Page 1

September 2012


Breakfast bliss

{Page 16}

Are you overindulging your kids? {Page 10}

The baby issue

Sleep like a baby If your baby won’t sleep, it might be time to call in the professionals {Page 24}

When the enthusiasm for a new sibling wanes {Page 22} // processing your baby’s birth story {Page 42} // hot stuff for the newest member of your family {Page 20}


4 September 2012


September 2012 5

from the editor

A good birth day I have a high threshold for pain, which is why as I began labor, I recall thinking, “Well, this isn’t so bad.” I felt that way for hours, actually. I sat in the living room by myself, lights off, the room illuminated by nearby Uptown streetlights. I recorded contractions in a notebook, got a drink of water, waited until about 7:00 a.m. when the contractions were about three minutes apart, and then I woke Mark, my husband, from deep slumber. I recall he half-moaned, “nooooo” like a whiny toddler, because he first thought it was time to get ready for work, even though it was a Sunday. I took a shower. The pain—it really wasn’t so bad. We were headed to Methodist Hospital when I remembered we might need some cash, so we swung by my place of business and I took $20 from the register, leaving a note that I was in labor and I’d pay the money back the following week. Pain? Not bad at all. But labor is a funny beast. I can say my experience was akin to when I was a child and my younger brother would pick on me. He’d do something ridiculous like poke me with his index finger, and I’d say, “that doesn’t hurt” so he’d poke at me a little harder, and a little harder, and all the while I’d be saying with steadfast resolve, “that doesn’t hurt.” Finally, he’d get irritated and jab the heck out of me, at which time I’d yell, “MOMMMM!!!!!” That’s how the last bit of labor commenced. By the time my daughter decided it was time to make her appearance, and I was ready to yell, “Mom!”—I was too far along in the delivery for any kind of administered pain relief. And though it felt as if I was being ripped apart by some wild beast, by the time Hanna was born, I had the mental wherewithal to say to the doctor, “My husband would like to cut the cord.” I had to say this because I knew Mark had forgotten he wanted to do that. He was happily distracted by the delivery, I perceived. The doctor handed him the scissors, he cut the cord with one hand while holding mine with his other, and our daughter was placed in my arms. I said, “So this is Hanna Kathleen.” And then, we were a family. That’s my birth story. If you would like to learn how to process your own birth story, turn to page 42.

Kathleen Stoehr Editor

6 September 2012

Vol. 27, issue 9 Co-Publishers Janis Hall Terry Gahan General manager Chris Damlo 612-436-4376 • editor Kathleen Stoehr Contributing Writers/Photographers Kelly Bartlett Julie Kendrick Shannon Keough Kara McGuire Laurie Puhn Joy Riggs Claire Walling Jen Wittes Production manager Dana Croatt Senior Graphic designer Valerie Moe Graphic designer Amanda Wadeson Sales manager Melissa Ungerman Levy 612-436-4382 • Sales Administrator Kate Manson 612-436-5085 • Circulation Marlo Johnson 612-436-4388 • interns Valerie Turgeon Kelsie Klaustermeier Classified Advertising 612-825-9205 • Printing Brown Printing

52,500 copies of Minnesota Parent printed monthly, available at news stands statewide. Get Minnesota Parent mailed to your home for just $12 a year. Call 612-825-9205 for more information. Minnesota Parent (ISSN 0740 3437) is published monthly by Minnesota Premier Publications. POSTMASTER send address changes to: MINNESOTA PARENT, 1115 Hennepin Avenue S. Minneapolis, MN 55403. Minnesota Parent is copyright 2012 by Minnesota Premier Publications. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission is prohibited. Address all material to address above.

September 2012 7

Safe routes to school Hennepin County Public Health is developing Safe Routes to School (SRTS), implementing policies and procedures in multiple school districts including St. Louis Park, Eden Prairie, Brooklyn Center, Osseo, and more. Most significant, says Bradford Kissel, communications coordinator for the county, is the infrastructure changes that the SRTS work has influenced. “Work includes a new sidewalk at Glen Lake elementary school and various changes (sidewalk, street reconfiguration, new crosswalk) near Alice Smith elementary school—both in the Hopkins school district,” Kissel says, as an example. Here are some suggestions from Hennepin County on how you can implement safer routes to school in your neighborhood: • Start a “Walking School Bus” or “Bike Train”—a fun and active version of a carpool. • Participate in the International Walk to School Day, coming up in October. • Consider a “park and walk” option if you live too far away from your child’s school. Traveling by foot even part of the way in will reduce traffic in key areas and jumpstart a sluggish morning brain. For more information, go to

In brief European children’s clothing retailer Polarn O. Pyret (pronounced “POH-lahrn oh PEE-rhet” and nicknamed PO.P) is opening at the Galleria Edina shortly. Swedish for “Buddy and the Little Guy,” its philosophy for 35 years has been to design clothing that lets children be children. When PO.P opens its 1,774-

8 September 2012

Bubblicious Make carpooling and traveling easier with BubbleBum, a portable, inflatable booster seat. Throw it in a backpack or flight bag—no more lugging an unwieldy car seat onto the plane. Pick up your car rental, blow it up, and you are ready to go. Weighing less than a pound, it inflates and deflates easily and also comes with positioning clips in place of arm rests. Great for kids ages four to 11 and weighing between 40 and 100 pounds. Available on target. com or; about $40

square foot store across from Melly and Pumpz & Co. in the Center’s east end, it will be the fourth location in the U.S.; Blooma has expanded into St. Paul, in the heart of Cathedral Hill at 493 Selby Avenue. Blooma offers a full range of pre- and post-natal yoga, wellness, and education to women and families; Ladibugs, specializing in 100 percent chemical-free lice removal, has opened a second location in Woodbury at 1103 Weir Drive; Dog Day? Head to the Aster Café in NE Minneapolis’ St. Anthony Main. The restaurant was recently named one of the top five restaurants throughout the U.S. considered “pet-friendly.” Says, “On [the Aster’s] outdoor patio, dogs are welcomed by staff who provide water and ice for thirsty pets. While Fido enjoys a fresh drink, owners can enjoy a great meal.”; Well, we already knew this one, but now the secret is out: Parenting magazine ranked Minneapolis/ St. Paul #7 on its “Best Cities for Families 2012” list. The list of the country’s top locations for raising kids was compiled by ranking 100 cities based on categories such as education, health, community, charm, and culture using nearly 4,000 pieces of data. Says Parenting, “The Twin Cities ranked high on our list for healthy

air, healthy people and safe streets for strolling as well as a lower unemployment rate. Minneapolis has made a commitment to its cyclists by doubling the miles of on-street bike lanes over the last two years for a total of 81 miles of on-street lanes and 85 miles of off-street bike paths. St. Paul is committed to creating a sustainable city by reducing pollution, constructing green buildings, developing more transportation alternatives like light rail and restoring green space by planting trees and native plants in the parks.”; Minnesota’s own Metro Dentalcare received national accreditation from the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care for reaching the highest standardized quality of care, ensuring its patients receive the most reliable and consistent service available; Upcycling and recycling pioneer TerraCycle of Trenton, N.J., runs free collection programs for glue bottles, pens and markers, Scotch Tape, keyboards and computer mice, among other things. Any parent, teacher or other interested party can sign up for free at For each item returned, regardless of brand, the collector earns points toward charity gifts or cash donations to any school or non-profit of their choice.

incorporate information they’ve gathered since the book was published in 2003. Clarke says overindulgence has increased so much that it’s become the new normal, and it’s creating serious problems as overindulged children graduate from school and enter the workplace.

Overindulgence: the new normal


By Joy Riggs

s my parents love to remind me, one of my favorite early phrases was “Me do it me-self.” They encouraged my self-sufficiency skills as I grew by giving me chores like feeding the dog, dusting the piano, and making the dinner salads. They also set limits: I had a bedtime, and I wasn’t allowed to see PG movies until what seemed like forever. If I broke a rule, I paid a consequence.

My dad, who taught high school economics, made sure my brother and I understood the concept of wants versus needs. I did not get everything I wanted (like the snazzy plastic hotel featured in the Sears toy catalog), but I got everything I needed (including the cardboard boxes, paint and wallpaper samples to make my own). I didn’t realize it at the time, but my parents were preparing me for life as a responsible adult. I know this wasn’t unusual for people of my generation. But I’m not sure my children

Resources How Much is Enough? Research and parenting tips YouTube video Jean Illsley Clarke on overindulgence

10 September 2012

will be able to say the same. The societal pressures on today’s parents to provide and do for their children are so pervasive that it can be difficult to step back, take a breath and consider: Do my kids participate in too many activities? Am I doing too much for them? Do they have enough chores? I’m afraid that the answers to those questions in my case too often are yes, yes, and no, respectively. But I am motivated to reassess our family patterns after talking to Jean Illsley Clarke, an internationally recognized parent educator based in Minneapolis. Clarke has spent more than a decade studying adults who were overindulged as children. She and two colleagues, Connie Dawson and David Bredehoft, wrote a book called How Much is Enough? Everything You Need to Know to Steer Clear of Overindulgence and Raise Likeable, Responsible and Respectful Children. They’re now planning a revision to

What is enough? “The people we survey overwhelmingly resent having been overindulged because it is related to so many problems, such as not knowing what is enough, not having the skills that other people have, always having to be the center of the universe, being helpless, being irresponsible, and having an overblown sense of entitlement. These things don’t work well in adult life,” she says. The three types of overindulgence are too much (toys, clothes, entertainment); over-nurture (hovering, doing things for children that they should do themselves); and soft structure (no chores, too much freedom, rules nonexistent or not enforced). It can happen at any income level, and although it stems from good intentions, it hinders children from achieving their full potential, which not only affects them but also affects society. For example, Clarke says, one of their studies found that the main life goals for adults who were highly overindulged as children were to be wealthy, famous, and have a good image; and although these aren’t necessarily negative goals, these adults also were much less interested in improving the world around them, and in assisting other people in need (unless they got something in return). In contrast, adults who were not overindulged or who were less overindulged as children said their main goals were to develop close relationships, lead meaningful lives, and contribute to their communities. “This drives me nuts because these two are so vastly different for the welfare of our culture,” Clarke says. To test whether a child is being overindulged, parents can ask these four questions (a clear yes to any one of the

four indicates a problem that parents should address): • Will this situation hinder the child’s development? • Will this give a disproportionate amount of family resources (money, time, attention) to one or more of the children? • Does this situation exist to benefit the adult more than the child? • Does the child’s behavior potentially harm others, society, or the planet in some way? It’s not easy to swim against the cultural tide of overindulgence, but I know it’s worth the effort when I consider what’s at stake: the raising of kind, capable, “do it me-self” children who will find fulfillment and make the world a better place.

