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Posts Tagged ‘toddlers’

Playing with light…

Posted by Sandra on August 17, 2009


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Children’s Shows Rant

Posted by Sandra on July 29, 2009

Yo Gabba Gabba is just plain creepy.  When I see a man in an orange jumpsuit, all I can think about is “inmate”.

The duck on Wonderpets needs intervention.  Bad.  A lisping role model is not really ideal.

I can’t put my finger on it, but something is wrong with Lazy Town.  It disturbs me.  On many levels.

The chick that does the voice on Wow Wow Wubbzy is the same one that does the Squirrel on Sponge Bob.  That voice makes me want to peel my skin off my face.  Please make it stop.

Someone please tell Ruby that she doesn’t need to begin and end every sentence with the word Max.  And interject it in the middle.  I’m fairly certain she says his name at least 3,629 times per episode.  If you’re the only two people in a room, I’m certain he knows you’re talking to him.

And where, exactly, are Max & Ruby’s parents, while they’re galavanting at the mall and all over town??

Change Sesame Street’s theme song back to the fun sing-song one it used to be.  Not the crap “rap” version it is now.

Let the Cookie Monster eat all the cookies he wants, for God’s sakes.  No kid gets obese from watching a muppet eat sweets.  It’s because the mom drives to the store and buys them, then lets her kid eat them 24 hours a day.

Bring back the Electric Company.  Like it used to be.

Shouldn’t Barney be dead by now?  What exactly is the lifespan of a dinosaur?  They didn’t live this long a billion years ago, for God’s sakes.

The Spider Dad on “Ms. Spider” is scary looking.  I’m all for scary – my kids love horror movies from as soon as they can sit and watch one – but this dude is eerie.


Now for some praise.

I can listen to Dora all day.  Really.  I don’t even mind that they’re teaching Spanish in my country, which should only speak English.  I just like the show.

The kids on the Backyardigans can SING.  They’re amazing!  I’m guessing it’s studio-enhanced, but I don’t care.

The best cartoon – no, the best SHOW – EVAH – is Family Guy.  It should be required viewing for all parents so they can work the bugs out of their uptight butts and have a few laughs.

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Another “Must Read” Blog by Lenore…

Posted by Sandra on June 25, 2009

CNN or C.A.N. — Child Abduction Network?

Posted on June 25, 2009 by lskenazy

One reason Americans are so extremely terrified about child abductions is that whenever we turn on the TV or computer, there’s another one. As if these horrific crimes are happening 24/7, when actually the media is only too happy to fly across the country — or world — to set up camp wherever a cute, white girl has disappeared. Tight news budgets get thrown out the window  for a story like this. But because that story then shows up on our screen at home,  it feels like it’s happening right around the corner. All the time.

What happens when there is NOT a new story like this for the media to feast upon? Instead of traveling to another state, or country, they’ll travel back in time. The show 20/20 just did an hour-long look at the Etan Patz kidnapping from 30 years ago. And here’s CNN’s Nancy Grace page , from a few days ago: “Third Grader Stepped Off School Bus, Disappeared.”

Start reading it: ” With the weekend arriving and a long day finally over, 8-year-old Cherrie Mahan stepped off her yellow school bus on a chilly Friday around 4 p.m….”

Oh, by the way, CNN finally adds at the end of paragraph three: This was in 1985.

I’m not saying that it doesn’t make sense to sometimes revisit a cold case in hopes of solving it. I do hope someone solves this one. But it begins to  look suspiciously self-serving when networks desperate for viewers keep coming up with the exact same kind of story, served up any which way they can. How about the cold case of an African-American teenager gone missing? Or a schitzophrenic adult? Or someone who isn’t winsome, white and under five feet tall?

A newly Free-Range mom dropped me a little note this morning trying to help all of us (herself included)  put our fears in perspective: The chance of a child being kidnapped and murdered? 1 in 1.5 million. The chance of a child ending up at some point with some form of depression? 1 in 4.

(emphasis mine! – Sandra)

It is extremely depressing, disheartening, lose-your-faith-in-humity-izing, to keep being presented with the most vile crimes on earth as if that’s what life  is all about. As if that’s just what you can expect if you’re bringing up a kid these days.

So what’s the alternative?

One of the chapters in my book is called, “Turn Off the News.” At the end it has some suggestions for how to get started  going Free-Range, including, “Get up and go out. Spend that hour you were going to watch ‘Law and Order’ on a walk with the kids instead. Look around at all the unspeakable crimes not being committed. This is called the Real World. (Not to be confused with MTV’s version, which is a crime all  its own.)”

