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november 2012

Good stuff for sick kids

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20 questions to ask when you’re pregnant

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Global parenting techniques {page 22}

HEALTHy, HAPPy KIDS! A personal look at parenting a child with ADHD {page 18}


or DY F n! a e r GeT iDaY FU HoL Ge 26 Pa

november features

38 TWenTY QUeSTionS You are off to the OB/GYN, ready to ask questions about your pregnancy…and then go blank. Keep this handy list with you for your next trip. By Heidi Smith Luedtke, PhD

22 BÉBÉS anD TiGerS anD GUiLT—oH MY! Do you consider an A-minus a bad grade? Or do you say c’est la vie? Compare your parenting skills to international parents from around the world. By Julie Kendrick

departments 8 eDiTor’S noTe Healthy, happy kids By Kathleen Stoehr

10 CHaTTer A little bit of news and information for your quiet time reading By Kathleen Stoehr 12 TWeen SCene Obesity is a serious health problem for both adults and kids in Minnesota and throughout the country. By Joy Riggs

6 November 2012

36 HoT STUFF Take a look at these good products for your sick kid. By Kathleen Stoehr 14 GroWS on TreeS Columnist Kara McGuire talks to Lori Blatheim, also known as “the dollar stretcher.” By Kara McGuire 16 FiGHT LeSS, LoVe More Take time to reveal your true thoughts. Really, it’s the only way your partner is going to know what you need. By Laurie Puhn

46 BooK SHeLF Art books for your budding Picasso. By Valerie Turgeon 50 reaL LiFe Real mom Marsha Partington By Valerie Turgeon


18 THe MinD oF an aDHD CHiLD Kelly Jo McDonnell offers a firstperson account of parenting a child diagnosed with ADHD. Trial and error, meds or no meds, and a talk with Dr. Robert Melillo, too. By Kelly Jo McDonnell

calendar 26 noVeMBer aT a GLanCe 28 ParenT PiCKS 29 oUT & aBoUT

November 2012 7


Healthy, happy kids When our daughter was just over two, my husband and I noticed that her diaper was fitting a bit oddly. One “cheek” seemed to be growing larger than the other. While her left side appeared normal, we found we had to strain to close the right side of the diaper. Over the next couple of weeks, it was obvious something was awry. The left side was not catching up. In fact, the right side seemed to be getting larger still. The pediatrician took one look and immediately scheduled a CT-scan. Shortly after that, our daughter was scheduled into surgery at Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis. It was a tumor of some kind, and it needed to be removed and biopsied immediately. From a, “hmmm, what’s with this diaper?” to “it might be cancer” within a couple days was devastating. It was an upside-down pear-shaped tumor that manifested in the mid part of her gluteus muscle and had begun to grow down into the back of her thigh. It was encapsulated, the surgeon said afterward, and fairly easy to remove. She left the hospital the next day with a six-inch incision that would turn keloidal in time…because really…short of tying her down, there is no way to keep an active toddler from moving. But where I am going with this is, first, the professionals at Children’s Hospital couldn’t have been nicer and more supportive of us, the parents. They pretty much had everything basic a parent might need (simple food, a change of clothes, a bed to nap in) if staying overnight with their child. And second, that as parents, it’s hard to think about the bad things that might happen to our kids. I would have never believed that my daughter would have two major health crises within the first four years of her life, and yet, things like this happen all the time. In this issue, Kelly Jo McDonnell gives us a first person account of parenting a child with ADHD; we have some great products for sick kids; and we touch on the topic of childhood obesity, among other terrific features. We all want healthy, happy kids, but sometimes things manifest that can’t be contained at home. Thank goodness for the medical professionals, the research, and the insight of others to help us get through the dark, dark days of a sick child—all with hopes that a new day will bring health and wellness into our lives once again.

Kathleen Stoehr Editor

8 November 2012

Vol. 27, Issue 11 Co-Publishers Janis Hall Terry Gahan General Manager Chris Damlo 612-436-4376 • Editor Kathleen Stoehr Contributing Writers/Photographers Julie Kendrick Heidi Smith Luedtke, PhD Kelly Jo McDonnell Kara McGuire Laurie Puhn Joy Riggs Valerie Turgeon 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 • 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.

November 2012 9

In brief

Minnesota Parent Tested

Kinderberry Hill is hosting its second

annual Halloween Candy Drive from November 1 to 9 at its six Twin Cities locations. The candy drive is part of Kinderberry Hill’s mission to encourage healthful eating habits for young children. The community is invited bring any extra Halloween candy to a Kinderberry Hill location during business hours (7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday). Kinderberry Hill will package and send the candy, along with some personal letters from students, to Operation Gratitude (operationgratitude. com), a military support group that ships care packages to U.S. Military deployed around the world. In return for donating their extra candy, children will receive a gift bag filled with healthful and fun goodies. Donations were given by Kowalski’s Market, Creative Kidstuff, Subway, and Park Dental. Last year, Kinderberry Hill shipped over 500 pounds of candy to soldiers through Operation Gratitude. For more info, visit; The Science Museum of Minnesota’s Lost Egypt exhibit is now open through January 1, 2013. Lost Egypt explores how modern technology and scientific techniques have revealed a better understanding of ancient Egyptian civilization. The 6,000-square-foot exhibition features authentic artifacts, real human and animal mummies, scans, forensic facial reconstructions and—for the first time ever—life-sized rapid prototypes that show mummies in various stages of “unwrapping.” Visitors will also have the opportunity to don their archaeologist caps. They’ll explore a recreated modern field site and try their hands at piecing together the past based on the items they’re able to uncover. They’ll wander through a replica of an Egyptian tomb to see authentic art and artifacts from the daily life and funerary culture of ancient Egypt. Through videos and multimedia projects,

10 November 2012

Knocked up nails This pregnancy-safe nail polish formula does not contain toluene, formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate or camphor. Its cheeky polish names delight (Preggers in Pink, Mum in Plum) but Knocked Up Nails is also safe for allergy sufferers, cancer patients, and children. All polishes are cruelty free and made in the USA. Long lasting, chip resistant, 21 colors. Available at; about $10

they’ll meet scientists who have made uncovering the secrets of ancient Egypt their life’s work. Visit for more info; Blooma, which just turned five years old, has announced its newest location in St. Paul will be open “sometime in November,” and will be across the street from the Happy Gnome on Grand Avenue; Stages Theatre Company (STC) has begun a five city tour of The Diary of Anne Frank. This tour is part of the Stories for the Stage, an arts-integrated residency and touring project that provides selected middle schools within 60 hours of theater arts residency programming. This month, STC will be performing in Duluth at Ordean Middle School. Located additional information at; The Guthrie Theater announced its “Discover Shakespeare” video contest for ages 14 to 18, tied to the Guthrie WorldStage presentation of Twelfth Night. Submitted videos must tell some aspect of the story of Twelfth Night,

and must be between three and five minutes long. There are no restrictions on how the videos are produced, and mediums can include live action or animation. Students can depict the story with as few or as many actors as they wish, and in any physical setting or time period. Complete details can be found at this link:; Omnis Holdings today announced the launch of St. Louis Park-based HomeGrown Kid (, an online retailer of Made in the USA children’s products. Product categories include toys, furnishings and décor, baby accessories and clothing, and arts and crafts. “HomeGrown Kid’s mission is to enrich the lives of children by connecting parents with products that are safe, educational and environmentally friendly,” says Andrew Standke, vice president of operations. “We believe we can best accomplish our goals by focusing on American made products, which will

Minnesota Parent Likes

Slick stroller bags Like the hamster cheeks they are named for, these stroller bags can be stuffed full of everything you need for a day out with your child. Hamster Stroller Bags are two saddlebags that are sidemounted to folding strollers and distribute added weight evenly to the front and sides of the stroller, to prevent tipping. Holding up to six pounds of supplies, each saddlebag can be removed when you need to park and leave your stroller. Sling it over your shoulder and go!; about $50

contribute to a stronger U.S. economy, a healthier employment market, and a more prosperous future for our children.� Clothing and textile offerings are primarily made from organic materials and most of the remaining products the company carries incorporate environmentally-friendly design, construction, and materials.

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Tips for cutting portion sizes • Downsize your plate. By eating off a smaller plate (or out of a smaller bowl), you’ll fill it with less food and thus, eat less.

Obesity, motivation, and food for thought

I By Joy Riggs

t’s been years since I gave away the rubber-tipped baby spoons and the bibs with the built-in pockets. But I can still picture the milestone moments when my kids realized that a world of food existed beyond the dab of baby cereal or pureed fruits and veggies I dangled under their noses. Their bright, curious eyes focused instead on whatever choke-able delight I was putting into my own mouth, and they didn’t need to speak intelligible words to communicate what they were thinking: “Hey, forget this baby stuff—I want some of that!”

