Tag: Tips

Fox and Raccoon | Storytime

Storytime is always an exciting time especially when new books arrive to be featured on the #MelAndNikkiReview! We love sweet and unique books as they make storytime that much special. This is why when we were introduced to the sweet and charming world of Juniper Hollow, we were in enchanted.

Juniper Hollow is where fuzzy friends abound and that is where Fox and Raccoon live. They are the best of friends and live next door to each other. They also spend every day together with the exception of today. It appears that Fox is so busy that she doesn’t have time to play.

But never fear as Raccoon is here to help! He helps her with all the tasks that she needs to do but it seems that Fox is STILL busy. Will she ever have time to stop and play with him? As it turns out, she has a surprise up her sleeve…

After reading this book a few times (almost every night) since it arrived at our doorstep, we can’t help but feel enchanted by Fox and Raccoon. Firstly, the textile art is captivating and it allows us to feel that we have been transported to Juniper Hollow. Secondly, the friendship between Fox and Raccoon is beautiful and sincere. It was heartwarming to see how much they cared for one another as the story progressed.

For this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give Fox and Raccoon 5 juniper berries out of 5! The story of friendship and love is an important message for children and it is portrayed beautifully in Fox and Raccoon. We also loved the textile art as we personally have not read books with this type of art so it was neat for us. We would recommend this book for children ages three to seven and this would make a perfect addition to storytime.

This children’s picture book is a debut for Lesley-Anne Green who is the author and she is a textile artist who creates her adorable critters using wool, thread, fabric and love. She lives in Toronto with her family and an incorrigible pug named Lola. We hope she will continue to create more beautiful books for children.

If you would like to purchase this lovely book, click here.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

 

6 Things Your Kids Should Do After Leaving High School

Written By: Claire Adams

Graduating from high school can be both exciting and stressful. On the one hand, it’s a big milestone for every child, something they can be proud of. On the other hand, college is just a few months away, and the pressure of their parents to enroll right away can often be too much. However, there is no real reason for them to start college the same year – there are many ways of spending their gap year wisely. So, if you’d like to help your child make the most of their free time after high school, here are six things they could do.

1. Encourage them to learn something new

Taking some time off means that they’ll finally have enough time to dedicate to something else, like learning a new language or improving their tech skills. They probably already have some ideas in mind, something they’ve always wanted to do but could never find the time to start.

There are many skills that can be useful in both educational and professional field, which is why you should inspire them to get involved wherever they can. It doesn’t have to be anything huge, and it shouldn’t be anything stressful; the idea is to have fun while using their time wisely, so they should choose something they will enjoy doing.

2. Help them improve the skills they have

Besides learning something new, they can also work on what they already know. For example, if your child likes editing pictures in Photoshop, they can sign up for a graphic design course and improve their skills. Or, if they like drawing or painting, they can sign up for art classes and become even better. In other words, if they are passionate about something, taking some time off to nurture that skill and bring it the next level can mean the world to them.

3. They can get a job

A good way to spend the time between high school and college is by earning some money. Getting a job can help your child become more independent and responsible. It doesn’t have to be a serious full-time job, though – any decent job can teach them how to work in a team and organize their time, which are skills that can be quite valuable in the future.

Moreover, there is always something that kids want, whether it is a new computer or a new pair of jeans. Getting a job would allow them to treat themselves to something nice and learn the importance of money and hard work. Even if they don’t buy anything, they can always save for the future. Plus, earning money on their own can be quite fulfilling, and having some work experience could help them land a much better job in the future.

4. Let them travel

Is there a better time for your child to see all the places they’ve been learning about? If you’re worried about your child’s safety, or if they’ve never traveled alone, there are many safe and fun student trips organized by Unleashed Grad Trips that can offer your child lots of opportunities for fun, education, and relaxation.

Traveling is also a great way for your child to leave their comfort zone and make new connections with people from all around the world. They’d get to experience different cultures, see different points of view, and develop skills like cooking, managing their finances, finding their way around in unknown places, etc. Therefore, let your child see the world, and they are guaranteed to return home much more mature and refreshed.

