November 2011 baystateparent Magazine

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Nov. 2011

baystat bayst ateparent eparent Massachusetts’ Premier Magazine For Families Since 1996

A LIONESS WITHOUT HER MANE WHAT ONE MOTHER DID FOR HER SON

DRAMA FOR MAMA DRESSING UP YOUR THANKSGIVING TABLE

very special children THE DAY SOMEONE TOLD ME THE TRUTH: A MOTHER’S STORY

EARLY INTERVENTION Q&A THE BOY WHO CRIED SILENTLY: 16 YEARS LATER

WHAT’S RAW MILK, AND WHY ARE FAMILIES DRINKING IT? Voted Best Parenting Publication in North America 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010


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our special guest steven king

Owen MacDougall, age 3, Holden

24

Captured by Shawna Shenette Photography

table

OH, THE PLACES YOU’LL GO

Give thanks for all the fun the Bay State offers families this month including a bounty of parades, Nutcracker performances and festivals.

38

46

IN THE WRONG CHAIR

A loving Holden mom and professional therapist shares a year of her life as she copes with the news that her baby has special needs. Honest and raw, this is an eye-opening read.

A LIONESS WITHOUT HER MANE

Each weekday in the United States, 46 mothers hear the words, “Your child has cancer.� Maria Joffrion of Leominster was one of 46 mothers from across the country who shaved their heads in honor of a child fighting cancer.

the of the home

NOVEMBER 2011 • VOLUME 16 • NUMBER 7

in every issue 10 11 12 13 13 14 15 21

34 LET’S ROLL: Special Places 36 MOMS ROCK: Lotte Diomede, Sudbury

WELCOME GUESTBOOK FINALLY, FOREVER: Haiti to Home CIRCLE OF FRIENDS

38 IN THE WRONG CHAIR 45 THE BOY WHO CRIED SILENTLY 47 YOUR CHILD IS SUPER STRONG 48 WHAT EVERY PARENT NEEDS TO KNOW

NOVEMBER’S CHILD JUNKDRAWERS DIRTY LAUNDRY WITH CHRISTINE HURLEY

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TAKE GOOD CARE: Should You Go Raw? ON MY PLATE: Laid Off Again CAPTURED: A Bounty of Babies

something special 16 CLOWN AROUND: It’s Serious Family Fun 20 DRAMA AT THE THANKSGIVING TABLE

46 A LIONESS WITHOUT A MANE

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e m o c l e W Bye-bye birdie. I had steak on Thanksgiving when I was a little girl. Medium-rare please. I dreaded my place at the holiday table for fear of relatives commenting, “Is that all you’re having? Don’t you like turkey?” A buttered roll only takes you so far through that looong, awkward meal. Very thankfully, my grandfather came to my rescue. Saved by steak. The sight of sirloin instead of turkey was such a relief to my finicky 7-year-old self. Truthfully, my grandfather and I really didn’t interact much. We would visit his house every Sunday, but I hung out with my aunt, who has special needs, listening

to Tony Orlando albums and learning how to play Crazy 8’s. He talked gardening and drank coffee with my dad. But love comes in many forms, and he showed his by buying a special steak just for me on Thanksgiving. Whether you agree with serving a separate entree for your child on Thanksgiving or not, the fact that he made accommodations so that I would enjoy a holiday meal at his table is what I’ll always remember. Making accommodations is something that parents of children with special needs know all too well. And if it were as simple as serving steak as an alternative to turkey, I am sure they would be most grateful. But life for the parent of a child with special needs is not simple. Everything from n ccommunication and sleep to education aand play takes extra attention, ressearch, work and energy. This month, bbaystateparent takes you to special places such as the Wheelock Family Theatre in Boston and The Discovery Museums in Acton, places where parents of children with special needs can feel comfortable having fun. We introduce you to a Sudbury mom determined to get every child to the beach and in the water. We invite you inside the heart of a Holden mom, whose son, Owen, diagnosed with Fragile X, graces our cover this month. We’re here for all parents. We hope that you take advantage of all that baystateparent has to offer including: You are not alone. Our Facebook page posts giveaways, free events and suggestions for family fun each

and every day. We are a friendly and helpful community of parents, posting quick tidbits of juicy information several times a day. Just search baystateparent Magazine. Don’t be bored. Our website, baystateparent.com, has an online calendar that is updated daily with the latest events and happenings. You can search by topic or date. FREE stuff. Visit baystateparent.com for free tickets, DVDs and hot new family items every month. We update our giveaways frequently and have a super-easy, quick request form. We’ll spice up your weekend. We send out an e-newsletter every Thursday with family fun suggestions for the upcoming weekend. To receive a copy, please sign up at baystateparent.com. Don’t miss out. You can flip through any issue of baystateparent, including the current one, by clicking “Find a Copy” and “The Archives.” Get it off your chest. Make us laugh. We accept reader essays. To be considered, please email essays to editor@baystateparent.com. All Grown Up Now and Eating Turkey-

Carrie editor@baystateparent.com

Owen MacDougall,

2. There seems to be a glow around Owen. Tell us about that. He’s the very definition of a contagious smile. Some people say he’s a flirt, but he’s an equal opportunity charmer – I’ve seen him befriend surly cashiers, tattooed bikers, and just yesterday the guy working the tollbooth on the Mass Pike started talking to him. He just makes people smile. 3. Tell us about some of Owen’s favorite things. Owen adores his big sister and loves his preschool friends at the Early Childhood Center in Jefferson. He runs to the bus every day! He loves Sesame Street, especially Cookie Monster and Elmo. We have 10 NOVEMBER2011

creative director PAULA MONETTE ETHIER 508-865-7070 baystateparent@holdenlandmark.com

promotions JENNIFER ANTKOWIAK 508-269-1728 jemsa2@charter.net

graphic designer STEPHANIE MALLARD 508-865-7070 srenaud@holdenlandmark.com

sales & business development manager STEPHANIE PEARL 774-364-0296 stephaniep@baystateparent.com account executive STACI LaTURNO BISSET 774-364-5073 stacil@baystateparent.com account executive EMILY RETTIG 774-364-4178 emilyr@baystateparent.com account executive DAWN HINES 413-626-2789 dawn@baystateparent.com contributing writers

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508-865-7070

www.baystateparent.com campguide.baystateparent.com www.massfieldtrips.com baystateparent Inc. is published monthly with a main office at 117 Elm Street, Millbury, 01527 508-865-7070 Fax 508-865-7979 It is distributed free of charge throughout Massachusetts. www.baystateparent.com • info@baystateparent.com

4. As the parent of a child with special needs, what are some words that you will never forget? At Owen’s 1-year pediatric appointment, I voiced concerns to his doctor who told me Owen was “just lazy.” That experience has taught me to always listen to my gut maternal instinct and those who know most about children do not always have fancy degrees.

Editor’s Note: Owen has a genetic condition called Fragile X, the most

editor CARRIE WATTU 508-865-7070 editor@baystateparent.com

117 Elm St., Millbury, MA 01527

three Labradors, and we always find Owen snuggling with our yellow one, Daisy.

5. Tell us about some of Owen’s victories and milestones that your family has celebrated. We get psyched about all his new words. Dad and I are particularly excited about how much he loves to clean up after himself without being asked and how enthusiastic he is doing chores around the house. Anything to do with the potty is also a joyous occasion.

publisher GARETH CHARTER 508-749-3166 x153 gcharter@holdenlandmark.com

baystatestateparent

age 3, Holden

1. What does Owen love about Thanksgiving? He’s a meat eater, so he will be eating lots of turkey and gravy. He loves to eat so he’s a happy boy when his dad cooks a huge meal for the holiday.

baystateparent

MICHELLE CARR BONNIE TOOMEY KATHLEEN QUINN STEVEN KING AMY CORNELIUSSEN LAURA RICHARDS CHRISTINE GUANIPA AMANDA ROBERGE SHAWNA SHENETTE FAYE HURLEY BETH WALSH CHRISTINE HURLEY presidents KIRK and LAURIE DAVIS

Meet Our Cover Model

Answered shared by his mom, Kathleen Quinn

Massachusetts’ Premier Magazine For Families

Distribution Agency: Insight Distribution Management 978-728-7785/603-661-8370 • Insightdm@yahoo.com

Massachusetts' premier magazine for families has earned more than 130 national and regional awards since 2004, including 30 in 2010: shawna shenette photography

common inherited cause of mental impairment and the most common known cause of autism. To read about a year in the life of Owen’s mom, Kathleen Quinn, turn to page 38.

17 Parenting Publications of America Awards 8 New England Newspaper Press Association Awards 5 Suburban Newspapers of America Awards Including Best Parenting Publication in North America 2010


GUESTBOOK PRINCESS AND PONIES: “Thank you baystateparent for the $75 iParty gift cerfticate that I won in your giveaway. My daughter, Tatiana, turned 1, and I bought the balloons, paper goods and many decorations at iParty. It was a great help!” - Jessica Ortiz, Milford EDITOR’S NOTE: Visit baystateparent. com as we post new giveaways frequently. It’s quick and easy to request a prize!

I

love to pick up the hard copy of baystateparent but often forget about the online version. Thank goodness for your Facebook page. That usually brings me to the website. Darri Wenning, Leominster

EDITOR’S NOTE: baystateparent.com offers parents an online family events calendar as well as giveaways; both are updated frequently. You can also flip through any issue of baystateparent on our website, including the current edition, by clicking “Find a Copy” and then “Archives.” “I’m OK. I’m at Isabella’s house with her mom.” That was the phone call I received on a Friday afternoon at 3 p.m. from my 7-yearold daughter. In my mind I questioned, “Why are you at Isabella’s and not at the after school program?,” but before I could ask, my daughter explained that she had been sent home on the school bus by her teacher, even after explaining to the teacher and the office that no one was home at her house. My quick-thinking daughter alerted her friend’s mother at a bus stop along the route (which was still a good mile from our house) and the mother requested to look after my daughter until I could be notified. The bus driver should have declined the offer and driven my daughter back to school, but released her to the mother. As it turns out, the school secretary gave a post-dated note to the teacher who also did not notice the date and then informed the after school program that my daughter would be riding the bus. When my daughter spoke up about the situation to her teacher, she was shunned, and when she informed the office about it, she was told to “Listen to your teacher.” Had my daughter not been so smart, I hate to think what could have happened. Parents should practice scenarios like this with their children and teach them to know their routine, memorize their parents’ work phone numbers and the numbers of stay-at-home parents, have a go-to house in case of emergencies and speak up when things are wrong. Parents need to be aware of how easily this can happen. Jennifer Manning, MetroWest

Do you have what it takes to become a foster parent? The Home for Little Wanderers, the nation’s oldest child welfare agency and one of the largest in New England, is actively seeking Boston-area residents who are considering becoming foster parents. Free information sessions are being held at The Home in Roslindale on Wednesdays, Nov. 2 and Dec. 7, 6 – 8 p.m., and Saturdays, Nov. 19 and Dec. 10, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. At one of these information sessions, you will learn about the foster care process and program expectations of a professional foster parent, the process of becoming a foster parent and whether it is right for you. Space is limited and registration is required. To register, contact Recruitment Coordinator Lina Fox at 617-264-5323 or lfox@thehome.org. Rachel Palmisciano The Home for Little Wanderers I have enjoyed baystateparent since my oldest was a baby. Keep up the great work! Maggie St. Jean, Whitinsville

WINNERS! baystateparent giveaways are announced at baystateparent.com, under “Contests/ Fast Pass to Giveaways” as well as on our Facebook page (Join our page today by searching “baystateparent Magazine.”) A sampling of our recent prizes and winners include: In Control Crash Prevention Course (a $350 value) Sandy Frongillo, Franklin courtesy of driveincontrol.com Wachusett Mountain Gift Cards Brianna and Mikey Rotando, Rutland New Releases of Disney DVDS Stacy Lyons, Ashland Meg Power, Natick Susan Doherty, Westford Wendy Vanderbrog, Woburn Email your thoughts on our November issue to editor@baystateparent.com. All letters will be edited for clarity and length. Please include your full name and town for publication

Healthy Children, Adolescents and Young Adults Needed for a Research Study Have you ever wondered what a picture of your brain would look like?

What is this study about? It is a magnetic imaging study looking at the brains of healthy children and adolescents. Subjects will receive a clinical MRI scan, have a structured interview with a clinician, and have a saliva sample taken for genetic analysis.

Benefits of Participation • A brief neurocognitive evaluation conducted by staff at the UMass Medical Center

Inclusion Criteria: • Males or Females 3-20 years old • No psychiatric or neurologic diseases For more information please contact: The Child and Adolescent Neurodevelopment Initiative (CANDI) email: ChildResearch@umassmed.edu or call: 508-856-5896 DOCKET #: H-13541 BAYSTATEPARENT 11


Imagine waiting almost 20 months for your adoptive daughter to come home from Haiti only to find out that you will most likely have to wait another 18 months. Today, this is a reality for the Budd Family of Acton who has waited since the Haitian earthquake nearly two years

ago to welcome their sponsor child into their family as daughter and sister. baystateparent has followed the Budd’s story in a series called Haiti to Home since February 2011. This month’s installment shares Fred Budd’s reflections on his most recent visit to Haiti.

FINALLYFOREVER

Haiti to Home:

Fred Budd’s Second Look Part 9 BY

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comforts of his Acton, Massachusetts community mixes with the surreal sense that even underneath the grime and the dust, a certain beauty can be found in the way that time slows down for the Haitian people. “We forge friendships. Most of the time it’s unstructured down there; there’s no

agenda, so you spend time talking with the kids and visiting.� The Haitian people are known for their friendly spirit. But there’s also a spirit of survival lying close to the surface as well. “One of the things adoptive parents do when they arrive is take the children to a resort,� says Budd, who did just this

Begin Jan. 9

12 NOVEMBER2011

The children at Kingdom of Kids Orphanage where Roselande lives are in desperate need of attention. “The children are very guarded of their stuff, like the orphans in a Charles Dickens novel,� says Budd. The orphanage is understaffed and overflowing with kids, some of whom are sick. One little boy diagnosed with hydrocephalus is waiting to go to the United States for surgery. “Those things naturally get pushed up to the front of the line,� says Budd. In addition to medical emergencies, the three lawyers who work for the orphanage must prioritize adoptions, placing kids before the reach age 16 or they will be turned out on the streets. This priority tends to slow things down for parents waiting for a regular adoption to go through. “It saps a lot of your energy,� says Budd. It could be 18 months before Roselande is allowed to come home with them, on top of the 20 months the Budds have already been waiting. Waiting parents, like the Budds, are constantly asking, “Why isn’t my child home yet?� Budd says, “ I don’t really know if we’re in a position to demand. We cannot apply First World sensibilities to a Third World culture,� says Budd, who relies on patience and faith. “God will bring her home when he wants to. He protects her while she’s waiting.�

Waiting dad, Fred Budd, and Roselande, August 2011.

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with Griffin and his waiting daughter, Roselande. It was a big deal for Roselande to go somewhere where she could have fun and play safely. “They’re either in school or at the orphanage,� says Budd. “There’s no place to go that’s hospitable because of the

photo courtesy of fred budd

ccording to an October 2011 Reuters report, Haitian president, President Martelly, vowed that by the end of his five-year term, the problem of more than 600,000 Haitians living in makeshift encampments in and around Port Au Prince will have been fixed. Still, when Fred Budd took a second trip to Haiti to visit his future daughter, 13-year-old Roselande, he didn’t see a lot of improvement in the struggling country. The ride from the airport to the orphanage in the back of an old pick-up truck allowed him, and his 13-year-old son, Griffin, to get a good look of the city. “The place has a ‘Mad Max’ and an ‘apocalyptic’ feel. The entire area has been deforested, only scrubby brush is left, and on top of that, there are gashes of excavation to make cement cinder blocks to rebuild, leaving huge scars in the earth. You drive through these towns which are trash-filled and devastated beyond description -- a culture of garbage. They live in it – they eat it- they discard it. There’s no sense of conscientiousness of cleanliness. Everyone is in a high state of survival and everyone is selling something just to eke out a living,� says Budd. But even before the earthquake hit almost two years ago, Haiti has been in distress both politically and economically. More than two thirds of Haitians do not have formal jobs and eighty percent are living below the poverty line, but the future holds a glimmer of hope for those who were displaced by the 2010 earthquake with a national house building project promised by Prime Minister Conille in a recent speech to the poorest nation on earth. Budd’s appreciation for being able to raise his three children within the

bonnie j. toomey

February Vacation Camp

threat of crime. The only things around are rocks and rubble, raw sewerage and broken glass. There’s no safe place to play.� Roselande asked to go into the mountains the next day. But Budd had to say no as going on a second excursion was not in the family budget.

Columnist and writer, Bonnie J. Toomey is mom to four interesting children and grandmother to two more. She lives with her child-groom of 30 years, and their dog, Molly, in New England. For more information, visit Bonnie’s blog at parentforward. blogspot.com

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NOVEMBER’S

CHILD Tammy will celebrate her sweet 16th birthday next month. This beautiful and caring Caucasian girl is outgoing, talkative and likes getting her hair and nails done. She also enjoys swimming, watching movies, hanging out with friends and dancing. Academically, Tammy works very hard in

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school and does well in her special needs classroom. She is in tenth grade and performing about three grade levels behind. Diagnosed with global developmental delays, she will continue to need education and guidance around appropriate boundaries and behavior. In her foster home, Tammy is cooperative, pleasant, chatty and likes a lot of attention. She likes to have fun such as going to the beach, bowling and roller skating. Legally free for adoption, Tammy ideally should be the only child; although, a family with older, mature children would be considered. A family with at least one female would be best for Tammy. Her worker says

the one thing a potential family should have is patience. “Tammy is very capable but will need to do things a few times before it gets to be routine for her,� she says. Given all the disruption in her life, understanding will also be needed. Tammy will need time to truly attach to her forever family. Tammy already is very attached to her younger brother and would like a family that will allow her to visit with him. For more information about Tammy or the adoption process in general, please contact Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange (MARE) Recruiter Lindsey Brynjolfsson at 413- 452-3365.

*

Highlights of November’s Adoption-Related Events

November Adoption Conference: In honor of National Adoption Month. Adoption Community of New England in cooperation with MARE. Sat., Nov. 12, 8:30 a.m. - 4:45 p.m. Assumption College, Worcester. Register: 508-872-2230, adoptioncommunityofne.org. Special Program for Families with Children Adopted from Russia. Sat., Nov. 12, 10 – 11:30 a.m. First Connections, Concord. Russian story, craft, food, songs and more! Attend with your children. RSVP to 978-287-0221 or lmatthews@jri.org. We are Family. Ongoing monthly support group. Thurs., Nov. 17. First Connections, 111 ORNAC, Suite 1009, Concord. 7 – 9 p.m. For parents of children who were adopted at age 3 or older or who were adopted and are now over age 5. Also for parents of children who were adopted and are now having emotional or behavioral challenges. FREE. RSVP to Mary before attending at 978-287-0221 ext 218 or mrowlinson@jri.org. firstconnections. org. Also Dec. 15.

02/'2!-3 /&&%2%$ s Bachelor of Science in Nursing – RN to BSN program* s Bachelor of Science in Business Administration – Management Concentration s Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice

s Bachelor of Arts in Psychology – Forensic Psychology Concentration

National Adoption Month Guest Speaker: Meg Kearney, Author and Adult Adoptee. Thurs., Nov. 17, 7 – 8:30 p.m. First Connections, Concord. As an adult, Meg has written about her thoughts and experiences about growing up adopted in The Secret of Me, and its soon-to-be-released sequel, The Girl in the Mirror. Maureen Tallen of Adoption Community of New England will also share a wide array of adoption-related books as an added resource for parents. RSVP appreciated to lmatthews@jri.org.

s Bachelor of Arts in Psychology s Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts – Elementary Education Concentration s Associate of Science in Early Childhood Education (ECE)

s Online Game Design CertiďŹ cate

ENROLL NOW. WWW BECKER EDU s 508.373.9500

Adoption Information Meetings. Tues., Dec. 13, 6 - 7 p.m. Arlington DCF, 30 Mystic St., Arlington. Registration is not required. 978-557-2734. Please submit December’s adoption-related events by Saturday, Nov. 5 at baystateparent.com (Click Calendar/Submit an Event).

Accelerated Studies for the Adult Learner *MA Registered Nurse license required

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courtesy of punchbowl.com

JUNK D R AW E R S

A LITTLE LIT OF THIS, A LITTLE OF THAT GET A LADLE OF THIS PUNCHBOWL!

digital greeting cards that have the look and feel of a traditional paper card, complete with the opening of an envelope. No stamps needed! Plus, there’s lots of party tips for every theme imaginable!

courtesy of indian hill music

MUSIC TO A PARENT’S EARS Every parent wants to see his or her child thrive. No parent knows this better than a father or mother of a child with special needs. Music Therapy at the Indian Hill Music School in Littleton reaches out to children (and adults) with cognitive, physical and developmental impairments. They use instrumental and vocal music strategies to improve functioning or to facilitate changes that contribute to life quality. “Making music helps in focusing, building social skills and encouraging expressive creativity,” says licensed music therapist Romy Ikauniks Wilhelm of Arlington.“I use basic drumming activities to help my students hear and feel musical rhythm.” In addition to drumming, her techniques include hand percussion instruments, movement and singing. “I have seen how music therapy can have a direct impact on a person’s life,” Romy explains. For more information on Indian Hill’s Music Therapy program, contact Romy Wilhelm at 978-486-9524 x108 or romy@indianhillmusic.org. Learn more at indianhillmusic.org.

