You may not be wondering about what the Tooth Fairy does with all those teeth she collects but your little ones may be. What does the Tooth Fairy do with all those teeth?
A neat project by Tanya Ward and Thadshiga Jayaseelan aims to shed some light into the mystery world of the Tooth Fairy.
Tooth Tales Illustration by Kannishaa Loganathan
Their book “Tooth Tales” which will be available as a soft cover takes readers into the world of the Tooth Fairy. Young readers follow the character Lucy through a magical journey with her loose tooth to find out what the Tooth Fairy does with all those teeth.
What a creative and fun idea for a book.
Tanya and Thadshiga are raising money to help fund the illustration, publishing and marketing of “Tooth Tales: Lucy’s Loose Tooth.”
Check out their Kickstarter campaign page for more information on the book and how you can support this project.
How many times have you found yourself go through the day with a blur and at the end of the day realize that time just flew and you haven’t even taken a moment for yourself?
Women are especially guilty of trying to juggle multiple things at once. We make everything else a priority before taking the time out for ourselves. When you have kids it becomes especially hard to find that time. I can’t count how many times I look at the clock and think about how time flies. There just doesn’t seem to be any time in the day to do everything that I would like to do as something always seems to come up. To be honest, I have even stopped caring so much about the condition of my house in order to save my sanity. But with a 4-month old demanding baby and a toddler running around sometimes I feel that I don’t even have the energy to make that time for myself no matter how hard I try.
In her book, The Fringe Hours Jessica Turner talks about making time to do things that matter to you no matter how busy life gets, even if it seems there aren’t enough hours in a day.
“Wake up. Dress and feed the kids. Barely get makeup on. Leave. Drop the kids off at school. Stop at the bank. Work, work, work. Fill the gas tank. Pick up kids and rush home. Prepare dinner as quickly as possible to avoid the cries for snacks. Baths. Stories. Bedtime. Clean up the kitchen. Chat with my husband. Fill out that permission slip. Respond to email. Fall into bed.
Sound like a typical day in your life? Or at least a variation of it?”
Jessica describes this common phenomenon very well in her book which focuses on self-care and how to make the time for yourself. In talking about the balance challenge she touches on the topic we have discussed many times on Mommy Culture (see Finding a Balance, Return to Work or Stay at Home, Balancing Family and Work, Can we Have it all?) Women are constantly wrestling with trying to balance it all.
When Jessica surveyed women about what they think is most challenging about being a woman today many of the responses were about finding the balance of being a good wife, mother, employee, friend, and wanting to be the best mom at creating moments for our children and at the same time trying to find a work life that “validates” us as independent women.
Does all this sound too familiar to you? These are many of the things I struggle with as well.
Jessica makes a good point that we sometimes tend to fill our lives with things that are good things that make a positive impact on our family, but just because they are good things it doesn’t mean that they are good for us, for right now. In order to not allow too many of these “good” things to invade our lives and create stress, we have to learn to say no, prioritize or even eliminate things entirely.
I haven’t yet picked up my copy of this book but I am going to make the time to grab this great read.
The Fringe Hours may be just the boost we all need to take back the reins on our life and find ways to take care of ourselves. Whether it is an hour a day or an hour a week this book seems to offer some great ways to do so.
Jessica Turner is wife, mom, marketing professional and founder of the popular lifestyle blog The Mom Creative. There she documents her pursuit of cultivating a life well-crafted, through posts mostly on parenting, memory keeping and frugal living. Jessica is also an (in)courage writer, co-host of the Bloom Book Club and an advocate for World Vision .
Our society is obsessed with making the best of all opportunities and choices we have along the way. Speaking in terms of young mothers of our society, most of us are out to do as much as we can with the anthem of “we can have it all”. I disagree! Yes, humbly, but strongly! I choose to keep in tune of the facts: we all have only 24 hours in a day and we can’t take more on without letting what we already have suffer. As much as it’s nice to go for all opportunities that come our way in the name of enriching ourselves and those around us, how about exhausting ourselves so much that we can’t even enjoy the basic pleasures of life?
