As I was driving to pick my kid up from school this evening, my radio was tuned as always to the D.L. Hughley Show. These guys crack me up. Anyway, I digress. They often pose a question and then open up the line for comments. Today’s question was pretty interesting: Are child free social events offensive to you? Hum, this got me to thinking. Here’s my opinion.
Although my baby is a teen now, I recall the days of being a single parent with a young kid in tow. I remember taking him with me to many adult-oriented events. I remember taking him to tons of kid-friendly events. I also recall him cutting up at both types of events. So if I received an invitation to a social event that specified
NO KIDS ALLOWED !!!!!!
I wouldn’t be the least bit offended. I would either find a sitter so I could attend or decline if I couldn’t.
As a parent, you know your kids better than anyone else and let’s face it, in most adult-oriented events kids (and some adults) bore easily and when they do, you know they’re gonna act out. It’s perfectly normal. Hell, it’s even expected. I would be more surprised if my kid didn’t misbehave at a social event. Even now.
The person hosting the event has every right to dictate whether they will allow kids or not. On the show, a child-free wedding was the spark that caused the discussion. I have no problem with the couple barring kids from the event. It’s their day and if they don’t want kids under foot, that’s okay. Guests should not, in my opinion, get offended or worse —bring their kids anyway.
So no, I’m no offended. Would I host such an event? Now, that’s a question I’ll save for another day.
Visiting a cave is an excellent way to teach kids about science. In fact, studying caves touches on five different disciplines: earth science, hydrology, cartography, biology, and anthropology. Who would have thought learning could be so much fun?
Most would agree that learning should not only take place in the classroom but kids should be exposed to real world experiences. A visit to a cave is an experience your child will remember for years to come. My sister and I visited a cave in Alabama with Tyler several years ago and we all had a great time. Kids are naturally excited about learning when they are taken outside the classroom and allowed to get up close and personal with things they have read about.
With over 40,000 caves in existence in the United States alone, it’s easy to find one near you. A quick internet search will help you narrow down your choices. You may be able to find one near you for a quick day trip, or drive further for an overnight stay or as part of your summer vacation.
Once you decide which cave you are going to visit, you can go online and read all about the cave on their website. Since school field trips are offered, many will have lesson plans available for download. An excellent guide to all things cave-related, can be found at the National Park Service website. More Than Skin Deep, A Teacher’s Guide to Caves and Ground Water, is a great place to start. You'll find informative articles on how caves are formed, the biology of caves and cave safety. There is also a video link on this page and cave-related activities. Another good site is the Environmental Education Committee of the National Speleological Society. They have assembled links to information and lesson plans on caves, arranged by grade level.
When visiting a cave, you may find many different types of animals including bats, raccoons, beetles, crawfish, shrimp and worms. As a reading activity, select one or more of these animals and then have your child read about each one by conducting research online or by heading to your local library to check out a book. Other cave-related reading activities include reading about the different types of caves including lava, sea, ice and limestone.
Once your trip is over, continue the lesson by having your child write a story about what they learned (parents can do the same). For younger kids, have an older sibling or a parent help write the account or have them create a story in picture.
If you don’t live near a cave or can’t make a trip, consider a virtual cave trip. A quick internet video search will return hundreds of videos that will allow a visit to a cave without leaving the comfort of your home. You can also use these videos as part of your pre-trip lesson plan.
As you begin planning for your summer vacation, why not put visiting a cave on your agenda? You won't be sorry you did.
Here's some pics from our trip.
I never believed in ghosts until my son Tyler (now 15) was born. You would think that living in New Orleans — a city that’s one of the top haunted cities in the world — I wouldn’t be skeptical. But I was. Then everything changed. The old folk say that kids can often see spirits because they are more open and accepting. Then we get older and adults tell us there’s no such thing as ghosts. Many “invisible” friends are probably the dearly departed who have not moved on.
My own encounter with ghosts started when Tyler was a baby. I first noticed it when I was changing his diaper. I was making this funny face and he started giggling uncontrollably. I assumed my antics was the source of his joy until I realized that he seemed to be looking over my head, as if someone was standing behind me making funny faces. This happened on numerous occasions. Sometimes I would be singing a silly song or doing something goofy and he would be in stitches. But I kept noticing that he seemed to spend a lot of time looking over my shoulder. At first, I thought I was imagining things but the more I paid attention the more I was convinced that someone or some thing was making him guffaw. My best friend, who believed in ghosts, was the one to put the other worldly idea into my head but I quickly pushed it aside. But I had not other explanation for what was happening.
As my baby boy became a toddler, the weirdness continued. It wasn’t unusual to hear him laughing and babbling when he was in a room alone. At this point I wasn’t freaking out. Even if we had a ghost, I figured he or she was of the Casper variety and not malevolent. My skin never felt prickly nor did the hairs on my hands stand at attention. I didn’t hear chains rattling or howls in the middle of the night. But there were other strange happenings.
One day an incident happened that totally freaked me out. When Tyler was about two, I was straightening up his bedroom. I sat on the floor and lined all of his stuffed animals and action figures around the wall of his room. When I got to the end, I looked around only to find the toys all strewn on the floor again. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Maybe Tyler knocked them down.” Nope. Tyler was in front of me the entire time, so it’s not possible that he could have knocked them down. He did, however, think it was hilarious.
