july 1st birthday party

Things I’ve Learned as a Canadian Mom

Oh, the things I’ve learned as a Canadian Mom!

I’ve planned an extravagant birthday party for July 1st for the last five years. Not because I think birthdays need to be extravagant (I enjoy creating themes and décor), nor because I’m ridiculously patriotic (though I do consider myself lucky to be Canadian), but because July 1, 2011 was the day I officially became a mom.

We played it old-school, not finding out the gender or finalizing our choice for name until the baby arrived. After a mostly uneventful pregnancy (week 37 to 38 was an emotional roller coaster of attempted inductions and blood pressure concerns), our world changed with the arrival of seven pounds of beauty, brains, and brawn. And suddenly, I was Clara’s Mom.

I started thinking more lately of all the ways in which we define ourselves. As someone’s child, by the career we choose, where we live, becoming a parent. Each brings its own quirks and surprises. Since our daughter’s birthday coincides with Canada’s sesquicentennial (you’re welcome for that word of the day, by the way), I thought I’d share a few things that I’ve learned as a Canadian Mom.

Giving birth on a holiday, especially one like Canada Day that isn’t full of big family meals or gift exchanges, can be a lot of fun. The staff is in a festive mood, trying to bring a little of the outside world into the delivery room. It’s also great if you’re not looking to have a lot of visitors!

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Despite popular belief, Canadian children are NOT born saying please, thank you, and sorry; but your use of these terms will increase. “Please, please, please just fall asleep!” “I’m sorry I let you nap so long today!” “Your tooth finally broke through, thank you, thank you, thank you!”

Spilled milk is worth crying over – whether you’re the parent or the child – and bagged milk makes a bigger mess. (Did you know bagged milk was a Canadian thing – and mostly an Ontario, Quebec, East Coast thing at that? I hadn’t realized that.)

Singing Skinamarinky Dinky Dink never gets old.

Without you ever mentioning it, your children will learn about hockey and curling and pretend to play both sports in your hallway.

Robert Munsch’s book, Thomas’ Snowsuit, is completely accurate. (Did you know that story was made up on-the-spot for 300 daycare students in Halifax? And pro tip – you can listen to and download his stories online!)

Also as per Robert Munsch, writing about creating Thomas’ Snowsuit, “kids love to yell no.”

Timbits are the highest form of currency, not cash.

Some of the world’s best kids’ authors are Canadian – and many of them call the East Coast home. Our copy of Sheree Fitch’s Sleeping Dragons All Around has made the journey to several provinces with us, inspired a birthday party theme, and even the baking of a few maple mocha chocolate cakes.

sleeping dragons birthday party

Maple syrup makes everything better. Everything.

I can’t imagine life without access to CBC Kids from anywhere, at any time.

By the time your Canada Day baby is old enough to stay up for the fireworks, the “those are for YOUR birthday” lie no longer works.

Birthday celebrations on summer holidays can vastly reduce the guest list – unless you give in to your child’s request to invite the whole class. Then you can be sure it will rain a month’s worth on that day and everyone will come for something to do inside. (Don’t worry, we’re prepared and happy you’re coming!)

I’m sure I’ll have a few more ‘Canadian Mom’ moments as my kids age, and I’d love to know your Canadian parenting truths. Happy Canada 150 – and Happy 6th Birthday, Clara!

(Enjoyed reading this? Give this mama a gift and pin it, share it, or leave a comment. Thanks!)

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