TGIF-Weekend Reading

Weekend Reading:

Weekend Light



Spring Break has come to Chicago. As we approach this holiday weekend of Easter and Passover, family time takes over. Many of us will be enjoying food, and visits with relatives and friends as we celebrate and relax and spend some “quality time” with each other.


Parenting and boundaries…do you embarrass your kids or do you shame them on Facebook or even in your blog? As parents, we probably should learn some boundaries when it comes to “talking” to or about each other on social media.


We as parents do terrible things to our teens all the time. Our fashion humiliates them, we hold their hands in public or try to kiss them goodbye in front of friends. These are hurtful actions to our teens who are sometimes awkwardly maneuvering into adulthood while trying on different hats. Sometimes it’s slow and plodding, sometimes it’s at breakneck speed but always it is a path they are attempting to make for themselves and though we’re invited along for parts of the ride it’s appropriate for us parents to stand back a little and let them explore their worlds.

I love cooking but on any given day it can be a challenge putting dinner on the table. As a young parent, I definitely had more energy to accomplish this task, but as a grandparent it has become difficult with maintaining weight management and making healthy choices for three generations in the meal planning. I really related to this new mom, who wanted to have  home made dinners but cooking was no longer a relaxing time for her in the kitchen.


This became a habitual meditation — imagining my pre-baby dinner routine every time I sat down to feed my baby. Cooking had been my relaxation habit for years, the chop-chop-chopping of onions and the swirl of oil in a pan my fragrant, rhythmic ritual for slowing down after a hectic day. I loved it, and the memory of it calmed me when I needed to be patient with my fussy eater.

“Quantitiy vs. Quality Time” is always a parenting discussion. Do you use weekend time as quality, quantity time?


As an exhausted parent who doesn’t get enough time to work out, who hasn’t seen a grown-up movie for months, and who wishes that date night were an actual night rather than an idea, I understand why so many of us might seize on studies suggesting that we should take more time for ourselves. Perhaps we should. But we should do so without relying on misleading research. Far better that we make our parenting choices informed by the broader set of more reliable studies, which Ms. Kalil summarized for me as suggesting “that when parents spend high-quality time with their children, their children are more likely to succeed.”

Of course, you can’t have those transcendent moments unless you’re together — to some small extent, quantity begets quality. And that’s where this research should come back to reassure parents. We are spending time with our children, particularly when you look, not at one bad day, but at a week, a month, a year, an entire childhood spent together. When we are questioning ourselves, we tend to look not at the cumulative sum of our time, but at what we fear we’ve missed. We don’t need to spend every minute with our children, or every minute engaged in intense togetherness. The time we spend apart (sleeping, working, studying, building blocks, playing sports, staring into space) brings something to our interactions, too. It’s time to look at our family calendars as half full, not half empty.

Hoping that you all have a restful, enjoyable weekend!

Week in Review-Food for Thought…Saving Your Friend on the School Bus

Father Holding Daughter's Hand

Eating together as a family is recommended in many, many articles.

In some families, it is a sacred time, when they share food, and their thoughts with each other without the interruption of screens, phones, television or computers. Some families can manage dinner together several times a week others not so much.

With so many schedules competing for our time and that of our children, perhaps we need to assess how stressful it is for everyone to sit down and eat any meal together.

Maybe, we should re-evaluate how we spend time together and whether it has to be all together at a dinner table?

Perhaps, we can do other things together and use car rides  bike rides, or even walks to share precious moments with each other.

Julie Cole discusses her take on family dinner time…as a mom of six she has some suggestions, all of us might find helpful. Her expectations are realistic for her family.

What expectations are realistic for yours?

Parenting is a tough gig these days. There are a lot of studies and research directing us. While I think it’s important to consider the information that we are bombarded with, I like to integrate that with my experiences, some common sense, and the knowledge that I’m the one best fit to make the decisions for my family. The dinner table is not going to make or break my family. I’m quite capable of doing that all on my own, thank you. Check back with me in a few years though – if no one is using three syllable words, I may reconsider.

via The MabelhoodFeeding Time at the Zoo » The Mabelhood.


Another post this week from one of my favorite bloggers was inspired by Julie Cole’s article, it also deals with family dinner time and meaningful family time.

I have found that family dinners are difficult these days…my husband has a very long day and I am hungry way before he arrives home from work and so is my granddaughter.

When my own kids were young, we managed dinner together most evenings. It was hectic, but everyone looked forward to sitting down and eating a home cooked meal.

They may not have liked all the food that was served and there may have been many heated discussions along side the usual sibling issues but it was a family get together at the end of the day. I can say with certainty, It was definitely not  the Cosbys  but it was three generations sitting together talking or arguing about something or another.

