Archive for August, 2010

Halloween PC: Is dressing your kid like Indian Goddess rude?

I know it seems early to be talking about Halloween but we’ve already gotten three Halloween costume catalogs in the mail.

Wishcraft by Chasing Fireflies offers upscale costumes worthy of a Broadway stage. Many of the costumes are priced higher than $50 with some are around $100. There are dragons, Marie Antoinettes, musketeers, golden rapunzels, kangaroos, giraffes, and even Medussa.

I didn’t have an issue with Aztec princess, Cleopatra, Japanese empress Lotus Blossom, but for some reason the Indian Goddess Durga costume, which features multiple fake arms, just struck me as wrong.

The magazine features a beautiful child-size Indian sari, which I think Indian children at school would appreciate and might be flattered by. But somehow the multi-armed Goddess Durga costume seemed in bad taste. Maybe because it’s a religious figure versus just a historical or cultural one?

I think if a kid showed up as Jesus at school or around the neighborhood some fur would fly. (They …

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Teen concussions up 200 percent: Are coaches, parents aware and treating them properly?

A new study has found that from 1997 to 2007, emergency department visits for concussion in kids aged 8 to 13 playing organized sports doubled, and the number of visits increased by more than 200 percent in older teens.

From HealthDay:

“From 2001 to 2005, there were an estimated 502,000 emergency department visits for concussion among U.S. kids aged 8 to 19 — about half of which were sports-related — and 8- to 13-year-olds accounted for about one-third of the visits, according to Dr. Lisa Bakhos and colleagues at Brown University, Injury Prevention Center and Rhode Island Hospital/Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence, who analyzed information from two national databases for the study.”

Oddly from 1997 to 2007 team sport participation declined, yet emergency room visits for concussions increased.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has released new guidelines for coaches, parents and doctors about how to treat concussions. (And guess what? You shouldn’t tell a kid to …

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‘Sex parties:’ New way for parents to reveal sex of their baby

This undated photo provided by Megan Faulkner Brown, founder of the Utah-based bake shop The Sweet Tooth Fairy, shows a cake the bake shop made for an expectant Utah mother who wanted the gender of her baby to be revealed using cake. The mother gave a sealed envelope that contained a sheet of paper with the gender of her baby written on it to the bake shop. They saw the gender and dyed the cake batter pink. When the family made the first cut of the cake they found out they were having a baby girl.    (AP Photo/The Sweet Tooth Fairy, Megan Faulkner Brown)

This undated photo provided by Megan Faulkner Brown, founder of the Utah-based bake shop The Sweet Tooth Fairy, shows a cake the bake shop made for an expectant Utah mother who wanted the gender of her baby to be revealed using cake. The mother gave a sealed envelope that contained a sheet of paper with the gender of her baby written on it to the bake shop. They saw the gender and dyed the cake batter pink. When the family made the first cut of the cake they found out they were having a baby girl. (AP Photo/The Sweet Tooth Fairy, Megan Faulkner Brown)

An AP writer, who is a friend of ours, wrote a story about how he and his wife found out and shared with their friends the gender of their first child – with a “sex party.”

Greg Bluestein and his wife Sheryl had the ultrasound technician write the gender on the baby’s picture and then stick it an envelope. A friend of theirs took the envelope to the grocery store where a baker created a cake with either pink or blue …

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Are girls worse bullies than boys?

Time magazine ran an interesting Q&A with two mothers/researchers who have written a book about girl bullies. The book is called Little Girls Can Be Mean: Four Steps to Bully-Proof Girls in the Early Grades (St. Martin’s Griffin ), by Michelle Anthony and Reyna Lindert.

Time magazine bills this article as “How to bullyproof young girls” but I actually don’t think they give you quite enough information in the article t o accomplish that (because the authors want you to buy the book!) However, the Q&A with Anthony does give some interesting insight into girl bullying.

Here are the salient facts I took to heart from it:

While the mean girl act peaks in middle schools, it begins in elementary school.

Often little girls feel isolated and deal with the bullying on their own. Don’t assume it will pass. They need real techniques to deal with it.

You need to involve the schools to help not just mom or dad. The school has resources like the teacher and …

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New USDA stats: Kids who eat school lunches more likely obese; school breakfasts found to be more healthy

We hear it all the time that our kids are so obese but Time magazine had two new numbers Wednesday that I had never seen before.

Buried under a story about getting kids to eat fish (which we will discuss later) were these crazy stats on childhood obesity.