We parents shouldn’t be surprised, then, to note that this practice of observation and imitation doesn’t end when kids start walking and talking. They continue to pay close attention to what we do—way more than what we say, it would seem—as they grow older and begin to make their own choices about what, where, and when they eat. Positive role modeling is something Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota hopes to use to its advantage in its latest statewide campaign to reduce obesity and improve health. The new “Today is the Day” ads, which began running on TV in September and will continue into 2013, aim to encourage parents to set a better nutritional example for their kids, and to foster family conversations about healthful eating. “We have recognized for quite some time that obesity is a serious health problem for both adults and kids in

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Minnesota and throughout the country,” says Dr. Marc Manley, Blue Cross vice president and chief prevention officer. “More than two-thirds of Minnesota adults are overweight or obese, and the rate of obesity among young people has been rising for the last couple of decades.”

The definition The Minnesota Department of Health defines obese youth as those who have a body mass index (BMI) at or above the 95th percentile for their age and sex. Youth are considered overweight if their BMI is at or above the 85th percentile, but less than the 95th percentile. According to 2010 statistics, 12 percent of the state’s ninth-grade boys and six percent of ninth-grade girls were considered obese; and 15 percent of ninth-grade boys and 11 percent of ninthgrade girls were considered overweight.

• Buy smaller bags or bottles. Most people ignore package serving suggestions and tend to eat and drink more from bigger packages or containers. • Use smaller serving scoops, spoons, and spatulas. Or use measuring spoons and cups to ensure healthier food portions. You’ll serve yourself better when you serve yourself less. • Put reasonable portions on plates in the kitchen. Put food away after putting it on your plate. Out of sight, out of mind. • Make your own snack packs using sandwich packs and small containers. Skip directly eating from the box or bag. You can easily lose track of how much you eat. • Share with a friend! Split meals when you eat out. If you’re eating alone, ask your server to package half your meal to take home before he or she delivers it to the table. —Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota

Obesity puts people at greater risk for serious, life-threatening conditions such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, stroke and colon cancer, and kids are now developing obesity-related diseases that once were seen only in adults. Blue Cross research indicates that although 65 percent of Minnesota adults are unhappy with their weight, only 27 percent feel motivated to make the lifestyle changes necessary to help them lose weight. Knowing this, Manley says, the company decided to create thought-provoking ads that would make adults more aware of how their own eating behaviors could be contributing to obesity in their kids. In one ad, two middle-school-aged boys in a fast-food restaurant argue about whose dad can eat more bacon double-cheese-

burgers, French fries and corn dogs, as the dad of one boys approaches the table with a tray heaping with greasy food. In the other ad, a little girl follows her mom around the grocery store, filling her kid-sized cart with the same items her mom places in the big cart, including a box of sugary cereal, a two-liter of soda, and a tub of ice cream. The ads direct viewers to the Blue Cross website for practical tools and tips on topics such as healthful home cooking and how to eat out in moderation. “The message we want to get out to people is that the choices you’re making have an impact on your own health and may have an impact on your family’s health,” Manley says. “We hope the next time someone’s pushing a grocery cart down the aisle, or is at a restaurant with the family, he or she will pause, remember the ad and think, ‘I can do a better job, for my own health, and set a better example for my kids.’” It’s impossible for me to watch the ads and not feel an emotional tug as the (actor) parents become aware of the unintended, negative consequences of their unhealthy behaviors. If other parents have a similar reaction, and “Today is the Day” motivates them to make better nutritional choices, I’m optimistic that many more Minnesota families will experience a future of healthier, happier tomorrows. It’s certainly food for thought.

rces resou

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Today is the Day campaign

Do Groove Health and wellness ideas Minnesota Grown Resource for locally grown food products Minnesota Department of Health Overweight and obesity prevention

November 2012 13

We could also ask them to save their money and participate in buying the toy. If you had to pick three behavior changes/tips for becoming a thriftier person, what would they be?

The spirit of thrift

I By Kara McGuire

t’s easy to get carried away this time of year. The festive decorations, the lengthy wish lists from kids, the padded advertisements from sales-hungry retailers. Each holiday season I spend more than I intended. But this year, I’m trying to adopt a new spirit of the season—the spirit of thrift. For inspiration, I turned to Lori Blatzheim, a mother of two and grandmother of two, who started a thrift club in Chanhassen where participants share their money-saving ideas. She also writes about frugal living strategies on the “Thrifty Living Today” blog at

Kara McGuire: Do you think thrift is misunderstood? Lori Blatzheim: Absolutely. When I told people that I wanted to start a Thrift Club, they looked at me with a puzzled expression and said, “What is thrift?” They thought of the car rental company or a store. Thrift also does not prevent a person from spending money and resources. Thrift provides the opportunity to use money saved to improve what a person has now and in the future. How do you define thrift?

It’s a way of life. Those who believe thrift will lead to a better life, do the following: • Save and eventually develop an emergency fund • Think before spending • Consider needs versus wants • Know and care for their resources: their land, home, vehicles, businesses, and

• Determine whether an object can be repaired before replacing it

Do you think that if and when the economy recovers, Americans will go back to their spendthrift ways or is thrift here to stay?

That is a terrific question. Will we stay frugal and thrifty as people did following the Great Depression? I know I won’t go hog wild on my spending. I hope that our citizens think before spending and come up with a good result. Kara McGuire is a personal finance expert. She is a mother of three living in St. Paul. Send questions, comments and story ideas to

How do you teach kids the value of money?

Teach them to recognize the value of coins and bills, save money, take out a bank account, and learn the differences between credit and debit cards. How should parents combat our throw-away, junky plastic toy culture?

Discuss toys and video games with the child—why these are wants, not needs. Encourage children to donate their “old” toys to organizations that can take them.

“Thrift also does not prevent a person from spending money and resources. Thrift provides the opportunity to use money saved to improve what a person has now and in the future.” Lori Blatzheim

14 November 2012

First, establish a budget. This can be a simple listing of input and outgo. It doesn’t need to be a masterpiece. Next, pay off credit card debt. In my opinion, credit card debt leads to indentured servitude. Finally, save a portion of earnings or other forms of money and develop an emergency fund.

Teaching Your Kids The Meaning of ThrifT While our society’s focus on accumulating stuff has certainly decreased since the Great Recession, trying to convince kids that they would do fine without fewer toys, gadgets, and tchotchkes can be a major chore. Blatzheim shared a couple tips for instilling the value of thrift into children. 1) Turn kids into coupon clippers. For every coupon clipped for products your family actually needs, let the child pocket some or all of the savings and set it aside. Over time, they will see how small amounts of money can add up. Extra credit: Bring the child to the grocery store, so they can assess if the item with a coupon is really the better deal. 2) Close the bank of Mom and Dad. Kids are far more thoughtful about purchasing a new toy or deck of Pokémon cards if they are spending their own cash. Give them a taste of what it feels like to exchange money for stuff. Even if the item they are swooning over will take a long time to save for, don’t give in to whining or a grandparent’s willingness to pay for it. 3) Raise global citizens. Kids don’t know much about the lives of people around the world unless we teach them. Learning some boys and girls don’t have a single pair of shoes may reduce a child’s obsession with getting the latest popular brand and point out the importance of getting the most use out of possessions.

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Fight Less, Love More

Whatever you say, don’t say whatever

I By Laurie Puhn

f you think being an agreeable mate is always a positive, think again. Does this argument sound familiar? Your mate asks, “What do you want to do for your birthday?” You answer, “Honey, whatever you want.” Then you end up eating at the Italian restaurant you absolutely hate, with your extended family and friends, who are at the bottom of your ‘like’ list. Go to YouTube to for a short play-by-play enactment of the “whatever” fight.

Using the word “whatever” because it’s convenient and lets you off the hook for a decision is setting yourself and your relationship up for a downfall. In a healthy relationship, two people often have different opinions and preferences, and they should express them. When you don’t take the time to reveal your true thoughts, whether it’s about where to eat, where to vacation, or what to do about your child who is displaying some behavior problems, it’s only a matter of time before you begin to resent your mate for not knowing what you really think. In turn, your mate

16 November 2012

“If you find yourself about to utter the ‘whatever’ word, whether it’s because you want to be nice or don’t want to be bothered with the decision, stop yourself and say, ‘I had better think about this.’”

begins to resent your “whatever” attitude because it places the burden of decisionmaking entirely on his or her shoulders, causing unnecessary stress and conflict in your relationship.