On Friday, November 18, six courthouses across the Commonwealth will celebrate the adoptions of children and teens who have been in state foster care. Some adopting families were related to the children before adoption. Many others met their new children after they began the state’s training to adopt a child from foster care. Committees of court personnel, Massachusetts Department of Children & Families (DCF) and MARE staff have arranged for every child being adopted to receive a gift bag of toys, games, stuffed animals, gift certificates and more with items donated by local businesses and friends. There will be special ceremonies and entertainment. — Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange

(MARE)/mareinc.org

SPECIAL NEEDS STRETCH

courtesy of cers

“It breaks our hearts when people haven’t heard of us,” says Kate Weldon Leblanc, administrative director of The Center for Early Relationship Support in Waltham. “Parenting is amazing, scary, joyous and challenging, and CERS understands and is here for you!” The Center, which is part of Jewish Family and Children’s Service (JF&CS), is focused on easing the transition into parenthood for mothers and their babies and giving them the tools they need to build their vital relationship. Kate, who is also the mother of a 4-year-old, says the Center is for parents of children under the age 5. They offer free weekly support groups for new parents of all faiths in 14 Massachusetts communities as well as a visiting moms program, where new moms are matched with experienced moms. Details on these and all of their offerings, including a post-partum home program, can be found at: jfcsboston.org/CERS.

How is Massachusetts participating in National Adoption Day this November?

courtesy of stretch what matters

HELP FOR NEW MOMS

Q&A

bsp’s account executive, Staci Bisset, turned us on to punchbowl.com to help us organize our party planning with free digital invites as well as free templates to send cards for all occasions. The Framingham-based company has beautiful

Over the past twelve years, Elizabeth Goranson, M.S. Ed has worked as a special educator in a variety of inclusion settings. Today the Natick mom is the founder and inventor of Stretch What Matters™, enabling children of all abilities to independently identify, manage and prevent stress through yoga by using mats with color-coded pose markings. Her kits come with 50 corresponding pose cards, instructional manuals and a DVD. The warm and talented yoga instructor also holds private and group yoga classes for children ages 6 and older with autism spectrum disorders, ADHD and learning disabilities. stretchwhatmatters.com.

Junkdrawers strives to highlight the products, people and places of Massachusetts. Have an idea? Email editor@baystateparent.com. 14 NOVEMBER2011


michelle carr photography

DIRTYLAUNDRY with Christine Hurley

The holidays are coming! I’m still trying to recover from Halloween. I cannot believe how crazy people go for Halloween. I recently read that in some parts of the country money spent on Halloween decorations is more than Christmas decorations. Yikes! Get a grip Middle America. It also seems as though we get more invites to adult Halloween parties than Christmas and New Year’s parties combined. I am a complete hold-out on dressing up. I hate it. Personally, the only time I will dress up is as a “naughty, (weary) nurse� for Jimmy Hurley, my “infirmed-bed-ridden husband� as there is guaranteed cash at the end. This year, I tried to talk my 13-yearold out of dressing up at all. “You’re in middle school now, honey. Give it up; it was a good run.� Fifty dollars saved. Cha-ching. I am also a horrific procrastinator. I can usually be found on October 30th venturing out to find costumes. I compare myself to the slow buzzard at the zebra carcass, not much left, but it’s better than nothing. I am always in shock and awe of these “super moms� who have been sewing (yes that’s right fellow lazy moms, I said “sewing�) their children’s Halloween garb since mid July. Can you blame them though? I do believe July is the month retailers begin to display and sell their Halloween wares. They have to be ready for the Christmas rush in August. No wonder I keep upping my anti-anxiety meds. I recall fondly the year all five of my cherubs went as bank robbers, as the only thing left at Wal-Mart were a few pairs of irregular “suntan� pantyhose. Two of my little guys actually came home with candy, a few twenty dollar bills and an iPod. Kudos to Mommy as they really looked the part. If you are like me, you’re probably spending the first two weeks of November suffering through the post-trick-or-treating bottomless bags of booty strewn all over the house, constantly taunting us. You’ve been eating your weight in nothing but Milky Ways, Snickers, Pixie Stix and Twizzlers. (I leave those God-awful Whoppers for the kids. I’m a giver.) I do, however, stay away from my youngest Brendan’s coveted stash as he keeps everything meticulously counted, separated and inventoried. No Three Musketeers is worth that little nugget’s whining wrath.

So, next up is Thanksgiving, or as Jimmy Hurley lovingly refers to it, “Triple F,� forced family fun. I actually love Thanksgiving. No pressure. Of course, I’m never the one doing the cooking. My poor sister-in-law has traditionally carried on that chore. Thank God. I tried to cook the turkey in 2001 when my five lovely children were ages 9, 5, 3, 2 and 3 weeks. I was still voraciously holding on to the idea that I could “do it all� (premedication). Jimmy Hurley was working three jobs and we had one vehicle: a 1986 black station wagon we procured from our local funeral home’s going-out-of-business sale. I am not kidding. When my husband purchased this beauty, he tried to convince me that it had been used by the funeral home strictly to transport the flowers. Yeah right. While I was wiping spit-up off of my favorite house coat, the phone rang. I ran to answer, relishing the chance of any contact with the outside world. Unfortunately, my 2 and 3-year-olds had “finger painted� the kitchen floor with a tub of “I Can’t Believe it’s not Butter.� Believe it; it’s butter. I did my best Nancy Kerrigan triple Salchow, hip-checked my fridge and grabbed the phone. “Mrs. Hurley, this is Gerard’s Turkey Farm calling. Your turkey must be picked up by noon today or it will be resold.� Really??? “Well,� I said, “I hope it still has its wings because it’s going to have to @$#%ing fly itself here.� Happy Thanksgiving baystateparents!!! Xoxoxo Christine Comedian Christine Hurley is a Plymouth mom of five. She alternates the Dirty Laundry humor column with comedian Stephen Rich, a Plymouth dad of four.

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To book comedian Christine Hurley or Stephen Rich, contact Dawn Christensen at Loretta LaRoche Productions: Dawn@lorettalarocheproductions.com or 508-746-3998 x 15. Dirty Laundry is a monthly humor column about day-to-day life raising kids. Basically it’s about not being afraid to air out the “dirty laundry� and say it like it is, making the rest of us not feel so alone.

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or neglected. Being clowns together is now a fun family activity for the Archambaults, with dad Ray Archambault helping out with makeup and costumes although he doesn’t want to be a clown himself. It’s given Heather and Ray a way to show their kids that volunteering is important and can be fun, too. “It’s an easy way, and an enjoyable way, to give back to the community,” explains Heather. “Volunteering doesn’t have to be boring. You can be part of the excitement for people, bring a smile to their faces.” Heather began volunteering as a candy striper at the age of 12, and she never stopped, from being a Big Sister to leading her children’s scout troops. She

latex allergies. Then came the transformation: Heather became “Oops-a-Daisy” the Clown with bright orange hair and a tiny heart nose. She chose her name for several reasons: It’s a phrase she always liked and she found a perfect costume with a big yellow daisy on it. Plus, she wanted to create a clown character who is sort of clumsy. Kayla, now 10, chose “Beanie” as her clown name, a nickname her mom has always called her. And when 7-year-old Tyler became a clown last spring, he picked “Skully” for his name because the fabric he chose for his costume has skulls on it. “It makes me feel good to earn money for kids with autism while entertaining myself and making kids have fun,” said

CLOWN AROUND!

(Above left) Tyler Archambault, aka Skully the Clown,learns how to face paint from his mom, Oops-a-Daisy.

IT'S SERIOUS FAMILY FUN. story and photos

BY

you’re going to be a clown, first you need to come up with a really great clown name. It can be a nickname, something that describes you or just something funny and cute. Then you need to think about what to wear. You can mix & match, make your own costume, go wild with crazily colorful hair or a funky hat. The costume possibilities are wide open. You have to be comfortable with makeup, and come up with your unique face. You might also want to practice a special clown talent – twisting balloons into animals, performing magic tricks, juggling or maybe even learning how to ride a unicycle. But maybe we should back up a minute

If

The Archambault Family of Warren clowns around to help raise money for children in need. Heather, pictured here with her daughter Kayla, says clowning has given her children more confidence.

amy corneliussen because the most important thing is you have to really want to be a clown, to be someone silly who loves to make people happy. Someone like Heather Archambault. She always wanted to be a clown, and her dream came true about two years ago when she and her daughter attended clown school. Now Archambault and her three children get to march in parades, act silly and make people smile, along with the other clowns who make up the Clowning for Kidz Foundation of West Warren, MA. And on top of getting to be a clown and making people happy, the Clowning for Kidz clowns raise money to help children in need, especially kids with autism and kids who have been abused

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wanted to be a Shriners clown, but was told that was open only to men. So when she saw a newspaper ad for a clown class at Clowning for Kidz, she knew it was her chance. Over the next four weeks, she and then-9-year-old Kayla learned clowning basics: makeup, costumes, creating a clown character, balloon animals and general child safety rules, like don’t hand balloons to small children and beware of

Jack Stein Make-up Center, Inc.

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Kayla one recent morning in October, wearing her orange-and-polka-dot clown outfit her mom made and a neon green hairdo. Heather says clowning has given her kids more confidence, strengthening Kayla’s stage presence for dance competitions and giving Tyler a chance to step outside his shyness as a different character. Kayla and her best friend were the first children to become Clowning for Kidz

508-528-5899

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courtesy of clowning for kidz

clowns, but since then more kids and teens have joined. Now the group has about 25 adult and child clowns, and is always looking for new clown members. Clowning for Kidz founder Jim Allard is a former Shriners clown. He first became a clown as a way to give back to Shriners Hospital where his daughter was being treated for scoliosis. After eight years as a Shriners clown, Allard created his own foundation in 2008 to help kids directly. The foundation, a 501(c)(3) charity, raises money through donations, fees earned from participating in parades and other events, and selling t-shirts and coloring books. Clowning for Kidz then uses that money to buy items requested by families of autistic children, like helmets, bathing chairs or tickets to the Big E Fair in West Springfield. The foundation also gives money to charities dedicated to helping children, such as the Shriners hospitals in Boston and Springfield and the Autistic Research Institute. The group’s clowns have visited Baystate Medical Center in Springfield to make young patients smile, handed out donated toys to needy children and participated in a walk to benefit abused children. One of the Archambaults’ favorite things to do is join in a clown “flash mob� at a Friendly’s restaurant. That’s when 10 to 20 clowns from Clowning for Kidz meet up for ice cream sundaes and fun. It’s a great way to introduce the group’s clowns to the public. “We just have fun with everyone who comes in,� says Allard, otherwise known as “Nit-Wit� the clown. Heather Archambault as “Oops-aDaisy� often visits her kids’ schools to deliver Valentine’s Day gifts to students or to read books to preschoolers. The bubbly, busy mom makes time for clowning on top of her part-time job as an operating room charge nurse at Baystate Medical Center, as well as leading her children’s scout troops and taking her kids to dance and karate lessons. But while being a clown is a lot of fun, the Archambaults take clowning very seriously. The Foundation sees clowning as an art form, and believes that clowns must be professional, well-behaved and always looking for ways to grow and improve as a clown, explains Heather. In other words, no clowning around, no pun intended. “When the children join, they grow into an understanding that this is taken seriously, that we are committed to making clowning part of our lives,� says Heather. So, for example, that means their clown costumes are for clowning only, not for Halloween.

Five-year-old Mackenzie Archambault just became a clown last summer. She doesn’t have a clown name yet, but she likes dressing up as a clown and waving to people. “She’s probably the only one who doesn’t realize our family is a little strange,� Heather says, laughing. “To her, dressing up as clowns is normal. To her, it’s just having fun, another fun thing the family does together.� Amy Corneliussen is a Central MA freelance writer and the mother of two children.

So, you want to be a clown? The Clowning for Kidz Foundation is always looking for new members of all ages, those who wish to be clowns and those who wish to help out behind the scenes. The first step to becoming a Clowning for Kidz clown is to sign up for clown classes offered by the foundation at the group’s headquarters at 2162 Main Street in West Warren. Classes are free for children and $50 for adults. To

inquire about classes, which run one evening per week for six weeks, contact Jim Allard at 413-250-8599, or by email at clowningforkidzfoundation@comcast. net or nitwitclown@yahoo.com All Clowning for Kidz clowns must pass a criminal record background check (CORI). Check out the website for more information: clowningforkidzfoundation.org.

CELEBRATING OUR 10TH ANNIVERSARY :PVS GBNJMZ DBO TIBSF JO UIF IPMJEBZ NBHJD PG

THE NUTCRACKER QSFTFOUFE CZ EBODFST PG

Voted favorite dance studio 2011

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unique performance created especially for children and the young at heart. An afternoon of magic and imagination with the Nutcracker Prince, Clara, The Sugar Plum Fairy and a cast of over 100 dancers.

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The Sugar Plum Fairy by Sarah, Grade 1

Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical High School, Fitchburg, MA

Parents bring a camera and take a photo of your Sugar Plums with our Sugar Plum Fairy, 1/2 hour prior to each performance.

Special Guest appearances by Ilya Burov and Ian Matysiak - Festival Ballet Providence

Children & Seniors $12 - Adults $15 Ticket sales from these performances help to fund our free public performances for 2,000 local school children each year. The Nutcracker Prince

For ticket information call

Last Year’s Performance “Sold Out�

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SureShot Portraits is located at the Shoppes at Blackstone Valley in Millbury. SureShot Portraits offers on site portrait printing so you can take home your portraits the same day! SureShot Portraits has professional photographers who are passionate and creative about photography. Our photographers have years of experience and are sure to capture your memories. Come see what clients are raving about! We offer complimentary beverages and snacks for all clients!

Mention this ad and we will waive our sitting fee. A $25.00 value! 508.690.0771 | www.sureshotportraitstudios.com

Monday - Saturday | 10am-8pm Sunday | 12pm-6pm

SureShot Portraits is located next to Stride Rite, AT&T and near STAPLES.

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18 NOVEMBER2011


Could you imagine your child in baystateparent Magazine, other Magazines, or TV Commercials?

Steven King photo

Hannah Millette, Ann Gichuhi & Janelle Chin Represented by John Robert Powers (JRP New England)

JRP New England is holding a Model Search for kids ages 5-16 November 1st - November 30th your audition Call now to schedule ston location! right here in our Bo

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INVITES YOU TO ENTER TO WIN

Play for the Day or Spend the Night Thankful for Families Overnight Packages available November 23 – 26 TGIF! Receive a FREE $5 Arcade Card with your purchase of a Twilight Pass on Friday November 4, 11 or 18! Online bookings only, CoCoKeyFitchburg.com

55,000 sq ft of indoor water park fun for kids of all ages…and adults too! 150 Royal Plaza Drive, Fitchburg, MA 01420 978.342.7100 Facebook.com/CoCoKeyFitchburg

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www.baystateparent.com and click on Contests Deadline to enter is November 30 NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. WINNERS WILL BE CHOSEN AT RANDOM AND NOTIFIED BY EMAIL. ONE ENTRY PER PERSON OR ADDRESS. ONE PRIZE PER PERSON.

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Drama at the Thanksgiving Table

paula monette ethier, creative director • carrie wattu, editor • steven king, photographer ow this is the kind of drama you want at your Thanksgiving table! Get fancy schmancy at your holiday table this year with simple decorating ideas that your kids can help you put together. These ideas are inexpensive, super easy and dramatic.

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Homemade Cranberry Candles All you need are a few bags of fresh cranberries, some watered-down red juice (or red colored water) and some tea lights. Fill simple glasses or glass votive holders of any size with fresh cranberries. Then add red juice or colored water and top with a tea light. Make several of these and line down the middle of your table. Store in the fridge when not in use. Silverware Stalks Fill a clear container with rustic dried peas or popcorn kernels. Stand silverware 20 NOVEMBER2011

“stalks” tied with festive ribbon into the harvest dried veggies for support. You can also sneak some floral foam under the veggies so that the silverware is secure. This makes an attractive and convenient way to present silverware at a Thanksgiving buffet. Napkin Fan Dress up paper napkins by folding them accordion-style. Complete the look by tying the bottoms with rustic raffia. Thank You Placecards Make placecards out of card stock. Use alphabet stickers or a magic marker to spell out each guest’s name (see photo at top of page). Decorate each card with autumn-themed stickers. Have the kids write a special note inside, giving thanks for the guest (see bottom left). Happy Thanksgiving baystateparents!


unimportant PLEASURES with

feeling. While that may be true, I think much of those feelings are encouraged by sharing a sweet indulgence with family and friends. It’s the conversation, the an sharing, the laughter, the bonding, the sh time tim ti m spent together over a sweet pastry and coffee or tea. an A After all, who says “Do you want to go out for some fresh produce?” ou Take T the time to try a few of our timetested favorite spots and share with loved te ones and best friends. on Wrights Dairy Farm, 200 Woonsocket W Hill Rd., North Smithfield, RI: This H working dairy farm in Northern Rhode w Island produces and bakes all their Is goods on the farm and premises. Faye’s go wedding cake and cupcakes came from w here, and we visit the farm annually to he select each of our children’s birthday se ca a cakes. wrightsdairyfarm.com. W Wholly Cannoli, 490 Grafton St., W Worcester: Don’t stop at the traditional ca a cannoli. Try one of their many varieties su u as pumpkin pie, peanut butter or such tr r triple chocolate. whollycannoli.com. Y Yu u Yummy Mummy Brownies: Order online orr follow these ladies to their many local ev v events to pick up extra-delicious and ge e generous-sized brownies to enjoy at home. Y Yu u YummymummyBrownies.com

Thankful for Dessert We

love desserts. Be it a cupcake, a decadent German chocolate cake, a bar of chocolate with a cappuccino, pies, donuts or a French pastry filled with cream or jelly….we love them all. This month, we want to share some of our favorite dessert stops with you. To us, desserts have been more than just another way to satisfy a sweet tooth, they have been an integral part of forging some of our most treasured relationships (as Christine shares here): My first recollection of meaningful

dessert is when I was a college oll lleg egee student stud st uden entt living in Northampton. I rran an int iinto ntoo a “friend of a friend” who asked me out for coffee. With me being artistic, and she, a biology major, I wasn’t much looking forward to the coffee or the impending “nothing-in-common” conversation. I began conducting an exit strategy in my head as we entered the coffee shop. Shortly after being seated, we ordered our coffees and the awkward dialogue commenced. But there was a moment that entirely changed my perspective. Our coffees arrived and she glanced up

Fall Family Farm Day Bring the family to the farm for the day! $25.00 per adult/$15.00 per child Includes the whole day of activities, lunch, tax and gratuity. Reservations required! Nov. 11 9:00am-3:00pm Year-round farm family vacation resort. Located less than two hours from Boston!

Fall Getaway Weekends Step Back in Time, November 4-6 Veteran’s Day, November 11-13 Egg Collecting, Cow Milking, Pony Rides, Children’s Activities, Indoor and Outdoor Pool, Farm Animals, Hiking, Wagon Rides, Butter Making, and much more!

Sw w Sweet, 305 Shrewsbury St., Worcester: Sw w has an adult dessert bar that serves Sweet sa a savories, martinis and wine in addition to sw sweets. They also have cupcakes in truly ev every flavor imaginable. sweetworcester. co com mischievously while slipping at m mee mi misc schi hiev evou ousl slyy wh whil ilee sl slip ippi ping ng h her er into purse. pulled hand ha nd iint ntoo he herr pu purs rse. e. S She he ppul ulle ledd out out a giant, delicious bar of special Europeanimported chocolate, grinning from ear to ear. That was the moment I knew I had found a kindred spirit. Biology major or not, we had a common source of guilty pleasure and that was chocolate. We became fast friends. We still laugh over this story today, over coffee and chocolate bars of course. Scientists say that when we eat sugar our brain releases a chemical (called opioid) that gives the body a pleasurable

About Christine and Faye C Christine Guanipa and Faye Hurley are a motherddaughter team from the suburbs of Massachusetts schooled in the fine arts and with an insatiable love for DIY (do-it-yourself) design, fine arts, unnecessary shopping, flea market finds, accessories, and of course coffee and chocolate! Together, they bring a monthly taste of simple pleasures that are often overlooked, mostly unnecessary, but always inspiring.

D ance P rism—an affordable professional celebration for families! 29th Season!! T h e

N utcracker

Fall River

BCC Arts Ctr, Nov 27

Sudbury Venue TBA, Dec 4

Littleton Perf Arts Ctr, Dec 10

Worcester Mechanics Hall, Dec 11

Andover Collins Ctr, Dec 17, 18 Reserved seats: $16 Ch & Sr, $22 Ad • Group Discounts • Youth Group Programs

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Irish Cultural Centr e’s

Children’s Irish

Christmas

Join us for Christmas cheer with the whole family at our beautiful 46 acre campus in Canton, MA

Saturday, December 10

Gourmet Cupcakes with a Homemade Touch! Our cupcakes are made by hand in small batches using all natural ingredients, and recipes created by certiďŹ ed pastry chef, Mary Beth Benison. We carry Emack and Bolios all natural ice cream. Take home a pint or a quart with your cupcakes or have a dish or a cone. 12 delicious avors. LavAzza Coffee and Espresso served.

Breakfast is served at 2 times; 8a.m. and 10a.m.

This a very popular event, we advise you to purchase tickets in advance for either the 8a.m. or 10a.m. time.

Featuring Santa Claus! Featuring story telling by Mrs. Claus! Opportunity to take your picture with Santa Full Irish Breakfast Buet with chocolate chip pancakes for kids

247A West Main St. Northboro, MA 508-393-CAKE(2253) www.cocobeniconfections.com

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Treats for the kids and more! Irish dancing Christmas Caroling 'FTUJWBM PG -JHIUT

$12 pp, children under 3 are FREE 200 New Boston Dr. Canton, MA 02021 781-821-8291 www.irishculture.org

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OH, THE

PLACES YOU’LL

Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away! - dr. seuss

photo courtesy of berkshire visitors bureau. all rights reserved.

GO

GO F.A.T.: The MIT Museum hosts its annual “Friday After Thanksgiving” Chain Reaction Event from 1 - 4 p.m. in Cambridge. It’s like watching a giant Domino demonstration! http://mit.edu/museum/programs/ fat2011.html#team 24 NOVEMBER2011

GO OLD FASHIONED: Nantucket Noel begins the day after Thanksgiving with a magnificent tree lighting and community caroling on the island. nantucketchamber.org

courtesy of michael lutch

photo courtesy of the mit museum

nantucket chamber of commerce/michael galvin

GO STOCKBRIDGE: Fall is a beautiful time to visit an art museum that your children can really relate to: The Norman Rockwell Museum. nrm.org.

