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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Wanted: Breastfeeding Moms for World Record

I think this way of celebrating Breastfeeding Awareness Week is only happening in Canada, but I just had to mention it anyways!

Wouldn't that be cool to have a country-wide competition like that here? At your local Starbucks!

and yes, I am still breastfeeding my daughter!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

It's a matter of perspective

I am very intrigued by Arianna's pretend play. She has been role playing the stories we make up for her as well as stories from books. She'll say, "You are the pirate and I am the kitty." Or, "I am climbing up on the table and getting the turkey leg, like the kitty did!" as she climbs on the bedside table and grabs my lotion, pretending it's turkey and even feeding me some.

Theoretically, she's not supposed to be doing this now. The leading activity for toddlers is supposed to learning how to manipulate objects. Pretend play is the leading activity for preschoolers.

I think we read to her so much that she has become fascinated with characters and roles and stories. She definitely has an advanced ability to take the perspective of others.

When we were standing outside one night, I showed Arianna the stars in the sky. After she looked up, she immediately took Tony monkey and raised his head so he could "see" the stars too.

Being able to imagine someone else's perspective is a precursor for developing empathy. We already know she is a very caring child.

In fact, yesterday it seemed to take me forever to make dinner and Arianna was hungry so every 5 minutes she kept asking me for more snacks. I finally just started ranting and raving at the poor girl, who seemed nonplussed by my tirade.

Instead, she asked, "Mommy, are you mad about the juice?" She kept asking me questions because she wanted to know why I was yelling like a lunatic. I finally calmed down and said, "I know you are hungry Arianna. Mommy is trying to make you dinner but you keep on interrupting me and asking me for grapes and juice and bread. If you wait a few minutes, mommy will give you some pasta and then we can both eat dinner."

She replies, "Okay, Mommy." So I start getting her plate ready and then she says, "I'm sorry, Mommy."

Boy, did I feel like a jerk. I covered myself by telling her that mommy was grouchy because she was so hungry. Needless to say, we were both happy when we finally ate and she was even happier to see Daddy come home that night!

Isn't it great how much we can learn about ourselves from a child?

Saturday, September 17, 2005

It's really annoying when. . .

your 2 year-old corrects you if you make a mistake when you are reading to her!

I said, "Uh" instead of "Ugh" in "It's Mine," a rather nasty little story about Li'l Critter not wanting to share with his brother or sister. Arianna immediately said, "No, it's UGH."

I say Ugh, the reading teacher is in big trouble. I showed her how to point and read the word "no" in "Where's Spot?" which makes up about half of the book. She started pointing and reading the words "no". Granted, she doesn't know the difference between a word and a letter yet, but I am so impressed that she is mimicking my reading behavior so closely.

It's a scary day when you realize that your child is going to be way smarter than you are. (Hmm. I wonder how old I was when my parents realized that? I'm sure it was much older than TWO.)

I apologize for not blogging in so long, but Andrew and I are in the process of buying some real estate investments. It is just like playing the Cash Flow game, except it's NOT paper money. I love looking at houses and calculating the ROI (return on investment).

There are some great deals to be had around here, so if you have some excess money in your IRA -- give me a call. I'll teach you how to get the best ROI (it depends on how much work you are willing to do yourself, or if you just want someone else to manage it). We can even play Cash Flow -- it's a great way to sharpen your financial literacy skills.

By the by, Robert Kiyosaki is doing a free teleseminar on September 20th. He will be discussing his new book, "Before You Quit Your Job," which was released this past Wednesday. (Hint: This would make a great birthday present for yours truly. Even though I already quit my job, I'm still learning how to generate passive income.)

Money, money, money...MONEY. (theme song from The Apprentice, and do you think Martha can compete with The Donald?)

Friday, September 09, 2005

Unsung Heroes

Okay, I was planning to write about something more erudite today, but that will have to wait.

Arianna and I were on the way to our first music lesson at a friend's house. We made snacks and were running on schedule, for once. We were very excited.

So, after picking some apples to add to our cheese and cracker tray, we set off. About 4 miles down the road, I stopped at an intersection. I stepped on the gas, but the car didn't accelerate. Something was wrong. I coasted to the side of the road and turned the car off for a minute. I started it again, but it died as soon as I pressed the gas pedal down and the check engine and oil light came on. The oil had been checked fairly recently, but I didn't want to chance anything. I decided to call the tow truck.

I reached inside my purse, and my cell phone wasn't there! Okay, I needed to find someone who would let me borrow a phone book and a phone. I got out, put Arianna in my trusty "car" sling (yes, I have one just for the car and one for the diaper bag, and one for the stroller. . . just in case), and started for the nearest house.

No one was home. I knocked on 5 doors before I found someone home. I called our mechanic, who luckily has a tow truck. They could come and get the car, but it would be awhile.

We went back to wait in the car. I didn't have the phone numbers for ANY of my neighbors and I couldn't call Andrew away from the hospital for THIS. I was hoping to bum a ride from the mechanic before he towed my car to the garage. An hour later, he still hadn't arrived.

