Sunday, September 28, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Korean war veteran Andy Lacasse posted his homemade sign in the front yard of his Barefoot Bay, Florida home. "I got nothing good to say about Obama," Lacasse told his local news station. "If I see anybody touching that sign, I got a club sitting right over there."
Apparently, Andy is not concerned with being perceived as a racist who can't spell and doesn't have his facts right. With people like this voting, is it any wonder why our country is in the shape it is in?!
Ok, I promise, that's the last of my political rantings for now.
Monday, September 8, 2008
The second book is The Mister Rogers' Parenting Resource Book by Fred Rogers. I received this as a gift while pregnant with Vivi and I've found it to be very useful. Not only does it have several easy activities for kids but it also has reassuring parenting advice.
As promised, I also wanted to share some of the games and activities that have kept Vivi occupied for fifteen or more minutes. I hope for those of you with toddlers, these games will be useful for you.
Whole Body Drawing
Vivi loves to have me trace her outline on a large sheet of paper. (I tend to save the paper that comes as packaging in large boxes. It is usually off-white and very large. You can also use butcher paper or a flattened paper bag.) Once I've traced her, she likes to color in all her features and clothes. I find that it is a little more exciting than handing her a piece of paper and telling her to go to it. You can extend the time by giving your child other things to trace-- like a stuffed animal, empty tupperware, you name it.
Poker Chip Fun
I've discovered that there are many fun uses for poker chips. One evening, I dumped them all into a metal bucket and gave Vivi some measuring cups and she spent the duration of my dinner prep, scooping and dumping them. With a muffin tin, she can fill up the different cups. Or, with a couple minutes of advanced prep, you can cut chip-sized slits into the tops of large yogurt containers and now the chips become money for "depositing in the bank." (Vivi also uses them as money in her purse for "shopping.") If you have three containers, your child can deposit by color.
Special Dress Up
This game seems to top Vivi's list of fun things to do. I've written in the past about how she loves to get dressed up in our clothes and I came up with this idea after she learned how to open my dresser drawers. Take an empty laundry basket and fill it with various items of your clothing. Usually, I take a pair of high heels, a bra (the hooks take up some time), a shirt (which Vivi calls a dress because it's so big), and one of my husband's ties. It's amazing to see the outfits she comes up with and she often will spend a good 10 minutes figuring out how to turn the tie into a belt that manages to stay around her waist.
Find the Colors
This game works pretty well when I need to get something else done but Vivi isn't prepared to play completely on her own. I drew a different colored square on each of ten index cards. So, for example, one card has a green square, one has a red, etc... I give her a card and a bucket and I tell her to find a few things that are the same color as what is on the card. It took a while for her to get the hang of this but now she comes up with some pretty funny things.
Beat the Beeps
Lastly, this is our end of the day, clean-up our mess game. I set the oven timer for one minute and Vivi has to race the clock to pick up her toys. There's no prize involved but she gets a giggle out of it and I don't have to spend the rest of my evening cleaning up and/or tripping over her toys. (It might take a few rounds of you racing around first before your child gets the idea.)
I've also listed below a few other quick things I let Vivi do which she seems to enjoy. (They don't buy me any time but I suppose a more creative soul could make a game out of them.) They are:
-opening mail. She loves to rip the envelopes so she gets all the junk mail.
-vacuum. Vivi loves to turn the vacuum on and use the hose.
-check e-mail. She likes to push the buttons on a big calculator. She calls it checking her e-mail. Since numbers actually come up on the screen it seems to be fairly gratifying to her.
Is there something you loved doing as a kid? Or does your child have a game that s/he can't get enough of? Please let me know. I'm always trying to find new ways to amuse us!
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Now that Vivi is over two, I don't worry so much about the neurological and cognitive implications of TV time. What scares me is the advertising: the sexy images that are aimed at young girls, the message that to consume is to live a fuller life, and the inevitable complications that will arise on a trip to Target when my daughter spots a toy or character that looked so appealing on TV. That is what I am afraid she will get from TV.
As my pregnancy progresses, I've been thinking about what role television might play in Vivi's life. Every parent with more than one child has told me that I'll relax my TV stance out of necessity. Maybe that's the case but I hope that I'll be able to reach a thoughtful compromise- choosing a pre-screened video that I am comfortable with as a special treat versus plopping her down in front of Sponge Bob because I can't take it anymore.
In the next couple of days or so, I'll share the activities and resources I have discovered that keep Vivi occupied for 15+ minutes. So far, they have served as good alternatives to TV. I'd love to hear other ideas from my fair readers as well!
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Indeed... I think so too.
Monday, September 1, 2008
At the start of this whole election process a year and a half ago, my pick was John Edwards. He was not the most dynamic candidate but I felt that he best represented my progressive values. While I loved the idea of having a woman or minority as our president, I strongly feel that the Democratic process only works if people vote for the person who most closely represents what they are looking for in a leader and in our society. I felt that Hillary Clinton tended to vote for things that she thought would be politically popular. (The war? She is a bright woman-- how could she have thought that was a good idea?!) With Obama, I loved his charisma and life story but I didn't think he was as progressive as the others.
By the time Rhode Island's primary rolled around, Edwards was out and I was struggling with whom to vote for. I was pretty sure that I preferred Obama but I was starting to feel very angry about some of the sexist comments I was reading and hearing about Clinton. (After all, I don't recall anyone calling the other candidates a "bitch" or "ugly" or saying that they were "having a meltdown" when they got angry.)
As the parent of a young daughter, I have thought a lot about what this election means for the world my children will grow up in. The day of the primary, I walked into the booth, looked at my ballot, and checked off Clinton's name. I reasoned that we needed to take a long look at ourselves and what it means to be a woman, particularly a "liberal" woman, in our society. Given all things being relatively equal with Clinton's and Obama's policy leanings, my vote was a vote against sexism. I'd like to think that with enough liberal women in government, my daughter might have the opportunity to seek public office without being asked by Katie Couric if she needs to take vitamins to make it through the long campaign season.
Now that Clinton is officially out, I find myself angry at McCain's choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate.* Not all women are created equal in the realm of politics, and I find his choice to be insulting and manipulative. Just because I voted for Clinton because I was angry at how she was treated as a woman doesn't mean that I will vote for someone because she is a woman. John McCain, I'm not that stupid. (As an aside, I will be interested to see if Palin is subjected to all the sexist venom conservative pundits unleashed on Clinton or if they'll reign it in for the sake of their agenda.)
As many of you have read, Palin is an unapologetic right-to-lifer who is currently under investigation for ethics violations in Alaska. She believes in drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, thinks "creationism" should be taught in schools, and counts her stint as mayor of a small Alaskan town and her year and a half as governor to be enough experience to put her next in line for the presidency. Sorry folks but this ain't the woman for me.
I'd like to think that in the next four years, I will live in a country that hasn't stripped me of my right to get an abortion. A country that will reinstate a health insurance program for middle-class American children like Vivi. Or one that won't indoctrinate our public school children with religious theories. Or, at the very least, will finally do it's job and lead the world in environmental protection by cutting our disgustingly voracious appetite for oil.
It's hopeful but right now, that's all I've got. So this November, this mama is for Obama.
*I did not, by the way, think that Obama necessarily should have chosen Clinton as his running mate. His nomination makes it his choice.