Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Shopping at the Punk Rave Store

While I have not personally purchased any clothing from Punk Rave Store in the past, I have browsed their site and I can assure you that they have some very beautiful pieces of Gothic clothes available!  I can see myself wearing many of these items at a club, at a picnic or even to work! I love the versatility of this store as they have a vast selection of Gothic clothing that suits any style of Goth.

For example, they have a very nice Gothic Lolita dress section where I fell in love with this very top! It also comes in black!

In their Gothic dresses section, I have spotted this cute little piece. There's skulls on the corset, how cute is that? I totally swooned over this dress!

 For my office party, I would wear this dress in a heart beat!

Lastly, I have seen some really gorgeous gothic jackets on their site as well. They have so many styles to choose from but I fell in love with this piece right here!

What is YOUR favourite piece or are you like me and have trouble narrowing it down?

Monday, September 26, 2016

I make a horrible friend

Some people might say I am flighty. Some people might be confused by me. I am never one thing. I am like the water. I am unpredictable and I come and go in waves. I can be harsh like the ocean water beating on the rocks or I can be the soothing cool shower on a hot summer's day. This is who I am.

The negative side to being my friend:

* I can go weeks/months/years with no contact

* I much rather be alone than be around a lot of people

* I can be chatty and never shut up or I can go ghost. There is no in-between

* I am very moody without my coffee.

* Casual conversations bore me. In fact, they drain the life out of me. I would much rather have deep, meaningful conversations about various topics. I guess this one can be a positive point too, depending on the perspective!

The positive side to being my friend:

*Despite going weeks/months/years with no contact, I can easily pick up on where we left off and there it would be like there was no period of absence

* Despite being a loner or an introvert, I usually prefer one on one conversations with people.

*Despite being a chatterbox, I do listen to you when there is a problem and will be there for you despite any period of absence. I am usually one of the first people to come running if shit hits the fan in your life.

* Bringing me coffee makes you my best friend by default

* Due to the nature of my job, I make casual conversation ALL day. In fact, I learned to be cute and witty, usually sarcastic commentary to make my customers or coworkers smile because talking about the weather bores me. Thanks to this, I need a lot of alone time on my free time (lunch, at home in the evening) because I need to decompress from my day. Being around people drains me. There are days, I am in bed at 8pm because I have been "people-ing" all frigging day.

*Thanks to my need for downtime, I will recognize your need for it too. In fact, you won't even have to ask me. I am comfortable leaving you alone or even being in the same space as you and not talking. It won't be awkward either.

Being my friend can be frustrating because I am a flake. That is what probably lured you to me in the first place. You never know what to expect from me. As the age old saying goes " it's not you. It's me!" so don't take it personally that I dropped off the face of the earth again. I just need to hide in my cave for a little bit from "people-ing" too much!

Friday, September 23, 2016

More Skills To Pay The Bills

I referenced a World Of Warcraft achievement in my title like the big geek I am!

This blog is a hobby. I write from the heart. I write about things that people may not always agree with me on and some have left. That is OK. My main goal isn't to offend anyone but I am not going to pretend to be someone I am not to make people happy.

I write about the things that I am passionate about. In my "About this blog" page, I wrote: "... my main goal is to just write and enjoy myself. If I entertain you, make you laugh or even make new friends, lucky me!"

Now, the readers who have stuck around and seem to enjoy what they read, I obviously appreciate. Thank you for sticking by me. I also appreciate that some fellow bloggers have become my friend. I do honest reviews on products I have purchased for myself and my family because I believe this is something people can benefit from.

I will not do a product review on something I never purchased before.

It has happened quite frequently where a company would e-mail me. They would praise me, even go as far as to write that I am part of an "elite group of bloggers." The request is simple, I do a post about things I enjoy but I reference their company.

Usually, I am not familiar with these companies. I once very naively did a post for a certain company that I regretted later on and even apologized to my readers.

I get it. It is a cheap PR stunt in order to squeeze in free advertising.

That is another thing. This blog is my labor of love. If I do a blog post, even a sponsored one, rest assured, it would be something my readers could benefit from and something that I can personally, physically hold onto. In other words, no product, no money = no post. I am not going to write about something that I have no clue if the company is worthwhile to purchase from.

I have turned down sponsors because they offered me something that I know I will not like and most probably my readers would not enjoy either. It is a waste of time for both the sponsor and I.

I may not have 1000 followers and I may not get 1000 page views per day. I am cool with that. I like to think that I have a lot of very loyal readers who seem to enjoy reading my blog. I have received so many wonderful compliments that I am deeply touched. I hear a lot from fellow moms who tell me that I inspired them to dress goth again. I have given people courage to dress the way they want despite the fact that they should "grow out of it" or have offspring.  I will not sabotage that for the sake of potential "exposure" - Hell, I managed to piss off some readers well on my own, I don't need to give companies free advertising to do it for me!

With that Darklings, thanks for sticking by and for any new readers, welcome.

