Moms & Dads: Stories, tips, and advice on raising your kids from South Florida parents | Sun Sentinel blogs

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South Florida parents share their stories and advice

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March 31, 2011

New car seat regulations: good for safety or inconvenient?


The American Academy of Pediatrics recently released its new car seat guidelines for children. A “Today Moms” article summed up the changes:

• Children should ride rear-facing to age 2, or until they reach the maximum height and weight for their seat. (The old policy from 2002 cited age 12 months and 20 pounds as a minimum for when to turn a seat around.)
• Children should use a booster seat until they have reached 4 feet 9 inches tall and are between 8 and 12 years old.
• Children should ride in the rear of a vehicle until they are 13 years old.

I remember how happy I was the day I got to turn my 1-year-old son’s car seat around. I have a two-door car, which I have no plans of getting rid of because it’s paid off, and the bigger he got, the harder it was to lift him into a rear-facing seat. He is tall for his age, too, and I can’t imagine he would have been able to remain rear-facing until he turned 2. He’s just too tall, and his legs would have been crunched.

Some moms are having trouble accepting the guidelines. The “Today Moms” article quotes a mom of three who isn’t planning on following the new rules:

Carolyn Murray of West Milford, New Jersey, has already transitioned two of her three kids out of car seats. While Murray's 6-year-old son James still uses a booster, daughters, Samantha, 9, and Emily, 11, haven't had one for years.

Murray isn't planning on following the guidelines, saying that most of her driving is in town and not on highways, and she doesn't want the hassle of needing extra car seats when she drives her kids' friends.

Plus, she says she could never get her 11-year-old to comply: “She would fight it.”

"I agree it's probably safer with short children, since seatbelts can cut into their neck. But there's no way she is going to sit in a booster seat. It's an image thing."

Emily says sitting in a booster seat simply isn't cool. “My friends would laugh.”

Even though the guidelines seem inconvenient, I think it’s probably still better to follow them. I would never forgive myself I was in an accident, and my kids were injured because of my refusal to conform to rules that were created solely for their safety.

For more details about the guidelines, visit


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March 30, 2011

Senior privilege: Should we take it?

Oh, to be a high school senior again and not have to take a full courseload!

Our high school offers "senior privilege" to students with a good GPA and enough credits. They can take one less course, six instead of seven, in their senior year.

My daughter, a junior now, has been looking forward to this since she was a freshman. But I am against it: I think the kids should take advantage of every educational opportunity they can while they have the time and it's free.

But that's just me and my grown-up way of thinking. An assistant principal at our school told me about three-quarters of seniors take advantage of the privilege, demonstrating how out-of-sync I am with the teen mindset. I still wish there was a way, though, to get them to want to be in school for the precious few years that remain.

POSTED IN: Lois Solomon (211)

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March 28, 2011

Abercrombie's padded bikini top

Abercrombie has done it again: Outraged parents, fired up the internet, gotten free publicity -- all for its collection of "lined" bikini tops for young girls.

As ridiculous as I think it is to sell a padded, triangle-shaped bikini top for a young girl (and I'm not sure if it's worse that the top is padded/lined or that it's styled in the racy triangular shape seen on skin models) parents don't have to buy it for our kids.

We don't have to buy them candy. We don't have to buy them clear-heeled shoes. We don't have to expose our kids to racy shows. We don't have to eat at fast-food restaurants.

We don't have to mess up Abercrombie's consumer model.

They clearly have a market of adults who want these lined bikini tops for the girls in their lives. I don't want anyone who doesn't eat beef demanding changes to my high-calorie fast food burger, so I'm not going to launch a campaign against these bikinis. Plus money (where it's spent or not spent) speaks louder than words.

POSTED IN: Joy Oglesby (134)

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March 26, 2011

Should cursive writing still be taught? What for?

There's a lot of buzz out there about whether schools should still teach cursive writing.

My daughter is in third grade, and she's learning cursive now. And I have to say, when she started bringing this stuff home and saying that she'd been corrected for not writing her cursive capital "G'' correctly, I realized I hadn't done it myself since I was in third grade in Iowa.