What is overindulgence? • Overindulging children is giving them too much of what looks good, too soon, and for too long. It is giving them things or experiences that are not appropriate for their age or their interests and talents. It is the process of giving things to children to meet the adult’s needs, not the child’s. • Overindulgence is giving a disproportionate amount of family resources to one or more children in a way that appears to be meeting the children’s needs but does not, so children experience scarcity in the midst of plenty. • A form of child neglect, overindulgence hinders children from performing their needed developmental tasks, and from learning necessary life lessons. — From How Much is Enough?

Tips for avoiding overindulgence • Ask, “Am I doing this for my child, or for myself?” • Ask, “Am I doing something for my children that they are old enough to do for themselves?” • Let children make decisions that are appropriate for their age. • Hold children accountable for their behaviors. • Teach children to do chores and expect them to complete them. • Practice saying, “You have had enough for now.” • Emphasize and model the life goals of meaningful relationships, personal growth, and community contribution. • Teach how to save and share. • Insist that children figure out how they will replace a belonging that was carelessly damaged or ruined.

September 2012 11

Marvelous money apps 10 free apps to improve your money life


By Kara McGuire

emember way back to when you actually had to balance your checkbook by hand and track expenses on a spreadsheet? When you had to call or drive from store to store to compare prices? Or pull out a workbook to teach your kids about money? All of that has changed with the explosion of smartphone apps that make money matters a cinch. Here are some of the handiest—and free—money-related apps.

1 & 2) Twitter and Facebook These social media tools do so much more than connect you with friends and favorite celebrities. Follow your brands and stores you like so you don’t miss out on the latest offers. Some companies, including airlines, offer exclusive sales on Twitter. American Express cardholders can sync their cards with Twitter and tweet special-offer hashtags in return for discounts. And many high-value coupons can only be found on Facebook. Available for iPhone and Android.

3) Shop Savvy This barcode scanning app is an easy-touse way to find out if the Lego set your child is clamoring for is cheaper across town. Press “scan” on the app, point and shoot the barcode, and prices for both brick and mortar and online retailers appear. The program also keeps track of

12 September 2012

your scanning history. Available for iPhone and Android.

4) SavingStar Finally, a paperless way to use coupons. Select desired coupons and link them to your store loyalty card. Use the card at the register and your savings are automatically posted to your SavingStar account. The balance can be traded for a bank deposit or store gift cards. The drawback? The app only works at participating stores with loyalty cards. In the Twin Cities, Rainbow is the major participant. Available for iPhone and Android.

5) Use the smartphone app for this popular personal financial management tool to check your budget before sitting down for an impromptu lunch or to splurge on a deeply discounted, but still potentially

A screenshot from

budget-blowing pair of shoes. Many banks also offer budgeting and tracking on the go, but Mint’s tool allows you to see your bank and credit card balances from multiple financial institutions all in one place. Another personal financial management tool to consider: Personalcapital. com. Available for iPhone and Android.

6) Spotify or Pandora These aren’t money apps, but if you love music as much as I do, you’ll wonder how you lived without these apps once the CD budget was re-allocated to buying diapers. Listen to custom radio stations based on your favorite artists and tailored to your preferences. There is a subscription version of Spotify, but get your feet wet with its new radio service before locking into the much-enhanced monthly service. Available for iPhone and Android.

7) Your bank or credit union’s app These are must-have apps for the busy

parent, especially if you’re like me and never seem to have cash to pay the babysitter. At the very least, most bank apps will help you locate a free-ATM machine and check your bank balance to see if you can afford take-out. But it gets better from there, with some banks offering remote capture deposit, which allows you to deposit a check with the snap of a picture. Others offer person-toperson money transfers. I predict banks will continue to add nifty conveniences. Most apps are available for iPhone and Android.

8) GasBuddy If you’ll actually wait in line for gas at Costco, then this app is for you. It helps you locate the most affordable gas closest to where you happen to be. Perfect if it’s your week to carpool. Available for iPhone and Android.

9) Amazing Coin Sick of telling your kindergartner “no” when he asks to play Angry Birds on your phone? Amazing Coin offers a few free games for younger kids who are still wrapping their heads around why the smallest coin isn’t worth the least. The full version costs 99 cents and has nine games about counting and making change. Available only for iPhones.

10) Groupon or LivingSocial The apps make it easy to purchase, track, and redeem your daily deals. Perhaps too easy. The one-click purchasing technology makes it so easy to buy on impulse that it can be difficult spend wisely. Those with a pile of yet-to-be redeemed deals—download at your own risk! Available for iPhone and Android. Kara McGuire is a financial writer and mother of three kids. She lives in St. Paul and can be reached at

September 2012 13

Good to go—or no? Nights out without your spouse need negotiation

I By Laurie Puhn

f you’ve ever been asked, “Do you and your spouse go out a lot?” you might answer like one of the millions of parents who’d chuckle and say, “Yes, sure we do. But not together!” With young children at home, finding time and money to have a night out on the town, a weekend away, or a movie-going afternoon together can be more complication and stress than it’s worth. But you don’t want to stay home all the time, so you trade-off on social events: one for me, one for you.

You might wonder, is that getting the best of both worlds or compromising your marriage? Fortunately, being alone is good for your marriage, within reason. New research shows that long-married happy couples often say their secret is, “we give each other space.” According to an unpublished study by Terri Orbuch, a psychologist and research professor at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research, having enough space or

“If your mate doesn’t latch onto the idea of your being away from home during family time, consider whether it’s because she/he thinks you don’t pull your weight when you are home.” 14 September 2012

privacy in a relationship is more important to a couple’s happiness than having a good sex life. This means that girl’s weekend away is a good thing. And that guy’s night out is a great idea.

Ask first, enjoy second Of course, this isn’t a rallying cry for spouses to say, “See! This proves that I should be able to do what I want when I want.” Instead, as a couples mediator, I bring the peaceful negotiation method to the table, which is, ask first, enjoy second. If you want to attend an event or make a social plan, talk to your mate before you commit. Offer to trade-off and encourage your mate to take a guilt-free night out for him/herself while you stay home with the kids. If your mate doesn’t latch onto the idea of your being away from home during family time, consider whether it’s because she/he thinks you don’t pull your weight when you are home. If that’s the case, follow-through on doing more at home in return for some nights off each month.

If your spouse just isn’t thrilled with the idea of separate nights out, then it’s time for a hard-core “I love you so much” talk coupled with “time for myself is really important and helps me stay balanced and happy.” Be honest, confident, and loving in this conversation. But, don’t ignore the jealousy issues. If she thinks, “I just don’t like the idea of his being out with the guys late night getting drunk,” or he thinks, “she doesn’t need to go out to a bar and be hit on by single guys,” then you have to open up about what you actually do in your time away from home, and you have to be willing to compromise. For instance, if your mate is bothered that you would go to a bar with single girlfriends, then you could agree to have dinner with those particular friends, and head home afterward. Or, if your mate is upset by the idea that you’d go out with friends (single or married) and come stumbling home at 2:00 a.m., waking him/ her up while you loudly get ready for bed, then agree to control your drinking on your nights out and give yourself a reasonable curfew. Remember that having time to yourself doesn’t always have to mean that you attend a social event. You could take a Saturday to shop, see some sports, or just plain exercise and go to lunch, alone. Being married doesn’t mean your spouse controls your every move, but it does mean you let your choices be influenced by how they affect your mate, insecurities and all. As I write about in Fight Less, Love More (which I’m excited to announce is now out in paperback!), if space is what you need to center yourself, don’t let the issue go, just be willing to give—in order to get. Laurie Puhn is a Harvard-educated lawyer, couples mediator, and bestselling author of Fight Less, Love More: 5-Minute Conversations to Change Your Relationship Without Blowing Up or Giving In, who frequently appears on CNN, “Good Morning America,” and “The Early Show” to offer relationship advice. Visit her at

September 2012 15

Blissful breakfast time? yes, it’s possible! By Julie Kendrick


wo years ago, Mya Bitney’s three children (ages 10, 7 and 5) collected 17 tardies at school, all a result of last-minute morning madness. Last year, she decided that something had to change. She told her kids that the goal for the upcoming school year was “zero tardies,” and she asked for everyone’s help in meeting it. Results so far? “On time, every morning!” she reports, as she quickly searches for some wood to knock on.

16 September 2012

What has been the secret of her success? Bitney, who works full time as a marketing manager at Medtronic, says that one secret was creating a “morning song,” a ditty she sang every morning at 6:30 a.m. Sung to the tune of Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight, its lyrics urged the kids to “Wake up now, and then get out of bed…” listing each task to complete before breakfast (including a line for “take a pee,” since one of the kids had been chronically forgetting to use the toilet until the moment they were ready to walk out the door). The other reason that mornings are so much smoother, she says, has to do with breakfast. “I acquiesced on allowing some packaged foods,” she reports, “and things have been a lot easier.” With three bodies to hustle out the door by 7:15 a.m. (their school, Armatage Montessori in Minneapolis, starts the school day at 7:30 a.m.), she arrived at a system that allowed each child to choose one or two packaged foods they’d be willing be eat. She drew the line at super-sugary cereal, and her kids have now settled on staples like instant oatmeal, Raisin Bran, Cheerios and Greek yogurt. She insists that they include milk and fresh fruit, and has found that breakfast time has settled down considerably since those frequently tardy days of the previous year.

