Archive for the 'Kids' Category

Kick Butt

This snapshot from a video of the kids dancing the twist makes me laugh. Megan looks like she’s kicking butt!


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Don’t Photoshop My Kid

A father in Sweden is upset because the school photographer photoshopped a scar off his 3-year-old daughter’s nose. What’s worse, the photog apologized by saying that they “just want things to be nice and cute.”

First of all, our children are not things.

Second of all, just because our children aren’t perfect looking doesn’t mean they’re not nice and not cute.

Even if the girl’s scar wasn’t permanent and was the result of a fall, maybe it would be a snapshot of history to remember that – hey, remember the day of your preschool photo you had that cut on your forehead from falling during hopscotch?


My one-year-old daughter has some pigmentation on her body that probably won’t go away. I hope that she will never be self-conscious about it but how can I prevent that when even the school photographer might find the need to take a few swipes here and there?

I know it’s unrealistic to expect that she’ll never care. Someday she will probably be embarrassed and will probably prefer to wear clothing that covers it up. But I think all of us go through those kinds of phases at some point during our growing up years. In sixth grade, I wore a windbreaker at all times no matter how hot I got because I was embarrassed by my plump, developing body.

Fortunately, I’ve escaped unscathed with relatively good body image. Most likely because the adults in my life just let me be. Just as that photographer should have done.

Dad angry about retouched photo of girl, 3 –


Playpen as a Special Treat

In a 1943 edition of the Spokane Daily Herald, Myrtle Meyer Eldred touted the benefits of playpens: "Not only is the child free of possible physical injury but his behavior is not subjected to constant punishment, since what he does in his guarded play-place does not annoy the parent."

via How the playpen fell out of favor by Tom Vanderbilt, Slate Magazine


I use the playpen so sparingly (mostly when I need to go to the bathroom or cook) that my kids think it’s a special treat to be allowed in one!


Difference between tantrums and meltdowns

ice cube Deborah Lipsky:

A meltdown is when behavior is beyond the individual’s control. Things have been spiraling out of control. They are overwhelmed at the situation and they have no control. Generally with a meltdown the person is not looking for a direct response from you. Afterwards there’s often a sense of remorse and regret.

A tantrum is a manipulative behavior, a scheme for a person to get their own way. Once the person gets their own way, there’s often a sense of satisfaction. It’s really hard to distinguish between a meltdown and a tantrum because sometimes a tantrum can lead into a meltdown.

…As a general guideline, if there is a true meltdown there should be no reward or consequence at all. If it is a behavioral tantrum then there should be an extreme consequence.

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Edu-Parenting Style

What's Your Edu-Parent Style?

Found this at The DreamBox Blog. Stephen’s been playing DreamBox math games. Highly recommended!

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Giftedness Not Required

from PostSecret

For more interesting reading on giftedness, see A Very Modern Epidemic: Gifted Children at’s The Juggle. And for a peek into what being gifted is like in Singapore, check out Of Kids, Education and Everything Else Under the Sun by Monica Lim. I especially liked Monica’s post, How to tell if your child is intellectually gifted in which she says:

Being gifted and being “smart” is not the same thing.

People have often argued that the GEP (gifted education program) is discriminatory because there are late bloomers who do pretty well later on in life. I think this arises because there is a confusion between being gifted and being smart. It’s probably safe to say that all gifted children are smart, but not all smart children are gifted. Research shows that in general, about 1% of each cohort is intellectually gifted.

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Bunk Bed Safety

bunk bedsStephen had such a fabulous time playing on the top bunk bed at his friend’s house last week that we thought we might get him bunk beds when we move to Singapore this summer. Now I’m not so sure.

A study in the journal Pediatrics has found that more than 35,000 children and young adults get hurt on bunk bed each year. Half of the injuries affect children under age 6 and they were related to falls having to do with the ladder or jumping off. Most injuries were cuts, scrapes, and bruises but 20% were fractures.

