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Archive for August, 2008

Off with their heads! Kid product package designers must be punished!

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

I mentioned that I’m volunteering at Whiz’s school for lunch duty once a week.  So far so good, but I just want to say that I think whoever designed individual string cheese packaging should be tied to a chair in an elementary school cafeteria for a 24 hour period and forced to listen to 72 children calling out (with a shrillness only the under 10 set can achieve)….

“Whiz’sMom! can you open my string cheese?” 

“Whiz’sMom!  can you open my string cheese PUUULLEEEZZZEEE?”

“Whiz’sMom – I’m STARVING!  Can you please open my string cheese?” 

“Whiz’sMom!  I can’t open my cheese! Can you heeeelllllp meeeeeee?????”

Why do they even bother printing “pull here” on the package when they know very well those two tabs are never going to pull apart to release that cheese.  They know the opening adult is going to have to resort to scissors or their own teeth so printing “pull here” really just adds insult to injury. 

And there are other kid product packages that seem to have been designed specifically with parental torture in mind right?  What the beeeeepppppp are those metal twist tie things that are voluminously fastened to every toy my kids get?  And is there not a better way to wrap a miniature straw and attach it to the side of a juice box?  Do the designers of those little gems not know that 83% of those straws are opened by someone driving a mini van that’s going 42 miles an hour?!?

So that’s something I’d like to see show up in an upcoming presidential debate…Who’s got the power to make a law that says products packaged for kids have to be able to be opened by kids? 

And for everyone out there packing lunches please have a little mercy on the volunteer lunch lady and skip the string cheese! ;-)

By the way, here’s an article on Education.com with lots of fun lunch ideas.  My kids tried the MightyMunch kids meals and loved them. 

What kid products have you used that make YOUR life harder or more frustrating?  What do your kids use that you LOVE because it makes your life easier?  Share your best kid product tips here in a comment.  We’ll choose one commenter at random to win a prize from the Education.com treasure chest (an office full of toys, books, and kid-gear galore).  Be sure to include your email on the comment form so we can contact you if you win (it won’t appear on the website). 

And….they’re off!

Thursday, August 21st, 2008

Yesterday was Whiz’s first day of first grade.  As I’ve mentioned, I was pretty anxious about the whole thing, but he had an absolutely smashing day. 

I was at his school at lunch time (I’m volunteering for lunch and recess duty on Wednesdays…can you believe it?  I VOLUNTEERED to be “the lunch lady”.  Am I out of my mind?)  His teacher came up to me with a funny look on her face and said “This morning I asked the students to introduce themselves to the class by telling us something they love.  So they’d say ‘I’m Jimmy and I love pizza’ or ‘I’m Kate and I love soccer’.  When it was Whiz’s turn he proudly stood up and said “I’m Whiz and I love my teacher.” – that’s right ladies and gentlemen, I’m raising Eddie Haskell. (more…)

Scripted Teaching: When Zombies Lecture?

Monday, August 18th, 2008

There are certain things in life that are supposed to inspire us with a sense of humanity and connection. Things like listening to an inspiring politician speak, or interacting with an engaging teacher. But the words of politicians are increasingly rote and “teleprompted,” and the spontaneous political speech seems to be going to way of the dodo. Could the teacher-student connection be on the endangered list as well?

The answer, in short, is yes. In her recent article, “Is Your Child Being Taught from a Script?”, M. Lee introduces the phenomenon of scripted teaching. Yes, you heard me right. And no, this isn’t something out of drama class. Scripted teaching means that actual teaching materials are manufactured to give teachers a uniform teaching formula, right down to the what to say, when to say it, and how to answer students’ questions. (more…)

Why am I naked in Algebra again?

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

Ladies and Gentlemen start your engines…it’s officially back to school time!  Things are pretty busy around the Eden household these days.  We’ve got our uniforms, we’ve got our school supplies, we have new lunch boxes and back packs, we’ve met our new teachers, and we are ready to go.  Whiz (a rising first grader) and Speed (a continuing preschooler) could not be more excited.  As far as I can tell, not an ounce of anxiety between them.

So why am I, a woman whose school days are far behind her, so incredibly freaked out about the first day of school?  For the last three nights I’ve been having school anxiety dreams.  Maybe you know the ones?  In one I’m in college and I’m trying to get to class but I keep getting delayed by silly things and end up arriving hours late.  In one I’m in my high school musical (and I’ve never even seen the movie!) but I forgot to practice and I’m getting ready to go on stage without knowing a single line.  And in the most troubling of all, I find myself in math class astonishingly…um…under-dressed and can’t figure out how to leave the room without anyone noticing me.  (more…)

The things we do for love….

Monday, August 11th, 2008

I think most of us, when we put the “For Rent” sign out in front of our womb and decide to have a baby, understand that there are going to be some pretty significant sacrifices involved in the raising of little people.  We know there will be a toll on our bodies, sleepless nights, some degree of change to our career path, and of course, finding a way to pay for college.  But I have yet to meet anyone who claims to have been prepared for all the tiny sacrifices they end up making in the name of being a good parent.