When we depend on the media to shape our world view, we’re going to get a world view that looks a whole lot like the view from a harried, ratings-obsessed assignment desk: If it bleeds, it leads. If it’s sad, we’re glad! If it’s an abduction, ramp up production! 

Which they sure do.

But if a network thinks its job is to terrify us, maybe it’s time to turn the tables and terrify them: Let them watch their viewers mysteriously disappear, never to be seen again.

Someday, they may even do a cold case special on us. – Lenore

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Free Range Author – “Guest Blogger”!

Posted by Sandra on April 20, 2009


April 19, 2009 —
When author Lenore Skenazy let her son loose on the subway last year, she was dubbed “America’s Worst Mom.” She explains why more parents need to let go.

Tomorrow my kids go back to school after 17 and a half months of vacation.

Oh wait. Here’s my calendar. They’ve only been off 11 days? In our apartment it feels like light years, because most of the time my boys have been hanging out inside. Why? Because no one was hanging out outside for them to hang out with.

And why was that?

For most kids, that’s verboten. The simple, fun things we used to do without a second thought — walking to a friend’s, staying out until dark — are now regarded as insanely risky. See-you-on-a-milk-carton risky. How did childhood change so much, so fast, and is there any way to bring back the good ol’ days?

Actually, there is. It’s called Free-Range parenting — parenting the old way, with new insights into how we got so brainwashed with fear, and how we can get braver. Let’s take a look first at how we got so scared.

If you think about what our parents were watching when they raised us, it was “Marcus Welby.” Or “Dallas.” Or “Dynasty.” Turn on the TV tonight and instead of kindly doctors or millionaires with big hair, you will see autopsies, psychokillers and a playground’s worth of child predators.

And that’s before the news.

Now, thanks to shows like “Law & Order,” “CSI” and “24,” it looks like no child can step outside without some creep following behind them with duct tape. Between that and 24-hour cable news bringing us the latest abduction from Aruba, it’s almost impossible to convince ourselves these events are rarer than rare. TV piles it on because if it told us what’s really happening — “Millions of kids unharmed!” — we’d turn it off.

Then we’d surf the web. Oh look! A new abduction story.

The other thing scaring us is the very industry that’s supposed to reassure us: the safety industry. Today there are flat screen TV monitors to watch your kid’s crib all day and night — as if this is such a dangerous place to be. There are baby knee pads to protect your infants when they crawl — as if this is such a dangerous activity. There are even shopping cart liners to keep your kid from ever touching a germ.

Forget the fact that babies are born to survive. They’ve been doing it since time began and what’s more: They’re safer today than ever. Infant mortality is four times lower than even when I was born. But these products make us think it’s only by the grace of God — and constant, gadget-assisted hovering — that a kid will make it through another day. So, ironically, the more ridiculous safety products there are, the more we worry our kids aren’t safe.

The problem with all this is that we’re accustomed to imagining the very worst. Sure, most kids don’t die from gumming a grocery cart, but what if? Most kids don’t get kidnapped on their way to self-defense, but what if? (And how ironic!) The what if’s take over our brains. And the one time they shut up long enough to let us open the front door and tell the kids, “Go play by the ant hills!” some other parent is just as likely to chide: “What if something happened? Wouldn’t you feel terrible?”

That’s what everyone was asking me last year when I became infamous for letting my 9-year-old ride the subway alone. What if something happened? How would I feel? One guy called into an NPR talk show and asked why would I give my son one day of “fun,” knowing it would probably end in rape and murder. Wouldn’t I rather let him live to a ripe old age? Comments like that are how I got dubbed, “America’s Worst Mom.” (Go ahead — Google it.)

Please. We all care about our kids. But the fact is, we are living in very safe times for them. Crime has been declining since 1993. Sex crimes against kids, in particular, are down a whopping 79%, according to U.S. Department of Justice statistics.

The way to combat our fears and give our children a childhood again is to step back from all the hysteria and look at what’s really going on: It’s a lovely time to be a kid!

And you know what? It’s a lovely time to be a parent, too.

Lenore Skenazy is the founder of and author ofFree-Range Kids: Giving Our Children the Freedom We Had Without Going Nuts with Worry (Wiley), out now.

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Phonetics at it’s best…

Posted by Sandra on March 11, 2009

So I was cleaning out the shed and remembered we had put the old bookcase from the playroom into the shed to hold stuff.  The boys meticulously labeled the shelves so they could stay organized.  They were probably 3 and 7 when they did the labeling.

I’m still laughing:

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Digging thru old pics…

Posted by Sandra on March 10, 2009

The boys on our wedding day:

2001… so Justus was 4 and Brett was 8… ah, they were so cute!

