Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Lead in Bouncy Houses

This news of lead in bouncy houses was especially depressing to me because (duh) my kids love bouncy houses. And also, I can distinctly remember watching P resting facedown on one of these. Probably licking it.

CEH created a great video about this problem AND what you can do to help your kids be safer. Lead is a proven highly potent neurotoxin, especially dangerous to kids' growing brains (and no picnic for adults either). Check out the video. And I'm going to remember to ask playplaces with bouncy houses if they've checked them out for lead (eg, SuperFranks and Pump It Up).

CEH's blogpost on bouncy houses

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Bye, babies. Hi toddlers! *photos*

Ok so technically Paloma isn't even a toddler anymore. She's a pre-k (and she'll tell you that proudly). But when she and Sabrina are really having fun together, it's hard to separate toddler from pre-k. I just know for sure that I don't have my little babies anymore.

More like clever little partners.
Still snuggly, especially after having a good time at a wedding

Even though she fits into the Ergo and Beco carriers still, Sabrina is just not a baby anymore. "My nurr nurr. MAH NURR NURR" is a pretty common statement I hear these days. (That's Sabrina telling me that she is not yet interested in giving up on nursing, and oh by the way, the nurr nurrs are hers anyway.)

Sisters in the background, P in the fore
And then the divine Miss P! Forget babyhood, and toddlerhood too while you're at it. She's making up songs, dances, stories, words, languages. Drawing pictures and calling them abstract. Wheeling and dealing like any good 4 year old. Telling it like it is.

In the booster seat after a booster shot
Pretty soon, they'll both be in booster seats. And then there won't be booster seats back there at all.  Because they'll be driving!  And cooking. And TOTALLY FINE while *I* take a freaking nap.

Can you tell I'm excited for that stage of parenthood where you can relax about kids running into the street, going up and down stairs, and getting their own bowls of cereal??! Yeah, I love it all and all, but it's hard when you get all sleepy and STILL have to get stuff done.

The kids are asleep right now. I'm getting an ice cream sandwich.  Parents of older kids, would love to hear your take on how things change-- or don't change!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Wyclef- on NPR?

I think the word is way, way out there by now but if you haven't heard, it's true-- you can now hear Wyclef Jean on NPR as well as 102.7 KISS FM. And it's not because NPR is adding flavor to their afternoon lineup.

Wyclef is running for president of Haiti.  After decades of corruption and the massive earthquake in January, his announcement sounds like it could be a bit of positive news.  But maybe that's just me confusing what sounds like A TON OF FUN for good political news.  I am a big fan of the Fugees. Even as much as I would have liked every day in Congress to be like a giant Fugees concert, I have to admit we probably would get even less done than we do now. (What am I saying? We'd probably have more bumping across the aisles. All SORTS of stuff would get done.)

But the LA Times expressed skepticism as well. The article discusses Jean's candidacy and quotes some Haitian policy experts who question Jean's experience, his knowledge of the system, and his political savvy.  I have to say, it does give me pause that he'd officially announce his candidacy on Larry King Live.  Why not on a Haitian show?  Or at least on Haitian soil? This isn't, of course, a deal breaker. It's only one step in a long journey of candidacy. But that first step indicates the direction that one will take.

The article also quotes Haitians who support him, expressing their very real desire and need for change, and identifying Wyclef Jean as the change they need.  Further, Jean himself, and through his Yele Haiti nonprofit, communicates a deep understanding of his homeland and of the human rights situations there.

I suppose the cringing for me came when I heard his NPR interview with Michele Norris on All Things Considered, where she really pushed him on his finances, back taxes owed, knowledge of Haitian politics. He could not answer any question straight. Every question she asked, he backed away from it, saying something like, "Before we consider X, we must look at Y!" Totally removing the focus of the question.

This is a beef I have with a lot of politicians, but especially when you're a candidate running for office: When an interview asks you a simple yes or no question, and you've got thousands of listeners waiting for your answer, you better keep it simple and respond YES or NO and then follow up with your explanation.