Indra K. Nooyi, CEO of Pepsi Co., explained in an interview in 2014 that although she was riding up the ladder very successfully and had reached a very impressive and powerful place in her career, she claims it was probably at the cost of being a good mom she could have been to her daughters. That is because we all have limited amount of energy, limited amount of hours a day and limited amount of effort we can exert on ourselves. A mom who works 10-12 hours a day to steadily climb her career can only do so by reducing her time with her children; a mom who spends most of her early mornings and evenings with her family can do only do so with limited progress in their career. It is all about a balancing act through which the sweet spot can be reached that suits our personalities and specific family needs – the Goldilocks spot. And, ‘Having it all’ is just a unicorn which some of us seem to be chasing blindly.
As Indra explains,
“You know, you have to cope, because you die with guilt. You just die with guilt. My observation is that the biological clock and the career clock are in total conflict with each other. Total, complete conflict. When you have to have kids you have to build your career. Just as you’re rising to middle management your kids need you because they’re teenagers, they need you for the teenage years.
And that’s the time your husband becomes a teenager too, so he needs you (laughing). They need you too. What do you do? And as you grow even more, your parents need you because they’re aging. So we’re screwed. We have no… we cannot have it all.”
I believe it!
I realize some would see this as limiting themselves, but I think these are just plain facts which the sooner we embrace, the better we can manage the difference between reality and the superwoman charade that seems to be too popular for my taste.
Let’s get a grip…on reality that is!
Sharon Muthu. Actor. Voiceover Artist. Singer.
We love her for her brains, beauty, and the fact that she is the ‘Ambassador to Hollywood’ for the “Dark is Beautiful” Campaign. We recently met up with Sharon at a Meet and Greet event organized by Mandraa TV. She is so down-to-earth and has a passion that transcends beyond acting – to make a difference in the community and spread the message that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes and colours.
Mommy Culture: What led you to a career in the Entertainment industry and did you face any obstacles, being a woman of South Asian descent?
Sharon Muthu: My choosing a career in the Entertainment Industry came as no surprise to anyone who knows me! The arts have been a lifelong journey for me. Throughout my childhood, I was one of those kids who was always singing, acting, dancing, and playing musical instruments as far back as I can remember! When it came time to choose a career, there was no doubt that the Performing Arts was where I belonged.
Developing a career in the Entertainment Industry is no easy task for anyone, regardless of ethnicity. Being a South Asian woman is no exception. You learn over time that much of your success is a marriage of talent, luck, and timing. In my opinion, the biggest challenge for me has been that Hollywood is still learning to fully embrace South Asian characters into it’s mainstream storylines, and feature us in a more prominent way. However, times are changing for the better in Hollywood, and that’s true for all ethnicities! I’m excited to be in Hollywood at a time that this important transition is taking place, and I want to do my part to ensure that South Asians are properly represented.
MC: Do you feel that in order to be successful in this industry one needs to start preparing for it from a younger age? What extra steps, if any, did you take?
SM: Answering this question is a bit tricky because building a life in the Arts is not a black-and-white process! Every artist’s journey is so beautifully different and personal to him or her. Some artists are like me: They discover their passion in their early years and follow it into adulthood. For others, they might go through decades in another career field, and then suddenly find the Arts calling to them in their adult years. Still others, begin their professional performing-arts careers during their childhood… And every scenario in-between!! None of these paths are better or worse than the others; It’s truly an individual journey for each artist.
I do believe, however, that if a child (or adult) is showing interest & passion for the performing arts it should be encouraged by his or her loved ones. This was the “extra-step” my parents took on my behalf when I was a child, and it has paid off!! A life in the performing arts requires an artist to be vulnerable to many different types of challenges. In addition, we artists are often most critical of ourselves. So, having a wonderful support-system can be an important anchor for our drive & self-confidence. I am certain my family and loved ones have played an irreplaceable role in my success so far.
MC: Do you feel limited or constrained in any sensual scenes because of your Tamil culture upbringing?
SM: What a thought-provoking question! It is true that Tamil culture (and South Asian culture in general) is very particular about honoring certain visual boundaries in TV & Film, and growing up in our culture we learn that nudity and/or love-scenes are taboo. I have two separate thoughts on this matter. My first thought is that I have nothing but the utmost respect for my body. And, I don’t ever plan show it carelessly or gratuitously for the sake of on-camera shock value. I do sometimes feel that sex and violence are portrayed too casually in an effort to entice audiences… However, my second thought is that I am a professional story-teller, and as a result my job will always involve striving to do whatever is necessary to ensure the story is being told in the most authentic and genuine way.
