Produced by Gary Drevitch
FOR CHANUKAH THIS YEAR, ALL WE'RE REALLY LOOKING FOR IS A DVD PLAYER, THANKS ALL THE SAME
Women seeking to add a (one-night) frisson of excitement to their marriages are apparently lining up for hymen-reattachment surgery, or "revirgination," the Wall Street Journal reluctantly reports. And while a raft of medical authorities bemoan the boom in this unnecessary procedure, Jeannette Yarborough of San Antonio would not be deterred:
For her 17th wedding anniversary, [she] wanted to do something special for her husband [so she] paid a surgeon $5,000 to reattach her hymen, making her appear to be a virgin again. "It's the ultimate gift for the man who has everything," says Yarborough.
DON'T YOU EVER WISH YOU COULD KEEP THEM FROM GROWING UP TOO SOON? (NO, REALLY. WE'RE NOT JUST BEING WISTFUL)
Israeli researchers have developed a treatment which can delay the onset of puberty in girls by as much as a year. The implant would be used to treat "central precocious puberty," a condition in which puberty begins as young as seven or eight.
WE WERE WILLING TO GO ON THE RECORD ABOUT OUR OWN HOLIDAY VACATION PLANS, BUT THE TIMES NEVER CALLED US
As we come to the end of a year when the use of unnamed sources in the media factored into criminal indictments at the highest level of government, the New York Times faces yet another anonymous source controversy.
Sunday, the paper ran an appalling Styles section story by the inevitable Lisa Birnbach about ultra-wealthy Manhattan families who, when faced with their kids' daunting two-week private-school vacations, courageously spend one week in a sunny vacation spot and then another on the ski slopes. (Help yourself.) You'd think these families would be proud to tell the world how they solved the age-old dilemma of second-week beach-resort ennui. Turns out, not so much. As Birnbach noted:
"This mother would speak only if her name did not appear in the newspaper, a condition also demanded by most of the others interviewed for this article. It is not that the vacation plans of privileged Manhattanites are sensitive matters of national security. But the families did not want to expose themselves to envy, or even ridicule, because of the sumptuousness of their lives."
Do the mothers' concerns rise to the level of justified anonymous sourcing? You be the judge. The paper's internal guidelines for granting anonymity state that:
"The use of unidentified sources is reserved for situations in which the newspaper could not otherwise print information it considers reliable and newsworthy. When we use such sources, we accept an obligation ... to convey what we can learn of their motivation."
(Our thanks to the Columbia Journalism Review for pointing this one out.)
THE STATE ALSO WILL NOW LIMIT MATERNITY WARD VISITORS TO NO MORE THAN TWO MINTS FROM THE WICKER BASKET ON THE LOBBY RECEPTION DESK
The state of Massachusetts has made an inexplicably bad decision, banning formula companies from providing new moms with free gift bags during their maternity hospital stays. Since the handouts - typically, diaper bags (perfect for nanny use) loaded with freebies like CDs, photo albums, and growth charts - also included samples of, and coupons for, baby formula, the state determined that they wrongly promoted formula-feeding over breastfeeding, which the state advocates for all newborns.
That's all well and good, but we still want our free diaper bags! Loathe as we are to raise the temperature of this debate, we may have to trot out the "Scrooge" label here.
"REMINDS ME OF SOMETHING JAMES USED TO SAY: I LIKE 'EM FAT, I LIKE 'EM PROUD ..."
Slate answers the musical question, Do giant babies grow up to be giant adults? They sure do, and smart ones, too.
NOT ONLY THAT, BUT SOMETIMES, WHEN WE'RE TRYING TO CROSS THE STREET WITH OUR STROLLER, MYSTERIOUS DROPS OF WATER WILL START FALLING DOWN ON US FROM THE SKY, ALMOST WITHOUT WARNING - AND WHEN IT'S ESPECIALLY COLD, HEAVY WHITE FLAKES CAN FALL FROM THE HEAVENS, SOMETIMES RIGHT ONTO OUR BABY'S FACE, DISTURBING HIS NAP! WHY CAN'T THE MAYOR MAKE IT STOP? DOESN'T HE REALIZE THAT THE GODS MUST BE ANGRY WITH HIM? HE MUST MAKE A SACRIFICE TO THE GODS SO THAT THE DROPS AND FLAKES WILL STOP!