The battle of breakfast While there has been considerable attention recently directed toward school lunches, many parents find that their most stressful meal of the day is breakfast. It poses a double problem for those struggling to get kids fed and out the door. First, time is of the essence—the school bus driver won’t wait while your darling finishes that last mouthful of toast. And secondly, a nutritious meal can make a huge difference in a child’s school performance. Numerous studies have shown that children who eat healthful breakfasts have higher energy levels and better learning ability than students who don’t eat breakfast. So what’s a struggling parent to do? It might help to take at look at how Bitney helped her family improve their on-time

performance. She addressed the issue with the family members and stated her goal for the school year ahead. She created a fun way, a song, for everyone to remember what needed to happen next. And she let her kids have a say in what they chose to eat.

Ingredients for success Allowing kids a choice is important, says Susan Moores, R.D., a registered dietician and Twin Cities-based nutrition consultant. She says that there are a few key elements in a good breakfast: Good-quality carbohydrates, a preferred source of energy for the brain. “The first ingredient on the package needs to be whole wheat, rolled oats, or whole grain,” she says, adding, “Don’t be fooled by fiber claims, because that’s not an indicator of a whole grain. The more claims they make on the front of the box, the more you should turn it over and read the ingredient list for the full story.” Protein, which Moores says, “helps make

the energy you’re getting from your food last a little bit longer, because it’s the slowest to leave the stomach.” Yogurt is a good source, but she cautions to be aware of sugar (aim for 30 grams or less) and artificial colors, which some studies have linked to behavior issues in some children. Other good protein sources include milk, peanut or almond butter, and string cheese. Liquids, but limit fruit juice to six ounces

(2/3 cup) a day. “If you drink your breakfast, you’ll be hungry in an hour or two,” says Moores. Fruit or vegetable. “They have fiber,

which helps kids feel full longer,” Moores says. “Plus, missing them at breakfast causes a need to ‘make up’ servings later in the day.”

Skip the table, not breakfast While some families do sit down to breakfast together every morning, that’s not always a reality for many

Quick snacks for on the go Oversleep? Dawdling? Sometimes there’s no getting around the fact that kids will not always have time for the most important meal of the day. That’s when take-along foods for on the bus or the walk to school are the only way to get a bit of nutrition in. When there isn’t opportunity to slap bread with peanut butter, these snacks will help fill that gnawing, empty feeling. It’s not just for babies Kids of every age love squeeze pouch convenience, so throw out the notion that only babies and toddlers want to eat “purple roots and fruit” and “berry banana beet.” With BPA-free pouches, no artificial ingredients, and certified organic products, your child will suck up Plum Organic goodness quickly and with no mess. Other pouch-style foods include HappyBaby, a Dr. Searsrecommended product with the same BPA-free and 100% natural guarantee; and the organic super smoothie, HappySqueeze, a larger portioned size for bigger kids. Pouches usually cost under $2 each, some can be found for closer to a dollar. There’s also Earth’s Best Organic (Lund’s/Byerly’s, $1.69), Sprout Organic Baby Food (Lund’s, Target, about $1.60), and now even Gerber is getting into the act. Beyond baby food Consider the mainstay of granola bars, now in all kinds of flavors and nutrition values; the venerable Naked juices with tags like “protein zone” and “berry veggie” (between $3 and $4 depending upon where you acquire them); Cuties, an all natural fruit smoothie (about $2) with no added sugar; and a personal favorite, Greek yogurt, which usually has about 12 grams of protein — not bad at all, and again, under $2. Finally, consider the nutritional value of nuts such as almonds. One ounce of almonds has 12 percent of the daily allowance of protein and as much calcium as a quarter cup of milk. They are also loaded with Vitamin E. — Kathleen Stoehr

September 2012 17

homes, but Moores has some on-the-go suggestions. “A lot of kids aren’t hungry an hour into their day, but you can offer take-along foods like trail mix, string cheese, or individual packages of cottage cheese or yogurt. Apple wedges can be dipped in vanilla yogurt that’s sprinkled with cinnamon. And there’s no reason a child can’t have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or cheese and turkey sandwich for breakfast,” she says.

School steps in If breakfast at home or on the go just isn’t feasible, your child’s school may be stepping in to fill that gap. Janeen Peterson, president of the Minnesota School Nutrition Association, says that school breakfast programs have been around since 1975. “We’ve tried to make breakfast more convenient for students, and the number of breakfasts eaten at school is on the rise,” she says. Many schools have added concepts such as a grab-and-go breakfasts that can be eaten in classrooms, along with mobile breakfast carts located in different areas of the school building. Peterson encourages parents to check out their children’s school breakfast options, saying, “Like school lunch, it’s one of the best deals around, and provides nutrients that help children learn better than they would without having breakfast.” And, Peterson says, “We hear from many parents that they appreciate having one less thing to do before getting kids off to school.”

teen trouble If cheery grade-school breakfasts are the subject of nostalgia at your house, then

“There’s no reason a child can’t have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or cheese and turkey sandwich for breakfast.” —Susan Moores, R.D.

18 September 2012

you must be the parent of a teen. Since they often want to sleep until the last possible moment in the morning, most teens don’t leave time for a nutritious breakfast. Moores suggests fast options such as beef sticks (“Read the labels and make sure you can pronounce the ingredients,” she cautions) or pita pockets stuffed with nut butter and bananas, or with cottage cheese, broccoli slaw, and dressing. One big no-no for teen breakfasts is energy drinks. “They have a significant amount of sugar, and destructive substances for teeth, which is a worry since the teens will be away from a toothbrush until afternoon. The big rush of caffeine and sugar wears off in a couple hours, and then they feel so bad they often reach for another drink,” she says, adding, “It’s hard to learn when you feel so cruddy because of those ups and downs.”

She tells parents that nagging about long-term health consequences like tooth decay, heart disease, or osteoporosis will be ignored by most teens. “Instead, say that you need to choose the best foods to charge up your brain so you can do better on that test today, or to help you run during the game.” Even with a system in place to make breakfast run more smoothly, Mya Bitney has found there is always room for improvement. “My husband was letting the little ones pour their own hot water for instant oatmeal,” she said. “It was taking forever and causing spills. Now we have a ‘parents pour’ policy,” she says, and notes that it’s saved some time and kept their on-time record intact. And what’s her goal for the coming school year? “Everyone will brush their teeth before we leave the house,” she vows. •

September 2012 19

l u f i t u Bea baby

The original ba Slide a bottle with a neck size of two to four inches into the globe-shaped holder and its simple design will do the rest. Tiny hands are able to grasp the soft BPA-free silicone with ease, though some testers report that babies are more interested in playing with the product than using it as a means to drink. Two products in one! Ages three months and up. or; about $15

By Kathleen Stoehr

Briefcase for baby

Molar muncher

BabyBriefcase is a document organizer designed specifically for parents and their babies and toddlers, particularly useful and important for health-related documents. Stores all documents and information relating to a new baby in a way that makes everything easily accessible whether at a hospital, doctor’s office, or anywhere else. Every document that deals with the new baby has a special place inside the case so that if an emergency arises, you can grab it and go.

Baby can gnaw, chomp, and drool on this traditional pacifier, coupled with a soft, BPA-free U-shaped tab that reaches all the way back to where those painful molars are erupting. Comforts the entire mouth, and is designed to prevent tooth displacement. Made in the U.S., about $13, about $30

Cute Kleynimals A non-toxic, eco-friendly set of food grade stainless steel decorative keys, guaranteed to satisfy baby’s desire to play with metal keys that jingle jangle, without risking lead contamination or injury from sharp edges. Eli the Elephant, Gus the Giraffe, and Leo the Lion keys are safe little toys for babies six months and up. Made in the U.S. with U.S. materials too!, about $24

Stick it!

With baby growing by leaps and bounds every day of that first year, Sticky Bellies Milestone Stickers enables parents to chronicle each monthly milestone easily. Easily placed, easily removed, and in various styles for boys, girls, as well as gender neutral. stickybellies. com; about

20 September 2012


Balanced baby Developed in close collaboration with medical experts, parents, and children, the Babysitter Balance from Baby Bjorn is ergonomically designed for great support of baby. Babies can play, rest, and sleep with three adjustable positions and even control all the motions. Calm rocking, which baby can initiate, helps to develop important motor skills, like balance.; about $190

Breast bottle Truly the most naturally shaped baby bottle we have seen, the Comotomo’s soft silicone teat closely mimics the breast and prevents nipple confusion. Slow-flow nipples encourage natural breathing and drinking pace and the supple bottle body with an almost skin-like texture replicates feelings of natural breastfeeding. Cute colors, too along with all the good stuff we look for these days: BPA-free, FDA approved.; about $16

Ruffly butts What started with the adorable RuffleButt bloomer has become an adorable collection of affordable mini must-haves under the Rufflebutts and RuggedButts name. The company’s business ethic is solid and best—we love the clothes, available up to 3T. or; about $17

Itty bitty diaper


Itti bitti’s bitti tutto birth to toddler cloth diapers comes with luxurious, soft, and waterproof minkee fabric on the outside for baby’s comfort, so no cover is required. Fits neat and slim from birth (8 pounds) to toddler (44 pounds). No need to worry about diaper “blow outs”—it has an internal gusset, protecting the sides and back, plus it’s patented ‘poo fence’ means you don’t need to worry about leaks. Hip snaps help give a perfect fit at each size, for slim and cuddly babies, without bulk or wing droop.

