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Genki des!



parenthood and the pursuit of happiness

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Conversations with a newly minted 10 year-old.
Tuesday at the fish pond.

"Hey, Mom."

"Yes, Andrew."

"So, D--- at school says that Trudeau's trying to change the O Canada song." This particular kid often has a lot to say about Trudeau.

"Oh yes, " I say.

"Well, D--- says that it's stupid and a big waste of time."

"Huh. Well, Andrew, they're changing the words in O Canada because right now it talks only about men, specifically WHITE MEN, being in command of the country. You know the lyrics 'in all our sons command'?"

"Yeah," he replies.

"Well, a long time ago, the song didn't say that. That particular line was written into O Canada when white British men were in control of the Canadian government, and when they rewrote it, they wanted to glorify themselves. They wanted a big white Canada full of white men. But that's not what Canada is. It's never been that. So, one minister of parliament, not Trudeau, put forward a motion to change it."

"Okay, but why did D--- say it was Trudeau?"

"Maybe he hears it from his parents. They probably read the Edmonton Sun newspaper,[third grade reading level] and spread the ignorance. I'm pretty sure that newspaper doesn't have news in it anymore." Yes, I said that. I also tell him, when he asks to get 'one of those boxes so we can watch the new movies as soon as they come out', that I won't buy one because I'm not a thief, and I'm not going to steal movies. Sometimes, I just can't abide.

Like last week, I was the parent help for the zoo trip; God help me. I'm proud I kept my mouth and didn't cry when watching the animals in cages. I really hate zoos. I HATE THEM. But I have never done a school field trip. I figured it was my turn. And the rules for this field trip were pretty standard: no electronics, no money, bag lunch, sunscreen, water. And a parent, who is also a teacher (no shit), gave her kid money to spend at the gift shop. No other kids had money, and we all had to wait for the teacher to make a special trip into the gift shop so that one kid could spend her money. And my own kids were asking me, "Can we go in?" And all I said was, "I didn't bring money for the gift shop."

But then they said, "Well, how come she gets to go in?" And no, I did not blame the teacher. I just said, like I said above, "I think her parents must be illiterate. They can't read, so they didn't know not to send money." Okay, maybe she didn't have time to read any one of the three pamphlets and two emails about the school trip. But seriously. There were, like, five kids on that field trip. If 20% of all parents are functionally illiterate in a larger class, I can't imagine the stress on teachers.


I continued, "It's important to read and ask questions, Andrew, like you are. Some people choose not to think before they speak."

"Okay... but isn't it a waste of time?"


"Some people say it is. And you know what, I kind of agree. I think the Liberals should've just changed it and been done with it. BUUUUUT, we live in a democracy, and in a democracy, we take time to talk about changes to songs that are important to everyone in Canada. We take time to hear people's opinions, and we take time to vote to change it or not to change."

"Mom, who won the vote?"

"The Liberals won the vote by like 200 to 70 or something. So, the words in O Canada will change soon."

"Wow, that's like, a lot to win by," he says.

"Yup, I guess most thinking people agree that a nation's song shouldn't just be about white people with penises, that maybe there's women and other people in Canada, too."

"Ha ha ha ha, white people with penises. Yeah, there's girls in Canada," OH MY WORD. "Mom, how do you know all this?"

"Andrew, do you know what my job is?"

"Oh, yeah, I forgot. You're a nistorian."

I'm a nistorian. Right.

Happy 10th birthday, darling first boy. I love this age; I love to talk to you and while sometimes you have too much to say to fit into a single day, I hope you never stop talking to me like this. Don't worry about your curly, fluffy hair. It's beautiful. (Stop wearing hats.)

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