teen years & emotional vulnerabilities May 2011
rules of the road: bike safety combating lice
Give your baby every opportunity to accomplish his or her dreams.
Start with the Minnesota College Savings Plan. Thinking about paying for college now may seem overwhelming. Yet, by starting to save today, you can make financing your child’s future college education more manageable. The Minnesota College Savings Plan makes it easy to start and simple to save. Affordable to start: A contribution to an account can be made with as little as $25 in any investment option. Anyone can contribute: Parents, grandparents, family and friends can give to an account on behalf of a child or loved one. Tax advantages can help: Minnesota College Savings Plan account earnings can grow free from Minnesota and federal income taxes. Flexible to use: Funds can be used for a variety of qualified expenses at nearly any school in the U.S. and many abroad. Potential Matching Grant: Some Minnesota families may qualify for a Matching Grant.* Children grow up fast. Start saving for their future today.
You can get there. We can help. To get started, or for more information:
• Visit www.MN529Dreams.com • Call 877 338-4646
*Matching Grants are dependent upon appropriations from the Minnesota Legislature as approved by the Minnesota Governor. Eligibility requirements for Matching Grants are subject to change. If the total amount of Matching Grants exceeds the amount appropriated, Matching Grant awards will be proportionately reduced. Please visit www.mnsaves.com for additional details. Consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses before investing in the Minnesota College Savings Plan. Please visit www.mnsaves.org for a Disclosure Booklet containing this and other information. Read it carefully. Before investing in a 529 plan, you should consider whether the state you or your designated beneficiary reside in or have taxable income in has a 529 plan that offers favorable state income tax or other benefits that are only available if you invest in that state’s 529 plan. The tax information contained herein is not intended to be used, and cannot be used, by any taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties. It was written to support the promotion of the Minnesota College Savings Plan. Taxpayers should seek advice based on their own particular circumstances from an independent tax advisor. Account value in the investment options is not guaranteed and will fluctuate based upon a number of factors, including general market conditions. Non-qualified withdrawals may be subject to federal regular income taxes, the 10% federal additional tax, and other taxes. © 2010 TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc., Plan Manager. C46163
9824 MN Targeted ad-ExpctMom.indd MN College Savings Plan MNP 09101 FP.indd 1
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the black room I was a pretty happy teenager. I just got off the phone with my mother and she confirmed it. I had my share of preteen door slamming, but she says that I was an easy kid to have around once I hit those mid-teen years. So it was tough, and actually even a little hard to fathom, why my daughter went through such a bad patch in her mid-teens. I’ll start this story by saying that thankfully, she was able to work through it, but it took constant parenting as her hormones misfired and her frontal lobe developed. And wow — I had so many questions, the biggest being: How could she be so unhappy at that age, when I was so much the opposite? Our feature writer, Dr. Kara Witt, is probably one of the most intelligent and insightful people I know, and during those times when I was worrying myself crazy over why my daughter wanted to paint her room black and sit in the dark, Kara helped me to understand that things would change. But it would take all hands on deck, never walking away, and always being there, listening and encouraging, but never coddling. And if we needed to go further with medication or counseling, we should accept that too. So, when I was approaching the feature in this issue, I knew the only person who could write it would be my friend. Despite that she has used a fictional teen as an example in her article, there are many kids like that out there, and we are the parents struggling to understand and cope with their varying behaviors. Like I said, my daughter emerged from her adolescence just fine. She’s a tremendous young adult. But my goodness, those teen years were difficult. Every phase of our kids’ lives bring new challenges. I remember thinking, “wow — I can’t wait for the day when she stops putting her fingers in her milk glass.” Geeze, that’s a walk in the park compared to some of the teenage stuff. If only. So here’s hoping that as your kids grow up, they slam their doors only now and again, and as teens are breezy and sunny as a spring day in May. But if not, it’s good to know that help for you, and your child, is available.
13 health + wellness bike safety photo by robb long
parent pages kid culture
16 when josh went on a walkabout
21 itâ€™s my party
addressing mental health in the teen years
kids on the cusp
25 kid books
22 creepy crawlies combating lice
32 real parent st. paul mother elisabeth oâ€™toole
5 chatter 8 hot stuff toddler training ON THE COVER On a beautiful day in early April, Jessica and Marie Labenski (ages 10 and 6, respectively), took to the sidewalks of Northfield, MN. Photo by Robb Long. 2
9 grows on trees teens & money
calendar 26 may top events
11 teens and tweens practicing cyber safety mnparent.com
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parent the journal of family living Vol. 26, Issue 5 Co-Publishers Janis Hall 612-436-4361 email@example.com
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Contributing Photographer Robb Long
Contributing Writers Kelly Jo McDonnell Kara McGuire Joy Riggs C.C. Strom Dr. Kara Witt
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Circulation Marlo Johnson 612-436-4388 firstname.lastname@example.org
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parent pages art-a-whirl
provide, deliver to, and collect from clients 100% compostable diapers and wipes. Because the composting process requires higher heat than backyard composting piles, Do Good teamed up with a state regulated industrial composting facility to compost the products, ensuring proper handling and composting. The result is a highquality clean soil, and less impact on the landfills. For more information, visit dogooddiapers.com.
It’s the largest open studio and p a e gallery tour in the U.S. showch e dat t casing more than 500 artists h g ni including potters, painters, sculptors, musicians, photographers, printmakers, and more. Whew. Trolleys move through the central area, should you need a lift between galleries. Grab your honey’s hand and head over to the Waterbury Building, where Surly is setting up its beer truck again both Friday night and Saturday, and the stage is filled with musical acts on Saturday afternoon. Or, stroll through the Northrup King Building on Friday night and sip wine while enjoying four floors full of talent. Visit nemaa.org for the full roster of buildings and events, all happening Friday night the 20th through Sunday the 22nd at 5 p.m.
mixed reviews for lil rinser We thought it was a great idea; a cap that would stay on firmly and nt pare ed t channel water away from the face, s te but its one-size fits all flexibility wasn’t great for the two heads Lil Rinser was tested on. Our parent tester said that it was hard to hold it in place, keep her child’s hands down, and pour the water all at once, but on a positive note, her daughter thought it made a fun bath cap (see photo, right). See for yourself at lilrinser. com. About $10.
green diaper service expands Do Good Diaper Service is now offering a compostable diaper service. After several months of research and testing with commercial composting partners and state regulators, it will
PLANS THAT FIT YOUR LIFE. Medica Solo is for you and you alone. Encore is for you and anyone you choose. And Symphony is the plan that brings families together. Scan the code with your smartphone’s QR code reader* to be connected instantly with a plan that works best for you. Call your Medica agent or 1-888-313-2951. Or visit us at medica.com/plansthatfit.
Personalize. Empower. Improve. *Need the QR reader app? Go to get.neoreader.com from your mobile phone to download a free app, then scan the code and get a quote.