Is it a boy or a girl? Now, it doesn’t matter with Twotara, a cute set of reversible baby clothing and accessories. Pink on one side, blue on the other, it’s also like getting two outfits in one. Born out of the frustration of having to buy a gender-neutral gift, the line offers expectant parents an alternative to green or yellow. or; about $20

about $5 to $35;

September 2012 21

Small person,

big changes Encouraging children through a new sibling transition By Kelly Bartlett

Adding a new baby to the family is an exciting time. Children especially feel that eagerness as they hold their new baby brother or sister for the first time; they finally get to see who has been inside of mom’s growing belly all these months! Their initial enthusiasm may fade, though, as the weeks go on and the reality of a baby’s needs sets in. Most parents see changes in behavior in their older children sometime during the first year after a new sibling is born. Parents may see a once-agreeable child acting out, becoming defiant, or beginning to show behavior struggles at school. This is normal; a child’s natural growth compounded with the stress of adjusting to a new family member can be overwhelming. It can cause children to think differently about themselves and to behave differently as they try to find a new place in the family. When a new sibling comes home, an older child’s place in the family has changed, and he or she has difficulty understanding that it’s not a replacement, but simply a re-adjustment. Like everything in child development, this transition takes time. According to Dr. Jane Nelsen, parent educator and author of Positive Discipline, what kids need most is a sense of significance and belonging, and this need is often most persistent after the birth of a new sibling. “Significance and belonging are what all children and adults strive for,” Nelson says. “We want to know that we matter and that we have an important place in the world.” To a child, that ‘world’ is his family, and the arrival of a new

22 September 2012

sibling can disrupt any sense of security that he had in it. When he no longer feels that he belongs, those feelings are inherently reflected in his behavior. Dr. Nelsen says, “A misbehaving child is a discouraged child.” Misbehavior is the result of a child’s subconscious belief about himself that he is unloved or unimportant. He may act out to try to reconfirm his parents’ love, or try to reestablish his own sense of significance. “It is important for parents to realize that a child’s difficult behavior is the result of feeling discouraged about his place in the family. Rather than being punished, that child needs to be encouraged,” says Nelsen. And there are many ways to offer it.

Verbal encouragement The most recognizable form of encouragement is probably the use of verbal statements like, “Thank you for helping me make dinner. I really appreciate it!” or,

“Wow, you sure worked hard on that Lego tower. That was a lot of work,” or, “You must feel so proud of yourself right now!” Encouraging words like these are more effective than statements of blanket praise like, “You’re such a good sister,” as they focus on the child’s efforts and help her develop an internal sense of pride.

Emotional encouragement A less obvious, yet vital kind of encouragement is the validation of feelings. Anytime a parent validates a child’s feelings— whether those feelings are positive or negative—they are telling that child, “It’s OK to feel that way; it’s normal,” and children need to hear this. It lets them know that they’re unconditionally accepted in the family: exactly what a newly older sibling needs. Parents can help children feel secure by allowing, articulating, and accepting all of their feelings—pleasant or not.

Encouragement through confidence When kids begin to act out after a new baby comes home, what is most likely happening is that they are mistakenly thinking that they must regain Mom and Dad’s attention to secure their place in the family. The message coded in their behavior is, “Notice me! Involve me usefully!” Parents can give even very young children jobs to help out; opportunities to be noticed and become involved. They can help set the table, wash the windows, prepare food, shop at the store, get themselves dressed, take charge of their routines, help themselves to their own snacks, pour their own drinks, wipe the table, and many other age-appropriate tasks. These are the kinds of activities that give kids confidence and help them feel like valued, contributing members of the family.

One-on-one encouragement When a new baby comes home, give your child the gift of time. The best gift for an older sibling is simply a parent’s regular focus connecting with them during this difficult transition (and beyond). After the birth of a new sibling is a perfect time to start scheduling regular “special time” together, during which the child leads the play for 15 to 20 minutes every day. It is a daily opportunity to ensure some valuable one-on-one time with older children, and kids look forward to this regular part of the day with each parent. It communicates to a child, “I’m here for you. You are important.” When children become new older siblings, parents can help kids feel secure by understanding and responding to the motivation behind their behavior—that instinctive pursuit of significance and belonging—more so than the behavior itself. Children need to be encouraged to realize their place in the family. They are significant and they do belong, and they need to know that. Kelly Bartlett is a freelance writer and a certified positive discipline educator.

September 2012 23

The big sleep Help is on the way for your baby’s sleep challenges By Shannon Keough

As any new parent can tell you, getting your baby to sleep can be hard. And it doesn’t help the morale of an exhausted parent when the first question from every well-meaning friend seems to be, “Is she sleeping through the night?” Many people turn to books or other parents for sleep advice, but this can be rocky terrain. “Some books on the market can be distressing for parents,” said Dr. Laurel Wills, a pediatric sleep specialist with Gillette Children’s Specialty Health Care. “There can be a lot of polarity between people who

24 September 2012

promote the family bed versus the ‘cry it out’ camp, for example.” With all of the conflicting advice and prescriptive sleep-training techniques, it can be difficult to know what’s best for your baby. That’s when parents might benefit from some in-person assistance in the form of classes, in-person sleep education, and in some cases, medical intervention.

Classes and community The Twin Cities is home to a variety of educational classes for new parents, including the popular Early

Childhood Family Education (ECFE) programs and the “new mama” classes at Amma Parenting Center. These classes give participants the opportunity to build a community while benefitting from the advice of professionals who are wellversed in the idiosyncrasies of baby sleep, and other new-parent concerns, as well. At Amma, instructors cover topics that are often glossed over in books, like the potential impact of a baby’s temperament on sleep. “Temperament is the most overlooked factor in baby sleep,” says Sara Pearce, founder of Amma. In Amma’s classes, parents learn about the science of sleep and how to effectively read their baby’s cues. Instructors also offer strategies for helping “shape” a baby’s sleep— what Sara refers to as “practice sessions.” “I like the connotation of a ‘practice session’,” says Pearce. “It conveys the idea that you’re working with your baby toward eventual success.” In addition to learning about sleep strategies, the group environment of a

26 September 2012

“I want parents to know they can develop nurturing ways to set limits and structure for their children’s sleep that can have a lasting, positive impact.” — Dr. Laurel Wills

class can also be valuable by assuring new parents they aren’t alone. “One of the greatest offerings of ECFE is the supportive group of other parents who are going through the same things,” said Renee Torbenson, parent educator in the Minneapolis ECFE program. “It can be a relief when a parent realizes that the challenges they thought were unusual are actually quite common.”

One-on-one sleep education While the advice and assistance provided in a class is oftentimes enough to help a parent address her baby’s sleep issues, sometimes the challenges persist. In these cases, parents might benefit from the services of a professional sleep educator. Mary Sheedy Kurcinka, author of Raising Your Spirited Child and Sleepless in America, provides sleep education services to families in the Twin Cities. “By the time parents seek help, they’ve been working very hard,” says Kurcinka. “I help them by focusing on strengths and successes.” Kurcinka also emphasizes the oftenoverlooked temperament factor. “Twenty to 25 percent of normal infants are what I refer to as ‘spirited,’” she says. “They are very alert, sensitive babies, and it’s harder to read their cues—they move through them very quickly.” Kurcinka specializes in these spirited children. “Sometimes I’ll videotape the baby and review it with the parents later

to work on the subtleties of cue reading.” In addition to helping parents learn to “read” their babies, Kurcinka also develops a detailed plan for the family. “My focus is on developing an approach that is sustainable for the whole family,” says Kurcinka. “It’s always an individualized plan.” After the meeting, Kurcinka provides a written report of the recommendations that were discussed—a helpful follow-up for parents whose memories might be challenged by sleep deprivation.

the medical perspective With all the controversy surrounding various “sleep training” methods, it can be easy to overlook the fact that some babies have trouble sleeping because of an underlying medical issue. “Common issues are anything that would cause discomfort or distress,” says Dr. Wills. “Respiratory issues like asthma, food allergies, abdominal discomfort,

September 2012 27

acid reflux, neurological conditions, even itching from eczema—these can all interrupt sleep.” If you suspect that your baby is missing sleep for medical reasons, Dr. Wills suggests visiting your pediatrician or family doctor first. She emphasizes the importance of finding a primary care doctor who you respect and trust, who can watch your baby grow over time. If this doctor is unable to determine the

“It can be a relief when a parent realizes that the challenges they thought were unusual are actually quite common.” — Renee Torbinson, ECFE

28 September 2012

cause of your baby’s sleep issues, it might be time to pay a call to a specialist. “They key is to find the underlying condition and get that under control,” Dr. Wills says. “My job as a physician is to find out if the issue is medical, developmental, or related to temperament.” For common issues like acid reflux, the baby might find relief with medications or by sleeping on an incline. Respiratory issues tend to be a bit more complicated in terms of treatment, and in some rare cases (certain neurological issues, for example) surgery might even be an option. Neurological conditions and disabilities can also affect sleep, though most can be treated effectively. Aside from medical diagnosis, Dr. Wills often asks parents to keep a sleep log for their baby for at least two weeks. She helps them interpret the information and learn more about their baby’s ideal sleep

rhythm. She focuses on the importance of setting a good foundation for sleep in the early months and years of a child’s life. “The more competent parents feel when it comes to getting their baby to sleep, the less likely it is that problems will persist later.” Dr. Wills emphasizes that there is, in fact, a happy medium when it comes to babies and sleep. “I work with my patients to find that delicate balance,” she says. “I want parents to know they can develop nurturing ways to set limits and structure for their children’s sleep that can have a lasting, positive impact.” •

sleep ResouRces CLASSeS

Amma Parenting Center Prenatal and new parent classes, including specific classes focusing on sleep. 952-926-BABY Early Childhood Family Education Parent and early childhood education for families with children between birth and kindergarten age. Minneapolis: St. Paul: In-person sleep education services Mary Sheedy Kurcinka 651-452-4771 Isis Parenting Phone consultations with pediatric sleep specialists for parents of newborns through age four. 781-429-1500

mediCAL reSourCeS

Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare, Sleep Health Clinic Dr. Wills wanted to emphasize that in addition to providing support for families with typically developing children, the Sleep Health Clinic provides help to children with special health needs such as cancer, seizures, heart problems and developmental disabilities. 651-726-2899 Pediatric Sleep Disorders Clinic at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics, St. Paul; 651-220-6258

September 2012 29

9 ———————— Family Day @ MIA: ———————— Play on Words ———————— ———————— National ———————— Grandparents Day ————————

Parents everywhere celebrate: it’s time for kids to go BACK TO SCHOOL!


of World Trade Center attacks

10 11 ———————— ———————— ———————— ———————— ———————— ———————— 11 year anniversary

@ Science Museum

2 3 ———————— Labor Day ———————— ———————— Say goodbye to ———————— the MN State Fair, ———————— DINOSAURS! @ the ———————— MN Zoo, and Pirates

September is national Baby Safety month


National Chocolate Milk

5 ———————— ———————— ———————— ———————— ———————— ————————

Holy Smokes! Batman Live @ the Xcel


6 ———————— ———————— ———————— ———————— ———————— ————————

14 ———————— ———————— ———————— ———————— ———————— ————————

15 ———————— Tomie DePaola’s ———————— (author of Strega ———————— Nona) birthday ———————— ———————— ————————

