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THE PREMIER PARENTING MAGAZINE FOR CENTRAL ALABAMA

FREE

DECEMBER 2013/JANUARY 2014

YOUR FAVORITE

KIDS' DOCS FOR 2013

IDEAS

FOR NEW

HOLIDAY

TRADITIONS Ho-Ho Hanukkah! How to Balance Hanukkah and Christmas

The 2013 Mini Holiday

GIFT GUIDE


Celebrate Beloved Traditions — and Make New Ones!

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CELEBRATING 30 YEARS IN 2013


E X P E R I E 2N C E the award-winning difference

Years in-a-Row

At Covenant Classical Schools®, our impact is not just to accommodate for a day to day service—our impact is much more intentional. We want to serve alongside families and communities to build relationships that make a difference in the lives of the children that walk through our doors. Our vision is to accomplish this with a structured environment paired with a focus on Christlike character. Ultimately, at the end of the day, we know that the difference truly is in the details of life, and it’s the little things that speak volumes. Little things like how we care for one another.

Visit us Online at

www.CCSLion.com Valleydale Road 25 Southlake Lane Hoover, AL 35244 (205) 444-5437

Pelham 450 Huntley Parkway Pelham, AL 35124 (205) 620-2626

®

Trace Crossings 5390 Magnolia Trace Hoover, AL 35244 (205) 733-5437

www.dlovephotography.com 205-902-5357 birmingham, al


EDITOR'S NOTE Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa & Happy New Year from the staff of Birmingham Parent!

3590-B Hwy. 31 S. #289 Pelham, AL 35124 205-987-7700 205-987-7600 FAX www.birminghamparent.com

editorial Publishers David & Carol Evans Editor Carol Muse Evans Associate Editor Lori Chandler Pruitt Calendar & Business David Evans Contributors Pam Molnar, Christina Katz, Darin Tessier, MD, Dr. Vivian Friedman, Christopher “Bull” Garlington

sales Special Events Coordinator Sharon Menachemi

Carol Muse Evans Publisher/Editor

David Evans Publisher

Lori Pruitt Associate Editor

Account Executive Kayla Fricks Webmaster David Evans

art & production Art Director Hilary Moreno Distribution T&P Deliveries Legal Counsel Balch & Bingham LLP

Kayla Fricks Account Executive

Sharon Menachemi Special Events Coordinator

Hilary Moreno Art Director

Carol Muse Evans, Publisher/Editor carol@birminghamparent.com

Don't miss THE GUIDE in January 2014, your one-stop resource for everything in central Alabama! 4 | birminghamparent | december 2013 / january 2014

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 editor@ birminghamparent.com. Birmingham Parent is © 2013 by Evans Publishing LLC. Family Connections Media ©2011 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.






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What do Halloween, National Orthodontic Month, and Breast Cancer Awareness have in common?

YANOSKY ORTHODONTICS!!

We brought all three of these together by visiting schools in October to promote National Orthodontic Month and reminded kids that for EVERY lb. of Halloween candy returned to Dr. Yanosky by his patients, he would donate $2 to Breast Cancer Research. The candy was sent to our troops overseas and we are honored to have partnered with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama, realizing that everyone has been touched by breast cancer in many ways. Our mission was a huge success!!!

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curiosity • creativity • discovery

Fun exhibits for children • School field trips After school programs • Events • Birthday Parties

www.chomonline.org 2213 University Blvd. • Tuscaloosa, AL 35401 205 • 349 • 4235


DECEMBER2013/JANUARY2014 THE PREMIER PARENTING MAGAZINE FOR CENTRAL ALABAMA

FREE

DECEMBER 2013/JANUARY 2014

10

YOUR FAVORITE

KIDS' DOCS FOR 2013

IDEAS

HOLIDAY 28 FOR NEW

TRADITIONS

Ho-Ho Hanukkah! How to Balance Hanukkah and Christmas

The 2013 Mini Holiday

GIFT GUIDE

34 30

departments

04 07

30 Birmingham Parent’s Mini

20

Holiday Gift Guide 2013

22 36

10

38

Parenting with Dr. Friedman December/January Pull Out Calendar December/January Calendar of Events Ask the Specialist: How Can Injuries Be Prevented During High Intensity Workouts? Death by Children: The Wrap Artist

You want to protect the environment? Make the box a shape a man can wrap.

BIRMINGHAM PARENT ANNOUNCES

YOUR FAVORITE KIDS’ DOCS 2013

Editor’s Note Happy Holidays from Birmingham Parent!

38 32 New Holiday Traditions to Start This Year!

14 Making the Most Out of a Visit to the Pediatrician

34 Ho-Ho Hanukkah!

How to Balance Hanukkah and Christmas Celebrations

ON OUR COVER: Mariah, age 8, of Birmingham, is ready to celebrate the Holidays. Photo by D Love Photography, wwwdlovephotography.com, 205-902-5357.

6 | birminghamparent | december 2013 / january 2014


parenting

Parenting with Dr. Friedman My 16-year-old daughter is dating a nice-looking young man from her high school. He often comes to our house to pick her up. I am a 40-something year-old divorced mom who is dating men my own age but I am not attached to any one man at this time. I am a naturally outgoing person and I chat with my daughter’s friend when he is here waiting for my daughter to get ready. She tends to run late and is typically putting on her makeup for 20 minutes after he arrives ready to leave. The problem is that my daughter is accusing me of flirting with her boyfriend. What is behind this and how should I handle it?

Q:

There seems to be some role confusion in your family. Somehow, you and your daughter have become peers instead of parent and child. You seem to be competing as equals and treading on each other’s turf. Divorce, in some ways, places a parent back in adolescence. While divorce does not cause the loss of the maturity and experience gained through age, it does throw an adult back to the stage of mate selection. Along with this come the flirtatious behavior, the focus on appearance, and the insecurities that this process involves. Your daughter is creating the time you have with her boyfriend by not being ready to leave when he comes. If she is concerned about your spending time with her boyfriend, she can

A:

choose to be ready when he arrives. On your part, you can avoid any appearance of competition by not dressing as a teen around her boyfriend and by being a bit less enthusiastic in your conversation with her date. If there is a problem of impropriety or competition, you can recognize your needs and work to fill them with your peers rather than with your daughter›s. The former is likely to be successful in meeting your needs, if not immediately but eventually. The latter is doomed to fail. Competition as peers creates many problems in parent-child relations. If you are her peer, you have no authority over her. If she sees you as lacking maturity, she will not respect your opinion. Teenagers do not automatically take orders from adults. They evaluate the correctness and fairness

of the rules. If you give up your parenting role in the dating realm, you will lose it in all areas of parenting. Yet it is not uncommon for middleaged parents to see themselves as they were when they were young and on some level to view themselves as still being teenagers. Most adults don’t change their self-concept about appearance and stamina as rapidly as the reality of the aging process changes them. Competition between mother and daughter over a date is not a healthy parent/child relationship. Both you and your daughter need to make some changes. She needs to be ready when her date arrives. You need to pull back from relating to her friends and to find company among your peers. You are still your daughter›s mother, not her peer.

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

When you imagine their future - Imagine a beautiful smile! Deborah A Sema D.M.D., M.S. specialist in orthodontics

415 West Oxmoor Road Birmingham

205-942-2270 www.ovortho.com

Braces for children... and Mom & Dad Too!

ASK US ABOUT INVISALIGN & INVISALIGN TEEN

5751 Pocahontas Road McCalla birminghamparent.com | 7


Jessica’s New Future A few years ago, Jessica Demby was struggling. After graduating from high school Jessica tried college, but soon realized it wasn’t for her. Jessica did not know what to do and felt she had run out of options. All she knew was that living at home and making minimum wage was not what she wanted. Now, in less than two years she’s doubled her salary, has paid vacations and holidays, and is truly enjoying her work every day.

What did she do? Jessica enrolled in the Dental Staff School, run by Janet Waldron and her husband, Dr. Jon Waldron, practicing dentist. Today, the Dental Staff School offers students the same great opportunity to build a career Jessica has enjoyed. In just ten weeks, students learn professional dental assisting in a real-office setting. Each Saturday, the school hosts the current class of students and offers state-of-the art dental equipment for students’ lessons. From working on models to practicing with the dentists and fellow students, Jessica really enjoyed the hands-on learning. “It wasn’t boring,” she says, “it was a whole lot of fun!”

www.DentalStaffSchool.com Dental Staff School (www.DentalStaffSchool.com) is a ten-week dental assisting school in Pelham, AL; Marietta, GA; Knoxville, TN and Franklin, TN. Classes are held on Saturdays at local working dental offices and teaching facility of Patterson Dental Supply. The program is accredited through National Accreditation for Colleges and Schools, Non-public Postsecondary Commission in Georgia, and the Alabama and Tennessee Higher Education Commission.