5. Suggest volunteering

Just like getting a job, volunteering can teach them responsibility and organization. Plus, they’d feel great about themselves once they realize that they can make a difference and do something useful for the community.  Moreover, doing charity work shows that they are compassionate and capable of adjusting to unknown situations, especially if they choose to volunteer abroad. This is something that would look great on their resume, and it would surely be a life-changing experience for your child.

6. Allow them to relax

It’s not the end of the world if your child doesn’t know what they want to do next. Some kids just need time to unwind and figure things out, so try not to make a big deal out of it. Let them do some research, try out new things, or just relax and think things through. After all, it’s better to take some time off and rest than enroll in a college right away just to realize one year later that they’ve made the wrong choice.

There’s more to life than studying, and there are many ways to learn besides going to school. So, let your child take some time away from hovering over a book, and encourage them to spend that time wisely. This way, you can rest assured that your child will be much more motivated and more likely to make the right choices in regard to their future.

 

About the Author

Claire is a personal and professional development expert who believes that a positive attitude is one of the keys to success. She enjoys life to the fullest in the healthiest way possible and loves to share her insights into parenting, education, and entrepreneurship. Feel free to reach her on Facebook and Twitter.

 

3 Non-Toxic Flooring Options for Your Home

With society’s rising concerns on health and wellness, the choice to go for non-toxic substances comes as no surprise. This is clearly shown in what articles we have at home, from ensuring that our floors are safe up to the bits and pieces on our cupboards. These choices are especially highlighted when you have children at home.

For starters, let’s look into the flooring of your house, which occupies a significant area of your living space. It is important to ensure that your flooring is free from toxic materials, as the presence of harmful chemicals can be a source of indoor air pollution. So, in order to avoid the largest environmental health risk in the world, learning about the proper flooring to use can prove to be advantageous. In fact, while carpeting is a popular choice, carpet installations are to be avoided as they are a large contributor to indoor air pollution.

Here are some useful information about alternative choices for flooring materials and how they could impact indoor air quality that you should look into:

  1. Ceramic Tile Flooring

Generally, a safe, non-toxic flooring option that is also easy to maintain are ceramic tiles. Glazed ceramic flooring tiles are resistant to water, humidity and stain penetration, which makes them an ideal flooring for moist areas in the house such as bathrooms or kitchens. However, unglazed ceramic tiles have to be sealed in order to protect their surfaces from water.

Ceramic flooring is also very durable, they are difficult to crack. A quality ceramic tile installation can last for as long as twenty years or even longer if it is well-maintained. Also, if a single tile succumbs to severe impact and cracks, then you can easily replace the cracked tile.

  1. Vinyl Flooring

Opting for vinyl flooring is a popular choice among consumers because they are durable, versatile, and economical options. Vinyl flooring can come in large, continuous, flexible sheets or as modern tiles or vinyl planks. Unlike vinyl floor tiles, a vinyl sheet floor is completely water-resistant. Aside from being impermeable, vinyl flooring is also easy to install, fairly durable, and resilient. They are also available in a variety of appearances and are affordable flooring materials.

For those looking for vinyl flooring in Melbourne at Market Timbers, check out their assortment of non-toxic flooring materials. They offer a hybrid vinyl/cork flooring system that replicates the natural look of timber flooring.

  1. Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood flooring is the best option for anyone with allergies because it improves air quality. The surface allows for easy removal of dust, pollens, dander, and other allergens. Aside from enhancing the look of your home, there are a lot of major benefits of hardwood flooring. These include being low maintenance, versatile, durable, and cost effective. Not only do wooden floors save you money, but they are also natural, eco-friendly, and more sustainable. Instead of replacing hardwood floors, they can be refinished so it costs less than getting new flooring.

Wooden floors are timeless, and if you want, you can sand and stain them to make them darker.