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chatter super hero in the bathroom! Company Kids’ exclusive 100% cotton hooded towels are fun for NT PARE ED little ones at the pool, beach, or T S E T after bath time. One generous size fits all and are available in a number of different styles for the inner pirate, fairy, bunny — even a lobster, though the logic on that one escapes us, you never know where a child’s imagination will land next. Visit companykids.com, about $30.
equally shared parenting A family where both parents share not only breadwinning responsibilities, but also cooking, cleaning, and child-rearing tasks isn’t an impossible utopia with the Equally Shared Parenting concept. Marc and Amy Vachon write about their commitment to splitting tasks equally and gender-neutrally while raising two children. The model assigns duties to each parent and allows a budget of time for each parent to pursue other interests K BOOHE T F O TH MON
YOUR CHILD can
and hobbies, while showing how to split tasks accordingly. The book also accounts for the inevitable chaos and hiccups a family will experience (shared parenting or not) and how to bounce back in the most sanity-preserving way. 263 pages, $15.
lemonade mouth on the disney channel Kids and tweens will be rockin’ out with Lemonade Mouth, the newest band hitting the Disney Channel. Five misfit students meet in detention and soon discover that fitting in with the jocks and cheerleaders doesn’t have to be the ultimate goal. The new band mates, played by Disney Channel alums Bridgit Mendler, Adam Hicks, and Hayley Kiyoko, among others, stand up against their rival band Mudslide Crush and earn the adoration of their classmates. The group sticks together through disagreements; pizza fights; and, of course, first crushes. Lemonade Mouth confronts issues like divorce and living in the shadow of older siblings in ways real kids can relate to, and no
ONLINE PUBLIC SCHOOLING MEANS INDIVIDUALIZED LEARNING FOR EVERY STUDENT.
Often, a one-to-one approach is what it takes to realize a child’s innermost possibilities. Tuition-free, online public schooling from K12—the leader in K–12 online education—offers an education that adapts to fit every child. Innovative, proven curriculum Passionate, certified teachers Flexible, individualized learning It’s the choice between a child trying to fit the school, or a school that fits your child.
We’re now accepting enrollments for the fall. Join us at an upcoming event, including our Discovery Days, to find out more.
VISIT K12.COM/MN CALL 866.360.0159
K12 programs are available statewide for grades K–12 through Minnesota Virtual Academy.
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parent pages character is without flaw. Based on the novel of the same name by Mark Peter Hughes. Check Disney Channel for airdates/times.
great growing Growing kits abound in the spring and Minnesota Parent began experimenting at home with three different kits: Growums, Miracle-Gro Kids, and Topsy Turvy, the upside down planter. Because teaching children to garden and learn about where their food comes from is an important tool in engaging them in a healthy lifestyle — we think these simple kits are a great way to get started. The Growums and Miracle-Gro kits set up quickly and are currently sitting near a window soaking up sun; the Topsy Turvy must wait for outdoor hanging … but the concept is certainly intriguing. Go to growums.com; scotts. com; or topsy-turvy.com for more information.
world war II re-enactment Dakota City’s second annual World War II Historical Re-enactment event will take place Saturday, May 21, and Sunday, May 22 at Da-
Wheel Fun mnparent.com Rentals MNP 0511 H2.indd parent
kota City Heritage Village in Farmington. More than 20 living history organizations will portray American, British, Canadian, Russian and German soldiers. Throughout the weekend, the village will come to life with memories of the war years, both military and on the home front. Anyone who is a veteran, family of a veteran, history enthusiast, or who would like to learn more about the 1940s era is encouraged to attend. Visit dakotacity.org for more info.
bike safety The brightly colored BikeGlow Safety Light will dramatically increase a bike’s side visibility when it’s wrapped around the frame. A 10-foot flexible light tube uses electroluminescent technology and features bright colors for increased visibility from the side. You can choose between steady, slow flashing, and fast flashing modes. A 3.5" x 1.25" power unit attaches to bike with included strap; unit weighs less than 2 oz. Wrap it around the frame tubing and secure it tightly with included attachment ties or tape. Runs on batteries. bikeglow.com, about $25.
4/21/11 11:45 AM7 may 2011
toddler training as babies move into toddlerhood 1 late night light GIIMMO Magic Animal Friend Night Lights have a rainbow for a heart and fill the room with a kaleidoscope of light to help soothe your child to sleep. They are also bendable and portable for those late night walks to the bathroom. You only have to gently tap on or off. Plenty of cute animals are available including panda, elephant, hedgehog, and many more. Available at Live, Laugh, Love in Edina at 50th & France or giimmo.com. About $35
2 tissues for teeth No one knows more about developing good habits at an early age than Grace Lo and Jonathan Korn — dentists who have created TOOTH TISSUES: disposable textured dental wipes specially designed to help remove plaque from your baby and toddler’s teeth and gums. toothtissues.com; about $7
3 sun in style Touting the tag line, “Where hip meets health,” K&J sun protective clothing blocks out 99% of harmful UV rays, is 100% cotton and has no chemicals added. Because sun protection should begin at birth — one blistering or five non-blistering childhood sunburns double the lifetime risk of developing melanoma, a potentially fatal form of skin cancer — dermatologist and founder Dr. Mona Gohara developed these fashionable, functional tees for age birth to 24 months. kjsunprotectiveclothing.com; about $20
4 handy hanger If you have been propping the potty seat against the wall or toilet when it’s not in use, consider this simple and affordable product to keep the clutter down to a minimum. The POTTY HOOK fits on all toilet tanks and most potty seats. Available at in some specialty stores as well as online (search Potty Hook and let your computer do the rest). About $6
5 just ducky AQUEDUCK by Peachy, LLC makes hand-washing easier for kids. Rather than lifting your little one up, or leaving a stool in your home bathroom, Aqueduck solves the problem by bringing the water closer to kids! Just slip it onto the faucet and the water is extended several inches, helping your little ones reach it all on their own. Compact and lightweight. Aqueduck.com, about $13
grows on trees
tion, learning to earn, and sharing money. When you combine the random nature of how teens learn about money with the overwhelming number of “spend” messages our culture directs at them, it shouldn’t be a big surprise why so many teens struggle with money issues — especially after they leave home.
