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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

When it's okay to call 9-1-1

We teach our children from a very young age how to use 9-1-1 and then we scare the geepers out of them by telling them not to call. We tell them it in case of an extreme emergency like an accident where mom or dad can't speak, a fire, or car accident it's okay. But never any other times!! Because we know if we abuse it we will be fined big time!

So as I was driving long last night I needed to use 9-1-1 and my daughter looked at me when it was all over and said 'I did not know you could do that.'

We were heading to soccer (where else would I be going) as I was getting onto the highway there was a thug in a pick-up truck that was speeding up in the slow lane and was not going to let me in regardless if it is the law that you are to move over because I am running out of road.

He flies up onto the back of my car on purpose and then changes lanes within inches of my car. He then proceeds to give me the finger and starts pointing at his head like I need to think or am I stupid or something alone those lines. At this point we are on the highway and he is in front of my and he is doing all these hand signals so I gave him the finger back. This is when it turned to pure dangerous road rage and he decided he was going to terrorize my daughter and myself.

He gets in front of my and hits his breaks then he speeds up and changes lanes and then gets behind me and is right on my back bumper this goes on as I stay at the speed limit and try to keep out of his way. He gets besides me to forces me from my lane. He is going to have no part of just leaving me alone. He keeps it up until we get to the top of a very dangerous bridge which has high winds most of the time. I'm in the center lane and he pulls up beside me and jerks on his wheel forcing me to swerve into the lane beside me. All I can say is thank goodness no one was beside me and I have ESC (electronic stability control) or I would have rolled the car and he would have killed us. It was at this point that I called 9-1-1.

There are MTO (Ministry of Transportation Ontario) cameras all over the highway I happened to be on, so 9-1-1 could watch what was going on and what he was doing to me. At several points he was tauting my daughter with a hand signal and she saw him saying "bring it on". The speeding up and slowing down went on as I tried to stay calm and they watched him ~ I had 9-1-1 on the speaker and she talked us through but even with them on the line I have to say it was still extremely scary. The 9-1-1 operator had to get me off the highway as she was directed me to the OPP station and he followed us off the highway.

It was at the top of the ramp when I saw the red light I broke down and started to cry. I was so scared he would do something to us as all the time he was taunting us we did nothing to provoke him, I just tried to stay away from him. She assure me the police were waiting for me, the car was locked and we were in a very public place so we would be okay. I have to say OPP Officer Dave was amazing! He helped calm us down and made sure we were okay. He could see the fright in my daughter and assured us this guy would not be getting away with this, he personally was going to visit this guy and make sure he never terrorizes anyone again. They told me they will put this on his driving record so if he does this again or is in a accident this will come back like karma to bit him!

It was absolutely the scariest thing I have encountered and to terrorize a 15yr old is beyond thug mentality. The only good that came from it was my daughter now knows that you can use 9-1-1 besides when there is a fire or someone is hurt in your home.

It is extremely important that we teach our kids that you can use 9-1-1 at times other then a pure accident or fire. Our teens are starting to drive and need to know when they are on the road and see a drunk driver or have someone (god forbid) drive like a maniac thug and scares them it's okay to call. Someone is on the other end to help them besides mom or dad. Also 99.9% of phone carriers in North America keep 9-1-1 alive on a cell phone even if you run out of minutes.

Contributed by: Mind of a Mom

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Life Goes On...

There are times when being a parent can be somewhat of a challenge. Over the past few months I have struggled with personal illness, family life, and having a friend who lost her 4 year old child to a tragic accident. These times when life is a struggle, it is easy to feel as though you are not really doing a good job at being a parent. There are many days that just drift by without much interaction between you and your children - beyond the basic necessities of life - or days where your children take care of you more than you take care of them.

I have been amazed over the past couple of months at just how adept Kira is at "taking care of" her little sister. She has developed into a very strong and caring little girl. She helps around the house by sweeping, cleaning her room, and getting things for Marisa whenever needed.

