You can find more quote and sayings artwork here.
Image above by me, Chris Olson.
You can find more quote and sayings artwork here.
Image above by me, Chris Olson.
Parents of school-age kids today probably never witnessed a whooping cough outbreak or the measles because they were lucky enough to have lived in a generation of vaccinated kids. But this luxury of good health could slip away all too quickly as more and more families opt out of routine vaccinations.
If you want to look at the hard facts, the good health of our kids depends on a numbers game.
Preventing kids (and adults) from getting diseases depends on a statistic: As long as about 90-95% of us vaccinate our kids, our kids are relatively safe according to an Associated Press report. Even the un-vaccinated kids are protected because the vaccinated kids keep the disease numbers down. In simple terms, our kids are healthy due to herd immunity.
A new study says testosterone levels drop when guys have kids. Before your guy freaks out because he thinks this means his manhood suffers because of fatherhood, I've got a spoiler alert:
Lower male testosterone levels in this study reflect an improved capacity to care for their children–and that in my opinion also means an improved ability to care for their mates which makes guys even sexier.
Fatherhood may lower the testosterone levels responsible for competing for a mate, but at the same time this hormonal change enhances the ability to be calm and attentive.
(Photo above by Mentafredda)
Convertible potty seat features:
Photo above features the Kohler toilet seat.
(Sending a shout out to Lou Manfredini on the TODAY Show for alerting me to the Mayfair seat.)
I remember being told my daughter would never be able read a book. I remember seeing my daughter banished to the hallway outside her third grade classroom because she was so far behind in class. I remember hearing teachers say my child would never go to college. I remember seeing my daughter crumple her homework papers with a big, red "INCOMPELTE" scribbled on them. I remember hearing my daughter would never achieve anything above a D or C in school.
And I remember hearing my daughter say, "No one understands me."
In those moments I cried inside because I didn't have an answer. I did not understand my daughter's learning problems either.
And then one day my daughter met a tutor who saw beyond the labels of her learning disability. She opened the door to learning. And that is when I knew someone understood her.
If your child faces similar challenges, a new HBO documentary I Can't Do This But I CAN Do That offers hope and inspiration for children with learning difficulties and their families.
Now here’s the important part. Start thinking about, talking about and living in the world of the stuff you CAN do. Concentrate on what you CAN do and not on what you CANNOT do... There’s a way to make this even more successful. Only surround yourself with positive, supportive people. Ask them to stop you dead in your tracks if they start hearing what you can’t do. Ask them to remind you what you CAN do. I bet you have more going for you than you realize.
The film highlights the resourcefulness, creativity and strengths that schools frequently fail to acknowledge when students with LD are viewed as less capable than others, and are not given the help they need to succeed. As director and producer Ellen Goosenberg Kent notes, the film “encourages students, families, and teachers to look beyond labels and discover the gifts each child possesses.”
Babies "who derive all their nutrition from breast milk during their first six months of life are less prone to a host of common infections" according to a new study in Greece. The topic of health benefits and breastfeeding has been studied before, but many different factors can change the results depending on the environment, healthcare, etc. This new study includes data on how breastfeeding affects the overall health of children who also have access to high-quality health care. Emmanouil Galanakis from the department of pediatrics at the University of Crete in Heraklion, Greece is the lead researcher of the study that was published in the Sept. 28 online edition of the Archives of Disease in Childhood.
Scientists are not in agreement on whether or not antibodies can enter the body via breastfeeding. In fact, this new Greek study contradicts a Canadian 2009 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN) by Dr. Michael Kramer at McGill University, Montreal, Canada. In the 2009 study, the authors concluded, "no demonstrable beneficial or adverse long-term effects on child health or exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months."
What did the new Greek study determine? According to the Archives of Disease in Childhood, out of the 1,000 babies in the study, only 91 children ended up being exclusively breast-fed for a full six months, and they experienced fewer infections.
Do nutritional and immunological benefits rooted in the antibodies found in mothers' milk make a difference in a babies health? Yes, according to the Greek research, but only if the baby is exclusively fed breastmilk. The study found partial breast-feeding did not offer the same kind of protection.
Details on the Greek study according to the US Department of Health and Human Services:
Study author Fani Ladomenou, of the University of Crete in Heraklion, Greecethe writes in Archives of Disease in Childhood:
"Exclusive breastfeeding helps protect infants against common infections and lessens the frequency and severity of infectious episodes not only in developing countries but also in communities with adequate vaccination coverage and healthcare standards."