KM: How should parents talk to their kids about money? ND: Many parents feel overwhelmed with the task, partly because of their own recognition of past money choices. I often remind them that healthy money habits begin with a conversation. It’s not about having the single perfect conversation; rather it’s a series
making a statement with money by kara mcguire
When you think of teens, “willingly absorbs advice from parents” is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. And yet, here we are, charged with teaching our soon-to-be young adults about budgeting, saving, and using credit wisely. It’s certainly not something kids are guaranteed to learn in school. It’s not necessarily a subject that parents feel they’ve mastered either. Minneapolis author and personal finance expert Nathan Dungan just wrote a new interactive book for families, Money Sanity Solutions: Linking
Money and Meaning. I asked him for some tips on talking about money with teens. You can learn more about his money philosophy at sharesavespend.com. Kara McGuire: What is the biggest challenge that teens face when it comes to money? Nathan Dungan: The biggest challenge for most teens is that they have never had any formal training in how to build healthy money habits — like setting money goals and developing a plan for reaching them, needs and wants, deferred gratifica-
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parent pages of discussions over many years. It’s important for parents to understand that they play the single biggest role in shaping their child’s money narrative. If they abdicate the responsibility, the culture will step in and fill the void. KM: How can parents strike a balance between telling their kids what to do and giving them room to make their own decisions and mistakes? ND: It’s one of the reasons why I like allowances for needs. Why not proactively shift some of the accountability and responsibility to them while they still live at home? That way they can make some mistakes while the stakes are a little lower and in turn build their confidence around a variety of money skills.
grows on trees KM: Any advice on dealing with peer pressure and income differences between friends? ND: For teens, peer pressure will likely impact most of their spending decisions regardless of socio-economic status. Over the past 20+ years I’ve had the privilege of interacting with thousands of teens about the choices they make with their money. I love challenging teens to articulate their money values and then try to make choices that honor their values — be it how they spend, save, or share their money. In our 18-month research study of 100 parents and their children (most of whom were teens), we gained some significant insight. By the end of the study, the teens who were more prone to spending (which was the
majority) had significantly decreased their focus on spending and significantly increased their self-esteem. It’s a great reminder that when you combine a little parental intervention with tools that help you proactively engage in money conversations, the outcomes can be pretty remarkable. KM: How can we teach teens to be truly charitable? ND: Kids need guidance and boundaries from their parents to help them build healthy money habits. It’s no different than instilling healthy eating habits. If you ask kids to choose between junk food and vegetables, they will always gravitate to the junk unless they’ve developed a palate for
veggies. So too it is with money. As a parent of young daughter, I want to help shape her money narrative, but not in ways that will stifle her curiosity. I want her to have a healthy confidence about money and all of the opportunities and responsibilities that come with the territory. While the benefit of sharing money with others is enormous on a number of fronts, it is just one part of the journey. I also want to help her understand that every time she saves and spends money she is making a statement about what she values and believes. That’s what my parents did for me. Kara McGuire is the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s personal finance columnist. Follow her on Twitter: @kablog.
Now on Display!
smm.org | (651) 221-9444
teens and tweens
practicing cyber safety by joy riggs
photo by robb long
Insults, threats, sharing embarrassing pictures and more are the most common ways in which teens are bullied or harassed online.
As the parent of a ninth-grader devoted to her iPod, a seventh grader who’s enamored of video games, and a fourth-grader who knows his way around YouTube, I worry about the increasing role technology plays in my children’s lives. Yes, I am an old fogey. I prefer print copies of magazines, newspapers, and books. I just bought a CD at a store instead of downloading the album online. I have no games for my cell phone. I don’t dislike technology, but I am slow to adapt to it and leery of its power to put children in situations beyond their maturity level. This is a challenge I never anticipated before I became a parent. It now occupies much of my mental energy — how do
I keep up with technology, not just for myself, but so I can better guide my children? Fortunately, I don’t need to have all the answers. I can learn from people like Dave Eisenmann, the director of instructional technology with the Minnetonka Public Schools. Eisenmann often gives talks in other school districts about cyber safety, and when he spoke recently at my son’s middle school, I attended the presentation.
information is permanent Eisenmann told the auditorium full of cell phone-toting students that they live in exciting times, and that the new technology they enjoy will look clunky to
Dave Eisenmann’s cyber safety tips for parents 1. Proactively discuss values, consequences, and expectations for technology use parent
the next generation, the kids who are now in diapers. To safely navigate the everchanging world of technology, he said it’s important to remember that information put on the internet can be seen by billions of people and is permanent. “We want you to think twice before you digitize anything, whether it’s a picture you post on Facebook or a text message you send,” he said. “It gets saved somewhere on servers and is going to be around for a long time.” Thinking before acting or speaking doesn’t always come easily to teens. Eisenmann said he likes to use something he calls ‘the Grandma test.’ “If you aren’t comfortable
2. Actively engage and monitor teens’ use, and keep up with latest trends 3. Set up a filter for computers and phones 4. Talk about pornography, sexting, and web cams 5. Emphasize that nothing is private 6. Explain that everything is permanent
with Grandma seeing that picture, reading that message, or watching that video on YouTube, don’t send it in the first place,” he said. If students already have posted embarrassing or unflattering information, Eisenmann recommended that they go home and erase it, in hopes that no one else has saved it, and that it won’t remain part of their digital footprint. Other topics Eisenmann addressed were cyberbullying and harassment; inappropriate material; and the dangers of sharing personal information online.
cyberbullying and harassment Insults,
7. Talk about respectful etiquette and cyberbullying 8. Discuss the dangers of texting while driving 9. Limit screen time and violent video gaming 10. Regularly visit online parenting resources may 2011
resources Minnetonka Public Schools Internet Safety minnetonka.k12.mn.us/ administration/technology/ internetsafety/Pages/default.aspx Common Sense Media Parent Advice commonsensemedia.org/ advice-for-parents CyberTipline Know the Dangers http://tcs.cybertipline.com/ knowthedangers.htm Parents: the Anti-Drug Teens and Technology theantidrug.com/advice/ teens-today/teens-andtechnology/
embarrassing pictures, privacy violations, and password theft are the most common ways in which teens are bullied and harassed, Eisenmann said. People say nastier things over a screen than they would say to a person’s face, and they can’t see the other person’s face to judge the reaction. Technology allows a message meant for one person to quickly be transmitted to a much wider audience. Eisenmann cautioned the students to avoid responding in anger, and he encouraged them to talk to an adult before posting something in retaliation. “Think about how hard it is to take that back. If you send a text to four people, and realize you shouldn’t have sent it, or you’ve forwarded a picture —
how do you get that back? It’s already on four different people’s phones or computers. Once you put it online, you lose control, you can never get it back, and people can use it in ways you can’t imagine.” Eisenmann encouraged anyone who is bullied online to report it. He also encouraged anyone who receives a nude or inappropriate picture to report it immediately to an adult.
inappropriate material Schools place blocks on offensive and inappropriate internet sites. But many students have completely unfiltered internet access at home, which means they have easy access to online pornography. Eisenmann said research shows that young people who
look at porn are training their developing brains to think that those unhealthy depictions of relationships and bodies are healthy. Teens also can become addicted to viewing porn. “If you go over to a friend’s house who wants to show you a video he found online, do your best to avoid that content, in the same way you’ve learned to say no to alcohol and drugs,” he said. Finally, Eisenmann recommended that students set strict privacy settings on social networking sites and “unfriend” anyone they haven’t met in real life because those people may not be who they say they are online. A Northfield writer, Joy Riggs is thinking about getting an iPhone with an old fogey app.