So, for example, if there was ever a role offered to me where showing skin or engaging in a love-scene was truly necessary to serve the story and message of the film, then I would carefully consider it. It would absolutely depend on the project, the necessity, and also my trust in the production team. For me, there is a a drastic distinction between showing skin gratuitously & shamelessly, and needing to show skin as a vital part of a beautiful or poignant story.
MC: How much pressure does body image bring on with your day-to-day work?
SM: There is an incredible amount of pressure in my business to look a certain way. And, for years I battled how I felt about this issue. It’s difficult to feel as though you won’t have success if you don’t fit into a certain mold; The “perfect actress” with the “perfect body.” As a woman, I found myself rebelling against this expectation. And yet, as an artist, I wanted to rise to the challenge and do whatever was necessary to further my career. I finally found a better balance on this issue during this past year of my career. I realized that I needed to embrace who I am exactly as I am, and be proud of the things that make me uniquely “me.” I will always be a curvy woman. I will always have dark skin. I will always have a deep sultry voice… These things are assets if I choose to view them that way! I made a drastic lifestyle change. Instead of to trying to fit into Hollywood’s expectation, I decided to make my wellness a top priority.
No longer do I strive to be “skinny,” but instead I try to be the healthiest version of myself that I can be. This perspective-switch is still a work-in-progress for me, but lately I’ve been much better at remembering that the only person I’m competing against is myself! And, I want to live a long life and have the energy to do this career for decades to come. If I am happier or more slim as a result, then that is an added bonus. It is not always easy, but I currently workout and try to eat clean six days a week. (But, do not fear: Once a week I let loose, rest my body, relax, and eat whatever I want… After all, you have to take time to enjoy life too!)
MC: What are your thoughts on the portrayal of South Asians in the Entertainment industry?
SM: As I said earlier, I’m of the opinion that Hollywood is still learning to fully embrace South Asians into its mainstream storylines. I feel that it gets better every year, but we still have a ways to go before there are more prominent roles available to us regularly. Content-creators — such as writers, producers, and studio executives — must first conceptualize characters for South Asian types within the stories they create; Only then do the auditions and roles become available to us actors. As you can see, it all begins long before the actor even enters the process… However, I will not discount the many talented Indian actors and actresses who have already begun to pave the way for others like me: Kunal Nayyar, Mindy Kaling, Archie Panjabi, Sendhil Ramamurthy, Aziz Ansari, Manish Dayal, Sakina Jaffrey, Parvesh Cheena, Parminder Nagra, and countless others who are helping to transform Hollywood’s collective understanding of the talent and capability South Asians bring to the table. Their roles have sometimes been culturally specific, but oftentimes not. And, regardless, they validate and strengthen the South Asian presence with every line they speak on-camera. Through their hard work, Hollywood is changing for the better, and I want to be part of the next chapter of that movement.
MC: What does your day off look like? What do you do to unwind and relax?
SM: I think work-life balance is so important, especially for those in my business! While, I’m not always the best at achieving this, I do try to take time off and unwind. On a typical day off, I catch up on my sleep and do not set my alarm clock! I also love to enjoy a nice meal or two out. I try to make time for visiting with friends, make phone calls to my family and long-distance loved ones, and catch up on my favorite TV shows and films. In addition, sunny Los Angeles is full of lovely outdoor cafes and quaint coffee shops. On my days-off, you can often find me at one of those establishments, reading a book or surfing the web, over a latte and a sweet treat! (PS – My dog also gets extra-long walks on my days-off, so everybody’s happy!)
MC: Can you talk about some of the projects you are currently working on?
SM: Pilot season in currently under way in Los Angeles — one of our busiest times of year — so right now my on-camera life is dedicated to auditions, workshops, and lots of networking! I do a lot of Television in my acting career, and most recently had a guest appearance on ABC’s hit show, “Black-ish,” which aired late in the Fall of 2014. I also have a few potential independent-film projects on the horizon, and if everything pans out I will definitely make sure to share the news on my social media, so please stay tuned! On the Voiceover side, I am currently working on two ongoing projects. One is a series of characters that I voice for the incredible video-game universe, “Elder Scrolls Online.” And, the other is an amazing project that I’ve been recording at “Warner Brothers Studios” this month, but I unfortunately am not allowed to speak about it at this time! However, both projects have been a sheer joy, and I’m so honored to be a part of them.