For more information on the health benefits of brestfeeding and the recent study, check out:
For more healthy living posts, check out Momathon's health & wellness.
Special mommy hugs to the wonderful photographer of the photo above: Gabi_Menashe
We've all been there... You're sitting at the park next to the PR Mommy who can't stop bragging about how advanced her kid is. And then she inevitably adds a cutting comment: Don't worry, your child will catch up soon.
Ouch. So what do you do? Sometimes I wish that when the PR Mommy stands up a gooey bird turd clings to the seat of her dry-clean only pants. (So far my fantasy has never come true.)
I admit I also have been tempted to try some baby bootlegging. If you don't think about what you just did it feels harmless, that is, until you get caught.
Mitch on the NBC show Modern Family in the clip below "borrows" another child's block tower in order to make his daughter look better. Everything is fine until this bad karma moment bites back.
I admit it, sometimes I find awkward moments hilarious!
Baby photographers get your cameras ready! This olive green beanie hat with teddy bear ears and ear flaps is hand knit by KnittedByNanny on Etsy. Knit with Australian wool with mohair trim. $25.00
I would love to set up my own research study to prove them wrong, except I don't have the credentials to attempt it. So, I did my own "informal study" to disprove the findings that kids make us unhappy. And, yes, I was a biased researcher. And, yes, I probably skewed the findings just a smidgen. Kids in my research make us laugh more, cry just a little, but smile much more often.
My research proving kids REALLY do make us happy is not verifiable, but I had fun doing it. And then I read a scientific study with all the appropriate measures in place that actually supports my study. Eureeka! Thank you, University of Glasgow. And thank you Babble.com writer and psychotherapist Heather Turgeon for writing about this study. The University of Glasgow study tracked 10,000 U.K. households and not only did they find kids make us happier, according to Turgeon they found the "biggest boost to life enjoyment came with two or three kids."
Two or three kids makes you even happier? Okay, this study is really bucking the trends. According to Turgeon:
"Knowing that their findings buck the prevailing wisdom (and most other recent studies), the Glasgow team explains that their data paints a rosier picture of parenthood because they isolated certain variables, like age, sex, and marital status. Married people with middle-class incomes were the ones who reaped the most kid benefits, while unmarried couples or those under extreme financial hardship fared less well. The authors of the study say they think kids improve quality of life when it’s the “right time” for the couple."
Sure, we don't always feel joyful while we change a diaper or meet with a school counselor about tardiness. But to survive this parenthood gig we learn when life gets tough we have to also look at the big picture. And my kids have picked up on this too when they say, "Hey, at least I didn't dump a can of Pepsi on the laptop like so-and-so." And they do have a point. I might not realize it when I am scraping molten chocolate bar out of the dryer, but tomorrow is bound to be better.
(Photo by ^riza^)
Do you have fussy eaters at your house? Cooking for kids is always better if the kids join you in the kitchen.
At my house, if I want the cooking project to be a success, then the kids need to be in charge. And grown-ups need to chill. Don't worry about the mess while the kids cook, as long as all of the cooks agree to help with the clean up afterwards.
I love to hear about families cooking together. For example, Sisters Belle (13) and Liv (11) started cooking with their dad when they were only two. They started the Spatulatta: Cooking 4 Kids Online series in 2005 and won the prestigious James Beard award in 2006.
Bread pudding is a great way to use up leftover French bread.
(Note: Lovely bread pudding photo at the top of this post is by WayTru.)
Happy 40th Sesame Street!
Today Sesame Street--the winner of a record 122 Emmy awards--begins its 40th anniversary season with Michelle Obama and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Bert and Ernie, my personal faves from Sesame Street, are featured in the Google Doodle today (see above). You can also find Google Doodles featuring Big Bird and Cookie Monster. Check out the sweet video clip below all about Sesame Street and the 40th anniversary celebration.
What's the worst part about reading? According to internet comedian Amir the answer is: the reading part.
Check out Amir's solution to the dilemma of reading without really reading in the video clip below. Warning... this is college humor. If you are seriously worried that technology is taking over our lives and spells the end of reading, then do NOT watch this video.
Jake And Amir are two friends that work together, live together, and play together. Are they best friends? Probably not. Watch more Jake and Amir video episodes to decide for yourself.