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BIRMINGHAM PARENT ANNOUNCES

YOUR FAVORITE KIDS’ DOCS for 2013

Imagine a great notebook full of doctors’ names with recommendations from friends and family who have “been there, done that.” More often than not, most moms and dads consider a friendly recommendation more valuable than any other form of referral. Moms will trust their friends, family and acquaintances because they believe their stories – those friends have walked in their shoes with a sick child, an unknown diagnosis, and often worry until someone sets their mind at ease. This is the idea behind Birmingham Parent’s Favorite Kids’ Docs campaign – the opportunity to have this

10 | birminghamparent | december 2013 / january 2014

special list and to give credit where credit is due to the faithful, caring and professional doctors who serve our children every day in our community. The process is totally reader driven – we call for nominations, and moms and dads and grandmas and uncles go and nominate a favorite kid’s doctor on our website and tell us why. And in our book, all the nominees are winners. Now in its third year, Birmingham Parent’s Favorite Kids’ Docs honors those special doctors (pediatricians, specialists, optometrists, dentists and other health professionals), and gives parents a little glimpse at the experi-

ences of others. It’s a list of “parent-to-parent” referrals, if you will. You’ll hear terms like “concerned,” “patient,” “awesome,” “amazing,” “knowledgeable,” “fun,” “love,” “attentive,” “caring,” and many more. We have compiled all the comments on our website, www.birminghamparent. com, and you can see the highlights here. And know when you see our little logo, the doctor you are seeing is a “Birmingham Parent Favorite Kids’ Doc!” These are the nominees for 2013, in no particular order. A * by the name denotes they have a profile in this issue:


✚ PEDIATRICIANS

Here’s what some of our readers had to say about their Favorite Kids Docs:

DR. STEPHEN BLAIR Redmont Pediatrics Birmingham, AL

DR. JOHN CORTOPASSI Greenvale Pediatrics Birmingham, AL

DR. RYAN WALLEY Redmont Pediatrics Birmingham, AL

DR. JOHN PETELOS Greenvale Pediatrics Alabaster, AL

DR. MARY DOYLE Mayfair Medical Group Homewood, AL

DR. BASSAM BABI Bessemer , AL

DR. STACY GILBERT Mayfair Medical Group Homewood, AL DR. PATRICK FARR Birmingham Pediatrics Birmingham, AL DR. JEFF MALONE Southtrace Pediatrics Hoover, AL DR. ALICE HARDY Southtrace Pediatrics Hoover, AL DR. PATRICIA HARRIS Healthy Kids of Gardendale Gardendale, AL DR. ROBERT LEVIN Alabama Pediatrics Homewood, AL DR. AMY ALBERT Alabama Pediatrics Homewood, AL DR. ANDREW MCCOWAN Southlake Pediatrics Hoover, AL DR. ANN BYARS Southlake Pediatrics Hoover, AL DR. ALLISON HOLT Tots N Teens Pediatrics Birmingham, AL DR. STEVE BARRON Tots N Teens Birmingham, AL DR. FRANK WALDO Greenvale Pediatrics Birmingham, AL DR. WILLIAM HARDWICK Vestavia Pediatrics Vestavia Hills, AL

DR. JOHN SIMPSON Vestavia Pediatrics Vestavia Hills, AL DR. DARBY MCELDERRY Greenvale Pediatrics Birmingham, AL DR. COURTNEY BAXLEY Over the Mtn. Pediatrics Birmingham, AL DR. PEILY SOONG Pediatrics East Trussville, AL DR. TOREN ANDERSON Greenvale Pediatrics Birmingham AL

✚ DENTISTS, ORTHODONTISTS DR. LAUTEN JOHNSON * Pediatric & Adolescent Dentistry Hoover, AL DR. CLARK THOMAS * Pediatric & Adolescent Dentistry Hoover, AL DR. MICHAEL KELLER Hoover, AL DR. ANGELICA ROHNER * Homewood, AL

✚ OPTOMETRISTS DR. REBECCA DOSS * VISIONFIRST Eyecare Center Trussville, AL

“Dr. Rohner is absolutely outstanding. She always greets my daughter with a smile and takes her time with her. She is very friendly, attentive and listens to your concerns. Not only is she wonderful, the office staff is also amazing….” – Kelly Kessler “Dr. Lauten Johnson has a practice that is extremely kid friendly, providing games, movies and a fun colorful environment for all ages. Dr. Johnson Goes above and beyond to make each child feel relaxed and special at each of their dental appointments…” – Kelli Etheridge “Dr. Keller is the BEST children’s dentist in the area. Fantastic wait/play area, QUICK cleanings, fun staff and wonderful people there. They treat us like family and make everything as painless as possible.” - Lesli Peek “Dr. Harmon is amazing. First of all, he was my husband’s pediatrician. My husband is 32! He always remembers my daughter, even though he sees hundreds of kids. He has a wonderful bedside manner. He is always smiling and never rushes through our appointment….I wish he could be my doctor.” – Mary Keck “Dr. Thomas always has a big smile on his face and makes my son feel excited about dental appointments. Dr. Thomas sings to the patients, asks them about their school, sports, etc. He is always reassuring

them that nothing is going to hurt and this office is a fun place to visit….” – Valerie Madison “Dr. Cortopassi is a great doctor with a great bedside manner. He is fun and makes the kids laugh. He was my childhood doctor and now is my children’s doctor, as well.” – Matthew Harrison “My boys say Dr. Malone is their favorite doctor because he is silly and makes them laugh, even when they don’t feel good. Dr. Malone is my favorite pediatrician because my kids love him and I know without a shadow of a doubt that he cares about them, as well as all of his patients…” – Mandy Solomon “Dr. Mary Doyle always talks to my son and not at him. She always makes him feel at ease.” – Nancy Hamric “Dr. Barron understands my concerns and cares about the wellbeing of my two girls. He understands what they’re going through and explains it where I can understand it.” – Ashley Smith “Dr. Hardwick cares so much about the kids. He always receives the patient with a smile and good attitude.” – Sandra Velez “Dr. Stacy Gilbert is hands down the BEST pediatrician in the U.S.! She is so sweet and takes time to make sure you are comfortable with what she is doing and answers any and

all questions. She has even called us after hours to check on our babies and answer questions. Her personality and genuine concern for each member of our family is unmatched.” – Zach White “We absolutely LOVE Dr. Ann Byars. She is amazing with the kids and very thorough for us parents!” – Michelle Smith “Dr. Amy Albert and her group are the best pediatrician and group in Birmingham. We can always be worked in, and she so attentive and kind to the kids.” – Jennifer Whatley “Dr. Patrick Farr is very thorough and informative at all of my son’s visits!” – Kayla Frankin “Dr. John Simpson is an absolutely sweet and caring doctor. He is very patient, understanding and takes time to answer any concerns you may have.” – Melonee Hatfield

READ MORE at www. birminghamparent.com.

birminghamparent.com | 11


BIRMINGHAM PARENT’S FAVORITE KIDS’ DOCS

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

NEW HOOVER LOCATION 1015 Brocks Gap Pkwy • Hoover, AL 35244 205.982.0112 MONTCLAIR LOCATION 3918 Montclair Rd. Suite 206 • Birmingham, AL 35213 205.879.6150

Treating children,not just their teeth, for a lifetime of healthy smiles.

Monday-Friday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. www.alabamapediatricdenstistry.com

DR. CLARK THOMAS, DMD

DR. LAUTEN JOHNSON, DMD

Dr. Thomas is a children's dental specialist, who is passionate about helping children and teenagers maintain healthy and beautiful smiles by helping instill in them a positive attitude towards dentistry. He is a 2007 graduate of the Pediatric Residency Program at the University of Alabama/Birmingham, where he developed expertise in treating patients with special needs. Dr. Thomas is certified in the use of oral sedation and when needed can take a child to general anesthesia. Dr. Thomas has completed Board Certification in Pediatric Dentistry. He is a Diplomat of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. Dr. Thomas grew up in Montgomery and graduated Cum Laude from the University of Mississippi. He completed his Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) at UAB and obtained his Alabama State Dental License in 2001. From 2001 to 2005, he was Chief Dental Officer for the Indian Health Service providing dentistry for Ignacio, Colorado and Santa Fe, New Mexico area Indian tribes. It was during this time that Dr. Thomas realized his gift for working with children and decided to return to his home state and enter the UAB Pediatric Residency Program. He is a member of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Dental Association. He resides in Vestavia with his wife, Pate, who holds a Masters degree in Social Work from the University of Alabama, and their daughters, Ashby (9), Myers (1).

Dr. Johnson shares Dr. Thomas's goal of instilling in children a positive attitude towards dentistry. He completed his Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) at UAB and obtained his Alabama State Dental License in 2006. He completed his residency in pediatrics in 2008. Dr. Johnson is certified in the use of oral sedation and has privileges at Children's Hospital and when needed can take a child to general anesthesia. In 2006, he won two clinical awards in excellence at UAB. First, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry Pre-doctoral Student Award which is given to the student with the greatest proficiency and interest in Pediatric Dentistry. Secondly, the Birmingham District Dental Society Award for outstanding clinical ability. Dr Johnson also leads a team of dentists and staff to Mexico where they provide dental services to the underpriveleged. The team goes annually to the Yucatan Peninsula and recently he founded The Smile Foundation to help promote awareness and to raise money for supplies. Currently Dr. Johnson practices in both locations Hoover and off of Montclair Road. He is a member of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Dental Association. Dr. Johnson is married to Betts Johnson and is the father of three: Callie (6), Sanders (4), and Mary Carmen (3).

