Witness - the pole dance doll:
Witness - the pole dance doll:
Reston eVillage has a great compendium of after-school, weekend, and summer programs for youth in grades 5-12. Check it out here.
We can't walk by the PB kids store at a mall without my kids squealing to go in and play with stuff. I can't complain, I like to look at all the uber cute goods too. While I'm still working on creating cute bedrooms for little girls, it has crossed my mind that eventually they will be teens and will likely request some redecorating. So, naturally, I was pleased to discover the PB teens line. Finding lasting cute items that will make the transition from little girl to little woman is that much easier. While many of the items gratefully retain a sweet, innocent appeal...even I can appreciate some of the fun accessories like the zebra striped towels and vintage iron jewelry holders and surfboard/skateboard shelves and magazine racks.
I just wanted to introduce you all to my amazing friend Brandi. Brandi - who has a contagious smile and a super-adorable tiny daughter and her loving husband, a zillion friends, a great job, and the kind of personality that always makes you feel at home, welcome, and anxious to be friends with her. Brandi - the same, who suffered from depression as a teenager, jumped off the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in a desperate effort to end her life, MIRACULOUSLY survived, and now shares her story to help others. She has appeared on Dateline NBC, The Today Show, and Oprah Winfrey as an advocate for depression awareness and continues to speak in local high schools and other opportunities. She is a prime example for a person who appeared to everyone have it all together but underneath was wrestling with a very real and difficult illness. This is an issue that affects a surprisingly large number of teenagers today, as well as adults of all ages. Her website is interesting, encouraging, and offers some great resources and continues to be updated. Please check it out.
I recently attended a parenting seminar where I received a bunch of resources. One thing that was
touched upon was the decline of "manners" in our society and the necessity of teaching and holding our children accountable for common courtesy. Among our hand-outs was a list of age-appropriate manners taken from the book You Can Raise a Well-Mannered Child by June Hines Moore. It's clearly not exhaustive, but I've included it below. However, let us remember that the goal is not to hold your kids to a long list of obligatory rules but rather to train our children to be considerate of others rather than self-serving individuals as a whole.
I know that right now I am neck-deep in the "still-learning, limited experience, young-mother with preschool aged children" phase of parenting....but I also know that someday my children will be in the throes of teenhood and questions like: how long before they are good at wiping themselves?, is Gymboree or Children's Place better? and what the heck do we do with all of these accumulating toys? will all be left in the past. I'm always eager to hear from moms who have passed through this stage and are wrapping their minds around curfews and driver's licenses, popularity and sensitive feelings, current music, sports accidents and preparing for college. So, I've enjoyed finding this other blog: MidCentury Modern Moms. It's a combined effort on behalf of several interesting and talented blogger moms who are a little further down the path than I am currently and offer up a lot of insight and humor. It's so easy to become absorbed in the world of toddler and preschooler right now, it's really refreshing to see beyond myself!
Here's a great opportunity! SCORE! (located in the Northpoint Village Center) is hosting a community-wide spelling bee. The spelling bee is completely free of charge and open to kids from K-10th grades. The winners have the chance to WIN UP TO $1500 in college savings bonds! Here's what you need to know:
Saturday, March 29th
Mott Community Center
12111 Braddock Rd
Fairfax, VA 20124
registration is free
call (703) 464-9300 or visit SCORE! at 1424 North Point Village Center before March 29th.
If you are unfamiliar with SCORE! Educational Centers you may find it a great resource. Their mission is to deliver academic progress in a fun learning environment to inspire kids grades Pre-K through 10th to love learning.
