Have a little time today you can spend with your kids and want to watch a short film? Here’s the cutest little sequel to the movie Tangled, and you can watch it now for FREE. Watch the Disney short of Tangled Ever After with your little ones today. I love Tangled as much as my girls, so I was excited to watch this with them!
Our baby Sam has hit his stride at three months: he’s sleeping through the night, smiles spontaneously and has discovered his ability to vocalize. Everyone in the house is happy now that we’re back on track with a somewhat normal sleeping pattern.
He’s at that age where he now responds to toys, stuffed animals; or anything that squeaks, rattles or clutches easily in his tiny hands. His nursery sports a basketful of plush toys… there has to be 15 to 20 in there, everything from Reindeer Pooh to an ecofriendly Blabla doll. It is shocking how much stuff a baby can acquire in a mere 90 days – of course, it’s the result of well-meaning friends and family members.
Sam wants for nothing. I have a feeling this is pretty similar to how most young lives play out. So as a parent I’m already wondering how we stop all the stuff from taking over. A friend pointed us to an article in the magazine, Best Life called Monsters Inc. and as a new parent it’s been a fascinating read on how marketing and consumerism impact kids. Here’s an excerpt:
Well, I’m not uptight, okay, and I don’t live off the grid or in a yurt. I’m just a dad who has figured out that the business of selling things to kids has reached a fever pitch in this country, and even the best efforts of parents to defend their children from the onslaught can leave them feeling surrounded, outnumbered, and outgunned. I have also learned that researchers have linked this phenomenon with a host of negative consequences for kids. Childhood obesity and the sexualization of girls garner the headlines, but those who have studied the problem say these issues are simply the more glaring symptoms of a larger illness. Read the rest of this entry »
When I started putting my daughter’s nursery together, I knew what I wanted: modern, neutral colors. Cute organic Euro-designed wood toys (all gifts or found at the second-hand store). Lots of books. And NO plastic.
I was most militant about the plastic part. There are real health reasons for avoiding plastic toys, as well as my more questionable aesthetic ones. And then there’s the environmental impact–nothing shouts ‘carbon footprint’ as loudly as a discarded Tickle Me Elmo.
Well, here we are, almost two years later. And I am drowning in a sea of plastic clutter. Noisy, tacky, environmentally questionable clutter.
Why? Kids at this particular developmental stage love it. Anything that is brightly colored, beeping, and requires batteries that are not included is instant toddler crack. Moreover, they love choice—they crave a dizzying variety of shapes, sizes, and sounds. They learn through choosing, sorting, and discarding. Toddlers are capricious; the beloved squeaky toy of yesterday is cruelly cast aside for something shinier (and probably more expensive) the next. In fact, the “Terrible Twos” should be renamed the “Tacky Twos”. Read the rest of this entry »
When I post my next Queercents article, we’ll have a new president-elect.
Yipee! (Hopefully, that yipee isn’t premature…)
For those of us still shell-shocked from the disaster of 2004 (not to mention 2000), the excitement and anxiety are overwhelming. I’m all too aware of the problems with electoral politics, the winner-take-all system, the undue influence of PACs, those wacky ‘undecided’ voters, the use of queer issues as the poltical football du jour, and so on. As a queer parent, I see my issues get misrepresented and/or ignored by virtually all parties. I’m skeptical about mainstream candidates’ commitment to our issues. I have often had to hold my nose before pulling the lever. I think a two-party system ill-serves the diversity of the electorate.
And yet I still believe voting is one of the most important acts of citizenship we can perform. Why?
1) Your vote is your family’s voice.
I’m not a fan of those “Babies for Obama” onesies; I’ll let my kid decide for herself which candidates/parties she supports when the time comes (I’m the same way about those “I Love My Two Moms” onesies; how do I know how she really feels about this, given that she’s too small to express an opinion about carrots vs peas?) I do fantasize about voting for her one day…which probably ensures that she’ll turn out wildly apolitical. Read the rest of this entry »
Toddlers love toys. They crave novelty, and are rather fickle: yesterday’s favorite plushy is quickly abandoned for the allure of a new board book. And they love noise—making it, hearing it, and pressing buttons that elicit it. Too often, this all adds up to pricey, environmentally unsound trips to plasticland, a.k.a. your local megatoystore.
Instead of littering our planet and your child’s world with nonbiodegradable, not too mention aesthetically revolting, plastic toys, why not make your own? I am a working mom, short on time, who is also rather three-thumbed—I love the idea of making stuff, but I’m a terrible sewer, can’t cut in a straight line, and am chronically low on patience for such things. So with all this in mind, here are some suggestions for homemade toys that are environmentally sound and, most importantly, highly entertaining to toddlers. Some are more involved than others, but all are easy, quick, and fun to make with your toddler.
