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Archive: Preschoolers

How far do you go in maintaining the Santa myth?

This is the time of year when parenting writers can't help but ask the question: Should you lie to your kids about Santa? But that's not all that interesting to me. Of course you should lie to your kids about Santa. And when they're old enough to start asking reasonable...

By Brian Reid | December 15, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (83)

The dangers (?) of holiday toys

This is the time of year for lists: "Best of 2009" lists, Christmas lists, holiday card lists. And, as of Friday, the annual "10 Most Dangerous Toys" list came out, giving parents 10 more things to worry during the holidays. Among the items you should be chucking: a Batman toy...

By Brian Reid | November 30, 2009; 08:02 AM ET | Comments (10)

Blaming parents for the disappearance of play

There are some ideas that just seem so good, so common-sense, that you wonder why there is a debate over them at all. Last week, the Post featured one of those great ideas: getting our young children more time to, well, play. The evidence on the benefit of play is...

By Brian Reid | November 24, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (56)

Understanding why toddlers say 'why'

There are more than a million pieces of scholarship published in peer reviewed journals every year, and yet -- despite all of that frothy research-- some of the biggest mysteries in our world remain unexplained. Among the questions we have not had a good answer for: Why do toddlers ask...

By Brian Reid | November 18, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (23)

'Sesame Street' at 40: Over the hill?

This week marked a pop culture watershed. Big Bird and his crew turned 40. Surviving 40 years in TV land is tough and getting tougher. "Reading Rainbow" never made it to middle age. The Teletubbies lasted four years. "Dora" hasn't hit double-digits (and yet is still desperately trying to hang...

By Brian Reid | November 13, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (39)

Dressed for success, pre-school style

About 6 months ago, in the interest of household harmony, I stopped fighting the morning battle with my preschooler about what clothes she would wear. Now, with broad guidance from me, she gets to pick what she is going to wear, and I live with it. Most days, this works...

By Brian Reid | November 9, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (27)

Becoming a master storyteller

Yesterday's discussion on "Where the Wild Things Are" needled on my one of my weak points as a parent: I'm not a very good storyteller. I'm not capable of spinning the kind of scary story that would keep my kids up at night. I can't even keep them very well...

By Brian Reid | October 21, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (20)

No Dads (or No Moms) Allowed

I spent the weekend at the At-Home Dad Convention in Omaha, which always does a great job of recharging my parenting batteries. One of the issues that came up along over the course of the meeting was the question of whether the various dad groups that have popped up all...

By Brian Reid | October 12, 2009; 08:35 AM ET | Comments (32)

Busting on Barney

Kids love Barney. But how many parents do? (Universal Studios) My 2-year-old daughter learned to sing this past Inauguration Day, and when it comes to music, she's always had very clear preferences. As an infant, she'd cry whenever I'd play Pavement. Recently, in the car, when Run-DMC came on...

By Anne | August 21, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (44)

The Breastfeeding Doll

As a young girl -- a tomboy in most ways -- I did have some girlie girl toys: Dolls. Not a roomful, but a Barbie who I dressed in beautiful gowns. As far as I can tell, playing with the dolls didn't harm me in any way. It didn't make...

By Stacey Garfinkle | August 11, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (86)

When Baby Makes Four

Regular readers of the On Parenting comments know newsahmom. And if they've been following her notes over the past few weeks, they -- and I -- know that she needs support and advice. In the his and hers blog about finding equality earlier this week, newsahmom wrote: "Today's post is...

By Stacey Garfinkle | June 12, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (51)

The Age-Old Battle of the Super Veggies

By Jan Gangsei Back when we were kids, my brother, Greg, like most 5 year olds, was not a big fan of eating his vegetables. In particular, Greg was not a big fan of eating his green beans, something he ranked right up there with stacking wood and putting away...

By Stacey Garfinkle | April 13, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (28)

On 'Star Wars' and Other Kid Obsessions

Ahhh. The "Star Wars" obsession. Yesterday on Slate, Emily Bazelon explores why more than 30 years after the original movie was released, the galaxy far, far away, still captivates young boys. Three years ago, when her younger son was almost 3 and her oldest was nearly 6, Bazelon's boys watched...

By Stacey Garfinkle | April 3, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (42)

The Big Birthday Present Question

A decade or so ago, a friend with kids got tired of her son always wanting to buy expensive gifts for his friends' birthdays. So, she gave him a birthday present allotment of about $5. She was thrilled with the results. Her son started to understand just how much the...

By Stacey Garfinkle | March 20, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (70)

March Madness by Mascot?

Yes, it's that time of year again when folks gather for hours around the computer screen to pick the PERFECT college basketball bracket and enter pools to win a little extra cash. While older kids -- and even some adults -- may approach this as a math lesson in statistics,...

By Stacey Garfinkle | March 18, 2009; 03:04 PM ET | Comments (1)

Do You Have a Mom Car?

It doesn't really matter if you're driving a minivan, SUV, hybrid or a 2-door hatchback. The Mom Car is all about cleanliness -- or lack thereof. I find it eerily easy to relate to Momlogic's Andrea, whose car is a stinky, gooey, sticky mess. My husband, on the other hand,...

