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august 2013

Head lice? What you need to know {page 44}



Considering the pros and cons {page 38}


style {page 10}

Bountiful breakfast {page 14}

savo r wani tHe sUMM ng out & er! abou t {Page 26}

NEW 2013



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ConTEnTS Departments 6 editor’s note

14 in tHe KitcHen Recipes and more

Beloved characters By Kathleen Stoehr 8 cHatter A bit of news and info for your quiet time reading By Kathleen Stoehr

12 asK tHe pediatrician Answering your questions about health

10 BaBY on Board Postpartum style

By Dr. Peter Dehnel

By Shannon Keough

16 tween scene Accentuate the positive By Joy Riggs

20 grows on trees It starts at home By Kara McGuire

18 Hot stUFF Back to school By Emily Mongan

24 relationsHips Sleep. The final frontier By Sean Toren 22 BooK sHelF It’s elementary By Emily Mongan

Calendar 26 aUgUst at a glance 28 parent picKs 28 oUt & aBoUt

4 August 2013

50 real liFe Real parent Jim Henry By Kathleen Stoehr

Minnesota Parent August 2013



40 Head lice how-to

Unsupervised Is your child ready for latchkey?

The first step? Don’t freak out

By Jenny Hanlon

By Julie Kendrick

August 2013 5


From the editor

Beloved characters


Gleason’s Gymnastics School Strengthening children in mind and body through successful gymnastics experiences

n March 1967, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, a musical, premiered off-Broadway in New York’s East Village and lasted almost 1,600 performances, closing five years later. Within the year, it opened again, this time on Broadway; then had a revival in the late ’90s, and has been performed all over the world since. Middle schools and high schools across the nation have made it a staple of their stages, due to its simple sets and small cast. But that’s not the only reason. This play is 46 years old now, and it’s still as vital and telling about the dynamics and learning environments of middle school as it was back then. The character monologues are so revealing and universal. Charlie talks about lunchtime in the cafeteria and how it is the worst time of day for him because he always sits alone, and he is lonely. He yearns to sit next to and speak to the little red-headed girl, but instead puts his lunch bag over his head, so she won’t see him. His sister, Sally, rails against the establishment for the ‘C’ grade she received on her coat hanger sculpture—because truly—how does one assess art? She also espouses, “If I was judged on my effort, then I was judged unfairly, for I tried as hard as I could! Was I judged on what I had learned about this project? If so, then were not you, my teacher, also being judged on your ability to transmit your knowledge to me?” And Peppermint Patty expresses her confusion about the intersection of how looks affect love when she says, “Chuck, what do you mean, ‘if you happen to see a cute little girl walk by?’ Why does she have to be cute? Can’t someone fall in love with a girl who isn’t cute, and has freckles and a big nose? Explain that, Chuck.” All of these beloved characters exist in the hearts and minds of your child’s classmates. We see our children after they have returned home from school, but their thoughts, the way they interact at school—for many of us is just a guess. Are they happy? Do they have friends? Are they being bullied? Are they able to cope with not being chosen? Or are they like Lucy, pointing out character flaws and expecting the world to fall into their laps? These formative years are tough going, not just for children, but for you as well. I wish you luck, and I wish you happiness as you help your children navigate the road to adulthood.

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Kathleen Stoehr Editor

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Vol. 28, Issue 8 Co-Publishers Janis Hall Terry Gahan General Manager Chris Damlo 612-436-4376 • Editor Kathleen Stoehr Contributing Writers/Photographers Dr. Peter Dehnel Jenny Hanlon Julie Kendrick Shannon Keough Kelly Jo McDonnell Kara McGuire Emily Mongan Joy Riggs Sean Toren

Are you currently pregnant or had a baby during the previous month and interested in participating in a telephone-based health and wellness program? The University of Minnesota is seeking women who are currently pregnant or less than 6 weeks postpartum to participate in a research study examining the effect of exercise and wellness on mood following childbirth • Participants receive a motivational exercise program or a health and wellness program, which begins after the birth of your baby (participants can sign up for the program during pregnancy) • Program delivered to you via the mail and phone • Must be 18 years of age or older; must not currently exercise regularly • Must not take antidepressants • Must have a history of depression • You will receive $100 for your time

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 •

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Circulation Marlo Johnson 612-436-4388 • Classified Advertising 612-825-9205 • Printing Brown Printing

60,000 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 2013 by Minnesota Premier Publications. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission is prohibited. Address all material to address above.

