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gift guide

our holiday




JAN 19 – 22

Prepare to blast off on a cosmic family adventure unlike any other. Join the Circus Space Fleet on a heroic quest of good versus evil in a journey so thrilling it could only be brought to you by Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey®. Be the first to climb aboard and take the helm as a circus star seeker!

©2016 Feld Entertainment, Inc.

RINGLING.COM SAVE 20% on Tickets!

Use offer code: PRINT • Expires: 1/17/17 Savings applies only to the face price of tickets. Restrictions and exclusions may apply. No double discounts. Subject to availability.






JAN 7 – 8 Monster Jam® Triple Threat Series™ is a points-based format that showcases the best lineup of Monster Jam vehicles that deliver what fans want to see most… more trucks, more racing, more freestyle, more donuts, more wheelies, more action! This series tests the versatility of the athletes as they go head-to-head in seven different competitions driving three different vehicles --- Monster Jam trucks, Monster Jam Speedsters and Monster Jam ATVs. These athletes battle for points in challenging racing and freestyle events that push themselves and their machines to the limit. The point leader will receive an automatic bid to the prestigious Monster Jam World Finals® to compete for the title of World Champion.

©2016 Feld Entertainment, Inc. SAVE 20% on Tickets!

Use offer code: PRINT • Expires: 1/6/17 Savings applies only to the face price of tickets. Restrictions and exclusions may apply. No double discounts. Subject to availability.

editor’s note

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year from the staff of Birmingham Parent:

P.O. Box 326 (add 800 Hwy. 52 E. for pkg) Helena, AL 35080 205-987-7700 205-987-7600 FAX

editorial Publishers David & Carol Evans Editor Carol Muse Evans Associate Editor Lori Chandler Pruitt Office Assistant Bethany Adams Hunley Calendar Lori Chandler Pruitt

Carol Muse Evans Publisher/Editor

David Evans Publisher

Lori Pruitt Associate Editor

Contributors Trotter Cobb, Dr. Vivian Friedman, Charles Ghigna, Emily Reed, Andrea Thomas, MD

sales Account Executives Kayla Fricks, Brittani Ellison, Wendy Stewart, Jason Watson Webmaster Digital Doo-Wop

art & production Art Director Hilary Moreno Distribution T&P Deliveries

Kayla Fricks Account Executive

Brittani Ellison Account Executive

Wendy Stewart Account Executive

Carol Muse Evans, Publisher/Editor

Hilary Moreno Art Director

Don't miss THE GUIDE in January 2017, your one-stop resource for everything in central Alabama! 4 | birminghamparent | december 2016 / january 2017

E-blasts Simple Southern Lace Designs Legal Counsel Balch & Bingham LLP

BIRMINGHAM PARENT IS A PUBLICATION OF EVANS PUBLISHING, LLC. Publishers: Carol Muse Evans, David K. Evans Sr. Birmingham Parent (EIN20-0694149) is published monthly by Evans Publishing LLC. www.birminghamparent. com or Birmingham Parent is © 2016 by Evans Publishing LLC. Family Connections Media ©2016 by Evans Publishing LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission is prohibited. Editorial submissions are welcome. For back issues, please send a self-addressed 10” x 13” envelope with $4 for postage and handling.

Let our family care for yours.

With the largest primary and specialty care network in Alabama, Brookwood Baptist Health offers convenient locations all across the state in service to you and your family. At Brookwood Baptist Health Primary Care – Crestline Park, Dr. LaShelle Barmore is a family physician specializing in a range of primary care services — including annual physicals and wellness exams, acute care, preventative care, chronic condition management, diabetes care, and more. LASHELLE BARMORE, DO Family Medicine

Call (205) 940-4690 or visit to book an appointment.

4500 Montevallo Rd, Ste E101 Birmingham, AL 35210

George Balanchine’s

The Nutcracker®

December 9th-11th & 16th-18th, 2016 Sponsored By:

February 20 2PM & 5:30PM Alabama Theatre Tickets: 800-745-3000

BUY TICKETS (205)202-8142 or | 5 Bham Parent Nutcracker Ad.indd 1

10/19/2016 10:36:29 AM




26 24 22


gift guide 10

our holiday

departments Note 04 Editor’s Happy Holidays!

07 8 0 28

gift guide PAGE 10


Special Kids & Adults: The Struggles of My Heroes


Jump into Fun and Fitness at a Local Trampoline Park

Short Stuff Ask the Specialist: Helping Kids with ADHD Cope During Holidays

to Heart 26 Heart with the American Heart Association

2016 31 December and January 2017

Calendar of Events


Poetry Party: Winter Poems


Shelby County Drug Free Coalition Gains Momentum in the War on Drugs

ON THE COVER: Christian, age 5 of Pell City, and one of our Special Needs Expo 2016 cover search winners, has now told Santa what he wants for Christmas. PHOTO BY VISUAL ARTS BY JESSICA,

6 | birminghamparent | december 2016 / january 2017

Parenting with Dr. Friedman

19 Baby & Me: AAP Issues New Infant Sleep Recommendations



with Dr. Friedman


My 4-year-old son has a speech delay, an articulation problem and was diagnosed with ADD. The doctor recommended a preschool program along with medication. One day, earlier in the school year, while he was in the preschool program, he acted up. As they were dragging him to the vice-principal’s office he kicked a teacher (I don’t know if it was on purpose). Once in the office, he continued to be upset and tore up the room. They do not know what set my child off because the teacher was not present when it started. These tantrums have happened a few times at home as well, when was time for him to stop playing and he did not want to. He refused and while I was taking him to the other room, he freaked out and started destroying everything he could get his hands on. We sought help from a psychologist. He helped us to get medication that has been helpful and he helped us with behavioral modification. My son is now doing very well in the preschool program. He has been a model student and has even won an award for “student of the month.” I saw on the news a story about a 5-yearold girl that acted up and was handcuffed by police. This is very similar to the way my child acted before medication. I am worried because I do not know what to do if it happens again. He starts kindergarten next fall at a new school and I am worried about what will happen to him if he behaves like this. I don’t want him to hurt anyone and I don’t want him kicked out of school or arrested. What should I do?

Generally, five-year-old children are not arrested. They are sent to psychologists for help. It sounds like you have already taken this route and have done what was necessary to restore appropriate behavior. Treatment of your son’s problem will need several interventions. Stimulant medication often helps a child who is aggressive and easily triggered to gain control. It is not a “behavior pill” and will not behave for him. It will only take the edge off his tendency to overreact and thereby will help him to control his behavior when he wants to. Additionally, the environment will need to be altered to help him stay calm. Provoking him when he is angry will set him off. Giving him time to cool down or talking to him in a soothing way will help him stay in control. Structure and predictability will still be necessary even if he is on medication. He will need set meal times, predictable bedtime and a routine for helping him transition from awake to asleep and from one activity to another. Let his teachers know about his special needs in advance of his arrival at school. This will allow them to handle him sensitively. Ask the school and the psychologist to communicate and form a plan. Work on his speech problem with a speech therapist. Children who can’t express themselves in words do so in actions. They tend to “fly off the handle” because they are frustrated by their inability to let others know what they need. Continue to work with his physician and psychologist. You have found what works for your child. You do not need to be overly fearful of the worst possible consequences. Growth and development are on your side. With other appropriate interventions in place, increasing maturity will help your son to gain control over his impulsive overreaction.

Vivian K. Friedman Ph. D. is a child and family psychologist at UAB, Department of Psychiatry. Send questions for response in this column to No personal replies are sent.

Braces with a mom’s touch Celebrate with a smile!

New Patients Welcome! (205)870-0892

5336 Stadium Trace Parkway Suite 112, Hoover, AL 35244 205 988-9678 | 7

short stuff

Autistic Teen Chef Launches First Cookbook to Fund His Autism Foundation  Autistic teen chef Chase Bailey, whose “Chase ‘N Yur Face” cooking show has proven an online hit, has launched his first cookbook with the aim of celebrating life and raising money to help other people with autism. Featuring over 75 recipes that 15-year-old Chase has developed, all accompanied by mouthwatering photography, fun facts and anecdotes,  The Official Chase ‘N Yur Face Cookbook  (Chase ‘N Yur Face Media LLC, $24.95) includes an endorsement from Chef Mario Batali, who Chase had the pleasure of cooking alongside on The Chew. Using part of the book’s proceeds, Chase has decided to set up his own foundation, the Chase Yur Dreams Foundation, to assist people with autism who are working towards their dreams of living independently.  “When Chase was little, he had some serious food aversions, which is common among people with an autism diagnosis.  “He would only eat five different foods. Then one day I noticed how drawn he was to TV cooking programs,” Chase’s mom, Mary, explains. “Food became his world – he started overcoming his aversions and even started trying exotic foods.  He also decided he wanted to be a chef and have his own cooking show.” She began filming Chase cooking at home and posting the results on YouTube. Soon Chase started inviting chefs and other foodies to join him on the show. Roy Choi, Becky Reams, Galia Orme, Anne Scioscia, and Fuschia Sumner are just some of the stars who have shared their recipes with him. Chase was then asked to be a guest speaker and chef at the 2015 Autism Speaks Los Angeles Celebrity Chef Gala, followed by appearances on The Chew with Mario Batali, and the Meredith Vieira Show. His cookbook is available on,  and in bookstores across the country.  For further information, videos, images and more info about Chase, his cookbook, and his foundation, visit

8 | birminghamparent | december 2016 / january 2017

short stuff

Dads Really Matter Lots of parenting research and interventions exist in the scientific world, with most focusing on mothers. But dads matter too! According to recently-published research in Infant and Child Development, when dads are stressed out, this can affect the cognitive and language development of their young kids. After studying data from 730 families at 17 Head Start locations, researchers found that children scored lower on cognitive tests if their fathers showed higher levels of parenting stress. This stress also negatively affected kids’ performance in language development tests, at least among boys. The bottom line: The stress of both moms and dads can negatively affect kids, and researchers need to incorporate more fathers into their studies and interventions.

