It's a decent list, with the resolutions broken up according to the child's age. Try getting your preschooler to commit to this one: I won’t tease dogs or other pets – even friendly ones. I will avoid being bitten by keeping my fingers and face away from their mouths.
I like that. It's a resolution a young child can remember.
Try these for those between the ages of 5 and 12: I will try to find a sport (like basketball or soccer) or an activity (like playing tag, jumping rope, dancing or riding my bike) that I like and do it at least three times a week! I worry about that one. The moment you attach obligation to something that's supposed to be fun for a kid, it either ceases to be an obligation or it ceases to be fun. Forgive my cynicism. What are your thoughts on this one?
Here's another for the same age group: I’ll never give out personal information such as my name, home address, school name or telephone number on the Internet. Also, I’ll never send a picture of myself to someone I chat with on the computer without my parent’s permission. That shouldn't be a New Year's resolution. That should be a new week's resolution. Kids and adults should commit to that one every Sunday and recommit every time they go online.
For high schoolers: I will take care of my body through physical activity and nutrition. Adults take heed. And this one: I agree not to use a cell phone or text message while driving and to always use a seat belt. Amen.
What about us? Parents need resolutions, too. How's this one: I promise not to light a carcinogen on fire and inhale it to look cool while trying to mask the stench when I get home. Yeah, I made that one up. But kids, especially teenagers, please take heed.
> Posted by Rafael Olmeda on December 28, 2010 02:00 PM
Come on, sing it with me! "Hello! The phone is ringing so I say hello! Goodbye! When I'm done talking then I say bye bye! Say bye bye!"
If you now have that song stuck in your head and it's not going to go away for the foreseeable future, congratulations. It means you have a toddler who loves you and relatives who don't. It also means I can easily torture you with a number of unforgettable (no matter how darn hard you try) songs from the Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Fun With Friends Musical Table. Unforgettable classics like "One, two-three, four-five-six-seven-eight! Then there's nine! Counting's really great with numbers, when you learn numbers, then we can count... and count again!"
No one who loves you would give this gift to your toddler. Sure, the child will be entertained. For hours. But the goal of this gift is not to entertain your child. No, sir and ma'am, its purpose and sole reason for existence is to torture you for all the noisemaking gifts you have given and will give other toddlers in your life.
Yes, I'm exaggerating. I actually like this table. It was Leo's first Christmas present. He got it last year and he still plays with it. It helps that my wife figured out how to cope with the toys that make noise. And I think it works for everything.
It works for the fire truck with the loud siren, for the xylophone, for the motorized all-terrain-vehicle that works on any surface so long as it's a level floor. It works for the maracas and the drums and the battery-operated yipping puppy.
It works for all the toys that make noise.
Are you ready for the big secret? Here you go: here's how you cope with the toys that make noise... ready?
Play with them.
That's it. Stop what you're doing, if it's at all possible, and play with them. Obviously, that doesn't work if you're doing something important. But face it: most of the time, you're not. You're hooked to your Borg implant, attached to a cyberworld plugged into your ear. You're watching sports or sitcoms or something of far less significance than your child.
Stop complaining about the noise and go play with your kid. You'll find it doesn't seem as noisy when you're the one pushing the buttons. At some point you'll realize there's another sound you've been missing. That's the sound of your kid's infectious laughter as he's enjoying the little noisemaker. Now that's a sound I wouldn't mind having stuck in my head all day.
What we're doing with the kids during winter break
> Posted by Joy Oglesby on December 27, 2010 03:42 PM
I was over the moon about my girl going to big-girl school until I looked at the school calendar and realized she'd be off for two weeks.
What the heck was I going to do with her for two weeks?! Luckily, auntie returned home from college for her break and was able to play X to my girl's Miss Daisy. So the little one was occupied at gymnastics camp, at the museum and in the kitchen decorating gingerbread cookies with her bestie.
Maybe next year, I'll burn a week of vacation to be home during my daughter's winter break.
> Posted by Rafael Olmeda on December 23, 2010 12:15 PM
Christmas is in two days.
Just nine days until 2011.
Leo's second birthday is in 44 days.
Valentine's Day is in 53 days.