A virtual thank you cake. This is where I got the image

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

How I came to be

Well Darklings,

I thought it would be fun to write about how I came to goth in my teens in spirit of my post about growing up in the suburbs of Montreal in the 90's

From a very young age, I knew I was not like most kids. I was nerdy and geeky. I got good grades in school and was picked on because I was kinda goofy looking and awkward. I remember playing pretend in the schoolyard with one of my friends. We used to scare the other kids because we pretended to be vampires or witches or werewolves and even came up with backstories behind the characters!

 I also read a lot and was quite advanced despite learning to read and write in English on my own (with a lot of help from my sister) because I did most of my schooling in French. I remember reading Stephen King's IT and Bram Stoker's Dracula when I was in grade 6 (I was about 11 or 12) The adults back then helped me with it though. I was afraid to walk by a sewer for a week but fell in love with Stephen King. I totally ditched my RL Stine books after that! I also loved reading Dracula because it not only gave me an interest in vampires, it got me interested in history and how people lived back then. I think I originally wanted to read Dracula because my favourite TV show was "The Little Vampire". From what I have read online, this was a Canadian show that later aired in Germany.

This is where I got the image

My first year of High School was not pleasant. These three girls in particular made my life a living hell. I couldn't go anywhere without them pointing and laughing at me. They often shouted "freak" at me in the halls. I was a metal head back then too and because I didn't follow their stupid preppy trends, it only added to their bullying. My outfits consisted mainly of jeans, a plaid shirt (tied around my waist), a band shirt, and Doc Martens. I used to shave my hair in an undercut from time to time. Just when I thought I couldn't take it anymore, I became friends with this one girl that was in a different class from mine. She was very tall and slender but was quite a character. She was a tomboy and had a reputation for fighting. Funny enough, that trio of bitches kept the taunting or shouting "freak" to a minimum when this girl was around. I thought she was cool. I was pretty innocent and naïve back then. She swore like a motherfucker and had a wonderful sense of humour. She was a metal head too and we were both weirdos together and life was great. I was very grateful for her friendship because I was lonely and there were issues at home with my folks.

My second year of high school got better.I ditched the metal head style for grunge because Kurt Cobain was at the height of his popularity and it was right before his suicide (murder?) That style didn't last very long. I experimented with punk very briefly as I was infatuated with Sid Vicious. I decided to say fuck it and went with my own style for about a year or two. There was only so much I could do with a stupid school uniform (or so I thought) and I had the urge to express myself like most teens do. If I had to describe that style, I would say it was Cyndi Lauper meets grunge.

At that time, things at home got worse. My parents are old enough to be my grandparents and had no frigging clue on how to raise a rambunctious, angsty teenaged daughter. I wasn't bad, really. I normally got good grades, I just liked boys and well my overly religious father had a hard time with that. He also had a hard time accepting my style, the music I listened to (I used to buy Christian metal CDs but remove the CD and put Marilyn Manson in the case!) and some of the friends I had. My parents also had a hard time dealing with the fact that some of my friends were gay or weirdos and we constantly butt heads on their rules.

 It also didn't help that I was extremely depressed and suicidal. Not only was I fighting with my first serious boyfriend, I was constantly butting heads with my folks as well. Things spiraled out of control.  I attempted suicide and I was hospitalized. I used to cut myself and did all sorts of crazy shit that I am not very proud of today. While I was in the hospital, if I remember correctly it was a family member who handed me an Anne Rice novel and told me that I absolutely had to read it because I would love it.
When I came out of the hospital, things changed for me at home. My parents stopped being so strict, I had more freedom, they were more accepting towards who I dated (re:they kept their mouths shut more - not all the time but they were much less verbal about my choices ) and my dad finally accepted that his daughter wasn't going to be a good little Catholic girl. In fact, I even brought him to the local occult shop I used to hang out at all the time. He even allowed me to have an altar in my room.

By this time, I was about 17 years old. I was going downtown a lot and had my own style. Everyone around me called me goth but I didn't really know what it was. I used to wear all sorts of weird, badly done makeup and coloured my hair every week. I had a lot of cargo pants, DIY a lot of clothes, and just did my own thing. I guess the best way you could describe it would be a mixture of mallgoth, punk, and grunge. I looked really stupid and I am grateful for having no photographic evidence of this phase.

I remember running into this girl who lived not far from me. She was one of the Waste island goths but was rarely around because like the most of us, was always downtown. She was much older than me. She came over to my place one weekend to hang out. She gave me a proper under cut and sat me down. She gave me a mixed tape with all the artists and songs listed on a sheet of paper. She asked me if I was trying to be goth and I told her that I didn't know what Goth was and wasn't trying to be anything. She looked at me, smiled and said "trust me, you're goth. Now listen to this shit girl and get better clothes"

I indeed got better clothes and fell in love with the new bands my friend's mixed tape introduced me to. By my last year of high school, I started going to clubs and meeting new people. I remember my English teacher teaching us Macbeth and I got to read all the Witches and Lady Macbeth scenes out loud. He also handed me a complete works of Edgar Allan Poe book . I wondered why was he giving me more work? He told me to just read it and to trust him. I did and it opened up a whole new world for me.

