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South Florida parents share their stories and advice

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July 29, 2011

'Let's Panic About Babies'

When my daughter turned 4 months old, Graco sent me this email to celebrate:

"Welcome to your 4th month of parenthood. Baby is here. You're spending all of your time caring for him and are radiant with the happiness that he's brought into your life. It seems you've got your priorities straight! But are you remembering to nurture yourself, too? By implementing a baby-friendly diet and exercise regimen, adjusting a few other routines and reducing stress in your daily life, you'll come to love your new mom-i-fied self even more."

How did my daughter celebrate her milestone? She fell asleep about 10:30 p.m. while my husband and I stayed up watched “24” re-runs until 1:30 a.m.

Baby was up again at 3:30 a.m., demanding to be fed. So I took her out to the living room, got us both situated in the glider, and started feeding her.

Maybe 3 minutes later, she passed out. Sigh. Back to bed.

Up again at 6:30 a.m. for a hungry, wet baby. This time she DIDN’T pass out. Every time I tried to put her down in her crib or swing, or anyplace! Please, child!, she started crying.

So my plan to sleep until 9 a.m. was shot.

Consequently, I didn’t spend my Sunday being radiant with the happiness that she’s brought to my life. And with my decision to watch TV until 1:30 a.m., it is obvious my priorities are whacked.

Enter “Let’s Panic About Babies.” This advice book is much more my style.

Written by mommy bloggers Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy, "Let's Panic" is funny, sarcastic and strangely on-point about pregnancy, delivery and newborn care.

Divided into two parts, "The Swelling" and "The Birthening and Beyond," the book addresses almost all baby-related issues through chapters like "The Second Trimester: Time for Invasive Testing," "The Third Trimester: Now You're Comical to Everyone but You" and "Navigating the Jungle of Early Motherhood."

What makes this book work is it’s in-your-face direct address, the way it wildly exaggerates every small truth, and its comically insane solutions for pregnancy and newborn concerns.

In chapter 6 (Obviously Pregnant = Obviously Stupid), the authors write: “At six months you may feel like you have plenty of time before the birth. Well don’t get too comfy, Miss I-Still-Have-Two-Months-To-Choose-a-Crib: your baby can decide it’s time to evacuate right now, if she wants – and she’ll do it, too, just to spite you. Baby knows quite a bit about your karma and she’s been given clearance to come out early and try to kill you with it.”

This feature makes It less-than-ideal for first-time mothers seeking real answers, but provides hearty chuckles (and sometimes howls of laughter) for those of us who have faced those dilemmas and somehow survived.

The book does sometimes cross the line. I don’t really like being called a female dog, even in jest.

But for the most part, the humor in “Let’s Panic About Babies” is wickedly accurate and all in good fun.

I just wish everything about babies was this amusing.

Jennifer Jhon is the youth editor of Teenlink.

POSTED IN: Guest Post (79)

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July 27, 2011

Ads in doctors' offices: This one went too far

As I was waiting in the examination room for the doctor to see me yesterday, I noticed on the counter a computer monitor flashing pictures at me. I quickly realized this was an advertisement for a sterilization procedure with the trademark name Adiana.

I've seen subtle ads in doctors' offices before __ on pens, or anatomy posters, or mats, or scales __ but I had never seen anything this blatant, tilted right at the examination table, where marketers knows you are waiting forever for the doctor to come in. Talk about a captive audience.

I meant to ask the doctor about this intrusion into the examination room but got caught up in a list of questions I had brought about other topics. Drug ads on television have been irritating me for years; does the commercial deluge really need to invade the exam room too?

POSTED IN: Lois Solomon (211)

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July 26, 2011

You still can't wear slippers to Broward schools

My favorite part of the Broward County schools code of conduct is the dress code.

The public seems grossly obsessed with what kids wear, due largely to the "pants on the ground'' trend (resulting in a new Florida law signed by the governor on Jun. 2.

If you were to read the rules as an indicator of what is in style around here, you would conclude that kids still like to wear clothing with rips and tears in it, that bloomers and pajamas are tempting to wear to school, and that those stretchy biker shorts are in vogue. You'd also find that bodysuits or panty hose with lace trim probably would be worn without a large blouse, if it weren't outlawed by the schools. The gals might wear curlers in their hair. Wallets that are chained to the belt loop would show up on campus.

And then, of course, the bedroom slippers. Here's what is said about that:

For grades K-12, bedroom slippers are not allowed, and for elementary students, backless footwear is not allowed. Additionally, elementary students may not wear backless, sling-backs, or open-toed footwear. Socks may not be worn with backless shoes as a substitute back for backless shoes.

The code can't cover every conceivable fashion. What if feather roach clips (worn in the hair) make a comeback, for example?

