />

& Jr. Kindergarten..................250-383-5132<br />

ECE and specialist teachers provide an<br />

outstanding all day licensed program for<br />

2.5–5 year olds at our Fairfield and<br />

Gordon Head locations.<br />

cathedralschool.ca<br />

Licensed child care facility with spots available for children<br />

aged 3-5 years. Contact us to book a tour today!<br />

Victoria Social Innovation Centre: 1004 North Park St<br />

littlephoenixchildcare.ca<br />

director@littlephoenixchildcare.ca 778-269-2273<br />

Pre-School<br />

Junior Kindergarten<br />

PacificChristian.ca<br />

250-479-4532<br />

Educational Excellence to the Glory of God<br />


Forest Education<br />

Where nature becomes the Teacher!<br />

Seedlings Forest Education is a Nature based program<br />

that includes After School Care, Nature Preschool, <strong>Parent</strong><br />

Workshops, Saturday Seedlings, Summer Camps and more!<br />

250-880-0660 seedlingsforesteducation.com<br />

Nestled on 4 acres of lush west coast forest, our Award<br />

winning, Nature based program will not disappoint!<br />

While firmly embracing the Reggio-Emila (Italy) Philosophy our<br />

dedicated team of educators use the environment as the third<br />

teacher as we encourage your child throughout their day.<br />

Our purpose built facilities have been handmade using the<br />

trees from our forest. Come take a virtual tour on our website!<br />

lexieslittlebears.ca Waitlist: 250-590-3603<br />

BC Award of Excellence in Childcare & Prime Minister’s Award of Excellence in Early Childhood Education.<br />

<strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca<br />

<strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 31


Teaching Kids Realistic<br />

Expectations Around Money<br />

Being a busy parent is no easy feat,<br />

especially in today’s society where<br />

the cost of living is high and everything<br />

seems to be available at the touch of a<br />

button. It’s essential to teach our kids<br />

about realistic expectations and the value<br />

of hard work in this fast-paced world to<br />

that things cost money, and it’s necessary<br />

to prioritize our needs and wants to make<br />

sure we can afford what we need.<br />

2. Teach them about delayed gratification:<br />

It’s easy for kids to want everything<br />

they see, but it’s crucial to teach them the<br />

differentiate between needs and wants<br />

and to make responsible financial decisions.<br />

4. Encourage them to earn their own<br />

money: Teach your kids that money is<br />

earned, not just given. Encourage them<br />

to take on small jobs around the house or<br />

in the neighborhood to earn money. This<br />

will teach them the value of hard work<br />

and help them appreciate the things they<br />

have.<br />

5. Set realistic expectations: It’s important<br />

to set realistic expectations for your<br />

children. Teach them that success takes<br />

time and hard work, and that instant<br />

gratification is not always possible. Encourage<br />

them to work hard towards their<br />

goals and celebrate their successes along<br />

the way.<br />

6. Emphasize the importance of education:<br />

Education is essential in today’s<br />

society. Encourage your children to study<br />

hard and pursue their dreams. Show<br />

them that education is the key to unlocking<br />

opportunities and achieving their<br />

goals.<br />

7. Teach them to give back: Finally,<br />

teach your children the value of giving<br />

back. Encourage them to volunteer and<br />

help others in need. This will help them<br />

develop a sense of empathy and gratitude<br />

and appreciate the things they have.<br />

help them become the wonderful adults<br />

we hope for them to be one day.<br />

Here are a few tips to help you get<br />

started:<br />

1. Start with the basics: Talk to your<br />

children about the cost of living and why<br />

it’s essential to budget and save. Explain<br />

value of waiting and saving up for things<br />

they want. Explain that sometimes we<br />

have to wait and work hard to get what<br />

we want, but it’s worth it in the end.<br />

3. Lead by example: Children learn by<br />

observing their parents. Show them the<br />

importance of budgeting, saving, and<br />

living within your means. Teach them to<br />

Any mindful step you take in the direction<br />

you want your children to follow<br />

will reap benefits. Our world needs<br />

people with a strong work ethic, financial<br />

responsibility and appreciation for the<br />

things they have—and you are raising<br />

them!<br />

Lindsay Plumb is an Accredited<br />

Financial Counsellor<br />

(Canada) and founder of Pretty<br />

Money Club, Black Is the New<br />

Red and MOOLA Financial<br />

Coaches & Advisors.<br />

32 <strong>Island</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> Magazine <strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca

Vol. VI, Ed. I<br />

GRAND<br />

grandmag.ca<br />

Thou Shalt!<br />

A Grandparent’s Guide to<br />

Doing<br />

<strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca<br />

Away with the Rules<br />

Grand Boundaries<br />

10 Baby Shower<br />

<strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

Gifts<br />


Grandparenting<br />

Thou Shalt!<br />

I<br />

grew up with a lot of shibboleths and<br />

thou shalt nots. Thou shalt not make a<br />

mess, thou shalt not make a peep, thou<br />

shalt not reach for another cookie, thou<br />

shalt not say “love” when talking about<br />

food, thou shalt not question the conventional<br />

wisdom or upset the status quo.<br />

My husband and I wrote anarchist<br />

songs, Brown Bag Blues, and toured a<br />

show called Jabber Disease. We brought on<br />

“Thou shalt!” in poem and song, paeans<br />

to seven beautiful virtues.<br />

Pride is a goodie. Watch any kitty<br />

when she catches herself in the mirror,<br />

Thou shalt not was a tune with infinite<br />

variations. In church, where we<br />

were washed in the blood of the lamb,<br />

which turned out to be propaganda, they<br />

preached the Seven Deadly Sins and my<br />

life ambition turned out to be turning sin<br />

into mindful practice.<br />

They say suppression invites subversion.<br />

I fancied myself a subversive and<br />

got arrested a few times. Call me arrested<br />

mother, grandmother and great grandmother.<br />

I’m still getting busted.<br />

a window. Yikes. Is that me or a more<br />

formidable she? Babies smile in the mirror<br />

and that is before they hear they are<br />

too smart or not smart enough, too ugly<br />

or too beautiful. I love you, we say. Keep<br />

smiling. Draw yourself over and over.<br />

Paint yourself proud. Colour your world.<br />

Greed is gathering. We make picture<br />

after picture of images we love. We gather<br />

friends when we play in the park near<br />

our house, say “Hello friend!” to every<br />

new face. We gather berries to cook and<br />

34 <strong>Island</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> Magazine <strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca

shells to paint. We gather music. Every<br />

last thing makes a sound and we listen,<br />

greedy for birdsong and, ocean wailing,<br />

footsteps drumming sidewalks, all notes<br />

for our scores. Soundwalks are great. Is<br />

this greed? If so, bring it on.<br />

Wrath is war on bullies. Whoever said<br />

righteous indignation is bad? When is<br />

a wrong not a wrong? Get mad at the<br />

window that smacked the sparrow. Get<br />

mad at the thug smacking a smaller kid.<br />

There are bad guys and good guys. Fairy<br />

tales tell us that, and kids need to know<br />

how to deal with oppression. Read the<br />

stories that tell us to love ourselves, be<br />

bigger, set an example. Get mad and use<br />

our words. Rage at the bad stories on TV<br />

and man and woman up for warriordom.<br />

Fight for clean air and clean water, for<br />

peace.<br />

Lust is hunger for knowledge. Aren’t<br />

we hungry all the time, for truth and<br />

beauty. Lust drives us to smell the flowers,<br />

collect leaves, read books, climb trees<br />

so we can see forever. Some kids like<br />

small collections that fit in their pockets.<br />

Sometimes we go for walks and gather.<br />

What is this pebble, this egg, this caterpillar<br />

(be gentle) this moss, this bug?<br />

Every last thing has a story, a life. We<br />

gather people too. Safe strangers are fun.<br />

Sometimes they tell you their stories and<br />

sometimes it’s fun to guess.<br />

Envy is admiration. We listen to music<br />

and copy the sounds. We look at art<br />

and aspire to paint. We dance to the<br />

rhythms in poetry. We envy the sunset<br />

for its’ beautiful regret and sunrise for<br />

its’ promise. We want to be the light. That<br />

is the meaning of genius, joining the<br />

envious “I” to the “Us” so we are one, all<br />

moving parts in the great circle of life.<br />

Look at this, look at that, we say. Choose<br />

the best parts, the ones that fit with our<br />

mandate to be the best us.<br />

Gluttony. Do cookies ever taste as good<br />

as batter? We take, then bake, our bellies<br />

filled before we load the oven: bread<br />

dough, whole bowls of berries, spoonfuls<br />

of honey. Food is for pleasure and<br />

for life. Who said we shouldn’t love it?<br />

Be greedy, little ones, and take enough<br />

to share, all our fingers in the same pie,<br />

because everyone deserves a taste. We<br />

decorate brown paper bags, ride the bus<br />

downtown and give happy lunches, all<br />

our pleasures combined in one joyful<br />

afternoon.<br />

And most important of all is sloth,<br />

the pure joy of rest, doing nothing but<br />

breathe and dream. First, we find a soft<br />

bed of grass or moss, clover if we’re<br />

lucky, then we lie down to experience<br />

the luxury of rainbows or starry nights.<br />

We look up and watch the shapes of our<br />

ancestors playing hide and go seek with<br />

future kids through clouds as fleecy as<br />

the sheep we count on our way to sleep.<br />

Of all the deadly sins, sloth is the most<br />

pleasant because S is for satiation when<br />

we fill ourselves with sunshine and story.<br />

Sin away kids. Thou shalt! We’re a big<br />

club. Everyone welcome. Grammalinda’s<br />

got your back.<br />

Linda Rogers is a poet,<br />

novelist, essayist, journalist,<br />

editor and songwriter.<br />


LEGACY BE?<br />

Make a BIG difference.<br />

Support local children and<br />

youth with a gift in your will.<br />

(250) 475-1117 ext. #102<br />

Victoria.BigBrothersBigSisters.ca<br />

<strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca<br />

<strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 35

Shop<br />

10 Baby Shower Gifts<br />

for Grandparents-to-Be<br />

I<br />

have just had the immense pleasure<br />

of meeting my first grandchild! He<br />

is such a delicious little blob of goo.<br />

So soft and warm. I have always loved<br />

babies and am happy to cuddle any baby<br />

at all. But my own son’s baby feels very<br />

special indeed.<br />

My daughter-in-law, Chloë, and my<br />

son, Simon, who live in Ontario, were<br />

very conscientious in curating a wishlist<br />

for their baby shower. So I thought<br />

I would share some of those items the<br />

new parents liked the best and found<br />

the most useful. And I have added some<br />