12 | birminghamparent | december 2013 / january 2014


BIRMINGHAM PARENT’S FAVORITE KIDS’ DOCS

Healthy Smiles For a Lifetime

D

Read all the comments about

YOUR FAVORITE KIDS’ DOCS

online at www.birminghamparent.com

r. Angelica R. Rohner’s undergraduate degree is in early childhood development and education. After two years of teaching special education, she realized her passion for children. Graduating from the University of Mississippi School of Dentistry with a D.M.D. degree, she then completed an internship/ residency program in Pediatric Dentistry at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Children’s Hospital, receiving a specialty degree in that field. Dr. Rohner is also Board Certified in Pediatric Dentistry. Dr. Rohner and her husband, Mark, have four children, Ramsey, Victoria, Katherine, and Elizabeth. She enjoys watching her children play sports,

volunteering in their schools, reading, biking and traveling. She participates with local charities including foster care programs and Salvation Army. As a mother, Dr. Rohner relates to every child and parent who visits her practice and makes them feel at home.

VISIONFIRST Making Kids Smile is our Job

D TRUSSVILLE LOCATION 3240 Edwards Lake Pkwy, Suite 100 Birmingham, AL 35235 LAKESHORE LOCATION 1 West Lakeshore Drive, Suite 220 Birmingham, AL 35209 205.949.2020 VisionFirstEyeCenter.com

r. Doss practices primary eye care for the entire family at VisionFirst Eye Center. Dr. Doss puts great emphasis on children receiving a comprehensive eye exam during the early years. That is why she participates in the Infantsee Program - providing free comprehensive eye exams for children less than 12 months regardless of insurance or income. It is also important that children have an eye exam before they start school. This will rule out any vision abnormalities that can affect learning. Children with uncorrected vision conditions face many obstacles in life academically, socially and athletically. Routine eye care at a young age provides early detection and treatment options to help provide the best opportunity to

correct vision problems and help your children reach their highest potential. The longer a vision problem goes undiagnosed and untreated, the more a child's brain learns to ignore the vision problem, which can sometimes damage sight. That's why a comprehensive eye examination is so important for children. Dr. Doss is here to help make sure your child’s eye care needs are met and visually ready for every activity. Call today to schedule an eye exam for yourself or your child at 205-949-2020. We accept most insurances including Medicaid.

birminghamparent.com | 13


Making the Most out of a

Visit to the Pediatrician By Kathy Sena

As parents, we’ve all had questions when taking a child to the doctor: What information should I bring? How do I get copies of past lab reports and X-rays? How do I keep track of my child’s immunizations, medications, etc? We shared these common concerns with Jean Hanley, M.D., a board-certified physician with more than 20 years of experience in pediatrics and allergy, asthma and immunological diseases. Hanley also is the founder of PLANning Health, a non-profit patient advocacy service that helps people with health problems to receive better care in all aspects of their health, such as understanding their symptoms, diagnosis, procedures, treatments and insurance coverage.

Q:

When my child is sick and I’m worried, it’s easy to forget to bring the right things to the doctor’s appointment. What should I remember to bring to make it an effective appointment?

A: It’s helpful to create a medical history for your child and to update it as needed. This can be done on paper, on a computer document or spreadsheet or with one of the convenient health-tracking apps for your computer or mobile device. List immunizations, past diagnoses, treatments, lab results, medications taken daily (asthma inhalers, recent antibiotics, etc.) and intermittently (acetaminophen, ibuprofen, etc.). Try one of the free or inexpensive medical-tracking apps that can be easily downloaded to your mobile device or computer, such as: 4 My Medical Records (online and mobile app: https:// www.freehealthtrack.com) 4 My Medical (online and mobile app: http://www. mymedicalapp.com) 4 Hermes (mobile app) 4 MyHealth (mobile app)

14 | birminghamparent | december 2013 / january 2014

These databases allow you to record medications, procedures, tests, allergies, surgical procedures, diagnoses, injuries, photos, insurance info and more. Having easily available medical information can lead to a more efficient and productive doctor’s visit. If you don’t have all of this information available, it’s important to bring to your appointment at least the actual medications that your child has been taking recently. Write down your child’s symptoms: cold, cough, ear pain, etc. When did the symptoms start? What happened if there was an injury? Where does it hurt? How have the symptoms progressed? Are they getting better, worse or staying the same? (If the illness or injury happens suddenly and you have to rush to a doctor’s appointment, try to write down this info while in the waiting room.)


Q:

How do I get copies of medical records, tests, X-rays, etc. from other doctors to bring for my appointment, if necessary? A: Requesting records from hospitals and clinics takes time, and each office has its own procedure for requesting records. Most facilities require that you fill out a special form. Healthcare providers are required by law to share information regarding your child. The requested items can be sent to you by mail, fax or email, or you can pick them up in person. Procedures such as lab tests, x-rays, etc. will need to be requested from the doctor who ordered them. Most labs do not provide information directly to the patient or guardian. The smartest step a parent can take is to obtain the records at the time of the visit to the doctor so that they have as much information as possible at their fingertips and they don’t have to go through the hassle of requesting records.

Q:

Should I bring another adult along for the visit if I’m bringing a young child? How does

this help?

A: I always advocate bringing another adult with you to doctor visits, whether it’s for your child or for yourself. A spouse, friend or other family member often serves as an objective observer and provides what I call the “witness effect.” Although I’m a doctor, I get sick too! As a patient, I often went to appointments by myself. When my spouse would occasionally accompany me, I noticed that more time and attention was being given to me. Although I felt that my care was very good, the “phenomenon” of even more information being disseminated when I had another adult with me was an eye opener. An objective friend or family member also may be able to ask questions that you may forget, or to ask for important details or clarification.

Q:

What about communicating with my child’s doctor by email? How do I suggest this? Is it common these days? A: There has been a very slow, but steady, increase in electronic com-

munications between doctors and patients, but only about 5 percent of doctors do this currently. One issue is privacy. The Federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, referred to as HIPAA, must be complied with in all emails, ensuring that any health information sent is secure and truly private. For this reason, many doctors won’t use email. Doctors who do use email will ask their patients to sign forms agreeing to communicate electronically regarding health issues. Some only exchange lab or procedure results or non-urgent follow-up information. For other medical situations, you’ll likely be asked to call the doctor’s office. I believe that email communications and texting will continue to increase over time. The only way to know if your doctor is actively emailing patients is to ask. Many medical groups, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, are trying to establish guidelines as to how to incorporate and better serve patients through electronic communications. It’s important to remember that no amount of electronic communication can take the place of a thorough history, a physical exam and an inperson conversation with your child’s doctor.

Dentistry for children & special needs persons

Dr. Tabitha Jarman Gatrey, DMD 5751 Pocahontas Rd Suite B Bessemer . AL 35022 {p} 205-230-9000 {f} 205-230-0188 tabgat@psmilesal.com

www.psmilesal.com

Q:

I’d like to do online research on my child’s condition or symptoms before the doctor’s visit. How do I share this information with the doctor?

A: In our information age, many parents want to have a shared decisionmaking relationship with their child’s doctor. The parents may have already researched the illness and may have a fairly good idea of what diagnosis or treatment plans are available. Some parents feel more comfortable accepting the doctor’s information as-is. Either way is acceptable as long as you’re comfortable with the relationship: one-way vs. shared. A note of caution: With medical information at our Internet fingertips, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and confused with the details of a diagnosis, treatment or the potential side effects of a medication. Medical misinformation from the Internet often leads to perplexing concerns

birminghamparent.com | 15


about medical conditions. For this reason, it’s imperative that parents ask for clarification and confirmation of Internet information and that the doctor’s office provides written instructions regarding your child’s diagnosis and treatment.

DR. OLGA SANCHEZ-HERNANDEZ is dual trained as a pediatric dentist and a board certified orthodontist

OUR SERVICES INCLUDE: Dentistry for children and adolescents Dentistry for patients with disabilities Orthodontics for children and adults We offer the traditional metal brackets, as well as clear. We also do Invisalign. We file all insurance as a courtesy. We are providers for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama, The Guardian, Metlife, Principal Financial Group, United Concordia, and Southland National.

Where all the dental needs of your child can be met under one roof

EASTERN VALLEY RD. exit 1

459 BELL HILL RD.

205-477-8004

www.mccallasmiles.com

4814 Bell Hill Rd . Bessemer, AL 35022 . M-Th 8am-5pm

Grace Community School & Daycare

205-769-6209

TheWhaleSchool.com MATTHEW 12:40

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

OUR PRESCHOOLERS CAN READ!

INFANT—KINDERGARTEN—NO REGISTRATION FEE! • ABeka Curriculum • Fun While Learning • Daily Bible Class • Character Training • Interactive White Board • Open 6:30am-6pm • Extracurricular Activities • Healthy Meals and Snacks N Studew • Students Advance at their own Pace Spe ent • Superior/Customized Reading Program call cial, now ! • Secured Entry & Touchscreen Check in/out • WAY Model School 2013-2014 school year

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For questions, contact Nate.Wells@TheWhaleSchool.com 16 | birminghamparent | december 2013 / january 2014

Q:

What should I do if I don’t understand my child’s diagnosis or the treatment plan the doctor is suggesting?

A: Contact the doctor’s office right away to get answers to your remaining questions. Often a nurse will help you understand what you need to know. If you find that you frequently are not given sufficient information about your child’s health, then you may want to either prepare and research conditions prior to the doctor’s visit and/or consider finding a new doctor who may be more thorough during the visit.

Q:

What should I do if my child is diagnosed with a major illness and I need help navigating the healthcare system, researching treatment options, dealing with insurance issues, etc?

