CHANGING SOCIETAL VIEWS ABOUT DADS
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WHEN YOUR SON BECOMES YOUR RUNNING COACH
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When I was a kid, my brother and I spent every summer at my mom’s in Oneonta, N.Y., home of the GREATEST PIZZA SLICES ON PLANET EARTH. Every day, Jacob and I rode our bikes downtown and got the $2 special at Sal’s. Two slices and a small soda. A little shake of parm and then we’d feast. I can still taste it now. Pure heaven.
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even and a half years ago, I was at a crossroads. After teaching elementary school for the bulk of my twenties, first in the South Bronx and then in Burlington, I’d left the profession. I’d gone back to graduate school at Saint Michael’s College to work toward my certification as a literacy specialist and was running a lunchtime mentoring program at the school where I’d most recently taught. But my most demanding and fulfilling job at that time was parenting. My daughter had just started first grade, and my son was 3. I’d also been dabbling in writing for Kids VT, mostly first-person pieces about fun things to do with kids. Writing has always been a passion of mine. So has exploring new places and activities. I loved that the work allowed me to combine those two things. So when an opening for a part-time calendar writer at Kids VT popped up, my interest was piqued. I quickly decided that it probably wasn’t the right fit for me, but a few days later, I was still thinking about it. So I applied — and got the position. I’m so glad I did. The gig doing calendar listings eventually transitioned into writing more articles, then into editing others’ work, and eventually to becoming managing editor, the position I’ve held for the past five or so years. It’s truly been a dream job. As my kids have grown up, I’ve written hundreds of articles. I’ve visited classrooms and tiny homes. I’ve written about innovative educational programs and profiled kids and adults making a difference in their communities. I’ve tackled meaty issues, including gestational surrogacy and low pay for childcare workers, and lighter ones, such as bunny yoga and snack boards. Though I only have two kids, Kids VT has sometimes felt like my third.
Most recently, my favorite part of the job has been working with the dynamic group of Kids VT freelancers who lend their voices and expertise to the publication each month. Many of them have young kids and bring a fresh perspective and enthusiasm to their writing that reminds me of what it was like to be a new mom. Now I’m at another crossroads. That first grader I had when I started with Kids VT will begin high school next year. My son is almost as tall as me. And I’m ready for a new challenge. In the coming weeks, I’ll be transitioning to a new role on the Seven Days news team, where I’ll be primarily writing about K-12 education in the state — a beat I started covering during the pandemic. I’m thrilled to continue following some of the topics I’ve written about already, such as the future of Burlington High School and the debate over school resource officers, and to explore new ones. Again, it feels like a dream job. Kids VT will live on in my absence, though the form it takes post-pandemic may change. Like everyone else, we’re thinking about what we want our “new normal” to be. Watch for July and August issues, which I’ll be helping to plan, and stay tuned for what’s next. As I sign off, I’d like to give a big thanks to the readers who’ve followed Kids VT, whether you’ve been reading the publication for seven years — or seven months. Look for my stories in Seven Days and email me at email@example.com if you have ideas or tips. I always stress to my kids how important it is to break out of their comfort zone and try new things. Now it’s their mom’s turn. ALISON NOVAK, MANAGING EDITOR
My favorite thing to do during the summer was spend all day near the water, whether it was camping by a river or lake or visiting a pond or the ocean for the day. Water and friends and maybe a GOOD MIXTAPE or CD on my walkman, once I got older, was all I wanted! MEREMERDITH BAY-TYACK, “GROWING UP GREEN” COLUMNIST
My extended family on my mom’s side would all gather at our shared boathouse on LITTLE LAKE SUNAPEE in New London, N.H., for barbecue and swimming. I also went on a weeklong youth group canoe trip in the Adirondacks for several summers! EMILY JACOBS, “ART LESSONS” COLUMNIST
Beginning at age 7, I attended SLEEP-AWAY
CAMP for eight weeks each summer — and did
so until I was 14. Often, those were the best times I had all year, as we swam, canoed, waterskied, played sports, built fires, shot BB guns and camped out. Nearly 50 years later, I still have detailed mental maps of those camps, down to individual trees and paths through the woods. KEN PICARD, “CHECKUP” COLUMNIST
CONTRIBUTOR’S NOTE PETER MCCONVILLE
(“Use Your Words,” page 27) lives in Burlington with his wife, two sons, a couple of dogs and a handful of backyard chickens. He teaches high school English in a renovated department store.
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Welcome Editor’s Note 3
Contributors’ Question Contributor’s Note
Columns Portrait 7 8 Mom Takes Notes 9 Growing Up Green 10 Mealtime 11 Musical Notes 12 Good Nature 15 Children’s Entertainment 18 Checkup 19 Bookworms
Vermont Visionaries ECHO exhibit creator Chris Whitaker
Investing in Dads
Shifting society’s response to fatherhood engagement
Through the Looking Glass Celebrating and reflecting on identity through portraiture
Just for Kids 22 Coloring Contest 25 Matching Puzzle 23 Coloring Contest Winners 27 Puzzle Answers On the Cover
From Golf Bags to Glassware Thrifted gifts for Father’s Day
Cat Cutillo captured the bond between Rija Ramahatra and his son, Mathéo, at Niquette Bay State Park in Colchester.
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Rija and Mathéo
or 12 years, Rija Ramahatra has worked as associate program director for the master’s degree in nursing at Norwich University. He left briefly in 2018 to begin medical school at the University of Medicine and Health Sciences on the Caribbean island of Saint Kitts and Nevis. But when the pandemic hit, his school closed temporarily, and Ramahatra moved back to Vermont so that he could rejoin Norwich. He also works part time as a medical assistant at Central Vermont Medical Center’s ExpressCare clinic in Berlin, which has offered COVID-19 testing this year. His wife, Brooke Bento Ramahatra, is a traveling nurse currently working in the University of Vermont Medical Center’s women’s health services. Their 4-year-old son, Mathéo, is in his first year of preschool, attending both the YMCA in Winooski and Poker Hill School in Underhill. K
“We’re very fortunate because the YMCA opened during COVID. It’s tough to be a parent in the United States. I think our experience is not atypical. I think everyone is in the same boat, just with a different story.” Rija Ramahatra and his son, Mathéo, at Niquette Bay State Park in Colchester KIDSVT.COM JUNE 2021
MOM TAKES NOTES BY E L I S A J Ä RN E F E LT
ur daughter’s birthday, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and the anniversary of the day my husband and I met all take place in the time frame of a month and a half. We mark the birth of our child, my birth as a mother, my husband’s birth as a father and the birth of our relationship. Each of those days reminds us of the different ways we have built our family. Except often we forget to celebrate that last one: the June day 10 years ago when we first met in Boston. As a result of pandemic isolation and remote work this past year, my husband and I have spent almost every day at home together. In some ways, this experience has brought us closer. But it has also become more difficult to find time and space that is not defined either by parenthood or work. These two roles easily fill the rooms, and it’s sometimes hard to remember that we have identities beyond them. So, this Father’s Day, I will try to remember to call my husband by his name, rather than just “Dad,” when I speak to him. And this year, we will remember to celebrate that other day in June when we met. Maybe we will even dance across the living room floor after the house has quieted down. Because without that day, the rest of them never would have happened. K
KIDSVT.COM JUNE 2021
GROWING UP GREEN BY M E RE D I T H B AY -T YAC K
A Day in the Life Incorporating earth-friendly practices — morning, noon and night
MORNING I am not a morning person, so my husband gets up with the girls and they all head downstairs while I hit the snooze button several times. Kids’ breakfast is usually something easy to make in a tired state, such as oatmeal or toast with jam. We buzz around, gathering backpacks, getting dressed in our mostly secondhand clothes and packing school lunches in stainless steel bento boxes. Durable, reusable items are pricey up front but they really do last. And stainless is incredibly easy to clean, even if food is left for days (don’t ask me how I know this). We usually pack leftovers and a few things we have stocked specifically for lunches, such as fruit, crackers and cheese. We try to make reducing food waste a regular part of our life, but I’ll admit we have a long way to go. With an insulated mug of fair-trade coffee in hand, I drive both kids to school. It’s time-consuming since they’re at different schools now, but in a few years they’ll be back to being in the same place. We listen to music or a podcast, and I daydream about having an electric cargo bike someday.