of my favourites, too.<br />

1. Swift Playard by MaxiCosi<br />

Chloë absolutely loves this. She says<br />

it’s super clutch to have a shallow bassinet<br />

where the baby can sleep in the<br />

living room, and where they can change<br />

a quick diaper. Later it will convert to<br />

a deeper playard which can fold up and<br />

come along on trips to friends’ houses.<br />

I like that it’s got wooden legs—<br />

makes it feels like furniture instead of<br />

camping equipment. And it’s very light<br />

and easy to set up; I was able to do it<br />

with no trouble. maxicosi.com/ca-en/<br />

swift-playard-05430-mc-ca-en.html<br />

2. Happy <strong>Island</strong> Diaper Service<br />

Simon is so impressed with the Diaper<br />

Service they are using in Ontario.<br />

He very much wanted to use cloth diapers,<br />

but they live in an apartment with<br />

coin-operated laundry. So washing their<br />

own diapers is a difficult proposition.<br />

The Diaper Service delivers clean diapers<br />

every week and take the dirty ones<br />

away. Diaper service is comparable in<br />

price to using disposables, but it’s better<br />

for the environment.<br />

My mother, the baby’s Great Grandmother,<br />

is paying for the diaper service<br />

for the first few months. It makes her<br />

feel very useful! happyislanddiapers.<br />

com<br />

3. The Yoyo2 stroller from BabyZen<br />

Very compact, the Yoyo2 folds up in<br />

a snap to the size of a carry-on suitcase.<br />

Light enough for Chloë to lug up to their<br />

3rd floor walk-up. There are several attachments<br />

for it: a bassinet for new babies,<br />

clips for the car-seat, a yoyo-board<br />

for the big-sibling when the next baby<br />

36 <strong>Island</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> Magazine <strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca

comes, even skis for deep snow! It’s<br />

steady, with a low centre of gravity, but<br />

easily manoeuvrable. It’s quite pricey,<br />

but several households pitched in at<br />

the baby shower and it seems to have<br />

been well worth it! babyzen.com/pages/<br />

yoyo2-stroller-birth<br />

(Simon and Chloë recommend consulting<br />

this comparison chart on Reddit:<br />

reddit.com/r/beyondthebump/comments/z2qwrs/comparison_of_travel_<br />

strollers_details_in_the)<br />

4. Herschel Settlement Sprout<br />

Backpack Diaperbag<br />

This backpack comes in many colours.<br />

Trim and compact, with many<br />

separate compartments and a changing<br />

pad. Will need an extra wetbag if<br />

parents are using cloth diapers, but<br />

that’s easy enough to get (see #5). Both<br />

parents agreed they could carry this bag<br />

with confidence. So stylish that Simon’s<br />

fashionista Great-Aunt was happy to<br />

select it for the baby shower. westcoastkids.ca/settlement-sprout<br />

5. Colibri Wet<br />

Colibri is a Manitoba company with<br />

wetbags in a whole raft of sizes, colours<br />

and patterns. Good quality at a great<br />

price. Wetbags are useful for so much<br />

more than wet diapers. Bathing suits,<br />

toiletries, snacks, sandwiches. A great<br />

parenting hack! colibricanada.com/collections/regular-wet-bags<br />

6. Beluga Baby Wrap<br />

This Canadian company makes soft<br />

and stretchy sustainable bamboo fabric<br />

wraps, just over in Vancouver! While<br />

learning to use a baby wrap might<br />

seem scary, it’s really no more complicated<br />

than tying your shoelaces. Simon<br />

learned in an afternoon and loves to<br />

wear the baby around the house and out<br />

on walks in the neighbourhood. It really<br />

is the cosiest, easiest way to keep a baby<br />

soothed, while getting chores done, and<br />

a great way for parents to bond with the<br />

baby. belugababy.ca<br />

7. The Make My Belly Fit Universal<br />

Jacket Extender<br />

This is a brilliant idea, invented by a<br />

Dad in Montreal. It’s a panel that zips<br />

into most jackets to create space first<br />

for the growing pregnancy tummy, and<br />

later for the baby in a wrap or carrier. It<br />

has a removable fleece layer for colder<br />

climates. A really thoughtful gift that<br />

Chloe used all winter. And Simon can<br />

use it when he baby-wears too! makemybellyfit.com/products/universaljacket-extender<br />

