Profile on a hot mama

3143_263948017040893_1897229401_nThe woman is trying to keep our hair on end by sticking her finger in every creative socket. She’s a shutterbugging, word scribbling musician. Behind the mic Jenine Daubney becomes J9. Oh ya, she’s  mama bird to a couple of baby chicks too.

The description on her Facebook page, written by Conan Caine, reads, “Don’t let the pretty face fool ya! This girl is as hardcore as it comes. You mess with her, she’ll fuck you up. Stand in the way of her music, or her parenting, and be sure to lose a couple of teeth in the process!”

Her words shape the story of a kid who spent their teenage years hitchhiking and hopping freight trains throughout North America. “I was a fucked up little chicken before I left Toronto,” says Miss J9. “But there, my problems were minor in comparison to what Van City had in store for me.” The artist says she stayed in different Vancouver group homes, describing them as government run squats. “I ran with punk rockers and hoodlums. It gave me a good foundation to start establishing street ethics and code. Van is where I went full fledge into the lifestyle and drug scene.”

Eulogies, a song she says haunts her, “was written for all the dead homies who were dropping like flies.” Her lyrics may ressurect ghosts and closeted skeletons, but they also provide a release for the artist. J9 is sharing her time capsule while paving her and her family a rock solid future.

“I hope you all will listen to these newly released tracks off of Rock Solid. I bared my soul in these songs, and I hope people out there can connect and take something from my tracks! Respect to all of you showing a girl some love.”

Hear her on SoundCloud and check her out on Facebook  and Twitter ;p

I write other stuff too! Check out HillaryDiMenna.com

Paternity leave is only weird if we let it be

BB and his foster kittens
BB and his foster kittens

July 7, 2013 was a Facebook employee’s last day of a four-month paternity leave. Tom Stocky wrote of his leave in a – what else? – Facebook note. He wrote about the stuff anyone on paternity leave can relate to: “I had thought her two naps each day would serve as breaks, but instead that time was mostly used for showering, feeding myself, washing bottles, cleaning up her high chair and toys, and doing tasks around the house that would be more difficult when she was awake.” He also made some interesting points on people’s reactions to his decision to take paternity leave.

That’s typically followed by surprise that I’m actually taking it — why would I want to subject myself to that torture (from parents), why would I want to sit around and do nothing for 4 months (from non-parents), or why would I want to do what is surely a career-limiting move.

That last one was especially interesting to experience because in some ways people said to me what they didn’t feel permitted to say to women. Would my project still be there when I got back? Wouldn’t my ambitious coworkers use this as an opportunity (maliciously or not) to advance themselves at my expense? Wouldn’t I be viewed as being less committed to my work, thus stunting my own advancement for the foreseeable future? I didn’t know the answers to these questions, but I viewed this as an important enough experiment to find out.

I can’t speak for all mothers, but no one was shy to ask me these same questions. Maybe the opinions, questions and comments like the ones Stocky receive are well-intentioned, but they come off rude and ignorant. Adults aren’t great with change; so faced with a biggie like parenthood, things can get sensitive. Things are confusing enough.

When it comes to paternity leave specifically it is disheartening to read how the father felt isolated in a sea of mommy groups, “I didn’t like being the only dad at the playground, getting cautiously eyed as moms pulled their kids a bit closer.” I’ve seen this happen to the lone dads at drop-in play centres and playgroups, and that sucks.

Paternity leave is being used more often in Canada. In Quebec, fathers can get five weeks of leave, unpaid, in addition to their paid parental leave. A September 2011 Canadian Business article says nearly 30 percent of fathers took leave, at various lengths. Paternity leave needs to be accepted as a norm so more fathers will use it.  A parent is a family member, nothing gender specific about that.

I write other stuff too! Check out HillaryDiMenna.com

Baby wigs, because there is no time to waste when fostering female insecurity!

Perfect baby!
Perfect baby! 

Last I heard of baby bangs, it was a cute hairstyle I could never pull off other than one day (and it was during my hair-hated-me-because-I-was-pregnant-era. So, good on me!)

Now, Baby Bangs! Is a company selling wigs “for the girl who has everything-except hair.” Baby Bangs! Made just for little girls sells hairpieces attached to headbands. The tresses are “arranged in the cutest most adorable elfish coiffure!” The only thing cuter would be a baby’s real features! Babies are already pretty darn cute, but you can’t sell something to people if they realize it is unnecessary.  Instead, we need parents to look at their spawn and realize their kids’ looks are not up to par. And at what better time to teach your daughter that looks are everything, and can only be bought?