7 8 ———————— Read a book—it’s ———————— National Literacy Day! ———————— ———————— ———————— ————————

September’s gem: Sapphire, which means clear thinking

1 ———————— FREE 1st Saturday ———————— @ Walker Art Center ———————— ———————— ———————— ————————


t ome s Welc aff babie ! st ie z P n N e M ak M d n a Eden

Sun Mon Tues Wed Thurs


September out About ouT pull ave! s and o new

Last day: Renaissance Festival in Shakopee



Car seat inspection clinic in Eden Prairie


24 ———————— ———————— ———————— ———————— ———————— ————————

17 ———————— ———————— ———————— ———————— ———————— ————————

25 ———————— Meet Sharky @ ———————— the MOA’s Toddler ———————— Tuesdays event ———————— ———————— ———————— 26 ———————— Poet T.S. Eliot’s ———————— birthday ———————— ———————— ———————— ————————

Cirque du Soleil’s Dralion @ Target Center through Sept. 23

18 19 ———————— ———————— ———————— ———————— ———————— ————————

Shake Day

27 ———————— ———————— ———————— ———————— ———————— ————————


equinox (aka, the first day of fall)

The Autumnal

28 29 ———————— Museum Day LIVE! ———————— (and FREE!) ———————— ———————— ———————— ————————

20 21 ———————— Duck for President ———————— opens at Stages ———————— Theatre Company ———————— ———————— ————————

Out About

Curious George: Let’s Get Curious! ÎÎBased on the familiar characters in H.A. and Margret Rey’s classic stories and the show on PBS KIDS, Curious George: Let’s Get Curious! boosts children’s natural curiosity as they build early science, math, and engineering skills through hands-on play. Climb into the imaginative world of Curious George and the Man with the Yellow Hat and push, pull, and problem solve your way through pintsized math and science adventures. When: Through October 7

Where: Minnesota Children’s Museum

Cost: $9.50 ages 1 to 101

Info: or 651-225-6000

Museum Day Live! ÎÎDownload a free museum pass and head to one of 18 museums in Minnesota participating in this event, celebrating science, culture, history, and education. Includes American Swedish Institute, The Works, Duluth Art Institute, and more. Find a full list online (see info). When: Saturday, September 29; Museum hours vary per institution Where: Various museums throughout the state, see website for list Cost: FREE with downloaded ticket Info:

32 September 2012

Ongoing Renaissance Festival ÎÎCelebrating its 42nd season, the Minnesota Renaissance Festival is a long-standing tradition with themed weekends, free entertainment, parade, marketplace, jousting, and more. New this year: wiener dog races, artisan appreciation weekends, and new secret garden featuring fairy houses. When: Weekends through September 30 from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Where: Two miles past the intersection of 169 and Hwy 41 in Shakopee Cost: Discount coupons available; buy in advance discounts, prices vary—see website Info: or 952-445-7361

Minnesota State Fair


ÎÎThe Minnesota State Fair is one of the largest and best-attended expositions in the world, attracting nearly 1.8 million visitors annually. Showcasing Minnesota’s finest agriculture, art and industry, the Great Minnesota Get-Together is always Twelve Days of Fun.

ÎÎFusing the 3,000 year-old tradition of Chinese acrobatic arts with the multidisciplinary approach of Cirque du Soleil, Dralion draws its inspiration from Eastern philosophy and its never-ending quest for harmony between humans and nature.

When: Through September 3, 6:00 a.m. to midnight Where: 1265 North Snelling Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55108 Cost: Under 5: Free; 5 to 12 and 65 and over, $10; 13–64: $12 Info: or 651-288-4400

Defeat of Jesse James Days ÎÎBank raid re-enactments, carnival, live music, arts and crafts show, parade, and more. The celebration is held to honor the townspeople who defeated the James/ Younger gang. See the historic account of the bank raid or stop by the Historical Society Museum for a complete account. When: September 5 to 9 Where: Downtown Northfield Cost: Children 5 and under are FREE; all others need a button for the events, $4. Info: or 1-800-658-2548

Buccaneers! ÎÎWhen her parents threaten to send her to live with her horrible relatives, Enid Arabella wishes she could run away and sail the seven seas. When she is captured by pirate rapscallion Johnny Johné, Enid must summon her wit and gumption to save herself and the rest of the children of Johné’s crew. This rousing world premiere pirate musical is an inspiring tale of empowerment and leadership—with plenty of swashbuckling. When: Opens September 11 through October 21 Where: Children’s Theatre Company, Minneapolis Cost: Depends on performance and seat selected Info: or 612-874-0400

When: September 19 to 23 Where: Target Center, Minneapolis Cost: Depends upon age and seat selected Info: or 800-745-3000

Duck for President ÎÎThis barnyard campaign romp makes a stop at Stages Theatre Company this fall, just as the real-life presidential election is in full swing, when the irresistibly funny duck decides to run for President. Full of recounts and sticky ballots, this hilarious animal twist on an American tradition will delight all ages. When: Opens September 21 through October 21 Where: Stages Theatre Company, Hopkins Cost: Depends on performance and seat selected Info: or 952-979-1211

Cyberchase— The Chase Is On! ÎÎJoin forces with the CyberSquad, Matt, Inez, Jackie, and Digit, in their quest to save Cyberspace as they zoom into Cyberchase—The Chase Is On!, an out-of-this-world, educational exhibit. The exhibit presents math in a fun, kidfriendly environment, allowing children to make use of their critical thinking skills and approach math with an investigative, positive attitude. When: Through the 23rd Where: Minnesota Children’s Museum Cost: $9.50 ages 1 to 101 Info: or 651-225-6000

September 2012 33

Out About Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat ÎÎFrom the moment his tall, red-andwhite-striped hat appears around the door, Sally and her brother know that the Cat in the Hat is the most mischievous cat they have ever met. This is the American premiere of this stylish production. All of your child’s favorite moments come to life on stage. When: Opens September 25 through December 2 Where: Children’s Theatre Company, Minneapolis Cost: Depends on performance and seat selected Info: or 612-874-0400

The Picnic ÎÎOff-Leash Area’s third annual neighborhood garage tour offers the story of a bird and a dog who meet in a city park and fall in love over the course of four seasons. When: Various days, see website for info Where: Stillwater, S & NE Minneapolis, Plymouth, Lakeville Cost: Suggested donation of $5 to $15, reservations encouraged Info: or 612-724-7372

Preschool Playdate ÎÎEach Tuesday, the Science Museum offers preschool appropriate activities that will keep little hands busy and little minds buzzing. A Preschool Playdates ticket includes admission to the exhibit galleries and more. When: 10:00 a.m. to noon Where: Science Museum of Minnesota, St. Paul Cost: Under five, FREE; $13 for adults Info: or 651-221-9444

Wee Wednesdays ÎÎWee Wednesdays have plenty to see and do for toddlers and their families. Free, educational programming geared toward children five and under; also features hands-on activities and more. When: Every Wednesday beginning at 10:30 a.m.

34 September 2012

Where: Midtown Global Market, Minneapolis Cost: FREE Info: or 612-872-4041

Family Night at the Global Market ÎÎFree live music, a children’s play area, and free balloons for the first 50 children. Businesses will validate your parking (for up to three hours) with purchase if you park in the 10th Avenue parking ramp. When: Every Friday from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. Where: Midtown Global Market, Minneapolis Cost: FREE Info: or 612-872-4041

1 Saturday Free 1st Saturdays at the Walker Art Center: Get Up and Read ÎÎMeet author/illustrator Nancy Carlson, whose endearing characters (bunnies, mice, pigs, etc.) tickle the funny bone of kids and parents alike. Learn about honesty, determination, and self-confidence. When: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (family activities until 3:00) Where: Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Cost: FREE Info: or 612-375-7600

Free Family Flicks: Yogi Bear ÎÎEnjoy a free movie. First-come, first-served to theater capacity. When: 10:00 a.m. Where: Theatres at Mall of America, Bloomington Cost: FREE Info:

DINOSAURS! ÎÎFifteen larger-than-life animatronic dinosaurs, including the popular Tyrannosaurus Rex, Giganotosaurus, and

Brachiosaurus, will take up residence along the Minnesota Zoo’s Northern Trail this summer. When: 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Where: Minnesota Zoo, Apple Valley Cost: Two and under, free; $12 to $18, all others. Parking, $5 Info: or 952-431-9200

Real Pirates ÎÎHollywood’s glamorous and adventurepacked portrayal of pirates has captured our imaginations for generations. But what was life on the high seas really like during the Golden Age of Piracy? When: 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Where: Science Museum of Minnesota, St. Paul Cost: Tickets are timed and dated, cost varies from $12 to $25 Info: or 651-221-9444

2 Sunday DINOSAURS! ÎÎSee description, Saturday, September 1 When: 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Real Pirates ÎÎSee description, Saturday, September 1 When: 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

About the Calendar Minnesota Parent welcomes information about events for families throughout the state of Minnesota. Calendar listings are FREE and can be submitted online at; click on Events > Submit an event. You can submit a listing at any time, but the deadline for possible inclusion in the print publication is six weeks prior to the month of publication. (For example, June 15 for the August issue.) All events are subject to change. Be certain to check with the event sponsor either by visiting the website or calling, to ensure the featured event is still viable. Events taking place for more than one weekend in length will be listed in our “Ongoing” area, space permitting.

3 Monday DINOSAURS! ÎÎClosing day of exhibit. See description, Saturday, September 1 When: 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Real Pirates ÎÎClosing day of exhibit. See description, Saturday, September 1 When: 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

4 Tuesday Toddler Tuesdays: Golfing ÎÎGive mini golf your best shot while wearing moose ears. Play up to nine holes with your toddler and win a prize. When: 10:00 a.m. to noon Where: Mall of America, Moose Mountain Adventure Gold, Level 3 Cost: FREE Info:

8 Saturday Free Family Flicks: How to Train Your Dragon ÎÎEnjoy a free movie. First-come, firstserved to theater capacity.
 When: 10:00 a.m. Where: Theatres at Mall of America, Bloomington Cost: FREE Info:

9 Sunday Family Day at the MIA: Play on Words ÎÎCelebrate back-to-school season with an event dedicated to books. Take a page from early manuscripts and create your own illuminated letters. Watch a children’s book come to life with a puppet performance of “Nala and the Pink Tiger.” Be inspired by books and typography in the MIA’s collection and

September 2012 35

out About children with Autism Spectrum disorders, perfectionism, and other special needs; plus a book signing with authors Judy Galbraith, Thomas S. Greenspon, Ph.D., and Elizabeth Verdick.