What’s in a Name? A lot of understated hurt (often experienced by students of color) is in a name if it’s pronounced incorrectly by a teacher in front of classmates, according to Rita Kohli and Daniel Solorzano in their study “Teachers Please Learn Our Names! Racial Microaggressions and the K-12 Classroom.”  A seemingly innocuous mistake can actually yield long-lasting, negative effects on the offended student, including shame, anxiety and embarrassment. When naming your children, parents beware.

Pregnant Moms Should Eat More Fruit Researchers from the University of Alberta faculty of medicine and dentistry found that pregnant mothers who ate more fruit gave birth to children with higher cognitive development at one year of age. The more fruit moms ate, the better the babies performed on developmental tests. (EbioMedicine, June 2016)

Get Kids to Bed Early According to a recent study published in the Journal of Pediatrics, preschool-aged children who have early weekday bedtimes (8 p.m. or earlier) were one-half less likely to be obese as adolescents as those who had later bedtimes (after 9 p.m.). Parents can easily modify kids’ routines so they hit the hay earlier. Besides helping kids get more shut-eye, the earlier bedtime may help prevent obesity in later years.

Help with Screen Time Did you know you can get a free, printable Family Media Agreement  from Common Sense Media? This  nonprofit organization provides unbiased information and innovative tools for parents, teachers and policymakers to help harness the power of media and technology as a positive force in kids’ lives. Their website offers a treasure trove of helpful information for parents, from age-appropriate movie recommendations and video game reviews to research studies and family guides. For more information, visit www.

Where all the dental needs of your child can be met under one roof! Dr. Olga Sanchez-Hernandez is dual trained as a pediatric dentist and a board certified orthodontist

SERVICES INCLUDE: Dentistry for children and adolescents Dentistry for patients with disabilities Orthodontics for children and adults We offer traditional metal brackets, as well as clear We also do Invisalign

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and at Children’s of Alabama we want to see every child grow up and live to their fullest potential. That’s why we recruit, train and retain the most inquiring minds, the most skilled hands and the most compassionate hearts in pediatric medicine. 1600 7TH AVENUE SOUTH BIRMINGHAM, AL 35233 (205) 638-9100

Lisa Beach, a freelance journalist, copywriter, and humor blogger, contributed to Short Stuff. Check out her writer’s website at and visit her humor blog at | 9 BhamParent_COA_HeadlineAd_pajamas.indd 11/14/16 1 3:54 PM

gift guide Whether it’s the teacher, the co-worker, the aunt or uncle, niece or nephew or a neighbor, sometimes finding the right gift can be tough. Birmingham Parent tested a few products this year, and here are some recommendations from us to you for great gifts at several price points, for items we thought were particularly noteworthy.

Happy Holidays!

10 | birminghamparent | december 2016 / january 2017


gift guide

George Balanchine’s

The Nutcracker®

December 9th-11th & 16th-18th, 2016 Sponsored By:

BUY TICKETS (205)202-8142

Birmingham Museum of Art

Nutcracker Ornaments

Bham Parent Nutcracker Ad.indd 1

10/19/2016 10:36:29 AM

Alabama Dance Academy’s Ballet Classique presents




Perfect gift for teacher, Secret Santa or for the dancer in your family! 1629 Oxmoor Road Birmingham, AL 35209 205-871-STEP


DECEMBER 10-11, 2016 Dec. 10, 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. Dec. 11, 3 p.m. Oak Mountain High School Performing Arts Theatre. All Seats: $14.00. For tickets call 978-6830 or enter PROMO50 for discount. Mention this ad to buy one ticket and get one 1/2 off.



JUNE 2016




26 PDF_Files/subscription_form.pdf to PARTY BAGS a subscriptionPARTY form. HAVE download A "LATE-OVER"PARTY Only $36 per year.THEMES 10 IDEAS FOR

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gift guide For the Grown Ups, or ALMOST Grown Up Power Plus Compact Juicer with Citrus Attachment (MSRP $69.99) This juicer features a polished stainless steel juice filter with cleaning brush, 800W of power, citrus juicer attachment, 2-speed dial control, wide-mouth and small feed chutes, 3-cup integrated pulp container, 1000ml juice pitcher with pour spout, non-drip spout, skid-resistant rubber feet and dishwasher safe parts. Available at  Keep Merry and Crossword On (MSRP $18.99) This puzzle book from puzzle creator Will Shortz is a perfect gift for family, friends or coworkers. For those of all ages who love words and puzzles. Available at PedEgg Powerball (MSRP $19.99) This tool easily buffs away calluses, dead skin, or dry and rough spots in seconds with added technology to further simplify athome foot care. Purchase at and major retailers such as CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, Target and Bed Bath and Beyond. Dew Puff (MSRP $8) Made from the root of konjac, a plant native to Asia is like a stone when dry, but once wet it becomes soft and squishy with a gentle texture. Chemical-free, biodegradable and vegan approved, this easy-to-use beauty tool removes toxins and impurities. Available in Original, Bamboo Charcoal and Asian Clay. Available at www. and selected retail outlets and various online retail outlets such as Walmart and Amazon.

12 | birminghamparent | december 2016 / january 2017

George Foreman Evolve Grill (MSRP $99.99-up)  Grill, bake and cook – all with one appliance! Removable plates are dishwasher-safe so it’s easy to clean. Features a 500° searing burst for restaurant quality results at home. Premium ceramic non-stick grill plates wipe clean. Exclusive fat-draining design. Additional plates sold separately. Available at Bed Bath and Beyond and KRUPS Personal Tea Kettle (MSRP $49.99) The KRUPS Personal Tea Kettle features an internal water circulation system for infusing tea to make the best cup every time. Could be great for a college student or someone who has no kitchen or minimal space. Available at Macy’s. Angry Momma (MSRP $10) The easiest way to clean your microwave! Purchase at and major retailers such as CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, Target, and Bed Bath and Beyond. The Magic Opener® (MSRP $24.99) Whether you’re looking for a way to easily open different plastic bottles, aluminum drink cans or traditional glass bottles, Magic Opener® will become one of your favorite, most used kitchen gadgets. Available at BISSELL BOLT 2-in-1 Lightweight Cordless Vacuum  (MSRP $89.99) College students, those in apartments and those with all hard surface floors can clean their “home away from home” easily using the cordless BISSELL BOLT, with a 12v power feature that is perfect for quick clean ups. A special crevice tool and dusting brush further help tackle hard-to-reach areas. Available at most retail stores. | 13

gift guide For the Kids

Mr. Potato Head and Mrs. Potato Head Mash Pack (MSRP $14.99) Little ones can have mixable, mashable, fun with the twoinch Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head Mash Packs. Pieces are interchangeable with the classical 8-inch scale Mr. Potato Head figures (sold separately). Great for ages 2 and up. Available at www.hasbrotoyshop. com and toy retailers nationwide. Enchantails Slumber Bag (MSRP $149.99) Beautifully vibrant slumber bags, with their luxurious and lush fabrics, will transform any girl into the royal mermaid they dream to be, taking imagination and role play to a whole new level. Each bag set includes a book, a carry tote, a decorator pillow, a slumber bag featuring glow-inthe-dark-thread, and wall decals featuring mermaids and their sea buddies. Ages: 4-12 most likely, but 4+ (if you are under 5’5” and 16 yrs old, have fun!) Available at,, Macy’s, SteinMart and Bealls. Palm-Oasis Torpedo Skateboard (MSRP $34.94) Kryptonics is a skateboard pioneer, revolutionizing ride and performance since 1965. The Torpedo skateboard pays homage to the 1970s surf and skate culture with its retro shape and design. While the durability and flexibility of the deck guarantees high performance, this skateboard is also a favorite of beginners. Ages 8 and up. Available at Walmart. Buddy Balls® (MSRP $19.99) While doctors and nurses do their best to care for sick and injured children, being a patient is often very scary. These Buddy Balls are dedicated to providing comfort and reassurance during difficult moments, and they make being a patient a lot less scary. Each Buddy Balls purchase helps MaxLand Toys provide support to Child Life programs. For the very young and all ages. Purchase at or at

14 | birminghamparent | december 2016 / january 2017


Charles Ghigna

Blobfish, thorny dragons and rosy wolfsnails, oh my! OVER 200 INCREDIBLE PHOTOS Animal Planet Strange, Unusual, Gross & Cool Animals Ages 8 and up

© 2016 DCL.