A: There are many resources for most childhood illnesses that should be available from your doctor’s office. But depending on the severity of the illness, the family may need help in navigating the healthcare system. Sometimes a diagnosis cannot be established. Other times, a diagnosis has been given, but insurance issues delay proper evaluation or treatment. Several treatment options may be presented and the parents may not understand the differences or the risk/benefits for each. There are numerous areas that may need to be addressed, and this is when a patient advocate can step in and help the parents sort out the issues. Patient advocacy is a growing field, and some hospitals and clinics are beginning to hire their own advocates. If your doctor or hospital cannot suggest a patient advocate, you can find one independently. The Professional Patient Advocate Institute (www.patientadvocatetraining.com) and Health Care Navigators (www.health-care-navigators.com) are two of several organizations that can help you find an advocate. Advocates can be doctors, nurses, other medical personnel or social workers. Patient advocacy services may include making home visits, developing medication and treatment plans, providing questions for doctor’s visits, accompanying patients to the doctor’s visit, researching illnesses on reliable medical websites, dealing with insurance issues and more. The needs of the family may be satisfied by one phone call or they may require more extensive services. Journalist Kathy Sena has been writing about children’s health since her son was born in 1995. She is now learning more than she ever wanted to know about the college-search process. Visit her website at www.


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Giving hope to parents and providing care to children is what we’ve done for over 100 years. Our nationally ranked healthcare team treated children from 42 states and 4 foreign countries just last year. Children’s of Alabama is recognized locally and around the world as providing a level of care that presents children with a much brighter future. 1600 7T H AV E N U E S O U T H B I R M I N G H A M , A L 35233 (205) 638-9100 ChildrensAL.org

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birminghamparent.com | 19


MONDAY

NATIONAL BICARBONATE OF SODA DAY (Baking Soda!)

30

TUESDAY

NEW YEAR’S EVE Explore Art with Bart 10:30-11:30am, Birmingham Museum of Art.

31

24

23

Holiday Movies 10am-3pm, Birmingham Public Library.

CHRISTMAS EVE

17

10

3

Explore Art with Bart 10:30-11:30am, Birmingham Museum of Art. An Evening with Santa 6:30-7:15pm, Albert L. Scott Public Library.

American Girls Club 4pm, Albert L. Scott Public Library. Gingerbread House Workshop 6:15pm, Albert L. Scott Public Library.

Explore Art with Bart 10:3011:30am, Birmingham Museum of Art.

TUESDAY

16

9

2

Holiday Family Night 3:30pm, Birmingham Public Library.

CHRISTMAS CARD DAY

Lego League 4-4:45pm, Albert L. Scott Public Library.

MONDAY

4

25 FIRST DAY OF KWANZAA

26

19

12

5

Alabama Family Rights Association (ALFRA) Birmingham Chapter meeting 6pm, Hoover Public Library.

NATIONAL POINSETTIA DAY

A Christmas Survival Guide 8pm, Hoover Public Library Theatre.

THURSDAY

NEW YEAR’S DAY

WEDNESDAY

1

RUN UP THE FLAGPOLE AND SEE IF ANYONE SALUTES DAY

THURSDAY

2

6

NATIONAL MAKE CUT-OUT SNOWFLAKES DAY

FESTIVAL OF SLEEP DAY

FRIDAY

3

27

20

Artplay presents Yuletide in Dogtown 7pm, Alys Stevens Center.

13

Museum Complex Christmas Walking Tour 5-8:30pm, Anniston Museum of Natural History.

Christmas at The Home Depot 6-9pm, The Home Depot, Trussville A Christmas Survival Guide 8pm, Hoover Public Library Theatre.

FRIDAY

january 2013 highlights

CHRISTMAS DAY

18

11

Coffee, Cocoa and Conversations 9:30-11:30am, Hoover Public Library Theatre. Holiday Party 10-11:30am, Albert L. Scott Public Library.

NATIONAL NOODLE RING DAY

SANTA’S LIST DAY Hope you are on the “nice” list!

WEDNESDAY

december 2013 highlights 7

Hikes for Tykes with h Fresh Air Family 10-11am, Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

SATURDAY

4

28 Hikes for Tykes with Fresh Air Family 10am, Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Bart’s Books 10:30-11:30am, Birmingham Museum of Art.

21 FIRST DAY OF WINTER Artplay presents Yuletide in Dogtown 10am, Alys Stevens Center.

14

The Arc of Jefferson n County’s Decked Out Dash 8am, Oak Mountain State Park. Alabama Wildlife Center’s Holiday Craft & Bake Sale 9am-3pm.

PEARL HARBOR DAY AY Y German Christmas Market 10am-6pm, Das Haus, 2318 2nd Ave. N, Birmingham. Holiday Faire 10am-3pm, Alabama Waldorf School.

SATURDAY

NATIONAL BIRD DAY

SUNDAY

EAT A RED APPLE DAY

NATIONAL PEPPER POT DAY

NATIONAL DATE NUT BREAD DAY

Santa’s Adventure in the Merrywood Mega Mall BCT, 2:30pm. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever BCT, 2:30pm.

Santa’s Adventure in the Merrywood Mega Mall BTC, 2:30pm. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever BCT, 2:30pm.

SUNDAY

5

1

29

22

15

8


13

6

CHOCOLATE CAKE DAY

27

MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. BIRTHDAY celebrated on the third Monday

20

Meet the Grantmaker 10:30am, The Library Theatre at the Hoover Public Library.

CUDDLE UP DAY

NATIONAL BEAN DAY

28

21

14

7

Frugalistics Coupon n Swap 10:30am, Hoover Public Library Theatre. Learn How to Find Grants 10:30am The Library Theatre at the Hoover Public Library.

NATIONAL HUGGING DAY

Moms Connect 6:30-8:30pm, Riverchase Community Church.

OLD ROCK DAY

NATIONAL PUZZLE DAY

NATIONAL BLONDE BROWNIE DAY

NATIONAL HAT DAY

NATIONAL OATMEAL MONTH

29

22

15

8

30

23

16

Masters of the Fiddle: Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy 8pm, Hoover Public Library Theatre.

MEASURE YOUR FEET DAY

NATIONAL NOTHING DAY

9

31

24

Masters of the Fiddle: Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy 8pm, Hoover Public Library Theatre.

COMPLIMENT DAY

17

An Evening with Molly Ringwald 8pm, Hoover Public Library Theatre.

10

HOUSEPLANT APPRECIATION DAY

25

Hikes for Tykes with Fresh Air Family 10-11am, Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

18

An Evening with Molly Ringwald 8pm, Hoover Public Library Theatre.

11

Hikes for Tykes with Fresh Air Family 10-11am, Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

SPOUSE’S DAY

NATIONAL POPCORN DAY

26

19

12

Audubon Teaches Nature: An Introduction to Birds of Prey 1pm, 3pm, Alabama Wildlife Center.


december/january 2013 calendar

Calendar sponsored by

Museum Complex Christmas Walking Tour 5-8:30pm, Anniston Museum of Natural History. Begin a new holiday tradition with your family as you explore the gardens, grounds and interiors of Anniston Museum, Berman Museum and Longleaf Botanical Gardens. $10 per passenger car. 256-237-6766, www.annistonmuseum.org.

7 SATURDAY Pearl Harbor Day Pepper Place Saturday Market 7am, Pepper Place. Shop at the market for all of your Holiday Meals! Make your holidays special with handmade gifts from Pepper Place Market! In addition to the best produce Alabama has to offer, the market features artisans, food producers, local music, and much more! Bring the kids and dogs. 205-802-2100, www.pepperplacemarket.com. FREE.

DECKED OUT DASH 14

The Arc of Jefferson County holds its annual Decked Out Dash Dec. 14 at Oak Mountain State Park in Pelham. Grab your festive wear and join them! All proceeds benefit the Arc's programs for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

DECEMBER 2 MONDAY Lego League 4-4:45pm, Albert L. Scott Public Library. Kids of all ages can play with Legos of all sizes in the meeting room. Children age 6 years and younger must be with an adult. 205-6646822, FREE.

3 TUESDAY Explore Art with Bart 10:30-11:30am, Birmingham Museum of Art. Children ages 3-8 and their adult companions are invited to join museum educators to explore the collection, discover activities

that make looking at art fun and exciting, and create new family memories about art. www.artsbma.org.

tures with Santa and free gift wrapping with a canned food item or donation to T.E.A.M. 205-655-7535. FREE.

5 THURSDAY

A Christmas Survival Guide 8pm, Hoover Public Library Theatre. See December 5.

A Christmas Survival Guide 8pm, Hoover Public Library Theatre. This light-hearted musical revue is just what Santa ordered, with vignettes starring Tam DeBolt, Howard Green, Kristi Tingle Higginbotham, Jan D. Hunter and Jessie Kisor. 205-444-7888, www.hooverlibrary.org/thelibrarytheatre/shows.

6 FRIDAY Christmas at The Home Depot 6-9pm, The Home Depot. Pic-

The Arc of Jefferson County’s Sporting Clay Shoot 8:30am. Selwood Farms in Childersburg. The Arc’s annual clay shoot is open to individual players and corporate teams of four. Each participant gets 100 targets and breakfast and lunch are provided. $125 for an individual or $485 for a fourperson team. Amanda Marcrum or Scarlet Thompson, 205-3236383, http://arcofjeff.org.

