Come see us at CAPCON 2017

This Saturday from 9am to 4pm, JenEric Coffee and Crochet will be at the Canadian War Museum in the dealers room of CAPCON.

CAPCON is Canada’s premiere scale plastic model contest and run by the wonderful IPMS Ottawa. This is a fun event to go and check out, and bonus you can go to the museum at the same time.

We hope to see you there!

Blush: Consent and kids

Last week we went to a family birthday party (five celebrated at once, from the ages of 1 to 70!) and a lot of fun was had. However, it definitely brought to my attention that our daughter has no concept of personal space, boundaries, or consent.

She’s 1 years old. This is normal.

Normal it may be, but consent is something she needs to learn. And now that she’s walking and able to chase down other kids, she needs to learn it fast.

Fortunately, there are some pretty great resources to help us. I encourage everyone to read at least this guide (it’s 4 pages) if you have any children in your life, whether they belong to you, your family, or your friends.

My sister is already really great at respecting my daughter’s limits. Every time she visits, she asks “Can I pick you up?” before touching her. I know that if she ever says “no”, it will be respected.

As adults, we need to be aware that a child’s “no” to hugging, kissing, or being held, is not them casting any aspersions on our character. They’re just not in the mood to be touched, and we should respect that. Offer an alternative, like a high five, a fist bump, a blown kiss, or a simple wave.

Along a similar vein, if the child has agreed to be touched, and then wants to stop, they should be listened to.

This is all common sense, and easy to follow because we’re adults. We understand the reasoning. How do we teach it to children?

Part of teaching consent to kids is modelling it. Showing that they have agency over their own bodies is a big step to understanding that others are also to be respected.

My daughter and her cousin, whom she terrorized last week.

She walked up to the only other person her size and tried to hug them. She kept her balance (and grip) quite well as he tried to wriggle away… I feel like I dropped the ball at this point. I should have taken her aside and explained that he wasn’t interested in being held, just like she didn’t want to be held by the strangers at the party. I might not have gotten through to her, but I should have tried, multiple times if necessary.

Teaching them empathy is another part. Our daughter also pulled the his hair. He cried, understandably. But she doesn’t seem to understand that having hair pulled hurts – she does it to herself all the time, and doesn’t seem bothered by it. She thinks it’s funny when she pulls other people’s hair. I made her apologize to him (I held her while I apologized for her because she is non verbal) and told her not to pull other people’s hair. I don’t think it has sunk in yet. She pulled mine the next morning.

It’s a work in progress. Suggestions are welcome.


References

http://www.teachconsent.org

Parent Discussion Guide

https://goodmenproject.com/families/the-healthy-sex-talk-teaching-kids-consent-ages-1-21/

http://www.parents.com/parenting/better-parenting/advice/how-to-teach-your-children-about-consent/


If you’re enjoying the Blush blogs, consider learning more with Blush: The Card Game from Renaissance Press.

Love in Lost Places – Proof-of-Concept

People told me that weird things happen in Baker City, Ontario, but I never really believed them until my second year at Baker City University.

“Just text her already,” Simon said, pushing the scrap of paper towards me over our hand me down IKEA dining room table. He tilted his head and smirked mischievously before passing his hands through his short cropped reddish brown hair. His dark skin was speckled with the most adorable freckles that mirrored the colour of his eyes.

“That’s impersonal. Shouldn’t I call?” I was stalling and we both knew it; nobody just called.

“Dude? Seriously. I go through all this trouble to get you the number of the only girl you’ve had a crush on since first semester and you won’t text her?”

He wasn’t wrong. She was in most of my classes and was one of those people who attracted the eye. She wore lots of colour, especially in her hair, and everything she did or said was the most important thing imaginable.

He also wasn’t right. She wasn’t the only crush I’ve had, but I don’t think he’d figured out that I liked him.

Taking my phone, he typed in the number and sent a text. “Hi Zoey”

We both sat staring at my phone waiting for a reply. It came faster than I expected. “I DON’T HAVE ANY FERRETS!”

Simon and I looked at each other confused and I picked up the phone to say, “It’s Harry… We have Can-Lit together.” I pressed send and then quickly added, “Just wanted to say hi… and I think I’m allergic to ferrets.”

“Oh Harry… Blond guy who wears a lot of plaid?”

“That’s me”

“Sorry about that. Someone keeps texting me about ferrets. It’s bloody annoying.”

I wasn’t sure what to say to that. My first instinct was to apologize for bothering her. While I hesitated, Simon grabbed my phone and wrote, “I was wondering if you’d like to go out for coffee sometime?”

“Sure, Meet at Café Nation on Bank at 4?”

“Great. See you there.” I shoved my phone into the pocket of my jeans to avoid Simon adding anything.

It was already three fifteen so after a high five from Simon I rushed to take a shower. As I got out of the shower I put on a fresh pair of jeans and my favourite red and gray plaid shirt. I ran out of the apartment convinced I’d be late.

I was a block away from Café Nation when I realized I’d left my phone in my other pants. I walked into the Café and saw the big coffee bean shaped clock read five to four. I wasn’t late, I was actually early. I took a few deep breaths to calm myself. The smell combination of chocolate cake and brewing coffee helped soothe me a little and I sat down to wait.

Five minutes after four she came in, her hair was fuchsia this week, and walked right by me. She was wearing a dark blue skirt with constellations on it and a white sweater. I stood up and walked behind her and said, “Hey Zoey. Can I buy you a coffee?”