Birmingham Parents Magazine 3.57 x 4.8_fin.2.indd 1

LOVE2LEARN Elmo Plus Toy and App (MSRP $59.99) This toy delivers the true essence of Sesame Street’s Elmo with his silly laughs and creative play. This plush toy and app deliver a customized play experience that parents can use to help them learn in several stages and subjects. Elmo has Bluetooth capabilities, too, to allow it to respond to scenes in the app games. For ages 18 months and up. Available at www. at toy retailers nationwide. The Moodsters Feelings Notebook & Feelings Crayon Set (MSRP $11.99) The Moodsters is a new creative tool to help kids express what they are feeling. This fun product includes five jumbo feelings crayons, one representing each emotion (afraid, loving, happy, sad, angry), and a Feelings Notebook for kids to draw and color their feelings. Available at Precision RBS (MSRP $14.99) This unique new rubber band launching line like nothing ever experienced before. Precision RBS delivers safe and intense fun, with more ammo, more power and more on-target accuracy! It is more accurate than any foam dart in the marketplace. The least-expensive, lightweight Talos holds up to 20 rubber bands in two sizes, launches up to 30 feet and includes a built-in extender for even more power when you need it. It’s perfect for quick, smooth action. MSRP $14.99. Ages 8 and up. See other models online. Available at www.precisionrbs. com/shop/.

9/16/16 8:34 AM

You do enough It’s time to relax Immerse yourself in tranquility

gift cards available


gift guide Books & Videos

Camp Nana Papa Book & Plush Toy (MSRP $29.95) The Adventures of Camp Nana Papa is the perfect gift for grandparents who want to stay connected with grandchildren no matter the distance between them. The colorful children’s book follows Nick and Sarah through different adventures at their grandparent’s house and includes interactive activities in the back of the book. The book comes with a light-up plush toy of one of the main characters in the book, Flash the Firefly. Available at  Princess Cupcake Jones & The Dance Recital (MSRP $15.95) Princess Cupcake Jones continues her adventures in the fourth book of this national award-winning book series. This modern-day princess loves taking dance class at Madame’s School of Ballet, but there’s one move that Cupcake can’t quite do…an arabesque!! She learns that with practice and determination there isn’t anything she can’t do if she puts her mind to it! Recommended for ages 5-7. Available at TRAIN – A Journey through the Pages (MSRP $22.95) This 3-D train inside a hardback book never leaves the book as it looks up, down and across each page along the track. Young train lovers can turn to the train yard at the back, hold up pages to make a tunnel and let the journey begin as the red steam engines chugs out of the depot on the first page. Recommended for ages 4-8. Available at, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and IndieBound. 16 | birminghamparent | december 2016 / january 2017

365 Things to Do with LEGO Bricks (MSRP $24.99) This hardback book is a great companion for the child of any age that loves LEGO. It helps kids find new and inspiring ways to make the most of their LEGO bricks. Available at www. and at local bookstores and online retailers like Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Family owned and operated for 35 years. Over 2700 square feet of unique dancewear, shoes, tights, liturgical and tutus from the top industry brands.

Toddler to Adult sizes Professional Shoe Fitting

The Secret Life of Pets (MSRP 4K Ultra HD $44.98; 3D Blu-ray $44.98; Blu-ray $34.98; and DVD $19.99) Max (Louis C.K.) is a spoiled terrier who enjoys a comfortable life in a New York building until his owner adopts Duke, a giant and unruly canine. During their walk outside, they encounter a group of ferocious alley cats and wind up in a truck that’s bound for the pound. Luckily, a rebellious bunny named Snowball swoops in to save the doggy duo from captivity. In exchange, Snowball demands that Max and Duke join his gang of abandoned pets on a mission against the humans who’ve done them wrong.. Available where DVDs are sold.

1629 Oxmoor Rd | Birmingham, AL 35209 | 205-871-STEP

For Furry Friends Chuckit! Sport LX Launchers System (MSRP $19.99) Lacrosse style basket allows throwing and catching, plus hands-free, slobber-free pickup. Sport LX sells as a two launcher bundle. Includes medium tennis ball. Available wherever pet supplies are sold. | 17

Now – January 1, 2017 • More than 2 million lights and 9 acres of stunning décor

• Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers Christmas Dinner Show

• NEW – ICE! featuring Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in 2 million pounds of colorful, hand-carved ice sculptures and slides

• The Elf on the Shelf® Scavenger Hunt • Gingerbread Decorating Corner • Build-A-Bear Workshop®

• Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical

• Carriage rides, snow tubing, outdoor ice skating and more!

• NEW – Breakfast with the Grinch

Tickets and Packages on Sale Now!

NASHVILLE, TN | (888) 677-9872

PEPSI, PEPSI-COLA and the Pepsi Globe are registered trademarks of PepsiCo, Inc. FUJIFILM and INSTAX are trademarks of FUJIFILM Corporation and its affiliates. © 2016 FUJIFILM North America Corporation. All rights reserved. TM & © 1957, 2016 Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P. The Elf on the Shelf® and © CCA and B, LLC. All rights reserved. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and all related elements © & TM under license to Character Arts, LLC. All rights reserved. © & ® Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

18 | birminghamparent | december 2016 / january 2017



baby & me

AAP ISSUES NEW INFANT SLEEP RECOMMENDATIONS Infants should sleep in the same bedroom as their parents – but on a separate surface, such as a crib or bassinet, and never on a couch, armchair or soft surface – to decrease the risks of sleep-related deaths, according to a new policy statement recently released by the American Academy of Pediatrics. “SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Updated 2016 Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment,” draws on new research and serves as the first update to Academy policy since 2011. Recommendations call for infants to share their parents’ bedroom for at least the first six months and optimally for the first year of life, based on the latest evidence. “We know that parents may be overwhelmed with a new baby in the home, and we want to provide them with clear and simple guidance on how and where to put their infant to sleep,” says Rachel Moon, MD, FAAP, lead author of the report. “Parents should never place the baby on a sofa, couch, or cushioned chair, either alone or sleeping with another person. We know that these surfaces are extremely hazardous.” Approximately 3,500 infants die annually in the United States from sleep-related deaths, including sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS); ill-defined deaths; and accidental suffocation and strangulation. The number of infant deaths initially decreased in the 1990s after a national safe sleep campaign, but has plateaued in recent years.

• Avoid use of soft bedding, including crib bumpers, blankets, pillows and soft toys. The crib should be bare.

AAP recommendations on creating a safe sleep environment include:

• While infants are at heightened risk for SIDS between one and four months, new evidence shows that soft bedding continues to pose hazards to babies who are four months and older.

• Place the baby on his or her back on a firm sleep surface such as a crib or bassinet with a taut sheet.

• Share a bedroom with parents, but not the same sleeping surface, preferably until the baby is one year old, at least for the first six months. Room-sharing decreases the risk of SIDS by as much as 50 percent. • Avoid baby’s exposure to smoke, alcohol and illicit drugs. • Skin-to-skin care is recommended, regardless of feeding or delivery method, immediately following birth for at least an hour as soon as the mother is medically stable and awake, according to the report. • Breastfeeding is also recommended as adding protection against SIDS. After feeding, the AAP encourages parents to move the baby to his or her separate sleeping space, preferably a crib or bassinet in the parents’ bedroom. • “If you are feeding your baby and think that there’s even the slightest possibility that you may fall asleep, feed your baby on your bed, rather than a sofa or cushioned chair,” says Lori Feldman-Winter, MD, FAAP, member of the Task Force on SIDS and co-author of the report. • “If you do fall asleep, as soon as you wake up be sure to move the baby to his or her own bed. There should be no pillows, sheets, blankets or other items that could obstruct the infant’s breathing or cause overheating.”

Other recommendations include: • Offer a pacifier at nap time and bedtime. • Do not use home monitors or commercial devices, including wedges or positioners, marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS. • Infants should receive all recommended vaccinations. • Supervised, awake tummy time is recommended daily to facilitate development. The AAP recommends that doctors have open and nonjudgmental conversations with families about their sleep practices. “We want to share this information in a way that doesn’t scare parents but helps to explain the real risks posed by an unsafe sleep environment,” Moon says. “We know that we can keep a baby safer without spending a lot of money on home monitoring gadgets but through simple precautionary measures.”