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health & wellness
rules of the road making bike safety a priority by kelly jo mcdonnell
photo by robb long
Siblings Jessica, Marie, and Luke all practice safe cycling habits, including wearing helmets every time they ride.
ids love to ride bikes, and Minnesota loves bicycles — the League of American Cyclists ranked it among the top “bicycle friendly” states in the country. The season is short, yes. But before your kid takes too many laps around the block, it’s a good idea to make sure they are aware of some basic safety concerns. It’s not rocket science, just learning how to stay safe on the road while on two wheels.
head, brain, helmet According to the Kids Health organization, 300,000 kids go to the emergency room because parent
of bike injuries, and at least 10,000 kids have injuries that require a few days in the hospital. Ouch. Whether your child is going out for a long ride, or just hopping on the bike to go to the neighbor’s house, make sure the helmet is on. But don’t go buy any old helmet. The U.S. government has created safety standards for them. A sticker should be on the helmet stating it has met standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The helmet should also fit properly (not be too big or too small). The helmet should sit level on your child’s forehead. Kids might want to tip the
helmet back so it doesn’t hug the forehead … but if the forehead is showing, the helmet isn’t doing the job. And a reminder to little boys who love
the chin — not twisted or loose. If the straps are hanging to the sides of the helmet, the helmet is likely to fall off your child’s head when they need it most.
did you know? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says children less than 10 years of age are considered not mature enough to make decisions necessary to safely ride in the street. Sidewalk riding only is recommended. wearing their Twins baseball caps in the summer. NO wearing a cap under the bike helmet. The strap also should be adjusted so it’s snug under
And if your child still whines about wearing the helmet, remind them that bike helmets are WAY cooler now than they were back when we were first may 2011
photo by robb long
Ballcaps belong in the back pocket, not on the head, when riding a bike.
wearing them. Today’s helmets are lightweight and come in super cool colors. Let your child personalize it with favorite stickers, even. Better yet, use reflective stickers since they will make your child more visible to people driving cars. Finally, set a good example. If you ride your bike without a helmet, your kid will no doubt do the same.
be seen & be safe Kids should be riding only during the day. Their smaller bikes and bodies are not as visible. Take precautions especially in early morning hours or at dusk (the time of lowest visibility) and encourage bright clothes and reflectors. It’s important that other people 14
on the road see your kids. Avoid allowing night riding. If your child must ride at night, make sure there are reflectors on the front and rear of their bicycles. Most states have laws requiring bicyclists to use lights and/or reflectors during nighttime hours. The laws do differ from state to state, but Minnesota Statute 169.222 requires front-facing white light visible from 500 feet; attached to the bike or the rider; rear-facing red reflector; reflectors on each side of both pedals; and 20 square inches of reflectors on each side of the bicycle. A red-flashing rear lamp is optional. Also, make sure nothing is dangling near the mechanisms while your child rides.
You don’t want loose pant legs, shoelaces, or backpack straps to get caught in the bike chain. Take it from this author, who broke her leg by getting it caught in a bicycle spoke when she was 6 … no dangling. Kids shouldn’t wear sandals, or worse — flip-flops — when riding. No bare feet, either.
rules of the road: not just for cars Bicycles are considered vehicles in many states, and have the same rights AND the same responsibilities as motorists. Everyone should be aware of and follow these basic rules: • Go with the flow of traffic, not against it. • Obey all traffic laws,
including stop signs, signals, and lane markings. Watch out for parked cars! Ride far enough out from the curb to avoid the unexpected, such as a door opening suddenly or a car pulling out. Look before you turn. When turning right or left, always glance behind you for a break in the traffic, then signal before making the turn. Keep an eye out for left or rightturning traffic. Be aware of possible path or road hazards. Potholes, rocks, gravel, leaves, and broken glass are everywhere. All these hazards can cause a wipe out. ALWAYS ride with both hands on the handlebars. You might even suggest your child wear riding gloves; it will help them grip the handlebars better, and they’ll look like a professional. Cool! No crazy driving! Be predictable, not unpredictable. Ride in a straight line and not in and out of cars. Signal your move ahead of time. Last but not least — no wearing headphones while riding a bike. Music can distract kids from the noises around them, such as a car honking its horn. Armed with safety information, your kids will be able to enjoy the Minnesota biking season. Did I mention it’s short? get out there and enjoy!
Kelly Jo McDonnell is a freelance writer and single parent in the Twin Cities.
resources kidshealth.org biketcbc.org bicyclesafe.com bicyclinginfo.org livestrong.com nhtsa.gov mndnr.gov/trails mnparent.com
Childish Films @ the Library a monthly series of children’s cinema & arts for ages 3 & up
Season Finale Film Events:
Flying through the Air Wildly creative Polish animation for children from the 1960s with colorful forms and playful characters. FREE & OPEN TO THE PUBLIC MOVIE TIMES: May 21, 10:30 AM Minneapolis Central Library 300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis Come early for polka music!
Scientists say exposing kids to music at an early age can make them more receptive to all kinds of learning. (Musicians agree.) Kids as young as three and up benefit from our playful group environment, while taking the first step on a lifelong musical journey. Best of all, they do it while having fun... a lesson that will last a lifetime. 46 summer camps for ages 3 – adults June 13 – August 31, 2011
June 14, 10:30 AM Brookdale Library 6125 Shingle Crk Pkwy., Brooklyn Ctr. Make a book to take home!