Sidestepping the trap Rather than continuing to allow energydraining “whatever” arguments to poke holes in our relationships, we can recognize and sidestep this common relationship trap. If you find yourself about to utter the “whatever” word, whether it’s because you want to be nice or don’t want to be bothered with the decision, stop yourself and say, “I had better think about this.” Then say what you really want. On the other hand, if your mate says “whatever” to you one too many times, don’t respond with head-shaking, followed by an eye-roll. Instead, let your spouse know that you value his or her input and want a specific suggestion. All common sense, right? Then why is it so hard to think clearly in the moment? As I write in my book, Fight Less, Love More, when one is hard pressed for time, it’s all too easy for couples to unknowingly fall into a poor communication routine with bad verbal habits that incite relationship distress. Fortunately, with a touch of awareness, a pause to collect ones thoughts, and some new verbal skills, you will have are all that you need to positively transform yourself and your relationship, one conversation at a time. 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

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brain behaviorbalance hyperactivity inattention dr. inattention hyperactivity out of sync achievement behavior dr. schoolritalin distracted brain child

school out of sync hyperactivitymedication school child

school ritalin the mind child medication inattention diagnosis

behavior diagnosis

of an development achievement school inattention inattention medication dr. adhd childhyperactivity daughter hyperactivity school daughterachievement diagnosis daughter medication ritalin ritalin distracted son hyperactivity child medication hyperactivity distracted symphonic distracted medication hyperactivity inattention distracted

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One parent’s account of parenting a child diagnosed with ADHD

By Kelly Jo McDonnell

it was a beautiful song.

All the orchestral instruments were playing as one, the music swelling at just the right moments. But as the song progressed, I noticed some weren’t quite in sync. I could hear certain instruments lagging behind the tempo, and others racing along, ahead of the conductor. I’m not sitting in an audience, however. I’m imagining my son’s song: the one playing inside his head. As phenomenal as I think my son’s instruments are, something seems

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out of balance. This is a simple metaphor for what’s happening in the mind of a child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but I think it’s powerful. As parents, that’s one of the last things we want to hear—our child struggling to play their own unique song. It’s not what I wanted in 2010 for my then second grader, Hayden. He was beginning to struggle in the classroom, unable to focus. It was apparent that something was at sea with the instruments in his personal orchestra. So on his teacher’s encouragement, I moved forward with tests given by both the school and his pediatrician. The results came back—a diagnosis of ADHD, with an emphasis on hyperactivity. Swell. Not THAT label. I didn’t like any label foisted upon my son, let alone one that would probably require a medication. I didn’t know a thing about ADHD, but that was about to change. ADHD affects millions of kids and often persists into adulthood. A brain-based disorder, ADHD can include various combinations of issues, such as difficulty sustaining attention, impulsive behavior, and hyperactivity. Wait a second. That sounds like a lot of kids, right? But it goes deeper than that, as I would find out with time.

Disconnected kids “Suddenly we’re looking at this worldwide, massive problem,” explained Dr. Robert Melillo, author of Disconnected Kids. “Seventy percent of all prescriptions are for ADHD alone. From 1990 to 1995, Ritalin was up 250 percent, and in the last 20 years, it’s shot up 2,000 percent.” Yes, that’s not an accidental zero on the end of that number. Two thousand percent! Dr. Melillo is no stranger to this song. He’s a world-renowned neurologist, professor, and researcher into childhood neurological disorders. He’s also the brain behind the Brain Balance Program and director of Brain Balance Achievement Centers. His program not only hones in on ADHD, but Autism, Dyslexia, Tourette’s Syndrome, Asperger’s Syndrome, and other disorders. “It always starts with that question,” says Melillo. “What is it? If you’re a parent, you know the frustration I’m talking about. What is really happening in my child’s brain? What is going on? Even doctors are completely overwhelmed. I lecture to doctors all the time. I could ask them to raise their hands and tell me what is happening in the brain of an ADHD child, but they can’t answer that. They are using a compensatory model, and can only try to manage the symptoms with medicine.”

Every child is different But how do you recognize the symptoms initially, and how is ADHD diagnosed? All children are different, and all act impulsively, get distracted, or struggle to concentrate at one time or another. That’s youth. That’s why ADHD can be so hard to diagnose. Perhaps the child seems constantly out of control or just loses interest in things more quickly than his or her friends. It may seem the child has a constant motor running and can’t sit still, not even to eat.

what is going on? even doctors are completely overwhelmed. i lecture to doctors all the time. i could ask them to raise their hands and tell me what is happening in the brain of an adhd child, but they can’t answer that. they are using a compensatory model, and can only try to manage ” the symptoms with medicine. —Dr. Robert Melillo

Often, it’s the teachers who notice the symptoms first. “I know within the first week,” explains a Blue Heron elementary school teacher in the Centennial School District. “The classic signs—they are scattered and cannot organize themselves. They miss simple two and three step directions. If we have a fire alarm, it completely stresses them out—any sensory stuff like that. And the whole ‘motor running’ aspect. They just can’t sit still to save their souls. There are also indicators like penmanship. But not every child interrupts, and not every child has anxiety. Every child is different.” This elementary school teacher has over 25 years under her belt, and ADHD is nothing new to her. In fact, some of her own children have it. Of her students, she says, “I’m able to get to them really quickly. I’m on it,” she explains. “Because I know. I ‘get’ them, and I understand their rituals. I don’t always share that with the parent; you have to wait it out a bit. I know that this particular child needs a motor break; I know that this one needs to chew gum. This one needs to go to the ‘motor room’ and this one needs to sit on the perimeter so he can have movement.” No single test can diagnose ADHD. A licensed health professional will gather information about your child, and his or her environment and behavior. Possibilities, such as certain events, situations, or health conditions that may cause temporary ADHD-like behaviors in a child are ruled out. Hayden’s pediatrician worked closely with his school’s mental health specialist and they both ran a series of tests that took a couple of weeks. It was an in-depth process, but necessary.

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Kelly Jo McDonnell and her son Hayden. photo by cy dodson

Diagnosis and control So once the results come back, then what? How are the symptoms controlled? It’s no secret that medication, especially Ritalin, is a go-to partner. I wasn’t a big fan of the medication route, but Hayden’s pediatrician suggested starting him on the lowest dose possible, to see how it worked. My son’s medicine has a name so long it barely fits on the label of the pill bottle— Methylphenidate HCL (Concerta). It’s an extended release medication, which means it is released gradually in a controlled amount over a period of time. It’s also a stimulant, and although I thought it was strange to treat ADHD with



Brain Balance Achievement Centers Learning Rx MacPhail Center for Music

20 November 2012

a stimulant, it instead calms. There are many types of stimulant medications, and for many kids, the medications reduce hyperactivity and impulsivity and improve the ability to focus, learn, and work. After a week of being on his low dosage meds, Hayden could sit quietly and put together a LEGO set, something that never would have happened before. I also tried other remedies as part of a “team” approach, such as creating a structured routine. I’ve discovered that my son does well with regularity and structure to counter his natural tendency toward chaos. This means consistent times for homework, exercise, eating, bedtime, waking up, etc. I also found that scheduled relaxation time works well—just five to 10 minutes right after school, when he’s at his most over-stimulated. Other experts explain that massage can be beneficial, as well as diet and nutrition. I tried to cut out the hidden sugar, refined foods, and various foods with chemical additives...but it’s difficult. Cooked vegetables and whole grains are the best, although it’s still a battle to get my son to eat them. I’m also trying an Omega-3 fish oil vitamin: I’ve found the Barlean’s Organic Oils’ Omega Swirl (lemonade flavor) is the one he gives “thumbs up” for taste. Omega-3 fatty acids purport improved focus and concentration in kids with ADHD, so I’m willing to give it a whirl. What happens if no remedies are tried? Will the problem diminish with time? As much as we’d like that to happen, it’s not likely. Experts tout that non-treatment could lead to lifelong

problems that will affect not only the child, his school, and grades, but also the family as a whole. It could also lead to unfavorable school and social experiences for many years, which could result in low self-esteem. While experts agree it’s best to treat ADHD, it’s definitely a trial and error process being it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. And meds can bring on side effects such as decreased appetite and sleeplessness. Also, as they get older, adding height and weight, the dosage may need adjustment. Something I have to remind myself: the medications are part of my plan of attack, but they don’t cure ADHD. “Medicating kids will help with the short term symptoms,” reminds Dr. Melillo, “[but] there is no long term benefit.” He says the disconnection is the problem to focus on. “The idea is, there’s a disconnection. There isn’t any injury, or anything wrong with the brain per se, but a breakdown in communication between the areas of the brain. The two halves.”

