My Family Night Out to See Ross Petty's The Little Mermaid

It's a Must-Sea Theatrical Production of Fun for All Ages!

My Family Night Out to See Ross Petty's The Little Mermaid

Ross Petty Little Mermaid

Looking for a fantastic theatre evening out with your children, your partner, your date, your friends, or even your business associates?

Look no further.

Ross Petty's The Little Mermaid is this season's must-sea production. 

Now, if you're rolling your eyes and thinking that you get enough of that other mermaid from your kid's DVDs and toys at home, you're completely mistaken.

The Little Mermaid, playing now until January, 4, 2014 at The Elgin Theatre in Toronto, has NOTHING to do with that other fish-girl. The only similarity between her and this amazing theatre production is the inclusion of mermaids and a triton. Oh, and maybe a little cross-creature romance with a fantastic twist!

Everything about this show was fun. My family and I attended the opening night show, and I knew that my five-year-old daughter would love it, although I did prep her heavily in advance that it was NOT—thankfully for us—The Little Mermaid she was used to. I did, however, worry that my thirteen-year-old would be bored, thinking he was too cool and too male for a mermaid production. 

Boy, was I wrong. 

It took all of about FIVE minutes for him to be completely engaged and hanging on the edge of his seat to witness what incredible and innovative spectacle was going to happen next onstage, while belly-laughing at the jokes that he got.

He wasn't the only one.

Huzbo was beside himself with accolades for the production and how thoroughly he enjoyed himself. No, I am not married to somebody too young to buy alcohol legally; that is how well The Little Mermaid caters to every audience member, no matter what their age or taste in theatre might be. In fact, the seniors sitting behind us may have actually had more fun than my children and husband combined, if their running expressions of glee during the performance were any indication! 

The entire cast is simply amazing. Ross Petty, charmingly loath-able as Ogopogo the sea monster, has produced a panto theatre event that satisfies every age. His slithery posse of eels and a spongy reluctant sidekick played by Eddie Glenn, will have the entire theatre boo'ing every time they appear onstage. Children will laugh over the antics of a funny fish, stern shrimp, and a team of high-strung mermaids. Adults will snicker at the over-the-kids'-heads sassy jokes and all ages will giggle at the shenanigans of cross-dressed character Auntie PlumBum, played brilliantly by Dan Chameroy.

Anyone who enjoys singing and dancing will be thrilled with the incredible vocal talents of Chillina Kennedy as the starfish of the show, named Angel, and her human paramour Adam, sung with passion by Canadian Idol Season One finalist Marc Devigne. The unbelievable flexibility of Jordan Clarke, winner of So You Think You Can Dance Canada, Season Four, impressed all of us.  I'm not sure if I should be worried that my daughter told me the next day that she wanted to learn to dance just like her!

Ross Petty is a Canadian icon for holiday theatre entertainment, and The Little Mermaid might just be his most fabulous production yet. For 18 years, Ross Petty Productions have given families a reasonably-priced special event to attend together during the holiday season, as well as supported the talented Canadian theatre community. 

I was provided a family four-pack of tickets to see this show in order to review it, but my entertainment by every aspect of this show is not that easily paid for. I would have happily bought tickets to this rockin', rollin' party all on my own, even if I hadn't received complimentary ones; it was THAT good of a time for me and my entire family. So good, in fact, that it's all we talked about on the forty-five minute drive home, and the kids were still singing some of the catchy tunes the next morning at breakfast. My stepson actually asked us the next day if we could buy our own tickets to see the show again!

My family's sincere gratitude to and Ross Petty Productions for giving us the opportunity to enjoy such a memorable family night out together! 

We’ve teamed up with Ross Petty Productions to give you the chance to create a new holiday tradition with your family because this family-friendly show is a must-sea this holiday season!

Click here for a special ticket discount offer just for YMC members!


Divorce and Blending Families Means Losing Power

Sometimes we Have to Accept Decisions we Didn't Make

Divorce and Blending Families Means Losing Power

Are you married to, or in a relationship with, your child's other parent? Do you feel you have power in the parenting roles, does your mate have it all, or is it a shared parenting power?  In blended families, there is often a distinct loss of power by all parties involved. Stepparents only have as much parenting power as their spouse is willing to grant them. Stepchildren often have very little power over decisions made by their parents. Even divorced parents only have power over what goes on in their own home, and usually not what goes on in their child's other home, no matter how good the relationship may be between them. Divorce creates an interesting dynamic that leaves everyone in the blended family triangle powerless at some point. 

My stepson is thirteen years old. I became his stepmother when he was 5, and one thing has always stayed the same about step-parenting him  —  I feel bad for him. Often. Due to his parents' divorce, he is caught in the middle of two very different family environments and two polar-opposite parenting styles. That is not his fault, yet he is stuck having to shift gears every Friday when he transitions from a week at one of his  homes to a week at the other. I can't begin to imagine how hard that must be on him. The life of a child with divorced parents is often unfair because so much of it is out of the child's control. 

Last Friday when my stepson arrived at our home, Huzbo advised him that he needed a haircut. I saw the look in my stepson's eyes — he didn't want a haircut. More importantly — at thirteen — he didn't want to be told to get a haircut. Sadly, my stepson has learned from having divorced parents that conflict is painful, so it's usually easier to just pretend you agree, than to speak up and voice your difference of opinion because disagreement can spiral into larger conflict. 