By Stacey Garfinkle | January 20, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (40)

When Is It Worth Torpedoing Eat/Wake/Sleep Routine?

By Rebeldad Brian Reid Things are fairly regimented around our household. Dinner is usually on the table at about the same time every night, and bedtime – even on the weekends – is fairly consistent: the little one is down by 7 p.m. or so, and the big one is...

By Brian Reid | January 8, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (30)

Guns Again: 4-Year-Old Shoots Babysitter

If ever any parent needed yet another reason to be wary of having a gun in a house with children, this story out of Jackson County, Ohio, is it. A 4-year-old, angry that his babysitter stepped on his foot, "retrieved a shell from a drawer in a back bedroom, grabbed...

By Stacey Garfinkle | January 7, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (59)

Santa Isn't Real?!

Note to readers: If you've got a "reading" child near you who still believes in Santa, please go somewhere else and come back later. Now, onward... Sorry, kids. I know that you still believe in Santa, but he's just a figment of your imagination. That "ho-ho-ho" gift giver is really...

By Stacey Garfinkle | December 19, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (32)

Lock? What Lock?

It's one of the many nightmares parents of toddlers may face. The toddler or preschooler unlocks the door and wanders out. In this case, the child is a 4-year-old boy who unlocked his front door, walked across a multilane street and wandered into an unlocked door at a Family Dollar...

By Stacey Garfinkle | December 17, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (37)

Buh-Bye, Club Libby Lu

There's plenty about the state of our economy to lament and plenty of stores that are going out of business that we may feel sorry for -- even miss. But there's one that's closing that's simply a good riddance: that's Club Libby Lu. More than a year and a half...

By Stacey Garfinkle | December 5, 2008; 06:30 AM ET | Comments (26)

Public Restroom 101

Ahhh! I've become hypermom without wanting or trying. For a few minutes, a recent shopping trip at Costco turned me helicopterish. The boys had a simple -- quite normal -- request. To go to the bathroom. And so, they went in without me. To be fair, they often go into...

By Stacey Garfinkle | December 3, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (59)

Finding Toys, Both Safe and Inexpensive

All I want for two upcoming birthdays and holidays are a few safe, well-liked, inexpensive toys for the kids. And I'm well on my way to finding them, no thanks to toy companies who seem to think putting oversized, overpriced toys front and center makes sense these days. Alright, maybe...

By Stacey Garfinkle | November 17, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (13)

Too Sexy for Little Girls

Sexy Halloween costumes are nothing new. Every year about this time, parents and reporters all around the country lament the low necklines, cinched waists, shrinking skirts and fishnet stockings that have sprung up at every Halloween costume venue in the country. The subject was a big talker last year on...

By Stacey Garfinkle | October 29, 2008; 12:30 PM ET | Comments (7)

Confessions of a Less-Than-Perfect Mom

Tonight is the start of Yom Kippur, the Jewish high holiday of repentance. For those of you not up on Jewish tradition, it's a time to throw away all the bad things we did over the past year and start fresh. And so, what better time to repent to...

By Stacey Garfinkle | October 8, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (43)

6 Food Myths for Parents to Debunk

In the ongoing battle to try to ram nutritious food into our kids, the New York Times has identified “6 Food Mistakes that Parents Make.” The mythbusting effort is laudable – and the research marshaled is impressive – but there are good reasons most of these myths have stuck around....

By Brian Reid | September 25, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (75)

Sex Ed: How Early? How Detailed?

By Rebeldad Brian Reid It's a weird world we live in where -- in a time of economic turmoil, foreign wars and a health care system that teeters on the brink -- one of the surprise issues of the presidential election season is sexual education. First, there was the brouhaha...

By Brian Reid | September 18, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (101)

Lunchbox Winners

180 school days. That's the number of lunches times two that I'm packing between last week and June. And if my kids had their way, the types of foods in their bags might total about a handful. While some of us are old hands at packing lunch every day, higher...

By Stacey Garfinkle | September 8, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (105)

TV, the French and Common Sense

By Rebeldad Brian Reid The latest shot in the war over TV and tots was fired last month in France, where the government there decided to ban all marketing of TV shows to kids under 3. Those who would broadcast such fare would be require to slap the following warning...

By Brian Reid | September 5, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (84)

Saturday Morning Laughs

Beep Beep. Beep Beep. "Wile E. Coyote vs. Roadrunner" has been running through the halls of our house lately -- literally -- thanks to some newly found cartoons on YouTube and husband's newfound talent making animal balloon roadrunners. The cartoons bring back fond memories of watching Saturday morning cartoons while...

By Stacey Garfinkle | August 12, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (44)

Forgotten Children

It's been the talker all week: In their haste to board a flight from Tel Aviv to Paris, a family of seven forgot one very important thing -- their 4-year-old. The girl was found in tears at Ben-Gurion International Airport by a police officer, who sorted through the mess. The...

By Stacey Garfinkle | August 8, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (94)

Mister Rogers and the End of an Era (Maybe)

By Rebeldad Brian Reid The news coming out of the neighborhood of "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" has not been good this week. PBS is yanking the 40-year-old institution off its weekday service, sending member stations one episode a week instead of five. Stations can still get a year's worth of programs...