Batman Live

When: 2:00 p.m. Where: Barnes & Noble, HarMar Mall Cost: FREE Info: 651-697-0546

Batman Live Î See description, Thursday, September 13 When: 11:30 a.m., 3:30 and 7:30 p.m. create word-filled works of art! When: 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Where: Minneapolis Institute of Arts Cost: FREE Info: 612-870-3000 or

11 tueSdAY Arty Pants Î Arty Pants: Your Tuesday Playdate, features activities for adults and youngsters ages three to five. Art projects, films, gallery activities, and story time. When: 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Where: Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Cost: FREE with gallery admission; Walker members and kids ages 12 and under are always free. Info: or 612-375-7600

toddler tuesdays: movie morning Î A special screening of How to Train Your Dragon with free popcorn, too. When: Doors at 9:30 a.m., movie begins at 10:15 a.m. Where: Mall of America movie theatres Cost: FREE Info:

author will sign a maximum of two books per voucher. Purchase of at least one copy of Captain Underpants And The Terrifying Return Of Tippy Tinklepants on September 12 is required to obtain a voucher. When: 6:00 p.m. Where: Barnes & Noble, Roseville Cost: FREE Info: 651-639-9256

13 thurSdAY Batman Live Î An all-new live action arena spectacular faithfully adapted from the DC Comics characters and stories featuring a nonstop thrill ride across Gotham City by way of custom built state-of-the-art stage with pyrotechnics, Batmobile, and 43 actors and circus trained acrobats. When: 7:30 p.m. Where: Xcel Energy center, St. Paul Cost: $25 to $77, plus limited VIP seating; also special Boy Scout ticket offer Info: or

14 fridAY Batman Live

12 WedneSdAY

Î See description, Thursday, September 13

dav Pilkey Book Signing

15 SAturdAY

Î Meet Dav Pilkey, creator of the popular Captain Underpants Series. This signing is limited. To avoid disappointment please note that numbered vouchers will be distributed beginning at 9:00 a.m. The

36 September 2012

When: 3:30 and 7:30 p.m.

Parenting Special needs Children Î A discussion regarding parenting

Lakeville Art festival Î Held in downtown Lakeville, the park-like grounds of the Lakeville Area Arts Center allow the unique use of a circular type arrangement of about 60 artist booths, plus a Youth Art Tent, performing and literary artists, and good food. When: 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Where: Downtown Lakeville Cost: FREE Info: or 952-985-4640

mary Casanova Book Signing Î The author will be signing her new young adult novel, Frozen. When: 1:00 p.m. Where: Wild Rumpus Bookstore, Minneapolis Cost: FREE; book cost additional Info: or 612-920-5005

marine Art fair Î 175 artists and craftsmen will display wares, rain or shine! Drive up to take in the fall colors, along with good food, fun, and art. When: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Where: Marine on St. Croix Cost: FREE Info: or 651-433-3636

out About 16 SundAY free 3rd Sundays at the minnesota Children’s museum Î Thanks to the generosity of Target Corporation, visitors can roam the museum free of charge every third Sunday of each month. When: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Where: Minnesota Children’s Museum Cost: FREE Info: or 651-225-6000

Lakeville Art festival

Where: 2960 Egan Ave., Eagan Cost: FREE Info: 651-454-3534

18 tueSdAY toddler tuesdays: Super Secret Spy Party Î It’s a morning of mystery while watching The Backyardigans “International Super Spy” episode; meet Uniqua, Tyrone, and Pablo and stay to make a spy craft. When: 10:00 a.m. to noon Where: Mall of America, Rotunda Cost: FREE Info:

Î See description, Saturday, September 15 When: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Batman Live Î See description, Thursday, September 13 When: 1:00 and 5:00 p.m.

Car Seat inspection Clinic Î The Eden Prairie Police department is hosting a free car seat safety inspection clinic at Fire Station 1. Walk-ins welcome, appointments appreciated. Seat inspections take approximately 30 minutes and require both the owner’s manual for the car, as well as the car seat manual. When: 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Where: Fire Station 1, 14800 Scenic Heights Rd., Eden Prairie Cost: FREE Info: or 952-949-6200

marine Art fair Î See description, Saturday, September 15 When: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

21 fridAY festa italiana Î A kaleidoscope of activities for the whole family on Harriet Island. Stroll along the Via dell’Amore (Avenue of Love), ride down the Mississippi in a gondola, play a round of Bocce Ball, and be carried away to Italy with the music of the organ grinders. When: 3:00 to 10:00 p.m. Where: Harriet Island, Minneapolis Cost: FREE Info:

masters of illusion Live! Î Eye-popping illusionists, daring escape and quick change artists, two tigers, beautiful dancers, and comedy magic, this theatrical experience is totally live with no camera tricks or computer graphics. When: 7:30 p.m. Where: State Theatre, Minneapolis Cost: $43.50 to $53.50; ages 12 and under half price with purchase of an adult ticket Info: or 800-982-2787

Lutz railroad Garden

22 SAturdAY

Î Stop by and visit Conductor Bud and his charming railroad garden. It’s a fun place for families and Conductor Bud enjoys sharing his garden with kids of all ages.

Curious about engineering day

When: 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.

38 September 2012

Î This event will inspire children to be interested in and excited about

engineering through hands-on activities and demonstrations provided by a variety of professional sources. When: 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Where: Minnesota Chidlren’s Museum, St. Paul Cost: $.9.50 ages 1 to 101 Info: or 651-225-6000

festa italiana Î See description, Friday, September 21 When: 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

free family flicks: Big miracle Î Enjoy a free movie. First-come, firstserved to theater capacity. When: 10:00 a.m. Where: Theatres at Mall of America, Bloomington Cost: FREE Info:

fall family Portrait day Î Get a photo of your family taken outdoors by a professional photographer. Private 15 minute sessions are for families, individuals, and singles in a beautiful space. Digital copies of the five best photos are the reward. When: Reservations required, see info Where: Caponi Art Park, Eagan Cost: $20 per sitting Info: or 651-454-9412

rail rider days Î Travel back in time when railroading was a way of life. Meet past and present Hobo kings and queens, see real life train artifacts and hop aboard train cars. Bonfire, s’mores, and more. When: Regular business hours Where: Jackson Street Roundhouse, 193 Pennsylvania Ave. E, St. Paul Cost: $10 adults; $8 students; $5 ages 2 to 4 Info: or 651-228-0263

Out About Redwood Falls Festival & Grape Stomp ÎÎA downtown community event with vendors and grape stomp. When: Regular business hours Where: Downtown Redwood Falls Cost: FREE Info: or 507-637-2828

23 Sunday TPT Family Splash ÎÎA fun afternoon for kids of all ages. When: 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. Where: Water Park of America, Bloomington Cost: $12 in advance; $17 at the door Info: or 651-229-1300

25 Tuesday Toddler Tuesdays: Sea Life ÎÎTouch sea creatures including starfish and crabs. Visit with Sharky while learning all about animals of the sea. Discounted admission to the aquarium is available for Toddler Tuesdays guests. When: 10:00 a.m. to noon Where: Mall of America, Rotunda Cost: FREE Info:

Arty Pants ÎÎActivities for adults and youngsters ages three to five. Art projects, films, gallery activities, and story time. When: 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Where: Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Cost: FREE with gallery admission; Walker members and ages 12 and under are always free Info: or 612-375-7600

28 Friday Mean ÎÎThis original bullying prevention musical follows three bullied teens. The script and songs are based on interviews from local teens who were victims of bullies.

40 September 2012

When: 10:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Where: Youth Performance Co., Minneapolis Cost: $10 to $12; groups are discounted Info: or 612-623-9080

29 Saturday Museum Day Live! ÎÎSee Parent Picks, page 32. When: Museum hours vary per institution

Mean ÎÎSee description, Friday, September 28. When: 7:30 p.m.

30 Sunday Medieval Fair ÎÎDiscover what it was like to live during the Middle Ages. See educational demonstrations and activities and plenty of other fun stuff. When: 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Where: Caponi Art Park, Eagan Cost: FREE; $5 per person suggested donation to support the park Info: or 651-454-9412

The Washburn Games ÎÎA sports sampler where children age four to 12 have the opportunity to try 20 different sports and games. The event is designed to help the community realize a child’s mental health is as important as their physical health. When: 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Where: Bryn Mawr Meadows, Minneapolis Cost: $10 entry fee Info: or 612-872-3316

Mean ÎÎSee description, Friday, September 28. When: 2:00 p.m.

September 2012 41


Birth IS a big deal Processing your birth story By Jen Wittes

42 September 2012

hildbirth is at once a common event, and also a pivotal moment of unparalleled intensity. Transformative, heartbreaking, trying, exquisite. Torturous, euphoric, primal, enlightening. These are all words often used to describe something that happens globally four times per second. I hear about this normal, yet absolutely amazing moment quite a lot, as I sit on the arm of a favorite easy chair or at the end of an unmade bed. As a postpartum doula, I come into a family’s home just as the adrenaline of birth gives way to deep exhaustion; just as the milk comes in and the hormones crash. When I arrive for my first shift with a new family, I always start by asking about the birth. A woman might have told the story of her baby’s arrival a few times before meeting me; however, I bring a certain type of audience that makes the recollection somewhat different. I am unbiased and undistracted. I ask questions and encourage emotion; I aid in conclusion and closure. I know when to dig deeper and when to back off. My former client Amy, for example, had a difficult time coming to terms with her two Cesarean births. In her mind, the operations were a sign of weakness. She also wondered if the procedures were completely medically necessary and was consequently plagued with “what ifs.” Her overwhelming guilt and doubt threatened to eclipse her bond with her two sons, making it imperative for her to find a way to sort through her mixed emotions. Together, we discovered that several short but pointed conversations interspersed with lighter moments of laughter were the best way for Amy to slowly chip away at the troubling feelings she had swallowed following the birth of her first son. In Amy’s own words: I needed someone to allow me to voice the knot of disappointment and gratitude that filled my heart and head at the time. I needed someone to allow me to say that I was conflicted about both of my births, which have given me beautiful and amazing children. The listening ear of a doula allowed me to begin to sort through some of those difficult—and even embarrassing—emotions.