Indeed, picking flooring can be a daunting task with the variety of materials to choose from and each of the flooring types has an assortment of options too. Other factors such as moisture retention, wear resistance, maintenance, durability, and costs should also be taken into consideration. Plus, the impact of toxic substances on health and wellness should be a significant influence on your choices for flooring materials, so you can look into these three flooring type options.

How to Raise an Intelligent Child

When we think about smart kids, it shouldn’t be all bookworms and A grades. Clever children come in all different forms and to nurture true wisdom in your child, it is essential to look at the bigger picture. Whilst classroom intelligence is one thing, emotional intelligence and social ability are another. To ensure that your child gains the best start in life, you must nurture their strengths and try to release their creativity. Here, we will take a look at some of the best ways in which to raise smart children.

Make Learning Fun

When all kids see is the classroom, it’s no wonder they tend to become unenamoured with education. For this reason, it is important to show your children that learning does not need to be restricted to these prescriptive spaces. Every day presents new opportunities for learning, but how you go about nurturing your child’s intelligence should be a personal process. Many children learn best by doing, so why not take them outside and learn in nature. Research shows that learning in a green environment can help greatly in the development of children and also teaches essential respect for the environment. If they are fascinated by science, why not take a trip to the science museum, or try out some experiments in your back yard? If they show an interest in art, buy them some paint and let them explore their talent. Whatever you do, make it fun!

Pick the Right School

Selecting the right school for your child is also an essential factor. Many government-funded schools do not have the money to build top facilities or employ the best teachers, which can leave children uninspired by their environment. Whilst learning at home can make up for this in part, private international schools often provide far better opportunities for learning. When looking for international schools in Thailand or in your local area, parents have an excellent outlook as there are world-class facilities on offer, such as this school in Chiang Mai that takes a holistic approach to education. Not only will learning in an international environment enhance your child’s language skills from an early age, the right school may be able to teach them life skills as well as social skills too.

Additional Learning

Another way to enhance your child’s intelligence is to encourage additional learning through classes outside of school. These should focus on something your child enjoys and could range from language or music classes to sports, dance or art classes. 

Venture Beyond the Curriculum

As we’ve already touched upon, learning should not be restricted to books and the school curriculum. There are many other life skills that you can teach your child in order to ensure they have an active mind, such as gardening, social responsibility, and healthy eating. When they grow up and venture out into the real world, these skills will be invaluable in helping them to adjust and reach success.

Every parent wants to give their child the best start in life – by taking a holistic approach to learning and focussing on the quality of their early education, you can do just this.

Teaching Financial Literacy Through 4-Pocket Allowance

Financial Literacy is a topic that many people find is important for us to learn as adults or even as teenagers but not many people see the importance of teaching it to young children. This is why I was thrilled to see a product catering to children that would empower them to make financial decisions.

First, what is Financial Literacy? Financial Literacy is the education and understanding of finances. It is the ability to manage personal finance matters in the most efficient manner, and it includes the knowledge to make appropriate decisions about personal finance such as investing, savings, budgeting, retirement, etc.

Now, it is time to introduce you to 4 Pocket Allowance and how it is a great tool in helping children learn about financial literacy.

The 4 Pocket Allowance is a comprehensive allowance system that guides kids in allocating money into four different pockets.

There is the Spending pocket which is where money is allocated for special treats like a trip to the dollar store or for playing cards. Then there is the Saving pocket which is saving for a specific goal like a larger purchase such as a bike, or spending money for a family vacation. The third pocket is the Giving which is where money is allocated to be used for selfless acts such as a charitable donation or a gift for a friend. The fourth pocket is the Investing where money that is set aside for long term goal like an education fund or stock account.

This kit also includes a fifth pocket which is labelled as “Reserve” and it is for parents to stockpile small denominations (bills, coins) to avoid a weekly scramble, and the inevitable problems of constantly trying to break a $20 bill. The kit comes in a fun binder with a magnetic closure, and also includes printed material and an allowance worksheet – everything you need to get you going, and to keep you on track.