For example:

NORRIS: I want to ask you also about your taxes. It's been reported now that you owe the federal government more than $2 million in back taxes. This is based on tax liens that were filed against you. It's not the first time that you've owed back taxes. What is your explanation for that, again, since you're calling for good stewardship of the country and calling for someone who can handle good finances and will battle corruption in Haiti?
Mr. JEAN: Well, the first thing is that I am not running from the IRS. That's the number one thing. The number two thing is I make a lot of money a year. And the number three thing is my accountants and my business people are handling the IRS. But going into this, its an open book, meaning I didnt go into this knowing that everything is public information.

What? What does that even mean??? This isn't looking good for someone who wants to be this country's president. Wyclef Jean has done a ton of good work raising consciousness around Haiti's people and the issues they face, but it doesn't mean that translates to being Haiti's president.  I am impressed with his work as an artist and as an advocate, and I hope he doesn't lose momentum in those areas with this presidential run.

For a more informed and articulate opinion piece on this, click here. :) Would love to hear other's musings on this one.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Opposites are necessary in parenting-- a fearful truth?

From The Parent's Tao Te Ching:

36. Opposites Are Necessary
A quality cannot be fully learned
without understanding its opposite.

I think I'm on board with this concept, but it's introduced with more of a double-dog-dare challenge: If you want your kids to be disciplined, you have to let them know spontaneity. If you want them to be generous, you must allow them first to be selfish.

How's that for a big spiritual surprise?

It's so unsettling to think about, in fact, that I almost can't believe it. If I let my kid be selfish, won't she just enjoy it so much that she'll never learn to be generous?

Or perhaps she'll realize that there's more to being selfish than getting what you want, when you want it. That loneliness accompanies selfishness like an inescapable shadow.

And maybe she'll also learn that there's more to being generous than giving away your heart's desire. That love and trust and community and friendship are built with generosity.

Suddenly, this parenting strategy makes all kinds of sense. To operationalize, I guess this means that sometimes, sometimes I won't ask Paloma to share her toy with her little sister. I'll let them work it out, and see what they do. If she chooses to be selfish, I'll have to hold back from saying, "Sabrina's turn next!"

But I think it might be worth it to see what she does. To let her find her path to generosity, and cheer her on when she discovers it. Will report back on all this.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Mad Men- Glen is BACK! And yet there's still so much wrong.

* Glen's back in town, so you might have reasonably assumed that it was going to get all stalkerweird and interesting. I definitely see Glen as a harbinger of Bad Things for Betty. But Glen brings such an odd-bird vibe that you might also have reasonably assumed that Matthew Weiner decided that his hit series was in the toilet because clearly the good people of NYC would have to be mowed down by the Crazy Psychopath that Glen would have become. Hasn't happened but maybe there's still time. It's only been a couple of years since the series started, when Glen was first making trouble with Betty. Anyway, D is still holding out hope for Glen's storyline. I personally could do without the creepy, though I get that the kids' perspective is interesting and should be told what with all the divorcing.

* Ok Dove and Clorox? I'm talking to you real life companies? You both SUCK!! You really, really suck. You've totally missed the point with your ads that are trying to copy Mad Men. Guess what, jerks?? Talking down to women and being sexist wasn't cute when it happened in the sixties. It isn't cute when Mad Men does it, which is the point that you missed. And so it SURE as hell isn't cute when you do it in 2010. Get your acts together. I'm totally not buying your crap. Not that I did before.

* And I am very quickly getting sick of Mad Men's silence on race. In fact, it's such an ugly omission in a show about the 60s that I'm thinking it's got to be introduced in the next couple of episodes. There's a lot of potential with Carla and beyond.

But you know something I really like about myself? I don't really get attached to TV shows. It's such a relief to not feel like I haaave to watch something. I could stop watching Mad Men with this Christmas episode (sidebar: annoyed about Christmas in July. I get it's supposed to be jarring and supposed to move plot along. Still annoyed.). Stop watching and not feel a need to finish.

Because I could always go back to see what's up with True Blood. :)