MIDDAY Back at home, the rest of the day is a blur of emails, Zoom meetings, calls and other work. To get over that midday slump and find the energy to complete a few more work tasks before school pickup, I’ll brew a cup of loose-leaf tea. Find it package-free in bulk at City Market or Healthy Living, or check out local makers, such as Misuba Tea. I was shocked to find out that almost all tea bags contain plastic, and I find the ritual of making loose-leaf tea so lovely. It’s typically less expensive, too. If I can, I like to listen to podcasts while I work or if I’m doing a quick chore. It’s a great way to stay updated on news and hear experts go in-depth on topics such as climate change. I enjoyed the recent VPR interview with Dr. Lesley-Ann Dupigny-Giroux, Vermont’s state climatologist, called “What The Climate Emergency — and Solutions — Look Like in Vermont.”
AFTERNOON School pickup always comes quickly. My husband bikes to pick up our kindergartener, and then typically drives to preschool pickup while I continue working. When
PHOTOS COURTESY OF MEREDITH BAY-TYACK
y husband and I share the load of, well, everything. The last year has highlighted how important our partnership is, and I’m grateful that we both believe that a marriage isn’t just 50-50 — it’s two people giving 100 percent and picking up each other’s slack during busy or stressful times. I have been the driving force of many of our ecofriendly habits, but my partner has not only supported the changes but has become an advocate, too. His grumbles about giving up paper towels for washable rags has turned to casually telling family and friends about how much more effective cloth towels are at cleaning and mopping up spills. Here’s a look at how our whole family incorporates environmentally friendly practices into our daily routine.
Playing in the afternoon
they get home, the kids will stop inside for a snack and a glass of water from our self-serve kids’ area. Now that it’s warm out, afternoons mean spending time outside. We may stick around the house and do some gardening, play a little soccer or build fairy houses. Often my husband will bring the girls to a nearby park for some biking practice or scootering. Sometimes we’ll do a quick hike through nearby nature areas in Winooski, such as Memorial Park and Casavant or Gilbrook nature areas. (Visit winooskivt.gov/rec for more info.) If we see trash, we’ll carefully pick it up and either bring it home to dispose of or put it in a receptacle at the park.
EVENING After a tick check (ugh!) we’ll clamber inside for dinner prep. My husband usually steps up to do the heavy lifting for dinner, while I tidy up and act as sous chef or make a side dish. We light beeswax candles and set out cloth napkins to make the everyday feel special. Another thing we started to do this year was fill out the One Question a Day for Kids journal we got at a bookstore. It has questions like “What’s a recent movie you liked?” and “Who makes you laugh a lot?” It’s a fun way to break the ice on good conversation, and it will be interesting to look back at the kids’ answers as they get older.
END OF THE DAY After the kids are in bed, my husband and I will collapse on the couch and scroll on our phones for a few minutes. No shame in our zone-out game! Then we’ll take a few minutes to give our future selves a leg up. My husband will run the dishwasher, and I’ll tidy up all the little stuff that somehow gets thrown around the house every day. We are grateful to have a washer and dryer in our home, and we take full advantage of them. We run a load or two of laundry nearly every day. My mantra
Setting the table for dinner
is “Laundry not landfill” to remind me of why going back to disposables isn’t a good option for us. Maybe we’ll read or watch a documentary — or a superhero movie. When I do start to get overwhelmed with feelings of dread about climate change, environmental racism, deforestation or a myriad of other issues that seem too Prepping lunch big to solve, I try two things. First, I do some small act of resistance against throwaway culture. I’ll mend a shirt. I’ll carefully clean a pair of too-small shoes to donate to friends or our local mutual aid organization. Second, I’ll take some kind of manageable action. I’ll write an email to a mid-sized company to ask about how they are making their manufacturing practices more eco-friendly. I’ll do some research on what Vermontbased organizations are doing and sign up for a workshop, webinar or meeting. I’ll flag a book, documentary or podcast episode to listen to later. We’re not striving for perfection but embracing being works in progress. I’m so impressed by the diversity of families in Vermont, all doing different things to sow love for the planet. Being a parent has taught me to embrace seasons of life as they are. With a new baby at home, I was drawn to the challenge of reducing my household waste because I felt really stuck in this new, much smaller-seeming life. This was one way I felt I could make a difference without leaving home. Now that my kids are older, we’re able to take on other challenges, such as gardening, hiking and biking together, and learning about how to work with our community to bring about systemic change. Ultimately, I just hope that all of these small actions will add up. And I hope that we’re showing our kids how our family works together with the larger community to protect and show love for our earth. K KIDSVT.COM JUNE 2021
MEALTIME BY A S T RI D H E D B OR L A GUE
Make-Your-Own Poke Bowls A customizable Hawaiian dish
have never traveled to Hawaii, but I have been transported there by eating a poke bowl. Poke — pronounced poh-KEH — originated in the Aloha State and means “to slice or cut.” In its purest form, it refers to marinated bite-size chunks of sushi-grade raw fish — like tuna or salmon. As a cultural melting pot, Hawaiian food incorporates flavors from Japan, China, Korea and other Asian cuisines. When you add a base of rice to the marinated fish, as well as other sweet and savory ingredients, you get a poke bowl. It’s the perfect meal for a hot day! What I love most is how customizable poke bowls are. You can add (or even substitute) zucchini spirals to the rice as a base, add fresh or pickled vegetables, bring in sweetness with the addition of mango, use a spicy sauce if you like that kick, or even substitute chicken, beef or tofu for the fish. Premade tempura shrimp adds crunch, and smoked salmon can replace raw. Everything can be made ahead of time — just make sure you use sushi- or sashimi-grade raw fish and that it stays nice and fresh! If that’s hard to find, you can order sashimi from a trusted sushi restaurant, which often comes with the added bonus ingredients of pickled ginger and wasabi. I make sushi rice in my Instant Pot, but you can also make it on the stovetop. The key to sushi rice is to use short-grain rice. The rice must be rinsed well to get rid of excess starch. Some recipes call for soaking the rice prior to cooking it, but I skip that step. Cooked rice can
be made into sticky rice by tossing it in a lightly sweetened vinegar mixture. I like using a combination of rice wine vinegar, mirin (sweetened rice wine) and sugar. Or, just use vinegar. To make sure the rice grains don’t break, use a wooden spoon or rice paddle to mix them. It’s fun to
TUNA POKE BOWLS (serves 4-6)
KIDSVT.COM JUNE 2021
Quick pickled cucumber (can sub sliced or shredded carrot or thinly sliced radish): • 2 cucumbers
• 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
INGREDIENTS: For the rice:
• 2 Tablespoons mirin • 3 Tablespoons sugar
• 2 cups sushi rice
• 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
• 2 cups water
For the ponzu poke sauce:
• 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
• 1/3 cup mayonnaise
• 1/8 cup mirin
• 2 Tablespoons ponzu sauce
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 1 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar
For the tuna and marinade:
• 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
• 3 Tablespoons soy sauce
Other toppings and ingredients (customize according to your taste):
• 1 cup sashimi grade ahi tuna (or about 3 orders of ahi sashimi from your favorite sushi restaurant)
PHOTOS: ANDY BRUMBAUGH
Poke Bowl ingredients
experiment with different sauces to drizzle on top. I like a creamy, zingy mayonnaise or a ponzu-based sauce. You can buy ponzu, which is made from the Japanese citrus fruit yuzu, at an Asian market or in the grocery store’s international section. As an easy alternative, use lime juice. For this recipe, I marinated my fish in a simple Asianinspired sauce. If you like things spicier, add a little chili oil or chili flakes. Finish the bowl with an array of vegetables, fruits and other toppings, such as shredded carrot, sliced avocado, edamame, bean sprouts or hard-boiled egg. I have even added a premade mango jicama slaw, and it was delicious. Making it pretty is half the fun. Play with this recipe, and create your own delicious version! K
• 2 teaspoons lemon juice
• Raw spiralized zucchini
• 1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil • 2 Tablespoons ponzu sauce or lime juice
• Shredded carrot
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• Sliced avocado
• 1 green onion, chopped fine
• Furikake seasoning or shredded, dried seaweed (nori)
DIRECTIONS: 1. Make the rice: Put the rice in a fine-meshed sieve and rinse several times until the water runs clear. If cooking in an Instant Pot, put rice and 2 cups of cold water in the pot and cook on high pressure for 12 minutes. Allow pressure to release naturally for at least 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the rice wine vinegar, mirin and sugar in a small saucepan and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Remove the rice with a wooden spoon and place in a large glass bowl. Allow to cool for a few minutes before
gently stirring in the vinegar mixture with a wooden spoon or rice paddle. Cover the rice gently with a kitchen towel and allow to cool. Toss again after about 10 minutes, then replace the towel until ready to use. 2. Marinate the fish: Cut the tuna into small, even chunks, about 1/2 inch. Stir together the remaining ingredients and toss the fish in to coat it. Cover and leave in the refrigerator until ready to use. 3. Make the quick pickles: Slice the cucumbers into thin, even slices. Heat the
other ingredients gently in the microwave or on the stove top until the sugar is dissolved, then put in a jar with the cucumbers. Put on a tight lid, shake to combine, and allow cucumbers to pickle for at least 30 minutes. 4. Make the ponzu sauce: Whisk together all sauce ingredients until well combined. Put in the fridge until ready to use. 5. Assemble: Put rice in the bottom of a bowl. Arrange vegetables and other toppings on the rice. Add marinated tuna. Drizzle with sauce. Enjoy!