supporthclib.org or 952-847-8107
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when josh went on a walkabout addressing mental health in the teen years dr. kara witt, phd, lp
orty-three year old Daniel sits down at his computer to compose a plausible lie to tell Lizzie. But first, he re-reads her email for what seems like the seventeenth time. Hi Dan! Are you coming to the reunion? It would be great to see you again! Best, Lizzie. P.S. Do you even remember me? Remember her? How could he forget the way that she beamed whenever they passed “accidentally” in the corridors of Lincoln High? Why didn’t he try talking to her? Yet, she of all people contacted him about their 25-year class reunion. Could she be interested? And if they were to meet, would she look at him in the same way? Not if she knew what was going on with his son. Let’s face it: he wasn’t exactly the perfect father, what with the overwork, the disorderly divorce, and the conflict that preceded it. No, it’s too late for love. That part of his life is definitely over. He reads her email one more time, hits “reply,” then hesitates again. Lack of practice in the prevaricating arts parent
has rendered him hopelessly inept at hiding the truth. But there’s no way he will admit to Lizzie that the real reason he is skipping the reunion is that Josh cracked up. When Josh began his junior year, Daniel was so proud of his son’s intellectual gifts! Soon, the two would start looking at colleges together. Daniel began to accumulate brochures, visit websites, and talk about how fun and rewarding his college experience had been. It never occurred to him that while he was so fixated on Josh’s future, his son was holing himself up in his room with the shades pulled, cutting classes, and saying some curious things that he attributed to Josh trying to yank his chain. But then Josh began a nightly walkabout, wandering the streets for hours on end, returning after bedtime without a hat, his ears white with cold. When one bleak December night he didn’t return, Daniel circled the city, searching until he finally found him sitting at dawn on the icy railing of the Tributary Bridge, eyes fixed on the water, far, far below. Although Dr. Marvel assures Daniel that Josh is stable and
needs to — what was the word — “emancipate” in order to develop — how did she put it? — “an autonomous identity,” Daniel feels in his bones that giving Josh too much space is what caused his slide in the first place. After all, I’m the parent. Why didn’t I see this coming? As he stares at the blank computer screen, trying to come up with something sensible to say to Lizzie, Daniel worries and wonders, filled with sadness, embarrassment,
cially if Josh’s mother is there with her new fellow? Never having asked for help, he is not going to start now. Peeling the tape off of the cracker box with his right hand while holding his beer with his left, he eases himself onto his trusty old sofa and sinks into the merciful nepenthe of cop show-induced forgetfulness. He yearns to have Josh plop down next to him like he used to, but doesn’t want to ask for any more than he can give.
A time of great beauty and of terrible loss, is it any wonder that adolescence is also a time when emotional vulnerabilities show in a form that professionals call mental illness? and confusion, regretting the wrong he has done and the right that he has not. He feels more alone than he ever has in his life. Unwilling to lie yet unable to tell, he gives up, logs off, and heads to the fridge. Then he remembers that it’s Family Night at Dr. Marvel’s clinic. If he rouses Josh from his computer, they can still make the last half. But would it do any good or would it only make them both feel worse — espe-
worrisome signals If Daniel had only given Family Night a try, he would have found himself in excellent company. With the demand for youth psychiatric services on the rise (Judith Warner, We’ve Got Issues: Children and Parents in the Age of Medication), more parents than ever are in Daniel’s position, desperate to help, reluctant to pry, yet sensing that their children, nearly grown though may 2011
they may seem, need them now more than ever. Their conundrum mirrors the struggles of their teens, longing to venture into the mysterious new worlds of learning, work, and love, while quietly aggrieved at leaving the nurturing shelter of their childhoods behind. A time of great beauty and of terrible loss, is it any wonder that adolescence is also a time when emotional vulnerabilities show in a form that professionals call mental illness? While culturally created rites of passage have guided transitions into adulthood across time and space, the adolescent’s unspoken yearning for secure family connections during this perilous process is often overlooked. Programs for troubled
Even amidst the anguish of bearing witness to your child’s struggles, seek opportunities to celebrate. Emotions are contagious. So, go ahead and show your joy.
adolescents are now beginning to address this need by including family members in the treatment process. Robert Whitaker, award-winning author of Anatomy of an Epidemic, describes studies across the globe showing that young people whose therapy occurs in the context of their families often recover with no further psychiatric episodes. Many go on to lead lives rich in meaning, compassion, and productivity.
The bind that many parents find themselves in is that they love their kids so deeply that it hurts. Although they want to do the right thing, at times they unknowingly withdraw — as Daniel does — and that is when their teens become most vulnerable. What, then, are the worrisome signals? This depends on the form that the syndrome takes. In schizoaffective disorder, the illness with which Josh is eventually diag-
nosed, the “prodrome” — or early warning signs — often manifest during adolescence. Afflicted individuals may develop unusual thoughts or beliefs; hear imaginary sounds; or see vague illusions. This can be so frightening that they react in a way that intensifies their symptoms — such as by pulling away from their friends and family, experimenting with chemicals, isolating in their rooms, or becoming suicidal. If you sense something is amiss with your teen, start by sharing your concerns directly with your child. Avoid emotional or value-laden words. Keep it simple. Then, make an appointment with your family physician. At this delicate juncture, it is critical
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3RD LAIR SKATEBOARD CAMP your adolescent feel that he or she is leading the process. You and your child, together, then, can describe the changes that you have noticed, each in your own way. Your physician will most likely refer you to a team of professionals specializing in various treatments for adolescents. Such programs often include educational components that teach young people skills to deal with the stresses of their lives and to monitor the flux of their symptoms. The goal is to intervene as early as possible to prevent the illness from turning pernicious, while protecting the person’s friendships, educational pursuits, and family connections. On an optimistic note, the field of adolescent mental health is drawing many of the brightest and most caring clinicians of the day. Scientists working across the globe are collaborating to develop interventions that seek not merely to eradicate symptoms but to enhance the quality of life as well. Websites describing such state-of-theart research include preventmentalillness.org; eppic.org. au; and orygen.org.au. You might also want to check out the website for the National Institute of Mental Health, nimh.nih.gov. Finally, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (nami.org) provides hands-on resources, including contact information for free 12-week courses for family and friends of people with mental illness.
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Step One: Heal thyself. Remember this ditty: when we escape, they escalate. Adolescents crave positive attention. When they sense their parents pulling away by fleeing emotionally, as Daniel unconsciously does, they destabilize. We don’t need to be perfect. After all, mistakes, even really big ones, are a part of all relationships; but we do need to be present. Step Two: Talk. Start by reminding yourself of the Hippocratic Oath: first do no harm. This means stopping negativity — all of it — the tone of your voice, your facial expressions, and the natural proclivity to focus on “problems.” Instead, find your “mind of love.” It sounds corn-
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ball, but it works. Resist the impulse to “resolve issues” or “discuss” heavy subjects. Instead, listen; validate; empathize; and support. Keep it light. Find something to agree with. Say, “I don’t blame you for feeling that way.” Praise effort, not outcome: “I am amazed at how well you handled that situation.” Step Three: Envision a positive future. In opposition to the widespread belief that emotional struggles denote weakness, research and historical analyses indicate overwhelmingly that the obverse is closer to the truth: those who are beset with psychological instability tend to be uniquely sensitive, gifted, or otherwise original. In The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom, Jonathan Haidt suggests that we can only reach our full potential by suffering, and then finding deeper meaning in our traumatic experiences by talking them through with others. There is cause, in other words, for hope. Even amidst the anguish of bearing witness to your child’s struggles, seek opportunities to celebrate. Emotions are contagious. So,
more delusional, had turned his intellectual gifts to ingeniously hacking into the email of the Oval Office in order to warn the President “of an imminent invasion by extraterrestrial endotoxins plotting to invade the micro-architecture of the executive cytoskeleton.” Oops. Being Josh is a minor and definitely not well, the charges are commuted from espionage to legal insanity warranting extended commitment. This drives Daniel into therapy of his own, which he first hates — and then loves. He learns that no cop show comes close to the intensity of real life and the joy of parenting his son through good times and bad.