Breakfast with Santa Birmingham Zoo. Make your reservations now for this popular holiday event. Enjoy a scrumptious scrambled eggs and sausage breakfast at the Kudzoo Cafe followed by a visit from Ole Saint Nick himself! All children receive a special treat upon arrival. www. birminghamzoo.com. Fee. German Christmas Market 10am-6pm, Das Haus, 2318 2nd Ave. North, Birmingham. Stock up on hand-crafted, holiday gifts from local and German artists and vendors. Sample German Christmas Market food and drink, have a customized Santa experience and enjoy other traditional German kids activities. It’s en event for the whole family! 205-566-6153, www. dashausbham.com/index.php/ christmas-market. FREE.

Events may change after publication deadline; please phone ahead to confirm important information. The deadline for submitting calendar items for the February 2014 issue is January 3. Mail calendar items to: Calendar, Birmingham Parent, 3590B Hwy 31 S #289, Pelham, AL 35124; fax to 987-7600; e-mail to calendar@BirminghamParent.com; or enter directly to the online calendar at www.birminghamparent. com. 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 designed to be a resource and service to the community and our readers. Events which are open to the public, fund-raisers, 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. 22 | birminghamparent | december 2013 / january 2014


Holiday Faire 10am-3pm, Alabama Waldorf School. Celebrate the season with an international buffet and bake sale, live music, games, climbing wall from Idelwild, and vendors, featuring local artists, crafts & handmade goods. 205-592-0541, www. alabamawaldorf.org. FREE.

Dance to the Traylor 8-Piece Band 6-9pm, Odenville Middle School/Purser Ray Hall. Family entertainment; no smoking or alcohol. Doors open at 5pm. $5 admission (children 12-under free) 205 629-6815, www.bandmix.com/traylor8pieceband.

Santa’s Adventure in the Merrywood Mega Mall 10am, Birmingham Children’s Theatre. Poor Santa – It’s Christmas Eve and he’s trapped in the gigantic Merrywood Mega Mall. Will he find his way out in time to bring gifts to all the good little girls and boys? Come find out in this special holiday musical created especially for Birmingham Children’s Theatre. $9 children, $11 adults. 205-4588181, www.bct123.org.

A Christmas Survival Guide 8pm, Hoover Public Library Theatre. See December 5.

Explore Art with Bart 10:30-11:30am, Birmingham Museum of Art. See December 3. Bart’s Art Cart--Ornaments 10:30-11:30am, Birmingham Museum of Art. Make your own ornaments for the holidays www.artsbma.org. Hikes for Tykes with Fresh Air Family 10am, Birmingham Botanical Gardens. A hands-on adventure for pre-school children to explore nature. Family fun. Register 205-401-0245, events@freshairfamily.org. FREE. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever 2pm Birmingham Children’s Theatre. All ages. No one wants to be in the annual Christmas play at the local church except six irascible siblings who have never heard the Christmas story. Ultimately, their energy and sincerity triumphs as they make this year’s pageant the best ever. $11 for Children, $13 for Adults 205-458-8181, www.bct123.org. Museum Complex Christmas Walking Tour 5-8:30pm, Anniston Museum of Natural History. See December 6.

UAB’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center Education & Outreach

Winter/Spring Classes Begin in January.

8 SUNDAY Santa’s Adventure in the Merrywood Mega Mall 2:30pm, Birmingham Children’s Theatre. See December 6. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever 2:30pm, Birmingham Children’s Theatre. See December 7.

Classes for Everyone - Infants to Adults Together Making Music » for toddlers & parents Comic Book Art » for tweens & teens Improvisational Comedy » for teens & adults

ArtPlayASC.org » 205.975.4769

10 TUESDAY Explore Art with Bart 10:30-11:30am, Birmingham Museum of Art. See December 3. American Girls Club 4pm, Albert L. Scott Public Library. Girls 7 years old and older can come with or without a doll for a holiday surprise. 205-664-6822. FREE. Gingerbread House Workshop 6:15pm, Albert L. Scott Public Library. Our workshop leader has everything for the makings of tasty-looking houses! Families must sign up in advance and pre-pay $3 per house when they sign up by Sunday, December 8. Make checks payable to the library. All children must be with an adult. Don’t forget your camera! 205-664-6822. Moms Connect 6:30-8:30pm, Riverchase Community Church. Moms Connect at Riverchase Community Church is a support group of mothers with children of all ages. Holiday party! Childcare is available. Contact Lynn for childcare reservation. 205-664-4531, FREE.

Membership Drive going on now until December 31st!

The only place in Birmingham where it snows every night!

December 6-8, 13-15, 18-23 and 26-31 • 5pm to 9pm Members FREE • Non-members $8* Individual Attractions $3.50* • Unlimited Attraction Wristband $9.50* *Plus tax

Buy your tickets online today at birminghamzoo.com! I NEW THIS YEAR: Tree lighting ceremony with an illuminating tree reaching nearly 30 feet tall! I Special appearance by Miss Alabama on December 14th from 6–8pm I Festive snowfalls every night I Jingle Bell Carousel* I Candy Cane Train*

I Holiday Hayride* I Santa’s Roller Racers* I Take a stroll through over a million lights I Up-close and personal interactions with the Children’s Zoo barn animals I Photos with Santa through December 23rd I And so much more!

*Requires ride tickets. The Zoo will close at 4pm every night of Wells Fargo ZooLight Safari. Animal exhibits will be closed during Wells Fargo ZooLight Safari.

birminghamparent.com | 23


december/january 2013 calendar

CONSIGNMENT Upscale children & maternity clothing

VETERANS DAY 11 Celebrate Veterans Day Nov. 11, 2013, at the Birmingham Zoo and the weekend before, too. Military families will receive a weekend of free admission.

OF TION ELEC S T A GRE

REN’S D L I H C OTHEASILY CLRIVING D AR

FREEFORM DEC 14-15

CDF presents FREEFORM, a mix of dances performed by Children's Dance Foundation students and staff on Dec. 14-15. Suitable for all ages.

13 FRIDAY

31 yrs in business hours: Tues - Sat 10 - 4

walk run walkrun runwalk

save lives

Join the Team - Team in Training and join the fight to find a cure for cancer.

TRAIN FOR AND RUN THE REGIONS SUPERHERO 5K ON SAT, FEBRUARY 15.

Learn more at www.teamintraining.org/al/ or call 205.989.0098 Training begins December 1st.

Museum Complex Christmas Walking Tour 5-8:30pm, Anniston Museum of Natural History. See December 6.

14 SATURDAY Pepper Place Saturday Market 7am, Pepper Place. See December 7. The Arc of Jefferson County’s Decked Out Dash 8am, Oak Mountain State Park. Registration on-site starting an hour prior. Come “decked out” in holiday clothes and costumes, whether it’s a red and green tutu, a Santa hat, or a tacky Christmas sweater. Preregistration, $25 for the 5K; $20 for the one-mile fun run. Amanda Marcrum or Scarlet Thompson, 205-323-6383., http://arcofjeff.org. Alabama Wildlife Center’s Holiday Craft & Bake Sale 9am-3pm, Alabama Wildlife Center. Holiday-themed crafts and ornaments, handmade jewelry, gifts with a natural theme, jams, jellies, preserves, baked goods, vacuum sealed smoked hams and turkey breasts, and frozen casseroles: broccoli and rice, mac n cheese, sweet potato and breakfast grits, just in time for the holidays. All proceeds benefit the Alabama Wildlife

24 | birminghamparent | december 2013 / january 2014

Center. Santa will be here. 205-663-7930 ext. 8, www. awrc.org. FREE.

and staff. 205-870-0073, http://freeform2013.eventbrite. com/. FREE.

Hikes for Tykes with Fresh Air Family 10am, Birmingham Botanical Gardens. A hands-on adventure for pre-school children to explore nature. Family fun. Register 205-401-0245,events@freshairfamily.org. FREE.

15 SUNDAY

Santa’s Adventure in the Merrywood Mega Mall 10am, Birmingham Children’s Theatre. See December 6. Bart’s Art Cart--Ornaments 10:30-11:30am, Birmingham Museum of Art. See December 7. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever 2pm, Birmingham Children’s Theatre. See December 7. Trussville Christmas Parade 3pm, Downtown Trussville. 205-655-7535, www.trussvillechamber.com. FREE. Museum Complex Christmas Walking Tour 5-8:30pm, Anniston Museum of Natural History. See December 6. FREEFORM 7pm, Children’s Dance Foundation Studio Theatre. A delightful mix of dances performed by CDF students

Santa’s Adventure in the Merrywood Mega Mall 2:30pm, Birmingham Children’s Theatre. See December 6. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever 2:30pm, Birmingham Children’s Theatre. See December 7.

16 MONDAY Holiday Family Night 3:30pm, Birmingham Public Library. Bring the whole family to celebrate the holidays with the youth department. Storytelling, crafts, food, and fun! www.bponline.org. FREE.

17 TUESDAY Explore Art with Bart 10:30-11:30am, Birmingham Museum of Art. See December 3. Family Networking Group for Parents/Caregivers of Children with disAbilities 6:30-7:30pm, The Arc of Shelby. The Arc of Shelby County invites all family members to join in our monthly family networking meetings to discuss issues related to community living, school advocacy, disability rights and best practices, and any other issue


20% off one item until 12/31/13

of interest to participants. Susan Ellis, 205-664-9313, www. thearcofshelby.org. FREE. An Evening with Santa 6:30-7:15pm, Albert L. Scott Public Library. Santa & Mrs. Claus will listen to children’s Christmas wishes in the meeting room. All children must be with an adult. Don’t forget your camera! 205-664-6822, FREE.