By Brian Reid | July 31, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (127)

The Perfect Water Bottle

I'm in search of the perfect kids water bottle. Durable. Spill-proof. Washable. Sippy cups were bad enough. Drop them, bang them -- in general, treat them like toddler boys -- and many would start to leak regularly. Usually, the leak-proof insert had simply dislodged. Um. Didn't they say that thing...

By Stacey Garfinkle | July 23, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Barbie vs. Bratz

Business Week and others dubbed the court case the "Battle of the Dolls." And in Round 1, we had Mattel in one corner and MGA in the other. Mattel, otherwise known as Barbie's corporate parent, said MGA Entertainment -- Bratz' corporate parent, stole work that belonged to it. You see,...

By Stacey Garfinkle | July 22, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (186)

The Cost of Child Care

Links: Child/Staff Care Center Ratios Allowed by State: http://www.nccic.org/pubs/cclicensingreq/ratios.pdf Google/NYT Story: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/05/business/05nocera.html?pagewanted=1&ei=5124&en=77aa1e331c0119e3&ex=1372996800&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink Definition: Family Licensed Child Care Homes http://www.nccic.org/pubs/cclicensingreq/definition-fcc.html

By Stacey Garfinkle | July 21, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (160)

Skin Protection 101

Ah, July. The weather in D.C. alternates between hot and sweltering. And about the only relief is to: a) stay indoors or b) swim All that time at pools and playing in water fountains means the kids get lathered with sunscreens, some of which contain ingredients I can't possibly pronounce....

By Stacey Garfinkle | July 9, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (62)

Smiles, Crocs and Cholesterol

The news is filled with lots of tidbits this week. So, for today, put your hand in the grab bag and pull a few out: First, the good news. Baby's first smiles are great for mom. Now, I'm fairly certain that most moms could've told you this without a study,...

By Stacey Garfinkle | July 8, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Raising Lefties

Before becoming mom, I made certain, shall we say, presumptions about my future children. They'd need glasses early, just like their dad and mom. They'd be adventurous eaters, not unlike mom and dad. And they'd be right-handed, again like mom and dad. Turns out I couldn't have been more wrong...

By Stacey Garfinkle | July 7, 2008; 07:20 AM ET | Comments (95)

To Leash or Not to Leash

At first glance, the backpacks that have been popping up on toddlers lately look adorable. Soft monkeys, bears and dogs with straps. But look closer. The tail's attached to a grown-up. They seemed to be haunting me as we explored Sesame Place one day last week. And then a friend...

By Stacey Garfinkle | July 2, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (226)

Making the Drive Time Fly

Fof3 posed the question last week while I was traveling (good timing, by the way!), so here goes: What are the best car games for travel sanity? And yes, we know that many folks rely heavily on in-car DVD players, handheld video games and iPods. But when all that's just...

By Stacey Garfinkle | July 1, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Great Crayon Fiasco

It all started innocently enough. Dinner out on a busy, tiring weekday. Crayons at the table that made their way into pockets. That part of the story is about as ordinary as they come. Except, same busy, tired parents and kids managed to forget about those crayons. And so, Saturday...

By Stacey Garfinkle | June 24, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (53)

Who's Harder to Raise?

As we've discussed before, boys and girls are inherently different. It's one of those facts that parents say but non-parents really don't believe until they have their own kids. But true it feels. Now comes the question from Parenting.com's Paula Spencer: Is one gender easier to raise than the other?...

By Stacey Garfinkle | June 19, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Snacks -- The Nutritious Mid-Meal

Twenty years ago, moms' favorite snack for kids under 6 were cookies. These days, fruit ranks number 1, according to market research group NPD Group. Lest we think we've made huge strides, though, consider this a baby step. That's because in 1987, moms' most given snacks were in order: Cookies,...

By Stacey Garfinkle | June 16, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (58)

Potty Training in a Day

http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/25057503/

By Stacey Garfinkle | June 11, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Thank You, Teachers

Come Thursday at noon, another year of school will have come ... and gone. Not only does that mean scalding summer days, switching to the camp routine and living at the pool, but it also means it's gift time. Yes, now's when we get to pay thank our kids' teachers...

By Stacey Garfinkle | June 10, 2008; 07:15 AM ET | Comments (0)

Four Years AND Forty Pounds

My four-year-old son has one big wish: to move into a booster seat. You see, despite turning four in early January, he's been afflicted with a mom who follows car-seat guidelines to the letter (or in this case, number). And those guidelines say he can move when he's four years...

By Stacey Garfinkle | June 5, 2008; 08:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

What Did Your Family Eat This Weekend?

Oh, the horror. Soccer ends for both boys, resulting in two parties/award ceremonies. Add to that two birthday parties, and needless to say, the weekend -- and the boys' bellies -- were filled with their share, and more, of junk food. Chips? Check. Pizza? Check. Donuts. Check. Cake. Check. Juice....

By Stacey Garfinkle | May 19, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

GROSS!

My six-year-old has a new habit these days. To get in and out of the bathroom faster -- I presume -- he sees no reason to lift the toilet seat while peeing. Now, I always thought I had to focus on teaching the boys to put the seat down, which...