Some of those letters are just way too time consuming, the capital "S" being another.

In fact, I don't use cursive writing, even though I take a fair amount of notes and need to do it quickly. And I don't know shorthand.

I couldn't even remember why cursive writing was taught. Obviously if you have a computer to type on, you certainly don't need cursive writing to make your task easier.

Click here to read The Washington Post's story about cursive being a dying art. And if you search the Internet for that topic you'll see that schools all over America have considered deleting it from the curriculum.

POSTED IN: Brittany Wallman (160)

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March 24, 2011

A homemade lunch is not necessarily a healthy lunch

As I walk through the cafeteria each day at school I am often amazed by the home made lunches I see. A lot of parents obviously feel that a lunch made at home is better than one purchased at school, but sadly this is often not the case. Busy schedules and an unawareness of proper nutrition can result in children eating highly processed lunches, filled with tons of additives, salt and sugar.

If you send your child to school with candy, dessert and a healthy sandwich, guess which gets eaten first? It’s usually the candy, then the dessert and by the time they’ve added a bag of chips, they are no longer hungry for the sandwich. Sugar filled fruit drinks that come in pouches top off the meal. Many of the children are on such a sugar high that they have a hard time concentrating after lunch. Quite often the children that ate the school lunch (although they’re not perfect either) have an easier time focusing on afternoon academics.

So tomorrow, when you pack that lunchbox, please think carefully about what you put in it. Skip the processed and sugary foods. Instead add fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods. Buy or fill a thermos with a nutritious drink or send money that is to be used only to purchase milk. By making only healthy choices available, you’re supplying your child with the healthy building blocks to get through him or her through the school day.

maggiecary2.jpgMaggie 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 IN: Guest Post (79)

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March 23, 2011

Girl Scout raises money to help Japanese


We all feel helpless as we watch the devastation from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

We want our kids to feel like they can make a difference in the world, even in the face of almost total destruction. A Palm Beach County mom and daughter have come up with a kid-friendly project that adults can also connect with: Donating one million pennies to the Girl Scouts of Japan.

Elisabeth Silver of Greenacres (at left) is a seven-year-old Girl Scout (technically a second-year Daisy) who is gathering the pennies through April 30. She and her mom, Erin, are recounting their efforts in a blog. So far they have collected 12,845 pennies, her mom told me.

Many organizations have launched Japan campaigns, including Save the Children, American Red Cross and the Japan Society. But I love the way the Silvers have found an age-appropriate way to help kids understand the tragedy.

They have a long way to go to get to their goal of $10,000. If you want to help, contact them at or 561-386-9197.

POSTED IN: Lois Solomon (211)

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March 21, 2011

The bully and Casey Heynes

Now the bully claims he was bullied.

The little boy who punched Casey Heynes in what looked like an unprovoked attack at an Australian school last week said in a television interview that he was lashing out because Casey struck first a short time earlier. "He abused me first," the 12-year-old boy said. "He mouthed off at me first, so and then pushed me, so and then ran."

I'm not buying it. It doesn't square with what the little boy says to Casey in the original video. And the kid's smug response to the question of whether he has an anger problem speaks more loudly than anything else he says in this interview.

Then there's his non-apology. "No," he says from the heart when asked if he's sorry. "Yes," he says a second later after [apparently] his dad catches his eye and causes him to rethink his answer. "He started on me first," he finally says when asked why he's not really sorry.

[At least when I withheld judgment, it's because I wasn't there. This kid was. If his gut answer was that he's not sorry, I'm willing to bet he's... wait for it... not sorry.]

Listen to how long it takes for him to answer when he's asked whether he'll bully again. The fact that he had to think about it at all is chilling. "Most probably not," he said.

Most probably not? Was it my imagination, or did it sound like next time he'll just picka target less likely to show him what should happen to a bully?

Pray for this kid's parents, who are at least saying the right things as this story unfolds.

Casey, meanwhile, sat down with a news program called A Current Affair to tell his story. Naturally, his version and the bully's differ on what led up to the video clip.

