Friday, June 25, 2010

Awakening to a Police State

The sun rises over empty, windswept streets. The light reflects off of dew moistened steel fencing while large concrete barriers cast ominous shadows. The normal bustle of commuters, street vendors and tourists is replaced by boot-clad feet marching in unison, truncheons slapping against helmets and body armour. Word spreads of a new law, recently enacted in secret, giving police special powers that allows authorities to stop, question and arrest any and all near the "security zone". 

This isn't the scene behind the iron curtain at the height of the Cold War. Instead, this new security regime of "papers please" is Toronto, today - June 25, 2010. 

The world's leaders are in town for the G20 Summit, it's stated goal to bring stability to the world economy, to combat climate change and to foster maternal health for the disadvantaged. Meanwhile, these same leaders, working for the betterment of the world's peoples, must be protected from their own citizens. More than 12,000 law enforcement officers are on the streets. In addition to the usual pepper spray and water cannons, they've added a Long Range Acoustic Device or Sound Cannon to their arsenal. Banks, theatres, restaurants, tourist attractions have all closed, as have schools, universities and our daycare.

No one expects a terrorist attack. Officials have said as much. Rather, the $1.2 Billion in security costs are to protect these international dignitaries. To protect them from us, their people. 

Dissent has been effectively outlawed, the official "protest zone" a site designated miles away from the actual Summit site. Freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom to go about your business without police permission have somehow been overlooked.

So today I'm working from home, protecting the wee man from the protectors protecting us from dissent. I would have some pictures, but with the cops arresting the curious and deleting photos without cause, I didn't want to risk it.

Happy Summiting!

Fatherhood Friday at Dad Blogs

Monday, June 21, 2010

Father's Day

So the little guy gave me the best Father's Day present ever - he took his first steps! We did manage to get a video, which will show up here in due time. In the meantime, some shots from Ribfest, a great way to close out an awesome Father's Day!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Lord of the Flies Soother

It's a rough world out there.

One minute your climbing, playing and laughing. Troubles are a mile away. You're well fed, well rested and the world is your oyster. You're lounging in one of your two favourite places, somewhere where the sun always shines, the people love you and your biggest concern is how much fun can you legitimately get away with.

The next moment everything crumbles. Your world is blurry through streaming tears. Nihilism looks pretty good as your whole belief system has crashed to the ground around you. Through the rubble, dust and wreckage you feel betrayed, confused, overwhelmed. A searing pain is shooting down your spine and one of your best friends is now the enemy. Is this life? How did it happen? Is this all there is?

Now I don't have any insight into the philosophical existence of toddlers. Maybe it's pretty existential, but I can only imagine the horror when you're happily playing only to have been the victim of some mini-Twilight attack. So on Wednesday, my phone rang at the office - there had been an incident at Daycare. A report was being filled out. I needed to sign.

What the hell happened?

Turns out one of the wee man's little friends bit him on the back of the neck. Maybe not the end of the world, but it certainly seemed like it at the time.

Well, he's recovered. He was actually more excited to go back the next day. Mom and Dad not so much.

Mommy's new dilemma: Is it better to have been bitten or to be the bitter?

Fatherhood Friday at Dad Blogs

Monday, June 14, 2010

Party in the park

Altered states. Lifestyle changes. Different strokes.

One of the biggest adjustments with the wee man has been how we spend our evenings. Essentially after he goes to bed, we're in for the night. No romantic evening walks. No nipping out to the pub for a quick pint. No catching a last minute show that someone just got tickets for. So we adjust. We have had a few babysitters, but that requires planning, notice and a reasonable curfew. Not common ingredients in our harried experience of parenthood.

Some of our friends have recently had children and we've met some cool new little families. So we adjust. Instead of meeting people in the afterdark, we host afternoon playdates, dinner parties and early evening BBQs. It works. Especially since you get the whole of the next day, even if I still don't fully appreciate the crack of dawn.

All you need is a park, some pack n' plays and some plastic wine glasses.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A BIG Thank you!

Dear Family, Friends and Colleagues,

From the bottom of my heart, thanks for using yours to support me in this year's Becel Heart & Stroke Ride for Heart! Together we raised over $1000 (helping make the target of 3.3 million) that will go towards vital research, public awareness and prevention initiatives to combat heart disease and stroke.

The ride started out with some pretty fierce winds and rain but my apprehension over completing 50 k melted away when I looked around and saw so many kids under 10 riding full tilt with plastic bags covering them, or sitting in baby carriers smiling while they got soaked. Good motivation to dig a little deeper.

