A brown belt for Big Guy – not that it’s important
Mon, 12/03/12 – 12:49 | Comments Off

It was testing week in karate and, as usual, Big Guy was under the gun. Not as much as he used to be, when he didn’t have a clue and had to frantically cram, but …

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Food

Picky eaters and allergy-safe cooking — the two aren’t necessarily unrelated.

Girl Gone Wonk

From policy to politics, this rant’s for you.

News

The day’s events in a family way — unless something else amuses me.

School days

From preschool to kindergarten — so far

Simple Gifts

Inexpensive homemade gifts, creative parties and low-cost projects, for Christmas and beyond. Many are easy enough for children to help.

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The smell of retail fear?
Sunday, 2 Nov, 2008 – 1:14 | 2 Comments
The smell of retail fear?

Didn’t there used to be another holiday between Halloween and Christmas? I have vague memories of something involving turkey and Pilgrims and family dinners when I was a kid.
No signs of that in my local …

Latest credit crisis looks like a gouge to me
Wednesday, 29 Oct, 2008 – 11:41 | Comments Off
Latest credit crisis looks like a gouge to me

My radar started twitching in January when Bank of America sank $4.1 billion into Countrywide.
Alarm bells went off last month when the spending spree continued with a $50 billion deal for Merrill Lynch.
Someone’s going to …

Election issues: Let’s sit down in our thinking chairs and think
Wednesday, 29 Oct, 2008 – 1:02 | 2 Comments
Election issues: Let’s sit down in our thinking chairs and think

I love politics, I love policy, I love government. There, I’ve said it.
Three out of four years, that makes me a freak. This year, I’m kind of cool, and I’m enjoying it. People actually want …

Kiddy kidney stones could be a new trend
Tuesday, 28 Oct, 2008 – 11:42 | Comments Off
Kiddy kidney stones could be a new trend

I’m aghast. Not that it takes much to make me aghast. I usually find enough material by noon to sail past the government’s recommended daily allowance.
And news about health trends will put me over edge …

The demise of the pumpkin patch
Monday, 27 Oct, 2008 – 11:39 | Comments Off
The demise of the pumpkin patch

Forget Disney: Resdendiz Family Fruit Barn is the happiest place on Earth for the guys.
They know it as the pumpkin patch, because Halloween three years ago was the first time we visited. There were bounce …

How not to market to this mom online
Friday, 24 Oct, 2008 – 11:20 | One Comment
How not to market to this mom online

Had I not bought Big Guy’s Halloween costume two weeks ago — and at 25 percent off, even that early — the WBShop.com offer that landed in my inbox a few minutes ago would have …

Just what we need — another standardized test
Thursday, 23 Oct, 2008 – 11:28 | Comments Off
Just what we need — another standardized test

I love Gaston Caperton. I really do.
When he said he was going to be an education governor, he meant it. He’s had a life-long commitment to improving schools, not only in the rich districts — …

CDC study finds 3 million other Big Guys out there
Wednesday, 22 Oct, 2008 – 11:38 | Comments Off
CDC study finds 3 million other Big Guys out there

This is Big Guy’s life:

He’s had cake at a birthday party only once other than at a celebration for him or his brother. And that was because a friend took extra pains to include him.
For …

Election Issues: Spread around the wealth — you bet
Wednesday, 22 Oct, 2008 – 0:58 | 3 Comments
Election Issues: Spread around the wealth — you bet

I am comfortably middle class. Though that assumes that there’s still comfort in a middle class where the day-care bill is higher than a pre-housing boom mortgage and climbing at twice the rate of inflation.
Not …

Santa still will come, but he won’t bring as much
Monday, 20 Oct, 2008 – 11:30 | 4 Comments
Santa still will come, but he won’t bring as much

Funny how finances increasingly are forcing me to be the kind of parent I’d planned on being.
I never intended to fall into a fast-food habit — that’s Dad’s job. Yet, there I was, driving through …

9to5to9: Internet the new electronic hearth, I think
Monday, 20 Oct, 2008 – 1:03 | Comments Off
9to5to9: Internet the new electronic hearth, I think

Come on, guys! Gather around the computer and let Mommy fire up Three Doors Down. You can rock out to “Kryptonite,” jumping on the bed until you exhaust your silly selves into early slumber. We’ll …

Election Issues: Can we turn toward civility?
Thursday, 16 Oct, 2008 – 11:15 | Comments Off
Election Issues: Can we turn toward civility?

