Terrible tech toy tortures toddlers and tweens

Apptivity Monkey

We don't own a TV, so I don't see many ads. But since I love the NBC show Parenthood, I had to subscribe to HULU Plus to catch the show every week. There, I'm subjected to the every-eight-minutes commercial assault on our minds, dignity, and behavior so central to the TV "experience." This, HULU Plus calls "limited commercial interruption." I call it Hell. Ever since my HULU subscription … [Read more...]

The real war on Christmas and why it matters

Bill O'Reilly

Christmas season is making me tired. Every year, I get tired of hearing jaunty, NutriSweet-y jingles that sound like they're sung by Hello Kitty touted as "Chrismas Carols" and played earlier and earlier in the fall. "Here Comes Santa Claus" on November 11 — it's a revolting enough song if you have to hear it once. But do we really need to endure this particular brand of nausea for a full six … [Read more...]

Homemade Halloween


We're running this piece from 2010 again in celebration of the upcoming Halloween. One of my worst parenting memories happened when I took my daughters trick-or-treating on the vaunted Lawn of the University of Virginia campus one year. The girls were about six and four at the time, and the picturesque associations of the annual UVa. Halloween tradition conjured up by friends made it … [Read more...]

Explaining police brutality to kids

Pepper cop cherubs

Watch out kid, or I'll give you what for. Photo: PepperSprayingCop.Tumblr.comWhat a quandary we find ourselves in. As parents, we want to uplift and encourage our children, to have them believe with hope and admiration in the founding documents of our nation —the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights. The last thing anyone wants is to foster in our kids an early … [Read more...]

Occupy parenting

Mother and child

I can identify with what's said about dying soldiers—that in their last moments they call out for their mothers, seeking, perhaps instinctively, that all encompassing comfort that mothers can give. My mom died quite unexpectedly ten years ago. Late on a Halloween, she simply went to sleep and never woke up again. And though we were very different, and the relationship was more superficial than … [Read more...]

Children in Transition: Art, nature, life

Nature Child

Recently I sat in on a Transition US webinar on Children in Transition with Dianne Monroe. Monroe calls herself an “Expressive Arts Facilitator"—she creates, leads workshops, and mentors in San Antonio, Texas. Her purpose with the presentation was to look at how our interactions with children, as parents, extended relatives, educators, and community members, can help them meet the future. … [Read more...]