MC: Do you have any idols in the industry? Do you have any inspirations from South Indian cinema? Any interest to do crossover projects?
SM: Oh, where to begin? I’m inspired by so many great actors & actresses! As far as my Indian-actress idols are concerned, I am an enormous fan of Nandita Das, Archie Panjabi, and Mindy Kaling. These incredible women have played groundbreaking roles in their respective careers, and have paved the way for South Asians in mainstream entertainment. I’m constantly inspired by their bold character choices & the risks they fearlessly take on in their acting work! As far as South Indian cinema actresses, forgive me but I am an old-school Tamil cinema fan — My all-time favorite movies date back to the 70s & 80s! I love both of Radha’s dramatic performances in P. Bharathiraja’s films, “Kadal Oviyam,” & “Muuthal Mariyathai.” I also loved Revathi’s performance in the comedy, “Marumagal.” These stories have so much heart and depth, and this is so important to me as an audience member and an artist. I am very content being in the Hollywood industry, but I think it would be an honor to do crossover projects, and I’d be overjoyed to bridge between the Western and Eastern cinematic worlds! We shall see what the future has in store for me.
MC: Do you have any long-term goals you’re working towards? Where would you like to be in 5-10 years?
SM: I have so many dreams and goals for myself, and every day I get close to achieving them! In 5-10 years (and, hopefully sooner!) I hope to be a “household name.” It’s a dream of mine to become a Series Regular on a TV show, and possibly do some incredible film work. I want to continue to represent our culture as best I can in my work. I want to continue to spread awareness about the toxicity of skin-color bias as the official “Ambassador to Hollywood” for the “Dark is Beautiful” campaign — a cause that’s near and dear to my heart. I want to take care of my family, as they’ve sacrificed so much for me to help me get this far in my career. I would love to lend my money and voice to charities that I support. And, I want to challenge myself to take on bigger and better roles as my career continues. Above all else though, I want to be a happy and grounded person, the sort of person that others are drawn to be around. For me, kindness, generosity, and love matter above any fame, money, or status that might come my way — I will always strive to ensure my life and career are built around these important values.
MC: What is one key message you would like to convey to those who wish to pursue your career path?
SM: Those that know me well know that I have a favorite saying: “Leap and the net will appear.” This mantra has served me well in my career, and this is my personal message to anyone who wishes pursue a career in the arts. It takes dedication, courage, and a certain amount of risk to be a professional artist. But, if you just leap, you will inevitably discover the most beautiful rewards. So, to those budding artists out there, remember: It’s never too early or too late to start pursuing your passion — Just dream big, fight hard, and be fearless! In my life, every time I have “leapt” boldly, the universe has always followed closely behind, often surprising me with unexpected “nets” of safety to catch me. I believe the same will be true for anyone who believes in the power & beauty of their dreams.
* FOLLOW SHARON MUTHU:
Featured image from: http://pleasecheckmyblog.blogspot.ca
So what has been stirring some controversy the past few weeks in Ontario among parents and religious groups? It’s Ontario’s new sex ed curriculum scheduled to be implemented in the fall.
A graphic created by Lia and Tessa, two Grade 8 girls in Toronto, to push for new sex ed in Ontario schools (from cbc.ca)
The new health and physical education curriculum covers everything from anatomy, to masturbation, to consent, to anal sex, and has had substantive updates since 1998. The coverage of the new guidelines for teachers has focused on sexual education, but the curriculum also includes lessons on nutrition, exercise and overall physical wellness. The reintroduced sex ed curriculum will teach kids about homosexuality and same-sex marriages in Grade 3, encourage discussions about puberty, including masturbation, in Grade 6, and talk about preventing sexually transmitted diseases in Grade 7, which could include information on oral and anal sex.
If you haven’t yet read the curriculum, you can find out more on the Revised Ontario Curriculum for Grades 1-8 (Health and Physical Education here. I highly recommend you first read it for yourself in full instead of reading other people’s rants (including mine of course) from the various blogs and petitions circulating online.