I watched last night’s debate having made up my mind long ago about my vote for president and doubting anyone would say about the issues that would change that.
It’s always that way with many voters …

Feds fitness guidelines are actually do-able
Tuesday, 7 Oct, 2008 – 10:35 | One Comment
Feds fitness guidelines are actually do-able

OK, I hear you. And I’m getting off my butt.
I’ve been doing better anyway. Just this morning, I was able to meet Little Guy’s demands to “go way fast” on the way back from dropping …

9to5to9: Warning adds new meaning to nuke and puke
Monday, 6 Oct, 2008 – 23:38 | Comments Off
9to5to9: Warning adds new meaning to nuke and puke

Be sure to cook poultry thoroughly, the government tells us.
This urgent warning came Friday from the U.S. Department of Agriculture after 32 people in 12 states got sick from salmonella after eating frozen chicken.
The kicker: …

Forget about the book – there’s a video game
Monday, 6 Oct, 2008 – 10:59 | 2 Comments
Forget about the book – there’s a video game

Maybe it’s partly out of lingering bitterness at having my butt kicked at PacMan during freshman orientation — hand-eye coordination never has been my strong point.
Whatever the reason, this trend of tying children’s books to …

Another autumn, another FDA attack on cold meds
Thursday, 2 Oct, 2008 – 11:21 | Comments Off
Another autumn, another FDA attack on cold meds

Let me first say I’m not in favor of kids walking around hopped up on antihistamines like junior meth addicts.

Let me also say that the guys rarely take over-the-counter cold medicines. We’re big fans of saline nose drops, and humidifiers are such a constant in their lives that they remind me to refill them. We never use cough syrup — Big Guy can’t take it because he’s asthmatic, and I’d just as soon let Little Guy hack it up on his own.

However — and this is a huge however — there are times when Little Guy in particular is so obviously suffering that the only humane thing to do is hit him with Dimetapp and let him breathe freely for a while. And he has to be really sick before I do that, because I’d just as soon not have him walking around buzzed up for hours.

Which is why the Food and Drug Administration’s latest move on medicines for the under 6 set really ticks me off.

Booster-seat study a boon for parents
Wednesday, 1 Oct, 2008 – 10:16 | Comments Off
Booster-seat study a boon for parents

You’d think that now that Big Guy’s 5 I’d have a handle on this whole car seat thing, yet just yesterday I caught him trying to cheat on the booster in his dad’s car.
He’d figured …

The coffee shop and the cursed business location
Tuesday, 30 Sep, 2008 – 10:49 | Comments Off
The coffee shop and the cursed business location

It didn’t surprise me to see a “closing soon” sign on the door of our neighborhood coffee shop yesterday morning. What surprised me is that it took three years.

That’s the longest any business has remained in that location. You know what I’m talking about, because every town has them. Storefronts that look like a good idea, but every proprietor who sets up shop is doomed to fail.

Are Americans ready for the ramifications of the banking bust?
Monday, 29 Sep, 2008 – 10:12 | Comments Off

I’m starting to get mad. Really, really mad. Borderline irate, even, with each news alert that lands in my inbox about the latest national financial disaster.

Today: Wachovia goes down, taking the Dow with it. We’re left with basically three big banks in the country, and I worry about mine. Remember, Bank of America’s taken on that whole Merrill Lynch-Countrywide mess.

The obvious solution is for me to cancel some news alert subscriptions. And maybe drink less coffee. But that wouldn’t solve much: This disaster is in my face, day in, day out.

If you want the BPA problem solved, you’ll have to do it yourself
Friday, 26 Sep, 2008 – 19:13 | Comments Off
If you want the BPA problem solved, you’ll have to do it yourself

The state of California couldn’t do it, and the feds won’t. Looks like it’s up to consumers to get rid of toxic plastic.

A special week to take kids outside — how sad
Monday, 15 Sep, 2008 – 6:56 | Comments Off

Once upon a time a little prince sat cloistered in his castle.

He cooed in a playpen as his royal court watched movies. As he grew, he was surrounded by the finer things — a television and VCR in his bedroom, a toddler computer at his fingertips. He had no reason to notice a world beyond his four walls.

Until one day, when the prince was 5 and went to a party with his family. The prince splashed happily in the pool, but when other children left to play, he peered over the pool’s edge, alone and confused. Children beckoned him to join in, but he didn’t know their games and running tired him.

Though I’m fudging details, the root of the story is true. It’s a tragic demonstration of why the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences created

I don’t care if Bristol Palin’s pregnant — let’s look at the resume
Thursday, 4 Sep, 2008 – 3:01 | Comments Off

Hurry, hurry, step right up to the greatest political sideshow on Earth: The American electoral system.

If you enjoyed previous exhibitions featuring a bunny-bashing president and his drunk brother, you’re going to love what’s in store this year.

