January 7, 2013
by admin

Mom’s Fear: A Missing Child

It happened at a super Target attached to the mall. Son (8), Daughter (6) and I had finished browsing the baseball cards and toys on the lower level, taken a quick tour of the shoe department on the upper level, and were about to check out. Son was buying basketball cards with his savings and as we approached an open cashier, Daughter looked at the eye-catching candy and magazines in another empty checkout aisle. It was early afternoon on a Sunday and the store was pretty empty. While Son retrieved a $20 bill from his wallet and struggled to fit the change back in, I asked the young cashier for directions to the Foot Locker in the mall.

“Turn right when you get into the mall,” he explained. “Then you’ll see a place that looks like a – no, it has a – oh, wait, it’s a hair place, turn left and it’s on the left before the food court.”

“Okay, thanks.”

I turned around to get Daughter from the empty cashier lane where I’d just seen her. She was gone. I scanned the other checkout lanes, nothing. I walked down towards the big doors to the parking lot, nothing. We were next to Ladies clothing, handbags, and eyeglasses. I checked them quickly; no Daughter. There weren’t any toys or “girlie things” on the floor to beckon her. Where had she gone?

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December 17, 2012
by admin

Blessed Are The Children

There but for the grace of God go I.

I’ve breathed that saying over and over since the Newtown tragedy on Friday – in a town only a few miles from us. When I was a child my mother said it in an attempt to explain the unexplainable: how it seems at times that only the slimmest parcels of grace spare us from the tragedy visited upon others. I never understood this phrase more than now.

Like you, I sent my children, one a first grader, to school this morning with a tender hug and a heavy heart. I don’t have much wisdom to offer but will share three sources of comfort I found yesterday.

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December 5, 2012
by admin
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7 Ways to Control Media Madness with Kids

It takes a bit of trial and error to find what works for negotiating time limits on TV, devices and computers for kids. Because I see so many teens attached and addicted to their devices; I draw a line from my six and eight-year-olds’ incessant pleas to play more Temple Run to a total destruction of their quality time, creativity, potential intelligence, and just about everything good life has to offer. I know, I’m a little worked up about it.

For our generation of parenting, McDonald’s is a dirty word, Kindergarteners sing “I’m sexy and I know it…” and our kids’ animal avatars can crib a nap in a stranger’s den. No wonder we walk around commiserating about how to gain control of a culture delivering on our child’s every whim and increasingly out of our fearful grasps.

So, while I wean myself from media hysteria, I’m trying a few different approaches to give the kids enough screen time while I realize that it’s better to embrace reality and coax the best out of it for my kids rather than to run screaming for the hills at the mere mention of “Can I use your iPad to play….”

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July 11, 2012
by heather

The Mix-Up


Eight-year-old Son is attending an All American Sports Camp for the month of July. This is about as close to heaven as he can get. From 9 am to 3 pm each day, the kids play baseball, basketball, swimming, and hockey. His only complaint was that they weren’t playing football and soccer, too.

On the first day of camp, each child was given a gold camp t-shirt, a navy camp t-shirt, and a small navy duffel bag along with the instructions: “Campers must wear camp-assigned shirts and bring the equipment bag to camp each day.”

Seems pretty specific, right? “Does that mean we don’t bring your backpack?” I asked Son.

“I don’t know.”

“Which shirt do you wear?”

“We alternate each day.”


So much for my finely tuned three-days-a-week-only laundry schedule. Continue Reading →

April 23, 2012
by heather
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One Fish, Two Fish


Daughter wanted a goldfish for her sixth birthday. Well, in truth, she first wanted a hamster. But after changing diapers for four years, scooping kitty litter for close to nine, and cleaning up the back yard after Retriever, I said “no” to more poop in the house.

“Please?” she begged.

“Maybe when you’re ten. How about a fish?”

She brought home a book about hamsters from the school library. At bedtime, we flipped through the pages.

“See? They’re nocturnal animals,” I commented around page ten. “They’ll never be awake to play with you.” I worked this angle hard.

“Okay, I’ll get a fish.”