Courtesy of American Academy of Pediatrics

michael s. anglin, d.d.s pediatric & adolescent dentistry

erin nelson, d.m.d

family & cosmetic dentistry

Family Favorite


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kids’ docs


3825 Lorna Road, Suite 206, Hoover, Alabama 35244 205-988-9800 . | 19

special kids (& adults)

The Struggles of My Heroes By Trotter Cobb

They are my heroes. These young teenagers who struggle. Watching them compete at a Special Olympics event is deeply moving. Just seeing these wonderful and endearing kids put forth the most sincere effort I have ever seen is inspiring. Even when they are in wheelchairs or grappling with other severe disabilities, they have just as much enthusiasm as typical kids competing in a sporting event. Maybe even more. My son Trot, who just turned 20, is one of these special needs Olympians. My sense is that he and the other competitors want to feel normal, to be seen as typical kids delighting in competing against friends at a sporting event. They may even appreciate the opportunity to do this more than a typical kid might, based on their exuberance and energy.  They have passion, gumption, drive, enthusiasm and competitiveness. It seems that they get a lot of pride from competing and being recognized by others who cheer them on as they navigate their disabilities. It doesn’t matter what team they are on, or what school they attend; everybody cheers for everybody. I admit I don’t know all of this for sure – that most of them, including my son, don’t have the ability to articulate their feelings. But after attending seemingly countless such events over the years, to root for my son and the others, I can see the pride and desire to compete on their faces.   For them, accolades are special, singular recognition that light up their world; there is nothing routine or expected about the awards or trophies they might take home. Every ounce of recognition that they receive is celebrated by these youngsters and their families. And, as often is the case with special needs kids, they want to hear about their events over and over and over, so even more pleasure comes in the retelling of their achievements and the continual celebration of their feats.   For these young special needs athletes, Special Olympics events are their opportunities to shine. They wait at the gate, well before starting time, anxious for each event to begin. At my son’s last competition, there was one little girl, probably 12 or 13, standing at the gate anxiously, impatiently waiting her turn. I’ve developed the ability to read the facial expressions of many special needs kids

over the years and I could sense that she was fearful of being overlooked and missing her event. “When is my time? When is my time?” she kept asking, despite her parents promising her she was five events away and her time would come. Competing in the Special Olympics puts a normal face on something that is extremely challenging – and when I say challenging, I mean these kids have real and serious challenges. Usually, I’m constantly thinking of Trot’s future, but, for that small slice of time, everything seems normal – I am absorbed in the competition, just like Trot.  The last Special Olympics event that Trot would ever participate in at this age level occurred about three weeks ago. I was happy – and sad, a blend of emotions I often encounter as the dad of a special needs son. When you get there and take in the atmosphere – the pageantry, the color, the crowd, the smiling faces, the cheering and the sea of kids running around – you can’t help but be happy. It is so uplifting. I’ve watched University of Alabama football for years. I have seen America’s finest collegiate athletes up close, in their prime and in their greatness.  Yet, nothing I have witnessed moved me more than what I saw at Trot’s last Olympics. I saw a small boy, probably about 14, who, before the event, was incapable of controlling his arms, legs and head.  He was severely disabled. But that all changed once his race began. This young man somehow burst into the lead, even as his body flailed. You could tell he was giving it everything he had, trying desperately to control his legs. He was relentless, he was determined, he would not be denied. He captivated the crowd. Coaches ran ahead to cheer him on along the sidelines. He finished third in the race. He finished first in everyone’s hearts. He is who I will take away from Trot’s last Special Olympics, another powerful face in a chain of heroes I have come to know over the years. At these events, you can get a Coke or a hot dog, just like you can at any typical high school sporting event. For those few moments, all is right with the world.  It is funny how the idea of just getting a Coke can make everything right in the world, but that momentary normalcy is what I crave.

20 | birminghamparent | december 2016 / january 2017

Trot will be leaving this family of friends, as will my wife Anne and I. We are moving on to the next age group of competitors, leaving his teenage years behind. For years, he has competed against the same group of kids and we have gotten to know and love many of these other young people and their families. But now that’s going to change because my son is going into a whole new age division with new people.   We don’t really know what to expect with the new level of competition. There is a whole world out there of older kids and adults, new families, perhaps more intense competition, perhaps more gifted special needs athletes. How will I deal with these changes? How will these changes affect Trot? Familiarity and predictability are so important to the well-being of a special needs child and now, he, Anne and I will journey hand in hand into a new world. Trot will lead us, I suspect, as he always does. My definition of a hero is someone who inspires me to do better. I have never seen any special needs kids complain or cry when competing. They are just so grateful to be a part of something bigger and meaningful by way of the Special Olympics. If you put your problems up against those who are significantly challenged, and see how they overcome those challenges, yours don’t seem so daunting.    Trotter Cobb of Birmingham has a special needs son. Earlier in his life, Trotter made a name for himself in the business world. In retirement he has decided to dedicate his life’s work to helping the world better understand the challenges, triumphs and nuances of raising a special needs child.

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Trampoline Parks

Jump into Fun and Fitness at a Local Trampoline Park The thrill of jumping on a trampoline is one that never ends for many people, even into adulthood. Now, the chance to do so is ever-growing with trampoline parks that offer much more than the thrill of the jump.

22 | birminghamparent | december 2016 / january 2017

By Lori Chandler Pruitt

“Personally, jumping on a trampoline gives you freedom – there’s joy in jumping through the air,” says David Van Vurst, owner/operations manager at Sky Zone Trampoline Park in Kennesaw, GA. A Sky Zone is opening in Hoover this month. There are several trampoline parks in the Birmingham area. Trampoline parks came along in the early 2000s in Las Vegas when Rick Platt, founder of Sky Zone, wanted to begin a new sport that involved obstacles and trampolines. He built the park next to a skate shop, and kids would come to use the park. Then, others came to just jump. The concept evolved from there and grew more and more popular, adding more features and activities. While the average age of jumpers is ages 10 to 18, there are set activities for toddlers all the way to adults, with adult dodge ball tournaments, exercise and other events. Depending on the facility, there are exercise classes, a foam zone, which is jumping into a pit of large foam pieces, jousting, rock climbing, exercise classes, open jump, black light jumping at night, and separate areas for different ages. The facilities also host corporate and group events, birthdays and more.

“I think parents enjoy bringing their children because it does not look as difficult but it is very active, and kids often aren’t as active these days,” says Rene Cain, managing partner of Steel City Jump Park, a locally owned and operated park located inside Phoenix Theatres-The Edge 12 in the Crestwood Festival shopping center in Irondale. “It’s active entertainment that everyone can enjoy.” While it’s great for kids and adults to have fun and get exercise, no activity is risk-free. Trampoline parks are no exception – in fact, there is concern about safety, owners say. Each park has set rules and each participant is informed about them, but not everyone wants to follow them. Owners say most injuries generally happen when rules are broken. Others may not enforce the rules as much, leading to problems, Van Vurst says.

Depending on the facility, there are exercise classes, a foam zone, which is jumping into a pit of large foam pieces, jousting, rock climbing, exercise classes, open jump, black light jumping at night, and separate areas for different ages. The facilities also host corporate and group events, birthdays and more.

Van Vurst is a founding member of the International Association of Trampoline Parks, with more than 280 members. IATP says about five to six such parks open across the U.S. each month, and that safety is paramount. “We enforce the highest of standards,” he says. “I’d rather return someone’s money and have them go if they are putting themselves and others at risk of injury. You must follow the rules.” Safety is why many parks have staff to man each station and to watch people carefully. “We are only trying to keep everyone safe, but not everyone follows the rules, and that is when injuries can occur,” Cain says. Rules such as no double bouncing, no diving into a foam pit, no flipping and landing on the bottom or feet only are regularly broken in many parks, so staff is on hand at each station to work with the children and parents. “We have safety meetings each week and we watch,” Cain says. “We man each station at all times, no matter how many children are there.” Parents can help in a big way to reduce injuries by insisting their children follow the rules, and supervise/participate with their children to set the example for safe play in the park. Parents can take their children at a less busy time to help them get used to the park and the activities, and for younger children, make sure the park has a designated area that keeps them separate from bigger kids, experts say. Parks also have websites that state their rules, and because participants must fill out waivers as well that are available online, it is a good place to start researching what parks offer and what they expect. What’s next? The Birmingham area has for a long time had great places where kids can go to be active – from Pump it Up, where kids can bounce on inflatables, and Adventure Park of Grants Mill, among others. Trampoline parks are in full gear now, but the entertainment industry continues to evolve to offer fun, active family entertainment. “You’re always innovating,” Van Vurst says. “You also sometimes have no idea what innovations will really take off.”




Lori Pruitt is associate editor of Birmingham Parent. | 23

Shelby County Drug Free Coalition gains momentum in the war on drugs By Emily Reed

Shelby County Drug Free Coalition coordinator Jan Corbett’s daily mission is to educate parents, teachers and children about the harmful impact drugs can play in a person’s life. “Kids are experimenting with drugs at a much younger age than a lot of people realize,” Corbett says. “It is scary how easily kids are becoming addicted to different types of drugs at such an early age. You used to think that kids would maybe experiment with drugs in high school, but we are seeing kids become addicted as early as the sixth grade.” Corbett, a retired elementary school teacher who taught for 31 years, became the coordinator of the Shelby County Drug Free Coalition in 2012. “Alcoholism affected my family, and I have always had a passion for educating others about the dangers of drugs and alcohol,” she adds. The coalition was founded in 1998 with a goal to enhance the health and safety of the community by preventing drug abuse among youth. The coalition has a Speakers Bureau consisting of more than 70 individuals – teachers, judges, elected officials, mental health and substance abuse professionals, members of law enforcement, non-profit agencies, lawyers, businesses, medical professionals, parents and concerned citizens – working to educate individuals on recent trends with drug and alcohol abuse. “Members of the Speakers Bureau will often visit schools throughout the community and speak to kids about the dangers of drug use,” Corbett says. “We have started targeting the middle schools because we found that sixth grade seems to be the age where kids are beginning to find their place in the world. We want to get in their minds that drugs are not only stupid but can determine the rest of their lives.” Shelby County resident Robyn Korn joined the coalition in 2011 and became a member of the Speakers Bureau after her son Tim died of a heroin overdose in 2010 at the age of 18. “A lot of times parents with kids who are addicted to drugs think they are fighting the battle alone, and I wanted to be able to help others understand that they are not alone,” Korn says. Her son became involved with drugs at the age of 14, when he started using marijuana.

