Archive for July, 2011

Should youth baseball leagues switch back to wood bats?

The Rhode Island teams in the American Legion Baseball league, the oldest nationwide youth program, is switching it’s players back from aluminum bats to wood.

According to the Associated Press:

“But Rhode Island is once again playing with wood, one of at least three states nationwide where the American Legion has mandated a switch from metal bats to the type used in Major League Baseball, in part to return the game to its purer origins.”

“…’There’s a lot of nostalgia using all wood,” said Jim Quinlan, national program coordinator for the American Legion league, which was founded in 1925 and counts the likes of Yogi Berra, Tom Brokaw and Dick Cheney as alumni. “Baseball people are hard-core traditionalists. The old-time coaches love that old wooden bat. They say it teaches the kids to be a better hitter.’

“…The debate over wood versus metal is long running. Metal bats are lighter weight and cost more – some run several hundred dollars, while wood ones are usually $100 or less …

Continue reading Should youth baseball leagues switch back to wood bats? »

Will the economy affect your back-to-school spending?

Posted on Facebook by a Gwinnett County mom:

Teacher friends, you may not want to read this…

WTH is the deal with the school supply lists this year??? I KNOW I complain every year, but 6 DOZ sharpened pencils? 15 pocket folders? And once we buy all the ‘requested’ supplies, we still, STILL have to make a ’suggested’ 10.00 school supply donation per child??? I am friggin’ bleeding money this week!!!
Sorry…couldn’t keep it in anymore.

This mom’s post prompted quite a discussion with parents and teachers weighing in.  Other moms were equally irritated by the long lists and the sharpened pencils (why do they need to be sharpened?) but then also bristled at the suggestion of not sending stuff in at all. One teacher commented that she would rather have $5 per kid so she could get exactly what she wanted the kids to have instead of what was on the grade-level list.

Walsh will be going to a different elementary school than Rose this year and while it’s only about a mile away and in …

Continue reading Will the economy affect your back-to-school spending? »

Do kids have to have new back-to-school outfits?

I feel like a Grinch but I really don’t want to go and buy new clothes for school.

Here’s the reason: When we were little and school started after Labor Day your mom would buy you fall clothes and so that was different from what you wore all summer.

But with school starting in August they are pretty much wearing the same things they have been wearing all summer and from the spring. In our case, Rose had a growth spurt and got a bunch of new outfits last spring.

Walsh also got new shorts and shirts in the spring so I don’t really feel like he needs much.

But I feel bad not getting them anything new to mark the beginning of a new school year. My compromise may be to get one special outfit for the first day so they can have maximum confidence.

I would rather wait and take them in October and get them new stuff for cooler weather and then again in April for spring stuff.

Do you feel with school starting in hot August less compelled to buy new things for the start of school? Is …

Continue reading Do kids have to have new back-to-school outfits? »

New tests for newborns create dilemmas for parents: How much do you want to know?

You may remember those mean nurses poking your newborn in the heel and drawing blood for tests. You may not have realized at the time how many tests they would actually run and how revealing those test can be.

As technology has improved those newborn screenings can literally reveal hundreds of possible diseases – some that have current treatments and other that don’t. But how much do parents really want or need to know about their days-old infants?

From the Wall Street Journal:

“ ‘Newborn testing identifies at least 3,400 babies with a disorder each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The programs generally have focused on well-understood medical conditions in which early intervention can make a difference in a baby’s life. For example, the genetic disease phenylketonuria, or PKU, if left untreated, causes a protein to build up in the body and leads to brain damage. A special diet, including low-protein foods, can prevent it.’ ”

“Proponents of …

Continue reading New tests for newborns create dilemmas for parents: How much do you want to know? »

More than 6,000 miles later: I’m baack!

The mini van packed and ready for the road trip! We added more stuff along the way -- like a green plastic sled used on the dunes of White Sands National Park.

The mini van packed and ready for the road trip! We added more stuff along the way — like a green plastic sled used on the dunes of White Sands National Park.

During the last 30 days, our family traveled more than 6,0000 miles, spent 10 days in the car and saw eight states. I can’t wait to share our road trip adventures with you, but I need some time to get all the photos organized and write it all up.

I feel refreshed mentally but I am also pooped!

I found much inspiration in our travels and am brimming with story ideas for you! I kept jotting down topics for us to discuss as I read compelling articles or books and had conversations with other parents. I even did some interviews on the beach that I will be sharing soon!

Just like you guys, I am getting geared up for back-to-school and have many questions and thoughts on school and getting organized for the year.

I have great stuff planned for the next few weeks but I am starting us off with a quickie news blog today while I …

Continue reading More than 6,000 miles later: I’m baack! »

Dad Days of Summer signing off

Dad Days of Summer: While Momania’s Theresa Walsh Giarrusso has been on vacation, local dad and sportswriter Andy Johnston has been filling in.