Flu season is normally a winter bug, but it came early this year with swine flu (H1N1) outbreaks even during the summer. Why does the flu come in the winter? I always thought it was because everyone was stuck in stuffy offices and classrooms instead of outside. Turns out that stuffiness factor is only part of the problem. New research links susceptibility with a vitamin D deficiency due to lack of sun during the shorter days of winter. Here's the scoop from a post this week on the NYT.com blog Freakonomics:
"One big risk factor for flu infection is a lack of vitamin D. We naturally produce vitamin D when we’re exposed to sunlight, and as the days shorten in the winter, we produce less and less of it. That led these researchers to think that flu epidemics could be a sign of widespread vitamin D deficiency, due in part to decreased solar radiation. So it seems darkness makes the flu go ’round."
I'm thinking this new research gives me an even better excuse to enjoy some sunshine and take that long walk during my lunch break. Even better, take a friend or your dogs along.
Note: I am not a medical specialist. Before you run out and grab some vitamin D supplements, please check with your physician.
A few days ago I wrote a post all about e-books. The e-reader scene is already changing with a new device by Barnes & Noble that offers some unique features including lending technology for sharing books with friends and a color touchscreen.
Yesterday the Nook e-reader with access to over one million e-books, newspapers, and magazines downloaded wirelessly was unveiled by bookseller Barnes & Noble for $259. This e-reader price is so much better than the hefty $489 for the Kindle DX e-reader. Parents might even decide they can afford to give this new gadget to kids. (If a gadget gets kids excited to read again, why not splurge and buy it?)
The slim Nook is about the size of a paperback and can store as many as 1,500 e-books, newspapers, and magazines. With an added memory card you can keep up to 17,500 books on the Nook. The cost for an e-book is reasonable at about $9.99 and thousands of titles are free at the Barnes & Noble eBookstore. The Nook works on the 3G network and with WiFi.
The Nook features crisp B&W text. I haven't held a Nook in my hands, but after viewing the promotional videos and photos I think the PR buzz is correct. I am disappointed that it does not feature a full page of color image/text. Full color pages would be so useful when viewing textbooks and books featuring rich graphics. (I predict digital textbooks are going to big the next big wave in e-books.) But the Nook does have a colorful touchscreen at the bottom of the screen to help you select the book you want to read.
Features I like include the ability to make text bigger (5 different font sizes) and easily bookmark, highlight passages and make notes as you go. Also the E-Ink by VizPlex offers enough contrast (16-bit gray scale) so there is no glare or backlight making it easy on the eyes. You can adjust the screen lighting to fit the situation.
One of the unusual features of the Nook is you can share books from your Nook with your friends for free for about 14 days at a time with the Nook's LendMe technology. The lending policy reminds me of the public library policy for lending e-books. All you have to do is send the book file to your friend's iPhone, iPod touch, laptop, select BlackBerry and other smart phones. Wonder how the book publishers feel about the free e-book lending? (More about the issue of intellectual property rights of authors in a SF Chronicle article by Michelle Richmond.)
I'm a news junkie so the access to over 20 million newspaper subscriptions sounds great. Note that reading newspapers on the Nook is not free. I do love the NYT, WSJ, and Newsweek. Subscribing to them and a dozen more would be a huge temptation.
What's next on the horizon?
I'm waiting for the Apple's new e-reader tablet--an overgrown iPod. Unfortunately the Apple option won't be cheap at $700 or more when it is released in a few months. The price really turns me off because I was hoping this tablet would be a good choice for kids/teens, but at $700-$900 I am even nervous to carry it around in my backpack/purse. The Apple eReader-and-more is rumored to run iPhone OS and play MP3 audio files and videos. So cool. Just hoping the price drops soon.
Each year I get my seasonal flu shot. The truth is I never want to get the shot, but I don't want to get the flu either. I tell my kids it doesn't hurt, but they know better now. I get vaccinated because I am hopeful that developing immunity against the flu will help keep my family and friends healthier too.
This summer my son got the H1N1 virus. He was sick in bed for about a week, but because of an underlying health condition I am very grateful he did not become even sicker with complications from the virus.
I figure the healthier I stay, the better for my family. So that is why I've already had my seasonal flu shot and will be getting the H1N1 shot too.