8. ErgoPouch Cocoon Swaddle<br />

Sack<br />

As Chloë said, this was clutch in the<br />

early days when baby needed to be<br />

swaddled to be comfortable but the<br />

parents were still figuring things out.<br />

Later, when the baby can roll over, you<br />

can open the sleeve holes so baby’s arms<br />

can be free. Being swaddled helps baby<br />

calm down because of the slight pressure<br />

on their body. And it also keeps<br />

them warm and cosy through the night.<br />

The ErgoPouch was invented by an Australian<br />

mom—Alina Sack! ergopouch.<br />

com/products/pouches<br />

9. Organic Cotton Baby Gowns<br />

from Parade<br />

I loved dressing my own babies in<br />

baby nightgowns. Not only did they<br />

look so cute and old-fashioned, but the<br />

nightgowns were so easy to pull up for<br />

diaper-changes in the dark. And no<br />

need to thread legs back into pants, or<br />

snap fasteners with sleepy fingers. The<br />

organic cotton gowns (and all sorts of<br />

other baby clothes) from Parade come in<br />

lots of colours and patterns, including<br />

a wide selection of genderneutral ones.<br />

And the cotton jersey is thick and warm<br />

and holds up to many many washes.<br />

When I found out Chloë and Simon<br />

had not received any little gowns at the<br />

shower, I sent a batch of these off to<br />

them. They use them all the time. parade.ca/collections/organic-baby-gowns<br />

10. Copper Pearl Premium Burp<br />

Cloths (in the Bloom pattern)<br />

So pretty with their flowery pattern<br />

(and there are many other patterns to<br />

choose from), but also thick and absorbent<br />

to catch baby spit-up. A lower<br />

price-point item, always good to include<br />

on a baby shower wish-list. copperpearl.com/products/premium-burpcloths-bloom<br />