By Stacey Garfinkle | May 16, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (21)

Electric Company, Come On Back

Welcome back, Electric Company. Question is: Can the 1970s magic of an amazing cast -- Morgan Freeman, Rita Moreno, Bill Cosby -- be replicated? PBS is bringing back the show that ran from 1971 to 1977. "The literacy crisis today is as pervasive and alarming as it was in 1971...

By Stacey Garfinkle | May 15, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (11)

Fair Play?

AddictingGames.com. BarbieGirls.com. Club Penguin. EverythingGirl.com. Lego.com. NickJr.com. These are just a sampling of children's Web sites 1.0. They are geared to our kids' generation -- a group that is growing up with computers from Day 1. And these sites and others have raised some eyebrows at Consumer Reports' WebWatch. In...

By Stacey Garfinkle | May 8, 2008; 08:15 AM ET | Comments (0)

Will Travel ... With Kids

Are you planning a trip this summer? If so, you might want to take a few trip tips from Christian Science Monitor contributor P.A. Moed, who's been there, done that with a now teen-aged son since he was small. * Give your kids a taste of the culture you'll be...

By Stacey Garfinkle | May 6, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (51)

Stepping Away From the Sitter

Goodbyes. They're never easy. And the one that my family is going through now will be no exception. For four years, we've employed our dream nanny. She came to us through another nanny we liked and trusted. She'd worked with other families in our neighborhood for 17 years and raised...

By Stacey Garfinkle | May 1, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Playing Dress Up

"I've got a blog for you..." So started a conversation over the weekend with a friend at a last-night Passover Seder. She has two kids, a six-year-old girl and a four-year-old boy. And one of boy's favorite things is to play dress up. Not with costumes like firemen or Superman....

By Stacey Garfinkle | April 28, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (38)

Recyclable Art

In honor of Earth Day, let's talk art. Granted, I've spent way too much time strolling the aisles of Michael's for craft supplies. Paint in the big jars. Brushes. Glitter glue. Felt. Pipe cleaners. Beads. Play-Doh. Wooden cutouts with magnetic strips. Here are some of my favorite "recycled" projects over...

By Stacey Garfinkle | April 22, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (17)

Bunching Up Babies

Welcome to On Parenting's occasional guest blog feature, where we welcome parenting bloggers from around the Web. If you'd like to join the guest blogging party here at On Parenting, please e-mail parenting@washingtonpost.com. By Linda Kerr A friend -- who recently had her second baby just 19 months after her...

By Stacey Garfinkle | April 21, 2008; 07:15 AM ET | Comments (61)

The Debate: Party Present Opening

In Monday's blog about birthday presents, MarylandMom asked a question that struck me, too, as I read through the comments: Are we the only ones? My kids have never been to a party where the presents are opened at the party. Never. Everyone we know waits until after everyone has...

By Stacey Garfinkle | April 17, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Computer Time for All Ages

Welcome to On Parenting's occasional guest blog feature, where we welcome parenting bloggers from around the Web. If you'd like to join the guest blogging party here at On Parenting, please e-mail parenting@washingtonpost.com. By Leticia Barr Since I began writing about children and technology, I've been asked many questions. One...

By Stacey Garfinkle | April 15, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (13)

The 'Right' Birthday Present

It all started innocently enough. Little girl, age 4, invites little boy (my youngest son), also age 4 to her birthday party. Boy and girl are playmates at school. The conversations start on the way home from school on Friday afternoon: Boy: I want to go buy [girl's] present. Mommy:...

By Stacey Garfinkle | April 14, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (71)

Talk, Talk, Talk...

All my preschooler does when he's alone is talk. Sometimes, I write at the computer outside the playroom listening as he creates stories around small plastic animals, Matchbox cars, trains or Legos. He and his brother used to share a room -- until the chatter before falling asleep just became...

By Stacey Garfinkle | April 2, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Snip, Snip

Ah, that wonderfully soft baby hair. Some of us let babies and toddlers grow it for years before cutting it. Others tire much earlier of bangs that cover eyes, and boys getting called girls because of their hair length. Ultimately, many of us -- particularly those of us not skilled...

By Stacey Garfinkle | March 31, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

How to Handle 'Challenging' Children

Sometimes, my oldest son and I butt heads. He's sweet, empathetic and loved by his teachers -- and parents, for that matter. He listens well outside the home. But come inside, and stubborn meets stubborn. Maybe it's the mistakes some of us make with firstborns or maybe we're just too...

By Stacey Garfinkle | March 25, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Would You Tell?

When I first started looking for my nanny years ago, my first stop was the park. Sure, I wanted to be out and about and let the baby play outdoors anyway. But how better to look for someone good than to meet other nannies whose approach I liked? My intent...

By Stacey Garfinkle | March 19, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Family Movie Night

Sometimes, I wonder where the time goes. Busy week runs into busy week. Ice skating turns to soccer turns to swimming. By Saturday night, after long days of school and work, both parents and kids are just plain tired. A couple of months ago, my husband and I stumbled across...

By Stacey Garfinkle | March 17, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (46)

If Only I Knew Now ...

Hundreds of dollars for the "right" stroller. Hundreds -- even thousands -- more for experts from everything from sleeping to potty training to child-proofing. These are costs that some parents gladly pay for peace of mind or help getting a family on track. Remember those first days with your newborn?...