MUSICAL NOTES BY BE N J A M I N ROE S CH
Boogie Down, Baby
held the small speaker up to my wife Shannon’s perfectly round pregnant belly. We smiled at each other, both a little giddy. I pushed play. Paul McCartney’s voice wafted into the air. We waited. Almost 13 years later, I can’t say for sure what we were expecting to happen. Would sending some Beatles or Chopin into our unborn baby’s liquid home make him smarter? Perhaps plant the seeds of creative brilliance to come? Or did it just feel good to begin nurturing that tiny creature we couldn’t wait to meet? Maybe, it turns out, a little bit of all those things. Many of us have heard about the supposed benefits music can have on babies. We’ve seen the CDs and playlists of Mozart and Bach tailored to boost brain activity or soothe colic. And parents around the world instinctively hum or sing lullabies as part of bedtime or to calm a crying baby. Music, it seems, has long been part of how we communicate with and love our babies. But is there proof that music benefits a baby’s brain and body? Let’s dig in. Somewhere between 16 and 18 weeks of pregnancy, babies hear their first sounds. By 24 weeks, their ears are developing quickly, and in the last weeks of pregnancy, unborn babies will sometimes turn their heads or react to voices and noises. It’s hard not to laugh at the image of a fetus nodding along to some Stevie Wonder or Beyoncé in the womb. But given the known brain benefits of music, why not crank up the tunes before that due date? Just not too loud. Of course, once babies are out in the world, the effects are far easier to measure. New research done by the Music Lab at Harvard University found that, not only do babies experience calming effects from listening to familiar voices sing, they also respond positively to unfamiliar melodies or lullabies in a non-native language. Both produce decreased heart rate and pupil dilation, as well as reduced electrodermal activity — three measures of excitement and stress in infants. Scientists at the University of Washington also found that sessions that combined music and play sparked improved brain processing in 9-month-old babies. “This means that early, engaging musical experiences can have a more
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How music benefits tiny tots
global effect on cognitive skills, ” said the study’s lead author Christina Zhao. Teachers at Robin’s Nest Children’s Center in Burlington, where both my children went, make music a regular part of their preschool and baby curriculum. Believe me, I know. I still can’t get “On Top of Spaghetti” out of my head. “Instrumental music is beneficial sensory input for babies without being overwhelming,” said Robin’s Nest associate teacher Caitlin D’Onofrio. “Listening to music and dancing are wonderful ways to support [kinesthetic] development and create shared experiences.” Turns out music also has some profound therapeutic benefits and is regularly used to help babies recover during stays in the neonatal intensive care unit.
Music therapy by a licensed therapist can actually improve a premature baby’s breathing, heart rate, feeding and sleep — and even sometimes reduce that NICU stay. Music is also a stress reliever for worried parents. Burlington-based music therapist Jennifer DeBedout, who has spent nearly 30 years in the field, has seen the benefits of music firsthand. “Songs and chants are great mediums for learning and exploring many of the developmental milestones from birth to 5 years of age,” DeBedout said. “Children pair songs with movement, and it helps boost their brains and engages creativity.” For most families and parents, though, the benefits of early exposure to music are likely to feel a bit more anecdotal. My sister-in-law, Maegen Curley, a school services clinician at
Burlington High School, remembers playing music for her two children when they were babies. “I think music got us all through a time of little sleep and not knowing what end was up,” she said. “Music definitely would settle [our older son] down at times. And impromptu kitchen dance parties to shake out the grumpies are always good. Did it make my kids smarter and more interested in music? Not sure. But we can hope!” Though science presents a convincing case for playing music for your baby, I still go back to why I think Shannon and I really held that speaker up to her pregnant belly all those years ago and pushed play. It felt good. It felt right. And that’s all that really mattered. So reach for that guitar. Set up that speaker. Sing a happy tune. Just let the music play. K KIDSVT.COM JUNE 2021
GOOD NATURE B Y H E AT H E R F I TZ GE RA L D
Natural Diversity Trail adventures at Colchester’s Niquette Bay State Park CAT CUTILLO
S P O NS O R E D B Y
A sign at the trailhead of Niquette Bay State Park’s Ledges Trail
have loved Niquette Bay State Park since my first week in Vermont. When I moved here in 1999 to begin my graduate studies, one of the first places our class went was the state-owned parcel of land in Colchester called “Malletts Bay State Park.” It was not yet an official state park and did not have any signage. It felt like a secret place for those in the know. When my parents came to visit a few months later, I grabbed the vague directions I’d scribbled down and borrowed some snowshoes, then dragged them along with me to find it. My mother still talks about the magical adventure we had that day. I took a class on dendrology — the study of trees — a few years later, and we wrapped up the semester at this same spot — newly christened Niquette Bay State Park — with a “hundred tree quiz.” Though a park document identifies only 97 shrub and tree species found thus far, the park’s flora is incredibly diverse, with a profusion of things to discover in a compact amount of space. The park’s Allen Trail is wide, gently sloping and an efficient half-mile walk to the beach. Trout Brook empties into the lake nearby and may be more attractive to some kids than the beach itself is. There is also a 2.5-mile hike on the western side of the park, along the Burns and Muhley trails, which offers many shorter 12
KIDSVT.COM JUNE 2021
off-ramps and lovely views of Mount Mansfield and the Adirondack Mountains from a 440-foot peak. But my favorite part of the park is the mile-long Ledges Trail. It runs over ridges, past tiny caves and across a short boardwalk that crosses a swamp brimming with frogs on its way to meeting Allen Trail at the beach. At the trailhead, there is a beautiful sign drawn by previous park manager Lisa Liotta that delineates the natural communities and noteworthy historical features you’ll come across. Snap a photo of it and it can function as a treasure hunt as you make your way toward the lake. Want to find a stone wall built in the early 1800s? You’ll see it within the first few minutes of setting off. Many of the trees have signs identifying their species, including a majestic 250-year-old red oak, identified as the oldest tree in the park. You can also keep your eyes peeled for a vernal pool, the swamp, and the site of a cellar hole and barn foundation, dated to the late 1700s or early 1800s. As you walk along the ledges, you’ll see orange and red exposed bedrock. This calcium-rich quartzite and dolostone is a big reason for the plant diversity at Niquette Bay. Many of the species here, including a profusion of wildflowers in the spring, need the high levels of calcium coming from this bedrock. Alicia Daniel, executive director of the Vermont
Master Naturalist Program, has made a gorgeous video called “Chasing Spring Wildflowers” about Niquette Bay’s flora that you can find on the Vermont Master Naturalist YouTube channel. On your way up the Allen Trail back to the parking lot, you’ll make your way through time as you climb to the top of a sandy terrace. The sand is what remains of a delta left by the Lamoille River back when the glaciers were melting into the Champlain Sea 10,000 years ago — and it offers plants an extremely different set of growing conditions than do the ledges. Keep in mind the rich land-use history as you walk through these seemingly undisturbed woods. The park’s land was likely important to Indigenous peoples. Park documents indicate that the area was a French settlement dating back as far as 1736 and speculate that the park was logged in the 1700s and cultivated for crops, hay and pasture in the early 1800s. The land was part of several farms from the 1850s to the 1940s, as the cellar holes hidden throughout attest. By the mid-1940s, the area that would become the park was 80 percent reforested. That’s a lot of biological, historical and recreational richness in return for a mile-and-a-half walk! As ever, when you come back from the woods when the temperature is above freezing, do a thorough tick check. K Heather Fitzgerald teaches field ecology and environmental science at the Community College of Vermont, University of Vermont and Saint Michael’s College.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF KEEGAN ALBAUGH