Right and left Motor characterizations of a left-brain delay include poor or slow handwriting, immature handgrip when writing, or stumbling over

Your child’s brain on Music Music is taking a front seat as part of successful ADHD treatment, thanks to new research. Just ask Melissa Wenszell, Music Therapy Founder and Senior Music Therapist at MacPhail Center for Music. “Music stimulates both hemispheres of the brain,” explains Wenszell, “it’s a shared network, and it works with our motor system, our memory, our attention. It highlights all the different areas of the brain. That’s why it’s such an effective tool.” How does it work? Music is rhythm, as well as structure, and structure is soothing to an ADHD brain. The tunes also fire up the music lights in the left and right brain lobes. (An example is former Arizona congresswoman and gunshot victim Gabrielle Giffords, who used music to retrain her right brain to help her talk again.) Music is also wonderfully social! “We are in a world and society where people are constantly plugged in,” says Wenszell. “It’s appropriate to say ‘hey, what do you have on your iPod?’ It’s a very appropriate social skill.” There isn’t a top 10 list for “Best Songs for your ADHD Child,” however. “It’s very patient-specific,” explains Wenszell. “Someone may be engaged by AC/DC, or motivated by Beethoven. It’s not just one type of music—it really depends on the individuals we work with.”

words when fatigued. Motor characteristics of a right-brain delay include poor coordination, repetitive or stereotyped motor mannerism (like flapping the hands or arms), or excessive fidgeting. “Just like we all have a dominant right or left hand, we do all have a dominant brain, and some are balanced, while others are more extreme,” says Dr. Melillo. “An ADHD trait is an extreme left-brain domination. With some left-brain skills, kids can have genius level skills. But if something interferes with the right brain, it creates too much of an imbalance.” Enter the symphony metaphor. We all have instruments on the right side and left side of our brains. Together, they play beautiful music if the proper notes are played at the proper time. If any of the instruments are interrupted or not in sync, the music sounds a little cacophonous. “Let’s say the conductor can’t pinpoint where the problem is,” explains Dr. Melillo. “Then everyone needs to play a little louder and a little faster, and drown out the ones that aren’t playing right. Ritalin makes the whole brain play a little faster and a little louder. It compensates for that area. But it doesn’t address the problem.” Dr. Melillo stresses that what experts should do is go into the room where all of the instruments are housed. Identify those not playing fast enough, or too fast. Give them support and stimulation with the other instruments. “When you do that,” he says, “You correct the problem.” It’s an on-going journey for my son and I. There’s definitely terrific programs out there to support the cause. Programs such as Dr. Melillo’s are available through the Brain Balance Achievement Centers, two of which are in Minnesota, located in Excelsior and Woodbury. And the LearningRx programs, also focused on brain training, now have six locations throughout the cities. There’s also a music therapy program available at the MacPhail Center for Music, which focuses on cognition, reasoning, and attention, as well as sensory processing, planning, and acuity. Working with your pediatrician, as well as your child’s school, is also an important part in the whole process. •

November 2012 21

22 November 2012

d n a s é b é B d n a s r e g ti ! y m h o guilt— arenting skills Where do your p tional scale? a rn te in e th n o t si


k By Julie Kendric

f there were an Olympic event for parenting at the 2014 games in Sochi, Russia, the Chinese would take the gold medal for overall academic achievement, the French would earn top marks for living a relaxed and civilized life, and the U.S. team would probably be feeling too guilty and stressed to even make it to the competition. Global parenting styles are a hot topic, with plenty of conversation swirling about which country is doing the best job of producing model citizens (including debate as to what exactly a “model citizen” is supposed to be). Sparked by last year’s New York Times bestseller on the Chinese means of mothering, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, by Amy Chua, the topic picked up steam with Pamela Druckerman’s view of French parenting styles in Bringing up Bébé. There’s even a book that promises to provide childrearing wisdom from Argentina to Tanzania “and everywhere in between,” in How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm, by Mei-Ling Hopgood. And slated for 2013 is an exploration of the American style: Fast Forward Family.

Tiger Mom: ‘A-minus is a bad grade’ As the one that started it all, Tiger Mother is the book that’s actually created a verb.

“To tiger” is now the accepted term for raising kids with the guiding principle that academic achievement reflects successful parenting. While Chua, a professor at Yale Law School, is Chineseborn herself, she insists that ethnicity has nothing to do with her tenacious methods, saying, “I’m using the term ‘Chinese mother’ loosely. I recently met a supersuccessful white guy from South Dakota … and after comparing notes, we decided that his working-class father had definitely been a Chinese mother. I know some Korean, Indian, Jamaican, Irish, and Ghanaian parents who qualify, too. Conversely, I know some mothers of Chinese heritage, almost always born in the West, who are not Chinese mothers, by choice or otherwise.” Chua outlines these basic parenting principles in her book: “Schoolwork always comes first; an A-minus is a bad grade; your children must be two years ahead of their classmates in math; you must never compliment your child in public; if your child ever disagrees with a teacher or coach, you must always take the side of the teacher or coach; the only activities your children should be permitted to do are those in which they can eventually win a medal; and that medal must be gold.” Are her methods successful? Recent studies show that while Asian Americans are only five

November 2012 23

percent of the U.S. population, they comprise up to 20 percent of the population at Ivy League schools such as Yale, Harvard, and Princeton. If academic achievement is indeed the measure of success, then, as Chua insists, perhaps those Tiger Moms have the right idea.

The French bébé: chic and relaxed With a cup of café au lait and a copy of Le Monde in hand, Pamela Druckerman provides cultural observations from the land of la belle vie. A former reporter for the Wall Street Journal who lived in France while raising three children, she grew curious about the reason that her friends’ kids seemed so calm and well-mannered in comparison to her own. In Bringing up Bébé, she reveals the French secret for raising a society of good sleepers, adventurous eaters, and relaxed parents. Druckerman says that the French assume that parents aren’t at the constant service of their children, and that there’s no need to feel guilty about a lack of constant supervision and entertainment. They have an easy, calm authority with their kids, with the result that most “bébés” will sleep through the night at two months old, are on their best behavior in restaurants, eat a wide variety of foods, and don’t interrupt adult conversations. The French, she says, do not even have a word for discipline, instead referring to the concept as “education.” And while she credits parental attitudes with much of this

resulting good behavior, she also notes that French parents enjoy affordable, highquality day care managed by experienced, certified child-care professionals.

American parents: guilty as charged So where do American parents fit into this global parenting assessment? According to Tamar Kremer-Sadlik, Director of Programs, Social Sciences Division, University of California – Los Angeles, there is one word that best sums up the state of mind of most U.S. parents: guilty. As part of UCLA’s Center on Everyday Lives of Families (CELF), she conducted studies that contrasted the daily interactions of middle-class families in the U.S. and Italy. One of the most pronounced

differences centered on the notion of spending time together as a family. In the activity logs kept by both groups, Americans were careful to designate specific “family time” set aside for pancake breakfasts or trips to the children’s museum. Their European counterparts didn’t even make such designations, Kremer-Sadlik reports. “Americans used the word ‘try’ repeatedly,” she says, “as in ‘we try to set aside time just for the family,’ making it seem like something difficult that had to be strived for. The Italians, in contrast, didn’t feel they had to carve out this sort of time, and tended to have leisure activities that were much less structured and more intergenerational.” Kremer-Sadlik, who is co-editor of the soon-to-be-published Fast Forward Family: Home, Work and Rela-

Global parenting at-a-glance Chinese “Tiger Mom”

French “Bébé Mom”

U.S. “Guilty Mom”


Demanding achievement

Modeling the good life

Frantic and falling short

Guiding principle

Kids work at their “job” of academic superstardom; parents supervise

Children expected to be rational, civilized, and independent

Separate, kids-only activities, foods and interests. “Family time” is one more thing to add to the overscheduled calendar

Movie night

Trick question! No movies! More studying!

Parents’ choice—perhaps Truffaut tonight?

Something loud, dopey, and animated

“Family time”

Flash cards!

Civilized dinner party with adult guests. Children sit quietly and eat everything that’s served, including snails

Parents’ nightmare, kids’ delight—can you say Chuck E. Cheese?

While kids are on the merry-go-round

More flash cards!

Lies back on the nearest bench for a quick restorative nap

Stands vigilant, waving and snapping photos with each revolution

24 November 2012

er Furthing d a e R

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, Amy Chua

Bringing up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting, Pamela Druckerman

Fast Forward Family: Home, Work, and Relationships in Middle Class America, Elinor Ochs and Tamar Kremer-Sadlik, editors (to be published January 2013) How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm and Other Adventures in Parenting (from Argentina to Tanzania and Everywhere in Between), Mei-Ling Hopgood

tionships in Middle Class America, says that “quality time” is a concept that’s unique to the United States, with parents behaving as though each activity, even during what is often ludicrously called “free time,” must be planned, plotted, and perfectly managed. “Parents will arrange their children’s free time when they’re young with an eye to filling out the application for Harvard when they’re 17,” she reports. This idealization of a family’s off-hours can create considerable pressure, usually, she says on mothers, who often take on the role of social chairwoman and event planner. There is additional institutional pressure in the United States, she says, and notes how many schools insist that parents commit to volunteer activities on the first day of school. “Nonworking and even working parents must manipulate their work schedules to do this. If they can’t volunteer, they feel guilty and their kids say, ‘Why were other parents there and you weren’t?’”