…most bunk bed–related injuries are associated with objects around the bed, by children playing in and around the bed, or by children jumping on and off the bed

Even worse, males are injured more often than females. There’s even “bunk bed fracture” caused by children jumping or falling with their feet/legs out-stretched.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends:

  1. Guardrail gaps are <= 3.5 inches to prevent hanging and strangulation
  2. Side rails are present on both sides
  3. Mattress foundation is sturdy and secure
  4. Mattress of correct size is used
  5. Children younger than 6 years should not sleep in the upper bunk
  6. Children should be discouraged from playing on bunk beds
  7. Night lights should be used to prevent falls
  8. Hazardous objects should be removed from around the bed
  9. Bunk beds should not be placed too close to ceiling fans or other ceiling fixtures

My sister and I shared a room until I started high school and for part of that time, our beds were in a bunk bed configuration. I don’t recall us ever getting hurt on it but then again, our friends were not allowed to play in our bedroom (our house rule kept guests in common areas like the living room) so there was never rough housing going on that involved the beds.

Read the Pediatrics study if you feel like freaking yourself out over bunk beds. :P

via NY Times


Sunday Salon: Nostalgic for Children’s Books

Earlier this week, I was reminiscing with Lilian and my sister about various children’s books I read when I was in elementary school in the U.S. To my great surprise and dismay (!), Lilian hadn’t heard of some of them.

I now have the great pleasure of introducing these books to Stephen and just so nobody else can claim they’ve never heard of my favorite children’s books for the elementary (primary) school crowd, here’s a short list. What other books would you add?

1. Little Critter Stories by Mercer Mayer

Here’s Mercer Mayer reading aloud a Little Critter story on YouTubeJust A Secret:


2. The Great Brain series by John Dennis Fitzerald and illustrated by Mercer Mayer! – The thing I remember most from these books was how the Great Brain’s parents disciplined him using the silent treatment.

From Wikipedia :

The better-educated, more progressive Fitzgeralds are a notable exception with their use of the silent treatment. This means that Mr. and Mrs. Fitzgerald will not talk to or acknowledge the boy or boys being punished for a day, a week, or longer depending on the circumstances. J.D. frequently describes the silent treatment as worse than a whipping because of the emotional impact of being ignored by his parents, and at times says that he wishes his parents would just give them a whipping and get it over with.

3. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald – Her disciplinary techniques are truly ingenious.

4. A Light in the Attic and Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

5. Jacob Two Two and the Hooded Fang by Mordecai Richler – I’d forgotten about this book until my sister reminded me.

6. The Littles series by John Peterson


Oops! I always forget to tell everyone to join The Sunday Salon!


The Evil Eye – Watch more free videos

I don’t know what I like better – the baby’s adorable laughter or his evil eye.

via Boing Boing


Laptops Are To Flushing Toilets

Earlier this week on a very rainy morning, parents were allowed to bring the kids directly into the school rather than wait in line outside on the playground. It was a rare opportunity for me to have a peek inside Stephen’s classroom at the start of a busy day. To my amazement, the teacher was setting up laptops for them. It was the weekly Laptop Day and they were all very excited.

laptop caseOut of a huge aluminum shipping container (that looks something like the one pictured but much larger) came 15 or so laptops for the kids. Each silver laptop was placed in groups of three on the low tables. Stephen told me that they work on the computers with a partner and play some kind of teddy bear game. I was really pleased to see that the school was preparing the children for a high-tech future.

But would you believe that not everyone thinks children as young as kindergarten should have access to computers? One commenter said in a post at TechCrunch about a children’s website, Kindersay:

I don’t see why kids need a laptop for? Sorry if you are the kind of parents allows childen to play games all day.

*steam shoots out of my ears*

My favorite analogy in response to this type of attitude:

The computer is becoming as common and vital as the toilet. Parents who think they should or can keep their kids from it might as well have an outhouse. After all, a toilet and outhouse serve the same function and the latter may be more environmentally friendly!

Stephen has his own laptop at home on which he spends between 0 to 60 minutes each day totally supervised. What he sees online inspires him and yes, teaches him. I figure now that he’s got the toilet thing down pat, it’s time for him to conquer the computer!

FYI, here are some of Stephen’s favorite websites:

What websites do your kids like?