go ahead and show your joy. Don’t be afraid to encourage your child’s dreams. ***
the bad … and the good One morning while reading the morning paper, a thunderous pounding at the front entry startles Daniel so severely that he rips the sports page in two. Bam-Bam-Bam!!! Bam-Bam-
resources books Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker, New York: Crown Publishers, 2010 The Drunkards Walk; How Randomness Rules our Lives by Leonard Mlodinow, New York: Vintage/Random House, 2008–2009
Bam!!! As he ponders the merits and demerits of calling 911, an ear-splitting CRACK rivets his attention to the sudden appearance of a black boot emerging through the middle of the door, now dangling limply on one hinge. In walk three bona fide cops, two federal agents and a man in a black hat. While Daniel had been watching television all those months, Josh, becoming ever
The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom by Jonathan Haidt, New York: Basic Books, 2007 We’ve Got Issues: Children and Parents in the Age of Medication by Judith Warner, New York: Riverhead, 2010 websites Early Psychosis Prevention and Intervention Center, eppic.org.au
It is Family Night once again. Daniel and Josh are setting out their signature salami salad for the pre-meeting potluck. Guess who brought the deviled eggs? Ding! Lizzie. In a moment of desolation morphing into a sort of “all-islost-so-who-cares” abandon, Daniel emailed Lizzie, pouring his heart out. She wrote back, then he wrote back, then she wrote back … and you can guess the rest. Dr. Kara Witt is a psychologist in the Twin Cities.
National Institute of Mental Health, nimh.nih.gov National Alliance on Mental Illness, nami.org Orygen Youth Health, orygen.org.au Prevent Mental Illness, preventmentalillness.org
it’s my party
service learning giving instead of getting by alyson cummings Not many nine-year-old boys would turn down a heap of presents to do charity work. Quendy Raymond’s son Malachi didn’t give up presents for just one birthday, but two in a row! This bighearted boy isn’t turning back any time soon, and has encouraged classmates to turn to service learning on their birthdays as well. Malachi’s 8th and 9th birthdays were spent helping out at Kids Against Hunger, a nonprofit organization that packages meals for hungry families.
Instead of giving gifts, guests were asked to donate to the organization or to a charity of their choice. “We really negotiated the ‘no presents’ thing, and at first his reaction was, ‘Why is this a good idea?’ Now, he likes looking at the totals and saying, ‘Look at how much I raised this year!’ He still gets toys from his family and from me, so he’s not completely giving up gifts,” says Quendy. It wasn’t all work and no play. Partygoers were treated to pizza, juice boxes, and cake after an afternoon of packing
Malachi (right) and friend Bobby Sundy at his Kids Against Hunger party.
boxes. “The kids really loved it. They loved the hairnets and aprons, for whatever reason. We’re seeing other kids do service learning projects for birthdays instead of gifts, which is great. It’s getting to be
a trend, which it 1,000 percent should be. Service learning is more about the education that goes with volunteering, like when the staff explains, “This is why what you did today is important.”
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creepy crawlies combating lice by c.c. strom
he first time Korey Stoelzing’s daughters got lice she panicked and cried. The girls had played with friends who were, unknowingly, infected. After hearing the friends had lice, the Minneapolis mom thought she had better check her daughters. “I was in the kitchen combing through their hair and all of a sudden one fell out
on my pants. And it was big,” she recalls. The next day, lice extermination began. Most parents live in fear of lice descending upon their homes — and with good reason. While they don’t spread disease, lice are, after the common cold, the second most communicable condition affecting schoolchildren. Plus, face it — they’re gross. Girls, in particular, are suscep-
tible to lice. The tiny insects are spread head-to-head in families and through sharing hats, hairbrushes, helmets and other items amongst friends. An extremely
itchy scalp or white specks similar to dandruff are virtually the only signs of lice, but they can be present for several weeks without any symptoms.
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the lifecycle of lice Understanding the lifecycle of lice is helpful to treating the condition. Lice are about the size of a sesame seed and are gray. They lay several eggs, called “nits” each day on the hair shaft next to the scalp. The nits hatch six to 10 days later. Health experts generally recommend using an over-thecounter product containing pyrethrin, which is derived from the chrysanthemum flower, or permethrin, a synthetic chemical. It’s very important to follow the product directions precisely when using a medicated shampoo or crème rinse. The first treatment kills the adult lice, but doesn’t always affect the live nits, which hatch within a few days. The second treatment, given seven to 10 days later, targets the newly-born lice before they are able to lay additional eggs. In addition to using special shampoo or crème rinse, experts advise washing all laundry in 130 degree water and drying it on high for 20 minutes. Hairbrushes and combs should also be washed in medicated shampoo or 130 degree water for 10 minutes after each use. Items that can’t be washed can be put in plastic bags for two weeks since, off the scalp, lice can only live about a day, but nits can survive up to two weeks. Lice and nits can also be removed by hand, going through very small sections of the hair in an organized manner. Stoelzing combed through her daughters’ hair every day for about three hours, pulling nits off the hair roots with her fingernails while the girls watched TV. Her parent
youngest daughter, Claire, said, “‘This is awesome! We’ve watched every movie we own!’” recalls Stoelzing. Stoelzing also treated her daughters with over-thecounter products and washed or vacuumed almost every item in the home. “Our washing machine was broken and I had all this laundry,” says Stoelzing. “I spent about $100 just doing load after load after load” of sheets, pillows, towels,
The tiny insects are spread head-tohead in families and through sharing hats, hairbrushes, helmets and other items amongst friends. blankets and stuffed animals. “I kind of overreacted the first time because I didn’t know any better, so I washed everything.” After about five days, Stoelzing had her girls sleep in sleeping bags because it was easier to wash them than sheets and blankets every day. Stoelzing doggedly vacuumed, washed bedding and clothing, and combed and treated her daughters’ hair and thought she had it under control. But, about a week later, on the first day of school she got a phone call: The school nurse had found lice in Claire’s hair. Stoelzing continued with treatment and within about 10 days they were rid of lice. At least for a few years.
twice lice — not nice Last fall, Stoelzing got a second call from a friend who was dealing with lice. “My heart just dropped,” she says, and wisely
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tips for parents: eradicating lice If you suspect or learn your child has lice, be sure to notify the school. Each school district has its own policy, but frequently children are allowed to attend school after one treatment for lice.
inspected her daughters. “Grace was just covered. You could just see them crawling,” behind her ears and at her neckline, the most common places to find lice in the hair. This time, Stoelzing took a more relaxed approach to attacking the lice. She used an “all natural, organic” product that her neighbor had on hand so she didn’t have to make a trip to the pharmacy. And
If you have an infant with lice, or lice bites look infected, be sure to call your pediatrician. Some over-the-counter medications are not suitable for infants, as well as those suffering from asthma, allergies, sei-
although she purchased a specific nit comb, she didn’t comb through the girls’ hair as thoroughly. The girls once again slept in sleeping bags and Stoelzing washed pillowcases, towels and clothes daily, but she didn’t vacuum as thoroughly or bag up other items. With this infestation, Stoelzing battled the lice about three weeks before the family got rid of them. Exterminating lice is
zures, and even pregnant and breastfeeding women should have the blessing of a physician before using OTC products.