I want to call attention to the comments of Casey's father, because I think he speaks for a lot of parents. "I'm proud of him because he stood up for himself," said Colin Heynes. "They backed him against the wall, they gave him no option, and he had to do it, you know. He had to defend himself."

POSTED IN: Rafael Olmeda 2011 (10)

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Mom makes lackluster teen student stand in traffic with sign, to learn a lesson

Some might think this mom engaged in bizarre teen abuse, but I for one was touched by the story.

Click here to read the full story. It recounts how a Tampa mom was so upset about her teen son's apathetic approach to high school, and his pathetic grade point average, that she resorted to a desperate effort to make an impression on him. She sent the 15-year-old out to the streets to hold a sign that asked drivers to "honk if I need an education.''

Of course the state is investigating the case. But neither the mom nor the dad graduated high school, and that fate was not what they want for their son. The mom wanted her teen to see what's it like standing out in traffic; if he doesn't make it through high school, he might need to get used to standing there asking for money.

We're always hearing that having parents who care is essential to a student's success. I support this mom's passion.

POSTED IN: Brittany Wallman (160)

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March 17, 2011

Bully's mom sides with Casey Heynes

If you've seen the video of Australian schoolkid Casey Heynes giving the "you-wouldn't-like-me-when-I'm-angry" treatment to an apparent bully half his size, you probably had the same reaction most people had: way to go, standing up to that bully. Quibble all you want about whether Casey overreacted, should have done things differently, etc. It doesn't look like Casey had time for such an intellectual, reasoned discussion.

Casey-Heynes-fight.jpgShall we dance?
I'm not going to join the bandwagon of those who say the little kid got what he deserved. He didn't. I prefer to say he got what he was asking for.

A follow-up story in the Daily Telegraph in Australia reported that the bully's mom, Tina Gates, wanted Casey to apologize for what he did, but the paper has since retracted that report. [This blog post originally relied on that report and criticized the notion that Casey owes ANYONE an apology. I apologize for advancing the error].

What the bully's mom actually said was that her son got what he deserved ("in a way") and owes Casey an apology, and for that, I'd like to give her a medal. This video shows the mom's comments in context. She's saddened that the video of what happened went viral, drawing more unwarranted attention to her and her family. And she recognizes that Casey is bigger and older than her boy. But she didn't ask for an apology from Casey. I think this mom is showing some intense grace under pressure.

We need parents who will stand up for their kids, but in a circumstance like this, we need parents who will stand up TO them.

Keep up with Sun Sentinel writer Rafael Olmeda on Facebook and Twitter.

POSTED IN: Rafael Olmeda 2011 (10)

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Mealtime battles


What is it with toddlers wanting to eat only white foods? White bread, white pasta, white cheese… I am beyond frustrated that my 3-year-old son who once ate myriad foods now refuses anything that isn't a white carbohydrate.

Well, that's not entirely true - he does eat yogurt, fruit and cereal. But a child can't possibly be as healthy as can be with a diet consisting of only five or six foods.

Green vegetables have always been an issue, but at least he used to eat things I could hide them in - mashed potatoes, rice, etc. Now he won't even eat those foods, so I'm just completely out of ideas.

I think it has something to do with the texture and look of something. My son eats pizza, which has sauce, but he won't eat pasta with the same sauce. And he loves pasta, but only bow-tie pasta. Give him spaghetti, and he has a meltdown. The exception is macaroni and cheese. He'll eat that no matter the shape of the pasta.

I recently tried a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but he didn't like the way it looked and wouldn't even touch it. I got him to eat some of it by tearing it up into pieces and hand-feeding him like I did when he was a baby. Every meal is like this. I have to chase him around with a bite of food because he refuses to eat it on his own. Sometimes he'll agree to take a bite of something but then chew it up and spit it out (usually with meat).

My pediatrician says to serve him his food and give no other options as to not create a monster. If he doesn't eat, then he goes to bed hungry. But it's hard for me to send him to bed hungry and say no to that sad little face when he asks for something else. I don't know if it's a control thing on his behalf or if he genuinely doesn't yet understand why he doesn't get the food he wants.