Over the next two years Tyler continued to chatter with his “friend” and I continued to experience a definite presence in the house. But again, the presence was not particularly menacing, just annoying. For instance, there would be times when the kitchen cabinet doors would not stay closed. I checked to make sure there was nothing wrong with the hinges. No, they were perfectly fine and the thing is, I could stay in the kitchen and the doors would remain closed. It was only after I walked out the room that they would fly open again. There was another incident when my clock radio kept turning on by itself. And numerous incidences when the house was, for lack of a better word, noisy.
In 2005 we moved temporarily to my hometown, Mobile, Alabama, after Hurricane Katrina and I forgot all about my ghost. In 2008 we returned and it was then that I recalled all of the weirdness. I asked Tyler if he remembered any of it and he said no. Maybe by then he had grown out of what ever was happening. I have told several people about my experience and surprisingly no one has given me the side eye. Again, I think a lot of that has to do with the open mindedness of people who live in such a haunted city. Many have shared their own experiences with me. And while I don’t “see dead people” like that kid in The Six Sense and I’m certainly not a ghost whispered like Jennifer Love-Hewitt, this experience taught me not to be afraid of or shy away from things I can’t explain.
Since we returned I have not experienced any strange phenomena. Maybe the ghost was a casualty of Katrina. Or perhaps since Tyler could no longer see him (or her), I too can no longer feel any ghostly presence. Or maybe they have simply moved on and is someone delighting another child.
Parents , can we talk? When you take your little ones with you to the movies, especially movies for a general audience, please make sure you observe a few basic rules. Last week I my son dragged me to see Star Wars. I think I might be one of the few people on earth who don't give a rat's ass about this franchise. But I digress. I knew the theater would probably be crowded because of the holidays and expected a few kids splattered here and there. We sat on the second aisle from the top. In comes a grandmother with her six grandkids. I immediately knew they were going to sit directly behind us. And they did. For the entire movie, the kids talked, made numerous trips to the bathroom, the concession stand and I had the pleasure of getting kicked in the back most of the movie. Not once, did the grandmother say anything to the kids.
I have been taking Tyler to the movies since he was a toddler and from day one, I made sure he understood that he needed to practice being courteous so that everyone could enjoy the movie. I realize with kids movies I can expect more talking and probably more trips to the potty from the kids around me and that was fine. I have always made sure Tyler observes my movie theater rules : no loud talking and definitely no kicking the seat!
I can't even blame the kids (well, not totally) because the grandmother should have made sure the kids behaved better. I even turned around a time or two when the kid was kicking my seat. But no, she didn't say a word; I think she may have even fallen asleep. Let's face it, little kids have short attention spans and sitting through a 2-hour movie is tough. But it's tougher for adults who are trying to follow the storyline while a kid is kicking you in the back and talking the whole time.
We make excuses for kids. We say that they are only kids and we should cut them some slack. If an adult did the same thing, we'd probably either confront them or at least get help from management. We, as parents, need to make sure that when we take our kids out, we monitor their behavior better.
Lesson learned? Tyler had a great idea and I definitely think I'm gonna take it. From now on, I'll make sure I sit on the last aisle. At least I won't get a foot in my back!
Marking your child’s growth by penciling in notches on the door-frame
is something that most parents do. It’s exciting to look back and see just
how much your child has grown. I stopped measuring Tyler years ago,
he started to hit his growth spurt and now at 15, he’s leaving me in the dust.
I’m not short — I’m vertically challenged.
Here’s a great twist on the idea of marking your child’s growth. It’s an
easy craft project I found in FamilyFun Magazine. Instead of simply
marking your child’s growth, you make a chart using craft paper that
you hang on the wall and as you measure, you include a corresponding
photo. It’s a visually pleasing way to see how your child is growing
both in height and how their facial features change over time.
The complete instructions can be found here.
I hate Christmas music. Don’t get me wrong — I’m no Scrooge, mind you — but I do feel a bit Bah humbug-ish lately whenever I hear Christmas music. I feel like I’m hearing Christmas music earlier and earlier each year. I think in a few years we’ll start hearing it right after Halloween ! But seriously, I don’t want to hear Christmas music the day after Thanksgiving. Hell, I’m still recovering and probably haven’t even starting working on Christmas yet.
The other day I was in Rouses and I literally screamed out like a mad person, because instead of the muzak they normally play, the music of Christmas was fa la la la la ing- through the store. No, please— not while I’ll shopping for eggs and milk. And certainly not at 8 in the morning. When I reached the register, I was still complaining. The cashier told me she basically tunes it out. Oh, if it was that easy for me!
When I was a young lass, I loved Christmas music. But then again, the radio stations didn’t crank it up it seems until the week before Christmas. Which was great because listeners didn’t get sick and tired of hearing Christmas songs over and over and over again from the day after Thanksgiving until Christmas day. Now by the time we arrive at the Christmas season proper, I’m just so damn sick of hearing these tunes, I want to gouge my own eyes out.