Treat your child as soon as you know he or she has lice. Waiting even a day might cause them to spread.
It’s usually harder to find lice and nits in children with blonde hair because the insects and eggs are better camouflaged.
For detailed information on treating lice, visit cdc.gov; healthychildren.org or health. state.mn.us.
“tedious and you have to stay on it,” advises Stoelzing. Several small businesses in the Twin Cities have recently started providing in-home services, including Minnesota Lice Lady, Melissa’s Nit Pickers, and Ladibugs, Inc. They provide treatment products, comb and inspect hair, and reassure parents who might be panicking. Ladibugs, for example, uses a chemical
and pesticide-free system called Lousebuster. Common home remedies such as coating the hair in petroleum jelly, olive oil, or mayonnaise have not been scientifically proven to be effective. After crying about her crisis with creepy-crawlies, Stoelzing is now more philosophical. “It’s horrible, but it’s not life threatening. It’s not the end of the world.”
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kids on the cusp no longer a kid, but not quite yet a teen, these books are for the tween set looking to expand world knowledge and gain a glimpse into their very near futures by alyson cummings
The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams St. Martin’s Griffin, ages 12+, $16.95
Thirteen-year-old Kyra grew up in a polygamist family: Her father has three wives and 22 children, and Kyra has been promised as her 60-year-old uncle’s seventh wife. Reading books she secretly obtained from a library-on-wheels, Kyra begins thinking more of a world not under the Prophet’s rule, a world where she would be free to marry her secret boyfriend. Kyra’s shattering story and the secrets of polygamist compounds are told through the digressing thoughts of a fictional teenager who dared to want something different.
The Big Crunch by Pete Hautman Scholastic Press, ages 13+, $17.99
I, Q series by Roland Smith Sleeping Bear Press, ages 10+, $8.95 each
New stepsiblings Q (Quest) and Angela trail their rock-star parents around the country while getting to know each other in these fastpaced thrillers. This family trip is anything but boring, and the teens soon find themselves working with the Secret Service and revealing Angela’s secret past. In the second volume, the pair again works toward separating good from evil as they take on the White House.
June and her family are continually forced to move for her dad’s job, each time placing June in a new school with new issues to tackle. Wes just broke up with his longtime girlfriend and isn’t looking for a new one … until he meets June. He’s intrigued by June, and his feelings don’t fade when she starts dating his best friend. A chance meeting after school changes things, and June and Wes start dating. Will her father’s job take June away from Minnesota and Wes?
The Pirate Captain’s Daughter by Eve Bunting Sleeping Bear Press, ages 12+, $15.95
Catherine’s mother has died and Catherine refuses to move to Boston to live with her aunt. Instead, she decides to join her pirate captain father on his ship Reprisal. The danger is great if she is discovered, so she joins the crew as “Charlie.” A cabin boy named William soon discovers her identity but promises to keep her secret, and the two grow close. After several close encounters, Catherine learns to guard her secret with her life, as pirates believe there is no place for women on the sea. parent
may top events
bog bash lego kidsfest tour The 2011 LEGO KidsFest tour offers LEGO lovers an exciting, three-day interactive experience — packed with activities and creative fun for the entire family! Among the many attractions, families will find the model museum with more than 40 life-sized models made entirely from LEGO bricks, race ramps, games arena, creation nation, dioramas, displays and even a DUPLO construction ®
zone for preschool and school aged kids to build what they imagine. When: May 20 to 22. 4 to 9 p.m. on Friday night; two sessions each on Saturday and Sunday. Session 1 is 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Session 2 is 3 to 8 p.m. Where: Minneapolis Convention Center, 1301 Second Avenue S, Minneapolis Tickets: $18 to $20 Info: legokidsfest.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum is celebrating the grand re-opening of its popular Bog Walk on Green Heron Trail. Join them for nature-based fun for all ages. After years of deterioration, the boardwalk was closed for renovation in 2009. Now it’s back in service and better than ever with 100 new pilings — some to a depth of 60 feet. New interpretive signs will tell the stories of its green heron namesake and other wild residents, the lady’s slipper orchids at the boardwalk entry and the tamarack bog, shrub swamp and cattail marsh
that line the way. In the middle of this remnant glacial bog, discover trees actually growing on a 10 to 12-foot thick mat of old roots, with open water beneath them. Visitors can enjoy the bog through the seasons from spring’s yellow marsh marigolds to the golden tamaracks in fall. When: May 15 from noon to 4 p.m. Where: Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, 3675 Arboretum Drive, Chanhassen Tickets: FREE for members or (for non-members) with paid entry into the Arboretum Info: arboretum.umn.edu or 952-443-1400
mothers day concert Enjoy a free concert, presented by the Saint Paul Civic Symphony including Mozart’s overture to The Magic Flute, Liszt’s Les Preludes and Janacek’s The Cunning Little Vixon suite and final scene, all conducted by Dr. Jeffrey Stirling. When: Sunday, May 8 at 1 p.m. Where: Landmark Center, 75 West 5th Street, St. Paul Tickets: FREE Info: info@ saintpaulcivicsymphony.org or saintpaulcivicsymphony.org 26
The largest open studio and gallery tour in the U.S. offers more than 500 artists including potters, painters, sculptors, musicians, photographers, printmakers and more. Whew. Trolleys move through the central area, should you need a lift between galleries. Presented by the Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association (NEMAA). When: May 20 to 22 Where: Northeast Minneapolis core in the arts district Tickets: FREE Info: 612.788.1679 or nemaa.org
Calendar continued ➜ mnparent.com
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The National Public Gardens Day celebrates the nation’s 500+ public gardens, raises awareness of America’s public gardens and explores their role in the advancement of environmental stewardship and awareness, plant and water conservation, and education in communities nationwide. In celebration of this day, many of the American Public Sapere aude! Gardens Association’s 500 member institutions will mark the day with dare to be wise! special events and activities for schools, families, and thousands of 13560 County Rd. 5, Burnsville, MN | CyprusSchool.com | 952-200-5321 visitors — some continuing through Mother’s Day weekend. When: May 6, nationwide tH8.indd 1 n Cyprus Classical Academy MNP 0411 3/14/11 11:50 AM Where: Both Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and Marjorie Neely e m s Conservatory at Como Park are part of this event s se s Tickets: Conservatory (FREE); Arboretum (two free admissions can be rA e found in a promotion in Better Homes & Gardens magazine; else, $9 at W gate per person, or free for members) In Info: firstname.lastname@example.org or nationalpublicgardensday.org
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springcon comic book celebration
Swimming Lessons!! 91º Warm Water!! Our 6 metro locations offer family-
friendly facilities built specifically for teaching lessons, qualified adult instructors, small class sizes, warm water and our own proven methods since 1993. Year-round weekly lessons and camps offer 21 levels for ages 6 mos. to adult!!