One of my stepdaughters drives me nuts with her countdowns. "My birthday is in nine days," she writes on Facebook. Last month, it was "Just 10 days before we all go to New York." That was followed by a minilecture on not letting the cyberworld know when the family would be skipping town.
Am I a curmudgeon about this? The countdowns are driving me up the wall. I'm not talking about a Letterman Top Ten list or a critic's pick for the best movies of the year. I'm talking about constantly looking forward to a date in the future at the expense of today.
"I can't wait" is no way to go through life, but it's a great way to miss out on what's happening around you right now.
> Posted by Kyara Roberta Lomer on December 23, 2010 07:00 AM
Day care often sends home memos in my son’s lunchbox. “Need more diapers, please.” “Tomorrow is pizza day.” “Please do not dress your child in superhero attire for school.” Wait. What was that?
My son doesn’t have any superhero T-shirts, but I was curious, so I asked the director about it. She said it affects the children’s behavior on the playground and in the classroom. They are more rambunctious and try to copy the actions of the particular superhero on their T-shirt.
I thought superheroes were supposed to teach us to love good and fight evil, so why are they making our children “evil” on the playground?
I don’t know about you, but most superhero movies I’ve seen are pretty mature and seem like they were made for adults. I haven’t watched many superhero cartoons, but the new Iron Man and Batman movies are most definitely adult movies.
What are the kids who watch these movies taking away from them? If they’re too young to grasp themes and concepts put forth in the movies, they must just be focusing on the action and violence. And if that’s the case, why are kids being allowed to see these movies?
The end of the memo reads, “Jesus is our superhero.” Sounds like a much more gentle approach.
Do you let your kids watch superhero movies? If so, do you notice any changes in their behavior?
When Parents Text: Another way for kids to make fun of us
> Posted by Lois Solomon on December 22, 2010 07:00 AM
My kids are waiting for me to write something dumb in a text message so they can send it to WhenParentsText.com.
I've been finding them in fits of laughter in front of their computers as they read this blog, which takes submissions from kids about embarrassing spelling mistakes, emoticons, attempts at humor and other egregious errors parents make as they type into their phones.
I have to admit some are pretty funny. Here's a small sample.
Dad: I was just at work laughing out loud thinking about guy on millionaire matchmaker creepily staring at girl with his head tilted. (I’m LOLing as I write this.)
Brown skin versus white skin: What to tell the kids
> Posted by Joy Oglesby on December 17, 2010 01:28 PM
The nearly 4-year-old: I want to be Tinker Bell
Me: OK, you can put on your Tinker Bell costume when we get home.
Her: No! I want white skin like Tinker Bell.
Me: (big thump sound as my heart sinks)
So the conversation painfully plodded along about why she wanted white skin ("because everyone has it") and why she should be happy with her skin color and a list of other cool people who have her skin color (mainly, Auntie Lee).
I really didn't expect to have this conversation with my daughter. I thought that because we have friends with brown and white skin that it wouldn't be a problem. That she would see people who look like her are just as desirable. But, after this conversation I really realized she doesn't see enough folks like her in her world. Yes, we have Tiana and supporting cast like Iridessa from Tinker Bell's Pixie Hollow, Quincy from Little Einsteins and Princess Presto from Super Why.
But with the exception of Tiana who just came on scene there aren't any brown stars in kiddie world created by Nickelodeon, Disney, Hollywood. The brown kids starring in TV shows for kids her age are truly of color: Sid the Science Kid is blue, Unique of Backyardigans is Pink. And it's not just TV. Children's books still overwhelmingly feature white kids or animals, and I don't know about you but who wants to be a pig named Olivia?
So I love the idea of Kisha's Kids. (I'm not loving the price; this rug pictured at left costs $100.) Kisha is a mom of four who lives in Plantation and started creating rugs, artwork and dolls because she was frustrated with not being able to find room accessories that looked like her kids.
And that's what I want too: Everyday kids' stuff to more often come in shades of brown. Oh, and to find them at Target. Oh, and world peace.
I'm curious, what have you done to make sure your kids are comfortable in their skins?