POP CULTURE B Y KE E GA N A L BA UGH
Investing in Dads Shifting society’s response to fatherhood engagement
he weeks that followed the birth of our first daughter, Coraline, in June of 2016, were a blur. Time lost most of its meaning as my partner, Stephanie, and I quickly adapted to a new schedule of sporadic sleeping, devouring slices of cold pizza at 3 a.m., and changing soiled diapers and doing laundry on what felt like an endless loop. I felt a mix of joy, exhaustion, excitement, stress and anxiety. Dad Guild members I remember holding Coraline in and their children our rocking chair in the middle of the night as she slept. I remember pushing her stroller down the street to get Italian ice at the local market several times a week. I remember giving my daughter her first bath in our kitchen sink. I also remember the feeling of opening up the newspaper, hoping to learn about the different groups and activities for new fathers in the community, only to find that there was only one such offering. I was so appreciative of all the opportunities, Keegan Albaugh (second from right) with other Dad Guild members support and networks that existed for new mothers like my partner, but I was also totally jealous. And lonely. I wanted connection. I when living together isn’t physically possible. wanted support. No such program currently exists in the state’s As I reflected on the lack of fatherhood opportunities, correctional facilities for men, even though my mind raced. How are we expecting fathers to embrace a 2015 report by the Vermont Department of A pre-pandemic their parenting roles when there are so few community Corrections recommended creating an equivaDad Guild gathering offerings that are designed to specifically engage fathers? lent program in each of the men’s prisons. This What messages are we sending around whose role it is to is not a criticism of the amazing resources raise children? If this is how fatherhood support looks in the that exist for mothers but recognition of areas at the opportunity to join a dads’ group, and each progressive city of Burlington, what the hell does it look like where we could improve fatherhood support. may need a little encouragement. I’ve met so many elsewhere? So, what can you do to help engage fathers? Getting guys who initially came to Dad Guild because their Those questions, combined with my desire to see a more dads involved in their parenting roles can feel like an partner made them, only to realize the fatherhood supportive fatherhood community in Burlington, led overwhelming task, but there are small things folks can do community is a great way to stay connected and me to found Dad Guild, a nonprofit organization whose to support a societal shift. engaged. mission is to support and empower fathers by offering • Write to your representatives. As the pandemic opportunities for connection, education and community • Normalize positive fatherhood engagement. When winds down, there are a lot of conversations about how engagement. For the past two years, Dad Guild has estabyou see a father in the grocery store with his child, don’t to invest in our state. Encouraging representatives to lished a network of around 400 local fathers, created and say something like, “It’s so nice that you’re giving Mom a advocate for money for fatherhood programs is a great implemented more than 350 hours of programming, and break.” Seeing dads spend time with their kids shouldn’t long-term investment developed relationships with over two dozen community be viewed as something out of the ordinary. We can partners. raise the bar higher than that. As the pandemic approaches the finish line (fingers In addition to Dad Guild, there are a few other • Talk about parental leave in your workplace. crossed), many people are excited about the loosening of programs for fathers in the Burlington area. The Janet Ensuring that all caregivers have time off after the addi- business restrictions and the ability to safely gather in S. Munt Family Room, a parent-child center in the Old tion of a new family member helps fathers feel included large groups once again, myself included. Over the past North End, has a fatherhood program that I’ve run for from the start and sends a message about whose role it year, there has been a lot of positive momentum around the past year and a half; it includes individualized case is to raise tiny human beings. Work to change policies supporting fathers in the region, and I’m excited to see it management support, groups, and a weekly opportunity that don’t support non-birth partners in your own carry forward. for dads to get together with their kids to share a meal, workplace. A testimonial from Dad Guild’s most recent survey play and connect. Prevent Child Abuse Vermont also runs • Refrain from using phrases like “Hey, mamas” summarizes my feelings: “This past year has been tough a class that explores a variety of topics related to parentin caregiver groups. Save that language for for obvious reasons, but Dad Guild has been a bright spot ing and developing nurturing skills in dads. spaces specifically designed for mothers. Starting during all this where I know I will look back on this period But there’s still so much more that needs to be done. a social media post in a way that only addresses and see the friendships that started there as something At the Turning Point Center of Chittenden County there moms not only reinforces a problematic societal good coming out of a period with a lot of darkness,” one is a fantastic program called Moms in Recovery but no norm but intentionally leaves fathers out of the dad wrote. “I have so much optimism looking forward to equivalent for fathers. Lund’s Kids-A-Part program allows conversation. sharing the experiences of raising kids with a community incarcerated mothers to connect with their children, • Encourage fathers to join groups and particiof awesome folks.” fostering the development of meaningful relationships pate in programs. Not every father is jumping I’m looking forward to the opportunities ahead, too. K KIDSVT.COM JUNE 2021
VERMONT VISIONARIES BY CAT CU TI L L O
ECHO Exhibit Creator Chris Whitaker
PHOTOS: CAT CUTILLO
s the STEM & Exhibits Project Manager at ECHO Leahy Center for Lake Champlain, Colchester resident Chris Whitaker is responsible for designing and improving exhibits at the lakefront science center. The latest exhibit, “Engineer It!,” includes a vertical wind tube where guests engineer materials they can fly, a shake table to investigate structures that can withstand an earthquake, and a station where guests discover the power of pulleys as they lift their own body weight. Whitaker designed the shake table and wind tube himself, and he improved upon the pulley station by adding an adaptive seat for kids with special needs. To inform his work, he has drawn on experience as a wildlife biotech and invasive species coordinator with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at Parker River National Wildlife Refuge in Massachusetts and later as a middle school science teacher. But these days, it’s his role as Dad to 4-year-old Charlotte and 9-month-old Maeve that inspires him most when he’s on the job.
Chris and daughter Charlotte exploring ECHO’S tornado vortex, part of the “Awesome Forces” exhibit
On having an at-home tester Any activity I come up with, I’ll often bring things home from the museum, and Charlotte and I will just play with them — if for nothing more than to watch how she interacts with things. It gives you insight into the play that children do, and that’s really important because playing is learning. If I bring out something she’s never seen before, she has no preconceived notion as to what to do with it. So, it’s always fascinating to see what it becomes, and then to just live in her world for a little bit.