According to the New York Times, the greatest problem faced by parents in the city is not the lack of quality public schools, the high cost of living, or even the lack of space inside apartments - it's that sometimes, when they try to cross the street with their strollers, they barely have enough time to get to the other side, and even when they do, they face the persistent threat of "uneven or rough pavement."
WE STILL LOVE BEING PHYSICAL WITH FELLOW AND TINY, JUST AS LONG AS THEY STAY - OFF- OUR - BACK! COME ON, GUYS, WE MEAN IT! GET OFF! OW!
In case you missed it, Linda Baker wrote a column for the Times a few weeks back about how she loves kissing and stroking her 10-year-old son and eight-year-old daughter, and how she resents mainstream society for telling her it's wrong:
Here's the reality. I love to be physical with my son, and with my 8-year-old daughter too. I've been stroking and kissing them since the day they were born. And now I'm supposed to stop? Cold turkey? What kind of puritanical culture do we live in?
The column has engendered a lot of response, much of it negative, plenty of it positive, but you can put us down with Baker's supporters. Unlike the folks who write most of the child-rearing guides, Baker is emotionally honest enough to acknowledge that of course she loves to be physical with her kids - it's fun, it's positive, it's emotionally satisfying. She's also keenly aware that the day will come sooner than later when her two children, who now can't keep their hands off her, will demand that she never touch them again. And - like us - she wants to delay the pangs of that day as long as possible:
"I am, I tell myself, an intelligent, compassionate and disciplined woman who also wants to remain physically affectionate with her growing children. Will I eventually have to sublimate that desire? Of course. I know the physical boundaries between me and my kids will never again be as permeable as they are today or were in the past.
Filial independence comes at a cost. One afternoon my son and I will be sitting in a bookstore cafe, I sipping my cappuccino and skimming the newspaper while he gulps hot chocolate and reads "The Catcher in the Rye."
I'll reach out to stroke his hair. "Mom," he'll say. "Please stop."
And stop I will. But on that day I will weep rivers of tears."
THE MAGAZINE'S WORKING TITLE - PUSHING IT - WAS REJECTED DURING FOCUS-GROUP TESTING Did you know: The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists produces a magazine specifically for moms-to-be over age 35, and they call it Plum. It's unclear from the Web site, though, how anyone except OBs can actually order a copy. NATURE OR NURTURE? PICK YOUR POISON
THE MAGAZINE'S WORKING TITLE - PUSHING IT - WAS REJECTED DURING FOCUS-GROUP TESTING
Did you know: The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists produces a magazine specifically for moms-to-be over age 35, and they call it Plum. It's unclear from the Web site, though, how anyone except OBs can actually order a copy.
NATURE OR NURTURE? PICK YOUR POISON
Earlier, we referred you to Newsweek's recent cover package on anorexia, which reported that the onset of the disease might be explained, at least in part, by genetic factors. Now Kate Taylor, herself a recovering anorexic, responds in Slate that genetics is too simple, and almost too reassuring, an explanation for a disease whose number of victims is rising and which is spreading among previously unaffected ages and ethnic groups:
Until we discard the victim model and admit that anorexia, though destructive, often fulfills a deep personal need, we can't begin to investigate what makes a person vulnerable to it. Evidence that anorexia now affects an unexpectedly wide range of people provides an impetus for a new, more complex theory of the illness. But any such theory must acknowledge the willful aspect of anorexia, instead of trying to turn the disease into something as random and involuntary as a cold.