> Posted by Rafael Olmeda on December 16, 2010 11:00 AM
My toddler, Leo, has reached the stage where he hates sitting still. He hates sitting still for diaper changes. He hates sittting while we put clothes on him. He hates sitting still in his car seat (which he proves by removing his footwear). He struggles and wiggles and jiggles and won't sit still until Mommy or Daddy can't take it anymore. Like the other morning, when I threw my hands up in the air and yelled, "I can't wait until you can dress yourself!"
I regretted the words immediately.
One of my stepdaughters turns 18 this week. I only met her four and a half years ago. I missed her infant and toddler years. I missed the stages where she and her mom had the bonding experiences that defined her childhood. I missed the Barney stage, the Pokemon stage, the Pocahontas stage. I missed it all. By the time I met her, she was already transforming into a Borg. But I missed all the little girl stuff, and I'll never get it. Ever.
But I do get to watch my son grow up. I get to witness every stage. I watched him learn to walk. I'm a part of helping him learn to talk. I see him forming bonds with his mom and his sisters and his grandparents and his uncles and aunts and cousins. He throws a basketball into one of those Little Tykes hoops, and he makes the basket with impressive regularity.
It won't be long before Leo is potty trained. And can dress himself. And talk. And fight. And mope. And drive. And love. And...
"Enjoy parenthood," a friend told me shortly before Leo was born. "Remember, the days are long, but the years are short."
Right now, Leo still counts on us for absolutely everything. He needs us around as much as he wants us around. Someday, that will change.
> Posted by Kyara Roberta Lomer on December 16, 2010 07:00 AM
While spending a weekend up in Daytona Beach, I came across an article about Flagler Palm Coast High School’s recent announcement that it will use a grant from the Florida Department of Health's Healthy Communities, Healthy People program to provide a room for nursing mothers, complete with a breast pump, seating, a refrigerator and access to a lactation consultant.
It’s exciting to see a grant like this going to encourage breast-feeding. I hope the concept catches on in more work environments.
I know it can be difficult for some new mothers to find a private, comfortable place to pump when they return to work after giving birth. I remember being moved from one empty office to another and feeling embarrassed that the person in the adjacent office could hear the sound of the pump through the wall, especially if that person was a man.
The article says it’s especially challenging for teachers because they need to find someone to watch their classroom while they pump.
The article quotes Pat Lindsey, a lactation consultant and president of the Florida Breastfeeding Coalition, who says many women don’t feel comfortable breast-feeding at work (maybe because there usually aren’t adequate accommodations for nursing mothers?) but that women who breast-feed are more productive and have lower health care costs than mothers who don’t breast-feed.
Also quoted was Deborah Saulsbury, a regional coordinator for Communities Putting Prevention to Work, a Department of Health and Human Services initiative, who said, “Everybody knows about the benefits, but people don't realize how that translates into dollars saved for the district because the teachers aren't absent as much.”
She added that most women whose workplace is not breast-feeding-friendly will switch to formula within about 30 days.
Lindsey said having a place to pump "is a necessity for a great deal of women in the workplace. More women have gone to work, and they are still mothers. They need to be able to be a mother and also be able to do what they need to do."
For teens, only sweatshirts are allowed in the cold
> Posted by Lois Solomon on December 15, 2010 07:00 AM
It's been really funny to watch my teens experience our cold weather.
They admit they are freezing but refuse to wear a coat. They wear sweatshirts and even put on the hood, but will not put on a jacket that will actually keep them warm.
My strategy is not to argue about it but let them see for themselves how their sweatshirts are insufficient. They beg me to put on the heat in the car and I take my time, as I am warm in my coat and gloves and they need to learn that no one will say they are not cool if they wear something that will actually make the cold tolerable.
And since I'm all about encouraging weirdness in others, so I was ecstatic to have stumbled on this pregnant doll that, wait for it, gives birth. (Thanks, New York Times' Motherlode blog.)
The MamAmor dolls are far from Barbies. They are rounder and softer and deliver their bundles of joys naturally. Oh yeah.
The yarn-haired dolls come in browns and pinks and creamy whites. For a mere $130, one could order a mom that is bonding with her wee one, a mom that is breastfeeding, one that has a belly and a cute two-piece swim suit, or one that can give birth. There are also babies for sale.