By Stacey Garfinkle | March 10, 2008; 07:15 AM ET | Comments (43)

The Things People Say

"Twin Time." That's what mom Colleen Fisher says she and other twin moms have to factor into any trip they take outside the house, and it's not because of all the extra gear and difficulty of corralling two small children. What Fisher and moms Meredith Nahra and Randi Tercyak describe...

By Stacey Garfinkle | March 5, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (100)

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Here we go again. Another kid suspended from school because of his hair. This time the offending child is 6-year-old Bryan Ruda of Parma, Ohio. Parma Community School apparently warned Bryan's mother twice before that his Mohawk violated the charter school's dress code, the Cleveland Plain-Dealer reports. The elementary school...

By Stacey Garfinkle | March 3, 2008; 07:10 AM ET | Comments (0)

I'm Scared!

My son is afraid. No, he's not a fraidy-cat -- not everything scares him. But offer him a ride on a Ferris Wheel or a water slide or any other amusement park ride that goes high and forget it. Clearly, we should have remembered that when we bought the family...

By Stacey Garfinkle | February 27, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (37)

Overrated, Overread

Mr. Methodical (the six-year-old) is on a book kick these days. (Gotta say that I LOVE that he now likes books). And that means reading the Magic Treehouse books in order -- all of them. Near crisis even ensued over the weekend when the library didn't have book 20. Thankfully,...

By Stacey Garfinkle | February 21, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (78)

Point, Shoot, Then What?

Neighbors with new babies recently shared photos of the little ones via Flickr. That got me thinking -- again -- about my online photo service allegiance. Over the past six years, I've had good and bad experiences with photo sharing sites. First there was Kodak EasyShare Gallery. The site was...

By Stacey Garfinkle | February 19, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Languages We Speak

Forget music and gymnastics. The big "is-my-kid-keeping-up" trend these days is all about language; that is, how many languages your child is learning. The New York Times jumped on the trend in an article earlier this week: "If It's Tuesday, It Must Be Spanish." While no one knows how much...

By Stacey Garfinkle | February 7, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (40)

Bringing Up Voters

The election process. Presidential candidates are all over the news. Canvassers are arriving at our doorstep. One even blocked me from getting 4-year-old's bike out of the house over the weekend. Annoying "researchers" are calling daily during dinner. And still, I felt a small moment of pride the other night...

By Stacey Garfinkle | February 6, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Hurts That Stick

Not so long ago, I had one of those weeks we'd all rather forget. You know the kind: Ankle sprain, second-degree burns and a hit-and-run car accident. While recovery from the ills took much longer than the week it took to incur everything, there were some terrific side benefits. Let's...

By Stacey Garfinkle | February 1, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (8)

Are You Listening, Mom?

If your child is having a hard time grasping a concept, one solution might be to have the child explain it to you -- even if you don't know the answer yourself. That's the crux of a study on how kids learn from researchers at Vanderbilt University. The study tested...

By Stacey Garfinkle | January 24, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (18)

The Debate: A Preschooler Problem?

At the park several months ago, my youngest approached a potential playmate and roared at the unsuspecting child in his best T-rex imitation. The child, probably scared of the little pretender, pushed my son down causing surprised tears. The boy's dad was totally apologetic and punished his son. I, on...

By Stacey Garfinkle | January 18, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (107)

Do You Kumon?

At a recent gathering of moms and kids, one mom asked the rest of us: "Do you Kumon?" Kumon for those of you, like me, who had never heard the term before some friends brought it up, is a seven-day-a-week academic learning, tutoring or enrichment program -- depending on who...

By Stacey Garfinkle | January 17, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (48)

Little Girls, Big Limos

"Be happy you have boys!" So started the phone call the other night from my sister-in-law. She and her husband, non-parents who are unofficial second parents to my children, were dining near the Verizon Center on Monday night when the crowds started arriving for the Hannah Montana concert. Here was...

By Stacey Garfinkle | January 9, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (485)

Sibling Love and War

Before son No. 2 was born, husband and I spent a great deal of time planning to help his older brother welcome the new addition to the family. We talked with him about babies. We combed the library for sibling arrival books, eventually settling on and loving "Talk, Baby" by...

By Stacey Garfinkle | January 4, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (21)

The Gift Conundrum

Apparently, teachers aren't much different than the rest of us. They like gifts ... if they're useful, according to a recent Washington Post story. Think baked goods, gift cards and gifts that reflect the teacher's interest. The odd regift and apple ornaments are no-nos, though. I readily admit I'm not...

By Stacey Garfinkle | December 17, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (54)

Recording Memories

Ever since we became parents, people have asked whether we've shot video of fun childhood moments. Not just first roll, first steps, first words. But the kind of moments our kids might never believe. Like 6-year-old talking about his career plans to run Legoland and charge everyone $1 -- or...

By Stacey Garfinkle | December 14, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (8)

The Holiday-Birthday Mashup

With Hanukkah now in full swing and Christmas coming soon, it's easy to get caught up in that holiday spirit. But in our house, other big days are coming. Child No. 1 turns 6 this week, right in the middle of Hanukkah. Luckily, he's excited that he gets more than...