“My son had several changes occur including moving to a new area with a new school and having to make a new set of friends,” Korn says. “This was during the time he was in middle school and a lot of the friendships were already established, so the group of kids that accepted him were the kids who were experimenting with drugs. It was a very easy culture for him to get sucked into – and unfortunately he never could escape.” Once Korn discovered her son’s drug habit, she reached out to several organizations for help, including the drug court in Shelby County. “My son was very smart,” she says. “He had a goal to become a mechanic and have his own shop. He realized he had an issue and did not want to be an addict, but it was something he struggled with until the day he died. He started on marijuana and within two years he was hooked on heroin.” Korn now spends her time traveling throughout Alabama speaking to others about her personal experiences dealing with a son addicted to drugs. “I share with parents things to look for if you suspect your child might have a drug problem,” Korn says. “I encourage parents that they have the right to drug test their child, search their rooms, make sure they are aware of what their children are searching for online, and make sure they are aware of the terminology. “Sometimes it takes tough love for your child, which is a difficult thing for a parent. There were times I had to call the police on my son and I had to watch as he was arrested, but I needed to do that because I did not need to enable him,” she says. Oftentimes parents believe their children would not be capable of becoming involved with drugs, Corbett says. “We hear a lot of times that because a child is in an honor society at school or has a good group of friends they couldn’t become involved with drugs,” Corbett says. “We have found that it is across the board. The drug problems in Mountain Brook are the same drug problems in Montevallo or Daphne. There are no social or economic barriers. It touches every demographic.” Corbett says marijuana is often considered a gateway drug – a substance that leads to trying other drugs or alcohol – with many teenagers experimenting at a young age. “One of the goals of the coalition is to get to the kids before they are faced with the peer pressure to try drugs or

24 | birminghamparent | december 2016 / january 2017

The Shelby County Drug Free Coalition hosts





month beginning at 8:30 a.m. at Family Connection’s facility off Shelby County Road 26 in Alabaster with a speaker and complimentary breakfast. The meetings are free to attend. The last meeting for 2016 is November 9. For more information about the Shelby County Drug Free Coalition, visit, on Facebook at Shelby County Drug Free Coalition, by email at, or by calling (205) 663-6301 ext. 234.

alcohol,” Corbett says. “A lot of times kids think it is the cool thing to do or because everybody else is doing it, it must be OK. There is also a perception in pop culture that getting high is no big deal.” Corbett says more than $25 billion is spent each year on advertising for alcohol, tobacco and prescription drugs. And the impact of social media in the drug culture continues to grow, with popular apps becoming the platform for buying and selling drugs. “Thankfully, law enforcement is doing a wonderful job in using social media to track and interrupt the buying and selling of drugs, but this is something that is becoming more widespread,” Corbett says. “We are really gaining momentum with spreading the word, and we hope to continue helping to educate parents and children about the dangers of drug abuse.” Emily Reed is a freelance writer and stay-at-home to her son, Tobias.


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A heart event or stroke affects more than just your body – it impacts every area of a survivor’s life as well as their loved ones. Emotional support for survivors and caretakers is a key part of the recovery process. The holidays can be an especially difficult time for survivors and caretakers with mixed emotions about family gatherings, past traditions and changes to routines. It’s critically important for survivors to find a support network during the holidays and throughout their recovery. Alabama native Jessica Nolen knows the importance of having a great support system first hand. Seven days after delivering her second daughter, Ryleigh Harper, in August 2010, Jessica started having difficulty breathing. She remembers calling for her husband, who came running in to find Jessica

lying on the floor clutching her chest in pain. Her husband immediately called 911 and urged his wife to stay calm. “I just knew something wasn’t right. I kept saying to myself that I did not want to die. I was so scared that when I tried to close my eyes to relax, I would quickly open them because I was afraid I would never be able to open them again. It was the most terrifying experience of my life,” Jessica says. Despite being only 29 years old, Jessica had had a heart attack. Once at the hospital, doctors placed a stent in her artery to help the area of her heart that had been damaged during the heart attack. Later, doctors told Jessica that she hadn’t just had a heart attack; she had an extremely rare condition called Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection (SCAD). Doctors said the disorder was likely caused by pregnancy hormones weakening her arteries, and they also informed her that SCAD would prevent her from having any more children. SCAD patients have heart attacks that are the result of spontaneous tearing in the coronary artery wall. Researchers aren’t sure what causes SCAD, but patients are often women who are otherwise healthy, with few or no risk factors for heart disease. Jessica fit into this category perfectly – she had no lifestyle risk factors for heart disease and no family history of heart attacks. Because it has no warning signs, SCAD is very difficult to diagnosis before it causes a heart attack. Doctors say that’s why it’s extremely important that patients recognize the symptoms of a heart attack, which include chest pain or pressure, shortness of breath, profuse sweating and dizziness. SCAD is so rare that as of 2004, there had only been 150 cases reported. As the American Heart Association and other organizations continue to fund research on SCAD, awareness has grown for the condition, and

26 | birminghamparent | december 2016 / january 2017

it is being diagnosed more often. It is also possible that SCAD is responsible for some of the 600,000 heart attack deaths in the US each year but is never diagnosed as such. Because of the rarity of the diagnosis, many SCAD patients, including Jessica, often feel like they have no one to turn to during their recovery. “I don’t want anyone to feel the loneliness I originally felt. I didn’t personally know anyone who had a heart attack, let alone SCAD, so I felt a little lost. Thankfully, I found a support group, and it helped me tremendously in my journey. My family was a huge support for me as well as a close group of friends. Most importantly, though, was my relationship with God, which really kept me going. I’m thankful that the American Heart Association has resources available to survivors like me for emotional support as well as networking opportunities amongst survivors. It’s an important part of the healing process,” Jessica says. Jessica said she was surprised at how much of her recovery was emotional. Like many heart and stroke survivors, she worried about whether she would suffer another heart attack. Jessica says it takes a full network of family, friends, faith and the American Heart Association to help her stay positive. “I know God has a purpose for this, and even though I don’t fully understand it yet, I know I will be forever changed. I’m so thankful for everything the American Heart Association does to help survivors like me, and I hope that no one will ever have to feel alone after a heart event or stroke,” Jessica says. The American Heart Association offers an online Support Network for survivors and caretakers. It’s a free resource for anyone that needs emotional support or medically-based advice for heart disease or stroke. You can learn more about the Support Network by visiting

moving &&expanding weweweareareare moving & expanding !] !]!] moving expanding

Ournew pediatric clinic offers a sensory room equipped with The clinic will offer a sensory room equipped with a a The new clinic will offer a sensory room equipped with a variety ofsensory sensory experiences. A large gym with climbing Theof new clinic will offer a sensory room equipped with a variety of experiences. Agym large gym with climbing variety sensory experiences. A large with climbing wall, exercise barwith with mirror,swings, swings, and other fun exerwall, exercise bar mirror, and other fun variety of sensory experiences. A large gym with climbing wall, exercise bar with mirror, swings, and other fun exercise exercise cise equipment are also available. Each therapy room has an equipment be available. Each therapy room wall, exercise bar with mirror, swings, and will other funwill exercise equipment willwill also also be available. Each therapy room observation room so parents or guardians observe have observation room so that parents or guardians can have anan observation sothat parents or guardians cancan equipment willroom also bethat available. Each therapy room will observe their child in therapy. Parent support groups have their child in therapy. Parent support groups and a variety observe in therapy. Parent support groupsorhave havetheir an child observation room so that parents guardians canof begun and a variety of other programs such as forered. other asprograms karate for special needs are off begun andprograms a variety ofsuch other such as karate forkarate observe their child in therapy. Parent support groups have special needs be offered. special needs willwill be offered.

begun and a variety of other programs such as karate for special needs will be offered.

pediatric pediatrictherapy therapyservices services 240240 Commerce CommerceParkway Parkway Pelham, ALAL35124 Pelham, 35124 Phone: 205-621-6503 Phone: 205-621-6503

pediatric therapy services 240 Commerce Parkway Pelham, AL 35124 Phone: 205-621-6503

Processing Speech/Language Delays SensorySensory Processing Disorder Disorder Speech/Language Delays Academic Difficulties Cognitive Impairment Academic Difficulties Cognitive Impairment Feeding Disorders Autism Spectrum Disorder Feeding Disorders Autism Spectrum DisorderDelays Sensory Processing Disorder Speech/Language Orthopedic Down Syndrome Injuries &Injuries Needs & Needs DownCognitive SyndromeImpairment Orthopedic Academic Difficulties Handwriting/Fine Motor Seizure Disorders Handwriting/Fine Seizure Disorders FeedingMotor Disorders Autism Spectrum Disorder Challenges Cerebral Palsy Challenges Cerebral Palsy Orthopedic Injuries & Needs Down Syndrome The therapy program at Sealsanoffers an The therapy program at EasterEaster Seals offers Handwriting/Fine Motor Seizure Disorders interdisciplinary approach to treating interdisciplinary teamteam approach to treating the wholethe whole Challenges Cerebral Palsy of speech-language child. Our pathologists, child. Our staffstaff of speech-language pathologists, physical physical therapist, and occupational therapists specialize The therapy programtherapists at Easter Seals offers therapist, and occupational specialize in thean in the diagnosis treatment of various children’s diagnosis andand treatment of various children’s disabilities. interdisciplinary team approach to treating disabilities. the whole

child. Our staff of speech-language pathologists, physical therapist, and occupational therapists specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of various children’s disabilities.

we are moving & expanding !]

