Archive for May, 2009

Pick next year’s teacher — How much say do you get?

We have three days of school left this year, and my kids already know who their teachers will be for next year. In fact, they are meeting them at school today.

I love how parents at our public elementary school have so much input into which teachers their children will have next year. We are not allowed to request a specific teacher, but our principal really makes an effort to match the personality and learning style of each student with a teacher.

Here’s the process (partially pulled from our principal’s letter that was sent home explaining):

1. Parents fill out a form toward the end of the year answering questions about the best learning environment for your child, any concerns that you have about your child and any children you do not want in your child’s class. This form is taken very seriously.

2. Then they talk to each classroom teacher about what they feel like the child needs from a teacher and a class – ie. Firm teacher, lots of choices, work sheets VS free form …

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Top Pet Peeves about your spouse?

Editor’s Note: The vote was tight (I think at 8 p.m. only one vote separated Pet Peeves from Six Flags), but you guys have chosen to talk about spousal pet peeves today! (Don’t worry JG we’ll hear your make-out stories from Six Flags next week!!) So here is the topic:

I was talking with a friend recently about house cleaning, and he started telling me all the things that irritate him about the way his wife cleans. (He usually cleans because he finds her job to be sub par.) He had a lot of similar complaints to what I think Michael would say about me. (I need to meet his wife. I think we would be fast friends!)

So I thought it would be fun to talk about your Top 5 Pet Peeves about your spouse!

Since I frequently pick on Michael, I thought I would write what I think HIS top pet peeves would be about ME, instead of vice versa.

5. Load the dishwasher incorrectly - I don’t sort the silverware into separate compartments while the silverware is in the washer. I like to sort after …

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Jon & Kate may split; Aunt Jodi says marriage is over

What should we talk about tomorrow? You choose the topic!

  • 1. Field day: Not competitive enough anymore?
  • 2. Pet Peeves: Top Pet peeves for your spouse
  • 3. Six Flags: When is the right age to take your kids? Your tips for fun. Also memories from you going as a kid.

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I know some of you guys don’t want to talk about Jon & Kate, but there are just too many articles floating around about them right now to ignore the topic.

Entertainment Weekly has a big sit down interview with both Jon and Kate and they act like things are fine.

But then People online has published on the same date an article that says “Kate Gosselin Admits to Struggling with Her Marriage.” (The print magazine with more comments comes out on Friday.)

People online reports:

” ‘I don’t know that we’re in the same place anymore, that we want the same thing,’ she says quietly. ‘I’ve been struggling with the question of ‘Who is this person?’ for a while.’ ”

“Kate does have …

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How to handle kids telling your kids about sex?

A reader shared with me that she had some young neighborhood kids talking about sex to her 8-year-old son! Some little 2nd-grade girl told him she wanted him to rip off her clothes and have sex all over her.

(Where has this kid been hanging out?? Who is she hearing this from – older sibling, TV? Is she watching “Dynasty!”)

Later, some other boys in the neighborhood started describing to her little guy the actual act. This poor kid is just trying to ride his bike! He’s not the least bit interested in all this!

I really think this mom handled it well.

She talked to her son about what it meant and told him the act was only part of it. She also had her husband talk to the boys. He told them he didn’t want them talking to their son about sex anymore, and they said OK.  She said she’ll say something to the little girl as soon as she sees her.

She told the big group of neighborhood kids that when they were playing at their house there was to be no touching anywhere a bathing suit …

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Teacher appreciation — Too much or too little?

If your school’s schedule is anything like ours, Teacher Appreciation Week should be popping up any time now.

Our school had it last week, and I know lots of other districts did too. Our school goes all out for our teachers. The PTA puts out a schedule of events that the whole school follows. (I heard they had to start mandating what was done because room moms went crazy trying to outdo each other. Another friend said that wasn’t true. They weren’t competing. They just felt bad if their teacher didn’t get treated as well as another.)

This year:

Monday was thank you notes sent in by the kids and put into a decorative presentation by the room moms. (My co-room mom went crazy and had the thank yous interspersed into floral arrangements for the teacher and para-pro.)

Tuesday was wear your teacher’s favorite color day. (We had wanted to order our teacher personalized M&Ms and thought this was a good chance to do it. We ordered them in her favorite color and wrote “We love you!” and …

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Some of the best moms live at Zoo Atlanta!

The Asian small-clawed otters love to co-sleep. Here they are waking up. Photo by Michael McClellan of Designs In Motion, Inc.

