Friday, July 13, 2012
"One child broke a bowl carrying her dinner dishes to the kitchen. One burned herself in three places with that first-world, post-Martha Stewart version of a necessary household tool, the hot-glue gun."
I’m being terrorized by a machete-wielding, three-year-old child: There are pictures of him in my head, working in his Amazon habitat, helping around the house, practicing cutting wood. His six-year-old neighbor is there too. She’s on an expedition away from her own family; cleaning camp, fishing for dinner, and preparing meals for an entire group of people. These accomplished children are the latest images of childhood competing with my own family, leaving me breathless as I discover what parenting mistakes I’m making today. Should I be a Chinese Tiger Mom? Or more Français? Am I overparenting and being overprotective? Depriving my kids of nature, a dog, or just sunscreen? All are topics covered in the latest health and parenting news, …
Saturday, July 7, 2012
Get inspired by the theme of July 4th by breaking free of what's holding you back.
I’m writing this on July 4th, as I sit in a local coffee shop in Charlestown. I’m inspired by thoughts of the meaning of today; this idea of claiming “independence.” Certainly, the challenges we had as a new country in 1776 were very different than the challenges we face today. The challenges we faced as individuals were different as well. But the theme of “claiming independence” is a common one. You can call it “breaking free” or “breaking an unhealthy habit” but the idea is the same. You take a stand. You draw a line in the sand. You decide that you’ve had enough and this is it. Here are some things that might inspire you to claim independence from: Use the theme of July 4th to set a tone for the rest of your year!
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
I was 'mom enough' to resist Time magazine's bait. Until my kids forced the issue.
Did you know that all magazine covers contain the words “hot” or “sex?” Of course, they don’t. But my second-grader believes it is true. Just one glossy Boston freebie lying on our coffee table was used to make her point. While we keep few of the fashion mags and supermarket rags that are the focus of her headline criticism, she sees and hears enough, just from being out in the world. She knows that “sex” not only refers to gender, but to something that she’s too young to feel comfortable knowing about yet. And “hot” often has nothing to do with the weather. So, as long as we were onto uncomfortable topics and magazines, I decided to ask my kids for their opinions on the now infamous Time “Are You Mom Enough?” cover photo. Whether you …
Friday, May 18, 2012
Low attendance at a city-sponsored meeting sends the wrong signal.
When you’re a member of the audience, you hope to outnumber the performers. An empty venue is disheartening for those on stage and there’s less energy in the room. Boston Public Schools (BPS) took the stage on a rainy Tuesday night, holding its latest community meeting on improving school choice. But with fewer than two dozen people attending, speakers included – we barely made it. Go ahead, you can yawn – “community meeting on improving school choice” is one boring string of words, and not an event destined to be standing room only. But I was wide-eyed, thinking of the immense task Mayor Thomas Menino created for the city in January, in promising to overhaul the lottery assignment process and begin fostering school communities for 57,…
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Sometimes it takes a leap of faith to raise a child with a labor-intensive approach like attachment parenting.
The nurse had wrapped the baby snug as a burrito. In the darkened hospital room, my husband and I watched as she nearly tossed our bundle in the air, trying to soothe the cries of someone so new to the world that she sounded as if she regretted entry, and was wondering about the alternatives. The way this expert dressed in scrubs knew she was in for a challenge gave me a sense of foreboding. After the safety of the maternity ward, what was to come? How wanted this baby had been, how completely grateful we were that she had arrived, did not ease the sense that I had just given birth to a handful. We waited over the next few weeks, then months, for this child to seem more happy than tearful to be here. We sang our favorite songs, we danced…
Saturday, March 10, 2012
If we recognize that eating disorders are related to obesity, lawmakers in Boston and in Massachusetts can help more kids at risk.
“Mommy, I’m fat,” says my daughter, all 40-something lbs. and 40-something inches of her. I see a perfectly smooth belly, and a body that is all little-kid taut. She looks in the mirror and manages to stick out her tummy a bit farther by arching her back. “You’re not fat,” comes my truthful response. It's a conversation that goes on. As much as kids are their parents’ parrots, I hope my child is not copying my own body concerns – since I have my metabolism and city walking to thank and I’m not overweight. But to blame her behavior on any media is all too easy. Yet talk about fat we will – from Michelle Obama to Tom Menino, Disney World to City Hall, the conversation is hard to escape. Half of the adults and a third of Boston’s children are…
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
There are no public neighborhood elementary schools in the Back Bay or Beacon Hill. In this year's reforms, will hundreds of kids be left out again?
There’s little magic to being “in the zone” when it comes to school assignments in Boston. After Patch.com columnists Jack Kelly and John Keith both wrote about the promise of neighborhood schools last week, I thought about our limited access to public schools in the downtown neighborhoods. According to Boston Public Schools (BPS), every address in the city has a “walk zone” elementary school, which is one mile or less away. The walk zone is the main factor by which school assignments are made in our city. Yet since Beacon Hill lost its elementary school in 1975, the neighborhood, as well as the Back Bay (plus the West End and Fenway/Kenmore), has had the distinction of being the only part of the city with no neighborhood elementary. …
Monday, February 13, 2012
Need an excuse to practice random acts of kindness? Good deeds are contagious.
- VALENTINE'S DAY GUIDE
- Angela Wang
Monday, February 13, 2012
On the spectrum of risky behaviors, this one ranks high only if you fear the fluorescent orange envelope. We’d just finished an errand on Newbury Street one Saturday afternoon, and the kids were waiting for me to unlock the car. As I dug out my keys, a couple was parking just in front of us. They got out of their car and headed for the “pay and display” meter, the kind that gives you a sticker receipt. I looked quickly around for someone who might disapprove of what I was about to do. I then took my own parking sticker off the window and asked the driver who was about to pay the machine, “if you only need a few minutes of parking, would you like mine?” Surprised, the man looked at me as if I’d made his day. He smiled and thanked me, and …
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Grace Lin treats her readers like family. But having a baby during the lucky Chinese year of the dragon means her fans will give up some extras.
In my favorite children's books, the writer and illustrator are one; two talents residing in a single gifted artist who can create beauty in both words and pictures. Grace Lin is one of those artists. This week, for Lunar New Year, she is everywhere in our house. Not only have we been reading her picture book about the holiday, but on Jan. 21 she held a book launch for her newest novel, "Dumpling Days." When you attend a Grace Lin book launch – patronizing an independent bookstore, standing in line – you leave with not just an autographed book, but with what kids have come to expect from any party: the goodie bag. Now, think how hard it is to impress this on our children: that nowhere else in the USA are kids regularly going to victory …
Thursday, December 15, 2011
It's old-fashioned, but Christmas cards in the mail top my list.
What is the one holiday tradition you can't live without? Let's take family and friends' presence as a given; you get them for free on this quiz. Is it the roast beast on the dinner table? Church at midnight? Cruising the town to find the best-dressed, most brightly-lit house, threatening to blow the whole neighborhood's electrical transformer? These traditions are evergreen, all. But my choice is the endangered species of customs – Christmas cards. This week, while most people are probably not missing the ample displays (gone) of boxed cards at their local card shop (gone), I'm waiting for the delivery of our new cards from the on-line photo service. And with one of the kids studying paleontology and her project on my brain, I feel like…