As for my problems at home? My folks were more accepting of my goth style and I ended up catching up in school. My grades plummeted they year I was hospitalized. My graduating year, not only did I graduate with honors, I managed to do my final two years of high school in one year. 

Despite growing up and having to tone it down in order to get a real job, there were times I went normal but always came back. Goth to me is not only about the music, it is the art, the literature, and having a dark disposition in life. It is who I am and it took many years to fully admit that not matter what I do or how hard I try, I cannot escape who I am.  You can take the goth out of the girl but not the girl out of goth!

And this Darklings was my babybat years.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Things I learned from diet and exercise

With my new attempts at turning my life around and trying to take better care of myself,  I have come across all sorts of commentary and well-meaning advice and well, I thought I would offer some of my own advice to the mix. Remember, these are MY personal experiences alone and everyone is different so before anyone takes my advice as word set in stone, please see your doctor.

1) Just as I stated above, before dieting and exercise, it is very important to see your doctor. Last spring, when I needed a prescription renewal for my migraines, I also asked my doctor about my weight. She said that I should concentrate on the migraines and neck pain first. I started going to physio therapy and not long after wards, I started eating better and exercising.

2) Just because I may not look overweight, does not mean that I am not. I am tired of hearing this. I am tired of hearing that "I am not that big" or how I should not count calories or make healthier choices.It doesn't mean that someone isn't obese or plus size that they are not a healthy weight. The same goes for the opposite. Some people might be considered plus size but they are very healthy. My doctor told me that for my age and height, I could stand to lose a few pounds. Well, she was a lot more polite about it but let's call a spade a spade here.

3) Many well meaning friends have invited me to all sorts of seminars on fad diets or even told me about the fad diets they are on and how I would quickly loose so much weight. Personally, anything that has the word "healthy" in it, usually isn't, especially when their main goal is to promote losing 20 pounds in a month. For women, the healthiest way to loose weight is no more than 2 pounds per week (hence 8 pounds per month) otherwise, it could have some serious effects on your body.

4) My scale can jump around a lot. Apparently, this is normal.

5) Eating better and exercising has been very addictive for me. It has really helped me with stress and anxiety.

6) There is no magic method I use for my weight lost and I do not have any special recipes or foods I eat that help me lose weight. I simply count calories on the "My Fitness Pal" app I have on my phone. I try to get as much exercise as I can. I eat more home cooked meals but once a week, on Friday night, we have our special supper which usually consists of a pre-packaged meal. You know, frozen french fries, pizza, nuggets. Anything that I can throw in the oven but I do limit my proportions. I cut out all soda from my diet. If I do crave something bubbly, I go for the diet kind. I cut out all alcohol but will have an occasional glass of wine. I stopped eating Mcdonald's and fast foods.

7) For those wondering on what I do actually eat, it's simple. A lot of protein (chicken, canned tuna, etc) as well as very little sugar. Protein helps keep you going and fills you up. This is what helped me lose the weight. Honestly, I don't crave junk anymore. I will have an occasional cupcake (we have them once a month at my work) as well as a piece of cake (son's birthday). I don't deny myself. I do not follow a specific diet (i.e. Atkins or Weight Watchers, etc.)  but simply eat well. That means lots of veggies and fruits, grains, proteins and all that stuff that might not always taste as good as a donut but is healthier for you! If I do plan on eating carbs (ie pasta) I try to eat them for lunch. I pretty much cut out all bread from my diet unless I plan on eating the occasional sandwich. Sorry I can't offer you more. I just cook a lot and sometimes get creative with my meals. I might occasionally post recipes or food ideas I eat often for those looking for inspiration. We shall see. I am not one of those quinoa eating ultra health food nut either. I just don't eat fast food or processed food anymore.

8) If I do crave something sweet, I take a small piece of chocolate, break it into little pieces and mix it with my yogurt.

9) Just because I count calories, doesn't mean I have an eating disorder. I eat what is required. In fact, I am eating more than I ever did in my life. I am just choosing better foods. I will NOT starve myself.

10) Just because something says it's good for you or it is healthy,  isn't always the case. Read the labels. I am not a morning person so I immediately thought the Carnation Breakfast Essentials shakes were perfect for me. I would mix the powder into one cup of skim milk and voila! Instant breakfast to drink while I get ready to go for work. I never ate breakfast before (which is a big no-no by the way) and I felt like this would be better than nothing. While breakfast really is the most important meal of the day,  these shakes, while yes, they do have lots of vitamins in there are loaded in sugar. In fact, if you read the label, you would notice that there is 22 grams of sugar per packet. That is roughly 5 to 6 teaspoons in one cup! I take 5 to 6 teaspoons of sugar in one day! No wonder the app on my phone kept telling me to watch my sugar intake! This is why I read labels before making any purchase. Now I eat plain old cereal (Cheerios) with almond milk in the morning!I will only use those breakfast shakes if I am running really late.