I am not a medical specialist and this year's unusual flu outbreak is really a big mystery to me. I have plenty of concerns and questions about the two types of flu and their vaccines. I found these articles helpful:
• WSJ.com article: Two Flu Vaccines, Lots of Questions
• Mayo Clinic article: Flu shot: Your best bet for avoiding influenza
• Chicago Tribune: Swine flu vaccines are safe and time-tested, experts assert
Check them out. And talk to your doctors for their recommendations about which types of vaccines are best for you.
Will you read to me?
Today say yes to your kids. October 8th is Read for the Record day, an international campaign to bring young kids together with their parents or grownups who are important in their lives to read the same book, on the same day, in communities all over the world. This year the book to read together is Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar, a perennial favorite with both children and adults. Carle's book tells the story of a very hungry caterpillar eating his way through the week.
Get counted today. Join the worldwide campaign to celebrate the joy of reading with children at this link: Jumpstart's Read for the Record!
"On Saturday, he ate through one piece of chocolate cake, one ice-cream cone, one pickle, one slice of Swiss cheese, one slice of salami, one lollipop, one piece of cherry pie, one sausage, one cupcake, one slice of watermelon. That night he had a stomach ache." --Eric Carle, The Very Hungry Caterpillar
"On Saturday, he ate through one piece of chocolate cake, one ice-cream cone, one pickle, one slice of Swiss cheese, one slice of salami, one lollipop, one piece of cherry pie, one sausage, one cupcake, one slice of watermelon. That night he had a stomach ache."
--Eric Carle, The Very Hungry Caterpillar
At least a few people working in public education have a sense of humor...
Not sure if the answering machine message below is fake or real, but I do think it is very smart and, perhaps best of all, this message points out not so subtly how parents AND their kids need to 'wake up and smell the coffee.' Automatically blaming the school for all of their problems is just as ridiculous as this phone message sounds.
This answering machine message below was allegedly voted unanimously to record by the staff at Maroochydore High School, Queensland, Australia.
Kids and adults love to sink into cozy bean bag chairs. My favorites are the ones with interesting fabrics. Now you can create your own comfy place to read a book with the bean bag chair tutorial by Joanna Armour. Check out the tutorial here.
The sewing directions look easy. You only need 3 yards of lining fabric, 3 yards for the outside cover, hook and loop tape, and bean bag pellets. Great photos included to help you complete your project.
You can check out more sewing projects at the Making It Fun blog by Michael Miller Fabrics. Thanks also to the clever editors at the blog Apartment Therapy Ohdeedoh (home design for children) for featuring this sweet sewing project. You can view more cute fabrics for sewing projects at MichaelMillerFabrics.com
How many minimum wage jobs must a mom work just to afford basic needs such as food, housing, and health care? Sadly, many women working full-time jobs in America must also face the reality that even though they work full time they are still forced to live in poverty.
If a mom works a 40-hour week and still lives in poverty, this is a problem we can't ignore. We all know about the minimum wage, but did you know that a minimum wage is not the same as a living wage? A minimum wage is a standard set by law, but it does NOT guarantee the worker will be able to afford basic needs such as food, utilities, health care and housing.
If a worker receives pay below $10 an hour and she (or he) does not receive benefits such as affordable health insurance, then the worker and her family members may decide not to get even basic healthcare such as vaccinations, mammograms, pelvic exams, and other screenings.
Employers that pay below a living wage force their workers to rely on food stamps and Medicaid. Plus that employer is probably not even paying their workers enough to rent an apartment.
A mom in Illinois would need to make over $15 an hour to afford a two-bedroom apartment according to the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. In Illinois the minimum wage is $7.75 and will rise to $8.25 in 2010. That's why the The Good Jobs Chicago Coalition is pushing for wages of at least $10-$15. (You can hear more about living wage coalitions and grassroots organizers in Chicago at this Chicago Public Radio link.)
Mega chains receive tax dollars when they establish stores in a community. At a very minimum, I believe receiving these tax dollars should obligate them to truly help the community by offering a living wage. Sure, big box stores provide low-cost products, but the major problem of full-time workers living in poverty in America will never be solved by selling low cost items.
Will Chicago and other cities approve big box ordinances that would require Wal-Mart, Target, Home Depot and other mega-chains to pay workers a living wage of at least $13 an hour and also provide affordable benefits?
Are you making a living wage? You can check out the living wage in your community or region using the Living Wage Calculator.