Looking back at me startled, her brow furrowed, she opened her mouth to say something and paused. Finally her posture relaxed and she smiled. “Harry right? Sorry, I didn’t recognize you right away. I’ve been just so frazzled by this ferret thing. I’m so glad Simon gave you my number.”

We spent the next half hour chatting and having a great time. Around fifteen to five Zoey looked at her phone and said, “I have to call my mom. Something’s going on.” She stood up and walked to the front of the café. I took the opportunity to go to the washroom.

As I came out of the washroom Zoey was nowhere to be seen. I chatted with the barista as I waited. When she finally came back she’d tied her pink hair into a pony tail and changed her sweater.

“How’s your mom?” I asked.

“She’s okay. She just needed to talk it out. Sorry about flaking out on you. How about we go to dinner? I’ve had enough coffee today.”

That night when I finally got back to my phone I had an email from Zoey saying, “I had a nice time. Sorry I disappeared but my mom needed my help urgently. We should do this again sometime. Next time’s my treat.”

I also had a text from her earlier that day saying, “My mom’s freaking out be there soon.”

This all seems perfectly normal right? Boy crushes on roommate, oblivious roommate hooks boy up with girl; a typical twenty something romantic comedy.

Well, here’s where it get’s weird…

Simon typed in the wrong number, putting a one instead of a seven at the end. What are the chances of two women, going to the same university, were both called Zoey with a penchant for bright colours? I don’t know, but this is how I accidentally dated two women who had never met and were almost identical.

History, Hero Worship, and Being Problematic

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

There has been a lot of talk about taking down monuments and changing names. Mostly this is due to things the people have done that are horrifying.

Removing the name or monuments to these people has been likened to sanitizing our history or hiding the horrors of our past.

The whole debate is complicated by the fact that most of these people have also done good things. So do we let one mistake destroy the legacy of a great historical figure?

Vintage still life. Vintage compass lies on an ancient world map in 1565.

History is a very human practice. It’s not a science and relies on what people wrote down and what they chose to leave out. Walt Disney smoked like a chimney but you’d never know from his pictures at the parks or the official videos. It’s possible that future generations will never know.

To get an idea how much we can confuse and conflate history have a look at this video.

Columbus was a genocidal idiot, yet I bet most people didn’t know that.

History is messy and the moment you start worshiping someone you start ignoring the bad they did. Very few historical figures are perfect and it’s important to remember. If we ignore the bad that historical figures did, we risk repeating it.

We also have to not go too far the other way and forget the good that they have done (not Columbus, he’s horrible). It’s a common practice now to demonize people for things they’ve done or said in their past. It’s important to balance out what people did with how they tried to make amends and how they grew. Just because someone was a dick doesn’t mean they didn’t change.

My Opinion

Having a statue in a public space, having your name on a street or building is an honour. If the historical figure has done something horrible (Genocide, mass murder, slavery, etc) move their statue to a museum with the proper, balanced, historical information. Or take their name off and replace it with something more innocent or someone more worthy. Leave a plaque explaining the old name and why it was changed.

 

Later days,

Éric

Recommendation Wednesday

New York (and I’m not just talking about the city here) has a TON of things to do and see; it’s impossible to do it all. But here is a comprehensive list that will help you narrow it down somewhat.

Best Things to do in New York

This website also has lists for Norway, Germany, Austria, and South Africa, among many others.

These lists are by someone else named Jen (I swear it’s not me!) and she (and her team) review products, for the most part. They also are heavily into health stuff (that I’m not recommending, but will not get into that here).

However, if you know where to look, you’ll find her travel blog and lists of things to do in many locations (it’s really well hidden! Tip: Go to the search and type in the place you want to go). I’m sure she will update this to include more. You can also email her and request that she add somewhere specific!

Image from Jen Reviews
Image from Jen Reviews

Are you interested in travelling? You can contact me Jennifer Desmarais through AJ Travel. jenniferd@ajtravel.ca

Happy First Birthday Dragon

Dear Baby Dragon,

It’s been a year since you were born. It was a time of change, learning, crying, and general confusion… but enough about me.

The first few months, we were worried that if we mixed you in with other babies we wouldn’t be able to tell you apart. It was a great relief when we found the freckle on your left hand. Now you’re old enough to tell us from the other parents so we’re good.

It’s been a fantastic year with you. I was lucky enough to spend the first nine months of your life with you and I wish it had been longer. You grow and change every day, it’s wonderful and terrifying. Since I’ve gone back to work you’ve learnt how to walk, say, “Hi”, sort stuff, and climb up and down furniture.

If the stories your Grannie and Gramma have told us are true, you are right in the middle of your mom and I in terms of personality. Your mom was a ridiculously clever baby with a calm and happy temperament. I was an average baby with an exuberant and happy temperament. You are just as clever as your mom and just as exuberant as your Papa. You also have the stubborn streak that runs in both families and a temper that burns hot and quickly fades.

You already have a mischievous side. When you know you’re doing something you’re not supposed to, you look at the closest adult and smirk. You both want to do the thing and also get chased. I hope you grow out of that before your teen years.

Your Mum and Grannie are covered in bruise from your sharp little teeth. Teething hurts and you bite a lot. You’ve left your dental impression on, toys, furniture, family, walls, your crib, books, and clothing. I really hope you grow out of biting soon.

You frustrate me at times but more often you warm my heart. You’re warm, happy, talkative, excited, and just wonderful. I’d love to take credit but it’s all you.

You give the greatest hugs, they are filled with affection and I hope you never grow out of that.

It’s been quite the year and I’m so proud of you. I’m enjoying watching you grow and become you. It’s something that I will enjoy for the rest of my life.

I love you little Dragon,

Your Papa