18 WEDNESDAY Coffee, Cocoa and Conversations 9:30-11:30am, Hoover Public Library Theatre. Meet book group leaders, pick up yers with next year’s selections and hopefully discover a new book group you’d like to attend. 205-444-7840, www.hooverlibrary.org. FREE. Holiday Party 10-11:30am, Albert L. Scott Public Library. Children and their caregivers are invited to come for a fun-ďŹ lled morning featuring Santa and Mrs. Claus and gingerbread man decorating in the meeting room--plus a horse-drawn carriage ride around the library! Don’t forget your camera! All children must be with an adult. 205-6646822, FREE. Holiday Celebration 3:30pm, Birmingham Public Library. Celebrate the holidays with songs and crafts. Guest Singer Monica Slater. Target audience: tweens. Story Castle, 2nd oor. www.bponline.org. FREE.

19 THURSDAY Alabama Family Rights Association (ALFRA) Birmingham Chapter meeting 6pm, Hoover Public Library. Healthy Children, Healthy Economy! Increase your knowledge and understanding of Alabama Family Law and Practices. 205-626-9458. www.alfra.org. FREE.

20 FRIDAY Artplay presents Yuletide in Dogtown 7pm, Alys Stevens Center. The dogs are back in town for this holiday favorite. Join Spike, FiďŹ , Scotty and Beauregard

on an interactive musical adventure created by local playwright Jerry Sims, as his pups learn what the holidays really mean. Stay after the show and meet the costumed canine characters. Tickets are $8 for children, $10 for adults. www.alysstephens.uab.edu.

children ages 4-7. Bart selects a new book and related work of art each month that he thinks kids will enjoy. www. artsbma.org.

21 SATURDAY FIRST DAY OF WINTER

Explore Art with Bart 10:30-11:30am, Birmingham Museum of Art. See December 3.

Artplay presents Yuletide in Dogtown 10am, Alys Stevens Center. See December 20.

JANUARY

Hikes for Tykes with Fresh Air Family 10am, Birmingham Botanical Gardens. A hands-on adventure for pre-school children to explore nature. Family fun. Register 205-401-0245,events@freshairfamily.org. FREE. Bart’s Art Cart--Ornaments 10:30-11:30am, Birmingham Museum of Art. See December 7.

23 MONDAY Holiday Movies 10am-3pm, Birmingham Public Library. The Story Castle hosts a day of holiday movies to get into the spirit of the season. Snacks will be provided. All Ages. Story Castle, 2nd oor www.bponline.org. FREE.

25 WEDNESDAY

CHRISTMAS DAY 28 SATURDAY Hikes for Tykes with Fresh Air Family 10am, Birmingham Botanical Gardens. A hands-on adventure for pre-school children to explore nature. Family fun. Register 205-401-0245,events@freshairfamily.org. FREE. Bart’s Art Cart--Ornaments 10:30-11:30am, Birmingham Museum of Art. See December 7. Bart’s Books 10:30-11:30am, Birmingham Museum of Art. Bart’s Books is a storytelling program for

31 TUESDAY

20% OFF

HIGH FASHION

NEW YEAR’S EVE designer consignment boutique

www.shrose.com

1 WEDNESDAY

NEW YEAR’S DAY 4 SATURDAY Hikes for Tykes with Fresh Air Family 10-11am, Birmingham Botanical Gardens. A hands-on adventure for pre-school children and their families. 205-5406642, http://www.freshairfamily.org. FREE.

11 SATURDAY Hikes for Tykes with Fresh Air Family 10-11am, Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Join storyteller Verna Gates for a storybook adventure through the gardens. 205-540-6642, www. freshairfamily.org. FREE.

Riverbrook Plaza Valleydale Road at US 31 205.987.7027 Cahaba Heights (Ladies Clothing Only) 4200 Oakview Ln 205.970.7997

7). 4()3

&2%% !0 0 

12 SUNDAY Audubon Teaches Nature: An Introduction to Birds of Prey 1pm, 3pm, Alabama Wildlife Center. Becky Collier, guest speaker. Alabama is home to several interesting species. Bring a camera to capture the moment with these birds of prey. Preregistration at website is required. Free after paid admission to Oak Mountain State Park. 205-663-7930, Ext. 4, www.awrc.org. FREE

[A C T U A L L Y W E T H I N K E V E R YO N E IS A W IN N E R ]

$ / 7.,/ !$ )4 ./ 7

13 MONDAY Meet the Grantmaker 10:30am, The Library Theatre at the Hoover Public Library. James McCrary, vice president of grants and evaluation at the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham discusses

3EARCHSMARTER,IVEBETTER

birminghamparent.com | 25


THE DOGS ARE BACK IN TOWN for "Yuletide in Dogtown" at the Alys Stephens Center. Watch the pups learn what the holidays really mean in this holiday favorite. Written by Alys Stephens Center's own Jerry Sims. the grant process and what foundations look for before awarding grants. Reservations required. 205-444-7816, www. hooverlibrary.org. FREE.

14 TUESDAY

BIRMINGHAM CHILDREN’S THEATRE PRESENTS

Moms Connect 6:30-8:30pm, Riverchase Community Church. Moms Connect at Riverchase Community Church is a support group of mothers with children of all ages. Hear some great tips on making a budget! Childcare is available. Contact Lynn for childcare reservation. 205-664-4531, FREE.

17 FRIDAY An Evening with Molly Ringwald 8pm, Hoover Public Library Theatre. Ringwald released her first studio album at the tender age of six with the Fulton Street Jazz Band. The Dixieland style of her youth made way for modern jazz of later years, and performing songs such as “Don’t You Forget About Me,” she is now showing off those sultry pipes to audiences around the world. She is also a pretty good actress! 205-444-7888, www.hooverlibrary.org/thelibrarytheatre/shows.

Santa’s Adventure in the Merrywood Mega Mall December 7 & 14 at 10am & Noon December 8 & 15 at 2pm $9 for children, $11 for adults

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever December 7 & 14 at 2pm December 8 & 15 at 2:30pm $11 for children, $13 for adults

Public Performances on sale now! Purchase tickets online at www.bct123.org or call the boÝ ovwce at 2äx.{xn.n1n1 26 | birminghamparent | december 2013 / january 2014

18 SATURDAY An Evening with Molly Ringwald 8pm, Hoover Public Library Theatre. See December 17.

25 SATURDAY Hikes for Tykes with Fresh Air Family 10-11am, Birmingham Botanical Gardens, see December 4.

28 TUESDAY Frugalistics Coupon Swap 10:30am, Hoover Public Library Theatre. Bring coupons you don’t need and swap for ones you do. Please clip your coupons before coming 205444-7840, www.hooverlibrary. org. FREE. Learn How to Find Grants 10:30am The Library Theatre at the Hoover Public Library. Learn how to find grants using the Hoover Public Library’s Foundation Center Cooperative Collection. Reservations required. 205-444-7800, // www.hooverlibrary.org. FREE. Moms Connect 6:30pm-8:30pm, Riverchase Community Church. Moms Connect at Riverchase Community Church is a support group of mothers with children of all ages. Game Night! Join us for great fun and conversation! Childcare is available. Please contact Lynn at 205-664-4531 for childcare reservation. 205-664-4531, FREE.

30 THURSDAY Masters of the Fiddle: Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy 8pm, Hoover Public Library Theatre. Two of the world’s most celebrated fiddlers come together in an evening of traditional fusion, combing the best of French, Celtic and Cajun styles. 205-444-7888, www.hooverlibrary.org/thelibrarytheatre/shows.

31 FRIDAY Masters of the Fiddle: Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy 8pm, Hoover Public Library Theatre. See January 30.


december/january 2013 events & attractions Calendar sponsored by

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

Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum 1919 Ninth St., Calera. 205-668-3435, www.hodrrm.org

Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame 1631 Fourth Ave. N., Birmingham. 205-254-2731, www.jazzhall.com

McWane Science Center IMAX Movies: SANTA VS. THE SNOWMAN The story of a lonely Snowman who at first is swept away by the magical wonders of Santa’s Village, only to ultimately wage war on Santa because he’s jealous of all the attention Santa gets during Christmas time. Dec. 1-31. GREAT WHITE SHARK Misrepresented, maligned and misunderstood, the Great White Shark is an iconic predator: the creature we love to fear. The Magic of Model Trains. The holidays are picking up steam at McWane Science Center with the return of the Magic of Model Trains exhibit, featuring trains of every shape and size. Through January 5, 2014. Winter Wonderland Holiday Exhibit. Climb aboard the McWane Train, or try your luck at ice fishing, fly through the air on 70 feet of suspended wire on our Zip Line or take the plunge down the 40 foot Ice Slide covered in holiday lights. Through January 5, 2014. 200 19th St. N., Birmingham. 205-714-8300, www.mcwane.org.