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Malt Shop!

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In brief A bra boutique dedicated to teens and early 20-somethings is slated to open this month at 50th and France in Edina. Braboleta (inspired by the word Borboleta, which means butterfly in Portuguese) is an offshoot of the La Bratique shop on the same block. Owner Tracy Anderson said she’s opening the new store because she wants teens to “love what they have.” She said plenty of stores cater to teens, but their bras often don’t fit correctly. Sizes at Braboleta range from 30A to 40HH. “We are all pretty self-conscious at that age,” she said. “I want to give them the tools to feel comfortable with what they have.” A high-end Italian children’s clothing store has sold around the world since 1973, and it’s now open at Calhoun Square, 3001 Hennepin Ave. The clothes at iDO Bambini Creattivi are designed and made in Italy using all-natural fabrics. Manager Katalin Nagy says the company takes a strong stance against child labor and supports

environmentally-friendly production and materials. “You pay more, but the value is tremendous,” she says. “[The clothes] have been put through numerous tests so they wash well, wear well, and last a long time. I’m talking 10 years.” Buttons are triple-stitched, and the designers think about the details—baby jackets have an extra layer of fabric at the neck, for example, so the zipper doesn’t irritate the skin. Kids receive fruit snacks and can play in a corner of the store filled with coloring books and toys. “Once in a while, we get a child that doesn’t want to leave,” Nagy says. MN College Savings Plan will be holding

daily drawings at the Minnesota State Fair this year in the Minnesota Office of Higher Education’s (OHE) booth in the Education building. Winners will receive a $200 contribution deposited directly into the account of current participants in the Minnesota College Savings Plan, or toward opening a new account. Assistance is available with setting up a new account. This daily drawing is sponsored by the OHE, with funding

Minnesota Parent Tested

Chic nursing attire We love Bon Appetee’s range of innovative styles for nursing mothers who want to eliminate the restrictions of normal clothing, while also being comfortable and (especially great!) fashionable. This Australian product (available online at and also on Facebook) offers feminine style with invisible front zips for discreet access, as well as a double faced front for extra support to the chest and midsection. No need to stretch a top out of shape when pulling it down to feed, just unzip. Available in sizes small to extra voluptuous, the colors are bright and after breastfeeding is through, you still have an adorable garment for years to come.; about $80 and up

8 August 2013

provided by the Minnesota Private College Council, TIAA-CREF, and other non-taxpayer administrative revenues. There are two drawings daily and you do not need to be present to win. You must register daily to qualify. Bellies to Babies, a “gently used”

maternity clothing shop, has opened a second location in St. Paul on West 7th Street. The shop also includes nursing and baby to 2T clothing. Visit for more information. The site was under construction as this issue went to press. The nonprofit Minnesota Optometric Association is launching a Pre-K Eye Exam Day, August 1, offering a onetime, no-cost eye exam for children entering kindergarten. This statewide campaign underlies the importance of good sight for learning. Vision screenings are not a substitute for eye exams, but screenings do identify a number of eye disorders that affect eye health. A list of participating offices is available at Michelle Bruch contributed to this report.



Postpartum style


walked around the house wearing the comforter off our bed—as a clothing item—more often than I would like to admit.” “My son is eight months old. It took me until last month to finally find time to get a haircut!” “Most of the time I was sitting at home in my underwear and a tank top.” This is some of the feedback I received from Facebook friends when I posed a question about their experiences with postpartum style. Writing about style in the postpartum period initially struck me as a bit frivolous. After all, new mothers have more important priorities, right? Like learning to care for a newborn, making sure that nursing is off to a good start, and dealing with sleep deprivation. Talking about personal style seems a little silly in the face of these huge life changes. 10 August 2013