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FreeRange again with another great find…

Posted by Sandra on February 11, 2009

Let them Eat Dirt!

 Accumulating evidence strongly suggests that eating dirt is good for you. In studies of what is called the hygiene hypothesis, researchers are concluding that organisms like the millions of bacteria, viruses and especially worms that enter the body along with ‘dirt’ spur the development of a healthy immune system. Several continuing studies suggest that worms may help to redirect an immune system that has gone awry and resulted in autoimmune disorders, allergies and asthma. [Here’s the link:]


Add the fact that the majority of babies 6+ months old can safely eat peanut & shellfish products and other “allergens” and I’ll bet we can lower the rate of children with allergies in no time.   Eat a piece of shrimp, don’t wash with antibacterial soap, and viola!

Ahhh… reason #472 why anti-bacterial products are never in my house and why nothing is ever “sterilized” (i.e., baby bottles, pacifiers)…. lovin’ my healthy no-allergy kids! 😀

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Nothing is sadder…

Posted by Sandra on November 9, 2008

Than a 3 year old trying so hard not to cry, when her little world is turned upside down…

Autumn came out of the bathroom yesterday with her bottom lip sticking out, tears welling in her eyes, and that sweet puppy dog look that makes a mama melt… after she ran over to throw her arms around me and sob, she told me that

“Ayla put my crayon in the potty!!!!”

This is one of the moments a mom has a hard time with – it’s so cute and sad and a little funny, and I have to resist the urge to chuckle, because I know Autumn is truly devastated.  So I told her it was okay, we could get it out.

She said no… “I peed AND poopied and I flushed already!!!!!  *Sniffle sob sniffle!!!!*  And it was my GREEN ONE!!!!”

After I assured her that we had plenty of green crayons, and proceeded to get them for her, her little world was again restored to order.  Tragedy over.

Ah.  Just as I was seeing an end to the sibling battles with her big brothers, I just had a picture painted of what my future holds in store with two little girls, much closer in age, and much more sensitive! 

Lord knows my life is anything but boring.  And I wouldn’t trade it for the world, no sirree.

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One of the hardest parts about parenting…

Posted by Sandra on September 29, 2008

In my humble opinion, is remembering what’s important to THEM.

Let me try to explain what I’m thinking. In a toddler’s world, nothing matters except their little isolated circle of toys and playthings, their cartoons, their snacks. It’s easy for us to forget that when big brother takes a ball from them, it truly is crushing what’s most important – to THEM. To us, it seems so insignificant, nothing worth getting upset over – but to a three year old, it’s the event of the day that will completely destroy their fun.

When the young child draws on the wall in the playroom with a crayon, he’s created a beautiful work of art that he’s very proud of.  To us, he’s created an hour of work washing and repainting.  Really, is it THAT hard to see what’s more important in this scenario?  Does it really impact OUR lives so much that we rant and rave and get upset?  To me, it’s harmless. To them, it’s a story they had in their minds that they expressed for all to see. 

To the teen, their world revolves around their friends, “reputations”, next Friday night. Even though we can try to explain that in 10 years, whether or not Sally would go out with them won’t matter, or being grounded from the high school football game really won’t ruin their entire school career, or the pimple on the nose really isn’t a shining beacon calling all to look at the center of their face… to a teenager, these things can make or break their lives.  

It’s all too easy for the parents to just blow off what is so very important to these people, because it’s not important to US.

I try, each and every day, to remember what’s most important, what their little lives really revolve around, to my 3 year old, or 10 year old, or 15 year old… I try not to think of their worlds as any less impactful, less significant, than mine – I may have to think about my work, my mortgage, cleaning my house, fixing the furnace, and a thousand other things that are important to ME, so it’s easy to have the fleeting thought that the broken dish in the little pink china tea set doesn’t matter. 


But it’s so much more important that I take a few minutes of my time, get the glue, and piece that little girl’s broken plate back together – making her world complete again.

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I am the Grand Poobah of the Potty

Posted by Sandra on September 23, 2008

I have overcome.  Yes.  I am good.

Autumn has been “trained” for a while now, but I was just musing over the process today and thought I would write about it.

Let me preface this by saying that both of my boys were potty trained in a weekend.  Less than two days.  I waited until they were 150% ready (close to three years old), showed signs of readiness like discussing pee and poopy, knowing beforehand when they were going to go, and being dry all night long.  One Saturday I took them for their Batman and Spiderman undies, respectively, and by Sunday the diapers were gone.  Without nary an accident.  Easy.  No kidding.

