What’s on your mind today?
It’s Tuesday! How are you?
I related to this NYT article on injuries inflicted on parents by clumsy toddlers. Even though he’s now preschool age, DS is still rambunctious and sometimes unaware of his body (and his own strength). I have been the victim of an accidental head butt or two, and at least one fat lip. How about you?
On the other end of the developmental spectrum: acne. According to treatment guidelines recently published in Pediatrics, acne is now considered common in children ages 7 to 12.
“I’ve definitely seen a shift,” said Dr. Latanya T. Benjamin, a dermatologist at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford, who did not help draft the guidelines. “It’s not uncommon for a 7- or 9-year-old to walk in with the first signs of acne.”
Yikes. But there is disagreement among experts. Many believe that kids aren’t developing acne sooner; instead, their parents are increasingly seeking treatment for them at an earlier age due to concerns about bullying and self esteem.
When did you first notice acne on your kids? I remember being about 10 or 11 years old when I got the first smattering of pimples on my forehead. DD is 8 and no signs yet.
What else is on your mind today? Chat away!
It’s the weekend, y’all!
We’ve got next to nothing on our plates, which is a welcome change. There will, however, be a lot to do in order to finish DD’s Flat Stanley project. It’s a written report, oral presentation and a visual element. Her visual is a scrapbook. Let’s just say I might have gone a little helicopter mom on the scrapbook element… but the written report is all DD, I swear!
If you haven’t already done so, please consider making a donation to a fund for musicteacherk and her four beautiful children. The link is here.
What’s on your mind this weekend? Chat away!
Today we mourn alongside our beloved musicteacherk, whose husband A. passed away yesterday. He was surrounded by family and love until his last moment in this life, and now we surround our dear C. and her four beautiful kids with love and support. C., we are here for you, today and always. I wish I could be more eloquent, but words can’t express how sad I am or how much I ache for your loss. I know my fellow MTers feel the same way.
Since I can’t find the words, I have decided to act. For years I have wanted to participate in a Relay for Life walk in memory of my paternal grandmother and maternal grandfather, both of whom died from cancer. Yesterday I decided it is time. I have a little over two weeks to form a team and pull this off, but I am walking on June 1 in memory of my Abuelita, my Grandpa and for A. I will walk for 24 hours straight if I need to. I hope you will support me by making a donation or dedicating a luminaria in memory of A. or any other loved one you have lost to cancer. If you know and love a survivor, you can dedicate a luminaria in their honor, as well. Please join me.
I love and appreciate this community. I am grateful every day that in this little corner of the Internet, we all have each other’s back.
Please share your words of support and love for C. and family, and feel free to chat about what else is on your mind today. Love to you all.
Let’s talk about the birds and the bees. Or how we talk to our kids about them.
I have been blessed(?) with a crazy precocious daughter. She was 5 when DS was born, so I bought her a couple of books for kids about having babies, etc. One of them was very factual in explaining that a baby was like a puzzle, made by a sperm from a man and an ovum from a woman.
Even after DS was born, she would ask to reread the book on occasion. A couple of years later she started asking, “But HOW does the puzzle get put together?” I would give short, factual answers about male and female anatomy and hope she would let it drop. But she wouldn’t let it go.
One day she blurted out, “HOW does it happen? Do you have to touch privates?” Yes, I replied as matter-of-factly as I could. “Can I watch?” she asked innocently. Um, no, I explained. It’s private. GAH.
Fast-forward to last week: she has to make a scrapbook for her Flat Stanley project, so I pulled out the scrapbook I made after our trip to Italy so she could see an example. It was in Florence that we discovered I was pregnant with DD, and there is a picture of me in the scrapbook holding up the positive pregnancy test.
Two days later we’re at Trader Joe’s and DD asks, “HOW did you know you were pregnant and should take a test?” Oy vey. I have always told myself I would be honest about these things, without going into gory detail, so I decided to stay factual.
“When you’re woman, every month you release an egg. When there is no sperm to make the puzzle, the egg gets released from the body as part of something called the menstrual cycle. When your menstrual cycle doesn’t come, it means you might be growing a baby,” I said. I shared no other details. Did I mention we were in the produce section at Trader Joe’s?
That seemed to satisfy her for the moment, and she let it drop. Until last night when, just before bed, she said, “Next time you have a menstrual cycle, can you show it to me?”
Have I mentioned she is 8 years old?!
I explained to her that no, I wouldn’t be showing her my menstrual cycle as it is private. I also told her that this summer we could start reading books on the subject (I already bought American Girl’s “Care and Keeping of You” book; any other suggestions?). Then she asked how old I was when I got my cycle.
“Almost 12,” I told her. “So I probably won’t get it until I’m 12?” she said. “Probably,” I said. “You’ve got plenty of time.”
So here’s the part where I beg you to tell me I’m not royally screwing this up somehow and unnecessarily traumatizing my daughter at an early age.
She’s just SO. DAMN. CURIOUS.
And perceptive, to boot.
How did you tell your kids the facts of life? Any advice, guidance, recommendations?
What else is on your mind today? Chat away!
It’s the weekend, y’all!
We had an impromptu date last night: an invite to a family friend’s birthday dinner at a Greek restaurant that we’d never tried before. My cousin watched the kids and we enjoyed the company of grown ups and a delicious meal. After dinner we headed to the second run movie theater and watched Admission with Tina Fey and Paul Rudd. It was enjoyable but not great, a lot more melancholy than I’d expected. Still a fun night out!