“of all human experiences, only two are entirely universal: birth and death. of these bookends, birth is the one that we carry with us and it’s the one that we stand half a chance at wrapping our heads around. ”

Processing the story In the mom and baby business, we often refer to this practice as “processing the birth story.” Such a funny, seemingly clinical term—process is exactly the word to describe the rehashing, reorganizing, making-sense-of things that needs to take place after childbirth. Synonyms of the verb include: layout, treasure, boast, experience, possess, retain, use, ramble, and repair. Although conversation is what worked for Amy, processing need not come from a chat with your doula, doctor, midwife, mother, or counselor. In fact, talking it out is not the best fit for everyone. Conversation is effective, but it can be a bullet train to thoughts and images that are better digested slowly. Especially when coping with unexpected intervention, loss of control, and birth trauma, revisiting a somewhat murky memory of joy stained with strife might be better approached with caution. Long walks near water come to mind for exploring a sense of sadness; perhaps quiet meditation. Kickboxing, hiking, or singing along to loud music could be effective in releasing anger. Even when a woman is blessed with a just-as-planned, peaceful birth, she may be surprised to find herself fumbling with the art of processing. Feelings of wonder and elation can be just as overwhelming as those of despair. Whether idyllic or chaotic, birth is a big deal, and it’s important to carve time out to deal with the effects. Some parents make a mix CD, filled with songs that bring them back to “labor day.” Some stay up at night, after

September 2012 43

the baby falls asleep, working on a scrapbook. Such physical monuments are wonderful to tuck away, as birth memories often demand to be revisited year after year.

Pull out a pen Another effective and increasingly popular way of sorting through the experience is to write. Many women write their birth story, for a variety of reasons. The written account becomes a reminder, a keepsake, a gift to the child in question, and also perhaps an educational and inspirational essay for other pregnant women. Twin Cities birth doula and hypnotic birth instructor Anne Ferguson explains that, “In [the workshop] Hypnobabies, we encourage mothers to only read positive birth stories. What the mind focuses on becomes what the mind creates, and that becomes reality.” Makes sense that reading a few uplifting, empowering tales of real women could be life-altering. Choosing to process your labor by using the story to help others can be extremely gratifying. At Blooma Yoga in Edina, Alisa Blackwood takes on all birth stories, whether initially viewed as perfect or traumatic. Her workshop, Writing Your Baby’s Birth Story, starts with some gentle yoga, continues with a few writing exercises to jog the memory, and finishes

44 September 2012

with free journaling. Says Blackwood, “There’s a transformation, a softening, a letting go, that takes place when you write down your thoughts and memories…sometimes it takes tremendous bravery to say hello to these parts of yourself, especially if you’re uncomfortable with writing. But you don’t have to be a writer to write your story. You also don’t have to share your story if you don’t want to.” To share or not, to write or not—the exact vehicle is not important. You just need to get there. There is very little of what we experience in the modern world to remind us that we are animals. Rarely do we push our physical limits, rub our emotions raw, or surrender to the involuntary. What birth brings up is

precious, alarming, and rare. The experience matters a great deal. As we crazy little animals do with so many things that matter, we often bypass what’s important when it comes to birth—what deserves reflection, what needs to be dealt with and accepted, what we need to let go of, and what we will joyfully present as a recurring punch line for years to come. What I’ve found to be universally true of both the mothers I work with and those I know personally, is that a birth story pushed away—for whatever reason—will eventually resurface. It will be there in the relationship with the child, throughout subsequent pregnancies, and in the ebb and flow of marriage intimacy. Of all human experiences, only two are entirely universal: birth and death. Of these bookends, birth is the one that we carry with us and it’s the one that we stand half a chance at wrapping our heads around. Whether via walking, talking, singing, writing, belly dancing, star gazing, or berry picking; every new parent needs to celebrate, accept, embody, and process the single moment that turned the old life into something completely new. • Jen Wittes is a freelance writer, as well as a doula for Welcome BabyCare in Edina.

September 2012 45

Post-pregnancy mood-booster or newest fad? The buzz around placentophagy By Valerie Turgeon

Placenta ingestion after the birth of a child. Yes, it sounds fairly strange—we are with you on that one. But placentophagy (as it is also called) is a practice growing in popularity, purporting a natural means to receive health benefits after childbirth, including claims of hormone balancing, milk supply enhancement, increased energy, and reduced fatigue. And best: that ingesting the placenta may help relieve postpartum depression. Though placentophagy has little scientific research to back up the benefits it claims to provide, anecdotal research and surveys completed have estimated a high rate of positive reported benefits. Ingesting the placenta may seem like

46 September 2012

some new wacky craze, but the practice harkens back to traditional Chinese medicine. Through word of mouth, and (as always) social networking sites, placentophagy is creating a buzz, from celebrity moms like Mad Men’s January Jones touting the benefits to the average new mother up the block.

Ingestion No, this is not a fork and knife kind of meal. Rather, the placenta goes through a process of boiling, dehydration, drying, and then it is ground into a powder, encapsulated, and taken as a supplement. Liz Abbene, owner of Enlightened Mama in St. Paul, a birthing doula,

What exactly is the placenta? A temporary organ that grows as the baby develops, the placenta is connected to the fetus and to the mother’s uterine wall. It allows for waste elimination and for the transference of oxygen and nutrients from the mother to the fetus. At full term, the placenta is about seven inches in diameter and just a little less than two inches thick and weighs one to two pounds. It naturally expels 15 to 30 minutes after the child is born.

September 2012 47

Jodi Selander is the owner and founder of Placenta benefits Ltd.

childbirth educator, and mother of four, discusses placenta encapsulation with her clients. “I’ve had some moms that have suffered from depression who didn’t feel comfortable taking medications while they were breastfeeding, so they gave placenta capsules a try because it’s all natural. It’s YOU.” This almost seems too good to be true. What might the downside be, then? Charlie Foust, a Minnesota-based doula and trained encapsulation specialist, said there are no downsides, but that you should be mindful of your own health when you take a capsule. “Because the placenta is part of the mom’s body, there are no known health risks,” says Foust. “The only time that you wouldn’t take a capsule is if you were fighting off an infection of some kind—like a cold, the flu, mastitis. The placenta is very tonifying in nature and can cause an infection to grow stronger and deeper into the body.”

health risks and rewards However, problems can surface if the placenta is not properly taken care of before it is processed. Because it is a fresh organ, it should be treated as such: refrigerated after it is expelled from the uterus so it doesn’t risk bacteria growth. Also, if medical staff tests the placenta, it’s best to ensure it was not exposed to harmful chemicals.

48 September 2012

The encapsulation process should also be done with care and proper sanitation practices so that the organ is not exposed to bacteria or germs. The scientific research behind this magic capsule is still in its beginning stages; this means the only evidence that placentophagy works is anecdotal. Abbene said some of her placenta-ingesting clients have told her, “it’s a life saver,” and that they feel an improvement in mood and energy level about 10 or 15 minutes after taking a capsule or two. Minnesota native Jodi Selander is the founder of Placenta Benefits Ltd. Since she launched her business in 2006, she has been working to educate mothers about placentophagy and also offers encapsulation services and certification training. Though Selander strongly advocates for placentophagy, she does acknowledge, like Abbene, that it may not work for everyone. “Every placenta is unique just like every pregnancy is unique. So, the way placenta capsules affect [each woman] will be different.” In a study conducted by Selander, the majority of respondents revealed that placentophagy does work for them. Selander administered a survey to 190 women who had eaten their placentas and found that 96% said it was a “positive” or “very positive” experience. Her conclusions were presented at the American Anthropological Association’s annual meeting in 2010. Selander looks forward to the day when scientific evidence shows that the body does benefit from placentophagy; but what matters most is how the mother feels after ingesting it. “It’s become so popular because it works,” says Selander. “There’s not going to be any sort of magic pill to cure all of a woman’s issues after childbirth. But, what I want women to know is that the placenta is the most readily available and simplest way to rebalance a woman’s system [and] get her off on the best foot to the best postpartum recovery.” •

placenTophagy faQs HOW DO I FIND AN ENCAPSULATION SPECIALIST? Selander encourages women to find someone who is certified. Those who are certified through placentabenefits. info have gone through a training course, use proper safety procedures, and have encapsulated at least three placentas before receiving certification. Other useful referrals may come from your OB/GYN, birthing doula, or other birthing educators and education services in your area. No matter who you choose to encapsulate your placenta, Selander recommends that the process is done in your own home so you can oversee the process. CAN I ENCAPSULATE MY PLACENTA ON MY OWN? It’s possible to just go to Google and search “do-it-yourself placenta encapsulation” as one of Abbene’s clients once did, but for a trusted resource, sells do-it-yourself kits with step-by-step instructions, and a number to call if help is needed along the way. WHAT IF I DON’T USE MY CAPSULES? If you find you don’t benefit from the capsules because postpartum depression is very mild or even nonexistent, there are other options for them. You can offer your capsules to another new mother to use (as long as you do not have any communicable diseases and the placenta was properly encapsulated). You can also put your capsules in the freezer for use later. Capsules keep very well in frozen conditions. Various uses include helping to balance hormones related to PMS symptoms or menstrual cycle. Placenta capsules can also be used for issues related to menopause.

September 2012 49

Baby resource guide Birthing Centers


Minnesota Birth Center Minnesota Birth Center is Minneapolis’ first and only freestanding birth center offering comprehensive Certified Nurse Midwifery (CNM) care. CNMs are Nurse Practitioners offering primary care, gynecologic and family planning, preconception, pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum care, and normal newborn care.