Declare your independence Kremer-Sadlik urges parents, especially mothers, to acknowledge the good jobs they’re already doing, and to try to feel a little less guilty. And even if your kids aren’t as brilliant as the Tiger Mom’s or as mellow as those chic bébés of France, at least you can declare your own U.S.-style independence from the guilt and struggle that seem to characterize so many modern American families. •

November 2012 25

Family Day at the Mia: China


Veteran’s Day

4 ———————— Fall back: Daylight ———————— savings ends ———————— ———————— ———————— ———————— How the Grinch Stole Christmas opens @ CTC

12 13 ———————— national Young readers Day ———————— ———————— ———————— ———————— ————————

VoTe! it’s election Day

5 6 ———————— ———————— ———————— ———————— ———————— ————————

Grow a mustache in the month of November for a good cause! Go to for more info

william steig’s birthday


7 ———————— ———————— ———————— ———————— ———————— ————————

Closing weekend: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn @ Stages Theatre Company

15 ———————— ———————— ———————— ———————— ———————— ————————

8 ———————— ———————— ———————— ———————— ———————— ————————


Sun Mon Tues Wed Thurs

hopkins eisenhower community center

see laurie anderson @ walker art center!



16 17 ———————— childish films @ the ———————— library: Thank You, ———————— Maurice sendak ———————— ———————— Do it Green Gift Fair Global ———————— @ Midtown Market

9 10 ———————— ———————— ———————— ———————— ———————— food allergy ———————— resource fair @

every friday is family night @ Midtown global Market


thank t Give rea ese g for th nts! eve


November Out About

ouT l l u p aVe! s d an s

25 ———————— ———————— ———————— ———————— ———————— ————————

Free 3rd Sunday at the Minnesota Children’s Museum


26 27 ———————— Meet peef, the ———————— christmas bear ———————— @ Moa’s Toddler Tuesdays ———————— ———————— ————————

19 20 ———————— Holiday Lights in ———————— the Park opens @ Phalen Park ———————— ———————— ———————— ————————

28 ———————— ———————— ———————— ———————— ———————— ———————— 29 ———————— ———————— ———————— ———————— ———————— ————————

21 22 ———————— ———————— ———————— Gobble, Gobble! ———————— Happy Thanksgiving! ———————— ————————

30 ———————— ———————— ———————— ———————— ———————— ————————

launch of the holidazzle parade in downtown Mpls!


—Elizabeth Coatsworth

and the first white snows.

With the last red berries

and november goes

november comes

Saturday Live! Circus Manduhai @ St. Paul Public Library


Out About

The Learning Fairy, Episode 2 ÎÎThe Learning Fairy is back in an all new episode, blending child’s play, rock and roll, puppetry, old school theater magic, and modern day fun. Recommended for families with children aged six and up, the Learning Fairy returns with her entourage of friends: Mr. Make-It, a mad scientist sort of guy who can transform things right before your eyes, the Questioning Girl, and the Fairy Band. When: Through the 11th, with day and evening performances available

Where: Open Eye Figure Theatre, Minneapolis

Cost: $10 to $15; a “pay-as-able” request can be made at any show

Info: or 612-874-6338

that is not sold out

Holiday Lights in the Park ÎÎBeginning with a flip of the switch on November 20 and continuing through the end of the year, the annual IBEW Holiday Lights in the Park exhibit will thrill you with 50 larger than life holiday light sculptures and animated displays, all from the comfort of your vehicle. Drive through the park during the evening hours—your kids will never forget this pretty spectacle. When: Through January 1, 2013 Where: Phalen Park, St. Paul Cost: $8 per car Sunday through Thursday; $10 per car Friday, Saturday, and holidays Info: or 952-393-2082

28 November 2012


Photograph 51

The Hobbit ÎÎDrawing on traditional theater and dance forms including Japanese kabuki and noh, Beijing opera, Spanish Flamenco and puppetry, Green T Productions brings its own unique brand of stylized performance to this now classic tale. When: Through the 4th Where: Old Arizona Theater, Minneapolis Cost: $15 to $20; Thursdays are “pay what you can” nights Info: or 715-246-3285

Pumpkin Palooza ÎÎThis dazzling display of cucurbits (aka, pumpkins, gourds and squash) reflects the endless variety fall cultivars harvested today. Large and small, orange, blue or white, there’s a pumpkin for everyone! Arboretum gardeners have cultivated over 100 varieties—common and exotic — and hundreds will be displayed. When: Through the 4th Where: Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Oswald Visitor Center, Chanhassen Cost: Free with gate admission Info: or 952-443-1400

Photograph 51 ÎÎPhotograph 51 tells a bittersweet story about ambition and the quest for greatness and is the story of Rosalind Franklin who did much of the fundamental work in uncovering the structure of DNA, and her male co-scientists who eventually received the Nobel Prize for the discovery. When: Through the 4th Where: Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company, St. Paul Cost: $18 to $26, depending upon performance Info: 651-647-4315 or

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. Originally produced at the National Theatre of Great Britain, CTC presents the American premiere of this stylish production. All of your favorite moments from the classic book by Dr. Seuss come to life on stage. When: Through December 2 Where: Children’s Theatre Company, Minneapolis Cost: Depends on performance and seat selected Info: or 612-874-0400

How the Grinch Stole Christmas ÎÎThis is the story about a Grinch who hates Christmas so much that he has decided to steal it from his neighbors, the Christmas-loving Whos down in Whoville. With the help of his faithful dog Max and a reality check from the tiny Cindy-Lou Who, the Grinch comes to realize that you can’t steal Christmas because Christmas doesn’t come from the store, “maybe Christmas… perhaps…means a little bit more.”

November 2012 29

Out About When: Through December 30 Where: Children’s Theatre Company, Minneapolis Cost: $10 and up Info: or 612-874-0400

Little Red Riding Hood ÎÎThis funny and enchanting re-telling of Charles Perrault’s classic fairy tale is a great way to introduce youngsters to the magic and fun of live theater.  When: Various times through the 31st Where: Old Log Theater, Greenwood Cost: $16; less for groups of 10 or more Info: or 952-474-5951

Ball-o-Rama ÎÎGolf balls have never had so much fun! Explore velocity, gravity, friction and more by sending balls on a looping, rolling, race to the finish. Discover why people don’t fall out of a rollercoaster when riding upside down. Ball-o-rama’s interactive components are modeled after centuriesold experiments created by Newton and Galileo. A special “Tot Spot” area lets the Museum’s smallest visitors explore objects in motion at their own pace. When: Through January 6, 2013 Where: Minnesota Children’s Museum Cost: $9.50 ages 1 to 101 Info: or 651-225-6000

Christmas on the Ranch ÎÎThis country western musical set in 1959 is a celebration of a time in history when we idealized the American cowboy and the Wild West. The setting is a bunkhouse and barn at the Lazy Melody Ranch, home of Miss Monica, somewhere in the North Dakota Badlands. The chores are done, it’s Christmas Eve and it’s about to snow. Mayor Cody and Miss Monica’s “Bunkhouse Boys” want to surprise her with a Christmas party. Sheriff Andy tunes up his big bass, Cowboy Travis dusts off the old guitar, and Long Tall Joey restrings his mandolin. Rediscover the meaning of love and romance, and delight in the wit and wisdom of the colorful characters. They will share their favorite cowboy jokes and stories, and sing you favorite western Christmas classics.

30 November 2012

When: Through January 13, 2013 Where: Plymouth Playhouse Cost: $26 to $38 Info: or 763-553-1600 x 1

Bye, Bye Birdie ÎÎWhen Elvis-like star Conrad Birdie is about to be inducted into the Army, the teen nation is united by a publicity contest with the prize: an all-American kiss on national television. When: Through March 26, 2013 Where: Chanhassen Dinner Theatres Cost: $44 to $79 Info: or 952-934-1525

When: Opens on the 23rd Where: Minnesota History Center Cost: $6–$11; FREE age five and under Info: or 651-259-3000

The Amazing Castle ÎÎTransport to a magical place and time— inside a castle’s stone walls is a peaceful, happy community where every citizen has a job to do. Don costumes and engage in role-play; try royal workshops; wake up a sleeping dragon. When: Through January 27, 2013 Where: Minnesota Children’s Museum, St. Paul Cost: $9.50 ages 1 to 101 Info: or 651-225-6000

Then Now Wow

Preschool Playdate

ÎÎDedicated entirely to Minnesota history, Then Now Wow is the largest exhibit ever created by the Minnesota History Center. Designed primarily for children, visitors of all ages will enjoy exploring Minnesota’s distinctive places from the prairies and forests to the cities, along the way they’ll meet the people who have made their homes here.