I have seen so many petitions floating around in my online mommy groups, Facebook pages of friends and online. Frankly I’m not sure why there is no support for it, especially as a parent. I would rather that my child learns this information in an unbiased way from their teachers just as they learn about other aspects of education.
Let’s break down this curriculum by section to see what all the hoopla is about:
There are 4 topics for each grade:
1. Healthy Eating, Personal Safety and Injury Prevention
2. Substance Use
3. Addictions, and Related Behaviours and
4. Human Development and Sexual Health.
For each grade there are specific expectations. The seemingly controversial topics are for Human Development and Sexual Health topics. I have tried to provide excerpts on the overall summary for each section and also specific goals in these sections.
Grades 1-3 (Excerpt from Healthy Living Summary)
Particular emphasis is placed on having students learn how to take responsibility for their own safety, at home and in the community, how to stand up for themselves, how to listen to and respect others, and how to get help in situations of abuse. Students also learn to understand and apply basic concepts related to healthy food choices, healthy relationships, diversity, and substance use and potentially addictive behaviours. They learn the names of body parts, begin to understand how their bodies work and develop, and acquire an understanding of some of the factors that contribute to healthy physical, social, and emotional development.
Would you not want your child to learn to be safe in their homes and their community, respect others and get help when needed? If not, what do you think you are protecting them from?
Under Making Healthy Choices for the same topic they will also “demonstrate an understanding of and apply proper hygienic procedures for protecting their own health and preventing the transmission of disease to others (e.g., washing hands with soap, using a tissue, sleeve sneezing, brushing and flossing teeth, not sharing hats or hairbrushes)”. So identifying body parts is part of a comprehensive curriculum.
What exactly is wrong with teaching the proper body parts including genitalia to children grades 1-3? I started teaching my daughter body parts starting at age 2. Just as she learned about the nose and mouth she also learned that her private part was called the vagina..not down there, nether parts, tingalingy lingy or vajiji or whatever….it is called a vagina. Get over it people! It’s a body part. Similarly my son will also learn that he has a penis and not a wee wee or dingle. We don’t give our nose and ears funny names, so why are we doing that to other body parts?
So many studies have shown that kids who know the right body parts are better equipped at calling out on those who try to sexually abuse them and also seeking help. Why are we shaming our kids into thinking that these body parts don’t exist and that they should not name them by the right terms? What is wrong with our society? The kids will learn to name body parts in a secure, unjudging environment along with the rest of their peers. By normalizing these things, we can prevent a lot of finger-pointing, snickering and as I have witnessed in my daughter’s daycare in the past, you won’t have little boys giggling and screaming “Penis penis penis” in the hallways because they have just learned that term from a peer and probably in a not so scientific way.
As much as some people do not want to admit the existence of different types of families in our society, don’t you think it’s important for children to know that they do exist. So some of the concerns are that parents do not want their young children to know that it is “normal” to be raised by homosexual couples. If you are homophobic then it is your belief, but it doesn’t mean that these families don’t exist and that your child should be shielded from this reality. As much as some like to believe this is not going to turn your kids into homosexuals. Read the curriculum properly and you’ll see that the key component of this section is to recognize and show respect for differences in others and sexual orientation and gender identity is just ONE of the many differences.
Grades 4 to 6 (Excerpt from Healthy Living Summary)
In the junior grades, students continue to develop an understanding of the factors that contribute to their health and the health of others in their family and community, but with a particular focus on choices and decisions connected to their personal health.
………………..As they become more independent and more responsible for their own safety and that of others, they also learn how to assess risk, respond to dangerous situations, and protect themselves from a variety of social dangers, including bullying, abuse, violence, and technology-related risks. They learn about the hazards of tobacco, alcohol, illicit drugs, and addictive behaviours and develop the decision-making and communication skills needed to resist pressures to engage in behaviours that can lead to injury or harm. Students also learn how to behave responsibly and respectfully with others, in person and online, and to protect their emotional safety and that of others through a better understanding of stereotyping and assumptions and ways of challenging these.
Because students at this age are approaching or beginning puberty, the curriculum expectations provide an opportunity for students to develop the knowledge and skills that they will need to understand the physical, emotional, and social changes that they are experiencing or are about to go through. Topics include reproduction, self-concept, relationships, stress management, and decision making.
