Part of the Bay Area News Group

Archive for February, 2008

BABY FLICK: “Business of Being Born” in Alameda

Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein’s fantastic documentary, “The Business of Being Born,” is screening in the East Bay this week. This is the film we raved about a few weeks ago, when it was making its Roxie run in San Francisco. Now you can check it out on this side of the Bay on Thursday, Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. at Alameda’s Auctions by the Bay Theater ($5). For ticket and screening information for this event and similar shows in Santa Cruz, Napa and other cities, click here.

Posted on Tuesday, February 19th, 2008
Under: Movies | No Comments »

TOY RECALL: Flaming Cinderella

Recalled Cinderella Car Last week we had toy helicopters that burst into flame. Now we have Cinderella-mobiles whose wires short circuit, overheat and… burst into flame. The Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled 64,000 of these expensive ride-on toys ($200 apiece, sold between 2005 and 2006) after receiving 40 reports of the wires under the hood of the car and in the battery compartment under the seat – in other words, under your child’s tushie – overheating. In several cases, smoke billowed from under the seat. And in one case, “flames shot from under the hood while a 4-year-old girl was riding the vehicle.”

This one’s going into the Toy Store Hall o’ Shame, along with date rape drug-laced AquaDots and the radioactive U-238 Atomic Energy Lab for kids. Sheesh. If you’ve got a Cinderella car at home, Dumar International has a free retrofit kit for you that includes a new battery. Call them at 866-424-0500. You might want to ask for a fire extinguisher too.

Posted on Tuesday, February 19th, 2008
Under: Toy Recalls | No Comments »

MT. DIABLO 2.3, Plus an EberBlog

Northgate High, Walnut Creek For those of you following the debate over the possible secession of six Mt. Diablo schools, here’s the latest:

Trouble is brewing over the inclusion/exclusion of The Crossings, a Concord neighborhood whose children attend Walnut Creek’s highly ranked Northgate High and Foothill Middle School. The “transfer of territory” petition drafted by Ruth Carver, the parent and attorney leading the charge, excluded the Crossings, while one of her two maps included the neighborhood. (Hang on a sec, while we slap our foreheads. Northgate attendance areas have always been a point of contention. We’re talking years of angry confrontations over border lines for the Carriage Square, Lime Ridge, Crystyl Ranch and Crossings areas. And they didn’t double check the maps?! Oh man.) Needless to say, the mood at a recent Crossings neighborhood homeowners association meeting was intense. Carver was brave to put in an appearance, we’ll give her that.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, February 19th, 2008
Under: Schools | No Comments »


Cooking Mama 2 by Nintendo Well, here’s a switch on video games! No shooting, no car crashes, just a little culinary savoir faire for the 5- to 7-year-old set. It’s “Cooking Mama 2” for the handheld Nintendo DS. We haven’t played it ourselves – Wii bowling is more our speed – but it looks like big fun. And the culinary motif inspired this week’s question – what’s in your kid’s lunch box? (Plus, we’re really, really bored with our own brownbag creations, so we’re looking for ideas!)

You guys remember how this works, right? (We know Cathy knows – she won last week’s kids’ books contest!) Click “comments,” answer the question and we’ll draw a winner Friday night.

Posted on Monday, February 18th, 2008
Under: Contest | No Comments »

PARENT TALKS: College Cash & Bleacher Distress

College costsHere’s what’s up on the parent ed circuit this month:
“Cash for College Workshops”
Now through Feb. 28 throughout Alameda and Contra Costa County

“Living in the World of iPhone, Wii and My Space”
Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. Walnut Creek Intermediate, Walnut Creek. Speakers: Steven Freemire, MFT and Dominic D’Ambrosio, MFT; Sponsored by Acalanes Adult Ed. (Free, but RSVP.)

“Parenting 2008 and Beyond Conference”
Feb. 23 Dougherty Valley High, San Ramon. All day conference and workshops featuring keynote speaker Madeline Levine. Sponsored by the San Ramon Valley Council PTA ($40, register online)
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, February 18th, 2008
Under: Parenting Issues | No Comments »

ADHD KIDS: Memoirs and Spacey Places

Blake Taylor (photo by Kristopher Skinner)
In today’s Times, we talk with Blake Taylor, UC Berkeley freshman and author of “ADHD & Me: What I Learned from Lighting Fires at the Dinner Table,” a youthful memoir about his childhood with attention deficit disorder. ADHD is not a curse, says Blake, 18, it’s a gift, if you can learn to compensate for its disadvantages and take advantage of its blessings. Kids with ADHD tend to be curious and creative, to think outside the box, and become hyperfocused on things that interest them.

Among the resources that gave Blake and his family hope was “The Gift of ADHD” by Walnut Creek ADHD expert Lara Honos-Webb. Now, Honos-Webb has a new book out: “The Gift of ADHD Activity Book: 101 Ways to Turn Your Child’s Problems into Strengths.” And we’re excerpting a few of those right here.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, February 18th, 2008
Under: Advice, Health & Safety | 6 Comments »

BIG Q5: What Would You Do?

?! by Dhiegaum/StockXchng Your turn to play advice columnist! Here’s the question of the week:

“My 6-year-old has been diagnosed with ADHD and is now on medication, but I worry that because his teachers know – sometimes it feels like the whole playground knows too – he’ll be labelled in some way. Am I being paranoid?”

Click “comments” and weigh in with your thoughts and advice. To see previous questions and replies, check our advice archives.

Posted on Sunday, February 17th, 2008
Under: Advice | No Comments »

FAMILY TRAVEL: Rock Climbing at Joshua Tree

Laura Casey at Joshua TreeThe desert is not exactly a desirable vacation spot in the summertime, but in the winter and early spring, the air is crisp, the temperature comfortable and places like Joshua Tree National Park come to vivid life. One of our favorite Times writers, Laura Casey, who writes about everything from slot car races to a blog on edgy art exhibits, visited over winter break. Read all the details about Laura’s rock climbing foray in the Times’ travel section, but here’s a quick hit for families contemplating a similar adventure with their teens.

THE TREK IN A SEC: Known for its Dr. Seuss-esque plants with spiny tops, this California national park draws bird watchers, wildflower lovers, happy hikers and folks like Laura, who spent a week scaling the massive rocks.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Sunday, February 17th, 2008
Under: Family Travel | 2 Comments »

SCHOOL NEWS: Red Ink & Horror

textbooks As school administrators around the state prepare for Governor Schwarzenegger’s planned $4.4 billion slash to education funding, howls of outrage are going up from districts in more than a dozen Alameda county school superintendents, including Berkeley, Pleasanton and Dublin. Ditto John Swett, Pittsburg and West Contra.

Meanwhile Antioch families are up in arms over a proposal to put a prison less than a mile from Deer Valley High. And a Dublin schools trustee wants to toughen up the high school curriculum.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, February 15th, 2008
Under: Schools | No Comments »


Hanna Andersson onesie No stripes allowed. And taboo on the spots. A Swedish preschool has banned striped and polka-dotted clothing after a teacher said the colorful clothing gave her migraines. Not sure what the school’s policy is on gingham, madras or trendy surfer jams in loud Hawaiian prints, but we hope it won’t put a damper on the fashion stylings of our favorite Swedish kiddie clothes line, Hanna Andersson.

Posted on Friday, February 15th, 2008
Under: Just Bizarre | No Comments »