WE'RE ALL FOR A RICH FANTASY LIFE, BUT WHEN FELLOW BROUGHT TWO NARNIA BOOKMARKS HOME FROM THE SCHOOL LIBRARY TODAY, HE TREATED THEM LIKE WONKA GOLDEN TICKETS, AND WE DON'T WANT ANY PART OF THAT
Also in Slate this week, the estimable Alison Gopnik weighs in on why children love fantasy films like the Harry Potter and Narnia series. As has been proven by psychological studies over the years, it's not that they can't discern between fantasy and reality - it's that their innate scientific curiosity makes them ideally suited to imagine the possibilities of a fantasy world without getting hung up on the ingrained logic of our everyday world:
It's not that children turn to the imaginary instead of the real—it's that a human being who learns about the real world is also simultaneously learning about all the possible worlds that stem from that world. And for human children those possibilities are unconstrained by the practical exigencies of adult survival.
HAPPILY, YOU CAN TAKE THE GIRL OUT OF ALMATY, BUT CAN YOU TAKE THE ALMATY OUT OF THE GIRL?
Back to Slate once again: Their online diary this week is by NPR's Eric Weiner, who recently traveled to Kazakhstan with hopes of bringing home a baby girl. In today's entry, he tells of holding that girl for the first time:
. . . [T]hat's the thing about adoption. It's just like having a kid the regular way, only not. Unlike biological childbirth, there is no such thing as an accidental adoption. . . This is a deliberate, always conscious, undertaking. I can't say that makes it better—I wouldn't wish the process on anyone—but it does bring with it a certain sense of clarity. Why exactly do you want a child? What price—in money and sweat and tears—are you willing to pay? My answer, prompted by the two most beautiful eyes I have ever seen, is: as much as it takes.
JUST AS OUR SEVENTH-GRADE SOCIAL-STUDIES TEACHER WARNED, ASIANS ARE MAKING EVERYTHING SMALLER, FASTER, AND MORE EFFICIENT - INCLUDING KIDS
Ann Hulbert looks at the new book, Top of the Class: How Asian Parents Raise High Achievers—and How You Can Too, by a pair of Korean-American sisters who say their parents' strategies for raising children who would be admitted into top colleges can work for you too. Hulbert believes the book might intimidate white families who already find Asian-Americans to be the scariest immigrant overachievers in the nation's schools since, well, the Jews. She also suspects that American families could be put off by the "proprietary" interest in children the book assumes parents must take for the good of their future success, because it would mean limiting their freedom or forcing them into certain activities (orchestra) instead of others (XBox), a point she drives home mercilessly:
The truth is, it's hard to expect your kids to be superdiligent at school and slave away at extra studying if you aren't working tirelessly yourself and then squeezing in tutoring time with them at home—which the Kim sisters are rightly awed to say their parents did, night after night. (Standing on the athletic sidelines, cheering and chatting with other parents, is considerably easier.)
The worry is not that American kids are inherently stupid, or even lazy - but that their parents, focused on creating positive memories, and prone to elevating athletics above intellect, may be.
WE DID NOT BRING HOME A HOLIDAY PUPPY THIS YEAR, BUT THROUGHOUT HIS WALK HOME FROM SCHOOL YESTERDAY, FELLOW SCREAMED, "POOPY! POOPY!" SO IT WAS KIND OF THE SAME THING
Jon Katz argues against the "Christmas dog," because "no animal should be a surprise," and as excited as kids are to find a four-legged surprise waiting for them under the tree, when they lose interest in that inbred, puppy-milled pooch, you'll be left to walk and clean it yourself, or take it on a walk of shame back to the shelter. Instead, he advises, get an XBox or iPod: "You don't have to clean up after it, and if they lose interest, you won't have to walk it in the middle of a snowstorm."
Now, the Chanukah hermit crab, that's an entirely different story . . . we got a pair of them, and Fellow loves to play with them. He'll pick them up gently and hold them by their shells, watching their feet dangle, and telling us, "I'm being a scientist!" Then he'll perform such scientific experiments as seeing how they react to being dropped back into their tank from great heights. . .
[UPDATE: One hermit crab has passed away; one to go . . . ]
IN THE FUTURE, THERE WILL BE NO EXCUSE FOR HAVING SEPTUPLETS
New research shows that using a single embryo for IVF is as likely to result in a successful pregnancy as transferring multiple embryos - while greatly reducing the chance of higher-risk, multiple pregnancies. The studies took place in Seattle and Australia, and:
"... [show] the continued progress we are making in addressing the problem of multiple births. These studies will help us move to the goal of singleton pregnancies for all our patients," Dr. William Gibbons, president of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, said in a statement.
