This photo is from a neat photo blog I just found: Blue Ridge Blog. The blogger is a news photographer/mom and her photos are great.
I have a DotMom post up today, and since it delves more into mom blogging, and I am sure you are bored with that subject by now, I share with you this funny DotMom post by Elizabeth titled "Bad Housekeeping" from a couple days ago. (I especially like Elizabeth's post because it reminds me of a similar incident that happened here last year involving a high chair pad. I gag thinking of that highchair to this day.) Go read!
For those of you who remember that terrifying and painful method of removing a baby tooth with string attached to a slamming shut door, here comes the Gator Gripper - a seemingly handy device that humanely removes those loose teeth. If your kids are like mine, the super loose teeth that kind of hang there for a while just kind of freak me out. Like "M" says in the comments -- eeek!
I bet many of you spent lots of time roaming outside when you were growing up. I did, and I know Emily did. But, lately, I've been getting a lot of, "But Mmmmom, it is so hot out. But Mmmmmom, we're bored..." So, given this article in the Olympian (via Charlene at Crazed Parent) on the huge importance of unstructured outdoor play and time in "nature" for children, how do you keep them outside, kicking around in leaves and finding cool rocks, sticks and other wonders?
An excerpt from the article:
Doctors and teachers have been saying for years that children spend too much time indoors mesmerized by gadgets, or that parents are holding their children hostage inside for fear of kidnappers and other dangers.
Richard Louv argues in his new book that children are suffering from attention problems and higher rates of mental and physical illness because they aren't exposed to direct nature. In "Last Child in the Woods" (Algonquin Books), he calls the idea "nature-deficit disorder."
(He's quick to note, however, that he's not a medical doctor making an official diagnosis.)
Louv, a journalist, has written books on nature and parenting. He gathered information to help back up his theory that nature helps children become more observant, calm and creative. In his book, he refers to recent studies that back up these ideas, though there are no long-term studies on how much time children spend in nature, or how it affects them.
"There's a real sense of wonder that is lost when kids aren't exposed to nature," says Louv during a recent telephone interview from his home in San Diego.
Children badly need the exercise, too.
An estimated 16 percent of U.S. children are obese, and 9 million children ages 6 to 16 are overweight, according to federal health officials.
Overweight children usually grow into overweight adults, at increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, asthma and other disorders.
Organized sports are a help, but children need unstructured time to explore, Louv says. And the kids who do play on a team usually don't do it year-round. Other problems might be cultural pressures and the number of gadgets making it more difficult for children to just go outside.
Louv reports in his book that some suburbs make it illegal to have basketball hoops outside or to do chalk drawings on the sidewalk in the name of aesthetics. Other communities prohibit kids from playing in nearby ponds or fields.
Plus, parents feel their kids aren't safe outside, with Amber Alerts regularly making the national news and reports of scouts going missing in the woods.
"Our culture lives in fear. We feel it intensely," Louv says.
Time is another factor. Charlottesville, Va., pediatrician Martha Hellems says she sees patients in low-income households whose parents work long hours and don't have minutes, let alone hours, to chaperone the kids outside, and they can't afford to send the kids to camp.
But Louv encourages parents to consider the costs of keeping a child indoors all the time.
"I'm not suggesting we revert to the '50s when we let kids out to roam freely," he says. "We have to go outside with our kids and support programs that get our kids out there."
Thanks to Andy, I've just discovered incredibly cool (and free) system for tracking information found on the web, called del.icio.us.
Even the reviews of it call it kind of geeky as it's still new and the website hasn't been all prettied up and made completely user friendly, but don't let that stop you from giving it a go.
Del.icio.us allows you to mark every web or blog site you find interesting by tagging it with a remark or two. That way, down the road, when you want to find that cool article or interesting blog piece, (which you might very well have no idea how to track down again), you can go into your del.icio.us index and find it by category.
Or you can visit other tags and see how other people followed a strand of thought. Which is why this sort of thing is called "social bookmarking". Say, you find an interesting piece and you want to see where that piece led others to go, you just follow their tags.
For working on projects, how great is this idea?
I've only started using it, and already I know I'm going to use it to enhance and track my research for big writing projects.
Here's the blog post on del.icio.us that convinced me to give it a try. And while Fred says it's a bit tricky to set up, it was a breeze for me (and I am NOT a techie by any stretch of the imagination).
For all those families out there seeking a work-life balance, here's a cool post on the topic from an entrepreneur.
Taking a week off every quarter sounds a bit pie in the sky for me, but what the heck, it's something to shoot for.
I have wanted to write about this for some time, but was reminded of it recently, so here goes.
In early June I got a call from a friend of mine out West who was so upset she could barely get the words out. She and her husband had applied to become members of the community beach club (nothing fancy, but still, you have to apply), the place down the street where all their friends take their kids to play in the sand, swim, canoe, and windsurf, and she had just found out they’d been blackballed. A bunch of people had come out against them, and here’s the worst part. They were told the reason – they didn’t like the way my friends were parenting their kids.