So what is a frustrated mother to do? Send him to bed hungry every night, send him to timeout, take away his favorite toy or give in and hope one day he outgrows his picky phase?


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March 16, 2011

Priceless video: Baby terrified by mom blowing her nose

If you're week is going anything like mine, then you should appreciate the awesome expressions from this baby as he witnesses his mother blowing her nose. He shifts from being completely terrified to wonderfully amused. Enjoy.

EMBED-Baby Scared By Mother's Nose - Watch more free videos

POSTED IN: Chris Tiedje (51), Newborn (39)

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Why do I buy water bottles?

My blue recycling bin overflows past the brim each week with plastic: milk jugs, water bottles, Publix muffin containers, Thai take-out boxes.waterbottle.jpg

Although I recycle religiously, I wonder if it's doing any good. It must take lots of gas and electricity to haul the recyclables, process them and get them to wherever they are crushed and repurposed.

One obvious solution is giving the kids canteens in their lunches instead of the throwaway water bottles. The problem has been that they either complain that they leak or absentmindedly throw them away.

The plastic bottles are just so easy, a nice thin shape that fits in the lunch bag. Let me know if you have come up with good solutions to the abundance of plastic in your house.

POSTED IN: Lois Solomon (211)

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March 15, 2011

Bullied kid bodyslams tormentor... right?

When I originally posted this video this morning, I had found very little factual information online about what was on it. Most people who posted it were just celebrating what looked fairly obvious from the get-go: a big kid getting not just bullied, but actually assaulted by another kid half his size.

I did not know what led up to it, so my take was to withhold judgment until I learned more. As you can see from the comments below, this approach won me exactly zero new fans. Such is life.

This column is a parenting blog, and this post is not a news story. It was my gut reaction followed by my assertion that we need to keep an open mind before we pass judgment. Perhaps you believe I should have waited until all the facts were known before I posted anything. Fair enough, if I'm writing an article in a newspaper. In a blog, as in real life, conversations don't always wait for all the facts to come in. You start with what you do know, and add to the conversation as you learn more. Conversations are going to happen before all the facts are in, but judgments should wait.

Feel free to disagree.

In any event, more information is being reported and it really does seem Casey Heynes, the big kid in the video, is the victim here and has been for a while. "People pick on him every single day," a classmate said. "They hit him around and stuff, and he just got sick of it and let out the anger."

Casey's father was interviewed in this article:

The dad makes a really strong point: 'He's not a violent kid, it's the first time he's lashed out and I don't want him to be victimized over that. He's always been taught never to hit. Apparently other people's parents don't teach their kids that."

In the spirit of fairness, I haven't seen the other kid's explanation. If anyone has information on it to share, please post.

Casey is worried that someone at the school will retaliate against him, his father said. I don't think he needs to be worried. He may have been alone when that confrontation was filmed, but he's not alone anymore.

EMBED-Chubby Kid Bodyslams Bully - Watch more free videos POSTED IN: Rafael Olmeda 2011 (10)

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March 14, 2011

Single moms still treated like social failures, one mom says

Society has largely come to accept step-families, mixed marriages, unmarried couples and other family arrangements kids might have, but single moms are still looked at like social failures, one mom complained in a magazine article.

I've even noticed when filling out emergency contact forms or sign-up forms for my kids that the schools now routinely include questions about whether there's a parent who is legally not allowed contact with the child. So there's an expectation that some of the parents will be involved in hideous breakups or have restraining orders against one parent.

But as this mom writes about in her magazine article, society still looks askance at moms who "mated'' with sperm donors at fertility clinics, or adopted a child with no father, or partner, present at all.

The mom in the above column said she was told she had “social infertility.” As if she's too anti-social to be able to form a lasting enough bond with someone to have natural reproduction. A divorced mom would get more credit, in other words.

I know a few moms who fulfilled their yearning for a child even though they didn't have a spouse or partner. They're warm, friendly people who have lots of relationships with others. Maybe they'll marry one day, maybe they won't. I consider them successes.