GO POPS: The BSO, Keith Lockhart and Santa put families in the holiday spirit with special kids’ matinees this season. bso.org.


OH,THEPLACESYOU’LLGO MELTDOWN WARNING: Before you pack up the mini-van, please confirm your destination. Although we’ve done our best to assure accuracy at press time, things can and do change… A Adult C Child Y Youth M Member NM Non-Member PP Per Person

1TUESDAY MOMS Club Open House. Peoples Church, 56 South Main St., Ashburnham. 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. The MOMS Club of the Montachusett Area chapter always welcomes mothers and grandmothers in Gardner, Ashburnham, Westminster, Winchendon and Athol. Talk about parenting, enjoy camaraderie and have your kids play and do autumn activities. 978334-8789, montachusett-moms.com.

Moms’ Shopping Night Out. Whitney Place Assisted Living Community Room, Vision Dr., Natick. 6 – 9:30 p.m. Vendors, raffle and gift bag for the first 50 guests. Proceeds benefit the Alzheimer’s Foundation and the Natick Service Council. 617-9081925 or email sagemackin@yahoo.com.

ONGOING New Moms Group. Mothers and Company, Route 140, West Boylston. 12 – 1:30 p.m. All moms of all babies welcome. Drop in from week to week to this ongoing group. Feel free to bring your lunch. $5ppNM. Starting in December, there’s also a group on Wednesdays. mothersandcompany.com.

Nature Explorations: Preschoolers. Mass Audubon’s Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary, 280 Eliot St. (Rt.16), Natick . 10:30 - 11:30 a.m. During each guided program and short walk you will explore different habitats around the sanctuary and watch for the creatures that inhabit them. Maximum of 8 pairs. Pre-registration required. 508-655-2296 or email broadmoorprograms@massaudubon.org

The National Acrobats of the People’s Republic of China. Mechanics Hall, Worcester. 8 p.m. Direct from Beijing, the Acrobats bring a centuries old tradition of art, amazing control & grace, modern costumes and settings and fabulous talent. Tickets: $46 - $43, Students, $20 advance/$15 at door. 508-754-3231, musicworcester.org.

FOR PARENTS Cooperation Counts Seminar. J.V. Fletcher Library, 50 Main St., Westford. 7 – 8:30 p.m. Author and therapist Jean Hamburg shares a method of discipline designed to help adults provide a respectful, predictable framework for daily discipline

5SATURDAY The 17th Annual Franklin County Cider Days. A community event celebrating all things apples with

Day of the Dead Family Festival. Harvard Peabody Museum, Cambridge. Have your face painted, make some dress-up crafts and calaca (skull) masks, and then pose for pictures of yourself in front of the holiday backdrop and with costumed Catrinas/ Catrins (elegant skeletons). View the special altars and decorations, leave messages for your departed loved ones and enjoy festive music. Decorate and take home a sugar skull ($5) and have some light snacks. Recommended for ages 5+ with adult. 617-4961027, peabody.harvard.edu/ Open House. Cambridge Friends School. 6 Cadbury Rd., Cambridge. 1 – 3 p.m. cfsmass.org. Ed Morgan “The Music Man” Singalong. Harvest Cafe, 40 Washington St., Hudson. An interactive singalong of original & traditional children’s songs for kids ages 1- 99. Saturdays, 10:30 a.m. Bring your kids and sing & dance along. 978-567-0948.

photo courtesy of the christmas crafts festival/replica of jfk’s childhood home by finale desserts

ONGOING Peter Pan. City Hall Plaza, Boston. Ends Nov. 27. $35 - $75. 888-772-6849, peterpantheshow.com/boston. ONGOING Legally Blonde The Musical. North Shore Music Theatre, Beverly. Nov. 1 – 13. 978232-7200, nsmt.org.

2WEDNESDAY FREE & ONGOING Singalong Story Time. Barefoot Books, 89 Thoreau St., Concord. Wednesdays, 4 – 4:30 p.m. All ages. 978-369-1770. FREE Wee Care Infant Oral Health Program. 223 Walnut St., Suite 22, Framingham. 10 a.m. Meets every first Wednesday until Jan. 4. Children under 3 are invited to register for this free seminar with examination designed to help parents assure a cavity-free child. The informal format assures that all parents’ questions will be answered by this pediatric dental specialist. Space is limited. Please register: 508-875-KIDS (5437), weecareatdrmels.com. Shape Story Hour. deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln. 10:30 a.m. After hearing a story related to broad-based art themes in the Art ExperienCenter, families will participate in a corresponding activity and be provided with snacks. This program is perfect for families with children ages 5 and under. 781-259-8355, decordova.org. ONGOING Mommy and Me: All about Me. Claytime Studio, 124 Boston Turnpike, Shrewsbury. Monthly, every first Wednesday until June 6. Create a special holiday-themed item with your toddler. 508798-9950, claytimestudio.com.

3THURSDAY Take a Look Morning. Applewild School, 120 Prospect St., Fitchburg. 9 a.m. This independent school for grades K - 8 hosts an open house on the first Thursday of each month. No RSVP necessary. 978-342-6053 x110, applewild.org. ONGOING Little Explorers. Fruitlands Museum, 102 Prospect Hill Rd., Harvard. Weekly Thursday, 9 - 10 a.m. until Dec. 15. This is similar to a preschool classroom circle time experience. Stories, music and crafts are offered around a weekly theme. 978-4563924, fruitlands.org.

Get a Load of these Gingers: Boston’s Christmas Crafts Festival, held Nov. 4 - 6, spices things up with a gingerbread house competition. christmasfestival.com. and praise. The chaos that results when a child decides to be uncooperative is dealt with calmly and effectively so that family stress is greatly reduced. $10 donation requested but not required. RSVP required. 978-287-0221, firstconnections.org.

4FRIDAY First Friday Nights FREE! The Discovery Museums, Acton. 4:30 – 8:30 p.m. Free admission on the first Friday of every month through June 2012. Food and drinks available from the Dawg Days food cart. Donations for the Acton Food Pantry accepted. discoverymuseums.org. Annual Christmas Crafts Festival. Seaport World Trade Center, Boston. Fri., Noon – 7 p.m. Also Sat., 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. and Sun., 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Top chefs create gingerbread masterpieces to be judged by a celebrity panel and sold with proceeds benefiting Housing Families, a non-profit organization dedicated to ending family homelessness. There will be affordable holiday gifts with over 300 master American craftsmen. christmasfestival.com. Also Nov. 5 & 6.

orchard tours, cidermaking and tastings, workshops and much more. There is a charge for some of the activities but there is no admission for many of the activities at local orchards, the workshops or Marketplace at the Shelburne Buckland Community Center in Shelburne Falls (from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. on Saturday.) View a complete schedule at: ciderday.org. Also Nov. 6. Annual Christmas Crafts Festival. Seaport World Trade Center, Boston. See Nov. 4 listing for details. Celebrate Kambiri’s First Birthday at Franklin Park Zoo! Boston. 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. daily. Celebrate the first birthday of Kambiri, the baby gorilla. Visit the Tropical Forest to see the gorilla exhibit festively decorated and watch as Kambiri and the gorillas enjoy birthday treats made especially for them! A$16, Sr. $13, C (2-12) $10, C under 3 free. zoonewengland.org. Film: The Great Muppet Caper. Coolidge Kids, Brookline. 10:30 a.m. Recommended for ages 4+. Tickets: A$7, C$5. coolidge.org.

FREE & ONGOING Crafts. Lakeshore Learning Store, Newton and Saugus. Drop in every Saturday, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Ages 3+. lakeshorelearning.com. Breathe Deep Boston 5k Walk (formerly the Boston Area Lung Cancer Walk). DCR’s Castle Island, South Boston. 10 a.m. lungevity.org/bostonwalk. Rapunzel: Playtime Story Theatre. 50 Beharrell St., West Concord. Select Saturdays, 10:30 a.m. Also Nov. 19 (Green Eggs and Ham) and then plays resume Jan. 7th. $5pp. No reservations needed. 978-371-1482.

6SUNDAY The17th Annual Franklin County Cider Days. See Nov. 5 listing for event details. Annual Christmas Crafts Festival. Seaport World Trade Center, Boston. See Nov. 4 listing for details. Rolie Polie Guacamole Family Concert. Brookline Music School, Bakalar Recital Hall, 20 BAYSTATEPARENT 25

O


Kenard Rd., Brookline. 2 p.m. Enjoy a children’s jam band who love to sing about nutritious foods like hummus, guacamole, apples and acaĂ­ berries. Not all their songs are about food, some are just silly, fun and inspirational songs that remind children to “Always Brush Your Teeth.â€? Recommended for ages 2-7 years. $5pp. All ages. 508-277-4593. bmsmusic. org, roliepolieguacamole.com, Open House. Chestnut Hill School. Chestnut Hill. 1 – 3 p.m. tchs.org. A Bear Affair: An Afternoon Adventure for Young Bear Lovers and their Families Groton. 1:30 – 3 p.m. Join Nashua River Watershed Association (NRWA) naturalists to look for bear clues in the woods and learn all about bears and their amazing adaptations using skins, skulls and tracks. Share a “bearyâ€? snack and make your very own bear track to take home. Teddy bears welcome! For ages 4 - 10 years and their families; backpack babies welcome! $8pp NM. Pre-registration is required: 978-448-0299, or email StaceyC@NashuaRiverWatershed.org. Montessori Open House. Oak Meadow Montessori School, 2 Old Pickard Lane, Littleton: All families are welcome to attend and visit classrooms, tour facilities, including The Rizzi Center, and speak with teachers and current students. Oak Meadow is a non-profit Montessori school that provides an interdisciplinary and academic curriculum for students from age 3 through grade 8 in a supportive and nurturing environment. oakmeadow.org. Cornerstone Academy Open House. 5 Oak Ave., Northboro. 1 – 4 p.m. Educating all learners in grades K-6. Offering transitional kindergarten and full day kindergarten. Small classes, individual attention and an innovative and interactive curriculum, which engages and inspires our students. 508-351-9976, cornerstoneacademy.org. Open House at Tenacre County Day School. 78 Benvenue St., Wellesley. 2 – 4 p.m. Boys and girls, Pre-K through Grade 6. tenacrecds.org. Women Take Flight. The New England Air Museum, Bradley International Airport, Windsor Locks, CT. 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. The New England Air Museum presents its 7th Annual program featuring extraordinary women who have pioneered new careers for women in aviation and aerospace engineering. A (Ages 12+) $11, C (4-11) $6, C (under 4) free. 860-623-3305, neam.org.

7MONDAY FREE How Smart is your Baby? UMass Boston, 100 Morrissey Blvd., Dorchester. Mon., Tues.,

Wed, Thu until Dec. 31. A research team is studying cognitive development in infants and toddlers. $20 payment for participating. You may park for free at the UMass Boston campus. 617-287-6363. To see past projects, visit http://psych.umb.edu/faculty/kaldy/ research/publications.html. FREE Snack and Story Time. Whole Foods Market, Framingham. Weekly on Mondays, 10:30 a.m. Ages 2- 6. 508-628-9525. ONGOING Playgroup for Walkers. Mothers and Company, West Boylston. 1 – 2 :30 p.m. This is a drop-in group for toddlers and preschoolers and their caregivers to come and hang out with others. Drop in from week to week as this group is ongoing. Feel free to bring snacks for yourself or to share (please no nuts or foods that can stain the carpet, please). $5ppNM.. Register: mothersandcompany.com.

8TUESDAY Reaction Station: Adventures for Young Chemists. The Discovery Museums, Acton. Drop-in from 2 – 4:30 p.m. at the Science Discovery Museum. Imagine yourself a chemist and use real laboratory tools to do experiments. Try your hand at doing wet chemistry in a model glove box and learn why some chemists use glove boxes and hoods. $10.50pp, Under 1 free. discoverymusems.org.

photo courtesy of zoo new england

OH,THEPLACESYOU’LLGO

FREE FOR PARENTS How Montessori Education Best Prepares Children for the 21st Century. The Riverbend School, 6 Auburn St., South Natick. 7 p.m. Hear keynote speaker Trevor Eissler discuss his book, Montessori Madness. Open to the public. theriverbendschool.org.

9WEDNESDAY

It’s Kambiri’s first birthday! Celebrate this baby gorilla on Nov. 5 at the Franklin Park Zoo. zoonewengland.com

Montachusett Mothers of Multiples Monthly Meeting. Our Lady of the Lake Church, 1400 Main St., Leominster. Held on the second Wednesday of each month until May, 7 – 9 p.m. Join a fun group of parents of twins and multiples who live in the Central Massachusetts area. orgsites.com/ma/mmom/

safety check, light refreshments and a craft for the kids. Non-perishable food items for a local food pantry are welcome. Email: charltonmoms@yahoo.com.

PEM Pals. The Peabody Essex Museum, East India Square (161 Essex St.), Salem. Stories, songs and books. An art activity follows. For preschoolers and their caregivers. A$15, Sr. $13, St. $11, C (16 and under) FREE. 978-745-9500, pem.org. Also Nov. 16.

Farm Chores. Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary, Lincoln. 3:30 – 5 p.m. Help the farm staff with afternoon chores. Help milk the cow by hand and compare that to how a milking machine works. Feed the afternoon hay and grain to some of the farm animals, and make sure they have clean water. Collect eggs in the chicken house and use some of them to prepare a farm snack. $14ppNM. Register: 781-2592206 or email drumlinfarm@massaudubon.org.

MOMS Club of Charlton and Southbridge Open House. Jacob Edwards Library, 236 Main St., Southbridge. 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. This child safety open house offers a handwashing demo, car seat

10THURSDAY

Nature Adventures. Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary, Worcester. 1 – 3 p.m. On the second Thursday of each month, there is a hands-on nature program designed especially for 5 – 7-yearolds. Explore a new nature topic indoors -- using investigations, crafts and activities - and outdoors in Broad Meadow Brook’s beautiful 400-acre wildlife sanctuary. $12NM. Register: 508-753-6087, massaudubon.org.

11FRIDAY Meet an Author! Featuring Beth Raisner Glass. The Discovery Museums, Acton. At the Children’s Discovery Museum at 10 a.m. Hear author

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OH,THEPLACESYOU’LLGO Beth Raisner Glass read Blue Ribbon Dad and then create your own Blue Ribbon for your Dad or other special person in your life! bethglass.com. $10.50pp, Under 1 free. discoverymusems.org. Meet the TriHy, A Unique Triple-Hybrid Vehicle! The Discovery Museums, Acton. Drop in between 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Science Discovery Museum. Be inspired to imagine “green” cars that use alternative forms of energy and are fun! See the TriHy, a unique vehicle that gets 40 mpg on used cooking oil, biodiesel, vegetable oil, jet fuel or home heating oil and more! Outdoor program. $10.50pp, Under 1 free. discoverymusems.org. photo courtesy of the riverbend school, south natick

Fall Story Time. Jam Time, 86 Powder Mill Rd., Maynard. 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. Art activities and takehome craft projects with an interactive storytime. Free with admission. 978-897-2917, jamtime.com. Tanglewood Marionettes Cinderella. Curtis Middle School, Sudbury. 10 a.m. - Noon. Crafts and nut-free refreshments after the performance.$10pp, C under 2 sitting on a lap FREE. Tickets: sudburycoop.org.

12SATURDAY FREE Stacey Peasley Sing Along. Ashland Public Library, Ashland. 10:30 – 11:15 a.m. 617-861-7477, staceypeasley.com.

How does Montessori education best prepare children for the 21st century? Find out from Montessori Madness author, Trevor Eissler, Nov. 8, South Natick. FREE. theriverbendschool.org.

Holiday Craft Market. Centerville Elementary School, 17 Hull St., Beverly. Over 50 vendors! Free shuttle to and from overflow parking. holidaycraftmarket.com.

NE Revolution tickets, autographed NE Patriots and Red Sox memorabilia, hockey tickets, ski tickets, golf packages, birthday party packages and many more. 603-881-9805, liliguanausa.org.

ONGOING The Phantom Tollbooth. Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston. Ends Nov. 20. A musical based on the acclaimed book. *Teen take overs are on Friday nights (only $15!). Tickets: $30 - $20. 617879-2300, tickets@wheelock.edu.

Weekend Festival: Artful Inventions Mad Science. Peabody Essex Museum, Salem. 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. All ages. Ideas and inventions from past and present. Marvel at steam-powered sculptures, experience the musicality of peanut butter jars, explore the wonders of oobleck and more! Family breakfast at crafts, 9:30 – 11 a.m. (reserve your spot by Nov. 8). Drop-in art, workshops, Wallace & Grommit film, Flying Things performances, The Magic Bellowphone performance, family tour, Toying with Science performance. A$15, Sr. $13, St. $11, C (16 and under) FREE. pem.org.

Festival of Holiday Lights Begins. Edaville USA, Carver. 2 to 9 p.m. on Nov. 12 – 14 and Nov. 19 – 21. With more than 5 million lights and hundreds of displays, it has become the largest holiday extravaganza in New England. Back at the station area, numerous amusement rides are available for young and old alike, and Santa waits to hear what’s on everybody’s holiday list. $18pp, C under 2 free. Parking free. edaville.com. lil Iguana Fall Festival and Raffle. The Crowne Plaza, 2 Somerset Parkway, Nashua NH. 9 a.m. - 3 p .m. Crafters and incredible prizes including a Disney vacation with airfare, 2 courtside tickets to the Celtics, NASCAR tickets, private wine tasting party,

Children’s Closet Sale. Maplewood Gymnasium, 150 Foundry St., (Rte 106), South Easton. 8 a.m. - 4 p .m. This semi-annual consignment sale sells a wide variety of gently used clothing from newborn to children’s size 14 & Maternity. Also children’s shoes, costumes, baby equipment, toys, books, music and videos, and all other nursery items. 774-240-3710, thechildrensclosetsale.webs.com.

Touch a Truck. 30 Common St., Watertown (accessible from Marshall Street in Watertown). 10 – 11:30 a.m. See big trucks, a school bus, police car, moving van and postal truck among others up close. See what it is like to be in the driver’s seat of these big and exciting vehicles and introduce your children to our community helpers. 617-166-1926, watertown.k12.ma.us/wfn. Monsters of Hiphop. DCU Center, Worcester. This all-day hip-hop dance convention will be conducting a two-day dance workshop instructed by their renowned celebrity faculty, plus auditions, seminars, performance opportunities for groups & more. dcucenter.com, monstorsofhiphop.com. Also Nov. 13.

13SUNDAY FREE Winter Open House: Always in Season. Tower Hill Botanical Gardens, Boylston. 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Free food samplings, exciting drawings with prizes from local area merchants and restaurants, and a guided tour of the Garden at 2 p.m. Bring friends who you’ve always wanted to introduce to Tower Hill. Open to the public. 508-869-6111, towerhillbg.org.

Gustafer Yellowgold’s Infinity Sock. Coolidge Theatre, Brookline. 10:30 a.m. This multimedia performance includes live music, animated illustrations and storytelling. Recommended for ages 3+. A$9.75, C$7.75. coolidge.org. Festival of Holiday Lights Begins. Edaville USA, Carver. Nov. 12 – 14 and Nov. 19 – 21. See Nov. 12 listing for details. Open House. Charles River School, Six Old Meadow Rd., Dover. 2 – 4 p.m. charlesriverschool.org. Handmade Gifts: Band Box with Mulling Sachet. Historic Deerfield. 12 – 4:30 p.m. Wooden boxes, called bandboxes, were first used to store men’s starched collar bands. Eventually these boxes served as containers for goods during travel and to store things a home. They ranged in size from very tiny to large enough to hold a hat. Learn more about these popular 19th-century boxes, and decorate a cardboard version to give as a unique holiday gift. Add a mulling sachet—a small spice bundle for hot cider! Included with general admission. Repeats every weekend until Nov. 27. historic-deerfield.org.

BAYSTATEPARENT 27


A Great Day with Grandparents. American Girl, Natick. Enjoy a meal and special time together. Includes an American Girl book, a commemorative photo and frame and keepsakes to take home as a reminder of your day. Ages 6+. $35pp. Reservations: 877-247-5223.

about his exciting adventures escaping from cows and pigs. Then pay a visit to his “friend,” the fox. All ages welcome, but oldest child must be at least 2 years old. Up to two children per adult. $15ppNM. Register: 781-259-2200 or drumlinfarm@massaudubon.org

between the ages of 3 and 5 with their favorite adult. A thematic hour of a story, an activity and a naturalist-led walk. Choose from the third Wednesday, Thursday or Saturday of each month. $10NM, $2 each additional participating child. 508-753-6087 or bmbrook@massaudubon.org. Also on Nov. 17.

and then a guest speakers Michelle Deitel, an identical twin, owner of Infinite Ensembles. Mrs. Deitel will address: How to Feel Like a Woman Beyond a “Mommy.” infiniteEnsembles.com, wscmmota.org. Totally Turkeys. Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary, Worcester. See Nov. 17 listing for details.

14MONDAY

18FRIDAY

ONGOING Infant Playgroup. Isis Parenting, Brookline. Every Monday, 4 – 5 p.m. Playgroups are very popular; sign-ins begin no earlier than 30 minutes prior to the start time. Space limited. No pre-registration required. $8ppNM. Visit isisparenting. org for a complete calendar of groups meeting in other locations.