Alabama Sports Hall of Fame 2150 Richard Arrington Blvd. N., Birmingham. 323-6665, www.ashof.org Alabama Wildlife Center 100 Terrace Drive, Pelham. 205-663-7930. www.awrc.org American Village Highway 119, Montevallo. 205-665-3535, www.americanvillage.org Barber Motorsports Park 6040 Barber Motorsports Parkway, Leeds. 205-298-9040, www.barbermotorsports.com Birmingham Botanical Gardens 2612 Lane Park Road, Birmingham. 205-414-3900, www.bbgardens.org Birmingham Children’s Theatre 2130 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd. N., Birmingham. 205-458-8181, www.bct123.org Birmingham Civil Rights Institute 16th St. N., Birmingham. 205-328-9696, www.bcri.org Birmingham Museum of Art 2000 Rev. Abraham Woods Jr. Blvd., Birmingham. 205-254-2565, www.artsbma.org Birmingham Zoo Zoolight Safari, December 6-8, 13-15, 18-23 and 26-31, 5-9pm nightly. Members FREE, non-members $8. Festive snowfalls every night. Animal exhibits closed during this event. Giraffe Feeding & Keeper Chat, Saturday & Sunday 1 1am-12pm & 2-3pm, $3.00. Sea Lion Training, Daily 10am & 2pm Predator Zone, Saturday & Sunday 11:30am & 3:30pm 2630 Cahaba Road, Birmingham. 205-879-0409, www.birminghamzoo.com

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Oak Mountain State Park 200 Terrace Drive, Pelham. 205-620-2520, www.alapark.com. Ruffner Mountain Nature Center Children’s Story Time. On the first Monday and third Saturday of every month at 10am, children 3-5 are invited to story time to encourage their excitement about the outdoors. Short activity follows. Must be accompanied by an adult. $3, $2 for members. 1214 81st St. S., Birmingham. 205-833-8264, www.ruffnermountain.org. Southern Museum of Flight 4343 73rd St. N., Birmingham. 205-833-8226, www.southernmuseumofflight.org Vulcan Park 1701 Valley View Drive, Birmingham. 205-933-1409, www.vulcanpark.org

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New Holiday Traditions to Start this Year! By Pam Molnar The holiday season gives us plenty of opportunities to kick off a new tradition. By doing something that creates and rekindles memories year after year, you are building a family custom. Looking to try something new this year? Consider these ideas to freshen up the holidays in your family.

Be of service: 1. Play board games with residents at the senior center. 2. Prepare a meal for the families at Ronald McDonald House. 3. Fill a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child. 4. Make a double batch of tonight’s dinner and share it with a friend.

Learn something new: 1. Attend a holiday service at a different place of worship.

Make something together: 1. Build a gingerbread house – from scratch or from a kit. 2. Create a homemade gift for someone each year. 3. Design a Christmas time capsule to be put away in your holiday boxes. 4. Make an outdoor Christmas tree for the birds by stringing popcorn, dried fruit and bread or add bird seed ornaments made with seed, nuts and gelatin.

2. Research holiday traditions from your ethnic background and add one to your current day celebration.

5. Try a traditional holiday recipe from a different country every year.

1. Purchase an Elf on a Shelf and set him up in different situations each night. 2. Plan a couple of evenings to watch holiday movies together. Add it to the calendar so everyone can look forward to it.

Take a trip down memory lane:

3. Leave out shoes for St. Nicholas Day.

3. Read a different holiday story each night – find a mix of old favorites and new reads. 4. Sit down with the family to discuss their New Year’s resolutions.

Have some fun:

4. Host an Ugly Christmas Sweater Party

5. Bake cookies, make candy or put together “gifts in a jar” to share with your neighbors.

5. Play holiday decoration bingo as you drive around and mark off things like a blow up snowman, a house with all red lights or a menorah in the window.

Pam Molnar is a freelance writer and mother of two teens and a tween. Her family hopes to add a few of these traditions to their holiday celebration this year.

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1. Start a holiday journal. Encourage everyone to write down their holiday memories from this year and add new pages next year. 2. Call the friends on your holiday card list with whom you have lost touch. 3. Watch home movies of past holiday celebrations. 4. Take a family picture in the same spot every year and add the picture to an album that you display during the holidays. 5. Buy a white tablecloth that you can write on. Write messages or draw pictures each year to create a wonderful keepsake.

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Holiday GIFT GUIDE

Great Little Ideas For You and Yours Following are some great gift suggestions we’ve found at Birmingham Parent for Christmas, Hanukkah or any gift you need to give to a child this season. As always, be sure to read the directions and check with the manufacturer for any questions.

EDUCATIONAL & CREATIVE Play-Doh® Let’s Create Letters & Let’s Create Shapes Who doesn’t love playing with Play-Doh? For the young child that’s hard to buy for, these 11-page books with 6 small cans of Play-Doh includes ideas, molds, a plastic mat and Play-Doh knife and roller at just $16.95, wherever Play-Doh and books are sold.

Bananagrams Word Games make Educational Fun There’s a word-themed family-friendly game to suit every age, from preschoolers who are just starting to recognize letters, through competitive teens and grandparents who already have a way with words. ● APPLETTERS (SRP: $14.95 ages 5+) – clear the table, unzip the apple and prepare for a great family evening – Appletters is the addictive game for early readers, where players work together to build a “word worm” by adding words to the head or tail. The first player to use all of his or her tiles wins. ● BANANAGRAMS® (SRP: $14.95 ages 7-107) – the fast and fun anagram game that drives players bananas! Requiring no pencil, paper or board, Bananagrams comes in a small portable banana-shaped pouch and is perfect fun for all the family, at home or on the go. ● FRUITOMINOES (SRP: $12.95), ages 5+) takes the classic dominoes played by generations and puts a fresh twist on it with colorful images of fruit on the dominoes.

Bananagram games are available in many locations where games are sold and at www.bananagrams.com.

30 | birminghamparent | december 2013 / january 2014


Wild Guess Chase Who will be the player/team to win the most cards by guessing other players’ words correctly the fastest and with the fewest letters possible? Will a Guesser discover the hidden word before the timer runs out and win the face down cards, or will the Word Hider be able to stump the guessers and win all the cards from the word? The game fosters learning skills and creativity because players will naturally problem-solve as they come up with strategies to decipher the hidden word before the time runs out. They also use creativity when they generate words from the cards in their hand and try to stump their opponents. For ages 8 and older, SRP: $12.99. Available at Snoozy’s Kids, Homewood Toy & Hobby, Think Toys (Anniston) and www.amazon.com.

Love Dolls? Got Dolls? The newly enhanced Bitty Baby® line features high-quality 15-inch baby dolls, outfits, and accessories. Bitty Baby is a longtime, lovable playtime companion to millions of girls ages 3 and up. Eleven different dolls with various skin tones and hair and eye color combinations, beautifully illustrated picture books, and new premium play sets and plush animals, as well as online activities for girls and parents. Prices start at $80. Purchase whereever American Girl is sold, 800-845-0005 or at americangirl.com.

ALL ABOUT TRAINS Thomas & Friends® All Around Sodor Interactive Train Set by Fisher-Price Thomas travels to three exciting destinations: Brendam Docks, Tidmouth Sheds, and the Shake Shake Bridge! Thomas has a Go/Stop button and 2 location buttons. Press a location button on Thomas and he will go directly to that location on the track. Thomas’ eyes and mouth will move as he talks to his friends at the locations. At any time children can simply press the go/stop button to let Thomas ride around the track without stopping at the stations. Thomas will still talk to his friends as he passes by. Works both on and off the track. Requires 3 “AA” and 3 “AAA” batteries, included. For ages 18 months+, suggested retail price: $44.99, available where Fisher-Price toys are sold and at www.amazon.com.

FOR THE CHILD WHO IS HARD TO BUY FOR The World Almanac for Kids 2014 From President Barack Obama’s second-term inauguration to One Direction’s renewed “British Invasion” to the debut of blockbuster films like The Great Gatsby and Iron Man 3, there are so many incredible moments from 2013 that will live in our memories forever. The World Almanac® for Kids 2014 (ages 8 and up; $13.99) chronicles this year’s most noteworthy people, places, and events in addition to offering thousands of fun, fascinating facts and essential homework help. This annual best-selling reference book is not only an educational read, but an entertaining one as well. The World Almanac® for Kids 2014 is available for purchase wherever books are sold or at www.worldalmanac.com. birminghamparent.com | 31


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Samford University School of the Arts presents k Piano for preschoolers to adults; group and private lessons k Voice private lessons k Musicianship classes for grades 1–12 (must be enrolled in private lessons) k Preschool piano for 4- and 5-year-olds kPreschool introductory class— Merry Music Makers for 3- and 4-year-olds k Kindermusik k Guitar k Strings

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Ho-Ho Hanukkah!

How to Balance Hanukkah and Christmas Celebrations By Christina Katz

Y

ou don’t have to be an interfaith family to celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas each year. Any family can choose to celebrate whichever holiday traditions they wish. Holiday joy can be doubled, rather than halved, when you choose to light the menorah and decorate the Christmas tree to honor the cultural and religious traditions of both parents. So forget the “December Dilemma.” When it comes to religion, families increasingly run the Judeo-Christian gamut. In our family, we have Orthodox Jews on one side of the family tree and born-again Christians on the other side. But my husband and I both share the same beliefs about diversity, tolerance, and spirituality. And that’s what we intend to pass on to our daughter. As a woman who was raised Catholic and has been happily married to a Jewish man for the past 13 years, I can attest that once you become the parent in an interfaith family, you quickly become accustomed to not being able to please everyone. But since the wisdom of your hearts brought you and your partner together in the first place, why not call on that same source of wisdom to guide you through creating your own version of happy holidays? Here are a few tips based on what our family has learned from holding the middle ground over the years:

Talk to Each Other First and Last. The bottom line on family celebrations, holiday or otherwise, is to always do whatever you and your spouse deem best for your family. The only way to come to an understanding about what this means is to discuss it with each other first and last. Be prepared for this to be an ongoing conversation, and probably one that you revisit each year.