So along comes child #3.  A girl.  So I figure I’ll do the same thing.  Wait until she’s ready.  So I wait.  And wait.  And wait. At one point we decided her husband would have to teach her to use the potty, she had ZERO interest.

So we took the bull by the horns, as it were, and made the first move.  She’s about 2.5 years old.  Dora panties.  Rockin’, dude.  She’s gonna love this – another weekend session and surely she’ll be trained too.

She wanted nothing to do with them.  Or the potty.  So we stopped after 1/2 hour of trying (I’m NOT spending six months teaching a child to use the potty – it either happens or it doesn’t, more power to moms that spend years doing it, I’m lazy). So months pass, and her third birthday passes.  I scoff at the websites that say girls train faster than boys!  This is reason #472 that I don’t read parenting books or rely on websites for information! 😀  Anyways, one day she decided she wanted to use the big potty, and don her glorious purple Dora panties.  And it was good.

And then it wasn’t.  She decided she didn’t want to.  It’s too inconvenient to go potty in the big potty.  It’s easier to go in a diaper.  So we had to put our feet down and insist.  Ugh, how I dreaded what appeared to be a long road ahead for us.

Well, it wasn’t.  Bribery and kitchen timers and panties with a favorite cartoon character.  That’s all that you need.   And this remote control.

So we set the timer for two hours.  Donned the Dora or Princess panties.  Taped a “sticker chart” to the bathroom door and every time she successfully uses the potty, she puts a sticker on.  When the sheet is filled up (about a week), she gets to go to the dollar store and pick out some toys.  Jackpot.  It worked.

So, all in all it only took a couple of weeks for her to really get it “down”.  We’re continuing on with the bribery and timer, though… just to make sure!

The funny problem?  Now she thinks she’s not supposed to go potty unless and until the timer goes off… 🙂

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The Olympics and Mothering

Posted by Sandra on August 9, 2008

I’ll admit it – I’m not a big Olympics watcher.  And if I do watch, I prefer the winter ones.  But I wanted to make sure to watch the opening ceremonies last night, and I wasn’t disappointed.

My father-in-law was visiting from out of town and the family was gathered around the television to watch this event.  Fantastic, to say the least.   As we were watching, I made the comment that I truly admire those atheletes with that much drive, passion, desire, and skill to do their sport so often and so long that they’re qualified to be in the Olympics.  I mean, I just don’t get the true want to get up at 6:00 in the morning, hit the ice, and figure skate for 8 hours, every day, for years and years.  I don’t have anything I’m that devoted to.  I wish I did – I am awestruck by their skills but mostly by their hearts.

My FIL looked at me and stated what really is the obvious – yes, I DO have something I’m that passionate about – being a mother!  He went on to say mothers do it 24 hours a day, day in and day out, for years and years.  He said he personally doesn’t understand the maternal instinct that (most) women have, and he finds THAT admirable.

Mothering.  A Olympic-worthy sport?  Yeah.  And my medal is just these beautiful, smart little beings that I was responsible for nurturing to wonderful little people.

See, FILs are good for some things, sometimes!

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Fun in the Sun

Posted by Sandra on July 28, 2008

Sigh… my boys were unable to make it home from Germany over the weekend.  I’m waiting by the phone today to see if they’re able to come in today.  They will be flying into Baltimore or Boston with someone, then flying by themselves here… I believe it’s about an 8 hour flight, so really, they’ll be here in two hours… LOL…

So we filled up the girls’ pool and spent the weekend in the beautiful sun.  Showing off some pics of my beautiful, perfect little ones:

Ayla must be waiting for her big brother to get home to truly crawl.  She’s been on all fours for quite some time, can go backwards, roll anywhere, and scoot forward… but I promised Justus I wouldn’t let her grow up until he got back.  😀

My SIL has opted for the radiation to reduce the size of the growing tumor in her brain, simply to make her last weeks here more comfortable.  I can’t imagine having to make such decisions for myself.  Whenever I get frustrated at my own life, making choices like what I have to cook for dinner, I think about Carol, and her choice to live a few more weeks.  Makes cooking meatloaf pretty ridiculous.

We had a cable, phone, and internet outage yesterday morning – I got laundry done, made 6 dozen oatmeal chocolate chip cookies from scratch, and even made French Onion soup from scratch for the first time – and it was delicious!  I’m trying to figure out if I can get the boys to eat it… Hmmm.  So, I need to have an outage once a week, I think – I got a lot done!

There’s so much in the news I could rant about, but frankly I’m not in the mood.  It’ll aggravate me, and I’m in too good of a mood realizing I’ll be holding my boys within the next 36 hours!  I’ll rant later in the week!

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