However, I know from my own experience that matters of style were important to me in the postpartum period. I encountered a variety of challenges that many mothers are familiar with—a difficult C-section recovery, breastfeeding challenges, a colicky baby—things that I kept telling myself were “more important” than the problem of what I was wearing. But what I was wearing—or no longer able to wear—weighed heavily on my mind. I felt selfish for secretly caring about my (bedraggled) appearance: “Taking care of Lydia is more important than trying to look presentable!” I would admonish myself as I pulled on my maternity jeans and frumpy black nursing tank for the fifth time that week. “This period of life does not have to be spent in sweats, nor does it have to be spent with a muffin top and a bad sense of self,” writes Alison Gary on her style website,

Wardrobe Oxygen ( “Clothing shouldn’t make you feel bad about yourself, clothing shouldn’t stress you out. Clothing should be the armor to get yourself through this period.” So put down the comforter, pick up a properly fitting pair of jeans, and read on for more style tips from a variety of mothers who’ve been there.

Plan for nursing Sure that turtleneck sweater dress is cute, but what if you need to pump or breastfeed? This is the challenge that keeps many new moms lounging around in tank tops and yoga pants during their maternity leaves. It can pay to think ahead when preparing for the postpartum period. If you’re planning to breastfeed, go through your wardrobe and set aside all the nursingfriendly items—wrap dresses, deep v-neck shirts and sweaters, drape-y cardigans and stretchy tanks, for example. One experienced mom highly recommends a circle scarf, which she uses as a stylish nursing cover. Hers is from American Apparel, but they’re available from a variety of other brands, too. Also, take a look at the Chatter section on page 8 of this issue for parenttested nursing apparel from Bon Appetee—the zip bodice feature is terrific. You will probably also want to purchase a couple of good nursing bras. You might want to wait until after you deliver your baby, since you won’t know what size works for you until your milk comes in. Many mothers complain about the lack of support that most nursing bras provide, so do your research and ask your friends for recommendations. I’ve heard good things about Anita brand nursing bras, available on Amazon and at Nordstrom.

Seek support After you have a baby, your body just isn’t the same. That’s not to say that you’ll never fit into your pre-pregnancy jeans

I encountered a variety of challenges that many mothers are familiar with—a difficult C-section recovery, breastfeeding challenges, a colicky baby—things that I kept telling myself were “more important” than the problem of what I was wearing. again—you just probably won’t two weeks after giving birth. Give yourself a break and don’t try to fit into the clothes you were wearing back when you did yoga fives time a week. Meanwhile, you might want to pick up some foundational “support” items for the short-term—belly wraps or shaping camisoles, for example, can give you a feeling of extra support when your body is recovering from birth and nine months of pregnancy. One local mom highly recommends the Blanqi Body Styler, a support garment designed for pregnancy but also used by many women postpartum.

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ECFE works to strengthen families and encourages parents to provide the best possible environment for the healthy development of their children.

Keep it simple Consider narrowing down your wardrobe, at least for the short term. A few pairs of jeans and leggings that fit are better than a closet full of too-small hip huggers and work pants. Long, flow-y tunics with leggings are go-to postpartum look that many mothers rely on—it’s comfortable, it’s forgiving to your midsection, and it can still look pulled together. “Keep it simple, keep it quality, keep it comfortable, yet keep it well fitting, and having some style,” says Alison Gary. “These pieces will be your suit of armor— your way of meeting up with old friends and not feeling like a schlep, to attend that first board meeting after maternity leave, to feel more you when leaving the house.” Shannon Keough lives in south Minneapolis with her husband, Nick, and daughter, Lydia. She can be reached at

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number of over-the-counter oral and eye-related medications available, some of which are much less sedating than the old standby of diphenhydramine (Benadryl, others). Prescription medications are the next level of treatment that can significantly reduce the misery. Finally, allergy shots can be a very effective treatment if nothing else seems to be working. As always, this is just general information and does not constitute specific medical advice. Please talk to your health care clinician if you have additional questions.


Dehnel, MD

My sons, ages five and seven, are fighting a lot lately. How do I deal with sibling rivalry?