Students who are well informed, who have had the opportunity to do some thinking in advance, and who have been able to practise the appropriate decision-making skills are likely to make wiser decisions about their health.
If you read the overall goals as in the excerpt above and my highlights in red, it makes you wonder why a parent or group out there that wouldn’t want their child to NOT learn any of this. What kind of generation are we raising if that is the case? The specific topics are necessary to help children understand about many of the changes they are experiencing and those changes happen whether you think you as a parent is ready or not. If any parent thinks that it is beneficial to put those discussions on hold until they feel that their children are ready then they need to rethink their decision. And on the other hand there are conservative families that never even discuss any of these. Many parents feel uncomfortable discussing these topics. So wouldn’t they rather that they learn it in an unbiased environment? Are they simply in denial that none of these topics would affect their child and should not be discussed?
Again, the same topic of respecting differences is appropriately worded for someone in Grade 6. By Grade 6 kids will form opinions of each other and stereotypes are well prevalent. I still remember how girls bullied each other in elementary school washrooms by calling a girl fat when she was a beautiful and average size girl. Would you not want your child to be respectful of other human beings whether it be their culture, sexual orientation or their appearance?
Grades 7 and 8 (Excerpt from Healthy Living Summary)
The human development and sexual health expectations recognize that students at this age are developing their sense of personal identity, which includes their sexual identity. Students may already be involved in or contemplating sexual activity or dealing with relationship issues that affect their self-concept and sense of well-being. Consequently, there is an emphasis on developing the skills needed for maintaining healthy relation- ships and acquiring the knowledge and skills needed to make informed decisions about their sexual health. Key topics include delaying sexual activity, preventing pregnancy and disease, understanding how gender identity and sexual orientation affect overall identity and self-concept, and making decisions about sexual health and intimacy.
Enough said. If you think kids in grades 7 and 8 do not think about these topics then you need to get your head out of the rock! Media and peer influences are everywhere.
If you read the specific topics in Grade 7 and 8 it explains the having a shared understanding with a partner about “delaying sexual activity until they are older (e.g., choosing to abstain from any genital contact; choosing to abstain from having vaginal or anal intercourse; choosing to abstain from having oral-genital contact); the reasons for not engaging in sexual activity; the concept of consent and how consent is communicated; and, in general, the need to communicate clearly with each other when making decisions about sexual activity in the relationship”.
It does not tell kids in Grade 7 and 8 to have sex. Rather it gives them information that they are looking for anyways by doing google searches and in fact it talks about delaying intercourse and other sexual activities. Hmmm..maybe you as a parent don’t think you should bring that up but your child is out there talking to his/her friends and searching the internet about all this information. Grade 8 includes a lot of information on STI prevention, different contraceptive methods etc.
I used to volunteer at Planned Parenthood of Toronto and believe me when I tell you that there is a large number of young adults that came there looking for information on sexual health and the different contraceptive methods. As much as you think withholding information will protect your children, they will seek that information elsewhere.
So I beg you to first read the curriculum in full and understand that each of the topics that seem to be creating a lot of controversy and demanding parents to sign petitions against are carefully placed in the right context so they can be discussed openly in a non-threatening manner.
There seems to be absolutely nothing abnormal about the concepts taught. If you actually read the curriculum there is nothing vulgar or explicit. All the teacher prompts are very carefully worded so that students have a chance to absorb the information, ask the right questions and learn the facts and not simply “beliefs” of individuals. The information will actually be delivered more pragmatically than if we were to do so at home where we may simply bring it up randomly. It doesn’t matter if it’s sexual health or other topics, when kids learn from their parents who have different beliefs themselves they may not be getting the accurate information.
It does not mean that parents should not impart their beliefs onto their children. There will be many opportunities to discuss at home and explain how each family feels about these topics, but it’s just as important for kids to learn the facts together their place of education. By levelling the learning field many of the problems related to bullying, sterotyping, not being able to protect themselves from abusive situations and harming others because of their differences may be avoided. Better informed children will make better decisions. After all isn’t safety and protection what we all want for our own children?
For more information check out:
Let’s hear what you have to say on this topic.