11) My weight loss is full of trial and error. Thanks to this experience, I am learning about my body every day.

12) There will be good days and good weeks but there will also be bad ones. I hit a plateau a couple of weeks ago where I gained weight. I realized that I wasn't counting the right portions and started losing weight again after I made a few adjustments. There were weeks where I lost 2 pounds and week where I only lost a half a pound. Don't beat yourself up over it. It is a learning process.

13) After a huge workout, I drink about 1 to 2 cups (careful, high calories) of chocolate milk. It is full of protein and has all sorts of good things in there to help your body and muscles. Plus, it's a great motivation for me to go out and move around! I love chocolate. It is very important to replenish your body after a workout, otherwise you feel like shit and this is really bad for you!

14) Ladies, weight gain does happen, especially if you are doing a lot of strength exercises or .if you are like me you tend to put on a pound or two during that time of the month and the gain is due to your monthly "friend,"don't stress too much about it.  I try to avoid giving in to my cravings and I usually lose that extra weight afterwards

Well, I am no doctor or diet expert. I am just a girl who is fed up with being unhealthy and with the way she looks. This is what is working for me. If you have anything to add, please feel free to comment.

*Image from left to right = from beginning to most recent*

Friday, September 16, 2016

Silly random thoughts of the week

A couple bloggers do a month in review or a week in review post on their blogs. I am far too boring to write about my week...well...except for this week. This week has been a long one and is an exception.  So here is my list (in no particular order) because despite it feeling like time is going by very slowly, it was an interesting week for me!

 (1) Discovered I lost 10.5 pounds. Yahooo!

(2)  Coffee is my best friend. Moreso than usual.

(3) Philip's first baby tooth came out. He got visited by the tooth faerie and was all excited the next morning to find a twoonie (Canadian two dollar coin, we don't have it in paper form anymore) under his pillow. It is so bitter sweet! He is no longer my baby bat.

(4) Philip got new glasses AGAIN. I swear, I have no clue what that kid does to them. Philip= El Destructo.

(5) Philip turned 6 and had a birthday party at the local cinema. We had a room reserved where we were able to have cake, we played in the arcades and got to watch the movie Kubo And The 2 Strings. I highly recommend you go see this movie as it has a beautiful story line but if you have wee ones, be forewarned, a lot of the kids were scared during certain scenes.

(6) Philip is doing MUCH better at school and I love his teacher. This is a HUGE improvement from last year's fiasco. I met the teacher on curriculum night which took place on Thursday. She teaches with an iron fist in a velvet glove. She is super cute but you don't want to fuck with her. Philip says that his teacher is a lot like his mommy. I like to think that I am cute but don't let people take advantage of me either so I take it as a huge compliment.

(7) It was Philip's first birthday where I didn't cry. I used to get emotional. This year, he wanted to be with his friends and it was draining. We are doing the family thing this weekend.

(8)  I hate people! People have been pissing me off a lot this week.

(9) Been busy with work and so many chores to do at home. Adulting sucks. Big time. But then I can have coffee. So all is good.

(10) Thanks to my coworkers who are very into sports, personal training and fitness, I learned that interval training is much, much better for weight loss and as a result, managed to cut my workouts down a little bit. That means more time to do other things (like watch Ink Master, Doctor Who, and Gilmore Girls)

(11) I got two new Pop figurines!

This is where I got the image since my photos didn't come out too nice.

This is where I got the image since my photos didn't come out too nice. 

(12) I have no patience this week and wish some people would just get to the point and get on with their story. Seriously, I could have told you all that in two minutes not five! Ain't nobody got time for that

(13) Coffee is my best friend. Totally worth repeating! I don't kill people that way :p Especially when it takes them twenty minutes to explain something simple (see 12 above). Ugh! I don't care that you woke up this morning, what you had for breakfast, just get to the fucking point! My mom has been driving me nuts lately with Philip's birthday and she is lonely, I guess.

(14) I got to babysit a dog for a few minutes at my work. Her name is Chloe and she is the cutest, sweetest thing in the world.

(15)  I am officially in the poor house due to kid going back to school, new glasses, his birthday, and all the school fees. I don't care. I still don't regret buying those Pop figurines and all the everyday home décor stuff (re: Halloween merchandise is in full swing at my local stores) You can never have too many skull mugs, stickers,pumpkin spice candles, various bric-a-brac and bats. I even looked at my recent bank transactions hoping to find a mistake but there was no mistake. It was all me. ALL ME!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The weight loss Hell Bunny

Alright, I take back on what I wrote previously about not wanting to do any outfit posts because I am not confident in the way I look. I think losing 10.5 pounds since I started this whole lifestyle change deserves to be recognized, right?