1) The Booble-de-Bop
Okay, so if you’re intimidated by crafty stuff, this is the place to start. Place a shiny plastic object (we use a string of hot pink Mardi Gras-style plastic beads of unknown provenance) inside a plastic bottle. Close it tight. Let the great rumpus begin! The sound on your hardwood floors will make you want to jump out of a window, but your kid will be entertained for hours. For slightly older kids, attach googly eyes, bells, boas, etc. (all cheap and easily found at your local crafts shops). Read the rest of this entry »
It’s only early August, and yet you’re already probably inundated with back-to-school advertising! My advice is to enjoy the ever-shrinking summer while it lasts, but here are some tips for going green while saving the greenbacks once you do start getting ready to send your kids back to school.
One caveat: my daughter, despite her ability to ‘go get the y’ from the alphabet magnets on the fridge, is only a year old and hence not in school yet, so these are ideas gleaned from others. Do you have some tips that have worked for your kids? Add them in the comments. And enjoy the fleeting sweetness of summer, while it lasts. (In that spirit, there’s an ice cream recipe in a link at the end of this article, proving that pink and green parenting can be fun!)
1) Brown bag it. And reuse the brown bag. A homemade, brown-bagged lunch is a yummy, healthy, and green alternative to the junk in the school cafeteria. And it’s cheaper, too. Avoid prepared foods, especially those that claim to be something known as ‘lunchable’, and use as little packaging as possible. Get your kids on board with this by letting them help choose what’s in their lunches. Read the rest of this entry »
My daughter loves being outdoors, but with skin cancer rates rising nationwide, and with her inherited bad skin-cancer luck (three of her great-grandparents and one of her grandparents have had skin cancers ranging from the benign to the quick killing sort), I’m concerned about protecting her. I’m also concerned about putting expensive, toxic gunk all over her…that might kill her more readily than the skin cancer that it’s supposed to prevent!
To put it bluntly: sunscreens suck. By the EPA’s own definition, sunscreens are chemicals that protect skin by absorbing and/or reflecting UVA and UVB rays. PABA, the most common chemical in sunscreen is a known carcinogen, as are many of the other common ingredients found in sunscreen. Sunblocks, on the other hand, are made of ingredients that themselves simply block, reflect, and scatter the sun’s rays, without any chemical reaction. But many products labeled as sunblock really aren’t—they contain PABA or other chemicals. As I noted previously, skin products aren’t monitored for safety the way food products are, even though new scientific evidence suggest that they may be absorbed even more directly into the bloodstream. Read the rest of this entry »
In a previous post, I expressed my angst about having purchased onesies from Steve and Barry that were made with child labor.
The good news is that you can go buy those Steve and Barry/Sarah Jessica Parker-inspired onesies that I told you about. According to this report, they do not rely on child labor. And they’ve lowered their prices! So snatch up some of those groovy green and purple stripey onesies I told you about with a clean conscience. And maybe pick up some of SJP’s latest designs for yourself, if you’re so inclined (her dresses are a bit too Desperate Housewivesy for me, but I did pick up some cute metallic ballerina flats and relived my high school bunhead days).
In another post, I talked about the potential hazards of BPA leaching from plastic baby bottles. Read the rest of this entry »
Buried in this week’s headlines about the election, sex scandals, and so on, was this item: “Toxins Found in Leading Organic Brands”. Upsetting, no?
New tests show that known (and utterly inorganic) petrochemical-based carcinogens, which are particularly harmful to babies and children, were found in a shockingly wide range of skin and beauty products labeled and marketed as ‘organic.’
Some of these products are even marketed specifically to babies! Here’s the complete list, and the results of the study.
According to the results of the study, “the California Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classes 1,4-Dioxane as a leading contaminant of groundwater and suspects it to be a kidney toxicant, neurotoxicant and respiratory toxicant.” Yikes! Read the rest of this entry »
Though I’m not a fan of most over-commercialized holidays, I love the ritual of honoring someone on the brink of parenthood. And it’s often the last chance to have uninterrupted adult time with them (of either the coffee klatsch or XXX variety) for… oh, eighteen years or so.
But though I love the spirit of the baby shower, I don’t embrace its commercialism (and underlying assumptions about gender, parenthood, and all the rest). So no, I’m not a fan of pink or blue onesies, prefab baby books, puerile joke gifts, or cookie cutter “you’re special, new mom!” sentiments. I strive to make my shower gifts memorable, meaningful, eco-conscious… and cheap. Read the rest of this entry »