How his approach to parenting and work intersect I think it’s really important to create an environment where [kids are] allowed to play and explore and experiment, because that’s where new and inventive ideas come from.
On the benefits of experimenting Kindergartners will come up with some of the best solutions because they just will try anything. It’s a constant learning process, and that’s part of what I love about working here at the museum 14
KIDSVT.COM JUNE 2021
Chris and Charlotte levitate balls in an airstream
The ECHO entrance
— [that] it’s always changing, it’s always different, and even the educators are always learning.
On ECHO’s focus on the five steps of the Engineering Design Process: define, plan, create, test and improve It’s an iterative process. You’re
constantly trying to come up with a better solution. I have a problem I want to solve, an activity I’d like to create. And then I put it out on the museum floor, and often what I will discover is that people won’t use it anywhere close to how I thought they would. Sometimes, it’s in amazing ways, and sometimes
things just break. So I’m constantly seeing how guests react to them and then going back to the workshop and rebuilding them to improve things. And that’s part of what we like to teach, too — in order to really learn and understand things, you have to fail and then try to make them better. K
CHILDREN’S ENTERTAINMENT BY A LI SO N N OVA K CAITLIN DURKIN
The cast of A Year With Frog and Toad at Shelburne Museum
Make this summer
The Show Must Go On Lyric Theatre returns to in-person performances with ‘A Year With Frog and Toad’
ast March, the cast of Lyric Theatre’s production of Matilda was rehearsing up to 16 hours a week for an April run at the Flynn when the pandemic put an abrupt halt to the show. Nearly 15 months later, the Roald Dahl-inspired musical is still on hold. But the South Burlington-based company is preparing to launch back into live performances with an entirely different show: A Year With Frog and Toad. Based on the popular stories by Arnold Lobel, the 90-minute musical will be performed entirely outdoors in June at three venues — Shelburne Museum, Williston’s Dorothy Alling Memorial Library and Burlington’s Fletcher Free Library. “It’s a really smart, witty show that parents will like, as well as kids,” said Lyric executive director Erin Evarts. Frog and Toad is a Theatre for Young Audiences production, which means it is written specifically for children but is performed by adults, said Evarts. It’s a new format for Lyric and one she said she hopes to continue going forward. Performances are free, thanks in part to the Vermont Department of Libraries, and the Children’s Literacy Foundation will also donate 100 Frog and Toad books per show. It made sense to partner with libraries to present the show, given its subject matter and youth focus, Evarts added. There’s a strong connection between “the joy and the wonder of reading” and “the joy and the wonder of theater.” Jayden Choquette, who’s appeared in many Lyric productions over the past nine years, was slated to play Mr. Wormwood in Matilda last spring. Now, he’s playing Toad. The return of live performances is “the light at the end of
COUNT COUNT COUNT COUNT COUNT Make this summer
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the tunnel,” he said. “Theater has always been my biggest passion in life.” In college, Choquette directed a production of A Year With Frog and Toad with child actors, so he was already familiar with, and enamored by, the show. In the lead-up to the performance, the five-person cast began rehearsing online. Choquette described it as “a very interesting process.” It was easy to get a handle on the acting and choreography via the internet, but singing was a different story. The majority of the songs include five-part harmonies, so trying to practice them with an audio lag and microphone issues was hard, he said. The cast eventually transitioned to in-person rehearsals, and Choquette says he’s grateful for the opportunity to rehearse in the same space as his fellow actors. And Evarts is grateful that audiences will soon get to experience the joy of theatergoing again. With more than a year without live performances, people have missed “the sense of camaraderie and a shared experience,” said Evarts. It’s something “you can’t replicate at home and on a Zoom, and I’m really excited to have people back in that setting.” K
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A Year With Frog and Toad takes place on Saturday, June 12, at Shelburne Museum; Saturday, June 19, at Dorothy Alling Memorial Library and Saturday, June 26, at Fletcher Free Library. A ticketed performance on Friday, June 11, at Isham Family Farm in Williston will benefit both Lyric and Isham’s nonprofit First:Earth Summer Series. Audience members will be required to wear masks and sit in pods. Learn more and preregister at lyrictheatrevt.org.
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5/26/21 4:14 PM
ART LESSONS B Y E M I LY J A COBS
Through the Looking Glass Celebrating and reflecting on identity through portraiture
y favorite project to do with students each year is the surrealist self-portrait. In this unit of study, we practice skills in realistic portraiture — understanding face proportions, drawing facial features, and shading realistically — but we also discuss surrealist art and reflect on identity. In imaginative, symbolic self-portraits, students get to communicate who they are and what they care about through visual art. Though the focal point of each student’s portrait is an image of themself, the background space provides Minh, age 11 opportunities for expressing the varied aspects of their identity. Students can incorporate visual symbols to represent their hobbies and interests, nationality or cultural identity, gender, sexual identity, religion, and even hopes for the future. Surrealism provides greater freedom, flexibility and room for innovation in terms of how students can incorporate these representations of their identity. Instead of forcing all of that visual symbolism into one realistic scene, surrealism allows students to organize pictures into fantastical, dream-like depictions. Surrealism: For example, a 20th-century art a student who loves video movement characgames might terized by bizarre, draw themselves strange, dream-like not simply images often featurplaying a video ing odd or surprising game but inside combinations of of it — surthings. rounded by the game’s setting. A student who enjoys soccer might draw a glowing soccer ball in the sky in place of the sun. Artists of all ages can imagine and create surrealist images, whether using simple symbols — a paintbrush to represent their love of painting — or more complex symbolism, such as a tree to represent familial “roots” or personal growth. Use the steps and strategies that follow to help you express your identity in your very own surrealist self-portrait! K 16
KIDSVT.COM JUNE 2021
Sherihan, age 13
Nadine, age 13
PORTRAITURE: DRAWING YOURSELF Required materials: Drawing paper, a pencil and eraser, and a mirror or a photograph of yourself Optional additional materials: Colored pencils, markers, crayons, watercolor paint, oil pastel 1. Have a mirror or a photograph of yourself ready to look at and draw from.
7 6. Check that the eyes you’ve drawn are not too big or too small — and that they are spaced correctly.
2. Using a pencil, begin by lightly drawing an oval shape to represent your head. 3. After you have lightly drawn an oval, look closely at the shape of your chin in the mirror or photograph. Erase and adjust the outline of the lower half of the oval to match the shape of your chin as closely as possible.
4. Lightly draw two lines bisecting the oval (to bisect means to cut in half). One line should be vertical, splitting the oval down the middle. The other line should be horizontal, dividing the face into equal top and bottom halves. 5. Draw your eyes on the horizontal line. It might look like they are too low, at first, but trust me, you’ll need all that space above the line for your eyebrows, forehead and hair!
Drawing Tip: The space between your eyes should be about the same length as the width of each eye. You should also have roughly this same amount of space between each eye and the edge of your face. 7. Draw your eyes’ irises and pupils, making sure that the circle of each iris touches or almost touches the top and bottom edges of the eye shape.
Drawing Tip: You can create a basic eye shape by drawing a curved “sad mouth” line sitting on top of the halfway line, and a “smiley” line below it, connecting the two curved lines at the edges. However, all eyes are shaped differently! Some people’s eyes might be wider or rounder, while some might be more almond-shaped or tilt up or down at the outer corners. Look closely at your own eye shape and try to match that shape in your portrait.
Drawing Tip: Add details such as eyelashes, highlights, “shines” of light you see reflected in your eyes, or any creases or lines you see around your eyes. 8. Draw the outlines of your eyebrows! Look closely at the shape and thickness of your eyebrows and how close or far they are from your eyes. Your eyebrows should be drawn a little “longer” than your eyes, extending slightly past the inner and outer corners of the eyes. Later, you can fill in your eyebrows with little
lines to create the texture of all the tiny hairs that form your brows. 9. For your nose, you’ll draw the tip of your nose and your nostrils roughly halfway between your eyes and the outline of your chin. Notice the curved lines that define your nostrils. All noses are shaped differently, so you’ll need to do your best to draw the lines that best mimic the shape of your nose. 10. Draw the bridge of your nose by drawing vertical, curved lines on either side of the line you drew down the middle of your face. These lines do not need to connect to the outlines of the lower part of your nose.