By Stacey Garfinkle | December 5, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (107)

Too Sick for School?

Beware! I'm on a rant today. You see, I'm the mom who asks the preschool director to get other parents to keep their sick kids home. It's not that I'm unfamiliar with parents' needs to balance kids and work. It can be a pretty tricky juggle sometimes. I've had plenty...

By Stacey Garfinkle | November 29, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Kids Don't Come Cheap

A couple of days ago, many of you discussed issues that keep you up at night. Sarah started it off: I'm kept up at night wishing I could afford to stay at home with my kids instead of working, and still afford a roof over the head, to repay the...

By Stacey Garfinkle | November 16, 2007; 07:15 AM ET | Comments (74)

All I Want for Presents Are A Few Good Ideas

"Did you see the recall?" husband asked first thing yesterday morning as the boys sat at their art table, meticulously putting Perler beads on templates to make shapes. "Where were those beads made?" The conversation happened no more than 10 minutes after I posted the latest Consumer Product Safety Commission...

By Stacey Garfinkle | November 9, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Parent-Teacher Conferences

The first marking period of the school year ended last week, which means parent-teacher conferences. And I've got to admit, the buildup to the conference has me a bit nervous. First off, the school has spent the past two months or so evaluating my son. The teacher has said that...

By Stacey Garfinkle | November 8, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Cough, Cough ... Now What?

It's that time of year again. And no, I don't mean the start of the holidays. The first fall croup episode hit one of the kids in August. Despite the 90+-degree weather outside at the time, the pulmonologist's response: It's fall. Um. REALLY? Yes, he said. "I'm seeing lots of...

By Stacey Garfinkle | October 29, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Trick or Treat?

Halloween in our neighborhood is a fun, old-fashioned party. The kids still walk house to house, not store to store in a mall. Different blocks offer plenty of adult treats to go along with the kiddie ones -- usually chili, fondue, whiskey and other adult beverages. It's the last big...

By Stacey Garfinkle | October 26, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (44)

Panel: Restrict Child Cold Meds

From The Post's Rob Stein: A special panel of federal advisers voted overwhelmingly today that popular cough and cold medications should not be used in children younger than age 6. The recommendation came after the panel concluded that there was insufficient evidence to support the effectiveness of the products in...

By Stacey Garfinkle | October 19, 2007; 03:26 PM ET | Comments (0)

Background Noise Can Cause Harm

By Lisa Guernsey When my first daughter was 18 months old, it seemed that she couldn't care less about television. One of her favorite things was a toy stroller, and I remember feeling almost proud of the fact that she would rather push her stroller around the couch than watch...

By Stacey Garfinkle | October 16, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (40)

Ewww. I Won't Eat THAT!

Now I know why my kids are such picky eaters. It's genetic! At least that's what researchers at University College London say. According to a New York Times article on the picky eater study, most children will eat just about anything until around age 2. Then, they let their taste...

By Stacey Garfinkle | October 11, 2007; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (65)

Goodbye Pre-Boarding

Starting today, Southwest Airlines will no longer pre-board families. The change is part of a larger restructuring of the airline's "cattle call" boarding process. Here's the exact wording from Southwest's Web site: Beginning October 2, 2007, an adult traveling with a child four years old or younger will board between...

By Stacey Garfinkle | October 2, 2007; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (61)

Shoe Fits

Give my five-year-old a new pair of shoes, and like most kids I know, they'll be trashed within a couple of months. And the latest separation of sole and shoe, along with the lack of tread, forced the issue this weekend. So, off to Stride Rite we went. But here's...

By Stacey Garfinkle | October 1, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Brush 'Em, Brush 'Em, Brush 'Em

When it comes to our toddlers' mouths, many parents are falling down on the job. At least that's the word from a National Center for Health Statistics report on oral health, which reports that nearly 28 percent of children ages 2 to 5 had at least one cavity. While I've...

By Stacey Garfinkle | September 28, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

What's Wrong With Quirky?

Over the years, one of my sons has tended to make friends with children who don't fit in with the pack. One year it was the girl who potty trained later than all the rest of her classmates and was teased. Before that, it was the boy who couldn't sit...

By Stacey Garfinkle | September 24, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (63)

Do Kids See Black, White, Brown, Etc.?

A mom and her daughter were obviously shopping for the little girl friends. They came across the Bratz Dolls. The only ones left were the Black or maybe it was the brown one. The little girl told the mom that she didn't want to buy that one because it...

By Stacey Garfinkle | September 12, 2007; 08:30 AM ET | Comments (81)

Child Diagnosis 101

The number of kids treated for bipolar disease grew 40-fold between 1994 and 2003. But whether that many kids actually have the mental illness also called manic depression is another story. While the concern over the rise in diagnoses isn't new (The Post's Sandra G. Boodman wrote about it in...

By Stacey Garfinkle | September 5, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Stop! Don't You Know That's Bad for Your Kid?

The FDA and some consumer groups have been on a run of cautions lately: Don't give your under-2 toddler cough or cold medicines. Apparently, there have been hundreds of overdoses that have resulted in some deaths. If you're nursing and take codeine, watch out for signs of an overdose in...

