March 13, 2012

Sex Secret Revealed

Did I get your attention? Good. But this isn’t that kind of story.

It’s actually a story about a family, this time from the UK, who chose to keep their baby’s sex a secret for five years. Through the baby’s infancy, toddlerhood and all the way up until “it” was about to enter elementary school the parents, Beck Laxton and Kieran Cooper, referred to their child as “the infant” and only told a few close friends and family members the sex of the child.

But five years later the secret’s out. And it’s a boy!

January 10, 2012

New Year’s Resolutions for Mothers

So we asked you what your resolutions were as parents, but what about ones for yourself? I remember well those early years as a mother and how important it was to take time out for myself. I hardly ever did it although I kept saying I would. Then last year I vowed to do something I’ve always wanted to do. Become a professional volleyball player.

Okay, I’m not going pro…yet, but I did sign up for a volleyball class and finally proved my theory that I had untapped volleyball potential.

I had never played before (not in high school or college or even just for fun), but I knew instinctively this was my game. I could be great. Maybe even the greatest. So I registered for a class at the Montclair Adult School (the fact that my instructor was a fifty-year-old woman provided a measure of confidence), bought knee-pads and devoted myself to become the best never-before-played-volleyball volleyball player this world had ever known.

January 9, 2012

Financial Life Lessons at an Early Age

This weekend my daughter was dying to spend up the gift card she received for her 10th birthday, and as Sunday promised torrential downpours, I figured it was as good a day as any to hit Claire’s at the mall.

If you’ve never been to Claire’s or don’t quite remember it from 8th grade, the accessory store is pretty much a wide hallway just packed with cheap, loud, migrane-inducing accessories: Tons of glittering necklaces, rows of 80’s style Madonna gloves, miles and miles of sequins, and the gaudiest hair accoutrements known to humankind. All of which the tween girl simply must have.

My daughter certainly wanted it, as much as her little arms could carry, anyway.

December 16, 2011

Is Your Kid on Facebook?

Isn’t everyone? I think you have to be.

While I am, it is only after years of holding out and enduring much ridicule. When I finally opened my FB account, I did so with an open mind but a heavy heart. I feared what was to become of me, or rather, my privacy.

Luckily, I grew up in an era without Facebook and digital technology so there were no incriminating photos of me save the 1990’s prom photo posted by an old high school classmate I hadn’t spoken to in about 18 years. That was criminal enough. But it got worse. A friend tagged me in the photo.

November 20, 2011

Spa Day as Child’s Play?

I might be the only one, but I haven’t taken my daughter to the spa. And I don’t plan to.

This notion I realize is passé. Mother/daughter duos have become a common scene in nail salons across the nation. Everyone is doing it or has done it.

This curious human behavior, though, is a relatively recent phenomenon. I became aware of the mani/pedi seeking mother/daughter duos about a decade ago when, on rare occasions, I was able to escape from my home. My escape was only possible during the two hours a day my child was in pre-school, and in that time I had to complete all my household chores, run countless errands and do the weekly food shopping. But if I could squeeze together enough spare minutes (perhaps two or three times a year) I could stop at the nail salon to get a pedicure.

I first witnessed the incident that was to become a trend, when reclined in a cushiony black, leather chair, feet soaking, eyes closed, enjoying the low hum of bubbling water and shuffling flip flops, I heard someone scream my name. I shot up from my semi-conscious state, lurched forward and searched for my child. Then I remembered I was in a nail salon. Alone. Getting a pedicure.

November 17, 2011

Tweeting Toddlers?

I just found out Liam McDermott has a Twitter account. What? That’s preposterous! But first I had to ask, “Who is Liam McDermott?”

It turns out he is a 3-year-old boy, son of Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott.

My second thought was can the kid even type?