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March 14, 2012
by heather

From Tree to Table


“What’s healthier?” Son asked while sitting at the kitchen counter one afternoon dipping his chicken nuggets into ketchup. “Nuggets or apple slices?” His apple was getting less attention.

“Well,” I began. “Let’s talk about that.”

Husband has been reading In Defense of Food by Michael Pollen which talks about eating food close to the earth and something your grandmother would recognize. Nuggets? Not on the list. Apple? Goes back to Adam and Eve. Close to the top.

“It’s good to eat food that’s close to the earth. Do you know what that means?”

He shook his head.

We discussed how an apple travels from the tree to his mouth. Not far if he’s picking it at the orchard in October. Only a few more steps if someone else picks it, packs it, drives it to the store, and we buy it.

“Nuggets on the other hand – they cut up the chicken, then mash it with other things and turn it into these little pieces and add chemicals to keep it fresh.”

“Chemicals?” he looked up from his plate, nugget perched in mid-air.

“Food has to stay on the shelf or freezer in the store for awhile so they add preservatives and chemicals to keep it okay until we eat it. They’re also what make it taste good. But they’re bad for you.”

He nodded and popped the rest of the nugget into his mouth.

“So what do you think is healthier?” I asked him.

“The apple.”

“Exactly.” I returned to my magazine.

“Can I have some more?” he asked a few moments later.

I looked up, distracted. “Of what?”

“Those chemical things,” he said and pointed to the remaining nuggets on the cookie sheet.

I guess he got the point.

March 2, 2012
by heather

Visiting New York City with Kids


Visiting New York City with kids is easier than ever due to some exceptionally handy Apps that help you navigate the city and find age appropriate food and activities. But on a recent trip during February break, I learned two important lessons:

  1. The world is not G-rated. It’s R.

  1. Kid-oriented tourist attractions don’t necessary let your kid be…a kid.

More on this in a bit.

But first, the sites and Apps…

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September 12, 2011
by heather

Elementary School Lunch Ideas


Four years ago, I wrote a blog post titled, Preschool Lunch Ideas that compiled the wisdom of my friends into a handy list of great ideas to pack in a lunchbox. To this day, it’s my most popular blog post (by far, I think this has something to do with the fact that it comes up first in Google search results) and traffic spikes every August and September as thousands of moms search for smart ways to feed their kids when they’re no longer around to control what they put into their mouths.

And let’s just call it for what it is right here and now. We cram creative, nutritious and fun food into their lunchboxes thinking we have some control over what they eat. Wrong!

Once they enter elementary school and the teacher is no longer sitting at their table coaxing them to eat their vegetables before attacking the cookie, we lose control of the lunchbox. Every day they’re herded into a cafeteria with dozens of other wide-eyed, fidgety, eager kids who care nothing for mommy’s grand plan for them to eat the vegetables and carrots first before you have your cookie.

So, last week when my youngest started Kindergarten and I volunteered to help out in the lunchroom, I decided to update my original blog post with some practical truths. The list of foods my friends gave me in 2007 is still creative and useful for elementary school children. Here are some helpful hints to accompany it:

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August 24, 2011
by heather
1 Comment

Car Talk


For five weeks this summer, five-year-old Daughter and seven-year-old Son attended day camp from 9-3:30. Everybody loved it. My kids loved the counselors, the other kids, the field trips, the water slide, popsicles, and all the games they played.

I loved the 9 to 3:30. (It’s true, I murmured Hallelujah, but only to myself and only about ten times a day.)

One added bonus was listening in on their conversations each morning and afternoon on the way to and from camp. Somehow, kids manage to take adulthood’s most serious subjects and strip them of their, well, seriousness.

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June 13, 2011
by heather
1 Comment

Parenting with Scissors

Five-year-old Daughter has been trying to grow her hair long for two years. She came out bald and then sported a bowl cut until she was three. No, I wasn’t intentionally giving her a boy’s haircut. I just snipped a little here and a little there and she looked so cute with it short that it stayed that way.

Mother-in-Law said, “When are you going to grow her hair long like a girl’s?”

Doesn’t she look girlie enough now? Okay, I guess there’s some merit to long hair. We’ll let it grow.

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