The Polar Express. Edaville Railroad, Carver. Nov. 18 – 20; Nov. 28 & 29 as well as Dec. 5, 6, 12 & 13. 4 – 9 p.m., Mon. – Fri. and 2 – 9 p.m. on Sat. & Sun. The Polar Express comes to life at Edaville this Christmas season! Inspired by the award-winning book by Chris Van Allsburg and the hit movie starring Tom Hanks, The Polar Express™ will transport pajama-clad passengers to the North Pole. There Santa will board the train and greet the children, each receiving their own jingle bell just as in the story. Hot chocolate and cookies will be served by costumed staff while guests enjoy a live reading and carols. Plus, enjoy all over 7 million Christmas lights. A$30, C (2 – 12) $24, Sr. and under 2 FREE. Advance registration required: edaville.com.

Festival of Holiday Lights. Edaville USA, Carver. Also Nov. 19 – 21. See Nov. 12 listing for details. FREE Warm Milk Cafe. Mothers and Company, Route 140, West Boylston. 1 – 2:30 p.m. This free breastfeeding support group is for all moms, those breastfeeding a freshly-born baby, those having challenges, those interested in learning more about using a breastpump and those just interested in meeting other nursing mothers or figuring out how to breastfeed in public. mothersandcompany.com.

The Plymouth’s Thanksgiving Day Parade & Food Festival, Plymouth. Historical reenactments, patriotic concerts, vintage cars and a food festival with the area’s best chowders, soups and desserts. The unique Thanksgiving Day Parade offers spectacularly creative floats, individually crafted by local craftsmen. http:// usathanksgiving.com/index.shtml. Also Nov. 19 and 20.

15TUESDAY

photo courtesy of tower hill botanical gardens

FOR PARENTS Introduction to Sensory Integration Workshop. Barrett Family Wellness Center, 107 Otis St, Northborough. 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Participants will come away with a clear understanding of SI; they will learn how it effects children in different environments, how to recognize the warning signs and techniques that can be implemented in the home and at school. Pre-registration is required. $25pp. barrettfamilywellness.com. FREE Music Together Sample Class. Trinity Church, Shrewsbury. 9:15 – 10 a.m. For infants, toddlers and preschoolers. Sing songs, chants, play instruments and dance the morning away. 978-729-3697, applecountrymusictogether.com. FREE Greater Worcester Mother of Twins Meeting. Location TBA. Meets monthly, every third Tuesday until December 20. First meeting and expectant mothers free. 508-347-5606, worcester-motc.com.

Trees and wreaths have never looked more fashionable at this year’s fashion-themed Holly Days in Boylston. towerhillbg.org.

16WEDNESDAY

PEM Pals. The Peabody Essex Museum, East India Square (161 Essex St.), Salem. Stories, songs and books! An art activity follows. For preschoolers and their caregivers. A$15, Sr. $13, St. $11, C (16 and under) FREE. 978-745-9500, pem.org.

The Gingerbread Man. Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary, Lincoln. 1 – 2:30 p.m. Design and decorate a gingerbread man. While he’s baking, hear

Totally Turkeys. Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary, Worcester. 10 – 11 a.m. For children

17THURSDAY Mothers of Twins General Meeting. MSCMMOTA, St. George’s Catholic Church, 74 School St., Framingham. 6:30 – 9 p.m. Age-based discussion rooms followed by a brief business meeting

19SATURDAY Ben Rudnick & Friends Family Concert. Coolidge Theatre, Brookline. 10:30 a.m. Multiple award winners in family music, Ben Rudnick & Friends’ adventurous acoustic music and lyrically humorous style have won them fans of all ages. Recommended for ages 3+. A$9.75, C$7.75 . coolidge.org. Family Fun Programs: Day of the Dead/ Dia de los Muertos. Harvard Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology,11 Divinity Ave., Cambridge. Noon – 4 p .m. View special altars and decorations, leave messages for your departed loved ones, explore the ancient Aztec origins of the festival and its food, enjoy music, and make your own paper marigolds, papel picado banners, and calaca (skull) masks to take home. Recommended for ages 5 and up accompanied by an adult. 617-496-1027. FREE & ONGOING Kids Storytime. Harvard Coop, 1400 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge. 11 a.m.

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The Polar Express. Edaville Railroad, Carver. Nov. 18 – 20; Nov. 28 & 29 as well as Dec. 5, 6, 12 & 13. See Nov. 18 listing for details. Festival of Holiday Lights. Edaville USA, Carver. Nov. 12 – 14 and Nov. 19 – 21. See Nov. 12 listing for details. St. Judes Give Thanks Walk. Natick Collection, 8 a.m. This family-friendly event inside of the Natick Collection helps children at the St. Jude Children’s Hospital. For information on participating with your family, visit givethankswalk.org. 9th Annual Thanksgiving Harvest Festival. Red Apple Farm, Phillipston. 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Share and taste New England’s bounty. Bring Thanksgiving to your home from the North Quabbin Region. $2pp (1/2 off admission with non-perishable food donation). redapplefarm.com. Also Nov. 20. The Plymouth’s Thanksgiving Day Parade & Food Festival, Plymouth. See Nov. 18 listing. Also Nov. 20. Studio Saturdays: Monoprinting. Peabody Essex Museum, Salem. Noon - 4:30 p.m. Experiment with monoprinting and create a one-of-a-kind print to take home. For families. Book art demo for all ages. A$15, Sr. $13, St. $11, C (16 and under) FREE. 978-7459500, pem.org. Green Eggs and Ham: Playtime Story Theatre. 50 Beharrell St., West Concord. 10:30 a.m. Resumes January 7th. $5pp. No reservations needed. 978-371-1482. FREE Westwood Connections Adoptive Families 7th Annual Event - Featuring: Tony Fonesca’s All Hands Drumming. Deerfield Elementary School, 72 Deerfield Ave., Westwood. Come and mingle with other adoptive families from in and around the Westwood area! There will be crafts for the children, facepainting and resources for parents. Tony Fonesca, of All Hands Drumming will set up his drum-circle of ten to thirty drums of various heights for children, youths and adults. Great for all ages! Register for event: 781-461-9548.

20SUNDAY The Polar Express. Edaville Railroad, Carver. Nov. 18 – 20; Nov. 28, 29 and 30 as well as Dec. 5, 6, 12 & 13. See Nov. 18 listing for details.

Kick Off Your Boots and Give Vaulting A Go. Shepley Hill Farm (at Puritan Hill), 122 Old Ayer Rd., Groton. 3:30 – 5 p.m. This fun 90-minute workshop offers an opportunity to try the sport of vaulting without committing to a series of lessons. The workshop starts with a demonstration by the New England Valkyries equestrian vaulting team, then participants will break into groups to learn vaulting moves through a series of games and personal instruction. Admission is free, but a donation of $25-$35 is welcomed to support the nonprofit New England Valkyries a 501(c)3 organization. Your tax-deductible donation advances our mission of continuing to offer recreational, competitive, and affordable vaulting expeiences to a wide range of children and adults. 978-772-4908 or rmail info@ newenglandvalkyries.org

It’s Nutcracker Season! BY

The Plymouth’s Thanksgiving Day Parade & Food Festival, Plymouth. See Nov. 18 listing.

carrie wattu

9th Annual Thanksgiving Harvest Festival. Red Apple Farm, Phillipston. 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Share and taste New England’s bounty. Bring Thanksgiving to your home from the North Quabbin Region. $2pp (1/2 off admission with non-perishable food donation. redapplefarm.com.

21MONDAY mike nyman photography

- Noon every Saturday. Themed stories, related craft and snack. 617-499-2000, facebook.com/ theharvardcoop.

ONGOING Playgroup Drop-In ( 1-3 Years). Isis Parenting. Mondays in Arlington and Boston, 4:30 – 5:30 p.m.; Needham, 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. These drop-in groups are a great way to get your energetic toddler out of the house and meet other big and small people in a child-friendly environment, whatever the weather. No pre-registration necessary. Grandparents and sitters welcome! $8 for non-member families. isisparenting.com.

Jennifer Agbay of Ballet Arts Worcester ennifer Agbay is understandably a little “nuts� right now. It’s Nutcracker season after all. Not only is she a busy Central Massachusetts mother of two girls, ages 5 and 8, but she juggles her own business (Ballet Arts Worcester) as well as produces and directs The Hanover Theatre’s Nutcracker production at the end of November. bsp asked Jennifer to share some insight into the Nutcracker experience:

Festival of Holiday Lights. Edaville USA, Carver. Nov. 12 – 14 and Nov. 19 – 21. See Nov. 12 listing for details.

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FREE Snack and Story Time. Whole Foods Market, Framingham. Weekly on Mondays, 10:30 a.m. Ages 2- 6. 508-628-9525.

• The best thing parents can do is read their children the story of the Nutcracker before attending a performance. There are so many wonderful renditions of the book!

22TUESDAY ONGOING A Day in Pompei Exhibit. Museum of Science, Boston. Oct. 2 – Feb. 12. Interactive stations, geology of volcanoes, the art of mosaics, the science of archaeology and ancient construction techniques. Features over 250 priceless artifacts of ancient Roman artistry. Artifacts include everything

• As they are dressed up and walking into the theatre, your children will feel that the holidays are about to arrive with the kick off of the Nutcracker. They can observe boys and girls with Nutcracker novelties in their hands and when the performance starts, they will see every detail of the story come to life, like the enormous growing tree or the beautiful snowfall commanded by the Snow King and Queen! • Boys love the Nutcracker too, whether identifying with the character of Fritz as a brother or wanting to be the Nutcracker to battle the Rat Queen and lead Clara and his battalion to victory.

Nutcracker Performances & Special Events Commonwealth Ballet. Acton Boxborough High School, Acton, Nov. 25 – 27 and Regis College, Weston, Dec. 9 – 11. commonwealthballet.org. Boston Ballet. The Opera House, Boston. Offers over 36 performances. bostonballet.org. Urban Nutcracker. Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston. Various times, Dec. 3 – 18. 617-879-2300, WheelockFamilyTheatre.org

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Paula Meola. Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical High School, Fitchburg. Dec. 3 & 4, 2:00 p.m. paulameoladance.com Dance Prism. Fall River, Sudbury, Littleton, Worcester and Andover. Nov. 28 – Dec. 19.Young audience members are invited to meet Clara and the Nutcracker Prince following the performance. A$22, C$16. danceprism.com. Centerstage Dance Academy of Tyngsboro. Sun., Nov. 27th at The Groton Dunstable Performing Arts Center, Groton. csdanceacademy.com. Ballet Arts Worcester. The Hanover Theatre, Worcester. Nov. 25 – 27. Features live music from the Massachusetts Symphony Orchestra. $24 - $36. balletartsworcester.org, thehanovertheatre.org. *A special Sugar Plum reception is offered on Fri., Nov. 25, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.

BAYSTATEPARENT 29


OH,THEPLACESYOU’LLGO

photo courtesy of massachusetts adoption resource exchange, mare

from frying pans, fishhooks, and merchants’ scales to ceramics, oil lamps, graffiti stones and carbonized bread. Visitors can also experience the power of volcanoes from interactive displays and learn about their victims by exploring the body casts that have immortalized them. Timed tickets only and will include a separate ticket for general Exhibit Hall admission that can be used the same day or within 6 months. A$27, Sr. $25, C (3 – 11) $24. Advance reservations recommended. mos.org. FREE & ONGOING Storytime. Harvard Coop, 1400 Mass Ave., Cambridge. Weekly on Tuesdays, 11 a.m. - 12 p.m. For children ages 1 – 6 and their caregivers with stories and snacks. 617-499-2000. ONGOING New Moms Group. Mothers and Company, 140 Worcester St., West Boylston. 12:15 – 1:45 p.m. All moms of all babies welcome. $5pp NM. Starting in December, there will also be a group on Wednesdays.mothersandcompany.com.

23WEDNESDAY

free. 978-369-9763, concordmuseum.org. ONGOING 16th Annual Bright Nights at Forest Park. Springfield. One of New England’s best holiday lighting experiences with more than 600,000 lights along a 3-mile route. spiritofspringfield.org

24THURSDAY Happy Thanksgiving to all baystateparents!

ONGOING ZooLights returns to Stone Zoo! Stoneham. 5 – 9 p.m. Beloved seasonal light show puts you in the holiday spirit. This winter wonderland attracts thousands of visitors each year who get into the holiday spirit by strolling along tree-lined paths lit by thousands of twinkling lights. Also visit bald eagles, a North American porcupine, a gray fox and reindeer. Children will want to make sure they visit with Santa, who awaits their arrival in Santa’s Castle. Jolly Old St. Nick will be available for photos through Dec. 23. After visiting with Santa, enter a magical holiday world filled with fairy tale characters and dancing plush animals. stonezoo.org.

GUILD OF ST. AGNES

ONGOING 16th Annual Family Trees: A Celebration of Children’s Literature. Concord Museum, Cambridge Turnpike at Lexington Rd.., Concord. Nov. 23 – Jan. 1. 10:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. The exhibition’s focus on children’s literature makes Family Trees unique among the many holiday events in Greater Boston. Each tree serves as a canvas for the artistic creations of a dedicated team of volunteer decorators. Inspired by the storyline, the illustrations, the characters or setting of a particular book, the decorators let their imaginations take flight, much to the delight of visitors of all ages from all over New England. A$15, Sr. $10, C (4 – 18) $6, C under 4

November 18th is National Adoption Day. Massachusetts celebrates 100+ adoptions in courthouses across the state. MAREinc.org.

30 NOVEMBER2011

Home for the Holidays. Salisbury Mansion, 40 Highland St., Worcester. 1 – 4 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Nov. 25 – Jan. 1. Celebrate the holidays in Worcester’s only historic house museum with flowers, decorations, activities for kids and families...and more! A$5, C under 17 FREE. Find a detailed schedule at worcesterhistory.org for a detailed schedule. 508-753-8278. FREE Parent Support Group in Worcester. Parent/ Professional Advocacy League (PPAL) invites you to meet other parents and caregivers that understand the struggles and victories of raising challenging kids who may have emotional, behavioral or mental health needs. This group meets every second and fourth Thursday of each month. FREE. Monthly, every second Thursday until December 8 and every fourth Thursday until Dec. 22. 508-767-9725, ppal.net.

25FRIDAY Lego Building for All Ages. Bring toddlers to the Children’s Discovery Museum, Acton, to build a museum-community sculpture. Lego lovers of all ages can drop in to the Science Discovery Museum all day to work on their community building projects. $10.50pp, Under 1 free. discoverymusems.org. Holly Days: Fashioned from Nature. Tower Hill Botanic Garden, Boylston. 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Open Daily 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., including Mondays, and until 8 p.m. on Wednesdays. See incredible designs and decorations from natural materials with a fashion theme on trees and wreaths; new this year decorated shoes, jewelry and hats! Outdoor lighting displays. 508-869-6111, towerhillbg.org.

Enrolling Now!

All of our centers enters are NAEYC N E NA EYC accredited  Enrolling children from 4 weeks to 12 years Ê Center Hours: 7:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. ‰ Breakfast, Lunch and Snack Provided Center Locations Include: Granite St., & Grove St. in Worcester Charlton, Devens, Fitchburg & Gardner Family Care Offices in Devens, Leicester, Whitinsville & Worcester

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building to life with an array of period arts, crafts and trades that represent 17th-century English life. Also enjoy open hearth cooking demonstrations, and craft a handmade gift with the help of a museum educator. Included with general admission.historicdeerfield.org. Home for the Holidays. Salisbury Mansion, 40 Highland St., Worcester. 1 – 4 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Nov. 25 – Jan. 1. Celebrate the

16th Annual Family Trees: A Celebration of Children’s Literature. Concord. See Nov. 23 listing for details.

Holiday Fair: Annual Festival of Crafts. Worcester. See Nov. 25th listing for details.

28MONDAY

Make a Gingerbread House! American Girl, Natick. 4:30 p.m. Also Dec. 9 at 5 p.m. and Dec. 20 at 4:30 p.m. Design and decorate your own gingerbread house! This festive activity includes everything your girl needs to make a one-of-a-kind holiday centerpiece—gingerbread pieces, frosting and lots of candy decorations. Also enjoy a meal. $40pp. For girls ages 8+. Reservations required: 877-247-5223, americangirl.com.

The Polar Express. Edaville Railroad, Carver. Nov. 28, 29 & 30 as well as Dec. 5, 6, 12 & 13. See Nov. 18 listing for details.

Christmas Festival of Lights. Edaville Railroad, Carver. Nov. 25 – 27; Nov. 30 – Dec .4; Dec. 7 – 1; Dec. 14 – Jan. 1. 4 – 9 p.m. Mon. - Fri. and 2 – 9 p.m., Sat. & Sun. A & C (2 – 65) $18, Sr. $16, Under 2 FREE. edaville.com.

ONGOING FOR MOMS Breastfeeding Support Group. Baldwin Park I, 12 Alfred St., Woburn. Meets every Wednesday afternoon from 1:302:30 p.m. All moms and babies are welcome. Call Winchester Hospital’s Outpatient Lactation Center: 781-756-4788.

16th Annual Family Trees: A Celebration of Children’s Literature. Concord. See Nov. 23 listing for details.

ONGOING Preschool and Toddler Wednesdays. EcoTarium, 222 Harrington Way, Worcester. 10:30, 11 and 11:30 a.m. Enjoy storytime, craft activities, live animals and more – all developed especially for little ones ages 3 and under. New themes every week! ecotarium.org.

Parents’ Night Out. Great Escape Playcafe, Leominster. Kids will have a blast with hours of playtime, arts & crafts, yummy dinner and snacks and story time - under supervision of staff, while grown-ups can head out for a fun night of their own! Register online or call for details: 978-227-5886 Monthly, every last Friday, until December 31. tgeplaycafe.com

photo courtesy of spirit of springfield.org.

Submit an Event

Royal Ballet and Tea Party. Jam Time, 86 Powder Mill Rd., Maynard. 10 – 11:30 a.m. Drop off your budding prince or princess for this royal event which includes dress-up fun, an introduction to ballet, craft, story and real tea party. For children 3 – 6. $25NM.. Registration required: 978-897-2917, jamtime.com. Holly Days. Princeton Center Building, 18 Boylston Ave., Princeton. Nov. 25 – Sun., Nov. 27: A 3-day extravaganza of shopping for items made locally by talented artisans in numerous mediums such as fine art, pottery, textiles, jewelry, chocolate and much more. Check here for hours: http://hollydays2011. yolasite.com. Parade of the Big Balloons. Main St., Downtown Springfield. Spiritofspringfield.org. Holiday Fair: Annual Festival of Crafts. Worcester Center for Crafts, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. (Fri. & Sat.) Nov. 25 – 27. Also 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. on Sunday. Features 55 regional and nationally known artists who have been chosen from hundreds of submissions so only the best examples of contemporary American craft will be present. $5pp. 508-753-8183, worcestercraftcenter.org. Home for the Holidays. Salisbury Mansion, 40 Highland St., Worcester. 1 – 4 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Nov. 25 – Jan. 1. Celebrate the holidays in Worcester’s only historic house museum with flowers, decorations, activities for kids and families...and more! A$5, C under 17 FREE. Find a detailed schedule at worcesterhistory.org for a detailed schedule. 508-753-8278.

26SATURDAY 16th Annual Family Trees: A Celebration of Children’s Literature. Concord. See Nov. 23 listing for details. Season of Thanks: Society of the 17th Century. Historic Deerfield. 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Meet the Society of the 17th Century, a group of re-enactors who will bring the historic Hall Tavern

It’s a tradition to watch the Parade of the Big Balloons the day after Thanksgiving in Springfield.

holidays in Worcester’s only historic house museum with flowers, decorations, activities for kids and families...and more! A$5, C under 17 FREE. Find a detailed schedule at worcesterhistory.org for a detailed schedule. 508-753-8278. Holiday Fair: Annual Festival of Crafts. Worcester. See Nov. 25th listing for details.

27SUNDAY 16th Annual Family Trees: A Celebration of Children’s Literature. Concord. See Nov. 23 listing for details. Gloucester’s Santa Parade & Tree Lighting. Downtown Gloucester. The annual Santa Claus Parade starts from the State Fish Pier and winds its way through Main Street and Western Avenue to Kent Circle. At Kent Circle, enjoy the wonderful tree lighting ceremony. 978-281-1227. Bad Weather Date: Dec. 4th. Holiday Memories. American Girl, Natick. Create a special holiday decoration to display year after year. Includes a delicious meal, a commemorative photograph and a memory booklet for your girl to take home as a reminder of your special day. Reservations required. For girls ages 6 and up. $25pp. Reservations:877-247-5223. americangirl. com. Also Dec. 4 & 18. Santa Parade & Tree Lighting. Downtown Newburyport. 4 p.m. Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive in the most fitting way for this seaport town -- by boat.

For PARENTS of Children with Aspergers Helping your Child and Teen Make Friends. Asperger’s Association of New England (AANE), Watertown. 10 a.m. - Noon. Parents will go step by step through the process, from the types of friendships, to where to meet potential friends, to planning a get-together with a friend. We will cover theskills children need to socialize successfully, and what to do when conflicts arise in a friendship. Special attention will also be paid to your experience as a parent guiding your child. $55ppNM. aane.org.

29TUESDAY FREE & ONGOING Storytime. Harvard Coop, 1400 Mass Ave., Cambridge. Weekly on Tuesdays, 11 a.m. - 12 p.m. For children ages 1 – 6 and their caregivers with stories and snacks. 617-499-2000. The Polar Express. Edaville Railroad, Carver. Nov. 30 as well as Dec. 5, 6, 12 & 13. See Nov. 18 listing for details.

30WEDNESDAY 16th Annual Family Trees: A Celebration of Children’s Literature. Concord. See Nov. 23 listing for details. The Polar Express. Edaville Railroad, Carver. See Nov. 18 listing for details.