I felt compelled to help my stepson gain some small control over something in his life, so I gently reminded Huzbo that his son was now a teenager and was old enough to manage his own hair. Huzbo adamantly disagreed.  He grew up being told by his dad how to wear his hair and felt that it was his fatherly duty to do the same with his own son - have I mentioned Huzbo is a little old-school sometimes? Now you may find this next statement strange — and I don't blame you if you do — but Huzbo and I agreed to take a Facebook poll on the subject.  It seems a few of our disagreements lately have been settled this way, but  that's a topic for another post!

I received over 25 comments in response to my Facebook query, the majority of which supported the opinion that thirteen was indeed an appropriate age to be in charge of one's own hair length and style. 

Shortly after I posted to Facebook, my stepson came into the kitchen where Huzbo and I were discussing the subject. I asked him directly if he wanted to cut his hair, and then held my breath because many times in the past, he's hung me out to dry in similar situations by agreeing with his dad simply to avoid any possible conflict if he didn't. 

This time was different — my stepson told us both that he preferred to not cut his hair. I was shocked by his admission, but also extremely proud of him for standing up for himself, even when he knew his dad felt differently.

Then it hit me:  we had convinced my stepson's dad to let him manage his own hair, but what would happen the following week at his mother's home, if she decided he needed a haircut? 

This is the legacy of divorce and blended families. The knowledge and often hard-to-swallow acceptance that you do not have any control over the decisions that get made in your child's or stepchild's other home. 

Will my stepson's new-found confidence extend to disagreement with his mother, if she wants his hair cut? Will he return next week with sheared locks, even if he does speak up about his own wishes? 

I have no idea. The best I can do is encourage him to speak his mind in a respectful manner, and wait to see what happens.

Powerlessness is an element of blended families that cannot be avoided. Sure, Huzbo could email his ex-wife to discuss letting their son decide his own hairstyles, and in some divorced couples that would work. Sadly, Huzbo and his ex don't have that kind of relationship, as much as I wish they did for my stepson's sake. If my stepson's mother wants his hair cut badly enough, there is nothing we or he can say or do to stop that from happening. That is the reality of some divorce situations. 

I hope that my stepson has the courage to share his wishes with his mother, and I hope she respects his wishes to have control over his own hair. However, I can't control the outcome, so like many things that arise in my life as a stepmother — I have to let it go and accept whatever happens.    

How do you deal with the powerlessness of being a stepparent, or a divorced parent?


November is Adoption Awareness Month

The Most Important Thing YOU Can Do About It

November is Adoption Awareness Month

november adoption awareness

November is Adoption Awareness Month. So, what does that mean, exactly? I started out writing a post about the different avenues of "Awareness" that even somebody uninvolved with adoption could become a part of: fundraising, education, advocating. However, I think before anyone is even willing to consider one of these options, I'm going to need to sell you on why '"Adoption Awareness" benefits everyone, not just parents via adoption or people who were adopted.

The Adoption Council of Canada confirms:

"Approximately 1 in 5 Canadians are touched by adoption.

They are either adopted themselves, have an adopted sibling or family member, are adoptive parents, birthparents, or birth relatives.

Today, that means almost 7 million Canadians are affected by adoption, and yet adoption remains one of the most misunderstood and stigmatized social phenomenon’s in our country."

That adds up to A LOT of Canadians who are connected to adoption, yet may not fully comprehend the sometimes complicated layers associated with the process of adoption or the family support required after an adoption takes place. With seven million of us having a connection to adoption, do you really want to be the one who has no clue? What about the person or child in your life that was adopted or did adopt? The fact that you're here reading this clearly demonstrates that you care enough about that person to try to educate yourself, and just like the Hokey Pokey, that's what it's all about. 

When we started our adoption process, I literally spent hundreds of dollars and hours of time on books related to adoption. This, to me, is the most important aspect of Adoption Awareness: Education. Some may feel that finding families for the millions of children on our planet that don't have families might be the most important aspect—I don't disagree. However, I'm not naive enough to think that everyone is going to rush out in November and adopt a child simply to support Adoption Awareness month. So, the broadest-reaching understanding of Adoption Awareness is education, because everyone can do it. Educate yourself, educate others, educate your families, friends, co-workers, neighbours—anyone who may come in contact with your child, loved one, or you, if you were adopted. 

Knowledge is power. When you have a good understanding of what adoption is—what it can be, what the challenges can be, what to expect—you are sensitive to others' feelings and that is powerful. You can become an advocate on behalf of yourself or your child or loved one who was adopted. It is a grassroots-level method of banishing the many misconceptions and stigmas that exist about adoption. 

There are many great books written for people who are not adopting or were not adopted, but who have someone they know in their life who was. There are obviously many great books written for parents who have adopted, too. The best thing you can do for the people in your life who were adopted is to pick up even one of these books—many are even available at your local library—and have a read. Gain some understanding and it will improve your relationship with the person who was adopted, young or old. 

Here are some of my favorite resources to get you on your way: not only provides excellent information about adoption, but also provides an extensive book list for almost every aspect of adoption, and is one that I often consulted when I was building my own adoption library.

The Adoption Council of Canada is also a great resource for information and provides numerous opportunities for you to share your enthusiasm for adoption such as becoming a Community Leader, organizing or participating in an AdoptWalk, donating money, or my personal favorite once again, educating yourself.

The North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC) also provides excellent resources and news on adoption-related topics. 

At the bare minimum, read this article that helps people to feel more comfortable discussing adoption with those who have been adopted or have a family member who was.  

Finally, if nothing I've said above motivates you to learn more about adoption, take five minutes of your time and have a look at this video, courtesy of Love Without Boundaries Foundation. Warning: Tissues may be required, but nothing will motivate you more to want to educate yourself about adoption.

Happy Adoption Awareness Month and stay tuned here for plenty of upcoming insights into adoption!