Monday, June 13, 2011

Summer Break: We'll Take a Breather Before Summer Gets Busy

Five days to go.  The last two weeks of school are filled with activity, whether you have an older child buckling down for exams, or an elementary school child packing in field trips and field days and end of the year parties and picnics. 

For my youngest, it is a non-stop scheduling frenzy in school and out.  I am one of those parents who is lucky enough to be able to arrange my work schedule around all of the hustle and bustle, and it is my choice to be involved, so I'm not complaining.  I'm just absolutely admitting that I am READY for a break.  And my kids are too.

For some kids though, there is no break at all.  They are excitedly packing for their first camp, or getting ready for their first class to begin as soon as the last school bell rings.  For some, this works well, and I totally get parents who don't have a choice but to thrust their children into activity due to work schedules. I've been there and done that too!  My kids both have activites galore this summer, but this time around, they won't be jumping right in.

At our house, it is almost tradition to have one week of decompression.  That's right, I let my kids just chill.  They can sleep in as late as they want, play video games, watch movies, and just relax.  Before we know it they will have full schedules of friends and camps and sports and practices and rehearsals, which we will all enjoy as a family.  But for the first week, I allow them to be couch potatoes if they so choose, to catch up on much needed rest, contemplate their summer plans, and just hang out at home.

This mom can't wait!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

When Other People's Kids Behave Badly

For Mother’s Day, my family decided to take my mother out for an early dinner.  As you can imagine, we were not the only ones with this idea so the restaurant was packed with people.  At a table nearby were two women with two children.  The kids appeared to be around age two and were running and squealing--really screaming-- as they played around the other tables in our vicinity.  Their squeals of delight were so loud and ear piercing, conversations could not be held at our table, or at any table for that matter.  Not only did this interfere with our celebration, but twice I saw two servers nearly trip over the tots, while carrying large trays of food.  Did I mention the two women at the table, presumably the parent(s) did absolutely nothing?  This went on for a good twenty minutes, before the party finally left.

We’ve all been through child meltdowns in public places, crying babies or two year old fits.  As parents, we sympathize when we see this happen and most of the time the parent in question will resolve the matter or step out from the theater, restaurant, church, etc.

What to do though, when other people’s kids are majorly disrupting those around them in a public place?  Especially if the kids are just playing and not in distress. Do we have the right to complain?  In my Mother’s Day situation, should the staff have asked the women to corral their kids?  Or is it none of our business?

So today we are talking about other people’s kids, a pretty taboo subject.  What is good etiquette in situations like the one mentioned above?  What if we see a child endangering themselves?  For instance, what if we see an older child we know smoking cigarettes at the mall?  Do we tell the parents?  From testy tots to troubled teens, what is the right thing to do?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The new math, lattice multiplication

Is anybody else surprised by the way our kids are learning math? 

It isn't that it doesn't may indeed be easier than the way we learned multiplication, and even addition.  It's just that when I think of math, I think of it in a way that is absolute, which I thought included the method with which it was resolved.

Today my third grader brought home a new way of solving multiplication problems.  It is called the lattice method, and it works like a dream.  Although, it is so easy, that I worry my son isn't learning to calculate, he's just learning how to solve large multiplication problems with smaller addition problems.  Easy, but is he learning enough about the process?

I'm not an education major, so I'm sure the developers of the curriculum know exactly what they are doing, it just takes some getting used to.  I learned my multiplication tables on a grid I made out of tongue depressers and masking tape.  I loved that grid! 

Friday, January 28, 2011

Walmart will sell anti-aging cosmetics for 8-12 year old girls

At first, I thought a new eco-friendly cosmetic line, free of chemicals like paraben, phthalates and sulfates was quite progressive for Walmart. The make-up is highlighted for its anti-aging properties, how well the products exfoliate and calm the skin. Hmmm? Not bad so far. Until....

It is a cosmetic line called "Geo-Girl" for 8 TO 12 YEAR OLD GIRLS! It is for parents who want their third graders to have make-up with natural ingredients, and to help girls who have sensitive skin. They are eight year olds, of course their skin is sensitive!

Anti-aging? Calming properties? Is youthful skin not at its most youthful, most flawless, most calm as it is on the faces of our children? These are children! They have a youthful glow already!

Do girls not have enough pressure on them to be beautiful? Aren't there enough expectations out in the world for girls to be sexier, thinner, more popular because of these things? Are we going to let our 8 year olds, even 12 year olds, think they need make up to be beautiful?

The Geo-Girl product line has 69 products, ranging from blusher to mascara to lipstick and will be sold at Walmart stores beginning in March 2011.

I know, I know, those who love Walmart will say that it is the parents' responsibility to buy or not buy the product, that Walmart isn't "making" any children wear the make-up. That we live in a capitalist society and Walmart has the right to make a profit, blah blah blah. Walmart also has the right to set a better example to benefit our youth. The bottom line is Walmart wants to make money. Look at the packaging of the Geo-Girl line. Its not trying to appeal to parents. It is even sized smaller for little hands! Look here from the Household and Personal Products Industry:

According to the company, the colors, while bright and exciting in the package, go on super-sheer and see-through to give her skin a healthy, natural glow.The formulas are mistake proof and easy to apply successfully.The product packages themselves were created to fit in smaller hands and apply to smaller features.

Walmart does not have to choose to supply products that contribute to the absolute encouragement and expectations that young girls, little girls, need make-up to gain acceptance and feel good about themselves.

I know Walmart gives a ton of money to charities, amidst their many, many sins, once in awhile they do something good. So why can't they take a stand in protecting the self-esteem and empowerment of young girls? C'mon Walmart. Here is a chance to make a difference. Do not put Geo-Girl on your shelves.

I also know there are people who will blame parents for setting the example by wearing cosmetics ourselves, doing everything we can to stay youthful. There is a time for everything. There is a time for a first date, high heels, outward self-expression. The age for shimmering, sparkling cheeks, thick blackened eyelashes and anti-aging properties is not age 8.

I am irate over this. Really irate. I know Walmart isn't the only one at fault here, Walmart is just the pusher. The producer is a company in California called Pacific World Corp. Click here for their contact information to lodge a complaint. They make the product, but they would stop making it if Walmart wouldn't sell it. As for Walmart, click here to voice your opposition. I am so fired up, I might get a petition going. Stay tuned.

As parents, it is our job to protect our children, their health and wellness, their self-esteem and confidence. If Geo-Girl indeed ends up on the shelves, at the very least let this be a teaching moment to our young girls on what not to buy and why. At least we'll be able to try and teach them to be better consumers, and it will give us another opportunity to tell them how beautiful they are without Geo-Girl.