By Stacey Garfinkle | August 20, 2007; 09:00 AM ET | Comments (49)

Put a Lock on That Door

Ah, the joys of toddlers in cribs. They can't come into your bedroom at -- ahem -- untimely moments. There are no fine-tuned preschool/elementary school ears listening to the rumblings in the other room with questions you'd rather not answer just yet. Once they grow, you can imagine the conversation...

By Stacey Garfinkle | August 16, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (43)

Lessons From a Three-Year-Old

It's beginning to feel a lot like hospital roulette these days. Looking back on our vacations over the past two years, it's hard to remember one in which younger son didn't have to either go to a doctor or hospital. First, it was Primary Children's Medical Center in Salt Lake...

By Stacey Garfinkle | August 14, 2007; 07:49 AM ET | Comments (15)

The Debate: Talking Pedophilia

"Jack McClellan blogs openly about where best to meet girls under the age of 12. The local authorities are watching him, warily. Should just talking about such matters be enough to get him locked up?" That's the lead-in to an article this week on Newsweek.com entitled: A Law-Abiding Pedophile? McClellan...

By Stacey Garfinkle | August 3, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (54)

No! No! NO!

We've all seen them -- well, those of us who are parents, anyway. We've all heard them and cringed. They take on many forms and can happen at a moment's notice. And no adult, parent or not, likes them. What am I talking about? Tantrums, of course. Late yesterday, DCer...

By Stacey Garfinkle | July 31, 2007; 06:45 AM ET | Comments (61)

Potty Talk

From the folks who want to force help toddlers potty train early come some breakthrough products. Latest to the market is Peter Potty, the urinal for your home. You know that fact that, in general, boys potty train later than girls? Well, Peter Potty's makers, Visionaire Products, has just...

By Stacey Garfinkle | July 25, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (57)

We're Off to the Movies

Now playing this summer: "Ratatouille," "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," "Transformers," and "Shrek the Third." Several months ago, we took the kids to see "Charlotte's Web." The thought: They hadn't been to the movies in awhile and it's a classic. Plus, the book wasn't capturing elder son's...

By Stacey Garfinkle | July 24, 2007; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (35)

Manners -- Are They Really Forgotten?

According to Sierra on Friday in the comments, "Manners have been out of fashion for the past 30 years but I hear they are making a comeback. I only hope and pray it is soon." Sierra's not the only one to mention a lack of manners in kids these days....

By Stacey Garfinkle | July 16, 2007; 07:20 AM ET | Comments (183)

'Bye, Bye, Plane'

Apparently, some airline attendants don't have much patience for toddlers acting their age. At least that's the impression some airline workers are giving. Kate Penland and her 19-month-old son, Garron, were kicked off a Continental Express flight at a stop in Houston last month because Garron was talking too much....

By Stacey Garfinkle | July 13, 2007; 09:30 AM ET | Comments (199)

Milestones Gone By the Wayside

For several months now, we've been a diaper-free house. In January, we gave the changing table to a new teen mom in need. In April, our three-year-old started wearing "special nighttime underwear" that he has successfully kept dry during all but a handful of nights. No swim diapers at the...

By Stacey Garfinkle | July 11, 2007; 07:20 AM ET | Comments (56)

Food Fear

Apparently, it's not just me who's noticed: More kids these days are being diagnosed with food allergies. According to Sally Squires's Lean Plate Club column today, 8 percent of kids aged 2 and younger have a food allergy. Some will outgrow them, some won't. In 2003, a leading allergy specialist,...

By Stacey Garfinkle | July 10, 2007; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (108)

Life's Small -- and Big -- Lessons

Maybe it's because I grew up near and around water, but swimming is something I consider a "life skill." There's no question that the boys will take lessons until I know that they are strong swimmers. It's unthinkable to me that they not learn to be safe and strong in...

By Stacey Garfinkle | July 9, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (73)

Trust Your Instincts

Weeks after having son number 1, a nurse hosting a group of new moms gave us a piece of advice that has stuck with me since: You are your child's main advocate. If you're ever uncomfortable about something involving your baby, trust your instincts and say something. Through the years,...

By Stacey Garfinkle | June 25, 2007; 09:53 PM ET | Comments (39)

The Sippy Cup Tale

It all started on June 11, when Monica Emmerson posted her tale of traveling through security at Reagan National Airport on DC Urban Moms, a widely distributed listserv. Emmerson's story, posted online by blogger Bill Adler after he received her permission, details mistreatment by security screeners who wouldn't allow her...

By Stacey Garfinkle | June 19, 2007; 06:25 AM ET | Comments (0)

Individual Peculiarities

A couple of days ago, several commenters responded to a detail about my child warming his milk in the microwave with "What 5-year-old drinks warm milk anyway?" So, I thought we'd have some fun today with food and other small habits our kids develop. For instance, my 5-year-old will only...

By Stacey Garfinkle | June 8, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (49)

Let's Go Swimming

The swimming pools have opened -- YAY! -- and we spent a fair amount of time in a few of them over the weekend. I spent a significant amount of my childhood in pools and have always insisted that my kids be in the water at early ages to be...