Blooma Blooma nurtures the mind-body-heart of women and their families. Blooma offers prenatal and postnatal yoga, yoga bonding, family yoga, childbirth education, plus classes for active moms looking to get fit, unwind, and connect. Childcare is offered during many classes. Be Blooma Well!

2606 Chicago Ave S, Minneapolis 612-545-5311

Child Care Kinderberry Hill Your baby deserves the Berry Best. NAEYC accredited, on-site nurse, beautiful nurseries, award-winning curriculum, highest safety standards. Full-time and parttime schedules, six weeks to school-age. Six locations. Downtown Minneapolis 612-436-1003 Edina 952-925-5881 Eden Prairie 952-345-8012 Plymouth 763-404-1070 Roseville 651-481-8069 Woodbury 651-209-6690 Minnesota Child Care Resource & Referral Network, The The Minnesota Child Care Resource & Referral Network works to help families across Minnesota find quality child care and understand their child care options. The Minnesota Child Care Resource & Referral Network: Quality Care and Education for Every Child. Statewide Locations 888-291-9811

dentists Dentistry for Children & Adolescents Our dentists and team members are committed to providing your child with the highest standard of pediatric dental care from birth to age 19. We believe with good home care, regular dental visits and preventive procedures, your child can grow up cavity free. 7373 France Ave S #402, Edina 952-831-4400 14050 Nicollet Ave S #100, Burnsville 952-435-4102 6060 Clearwater Dr #210, Minnetonka 952-932-0920

50 September 2012

3919 44th St, Edina 968 Grand Ave, St. Paul ECFE Early Childhood Family Education offers educational, fun, and affordable family classes and resources for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and their parents. ECFE helps build healthy families and helps prepare children for success in school and in life. Early learning matters! Joyce Bilingual Preschool Joyce Preschool is a bilingual SpanishEnglish program for children ages 3-5 with strong emphasis on kindergarten readiness, second language acquisition, early literacy, and parent involvement. Also offering parent-child classes and summer camps. Multiple locations starting in 2012-13. Joyce Preschool Uptown: 1219 W 31st St, Minneapolis Joyce at Windom: 5821 Wentworth Ave S · Minneapolis 612-823-2447 · Music Together Music Together: Music and movement classes for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and the grownups who love them. 45 min. of pure fun every week at several locations in the Twin Cites and surrounding metro areas. We invite you to try a FREE class. Statewide Locations 800-728-2692

health Care Minnesota Department of HealthWIC Program WIC is a nutrition program that provides nutrition services, breastfeeding support, and healthy foods to women (pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum), infants, and children up to age five. We encourage pregnant women and families with young children to contact us. Statewide Locations

ADVERTISER LISTINGS Nearest Clinic: 800-WIC 4030 General Questions: 800-657-3942 South Lake Pediatrics South Lake Pediatrics specializes in providing health care for children from infancy through young adulthood. We offer evening and Saturday appointments as well as the option of easyCARE, a walk-in service for illness and minor injuries. Check us out with a no-charge, “get to know you” visit. Chaska, Children’s West, Eden Prairie, Maple Grove, Minnetonka, Plymouth 952-401-8300

other Minnesota College Savings Plan The Minnesota College Savings Plan is a flexible tax-advantaged 529 college savings plan designed to help families save for a loved one’s future college education. The Plan is administered by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education and managed by TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc. 877-338-4646

retail Linden Hills Co-op Grocery & Deli We offer local, organic groceries for the whole family. You’ll also find pre-natal supplements; organic baby food; BPA and phthalate-free toys; plus, an excellent selection of eco-friendly diapers (cloth and disposable). Questions? Our caring, knowledgeable staff is happy to help. 3815 Sunnyside Ave, Minneapolis 612-922-1159 Moss Envy Moss Envy is a specialty retail store that sells eco products and healthier alternatives for your home and life. Our diverse collection includes furniture, home decor, gifts, jewelry, bath and body, stationery, clothing, mattresses, baby gear, and building materials. 3056 Excelsior Blvd, Minneapolis 612-374-4581

September 2012 51

A golden birthday By Angela Bryant

In 1992, I celebrated my golden birthday: 13 years old on the 13th of August. My dad always said golden birthdays were special, being you get only one. On that special day, he reserved a limousine and made reservations at a high-end restaurant. He allowed me to invite 10 of my closest girlfriends. We rode around town, went to dinner, and then rode around again for awhile. Sipping sparkling grape juice, adorned in our best dresses, and full of giggles, we felt like princesses—and I was the queen. Twenty years later, it was time to celebrate my son’s golden birthday (also born on the 13th). Remembering how special it felt to have such a large celebration, we asked him what he would like for the big day. He chose a hotel room party that would include a few of his best buddies, along with a special request: room service. The hard part was determining how to include some of his female friends. We needed to figure out how to accommodate this diverse group and still

52 September 2012

have the party remain age appropriate. We found a great deal on a suite at Hyatt Place in Bloomington. The double suite was a perfect fit being my husband and I would have four boys staying with us. There were two full sized beds in each suite. Additionally, the sectional in the common area pulled out into a queen sleeper, so there would be plenty of room if they actually fell asleep at some point. With a mini fridge, a large TV, and extra floor space, this was a great set up to bring along beverages, as well as the Xbox 360 for later at night when it was time to settle down a bit. The hotel includes a nice sized pool, 24-7 food service, and a large open gallery for hanging out. The location was near home for us and down the street from the Mall of America in case we needed a back up plan at any point during the evening. Having the pool and a large enough room to entertain a few extra guests offered us the opportunity for the girls to stop by for a few hours to swim, eat pizza and cupcakes, and hang out. We were able


to check in at 3:00 p.m. and get everything put away in the room; the boys arrived at 4:00 and got their stuff settled; the girls arrived at 5:00. Pizza, cupcakes, swimming, presents, and jelly beans followed. By 8:00 the girls were headed home and the boys were able to kick back and have some guy time. The remainder of the night was spent playing games, enjoying scrambled eggs and bacon courtesy of room service, and making memories. In the morning we enjoyed the complementary breakfast and also had time to hang out around the hotel. At 11:00 a.m. the boys headed out for their homes and since check out wasn’t until noon, I had plenty of time to pack up without feeling rushed. We were thankful for the staff at Hyatt Place in helping make the event a memorable one. This party was pretty easy to organize and execute, and was a lot of fun. The kids had a great time and it was a birthday our son will never forget. I look forward to doing something else big in four years when our youngest celebrates his golden 14th birthday.

September 2012 53

Books for babies Read to your baby, and read about babies. Either way, it’s win-win! By Valerie Turgeon

touch and feel animals Parragon Books Ltd., $7.99

— Explore and learn with cute pictures and simple words to help your baby discover textures, first concepts, and the world around them.

i feel happy Illustrated by Guiditta Gaviraghi Parragon Books Ltd., $7.99

night night Illustrated by Natalie Marshall Parragon Books Ltd., $4.99

— This book begins to teach your little one the key words of a bedtime routine. Made of cardboard padded pages, it is easier for your baby to hold—and not destroy.

54 September 2012

— It’s important for a child to express their feelings so you know if they need help or are feeling just fine. This book features cute animals that share their feelings, which will encourage your child to do the same. Pull-out picture tabs also make for a fun reading experience.

mary had a Little Lamb Parragon Books Ltd., $5.99

— The typical nursery rhyme is not so typical when this book has a built-in lamb puppet! The story becomes interactive when you or your child manipulates the soft and fuzzy puppet.

Stroller Books: Baby’s first Colors; Baby’s first numbers Illustrated by Natalie Marshall Parragon Books Ltd., $7.99

— Baby’s First Stroller Books come with a soft strap to clip onto a stroller, high chair, and even a crib bar. Bright happy illustrations paired with two words, such as “red apple” or “1 bee” keep it simple.

Baby Babble Illustrated by Kate Merritt Workman Publishing, $4.95

— This book labels everyday objects so your baby can learn word/image association. The best part, however? This book is indestructible! It is chew proof, rip proof, nontoxic, and 100% washable.

September 2012 55

56 September 2012

September 2012 57

My husband takes on a lot during performance weeks, and I wouldn’t make it through day-long dress rehearsals without him taking care of the girls and things at home.

Do your two daughters dance as well?


Erin Warn Wilson Not many kids can brag that their mom’s job involves pointe shoes and tutus, but 11-year-old Lilly can about her mom, Erin Warn Wilson. Wilson’s first ever ballet class at age seven was with Ballet


Minnesota’s artistic director,

You teach ballet too?

Andrew Rist. She has now

I typically teach ages eight to 10, those who are just beginning to learn ballet after taking movement classes; and adult beginner ballet. With the kids, every day is a new experience and it keeps me feeling youthful. They’re in this transition phase and getting to know their bodies and how they work. Teaching adults is the inverse of that—they’re more aware of their bodies, but at the same time learning a new way of moving.

performed for him professionally since 2002. But Wilson doesn’t just balance a professional dance career and parenthood—she’s a mathematics professor as well. —Claire Walling

58 September 2012

Annabelle, who’s three, doesn’t dance yet, but loves to watch me from the audience with my husband. Lilly, my oldest, has been tagging along to the theater since she was a toddler, and has followed my lead into becoming a dancer. Last year’s Nutcracker was the first performance where we got to interact with each other on stage. Before, she had been a mouse scurrying around on stage or some similar role. [Last year] she played a toy soldier, and was delighted to have permission to kick her mother—on stage! She wasn’t supposed to smile because the toy soldiers are made out of wood, but every time she came up to kick my hoop skirt I could see her cheeks tighten up because she was trying so hard not to smirk. But she couldn’t hide the gleam in her eye. What’s it like to juggle everything—ballet, math, and parenting—at once?

It’s been an interesting ride. I’m really lucky to be able to have a career as a dancer and be a mom. My husband takes on a lot during performance weeks, and I wouldn’t make it through day-long dress rehearsals without him taking care of the girls and things at home. Being an artist doesn’t always provide a steady paycheck, so I’m lucky enough to have a second job teaching a mathematics class each semester at Metropolitan State University as well—the schedule works out very well with a dancer’s life and rehearsals.

September 2012  
September 2012