The new clinic will offer a sensory room equipped with a variety of sensory experiences. A large gym with climbing wall, exercise bar with mirror, swings, and other fun exercise equipment will also be available. Each therapy room will have an observation room so that parents or guardians can observe their child in therapy. Parent support groups have begun and a variety of other programs such as karate for special needs will be offered.

pediatric therapy services 240 Commerce Parkway Pelham, AL 35124 Phone: 205-621-6503

Speech/Language Delays Cognitive Impairment Autism Spectrum Disorder Down Syndrome Seizure Disorders Cerebral Palsy

Sensory Processing Disorder Academic Difficulties Feeding Disorders Orthopedic Injuries & Needs Handwriting/Fine Motor Challenges

The therapy program at Easter Seals offers an interdisciplinary team approach to treating the whole child. Our staff of speech-language pathologists, physical therapist, and occupational therapists specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of various children’s disabilities. | 27

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Angela Thomas, MD, is a board-certified adult and child psychiatrist located at Grayson & Associates in Homewood.

28 | birminghamparent | december 2016 / january 2017

Thoughts of this holiday season might bring to mind images of a glowing fireplace, rosy cheeks, and your kids laughing together as they sip hot cocoa. While this might be an accurate description of your family during the holidays, it isn’t the case with many families who have children with attention difficulties or other impulse control disorders. In these scenarios, the winter break can be challenging. The cold and rain make it difficult to get outside. When the weather is not wreaking havoc, the days are much shorter. Parents are stressed by family coming in town, last minute shopping, cooking and preparing for that magical day. The best method to reduce the chaos is to proactively plan ahead. This includes mentally preparing yourself for the potential extra effort required to navigate through this time. During this preparation and throughout the season, it is also critical to take care of your own mental and physical health. As parents we tend to worry excessively about the needs of our children and put ours on the back burner. When we do that, we become stressed and tired which leads to increased inflammation and achiness, problem solving difficulties, temper flares and an increase in cortisol (the hormone that makes you hungry, fat and grumpy). Siblings are very important to enlist in your endeavors towards a peaceful holiday. Make sure to have an open discussion with your neurotypical kids (children without developmental disabilities) and explain that it is not their job to police their brother or sister, but to model the kinds of behaviors that are desired. It might also be useful to teach your kids the difference between tattling and reporting. Then finally, discuss the plans for the holidays with your impulsive, inattentive, wonderful child. Bedtime over the break should be about the same as through the

regular school year. Research indicates children who go to bed within an hour of their regular bedtime (even on weekends and holidays) are more likely to thrive and have the best grades. Maintenance of a calendar containing all activities planned during the season can create the rhythm of a productive day. For example, the day starts with breakfast, a period of short quiet activity like reading or electronic learning game followed by high energy indoor activity. To settle them back down, music/dance or an outing to the park can get you to lunch. Children with ADHD have needs for high levels of activity, and it’s important to not let winter weather keep your child from exhausting his/ her energy. Small, indoor trampolines are great for releasing energy in a small space. Some even fold up to store

Children with ADHD have needs for high levels of activity, and it’s important to not let winter weather keep your child from exhausting his/ her energy.

under the bed. Jump ropes and springy “Moon Shoes” are other fun ideas. “Elefun” is an active game that has your child up and chasing butterflies. If you have a few particularly rowdy kids, tie a three foot string to a balloon and your child’s leg. Let the kids chase each other. The last one left with an intact balloon wins. Balloon volleyball, basketball, and hot potato can be fun as well. Tons of ideas can be found on Pinterest, but make sure to do your research now and not at 11pm on December 21.

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THE ABOVE ADS HAVE NOT BEEN SCREENED BY THE SOUTHEASTERN ADVERTISING PUBLISHERS ASSOCIATION (SAPA) or BIRMINGHAM PARENT; Therefore, any discrepancies thereof shall not be the responsibility of the aforementioned association or this publication. Your publisher has agreed to participate in this program and run these ads as a service to the Southeastern Advertising Publishers Association.

30 | birminghamparent | december 2016 / january 2017

Calendar sponsored by

DECEMBER & JANUARY calendar highlights It’s the most wonderful time of the year! So the song goes…but it’s also the busiest time of the year! Amidst all the preparations, don’t forget to take some time to relax and enjoy time with family. There are so many events during the month of December – concerts, plays, ballets, events with Santa, PJ parties and much more – you might just start a new tradition, or make even more precious memories with


Want to really get into the Christmas spirit? Take the whole family to the Alys Stephens Center at UAB for UAB Music’s Christmas at the Alys from 7-8pm, featuring the best of traditional holiday favorites and standard choral classics. Tickets $8 adults, $5 all students. 205-975-2787,

your favorite Christmas events. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Looking for family fun on New Year’s Eve when not everyone wants (or can) stay up that late? McWane Science Center is presenting its first-ever Noon Year’s Eve from 10am-2pm with spectacular science demonstrations, dancing and a countdown to the “noon year” with a sparkling juice toast and a very special surprise!

9-11, 16-23, 26-31

Speaking of traditions, the Birmingham Zoo’s Zoolight Safari is an annual fun favorite! The zoo is bedecked with lights and there are so many fun activities! 5-9pm each night of the event. PHOTOS COURTESY OF BIRMINGHAM ZOO | 31



Calendar sponsored by



Market Noel 9am-8pm, Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex. Featuring special events and more than 100 one-of-a-kind merchants from all over the U.S. Market Noel is one of Junior League of Birmingham’s top fundraisers, generating more than $185,000 annually to help fund 32 JLB funded community projects. Tickets, information,

Market Noel 9am-9pm, Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex, see December 1.

Family Storytime 6:30 pm, Homewood Library. Join us for our evening monthly story time for all ages full of music and fun. Come dressed in your favorite pajamas and listen to holiday stories and decorate gingerbread men! Alabama Symphony Orchestra 8pm, Alabama Theatre. It’s a winter wonderland at the Alabama! Local favorite Kristi Tingle Higginbotham sings holiday favorites and for the second half the theatre will show the film The Snowman backed by the ASO! Tickets, 205-975-2787, www.

Christmas at Arlington Hanging of the Green 6-10pm, 331 Cotton Ave. Tour the house museum, gardens and old kitchen adorned in period seasonal decorations. Candlelight tour and reception. $20 per person. 205-780-5656. Rhythmic Circus 7:30pm, Hoover Library Theatre. From the creators of Feet Don’t Fail Me Now!, Rhythmic Circus presents a brand new holiday experience combining their signature style of rapid-fire tap with the music audiences know and love. Appearing on America’s Got Talent this year, they present their newest show, Red and Green! Tickets $25. 205-444-7888.

DEC. 3 You’ll find all you need to deck the halls with Aldridge Gardens’ Holiday Greenery Sale from 9am-1pm. Bundled greenery and more! 205-682-8019, Holiday Greenery Sale 9am-1pm, Aldridge Gardens. Bundled greenery for all of your holiday trimmings! 205-682-8019, Holiday Craft and Bake Sale 9am-3pm, Alabama Wildlife Center. Holiday-themed crafts and ornaments, handmade jewelry, quilts and throws, unique gifts with a natural theme, smoked hams and turkey breasts and more. Santa, free refreshments and birds! All proceeds benefit the AWC. FREE admission to event after Oak Mountain State Park admission. 205-663-7930,


SCAC Annual Holiday Artist Market 9am-3pm, Shelby County Arts Council Gallery, 104 Mildred St., Columbiana. Talented artists from around the area present everything from pottery to painting. Find holiday gifts! FREE admission. 205-669-0044.

Pepper Place Market 7am-noon, 2829 2nd Ave. South. Fresh produce, vendors and more. Rain or shine.

Market Noel 9am-5pm, Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex, see December 1.

Lego Club 10-11:30am, North Shelby Library. Families welcome to drop in and build! Creations go on display in the Children’s Department. All ages welcome. 205-439-5504, Christmas at Arlington Antebellum Home and Gardens 10am-4pm, 331 Cotton Ave. Step back in time and enjoy holiday music, entertainment, festivities and light refreshments. Photos and visits with Santa, children’s activities and warm cookies! Admission FREE but donations are welcome! 205-780-5656. Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker 3pm, Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex. The biggest Christmas experience of the year! The original, direct from Russia. Larger than life magical props and the world’s best dancers! Tickets, information, 800-7453000, Rhythmic Circus 7:30pm, Hoover Library Theatre, see December 2.

