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Waiting and Hoping

Hoping

She’s got them double crossed!!

Once again I have my fingers crossed hoping something will happen.  It, as it usually is in these cases, is completely 100% out of my control. Nothing I can do about it. It’s not even MY thing. And I wonder….does that seem to almost make it HARDER to take?

My Little One (now 10) had her audition for a local theater company on Tuesday. Callbacks were Wednesday – and yes, she got called. We were thrilled. But as it usually goes, not all kids who audition, or who even get asked to callbacks, will be cast in this production. And so we wait. Wait until they post the cast list Friday evening and see if her name is on it.

I know the routine well. I went through this whole process several times before with my son (different theater, different town, same routine) so in some ways I’m experienced in the waiting game. But this …

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What’s Happening to our Young Girls?

Are you the parent or grandparent of a young girl?  On second thought, are you the parent of a young CHILD (male OR female)?  If so, I hope you got a chance to read the New York Times Magazine article written by Elizabeth Weil about what is happening to many of our young girls today.

The Incredible Shrinking Childhood – How early is too early for puberty?

Why does this affect you?  Hopefully this is not something your family is experiencing first hand.  If it is, you might find the information and research discussed in the article useful.  If nothing else, you might see that your daughter is neither alone nor abnormal – early puberty is happening more and more frequently.  And that is how it starts to affect ALL of us – and why we all need to be asking ourselves WHY?

Two factors contributing to this cause me great concern:  body mass index and exposure to environmental …

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Have You Filled a Bucket Today?

Know any kids who have a tendency to say mean or unthoughtful things to their peers on occasion?  Familiar with any siblings who just HAVE to get out that zinger of a stinger, as if putting the other down builds him or her up?  If your frustration is building because of the constant verbal jabs flying around you, then you might be interested in something I stumbled upon; one simple concept (a bucket) that might just be your lifesaver!

The concept comes from the best-selling children’s book, “Have you Filled a Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids.”  Don’t let the kid part fool you – they say this book is for ages 4-9, but truly this book is for EVERYBODY.  It’s easy to understand, simple to do, and it really works!  In my current chaotic, busy life, that is music to this Zen Mama Wannabe’s ears.

The premise of the book is that we …

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Letter to Santa

No zip code needed for this one!

When I told the kids our plans for the holidays last night, I expected excitement, possibly some cheering, definitely lots of gleeful chatter. I did not expect the solemn looks on their faces as they continued to sit there in a quiet stupor.  Finally, my Little One spoke, in a voice that was almost a whisper.  “But Mama,” she asked, “What about Santa?  If we go away for Christmas, how will he know how to find us?”

Immediately my son – never one to stay out of a conversation for long – and obviously having had some time now to process all this – spoke up. “No – here’s what we need to do,” he said in his authoritative tone, sounding well past his 9 years of age. “You put a box by the front door, and then Santa can just leave the presents there and we get them when

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Should Older Boys Be Allowed in Women’s Restrooms?

What’s HE doing in here??

I cringed as I felt the hostility directed toward my son and me.  As our turn came up and I directed my children into the now vacant stalls, I wondered if I should address the middle-aged sourpuss whose only fault was perhaps saying her thoughts out loud.  It was a split second decision and I chickened out went about our business and left without trying to enlighten her in any way.

I resented that lady’s comment and her tone – and how without thinking she embarrassed my son and irritated me – at the same time, I get her point.  It is a bit unnerving to see older boys (past the age of 5, let’s say) in the women’s restroom.  Little boys seem oblivious to it all, but older ones appear out of place. There is a bit of awkwardness that we all experience and I understand why that woman felt an intruder had entered

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Teachable Vacation Moments – But for Whom?

You take a trip, your kids do great, and on the last day you let them pick out a special souvenir.  Sound familiar?  But what happens if they lose that souvenir before they ever get home? Let’s say it gets left behind, at the hotel or on the airplane.  Your child gets home, eager to use it and it cannot be found.  The house gets searched, the car gets searched, the backpack gets checked over and over again – but alas, it’s not there.  Tears fall, his heart breaks, until a light bulb goes off in his head:  hey, I wonder if I can find it on Amazon?!

You know as he sits there clicking the mouse what the search result will be.  Yes, he will find it there – at even a slightly better price than you paid (thank you very much) at the gift shop.  But that isn’t really the point – is it?  The point is that …

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Progress Reports: Do Parents Make the Grade?

Progress Reports from our elementary school went home last week.  Unless you were like me and didn’t actually receive it until today – a full week later – when the teacher made us a second copy (as the original seems to have gotten lost in the Black Hole otherwise known as my son’s cubby). Interestingly, this particular progress report has made me pause in a way none other has before and this Zen Mama Wannabe cannot help but wonder: what is more telling – their actual progress or our reaction to it all?

For example, is it just human nature to skim over all the high marks and go immediately to the one or two areas that aren’t given an outstanding score?  Excellent, excellent, excellent, needs improvement, excel….. WHAT WAS THAT?  NEEDS IMPROVEMENT?????  Suddenly the lights dim and the spotlight shines on the area(s) that aren’t perhaps quite up to snuff.  Thoughts immediately race toward what we can …

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Can Your Kids Pass the Test?

Ready for the latest IQ test for your kids?  It is an easy one; all you need are 10 items, presumably easily obtainable in grocery stores all across the country.  It is a simple quiz of identification: can your child correctly identify each of the 10 items?

* Sweet Potato
* Broccoli
* Eggplant
* Tomato
* Carrots
* Bell Pepper
* Brussels Sprouts
* Asparagus
* Onion
* Spinach

One point for each right answer.  Bonus points if your child can not only identify it, but eats it on even an occasional basis.  What do you feel would be an acceptable score?  Is it fair to say “failing” would be getting less than half right?

Guess what? Our kids are FAILING.  Across the country, they are FAILING.  If this was a math test, adults would be up in arms.  If this was a reading comprehension test, parents would be demanding more time allotted in school to study …

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Your Grandparents Knew it — Why Don’t You?

The report has made headlines this week.  No – not the damage assessment from Haiti.  Not the latest unemployment numbers or the polling numbers from the Massachusetts special election.  No, in the midst of all that, come these findings that are shocking parents across the country (and if they are not, they should!!)

U.S. Kids Using Media Almost 8 Hours a Day

Yep – do the math:  nearly 8 hours a day times 7 days per week equals more time than most adults spend in a full-time job!  Seriously.

As the report’s co-author Victoria Rideout, vp and director of the Program for the Study of Media and Health at the Kaiser Family Foundation says:

Anything that children spend that much time doing is something that needs to be studied.  Media use is neither inherently good or bad, but from a health perspective there are a lot of things to think about.”

The first thing to think about is WHERE ARE …

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The Confidence of Youth

Confidence-PostersDefinition of CONFIDENCE (noun): 1. full trust  2. self-reliance, assurance or boldness

Look at the children around you.  Especially the young ones.  So often they are just bursting with confidence.  You see it in how they swagger, with their heads held up high.  You hear it in their voices, for their words carry little doubt in terms of what they feel they will accomplish.  You feel it in their dreams and plans for the future.  Kids talk of being professional athletes, famous actors, inventors, leaders, etc.  They dream big dreams, with all the belief that if they want it, it will come true. So what happens along the way?

On Friday, my son auditioned for his second musical production at our local theatre.  Two days later, the call back list was posted on their website.  I held my breath as I waited for the page to load.  They are quick to say being asked to the call backs does not …

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