Frumpy Middle-Aged Mom: Lost something? Not my problem

Marla Jo Fisher If my kids were cast into an episode of the TV show “Lost,” they would have to stay that way. Forever. This is because I have a very firm rule in my house: I do not look for kid stuff. Period. Exclamation point. End of paragraph. Some people think this one is […]

Child Sense: Tips for helping your child walk home from school

Priscilla J. Dunstan Consider the way your child relates to the world when planning his walk to and from school. Pick a route that is easy for your child to remember even if it may take a little longer. Turning one corner is easier for your child to remember than having to turn five. Find […]

Frumpy Middle-Aged Mom: My kids don’t know how fierce I am

Marla Jo Fisher There seems to be some sort of fundamental misunderstanding around my house, in which my children perceive me as being hideously old-fashioned and, in fact, just plain old. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am a very groovy, hip and with-it chick. I love to sit around and have a […]

Savings savvy: Three ways to teach your kids about money

Paula Sirois This morning I implemented a new program with my kids: He or she who yells, pushes or screams has to put $1 into a jar on the shelf. At the end of the week, whoever hasn’t broken the rules gets all the cash. By this afternoon, I had already deposited $5, my son […]

Child Sense: Tips for making a trip to the beach enjoyable for your child

Priscilla J. Dunstan Summer is often associated with going to the beach, and having fun with your children in the sun, surf and sand. Understanding your child’s sensory needs will make the experience even more enjoyable. The tactile child will take great delight in playing in the openness of the beach. As soon as their […]

Building Resilience in Children: The art and importance of listening

McClatchy-Tribune The key to getting a child to open up is to say very little. Simply use short phrases that reassure and prompt more conversation. This is particularly important at the beginning of a conversation because we want children to reach a point where they’re comfortable enough to express whatever is on their minds. To […]

Herding Squirrels: Greetings from a super villain

Traci Arbios As a young lass, I never wanted the “typical” dream of growing up and getting married and having 2.5 kids and settling down into the 3-bed, 2-bath home with the picket fence. Partial lie — I wanted the picket fence, but mostly I just wanted my parents to build a picket fence around […]

Dirty Laundry: When children won’t sleep, parents get desperate

Aisha Sultan Ginger Allington was getting up around the clock to nurse her baby back to sleep. Neither she nor her husband had slept much for months, and Allington says she remembers thinking: “We need to get him to sleep longer or I’m going to die.” Her husband, Adam, described that period of time as […]

Frumpy Middle-Aged Mom: Parents fantasize revenge on their kids

Marla Jo Fisher Seriously, you people have been mulling this over. Last week, I wrote a column describing my plans to get revenge on my kids when I’m a doddering old lady living in their house, for all the things they do now that set my teeth on edge. For example, I plan to drink […]

Dirty Laundry: Taking care of fathers complicates family roles

Aisha Sultan Amy Goyer left her home in Washington two years ago to care for her aging parents in Phoenix. Her mother had suffered a stroke two decades earlier, and her father was beginning to show signs of dementia. Goyer works at AARP as a family expert and has walked hundreds of caregivers through this […]

Frumpy Middle-Aged Mom: They’re young girls, not tramps

Marla Jo Fisher It’s nice to know that we can walk into any mall these days and outfit Curly Girl for her future career as a prostitute. Maybe she’ll meet Hugh Grant while she’s trolling the streets. Maybe she’ll be a stripper or a call girl who meets a nice married governor from Back East. […]

Child Sense: Try to give your child some control when their routine is disrupted in the summer

Priscilla J. Dunstan Summer break is upon us, bringing the inevitable mix of travel, visitors and changing sleeping arrangements. Children’s bedrooms turn into guest rooms for friends and relatives, suitcases replace closets as families travel, and children go off to camp. Though exciting, this can also be very stressful to children, who lose not only […]

Hello, we’re awesome: Kids who feel good about themselves make parents feel the same way

Paula Sirois My 8-year-old daughter and her friends started a band called Hello, We’re Awesome. I helped her design some fliers for their first performance, complete with star borders and stage names: Milk Chocolate, Mandarin Oranges, Laughing Twizzle and Tropical Starburst. Granted, they haven’t decided on the type of music they’ll play or if any […]

Dirty Laundry: Denial runs deep among sports parents

Aisha Sultan I knew the minute I saw a red-faced grown man hollering at his 5-year-old son during a soccer practice. I didn’t want my kindergartner playing with this crowd. His little friend with the very loud father seemed so eager to please that I couldn’t decide if the scene left me depressed or angry. […]

Frumpy Middle-Aged Mom: Mom vs. kid – Who will win droopy drawers war?

Marla Jo Fisher Late at night, I like to gather my children around me and tell them stories from the old days, back when guys wore belts to hold up their pants. I have to explain the concept of belts, of course, and that pants also used to fit around the waist, which prevented them […]

Frumpy Middle-Aged Mom: Who was foolish enough to give me kids?

Marla Jo Fisher Occasionally, people will pick up my column in the mistaken belief they are going to become informed about how to raise children. But, really, no one would come to me for parenting advice unless they’d been drinking heavily. As writer Lori Borgman wrote in her book, “I was a better mother before […]

Child Sense: Remember your child’s dominant sense while starting a garden together

Priscilla J. Dunstan Family activities are wonderful for creating memories, building family unity and having fun. It’s important to pick activities that the whole family can enjoy, remembering that not everyone enjoys things in exactly the same way. Building a spring garden together, while using each child’s dominant sense, can make each part of the […]

So, what can’t I eat now that I’m pregnant?

Now that you’re eating for two, what goes in your mouth is very important. Here’s what’s off-limits (or partially off-limits) and why. Alcohol It goes into baby’s bloodstream and could lead to big problems, from an increased miscarriage risk to issues related to development. Certain Fish Stay away from swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish, and shark, […]

Herding Squirrels: Pretty table? Yes I can

When it comes to hosting a family event in my world, let it be known: the bar has been set. I believe it all began 60 years ago, when my incredibly charming grandmother, Mimi, would have our extended family over for any type of get together. Imagine: children crawling on the carpet and having water […]

Wondering about the baby as arrival nears: What will he be like?

Editor’s note: This is Features Editor Kristen Jordan Shamus’s last column for a while. She’s set to deliver her son next week. Look for her Sunday column to return in the fall. I’m a riddle in nine syllables, An elephant, a ponderous house, A melon strolling on two tendrils. O red fruit, ivory, fine timbers! […]