"As a mom of an almost-12-year-old daughter, I've been really bothered by the TV commercials for Gardasil (the vaccine being promoted for young girls to guard against Human Papillomavirus). Several states currently have bills trying to make this a mandatory vaccine for girls entering 6th grade (with, in most, if not all cases a parental opt-out). I know you often address medical issues, and specifically vaccine related ones. I've been doing some research on it myself and was wondering if you had looked into this at all or had any thoughts on the topic." Jessi
This is a great question and one that could be addressed from many angles. For my readers who don't know, Gardasil is a vaccine recommended to girls from 9-26 years of age for the prevention of HPV, a disease which is transmitted sexually, and which may cause cervical cancer or other cancers. It is the most common STD, over 50% of all sexually active people acquire HPV at some point in their lives. The really great thing about this vaccine is that it is a huge medical breakthrough in preventative medicine against cancer - and that is amazing and worth celebrating. The debatable issue is safety - as for now, it appears safe and lacks any evidence which really critically holds up against that. However, being very new, there is much more research that needs to be done. The downside to this vaccination is that the disease it addresses is totally preventable with abstinence or in the context of a faithful marriage, and perhaps that is the issue upon which more attention and education should be applied. As far as making the vaccine mandatory within schools, this may seem a new issue because of the targeted age....however, it is really quite in line with the already implemented practices of having elementary school children required to be vaccinated against certain infectious diseases such as measles. The general idea is that by implementing mass vaccinations some diseases can eventually be completely eradicated or made to be extremely rare throughout large populations. There are so many things we could talk about surrounding this topic, but I'll simply leave you all with a final story: I went to high school with a young woman who later fell in love and got married with the hopes of starting a family. Sadly, she experienced a rape and she was infected by HPV. Due to the cancer, her chance of ever having children was lost. Her cancer is terminal, and right now she is dying. She is just 30 years old.
Dear Readers, please feel free to comment with your own thoughts or feelings.
Gaze upon this new product and tell me you are not appalled! It's a powdery energy drink mix called "Blow" which promises "pure uncut energy" (equal to 3 cups of coffee), has the look of cocaine and appeals to teens. (not to mention the practically pornographic website) Um, who's brilliant idea was this? and why aren't they fired?
Yikes! what an issue...but it's on my mind, so I'm going to say something. I don't know where you stand - but just so you know where I'm coming from: I find no redeeming quality about porn at all, it is easily damaging to every relationship and unholy. That being said, it is also easily accessed by children. Ben wrote a pertinent post here about protecting his young sons from porn and an elementary-age incident of accidentally coming across some while playing outside. As a result of this post, he garnered several comments from others who had similar accidental experiences. Having young daughters, I hadn't really given much thought to this yet...but Ben's post got me thinking. When I was also in elementary school, a friend and I came across a stack of magazines while rummaging through one of her parent's drawers. While visiting a distant family member at age 13, I noticed that there was a Playboy magazine in the stack in the bathroom, and when I was a teenager, I noticed that a local convenience store displayed porn magazines for sale in full view and I discovered that the boy I was dating also had a personal stash. Every one of those instances was totally unintentional. But now, if a child is lucky enough to never happen across a piece of printed porn, they are still just a very few clicks away from it on the web - and the incidence of accidentally accessing porn on the internet is very high. The average age for first internet porn exposure is 11 years old, the median age for a person's first use of pornography is between 11-14 years (for boys and girls!). It seems a very important issue to talk to our children about and I wonder if you have considered those conversations or if you have had them and what your thoughts about that are.
3 High-School Sophmores from Racine, Wisconsin were notified on Monday that a celestial body they discovered during a science project has been verified as an asteroid. Connor Leipold, Tim Pastika and Kyle Simpson will be able to name the asteroid, for now known as 2008 AZ28, in about four years.
"It’s extremely rare and I don’t know if an asteroid has ever been discovered by high school students before," Vanden Heuvel said. "Ninety-nine percent are discovered by professional researchers."
The students are currently doing follow-up research on other potential objects they located which may be asteroids.
There's been a lot of talk about this article from the NY Times, here's an excerpt:
"Research shows that teenagers’ body clocks are set to a schedule that
is different from that of younger children or adults. This prevents
adolescents from dropping off until around 11 p.m., when they produce
the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, and waking up much before 8 a.m.
when their bodies stop producing melatonin. The result is that the
first class of the morning is often a waste, with as many as 28 percent
of students falling asleep, according to a National Sleep Foundation
poll. Some are so sleepy they don’t even show up, contributing to
failure and dropout rates."