So the rules do contain this catch-all warning:

Changes in clothing trends will not override the dress code policy.

Govern your child's wardrobe accordingly.

Click here to read the new Code of Student Conduct, online this year for the first time.

(You can also find out about discipline, and what is considered a weapon. A compass can be a weapon, apparently, if used outside of math or science class. And thankfully, "shotgun'' made the list as well.)

POSTED IN: Brittany Wallman (160)

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Want to keep your child reading this summer?

A great way to keep your child interested in reading over the summer is to start a book club. It can be as simple or as elaborate as you choose. Parents should read the book selections first and outline some thoughtful questions that the kids can discuss. For younger readers questions should be simpler Who? What? Where? Problem/Solution.

Older readers can discuss what motivates a character, and their personal feelings and thoughts as a response to the book. Here are a few tips to get you started.

1. Plan who will host each meeting. Serve themed refreshments that “go with”the book.

2. Plan a field trip at the end of the book. If the characters love science go the local science museum. If you’re reading a dinosaur adventure plan a “fossil dig” at a local park.

3. If you’re reading Treasure Island plan a treasure hunt.

Get creative and your book club members will develop a love of reading and increase their reading levels over the summer!

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.

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July 19, 2011

The height of teen ingratitude: Beating parents to death with hammer (allegedly)

I ran to the TV when I heard the newscast last night about the teen-ager up in St. Lucie County accused of beating his parents to death with a hammer and then throwing a huge house party as his parents' bodies remained in the back bedroom.

Did you see this?

If not, click here.

Is this really a story we want our teen-agers to read?

POSTED IN: Brittany Wallman (160)

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July 6, 2011

Casey Anthony: What to tell the kids

As the lynch mobs took over my kids' Facebooks yesterday, the kids asked me who Casey Anthony is and what did I REALLY think happened.caseyanthony.jpg

I had to introduce them to the concepts of a verdict, innocent 'til proven guilty and reasonable doubt. They wanted to know about the role of the judge. They wanted to know how a parent could potentially kill their own child. They wondered why this trial seems to have taken over the country.

It was difficult to explain these complicated topics. They wanted answers and certainty, which I was unable to offer.

I would love to know how you explained this case to your kids.

POSTED IN: Lois Solomon (211)

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Would you pick up a hitchhiker with your kid in the car?

Driving out of Florida Atlantic University after July 4 fireworks, my husband and I saw a woman walking with her thumb out, seeking a ride. Her back was to us as she walked.

We stopped the car and asked if she needed a ride (duh). She said yes, thanks. My 12-year-old was in the car, as well as my husband and me. She took a seat next to my daughter in the middle of our minivan.

She said she had a fight with her boyfriend and didn't want to ride with him. She rambled on and on and seemed drunk. She kept thanking us.

We took her about halfway to her destination. Throughout the trip, I wondered if we had done the right thing. What if she had a gun? Was my daughter thinking we were crazy?

When our rider got out of the car, my daughter said she liked what we had done, definitely not what I thought she would say. But I still wonder if we put ourselves, and her, at risk by picking up a drunk stranger.

POSTED IN: Lois Solomon (211)

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July 5, 2011

Things I forgot to teach my child

When you have two kids and a full-time job, it's easy to forget to tell your child that Bigfoot doesn't really exist.

Our daughter is 9. We spend a lot of time parenting her brother, the teenager, because he presents one parenting quandry after another.

We sort of assume that she will learn in school a lot of the basics, like the fact that the earth is not flat and the moon is not made of cheese. And we're teaching her the big moral issues, the character issues.

Who was supposed to teach her about Sasquatch?

A Bigfoot-watching show was on TV last night, and that's when we found out that Lily is a believer. My husband called me in to the living room to tell me. And Lily said, "No, I don't think. I know!''

I'm going to have to sit down with her and chat. It might be too late to tell her that UFOs aren't real, emails from Nigeria should be ignored and there never was a babysitter who got a call from a man who said "I'm calling from inside the house.''

What else have I forgotten to tell her, I wonder!

POSTED IN: Brittany Wallman (160)

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July 1, 2011

Go the .. to Sleep gets response from mom

Go the F**k to Sleep

For those of you who are catching up, the book Go the ... to Sleep has climbed book lists, presumably because so many parents share the frustration of trying to get their child to sleep.

But not everyone approves, including Karen Spears Zacharias, who wrote the following for CNN.

She doesn't like the language, and wants a different message, writing:

"The violent language of "Go the F*** to Sleep" is not the least bit funny, when one considers how many neglected children fall asleep each night praying for a parent who'd care enough to hold them, nurture them and read to them."

Your thoughts? (Note that due to technical issues, your comment doesn't show up right away. But they'll go up ASAP.)

POSTED IN: Activities (143)

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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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