13. Next, draw the outlines of your neck. Our necks usually begin around the base of our ears, but they are slightly narrower than our heads. Look in the mirror or at your photograph, and notice the shape and thickness of your neck. The outlines of your neck might line up roughly with the outer corners of your eyes and should curve in just slightly. If you include your shoulders in your drawing, make sure that their outlines extend out, wider than your head!
11. Draw your mouth about halfway between your nose and the outline of your chin. Start by drawing the line between your upper and lower lip. Notice — does this line curve up at the corners or down? Does it dip down in the middle? Or is it very straight and flat?
14. Finally, draw the shape of your hair or head covering! You will draw either of these overlapping the top of your head, not sitting on top of it. If you’re drawing your hair: Instead of just drawing a bunch of lines for your hair, begin by drawing the outline of the overall shape of your hair. Notice the shape of your hairline, or the line where your hair meets your forehead. Later, when you color or shade in your portrait, you can fill your hair with lines that flow with the shape and wave or curl of your hair to create realistic texture. If you’re drawing a head covering, such as a scarf, hat or hijab: Notice the shape of your head covering, and do your best to mimic that shape by drawing its outline overlapping the top of your head. Check out the student artwork included here for examples to help guide your drawing! 15. Now that your outlines are drawn, erase all of the guidelines you drew to help place your facial features correctly, as well as the upper outline of your head (if you have covered it with the shape of a hairstyle or head covering). You can also make adjustments to your features and face shape if anything doesn’t look quite right.
Drawing Tip: Use your nose and eyes as reference points to decide how wide to draw your mouth. Are the corners of your mouth lined up with your nostrils? Or are they lined up with the inner corners of your eyes, or with your pupils?
Advanced Artist Tip: When you shade or color in your portrait, you can create the look of shadows by shading the sides of your nose and face slightly darker. Don’t make these shadows up. Look at your face in the mirror or photograph, and observe the shadows you can see. Use a shade slightly darker than your skin tone to create these shadows in your drawing. This will help your portrait appear more three-dimensional!
12. Next, draw your ears. Notice which parts of your facial features line up with the top and bottom edges of your ears. Usually, the top edges of our ears line up roughly with our eyebrows. The bottom edges of your ears might line up with your nostrils or with the corners of your mouth, depending on the size and shape of your ears.
SYMBOLISM & SURREALISM: EXPRESSING YOUR IDENTITY IN A SURREALIST BACKGROUND 1. Decide which parts of your identity are important to you. What do you want to represent about yourself? Make a list!
• Your gender identity and/or sexual identity
• A ball, racquet or other piece of gear to represent your love of a specific sport
• Books, shows and music that you like
• A flag to represent your nationality
• People and pets that you care about
• Foods or decorations that are important to your family’s holidays or traditions
2. Brainstorm & Sketch! You will need to think of a picture to represent each part of your identity that you wish to express in your portrait.
• Mountains to represent that you live in Vermont
• Your hobbies and interests • Your nationality or culture • The place where you live • Your favorite foods • Your religion or traditions
• Your future career goals
• Characters to represent your favorite video game or show
• Favorite places and memories
3. Put it all together! Use your imagination to come up with a creative background scene that includes the pictures you have chosen to represent you. Surrealism is dream-like and fantastical, so don’t be afraid to think outside of the box!
KIDSVT.COM JUNE 2021
CHECKUP WIT H D R. D AV I D RE TT E W • I N T E RV I EW C O M P L IL ED AN D C O N DEN S ED B Y K EN PIC AR D
Should You Adjust Your Parenting Style to Your Child’s Personality?
aising kids can be tricky enough, which may leave some parents wondering why Dr. David Rettew chose to name his new book Parenting Made Complicated: What Science Really Knows About the Greatest Debates of Early Childhood. But if moms and dads want a research-based parenting guide that’s tailored to each child’s temperament, they shouldn’t be put off by the title. Dr. Rettew is a child psychiatrist and associate professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine. Eschewing the quick sound bites that pervade many parenting books, he asserts that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to raising kids. Instead, Rettew delves into what researchers know, and don’t know, about the effectiveness of different childrearing styles — helicopter parenting, old-school parenting, free-range parenting and the like — and which are most effective on different personality types. Many parents discover this on their own: What worked well with their gregarious and happy-go-lucky daughter may not be as effective with their anxious and introverted son. Though packed with information, Parenting Made Complicated is eminently readable, practical, jargon free and even funny. Just don’t expect straightforward, cookie-cutter answers. KIDS VT: What’s the best way for parents to approach this book? DAVID RETTEW: I tried to provide some tools to help parents make a pretty good guess at what their child’s temperament looks like, and their own [temperament]. From there, they can arrive at one of five temperament types. Then, as parents go through the various topics, whether it be sleep training, breastfeeding, screen time or daycare, at the end of each chapter I say something about how things might be different for kids of different temperaments. The very last chapter explains how to put all of this into practice. KVT: Why did you choose the topics you did? DR: I wanted to cover a lot of ground because I understand that parents, especially those with young children, don’t have a lot of time to read. Many parenting books focus on just one or two of these topics, and that requires an awful lot of reading. Also, I’m a practicing child psychiatrist at UVM, and these are issues that come up often in my discussions with parents. They’re also ones where I see a lot of misinformation, confusion and contradictory advice online. KVT: What about parenting two or more kids, when each sibling has a different temperament? DR: It’s a tricky area. Kids are exquisitely sensitive at detecting unfairness and will often point it out. But I think there is merit to not parenting the same way for 18
KIDSVT.COM JUNE 2021
different kids. You’ve heard the adage, fair does not mean equal. Sometimes it’s a hard concept for kids to understand. But if you’re clear about what that means, kids can accept it most of the time. KVT: What should parents do in a two-parent household, where each has a different parenting style? DR: This is somewhat contradictory advice than what most parents are used to hearing, but in some ways it’s good to parent in a way that’s unnatural to them. We’ve all been told to just follow our instincts. That’s what Dr. Benjamin Spock advised. I’m not refuting that, but I think there are a lot of times when parents need to take a step or two in the opposite direction.
As I often tell parents, you don’t necessarily need to be on the same page, but you do need to be in the same book. Let’s say you’re a parent with high levels of anxiety yourself, and you have a child who, based on genetics and environment, also tends to have high levels of anxiety. There may be a lot of momentum toward overprotecting your kid. But one of the things we know about overcoming anxiety is, it’s very hard to do if you don’t expose yourself to some of those feared situations in a supportive way. So you may need to make sure that your child is getting that supportive nudging to confront some of their discomfort. When you have two parents with different temperaments, sometimes that other parent can help fulfill the role that doesn’t come as naturally to you. Consistency in parenting is good. As I often tell parents, you don’t necessarily need to be on the same page, but you do need to be in the same book. KVT: Which parts of your book have been the most controversial? DR: The place where I’ve gotten the most discussion has been the chapter on discipline and corporal punishment. My conclusion, based on the data, is that there isn’t much science out there to support the use of spanking. But I also get into different techniques such as time-outs. There are a lot of people who also consider behavioral modification techniques such as time-outs to be cruel and unusual punishments. Some even claim that they have brain-damaging effects. I feel like that’s taking the scientific literature way too far. There are certain kids, in
certain situations, where I totally agree that time-outs are not effective and end up getting parents into “wrestling matches” with their kids. But there are also kids who, in some moments, are pushing buttons and testing limits, and sometimes those techniques can be very effective. KVT: What parenting behaviors inflict actual harm on children? For example, you cite the relationship between co-sleeping and the increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome. DR: Another topic is praise: Are we overpraising or underpraising kids? There’s this belief that parents are running around saying “Good job!” to kids just for breathing, and that may be true for some. But one of the things the research tells us is that serious problems don’t arise from overpraising. It’s those harsh and critical things we say to our kids in our not-so-great moments as parents that are problematic. You can say “Great job!” 10 times, but when they hear one “What’s wrong with you?” it can really undermine a lot of good work you’ve done up to that point. Walking around in public, I still hear some really harsh comments from parents, and I cringe every time. K
S u n da y 1 1 - 5 802-98 5-3221 BOOKWORMS B Y BRE TT A N N S TA N CI U
Fatherly Fiction Kid lit that celebrates dads
ne of my earliest memories is of snuggling up in my father’s arms as he read to me and my sister before bedtime. His enthusiasm for books made me feel like we were the first children to discover Templeton the rat in Charlotte’s Web. I learned to love reading because he loved reading. Our favorite book was Roald Dahl’s Danny the Champion of the World. This middle-grade tale tells the story of a father and son who live in a wagon caravan. The father repairs cars for a living. If you haven’t read it yet, I won’t spoil the story, but the novel does include a baby carriage of sleeping pheasants. For Father’s Day, here are a few reading suggestions featuring fathers who, in different ways, shape their children’s lives.