IN FOLLOW-UP INTERVIEWS, THE MALE MONKEYS SAID THE GIRL MONKEYS WERE "GROSS" OR "DOO-DOO HEADS," AND THE GIRL MONKEYS SAID THE MALES WERE "SILLY" OR "STUPID." THEN THEY BEGAN FLINGING FECES AT EACH OTHER, AND RESEARCHERS ENDED THE SESSION
In the latest proof that simians are just like people, boy monkeys, when given the choice, played with cars instead of dolls, while girl monkeys chose dolls over cars:
In the experiment, researchers put a variety of toys in front of 44 male and 44 female vervets, a breed of small African monkeys, and measured the amount of time they spent with each object.
Like boys, some male monkeys moved a toy car along the ground. Like girls, female monkeys closely inspected a doll's bottom. Males also played with balls while females fancied cooking pots.
Excuse us? "Like girls, female monkeys closely inspected a doll's bottom"!? What kind of girls have these researchers been hanging out with? Tiny Girl has plenty of baby dolls and while we've seen her give them bottles, get them dressed, and put them to bed, we've yet to see her inspect any of their bottoms.
THIS SALESMAN IS DEFEINITELY NOT GETTING THE GLENGARRY LEADS NOW
From the Boston Herald, Dec. 19:
Something stinks in the Briscoe Middle School bathroom, and it isn’t the toilets.
Beverly police say a jilted toilet-paper supplier was so miffed he lost his contract to sell to the schools, he decided to wipe out his competition.
Armed with a tube of superglue, he snuck into the school and glued the locks on four toilet-paper dispensers in a boy’s bathroom, preventing anyone from filling them, police say.
“It’s clearly not adult behavior,” said school committee vice president Michael Tallo.
Beverly police are seeking criminal complaints against the man for trespassing and damaging a school building. . .
THE BUILDING IS ON FIRE, YOU LIVE ON THE THIRD FLOOR, THERE'S NO WAY OUT, AND YOU'RE HOLDING YOUR ONE-MONTH OLD SON. WHAT DO YOU DO, HOTSHOT? WHAT DO YOU DO?
If you're Tracinda Fox of the Bronx, you say a prayer and toss the baby into the crowd below, hoping there's someone down there with the skill, courage, and luck to catch him safely - someone like, say, Felix Vazquez. (link includes video footage of the save)
AMICUS BRIEFS FOR THE SCHOOL DISTRICT WERE FILED BY THE PRODUCERS OF EVERY PRIME-TIME SHOW ON THE WB
A 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel of judges in California recently ruled that:
"There is no fundamental right of parents to be the exclusive provider of information regarding sexual matters to their children...Parents have no due process or privacy right to override the determinations of public schools as to the information to which their children will be exposed while enrolled as students." Judge Stephen Reinhardt, writing for the panel, said "no such specific right can be found in the deep roots of the nation's history and tradition or implied in the concept of ordered liberty."
Backstory: A group of parents had filed suit against their California school district after its schools gave first-, third-, and fifth-grade students a sex survey asking whether they ever thought about having sex or touching other people's "private parts," and whether they could "stop thinking about having sex."
Carrie Gordon Earll of Focus on the Family was predictably displeased by the court's decision in favor of the district:
"The 9th Circuit did more than rule against parents who were upset that their elementary-school-aged children were being asked explicit questions about sex in class. They told all parents they have no right to protest what public schools tell their children. . . . It's long been the liberal view that it takes a village to raise a child -- but never before have the 'villagers' been elevated, as a matter of law, above mothers and fathers. Every parent in America should shudder at this decision."
A group of parents have filed a petition with the court urging that the decision be set aside. Meanwhile, the local superintendent insists that the survey was created by a doctoral student who had not told the district about its sexual content when she asked for approval to distribute it. According to him, the school has apologized and moved on. We'll keep you posted.