This summer when the sunny days spent at the pool never made me think twice about swine flu, my teenage son developed a sore throat, chills and a fever. I thought he had strep, but a trip to the doctor confirmed he had the flu. The week he spent feeling lousy was not fun for him or anyone in the house. I kept wondering if he would get worse. And I braced myself for caring for more sick people at our house.
We were lucky. The flu passed. My son is fine now. I know he missed out on a chunk of his short summer vacation, but he managed to squeeze a great deal of fun into the remaining weeks.
Frequent hand washing, sanitizing frequently touched household surfaces, loads of laundry, and quarantining my son seemed to help the rest of the house stay healthy. In the weeks that have passed since his recovery, I have stocked up on some necessities that would help out if the rest of us gets sick this fall.
Today I read an interesting article by Tara Parker-Pope in the NYTimes.com: Preparing for a Stressful Flu Season.
Check it out for helpful information on swine flu symptoms, flu shots, and tips on when to seek medical help for the flu.
Did you know that 1 out of 4 people in a soup kitchen line is a child?
In this tough economy, every family is looking for ways to save money and stay within their budget. Often the second largest expense for families is food. Unfortunately lost jobs, reduced wages, and rising costs for things such as medical care and housing has made it difficult for many to buy groceries.
Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza at Oprah.com have come up with a great list of five easy ways you can help feed the hungry:
- Locate organizations near you that support the hungry. Find out what they need and help provide it.
- Donate your time and volunteer at a food pantry/distribution center, a local soup kitchen, or a homeless shelter.
- Go through your pantry and gather up canned and dried foods to donate.
- Create or support a local canned food drive.
- Purchase and hand out fast-food gift cards to homeless people. Buy extra cards to have on hand for spontaneous giving.
Read the entire Oprah article for more ideas and facts on how you can help the hungry. The good news: You and your kids can be part of the hunger solution and make a difference in the lives of hungry families.
What would you say if your local school district decided to change your school calendar to a 12-month school year? My first response is YIKES! But after some thought and research I see this not so new idea is catching on for some very good reasons.
Modified school calendars have created a big discussion around the water-cooler. Staying competitive in a global economy puts getting a good education as a priority. Here's what Babble.com writer Jeane Sager says in a recent article:
"Arne Duncan wasn't the new Secretary of the Department of Education long before he started talking big change for America's kids. The former CEO of the third largest school district in the nation, the Chicago Public Schools, wants to say goodbye to the school year as we know it."
If schools modify their calendar to year around school, they can increase the classroom time and increase learning time. Sounds great for education but what about the benefits of relaxing bodies and rebooting brains over the summer break? Does a modified calendar spell the end of summer as we know it? Here's what Sager says:
"Regarded as a long-standing tradition, even by parents who scramble to find daycare for a lengthy ten-week period, summer break has loyal parent supporters. Threats to the traditional school year have spawned groups like Summer Matters, an information clearinghouse launched in 2001 expressly to give parents ammunition to fight the modified calendar. The site is filled with letters to President Obama that proclaim modifying the school calendar "has been tried and failed for more than 100 years."
How do you feel? I am still siding with the longer summer break as long as parents work with their kids to encourage learning over the summer too.
Finding BPA-free drinking bottles and baby bottles is easier now than a year ago. However, you have to do your homework before shopping because some water bottles such as certain brands of stainless steel bottles might appear to be BPA-free, but they are NOT. Why? The epoxy resin that lines some stainless steel bottles has BPA in the resin. One brand that has come under scrutiny for BPA in the liner is the older models of SIGG bottles. Also, if you are using liquid baby formula, you want to contact your doctor to make sure the liquid formula container is BPA-free. Powdered formula containers do not contain BPA according to an article in Boston Globe. If you want to learn more about BPA research, earlier this year I wrote a series of Momathon Blog posts on BPA-free products.
So why is BPA a health concern? According to a recent article by Sarah Engler in CookieMag.com:
If you've been following the headlines, you've learned by now that many bottles and sippy cups are made from polycarbonate plastic, which contains bisphenol-A (BPA), a synthetic estrogen that studies have linked to an increased risk of obesity, attention-deficit disorder, brain damage, and even cancer. Safe beverage containers are made from glass, steel, or BPA-free plastics like polyethylene or polypropylene (are typically opaque or labeled with a #2, #4, or #5).