My kids all have pretty bad allergies beginning in late summer. What can I do to minimize their symptoms of sneezing, runny noses, and itching eyes?

Seasonal allergies are very common in children and teens. They can range from a mild inconvenience to a major disruption in day-to-day life. The symptoms described above are the most common indicators, but they can also include asthma, eczema (drying and redness of the skin), and even recurrent and persistent hives. The allergens most commonly associated with late summer and fall are grass-related pollens (ragweed is one of the most common offenders). Tree-related pollens, on the other hand, are usually more of a problem in spring and early summer, as trees release pollens into the air. Animal 12 August 2013

dander, mold, and dust mites are year-round causes of allergy irritants and can add to the symptoms caused by these seasonal irritants. Allergies tend to be an inherited condition, so chances are that one or both parents are at least mildly affected as well. The good news is that there are a number of ways to safely and effectively treat the symptoms. Minimize exposure to the allergens if possible, which may include closing the windows and turning on the air conditioner, especially during dry and windy conditions. Showering before bed can work to rinse off adhering pollens. There are a

Sibling rivalry—competition between children—is very common and generally cannot be completely prevented, even under the best of circumstances. Children of the same gender and closeness in age seem to be risk factors. While not avoidable, there are some interventions that you can use to try to manage and minimize their fighting. One big triggering factor can be trying to get the attention of parents. Ignoring the unwanted behaviors can go a long way to minimize these skirmishes. Separating the children as appropriate can be an effective intervention for some siblings. Consistent imposing of a consequence may be needed for some situations. Rewarding more cooperative behavior— catching them being good—can work to improve cooperation. The rule here is to try a variety of things until you find something helpful. You will also do well to refrain from any type of comparative statements, such as “if only you were like a good reader like your brother,” or “your sister won first place in track when she was your age; I’m surprised you didn’t even place.” Comparing “apples to apples” is generally unfair to your younger child, regardless of the behavior. In addition, children have different skills, different talents, and

different developmental timelines. A comparison of this nature usually does not help your position as a parent and only frustrates your kids. Finally, if there is a lot of stress or disruption in your family—loss of a grandparent, loss of a job, a new move, and so on—fighting between siblings can reflect that increased stress.

I have a six-month-old who has begun teething. What do I do to take care of my baby’s teeth, and what age does he need to go to the dentist? When teeth first come in, simply wiping them off before naps and bedtime is the best way to prevent cavities. Actual brushing of the teeth with a soft tooth brush usually begins when six to eight teeth have erupted—certainly by the time the first molars come in. Fluoride varnishing is something that may be available through your child’s health clinic and does a good job of preventing cavities. Not having your infant or toddler go to bed with a bottle is very essential. Finally, there are two general opinions regarding when children should first see the dentist. The traditional recommendation has been about three years of age, when the second molars are generally well established, and cooperation with the exam is more likely. More recently the recommended first visit has been changed to one year of age by some professional organizations. Please consult your child’s care professional for a recommendation on that first trip to the dentist’s chair. This column is intended to provide general information and guidance only and not specific medical advice. If you have specific questions about your child, please consult your health care professional. Dr. Peter Dehnel is a board certified pediatrician and medical director with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota. Have a question for Dr. Dehnel? Email

August 2013 13

Whole grain raisin muffins ½ cup boiling water ½ cup raisins 1 ½ cups quick-cooking oats 1 cup bran cereal ½ cup all-purpose flour ¼ cup sugar 1 ½ tsp baking soda 1 tsp ground cinnamon ½ tsp salt 1 cup low fat or fat free milk ¼ cup honey ¼ cup canola oil 1 tsp vanilla extract 1 tsp lemon juice 1 egg 1. Preheat oven to 375°F. 2. Line a standard-size muffin tin with paper liners. In a small bowl, pour boiling water over raisins and let stand for 15 minutes. 3. Mix oats, cereal, flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together in a large bowl. In another bowl combine the milk, honey, oil, vanilla, lemon juice, and egg. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients and raisins (along with any residual soaking water) into the well. Stir just to combine, taking care not to overmix. 4. Fill muffin tins 2/3 full and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until muffins spring back when touched in the center. 5. Let stand 10 minutes in the pan then transfer to a rack. Serve warm or room temperature. —Recipe courtesy of the National Milk Mustache “got milk?” Campaign. For more, check out the On-the-go

