Archive for March, 2009

What do working parents do with older kids during summer?

What should working parents do during the summer with young teens that are too old for day care but too young to get a job?

One of our commenters is trying to figure out what to do with her 14-year-old son this summer. She sent me this note:

“How about a topic about what to do with your kids this summer if you have a full-time job.  My son is 14.  Too old for day care, too young for a “real” job, and we live in the mountains where you have to be able to drive to get any where!  We do not even live in a subdivision.  I am sending him to camp for one week. (It’s all that I can afford!) What do you do with them for the other nine weeks?”

I called my mom to ask her what she did with us at that age. She worked full time at a large Baptist church in Decatur. We went to the church’s summer day camp when we were little. I started working as an assistant in the church’s daycare area when I was 15 and did that each summer until I went away to college.

At 14, she thinks I babysat for …

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How much help do you give kids on big school projects?

I knew we were in deep trouble the moment I saw the First Communion projects that some other kids had turned in early at church.

My 7-year-old daughter Rose has been assigned to make what was described by the teachers as a felt banner with her name and a symbol of her First Communion on it. I was envisioning her cutting her name out of felt and gluing it onto another big piece of felt. Then she’d cut out a chalice of gold felt and glue that puppy down too. Project completed and all done by Rose.

What we saw the other night at Sunday School were ELABORATE scrolls of muslin fabric with the children’s names and things like grapes, chalices and bread EMBROIDERED on.

“Are those ironed on?” I asked as I quickly checked the back of the fabric.

No, they were actually skillfully and painstakingly embroidered — and definitely not by children. All of these projects were obviously (and lovingly) created by the parents.

Although I am a hands-on parent, I wholeheartedly embrace the idea of …

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How far are you willing to go for a cheap vacation?

In this super terrible economy, how far are you willing to go for a good deal on a vacation?

We got a call from a large, reputable, classy hotel chain at a very large amusement park in Florida offering 4 days, 3 nights for $111 total if we just listen to their 2-hour sales pitch about the property. (For some reason my husband thought we could get into trouble for using the names of the hotel and park. I don’t understand why, but I’ll be vague.)

So here’s the trade-off: Save close to $1,000 but have to listen to a 2-hour talk. Also I’m not quite sure what we would do with the kids. They say they have childcare but A. I have never left my kids any where with strangers and B. I sort of think their talk would go faster if my kids were climbing the walls.

So what do you think? Is saving $1,000 worth a two-hour sales pitch? What other craziness would you be willing to put up with to save money on vacations?

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Do your kids suffer from allergies/asthma?

The pollen count was only at 185 yesterday and my family is already suffering big time! I dosed both kids up with Zyrtec before they left for school and popped my every day Zyrtec pill, and we’re still stuffy and itchy.

The tree pollens are out now and the grasses will soon follow. The AJC keeps track of the local pollen count and also tells you which types of pollen are out. Here’s the link to the pollen count.

I’ve gotten allergy shots for four years now. I’m down from three medicines for my allergies to just one plus the shots. I’m pretty sure my son will eventually have to see the allergist and go on shots. He seems to be snotty at the same times of year that I am. But for now I’m not willing to inject him with that many shots when the Zyrtec seems to keep it pretty well under control.

We’re lucky we don’t have asthma associated with the allergies. I know many, many kids who do. It’s a frustrating time of year because you want the kids outside enjoying the beautiful …

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What to do when a child can’t stop stealing?

Ladies, one of our own needs our help! I received a note from a regular MOMania contributor who has a big problem with her child. Her child is an older elementary student.

Here is what she wrote: “What do you do when your perfect angel gets caught taking (i.e. stealing) other people’s things at school? This child is not deprived, is an A – B student and genuinely liked by most people. The child has a kind heart, and believes in God. However, whether it is a gem clip or toy this child cannot keep her hands off other people’s things. I am at wits end and afraid if I don’t scare the crap out of her soon a very bad and rough road lies of ahead of her.”

Have any of you guys had a child that couldn’t stop taking things? How did you handle it? Do you think it’s a maturity/self control issue that she will grow out of? Do you think she’s looking for attention for another reason? What is an appropriate punishment for stealing? Should this mom “scare” the child straight or is there …

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After 50 years, is Barbie still a good playmate?