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, take-home science experiment, preschool perfect Science Live performances and science demonstrations, and various discounts.

Out About 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. Where: Midtown Global Market, Mpls 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, Mpls Cost: FREE Info: or 612-872-4041

1 Thursday Adventures of Huckleberry Finn ÎÎA powerful story that embodies the search for freedom, audiences can expect a Huckleberry Finn different from what they’ve seen in the past: the focus is more on Huck’s growing, evolving sense of right and wrong, and less on the external forces that swirl around him. Suitable for ages eight and up. When: 10:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Where: Stages Theatre Company, Hopkins Cost: $12 children; $15 adults Info: or 952-979-1111

2 Friday Cantus: When Twilight Falls ÎÎThere is an hour each day when daytime transforms to night, a time that is both beginning and ending, when rest beckons offering a chance to ponder what is next. When Twilight Falls, the first Cantus concert of the season, considers many of life’s transitions through the ninemember ensemble’s trademark mix of sacred, classical and folk music.  When: 11:00 a.m. Where: Colonial Church of Edina Cost: Adults $25, students $10 Info: or 612-435-0055

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn ÎÎSee description, Thursday, Nov. 1. Closing day. When: 1:00 p.m.

Cool Music for Kids ÎÎIn a rare treat for the whole family, see legendary musician and composer Laurie Anderson. She will share secrets about creating her unique musical sounds for violin and voice. Note: this is a workshop intended chiefly for children under age 18. Adults must be accompanied by a minor! When: 1:00 p.m. Where: Walker Art center, Minneapolis Cost: FREE, but tickets are required. Available in the Hennepin Lobby starting at noon Info: or 612-375-7600

ÎÎSee description, Thursday, Nov. 1 When: 7:00 p.m.

3 Saturday Free Family Flicks: The Rugrats Movie ÎÎEnjoy a free movie. First-come, firstserved to theater capacity. When: 10:00 a.m. Where: Theatres at Mall of America Cost: FREE Info:

Free 1st Saturdays at the Walker Art Center: Experimental Expressions ÎÎCelebrate artists who bend the boundaries of live performance, film, and visual art. 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

Saturday Live! Schiffelly Puppets ÎÎWhat do you get when you cross a glass slipper, a fairy godmother and a game show? The craziest version of the Cinderella tale this side of the Mississippi! Enjoy comedy, audience participation and an important lesson on not being selfish. When: 11:15 a.m. to noon Where: St. Paul Public Library, Central Library Cost: FREE Info: saturday-live or 651-266-7034

Baroque to Beatboxing ÎÎThe first of MacPhail’s Spotlight Series explores music and dance steps from Baroque to Afro-Cuban Jazz to breakdancing and beatboxing. When: 8:00 p.m. Where: MacPhail Center for Music, Minneapolis Cost: Adults $20, Seniors (ages 55 +) and youth (ages 6-18) $15 Info: 612-727-5250 or events

November 2012 31

Out About 4 Sunday Cantus: When Twilight Falls

Cantus: When Twilight Falls

ÎÎThere is an hour each day when daytime transforms to night, a time that is both beginning and ending, when rest beckons offering a chance to ponder what is next.  When Twilight Falls, the first Cantus concert of the season, considers many of life’s transitions through the ninemember ensemble’s trademark mix of sacred, classical and folk music.  When: 3:00 p.m. Where: Trinity Lutheran Church, Stillwater Cost: Adults $25, Students $10 Info: 612-435-0055 or

6 Tuesday Toddler Tuesdays: If You Give a Pig a Pancake ÎÎFind out what happens when you give a pig a pancake! Join the silliness when this pig comes to visit from 10-10:30 and 11-11:30 a.m. make a fun craft and snuggle down for storytime! When: Meet Pig from 10:00 to 10:30 and 11:00 to 11:30 Where: Mall of America, Rotunda Cost: FREE Info:

10 Saturday Food Allergy Resource Fair ÎÎThe fair will feature allergy-friendly food and product companies from around the U. S. Many will provide food samples, coupons, and detailed information on product safety and benefits. In addition, children can explore their creative side with art projects from Kidcreate Studio. Allergists will be available at the “Ask the Doctor” booth to answer questions. When: 9:00 to noon Where: Hopkins Eisenhower Community Center, Hopkins Cost: FREE Info:

32 November 2012

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

Southwest Family Hayride & Hoedown ÎÎJoin your southwest Minneapolis neighbors for an old-fashioned family hay ride at Bunker Hills stable. One hour hay ride, followed by a sing-along at the campfire including all of the s’mores you can eat. Bring a non-perishable food item. When: 5:00 to 8:30 Where: Bus from Southwest to Bunker Hills and back Cost: $12 per adults, $6 per child includes transportation and all events Info: or 612-922-3106

Saturday Live! Swedish Folk Tales ÎÎWhat happens when three billy goats gruff encounter an ugly troll on their way to dinner? How did varg (wolf) trick björn (bear) into losing his tail? Students love hearing Swedish language integrated into classic tales through animated and engaging storytelling techniques. When: 11:15 a.m. to noon Where: St. Paul Public Library,

Central Library Cost: FREE Info: saturday-live or 651-266-7034

Songs of the Spirit ÎÎA musical journey into the spiritual nature of our existence with classical and contemporary choral music spanning five centuries. When: 7:30 p.m. Where: Jehovah Lutheran Church, St. Paul Cost: FREE Info: or 612-597-5483

11 Sunday Family Day at the MIA: China ÎÎChina’s terracotta warriors are here, and we’re celebrating with a fun-filled day dedicated to the arts of China. Sculpt a fearsome or friendly warrior figure. Discover the ancient art of Chinese calligraphy. Enjoy music and performances in the Chinese tradition. And come face to face with history as you explore artifacts from the tomb of China’s first emperor. When: 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Where: Minneapolis Institute of Arts Cost: FREE Info: or 612-870-3000

Out About Songs of the Spirit ÎÎA musical journey into the spiritual nature of our existence with classical and contemporary choral music spanning five centuries. When: 4:00 p.m. Where: First Lutheran Church, Columbia Heights Cost: FREE Info: or 612-597-5483

13 Tuesday Toddler Tuesdays: The Teddy Bear Band Grab your dancing shoes and favorite teddy bear for a rocking show. When: Shows at 10:00 and 11:00 a.m. Where: Mall of America, The Patio Cost: FREE Info:

Arty Pants ÎÎArty 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

17 Saturday Childish Films @ the Library ÎÎA free series of children’s cinema and arts. This month: Thank You, Maurice Sendak. When: 10:30 a.m. Where: Hennepin County Library, Minneapolis Central Cost: FREE Info: or 612-543-8107

Free Family Flicks: The Pirates! Band of Misfits ÎÎEnjoy a free movie. First-come, firstserved to theater capacity.

34 November 2012

When: 10:00 a.m. Where: Theatres at Mall of America Cost: FREE Info:

The Brian Setzer Orchestra — Christmas Rocks! ÎÎFronted by three-time Grammy winner and Minneapolis resident, Brian Setzer, the Brian Setzer Orchestra brings its Christmas Rocks! Extravaganza plus Setzer’s legendary guitar magic on such hits as Rock This Town and Jump, Jive and Wail along with reimagined and acclaimed holiday classics. When: 17th at 8:00 p.m. Where: Orpheum Theatre, Minneapolis Cost: $43.50 to $58.50 Info: or 800-982-2787

Do It Green Gift Fair ÎÎShop over 70 local, eco-friendly artists and businesses, catch the eco fashion show, cooking demos, music, kids’ activities, and learn how to entertain “green” this holiday season. When: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Where: Midtown Global Market, Minneapolis Cost: FREE entry Info:

Miracle on 34th Street: The Musical ÎÎRediscover the magic of one of the best-loved of all holiday classic tales, a heartwarming story brilliantly brought to life in a fully staged musical production. Featuring the wonderful sound of Meredith Willson’s (The Music Man) fabulous lyrics and tuneful score including It’s Beginning To Look a Lot Like Christmas and May the Good Lord Bless and Keep You, this holiday family plum of a musical is sure to leave every audience believing in love and miracles once again. When: 2:00 and 7:30 p.m. Where: Burnsville Performing Arts Center Cost: $34 to $39 Info: or 952-895-4680

Saturday Live! Minnesota Zoomobile ÎÎZoomobile naturalists use live animals, biological artifacts, theater techniques, story telling, and audience participation to create a dynamic, personal, and fun program for all ages. When: 11:15 a.m. to noon Where: St. Paul Public Library, Central Library Cost: FREE Info: saturday-live or 651-266-7034

18 Sunday Free 3rd Sundays at the Minnesota Children’s Museum ÎÎThanks 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