Great Grains The time between that final smack of the snooze button and loading the kids onto the bus can often be summed up in one word: chaos. Breakfast can often turn into a stressful, rushed affair or even neglected completely on busy mornings. That’s where muffins can come into play. Not just for using up old bananas, muffins can provide a boost of energy and fiber to help your child stay satisfied until lunchtime. Plus prepping them can be a cinch if you plan ahead of 14 August 2013

time; bake up a batch or two of muffins over the weekend, wrap them tight in foil once they’re cool, and freeze them. During the week, unwrap them, pop a few into the microwave for 30 seconds when you’re ready for breakfast. Avoid recipes that load up on sugary coatings or chocolate; instead, opt for lower-calorie recipes (such as our featured recipe for whole grain raisin muffins) and pair with fruit for a healthful start to your day. —Emily Mongan

Minnesota Parent Tested

Low-cal cool down Beat the late summer heat with these easy-to-make treats! Take it to the next level by experimenting with other fruits and flavors. Ice cube tray (or your favorite ice pop making molds) Aluminum foil Toothpicks or popsicle sticks 1 bottle orange mango Sparkling ICE 1 ripe mango, small dice 1. Fill your trays or molds with Sparkling ICE, topping each with a scoop of diced mangos. 2. Cover tray tightly with aluminum foil, if using ice cube trays. Poke a popsicle stick through the foil into each cube. If using an ice pop maker, place the handle sticks into the molds.

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3. Place in the freezer for about two hours, or until frozen. —Recipe courtesy of

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Accentuate the positive


he transition between summer vacation and the start of the school year reminds me of New Year’s Eve. It’s an opportune time to shed unhealthy habits and initiate positive ones that will lead to a more balanced life. And like New Year’s resolutions, school year resolutions are most successful when you realize that good intentions alone don’t get you anywhere; you also need patience, persistence, and an action plan. I’ve been giving more thought than usual to my back-to-school approach this year because this is the last fall that all three of my kids will be home; my 17-year-old daughter, Louisa, is a high school senior. 16 August 2013

Our remaining time together as a family of five is fleeting, and I’d like to make every minute count, while also ensuring that Louisa and her two younger brothers are developing the skills they’ll need to be responsible adults. I found it inspiring and affirming to talk about back-to-school resolutions with certified parent coach Mary Upham, who has one daughter starting college and two tween daughters at home. Upham’s business, Positive Path Coaching, is based in Northfield, but through the wonders of technology she can meet with clients anywhere via phone, email, or Skype.

More responsibilities Upham says that the last few weeks of summer vacation are an ideal time to address family routines that are causing stress. Before imposing a new strategy, though, she recommends that parents ask tweens for their ideas. That’s what she did when her two younger daughters were having trouble getting out the door in time to catch the bus. One daughter suggested, after some

Parents should be prepared for their tweens to go through emotional ups and downs in the first few weeks of school, especially if they’re transitioning from elementary to middle school. reflection, that they get a clock for the upstairs hallway. So Upham bought a big analog clock and set it five minutes fast. She then told the girls that she would wake them in the morning, but that they were responsible for getting themselves ready and out to the bus on time. The solution worked. “Sometimes kids have really great ideas and knowledge about what will make it work for them, if we give them time to think about it,” she says. Several weeks before school starts, Upham also considers whether her daughters are ready to take on new responsibilities around the house. When she assigns them a new task, she tries to be clear about her expectations and about what happens if they’re not met. Creating a reminder list and posting it in a visible place can reinforce this. The final step is for the parent to hand over the responsibility of the task to the child. It can be difficult for parents to fight the urge to step in and help, Upham says, but it’s necessary to make kids feel capable and valued.