PLEASE NOTE: Events may change after publication deadline; please phone ahead to confirm important information. The deadline for submitting calendar items for the February 2017 print issue is January 5. Mail calendar items to: Calendar, Birmingham Parent, P.O. Box 326, Helena, AL 35080; fax to 987-7600; e-mail to; or enter directly to the online calendar at Entries added online after the print deadline will not appear in the print version. Information cannot be accepted over the phone. Birmingham Parent publishes a calendar 11 times a year. January events are included in the December issue. Guidelines: Birmingham Parent’s calendar is intended to be a resource and service to the community and our readers. Events which are open to the public, fundraisers, free classes, etc., are events that may be included in our monthly calendar. We reserve the right to reject any event or listing due to rules or space restrictions. For questions regarding calendar entries, call 987-7700 or e-mail 32 | birminghamparent | december 2016 / january 2017

Calendar sponsored by

Family Favorite

4 SUNDAY Woodlawn Street Market Noon-4pm, 1 55th Place South. Urban street market with produce, goods, prepared food, home-grown restaurants and retailers. FREE admission. 205-482-2650.


Christmas at Arlington Antebellum Home and Gardens 10am-4pm, 331 Cotton Ave., see December 3. Alabama Symphony Youth Orchestra 2pm, 4pm, Riverchase Galleria. Come to the carousel and enjoy a holiday concert! FREE.

family children newborn maternity wedding engagement boudoir photogenic modeling events

5 MONDAY Charles Ghigna Storytime and Book Signing 10am, Books a Million, Brookwood Village. Knight Chess Tournament 5:30-7pm, Homewood Library. Monthly chess tournament where you will learn strategy and have fun in equal measure! Preschool-12th Grade UAB Music’s Christmas at the Alys 7-8pm, Alys Stephens Center. Featuring the best of traditional holiday favorites and standard choral classics for the whole family. Directed by Brian Kittredge. Tickets $8 general admission, $5 for all students. 205-975-2787,

Mention this ad and get 15% OFF your package!


In studio or outdoor photography available

Gingerbread Workshop 6:15pm, Albert L. Scott Library, Alabaster. All the materials you will need to build tasty-looking houses! Families must sign up in advance and pay $3 per house when signing up by December 5. All children must be with an adult. 205-664-6822.



PEARL HARBOR REMEMBRANCE DAY Southeastern Outings Dayhike 10am, Veterans Park, Hoover. Enjoy an easy three-mile hike. Bring water and good walking shoes or boots, and dress for the weather. Depart 10am from parking lot next to the restroom building. Optional lunch at Mikey’s Grill afterward. Randall Adkins, 205-317-6969.

8 THURSDAY Homeschool Hour: Birmingham in 1916 1:30pm, Homewood Library. Have you ever wondered what life was like in Birmingham 100 years ago? Learn how times have changed for Birmingham in 100 years as the Southern History Department of the Birmingham Public Library gives us a glimpse into the past. No registration required. Suggested for ages 10 years old and up. That Puppet Guy presents the Fa La La Follies 6:30pm, Homewood Library. A holiday themed puppet show the whole family can enjoy! Live at the Lyric: The Blind Boys of Alabama Christmas Show 7pm doors open, 8pm, concert, The Lyric Theatre. An American treasure, this group is known for crossing multiple musical boundaries with their remarkable interpretations of many types of music. Tickets, information, 205-216-3118,

9 FRIDAY Zoolight Safari 5-9pm, Birmingham Zoo. This annual event is a favorite for families! The zoo lights up with thousands of lights and lots of fun! Days of operation: Dec. 9-11, 16-23, 26-31. Santa will be at the zoo the nights of Dec. 9-11 and 16-23! George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® 7:30pm, Wright Fine Arts Center, Samford University. Alabama Ballet is one of only eight companies in the world licensed to perform this holiday masterpiece! Tickets,

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calendar Birmingham Ballet: The Mutt-Cracker 7:30pm, Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex. A new twist on a classic “tail” benefits the Greater Birmingham Humane Society. Tickets, information, 205-979-9492,

10 SATURDAY Pepper Place Market 7am-noon, 2829 2nd Ave. South. Fresh produce, vendors and more. Rain or shine. 2nd Annual Dash Away 10K and Family Fun Day 8am-noon, Camp Fletcher. Runners and walkers of all ages welcome! Event includes a 10K, 5K, one-mile run and FREE family activity area that includes bounce houses, pictures with Santa, vendors, food trucks and more! Fundraiser for Camp Fire Alabama. Register at https://register. More information, Jingle Bell Breakfast 8-10:30am, McWane Science Center. Bring your little elves for a merry morning! Enjoy a hot breakfast with Mr. and Mrs. Claus, make holiday crafts, build a snowman in Winter Wonderland, and ride the Ice Slide before heading to the IMAX Dome for a special showing of Santa vs. the Snowman! Don’t forget your camera! Ticket includes same day museum admission following the IMAX movie. Reservations required. 205-714-8414, www. Breakfast with Santa 9-10:30am, North Shelby Library. A great time of food, fun and pictures with Santa. Breakfast is from 9-9:30am, with Santa pictures and a Christmas craft from 9:30-10:30am. Tickets $5 per person; registration required. All ages welcome. 205-439-5504, Birmingham Ballet: The Nutcracker 2pm, 7:30pm, Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex. A Magic City holiday tradition. Tickets, information, 205-979-9492, www. George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® 2:30pm, 7:30pm, Wright Fine Arts Center, Samford University, see December 9.

Calendar sponsored by

Trussville Christmas Parade 3-4pm, Historic Downtown Trussville. The parade begins on Parkway Drive and ends at the Mall, where there will be a Christmas tree lighting and snow! Information, 205-655-7535, Polar Express PJ Party 4-6pm, McWane Science Center. Slip on your PJs and visit with Santa over a cup of hot cocoa and cookies. Then experience The Polar Express on the IMAX Dome. A special keepsake will be given to all children 12 and under who wear their pajamas. Advance reservations required. 205-7148414,

11 SUNDAY Southeastern Outings Dayhike 1pm, Oak Mountain State Park. Moderate 4-mile walk. Well-behaved, properly supervised children 8 and up able to walk the distance welcome. Depart 1pm from the park office parking lot. Bring park admission and water. Edd Spencer, 205-317-5868. Polar Express PJ Party 4-6pm, McWane Science Center, see December 10. Birmingham Ballet: The Nutcracker 2pm, 7:30pm, Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex, see December 10.

dale Brewing Company upstairs party room. (Family-friendly buses run until 6:30pm), see December 11.

directed by ASC staff and is appropriate for all ages! Tickets, information, 205-975-2787, www.

Evening with Santa 6:15-7:15pm, Albert L. Scott Library, Alabaster. Santa and Mrs. Claus will greet families and listen to children’s Christmas wishes! All children must be with an adult.

George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® 2:30pm, 7:30pm, Wright Fine Arts Center, Samford University, see December 9.

14 WEDNESDAY Dickens Vest Pocket Christmas Carol 10am, Alys Stephens Center. A FREE sensory-friendly performance of this beloved play for individuals on the autism spectrum. 205-975-2787, www. Holiday Party! 10-11:30am, Albert L. Scott Library, Alabaster. Children and caregivers are invited to a funfilled morning featuring Santa and Mrs. Claus, gingerbread man decorating and more! All children must be with an adult. 5th Annual Wacky Tacky Christmas Light Tour 5:30pm first tour; tours leave every 20 minutes afterward; last tour leaves 8:10pm, from Avondale Brewing Company upstairs party room. (Family-friendly buses run until 6:30pm), see December 11.


George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® 2:30pm, Wright Fine Arts Center, Samford University, see December 9.

George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® 7:30pm, Wright Fine Arts Center, Samford University, see December 9.

5th Annual Wacky Tacky Christmas Light Tour 5:30pm first tour; tours leave every 20 minutes afterward; last tour leaves 8:10pm, from Avondale Brewing Company upstairs party room. (Family-friendly buses with one-hour tours run until 6:30pm). This event has become a tradition! Join Fresh Air Family and other sponsors to see the best, worst and wackiest light displays in town! Two-hour guided bus rides. Wear holiday attire! Seats fill fast; reserve early! Proceeds go to Fresh Air Family camp scholarships. Tickets, more information,


13 TUESDAY 5th Annual Wacky Tacky Christmas Light Tour 5:30pm first tour; tours leave every 20 minutes afterward; last tour leaves 8:10pm, from Avon-

34 | birminghamparent | december 2016 / january 2017

Jingle Bell Breakfast 8-10:30am, McWane Science Center, see December 10. Breakfast with Santa 8am, 9:30am, Birmingham Zoo. Come eat breakfast and visit with Santa! Southeastern Outings Dayhike 9am, DeSoto State Park and Lost Falls. Moderately easy hike and a visit to the falls. Well-behaved, carefully supervised children 9 and over able to walk about 5 miles welcome. Depart 9am from Applebee’s in Trussville. Dan Frederick, 205-631-4680, Dickens Vest Pocket Christmas Carol 2pm, 7pm, Alys Stephens Center. Back by popular demand! This delightful play is adapted and

18 SUNDAY Southeastern Outings Dayhike 2pm, Buck Creek, Helena. Hike a moderately easy, less than four miles. Depart at 2pm from the parking lot for Helena City Park. Mary Alice Thurman, 205-823-5165. George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® 2:30pm, Wright Fine Arts Center, Samford University, see December 9.

19 MONDAY iTween: Star Wars 4pm, Homewood Library. The Force will be strong with you if you come to this program…you won’t even need to use your hyperdrive to travel to a galaxy far, far away because it will be right in your library. Open to rising 4th7th graders.