Not only did I notice that I gained a lot of weight, my favourite Hell Bunny skirt (featured here many times before) no longer fit me. Once I finally admit that I actually gained weight, I stepped on the scale and my worst fears were confirmed. I sadly put my little skirt in the back of my closet and after sulking, I was determined to turn my life around.

After I recently discovered that I lost 10.5 pounds, I decided to give my skirt another go and lo and behold! It fits! The damned thing fits!

Due to the cooler temperatures (FINALLY) I decided to add my cute little Hell Bunny cardigan to the mix. I purchased this cute little cardigan a couple of months ago during a heatwave (yeah, I do shit like that. Go me!) and I was anxious to wear it!

I still have about another 40 pounds to lose but each milestone deserves celebrating.  It is not the ultra goth look I was going for but I know that would be frowned upon at the office so I am just happy that I can actually wear this stuff to work! Yes, I wore this outfit to work and no one said anything. Well, a coworker who has been out of the office for a few weeks said something but it was because she noticed the weight loss ! I am one lucky, lucky girl! Just like my weight loss, being able to wear alternative clothing to work is not easy. I did not do this overnight. It took years to build up that level of acceptance and now coworkers all think I am cute. They smile when they see that I added a little bit of me into my job (whether it is in my clothes or the Halloween stickers I use to decorate my notebook with)  Life is too short and I don't want to be boring.


Monday, September 12, 2016

Twenty Questions Times Two

I totally ganked this quiz from Debra, She Who Seeks.

If you are unfamiliar with her blog, go check it out. I love reading her posts!

Honestly, I love reading other people's answers as it helps me get to know the person behind the blog better (hint: take the fucking quiz already!) and I hope you enjoy reading my answers too!

1. Are you named after anyone? My middle name is also my grandmother's name (Louise) and I was also named after some random nurse while my mom was in labour for me. You see Sylvie is a very popular name here in Quebec. My dad originally wanted to name me Vanessa or Marie Josephine until he heard the name "Sylvie" being paged on the intercom and he obviously changed his mind. Sometimes I wish he would have simply named me Louise because it drives me nuts when people call me Sylvia. I just give up and tell them that my name is Sophie!

2. When was the last time you cried? A couple of weeks ago when the fucking scale was moving in the wrong direction.

3. Do you like your handwriting? I guess so.

4. What is your favourite lunch meat? I don't really have one.

5. Do you have any kids? One human and two furbabies.

6. If you were another person, would you be friends? Fuck yeah! I am one awesome chick! In fact, I like to think that I am my own best friend.

7. Do you use sarcasm? Yes, yes I do.

Image result for sarcasm meme
You totally just read this in Yoda's voice, didn't you?

8. Do you still have your tonsils? Yes, last time I checked.

9. Would you bungee jump? I second Debra's answer to this question -- FUCK NO!

10. What is your favourite cereal? Count Chocula!

11. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? Yes because it would be hard to remove 14 hole Doc Martens otherwise!

12. Do you think you're strong? Yes, yes I do. I can pick up a 50 pound kid with one arm while juggling groceries in the other. I am also very emotionally strong. I gots the powah!

13. What is your favourite ice cream flavour? I have two. Chocolate and/or pistachio

14. What is the first thing you notice about people? I like to think I am a good judge of character. Usually, I am pretty good at determining whether or not I would get along with that person or whether or not they are an ass.

15. Red or pink? Red

16. What is the least favourite thing you like about yourself? My weight and I am working on that

17. What colour pants and shoes are you wearing right now? Black and black! Duuuuh!

18. What was the last thing you ate? Supper and now I am drinking tea.

19. What are you listening to right now? Siouxsie & The Banshees, Juju album.

20. If you were a crayon, what colour would you be? Black, Duh!

21. Favourite smell? Pumpkin and/or dewberry

22. Who was the last person you talked to? Husband

23. Favourite sport to watch? None. Watching sports is like watching cement hardening!

24. Hair colour that's real? A really horrible light brown/blonde.Yuck.

25. Do you wear contacts? Yes.

26. Favourite food? Chocolate and/or souvlaki

27. Scary movies or happy endings? Scary movies FTW!

28. Last movie you watched? Space Balls but I really want to write that I went to see Kubo & The 2 Strings over the weekend. Excellent movie by the way.

29. What colour shirt are you wearing? Black

30. Summer or winter? Winter. I hate the summer heat but I prefer fall

31. Hugs or kisses? I`hate the whole social aspect of hugging someone or the two kisses on the cheek while greeting or saying good-bye. I do so to not look like an ass but it makes me feel awkward. I only really like show affection to those closest to me. None of that mushy stuff where people get into my personal space sort of crap. Stay away from me, you got cooties!

32. Favourite sweet food? Chocolate

33. What book are you currently reading? I love to read but have not found the time to read a book these days. It sucks, I know.