More engagement The school year also is a great time to rethink the “more is better” approach to family scheduling. Even though our society might say otherwise, Upham says it’s OK for parents to place limits on kids’ extracurricular activities. This leaves more room for unscheduled down time that tweens need to think, dream, create, and problemsolve. It also leaves more room in the day for family time, which can include regular meals together, movie nights, or activities

rESoUrCES positive path coaching aha! parenting by dr. laura Markham adele Faber and elaine Mazlish workshops Authors of How to Talk So Teens Will Listen & Listen So Teens Will Talk dr. dan siegel The Whole-Brain Child brain_child/

that change with the seasons. Despite the attitude they may display outwardly, tweens still crave attention and reassurance from their parents. Parents can make themselves available mentally as well as physically by taking the time to sit down, step away from their own screens, and focus on their child. Turning off the radio when you’re driving in the car together, and sharing funny or embarrassing stories about your own tween years can also invite conversation. Upham says parents should be prepared for their tweens to go through emotional ups and downs in the first few weeks of school, especially if they’re transitioning from elementary to middle school. Discern from what they say, and from what they don’t mention, whether they just need someone to listen to their concerns, or if there’s a deeper issue that requires parent advocacy. As the school year progresses, Upham says parents should continue to help their tweens focus on what is working well. “If we only focus on what’s bad, hateful, or hard, that’s what we’re going to feel the most. But if we can find the positive, and help them focus on that, that’s a lifelong skill,” she says. That sounds like a great resolution— one that’s worth keeping all year. Happy back-to-school, everyone!

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o t k c a B l o o h c S Send your child back to school in style with these handy accessories. By Emily Mongan

reuse it It’s estimated that 20 million plastic sandwich bags go into U.S. landfills each day. Help your kids do their part to reduce that number with ReUsies reusable snack and sandwich bags made from 100% cotton. They’re lined with leak-resistant nylon, and come in adorable designs that can make them useful for holding more than just munchies. —; about $16 for two

Zip it

Pack it

With its googly eyes and toothy grin, the Zipit Monster Pouch is more ferocious than your run-of-the-mill pencil bag. Made entirely of one long zipper, this pouch can gobble up stray pens, pencils, and other supplies and can be clipped into a binder for easy storage. Available in blue, pink, green, and orange. —

Give your child a backpack that’s as unique as they are. Squid Packs let your kid create their own bag and strap color combos, and choose charms and accessories to stick on the easily adjustable straps. Additional straps, bags, and charms can be purchased and swapped out to change up the look without having to buy entirely new. —; about $6

Tote it Pack your snacks in this adorable pachyderm-shaped Trunk box. Its simple design is as functional as it is cute, with a clear top that lets you see everything inside without opening it. The divided storage compartments work great for carrying smaller items, like arts and crafts supplies, while keeping them organized. —; about $17

18 August 2013; about $55

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Cool it Gone are the days of warm lunches and ice packs that drip everywhere. Place your PackIt in the freezer until it’s time to pack for lunch, and you’re ready to go. Each bag is lined with non-toxic, eco-friendly gel that keeps food cold for up to 10 hours. Plus the nifty designs mean that food won’t be the only thing staying cool at school. —; about $20

Sip it Keep your kids hydrated during the day with a CamelBak eddy bottle. It’s portable, BPA-free, and has a unique bite-valve straw so it won’t spill if knocked over. Available in a variety of colors, they’ll complement your child’s personal style while keeping thirst quenched. — about $15

August 2013 19

Admittedly, I have a hard time myself with charitable giving, feeling overwhelmed by choosing the right charity out of millions, nagged by the organizations that never stop calling, and disconnected to the causes I do end up funding. Determined to making giving a family affair, I asked Jenny Friedman, executive director of the Minneapolis-based nonprofit Doing Good Together, for ideas. Doing Good Together promotes family volunteerism, “spending intentional time weaving the focus of giving back into families’ lives,” says Friedman, who also authored The Busy Family’s Guide to Volunteering. Here are some thoughts.



How old does a child have to be to incorporate giving into family life?