See folks agog that 17-year-old Bristol Palin is with child out of wedlock. And that the father is a hockey-playing Alaska redneck who doesn’t want kids, according to news reports based on a MySpace profile that’s since been made private.

Watch women, normally liberally, assail Sarah Palin for choosing to campaign for vice president with a 4-month-old Down syndrome baby “who needs her.” Is that the sound of left knuckles dragging the ground?

Hear Rudy Giuliani blast those who ask whether Sarah Palin can be a mother and vice president. “When do they ever ask a man that question? When?” he tells the Republican National Convention. Right message, more than a few hypocrites in the cheering throng.

Time in New England could be best for kids with allergies, based on a new report
Tuesday, 2 Sep, 2008 – 17:11 | Comments Off

If you live in Connecticut, New Jersey, Vermont, Rhode Island, Massachusetts or Washington, consider yourself lucky.
According to a new report from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation, those are the states on this year’s honor roll …

9to5to9: Who’s been co-sleeping in my bed?
Monday, 1 Sep, 2008 – 8:52 | Comments Off

Sign me up for a session with a shrink.

I knew when I started it that letting the guys sleep with me was bad. In my defense, I didn’t really know I was starting it.

It began last summer, as a Friday “”stay up all night”" special with Big Guy to try to make up some of the together time he lost to That Baby Who Ruined His Life. We’d make popcorn, lie in the grass and watch the stars until I couldn’t keep my eyes open. Then I’d con him into my room, “”just to watch some movies

Before Simba could sing “”I Just Can’t Wait To Be King,”" he’d be out. That’s parenting sin No. 2, if you’re keeping score: Letting children fall asleep with

So Palin’s a mom and a former beauty queen. So what
Saturday, 30 Aug, 2008 – 3:43 | Comments Off

Of all the things said today about Sarah Palin, what amused me most was the surprise, not that a mother is running for vice president, but that a woman with a 4-month-old is on the Republican ticket.

“”What kind of mother is she?”"

Well, one who’s roaring back after giving birth, in sharp contrast to every woman who’s returned to the office to see herself marginalized after maternity leave.

Then came critics honing in on her appearance and her long-ago status as runner-up in the Miss Alaska Pageant. “”John McCain knows how important it is to have a trophy wife Veep on his arm,”" an America OnLine blogger wrote. “”Pinup girl for the right wing,”" snorted another blogger.Did anyone call Dan Quayle a trophy 20 years ago?

McCain came

The green in grocery bag ban would go to the grocers
Wednesday, 27 Aug, 2008 – 6:34 | Comments Off

I’m as green as the next over-stressed, under-loved working mom, which means I do it when it’s convenient.

I use paper ware only at birthday parties and plastic utensils only in the guys’ lunch. And those are left over from past parties, when I would inevitably panic and buy more forks and spoons, only to find a gross or two stashed in the garage much later.

I’ve recycled since back when it meant toting newspapers back to the office, which was capitalism at its finest for my employer. I paid to subscribe to the product I helped edit, then gave it back so the company could make money. What a sweet scheme.

The guys already know how to recycle, and Big Guy, being a bit on the anal side, is quite the little drill

A year later, there’s hope we’ll finally get the lead out of toys
Friday, 15 Aug, 2008 – 3:47 | Comments Off

I suppose 14 months isn’t an excessive gestation period for a law, especially when you consider that except for bills that bail out big businesses, it can take dog years for Congress to act.

Still, it seems like centuries ago that parents were aghast and children were distraught as the Grinch Who Stole Summer snatched 45 million toys off shelves due to lead contamination.

Everything from backpacks to trains to Little People were recalled, leaving folks befuddled that this was happening in the 21st Century. I thought experts had established long ago that lead exposure is bad for children.

A few far right wing nuts, though, saw conspiracy:

“”Are you falling for this BS about children’s toys and the dangers of?”" the lunatic fringe asked at a site where I used to blog. “”This is nothing but an all out attempt by the unions

Cell phones, kids and the cancer scare — is it real?
Monday, 28 Jul, 2008 – 6:59 | Comments Off

“When I was a kid, 12 was the magic number.

I was 12 — closer to 13, actually — when Mom let me pierce my ears. I remember walking through a grocery store that frigid January day as the numbness wore off and my lobes caught fire.

I was 12 when I was allowed to have a “”real”" stereo in my bedroom, instead of the kiddie Show ‘N Tell record player. Albums were censored, though, and Cher was banned.

My friends were 12 when their parents let them get phones in their rooms. None for me, though that was about the time we were able to get off a party line. And, yes, I also had to walk to school in three feet of snow, uphill both ways.

Some parents still hold those lines. Seems there increasingly is