PICTURE BOOKS A Different Pond, by Bao Phi, illustrated by Thi Bui This 2018 Caldecott Honor Book features a father-and-son duo who fish for the family’s food in a small pond in Minneapolis before the workday begins. In these early hours, the father tells his son about fishing in their homeland of Vietnam. Owl Moon by Jane Yolen, illustrated by John Schoenherr This is a sweetly poetic story of a young girl and her father who take a walk on a winter’s night. The father whistles for owls perched in the trees. Schoenherr’s beautiful illustrations and the story’s rich sensory details make this a gentle bedtime read. Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale, written and illustrated by Mo Willems This one ranks as one of my family’s most favorite read-aloud books. It tells the story of young Trixie and her father’s trip to the local laundromat. Comedy ensues when Trixie’s beloved stuffed rabbit goes missing. Two more Knuffle Bunny books complete the series.
MIDDLE GRADE The Crossover by Kwame Alexander This Newbery Medal and Coretta
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Join Us! Scott King Honor Award winner features twin brothers who love basketball and their father — a former professional baller. The high-energy story explores the complexities of family and first relationships. A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban This 2009 novel stars 10-year-old Zoe Elias. While her workaholic mother shoulders the economic burden of the family, her stay-athome father struggles with his own challenges. Her father may not be the storybook-perfect parent, but his relationship with Zoe runs deep.
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The First Part Last by Angela Johnson Author Johnson has won three Coretta Scott King Book Awards, including one for this novel featuring 16-yearold Bobby, who learns his girlfriend is pregnant. This book sheds light on the male perspective on teen pregnancy as Bobby faces difficult choices. Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo National Book Award winner Acevedo’s novel-in-verse is about two sisters who are brought together by their father’s unexpected death. When the girls meet in the Dominican Republic to bury him, they are forced to confront their mysterious past. The book tackles difficult subjects, including the socioeconomic disparities between the two girls. K
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SECONDHAND STYLE STO R Y & P H OTO S B Y M AR IA M U NR O E
From Golf Bags to Glassware Thrifted gifts for Father’s Day
W nderfeet Kids’ Museum
5/28/21 9:25 AM
s much as I love thrift-store shopping for myself, for a long time I was hesitant to buy secondhand gifts for others. But as thrifting has gained popularity, my uneasiness has faded. I’ve found that the secondhand gifts I buy are much more thoughtful, personal and often more practical than things I used to buy new. Because those are all qualities that would make the perfect gift for Father’s Day, I’m here to encourage you to consider a secondhand gift for the dad, or special guy, in your life. Below, find a few ideas for one-of-a kind gifts that don’t break the bank.
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OUTDOOR AND SPORTS GEAR I married a guy who loves golf and subsequently found out just how pricey it can be! Luckily, you can very easily find clubs and golf bags at a thrift store. One of my best finds was a golf bag I gave to a friend, who then gifted it to her boyfriend. It was a big hit! If you’re looking for something useful for your hiker, camper, biker, climber, etc., check out stores dedicated solely to outdoor and sports gear resale, like Outdoor Gear Exchange in Burlington and Play It Again Sports in South Burlington.
64 Harvest Lane Williston, VT 05495
I would recommend trying the thrift store before you go online to buy a T-shirt featuring a dad joke, pop-culture reference or brand logo. Chances are there’s something the dad you’re shopping for would enjoy hidden in those racks. I once thrifted my husband a “Vermont American” T-shirt while we were still living in Hawaii. Neither of us knew it was actually a tool company logo until a later Google search. To him, it was a nostalgic, subtle nod to his Vermont roots, and it’s still one of his favorites. Another classic Father’s Day gift that you can find in abundance at most thrift stores are ties. If you’re handy with a sewing machine, you can even follow an online tutorial to give an old tie a more modern shape.
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Whatever your guy is interested in, a thrift store is bound to have a book on that topic. Cookbooks, coffee table books and how-to guides are always well represented at your typical thrift store. If
you have a specific book or series in mind, try a local secondhand bookstore with an indexed inventory, or a large online source like thriftbooks.com. If you find a great book with a not-so-great cover, my number one tip is to simply remove the book’s sleeve. Often, you’ll find a pristine and even more beautiful cover waiting underneath. And if you think your book could use a new sleeve, make a personalized one out of wrapping paper, an old map or a brown paper bag — and let the kids decorate it!
AN OLD FRAME WITH NEW MEMORIES Thrift stores are full of folding frames that make great free-standing displays for photos or kids’ art. For less than $2, I printed a photo of myself as a baby and a similarly posed photo of my own baby girl to put in one of them as a Father’s Day gift for my dad. I like how the folding frame creates a mirror image between these old and new photos, and I know he will love it.
ETCHED GLASSWARE Upcycle thrifted glassware by etching a name or slogan into it. I’ve etched our last name into a casserole dish, and I’ve made way too many personalized drinking glasses. I used a few letter stickers as stencils and some glass etching cream to etch “Lele’s daddy” on a glass. It’s a practical gift with a oneof-a-kind touch. You can find etching cream and stencils at a craft store. Lay on your stenciled design, then apply the cream to create a custom etching that’s permanent, as well as dishwasher and food safe. K
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KIDSVT.COM JUNE 2021
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JUST FOR KIDS Coloring Contest! Three winners will each receive an annual family membership to the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium. Send Kids VT your work of art by June 15. Be sure to include the info at right with your submission. Winners will be chosen in the following categories: (1) ages 5 and younger, (2) ages 6-8 and (3) ages 9-12. Winners will be named in the July issue of Kids VT. Send your high-resolution scans to email@example.com or mail a copy to Kids VT, P.O. Box 1184, Burlington, VT 05402.
KIDSVT.COM JUNE 2021
Matching Puzzle................................23 Coloring Contest Winners..........24 Puzzle Answer................................... 27
Title _______________________________________ Contest sponsored by
Artist ______________________________________ Age _______________ Town ___________________ Email ______________________________________ Phone ______________________________________
JUST FOR KIDS
DADDY’S DAY DILEMMA BY MARC NADEL
It’s Father’s Day on Orangutan Island, and Orson Orang has brought his twins to the beach for some sun and fun. But a big bunch of other Orangu-dads had the same idea, and all of the young ones are wearing similar outfits. Can you spot the only two little children with identical onesies? Or will Orson’s Big Daddy-O Day become a big dud?!
Answer p. 27 KIDSVT.COM JUNE 2021
DELIVERING HOLISTIC EDUCATION FOR OVER 25 YEARS.
