I like to give my brain a really good intellectual workout now and then. While I normally occupy myself with questions like, “When was my last shower?” it’s always good to throw myself a bit of a curveball and wonder … what does it mean to be Canadian? For the record, this is the kind of open-ended question I start pondering when I finally do get into the shower.
When I look at my extended family, I can’t help but think that we are a quintessentially Canadian clan. Both my paternal and maternal grandparents were immigrants, from England and China respectively. My parents and their siblings married people from diverse backgrounds, further increasing the cultural mix at big family gatherings. Now with my own nuclear family, we have our country’s two official languages represented along with the ethnic diversity the True North has come to be known for. My children are Chinese, British, Irish and French … but ultimately, they are just Canadian.
Raising my kids away from my little United Nations-esque extended family has been hard for me. It has meant forging new bonds and creating friendships to fill the gaps made by leaving home. One of the things I like best about Calgary, where we have lived for two years now, is that almost everyone we meet is, as they say in the Maritimes, “from away”. Calgary is a relatively new city compared to Montreal, a relatively affordable city compared to Vancouver (my two previous hometowns), and the oil and gas sector in particular brings families from all over the country and the world in search of jobs. When you don’t have a local network of family and friends that has been in place since childhood, you are so much more open to welcoming new people into your life. While no one is “from here,” everyone feels welcome here.
One of my children’s favourite little people here is our neighbour, whom Miss Cub calls A-Boo. Born just a couple of months apart, A-Boo and Miss Cub are a pretty delightful pair. And while big brother Cub has zero interest in playing with his toddler sister, he adores his toddler neighbour!
One of the reasons we have come to be so close to A-Boo and her mama is because their extended family is far away too. Even farther, in fact. A-Boo’s parents are Hungarian, so not only does she teach Miss Cub some very universal baby sign language, but also some Hungarian! (For example, “Nem!” is Hungarian for “No!”)
Almost every day, A-Boo and the Cubs play outside our townhouse. Cub has expressed his desire for us to build a door that would lead from their unit to ours so we wouldn’t even have to go outside to see each other. Given the time he started banging on their front door (unbeknownst to me) during a hard-won nap time, I suspect A-Boo’s parents would not approve of this renovation.
Little Miss Cub doesn’t have many buddies her own size, so her friendship with A-Boo is one of complete adoration, coupled with a healthy dose of typical toddler jealously and random hair-pulling. When we were recently asked to model dresses from Wee Urban with a friend, I knew exactly who that friend would be.
Conveniently, A-Boo’s mommy is a gifted photographer, so we took the girls out for a photo shoot that went exactly how you might imagine a photo shoot would go with two almost-two-year-olds.
Our girls like to crouch, climb and crawl wherever they are, so the flexibility of their organic cotton jersey Wee Urban dresses is perfect. The dresses are stretchy, not stiff, and instead of itchy tulle or easy-to-lose sequins, they feature ruffled detailing on the back that’s just enough cute without being over the top. The skirt is ample enough for a twirl, but not so wide as to impede play.
A-Boo and Little Miss Cub are around 32″ (81 cm) tall so their size 2T dresses are still quite long on them. These are all-season dresses, so even if they shoot up like beanpoles over the summer, in the fall we can pair them with sweaters and leggings for a different look. Calgary’s weather is unpredictable at best, so it’s great to have a dress that will work even if it’s snowing in May.
About Wee Urban:
Wee Urban is a Toronto-based children’s brand with manufacturing in Canada and abroad. They use custom certified organic cotton blend fabrics, low-impact dyes and eco-inks. They pride themselves on creating products outside the “pink and blue” box and on helping families make better choices … with urban style!
Wee Urban’s dress collection fits sizes 2-8, and with a retail price of just $24.99, you’ll want one of each of their eye-catching, animal-inspired designs! Shop the collection here.
Photo credit: Evi Novak Photograph