34. What is on your mouse pad? Nothing

35. What did you last watch on TV? Gilmore Girls (total un-goth confession, I know)

36. Favourite sound? TARDIS

37. Rolling Stones or Beatles? Rolling Stones

38. What is the farthest you have traveled? England

39. Do you have a special talent? Yes I do but that is between my husband and I *wink*

40. Where were you born? Montreal, Canada

Friday, September 9, 2016

How listening to Ashbury Heights helped me parent my son

"You've gotta move on
You've gotta keep on ridin'
You've gotta shoot low
You've gotta keep abiding" - Ashbury heights, Waste Our Love

In my previous post, I wrote about how my son, Philip has a strong will and I am always challenged as a parent.

The school year is in full swing and I am super happy with his new teacher! She writes notes in his agenda on a daily basis and keeps me updated on his behavior. She wrote yesterday that he had a good day but he did take a tantrum when it came to math.

I asked Philip what was up with that. He told me that it was too hard. I explained to him that things in life are hard but he should never give up on the first try. My son is like me. He understands things easily and I guess he has grown accustomed to it. When he doesn't understand or excels at something on the first try but sees others who do understand something before he does, he gets pissed.

I explained to him that it is OK to feel frustrated and angry but screaming and raising a tantrum is not acceptable. Regulating his emotions was never easy for him and it is something that we work on with him on a daily basis.  He admitted that he didn't know how to stop himself from exploding. I mentioned that he is to count to 10, raise his hand and ask for help. He said he will do it next time but still did not feel confident that he could do it. I reminded him of an incident that happened earlier this week where he did regulate his emotions but if he were to be in the same situation in the past, he would have exploded in anger. He can do it and I have faith in him.

Since he was well-behaved for most of the day, he got his reward sticker but I made him write lines. He had to write "I will not yell in class. I will ask for help instead" 3 times. I was hoping that by making him write lines, despite not being able to read yet, it would sink in. I got what I had wished for:

Since Philip was a small child, our thing is to listen to music in the car together. This morning, the song Waste Our Love by Ashbury Heights came on.

From what I understood by listening to the lyrics,  I think the song is about suicide and depression but that is my interpretation of it. Obviously to a 5 year old, he does not understand all those things but what he said next made me beam with pride: "Mommy, I am going to do my best not to yell or scream or get so angry. If I have trouble with school, I will try really, really, really hard to not yell and ask for help. Just like in the song. I can do this. I got this. I just need to believe in myself"

For the record, Philip reported this evening that he did get frustrated with some of his school work but instead of taking a fit, he counted to 10, raised his hand and asked for help. He got help and a lot of praise at school and at home. I do realize he is very young, probably one of the youngest in his class due to his birthday and it is nice that the school is taking this into acount and is working with me on it. 

A lot of non-goth people have voiced concerned to me over the years by exposing Philip to goth/dark/alternative/metal music. I would always politely listen to their concerns, smile and just go about doing my own thing. This is my time to shine and my proverbial fuck-you to these people!

Thank you very much Ashbury Heights for helping me parent my son and for giving me that one up on those well-meaning, annoying twits!

Off record - I know there are a lot of mom posts these days and I really don't want to be pigeon-holed into solely being a mommy blogger. I do plan on posting about some other topics later.  I am  simply doing a lot of mommy posts recently because:  (1) I am in a major personal fitness/lifestyle mode at the moment and don't want to write excessively about exercise and diet because I am afraid of sounding too preachy. I don't want to be one of those annoying people that change something in their lives and never shut up about it by lecturing other people who choose not to follow the same path. (2) It's Philip's birthday tomorrow and my week has been ALL about him (3) My vanity was one of the main reasons behind the whole new lifestyle change and at the moment, I think I look like shit. I don't want my picture taken in any outfit posts because I don't like how I look at all.  In other words, bare with me, there will be some new topics coming soon. I don't know when but really soon. I am not telling, haha!

Have a nice weekend, Darklings

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Raising a strong willed child

I always said that my son is very strong willed and as much it can be a pain in the ass, I know he will be an excellent leader some day. Parenting a strong willed child is not an easy task. It takes a huge amount of patience and love.

The past couple of years,I learned some tricks that helped me parent him without giving in and be able to usually avoid a power struggle.

(1) Time outs don't work - I read on some sites that some parents resorted to spanking their child when the time out method failed. I REFUSE to do this. What I did: I confiscate one of his toys. If he screams and protests, I take another toy away. I tell him that the more he shouts or protests, the more toys I take away. The first time I did this, I had a garbage bag full of toys and he had to earn them back one by one. The last few times I had to confiscate toys, I only had to take one away from him. He learned that by fighting or shouting like an idiot or by taking a tantrum would not only would he fail at getting his own way, he would have a toy taken away from him.