Fill out our form at

baystateparent.com. Our deadline for DECEMBER is

Saturday, Nov. 5. 20th Annual

Festival of Crafts Saturday, November 19th, 2011 9a.m. - 4p.m. • Rain or Shine Shepherd Hill Regional High School 68 Dudley-Oxford Road, Dudley, MA

Over 150 top-quality New England crafters and artisans. Fine hand-made holiday gifts, reasonable prices, drawings, fresh food, home baked desserts, FREE package carry out service FREE shuttle from Dudley Middle School

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BAYSTATEPARENT 31

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Friday After Thanksgiving Chain Reaction (affectionately known as F.A.T.). The MIT Museum, Rockwell Cage Gym, Cambridge. 1 – 4 p.m. This annual family event showcases dozens of teams building unique, fanciful machines in the style of Rube Goldberg. At the end of the day, all the machines are linked together and set off in a giant chain reaction! It’s like watching a giant domino demonstration. 1,500 people from all over watch and participate in this fun-for-all-ages “extreme” event. A$10, C (under 18) $5. Spectator fee includes a free same-day admission to the MIT Museum.


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SPECIALNEEDS LET’SROLL

courtesy of morgan’s wonderland

courtesy of morgan’s wonderland

courtesy of morgan’s wonderland

Special Places

BY

amanda roberge

W

hen it comes to planning activities and outings, many parents of kids with special needs will tell you that the challenges are

twofold. The first thing parents have to consider has everything to do with safety and accessibility. For kids in wheelchairs or dealing with physical disabilities, parents have to map out how much their child will be able to engage and participate, wanting to set them up for the most mainstream experience possible. For parents of children on the autism spectrum or with other sensory issues, there might be issues with sound, stimulation and security to consider. Will their child be able and allowed to make it halfway to the parking lot before they’ve been identified as missing at a crowded establishment? Or will wristbands and a guard at the exit help keep everyone safe? But once they contemplate activities within those parameters, there is another pressing consideration: How might these activities impact my family socially? While one child might be unable to endure waiting in lines, others might act out if they become over stimulated. The judgment, staring and scrutiny of others is a major concern for these special family units – but the Bay State is breaking ground in this arena and has an array of classes, destinations and activities geared specifically toward families trying to provide meaningful outings and enrichment for their children, whatever their limitations.

Museums & Parks Way across the country, in San Antonio, Texas, is a mecca for families who seek to provide their kids with special needs with 34 NOVEMBER2011

the optimum amusement experience. Morgan’s Wonderland is a 25-acre “ultraaccessible” park that encompasses rides, attractions and activities – the first park of its kind in the United States. The initiative, which is supported financially by a number of charitable organizations and donations in addition to several corporations and municipal entities, was started by philanthropist Gordon Hartman as a tribute to his daughter Morgan as a way to promote a spirit of inclusion and understanding among all children. But don’t despair if a cross-county trip is not on your wish list – there are a number of opportunities and destinations locally

at Waltham – these programs are free for the families involved. According to Director of Early Childhood Education and Parent Resources, Amy Spencer, the programs have been a huge success and the museum will offer these programs with increasing frequency in 2012. While parents seem to enjoy having the museum time set aside for them, the idea is not to manipulate the environment to be more suited toward their children’s needs. Instead, says Spencer, it’s all about being among peers. “These parents are happy to have a place where they don’t feel judged,

“...parents are happy to have a place where they don’t feel judged...” - Amy Spencer, The Discovery Museums for families with special needs children. Staff at The Discovery Museums in Acton have taken the local lead on making their programs available to everyone with the recent addition of an initiative known as “Especially for Me.” The museum, which remains open during specific hours set aside for the program, offers a time dedicated to families who have a child on the autism spectrum and another morning dedicated to families with children who are coping with deafness or hearing loss. Thanks to grants and donations – plus sponsorship from the Autism Alliance of Metrowest and the Deaf & Hard of Hearing Program of Childrens Hospital Boston

where they can be free from dealing with the looks or behavior from other parents who don’t understand their situation,” she says.

Theatres and the Arts That very sentiment has been the idea behind Sensory-Friendly Screenings at AMC Theatres nationwide. With Massachusetts locations in Dartmouth, Framingham, Tyngsboro, Methuen and Braintree, special screenings are held on the first Saturday morning of each month with a specific family-friendly feature.

Lights are kept slightly dimmed instead of being turned off, and the movie’s volume is kept at a lower-than-usual level, all in an effort to provide a more optimum sensory environment for children with autism. But in what might be a local first, Wheelock College in Boston now holds drama classes specifically for children on the autism spectrum. The class, offered through Wheelock Family Theatre and broken into two age groups that serve kids in grades 1-3 and grades 4-6, was kicked off last spring and has been a huge success. “We had been brainstorming ways to focus on the kids with these particular challenges and how to meet them in a way that would be meaningful to them,” says Director of Education John Bay. “What we’ve noticed is that there seems to be a hunger out there for these kinds of programs.” Using what Bay refers to as a “Peer Model,” each child enrolled in the class is allowed to bring a peer with him or her, at no extra cost, for support. Some students bring a sibling, others a friend – the only “rule” is that the peer be someone close to the student’s age. “It’s been a very successful way of building in peer support,” Bay adds. “We are just really excited about [the program] and plan to expand it, but slowly and carefully.”

Recreation For many parents, finding a way for their kids to stay active, whether in team sports or individually, can be a grand challenge. Sterling Gymnastics offers a class twice a week in the evenings for kids with special needs – the majority of whom fall somewhere on the autism spectrum


jennifer erickson/the discovery museums

jennifer erickson/the discovery museums

SPECIALNEEDS

but also a good number of students with Down Syndrome or physical disabilities, says owner Nancy Carbone. Like Wheelock’s Peer Model, the gym recruits some of their high-school aged gymnasts to become one-on-one support with their special needs students. “It’s a nice way for the kids to have someone around their own age to relate to, but it’s also a great way for the teens to provide community service,” she says. Hopedale facility McKeon Dance & Gymnastics also offers classes for kids with special needs and currently has room available in three different age groups. According to one mom, whose son has attended for three years, “The staff understands autism. They are very patient and kind.” And while many municipal recreation departments offer separate sports teams for kids with special needs, sometimes a kid just needs to be a kid. It is in that spirit that Stephanie McElligot worked to establish Westford’s first fully handicap-accessible playground, Ronan McElligot Memorial Playground. After losing her 5-month old son Ronan to a rare condition known as Leigh’s Disease, she became tuned into the life she had expected to live when her baby was diagnosed – one with a physically disabled child. “Shortly after Ronan passed away, we took his sister Brynn to a nearby playground,” she says. “A healthy 3-yearold, there was nothing she couldn’t do that day. But I looked around and realized that if Ronan was still with us at that same age, there was nothing that he could have done at that playground.” Boundless Playgrounds have been popping up all over the country, and include features like swings with chairs, and slides that are built into existing hillsides so ladders do not need to be

scaled in order to enjoy them. Some, like “My Friend’s Place” playground in South Windsor, Connecticut, have a “Sensory Garden” where special plantings make it fun for kids to smell, touch, taste, feel and hear as they walk along landscaped paths. According to Sue Loring, Director of the Autism Resource Center in West Boylston, what is considered a fun and developmentally appropriate activity for the families she serves varies as much as their children’s abilities and personalities. “What works for one child could be another child’s idea of torture,” she says. However, she adds, some activities have a higher appeal as a general rule, and those include bounce house destinations like Jump on In in Lowell and Pump it Up in Shrewsbury because of “the proprioceptive input” they experience from that type of movement. Additionally, she says, swimming can be a sensory experience many children on the spectrum quite enjoy, and as always, there is an added bonus in having the activity become a positive social experience. “I’m often taken by the kindness of strangers to me when I take my son to the Y to swim,” she says. “Other members and staff often speak kindly or advocate for him with others, so it is heartwarming to see that acceptance.” Amanda Roberge is a Leominster freelance writer and the mother of three daughters.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: The Acton Discovery Museum 177 Main Street, Acton, MA 01720 discoverymuseums.org Sterling Gym 15 Industrial Drive, Sterling, MA 01564 sterlinggym.com Wheelock Family Theatre 200 The Riverway Boston, MA 02155 wheelockfamilytheatre.org AMC Theatres www.amctheatres.com Jump On In 100 Phoenix Ave, # 1 Lowell, MA jumponinfun.com

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MOMS ROCK!

Lotte Diomede Of SUDBURY Age: 44 Mom of: Nicholas, 10 and Anna Belle, 8 Occupation: Stay-at-home mom and volunteer BY

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“No one ever told us it was going to be easy,� says feisty mom of two, Lotte Diomede, from Sudbury, Massachusetts. Lotte moved to the Boston area from Denmark in 1994, marrying her husband Gary in 1998. While pregnant with their first child, doctors told Lotte at her seventh month checkup that her son would be born with water in the brain, a condition known as hydrocephalus. She was advised to go home and “enjoy� the rest of her pregnancy. Overwhelmed and angry, someone told her to pray. But Lotte felt she had been a good mother; she didn’t smoke or drink alcohol or coffee. Plus she had stayed fit. Lotte knew she had to fight for Nicholas. She transferred to Beth Israel and sat with Dr. Jodi Abbot, an obstetrician and gynecologist, who gave her the answers she needed. “I felt at least I knew where to focus and how to manage the rest of my pregnancy without going insane,� explains Lotte. According to the Hydrocephalus Association, one to two of every 1,000 babies are born with hydrocephalus,

making it as common as Down syndrome and more common than Spina Bifida or brain tumors. Early treatment increases the chances of a better prognosis. Nicholas arrived four weeks early via C-section and was transferred to Children’s Hospital in Boston for surgery to implant a shunt that would relieve pressure in his brain. And throughout the first six years of Nicholas’s life, he underwent surgery after surgery: an operation on each thumb to increase his grip strength, feeding tube surgery, shunt surgery, a shunt revision and two hernia operations. “My son never said 20 words and yet he’s getting tested every single day of his life,� says Lotte. The hardest part about having a child with disabilities, says Lotte, is that everyone seems to have a hand and influence in what your child does every day. Nicholas has 13 specialists. “Sometimes I have to say, ‘Stop. It’s up to me!’� says Lotte, whose number one priority is to help her son with his communication and mobility. Her son is now a happy 10-year-old

brother to his 8-year-old sister, Anna Belle. “She’s an amazing little girl, and Nicholas is a trooper and brings good karma to us all,� says Lotte. “I love them both the same.� Lotte volunteers at her children’s schools and learns all she can about services for children with disabilities. She volunteers as co-chairperson at the Massachusetts Commission on Disabilities so she can keep up with the law. Her spirited get-itdone attitude ignites the people around her, and in 2008, she spearheaded a fundraiser to help build a universal playground for all children, including those with disabilities, at Haskell Field in Sudbury, Massachusetts. “I was just hoping for a handicapped swing, and we got a whole new park!� exclaims Lotte, who has received many

letters from families who are now able to take their children with disabilities to play at the park. In 2009, she filed her own 501-C3 and founded SMILE MASS, an acronym for “Small Miracles in Life Exist.� Her latest “fun�-raiser is a scavenger hunt by limousine to help raise money for special beach wheelchairs. She is determined to give more children with disabilities the chance to enjoy a day at the beach with their families. For many children with severe disabilities like Nicholas, everyday necessities such as getting out of bed, breathing independently, getting to the bathroom and eating require constant help from family, friends and teachers. Though Nicholas is considered

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nonverbal, he finds ways and simple words to express his feelings and enjoys helping out with everyday family rituals like setting the dinner table and reminding his sister with a nudge that it’s time to get ready for school if she’s running late. “Nicholas has a smile that will melt your heart,� says Lotte, “and a courage which is unreachable. He loves when we are all together; it makes him feel safe.� Lotte’s newest idea is to create a home that is totally equipped for families who just want to enjoy a vacation at the beach together. She was stunned to learn that most hotels do not have bathrooms with roll-in showers; as bath stools can only get you so far if you have to hold a child up while bathing him. And for Lotte this means lifting Nicholas, who has little muscle tone and weighs 82 pounds now. For 12% of children in Massachusetts who are severely handicapped, traveling is a huge challenge. “I dream of a vacation place where we as a family will have facilities available that fit all of us, a place where we can have the opportunity to build happy, healthy memories as a family,� she says. When asked how she stays motivated to give back to others, Lotte’s answer is always the same. “I have a choice every day to play the victim or the contender. My kids need me to be the best that I can be. I expect them to do their best, so I have to somehow show them the way.� If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation, go to smilemass.org or mail a check to SMILEMASS, 56 Dutton Rd., Sudbury, MA 01776.

so I feel privileged that I have friends who step up when things get tough. A typical day: I’m up at 5:30 in the morning to prepare Nicholas’s food, change and hook him up to his feeding tube. I get the kids off to school, check my lists – the dummy list and the never ending list –, start phone calls and fundraising, volunteer, get the kids to after school activities and appointments, fix supper, get the kids into bed, read our bedtime stories, and then I’m up until 1 a.m. sometimes working on raising money for disabilities. What would make my life easier: More hands on deck and more hours in a day. I never feel like I have enough time.

Take 10 with Lotte Words to describe my family: We are fun loving, and we take care of each other. Best part of my day: Right after the kids leave the house and I have my cup of coffee. I get 20 minutes to just be me which sets my day on the right path. Current family obsessions: Smile Mass – Anna Belle sees the signs on her way

to school and she knows it’s Mommy’s dream for families. Things that drive me crazy: That Nicholas can’t have the privacy and dignity a 10-year-old boy deserves when it comes to the bathroom and grooming. As long as he can’t stand up, he’ll always need assistance, but we’re not giving up. Best things about the town where I am raising my children: No one cares if you are the CEO, a partner, or a stay-at-home mom. We all hang out in a nice community. It’s hard when you have no family around,

Thoughts about Thanksgiving this year with my family: I make a turkey and the kids tell me what they want to eat. Anna Belle loves to crack open eggs and help with the stuffing. Nicholas helps set the table. Comments on the upcoming holiday season: Sometimes we make dinner and bring it to the staff at the hospital. The best thing parents can do to support a mom or dad parenting a child with special needs: Be a friend. Let your children say hi to a child with disabilities. Just be happy for people no matter what. Moms Rock is an award-winning monthly feature that celebrates the good that moms do. Do you know a mom who just rocks? Email editor@baystateparent.com.

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In the WRONG Chair a loving mom and professional therapist copes with the news that her baby has special needs BY

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Editor’s note: These edited excerpts from Kathleen’s blog contain profanity. Kathleen’s son is also our November cover model.

Thursday, November 11, 2010 My son’s a retard. In April 2010, my 20-month-old son was diagnosed with Fragile X, one of the leading causes of “developmental delays” - or as we called it in my day, mental retardation. To have your baby diagnosed with this is inexplicable, the grief, sadness, horror, guilt. To look at my adorable son and know my genes caused it - the pain has been unbearable. Since that day, I have been trying to survive. Trying to get through each day - parenting, working, living - not falling apart. That has been work enough. You’ll never know how many people throw around the word “retard” until that word changes your world. I hear that word - “retard, retarded’ - daily. My clients, coworkers, everyday literature, even my friends and family throw it around in daily conversation. Just like I did. And every time I hear that word – every time - it is a punch in the gut. That 38 NOVEMBER2011

word, used derogatorily, conjures up my beautiful son’s face, but I can’t quite put that word and my son’s face together. People complain that our society is too “politically correct.” I’ve been a social worker for 11 years, so political correctness doesn’t bother me. I feel much of it is overdue. But if you are reading this, I beg you to reconsider using that word. Don’t punch me in the gut; my year has been bad enough.

Saturday, November 13, 2010 Fragile X is just science, right? A change on a single gene, carried by my own X chromosome, causing an increase in repeats, causing a change in protein production. My own fragility caused frailty in my son. X marks the spot. Owen was born a healthy robust boy on July 25, 2008. At 9.11 lbs, he was a big-ass baby. Within a few days - hours, even – I noticed differences between him and his

older sister, Bridget. Bridget was wide-eyed and alert from the get-go whereas Owen was quiet and had his eyes closed most of the time for the first month of his life. Our pediatrician told us not to worry about it. When Owen was 8 months old, his daycare teachers expressed concern, especially because he still wasn’t sitting up on his own. It scared the shit out of me. I cried hysterically on my way to work that day, as I would for many more days to come. It wasn’t just mother’s anxiety, someone else noticed, people who knew babies and had significant experience caring for them. I immediately called my pediatrician who recommended we call Early Intervention (EI). Within a week, they came to my house and evaluated 9-month-old Owen. He tested in the 4 - 5 month range. I panicked. Over the summer, I asked the visiting EI worker point blank: “Is he retarded?” He laughed, “No!” When I later repeated my concerns to our pediatrician, he told me, “Nahh, he’s just lazy.”

By December, Owen still wasn’t walking. He wasn’t using the words that he had initially started speaking over the summer and had become more of a yeller/grunter. A speech pathologist told me earnestly, “He is either autistic or globally delayed.” A ringing in my ears started. “What? What do you mean?” My kid loved people. How many times had I heard, “He’s so happy! What a great smile! What a happy baby!” He makes friends everywhere we go! Autistic? As her lips kept moving, something dawned on me, and I asked, “Global delay? Does that mean mental retardation?” She whispered conspiratorially, “We’re not allowed to say that anymore, but yes.” And then the only words going through my head were “Get the fuck out of my house. Get out. Get the fuck out.” She recommended a developmental evaluation at UMass or Children’s Hospital, looked at me with pity, apologized and got the fuck out of my house. That was December 11, 2009. Since


then, I don’t remember many other “big dates” regarding the diagnosis, but that is one that will always stay with me. The day someone told me the truth.

Monday, November 22, 2010 Children’s Hospital Boston is an unbelievable hospital. It’s a freaking carnival. Beautiful, colorful, warm. Everyone, from the docs to the nurses to the valets - awesome. The developmental pediatrician we met with, Dr. Rappaport, is the chief and director of the whole department. What was great about him is he admitted what he didn’t know. He was not sure why Owen was developmentally delayed, telling us that we would wait and watch and see. Furthermore, as long as his bloodwork came out okay, there would be a chance everything could be fine. He said that would take two to three weeks. It took five. And those were five agonizingly-long weeks that I won’t forget but don’t really remember as I was in a haze of hope and prayer and bargaining and negotiation. Please God please God please God PLEASE. I’ll do anything. I’ll go back to church. I’ll be nice to my mother. Please. Please please please pleasepleasepleasepleasepleaseplease. As the various tests came back, Dr. Rappaport would email me, “Negative. Negative. Negative. Negative.” The last test was Fragile X, and it took five fucking weeks. I had missed a call on my cell one Friday morning - in late March or early April I think – this date is stricken from memory, and it was a call from Children’s. The voicemail was from Dr. Rappaport. Call him. My heart raced immediately and I can remember the fear and adrenaline pumping through my veins. He called. He called. No no no no. If the test was negative, he’d just email. I could hear the genuine apology in his voice. “I’m so sorry; the Fragile X test is positive.” I don’t remember much of what he said after that. I wanted to hang up, escape, run, hide, disappear, die. No no no no no no noooooooooooooooo.

him “normal” children. I was wracked with guilt for doing this to his child. He looked at me incredulously; blaming me hadn’t crossed his mind. I wanted people to know, but I didn’t want to talk about it. I was angry and jealous of parents with “healthy” kids, especially those I felt “didn’t deserve them.” I would click through pictures of families on Facebook, people I didn’t even know, thinking how they were all “fine” and why, why me? Why my son, why? I was angry at my

knew the issues these kids could suffer many years from now. And now...role reversal. I’m in the wrong chair.

December 20, 2010 How can you help me? Teach your kids about diversity. Teach them how families can be different – single moms, or two dads, or kids living with grandparents. Teach them about people with disabilities – people in wheelchairs, people who are

1. Looking for a gift for a similar age child, realizing I don’t know what a “typical” child his age is into. The reminding “something’s-wrong” bell rings. 2. Seeing the progress of his peers, where he should be, what he could be doing. I’m sad. And the bell rings. 3. Bridget is his bossy care-taking older sister, both playing with him and talking for him. I struggle with this - I want her to be his sister, not his keeper. I don’t want her to feel such responsibility for him. At the same time, her care reassures me. Bell rings. 4. Monday is our first meeting with the local school system, as we begin the plan for his transition from early intervention to public preschool. I have been told our school system is one of the best, but I’m also so scared to send my little boy into the “big kid” school. How will he do with such a transition? How will he be treated by others? Ring ring ring ring ring ring ringringringring............ I’m preparing to be sad because the book told me. Something that makes me happy? Owen’s ability to charm all he comes into contact with. We walk through the mall and I see people nudge each other, look adoringly at Owen. I hear whispers of “What a cute baby!” Owen’s godfather made my heart soar when he said “Owen smiles with his whole body,” and one of my girlfriends told me that Owen is lit from within. I take these moments and bank them, let them wash over me and reassure, let them give me hope for his survival in this unkind world. Maybe my baby came prewrapped in his own protection, a nature and temperament of sweetness, kindness and charm.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Tuesday, November 30, 2010 The next few months were a complete fog. I kept repeating in my head over and over “He’s retarded. A retard. Retarded. Retard. My son. No. No. nononono.” I couldn’t believe I had done this to my beautiful blonde baby (he was barely 20 months when diagnosed). He was a BABY. I looked at him and feared what he would grow into. To read any book about Fragile X - severe behavior problems, aggression, seizure, heart problems, moderate mental retardation, autism symptoms - the possible horrors went on and on. I was suicidal, knowing that my gene caused this. I thought about the bottles of pills in the cabinet. I hated myself, blamed myself. This is my fault; I’m defective and broken and I’ve ruined my family’s life. I couldn’t fall asleep, couldn’t stay asleep, would wake to find myself sobbing, my husband waking to hold me. I couldn’t eat; my body rejected food, and I lost almost 20 lbs within two months. I didn’t want to talk to people. I told my husband to leave me, to go find a wife with good genes who could give

Things that have made me sad lately:

“I am learning to remind myself, every day, of the everyday kindness, miracles, beauty and moments in life.”

father’s family for giving me the gene. I had a hard time facing friends with sameage children, afraid to see what their kids did that mine couldn’t. I alternated between extreme sadness and rage. I would go about the normal routine, send the kids to school/daycare, drive to work and sob hysterically in the car. I would get to work, walk in, see my coworkers (who are wonderful friends) and sob more. I was supposed to be the professional, giving the bad news! I counseled moms who had kids with special needs! And siblings of kids with special needs! How many times I had been in “the other chair,” explaining to parents that their child has been sexually abused, physically abused, bullied, or that their child had been self mutilating, hearing voices or diagnosed with a permanent mental health issue. So many times I had given devastating information to parents and

blind, or kids like Owen, who have Fragile X. But don’t just teach them, show them. Thank the waitress, greet the tollbooth operator, stop for people in crosswalks. Smile, be kind, demonstrate patience and be tolerant of other’s differences. Actions are louder.