COLORING CONTEST WINNERS
Where learning is rooted in relationships. Ages 3-12 www.bellwetherschool.org
NOW ENROLLING! 1/28/21 8:14 AM
Our judges were delighted by the fabulous submissions mailed in as part of this month’s coloring contest. Eleanor, 10, created a vibration of colors surrounding her vibrantly colored pink, purple and orange tiger. Sevenyear-old Amelia drew a party scene that included an orange tiger with animal guests of a towering giraffe, an elephant and a panda bear. Tessa, 5, sent us a feline covered in spring colors that continue her tiger’s naturally occurring geometric patterns, and a background of stormy pink sky, grey clouds and green rain drops. Thanks to all who entered! We can’t wait to see what you have in store this month.
The winners of annual family memberships to the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium are…
“Kitten in Flowerbed in Storm” Tessa Pavey, 5 5& MONTPELIER
“Party Tiger” Amelia Crank, 7
6 to 8
HONORABLE MENTIONS “PRINCESS TIGER”
Hazel Young, 5 Stowe “HAPPY TIGER” k8h-PetraCliffs0621 1
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Claire Rogers, 4 Stowe “RAINBOW RAGA”
Seraphina Leafe, 9 Lyndonville “PAINTBRUSH TIGER”
Indy Roberts, 11 Montpelier
“BLUESKY THE TIGER”
Hunter Cole, 7 Jericho
Nora Rogers, 6 Stowe
“TRANS TIGER WITH SOCKS”
Enoch Freebern, 6 Richmond “STRIPEY”
Amelia Bibb, 5 Ferrisburgh
TOP TITLES “ROAR!”
Hendrix Picard, 2 Jeffersonville “I HAVE A TIGER IN MY YARD!”
Lydia McGarry, 6 Waitsfield
KIDSVT.COM JUNE 2021
5/27/21 11:18 AM
“Crazy Hair Day” Eleanor Anderson, 10 EAST MONTPELIER
9 to 12
KIDSVT.COM JUNE 2021
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SHOW YOUR DAD AND YOUR COMMUNITY YOU CARE. SHOP LOCAL THIS FATHER’S DAY.
Need some ideas?
WITH GENEROUS SUPPORT FROM:
Visit the Register for all the info on area shopkeepers who are selling their products online for local delivery or pickup. Browse by categories ranging from jewelry to electronics, outdoor gear to apparel. Whether you need something for yourself or that perfect gift for a loved one, shop savvy and keep Vermont strong. SHOP T H ER EGIS T E R .C OM
KIDSVT.COM JUNE 2021
3/22/21 7:38 PM
USE YOUR WORDS B Y P E T E R M CCON V I L L E
WANT TO CHANGE SOMEONE’S LIFE?
Run, Dad, Run
How my son became my jogging coach
We’re welcoming surrogates to apply for future matching! Our screening process can take several months before anyone is matched, so start now. Plan ahead for your family’s future while helping others.
Picking up Hayden from his weekly pre-marathon training sessions, sweaty, exhausted and beaming with pride, I began wondering: Even if I didn’t have a half marathon in me, surely I could run a 5K with my son, right? And if I could convince him to be the one to get me there, it could be a healthy shift in the dynamics of our relationship. Under my tutelage, he’s learned some important life skills: how to fix a bike flat, make a mean breakfast sandwich and identify all of the Grateful Dead’s keyboard players. What, I wondered, could I learn to do under his? And so, we began training: Hayden running next to me, talking the whole time as if we were on a leisurely stroll; me gasping for air, never responding, taking it all in — every word of encouragement, every endless tangent about Fortnite, every question about how I was feeling. He would jog right next to me, reigning in his pace for most of the run, then sprint off ahead so that he could clap me in for that last 200 feet or so. As I stumbled over the invisible finish line at the end of every run, he would tell me that he knew what I was doing wasn’t easy, but he believed in me, he was proud of me, and he loved me. Eventually, without even realizing it, we hit the 3.1-mile mark. There was no big celebration, not even a photograph of the two of us afterward. That first 5K, however, wasn’t my last. I’ve kept it up, running almost every day. I still don’t love it. I don’t know if I ever will. But I trust science, and so I run for my physical and mental health. More importantly, however, I run to remind myself that, as much as I try to shepherd Hayden through life as best I can, he has just as much, if not more, to teach me about how to live. I still don’t really have any interest in running a half marathon, but I’ll sometimes run five, six or even 10 miles when I have the time and the inclination. And when I feel doubt creeping in, it’s quickly erased by that small voice in my head telling me that he believes in me, he’s proud of me, and he loves me. So I push myself. And I bring it in, all the way home. K E
| DR EA
routines that reminded me of elementary school gym class, and mumbling prerace mantras while staring out into the distance. Tables with trays full of bagels and giant bowls of granola bars, and medals for everything from finishing to winning, awaited runners at the finish line. Once the race started, my wife and I would drift into the corner, trying to look inconspicuous in our street clothes while we waited the 25 to 30 minutes it took Hayden to finish. These were his people, not ours, but we were thrilled that he was finding his own tribe, growing away from us in all the right ways. Pretty soon, he was running on relay teams in the Vermont City Marathon. The first year, Hayden ran a 6-mile stretch, and the next, at 11 years old, he ran a half marathon. I was simultaneously proud and flummoxed. And my son’s accumulating achievements got me to start thinking about taking up the pastime myself. While my earlier attempts at running were thwarted by a bad ankle and what I’m pretty sure was medically diagnosed as a “bum foot,” surgery in the intervening years had taken care of frequent sprains and impact injuries. My old excuse that my body just wasn’t built for running was becoming harder to justify. And while it was easy to chalk up my son’s seemingly effortless 5Ks as a preternatural gift, watching him add mile after mile to his training every week was inspiring.
Surrogacy compensation starts at
802-497-6579 firstname.lastname@example.org • vtsurrogacy.com
PUZZLE PAGE ANSWER
3/26/20 1:50 PM
SEE PAGE 23 FOR PUZZLE
Orville & Olivia are Orson’s children.
ome on, Dad! Really push yourself for this last stretch! Bring it in! All the way home!” I stumbled toward my pint-size coach, gasping down the bike path in my best approximation of a jog, wondering in that moment why I had not only agreed to this but suggested it. Aside from a few flirtations with running in my twenties, I’ve never been a runner. In fact, I don’t think I had ever run more than two miles at a time in my life. But here I was, at 42 years old, under the tutelage of my 11-yearold son Hayden, training for a hypothetical 5K. We’d agreed to start small. Day one, we would run a mile. The next day we would tack on a 1/4 or 1/2 mile, adding a little more each day until we hit our 3.1-mile goal. In my young coach, I had someone who would help me set goals, encourage me and hold me accountable. I needed to be held accountable. The seed for this project was planted when Hayden was in kindergarten. As part of a school program, he would show up early and run laps around the playground. Every time he completed one, he was handed a popsicle stick. Once students had enough sticks, they could cash them in for stickers or bouncy balls or erasers or whatever the hot elementary school prizes of the year were. He amassed a lot of popsicle sticks and, in the process, discovered that he had a real affinity for running. As he got older, we found more opportunities for Hayden to run. Parks and rec track-and-field program in the summer? Check. An uncle burning off his Christmas cookies and cabernet on December 26th at my parents’ house? Lace ‘em up, kid. Local 5K raising money for a cause that his parents somehow got wind of ? Sign him up — and see if we can guilt the grandparents into a nominal contribution to boot. At those 5Ks, my wife and I would pull up, decked out in jeans and flannel, letting him loose in a sea of spandex and sweatbands. Near the starting line, runners would splay out, massaging their calf muscles with what looked like giant foam rolling pins, going through stretching
KIDSVT.COM JUNE 2021
11/19/20 2:12 PM
The Dad Issue: Changing Societal Views About Dads; Gift Ideas for Father's Day; When Your Son Becomes Your Running Coach; Exploring Niquette...
Published on May 31, 2021
The Dad Issue: Changing Societal Views About Dads; Gift Ideas for Father's Day; When Your Son Becomes Your Running Coach; Exploring Niquette...