(2) Give the proper tools - Once the initial crisis has passed, we have discussions and sometimes even role play a given scenario. We encourage him to give us examples on what would be the correct behavior and what isn't. We give examples on when it is a good time to have a strong will, when it is a good time to lead vs using it to get his own way.

(3) Praise the good behavior - I noticed that my child responds much better towards positive behavior. We have reward charts and stickers that praise his positive behavior.

(4) Hands on learning - Philip likes to see for himself why he can or cannot do a certain thing. If the overall outcome would not hurt him (ie. put his hand in an electrical outlet) I let him see for himself and what are the consequences to his actions. Some of the best lessons I have learned in my life were from trial and error.  For example, last winter, he didn't want to wear his coat. So, I let him go outside without one but brought the coat outside with me. Once he realized how cold he was, he decided to put his coat on! Pick your battles. I learned that once I loose my patience and engage in a screaming match, I lost. I will NOT back down and figured out that sometimes letting your kid walk outside to see for himself that it is cold out is so much less stressful than a power struggle first thing in the morning.

(5) Offer choices - Philip doesn't like being told what to do. Instead of a power struggle, I tend to pick my battles. I give him choices whenever I can (I let him pick a snack but I give him the options of a fruit or other healthy food choice) He likes routine so getting him to brush his teeth before bed or in the morning isn't a struggle but if it is, I usually ask him "what do we do in the morning?" He will name off a few things like putting on his shoes or getting his lunch out of the fridge so I would then ask him "Do you rather put your shoes on then brush your teeth? Remember, you need to brush them before you leave" Usually, we come to an agreement and he is willing to cooperate.

(6) Anticipate bad behavior - Before going to the store or school, I remind him the behavior I expect him to have and tell him the consequences to his behavior. If he is good, he is permitted to watch TV or play a videogame on my phone. If he misbehaves, he has those privileges taken away.

(7) Reward system- For exceptional behavior, he gets a sticker. We put them on our calendar in the kitchen (right in his vision) and he sees them while he is at the table. By the end of the month, if he collects the majority of stickers, he chooses an activity or we buy a certain inexpensive toy he has been asking for.

(8) A little understanding and empathy goes a long way - sometimes, to avoid a power struggle, I would tell him that I understand how he feels. For example, we wanted to see the movie Pete's Dragon and I made arrangements with my local cinema to have his birthday party there. When the cinema emailed me to tell me that the movie was no longer available but they had other kid-friendly options, I hated to break the news to him but I told him what happened. He got mad and started to protest. I told him that no matter how hard he argues, I cannot change the cinema's decision but I can arrange for him to get the movie when it comes out on DVD (maybe it would be a gift from Santa?) because not being able to see a highly anticipated movie is disappointing. I suggested an alternative movie and he seemed excited over the prospect.

 Parenting a strong willed kid is one of the hardest things I have to do but with some patience and some creative thinking on my part, it can be manageable while setting limits and boundaries. The last thing you want to do is to give in.

Monday, September 5, 2016

How being goth made me a better parent

Being a parent and being goth has its challenges. I am fearful of other people taking out their judgments towards me on my kid. I don't want to be liked by everyone and I know that I am not the only parent who feels like motherhood can be one giant clique. This is not only reserved to alternative people. A lot of other non-goth or normal moms have told me that they have experienced this as well. There seems some sort of segregation between the breast feeders and bottle feeders, the co-sleepers and non-co sleepers. I was shamed on numerous occasions when Philip was an infant because of my inability to breast feed him. I wrote in my previous post that I will not engage in "Mommy wars" and I try my best to stay out of that drama. To be all honest, I really don't care how other people raise their kids because I am too busy raising mine! Being a parent is tough enough as it is and the last thing I need to worry about is a bunch of catty women judging me.

Thanks to these preconceived judgments towards me (tattoos, I look young, I don't wear yoga pants) I get the impression that it is expected that my child would misbehave. This is one of the many reasons why I went normal after I got engaged. I didn't want my future children to be affected by their weird mom but to be honest, I never fit in with people! For the most part, I don't like people! I can try and wear the clothes and pretend to be interested in the current trend, but that is not me. I will always be the weird one of the group. I never cared that people have any negative pre-conceived notions against me but it hurts me that they take it out on my son who in my biased opinion, is an awesome, bright, little boy who will always be there for his friends and will fight for them if necessary.

I stand my ground. Goth or not. I am strict with Philip and these jugmental pricks have nothing to do with that. I am just a hard-assed parent who doesn't want another little asshole running around, pissing off all the adults around us because I am too stupid or lazy to teach him to have respect. It doesn't mean that I had a kid that I expect the whole world to tolerate my noisy little brat! Hell, I can barely tolerate other people's kids!  We have rules and I try my hardest to teach him to respect himself and others. We don't scream, we don't bother other people and if he does do something inappropriate, he is pulled aside and told immediately. Depending on the circumstance, we make him apologize for his misbehavior. There are situations where kids will be kids and I do expect a certain form of tolerance from other people but for the most part, I am very proud that my kid is usually very well behaved at home and in public.