How 4 Pocket Allowance Works

Starting early is good and kids of any age will learn from applying good money management principles. Here is how 4 Pocket Allowance works:

  1. Get organized. First complete the “My Pocket Allowance” worksheet provided.
  2. Decide whether the 4 pockets will apply to other income such as birthday money, special occasions, etc.
  3. Fill the Reserve and store it for allowance day.
  4. Introduce the 4 Pocket Allowance at your family meeting.
  5. Then follow your worksheet on the schedule that you have followed. For example the allowance can be $20 every two weeks.

#MelAndNikkiReview on 4 Pocket Allowance

I am no stranger to financial literacy and teaching money management but never would have thought to start at my child’s age of three. However, this method is so intriguing and fun that I implemented it right away.

I know that it will take some time for my daughter to get the hang of it but I know with some hard work and patience we will get there. We explained what each pocket was and we let her decide for the first round how much would go in each. Her favorite pocket was the Saving one as she was excited to have some spending money on our family vacation trip. This is such a great way to start teaching our daughter about money and how to better manage it so this is why we give it 5 stars out of 5! We are excited to see how this is going to work for our family and the impact it will have on our daughter’s life growing up.

The 4 Pocket Allowance Benefit

“Kids will face various money related decisions throughout their lives, and their experiences growing up will influence their life-long relationship with money. In other words, teach kids the basics of good money management that they will use for the rest of their lives.

An allowance is about so much more than just giving kids money to spend.”

4 Pocket Allowance is:

  • Empowering kids to make decisions and hopefully learn from them.
  • Guiding them to appreciate the value of money.
  • Establishing model saving habits.
  • Broadening awareness of how money can be used.
  • Resolving endless requests that make parents cringe: “Can you buy me this?”

The benefits sound great and it is a fun tool to use. If you would like to purchase the 4 Pocket Allowance, click here. Would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below if you have purchased one and how you are enjoying it. I know that we are enjoying it so far! 🙂

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

4 Top Pests That Can Harm The Home

One of the biggest things many homeowners worry about is discovering mysterious holes burrowed in their wooden floorboards or hearing scurrying in the attic. It can only mean one thing: pests have gotten into your home.

There are a number of common pests you should keep an eye out for as they can do a great deal of damage to your home.

  1. Termites

Termites eat on wood. In fact, they are one of the biggest pest threats to homeowners. They mostly feed on wood and can cause significant damage to the structure of your home. The damage that termites can cause may be so extensive that your home could become unliveable until repairs are made.

Sadly, many homeowners don’t find the damage until it is too late. Even if your property is not made of wood, take note that termites may still pose a threat. They can happily travel through plaster and even metal siding to get to wooden structures like floors and wardrobes.

  1. Mice and Rats

Rodents can, at times, be unassuming animals, but over time they can cause a great deal of damage to your home. Mice and rats get to work chewing through just about anything – wiring, thermal insulation and even wood. By chewing through wiring and insulation, the rodents could cause electrical damage and, worse, fires. Their droppings are also a serious danger as they hold several problems. For instance, the smell of the droppings may attract more rodents and the dropping could carry infections and diseases such as tapeworm and salmonella. Pest Free USA has electronic pest control to keep these pesky mice and rats at bay.

  1. Bedbugs

While bedbugs may seem rather harmless, they can be a massive nuisance in your home. What’s more, if the situation escalates, it can render your property unliveable. While bedbugs don’t normally carry disease, they do soil your furniture and bedding. They are a highly unattractive problem that must be dealt with right away, before they get the chance to spread to any other part of your home.

  1. Carpenter Ants

There are a number of different kinds of carpenter ants that can be found in homes. The worker carpenter ants are black with just a hint of red. The ants feed on organic materials containing sugar or protect as well as on other insects. They don’t eat wood, but they can remove wood to hollow out tunnels for the purpose of nesting.

Once the ants create tunnels in your wooden structures, they won’t leave sawdust or debris. The damage they cause can vary, too, depending on how long the pests have lived in that colony. While the damage may not compare to the destruction that termites create, they can still do a great deal of harm to your home, and ant issues should always be dealt with immediately.

