Archive for June, 2010

Will old-time Disney radio serial fly with DVR kids?

Disney was able to revive the musical with the “High School Musical” series and now it’s trying to revive the old-fashioned serial radio show.

Beginning July 5, Radio Disney will begin broadcasting a 20-episode series that follows a 14-year-old girl as she pursues her dream of becoming a singer and songwriter.

A new episode debuts each weekday at 9:25 a.m. on Radio Disney. Listeners who miss them can hear the 90-second episodes later on the station’s website or via mobile phone. (Ninety seconds? Could that be right? It seems way too short to develop any type of story line. Seems like it should be at least 15-minute segments to get anywhere.)

AP reports:

“The idea recalls serials that were popular in the early days of radio, a format that was essentially destroyed when television arrived. Radio Disney says it will wait to see how the first serial fares before committing to others, said Ray De La Garza, the network’s vice president of programming.

” ‘We thought, `let’s create …

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Prenatal smoking could make kids unruly later

Researchers have found yet another reason for mothers not to smoke while the baby is in utero — they may be unruly later!

“Mothers who smoke while pregnant increase the risk that their child will develop psychological problems, a new study finds,” according to WebMd.

Researchers from the United Kingdom and Brazil say there is reason to believe that mothers who smoke may expose their fetuses to harmful substances that may affect the behavior of the kids later. The study appears in the July issue of Pediatrics.

From Web MD:

” ‘There was some evidence that maternal smoking in pregnancy is associated with greater conduct/externalizing problems [aggressive behavior, rule-breaking behavior] in the offspring at the age of 4,’ the authors write.”

“Mary-Jo Brion, PhD, of the University of Bristol, tells WebMD by email that babies exposed to smoke may be prone to rule breaking, such as lying, cheating, bullying, and disobedience.”

I completely agree that it’s not good to smoke while …

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Favorite summer memory to recreate for kids?

The ads for the new Adam Sandler movie “Grown Ups,” which was panned by critics but made more than $41 million this weekend, makes me think about what it would be like to recreate your favorite summer experience for your kids. (That’s not exactly the plot of the movie, but they are in an old cabin at a lake with their kids so that’s why I think about when I watch it.)

My mother was always trying to recreate her summers of fun at Daytona Beach for us. When she went as a child Daytona was busy but still pretty pure. They would spend the day at the beach and then go to the boardwalk every night. A band would be playing at clamshell bandstand and the kids would play simple carnival games. They would stay in the little kistchy motels across from the main drag.

We tried staying in Daytona a couple of times when we were little but it was too run down back then. (I understand Daytona has made a lot of improvements in the last 10 years.) But in the ’80s there were a lot of …

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Less pressure for women to have kids?

According to new data from the Pew Research Center, more and more women are choosing not to have kids in their lifetime.

From the AP story:

“The figures show that among all women ages 40-44, about 18 percent, or 1.9 million, were childless in 2008. That’s up from 10 percent, or nearly 580,000 in 1976.”

“Broken down by race, roughly 20 percent of white women are childless, compared with 17 percent of blacks and of Hispanics and 16 percent of Asians. Still that gap has been narrowing: Since 1994, childlessness for blacks and Hispanics has grown by 30 percent, about three times the rate for whites.”

The study offers a variety of reasons for more women choosing never to have kids, including:

  • More education for women,
  • More job opportunities for women,
  • Delayed marriage,
  • Better contraceptive options,
  • Feeling that children are less important to a happy marriage.

The most interesting quote to for me out of the whole story is this:

“Social pressure to bear children …

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Has your pediatrician misdiagnosed your child?

About half the pediatricians responding to an anonymous survey acknowledged making at least one diagnostic error a month, and just under half said that at least once a year they made errors that harmed patients.

Published in the July issue of the journal Pediatrics, the survey involved 726 academic and community-based pediatricians or pediatric residents practicing in Houston or Cincinnati.

From WebMD:

“Diagnosing viral illness as bacterial infection was the most commonly reported diagnostic error, closely followed by failure to recognize the side effects of medication.”

“In all, 55% of the pediatric residents, 48% of the pediatricians working at academic centers, and 53% of community-based pediatricians reported that they had misdiagnosed viral illness as bacterial infection.”

“Other key findings from the survey included:

  • When asked to identify the reasons for diagnostic process errors, about half of the doctors (48%) cited a lack of information of the …

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Condoms for first graders?