There is nothing that inspires me more than a youthful outlook on life. As a new mom, I see that curiosity, drive and desire to learn from Oliver daily.  I rode this year in memory of my grandmother who suffered from a series of small strokes, for my mother who benefits from the research responsible for her pacemaker, and especially for my son to ensure he has access to a healthy and active community in the future.

Here are a few of my ride highlights:

1.       Starting the Ride with April Kawaguchi and her son - and sharing in her moving survivor story.

2.       Riding by the CN Tower (twice!)

3.       Hitting the halfway point rest stop (and then cruising downhill!)

4.       Watching families ride together and put their hearts into it!

Every 7 minutes someone dies from heart disease or stroke. Research will make a difference, and lives can be saved through prevention, and effective treatments.  Together, we have made a difference that will SAVE LIVES!

Next year, I hope to put together a team of riders (individuals, families & kids). If this is something you might be interested in participating in, let me know and I’ll keep you on the mailing list for 2011! It’s a blast to ride along the DVP.

Thanks again for your support.


Friday, June 4, 2010

Be wise, win a prize

So we've been blogging for a while now, chronicling the little one's progress and our glaring failings as parents. Often we recount stories of our daily travails simply to share the pain and thus dull it. That and a good bottle of wine tends to help (and yes, we are always accepting donations).

So I got to thinking, while there are tons of good (and some pretty awful) parenting books out there, lots of online resources and more advice than you shake a stick at, it is time to ask some questions of our own.

That's right people, I'm looking for answers. And no 42 won't do. Call me Columbo or Hercule, just don't call me Dog.

To make this that much more exciting, it just so happens that I have a bag o' swag to giveaway. Yes the good folks at MLF (that's Maple Leaf Foods and not MILF) donated a gift bag of goodies to give away at our blogger roundtable/social media pr event last week. Now I forgot to give it away in context and since having debated the ethical dilemma I do in fact feel slightly wrong about keeping the bread and coupons for myself, here's your chance to get it. Answer one or more of my parenting mysteries and I'll throw you in a draw for the bag and it's swag. Follow us on facebook or twitter (@nickcheeseman) and I'll give you an extra shot at it.*

On to the mysteries:

1) How does one clean a highchair?

2) What can you do to stop a child from a) screaming/protesting a poonami diaper change and b) getting good handfuls of the "bm" scrunched in their little paws?

3) Why is one food a favourite and then suddenly rejected like tofurkey at a steakhouse bbq?

4) How can daycare staff keep the kid clean through four meals while after one with me he needs a bath and new outfit?

5) Why is sucking on a soother so satisfying? I tried it, wasn't soooo great.

6) How do I cut down on the whining, or better yet how do I cut down his whining?

7) How can I influence his musical taste away from his mom's "danceable" choices and more towards good stuff, like Radiohead or the Dead Weather?

8) Why are diapers so expensive?

Sorry about that last one, anyway, looking forward to your insights - and you can look forward to the bag o' swag.

*only open to Canadian residents. I have to send bread through the mail for Chrissakes.

Fatherhood Friday at Dad Blogs

Happy Fatherhood Friday

Happy Fatherhood Friday.

That's all I've got today.

Fatherhood Friday at Dad Blogs

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Where things belong

I think I've mentioned before that the little guy can be a bit particular. He definitely likes to get his way. He's gotten better at expressing what he wants too. Unfortunately he hasn't learned the art, or the existence, of subtlety. Rather a full out wail more often than not replaces a cute point and "Dah?".

At home this isn't too bad. Our neighbour is up at 3:30 am for work so if wee man is demanding something at, oh I don't know, 4:40 am, to take today as an example,  at least we're not making enemies in our own backyard. Often the demand is fair enough - and us stupid parental folk just couldn't figure out that there was a rumble in his tumble. Sometimes though, I feel that the terrible twos have arrived early.

A favourite game is pulling all the books off the bookshelf. Again, fine at home cause then he normally settles down and starts turning pages, completely absorbed. I think it's just not worth triggering the wail - the technical term for this parenting method is "pick your battles". Today at daycare though he took his particular form of demolition to a whole new level. He decided that his project for the day would be to remove all of the toys from the shelves. Every. Single. One.

Only when they were all piled on the floor in a heap would he choose which one he wanted to play with. Again, fair enough. Maybe he was indecisive. Maybe there was something cooler lurking at the back of the shelf. Maybe he was exploring. After he chose the daycare staff then patiently put all the toys back thinking he was happy and content. But he dropped whatever he had selected and did it again. 

I think hope the staff were somewhat amused, but I hope he doesn't push it tomorrow. My buttons that is.