Conclusion

Having annoying, destructive pests in your home can be a potentially massive financial burden. But, if you deal with an infestation quickly and professionally, you can successfully rid your home of pests and save your structure.

Top 10 Summer Water Safety Tips

With summer days ahead, we can’t help but get excited for hot days where we can dip into the water. But as a parent we also can’t help but think of water safety for our children too.

This is why we thought it would be fitting to put together a list of some tips on water safety. We have gone to the experts at Aqua-Tots Swim Schools in Mississauga to give us the low down on what all parents and guardians should keep in mind around the water.

Tip #1 – Check Before You Swim!

Always have an adult check the water prior to going in. It is important to check how deep it is and if there is anything at the bottom that can be of danger. This way it will be a safe place for a child to swim.

Tip #2 – Buddy System

There is always safety in numbers. When going into the water, always swim with a buddy. Not only is it safe but fun too! Stay within your comfort level in the water and don’t be shy to ask for help when needed.

Tip #3 – Supervise

This tip can’t be stressed enough and a great warning for all parents and guardians. Make sure there is always direct adult supervision at all times when a child is in the water keeping a close eye to help prevent any in-water incidents.

Tip #4 – Finding Your Air

Practice having your child become comfortable with getting into the recovery position and finding their air on their back (doing the back float) when trying to find their place of safety.

Tip #5 – Fishy Cheeks

Practice the fishy cheeks method – inhaling air and holding for a count of 5 to build comfort with submersions.

Tip #6 – Jumping!

Everyone loves a good jump into the water but it is important to keep safety in mind. It is recommended to practice safe entries such as feet first. Avoid deep dives and belly flops for safety reasons.

Tip #7 – Pool Exists

Not only entering the pool needs to be done with safety but leaving the pool too. For tots and school aged children, the proper way to guide them safely out of the pool is by guiding their limbs by using elbow, elbow, tummy, knee and knee.

Tip #8 – No Running

A safety rule that everyone should follow is that there should be absolutely no running on the pool deck to prevent slips and falls.

Tip #9 – Clean Pool = Safe Pool

Keep pool toys away from the pool and deck area when not in use. This will prevent accidents in and out of the pool.

Tip #10 – Goggles

Ask your child to practice swimming with and without goggles. By doing this, you are allowing your child to adapt to the various water environments and it prevents your child to develop a dependency on goggles.

These 10 tips on water safety will have your family enjoying summer with peace of mind. We can not stress enough the importance of staying safe and enjoying the water.

Did we miss a tip? If so, we would love to hear them. Feel free to leave a comment below with what tip you would include.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

This article is brought to you in partnership with Aqua-Tots Swim School, Mississauga.

 

 

Key Signs You May Be Pregnant and Not Even Know It Yet

You’ve been married for two years now. You admit that being married to the person you love is one of the happiest times of your life. And now that you already tied the knot, you’re looking forward to achieving another milestone in your life – to have kids. You think that when you have one, your marriage will be stronger and you can finally have a family of your own. But as a mother, there are also certain responsibilities you should meet, one of it being able to take care of your baby during the first weeks of conception. What you will do to your body during this time will have a great impact on your baby’s health. This is the reason why you should determine the early signs of pregnancy. If not, how else can you take good care of your baby?

Motherhood is the essence of being a woman. This is the time of your life when you get to see someone from your own flesh and blood and love them unconditionally. There might be challenges along the way, but everything will be worth it in the end. To help you prepare for motherhood, take note of these signs which can tell you’re pregnant:

1. Light bleeding: The moment you see a red stain in your underwear, you may immediately think that you just got your period. But when this stain is too light compared to your periods in the past, you might have implantation bleeding. This is something a pregnant woman may experience two weeks after fertilization. When this happens, expect that you’ll miss your period in the next month – another sign that you’re pregnant.

2. Missed period: Women usually get their period once a month. If you didn’t, and you’re sexually active, you might be pregnant. Just make sure to use a pregnancy test when you missed your period because often, your period’s disappearing act can be due to stress, dieting, and other health-related factors.