WINTER BEGINS 23 FRIDAY Milk and Cookies with Moosie! 2:30-3:30pm, Children’s Hands On Museum, Tuscaloosa. Join CHOM for a special picnic style snack while reading the book Santa COWS! 205-349-4235,




NEW YEAR’S EVE Noon Year’s Eve 10am-2pm, McWane Science Center. Celebrate the New Year a few hours early at McWane’s first-ever Noon Year’s Eve Celebration! Spectacular science demonstrations, dancing, and countdown with a sparkling juice toast and a very special surprise to welcome in the “noon” year!


Psychological Evaluations and Therapeutic Services for children & adults Speech Therapy ADHD Testing & Medication Management Court Evaluations & Co-Parenting Classes

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Colonnade 3500 Blue Lake Dr., Suite 340, Birmingham, AL 35243 Bessemer 517 18th St. N., Bessemer, AL 35020 Trussville 1976 Gadsden Hwy., Suite 206B, Birmingham, AL 35235 Gardendale 2603 Decatur Hwy., Suite 207, Gardendale, AL 35071 Cullman 409 2nd Ave. SW Hwy 31 Cullman, AL 35055 Jasper 204 19th St. East Conference Room B Jasper, AL 35502


Alabama is 1 of only 7 states that allows some child care programs to legally operate unlicensed and uninspected for basic health and safety standards. | 35


Calendar sponsored by


NEW YEAR’S DAY 7 SATURDAY Boyz II Men – Alabama Symphony Orchestra 8pm, Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex. Boyz II Men redefined R&B in the 1990s with their sweet harmonies and stirring balladry. Performing with the ASO. Tickets, information, www. Monster Jam Triple Threat Series Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex. Monster Jam trucks, speedsters and ATVs compete in challenging racing and freestyle events. Tickets, information,

10 TUESDAY Lego League 6-6:45pm, Albert L. Scott Library, Alabaster. Kids 6-younger must be with an adult.

14 SATURDAY MLK Day 5K Drum Run 7am, registration begins, 8am, race begins, Kelly Ingram Park. A celebration of the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Birmingham. Registration, information, www.

15 SUNDAY Southern Bridal Show Noon-5pm, Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex. The South’s elite bridal event since 1990! Tickets, information, 800-532-8917,



Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday 9am, Birmingham Civil Rights Museum. Join BCRI each year for a day of celebration and service. Galleries are open to the public and no admission is charged. For those 18 and up who want to volunteer as a gallery monitor on the day, contact Yvonne Williams, 205328-9696, x270.

19 THURSDAY Ringing Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus Jan. 19-22, Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex. Prepare to blast off on a cosmic family adventure! Information, tickets,

21 SATURDAY Red Shoe Run Rosewood Hall, SoHo Square, Homewood. Run for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Alabama! Featuring a 10-mile, 5K, 1-mile fun run/walk and even

a “Red Shoe Snoozer” option! Top teams will be awarded! Information, times, register, www.

27 FRIDAY American Girls Club 4pm, Albert L. Scott Library, Alabaster. If you have a dream room or would like to design one, bring your ideas, drawings, fabric or other materials, with or without a doll and meet special guest interior design enthusiast Kinley Bell, an Alabama 4-H ambassador. Girls 7-older can sign up. 205664-6822.

29 SUNDAY Choral Evensong 3pm, Cathedral Church of the Advent. The Cathedral Choir sings the traditional Anglican service of Choral Evensong, a beautiful service of prayers, lessons and anthems. FREE. 205-226-3505,

events & attractions

Aldridge Botanical Gardens 3530 Lorna Road, Hoover. 205-682-8019,

Alabama School of Fine Arts 1800 Rev. Abraham Woods, Jr. Blvd.

Albert L Scott Alabaster Public Library Story Times: • Tunes & Tales: Wednesdays at 3:30pm in Library Meeting Room, all ages • Toddler Tales: Fridays at 10:30am in the Library Meeting Room, 2 and 3 year olds. 100 9th Street NW, Alabaster, AL, 35007. 205-664-6822,

Birmingham Botanical Gardens When visiting the Gardens, be sure to download the treasure map to take with you. www. treasuremapforweb.pdf 2612 Lane Park Road, Birmingham. 205-414-3900, www.

Birmingham Children’s Theatre 1001 19th St. North, Birmingham, AL, 35203, 205-458-8181,

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute • Hope in Motion: The Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights. ACMHR was founded in 1956 by Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth and other Birmingham ministers after Alabama banned the NAACP from operating in the state. The exhibit features rarely seen photographs and is made possible with funding from the Alabama Humanities Foundation. It highlights key moments from December 1955 to January 1957. Through December 31. • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. & the Chicago Freedom Movement: Photographs by Bernard J. Kleina. BCRI will display its collection of rare color photos in this exhibition marking the 50th anniversary of the Chicago Freedom Movement. Through December 31. • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday. 9am, January 16. Join BCRI for a day of celebration and service. Galleries are open to the public and no admission

is charged. For those 18 and up who want to volunteer as a gallery monitor on the day, contact Yvonne Williams, 205328-9696, x270. 520 16th St. N., Birmingham. 205-328-9696,

Birmingham Museum of Art Bart’s Art Cart! Free drop-in art program for kids and families features a different theme from galleries and art activity each month. Saturdays from 11am-1pm. 2000 Rev. Abraham Woods Jr. Blvd., Birmingham. 205-2542565,

Birmingham Zoo Zoolight Safari. 5-9pm, Birmingham Zoo. The zoo lights up with thousands of lights and lots of fun! Operation days Dec. 9-11, 16-23, 26-31. In-park Special Attractions include: • Giraffe Feedings, 9:3011:30am; 1-3pm, daily. $3. • Train Rides, 9am-5pm Monday-Sunday, $3. • Children’s Zoo Fountains daily. • Carousel Rides, 9am-5pm daily. • Sea Lion Training, Daily 10am & 2pm • Lorikeet Feedings, 10am4pm, daily. $1.50. • Predator Zone, Saturday & Sunday 11:30am & 3:30pm. • Children’s Zoo Goat Show, 2pm daily. 2630 Cahaba Road, Birmingham. 205-879-0409,

Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum The popular North Pole Express rides start November 18, and the Santa Special gets moving on November 26! Get your tickets now! Information on the events, tickets, 205757-8383, 1919 Ninth St., Calera. 205668-3435,

McWane Science Center • Winter Wonderland and the Magic of Model Trains. It’s the most wonderful time of the year at McWane Science Center! The Magic of Model Trains and Winter Wonderland is back to delight families throughout the holiday season. Coast

down the Ice Slide and take a whirl across the room on the extended zip line. Climb aboard the McWane Train and go for a ride before checking out the Magic of Model Trains exhibit. Through December 31. • Member Mondays. Every Monday, McWane Science Center members receive extra perks while visiting! Includes a special gift for kids when checking in, 30 percent discount on gift shop purchases, $1 small popcorn at IMAX concession stand and a free members-only evening event each month. Also, on the second Monday of each month, McWane opens its doors from 5-8pm for its members. IMAX Movies: • Wild Africa. Come on a spectacular ride across, over and through the magical realms of the most dramatic continent on earth. Through January 31, 2017. • National Parks Adventure. Travel over exposed rock faces, down steep mountain cliffs and through other-worldly realms found within America’s most legendary outdoor places. 200 19th St. N., Birmingham. 205714-8300,

The best way to spread Christmas cheer is by donating diapers to all that live near!

Help us stock the diaper bank for families in need Businesses, local organizations & individuals all welcome!


Oak Mountain State Park 200 Terrace Drive, Pelham. 205620-2520,

Roy Downs Calera Library Story Times: • Family Story Time: Tuesdays at 10am • Sweet Pea (0-2 years old): Thursdays at 9am • Calera Kids (3 and up): Thursdays at 10am Summer Reading Program: Tuesdays at 5:30pm 9700 Highway 25, Calera. 205668-7200.

Ruffner Mountain Nature Center 1214 81st St. S., Birmingham. 205-833-8264,

Southern Museum of Flight 4343 73rd St. N., Birmingham. 205-833-8226,

Vulcan Park 1701 Valley View Drive, Birmingham. 205-933-1409, | 37

poetry party

by Charles Ghigna

Winter Calls At the window Snowflakes falling, In the treetops Cardinals calling.

Winter Poems No wonder winter’s called a wonderland. It’s full of so many wonders! Here are a couple of winter poems to help make us wonder if a snowflake or two might find their way to Alabama!

On the mountain Skiers skiing, In the blue sky Snow Geese fleeing. On the hillside Children sledding, In the valley Winter wedding. In the country Church bells ringing, In the choir Singers singing. In the village Full of sounds Winter makes Her snowy rounds.

Snowfall in the City Covered in creamy birthday-cake frosting, the parked cars huddle beneath their streetlamp candles waiting for the North Wind to come make its wish for morning.

NOW YOU TRY IT! Choose a winter subject to write about. Once you get started it’s hard to stop! You may want to make a book of them! 38 | birminghamparent | december 2016 / january 2017

For more poetry activities, visit the Father Goose website at Want to submit YOUR poems for publication? Parents, here are some magazines that publish poems written by children: • http://www.,










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Birmingham Parent Magazine December 2016  
Birmingham Parent Magazine December 2016