Now, I might live three thousand miles away, but, I know these people, we go way back to college days, and I know some people in their community, and I can tell you that there are no allegations of abuse or neglect or other weirdness going on.
My friends have three middle-school aged boys who have lots of energy. They are the typical skateboarder, extreme sports type guys. I’ve known the boys forever and my kids think they’re great. We’ve had lots of fun together over the years, and yes they’re wild, but they’re also good kids.
But, clearly, somewhere along the line, someone decided that all that rough-housing and testosterone were just bad bad bad. Or they just didn’t like the family for some reason. And the word spread. So there’s a cohort of parents who’ve decided that they’re right and this family is wrong and they’ve done the Mean Girls thing and dissed them in a hugely public and humiliating way.
And as a result, my friend is questioning everything about her life in her community. Where before she thought she had friends, now she is embarrassed to walk through the supermarket, not knowing which people are being honest to her face and which are sabotaging her life behind her back.
She was totally shocked that people felt this way about her, and now she’s mortified.
And to think that “adults” like to believe this kind of behavior stops with high school.
I have several reactions. Fury that my friends had to go through this. Disbelief that people can be so disingenuous. More anger that groups can be so nasty. And then an instinct to hide in a closet for fear that I could find myself the brunt of a similar smear campaign.
But on top of that, here’s a question. What's going on with all the judging? The media would have us believe that we’re all Type-A overachievers who’ve taken our competitive instincts and applied them to the new spectator sport of parenting.
I don’t know if that’s true, but I know something. None of us with kids in the roost know how they’re going to turn out. We can think and hope we’re doing a good job, but who the heck knows? Last time I checked, there was no magic formula for raising well adjusted adults. Shoot, aren’t all our kids going to find one reason or another to think we ruined their lives through inept parenting?
Besides, looking back on my life, growing up with four brothers, we had a wild household. Chaos was the norm. And we turned out fine. More than fine, if you ask me, and we’re really close. My family represents my favorite people on the planet (if you include my husband and kids in that count).
So, I’d like to see us all back off and give each other some breathing room. When the instinct kicks in to criticize the family down the street who’s raising their kids differently than you or I are, put a lid on it. Frankly, it’s none of your or my business, and we should just let everyone be. It’s not as if the families around us don’t love their kids and aren’t doing the best job they know how (for the most part anyway). They think their way is correct and we think our way is correct, and on top of that, we're all trying to find the answers on the days when nothing seems to be going right. Can’t we just let that stand? Certainly, we don’t have to duke it out using all the mean-spirited and subtle ways that communities ostracize and hurt for no real reason.
Not to add to your worries, but an article in Forbes caught my attention. Apparently, kids can be exposed to pesticides at dangerously high levels while at school. The current issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association goes into detail on the 2,593 cases of acute cases of illness caused by pesticide exposure.
Here's a quote from the article:
"Far too many cases of acute pesticide poisoning occur among schoolchildren each year. These episodes are preventable," said Dr. Philip Landrigan, director of the Center for Children's Health and the Environment, and the department of Community and Preventive Medicine at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.
"Children are more susceptible to pesticide exposure because they breathe more air pound for pound than adults, they play on the floor, and they live about two feet off the floor, where pesticides linger, rather than five to six feet off the floor like adults," Landrigan added.
Cooper's article in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette is great on so many levels, and as I find myself continuing to think about the points she made, I come back to her concluding paragraphs:
"Being the mother to my four kids is the single most important thing I will ever do and the most valuable thing, ultimately, about writing a blog for me is that I am much more aware of the moments I have with them, and, in turn, am more aware of who I am -- and who they are -- in those moments.
"The added benefit is that by going through the exercise of thinking through what occurs in a day and writing it down, I am also creating a permanent record of what life is like while raising them. If I did not have a few hundred people stopping by every day to see what Emily and I are writing about, I likely would not be chronicling in a diary or a scrapbook about the maelstrom of Otis and a snake in a fight to the death (Otis won) or the time our 3-year-old asked the dentist if we could take home the laughing gas.
"Someday, I hope, my blog will tell my kids much more about themselves, and about the woman who raised them, than any photo album ever will."
With these thoughts in mind, I was moved by Maureen Dowd's eulogy to her mother that appeared in the New York Times this weekend. She titled the piece "A Woman Who Found a Way to Write", and her lead-in would do a blogger proud:
"My mom always wanted to be a writer. In 1926, when she was 18, she applied for a job at The Washington Post. An editor there told her that the characters she'd meet as a reporter were far too shady for a nice young lady.
"But someone who wants to write will find a way to write. And someone who wants to change the world can do it without a big platform or high-profile byline."
If my kids were to know me, and even themselves, better through my writing, down what I hope will be a very long road, I would be most pleased.