> Posted by Gretchen Day-Bryant on December 10, 2010 11:00 AM
My grandmother died when I was very young, but my memories of her Christmases are indelible.
The enormous pink flocked Christmas tree. The delicate Norwegian cookies. The lefse and the lutefisk (it's hard to forget this pungent fish). The almond hidden in the baked rice for one special grandchild.
One tradition that died with Grandma was her candy wreath, which she hung on her front door during the Christmas season. It was an explosion of Brachs candies, a temptation that was beyond self-control. We'd snip off the candy with the scissors tied to the wreath, leaving behind the colorful ribbon.
So a few years ago, when my sister sent me a candy wreath of her own creation, it was one of those gifts that flooded me with tear-filled memories. I loved it. And so did my kids.
The next year, I realized what a chore it was to tie dozens and dozens of candies around the wreath with ribbon. No wonder my own busy mom didn't continue the tradition. And besides, the kids shouldn't be eating so much candy and we probably don't have as many visitors as Grandma did back in the days of afternoon coffee parties.
I don't know what got into me this year, but I decided to bring out the wreath. I sat for three hours with ribbon and bags of candy and painstakingly tied pieces around the wreath, building on the ribbon left behind from my one previous attempt. My daughter helped me for about 5 mintues before she got bored.
Nobody needs candy, I know. But we do need traditions. And maybe this is one my kids will remember when they have homes of their own.
Remember the Bochicchios when you go Christmas shopping
> Posted by Lois Solomon on December 8, 2010 07:00 AM
Three years have passed and there is still no arrest for the murders of Nancy Bochicchio and her daughter, Joey, at Town Center Mall in Boca Raton.
I think of them every time I park in one of the garages at the mall, where they were abducted Dec. 12, 2007, after they had gone Christmas shopping. They were forced to withdraw $500 from the bank and were bound with plastic ties and handcuffs before they were killed.
There has been no news for a long time on any progress in the investigation. Last time we heard from the police on this, almost a year ago, they released a photo of the goggles that were placed on either Nancy or Joey (they wouldn't say who).
The mall is filled with extra security now. I see patrol cars every time I visit and there are emergency phones all over the place. But I still get the chills as I imagine what they went through in the same place where I park my car.
Raising a brood of kids close in age is tough, but there's a payoff
> Posted by Brittany Wallman on December 6, 2010 02:00 PM
Some of you are going to just nod and smile when you read this headline:
Having a sister makes you happier.
Here's a link to the New York Times column on this subject. A study showed that sisters are the root of happiness, or something like that. There's disagreement about why, but suffice to say that this should give you ammunition in your argument with your spouse about whether having just one kid is enough. (It's not!)
I grew up with three sisters. That should make me one of the happiest people in America. And I have to say, I am smiling most of the time.
My sisters and I. If we see clothes we like, we buy three!
It doesn't matter how many friends I pick up along my journey, and how great they are; the only ones I am in constant contact with are my sisters.
We were all born within two years of each other. When my little sister was born, I was 1 and a half, my next sister was 3 and my oldest sis (who, sadly, died in 2005), was 4.
Matter of fact, my younger sister, Jill, who lives in Oklahoma, (from which I escaped one week after graduating high school), sent me no fewer than 10 text messages today. My next older sister, Cyndi, just sent me a Facebook message checking on me because I'd told her I had some headaches.
How could I ever feel lonely or uncared for, when I have my sisters watching out for me?
Granted, as a child they made me so furious at times that I threw a punch or two. But mostly, we played. We rode horses, played "house,'' made snow forts and created a fantasy world we called "maroonland.'' ( I have no idea why.) We had a whole lot of fun.
As a parent, I've always felt bad that I didn't give my kids siblings close in age to them. My daughter is 8, my son is 15. They are not close; they probably never will be.
I know it's a lot of hard work raising kids that are close in age. Personally, I didn't feel like I could handle two young kids at a time, let alone three or four.
But for those who are doing it, you can feel good knowing you've quite possibly given birth to your child's best friend.
> Posted by Georgia East on December 6, 2010 06:05 AM
My daughter and her cousins wrote out their Christmas wish lists a few days ago. I couldn’t wait to look at it. I figured it would give me some clues about which aisles to hit first in the toy section.