Protect Your Joint Point of View. Never let bossy or opinionated family members horn in on conversations that rightly belong between you and your partner. You only have one spouse, and that’s the person whose opinion you

should value most. Your kids come next and the grandparents after them. Don’t treat your parents like children or allow them to treat you like a child. This behavior will only create conflicts between you and your spouse.

Ignore Disapproving Outsiders. Never apologize for being an interfaith family, even if people in your extended family or circle of

34 | birminghamparent | december 2013 / january 2014

close friends do not approve of your union. You are not seeking their permission, as Perchick expressed so boldly in Fiddler On The Roof, you are asking for their blessing. Creating harmonious and joyful dual holidays in your own home is your parental right and your familial duty, even if it means agreeing to disagree with certain members of your extended family.

Stick to Separate but Equal. Christmas may be more common and commercial than Hanukkah, but don’t let that trump your holiday fun. The nice thing about Hanukkah is that it lasts for eight nights. Light the menorah candles and say the Hanukkah prayer every night, if you possibly can. You may be amazed at how moving and inspiring such simple rituals can be, even on busy school nights. Look for the quieter, more awe-inspiring moments in Christmas as well, such as ending the day admiring the beauty of the decorated tree and window lights.

Keep Both Sets Of Traditions. At our house, we celebrate as much of both traditions as we can, without a worry about whether the holidays overlap or not. For me, this means the Christmas tree, the presents, the cookies, the big dinner. For my husband this means lighting two menorahs for eight nights (one for him and one for my daughter), having our daughter’s friends over for

potato latkes and some lively dreidel games.

Don’t Double your Gift Budget. We make an effort to celebrate the bounty of two holidays without going overboard. If you are an interfaith family, your kids’ friends may consider them “lucky” because they assume that they get double the gifts every holiday season. However, that’s not necessarily the case at our house. Our daughter typically gets a little present on the first day of Hanukkah and a bigger present on the last day of Hanukkah. One set of grandparents send a couple of little Hanukkah gifts and a check and the other sends a couple of stocking stuffers and a check. The amount of gifts she receives is essentially the same as it would be if we only celebrated one holiday.

Share the Love. Another thing we enjoy about dual holidays is that our daughter can share traditions about both holidays with her friends, no matter what religion they


follow, exposing them to a culture they may not have had the opportunity to learn about.

come easily in your extended family system. But start trying it, or you’ll never get there.

Participate Wisely.

Honor the Choices of Others. We don’t try

When invited to join a new or old tradition on either side of the family, give the ritual a chance. We will try just about anything once. But we reserve the right to say no to pressure or anything that makes us uncomfortable. Maintaining an atmosphere where you can say yes or no to your parents without stern chastisement may not

to protect our family members from our choices. They need to be exposed to what we value, if we expect them to understand and accept our choices. However, we also try to respect the choices that each of our family members make without imposing our life choices on them.

Fun Holiday Family Reads: HANUKKAH: Hanukkah! by Roni Schotter and Marilyn Hafner Lots Of Latkes, A Hanukkah Story by Sandy Lanton and Vicki Jo Redenbaugh When Mindy Saved Hanukkah by Eric Kimmel It’s A Miracle! A Hanukkah Storybook by Stephanie Spinner and Jill McElmurry

CHRISTMAS: The Christmas Story by Jane Werner Watson and Eloise Wilkin ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas or Account Of A Visit From St. Nicholas by Clement Clarke Moore How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

CELEBRATING BOTH: My Two Holidays, A Hanukkah and Christmas Story by Danielle Novack and Phyllis Harris Light The Lights, A Story About Celebrating Hanukkah And Christmas by Margaret Moorman Daddy Christmas and Hanukkah Mama by Selina Alko

Christina Katz loves celebrating the winter holidays with her family and friends.

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ask the specialist

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How Can Injuries Be Prevented During High Intensity Workouts? By Darin Tessier, MD

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Dr. Darin Tessier is an orthopedic surgeon on staff at Brookwood Medical Center.

he human body has a tremendous capacity to adapt to physical stress. Physical stress, or exercise and activity, is beneficial for our bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments, making them stronger and more functional. This happens through a physiologic process of breakdown and buildup of tissue. There is a fine balance between the two, and if breakdown occurs more rapidly than buildup, an overuse injury occurs. Training errors are the most common cause of overuse injuries. These errors involve rapid acceleration of the intensity, duration, or frequency of activity. Overuse injuries also happen in people who are returning to a sport or activity after injury and try to make up for lost time by pushing themselves to achieve the level of participation they were at before injury. Proper technique is critical in avoiding overuse injuries, as slight changes in form may be the culprit. There are an abundance of benefits gained from the recent explosion of “muscle confusion� workout regimens. Popular programs such as Iron Tribe and CrossFit have emerged in this new culture of high intensity workouts. Participants have achieved tremendous gains in weight loss, endurance and strength. These gains are largely attributed to increased lean muscle mass and cardiovascular conditioning. Diet remains a key success factor, with an emphasis on decreased sugar intake, reduced overall ca-

loric intake and low-glycemic foods. While diet and exercise have helped what some Iron Tribe/CrossFit estimates show as nearly 10 million people worldwide, there are underlying risk factors that must be considered for any newcomer to these exercise programs. The possibility of injury increases with participation in any high-intense fitness regimen if you are new to Olympic-style weight lifting and plyometric workouts. Risk is further increased with participants who have a previous injury or perform in a fatigued state. Participants are encouraged to properly understand their current limitations when considering these highly effective and enjoyable, yet

Understand that body transformation is a process and potential hazards lie in trying to make up for lost time too quickly.

demanding exercise programs. Understand that body transformation is a process and potential hazards lie in trying to make up for lost time too quickly. Unrealistic goals and drive to achieve high fitness levels through rapid acceleration of intensity, duration or frequency may only increase the risk of a major setback. Always focus on proper technique and ensure the trainers provide ample education for a safe and enjoyable workout experience.

Send us your questions for "Ask the Specialist" at info@BirminghamParent.com. No personal replies are sent.

36 | birminghamparent | december 2013 / january 2014


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death by children

The Wrap Artist By Christopher “Bull” Garlington

S

ome of us, over the course of our adult lives, come to a quiet, disheartening conclusion about our relationship with simple tools. You know those commercials where the cavemen are all apoplectic at the phrase so simple a caveman could do it? Well, it bothers me too. I can barely use a can opener. Certainly not a Philips screwdriver, and keep me away from socket wrenches or somebody loses an eye. Christmas terrifies me because of bikes and dollhouses. I once put together a Barbie mansion with such an astonishing lack of skill I got a foreclosure letter. Don’t even get me started on the Kraft Vintage Kitchen. Thing comes with a fridge, a microwave, and a cordless phone. It might as well be a real kitchen.

Long ago I made a pact to only buy toys already assembled. Dinosaur Hot Wheels with a working volcano jump? Not happening. Barbies? They are God’s gift to overthumbed dads. I bought my daughter enough Barbies to repopulate the earth. All I had to do was wrap them. A note to Mattel: the trapezoidal assemblage you’ve packaged your dolls in is unwrappable. Please use a rectangle or a cube. Please don’t use curved edges and whatever you do, don’t wang the side off a perfectly usable square into some kind of sloped edifice. That’s just mean. I know why you do it. It’s to protect the environment. You want to protect the environment? Make the box a shape a man can wrap. It takes me 17 rolls of paper to get one of these things sealed.

You know how they say we lose an acre of trees every minute to deforestation? Around Christmas, that’s all me. I tried shrink-wrapping our presents but I set one on fire and the wife made me quit. My only hope was the last-resort wrap, the Tootsie Roll twist, where I just curl a sheet of paper around the poor doll and twist like I’m losing tug-o-war then tape the ends liberally. By liberally, I mean bullet proof.

You want to protect the environment? Make the box a shape a man can wrap. And all my presents end up like this, little table-top piñatas with my kids pounding them, hitting them, and attacking them with knives to get to the good stuff inside – which is never what they wanted. One year I got my son a set of Lego racecars. When he finally got the wrapping paper off (screwdriver, blow torch) he’d torn one corner and sliced through the plastic. He said “Really? I’m eleven.” My daughter kissed me on the cheek, patted me on the head, and said “Nice try.” I finally tried planning ahead. I had a nice flat gift. I laid the paper out on the table, got a yardstick, measured, flattened, pleated, folded, taped, folded again, taped again, and finally, when I was all done, I had a beautiful, perfectly wrapped present. I turned to look for a bow on the counter and saw the actual toy lying there by the coffee machine. I picked up the gorgeous gift I’d just spent an hour working on and it fell limp across my hand. I’d just wrapped nothing. I put it under the tree anyway.

Christopher “Bull” Garlington is a syndicated humor writer and a Birmingham native. 38 | birminghamparent | december 2013 / january 2014


birminghamparent.com | 39


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Ideas for new holiday traditions, 2013 Favorites Kids' Docs and mini holiday gift guide.

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