FOR THOSE OF YOU KEEPING SCORE AT (OUR) HOME, THE MOST HIGH-TECH HOLIDAY GIFTS FELLOW RECEIVED WERE REMOTE-CONTROLLED CARS AND WALKIE-TALKIES
As far as FD.com is concerned, the question is asked and answered - and the answer is no - but last week's Times page-one article again raised the debate over whether electronic and video toys can make toddlers smarter.
The article breaks no new ground, certainly not for regular readers of this site. This just in: Researchers still aren't sure if any of these toys actually raise intelligence; child-development experts recommend using gadgetry only in the most limited doses; and manufacturers and licensers across the spectrum are jumping in the market because no one wants to cede toddler share to anyone else. (Sesame Workshop's president lays it out for the Times: "There are all these babies watching videos, and we wanted to address the reality that's out there and come up with something that is at least appropriate ... Ours are about sharing and caring, modeling good parenting ... We won't be making any boastful claims about school success.")
In fact, about all the Times article does is provide already-smug parents some fodder for tut-tutting, which was probably the idea all along. So help yourself:
"We own everything electronic that's educational - LeapFrog, Baby Einstein, everything," said [11-month-old Jetta's] mother, Naira Soibatian. "She has an HP laptop, bigger than mine. I know one leading baby book says, very simply, it's a waste of money. But there's only one thing better than having a baby, and that's having a smart baby. And at the end of the day, what can it hurt? ... "
"You're never too young to learn, and kids nowadays are more advanced because of all these educational toys," said Iesha Middleton, another parent shopping at Toys "R" Us. Ms. Middleton's son will be 3 next month. "I tried to teach my son his ABC's when he was 1, and I didn't get very far, but with the Leapster, he learned A-Z really fast, and he can count up to 50."
The V.Smile video game system ... features the motto "Turn Game Time into Brain Time" and cartridges called "smartridges." The V.Smile ... has a television ad where a mom tells her children, "You'll never get into college if you don't play your video games!"
THESE KIDS HAVE TO DRIVE HALFWAY ACROSS THE COUNTRY TO A DESPERATE, HURRICANE-DEVASTATED TOWN TO FIND PEOPLE WHO WON'T BEAT THE CRAP OUT OF THEM FOR WALKING AROUND IN CAPES
A group of Oregon teens have hopped into a biodiesel-fueled school bus to Bay Saint Louis, MS, where they'll help people recovering from Katrina in any way they can - while wearing capes:
The team members wear their superhero costume at all times, unless it gets in the way of a project. Their colorful capes help put people at ease, start conversations and add an element of fun .... "It's nerve-wracking and kind of scary to think about the risks involved," said Lotus Brashers, 15, who will be Little Peace Riding Hood. "Still, there's nothing I'd rather be doing."
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
The FDA says to avoid taking Paxil during the first three months of a pregnancy, as there is a risk of birth defects.
OH, COME ON NOW; WHO REALLY WANTS TO HAVE THIS CONVERSATION WITH THEIR DAUGHTER?
A Boston-area dentist wants teens to know that sexual practices like oral sex or French kissing can be risky if they or their partners wear metal braces:
Metal braces can scratch delicate genital areas, tear sensitive mouth tissues, or rip a hole in a condom. Such incidents increase the potential for sexually transmitted diseases and blood-borne pathogens, including HIV/AIDS, chlamydia, and hepatitis B and C. “Most teens and young adults don’t realize that metal dental braces can do some damage .... Even plastic braces still use metal wires and ties that can cause damage.”
THAT ADVICE HAS SINCE BEEN DISCREDITED? OOPS. . . HEY, FELLOW, YOU CAN COME ON OUT OF YOUR CAGE NOW AND HAVE A SNACK!
One of Britain's oldest parenting magazines, Nursery World, recently celebrated its 80th anniversary by taking a look back at the now-outdated advice it once peddled to parents of the realm. For example, if you had a fussy eater in 1926, you'd have been told to:
"... cut out feeding times for 24 hours. He has water in abundance, exercise, rest, peace. After that you will have no trouble with regard to food and the wicked boy may be transformed into a likeable young person who appreciates mealtimes."