Hi all. Thanks for the great feedback to the article on blogging parents we got from you in real life and via email. Glad to know many of you can relate.
As I said yesterday, there are a few themes I would love to talk over with you that I did not get to touch upon in the piece.
Since their words are so impressive and insightful, I thought I would share with you some of the wisdom members of the blogging community shared with me as I researched the piece.
First is the advantages of blogging for the chronically over-extended and over scheduled, parents who work full or part time out of the home, in particular. I don't know about you, I have heard people say, "oh, wouldn't it be nice to have the time to blog...." that type of thing. But it seems to me that regardless of the less than complimentary asides that blogging is "luxury," I believe blogging is a real asset, especially to those of us who are seriously strapped for time.
Take, for instance, this from the wonderful Danigirl at Postcards from the Mothership:
In Canada, we're lucky enough to have a year for maternity leave in most cases. I started my blog just after returning to work after my second maternity leave. One of the things I blogged often about was the difficulty in answering to multiple masters: my sons (ages 1 and 3), my boss, my clients, my husband, and least of all, myself. At first, blogging was just a way to blow of steam and vent. But then I started finding a lot of blogs of other women doing the same balancing act, and it was comforting to know I wasn't the only one. There were sometimes tips on how to make things easier, but I wasn't looking for practical information. What was most satisfying was knowing that I wasn't the only one struggling.
Now, really, how cool is that?
How about that feeling that through blogging we realize that we are not alone?
I found Jenn's experience to be tremendously powerful and moving:
Once I began to open up about the darker sides of parenting (such as how hard it actually can be), I was amazed by the support I received from my readers. Other parents who had been through similar situations and could offer support or advice. When I shared the story of my stillborn son- my firstborn, I had many women comment or email me to tell me about the child they lost. Some just emailed to tell me that they would be thinking of me of his birthday. It meant a lot to me. It helped me get through that day feeling less alone.
Robin P. describes the support network beautifully:
I am the mother of three young boys (7.4.1) and blogging is the one time during the day when I can be retrospective - looking over what happened the day before with my own children and watching the host of other blog sites that I visit. It gives me a chuckle to realize that I am not raising
freakish hooligans....we all are!
Ha! I love that.
One of my favorite dad bloggers, well, bloggers in general, actually, is MetroDad. He is one smart, wonderful guy:
Aside from reaffirming my faith in fatherhood, I’ve found that the so-called “Daddy Bloggers” also provides a great community of support for men who are truly dedicated to being involved as fathers. None of these men have taken a back seat in fatherhood and their love for their children is wonderfully self-evident. There should only be more Dads like them.
The value of blogging? I think that in terms of parenting, it’s been a great way to keep things in perspective. To know that your concerns are shared by other parents out there, who have all been in similar situations. Parenting is great. But as we all know, there are times that can test our souls, so to speak. When you haven’t slept in 3 days because your baby has colic, it’s somewhat copacetic knowing that there are other parents out there who know what you’re talking about.
We all have friends in the real world. But sometimes, it’s nice getting the perspective of parents whose lives couldn’t be further removed from yours.
One of the great things about being a parent is that there is no one “right way.” I’ve always believed that the earlier people understand that, the better off they’ll be. Being part of a parenting blog community is fascinating from that perspective. As with any other aspect of life, some people are judgmental, critical and almost tyrannical in imposing their parenting philosophies unto others. And while I can’t stand their proselytizing, I do find reading about all the various approaches to parenthood that people take.
And lastly, I think this quote from Gary Moos (husband of DotMom founder, Julie) is wonderful and so descriptive:
Blogging is like people watching, but you are watching the inner being, rather than the
And with that, my dear blogging friends, I leave you to ponder.
Cooper & Emily
- Nothing says "Happy Holidays" like the AMAZING Recipes in The Motherhood's Holiday Rice Krispies Recipe Challenge
- DIY, cont.
- Homemade Holidays
- Fantastic Holiday Gift Ideas From Everyone in TheMotherhood
- Computer Dog!
- Advice for Expecting and New Moms – Highlights from the Talk
- Curiosity, Grit, Zest, Gratitude, Social Intelligence, Self Control, Optimism
- The State of the Mom Blogosphere - Highlights from the Talk
- TheMotherhood Survey of Mom Bloggers
- Here’s to the crazy ones.
- online jobs on My sister, the farmer
- freelance writing jobs on What happens when you point at a goat?
- freelance writers on Yaz
- freelance writer on VTech’s Ultimate Tips for Encouraging Kids to Read
- freelance writer jobs on Great Ideas for Lower Impact Living (from our live chat with Michelle Conlin)
- ריצוף גרניט on It's A Boy: Women Writers on Raising Sons
- online job on Advice for Expecting and New Moms – Highlights from the Talk
- rc helicopter reviews on Anna Quindlen
- קלאב מד on Wii Fit Fun
- ideal casino on DIY, cont.