Archive for April, 2010

Foursquare: Just another way for your teens to tell weirdos where they are!

When I was a kid Four square was a game we played with a ball and four squares. Now Foursquare is a way for people to let their friends — and weirdos—know exactly where they are at any point in the day.

They “check in” via their cell phones and leave details about what they are doing there. In theory it’s supposed to be sort of a guide to a location. For example, you could check in at Sally’s Ice Cream shop and tell the world that the Mocha Pecan ice cream is to die for.  Then others in the area might check out Sally’s ice cream as well.

Here is a video teaching you how Foursquare works.

While I can see the attraction of location-based technology for consenting adults, the mother in me is TOTALLY creeped out by the idea of teenage and college-age girls broadcasting their locations!!

Foursquare isn’t the only location-based service. Twitter offers TwitterWhere and apparently Facebook Mobile also lets you identify where you …

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Do YOU stress when your kids test? It’s CRCT time!

My first grader had three days of testing last week and my third grader has 5 days of testing this week. The testing lasts about three hours each day.

The third-grade CRCT really matters because it will decide whether they are promoted to fourth grade.

I worry about getting them to bed on time, getting a good breakfast in them and getting them off to school in a good mood because those are things I can control.

I don’t worry so much about their knowledge for the test but I do worry about them phasing out, especially in first grade when the teachers read the test to them.

Is your stomach in knots knowing your children are testing at school? What part do you stress about if any?

Do you stress about the upper grades instead of the lower grades because those tests seem to matter more or for the lower grades because they don’t know what they are doing?

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Do you know EXACT time/place of conception of kids?

Actor and Texas boy Matthew McConaughey revealed maybe a little too much at last night’s 43rd Annual American Country Music Awards telling the audience the exact location and date of his daughter’s conception.

From Entertainment Tonight:

“He told the crowd prior to presenting the Top Male Vocalist of the Year award, ‘After the show last year … my lady and I, Camila, we even went back to the hotel and conceived a little lady, Vida Alves McConaughey. That’s a true story.’ ”

I absolutely know for Rose and Walsh and I’m pretty sure for Lilina. Oddly, after all three conceptions the movie “The Caine Mutiny” was on TCM. We had been trying to get pregnant for eight months with Lilina and when I saw the movie on, I figured we were successful that time. Sure enough we were. Was it a sign from God or just a testament to the fact that TCM plays that movie way too much?

Do you know your child’s exact time/date/place of conception? Is it OK to tell people?

(You get two topics today. …

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OK to ask about ex’s new boyfriend/girlfriend?

Have you ever asked your kids about their mom or dad’s new love interest?

According to some court documents it looks like Shaquille O’Neal did.


In this case, the disparagement allegedly took the form of Shaq grilling his kids for information concerning their mother’s new man.  In fact, the court documents claim that O’Neal pushed his children “to the point that they felt intimidated and scared of him.”  What’s more, Shaunie claims that Shaq told their six-year-old son to send a message to Marlon Yates that he was “going to kill him”, yelling at the boy “Say it now! My daddy is going to kill you!”

TMZ had a report with similar quotes.

So, I think we can all agree that it’s not OK for a parent to ask their child to deliver a threat to the new boyfriend/girlfriend, but is OK to ask questions about the new love interest?

What kinds of questions are allowable (if any)? What would be out of bounds?

Do you really want to know what your ex is up to or is it just …

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Russia does suspend all U.S. Adoptions!

Earlier this week we talked about the 7-year-old adopted child who was returned to Russia by his mother. The Russians were so angered by her “returning” him that they threatened to halt all U.S. adoptions, and now the country has! See the AP story below.


The Associated Press

MOSCOW — Russia suspended all adoptions to U.S. families on Thursday until the two countries can agree on procedures, the Foreign Ministry said, a week after an American woman sent her 7-year-old adopted son back to Russia on a plane by himself.

The boy’s return — without supervision or explanation aside from a note he carried from his adoptive mother saying he had psychological problems — has incensed Russia and prompted aggressive media coverage of foreign adoptions.

A U.S. delegation will visit Moscow “in the next few days” to discuss international adoptions and a possible bilateral agreement, ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko said.

“Russia believes that only such an …

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Weeknight proms, letters from kids: How to stop excessive partying after prom?