This doesn't seem like new news to me....I remember hearing this a good while ago, but perhaps there has been more research since then. At the very least, I can say that after three years of teaching high school I found that first period was DEFINITELY the most challenging to get motivated. At any rate, I'd love to know what parents think about the idea of moving the school day schedule back?
I think it is vital that parents teach their children about finances - creating good habits that will keep them from accumulating debt. Giving your teen a credit card is probably the last thing you'd want to do...but in this case, it might be a really wise teaching tool. Allow is a prepaid mastercard credit card designed to give teenagers the opportunity to spend their allowance at the mall, for example. There are 35 parental controls...you set the spending limit, plus there is no need to worry about overdraft fees, late fees, or interest fees. Would you "allow" your kid to have one?
So, with all the media tuned in to 16 yr. old Jamie-Lynne Spears' pregnancy, I caught myself having the following thoughts. It seems that with Britney's publicized problems and now Jamie-Lynne's own issues, people are quick to cast judgment on their mother, Lynne Spears. Someone has to be to blame for the paths these girls are taking, right? And the blame always goes to the mother. Now, I'm not saying anything about Lynne - I know nothing about her (though I don't think I'd give her the mother-of-the-year award), but what I would like to say is that maybe it isn't always mom's fault. Even though they are young, teens are individuals who make decisions regarding their own lives - and sometimes they just get it wrong, or messy, or whatever..... I'll bet that there are plenty of awesome mothers out there who did everything a mom could possibly do to love and teach and prepare their children and still their kids made poor decisions with whopping consequences. Now, I'm not letting moms off the hook - we obviously exert enormous influence in the lives of our children. But eventually, we as moms have to realize that even when we have done our very best, kids are sometimes going to make decisions that reflect themselves and not us. The question good mothers everywhere need to be asking is what our response will be if/when our kid decides to go ahead and make stupid, immature decisions for themselves. By the way, if you are interested, rumor has it that Lynne Spears is writing a book about her experiences as a mom.
NBC is airing a new show this fall called Baby Borrowers - and I totally can't wait to watch it! The idea is that they are taking five teen couples age 16-19 who are anxious to have their own lives and families and giving them the chance to experience the pains and joys of parenthood....they are given "real houses and real responsibilities the most important of which is to look after children from a range of age groups. They'll begin with an infant followed by a toddler, pre-teen, young teenager, and lastly a senior citizen." This is bound to be hysterical for us moms of young children who know day in and day out what that is like (though it hardly comes close to the reality of caring for your own child whom you love desperately.) And for parents of teens, wouldn't you just love to sit down and watch this with them? At any rate, I'm so curious to take a peek at this show. However, I do have to wonder......who exactly gave up their precious babies for 3 days to a teenage social experiment?
"OLDS 1999 Intrigue Totally uncool parents who obviously don't love teenage son, selling his car. Only driven for 3 weeks before snoopy mom who needs to get a life found booze under front seat. $3,700/offer. Call meanest mom on the planet."
All I have to say is that I wish more moms (and dads) out there would claim their authority to take firm discipline action with their children as needed. You go mom! You can read a short interview with Jane here to find out more about her discipline strategies and what happened with the car.
I have a teenage sister who begged my parents for a cell phone forever...finally she got her wish. I know she's not the only preteen/teen who wants to yield their own little supreme gadget of social connection, but as a parent, I also know what moms and dads are thinking... a mixed bag between the good, the questionable, and the irresponsible. So, do you give in to the pleas? Maybe, with the help of Kajeet. Kajeet is a pay-as-you-go service with no activation cost, no long-term contract, no cancellation fees, and no overage fees. It has all the bells and whistles that your kids want and all the control that you want. The only extra cost you may end up paying is the doctor's bill when your kid gets carpal tunnel syndrome from all of the frenzied texting!