Friday, January 21, 2011 One of the things I don’t like about many parenting special needs books is the alarmist predictions. The books like to tell you when you will be upset, at times like birthdays, academic evaluations, holidays. They are calendar reminders that “something’s” wrong. Don’t fall into a false assurance of normalcy; don’t forget something’s wrong... something’s wrong...something’s wrong. Sometimes I feel like I get sad just because the book told me it was time to be sad.

I’ve been angry this month. Lashing out, impatient, downright aggressive. I’ve had multiple battles with multiple people. I know what it is. One year anniversary, baby. February 11th was our first day at Children’s in the Developmental Center. And last week, we were right back there again, for our every-6-month check-in with his developmental doctor, Dr. Rappaport. I got the doctor’s report in the mail a few days later. Owen is “cute and disheveled,” has a “special relationship with his dad” and “progress is slow...” Guess what words are haunting me? All of them. Is this now my excuse? These reports will now and forever be “my reason” for being a huge bitch? For isolating, lashing out or procrastinating. It’s a mix of painful vulnerability; I feel like you can see the open wound on my chest. People say things and their words are like daggers, innocuous words that are immediately perceived as rude, thoughtless, hurtful. Every word feels to me like an insult or slight. And internally there is an immediate “How dare they??!!?? Don’t they know ‘what I’m going through’?” I’m BAYSTATEPARENT 39


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righteous. Show me some respect, I’ve had tragedy. I can’t feel anymore pain, and if I feel like you are hurting me. It feels like all the joy and happiness has been sucked out of life and has been replaced by worry, stress and grief. Every minute of every day it’s there, in the back of my head, never leaving, a tiny hamster wheel in the back of my brain spinning and spinning saying “What about Owen? What about Owen? What about Owen? ? ? ?” “Everything happens for a reason.” Fuck you.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011 It feels like I have poison running through my blood. I know it’s really my genes, on my X chromosome - my broken insides. But in my body, I feel like there is a poison running through my veins, a poison that hurts, breaks, kills. I’m infected and have inadvertently infected those most precious to me. And because of this, I’m angry at those who poisoned me - my father, his mother. Now they are both dead, so I guess it makes it easy to be mad at them. I hear talk of family trees - and I see my tree, my branch, others’ branches, marked with an X, a

passing through from generation to generation, branch to branch, unknowingly connected by blood and X’s, connections that are primal, physical, emotional, psychological. My grandmother’s recent death has stunned me stunned by realizing that her blood runs through me and has poisoned me. She in now gone and I survive her, moving on to contaminate the next generation.

Friday, April 8, 2011 Owen is almost 2.9 years old. He is over 40 lbs, nearly as tall as his almost 6-year-old sister, loves big trucks and spending time in the kitchen. He is into everything! He is talking, but it is tough to understand, and he uses lots of signs. Owen also loves going to daycare two days a week and runs into the class without a second glance at me. He is in a “typical” daycare with all “typical” kids, and he does really well.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011 Feels like I can exhale. Both kids are back to school, including Owen who is attending four full days of public preschool. The transition was terrifying to me. How would he handle it? Would they offer us enough services? What if I had to fight them? But after seven months of tests, evaluations, meetings and site visits, it was time for his first day of Pre-K. The worst part was his first “bus” (van) ride to school. He ran to the van happily, we installed his car seat, buckled him in and kissed him goodbye. He suddenly looked around the van and realized that we weren’t in it, and as the door closes, he started to flail and cry. We watched the van drive away, Owen flailing and his little face in the window, terrified. We turned to walk back up the stairs, and I burst into tears. My baby! He can’t even talk! He doesn’t understand where he is going!!! What is he going through? Maybe I’ll drive to the school and go see? Bridget grabbed my hand and said, “It’s OK mommy; he’ll be fine.” An hour later I was laying on my bed, depressed, imagining my poor son despondent that we have abandoned him and sent

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him to be cared for by virtual strangers. My phone rings and it was the Pre-K director. “I just want you to know everything is fine. He is doing really well and has had a smile on his face since he walked in the door. He’s doing great and he loved snack time. He is a great eater!” I smiled, thinking of my blond, charming, grinning boy, happily shoving food in his mouth, surrounded by friends and new teachers. I exhaled.

Try to give of myself right then, when I can, so I don’t regret it later. Remember the honor and privilege of working with

say it now; don’t let it fester. Hug now. Love now. Tickle now. Dance. Express myself. Snuggle with my pets. Read

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 I love our security guard at work. His name is Paul and he’s a gruff, Republican, teddy bear of a guy. His daughter was recently forced to deliver her baby months early. Baby Logan was born, a little guy around 3 pounds. Paul told me this week that after an extended hospitalization, Baby Logan was finally coming home. I welled up with tears and quickly choked them back. Paul rhetorically asked me, “You’re not used to good news, eh?” That sentence struck me. Wow. So true. My job is one of hearing tragic stories on a daily basis - hearing the dark and evil side of human nature, the randomness of tragedy, the unfairness of life. Owen’s diagnosis combined with my job has caused me to see the world through very dark lenses. So no, I’m not used to good news. I am learning to remind myself, every day, of the everyday kindnesses, miracles, beauty and moments in life.

“When Owen’s doctor, Dr. Rappaport, observed Bridget and Owen for the first time, he called the closeness between them ‘remarkable.’” says Kathleen.

clients - the kid who says to me “You are the only person I trust” or the adult who says “You are the first person I’ve ever told this to.” I remind myself to

library books profusely. See the beauty in two kids, squished in a recliner, sucking thumbs and watching Sesame Street. Enjoy the beauty of a picturesque New

SPECIALNEEDS England town while walking the dog. Sip strong drinks with friends while waiting for appetizers. Do my physical therapy so I can keep my own knee for another 20+ years and floss my teeth daily so they don’t fall out of my head. I got into social work to help people, only to learn I could only help people help themselves. I got married and had children hoping to have the “perfect family and live my dreams,” only to learn life doesn’t come with a guarantee and perfection doesn’t exist. But I’m not giving up the dreams. I think good news may be knocking... Kathleen Quinn is a licensed independent clinical social worker (LICSW). She and husband Derek MacDougall have two children -- Owen, 3, and Bridget, 6. She initially started a blog in an attempt to process and cope with the Fragile X diagnosis, and also use it to update and educate her friends and family. She has a love/hate relationship with the blog, similar to how most people feel about therapy – it hurts to go there but feels better after. For more about Fragile X, visit her blog at http://mysonsaretard.blogspot.com/.

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s 3IGN UP TYPE IN YOUR ZIP CODE AND begin your search FOR SITTERS IN YOUR COMMUNITY s 3TART YOUR SEARCH FOR THE SITTER THAT ďŹ ts YOUR FAMILY S NEEDS TODAY s )N 60 days WE SIGNED UP 562 sitters IN -ASSACHUSETTS

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contentment perspective innovation coordination independence

discovery stimulation development achievement contentment perspective balance innovation

freedom coordination independence discovery stimulation balance

&Ĺ?ŜĂŜÄ?Ĺ?Ä‚ĹŻ ZÄžĆ‰ĆŒÄžĆ?ĞŜƚĂƚĹ?ǀĞ ÍŹ Ĺ?ĆŒÄžÄ?ĆšĹ˝ĆŒ ŽĨ ^ƉĞÄ?Ĺ?Ä‚ĹŻ EĞĞĚĆ? coordination independence discovery stimulation development achievement freedom balance

tĞĂůƚŚ WĆŒĹ˝ĆšÄžÄ?ĆšĹ?ŽŜ ÍŽ /ŜǀĞĆ?ƚžĞŜƚ WĹ˝ĆŒĆšĨŽůĹ?Ĺ˝ ĆľĹ?ĹŻÄšĹ?ĹśĹ? ZĞƚĹ?ĆŒÄžĹľÄžĹśĆš /ĹśÄ?ŽžÄž WĹŻÄ‚ŜŜĹ?ĹśĹ? ÍŽ ^ƉĞÄ?Ĺ?Ä‚ĹŻ EĞĞĚĆ? WĹŻÄ‚ŜŜĹ?ĹśĹ?

tĞĂůƚŚ Ĺ?Ć? Ä‚ Ç€ÄžĆŒÇ‡ Ć‰ÄžĆŒĆ?ŽŜÄ‚ĹŻ ĂŜĚ Ć‰ĆŒĹ?ǀĂƚĞ ĹľÄ‚ĆšĆšÄžĆŒÍ˜ tÄž Ć?ĹšÄ‚ĆŒÄž Ä‚ Ć‰ĆŒĹ˝Ä?ÄžĆ?Ć? ƚŚĂƚ ŚĞůƉĆ? LJŽƾ Ä?ÄžÄ?ŽžÄž Ä?ÄžĆšĆšÄžĆŒ ĞĚƾÄ?ĂƚĞĚ͕ Ĺ˝ĆŒĹ?Ä‚ĹśĹ?njĞĚ ĂŜĚ Ć‰ĆŒÄžĆ‰Ä‚ĆŒÄžÄš ƚŽ ĆŒÄžÄ‚ĹŻĹ?njĞ LJŽƾĆŒ ƾŜĹ?ƋƾĞ Ĺ?ŜƚĞŜƚĹ?ŽŜĆ? ĂŜĚ Ĺ?ŽĂůĆ?͘ dŚĞ ĆŒÄžÄ‚ĹŻ Ä?ĞŜĞĨĹ?Ćš Ĺ?Ć? ƚŚĞ Ä?ĹŻÄ‚ĆŒĹ?ƚLJ ĂŜĚ Ä?ŽŜĨĹ?ĚĞŜÄ?Äž LJŽƾ Ç Ĺ?ĹŻĹŻ Ä‚Ä?ĹšĹ?ĞǀĞ Ĺ?Ĺś ĹŹĹśĹ˝Ç Ĺ?ĹśĹ? LJŽƾ ŚĂǀĞ Ä‚ÄšÄšĆŒÄžĆ?Ć?ĞĚ LJŽƾĆŒ ĨĹ?ŜĂŜÄ?Ĺ?Ä‚ĹŻ Ć?ÄžÄ?ĆľĆŒĹ?ĆšÇ‡Í˜

Ed/E > &/E E / > 'ZKhWÍ• >> ϴϾϲ DÄ‚Ĺ?Ĺś ^ĆšĆŒÄžÄžĆšÍ• ώŜĚ &ůŽŽĆŒ ÍŽ tĂůƉŽůĞ͕ D ĎŹĎŽĎŹĎ´Ď­ dĞůĞƉŚŽŜĞ͗ ϹϏϴ͘ϲϲϴ͘ϭϲϭώ džϲϏϴ ÍŽ Ç Ç Ç Í˜ĆŒĹ?Ä?ĹšĹšÄ‚ĆŒÇ Ĺ˝Ĺ˝ÄšÍ˜Ä?Žž ZÄžĹ?Ĺ?Ć?ĆšÄžĆŒÄžÄš ZÄžĆ‰ĆŒÄžĆ?ĞŜƚĂƚĹ?ǀĞ͏^ÄžÄ?ĆľĆŒĹ?ĆšĹ?ÄžĆ? ĂŜĚ /ŜǀĞĆ?ƚžĞŜƚ ĚǀĹ?Ć?Ĺ˝ĆŒÇ‡ ^ÄžĆŒÇ€Ĺ?Ä?ÄžĆ? ŽĨĨÄžĆŒÄžÄš ĆšĹšĆŒŽƾĹ?Ĺš ^Ĺ?Ĺ?ĹśÄ‚ĆšĹ˝ĆŒ /ŜǀĞĆ?ĆšĹ˝ĆŒĆ?Í• /ĹśÄ?͕͘ DĞžÄ?ÄžĆŒ &/EZ Í• ^/W Í• Ä‚ ZÄžĹ?Ĺ?Ć?ĆšÄžĆŒÄžÄš /ŜǀĞĆ?ƚžĞŜƚ ĚǀĹ?Ć?Ĺ˝ĆŒÍ˜ ϭϲϏ 'ŽƾůÄš ^ĆšĆŒÄžÄžĆšÍ• ^ĆľĹ?ƚĞ ĎŽĎ­ĎŽÍ• EĞĞĚŚĂž ,ÄžĹ?Ĺ?ŚƚĆ?Í• D ϏώϰϾϰ͘ ϳϴϭ͘ϰϰϲ͘ϹϏϏϏ͘ ĞŜƚĹ?ŜĞů &Ĺ?ŜĂŜÄ?Ĺ?Ä‚ĹŻ 'ĆŒŽƾƉ͕ >> Ĺ?Ć? Ĺ?ŜĚĞƉĞŜĚĞŜƚ ŽĨ ^Ĺ?Ĺ?ĹśÄ‚ĆšĹ˝ĆŒ /ŜǀĞĆ?ĆšĹ˝ĆŒĆ?Í• /ĹśÄ?͘ ĂŜĚ ĂŜLJ Ä‚ĨĨĹ?ĹŻĹ?ĂƚĞĚ Ä?ŽžĆ‰Ä‚ĹśĹ?ÄžĆ?͘ ϹϏϭͲώϏϭϭϏϳϏϴͲϳϴϯϰώ

Pediatric Occupational and Speech Therapy

Our Programs Include:

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• Individual Occupational and Speech Therapy • Pragmatic Language and Social Groups • Parent and Educator Workshops • 1,000 sf Sensory Gym with Suspension Equipment

Fall Workshop

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Learn about how sensory issues affect your child and their well-being. You will be given an introduction to SI and alerted to the warning signs.

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Tuesday, November 15th, 6:30-8:30 pm

Workshop given by: Phyllis Barrett Samara, OTR/L, Founder and Certified SI Therapist Phyllis has 35 years Occupational Therapy experience involving school systems, nursing homes, and pediatrics. She opened this Center in 2000 with the desire to bridge the connection between OT services and family support.

Pre-registration required. Fee $25/person. Please call (508) 898-2688.

Now Located At 107 Otis Street, Northborough, MA 01532 P. (508) 898-2688 info@barrettfamilywellness.com www.barrettfamilywellness.com BAYSTATEPARENT 43


SPECIALNEEDS

N Helping students do school. Strengthening skills in listening, speaking, reading, writing, handwriting, critical thinking, memory, study skills, and learning. N Helping students navigate their lives. Developing strategies for social interaction, problem solving, executive functioning, organization, and emotional regulation. N Helping families and teachers maximize success. Supporting parents, teachers, and schools through professional consultation and comprehensive speech-language, reading, written expression, and psychotherapy evaluations. N Helping students learn through the summer. In our theme-based academic clubs and classes, students may explore the world as ďŹ lm critics, detectives,wizards, zoologists, or even Knights of the Round Table. Individual and small group instruction as well as multi-sensory, theme-based classes for K-12 students. Speech-language therapy, Occupational therapy, Psychotherapy, Tutoring, and Academic enrichment. Our vision is that all individuals see themselves as whole and capable.

Architects For Learning 160 Gould Street, Needham Heights, MA 02494 781-235-8412 N www.architectsforlearning.com

Their Quality of Life is at the Center of Our Family Supports At the Family Support Centers of Seven Hills Foundation, individuals with disabilities and their families receive all the support they need to live full and rewarding lives including: Q Information & Referral Q Training in English & Spanish Q Archived Online Video Trainings

Q Family Support Brokers Q Respite Care Q Other Family Supports

For more information, contact Robin Foley at 508.796.1850 or rfoley@sevenhills.org.

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44 NOVEMBER2011

Speech Therapy Sensory Integration Occupational Therapy Listening Therapy Feeding Therapy


SPECIALNEEDS

The Boy Who

CRIED

SILENTLY BY

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janice harvey photos courtesy of the donas family

hen John Donas was a toddler, the other children in his preschool class didn’t interest him very much. The water table where they splashed merrily and the sandbox where they formed castles from upturned pails caused him to frown. John much preferred the solitary task of lining up with precision Matchbox cars, one after another after another. While his classmates chased each other across the playground, John chose to travel the perimeter of the schoolyard, systematically touching the fence top

every few feet. Inside the school, the residue from glue sticks agitated him so much that he stubbornly refused to employ them. Removing dried paste from his fingertips would consume John’s morning, if his teachers allowed him to perseverate over such things. We didn’t. John Donas was diagnosed with autism early in life. His beautiful blue eyes rarely met mine when I was an instructional assistant in the specialneeds classroom where John was placed. Those eyes would fill with tears when he was sad or frightened, but John wouldn’t tell us why; expressing himself would

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become the most difficult obstacle he’d need to overcome. Because of that, I will always remember him as the boy who cried silently, and when he did, my first instinct was to bundle him into my lap and soothe him the way I would any heart-broken or scared child. John wanted none of it. John Donas’ level of autism—known as Asperger’s Syndrome—placed him near the high end of the spectrum, meaning his chances for developing the necessary social skills were better than many other autistic children. Just how bright John was became clear to me the day when I dropped a stack of numbered flash cards. As I scrambled to retrieve all 100 of the scattered cards, John pointed to one. “Sixteen,” the not-yet-3-year-old said to me. I handed the card to him. The number “16” was facing me. John looked at the card and grinned. “91,” he announced, and for a brief moment, our eyes met. That was more than 16 years ago. Yesterday I opened my mail to find a glossy photo of John Donas, the rich blue of his cap and gown making those eyes of his shine like polished gems. The inscription that accompanied the photo read:

program, which led to his eventual diagnosis. His parents enlisted the help of the former New England Center for Autism, and in Suzette’s opinion, their strict, sometimes controversial methods were the reason John made such amazing gains socially. Like any recent high-school grad, John has goals. Having completed two “ prereq” courses at QCC with a 4.0 average, he’s well on his way to achieving so much more. “Actually, I’m thinking of either going for computer science…or acting,” he says. The budding thespian played Theseus in a WTHS production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and loved it. The boy who cried silently is laughing as he recounts his experience. “I played the Duke of Athens!” he says loudly, proudly. His grin reveals the braces he resisted until recently. Tactilely defensive, John still struggles with sensory overload, and the molds made of his mouth by his orthodontist were a test of his endurance. Like every other roadblock he’s faced, the molds and braces were no match for his resolve.

WTHS Class of 2011 Electromechanical Engineering QCC Class of 2013 WPI Class of 2015 Computer Science A smaller card fell from the envelope. It read: “They say it takes a village to raise a child. YOU were part of the village, whose caring hands and lots of love created a MIRACLE! Thank you from the family of John Donas.” One look at the photo of the young man posing proudly for his graduation from Worcester Technical High School, and I was reduced to a puddle of tears. That his family should include me in this celebration both flatters and humbles me, for the credit for John’s incredible accomplishments goes to many. But the real powerhouse behind John’s extraordinary success is his mom, Suzette Simoncini Donas. Suzette took no excuses – not from doctors, John or his educators. Her steely determination directed those of us entrusted with his care. John was screened through the Worcester Public Schools’ early intervention

Sitting at the Donas kitchen table on a lovely Sunday afternoon, I can feel my eyes filling up again. That “takes a village” quote is sometimes tossed around casually, but in this case, it fits – and I’m grateful to have been part of that village, no matter how small my hut might have been. Janice Harvey is a columnist for baystateparent’s sister publication, Worcester Mag.

We see your child’s potential… not his/her disability.

Mercy Centre

Supporting Parents of Students with Special Needs & Offering Something More.

Contact for more information 508-852-7165 friendsofmercycentre@charter.net www.mercycentre.com

25 West Chester St, Worcester MA 01605

Look for the FMC Craft Fair coming to the Mercy Centre November 13!

Celebrating 50 years serving Worcester, Norfolk & Middlesex Counties. This Advertisement is paid for by The Friends of Mercy Centre, Inc. and The Emerald Club of Worcester, Inc.

BAYSTATEPARENT 45


SPECIALNEEDS

Athletes 4 Autism

New England athletes volunteer to coach children in their favorite sports!

Michael’s Place

Supervised and safe social space for children on the spectrum to learn and play

Artists for Autism

A gathering of art enthusiasts to embrace the diverse perspectives in our community

Visit our new site: www.TheAutismResearchFoundation.org

Maura G. Marks, Ph.D, Au.D., Director

The New England Center for ChildrenÂŽ

MEDFIELD

PLAINVILLE

5 North Meadow Rd

30 Man-Mar Drive

508-359-4532

508-695-6848

Seeking Pediatric RNs and LPNs to Help Bring the Children Home!

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you're a nurse you know that every day “ When you will touch a life or a life will touch yours. - Author Unknown

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NECC admits students of any race, color and national or ethnic origin.