3. Bloating: Many things happen to a woman’s body when their period is just around the corner – and of this is bloating. However, if you notice that bloating sticks around longer than the usual, you might be pregnant. This happens because when you’re pregnant, there’ll be different hormonal changes in your body which continually gives you that puffy sensation.

4. Sore and tender breasts: Sure, it’s normal for your breasts to be tender and sore when you’re expecting your period but when these hurt the moment you touch them, it might tell you something else. When you’re pregnant, your breasts are more sensitive even with regular periods.

5. Vomiting: Vomiting at any point during the day is a telltale sign that you’re pregnant. This usually happens before you’re nine weeks along in the pregnancy.

6. Aversions to food: Before, you loved it when your husband cooked steak for you, but now, you can hardly stand how it smells. It makes you feel sick and disgusted. Thanks to hormonal changes in your body, food aversions are common signs when you’re pregnant. The dishes you loved eating before might be the dishes you dislike now.

7. Urinating frequently: When you’re pregnant, your body will release human chorionic gonadotropin, the hormone responsible for making you pee too often. So if you see yourself running to the bathroom throughout the day, an embryo in your uterus might be the culprit.

The Bottom Line

Motherhood is pure bliss; ask your friends who have kids, and for sure, they’ll have similar responses. However, motherhood can also be stressful especially if you’re not prepared financially. When you’ve ticked any of these signs from the list and determined that you’re pregnant, opt to have pregnancy cover in your insurance policy. Once you’re financially prepared for any emergencies concerning your husband or child, you’ll be able to enjoy motherhood better.

Jessica Wilson

Jessica is a professional health expert who works for some major health industry giants. She currently writes for Membersown and is dedicated to helping people learn more about health related topics along the journey. When she’s not a health advocate, she enjoys some down time traveling or talking with family.

 

5 Reasons Why CozyPhones Are Awesome

Our daughter loves to watch her trusty kid shows on her tablet such as Paw Patrol, Sesame Street, and PJ Masks just to name a few. Of course sometimes hearing her shows can be distracting as I can’t help but overhear all her shows everywhere I go. But now the perfect solution has entered our home and I am truly thankful for it!

Let me introduce you to CozyPhones. It is a headband headphones that offer comfort to hear your favorite tunes or shows.

Here are our 5 reasons why the CozyPhones are awesome in particular for kids!

Comfortable

The material used to create the headband headphones are very comfortable for a child or adult to wear. It is stretchable and it does not interfere if you are in your living room, in the car or even in bed. Now that is taking comfort to a whole new level and we just love that about CozyPhones!

Machine Washable

The convenience of being able to wash the CozyPhones is great especially when we know how dirty things can get with kids. You just need to remove the speakers from the headband and in the machine it goes. This way you can always be sure that your child is using a product that can be cleaned at any time.

Adjustable Speakers

Controlling sound for your child’s ear is very important as a parent and the CozyPhones allows us parents to control the volume of the sound. It is set at a perfect volume where it will not hurt your child’s ear which is an amazing feature to have. It is a safe product for a child to use.

Family Friendly Traveling | Peace

CozyPhones can be taken anywhere you go and we simply love that! Whether it’s a roadtrip, traveling to another country, a trip to the doctor’s office or just sitting in your living room. It is light weight and easy to travel with. It also provides the relaxation and peace. Your child will be entertained with their favorite show and it provides parents with some peaceful traveling too.

Adorable Designs & Affordable

Not only is it convenient, safe, family friendly, and comfortable, it is also offers great adorable designs. There are so many options available for your kids and they can pick their very favorite. We have to also mention that they are affordable too! This would make a great gift for any child who loves to catch up on their favorite shows without interrupting anyone beside them.

Nikki enjoying a movie before bed as a special treat for the long weekend. *Please note that the Paw Patrol design is only available in the USA.

These are our top 5 reasons why CozyPhones are awesome! Therefore, there is no surprise that for this #MelAndNikkiReview we give it 5+++ Pawsomes out of 5!