In the beginning, I thought it was me and I was being paranoid until my friends, Jay, my mom, and my family members noticed it too. Many of them remarked that a lot of people look at me with disgust. You can tell by their expressions I am being judged nine ways from Sunday. By the end of it, my parenting skills are being complimented on, I am told that Philip is such a well behaved, well spoken and poite little boy. 

I am not perfect. I am human. I do the best I can with what I have. I live in an area that stems from upper to middle class to lower class. I have met all sorts of parents from all walks of life so before any one accuses me of judging, please note that I am referring to the ones who have passed judgment on me, to the ones I have overheard talking about the "weird girl all in black" (I am the only one in that school from what I can see) and how some of them won't invite Philip to their kids birthday or play-date. That despise all this, I was nice enough to invite their child to my son's birthday party but they have conveniently declined the invitation. I wish there were more goth parents in my area but then again, Philip may not necessairly be friends with their kid. It just saddens me that despite their stupid clique, they can't put their feelings aside for an afternoon, for their kid, no less.

Again, I am human.There are times, I get annoyed over their look of disgust and I try hard to remind myself that they don't just do it to me. They also do it to other parents. There are lots of other moms who really want to be my friend because I am apparently a cool mom. I perhaps make myself an easy target towards the Barbie crowd, afterall, I don't look or act like they do. It encourages me that when these judgmental assholes who constantly look their noses down at me have their little brats misbehave while mine is a well mannered little boy, it gives me that satisfaction. It is my silent fuck you to them. I may not always be able to give Philip a  fancy vacation or all the toys he wants in the world. I can give him the ability to be respectful and well mannered. I may not look classy to them but I can be one classy lady around these people and in fact, without even trying, I am teaching Philip a valuable life-lesson! The best I can do as a mother is to give my child tools to be the best person he can be! If that means that he is a weirdo like his parents, at least he will know how to deal with it and I would never ever try to get him to change that in order to please someone else.  That is more important.

Friday, September 2, 2016

What does big hair, a fox, a smartass kid, and a personal challenge have in common????

I regret cutting my hair and I miss my long locks. The weather over here in the afternoon is very humid and thanks to the humidity, my hair looks like something one of my cats coughed up. Normally, I have products I put in my hair to combat the frizz but I have been staying away from them for various reasons but I found a good solution to the problem!

 I am very fortunate to live near two cemeteries and I decided to visit one of them during my evening walk! I visited this particular one a while ago and it was nice to go back. There is something very serene walking through the cemetery before the sun sets. I heard all sorts of wildlife and this is a very small, urban cemetery! In fact, I even made a new friend!

I apologize for the photo quality.

This little fox came right up to me. I moved closer to the little critter and it ran a few paces back but it kept on approaching me. As much as I wanted to pet the little creature, I was afraid of its bite. The little fox followed me for a little while too!

Don't blink!

Since this is a random post but there is a point to it all, I swear, I thought it would be funny to add in some of the funny things that Philip told me earlier this week:

The door to my medicine cabinet sticks and you need to use some force in order to open it. Philip is a witness my fight with the cabinet and was impressed that I managed to force it open. What he said next made me laugh: "That is why I don't mess with my mom"

We were discussing education and how I hope he would attend University one day. He asked me if he would have to sleep in a dorm. I told him that if he decided to go to University here in Montreal, he didn't have to move out if he didn't want to. He would be old enough to decide whether or not he would like to live on his own. His answer made me laugh: "No, I don't want to move away. They might not have the Internet or Wifi over there!"

Having been active and eating healthier, my outlook on life has been positive recently. The weather here in the evening is bearable, unlike the afternoons.It is not too hot, not too cold and I have enjoyed my nightly sunset walks. I now love being outdoors because I got to see so much happening in my area! The City held these line dancing programs in the park near my house where people could attend, at no cost. Personally, I did not participate in these things but it is so nice seeing people come together and get moving!

I got to see young families play with their children in the park and having fun. I even got to know a few people from my community while I went swimming at my local pool. I saw the full moon a couple of weeks ago while I was in the water and I wondered how many more full moons will I see in my lifetime? How many more defining or inspirational or even silly Philip moments will I get to experience? I realized that I did not experience all these things by simply sitting at home, in front of my TV feeling sorry for myself. I spent time with people that mean the most to me in the world. I got to hear Philip saying cute things and I got to send him off to grade one! I became friends with a fox at my local cemetery! I met some really nice people at my pool and I got to see families bond together. I got to see perfect strangers come together and exercise in the park. This is why I challenge you Darklings to go outdoors! You don't need to do any sports if you don't want to. Go explore the creepy places like a cemetery or an abandoned building. You may just make a new friend like I did. I hope you can post about your experiences too so I can read about them as well.

Have a good weekend, Darklings and remember, should you encounter an angel statue, don't look away, don't turn your head, and don't blink! 


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