Well, this is it.

This is my last post, and it’s been a fun and quick month filling in for Theresa, who will be back tomorrow.

Andy and his son Ty.

Andy and his son Ty.

Like I said in my first blog, I wasn’t sure I wanted to do this when she first asked, but I quickly learned to love the challenge of finding new topics and stories to share with you on a daily basis.

I hope you’ve been able to glean some tidbits and insight of parenting from a dad’s perspective because I know I’ve learned plenty from your stories, your advice – to me and each other – and even your rants (or manifestos for the more lengthy ones).

Having been a columnist for three daily papers, I’ve experienced and dealt with overzealous sports fans throughout my career – somebody always has a different opinion than you — but I don’t think I’ve ever met a more passionate group.

And for most …

Continue reading Dad Days of Summer signing off »

Swimming lessons pay off for Ty

Dad Days of Summer: While Momania’s Theresa Walsh Giarrusso takes a vacation, local dad and sportswriter Andy Johnston will be filling in. You can e-mail him at ajcmomania@gmail.com.

I was beginning to think Ty would never learn to swim, mostly because I spent the past two summers trying to teach him.

This year, I delegated that responsibility to someone else.

Andy and his son Ty.

Andy and his son Ty.

And guess what?

Ty can swim.

It’s not always pretty.

He doesn’t kick real well, which makes it look like he’s swimming with a big bag of quarters tied to his waist, but he’s improving and he’s more confident in the water.

He jumps off the side of the pool, dives to get toys off the bottom, wants me to throw him up so he’ll land in the water and he can already swim the width of our neighborhood pool.

All that might not seem like much, but is quite an accomplishment considering where he was two months ago. Theresa wrote about swim lessons last month, so thanks for indulging a proud dad.

Like a lot of …

Continue reading Swimming lessons pay off for Ty »

Nothing like a few nights with grandparents

Dad Days of Summer: While Momania’s Theresa Walsh Giarrusso takes a vacation, local dad and sportswriter Andy Johnston will be filling in. You can e-mail him at ajcmomania@gmail.com.

Ty loves spending time with his grandparents.

And they love having him around.

Andy and his son Ty.

Andy and his son Ty.

For Ty, hanging out with either set of his grandparents is like an all-expenses paid trip to a resort.

It means unlimited play time, unlimited Chick-fil-A nuggets and ice cream, an afternoon at one of those jumpy bouncy places and usually a surprise trip to the toy department at Target.

In return, they get quality time with him. They get to roughhouse with him, teach him – Grandma and Mimi are both educators – bake him cookies, take him to movies, hug on him and generally spoil him.

It works out great for everyone, and it’s convenient since our parents live in the metro area.

Some of our friends’ kids also have been able to spend time alone with their grandparents this summer, with some heading to …

Continue reading Nothing like a few nights with grandparents »

Has the fun been taken out of recess, playgrounds?

Dad Days of Summer: While Momania’s Theresa Walsh Giarrusso takes a vacation, local dad and sportswriter Andy Johnston will be filling in. You can e-mail him at ajcmomania@gmail.com.

Recess sure has changed since some of us were kids.

That once glorious time that allowed us to run free, climb, slide and explore our imaginations has become one filled with rules and regulations.

Andy and his son Ty.

Andy and his son Ty.

I knew recess is different now. I mean, we used to try to bean each other those red rubber balls in a game we called battle ball.

It resembled dodge ball in that Ben Stiller flick from a few years ago, but imagine it with about 20 excited third-graders on each side with what seemed like hundreds of red blurs flying at you from every angle.

One of Theresa’s loyal readers sent this link to a story on Shine.yahoo.com that shows just how much play has been taken from our kids’ playground.

Equipment doesn’t provide the challenges we overcame. All kinds of sports and activities have been …

Continue reading Has the fun been taken out of recess, playgrounds? »

Should extremely obese kids go to foster care?

Dad Days of Summer: While Momania’s Theresa Walsh Giarrusso takes a vacation, local dad and sportswriter Andy Johnston will be filling in. You can e-mail him at ajcmomania@gmail.com.

I came across an AP article in the AJC that says parents of extremely obese children should lose custody of them.

Andy and his son Ty.

Andy and his son Ty.

The Journal of the American Medical Association recently published an opinion piece by David Ludwig, a doctor at Children’s Hospital Boston, and Lindsey Murtagh, an attorney, that states it’s in the children’s best interest to take them away from their parents. They said foster care is preferable and more ethical than obesity surgery, in most cases.

Ludwig told the AP that foster care “ideally will support not just the child but the whole family, with the goal of reuniting child and family as soon as possible. That may require instruction on parenting.”

Ludwig said he starting thinking about the issue after a 90-pound 3-year-old girl came to his obesity clinic …

Continue reading Should extremely obese kids go to foster care? »