As a mother it would be relatively easy for me to see this time of inaction as a failure or an inadequacy on my part. After all, there are things that I should have been doing that were never done. Kira has taken on a great deal of responsibility that is not really hers to take. I never forced that on her. Instead she chose to make these things her focus. I do have to remind her frequently that I am the mother and I am the one who has the responsibility of disciplining the little sister. Kira likes to be a bit - ahem - bossy... with Marisa at times.

When I see how caring Kira can be, I realize that my weaknesses are not failures as a parent. Instead they have been an opportunity for Kira to grow into her own strengths and practice being sensitive to the needs of others. I have given her a chance to shine in her independence and enjoy the benefits of accomplishing things on her own. There is a great lesson in being able to solve problems and fix things without the interference of anybody else telling you what to do or how to do it.

Now that I am getting better - finally - I can see just how much Kira has grown into her own place over the past two months. While I might feel a tad bit guilty about my lack of energy, I have to admit that the experience has been good for both of my girls.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

African Safari

I decided to give Kira a special project today. I bought a pack of Safari Animals and a foil lasagna pan. I had some sand already. I set her up and explained how to glue the animals and various rocks and trees into place first, then we would add the sand and other embellishments.

Kira spent about a half hour setting up the foundation of her diorama with the animals. In the process of choosing the animals and trees, we had to discuss size and scale because some of the animals that came in our toy set were way too big for our diorama. Luckily my house overflows with creatures so she was able to dip into our already copious supply of African animals in order to get the giraffe that she wanted. The giraffe that came with our set was twice the size of the trees so we decided that one really just didn't fit.

We had to work out a plan for grass since the African Plains are covered in grass and I had no fake grass to use. Luckily I have an interesting assortment of buttons that just happened to have grass shaped buttons mixed in. With a creative use of toothpicks for holding them up straight and the strategic placement of the sand to cover the toothpicks and the button holes, we now had our grass accounted for.

When all the parts were glued into place, Kira and I sat down in the floor and started placing sand around the animals and trees to cover the silver bottom of the foil pan and the toothpicks that we used to hold things in place. We used spoons to carefully fill in the empty spaces so that we could cover the glue and toothpicks without covering our animals or knocking anything down.

After all the sand was in place, Kira spent a few minutes putting in some pebbles to represent rocks that might be found throughout the Plains. I'm sure there are a few dens hidden in and around those rocks to protect the animal babies. She didn't say for sure, though... We also used tree bark and twigs to give the diorama a more natural feel. Some of the pieces of bark were used to build "hills" for the animals to climb on while other pieces were shredded and sprinkled throughout the scene to enhance the natural orientation of the project. We used blue buttons to fill in our water hole. (Yes, I know the water holes in Africa are not blue. It was the best I could come up with to give a clear separation of the water and the land.) A few twigs placed in and around the water completed our project.

This was a lot of fun. Kira has decided that she will be giving her project to Daddy for Father's Day. Hmm... This is not a gift that can easily be kept for years and years. Looks like we'll be taking lots of pictures of this one.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Tide Pool Visit from Vacation...

 We went on vacation at the beach a couple of weeks ago and here's a snippet of our trip.


Oh my gosh, we had such a blast at the beach when we were on vacation. We went out on Thursday morning during low tide and discovered dozens of tide pools to be explored.

We found:
     2 hermit crabs
     3 sand snails that we managed to dig up out of the sand
     1 sand crab that wasn't too disturbed by our insistence that he stick around
     1 live shrimp
     2 dead jellyfish
     more than a few minnow fish

We spent a great deal of time playing with the tiniest hermit crab. He gladly graced us with his ticklesh little claws as he crawled all over our hands (as long as we kept our hands under the water). He was quite adorable. He would have easily fit on the end of a pencil eraser.

I would love to live near the ocean so we could explore the tide pools on a more regular basis. I think it would be a cool project to do a daily log of one of those pools. We could measure the tide pool's width and depth, then keep a log and drawings of what types of critters we find in the pool each day. That would be such an awesome science project. (And art... and math... and hmmm... what else could I work into that one?)