The man who let me use his phone came down to check on us and offer us a drink. I told him I was going to start walking home because I didn't know how long the tow truck would be and we didn't live that far away (I don't think I could have pulled it off without a baby sling, though. Baby carriers are an absolute godsend for parents.) He immediately offered to drive us home.

There was a moment where I thought, "I don't know this person. Should I accept a ride from him?" Then I realized we were in his house for ten minutes with his teenage daughter and if he was some kind of psycho, he could have made his move a long time ago. He was a working class kind of guy who was in between jobs and seemed genuinely happy to help someone. No sophisticated Hannibal Lechter here.

We chatted about his truck and the price of gas and then we were home. He refused when I offered him gas money. I was so glad to be home.

I am very thankful that there are still people in the world who are willing to help others without receiving anything in return. Look at how people are reaching out to help the Katrina victims with food, water, diapers, baby carriers, habitat for humanity funds and money.

We can all be unsung heroes by offering our support to others in need. After all, you never know when you might need a hand someday. . . . or click here for a listing of ESTABLISHED organizations that are helping Gulf coast folks:


Sunday, September 04, 2005

Spit it out!

Recently, Arianna has been stuttering. Especially when she says a sentence starting with, "I want." (Not surprisingly, this is how a lot of her sentences start these days, being the normal, self-centered toddler that she is!) She'll repeat those two words a few times and then finally say what she wants.

We were a little worried about this becoming a problem, so Andrew asked a speech pathologist about it. She said that stuttering is very normal at this age, but we should respond to her very patiently, so she doesn't feel pressured.

Some theorize that this is one cause behind persistent stuttering: parents who make a big deal about toddler stuttering end up creating a child who stutters and is self-conscious about speaking. Rather ironic, huh?

So, if your toddler stutters, listen patiently and WAIT for her to finish her sentence. DO NOT try to finish her sentence for her or try to make her speak quickly, or make her think that she is doing something wrong. She will be able to spit it out, eventually.

I guess Arianna's brain is working faster than her mouth can move right now. It's nice to know that it is just a passing phase. The speech pathologist said she gets asked that question a LOT!

Once her brain and her mouth become better coordinated, I'm sure Arianna will have no problems speaking her mind at top speed!


Pick up a free course on babywearing at:

Friday, September 02, 2005

"Tickle U" is no laughing matter

Cartoon Network’s “Tickle U” Is No Laughing Matter

Calling it a cynical ploy to get young children to watch more
television, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood is urging
parents to keep children away from Tickle U, the Cartoon Network’s new
block of preschool programming. The Cartoon Network claims the
programming, which premiered on August 22, will help develop a child’s
sense of humor. Despite a lack of scientific evidence to support that
claim, the educational benefits of Tickle U are being touted through
new and unprecedented marketing techniques including partnerships with
hospitals and mom-based viral marketing.

“Children don’t need TV to develop a sense of humor. It comes from
play and their natural interactions with the world around them,” said
Wheelock College Professor, Dr. Diane Levin, author of Remote Control
Childhood. “This is a classic case of marketers trying to create a need
where none exists and to dupe parents into thinking that watching more
TV is good for their children.”

There is no evidence that television aids in humor development – and
plenty of evidence that television can be harmful to young children.
Television viewing is a factor in childhood obesity. Research also
suggests that preschoolers who are heavy television viewers score lower
on academic and intelligence tests later in life and are more likely to
become bullies.

“There is growing concern about how much time children spend watching
TV. We should not be fooled by network executives’ claims about the
benefits of this commercial venture,” said CCFC’s co-founder, Dr. Susan
Linn, author of Consuming Kids. “Tickle U is just the latest attempt to
get young children in front of screens - which is exactly where
marketers want them.”

Several of the Tickle U programs plan to license their characters to
toys, games, apparel, and food products. This marketing, of course, is
in addition to the on-air commercials that will run throughout Tickle U.

That hospitals around the country are partnering with Tickle U to hold
humor workshops to introduce parents and young children to the show’s
characters is particularly troubling. Psychologist Allen Kanner,
co-editor of Psychology and Consumer Culture, commented, “Given the
negative impact of advertising and media on children, health
professionals should be working with parents to limit the amount of
television kids watch. Hospitals should be promoting public health, not
the Cartoon Network’s fall lineup.”

What you can do:

“Viral market” the truth about young children and television. One of
the ways Cartoon Network is marketing Tickle U is by asking moms – in
exchange for a Kenneth Cole bag filled with gifts – to promote the show
on parent blogs and online discussion sites. So why not fight fire with
fire? If you have concerns about Tickle U, post them to relevant blogs
and websites. Feel free to copy and paste from the above press release.

Ask hospitals not to promote commercial television programs to
preschoolers. The schedule for the next three Tickle U hospital
programs, along with contact info is below:

August 23, Phoenix Children’s Hospital: Contact: Jane Walton

August 25, Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, Minneapolis
Campus. Contact: James Lockwood 612.813.6613

August 30, Holy Cross Hospital, Ft. Lauderdale. Contact: Public
Relations 954.776.3080

What did I tell ya? Marketing to preschoolers via TV is BIG business --
but you can decide how much your child will be affected by it or not.

Knowledge is Power.