IN OTHER NEWS, EMILY ELIZABETH WILL BE REPLACED IN THE NEXT "CLIFFORD" MOVIE BY THE KID FROM "THE BOONDOCKS"
Disney's coming out with a new Winnie the Pooh cartoon, in which Christopher Robin will be replaced with a sassy red-headed six-year-old tomboy:
"[T]he feeling was these timeless characters really needed a breath of fresh air that only the introduction of someone new could provide," says Nancy Kanter of the Disney Channel. "Christopher Robin is still out there in the woods, playing ... We hope people will fall for this new tomboyish girl. The last thing we want to be is the ones who brought the franchise down."
Christopher Robin is still out there in the woods, playing?! But not with Pooh? Then who is he playing with? Is he all alone? And is he keeping away from bees? You know, he has a terrible bee allergy and Pooh always carries Christopher's EpiPen with him when they go out searching for honey! Mommy, I'm scared for Christopher Robin! What did the mean lady from the Disney Channel do to him?
IT'S TIME TO PLAY, "JOURNEY TO ERNIE" - THE GAME WHERE ERNIE HIDES (A CORPSE) AND BIG BIRD SEEKS (IN THE WOODS)
He didn't learn this on Sesame Street: A murderer tries to hide his victim's body in woodlands owned by CTW performer Caroll (Big Bird) Spinney.
AND YOU STILL WON'T LET YOUR TWO-YEAR-OLD CLIMB A FLIGHT OF STAIRS?
A Missouri skydiver plunged 3,000 feet and landed face first when her parachute malfunctioned, yet not only did she survive, but the fetus she didn't know she was carrying is also doing fine.
LIKE WE'VE SAID SO MANY TIMES, AT 37 CENTS APIECE, THE UNITED STATES FIRST-CLASS STAMP IS ONE OF THE WORLD'S GREAT BARGAINS
The U.S. Postal Service wants families to know how they can help children address letters to God and/or Santa Claus this holiday season. And in quite a neat trick, the Post Office also promises that "[t]he USPS will see that the letter is received at the proper place." Really? Hey, taxi! Follow that truck!
EEEEWWWWWW! EEEEWWWWWW! EEEEWWWWWW!
A randy young man from Marseilles
Went a-dating on the Web one day.
Prince of Pleasure was his sobriquet,
He met a young thing named Sweet Juliette,
But she turned out to be his mom. Oy, vey!
Yes, a young Frenchman carried on a six-month online dalliance with his own mother. They both used aliases, and after she sent him a picture of herself - actually, a model scanned from a magazine - he just had to meet her. "I really started to fall for her ... She sent me poems she had written and told me about her dreams and desires, and it was really very romantic ... Mom says she was falling for me, too."
Now, there are two things we love about this story: One, this all would have stayed their embarrassing secret, never to be spoken of again, if only they hadn't planned their rendezvous for a restricted beach -- where a policeman cited them for visiting after dark! And, two, guess what? Mom's still married to Dad!
[H]is father Paul -- Nicole's husband of 27 years -- wasn't too happy when the story hit the news and his beer-drinking buddies made him the butt of their jokes. "Dad was ticked for a while and he forbid Mom to talk to anybody on the Internet ever again," said embarrassed Daniel.
Twenty bucks says Brendan Fraser and Kathy Bates star in the movie.
TODAY'S ADDITION TO YOUR LIST OF MEDICAL WORRIES YOU CAN'T DO ANYTHING ABOUT
The incidence of strokes in babies is on the rise: About 1,000 infants a year suffer a stroke during the newborn period or before birth — plus anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 children from age 1 month to 18 years. To add insult to (permanent) injury, it's hard for doctors, or parents, to recognize the effects quicky enough to deliver the correct diagnosis and the necessary treatment. Sleep well.
FOR NASTY HEAD LICE, DEATH BY MOISTURIZER
A California doctor claimed he'd whipped up a new and effective non-toxic lotion that would suffocate head lice, and he sold the product to parents for $285 a bottle. Turns out, what he was actually selling was repackaged Cetaphil. The good news? It still killed the lice.