For Mother’s Day I requested brunch at a great Mexican restaurant in Santa Monica. We will be joined by my parents, my grandma and two of my favorite aunts (one of whom is Gloria, of course!). Moms will get bottomless mimosas. HOLLA!
What are your plans this weekend? Chat away!
For those of you not on facebook, I wanted to bring your attention to a fundraising drive to help out our own musicteacherk and family during her husband’s treatment for cancer. Here is a link if you’d like to donate.
We are all thinking of you and your family and holding you in our thoughts, musicteacher!
What’s on your mind today? Chat away!
I haven’t spoken much lately of the “education divide” between socioeconomic classes — an issue near and dear to my heart. Here’s an excellent piece by Stanford Professor Sean F. Reardon in the New York Times.
As it turns out the divide in test scores, high school graduation rates and college enrollment now have more to do with how much money parents’ have — more so than race or other differences. There’s even a gap between middle class and wealthy families. I was particularly struck by the return in investment on early childhood education programs and extracurricular activities.
If not the usual suspects, what’s going on? It boils down to this: The academic gap is widening because rich students are increasingly entering kindergarten much better prepared to succeed in school than middle-class students. This difference in preparation persists through elementary and high school.
My research suggests that one part of the explanation for this is rising income inequality. As you may have heard, the incomes of the rich have grown faster over the last 30 years than the incomes of the middle class and the poor. Money helps families provide cognitively stimulating experiences for their young children because it provides more stable home environments, more time for parents to read to their children, access to higher-quality child care and preschool and — in places like New York City, where 4-year-old children take tests to determine entry into gifted and talented programs — access to preschool test preparation tutors or the time to serve as tutors themselves.
There are policy changes and other solutions — public investment in early childhood education, anyone? — that Reardon suggests. This article is definitely worth a read!
Here’s another article that caught my eye in Yahoo Shine!: a “Where are they now?” series on children who were abducted then found years later. I was moved by their ability to overcome such an atrocious and traumatic experience and even talk about it publicly.
One such high-profile case, that of Elizabeth Smart, was mentioned in the story. I applaud her for coming out against abstinence-only education in a John Hopkins University speech this week as she sees it as tying women’s worth to their virginities.
She recalled been taught that not being a virgin on your wedding night was like being a chewed piece of gum. During her captivity, she explained, “I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m that chewed up piece of gum, nobody re-chews a piece of gum. You throw it away.’ And that’s how easy it is to feel like you no longer have worth, you no longer have value. Why would it even be worth screaming out? Why would it even make a difference if you are rescued? Your life still has no value.” On Tuesday, she sent out a positive message to Berry, DeJesus and Knight during an appearance on “Good Morning America,” saying, ““They should never feel like their worth has been lessened from anything that happened, and I hope that they realize there’s so much ahead of them they don’t need to hold on to the past.”
Good on you, Elizabeth.
What else is in the news? What’s up with you?
The only story on my mind today is the amazing discovery of three women in Ohio who had been missing for more than 10 years. Details are still sketchy but it appears they were held against their will for all that time by a former school bus driver(!). The best part is Charles Ramsey, a neighbor who helped them escape after responding to Amanda Berry’s screams. He is brave and selfless and funny as hell and I think he’s awesome. The interview with him is an instant classic.
I can’t imagine what these women and their loved ones must be feeling. Just incredible.
On a lighter note, a recent survey of moms found that those with three children were more stressed than those with one, two, and even four or more children.
“There’s just not enough space in your head” for perfectionism when you get to four or more kids, Taylor said. For example, she recalls with her fourth child she didn’t bother with things like obsessively covering all the outlets with safety plugs. “It just gets to be survival!” she joked. Plus, she thinks moms hit a groove once they get past the outnumbered phase of having three kids and into the seriously outnumbered territory of four or more.
“The more children you have, the more confident you become in your parenting abilities,” Taylor said. “You have to let go… and then you’re just thankful when they all get to school on time.”
I will admit that I’ve always thought that either two or four kids seems to be the ideal amount, but that might be because I’ve got a thing for even numbers I think I also bought into the myth of the troublesome middle child (being one of three kids, with a troublesome middle sibling, didn’t help).
In the end I was willing to try for a third (and because of my age, final) child, but was unsuccessful. Now I will think about the silver lining: lower stress levels!
What say you? Does three seem like the most stressful amount? Or have you had three and found bliss?
What else is on your mind? Chat away!
I’ve discovered a new sport: soccer! After a couple of years of watching my kids, I responded to an e-mail by the kids’ soccer league for a moms’ group. I laced up my cleats for the first time yesterday — and loved it!
While I am not 100% clear on the rules — we were given manuals to read — I loved the spurts of running involved and can see how this will help with overall conditioning and races. Plus, it’s fun and it’s brought me closer to the kids. I will let you know how I progress.
In other news: yes, I realize it must have been a PITA for working parents to organize childcare last minute BUT this story about a Washington state school giving the kids the day off to enjoy a “sun day” made me smile.
Finally, my heart goes out to the victims of this limousine fire that occurred nearby on the San Mateo Bridge. Five women, including the bride whose bachelorette party was being celebrated, perished when their limousine caught fire. No one knows what caused the fire.
What else is in the news? What’s up with you?