20 Tuesday Toddler Tuesdays: Madeline’s Christmas ÎÎCelebrate Christmas in Paris with 12 little girls in two straight lines. A sneak peek of the new Stages Theatre Company holiday show. When: Shows begin at 10:00 and 11:00 a.m. Where: Mall of America, The Patio Cost: FREE Info:

22 Thursday Turkey Day 5K ÎÎParticipants of all ages are encouraged to start their Thanksgiving morning off in a healthful way, which has been a Turkey Day tradition in Minneapolis since 1989. This run,

Out About jog, or walk race is not only a great way to start the holiday, but also a great way to give back to the community. Non-perishable food items can be donated at the race venue to Second Harvest Heartland. When: 22nd at 8:00 a.m. Where: The race begins outside Target Center Cost: Register online or in any REI store until the 20th at a reduced rate; day of fees are $40 for adults, $25 age 17 and under Info: 952-229-7043 or

Walk to End Hunger 5K ÎÎAll proceeds from the event are distributed to 12 hunger relief organizations that work to eliminate hunger in the metro area. When: 7:00 to 10:00 a.m. Where: Mall of America, Nickelodeon Universe West Entrance Cost: FREE for kids; adults $25 Info:

23 Friday Mannheim Steamroller Christmas ÎÎMannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis has been America’s favorite holiday celebration for over 25 years. Grammy Award winner Chip Davis has created a show that features the beloved Christmas music of Mannheim Steamroller along with dazzling multimedia effects performed in an intimate setting. The spirit of the season comes alive with the signature sound of Mannheim Steamroller. When: 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Where: Orpheum Theatre, Minneapolis Cost: $48.50 to $68.50 Info: 800-982-2787 or

Where: Downtown Minneapolis on the Nicollet Mall Cost: FREE Info:

24 Saturday Free Family Flicks: Real Steel 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:

Holidazzle Parade ÎÎSee Friday the 23rd for description. When: 6:30 p.m.

Saturday Live! Circus Manduhai ÎÎThe circus comes to the library! Circus Manduhai is a Mongolian family circus featuring the art of foot-juggling, acrobatics, two-person hand-balancing, and more. Enjoy this one of a kind performance with your family! When: 11:15 a.m. to noon Where: St. Paul Public Library, Central Library Cost: FREE Info: saturday-live or 651-266-7034

25 Sunday Holidazzle Parade ÎÎSee Friday the 23rd for description. When: 6:30 p.m.

Holidazzle Parade ÎÎSee your favorite storybook characters come to life on the Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis, from 4th to 12th streets, in a dazzling parade of lights and merriment. When: 6:30 p.m.

27 Tuesday

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: The Christmas Bear ÎÎMeet this loveable teddy bear and make a special holiday craft. Storytime, too! When: Meet Peef from 10:00 to 10:30 and 11:00 to 11:30 Where: Mall of America, The Patio Cost: FREE Info:

29 Thursday Holidazzle Parade ÎÎSee Friday the 23rd for description. When: 6:30 p.m.

30 Friday Holidazzle Parade ÎÎSee Friday the 23rd for description. When: 6:30 p.m.

Minnesota Sinfonia “Seasonal Favorites” ÎÎA festive concert featuring Brandon Duffy on violin. The Minnesota Sinfonia is a professional chamber orchestra whose mission is to serve the musical and educational needs of the citizens of Minnesota, especially families with children, inner-city youth, seniors and those with limited financial means. When: 7:00 p.m. Where: First Covenant Church, St. Paul Cost: FREE Info: or 612-871-1701

Arty Pants ÎÎArty Pants: Your Tuesday Playdate, features activities for adults and youngsters ages three to five. Art projects, films,

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Cover it

good stuff k for sics kid

Broken? Boo-boo? Cover it up with CastCoverz, a sleeve that slips over an existing cast, boot, splint, brace, or bandage. Prints and solids will delight anyone bummed out about an injury. Latex-free, allergenfree, medical-grade quality.; prices vary

Pull out these products when boo-boos surface

depending upon type

By Kathleen Stoehr

Ice it

Scan it

Swab it

Keep medication cold in style with Icy Diamond Totes, with insulated interior along with wee tiny ice packs for added cold boost. Handy carabiner, generous straps, and ID holder keep everything together. Mom-invented product to cope with carrying insulin while on the go, it will also keep snacks and other products susceptible to cold intact.

When you need to know, but don’t want to wake them up—or when putting something in the mouth may result in distress, the Exergen Temporal Scanner will get it done in about two seconds, scanning the heat that comes off the forehead via the temporal artery.

Benzocaine-free BabyGanics teething pods are single use pods and applicators that provide a sanitary experience (versus squeezing gel from a tube). Featuring natural clove oil and Stevia, it contains no parabens, synthetic flavor, Phthalates or toxins. Specially formulated with natural plant-based ingredients, your baby’s teething pain will be gone in no time.; Aabout $50;, Buy Buy Baby,

about $15 to $30 depending upon size

Walgreens and more; about $7

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Warm it This plush toy has a unique edge—you can warm this friendly bear up in the microwave or cool him down in the freezer. Feet, tummy, and paws provide deep, penetrating and moist heat up to an hour. After a “hibernation” in the freezer, his cool surfaces will provide fever relief and will help relax restless sleepers.; about $20

Read it Cold and flu season is upon us. Pick up a copy of The Sick Bug or The Sick Bug Goes to School before you child falls ill, so he or she can learn about good habits for coughing, sneezing, and washing hands afterward. Minnesota author Susie Bazil began this series of books after her three-year-old daughter flipped out when sick because she was told she had “a bug.” Once Bazil was able to assure her daughter that there wasn’t an actual insect inside her, but a germ making her sick, the child began asking questions like, “what do sick bugs look like?” Show kids how to foil the dread Sick Bug’s plans to spread germs throughout the school!; $16.95

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Frequent doctor’s visits give moms-to-be many opportunities to talk with their healthcare providers. Unfortunately, after vital signs and basic measurements, there may be little time to talk. When the doctor asks, “Do you have any questions?” patients may freeze up and forget what they were planning to ask. It’s hard to think clearly when you’re wearing a giant paper towel for a miniskirt. Have no worries, however. We polled the experts to glean 20 great questions to ask your provider. Here are their answers.



is my weight healthy? “Obesity increases your risk of miscarriage, preterm birth, diabetes, and high blood pressure,” says Robert Atlas, MD, chair of obstetrics and gynecology at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Md. Get personalized advice about how much weight you should gain (or lose).

How can I stop smoking? Use of cigarettes doubles the risk of miscarriage, says Atlas. Your provider can recommend behavior change strategies—and local support groups—to help you quit.

38 November 2012


Do I need new meds? Some prescription drugs increase the risk of birth defects, says internist Marie Savard, MD, author of Ask Dr. Marie: What Women Need to Know about Hormones, Libido, and the Medical Problems No One Talks About. Alert your OB to any medications you’re taking. He or she may switch you to something safer.



Am I at risk for gestational diabetes (GD)? Moms who get GD are seven times more likely to develop type-2 diabetes post-pregnancy. If you have family risk factors, ask for a hemoglobin A1c blood test, says Savard. Hormonal changes in pregnancy can trigger hidden diabetes.

5 Should I get immunized? Your physician may recommend shots for the flu, hepatitis B, and tetanus, especially if you’re at risk. Live-virus vaccines and those for measles, mumps, and varicella (chicken pox) may be harmful during pregnancy. Speak up to make sure you’re safe.


Should I continue to see my general practitioner and/ or specialists?

“Someone has to take the lead on medical care during pregnancy,” says Savard, “and it’s usually the OB/ GYN.” But don’t ignore other providers. A team approach gives you more comprehensive care.


Am I drinking enough water?

“Fluids transport nutrition to your baby, prevent preterm labor, and minimize nausea, bloating, and headaches,” says women’s health nurse practitioner Camilla Bicknell, RNC, MSN, coauthor of The Pregnancy Power Workbook. Pale yellow urine is a sign you’re drinking plenty. Not sure? Ask.

November 2012 39


Can I book a longer appointment? “Patients tend to minimize what they need instead of asking for extra time,” says Savard. The receptionist isn’t just a gatekeeper; she’s an ally. Let he or she know you have several concerns to discuss the next time you come in.


Braxton Hicks contractions are common in the third trimester, when your uterus is training for the big event. Ask about the difference between false labor and the real deal so you don’t stay up all night worrying about an early delivery.



Kickboxing and ice skating are out, because of the risk of belly trauma or falling down. But common sense isn’t enough. “Certain pregnancyrelated conditions may worsen with exercise,” says obstetrician James Betoni, DO, co-author of The Pregnancy Power Workbook. Looser tendons and ligaments make pregnant women more prone to sports injuries. Get a fitness prescription.