But to my surprise my seven-year-old’s wish list had everything on it except toys. I had to chuckle as I scrolled down her sheet of paper. Her wish list looked more like mine, and I’ve only shared mine with the friends in my head.
High up on her list—a refrigerator with an ice machine. I had to ask why? Our refrigerator is a decent size and our ice trays seem to do just fine. At least, I thought so.
But I’ve come to learn after spending time at her cousin’s house and getting used to simply pushing her glass against a lever and getting ice, my daughter think it’s time for an upgrade.
Also on the list is a car with a television. I guess my NPR on the car radio in the mornings is simply not cutting it. She’d like to watch TV and preferably have cable in the car, since our house is a no cable zone.
She’d also like Santa to bring her a driver’s license. What use is a car with a TV if you can’t drive it anywhere?
I must say looking at her list was a wake-up call. I couldn’t help but wonder if I’m allowing her to get too wrapped up into a materialistic world. But a big part of me knows my daughter likes to play house and pretend and some of these things are what a mom, even a make-believe-mom, would want.
If she wonders why none of those things are under the tree on Christmas day, I have my lines ready. Santa can’t fit a fridge and a car in his sleigh!!!!!
> Posted by Staff Writer on December 3, 2010 02:00 PM
Many of us have memories of childhood bullies that made our lives, or the lives of someone we knew, miserable. As many of you have learned from the news, bullying is more prevalent now than ever. Bullying is not a single or occasional incident, but is defined as a series of incidents in which one child picks on another child. Some signs that your child may be a victim of bullying include;
1. Perpetual upset stomach
2. A sudden desire to stay home from school
3. Asking for a ride to school if he or she usually walks or takes a bus
4. Noticeable loss of self-confidence
5. Onset of moodiness or depression
6. Skipping class
7. Missing lunch money or other personal items
8. Bruises, aches and pains that he or she doesn’t want to discuss
If you believe that your child is the victim of a bully you can and should help. If it’s happening at school or if the bully is a student at the school, contact your child’s school to report him or her. Schools these days have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to bullies and will vigorously seek to resolve the problem.
Discuss with your child how they should react to the bully. Tears will often make a bully feel more powerful. Advise them that while they should not have to hide or change their normal routine, it’s a good idea to avoid contact with a bully when possible. Don’t tell your child to fight back as it could cause an escalation of violence. Instead, tell them to get away from the situation and report the incident to a school official, to you, or to another responsible adult at the location where the bullying occurred.
Remember that many bullies today have access to your home via the computer and your child’s cell phone. Cyber-bullying is very prevalent with tweens and teens. Block or don’t respond to an online bully. Keep the computer in a family area of the house, not a bedroom, and monitor what your child is doing online. Report to the school or appropriate official any cyber-bullying you become aware of.
Maggie Cary, a national board certified teacher has been an educator for more than 17 years. She is certified in secondary education and holds a master’s degree in early childhood education.
Over the years she has mentored countless teachers and advised hundreds of parents. Cary has taught children from preschool through high school. She also offers classroom advice on website Classroom Talk.
> Posted by Rafael Olmeda on December 2, 2010 09:00 AM
It's that time of year again. Time to avoid certain stations that have been champing at the bit to play nothing but Christmas carols from now until Dec. 26. Not that I have a problem with Christmas carols. Heck, I love them. I can't wait to share them all with my kids. But there are some songs that drive me up the wall for one reason or another. Last year I identified nine particular numbers as my list of "Christmas Music from Heck."
This year, I'll kick off a new list, but I'm more interested in your thoughts. I now present Christmas Music From Heck 2010. In no particular order:
1. The Little Drummer Boy (Bing Crosby and David Bowie)
I want to meet the first person who thought of combining ham and cheese and shake his hand. I want to hug the person who put chocolate in peanut butter. And the person who first decided to add the tastes of bacon and eggs to a morning meal deserves the highest of high fives. But whoever looked at David Bowie and said "you know what you need to do? You need to sing a Christmas carol with Bing Crosby" needs to be tarred and feathered.