Bonus Item<br />

Really more of an “Oh Wow you’re<br />

pregnant!” gift: A is for Advice (The Reassuring<br />

Kind): Wisdom for Pregnancy<br />

by Ilana Stanger-Ross. Ilana is a Registered<br />

Midwife in Victoria. Her book is<br />

full of up-to-date, evidence-based, gentle<br />

information and advice for pregnant<br />

parents. It’s wonderfully comforting<br />

and beautifully designed with great illustrations.<br />

I send it off (via bookstores<br />

on the internet) to anyone in my circle<br />

who gets pregnant. And they all love it.<br />

Being a grandparent is full of surprises<br />

and joys. I didn’t expect to feel so<br />

moved by seeing my son parent his baby<br />

so sweetly. I never thought about how I<br />

would feel to see my parents hold their<br />

first great-grandchild. I think that was a<br />

high point in my life.<br />

With Simon and Chloë and the little<br />

one living so far away, I am going to<br />

be a Zoom-Ma, who checks in via the<br />

computer screen on the weekend. I will<br />

miss a lot, I know. But I certainly can<br />

engage in one of the time-honoured joys<br />

of grandparenting—shopping for the<br />

baby! Enjoy!<br />

Eva Bild is a childbirth, parenting<br />

and lactation educator and doula<br />

trainer. She has been working<br />

with new families since 1992.<br />

Eva is the founder of the<br />

Mothering Touch Centre. She is the mother of<br />

three wonderful adults, but most excitingly,<br />

she is now a grandmother! evabild.ca<br />

<strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca<br />

<strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 37

Grandparenting<br />

Grand Boundaries<br />

My daughter is growing into her role<br />

of mother with grace, wisdom and<br />

patience. Yes, I know I’m biased,<br />

but it is a remarkable thing to witness. I<br />

believe this to be one of the most meaningful<br />

experiences of my lifetime along<br />

with being a parent myself. The determination<br />

that could bring me to my knees<br />

when I was her mother is one of her<br />

greatest gifts as a mother herself. It provides<br />

her with the strength to make decisions<br />

based on her beliefs and values.<br />

There are many boundaries to consider<br />

between parents and grandparents. How<br />

much time do we give or ask for when it<br />

comes to babysitting? Or, as a grandparent,<br />

when are you stretching yourself too<br />

much? I see a reluctance in my daughter<br />

to ask me to babysit while she teaches<br />

yoga or goes to an appointment if it is<br />

outside of my usual Nana Day. So, I make<br />

a point of checking in any spare moment<br />

I have which tends to be an hour or two,<br />

here or there, a few times a week. We<br />

check in with each other. Am I asking too<br />

much, I know you have your own life, Mom.<br />

Or, are you wanting some company or have<br />

you got plans?<br />

Other boundaries include the role we<br />

play in our relationships. While I have<br />

taught parenting for decades, I am not<br />

my daughter’s parenting expert. I’m her<br />

mom, the only woman on the planet who<br />

can be her mom. Imagine how allergic<br />

she would feel to my advice if it was<br />

unsolicited and coming from judgment<br />

or wanting to teach her how to be a better<br />

parent. Fortunately, my own mom<br />

modelled this boundary for me. She stood<br />

back, respected my choices, and didn’t<br />

interfere with our parenting.<br />

I’m grateful that there is so much information<br />

available to parents now. More<br />

than that, I’m grateful that my daughter<br />

beats to her own heart. She doesn’t buy<br />

into some of the theories that suggest you<br />

can spoil children by responding to their<br />

needs.<br />

These questions are asked by both parents<br />

and grandparents:<br />

How do we have serious or difficult<br />

conversations when we see things differently?<br />

What would be an issue that I<br />

would feel compelled to discuss? What<br />

are the important points of parenting<br />

that I would want to share? If I see or<br />

hear something that concerns me, what<br />

is my belief? What is important about<br />

this issue? What is the need or value that<br />

it represents?<br />

A recipe for bringing things up:<br />

Choose a time to talk when there are<br />

no distractions or children present.<br />

Ask permission. Would you be comfortable<br />

with me stating a concern?<br />

Stick to the facts, not what you think<br />

but what you can specifically observe.<br />

When I hear or see __________. And state<br />

what need or value you are concerned<br />

about.<br />

Watch your body language. Your adult<br />

child may be exhausted, uncertain and<br />

already riddled with feelings of guilt.<br />

Have a soft face and a gentle tone.<br />

If the statement doesn’t land, stop talking.<br />

Go slow so that you have time to feel<br />

things out and to listen to the response.<br />

Get curious.<br />

If what you say is making sense and<br />

well received express gratitude. I appreciate<br />

our ability to talk about these things.<br />

Remind your child that we learn as we<br />

go, and we are all doing our best.<br />

We tend to repeat what we learned in<br />

our own families growing up when it<br />

comes to boundaries. If we are fortunate,<br />

healthy boundaries come easily. If the<br />

boundaries were blurred we may have<br />

some blind spots yet, we can educate ourselves<br />

and develop our awareness.<br />

As parents, we learn through our successes<br />

and failures. We don’t have all the<br />

answers up front. We gather knowledge<br />

day to day by looking back if something<br />

didn’t go well or if we are feeling guilty.<br />

Boundaries that matter usually represent<br />

respect for time, privacy, emotional and<br />

physical safety, people’s autonomy, and<br />

the need to belong and be loved.<br />

I remember very clearly, two times<br />

that my mother spoke up. Once, when my<br />

daughter was four and I was sick with<br />

the flu. My daughter was climbing all<br />

over me and not letting me sleep. I said<br />

something awful like, if you keep waking<br />

me up, I’m going to get sicker. With that,<br />

my mother spoke sternly and said, she<br />

doesn’t need that kind of responsibility for<br />

your health.<br />

The second incident came years later<br />

when she was in her late 80s. I started<br />

going to her apartment to clean it. I was<br />

on my knees cleaning her toilet bowl.<br />

Standing behind me, I heard her say, Dr.<br />

Rees! I can hire a cleaner, I just want you to<br />

be my daughter.<br />

With a loving connection, and healthy<br />

boundaries we can navigate those invisible<br />

lines. We can create what works for<br />

everyone and enjoy loving and being<br />

loved.<br />

Dr. Allison Rees is a parent educator,<br />

counsellor and coach at<br />

LIFE Seminars (Living in Families<br />

Effectively), lifeseminars.com<br />

38 <strong>Island</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> Magazine <strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca

TRavel to snowy forests, scorched savannaH and the darkest depths of the ocean,<br />

and meet animals all over the globe.<br />


imaxvictoria.com<br />

<strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca<br />

<strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 39

SUMMER<br />

CAMPS<br />

and more!<br />

Qwanoes.ca<br />


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