“Although miscarriages are common, they can be frightening, sad, and potentially dangerous,” says Bicknell. Seek early medical care at your doctor’s office or the emergency room to avoid additional complications.

40 November 2012

What are my pain control options?

A good pain control plan takes your medical situation and preferences into account. New mom Cody Gredler found out placing an epidural can be challenging for patients with minor scoliosis, like herself. “My epidural had to be redone three times, which was not a barrel of laughs,” she says. “When it was finally put in correctly, it was bliss.”

Should I change my workout routine?

What are the signs of miscarriage?

When should I go to the hospital?

Your caregiver may want you admitted right away if he’s concerned about preterm birth or labor and delivery complications. Otherwise, you may want to stay home during early labor, so you can relax in your own, comfortable environment.

9 10

What are the signs of early, false, and real labor?

When should I ask for anesthesia? Every hospital has its own guidelines, says Atlas, and some won’t administer an epidural before you’re dilated to four centimeters. If you wait too long, the anesthesiologist may be busy in the operating room when you need relief. Get intel from your labor nurse. She or he knows the system.


Would you please explain my test results?

If your results don’t make sense, ask for an explanation or retest. Shalini Wittstruck, a national ambassador for the March of Dimes, was assured that she wouldn’t go into preterm labor based on the results of a fetal fibronectin test. “I wish that I would have followed my gut and pushed back on the test result,” says Wittestruck, whose son was born 10 weeks premature. “Had I sought a second opinion, the preterm birth might have been avoided.”


Could you recommend a lactation specialist?

Seventeen percent of moms who wanted to breastfeed quit in the first four weeks, because of sore nipples, concerns about milk supply, or latching difficulties. Get names of lactation pros and check them out prior to giving birth, rather than after when you may be stressed with potential problems or issues.

Follow-up questions Sometimes even the best questions don’t yield the answers you seek. If you don’t get a satisfying response: • Ask again. It’s possible your provider was distracted or didn’t understand your query. • Find a fill-in. Other office staff, including nurses and midwives, may have more time to address questions. • See a specialist. Your provider may be uncomfortable giving advice outside her area of expertise. • Say goodbye. A practitioner who consistently brushes your concerns aside isn’t in your corner. Find a new provider. Your well-being is worth the hassle.


Who will attend my birth?

Find out who is on call when your primary healthcare provider is off, says Atlas. Delivery-day surprises add unnecessary stress.  


Should I restrict my activities?

The adrenalin rush of new motherhood may cause you to do too much too soon. Before you head home with your newborn, find out whether you should limit exercise and sex. Nurture healthy (and reasonable) expectations.


How do I care for my wounds?

If you had tearing during delivery or have stitches from an episiotomy or c-section, infection prevention is top priority. Learn how to clean and soothe your wounds, and when you should get a checkup.


What are my contraception options?

Ovulation is typically suspended for mothers who breastfeed more than six times per day, but there are exceptions, says Atlas. Ask about birth control before you’re in the mood.

November 2012 41

Baby resource guide 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! 5315 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis (Now Open) 968 Grand Ave, St. Paul (Until 11/19) 493 Selby Ave, St. Paul (Open 11/19) 952-848-1111

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

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!

Kinderberry Hill Your baby deserves the Berry Best. NAEYC accredited, on-site nurse, beautiful nurseries, award-winning curriculum, highest safety standards. Full-time and part-time schedules, six

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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

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

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 TIAACREF Tuition Financing, Inc. 877-338-4646

Minnesota Department of Health WIC 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

Advertiser listings

and families with young children to contact us. Statewide Locations Nearest Clinic: 800-WIC 4030 General Questions: 800-657-3942

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

Music Together Music Together: Music and movement classes for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and the grownups who love them. 45 minutes 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

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

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Art for everyone These books will inspire children to create and use their imaginations, because anyone can be an artist! By Valerie Turgeon

Beautiful Oops

How to Draw Animals

By Barney Satlzberg Workman Publishing., $11.95

By Michael Garton Buster Books, $14.99

Art is Everyday: Activities for the Home, Park, Museum, and City

— With step-by-step simple instructions, your child can learn how to draw his or her favorite animal. The book also contains space for your child to practice a new skill, as well as pictures to color.

By Eileen S. Prince

Hand in Hand: Crafting with Kids

Chicago Review Press, $16.95

By Jenny Doh

— What separates this art activities book from the others is that it not only presents hands-on activities that kids will enjoy doing, but it also presents vocabulary and concepts to expand your child’s creativity and artistic knowledge.

Lark Crafts, $19.95

— Parent bloggers share their favorite crafts in this complication of art projects that parent and child can do together. The book includes a variety of crafts for a range of ages. Some projects include paper-maché masks, a cardboard cityscape, keepsake pillows, paper rolled bracelets, and more.

The Art of the Hobbit By J.R.R. Tolkien with Wayne Hammond & Christina Scull Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $40

— Published in celebration of the 75th anniversary of The Hobbit’s original release, this book showcases the complete artwork created by the author for his story, including related pictures, more than 100 sketches, drawings, paintings, maps, and plans—some published in this book for the first time.

46 November 2012

— It has been said that you learn from your mistakes, but you can have fun and be inspired by mistakes as well. This book shows kids that if you accidentally rip a piece of paper or spill paint during an art project, it can be made into something extra special.

Star Wars Origami By Chris Alexander Workman Publishing, $16.95

— The power of the force meets the joy of origami! This book has everything your child needs to create a galaxy of Star Wars characters, ships, droids, and weapons. Complete with step-by-step directions as well as an introduction to origami definitions, symbols, and basic folds, plus 72 sheets of folding paper.

Van Gogh and the Post-Impressionists for Kids By Carol Sabbeth Chicago Review Press, $17.95

— Your child will learn about Van Gogh’s life and his love for art. Other artists are also highlighted like Paul Gauguin and Emile Bernard. There are also supplemental activities to make the history and art come to life.

Cool City By Sean Kenney Henry Holt and Company, LLC, $12.99

— For the kids who love to play with LEGOs, this book is the ultimate inspiration to help your child build a city of his or her own. Along with new ideas, this book also contains guides to show how to build a certain piece. To help with the construction of your child’s new city, stickers are also included. LEGOs sold separately.

Wild and Wonderful Origami By Mari Ono and Roshin Ono Cico Books, $12.99

— Origami is more than just making paper cranes. With step-by-step instructions and photographs, your child can learn to make up to 35 animals: penguins, pandas, bunnies, and snakes, among others. And don’t worry about making an extra trip to the store because 50 pieces of origami paper are included.

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48 November 2012

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“Our children aren’t born to fulfill the dreams we have for them.”

specialist involved in her care. I wanted to learn more about the disease, how to combat it, and how to support my daughter. Patients under 18 years old are minors, so doctors considered it a family disease. Adolescents with parental involvement have much better odds for a complete recovery. It is essential for parents to make their children’s health their priority, doing whatever it takes to help them. as a parent, what have you done to show Cara that you support her and her life choices?

reaL MoM

Marsha Partington Since childhood, Cara Partington has lived with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, ADHD, and anxiety disorder. At 15 years old, she was diagnosed with an eating disorder and went to an inpatient treatment center. It was there Cara came to realize that her behaviors were masking a real and different issue. She was lesbian. Cara, now 21, is a healthy, ambitious college student. Her mother, Marsha Partington, shared her experience of parenting a child with potentially debilitating challenges in her essay “Meeting Ed,” which was recently published in the anthology Easy to Love, but Hard to Raise. 50 November 2012

— Valerie Turgeon

Q&a What advice do you have for parents raising children with challenges?

Parenting is a gift and a huge responsibility. It is our job to pay close attention to our children’s behavior. Because I know my daughter so well, I knew something was very wrong even when no one else did. While she was in the hospital, I took every opportunity to meet with each

It’s often the little things that have the largest effect. Once during middle school, Cara called me at work, feeling depressed. She said, “I can’t believe that you don’t just give up on me.” On my way home, I stopped by a construction site and picked up a few rocks. When I arrived, I put them in a gift box along with a note that that read: “These rocks are hundreds of years old. That’s how long it will take for me to give up on you.” The rocks became a concrete symbol for Cara of my unwavering love and support. Often she still carries one or two in her pocket at an interview or a big exam. What if you don’t agree with your child’s decisions?

Cara’s life certainly is different than I imagined. However, our children aren’t born to fulfill the dreams we have for them. By accepting the choices my child makes, I continue to be an integral part of her life. She deserves to live as fully and authentically as she can. I get to participate from the sidelines, sharing the joy of her achievements. I am also there to catch her when she falls. To me, that is being the ultimate parent, helping Cara be the best she can be at whatever she chooses. You can contact Marsha Partington for further information about Easy to Love, but Hard to Raise at

November 2012  
November 2012