Friday, January 27, 2012

Helmets are healthy

I am tired of reading comments from people about how they never wore a helmet when they were kids and they turned out just fine.  I never wore a helmet as a child, I am fine, and I consider myself extremely lucky.  Choosing to not put a helmet on a child for this reason is plain silly, I'd like to use another word, but we'll leave it as silly.

Head injuries and spinal cord injuries are not to be brushed off lightly.  They are extremely serious and can be fatal.  Case in point:  Sarah Burke.  Beloved Canadian half-pipe skier who recently succumbed to her injuries after a training accident.  She sustained injuries so severe, wearing a helmet (which she was) didn't even matter.

You're not a stunt skier?  Not relevant.  Even a mild-moderate fall without even a bump necessarily, can be fatal.  Over.  Lights out for good.  Remember Natasha Richardson??  Concussions, whiplash, all part of the same family of head injuries.  A good hard shake is enough to cause brain swelling or bleeding.  If wearing a helmet during recreational skiing, snowboarding, skating, tobogganing, skateboarding, rollerblading, biking, can protect your brain, to me, that's a no-brainer.  You think strokes are only for the elderly?  Think again. 

Acquired brain injuries and spinal cord injuries leave permanent physical impairments.  Spastic muscles, vision impairment, loss of speech/communication, loss of mobility, loss of ability to eat, loss of bowel/bladder control.  I am not a doctor, but I see it everyday.  No one in my business would wish this on anybody.  They gladly strap helmets on themselves and their little ones because they have seen what can happen.  These types of injuries cost our health care system millions of dollars every year.  Not only for hospital treatment, but for rehab services like physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, wheelchairs, adapted equipment.

Helmets don't protect from all injuries, but they sure don't hurt.

Protect your brain, it's the only one you've got.  

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I disagree, the fraud's a fraud!

My friend Jenn called herself a fraud.  I'm here to explain to you why she is wrong, hence, why the fraud is a fraud!!

Now I can't say I know Jenn better than anyone else, that just wouldn't be true.  However, I know enough.

Jenn is one of the kindest people I know.  Here are some words in my vocabulary to describe Jenn.

Smart.  Jenn is a very intelligent woman.  If she wasn't sharp as a tack, I wouldn't be able to use this next word. 

Witty.  If you look closely at her writing, you first note a little silliness, but soon you realize that there is real substance behind her every comment.  There is depth to all of her posts, but if you read them too quickly, you might miss it.  She describes herself as awkward socially, but I just don't see it!

Nurturing.  She is a beautiful mother.  She looks after her family.  If she blogs about being irked with her family life, it's completely normal.  Simply an outlet to vent frustration.  Everyone does it, so what??  She is also a very supportive friend.  She knows how to offer encouragement in the right way at the right time. 

This is why my friend Jenn the fraud, is a fraud. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Help - A book review

(Please note, none of the language contained in this blog is meant to be offensive.  It is in keeping with the language used in the book.)

I recently finished reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett.  It is set in Jackson, Mississippi in the early 1960's.

I would like to start off by saying what a touching book this was, in so many ways.  There were also some awful parts to it, about how black people were treated dreadfully; as inferior to white people.  For me, this book was about courage.  How a white woman, Miss Skeeter, had the courage to find out what really went on in Jackson society.  How the black women had the courage to tell their stories, good and bad, only because they had hope that it could change things.

Aibileen was my favourite character in this novel.  The development of her character was so rich.  She recognized her own faults and obviously loved and missed her son who died working for the white man.  He was so unimportant in their eyes that they just dropped his dead body off at the black hospital.  The description of her mourning was so real and aching.  Her love was soulful and touching, she loved the children she cared for, her "white babies" as much as her own child.  She could not stand to stay with them too long, because eventually they became jaded, taught to hate coloured people.  At first she resisted telling her stories to Miss Skeeter, but somewhere she knew that change would come, but only in small steps.  By the end of the novel, she was telling stories to her white babies to try to teach them that colour does not matter.  What matters is that we are all people.   We saw a shining example of Aibileen's efforts at the end when Mae Mo says something like "Miss Taylor taught it!"  That 3 yr old girl knew she had to lie to her daddy to protect her Aibee, so in the end Aibileen was successful at making a small change in one person.  Maybe it would last, and maybe it wouldn't, but the risk was worth it for her. 

Surprisingly, my next favourite character was Celia Foote.  Although I felt, in part, that the author could have developed her character a little more, she showed that not all white people adhered to the lines between white and black people so vehemently.  There were some social norms that she just didn't understand.  She was paying Minny, her maid, double what other maids earned from other families.  Minny attributed it to what she called her "white trash" background.  I guess coming from a place like Sugar Ditch meant that everyone was in the same boat.  Likely poor as dirt across the board.  Not many white ladies in that novel would have fought so hard to save the life of a black maid.  Minny had already been beaten up by her husband, and she was ready to fight for Miss Celia, but Miss Celia ended up beating that sexual offender to almost a pulp to save Minny's life.  I could see Hilly, for example, closing the door and locking it and hiding in a closet to save her own skin rather than even think of helping the maid.

This was a great book.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.  It provoked thought and surprising emotions about something I have never experienced.  Except that one time when someone said to me "You hate me because I'm black."  I have never hated anyone for that reason.  It still bugs me to this day.  However, this book has given me a little bit of insight as to why that person may have said that to me. 


Monday, January 9, 2012

A gymnastics tale

J started his gymnastics class today.  I was apprehensive, mostly because this kid, will never go barefoot. When we got our introduction letter in the mail, I was made aware that bare feet were compulsory.  I was determined not to let this stop him from trying something new and something that I was fairly certain he was going to enjoy.  I started prepping him a few days before the class would start that he would need 3 things in order to participate:  a t-shirt, shorts, and bare feet.  We learned of this class via an advertisement that came home from his school.  School sends home tons and tons of paper with the kids and I find it very hard to sift through it all.  I am glad I did not throw this one out with the school catering menu or something.  Not only were the classes happening at his school which is a hop, skip and a jump away, but the timing is perfect.  8:45 in the morning on a Saturday for one hour.  I was also looking for a bit of a change from his usual activity which is swimming.  He loves those classes too, but I thought that over the winter, we would try something different.

The City of Ottawa is offering a great program for 4-5 year olds.  It is called Gymnastics - Junior Gym.  The goal is to learn basic recreational gymnastics skills as you are introduced to various gymnastics equipment.  It is approximately a 4 or 5 : 1 ratio and the kids get to participate at different activity stations with different gymnastic apparatus that are laid out in an obstacle course.  I was very impressed how they integrated pictures into the activity to give the kids a visual aid about which skill to perform and how it is done.  It meant that if the coach was working with another child they could still understand what needed to be done at a different point in the obstacle course and could attempt it on their own.  They got to bounce on a trampoline, jump off the springboard, walk the balance beam as well as snake across it on their bellies, swing on the "high" bar (it wasn't that high off the ground and there was plenty of padding for soft landings), and perform some simple tricks at the tumbling area.  J learned very quickly how to get into a handstand position against the wall by squatting beside it, putting his hands in front of him on the floor, and then walking his feet up the wall.  He was so proud of himself! All in all, it was a great experience.  I also felt so proud of him!  I always knew he was coordinated, but today I really got to see it in action!

I highly recommend this class to anyone wanting to encourage their child's gross motor, visual-motor, balance/coordination and problem-solving skills!  Very sensitive kids may not enjoy it so much as it was a very loud and busy room with lots of distractions since they had three different groups running all at once.

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