Over the years, dinner time has morphed and now the weekend is when we enjoy calmer meals together, some at home and some out.

I have to admit when we eat out…it is much more relaxing for me and I actually enjoy what I am eating. This is not always the case when I am the one cooking, serving and cleaning up.

With age, I have learned that the dinner time togetherness can be forfeited for other meaningful moments of togetherness that are both relaxing and enjoyable.

For this reason, I love getting older and wiser and I love being able to read about how mom’s today like Annie and Julie have adapted togetherness time to include other enjoyable activities with their kids along with occasional dinners.


It’s not news – families that eat together regularly are better and the rest of us suck. Time Magazine reports that the more often families eat together, the less likely kids are to smoke, drink, do drugs, get depressed, develop eating disorders and consider suicide. They have a better chance of doing well in school, delaying having sex, eating their vegetables, learning big words and knowing which fork to use.



What would your child do if his school bus peer told him he just took a handful of pills and hoped he would die? Here is what Drew did…kids have to make decisions all the time and some of these decisions have far reaching consequences…how do we help them navigate their world?


Red-headed Drew Carlson of Woodland Middle School saved a life. He saved a family from the loss of a child. He listened to the hushed voice of his peer and he did not hesitate to call 911.

via 6th Grader Calls 911 Overdose From Bus | Elaine Pawlowski.

Have a wonderful weekend!


Recall of Baby Strollers…

About 9,525 strollers have been recalled due to risk of injury from brake failure.

Many styles of stroller are included in this recall.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission and Health Canada, in cooperation with phil&teds USA Inc, of Fort Collins, Colorado, have recalled about 9,525 Explorer (7,400 in the U.S. and 1,900 in Canada) and Hammerhead (160 in the US and 65 in Canada) strollers. The brake mechanism on the strollers can fail, posing an injury hazard. Eight incidents have been reported globally; none in North America. No injuries were reported.

via Recall | phil&ted Strollers | BabyZone.

Conversations with baby….


Any time that you spend with your child should be quality time in my opinion.

Talking to your baby is so very important…

One of the most precious times for me was when I took my daughter for a stroller ride. I had a rear facing stroller which made it easy to share these moments with her because she faced me.

But since most strollers are front facing…meaning that your child is facing away from you…it makes it impossible to engage in eye to eye contact with each other. There are definite advantages of front facing strollers…the child can see what is going on and is stimulated by all the activity along the way. But the person he/she is most engaged with is really you.

So instead of talking on a cellphone while strolling make this a special time for talking to baby. Baby is much a captive audience and that should be considered priceless.

My other time for engaging in wonderful chatter was when my daughter was in her car seat… my kids, I found were perfectly content listening to me talking or singing along with them as I drove.

There will be enough time later on for them to watch DVDs and listen to iPods…and when we are the last person they want to listen to.

I recall a few years back…I was on the 2nd Avenue bus in NYC for about 45 minutes. I love to people watch so I was watching the interaction between two babies with their nannies. Both babies were sitting in the very front of the bus on the laps of their nannies and they were facing forward. The little ones were interacting with all the passengers that were getting on and off the bus at each and every stop. The sad thing was there no interaction at all between the nannies and the babies…I watched and watched for some sort of playful exchange but saw nothing….troublesome …right?

I thought of how the moms and dads had entrusted their children to these nannies and how no nanny-cam was there to capture this bus ride.

In my view, it was a sad loss of an opportunity for the nanny to share some loving time with the child on this long ride. I tried to make excuses…maybe the nanny and child were just tired but when I saw no interaction whatsoever I knew that this was a nanny that I would not want for my child…ever.

So that all being said…these wonderful opportunities that present themselves should not be taken for granted. Our babies crave our attention and what better time to share some chatter than when we are in the car or strolling with them.

“Mothers talked to their children twice as much during the 15-minute toward-facing journey, and they also laughed more. The babies laughed more, too.

Of course, infants do not spend all their time in strollers, but anecdotal evidence suggests that babies can easily spend a couple of hours a day in them. And research tells us that children’s vocabulary development is governed almost entirely by the daily conversations parents have with them. When a stroller pusher can’t easily see the things that attract a baby’s attention, valuable opportunities for interaction can be missed.

via Talking to Baby in the Stroller –

Meanwhile, the findings already encourage us to think again about how babies experience stroller rides — and other forms of transportation like car seats, shopping carts and slings. Parents needn’t feel worried, but instead curious about the elements of the environment that attract their children’s interest. The core message of our findings is simple: Talk to your baby whenever you get the chance — and whichever direction your stroller faces.”