"The learning that babies and young children do on their own, when they carefully watch an unexpected outcome and draw new conclusions from it, ceaselessly manipulate a new toy or imagine different ways that the world might be, is very different from schoolwork. Babies and young children can learn about the world around them through all sorts of real-world objects and safe replicas, from dolls to cardboard boxes to mixing bowls, and even toy cellphones and computers. Babies can learn a great deal just by exploring the ways bowls fit together or by imitating a parent talking on the phone. (Imagine how much money we can save on “enriching” toys and DVDs!)"
Does your daughter want to be the best babysitter on the block? Check out the American Girl Babysitter’s Business Kit for loads of helpful information including:
• how to care for kids
• please parents
• make smart business decisions
• business cards you can personalize
• client address book
• game pad
• reward stickers
• parent checklists
• book: The Babysitter's Handbook
My daughter is a fan of American Girl books. She recently added the Babysitter's Business Kit to her library. I love her entrepreneurial spirit! (Kit: $12.95)
Some days being a mom takes all the fun out of cooking. Trying to find a meal that pleases everyone at dinner is never an easy task. Basically, I have given up trying. Instead when the schedule permits, I try to make meals that involve the kids in the kitchen. When they help out, the meal is always more fun.
Do your kids have household chores each week? Nothing ever goes exactly as planned at my house and unfortunately some chores get lost in our hectic schedule. Not the best idea. According to Fiona Purdon "Experts say household chores could dictate a child's success in later life."
"There's a lot of good things about household chores because they teach kids social and organisational skills, to be an active member of a group and make a contribution and take on responsibility which is something that is good to learn early and to carry on later in life. Kids have to learn life is not all about having fun and play," says Curtin University psychologis Melissa Davis in the Essential Baby article Recipe for domestic harmony.
Look into my eyes. You're feeling sleepy... Very sleepy...
Finding a magazine for girls that isn't loaded with diet advice, popularity contests and ads might seem impossible. That is, until you discover the wonderful New Moon Girls Magazine.
"New Moon Girls magazine is about helping girls discover and honor their true selves, engage in meaningful pursuits and dialogue, and express their voices in ways that matter."
You've probably heard all the news stories about the fact Americans consume way too much salt. I admit I am a salt lover--not quite a salt-aholic. I don't carry a salt shaker in my purse, but I do crave salty snacks more than sweet. I always thought I was managing my cravings within healthy guidelines, but now I am wondering.
If you like flowers and fruit and veggies, then you need to thank our busy bees for all the hard work they do. A third of the food we eat depends on bees for pollination, but the honeybees are disappearing fast. Why are they disappearing? The cause is still unknown, but scientists call this environmental issue Colony Collapse Disorder (CDC). Without the honeybees for pollination, the fruits, vegetables and flowers will disappear too.
At Scott Simon's home "every day is mother's day." Recently Simon, "Weekend Edition Saturday" host on NPR, talked about a typical day for his wife--a full-time mother who "doesn't work." Simon says:
"She has four minutes a day to herself and eats only Cheerios that fall on the floor. She works 15 hours a day with no breaks or mandated meals, 365 days a year with no real vacations. Our daughters feel free to cough up and sneeze things into her hands. If Samuel Gompers heard about my wife's working conditions, he'd say, 'Organize and fight!'"
You can check out the complete story by Scott Simon as well as the audio file on this Weekend Edition link: At My Place, Every Day Is Mother's Day : NPR.
Sending warm mommy hugs to all those wonderful moms out there.
In honor of Mother's Day on Sunday I am posting The Mom Song again. Practically everything a mom says in a 24 hour period set to the William Tell Overture.
I don't think we ever outgrow needing our moms. I'm not saying the relationship between daughters (or sons) and our moms never changes. Fortunately we both grow up over the years. Sure, we might relapse once and while. As a mom, I still try to wipe off Oreo cookie crumbs clinging to the corners of my teenager's mouth. The truth: as much as kids, teens, and grownup kids push their moms away, we are all still deeply grateful because our moms always care about us.
Kids love music. They bounce to the beat. They love to sing rhymes. Why not pair hip hop music with learning? That's exactly what Candi Carter, a Chicago mom and Emmy-winning television producer did when she developed the educational (and fun!) "It's Hip Hop, Baby!" DVD series.
"Candi's son was born with a chromosome disorder, which affected his ability to learn. Because he can't speak, Candi says she began making up catchy tunes and beats to help him communicate, have fun and learn."
A few years ago, a friend gave me a tiny book filled with suggestions for nurturing good karma. Despite it's compact size, this book includes a lifetime's worth of suggestions--8,879 ways to give yourself and others good fortune.