POSTED IN: Brittany Wallman (160)

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March 11, 2011

Potty success: Breaking news or TMI

Parenting is different in the age of Facebook. My colleague Jennifer Jhon, the mother of two young ones, offers proof of that.

Back in the dark ages when I was in this phase of mothering, we didn't have Facebook available to share every last detail of our child's development. But I'm sure I would have done the same. Now, with teenagers, I have to be very careful how I share. I sure wouldn't want to embarrass anyone! -- Gretchen

One of my recent Facebook status posts reads: My son pooped AND peed on the potty last night! YAY! Love little potty seats!

My husband watched the screen as I typed it out and hit "share."

"Are you sure you want to do that?" he asked me. "I mean, do your friends really want to know that stuff?"

He has a good point. A recent article I read on the Top 5 Facebook blunders listed the sharing of TMI, especially about bodily functions, as a big no-no.

But I simply do not care.

"This is my life now," I told my husband. "This is what I care about.
My friends can hide me if they don't want to know, but this is what I'm focused on."

Three years ago, I would have laughed if you told me I'd more concerned about my son's bathroom habits than the latest episode of TV's hottest show or the most recent drama in the workplace.

Oh, how I have changed.

Now I study my son's preschool report every day as soon as I get home.

Did he try to go on the potty today? Did anything happen? Any bowel movements to report, or should I be on the lookout for a potty opportunity this evening?

I make special trips to Kohl's with my gift cards, excited not about getting new shoes or that cute pair of jeans, but because boys character underwear are on sale!

Maybe he'll be so concerned about keeping his Spiderman underwear clean that he'll tell me he has to pee BEFORE he goes.

I know I am not alone. I've talked to other moms. Once we get started on this subject, we can compare notes and share stories for hours.

Still, as exciting as it is, I'm ready to move past this stage and onto the next.

I'm looking forward to sharing things like "We had a great date tonight! Loved the new Bond film!" instead of "Son sat on the potty but still managed to pee all over the floor instead of in the bowl."

I'm sure my friends are, too.

-- Jennifer Jhon


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March 10, 2011

Win a Dolphin Encounter at Miami Seaquarium


What’s better than free stuff? Free experiences that give you the chance to make memories with your family. And this year, there’s more reason than ever to cast your nominations and votes for South Florida Parenting’s annual Kids Crown Awards!

There are still six days left to go to to nominate your favorite family outings, activities, important matters, best-kept secrets and places to shop and eat in the tri-county area for a chance to win a Miami Seaquarium Dolphin Encounter for a family of four! You can nominate as many favorites as you like, but only one ballot per e-mail address will be accepted.

The Kids Crown Awards, which are printed annually each July, are great for discovering new things to do and places to go in your neighborhood, especially during mid-summer when you may have already exhausted your regular hangouts. If you’re new to the area, the awards also feature a Hall of Fame, which lists the tried-and-true local family destinations.

If swimming with the dolphins isn’t your thing, then perhaps a cruise to the Bahamas?

Online voting will take place from April 1 to 15, and anyone who casts a vote will be entered to win an all-inclusive three-day, two-night Discovery cruise to the Bahamas for a family of four.

Good luck!

POSTED IN: Activities (143), Shopping (28)

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March 9, 2011

Spring Break: What's a parent to do?

If you're just now thinking about what plans to make for your child's Spring Break - you're a little late.

In Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties, public schools are in recess March 14 - March 18.

I was chatting with a co-worker who is still considering options - including taking the week off to be with her daughter and participate in a swimming program.

But for many parents, that's not a possibility.

In the past - I've enrolled my kid in tennis camp, martial arts and general park camps. He's spent school day holidays at a science museum; taking swimming lessons; and with family.

Depending on the child's age - parents of pre-K and early elementary age children might not want them in camps that go on field trips - or emphasize day-long outdoor activities.

But a half-day camp could be a problem for parents who lack transportation or flexibility with work and bosses.

Network with other parents of children who attend your child's pre-K/ elementary- or middle school. Ask where their kid is going to spend spring break. See if you can partner up on transportation and other resources.

South Florida has a wealth of venues and activities for kids of all ages.