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46 NOVEMBER2011

www.lovingcareagency.com

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SPECIALNEEDS

Your Child is

SUPER

STRONG

he just doesn’t

know it yet BY

By

laura richards

the time we reach adulthood, most of us have identified our strengths and weaknesses through a process of trial and error. As a teenager, I found that working a register and computing change in my head at a busy bakery was not my strong suit. After a few days of annoyed customers, and my own rising anxiety, I quit. As a kid, I was kept inside from recess many days for not understanding multiplication despite a tremendous effort on my part. Clearly math was not my strength, and I was placed in a cluster of low-achieving students because I needed a low-level math class. It was awful. For parents of children who learn differently or struggle as I did, the focus can quickly shift to what’s wrong instead of what’s right. Your child can start to look (and feel) like a walking advertisement for failure. Thankfully times have changed and there is more attention given to the concept that children learn in different ways. My sons attend a public elementary school that is a Multiple Intelligences School which incorporates eight areas of strength and “smarts” such as visual/ spatial (picture smart) or linguistic (word smart). This allows children with different learning styles the ability to access the same curriculum but in a way that works for them. In this same vein, a whole new approach has come on the scene that therapists and schools are starting to implement called Strength Based Assessment (SBA). Instead of focusing on what’s wrong, they focus on what’s right and build from there. Jenifer Fox, author of Your Child’s Strengths says, “A label is a description of ‘what is.’ A child is the definition of ‘what can be.’” The strength-based approach is currently being offered at the Barrett Family Wellness

Center in Northborough, Massachusetts. They assess children using positive psychology in order to help them with their self-awareness, educational planning and study strategies. These assessments may help foster a child’s confidence, tap unrealized potential, expand a child’s opportunities and encourage selfexploration.

According to the American Institutes for Research, SBA is based on the following four core beliefs: 1. All children have strengths. 2. A child’s motivation may be enhanced when the adults around him/her point out these strengths. 3. Failure of a child to acquire a skill does not mean a deficit; instead it indicates that a child has not been afforded the experiences and instruction to master the skill. 4. The goals, objectives and services included in Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and family service plans need to be based on the strengths of the child and family. Linda Haeussler, Barrett Family Wellness Center’s strength-based counselor, says, “My role is really that of a learning coach or facilitator. We all have strengths, but sometimes they are camouflaged under the weight of various disabilities and

self-perceived deficits. It is amazing what positive possibilities can be revealed from a strength-based perspective.” Strength Based Assessments can be completed with children as young as 8 up through adulthood. Every assessment is different, but typical tools include parent meetings, interviews, surveys, questionnaires, observations and rating scales. Through the experienced guidance of the counselor, the student is empowered to define his or her own goals and develop a plan for success. “The student is an integral part of the educational planning process, not a recipient of it,” explains Haeussler. “As adults, we sometimes neglect to involve children in the problem-solving process and therefore miss potential opportunities to spark motivation and engage students. Students are more likely to use the solutions if they are involved in the process of discovering them.” The assessment packet also provides parents with helpful activities to help improve a child’s area of needs. “Strengths-Based Advising” by Schreiner and Anderson (Fall 2005) stated that a cycle of low expectations begins among students, faculty and staff whenever the focus becomes a student’s weakness. They go on to say that deficit-based remediation largely fails to address the most fundamental student challenge: student engagement in their own learning processes. Tippawan Burns of Shrewsbury heard about SBA from a friend and thought it was an interesting concept. She had her 12-year-old daughter assessed this past June. Tippawan shares, “My learning style is a traditional one (memorizing) so I assumed that my daughter would learn the same way. I’ve seen her draw small pictures on the corner of her homework assignments plenty of times and thought she was just doodling and not focusing. It turns out that she learns better by visual aids and pictures which help her to remember what she studied in class. This is surprisingly different from my learning style.” Not only were the results of the SBA helpful to Tippawan and her husband, who could support their daughter in a more productive way, but her daughter found it interesting and helpful as well. Tippawan says her daughter learned something new about herself and enjoyed the interactive assessment method. She now has a better understanding that there are many ways people learn and that all people have positive qualities. Like Tippawan, Farida Alam-Huda, who also resides in Shrewsbury, had her 10-yearold daughter assessed. She says, “I found the approach to be uniquely different and interesting. The idea of determining my child’s strengths and working from that as a way to move forward felt refreshing and purposeful. It seemed like a positive way to potentially create opportunities for success and progress and help me to better understand my daughter.” What Farida found most surprising was how tuned in her daughter was to herself and her capabilities and how she used them to compensate in areas where she struggled. Going forward, Farida says, “Among the Intelligences that my child reported as one of her ‘smart

parts’ was nature.” Linda explains how this intelligence involves understanding and being curious about the environment and your surroundings. “We’ll definitely be going on more nature walks and hikes, maybe even start an ant farm or do more gardening.” Farida also found it interesting that although her daughter stated that she enjoyed playing with friends, she also reported friendships or people among her most challenging “smarts.” The SBA gave her an opportunity to identify more specifically which aspects about people and friendships were hard for her. Her daughter shared the need for quiet in order to interact. Because of this, Farida plans to limit background noises, find quieter spaces and afford her daughter more one-on-one interaction with peers. Perhaps none of this would have been uncovered were it not for her assessment. Farida’s daughter had the same positive response to the assessment as Tippawan’s daughter did. “To my surprise, my daughter loved the SBA! She said she had fun doing the activities. I got the sense that she did not feel at all that she was being in any way ‘assessed’ but rather playfully engaged. It was a really positive experience that actually left her feeling good about herself. This was a wonderful outcome, and overall a positive experience.” Children with defined strengths have a greater chance of becoming adults who do what they love and pursue areas that they find fulfilling. Isn’t this the goal we all have for our kids? Laura Richards is a Framingham-based freelance writer and the mother of three boys, including a set of twins.

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What is early intervention (EI)?

WHAT Every Parent Needs to Know About Early Intervention

Do I have to have a referral from my doctor to get early intervention services? No. Any person with concerns about a child’s development may refer a child to early intervention for a developmental evaluation. What happens after the referral? Following the referral, an initial assessment is scheduled with the parent. If a child is found eligible for early intervention services, an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) is written

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If you have an infant, or a child up to age 3, you have probably heard other parents discuss the term Early Intervention (EI). But do you know what EI is, and if your child needs it? baystateparent asked Kelly Brennan, speech language pathologist and program director for the Thom Worcester Area Early Intervention Program, to answer our questions. Kelly has spent 10 years in early intervention and now leads a staff of over 40 clinical professionals (the former staff of the UMass Early Intervention Program) providing early intervention services to the children and families in the Worcester Area. One of the most important things bsp learned is that researching your early intervention options is time-consuming, and since the diversity and breadth of services can vary quite a bit, it is best to compare answers from agencies. Not all EI programs are created equally. And parents, please note, no one should ever put your child on a waiting list. It is your right to have a plan in place for your child and family within 60 days of his or her referral. - Carrie Wattu

Early Intervention is a service available to families with infants and toddlers from birth to 3 years of age, who have, or are at risk for, developmental delays, as a result of a specific diagnosis, or because of medical or environmental risk factors. Many early intervention programs offer opportunities for children from their community who do not have delays to be part of their program as well. Early intervention developmental community groups are staffed by early intervention professionals and provide a wonderful enriching learning experience for all children. Contact your local early intervention program to find out if they offer groups in your area.

with the family to identify the type and frequency of services the child and family will receive. What makes a child eligible for early intervention? Children may qualify for early intervention services one of four ways: • established delay - determined based on the initial evaluation. Current eligibility criteria require a 30% delay in one area of development. Areas assessed include cognition, communication skills, motor skills, social emotional development and self-care skills. • established condition - based on a condition that has been diagnosed by a doctor. Children with conditions such as autism and Down syndrome automatically qualify for early intervention services. There are many conditions that qualify a child for early intervention services. For a complete list, contact your local early intervention program. •risk factors - a child may be eligible for early intervention services if their medical or environmental circumstances make it likely they will develop a delay. Medical risk factors include things such as low birth weight and prolonged hospital stay. Environmental risk factors include things such as limited family resources and maternal education. For

complete list of risk factors contact your local early intervention program. • clinical judgment - when a child does not qualify for services based on the categories above, the early intervention staff may bring a child into the program based on their clinical judgment of the needs of the child and family. How much will it cost to have early intervention services? Early intervention services are paid by your medical insurance plan or by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Families may be required to pay an annual participation fee based on the size of their family and their income. How do I know which program to choose? In some areas of the state, there are multiple early intervention programs. Parents always have the right to choose which program to contact when there are multiple programs in their area. Even after beginning services, if you are unhappy with your early intervention provider, you may choose to transfer to another early intervention program that serves your area. To help you determine which program is best able to meet the needs of your child and family, be prepared to ask questions when you call.

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Smooth Sailing The Smooth Sailing Project at UMass Boston invites you to participate in our study of successful transitions in the early school years. Your child may be eligible if he/she UÊ ÃÊLiÌÜii ÊÌ iÊ>}iÃÊ vÊ{ Ç UÊ ÃÊ` >} Ãi`ÊÜ Ì Ê>ÕÌ Ã Ê ÀÊ>ÕÌ Ã Ê ÊÊÊëiVÌÀÕ Ê` à À`iÀÊ

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What should I ask when I call? • Ask about the program’s philosophy. Your EI program should invite you into the process and work collaboratively with you through your EI experience. • Ask about the staff of the early intervention program. A program with a large diverse staff is more likely to be able to meet your child and family’s needs, whatever they may be. Your needs may change over time. A program with a diverse group of clinical professionals will be able to easily adjust to provide the kind of services you need for your child. • Ask about the director. Is the director available to meet with families or talk with them by phone? If the program director is not an experienced EI clinician, does the program have several experienced clinicians available to provide services and mentor other clinicians? •Ask about the kinds of services that a program provides. The services you receive should be provided in your child’s natural environment (where he/she would normally be). This includes your home, daycare, a relative’s house, the local playground or any other location where your child might spend their time.

Some early intervention programs offer a variety of group services in addition to home visits. Participation in a group allows a child to develop a different set of skills than they do in a one-on -one home visit. • Ask about the process. How soon can you schedule the evaluation? Who will complete the child’s initial assessment? How long will it take to start services if my child is eligible? Programs must evaluate your child and have a plan for services in place no later than 60 days after the referral. Avoid programs that tell you they have a waiting list for services. To find an early intervention program near you, go to massfamilyties.org and click on the name the name of your city or town. The Thom Worcester Area Early Intervention Program provides services to families in Worcester, Auburn, Boylston, Holden, Leicester, Paxton, Shrewsbury and West Boylston. There are Thom Early Intervention Programs in many locations throughout Massachusetts: thomchild.org.

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TAKEGOODCARE

SHOULD

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RAW?

Raw milk drinkers fight for their rights BY

beth walsh

Proponents of raw — unpasteurized — milk say the beverage is healthier and more filling than commercial milk, and is the solution to a host of medical problems including acne, eczema, asthma and allergies. Opponents say consumers are taking an unnecessary risk. As interest in eating locally and consuming unprocessed and organic foods increases, so does interest in raw milk. In fact, the number of Massachusetts farms licensed to sell raw milk is up to 26, up from just 12 in 2006, and those farms continue to draw more and more customers. Bethany Simons is one of those customers. She grew up in upstate New York drinking raw milk, so when her daughter had reflux, the Kingston mom switched from formula to raw milk, which seems to have solved the problem. Gail Reich of Hyde Park replaced regular milk with raw milk to solve a host of digestive problems for her and her 7-yearold son. The two are sensitive to dairy and glucose and didn’t consume dairy products for years. She gave her son almond milk but worried about how the lack of calcium was affecting his bones.

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— unpasteurized — milk say the beverage is healthier and more filling than commercial milk, and the solution to a host of medical problems...” same way.” Now, Reich doesn’t let a day go by without her son drinking his milk, regardless of her pediatrician’s disapproval. “He couldn’t believe that we are drinking it because he felt that there is a risk. I feel like people drank raw milk for many years. I am aware of the risk but

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the people who provide it are certified and tested regularly.” Terri Lawton is one of those providers. She runs Oake Knoll Ayrshires farm in Foxboro, where 24 cows produce enough raw milk to meet the demands of more than 200 weekly customers. That’s up from just a handful five years ago. “Most customers are families, well educated, and they research their food. People are concerned about what their children are eating,” she says. The state regularly tests raw milk, but Lawton says she is “obsessive about cleanliness. I make sure my milk is clean enough for a baby to drink because they do.” That cleanliness is extremely important. Unpasteurized milk does not undergo the heating process that kills the pathogens that can cause foodborne illness. Most public health officials consider pasteurization a homerun in the fight against foodborne illnesses, such as listeria, salmonella and E. coli. But raw milk proponents say that pasteurization kills the bad pathogens as well as beneficial bacteria, vitamins, proteins and enzymes that aid in digestion. Another reason to go raw is that commercial dairies add unknown

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Since making the switch, Reich and her son are more tolerant of the things they used to be very sensitive to. “I would have a case of rosacea if I ate wheat products. Now I can eat a limited amount and not have that reaction. My son is the

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additives, such as growth hormones and antibiotics. David Gumpert, reporter, blogger and author of The Raw Milk Revolution: Behind America’s Emerging Battle Over Food Rights, has written extensively about the government’s campaign to eradicate raw milk. The growing consumer interest in the beverage seems to have spurred raids and other enforcements against raw milk farms. “Raw milk, from all we can tell, is not a public health hazard,� says Gumpert. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Infection (CDC) shows 50 to 200 illnesses caused by raw milk a year for the past 35 years. This is a pretty small number compared to the 20,00025,000 illnesses from all foods reported nationally. “You can get sick from any food at any time,� he says. “Raw milk tends to get picked out and publicized more when it happens by the public health community because they are so vehemently against it.� Far from a health hazard, raw milk leads to lower rates of asthma and hay fever according to a study of nearly 15,000 children in five European countries published last year. The immunestrengthening benefits of raw milk are unlikely to be studied in the United States, however. “This subject doesn’t get researched in the U.S.,� says Gumpert. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says raw milk is inherently dangerous so there’s

really no reason to study it. That’s unfortunate, says Gumpert, because “if there was a drug that reduced asthma by 40%, the FDA would be all over it because [asthma is] such a pervasive problem.� Jean Nordin-Evans, dentist and mother of three in Groton, also sees the benefits of raw milk. “I recommend raw milk to most of my patients for the systemic health benefits and to help prevent tooth decay.� Studies have shown that raw milk can prevent tooth decay and “in my opinion, that’s because of the availability of the enzymes.� Plus, she says having the good fat that is in whole, raw milk means that drinkers will be fuller and more satisfied and therefore less like to eat the things that cause cavities. She also believes the fat is good for children’s brain support and developing nervous systems. Nordin-Evans’ three children, ages 7, 5 and 3, have all been drinking raw milk since infancy and go through about one gallon of goat’s milk a day. She says they’re thriving and hopes that other parents “are waking up and realizing that we need this nutrient-dense food.� She also says that since “people have been consuming milk in this form for thousands of years, it’s ridiculous that [the government] is just now regulating it.� Each state has its own approach to regulating raw milk. Eighteen states ban it altogether and a handful allow raw

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milk to be sold on the grocery store shelf right next to commercial milk. That’s not the goal in Massachusetts, says Winton Pitcoff, raw milk network coordinator of the Massachusetts chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA). Legislation currently in the works would allow farmers to deliver raw milk to their customers. Currently, consumers must travel to a farm to pick up milk so many join buying clubs and share the pick up and delivery duties. “We’re not suggesting that raw milk be the only available option,� Pitcoff says. “But, since it’s been proven that it can be consumed safely, we think people should have easier access.� Pitcoff says more and more people “recognize the value of raw milk and the benefits to the economy and the environment. I expect to see growth [in consumption] continue.� Aiding that growth is the annual Raw Milk Dairy Days sponsored by NOFA each September. This year, 11 Massachusetts dairies opened their farms for tours and tastings. Lawton says she feels the pressure during Dairy Days. She doesn’t normally allow tours because she doesn’t want her cows exposed to the germs people might bring. “I want to make sure my milk is really healthy.� For anyone considering raw milk, she advises people do their homework. Some people are more clean and organized than others, and the same goes for farms. “Everyone

Beth Walsh is a mother of three children in Bellingham and writes about healthcare and information technology.

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has their own comfort level.� And, she highly recommends that people only buy milk from legal sources. “Not every farm produces safe raw milk.� Gumpert seconds that advice. People should “investigate the farm they’re getting their milk from. Even if they are getting it from a buyers’ club, they should go to the farm, look around and meet the farmer. This person has a lot of responsibility.� There are guidebooks available and videos online about the best questions to ask. Nordin-Evans recommends that if you do decide to go raw, to go slowly and gently. “Raw milk has a lot of bacteria that your gastrointestinal tract is not used to. Start with half a cup a week and increase your consumption from there.� “My experience has been incredibly positive,� says Reich. “I would encourage people who are already exploring to go ahead and take the plunge.� For more information, go to the Weston A. Price Foundation (westonaprice.org) or Farm-to-Consumer legal Defense Fund (ftcldf.org) for videos and information about how to find a raw milk dairy. Go to nofamass.org to access the Massachusetts Raw Milk Network.

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Are you pregnant?

elaine hale

Juice boxes, fruit snacks, paper towels, blush, haircuts, Poland Spring Aqua Pods, gum, the newspaper, facial cleanser, Popsicles, Gogurts, Netflix, birthday cards, wrapping paper and flowers. For the second time in three years, I have the unpleasant task of analyzing every single thing that I purchase for my family, indefinitely. This is just a small list of things that I can’t even stomach buying, and I can think of thousands of other things to add. With a 6-year-old and a 9-year-old, someone is always growing out of shoes, coats and jammies, or begging for play dates, which means I am buying snacks for the neighborhood. The last time my husband was laid off, I spent a mere $219 on groceries the first month because I was terrified. We ate pasta and pancakes. No wonder low-income families tend to be overweight! They don’t give out coupons for fruits and lean meats. I did spend more money as time went on, but I continue to be astounded that properly feeding a family of four costs about half our mortgage. So as I focus on feeding everyone on a budget, I cringe every time a birthday party invitation arrives, or a potluck invite is extended. Saying “what can I bring?� puts a lump in my throat these days. Lately I also have had trouble entertaining other people's problems. My current focus is simply food, shelter, heat, clothing and water for my family. I have given up “Facebooking� because no one would want to be around me if my status update reflected what I was really thinking: “Today I was so lucky to find a pineapple on the rack of reduced produce at the grocery store� or “Just cried after I washed my face with a regular bar of soap. I ran out of Mary Kay. Poor me.� Being laid off really feels like a giant game of freeze tag. Someone ran by and tagged us; now we have to stand here, frozen for days and months on end shouting at all the other unfrozen people running by. “Hey, tag me! Unfreeze me!� I wonder how long we will be frozen.

I wrote out all of our expenses the other day, and I can’t believe all of the money we have to come up with just to keep our house, utilities and car (almost $4000 per month) on top of feeding everyone and paying for the dreaded heating oil. When I think of ways to cut back, it seems like everything is a necessity. We could sell the car, and only have one car, but how inconvenient. Do you know any family that has only one car? It’s absurd. I could cancel the newspaper, but how is $24 a month going to save us? I could cancel cable. I guess I’ll cancel cable, but not the internet; that is a necessity in 2011 especially when looking for jobs. Each month I give myself a new “cancellation date,â€? extending my luxuries. I feel sad and a little ridiculous that these luxuries are really just cable, cell phones, the newspaper and an occasional bottle of wine. I feel like a spoiled middle class woman keeping my cell phone when I clearly cannot afford it, but I worry about my kids needing me when I am at work or missing an employment opportunity. I get by each day telling myself all the clichĂŠs including, “When God closes a door, he opens a window.â€? I just hope that window isn’t going to be at a homeless shelter or my mother-in-law’s house (don’t know what’s worse). The one bright spot is that our kids are happy and their friends tell them that they are so lucky that their dad gets to be home. Seeing our situation through their eyes certainly puts a spin on perspective. Elaine Hale is a pen name for a mom of two living in a suburb of Boston. Out of respect for her family, she chose not to use her real name. “On My Plateâ€? is a forum for Massachusetts parents. Do you have a viewpoint you’d like to express, a story or experience you’d like to share? You don’t have to be a published writer to be considered. Please submit essays to editor@baystateparent.com for review.

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Visit www.ymcaofcm.org

|

Lawrence

|

SpringďŹ eld

Applicants are responsible for reading the academic catalog and getting all the information needed to make informed decisions.

BAYSTATEPARENT 53


To start a team or register please go to: www.givethankswalk.org

Saturday, November 19, 2011 Natick Mall Collection - 5k Walk Registration Starts: 7:00am Start Time: 8:00am Entertainment: Country 102.5, DJ Jerry Booth, Ta.Da clowns, … and more

0UZWPYL [OYV\NO [LHJOPUN Earn your Master of Arts in Teaching at Northeastern. Offered through Northeastern University’s College of Professional Studies, the Master of Arts in Teaching allows you to secure your master’s degree and teacher’s license in as few as 12 months.

* Online, hybrid, and evening classes * Part-time and full-time enrollment options * Leads to Massachusetts initial licensure in elementary or secondary education

* PLUS program offering additional licensure in Special Education or a TESOL graduate certificate * Special tuition rate and financial aid available

For more information or to apply, visit www.northeastern.edu/cps/MAT or call 1.877.668.7727

Next classes begin January 9, 2012 54 NOVEMBER2011


Currently Enrolling Limited spaces are available for the 2011/2012 school year.

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A Lioness Liones 46 mothers across the Unite BY

amanda roberge

What Cancer Cannot Do Cancer is so limited It cannot cripple love It cannot shatter hope It cannot corrode faith It cannot destroy peace It cannot kill friendship It cannot suppress memories It cannot silence courage It cannot invade the soul It cannot steal eternal life It cannot conquer a child’s spirit.

steven king

M

BEAUTIFULLY, BRAVELY BALD: Maria Joffrion of Leominster was one of 46 mothers from across the country who shaved off her hair in Washington, DC on September 21st. She did it in honor of her 5-year-old son, Tommy, who is fighting childhood cancer. 56 NOVEMBER2011

aria and I rest against our backpacks in the underground Metro Station, headed home from Washington DC. We chatter the time away, with occasional long silences stretching out behind us like well-traveled train tracks. The lack of anything to say, we find, is okay too. After 7 years of friendship, comfortable silence is just another one of the things we’ve come to depend upon in each other. Maria Joffrion, at 30 years old, is many things to many people. She is John’s wife, Grandma’s daughter, Pam’s sister and “momma” to Ben, Lucia, Tommy and Sean. She is an attentive neighbor, an active community member and a model caretaker, and advocate within the walls of the Dana Farber Institute and Boston Children’s Hospital where her 5-year-old, Tommy, receives treatment for cancer. But she is my best friend, so I have no choice but to tell her story from my heart. And because her life is so deeply embedded in mine, I can’t bear to extract myself from it for the sake of journalism. She has just shaved her head – well, I have just shaved her head – as part of a national “Shave for the Brave” event known as 46 Mommas, where shavees raised money in exchange for the simple act of becoming bald. The money benefits St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a national volunteer-driven charity dedicated to raising funds for childhood cancer research. From time to time, she reaches up to feel her fuzzy scalp, radiant with the leftover adrenaline. In the years since we met, with babies in slings and later big bellies and not long after that more babies in slings, I can’t recall a time that I have seen her look more breathtakingly beautiful. Empowered and fierce, she wears her new look like a


ess ss without her Mane nited States shave their heads in honor of their children with cancer

queen. And me? Devoted member of the court, often a jester and sometimes a trusted confidant. Today, I simply stand in complete and total awe.