Love doesn't have to hurt. Violence in a relationship is unacceptable. Unfortunately teen dating abuse is a growing problem--whether the abuse is physical, emotional or mental. Sadly, teens (as well as adults) in abusive relationships cling to the false hope that the violence won't escalate and get worse.
To stop the trend of violence, parents need to talk to their teens about dating violence and let them know that abuse of any kind is not acceptable.
According to the Do Something.org
"One in three teens is in an abusive relationship. And most partners stay in the relationship after the first act of violence."
The "alleged" beating of pop star Rihanna by Chris Brown, inspired a new PSA about the dangers of dating violence. The PSA featuring actors re-enacting the singers confrontation was pieced together using statements made in the LAPD's affadavit of the Feb. 8th incident when Brown reportedly punched, bit and choked Rihanna.
To see the PSA created by DoSomething.org, just go to this link at YouTube.
"Brown, 19, faces felony charges of assault and making criminal threats that stemmed from a confrontation in early February after Rihanna found a text message on his cell phone, according to a sworn police statement," reports Kansas.com.
Even after seeing the photo Rhianna's bruised and bloodied face, many teen girls commenting on the internent minimized Brown's alleged behavior and forgave the abuser. Some even blamed Rihanna for causing the fight.
Why would a teen or anyone accept violence in a relationship? "This whole idea that control and jealousy equals love is very dangerous," said Susan Cayouette, co-director of Emerge, a batterer's counseling service in Boston according to The Boston Globe.
Will anger management classes prevent future domestic abuse? The news isn't good. "Anger management teaches behavioral techniques," says Cayouette in the Boston Globe, such as counting to 10. "It was never designed for intimate partner violence, which is more layered and complex." However, more intensive therapy such as certified abuse intervention programs could offer help.
For more information about intervention and counseling about dating danger among teens check out the resources included in the NYTimes.com
I dream about a world--or maybe just a weekend--without a Wii, Xbox, or iPod. My kids would talk to me and other real people in real time. Their eyes would enjoy looking at real things like books, bicycles, broccoli, and basketball courts. Their arms and legs would move with real things like the vacuum cleaner!
I am a worrier. I can relate to fictional worrier Clarice Bean created by children's novelist Lauren Child. Some how in the middle of the night my worries become enormous. When I wake up these same worries seem kind of ridiculous, but still troublesome. As a kid even the tiniest thing can make a big impression and create troubles.
Probably because I am a writer I like to hear stories about writing by other writers. Here's an audio clip about writing children's books moms (and kids) will enjoy.
As a kid growing up in Minnesota, I spent more than a few chilly afternoons bundled up in layers and sent outdoors to go sledding, skiing or skating when the temp stayed in the single digits. My mom was very inventive and she knew how to dress us properly for practically any winter condition--including lining our not-so-waterproof snow boots with plastic bread bags. Even though it must have been a pain to get us ready to venture out, now I know why my mom didn't want us to stay in the house. She knew we would have more fun outside. Of course, there were also many winter days when even my mom thought it was too cold to play outside. That's when the kids in the neighborhood gathered at the houses of friends and played indoors. My favorite house to visit had a play room stocked with a million Legos. The play area stayed super toasty right next to the furnace room. We even took our socks off. On those wintry days walking barefoot in our cozy Lego land, my friends and I almost forgot it was winter.
Seems like just yesterday my kids were in kindergarten, but they grow up fast. Almost as fast as the hours of school homework per day multiplies. In about third grade my husband and I noticed that their homework load was growing. That's when I began to wonder if my kids would burn out before they even reached middle school.
Image: WALKING TO SCHOOL photo used with permission by the talented photographer D Sharon Pruitt.
When I was a kid growing up in Minnesota we made "snow cones" with the fluffy white stuff and ate them. That is, until my seventh grade science teacher ruined all the fun. In science class we did a snow project with microscopes. When I saw for myself all the "crud" swimming around in a droplet of melting snow, my snow cones no longer seemed so delicious.
Even a young toddler knows she shouldn't eat yellow snow, but did you realize that even the most pristine white snow that appears to be far, far away from anything harmful is not healthy for you to eat?
Here is a story from what could appear to be the "weird news" file: foot massages at schools. However, despite all its weirdness, the idea of foot massages to help calm disruptive students makes sense to me.