I think my brother holds the gold medal in the tiny sacrifice competition for the time he drank the juice out of his toddler’s jar of “meat sticks” so she could eat them during take off on an airplane trip.  (I know…unfathomable right?) (more…)

Match.com for families?

Thursday, August 7th, 2008

Dear Google,

I have the perfect idea for your next killer app.  What the world really needs is an online dating service for families.  No, I’m not talking about some creepy SwingTown enabler, I’m talking about a site that will help families find compatible families to spend time with. 

I’m not trying to take attention away from singles.  I get that it’s rough out there.   You’ve spent a lifetime building a list of the traits you want in a life partner and it seems impossible that you’ll be able to find the needle in your haystack of desire.  But now imagine you’re a family of four – making your list of demands four times as long – and you’re looking for a perfect match with another family of four who’s list is equally long.  It’s a daunting task!

When two people decide to become a couple it can be as simple as mutual attraction and having enough in common to pull together a weekend of activities enjoyable for both. 

When two families get together it’s because the wives like each other, the husbands like each other, each wife likes the other husband (not too much), each husband likes the other wife (not too much), the couples have roughly the same number of kids and those kids are roughly the same ages, none of the children has an unexplainable aversion to any of the other children, the families have roughly the same amount of money so one one feels uncomfortable entertaining or traveling with the other, the parents have similar parenting styles so no one family gets driven crazy by the other family’s kids, they live a reasonable minivan ride apart from each other, the moms have similar work (or not work) schedules, there are no pet incompatibilities, and there are no Yankees/Redsox fan issues.

Are you exhausted yet?  (more…)

Education.com Adds Private Schools to SchoolFinder

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

Parents can now search for private schools in all 50 states using the Education.com SchoolFinder tool. Using the SchoolFinder tool, parents can learn about a private school’s size, grade span, student ethnicity, student-teacher ratio, and if a school is coed or single-sex. SchoolFinder also allows parents to rate and review schools to provide a deeper sense of a school’s culture and environment.

Choosing the right school for your child can be difficult and complicated, and often many factors are involved in the decision process. Knowing all of the school options in your area or an area you are moving to is the first step in making a school decision. Location isn’t everything however, there are other factors such as choosing private school versus public school.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, 76% of private schools have a religious affiliation. Using SchoolFinder, parents can find out a school’s religious orientation, as well as any special programs the school focuses on, such as Montessori or Alternative programs. SchoolFinder also includes school association memberships, such as a school belonging to the Association of Boarding Schools, to provide a deeper overview of a school.

Combined with parent reviews, SchoolFinder’s information on public and private schools hopefully make school decisions that much easier. Having taught in both public and private schools, I personally know that finding the best school for your child depends on the unique needs of your family, not just simply determining the right “type” of school. Armed with the tips and articles on choosing the best school to meet your family’s and child’s individual needs and learning style, parents can begin to find the answers they need as the new school year begins!

Should I kick the habit?

Monday, August 4th, 2008

Yesterday it was 97 degrees. I was already sweating when I got dressed for my run. (Those who know me understand that I say “run” because it’s more efficient than saying “a-fast-walk-that-lets-me-listen-to-music-that’s-not-about-farm-animals- for-thirty-minutes”).

Anyway, to try to beat the heat I threw on a cropped exercise top that I have to admit I usually reserve for yoga classes and headed downstairs.

My six year old (who I’ll call Whiz in these posts – as in ‘Whiz Kid’ because I sometimes worry he’s a twinge smarter than I am) met me at the bottom and said “Mom. Why do you not have on a bigger shirt?”. (Cute how he said that huh? … “bigger shirt”).
I confidently said “Well, it’s ninety-seven degrees out and I’m going for a run. Is that a problem?”

“Yeah.” He said “It’s a problem”.

Stare down.

(more…)

“Don’t Panic”

Monday, August 4th, 2008
I haven’t properly introduced my three year old.  To protect his “innocence” (ha!) I’ll call him Speed in these posts.  When my husband introduces our kids to people he calls our six year old “our son most likely to become a lawyer” and Speed “our son most likely to need one”. 

Getting Speed organized to get out of the house is almost always a huge and exhausting ordeal.  Yesterday was no different.  He couldn’t get dressed (every outfit I proposed was “not beautiful enough”), he couldn’t find the shoes he wanted (“the fast ones”) and worst of all he couldn’t find Spider Man (we never leave home without him). 

I was starting to lose it a little and finally puffed “Speed, if we don’t leave the house six minutes ago you’re going to be late for camp.  And I’m going to be late for work”!

He screeched to a halt from a dead run right in front of me, looked me in the eye, and calmly said, “Mom…Don’t Panic”.   (more…)