Barbie celebrated her 50th birthday yesterday and has seen a lot of controversy in her lifetime.

She’s been accused of being too voluptuous and a bad example for young girls giving them unrealistic expectations for how their bodies will turn out. She’s been accused of forcing girls into gender stereotypes.

What do you think? Is Barbie a bad playmate for your daughter?

My 7-year-old daughter loves her Barbies (and knock-off Barbies). She has more than 30 dolls living in the basement and her bedroom. There are very specific games going on with very specific outfits, and they are not to be touched. Her imagination runs wild and she and her Barbies are in whole other worlds.

Is playing with Barbie affecting her body image? Does she feel forced into certain gender roles because she likes dressing up her Barbies and fixing their hair?

I actually don’t think so – at least not in her case. I tried subtly asking her about her thoughts on Barbie on the way to Girl Scouts last night. …

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Our last baby is growing up!

Our youngest child turned 2 this weekend, and, although I love watching her become more independent, it makes me a little sad that our family is leaving the “baby years.” For almost a decade, our household has always had a little one in the house or on the way. And, although Lilina is definitely still a baby to me, there are signs that she is growing up fast.

Lilina on the morning she was born.

She is still bald, which I actually like because she still looks like a baby, but she’s doing so many big-girl things.

She walked early but didn’t talk much until the last few months. But when she finally started talking, it was full sentences. Some of her sentences included tattling on her brother: “Walsh pushed Sis;” tattling on the dog (and exaggerating): “Woof bite my boo-boo”; or telling Dad to change the TV from ESPN to a children’s show: “Daddy, no ball. Elmo!”

Many of her sentences are commands. She is like a tourist visiting a foreign country. She has mastered four or five …

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Woodstock scare makes parents think: ‘How well do I know my teen?’

Parents and students at Woodstock High School had quite a scare Thursday. The school was locked down and an unloaded handgun was found in a restroom of the Cherokee County school. Two teens were arrested and two assault rifles were found at one of the student’s homes. A third student was being questioned.

One twist here: The parents of one of the boys arrested called the cops when they believed he ran away. When the police arrived to investigate they realized several of their guns were missing. Here’s the full AJC story.

Police are still trying to figure out what the teenagers planned to do with the guns.

“It may end up that there was no plot,” said Cherokee County Sheriff’s department spokesman Sgt. Jay Baker in the article.

In situations like this thoughts pretty quickly turn to the parents. How much did they know? How much could they have prevented? (It seems like these parents and these police officers did a pretty good job piecing things together.)

Hopefully none of us …

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Does your child have a toxic little buddy?

I’ve heard from two moms recently about little friends that are bad news for their kids.

One mom was telling me that the little friend was very jealous and didn’t want to share her daughter. She would call to find out where her daughter was and who she was with and would leave repeated messages if her daughter wasn’t at home.  We’re talking about an 8-year-old.

Another mom shared that her daughter had a similar friend. When they played together the friend didn’t want anyone else involved. She even told her that if she played with other kids on the playground she wasn’t her friend.

Both moms are trying to intervene. The first mom is trying to nicely let the girl’s mom know that her daughter is calling. She’s also not letting them hang out when possible. The second mom is not letting the girls have any more alone time and reminding her daughter frequently not to leave friends out.

I don’t remember my mother getting involved with my childhood friendships but as an adult she did. …

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Fresh news on ‘Jon & Kate Plus 8′

We are still having tons of visitors and comments on our discussion from October about the show “Jon and Kate Plus 8.” As of last night we had 336 comments!

So I knew when I found this brand new dishy story on the family you guys would want to read and talk about it.

It’s from this month’s “Philadelphia.” The family refused to be interviewed by the reporter Jessica Remo, but she did talk to about 100 people that knew the family.

It talks about them breaking speaking engagements, what really happened to Aunt Jodi and best friend Beth and why Jon got fired from his job.

There is also a sidebar about how the reporter got her story that I found pretty interesting as well.

The story is long, but I think it is well worth the read. Here are few interesting nuggets from the story:

“Nielsen ranks the series eighth out of 149 cable shows for product placement.”

“All of this has left former friends of the Gosselins who have been shoved out of the family’s life both puzzled and concerned. …

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