It's not that either of them is a bad singer or that their voices don't blend well. It's just, well, it's not the Little Drummer Boy. It starts out as the Little Drummer Boy (the Reader's Digest Heavily Abridged Version), but then Bowie starts singing a totally different song. Then Bing joins him. And you're sitting there wondering where the devil these lyrics came from and what one song has to do with the other. The ultimate effect is like ice cream and cheeseburgers: two great tastes that don't taste great together.
Now, I recognize I'm being a little unfair here: there are not many versions of The Little Drummer Boy that I like. I hate when it's sung by women, or by a chorus of boys who sound like women. And that eliminates about 95 percent of the versions on the market. Here's a version I really, really like. See if you recognize who's singing:
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (Dean Martin)
Too self-consciously cool to enjoy, this version of the song is like nails on a chalkboard for the sin of one lousy word. Rudy. Rudy? is that supposed to be short for Rudolph? Hey, it might save ink, but when you're singing it, it's just two syllables either way. You haven't saved space or time. All you've done is call attention to the fact that you're so cool you call Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer "Rudy." Like I'm supposed to be impressed, like you're not only on a first-name basis with Mr. Glo-Nose, but you're drinking buddies. Come off it!
Jingle Bell Rock (Bobby Helms and everyone else who covered it)
Sacrilege, I know, picking on a beautiful song sung beautifully by a singer with a beautiful voice. So why does it make the list? Because of what Groban does to the second verse. Most singers leave it out (along with a third verse). And that's okay. I don't know the second and third verses of the Star Spangled Banner. But I don't sing them, butcher the content, and leave the words on the floor gasping for breath. Groban does. He ignores the first two lines and wails "Noel! Noel!" at the climax, leaving those who know the lyrics under the distinct impression that he's forgotten the words. He hasn't. He's not the only one to resort to Noel for noelling reason that I can fathom. Celine Dion does it, too. I don't get it. The original lyrics are powerful. Sing them, Groban!
> Posted by Kyara Roberta Lomer on December 2, 2010 07:00 AM
Sitting up, crawling, walking — easy. Learning how to count, memorizing the alphabet, spelling words — no problem. Potty training? Our worst nightmare.
My son, Copelan, will be 3 on March 24, and he won’t move up to the 3-year-old room at day care until he’s fully potty trained. No more training pants. Just underwear. I don’t think my son even knows what underwear is.
He’s an especially happy toddler. It takes a lot to get him mad or throw a temper tantrum. But if I want to make him upset, all I have to do is ask if he wants to sit on the potty. He literally runs away screaming. I’ve tried everything — child potty seat, a portable singing potty, an Elmo potty seat, potty DVD, potty books, bribery with candy, and anything else you can think of.
I don’t want him to fall behind and have to be separated from his friends because of his resistance to the potty. He is my first child, so I’m not familiar with when exactly most kids get fully potty-trained, but to me, 3 seems too young to be completely trained.
I know that Copelan understands the concept because he’s had a couple successes, but I think he doesn’t want to stop what he’s doing to just sit on a boring potty, especially if he doesn’t have to go. And it doesn’t help that I’m pretty clueless when it comes to spotting the signs that he has to go.
Does anyone have any special methods that have proved effective? And what are your thoughts on a reasonable age for a boy to be fully potty-trained?
Gretchen Day-Bryant has a son in high school and a daughter in middle school. She’s lived to tell about the struggles of juggling little kids and work. Joy Oglesby has a preschooler... Cindy Kent Fort Lauderdale mother of three. Her kids span in ages from teenager to 20s. Rafael Olmeda and his wife welcomed their first son in Feb. 2009, and he's helping raise two teenage stepdaughters. Lois Solomon lives in Boca Raton with her husband and three daughters. Georgia East is the parent of a five-year-old girl, who came into the world weighing 1 pound, 13 ounces. Brittany Wallman is the mother of Creed, 15, and Lily, 7, and is married to a journalist, Bob Norman. She covers Broward County government, which is filled with almost as much drama as the Norman household. Almost. Chris Tiedje is the Social Media Coordinator and the father of a 7-year-old girl, and two boys ages 4 and 3. Kyara Lomer Camarena has a 2-year-old son, Copelan, and a brand new baby.