To find out, I logged onto the site, where I was invited to “get short, timely messages from Liam McDermott” by following him @liamsworld. As enticing as that sounds, I’m not sure what timely events Liam would be covering in his tweets. By the looks of his most recent posts, followers can learn a lot about his bathroom habits and his feelings on the television shows to which his mother subjects him. He has come around in his thinking on “Bethanny Getting Married,” through repeated exposures, although he still prefers “Scooby Doo.”

No, child prodigy and/or baby genius he is not.

October 20, 2011

Gaming the System

I swore I wouldn’t do it. And then I did.

I’ve long detested hand-held video games especially when played at the table in a restaurant. Video gaming and dining are two experiences I never would have put together. Unless, of course, we’re talking about Pac Man (or Ms. Pac Man) and the game is being played arcade-style on a giant, old school, black box with a joy stick in the back corner of some dimly lit dive. Then it’s perfectly acceptable.

But video games are no longer limited to a fist full of quarters and the 60 seconds it takes for ghosts to catch up to the frantic, little, yellow guy. In just about any restaurant at just about any table at just about any time, you can find kids barely out of diapers along with their elder peers plugged into a myriad of electronic gadgets, staring hypnotically at mini screens. The group may have gathered together for a family meal, but the time spent seemed a little lacking when half the party passed the evening in a quasi-vegetative state.

Maybe it’s because video games never appealed to me, but that kind of evening just never appeared to be a great way of spending some quality family time. Then, last week, suddenly, everything changed.

October 11, 2011

The Care & Maintenance of a Hermit Crab

Okay, last week when I wrote in a comment on the pet post that hermit crabs make great pets I wasn’t being completely honest.

They do make good pets, but if you are a hermit crab purist, you may feel a bit overwhelmed with the care required to provide a happy home for hermit crab.

I admitted last week I was the one to lobby for a pet crab, but it was only because out of all the possibilities, hermit crabs seemed like the best way to fulfill my parental obligation without actually having to exert any effort. One way or another I knew my kids would brow beat me into getting some sort of critter. I figured I had better get out in front of this situation and steer it into more parent-friendly territory. Hence my ingenious plan of allowing my children to acquire crabs.

Now when my daughter cries, “Why won’t you ever let us have a puppy?! You never let us have a pet!” I can say, “What are you talking about? I let you have hermit crabs.”

October 4, 2011

Do You Lie to Your Kids?

We all do in a way, don’t we? Little white lies or omissions of certain facts that may not be appropriate given the age of the child in question.

I remember a certain friend dutifully – skillfully – providing a biologically sound explanation to her six-year-old daughter when she asked how babies were made. The mom’s scientific repartee with the child, answering question after question as they drove through town heading for home, was quite impressive. Each subsequent question, though, intensified and required more precise information.

Where was it all leading? How long could the mom honestly answer her child’s questions without veering into murky territory? How much could her daughter handle? How much could the mother handle?

As the interrogation neared its climax and the two neared home, the daughter finally exclaimed in frustration, “Yes, but how does the sperm reach the egg?” The mother swung into the driveway and shouted, “Who wants ice cream?”

And that settled that.

October 3, 2011

Gender Bender

I’ve heard of people keeping their baby’s name a secret in-utero. And I’ve heard of people keeping the baby’s sex a secret until the little bugger was born. But I’ve never heard of parents keeping their baby’s gender a mystery – indefinitely.

Last month a Canadian couple made headlines when they did just that. The parents gave their 4-month-old infant a good gender-neutral name, Storm (although I think that sounds slightly more boyish than girlish), and sent out an email to family and friends notifying them that they would not be revealing the child’s sex the Toronto Star reported. The Toronto couple claim, however, the information is not a secret but rather a private matter, one they wish to keep that way at least until Storm decides otherwise.

The only people who know the sex of the child aside from the parents, Kathy Witterick and David Stocker, are their two young sons whose names – Kio and Jazz – are gender neutral as well, the midwives who attended the home birth and a close family friend. That’s it. But I do find it hard to imagine the brothers, ages two and five, respectively, are reliable enough to trust with such classified information. One of them is bound to crack – or slip up.