A new policy at a Cape Cod school will allow school officials to counsel and distribute condoms to elementary students even as young as first grade.

From the Boston Herald.com:

“Starting in September, students shopping for a free condom must have a heart-to-heart with a counselor – including a talk on abstinence – in order to be given one.”

“The school will not honor parents’ requests that their children not receive the prophylactic, Singer said.”

“Starting early is the key, said school board Chairman Peter Grosso.”

“ ‘The thing is, sexual activity starts younger and younger,’ Grosso added. ‘We don’t know what age that is. So we just said, ‘We’ll make it available to all of them.’ We didn’t want to pick an age, and I really don’t believe we’re going to get first-graders asking for a condom, as a practical matter.”

My little guy just finished the first grade and he can barely aim his penis to pee without making a mess much less do anything …

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Should children have best friends?

Keith Still, a mother of three, is filling in for Theresa Giarrusso today.

Best Friends. Whether they’re called a BFF, a best buddy, an old-school blood brother or some other name, most children know there’s a difference between an acquaintance, a friend and a best friend by the time they reach Kindergarten.

While children are capable of being friends with lots of different kids, they tend to gravitate toward and spend more time with those with whom they have the most in common. Often, that results in kids pairing up into “best friends” – the friend who understands them most, listens, provides a reality check or just has their back.

I can still remember the name of every one of my “best friends” growing up. In the little half-day Kindergarten I attended in 1976, my BFF was a girl called Holly, who sat behind me in Miss Carol-Anne’s classroom. We would share animal crackers for snack and read Weekly Readers together.

In grammar school, I was best friends first …

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When should kids focus on one sport above all others?

Keith Still, a mother of three, is filling in for Theresa Giarrusso today.

Today, my oldest daughter (12-years-old) is taking her first real gymnastics class, and I’m a little anxious to see how things go.

It’s not as if she is about to enter a totally-unknown world. We have already spent many hours a week in this gym with her little sister (our 6-year-old). I know the coaches and what they expect. Because of that, I also know how young most of the “beginners” are and how quickly they go from beginner to developmental to team gymnasts.

Unlike my little one, though, my 12-year-old doesn’t harbor any dreams of being a team gymnast. (That’s probably good, because from what I can tell, if you’re just learning gymnastics at 12 years old, you are several years behind most of the competitive gymnasts out there.) Instead, she is taking her first class in an effort to improve her tumbling skills before cheerleading tryouts at her school next year.

I admire my middle …

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How do you measure a father’s influence?

Keith Still, a mother of three, will be filling in for Theresa Giarrusso today.

Well Dads, I hope you had a great day with your families yesterday; because amongst all of the Father’s Day coverage out there, this piece from The Atlantic magazine might feel a bit like a slap in the face.

The opinion piece, entitled “Are Fathers Necessary?”, was based on a study published a few months ago in the Journal of Marriage and Family. Theresa focused on one aspect of the study earlier this year in a blog entitled, “Are two mommies as good as a mom and a dad?”  However, the Atlantic writer takes the analysis a step further and wonders whether fathers are necessary at all. 

In it, Pamela Paul writes:  

“The bad news for Dad is that despite common perception, there’s nothing objectively essential about his contribution. The good news is, we’ve gotten used to him.”

In other words, she says, we all like dads and the help they provide while we “cling” to …

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Will you see ‘Toy Story 3′ this weekend?

A grown Andy tries decide what to do with his toys as he goes off to college. (Yes, I am tearing up!) (Disney Pixar)

A grown Andy tries decide what to do with his toys as he goes off to college. (Yes, I am tearing up!) (Disney Pixar)

Much like the Harry Potter movie sequels, our family has been counting down the days until “Toy Story 3” comes out!

For those not counting down, the movie opens tonight across the country and we are pumped to see it. We are planning to take all three kids when Michael gets home from work.

The big kids saw “Toy Story 1” and “Toy Story 2” on DVD because they weren’t alive when they came out in the theater. We borrowed both movies in May so our 3-year-old would know who the characters were before seeing the third one. She didn’t seem to like it as much as the older kids did when they were little and still do now.

I am wondering if the kids who saw it in 1995 and 1999 are more excited to see the new one than the little kids? I read one story online about college students tweeting about the movie and showing up for early screenings of it. (This link …

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