Shave for the Brave

The quiet, serene woman who was once my solitary walking buddy, kitchen cook-mate and spontaneous park play-date has become a voice louder than life, advocating for not only Tommy but for children across the globe. Her passion has been slow to build but as of late she is an unstoppable force, a ferocious lioness – now without a mane. Like many of the Mommas whose days are filled with worry, stress, treatments and medicines that may or may not bring solace or wellness, the plight is to feel heard

November 21st at 10 a.m. in downtown Leominster at Mia Bella Spa and Salon, a handful of brave folks – not all mommas this time and not even all women – will shave it all off to show their support for St. Baldricks, the organization that started it all. Many of them are our friends and they are shaving their heads simply because of how much Maria, Tommy and the rest of the Joffrion family mean to them – some are strangers who have been moved by pieces of Tommy’s story that they have read in the local media. And some have yet to step forward – registration for the Shave will be taken right up until the day of. Maybe some of the money will make its way to the scientists who created the little pills Tommy calls Tic-Tacs – the medicine his parents know simply as “Gleevec” that has, so far, made more invasive treatments unnecessary. st. baldnick’s foundation/julie stewart

The Mommas came from California, Florida and beyond. They came by car, by plane and by train. They came alone and they came with their families. Some shaved their heads with the heartfelt intention that people everywhere begin to understand how truly beautiful bald really is. Some came with the child who has become their driving force for finding a cure. But no matter where they came from and how they got there, they all had one thing in common: the experience of having a child who has either lost, or is actively fighting an unfair battle with cancer and they’re not Not long after Maria shaved her going to stop fighting until head, I woke up in a cold sweat, childhood cancer stops gasping for air. I had dreamed she stealing our babies. was gone, though my subconscious Like it or not, I absorbed mercifully - had spared me the details. the Mommas’ grief and All I knew was that she wasn’t there puzzlement at this place in anymore. Alone and bewildered, I which they find themselves, sent text after desperate text – a fact each of them 1/46th of a of life that only now brings me some collective voice pleading for amusement, that I enjoy texting so change. From the sidelines, much that it is my preferred mode of communication even in my dreams. I had no choice but to see Each weekday in the United States, 46 mothers hear the words, "Your child has cancer." “I really could use a friend,” I kept the little faces – printed on The St. Baldrick's Foundation brings mothers together in powerful fundraising events where "Mommas" sending out to people, going down my cardstock and clutched in shave their heads for their brave children. contact list one by one. “I really miss the hands of the women who Maria.” would have taken it all away in It’s neither a criticism nor a lament that there were no a heartbeat if they were only given the choice. Maria, and to know that she is making a better world for her kids. responses. Rather, an acknowledgement from the very of course, held a picture of Tommy - goggle-eyed and Maria’s message, with her newly bald head, is painfully core of my being, that in my absolute lowest moments, beaming from our town’s summer lake hangout. clear: Childhood cancer needs a cure – and raising Maria has been the most steady and reliable of friends It sounds like it should have been a somber event, yet, money is the most she can do. More money means more – the kind of friend every woman should be so lucky to on that sunny day, from the vaulted marble ceilings of research, and more research means better treatments. have. And the kind of mother that a child like Tommy Union Station in our nation’s capitol, what I witnessed Better treatments, she hopes, means that she will get deserves – equal parts pioneer and activist, completely was something else entirely. Everywhere I looked to watch Tommy go to middle school dances, graduate devoted and driven. Irreplaceable, inspirational, there was pure joy and relief at the sheer act of doing high school and get his first apartment. For now, it’s invaluable. something – at the release from having taken back some enough to have made it to kindergarten, and Maria has And bald. control for the first time since being assaulted with the learned to take one day at a time. Beautifully, bravely bald. words that can bring a grown woman to her knees. The day after the 46 Mommas event, Tommy wore Your child has cancer. a message across his little body that had been handFreelancer Amanda Roberge is a Leominster mom of three. picked to spread the word. In blazing black letters, it simply said “I love my bald momma.” For information on the Central Massachusetts Shave, If there is one thing I have learned about Maria contact miabellaspace.com. Also visit 46mommas. since Tommy was diagnosed with a rare form of adult com and stbaldricks.org for information. Leukemia in 2010, just two years after learning he has the equally rare genetic disorder neurofibromatosis, it’s Central Massachusetts might soon be littered with been that I have no choice but to share her. kids bearing that same message on their shirts. On

Beautiful Friendship

Finding Her Voice

Small Town Shave

BAYSTATEPARENT 57


58 NOVEMBER2011


BAYSTATEPARENT 59


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A Bounty of Babies NEWEST IN THE PATCH: Samuel Settino of Worcester at 3 weeks old this past September.

Two Cute: Jacob Brosnihan of Douglas celebrated his second birthday in September. I Love you Lily: Dillon of Rutland meets his baby sister, Lilyanna Marie Briggs, for the first time.

Pumpkin in the Middle: Carmine Botelho of Sutton embraces his first autumn. 60 NOVEMBER2011

Playtime with Pluto: Nicolas Guinea, pictured here at age 5 months, of Worcester

Happy Camper: Kaelyn Gibson of Clinton is all smiles after cutting her first tooth on Mommy’s birthday during a camping trip this fall.


photo by elizabeth samia

Rock-a-Bye Baby: A 10-month-old Iliana Falconi of Oakham waits for a table on the Cracker Barrel porch.

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CAPTURED: bsp is looking for photos of children in winter hats for our January issue by December 18th. Email photos to editor@baystateparent.com. BAYSTATEPARENT 61


Gardengate Academy A Learning Center for Children and Their Families

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easy. You've got enough going on all year long. So now that the holidays are here, and your to-do list is expanding, do things the easy way. Call Panera  for catering, and let us take the office or home holiday party planning off your plate. With online ordering we make it fast and convenient for you to customize your perfect order. Visit paneracatering dot com today to get started.

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L L O N R OW N E

Try a ss! E Cla

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So much more than piano lessons! Our complete MUSIC program (ages 4 1/2 to 8) includes: Piano Singing Harmony Rhythm

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St. Mary School Accepting Applications: Pre-school — 3 programs A.M. & P.M. Full Day Kindergarten Grade 1 through Grade 8

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he tPARTYPLANNER

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bsp talks about questions like these on the baystateparent Facebook page. Join us today!

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Tons of Bricks Tons of Fun LEGO® Themed Birthday Parties for all ages. wwww.brickapalooza.com Check our website for current class offerings, summer camp offerings and drop-in play times. 164 Westford Rd. Tyngsboro MA 01879 978-649-2654

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Traveling Farm Animals for your Party or Event! Year Round • Inside or Out Fun & Educational Baby Animal Parties, Theme Parties, Living Nativities, Petting Zoos, Animals for Therapy & more!

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Family-Friendly Movies for Preteen Sleepovers Visit commonsensemedia.org for movie recommendations such as: • Bridge to Terabitha • Charlotte’s Web • E.T. • Hoosiers • Prom

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SHOW &TELL

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Visit Cutie Patuties for the area’s lowest prices on quality Melissa and Doug toys and games. The largest selection of learning toys and showstopper gift ideas. 1021 Central St., Leominster, MA 01453 978-534-6604 www.everythingcutie.com

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To advertise, call Stephanie Pearl at 774-364-0296

Available for $39.99 at Bubblebum.us Neatnik Saucer®

The perfect solution to dining out with baby. Neatnik Saucer is the only high chair cover and placemat all-in-one that prevents the food and toys from falling on the floor and offers the little diner a tidy, safe and clean play space. Neatnik Saucer is portable, lightweight, fits all restaurant high chairs and some home styles as well. It cleans up in a snap and travels in its 12” square tote. Designed for babies 6 months to 3 years. This perfect, unique gift offers parents and grandparents less mess and a whole lot less stress! Evaluated by Lekotek/AblePlay to be a “Great Find” in all 4 categories of disability. www.neatniksaucer.com BAYSTATEPARENT 69


Roger H. Croteau, CPA 10 River Road Uxbridge, MA 01569 508-278-2239 40 years of tax accounting

Personal or Business.

It could happen to you.

Regardless of the situation we can help you resolve your issues so that you can start to live your live again.

The IRS does not discriminate. In fact they are sending more and more notices to the average tax payer just to see if they can ďŹ nd something.

Don’t let it get like this.

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Ignoring it won’t help and will only make things worse. Call us today and we can start to get you back on track. 508-278-2239

We can help. Our team of professionals has been doing this a long time and we live right here in the community.

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We have year round staff and IRS trained experts Get Help Today: 508-278-2239

WISH YOU WON? SO DO WE. THAT'S WHY WE'VE MADE IT SUPER EASY AND QUICK TO ENTER TO WIN A PRIZE. Prizes listed on bsp's website this month include: Purity Spring Resort's Polar Express Package for a Family of Four Cars 2 DVDs Passes to PlayTown Express (Hopkinton), LEGO Kids Fest (Hartford, CT), The North Star Figure Skating Club (Westborough) and more!

baystateparent.com/giveaways. 70 NOVEMBER2011


ONE-DAY-A-WEEK Saturday PROGRAM Accelerated Degree Program for Women Guaranteed Scholarship! Get Your Share ‌ call today!

' ' ' ' ' '

Saturday classes only—attend all day or half day You can choose to do some classes online Your own personal admissions/career counselor We accept up to 90 transfer credits Take up to 12 courses per year! New sessions start throughout year!

Conveniently located on Route 20 in Charlton, MA Call: 508.248.5088 or 800.495.7284 E-mail: sturbridge@baypath.edu Visit our Web site: www.baypath.edu/oneday

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It’s About Time!

Founded 1897

International. Individual. Inspirational.

British School of Boston Academically rigorous and internationally focused, featuring the International Baccalaureate Diploma. Serving students in Nursery through High School. Open Houses:

Friday, November 11 Sunday, December 4 Wednesday, January 25

9:30-11:00 a.m. 1:00-3:00 p.m. 9:30-11:00 a.m.

FREE STORY TIME PROGRAMS FOR 2 AND 3 YEAR OLDS. t XXX CSJUJTITDIPPMPGCPTUPO PSH

BAYSTATEPARENT 71


bucadibeppo.com

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STRESSBALL

MEATBALL

Stress less this holiday... leave your party to Buca This Holiday Season, think of Buca when planning office parties or family get-togethers. Whether you bring them to Buca, or bring Buca to them, we know how to feed a crowd.

DEDHAM

SEEKONK

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233 Elm Street 781.329.2502

353 Highland Avenue 508.336.4204

LEXINGTON

SHREWSBURY

20 Waltham Street 781.861.0162

7 Boston Turnpike 508.792.1737

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Perfect for HOLIDAY GATHERINGS | GIFT CARDS | PARTY PANS TO GO H O

$ % & ' ' $ ( " ' ' $ ) $& "!"!* ( #! " "

Grand Opening

Applewild invites you to join us!

Admission Open House

Saturday, November 19th 1:00pm to 3:00pm Saturday November 5th 10am-2pm Ribbon cutting at 11am by

Wally the Green Monster Food, popcorn, drinks and entertainment.

TAKE A LOOK MORNINGS • Separate waiting room for well children - Why worry that your child will catch something at the doctor’s office. • Private breastfeeding suite • Urgent care is available 7 days a week.

• Very conveniently located immediately off of Rt. 2 (exit 25) at its intersection with 140 South. We are only 5 minutes from Leominster, Gardner, and Fitchburg, and an easy drive from every community in North Central MA.

2 Narrows Rd. Bldg. C, Suite 105 Se habla espaùol Westminster, MA 01473 978-874-5550 • www.wachusettpediatrics.com 72 NOVEMBER2011

November 3rd, December 1st and January 5th The ďŹ rst Thursday of every month - 9am Take a tour, no RSVP needed.

* Individual tours scheduled daily.* For more information, go to www.applewild.org or call 978 342-6053 x110 Serving Grades K-8

120 Prospect Street, Fitchburg, MA 01420 (978)342-6053 ext 110 www.applewild.org


OPENHOUSE Listings A Place To Grow Nov. 5 from 10am – 12pm 40 Strawberry Hill Rd., Concord, MA Contact: Maria DeVito 978-369-2699 www.aplacetogrowchildcare.com Charles River School November 13 from 2 – 4pm 6 Old Meadow Rd., Dover, MA Contact: Susan Mantilla-Goin 508-785-8213 www.charlesriverschool.org Chestnut Hill School November 6 from 1 - 3pm Independent, coeducational elementary school for age 3 - Grade 6 428 Hammond St., Chestnut Hill, MA 617-566-4394, or admissions@tchs.org www.tchs.org Cornerstone Academy November 6 from 1 – 4pm Educating all learners grades K-6. 5 Oak Ave., Northborough, MA Contact: Karen McQuade 508-351-9976 www.cornerstoneacademy.org Dedham Country Day School Nov. 3 from 5:30 - 7:30pm Student Lead Tours Nov. 15 from 8:30 -10:30am Classroom Visits Nov.18 from 8:30 - 9:15am Grade 7 Play 90 Sandy Valley Rd., Dedham, MA Contact: Ellen Tretter 781-329-0850 www.dedhamcountryday.org

Newton Montessori November 17 from 9:30 - 11am January 19 from 9:30 - 11am A diverse community of children from 15 months - Grade 6 80 Crescent Ave., Newton Centre, MA 617-969-4488 www.newtonmontessori.org Shrewsbury Montessori School January 7 from 1:00 - 3:00pm at BOTH campuses 55 Oak St., Shrewsbury, MA & 135 Bryn Mawr Ave., Auburn, MA Contact: Elizabeth Leandres 508-842-2116 www.shrewsburymontessori.org The Atrium School November 13 from 2 - 4pm Progressive elementary committed to providing a balanced education that nurtures creativity, intellect and character. 69 Grove St., Watertown, MA 617-923-4156 www.atrium.org Venerini Academy November 15 from 9 -11am 27 Edward St., Worcestr, MA Contact: Paul Jourcin, Admissions Office 508-753-3210 www.veneriniacademy.us

SPECIAL NEEDS ADVOCACY NETWORK

EQUAL ACCESS EQUALS OPPORTUNITY A Valuable Resource for Parents & Professionals Please visit us at www.spanmass.org info@spanmass.org 30!. s 0 / "OX s .ATICK -!

Gardengate Academy Dec. 10 from 10:30 am - 12:30pm 249 North Main St., Natick, MA www.gardengateacademy.com Hillside School Nov. 12 from 11:30am – 3pm 404 Robin Hill St., Marlborough, MA 508-481-0287 www.hillsideschool.net

Fostering a love of learning through respect for self, others, and the environment

sponsor

A diverse community of children from 15 months - grade 6 Now Accepting Applications for the 2012-2013 school year Save the Date! Admissions Open Houses Thursday, November 17 9:30 -11am Thursday, January 19 - 9:30-11am

www.newtonmontessori.org #RESCENT !VENUE s .EWTON #ENTRE -ASSACHUSETTS s

media sponsor

Friday, November 4, 2011, has 8pm something for at everyone this holiday season! Mechanics Hall Music Worcester

Call for discounts! Students $20/$15 door

508.754.3231 www.musicworcester.org BAYSTATEPARENT 73


Homemakers, Working Men and Women,

Leave the Housework to Us.

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INDEX A Place To Grow..........................................65 Adoption & Beyond Counseling Services.........12 Adventure Bootcamp....................................62 Applewild School........................................72 Architects for Learning..................................44 Attorney James Connors...............................26 Backyard Adventures....................................32 Barrett Family Wellness................................43 Bay Path College.........................................71 Bay State Skating School.............................28 Be Healthy Boston..................................58,59 Beacon Assessment Center............................42 Becker College............................................13 Beverly School for the Deaf.....................40,42 Blossom Station............................................5 Boston Children’s Theatre.............................61 British School of Boston...............................71 Broadway Costumes....................................16 Buca di Beppo............................................72 Buttons and Bows Consignment....................52 Cambridge College.......................................53 Carolyn Spring Esq......................................47 Centinel Financial........................................43 Charles River School....................................71 Charter......................................................76 Children’s Music Academy.............................65 Circle Surogacy............................................15 Claytime....................................................55 CoCo Key Water Resort................................19 CocoBeni Confections...................................22

Comfort Cuts..............................................45 Cornerstone Academy.....................................3 Curious Creatures........................................74 Cutie Patutie’s............................................55 Dance Prism...............................................21 Dedham Country Day School........................72 Disney Pictures............................................19 Dr. Bruce Fieldman........................................9 Dr. Mel - Pediatric Dentistry...........................16 Edaville.....................................................22 Ecotarium..................................................52 Fay School.................................................71 Fayerweather Street School..........................32 Fidelity...................................................7,23 Franciscan Children’s Hospital........................35 Friends of Mel Foundation, Inc........................4 Garden State Academy.................................62 Good Neighbor Concierge.............................51 Guild of St. Agnes Daycare...........................30 Gymboree..................................................51 Hanover Theatre..........................................75 Hellen Fuels Corp........................................32 Hillside Meadows Equestrian Center...............50 Hillside School..............................................6 Inn at East Hill Farm...................................21 iParty....................................................63,74 Irish Cultural Centre.....................................22 John Robert Powers.....................................19 Judge Baker...............................................43 LEGO KidsFest.............................................18

Lil’ Iguana’s Fall Fest..................................28 Loving Care Agency......................................46 Mass Allergy Relief Center............................51 Mass Pac...................................................42 Mercy Centre..............................................45 MetroWest Autism Alliance...........................48 Munroe Ctr.................................................12 Music Worcester Inc....................................73 NE Behavioral Services.................................42 NE Brachial Plexus Group.............................36 NECC........................................................46 New Horizon Karate & More.........................49 Newton Montessori......................................73 Next Generation Children’s Center..................64 North Star Skating.......................................62 Northeastern University.................................54 Original Baby Company................................43 Panera Bread.............................................64 Paula Meola Dance Studio...........................17 Piccadilly Pub...............................................6 Purity Spring Resort.......................................8 Reading is Amazing.....................................29 Roche Bros................................................63 Roger H. Croteau, CPA.................................70 Safety Net by LoJack...................................49 Second Generation Energy............................27 Seeking Sitters............................................62 Seven Hills.................................................44 Shepherd Hill Festival of Crafts......................31 Shrewsbury Montessori................................32

Simon Malls.................................................2 Skribbles Learning Center.............................65 South Shore Therapies.................................44 Special Needs Advocacy Network (SPaN).......73 Special Needs Sitters...................................43 Speech, Language & Hearing Assoc...............46 St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.............54 Sterling Gym................................................6 SureShot Portraits.......................................18 The Autism Research Foundation-TARF............46 The Bridge Center........................................33 The Brighton School....................................55 The Village.................................................37 Thom Child & Family Services.......................41 UMass Boston, Smooth Sailing Project...........48 UMass Medical School Child & Adolescent NeuroDevelopment Initiative.................11,50 UMass Medical School Pregnancy Study.........52 Venerini.....................................................15 Wachusett Pediatrics....................................72 Wee Care for Little People, Inc......................74 Wheelock Family Theatre.............................42 Wifesavers.................................................74 Wild Ruby Artisan Galleria.............................61 Womens Health of Central MA......................62 Worcester Sharks........................................30 YMCA of Central MA....................................53

CLASSIFIEDS Have you budgeted for the holidays or will you spend now, pay later? Do you know your spending to earning percentage? Get the help you need now! Call 508-792-9087 or go to www.thebudgetcoachhelp.com

Surrogate Mothers Needed Established Surrogacy Program seeks loving women ages 21-43, to carry couples’ biological babies. You must be a non-smoker, and prior birth experience is required. Be a part of a miracle. The rewards are more than financial. For more information, please call 888-363-9457 or visit our website: www.reproductivepossibilities.com

What could an extra $300 - $500 per month do for you? Seek motivated self-starter to work flexible hours from home representing a public company. TRAINING & SUPPORT PROVIDED. Joanne Ryan • 978-270-0256

Don't miss another FREE event or complimentary tickets! Schools, Parties, Corporate Events & Special Needs

Join baystateparent Magazine on Facebook where we post events, giveaways, tips, support, resources and more. Facebook.com. Search baystateparent Magazine

Shows Include:

Mammals • Birds • Bugs Reptiles • Amphibians Our hands-on presentations teach respect and appreciation for exotic and unusual animals.

HO...HO...HO...PE YOU WIN! Your kids are counting the days to Christmas. How many of them already have their letters to Santa written?

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Contest rules available at www.iparty.com/ofďŹ cial-rules

Dean and Company Groveland, MA

53$! ,ICENSED s )NSURED WWW CURIOUSCREATURES ORG 74 NOVEMBER2011

Contest is open until Noon on December 19th, 2011. Enter at www.iparty.com/promotions

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Caring for children 1 month - 6 years Our curriculum is child directed and provides developmentally appropriate learning experiences to promote each child’s fullest potential in the areas of social, emotional, cognitive and physical development.

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BAYSTATEPARENT 75


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