This family of Asian small-clawed otters love to co-sleep. Here they are waking up. Photo by Michael McClellan of Designs In Motion, Inc. — One of the dads on our class zoo trip!

Every time I visit Zoo Atlanta, I am always amazed by the wonderful mothering going on there. Not by the zookeepers, but by the animals themselves.

They’re not reading any books, attending classes or incessantly Googling their fears on the Internet. They’re just instinctively good caregivers.

I’m sure they don’t know it, but many of the animals practice the Dr. Sears Attachment Parenting theory. All the mammals usually nurse their babies. Many “wear” their babies. And co-sleeping is all the rage. From the savanna grasslands to the jungle habitats, mommies and babies cuddle up together – keeping warm and giving comfort to their young.

Two weeks ago, I chaperoned an overnight trip to the zoo with my daughter’s second-grade class. I loved spending time with my little girl and all her friends, and I …

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Top 10 Mother’s Day Gifts in a recession

Dads, time is almost up to think of a lovely gift for the hardworking mother of your children. It’s a little more difficult this year because many families can’t afford to pick up the phone and order an expensive bouquet of flowers or pop over to the jewelry store for a little bling. But don’t give up, there are plenty of inexpensive ideas that will make Mom very happy that aren’t a big pain to pull off.

Here are my Top 10 Mother’s Day Gifts in a recession. Many are free and all are easy to come by.

10.  Personalized video naming you “Mother of the Year!” -- A friend sent me this video the other day, and I love it! It’s a fictitious news report naming you “Mother of the Year.” A fake anchorwoman interviews people about you, and your name is filled in throughout the video . It is so cute and it really made me feel good. I think I’ll watch it when I’m having a hard day.

9. Flowers — I love flowers, but often florists gouge during major holidays. So head on over to the DeKalb …

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Tape a pacifier to a baby? What are better crying solutions?

I read the saddest story on the front page of ajc.com this morning – a 9-month-old baby boy died after a neonatal nurse who was caring for the boy TAPED A PACIFIER TO HIS MOUTH, authorities said. It was his foster mother in South Carolina.

The Associated Press reports : “Investigators say neonatal nurse Angela Dukes was in her first day caring for the boy on Feb. 8. They say she tried to quiet him but the taped pacifier blocked his breathing and he died that day.”

“State Law Enforcement Division spokeswoman Jennifer Timmons says the 30-year-old Dukes of Columbia was charged Wednesday with felony unlawful conduct toward a child.”

“Officials say Dukes is in the Richland County jail awaiting a bond hearing. It wasn’t immediately clear if she had an attorney.”

“A woman identifying herself as Dukes’ mother said she didn’t want to talk about the arrest.”

Holy cow! My heart is broken!

I know it can be frustrating and hard when a baby cries a lot, but people don’t tape a pacifier to a …

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Pinworms, lice: Would you lie if truth embarrassed your child?

A recent episode of “The New Adventure of Old Christine” showed Christine’s middle-school age son being blamed for starting an epidemic of lice at his fancy private school.

It got me thinking, if you found out your child had lice would you:

A: Notify the school?

B. Keep him home, treat the lice but tell the teacher he had a fever, cold or some other mild illness, and never tell the school he had it?

What about pinworms — an absolutely disgusting, yet really common thing that kids pick up and spread especially at school? Would you admit to the teacher or to the school nurse that your child has worms crawling out of his bottom?

Would you admit to your boss if they were crawling out of your bottom? What about if you needed time off for a vasectomy? Or what about hemorrhoids?

If it’s not something you would want to tell your boss about you, should it be something you tell your child’s teacher or school?

What do you think: Are white lies OK if it keeps your child from being …

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Sex ed for teens more effective via texting?

Many of our teens can’t stop texting and health educators see that habit as a private way to get crucial information to our teens about sex.

Public health services are popping up around the country where teens can text message their questions about sex to an expert and receive a timely, albeit short, reply back.

The New York Times reports: ” ‘Technology reduces the shame and embarrassment,’ said Deb Levine, executive director of ISIS, a nonprofit organization that began many technology-based reproductive health programs. ‘It’s the perceived privacy that people have when they’re typing into a computer or a cellphone. And it’s culturally appropriate for young people: they don’t learn about this from adults lecturing them.’ “…

However, there is concern about teens having access to this information without their parents’ knowledge or consent.

“That lack of oversight is what galls Bill Brooks, president of the North Carolina Family Policy Council. ‘If I couldn’t control access to …

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