It starts at home


hen I read stories of children who start charitable foundations at age nine, or donate their birthday gifts to homeless kids, I can’t help but wonder what makes these givers so different from my seemingly selfish brood. My kids seem to possess little interest in helping others, focused more on how to increase their collection of LEGOs and stuffed animals than aiding those in need. I’ve tried to point out how fortunate we are and explain empathy and the importance of helping others. But it’s in-one-ear, out-the-other—kind of like when I ask them to close the screen door. We use the Spend, Save, Share concept in our house, splitting allowance into a jar for spending, saving for 20 August 2013

the long term, and sharing with others. We’ve had some success, donating share jar money to Project Smile through school and to the animal rescue when we dropped off an abandoned baby bird. But for the most part, the money just sits there, forgotten.

it’s important to talk about how people help your family as well because we all have something to offer to others and giving should not be a one-way street, or a polarizing concept. —Jenny Friedman

“Whatever age your children are, that’s a good age to start. The earlier you start, the more kids see it as part of what we do. Slowly they get it at a deeper and deeper level,” Friedman explains. “Empathy develops with age but some kids develop it more quickly and easily. With others it takes a lot of effort to think about what it might feel like to be somebody else.”

How do you start having a conversation about giving with your family? “Have a nightly dinner table conversation. Ask ‘Who did you help today and who helped you?’” Friedman says it’s important to talk about how people help your family as well because we all have something to offer to others and giving should not be a one-way street, or a polarizing concept. “Don’t divide the world between givers and receivers,” Friedman says.

How can parents get kids more involved in charitable donation decisions? It’s natural that kids won’t have their own ideas about where to donate money at first. Adults find that overwhelming too.

Have a conversation about what really matters to them. Is it animals, other kids, the environment? Once you have that conversation, “pick three organizations and explain what they do,” Friedman says. “The more hands-on and easy to understand, the better.” She likes Heifer International because it has a catalog of animals to choose from and a book, Beatrice’s Goat, that tells the story of how one animal can change a family’s life. Kids get that. Another way to connect kids to causes is to use their “share” money to buy supplies for hands-on projects. Buy art supplies and make cards for sick kids. Purchase fleece to make blankets. Or use the money to buy supplies on a shelter’s wish list and bring the items to the shelter with kids in tow. The shelter might even give you a tour. Use the money “to do something hands on,” Friedman suggests. “Money can be kind of abstract.”

What are some resources for parents interested in adding volunteerism into family life? This organization gives birthday gift bags to food shelves and shelters so parents living in poverty can celebrate their child’s birth with a gift. Connects families with families in need. Can send monthly care packages and exchange letters with the family you are helping. A new project from Doing Good Together, the site has “recipes” for simple charitable projects that require little preparation. Families can complete them at home with kids of all ages. Works with communities to end hunger and poverty, and care for the earth.

You can get there. We can help.

Visit or call 1-877-338-4646

It’s elementary These fun picks are great for fostering a love for reading in elementary school-aged children. By Emily Mongan

The Quirks: Welcome to Normal Molly Quirk thinks she’s found the perfect place to fit in: Normal, Michigan. Full of small town charm, it seems like just the place for an ordinary new life. But her family isn’t known for being ordinary…especially with a mom who can control minds and a little brother who can turn invisible. This chapter book is filled with goofy illustrations and plenty of laughs as the Quirks adjust to their new life in Normal. Ages 8 and up By Erin Soderberg Bloomsbury, $13.99

The Boxcar Children Beginning

Junie B.’s Essential Survival Guide to School

Life on the farm may be difficult, but the Alden family is happy. When a blizzard hits the countryside, they offer shelter to a traveling family who soon become their friends. But life doesn’t go back to normal after the blizzard, as the coming months bring events that will forever change their lives. For grades 2 to 4

In this guide, Junie B. Jones shares “a jillion helpful hints” that will help young readers survive elementary school, including tips about report cards (don’t bury them in the neighbors yard!) and the cafeteria (no hitting people on the head with lunch trays). The diary-like illustrations add to the hilarious hints that Junie B. provides. Ages 6 to 9

By Patricia MacLachlan

Random House, $12.99

By Barbara Park

Albert Whitman & Company, $16.99

The Mostly True Story of Jack Jack has been overlooked his whole life. When his parents divorce and he is sent to live with his relatives, however, things begin to change. Jack starts getting noticed and making friends, but his newfound attention also brings him enemies as mysterious things start happening. This chapter book is full of mystery, magic, and horror that will keep readers riveted until the last page. Ages 8 to 12 By Kelly Barnhill Little, Brown and Company, $16.99