AND AFTER THE FIRST DAY OF HUNTING SEASON IN PENNSYLVANIA, OUR SCORE IS DEER 2, LOCAL BOYS 0
Two kids are shot in the leg on the first day of deer-hunting season in Pennsylvania, one by himself and one by his dad, whose aim - and priorities - were a bit off:
Rodney Gilbert, 45, of East Stroudsburg, was hunting with his son in the Delaware State Forest in Middle Smithfield Township when a deer walked between the two. Gilbert fired, hitting the boy in the leg, according to ... the state Game Commission.
AFTER HE CLEARS THE KIDS OFF THE STREETS OFF THE WALES, STAPLETON PLANS TO USE HIS DEVICE TO SEND A MESSAGE ONLY SUPERMAN WILL BE ABLE TO HEAR, LEADING THE MAN OF STEEL TO AN ISOLATED LOCATION WHERE HE WILL FIND THE SOURCE OF THE TRANSMISSION - ENCASED IN DEADLY KRYPTONITE! Welsh inventor Howard Stapleton made the world news recently for creating a device which emits an irritating high-pitched ultrasonic sound which cannot be heard by people over 30. He plans to package his invention as a device to help municipalities clear rowdy or loitering teens off city streets. AND THIS, FROM OUR SISTER SITE, FREELANCE_BAD_DAD.COM As we headed to the chilly Berkshires this weekend, we discovered during a last-minute weather check that we'd be driving straight into serious snow conditions, so we ran back in to collect Small and Tiny's winter boots. Now, Fellow had a new pair of boots, hand-me-downs from family, which we swore he'd tried on earlier this fall, and that they fit. When we arrived in western Mass., we tried to put the boots on, over his vocal and pleading protests that they were too small. No, we insisted, they're just a little stiff, but we know they fit. Just try to get your foot all the way in. And so he did. He whimpered as he walked around in them during the very brief periods we ended up being outside, and took them off immediately as soon as he got the chance. When he started limping, though, we began to think there might actually be something to his complaints. So when we got back to the city, we strolled over to Harry's Shoes to try to find a new pair of boots. And we did. The new boots are size 13. The boots we forced onto his now-blistered feet? Size 11. Oops. MANHATTAN'S PRESCHOOL-AGE POPULATION REACHED 97,000 IN 2004 - AND TINY GIRL WON'T SHARE HER TOYS WITH ANY OF THEM
AFTER HE CLEARS THE KIDS OFF THE STREETS OFF THE WALES, STAPLETON PLANS TO USE HIS DEVICE TO SEND A MESSAGE ONLY SUPERMAN WILL BE ABLE TO HEAR, LEADING THE MAN OF STEEL TO AN ISOLATED LOCATION WHERE HE WILL FIND THE SOURCE OF THE TRANSMISSION - ENCASED IN DEADLY KRYPTONITE!
Welsh inventor Howard Stapleton made the world news recently for creating a device which emits an irritating high-pitched ultrasonic sound which cannot be heard by people over 30. He plans to package his invention as a device to help municipalities clear rowdy or loitering teens off city streets.
AND THIS, FROM OUR SISTER SITE, FREELANCE_BAD_DAD.COM
As we headed to the chilly Berkshires this weekend, we discovered during a last-minute weather check that we'd be driving straight into serious snow conditions, so we ran back in to collect Small and Tiny's winter boots.
Now, Fellow had a new pair of boots, hand-me-downs from family, which we swore he'd tried on earlier this fall, and that they fit. When we arrived in western Mass., we tried to put the boots on, over his vocal and pleading protests that they were too small. No, we insisted, they're just a little stiff, but we know they fit. Just try to get your foot all the way in. And so he did.
He whimpered as he walked around in them during the very brief periods we ended up being outside, and took them off immediately as soon as he got the chance. When he started limping, though, we began to think there might actually be something to his complaints. So when we got back to the city, we strolled over to Harry's Shoes to try to find a new pair of boots. And we did. The new boots are size 13. The boots we forced onto his now-blistered feet? Size 11.