Check out our own South Florida Parenting for its camp guide; and each issue is chockablock full of activities and resources for kids.

Admittedly, most people have moved on and are already planning on what to do with their kids for the summer break. And most camp ads are going to promote those programs.

So, are you still planning on planning what to do with you child for Spring Break? Then, what are you waiting for?

POSTED IN: Activities (143), Child Care (26), Cindy Kent (78), Elementary School (54), Family Issues (231), Pre-K (25), Pre-Teen (57), Safety (59), School Issues (135), Teen (158), Toddler (127)

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Your child has been hurt. Meet me at the hospital.

ambulanceWe received that chilling phone call on a Sunday afternoon a few weeks ago. My daughter had been at a friend's house for a birthday party, and was climbing a tree in their back yard. She was about 10 feet up when she stepped on a dead branch and fell. It was moments after the kickoff of the Bears vs. Packers game. We had a house full of people, and our two boys were still napping in their bedroom. We shot out the door in an instant, leaving our good friends in charge, and sped off to meet the ambulance at the hospital.

A million thoughts were running through my head as we sped to our daughter's side. My wife and I comforted each other knowing she was in good hands at our friend's house, and the EMTs were taking good care of her. We both tried to make light of the situation realizing that our girl is a daredevil and - as cautious as we could be - something was bound to happen eventually. All the while our hearts were racing and our stomachs were doing flips.

When we burst into the ER, we immediately identified ourselves to security. The minutes it took for them to figure out where our little girl was felt like days. When they rushed us back to the exam room, we passed the EMTs who had brought her in. It was comforting to see that they were sticking around to see how she was doing. When we finally saw her on the table she let out an exhausted smile.

The doctors concluded that she had broken her arm above the elbow, completely dislocated her elbow, and fractured her wrist as well. They assured us that the surgery would be minimally invasive, and they may not even have to cut to insert the pins to set the brakes. The following 24 hours were filled with lots of pain killers, crying, and comforting. My wife and I took shifts between the hospital and being home with our two boys, and we knew the next few weeks would be filled with all sorts of new challenges.

All things considered, we were very fortunate that she wasn't more seriously hurt. She easily could've hit her head or injured her back with much more severe consequences. Luckily our friends were there to help at every step of the way. Huge kudos to the Plantation Fire Department and the staff at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital for taking such great care of our princess.

Should we reign in her activities to prevent this in the future, or is this just a case of "accidents happen" and "kids will be kids"?

Photo by Emmett A Tullos III

POSTED IN: Chris Tiedje (51), Health (111), Safety (59)

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College: Public or private?

As the mother of a high school junior, I am entering the era where the mommy-talk is all about college: "Where are you going for SAT prep?" "You've hired a private counselor?" "You're visiting FIVE schools over spring break?"

On my end, the talk is more about whether to use the pre-paid Florida tuition we bought when the kids were toddlers or to take the plunge and apply to private colleges, where the prestige would be high but the payments exorbitant: $50,000 a year, give or take, depending on scholarships, loans, etc.

I went to a private college; my husband went to a public university. So we could go either way in terms of our kids. From what I have seen in life, the people who went to private universities are no richer or happier than people who went to public ones.

Is it worth it for our family to go into debt to get a name-brand college on a diploma? Does that diploma have more value in the long term? Or does a big state university provide the same education and set of experiences at a drastically lower cost? My research is about to begin.

POSTED IN: Lois Solomon (211)

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March 4, 2011

Baby Laughing Hysterically at Ripping Paper

Remember when they were this small? I barely do, even though my youngest is only approaching his 3rd birthday. Few things are as infectious as the pure laughter from a baby. Enjoy. Happy Friday!

POSTED IN: Chris Tiedje (51), Newborn (39)

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Third graders learn that unions are great and America "defeated the Taliban''

UPDATED with the additional three worksheet pages
On television right now, workers' unions are really getting beaten up. But in the classroom, our kids are learning how wonderful they are. On television, Americans are told we are still tangling with the Taliban, a network of terrorists that seemingly cannot be wiped out. But in the classrooms, our kids are told we already defeated them.