Would holding prom on a weeknight and requiring kids to be at school the next day help cut down on drinking and excessive partying by minors?

Some schools, like Pearl River in New York, think so and have moved their junior prom to a Wednesday night and their senior prom to a Sunday night.

From The New York Times:

“High schools around the country have long held weekday proms to take advantage of lower prices at hotels and social halls, but many either schedule such events before a day off for, say, teacher development, or allow students to miss school the day after with their parents’ permission.”

“Not in Pearl River. Bill Furdon, the principal of the high school, said that if the threats about sports and schoolwork do not work to maintain attendance, promgoers in future years who fail to show up the next morning may not be allowed to walk at graduation.”

“There are carrots as well as sticks. Pearl River promgoers will be welcomed to school the morning after with a breakfast of …

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Divorce and religion: Whose faith should the children practice?

I’ve been following a divorce/custody case in Chicago that I wanted to share with you. It’s complicated so pay attention.

The parents divorced. The mother is Jewish. The father returned to his Catholic roots after his divorce and started taking his 3-year-old daughter to church with him. He even had the 3-year-old baptized in the Catholic Church without his wife’s permission.

The mother, Rebecca Reyes, was upset about him taking the daughter to church because she said they had an agreement to raise her in the Jewish faith. She had a judge issue a restraining order to keep him from taking the daughter to church with him.

The father, Joseph Reyes, said they never agreed to raise their daughter in the Jewish faith, they didn’t keep a kosher home and rarely observed Sabbath. He was facing fines and/or jail time if he violated the restraining order.

Here is the original story with the background.

So yesterday, a judge removed the restraining order and said the father could take his …

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Cat fight on the mom blog: Are we meaner than the sports blogs?

In a groundbreaking segment, the Today show figured out that Moms are mean to each other on parenting blogs. Shocking I know!! (They also pieced together like Sherlock Holmes that people trying to egg on others are called “trolls.”)

While I’m glad the hosts of the Today show have caught up with the rest of America, I do think it’s worth discussing why moms ARE so mean to each other on parenting blogs? Do you think they are meaner than the fanatics on the sports blogs or the political blogs? (Cause those can get very ugly too! The only time we can make the mom blog any uglier is when we talk about husbands going to sports – ie the Georgia games.)

I’ve been writing this blog for almost five years now and I have to admit I was stunned at first by the level of vitriol produced on our blog.

I’ve written before that I thought it would be all it-takes-a-village community where everyone supported each other and were kind and loving.

And sometimes we are to each other. I’m always so …

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Adopted Russian boy’s return prompts many questions

You may have heard this weekend about the Tennessee family that returned the 7-year-old boy they adopted from Russia back to Russia. The family says they were mislead about his health and that he is violent and has severe psychological problems.

Russians are outraged about the child being returned, especially alone on an international flight, and are threatening to cut off foreign adoptions.

For me, the case leads to lots of questions about foreign adoptions and how they are handled.

Here is the background on the case:

From the Associated Press story:

“A 7-year-old boy adopted by a woman from Tennessee was sent alone on a one-way flight back to Moscow with a note saying he was violent and had severe psychological problems.”

“The boy, Artyom Savelyev, was put on a plane by his adopted grandmother, Nancy Hansen of Shelbyville.”

” ‘He drew a picture of our house burning down and he’ll tell anybody that he’s going to burn our house down with us in it,’ she told The Associated …

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Should schools teach about contraceptives? Should teachers who do go to jail?

A Wisconsin District Attorney has warned local sex ed teachers if they teach students about contraceptives they would be contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a misdemeanor punishable by up to nine months behind bars and a $10,000 fine. He said it would be promoting sex among minors who are not legally allowed to have sex in Wisconsin.

The school teachers, who say abstinence-only program don’t work, are befuddled by the logic.

“Seems like a step back in time,” said teacher Mike Taake, who has taught sex ed for 30 years.

From the AP story:

“Juneau County District Attorney Scott Southworth, a Republican and a Christian evangelical, took issue with a law Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle signed in February requiring schools that teach sexual education to adopt a comprehensive approach.”…

“Southworth said he doesn’t want to drag teachers into court but feels he was ethically responsible for warning them of the new law’s potential consequences. He urged the school districts to …

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