MANHATTAN'S PRESCHOOL-AGE POPULATION REACHED 97,000 IN 2004 - AND TINY GIRL WON'T SHARE HER TOYS WITH ANY OF THEM
The Times examines the remarkable recent baby boom in Manhattan, in which the under-5 population rose 26 percent from 2000 to 2004, and details why this means that Tiny Girl will have no chance of ever being admitted into a top kindergarten program.
NOT LIKE IT'S ACTUALLY GOING TO HELP ANYONE, WHAT WITH THOSE 97,000 KIDS CLAMORING FOR SPOTS
New York magazine's recent guide to getting your child admitted into elite city kindergartens is, for that magazine, surprisingly level-headed. For those of you living outside New York City, however, we understand that it will sound completely looney tunes.
AND NOW, FREELANCE DAD'S "A PARENTING CAROL"
A PARENTING CAROL
Tiny Tim could not tie his shoes, to begin with. And so, as he ran around the kitchen, poking his sister, little Fan, each time he passed, he often stumbled on his laces and flopped on the floor. When he tired of this, he overturned the bathroom wastebasket, placed it upon his head, and leapt across the living room from couch to armchair and back until he crashed into the TV, nearly knocking himself out.
"Look at him!" Bob Cratchit, his father, said in frustration. "Where does he learn these things?"
"When he goes to kindergarten, he’ll surely be sent home on the first bus," said his mother, Molly.
"Or worse—we’ll be held up to public ridicule as woefully inadequate parents!" Bob said.
The Cratchits could not know they were being observed by a mysterious spirit, who resolved to return on that very night, Christmas Eve.
Indeed, as the clock struck one, the Cratchits were awakened by an eerie presence. "I am the Ghost of Christmas Past!" said the figure before them. "Arise. Take my hand!"
Never having met a spirit before, the Cratchits thought it wise to do as he said. They were immediately transported to a busy hospital emergency room. A tearful 3-year-old girl sat beside a grim-faced man.
"That’s me—and my father!" Molly cried out. "Dad, I’m here!"
"No one can see or hear you," said the ghost. "It’s Christmas Eve 1974, and you’ve been here three hours. But never fear, that Sugar Pop will be out of your nose by midnight."
And so the night went on, as the ghost led the Cratchits on a tour of their childhoods:
New Year’s Day, 1976: Five-year old Bob jumps on his bed shouting "Dyn-o-mite!" to celebrate an entire year of eating nothing but bologna sandwiches with artificially flavored fruit drink for dinner, until the motion—and the bologna—get the best of his belly and his Fat Albert blanket has to be sent to the junkyard.
August 20, 1977: Molly’s little brother comes home to find all of his Star Wars action figures missing their heads. "Chewbacca did it with his light saber! He must have gone crazy!" the 7-year-old girl swears.
"I remember that!" Molly said. "I laughed for a week!"
"And your brother cried just as long," the ghost said.
October 1, 1979: Once again, 9-year-old Bob tells his mother, "I dunno. Stuff," when she asks what he did in school that day.
That night, his mother says, "What will become of Bob?"
"Who knows?" his father responds, peering over his paper from his plaid recliner. "He’s still the only one in his class who can’t tie his shoes!"
By now, the Cratchits had seen enough. "Take us back, Spirit! We’ve learned our lesson! We were no better than Tim! Starting tomorrow, we’ll change our ways!"
And just like that, they were home, shaken but none the worse for wear. The next day, they rose early and roused the children.
"Children, get dressed! We’re going outside, to the town square!"
And they marched to the town square among the other holiday revelers. "This is our son, Tim!" Molly and Bob cried. "He can’t tie his shoes, he pokes his sister, and he puts wastebaskets on his head and crashes into things! And we love him!"
As the good people of the town cheered, Molly said, "Bless you, Tiny Tim! And bless you, little Fan!"
"Yes, bless us! Merry Christmas!" Tiny Tim said, just before he tripped on his laces, landed on the ice, and slid headfirst into a lamppost.
(C) 2005 Nick Jr. Family Magazine