Featuring over 75,000 feet of comic book action. Over 200 guest creators, free grab bags to the first 500 people on Saturday and first 250 on Sunday; costume contest, masquerades, and art show, plus autographs and guest panels, too. When: May 21 & 22 Where: MN State Fairgrounds at the Grandstand, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets: $11.00 per adult (good for both days). Children 9 & under are FREE. Get $1.00 off with a canned food shelf donation. Tickets available at the gate. Parking is FREE Info: 612-237-1801 or midwestcomicbook.com mnparent.com
mp marketplace index business opportunities...........................29 childcare/education...............................29 home................................................ 29-30 miscellaneous........................................30 new & expecting moms..........................30 party pages.. ..................................... 30-31 recreation..............................................31
THE ART ACADEMY, ExcEllEncE in Art EducAtion
Celebrating Our 18th Year! Nationally Acclaimed Program Classes for Students Ages 5 - Adult
Call 651-699-1573 for a free brochure
See more student artwork at theartacademy.net
Ryan Sarafolean, Age 14
found foun ound oun dyet? Have We
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Email resumé to : email@example.com
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your young artist at a4:40 PM 5/12/10 Kidcreate Studio Birthday Party. Our parties mix fun art projects with lots of giggles and grins. We have tons of party themes to choose from like Webkinz, Star Wars, Fancy Nancy and more.
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Sunnyside Stables, Inc. Rosemount, MN www.sunnysidestables.org
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We take gymnastics SERIOUSLY and have FUN doing it! Girls & Boys Preschool-Progressive Classes USAG Team Program
• Play with clay and create fun projects
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real parent St. Paul mother Elisabeth O’Toole focuses on the family and friends of adoptive and birth parents and adoptees in her book In On It, which takes a fresh look at adoption from the outside. In On It discusses how to avoid awkward situations and rephrase uncomfortable questions with those directly involved in an adoption. O’Toole draws from her own experience, as she and husband Bill Cousins have three adopted children of their own: Will, Mirabel, and Luz. — Alyson Cummings What made you write In On It? In On It is the book I wish we’d had to share with friends and colleagues when we were adopting. The people around us needed info and wanted to support us and I wish there was a tool that addressed their perspective. There are a lot of books for adoptive parents and adoptees, but nothing that speaks to families who want guidance and advice. These are the people who would normally be involved in the real-life experience: going to the hospital, having the traditional baby shower.
elisabeth o’toole, with son will, 8
Are people unaware of adoption language? I think people want the information. People mean well, but they aren’t prepared or educated. A lot of people might have outdated experience with adoption. Maybe when they grew up, women “went away” to have a baby in secret. It seems like now there’s a lot more openness and communication about it. I try to take an approach of “How would they know?” rather than “Shouldn’t they know better?” People talk about an adoptee’s “real” mom, but what is a “real” mom? We prefer birth mother or biological mother, than adoptive mother for the adoptive parent. In the book, I wanted to talk about the word “real” in adoption language. Have you discussed your children’s adoptions with them? We were talking about adoption with them before they knew what it meant. Our kids are visibly different from us, and I feel like it’s necessary and fundamental to talk about how we became a family. How do kids at school deal with adoption? Kids are curious. It’s natural for them to wonder if they don’t have experience with adoption. Adoption is really just another way of creating a family, and kids seem to have genuine, honest questions, which can be refreshing. What do you hope readers take from your book? I would like it to make people feel welcomed and included. I want people to feel more involved and not on the sidelines. I want them to be confident and prepared. We as adoptive parents aren’t the only people who are being called on to address adoption. It never occurred to us that grandparents and other family members would be asked questions about adoption that they might not be able to answer, but it’s important they know how to respond.
want to be featured in real parent? We’re looking for real parents — parents who aren’t famous but perhaps should be, people from whom we could all learn a little something. Maybe they’ve faced a challenge or come up with a unique solution or are living their lives in a particularly inspiring way. If that’s you or someone you know, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
DiSCOvER ACHiEvE COnnECT
YMCA SUMMER PROGRAMS
Fun activities, special themes, exciting field trips, clubs and more keep kids active, engaged and motivated all summer long! Flexible weekly sessions feature 3-, 4- and 5-day options.
SUMMER POWER PRESCHOOL Ages 3 – 5 years Making friends, having fun and getting ready for school.
Grades 1 – 6
Fascinating adventures in a safe, quality, childcare program. No two weeks are alike! It’s honest-to-goodness fun!
SUMMER SPORTS Grades 1 – 6 Learn new sports, build sports skills and have fun playing! Try Sports Sampler week or clinics: Baseball/Softball, Wheel Park, Soccer, Lacrosse, Volleyball, Basketball, Golf and others.
Grades 6 – 8
High-spirited adventures result in growth experiences for youth. Community involvement, leadership activities, team building exercises, goal setting and awesome field trips!
YMCA DAY CAMPS Ages 4 –14 Memorable camping by day; kids come home at night! Amazing outdoor experiences, exciting traditional camp activities: archery, canoeing, crafts, and cookouts. Specialty camps: horses, climbing, water sports and more! 10 locations
Membership not required for enrollment. Register online or in person at any Y branch
ymcatwincities.org Or Call: 612-230-9622
© MELSA 2011
Your more than 100 metro public libraries are celebrating 25 years of summer reading! Nearly 100,000 kids grades K-6 participate in
the summer reading program from mid-June through August each summer. So join the crowd! It’s easy to participate: stop by one of the metro public libraries to pick up a reading record, check out some great reads, and get started! There are special Bookawocky programs, performers, and activities going on all summer in all of the libraries. Visit melsa.org for more information and links to the festivities!
MELSA MNP 0511 H2.indd 1
4/6/11 3:23 PM
a Fun-For-all at Break-neck Speed World Class Pro Racing • Family Festival • Kids Fun Races
natureValleyBicycleFestival.com June 2011 MInneSota FIXed Gear claSSIc 10-12 Blaine
nature ValleY Grand prIX 15 St. Paul 16 Cannon Falls 17 MinneaPoliS 18 MenoMonie 19 Stillwater
new For 2011: June 18 - Menomonie, WI 8-mile family fun ride