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Archive for August, 2007

PARENTING: Princess Diana set example

princes2It was a fairy-tale come to life. I was 8 years old and living in England when Lady Diana became the Princess of Wales. The dress, the horse-drawn carriages, the massive cathedral — they added up to any little girl’s dream of Cinderella come to life. Only later, as a grown-up, would I read and understand that a princess can live a hard life. I would come to realize this princess was far from perfect, but hearing about her eating disorders and marital problems just made her all the more real.

But what really stands out, from her life and now 10 years after her death, is the way she parented her sons. Sure, they’ve made their share of mistakes. What kids haven’t? When it’s all said and done, however, Princes William and Harry speak eloquently, give of themselves through charity, have served in the military with dignity and perhaps most impressively, have come to accept their father’s second wife, Camilla, with more than just civility. Their ability to be so welcoming is selfless, exactly what you’d expect from the sons of Princess Diana.

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Posted on Friday, August 31st, 2007
Under: Parenting Issues | No Comments »

FAMILY: Lice in Lafayette?

LiceActually, the blasted little bugs are everywhere and it only takes a mention to send most of us into fits of itching. As anyone with kids in an East Bay school knows, lice outbreaks are as much a classroom tradition as Halloween parades and Chinese New Year fetes. Now one enterprising Lafayette mom has turned nit-picking into a business venture with Love Bugs Salon.

She could have saved our family considerable angst if she’d been in business a few years ago, when our neighborhood was so roiled by a lice outbreak at our elementary school, people were actually calling each other every time another kid was sent home with the dreaded bugs. We could not stop itching. Louse-ophobia, you see, has the exact same symptoms…

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Posted on Friday, August 31st, 2007
Under: Health & Safety, Kids & Tweens, Schools, Teens | No Comments »

Celebrity parent trainwrecks

I need to confess a guilty parenting pleasure: I can’t stop reading about celebrities and their children.

When I was pregnant with my first child, I scoured magazines comparing my quickly expanding girth to stars due around the same time. When I found out that Kate Hudson packed on 60 pounds with Ryder, I gloated that I only gained about 45 with Lacy. When it came time to lose “the baby weight,” as Hollywood likes to call any extra poundage on a famous mother’s body postpartum, I sadly knew that without a personal cook and trainer, it would take me WAY longer than a few weeks to slim down after my second child. It took two years, actually! Sigh.

438274956_ed4a9c477b_mSo now I can’t keep my eyes off the family known around the world — the brood of Brad and Angelina. Articles come out daily quoting “unnamed sources close to the family” detailing the disasters of their tagteam parenting of four kids under age 6. How Pax, 2, is up constantly at night. How they’re not getting enough sleep. How they — GASP — are too tired to be intimate. Read all you want at this Brad and Angelina site.

Hel-lo!!! Welcome to the real world Mr. Pitt and Ms. Jolie, of millions of everyday mommies and daddies. “What the heck were ya thinking it would be like!”, I’m sure many of us regular folk want to yell.

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Posted on Friday, August 31st, 2007
Under: Just Bizarre | No Comments »

KIDS: Tag booted from school

Rowdy boys ILLUS.jpgA Colorado elementary school has joined a half dozen other schools in banning the game of tag from recess. Running is OK, so long as you’re not chasing anyone. (And let’s face it, kids only run if there’s a purpose – to catch someone or something.) The decision came after some children complained about being harassed or chased against their will.

Banning tag at recess isn’t a new phenomenon. The first reported ban occurred in 2005. Since then, some elementary schools have added contact sports, such as soccer and touch football, to the no-no list. Schools follow this Trouble-Free Playground program as a means to reduce “squabbles.” Trying to protect children is understandable, even commendable, but striking tag, chase and 90 percent of sports from a kid’s recess repertoire seems too over the top.