Ok, maybe it’s not that serious, but I really would love it, if we could hold off on the jingles until, say December 20. That would make me, and my ears grateful. Perhaps this should be my Christmas wish.
What should I cook for dinner? If you're sitting around scratching your head and wondering the same thing, head over to BlogHer and read my review of Big Oven.
Something has been on my mind lately. Every day as I travel to and from dropping my son at school, I notice a large number of people speeding through the school zones on my route. I don't understand why an adult would jeopardize hitting any pedestrian let alone a child. What upsets me even more is the number of cars that pass me up with children in the car! Unfortunately, I have witnessed school buses and vans doing not heeding the zone. Same for people driving company vehicles. There's a reason we have school zones.
Yesterday on my way home from dropping Tyler off, six cars speed past me. One driver had the nerve to look all crazy at me, like I was doing something wrong. I normally don't take pleasure when bad things happen to others but I have to say, something happened yesterday morning that made me happy. It was a a case of "God don't like ugly". At least in my mind. Here's what happened. I was driving a few blocks from a school zone. I was on a three-lane street in the center lane where the right lane ends as soon as you cross the traffic light. As is customary, many people in the lane that's ending will speed up to get in front of the car in the middle lane. So this crazy maniac came zooming past me and continued to drive like a fool even through the school zone. He was going so fast that he literally popped up a big chuck of the street (there was a pot hole already there). I had to literally swerve to avoid hitting this big ass chunk of granite or whatever the hell the streets are made of. But I digress. At this point I'm screaming and cursing and I swear if this was one of those times when he was driving a company vehicle, I would have dropped dime on him. Any whooo. When we made it to the end of the street, lo and behold, old boy was pulled over on the side of the road and was under the front of his car. Apparently, he had caused some damage to the undercarriage of his vehicle (one could only hope it was severe enough to hurt his wallet). I felt like pulling over and giving him a piece of my mind but you know how crazy people are so instead I kept driving , but this time I had a smile on my face.
Even on days like today when it's dark and rainy outside, people still sped through the school zones. I don't get it. School zones are there for a reason. They protect our kids. Hell, they protect your kids. Drivers, the next time you think about speeding through a school zone, stop and think . Whenever you're going, it will still be there when you arrive.
I admit it. At least once a week I forget my password and/or username to at least one site or app I use. With so many passwords and usernames to remember, there's no wonder I sometimes have a senior moment. Especially with the ridiculous rules we sometimes have to follow when creating our passwords. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad for the added layers of security. But having to come up with passwords that must include a combination of upper and lower case, symbols, numbers and various word lengths sometimes gives me a headache. It's not unusual for me to forget my password as soon as I create it. And don't get me started on the security questions!
Generally, I write my passwords down and yes I know that's probably not a good idea. I'm not dumb enough to write down, say something like: Chase: password xyujtut789. Duh. I use a word association that only I know, that identifies my various accounts. The problem comes when I change my password and forget to write the new one down. I've also had a few instances where I know my password was correct but wouldn't take, so I've have to create a new one. And like I said, unless I remember to write it down, well...
I have considered using a password manager, but the thought of having all of my personal passwords housed online is scary. I understand they claim to be secure but I still don't trust them. PC Magazine has an article listing the best password managers. I'm thinking that I should at least checking a few of them out. But for now, I guess I'll continue forgetting and resetting.
We've all seen the video of the high school student in South Carolina being flipped from her desk and dragged across the room by a police officer. He has subsequently been fired. You've probably read varying opinions, perhaps even offered your own. You may also know there have been calls for both Raven-Symoné and Don Lemon's heads to roll because statements they made on air. The ex-officer has supporters, though. A group of about 100 students have come out in support of the officer and want him reinstated. Everyone seems to have an opinion. Here's mine.
The video is painful to watch and as a mother of a teen, I would be outraged if this would have happened to my son. I certainly don't condone what the officer did. I understand the young lady recently lost her mother and is now living in foster care but my question is, does this justify her behavior? It has been reported that she was non-compliant when asked to put her phone away and then refused to leave the classroom. In my day, when an adult asked you to do something, you did it. Most people of my generation remember their mom giving them, "the look". Sometimes that's all it took. The look. The look that said, "don't let me tell you again." I know from personal experience this same look that used to send shivers up my spine, does not always work with my own child.
If I found myself in this situation, I would want to know why my child didn't simply do what he was told. Tyler knows that if he gets into trouble at school, there will be consequences. In this particular case, it's a tough call because what can a teacher, an administration or a peacekeeper do in this situation? If a student refuses to comply, what then? I certainly feel for her and I pray for her recovery. But ultimately some of the responsibility is on her and students like her who decide they aren't going to comply with a request from a teacher and administrator or yes, even the police. You have to remember that whatever choice you make, there are consequences. I tell Tyler this all of the time. My hope is when faced with similar choices, he'll do the right thing.
The sad thing is, this is not an isolated case of a student not complying. And it's not simply students refusing to put away their cell phone or leave the classroom. Teachers are being terrorized by the very students they are attempting to teach. My fear is that this sad situation will get worse, before it gets better.
Myra Faye Turner, Writer