From Time Magazine:

FACT No. 1: “According to new USDA data, students who eat a federally funded school lunch are likelier to be overweight than those who don’t. But surprisingly, those who also get a federally funded school breakfast are at lower risk. The numbers were drawn from a survey of 13,500 kids, and while USDA officials are sure of the findings, they’re not yet”

One likely source of trouble is surely that a portion of the federally funded lunch menu comes from government surplus, which means that some meals may be based as much on what’s available as what’s nutritious. That’s not to say that plenty of federal lunches do not meet good fat, calorie and nutrition guidelines. But in those cases, the very …

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Should hand-me-downs to siblings include underwear?

I was folding clothes the other day and Lilina came into the bedroom needing some underwear. I knew she was outgrowing the ones she had, so I pulled from the clean pile some of Rose’s underwear that were small on Rose and handed them to the 3-year-old.

Poor Lilina started protesting as I was pulling them on her. “But Momma, Rose’s underwear are too big for me.” (They were sixes that had shrunk so they weren’t as big as you might think. They were roomy but not falling off of her.)

But her protests made me wonder: Should I be passing down underwear even if I pass down everything else? Does the child deserve at least the dignity of having her own underwear?

My mother claims that to this day my dad is very possessive of his underwear because growing up all six brothers shared an underwear drawer. If you got up late or showered late, you ended up with the worst in the drawer. I have no idea if this is true or not but I hope I’m not creating some condition that my …

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Colleges give up on subtle hints; kick ‘velcro’ parents out!

Across the country, colleges are not so politely telling helicopter parents to drop off their kids and then get the heck out.

From The New York Times:

“In order to separate doting parents from their freshman sons, Morehouse College in Atlanta has instituted a formal “Parting Ceremony.”

“It began on a recent evening, with speeches in the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel. Then the incoming freshmen marched through the gates of the campus — which swung shut, literally leaving the parents outside…”

“Formal “hit the road” departure ceremonies are unusual but growing in popularity, said Joyce Holl, head of the National Orientation Directors Association. A more common approach is for colleges to introduce blunt language into drop-off schedules specifying the hour for last hugs. As of 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 11, for example, the parents of Princeton freshmen learn from the move-in schedule, ’subsequent orientation events are intended for students only.’ …

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L.A. unveils $578 million school: Do costly school facilities equal better learning?

Los Angeles will unveil next month a new K-12 school that cost $578 million to build! The Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools is the nation’s most expensive public school ever built!

The features include fine art murals and a marble memorial depicting the complex’s namesake, a manicured public park, a state-of-the-art swimming pool and preservation of pieces of the original hotel where RFK was shot.

From the Associated Press:

“The K-12 complex to house 4,200 students has raised eyebrows across the country as the creme de la creme of “Taj Mahal” schools, $100 million-plus campuses boasting both architectural panache and deluxe amenities.”

” ‘There’s no more of the old, windowless cinderblock schools of the ’70s where kids felt, ‘Oh, back to jail,’ said Joe Agron, editor-in-chief of American School & University, a school construction journal. ‘Districts want a showpiece for the community, a really impressive environment for learning.’ ”

“Not everyone is …

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How to handle when schools add/subtract whole classes?

Now that the kids have settled into their classes for two weeks comes the inevitable note from schools:

“We have over/under estimated the number of kids in your child’s grade and we will need to add/subtract an entire class from the grade. We are looking for volunteers to switch teachers. If we don’t get enough volunteers we will take care of it for you.”

I know schools do their very best trying to estimate how many sections they need in a grade, and yes kids are resilient, but it still really stinks to have your child’s teacher ripped from them after just establishing a trust and rapport.

When Rose was in kindergarten the school thought they were going to have more kids than they ended up with so they had to collapse a class down – of course it was the last teacher hired. (There’s a lesson moms, always ask when your teacher was hired. Be aware last one hired often the first one collapsed.) I showed up to beg them not to move my kid. My 5-year-old had put so much …

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How are your kids’ class sizes this year?

Last May the flood gates were thrown open when the Georgia State Board of Education voted that in this current economic crisis school districts could adjust their class sizes however they saw fit.

From Maureen Downey’s May 23 Get Schooled Blog:

“Described as an emergency response to a worsening financial climate, The 9-2 vote means that Georgia school districts can raise class size by 5five, 10, 15 students — or as many students as they choose — without seeking a waiver from the board or the Department of Education.”

“The vote essentially guts the prevailing state rules that mandated 23 students or fewer in k-3 and 28 in grades 4-8.”

Maureen went on to interview the districts about their plans after the vote. Here’s what they told her they were planning to do as of May:

“*   City of Atlanta: “The district’s budget for FY11 has already been developed and approved by the School Board. It includes slight increases in average class sizes for all grade …

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