It's risky business writing "history'' about recent events, let's admit. And I'm fascinated with what these people come up with. It's also tough to present an ongoing controversial element of our country's politics, like unions, to school children in a balanced way.

Third-graders don't want to be taught that our country hasn't yet won the war that began almost 10 years ago, when they were newborns or still in the womb. They don't want to try to weigh the pros and cons of a labor union, in the past and present, either.

So I've been reading my daughter's news and history worksheets, just out of fascination.

Click here to read the school paper about unions from my daughter, Lily, who is 8. Click here to read the back sides of those worksheets, showing the additional pages, as requested by one of you readers. (My daughter's handwritten answer doesn't show up well on the last page. Sorry.)

The union worksheet is about the grape workers in California, not teachers' unions in Broward. Or the labor unions in Wisconsin.

Questions from the worksheet: "Unions can help their members preserve some of the things they have already won, such as higher wages.' Which definition below tells what the word 'preserve' means in this sentence?'' Another: "The union helped restore pride for many guest workers. In this sentence, the word restore means ...''

Click here to read the worksheet telling kids that "U.S. forces eventually defeated the Taliban'' and implies, I think, that the war is over.

Yet a top U.S. military commander just said earlier this month that the Taliban is shifting tactics and is "not on the ropes yet.''

Kids need the Hollywood ending, to everything.

POSTED IN: Brittany Wallman (160)

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Angry mother slaps bully on school bus


What is going on with all of these adults abusing children on school buses?!?! Yesterday was the bus driver in Washington, and now we have this story of a Broward mother who slapped a kid on the face who she claimed was bullying her child. Really? She couldn't think of a better way to handle this?

ambulanceI'd be upset if my child came home and talked about being bullied on the school bus, but the thought of actually hitting someone's child is beyond comprehension. Not saying that I wouldn't want to, but never in a million years would I.

The Mayo Clinic has a great article about how to help your child handle a school bully, including warning signs to watch out for. Maybe this mother should've taken some of their advice instead of getting herself arrested.

Has your child ever come to you to tell you about a bully? How did you handle it?


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March 2, 2011

Bus driver yanks 6-year-old girl to the ground. How mad would you be?


I don't know about you, but this video makes my blood boil. Granted you would have to be a Buddhist monk or a sadist to drive a busload of 6-year-old children around without losing your patience, but touching someone's child is completely unacceptable in my opinion. This man has no business being the only adult in charge of a group of small children. Luckily for the children in this Seattle area, he was placed on leave and subsequently resigned.

Here is the full story: "School Bus Driver Yanks Child To The Ground And Yells At Her" How mad would you be?

POSTED IN: Chris Tiedje (51), Safety (59), School Issues (135)

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Celebrating Seuss' birthday

We're big fans of Dr. Seuss but have yet to make green eggs and ham for the 4-year-old. I just found a recipe for eggs in a basket topped with spinach pesto that looks yummy enough for me to actually stomach green-coloring on eggs.

seussblog.jpgSo this week everybody who is anybody is celebrating the doc of rhymes. My co-worker Doreen Christensen found a great link to printable Dr. Seuss activities including mazes, games and math quizzes.

Happy Seussing!

POSTED IN: Joy Oglesby (134)

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Brett Loewenstern lights my fire

The time to hesitate is through: Boca Raton's own Brett Loewenstern made "Light My Fire" his own on Tuesday night and deserves to make it to the next round of 'American Idol."

Tossing his red hair with a flaming red-orange backdrop behind him, he chose a perfect song to showcase his voice, style and gentle manner.

I have been impressed with the snippets "Idol" shows us of Brett's personality. He welcomes fellow contestants into his circle, hugs them easily and holds their hands as they walk down the aisles.

This will not help him make it to the top, of course. And the competition is stiff. I've been impressed with rocker James Durbin and the passionate Jacob Lusk.

But Brett is making his mark with his positive attitude and original musical interpretations. Not to mention that gorgeous wavy mane. Go Brett!

POSTED IN: Lois Solomon (211)

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About the authors
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 Solomonlives 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.

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