By Stacey Garfinkle | May 31, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Supernanny's 'Seeds'

"Supernanny" was in town this past weekend. No, not British nanny Jo Frost herself, but the show's casting producers. And a funny thing happened: The turnout at their casting call was slim pickings. The show put a good spin on it. Casting producer Kim Clevenger told The Post: "People usually...

By Stacey Garfinkle | May 24, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (31)

Back to the Basics

Kickball, Red Rover, hopscotch, marbles, Pogo sticks. They all have one thing in common: They're "retro" play, according to a recent New York Times story on children's play. Here's the theory: Kids need to be taught to play because they spend so much time on modern activities like video games...

By Stacey Garfinkle | May 23, 2007; 07:15 AM ET | Comments (46)

Goodbye, Cat

"Mona's in the garden," pipes up my 3-year-old animal lover who's not been allowed to touch his best friend's cat for years. (Cats trigger his asthma.) "Yes, she's buried in the garden," I say. He repeats. I explain that Mona died and is buried in the garden. Not sure he...

By Stacey Garfinkle | May 17, 2007; 06:30 AM ET | Comments (31)

Missing Madeleine

Madeleine McCann was three when she disappeared from her bed in a Portuguese resort on May 3. Her parents were dining at a restaurant near their vacation rental and checked on Madeleine and younger twin siblings every half hour. Madeleine, whose fourth birthday was this past weekend, has not been...

By Stacey Garfinkle | May 15, 2007; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (185)

There's No Miracle Cure for Obesity

"Breastfed infants grow exactly the way they should. They tend to gain less unnecessary weight and to be leaner. This may result in being less overweight later in life." So says the Department of Health and Human Services on its women's health Web site. A new Harvard study says nope...

By Stacey Garfinkle | April 26, 2007; 09:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

One Room or Two?

About 2 a.m. the other night, after oldest son came in whining for milk, followed by younger son whining for the same, I started to wonder if our decision to have our boys share a bedroom was a smart move. We have enough room for each to have their own...

By Stacey Garfinkle | April 12, 2007; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Holy Terror, What's With That Kid?

Picture this: You've got a friend with kids close in age to yours. You really like spending time with the friend and your older children get along well and like playing together. However, her younger preschooler is a terror. He hits your younger child, who, while older, is not nearly...

By Stacey Garfinkle | April 9, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (47)

The Debate: Do You Talk Religion?

My house is filled with singing these days -- mostly of Hebrew and English Passover songs that my son has been learning at school. This is a school that I adore in every way: great teachers, good projects, fabulous playground, really nice kids. But my children's classes are much more...

By Stacey Garfinkle | March 23, 2007; 08:30 AM ET | Comments (196)

Break Time

Leave it to preschoolers to remind their parents to take a break and smell the flowers -- or at least find each blooming crocus and happily touch them all. That's what's been happening in my yard, even with the still unmelted pile of snow in one corner. This past weekend...

By Stacey Garfinkle | March 13, 2007; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Give Me Money!

My 5-year-old wants money. Well, actually, he wants to go to the store by himself to buy Legos. And he's planned an entire Lego party with his friends in which they all walk to the Lego store together when they are nine -- in his words "old enough to go...

By Stacey Garfinkle | March 8, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (102)

Summertime, Summertime

It's March. Do you know what your kids' summer plans are? The camp industry would have you believe that January's the time to get your camp sign-ups done. In truth, NOW's the time to sort through the details before all the camp slots fill up and you've got bored kids...

By Stacey Garfinkle | March 7, 2007; 06:45 AM ET | Comments (40)

Nighty-Night. Now Sleep There!

You've had a long day. You're exhausted. Your child is sick. He had a nightmare. And in the middle of the night, he climbs into your bed, wraps his arms around you, steals your pillow and falls asleep. Do you: A) Fall back asleep B) Move to his bed C)...

By Stacey Garfinkle | March 6, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss

Fifty years ago yesterday, "The Cat in the Hat" was born. It turned its author Theodor Seuss Geisel into a legend and it transformed children's books. In case you don't know the story of "The Cat in the Hat" (and no, I don't mean "The sun did not shine. it...

By Stacey Garfinkle | March 2, 2007; 06:45 AM ET | Comments (0)

Boys vs. Girls

As I sit down to write, my three-year-old is playing in the next room first shouting "Chugga chugga choo choo!" with a train, then "zoom, zoom" with two racing cars. What gender is the child? I'm guessing most of you chose boy, and you'd be right. Before I gave birth,...

By Stacey Garfinkle | February 28, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (109)

Television for Geniuses or Dummies?

Baby Einstein, Brainy Baby, Baby TV, BabyFirst TV, Sesame Beginnings. The shows aim to make parents of the under-2 set think that their children will learn, be geniuses even, by watching. Yet, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time for children younger than 2 (and has for eight...

By Stacey Garfinkle | February 26, 2007; 06:45 AM ET | Comments (74)

A Thumb for Comfort

The first time I saw my eldest son suck his thumb, I recall thinking how great it was. No pacifiers falling on the ground going back in his mouth. No night wakings for a binky that had dropped onto the crib mattress. No blankies or stuffed animals to keep track...

By Stacey Garfinkle | February 8, 2007; 07:15 AM ET | Comments (98)

 

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