The philosophy behind Baby Bangs! Stems from their belief in the beauty of childhood- I’m guessing they don’t mean natural beauty. Natural beauty will not lead to “memorable moments” spent with your “little princess” who is wearing a $30 wig “sprinkled with magic.”

And just in case you think your daughter is just cute as a button without fake locks the website has a lovely pink coloured headline: “I’m not a boy.” Babies care when a stranger mistakes their gender. No they don’t, insecure parents with strange priorities do.

Once upon a time, my daughter was bald. She was bald for years. And she was mistaken for a boy- and the world didn’t crumble. And she doesn’t care now at five years old. In fact, she is still mistaken for a boy because of her raspy voice. And she dresses herself in a very “girly” way and has big, curly hair that spirals down her back.

When she sees pictures of herself as a baby she laughs, she doesn’t go into a panic about her inability to star in a women’s shampoo commercial during her first six months. She tells me she has no idea where her hair went that day. And I don’t sit there going, “My god, that giant headed baby would have been so much better with fake crap on her head.” In fact, I liked her giant head; it was and is charming. It gets stuck in the neck holes of shirts, thus, hilarious.

Organic is still in, right? Let’s keep our babies scalps that way.

They actually don't look that great on second glance ... my outfit was really nice though.
They actually don’t look that great on second glance … my outfit was really nice though.

I write other stuff too! Check out HillaryDiMenna.com

My really bad experience with my daughter’s first school

10659076_10154459690040478_2833984983585131122_oDo you have any school complaints? I can’t be alone.

Her daycare was so awesome, I loved them, she loved them. And then, this school happened.

Sorry for going missing – our little family not only moved cities but caught awesome summer time fevers!

Along with these menacing germs, summer brang the end of my daughter’s first school year. JK is but a thing of the past- a really annoying past full of administration errors and judgment.

Before going into this I should say the local school had just opened and was a combination of several recently closed schools. By the looks of it, they did not have time to prepare. So I understood when they did not let my daughter on the bus home on her first day. The bus that was late in the first place. And I sort of understood why they didn’t contact me, or the three emergency numbers I provided them with. OK, I’m lying. On my way into the school I muttered something about knocking people out, much to the delight of some huddled eighth graders. However, I tried really hard to get their mistake, that they didn’t even have the courtesy skills to say, “Sorry.”

The last time I went to the building was for Market Day. We made Rice Krispie squares and painted shells to sell, alongside similar vendors (The shells were a weird hit) to raise money for Free the Children. It was also Take Your Parent to Kindergarten Day. Where I got to witness kids, whose parents forgot to send money with them, be left behind as the rest of the class went to Market Day festivities. I offered the KINGERGARTENERS money, but the teacher said no, because maybe their parents did not want them to participate. Did the teachers call the parents to double check? No. They don’t have time for that, not like when they call home to scold me for packing fruit in a lunch. They would rather break little children’s hearts.

Prior to this, I got a call from my daughter’s teacher – two calls and a note home. My little one, my little dramatic moochy one, told her teacher she had no lunch and that she was starving. Without checking to see that there was a full lunch, and snacks, packed in the kid’s bag the teacher believed the FOUR-YEAR-OLD. She gave her a bagel instead. They did not open the child’s lunch box to see if there was a lunch. I asked the teacher about this and she said she saw some fruit on P’s desk but nothing else, and that she didn’t actually check before calling me and sending passive aggressive notes  home. So I went to the school because I feared them, given they threatened to call CAS when I was a few minutes late picking my child up, though I called in advance to give them a heads up.  I asked around: one of my best friend’s mother is a principal herself, she said though a principal has the right to do that under the claim it is abandonment it is not a conversation she would ever have in my circumstance, considering I called, ahead of time, like the principal even admitted, many parents do.

Anyway, the school was stupid and unorganized. Now that we’ve moved the wee one is on the waiting list for an alternative school that focuses on getting kids outside, teaching about the environment and social justice. In the meantime she is in a typical public school. I feel this year will go better because since we are not in Oshawa, I will not be judged and looked down upon for being a low income single mom “Just like the rest.”

Check me out at hillarydimenna.com