We recommend this product and we have been using it in our home everyday. It also makes my daughter look stylish! 😉 It is comfortable, fits perfectly and she can listen without having earbuds hurt her ears. We love it and we know you will too!

Paw Patrol design is only available in the USA.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

 

A Tale of Two Languages

Written By: Grace Cross
Editor of The Baby Spot

Like so many Canadians, I was raised in a different culture from the area I was living in. Many Canadians like myself, are teaching their children more than one language. But the second language is just not that, it is incorporating a culture into your household. A culture that is not surrounding you on the streets. In my friend circles, in my extended family and more, I was too French to be English and too English to be French. I believe that many people all over the world, have experienced this to varying degrees, many more difficult than my own. Here is my story as to why, no matter what, teaching your child a part of their culture is so important.

Growing up with two parents who were from Quebec but lived in Toronto was quite different than the typical Ontario home. We celebrated holidays differently, we were raised differently and we even used different words for the most random things! My parents tried to go back to Quebec as often as they could so we can be with family and friends.

 Like Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, I often felt I had my own two metropolis to grow up in, except mine were not in London and Paris but in Toronto and Montreal. Those 6 hours on the 401 separated two completely different cultures that could very well be two different countries. I had an experience where I was growing up in Toronto but would be in Montreal. I would know the hottest restaurants in Montreal, the hidden shopping gems and all of the coolest hang outs just like a Montrealer, but I could not speak the language fluently until I was an adult. I would make mistakes, stumble upon my words and would gravitate to my extended family to help, so I could learn more of my past.

I had two types of family members in my big family. The first were so loving and accepting. I would sit and listen to them as they, like many Montrealers would switch from English to French with ease. It was bilingual heaven and I would pick up on a word here and word there. It was better than any French class Ontario had to offer and I was learning the slang, key words and expressions that go along with French. In turn, my French family would use this as an opportunity to practice their English on a native English speaker. Even as a child, I felt pretty special to fill them in on the latest English terms and phrases that may have confused them.

The second type of family members were not so nice. They used French as a leverage language and would laugh at my mistakes. Instead of comforting, they would point out each mistake, the accent of every word said wrong. I would study constantly the language and speak to my French teachers after class in Ontario to try to learn as much as I could for my next class in Montreal. Many of our French teachers were not French but they did their best. My parents tried their best too, but over time, they began losing the language. I would use my opportunities to be with my family. Instead, they would point out in French all of your mistakes and laugh with ridicule. It made me insecure about a language I wanted to learn and was a part of my ancestors.

Secondly, in Ontario, we are taught Parisian French. However, in Quebec, they speak a different dialect. This can create problems and some of my family took it to make jokes at a young girl. I was as young as five when this began. Instead, I would be insecure to speak French and took my sights to learn another language all together. By the time I was 21, I had taken years of Japanese and spoke Japanese better than French.

I ended up learning French in adulthood with some amazing courses and sticking with the family who was encouraging and literally not speaking to the ones that were not. The insecurity did not lie with a five year old girl learning a language, but with them.

Now that I am a Mom, my child is learning French. I encourage mistakes and let my child absorb the language. Strangers and good family alike in Montreal are the reasons for my little one’s easy transition into a fantastic language and culture.

For some of us who are not born in the area that our family is from and carry many traditions, values but do not have the day to day interaction with the language, we are not English enough, but not from our original culture either. There are some of you out there whose children are learning about three or four different cultures. There may be people trying to tell you how to parent your child or believe that one culture is more important than another. Those people may believe you don’t belong to a culture that you have been immersed in. Remember, no one can take away your past. No one can define you based on their own constrictions. You know who you are.

So if you are a parent whose child has one, two or ten cultures from their ancestry, embrace it! Enjoy what defines you and your family. Be proud of where your family lineage is and be proud to live where you are now. Surround yourself with positive people, make new friends and most of all, love that you are incredible enough that you don’t belong to just one place. You are your own tale in two cities.