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Posted on Thursday, August 30th, 2007
Under: Kids & Tweens | No Comments »

TEENS: Stop your LOLing. YG

The New York Times’ David Pogue presents “The Next Generation of Online Shorthand,” including a few choice ones for parents:

WIWYA — when I was your age

YKT – you kids today

CRRE — conversation required; remove earbuds

Check out the rest, and if you have your own to suggest, post ’em here in the comments area. Here are a few to get those creative juices (CJ) flowing:

IYHD – Is your homework done?

WHYFYH – Why haven’t you finished your homework?

TNE – That’s no excuse.

IYRTYSBD – If you’re reading this you shouldn’t be driving

YG – You’re grounded.

Posted on Thursday, August 30th, 2007
Under: Teens | No Comments »

TOYS: Called back to their makers (again)

No cheapo, lead-laced imported toys. Got it. But an artsy wooden coloring case for pastels, colored pencils and watercolor paintbrushes? Under the Imaginarium label? (Cue frustrated sigh) Yeah, recalled. Also, swively things on scuba masks (good-bye air supply) and rubber ducky watering cans. From here on out, our children are only playing with hand-knitted toys … made of wool sheared from free-range sheep who graze in organic, pesticide-free meadows.
Jackie Burrell

Posted on Thursday, August 30th, 2007
Under: Toy Recalls | No Comments »

FAB FIVE: Family Field Trips

Car kidsThe Bay Bridge is closed! closed! closed! this weekend, but there’s still plenty of ways to have fun with the fam in the East Bay. Here’s a quintet of Labor Day weekend possibilities:

1. A club, a ball and a round of mini golf in Antioch, Livermore, Fairfield and beyond.

2. Falling stars, a rare comet and a family campout at Livermore’s Sycamore Grove Park, Aug. 31-Sept. 1. ($12 per person or $45 for a family of five, call for reservations 925-960-2400.)

3. The 142nd Scottish Highland Gathering & Games come to Pleasanton Sept. 1-2. Caber tosses, bagpipes, kilts and more.

4. Peter Pan, Hook and the gang arrive at Walnut Creek’s Lesher Center for the Arts this weekend when Diablo Light Opera Company presents the musical version of “Peter Pan.”

5. Cabooses abound when the Historical Rail Fair chugs onto the tracks at Ardenwood, Fremont’s heavenly historical ranch, Sept. 1-3.
Jackie Burrell

Posted on Thursday, August 30th, 2007
Under: Fab Five, Family Outings | No Comments »

aPARENTLy Speaking: Alpha Moms on TV

tv2 We hear one of the big TV studios is looking for Alpha Moms for a new reality show, and we can only wonder about the premise, particularly given the casting parameters. They’re looking for SoCal moms with tight abs and gorgeous gams, who “made pregnant sexy – and bounced back in record time.” They want highly social, well-to-do women who think nothing of calling “any Neiman’s in the country to get THAT stroller” and who spend more on their kid’s birthday fete than a family vacation. Um, this is a reality show? We’re picturing a combination of “Stepford Wives” and “My Super Sweet 16 Months.”

So here’s the question: would you watch it?
Jackie Burrell

Posted on Wednesday, August 29th, 2007
Under: TV | No Comments »

SCHOOLS: Sundaes, taxes and red shirts in the news

School signSchool headlines you may have missed this week… Some 22 Heritage High students were suspended after a protest against the Brentwood school’s red shirt ban turned riotous. West Contra Costa students face a future without counselors, librarians and touchdowns, after a parcel tax measure failed yesterday. A College Park student is still in serious condition after she was hit by an SUV as she walked to school Monday. Alameda schools are instituting a new wellness policy that mixes nutrition with curriculum. And Byron school officials are trying to boost enrollment by wooing new students with ice cream sundaes.

Ice cream sundaes???

Posted on Wednesday, August 29th, 2007
Under: Schools | No Comments »

aPARENTly Speaking: Are you an American Girl devotee?

felicityWe’re looking for American Girl girls – Felicity fans, Molly mavens and devotees of the historic-era doll series – for an upcoming Times story. If that description fits you or someone you know, drop us a line or pick up the phone, 925-977-8568.
Jackie Burrell

Posted on Tuesday, August 28th, 2007
Under: Kids & Tweens | No Comments »