22 August 2013

Jake’s 100th Day of School The 100th day of school is an exciting time for Mr. Thompson’s class, especially for Jake. But excitement turns to panic when he realizes he has left his project of 100 photos at home. With a little creative thinking, Jake pulls together the perfect substitute project, and a special surprise makes the day even more memorable. Picture book By Lester L. Laminack Peachtree, $16.95

First Grade Stinks! Haley and Ryan have been eagerly awaiting the start of the new school year, but first grade isn’t anything like they expected. No ice cream, no sharing time, no fun classroom decorations, and worst of all, a teacher that is nothing like their beloved Ms. Lacy. But the two soon find that change can be exciting, and first grade just might not stink after all. Picture book By Mary Ann Rodman Peachtree, $15.95 MELSA MNP 0613 2-3page.indd 1

5/20/13 9:36 AM August 2013 23

the big, responsible buzzkill lying in bed next to her. And we’re just talking about getting into bed, not actually falling asleep. Again, I’m no sleep saint. I have a mouth guard and various pillow supports for chronic athletic injuries (A.K.A., middle age)—but then I’m ready to saw some logs. Even after I’ve taken away Edna’s headlamp, however, she often has to ‘decompress’ from her job doing psychotherapy with kids. Some of the kids’ problems are enough to keep a guy up at night. (And they do! Especially when those problems are ‘shared’ at 1:00 a.m.!)



So cool you’re hot

Sleep. The final frontier.


’m a rough customer for the Sandman. I’ve never slept a lot, and I’m such a light sleeper that anything can wake me: a bird welcoming the morning, the cats practicing night ops, even Edna’s quiet, dreamy mumbling. If I get six hours I’m human; seven and a half and I’m a new man. Edna is the opposite. Eight is not enough. We’re talking 10 hours to make her happy. Nine only gets a grudging smile. But she never gets that much shut-eye during the week, and rarely reaches it on the weekends. Part of it is how much ‘work’ she has to do to get to bed. I just brush and floss, splash my face, and call it a wash. Edna has ablutions. There is special face washing protocol and skin cream follow-ups. There is fluoride 24 August 2013

flossing and sonic brushing and gum health gargling. To help with her chronic sinusitis battle, asthma inhalers, nasal inhalers, and allergy medications are deployed. I won’t mention the nail clipping. Worse is the reading. Edna can shuffle past a magazine only to have her nose twitch and her bunny slippers freeze as she catches some racy “Savage Love” headline. She’ll find herself halfundressed and sitting on the edge of the bed as she finishes the article, unsure of where she is. That’s just an appetizer for the main course: those big, break-your-toe non-fiction books. Books that pull you under their hard, seductive covers, and don’t actually end…until you get to the end. Edna would gobble down one chapter after another—if it weren’t for

We also struggle with the classic male/ female temperature problem. Edna gets into bed with her hands half-frozen and uses three blankets (and then my ribcage as a hand warmer—Yeow!), while I run hot, usually only needing a single sheet and often waking in a sweat. This is around when my stomach begins complaining. Add Edna’s light sensitivity (even the alarm clock is too bright) to a kid who started to jump on us at 6:15 a.m. on the weekends, and it was getting pretty hard to stay in bed. Fortunately, we’ve been able to cook up a few tricks. Sound. We now fire-up a rumbling old air filter, which happens to make the perfect white noise. In the summer, a couple of fans do the job. And I can’t even turn out the light without first stuffing in my earplugs.

Edna uses ‘eye pants’ to complete her cocoon. Turns out that a single leg of athletic pants offers a better balance of weight and ‘give’ than those fancy eye masks.

Light. Edna uses ‘eye pants’ to complete her cocoon. Turns out that a single leg of athletic pants offers a better balance of weight and ‘give’ than those fancy eye masks. Temperature. Sisters to the ‘eye pants’ are the fleece ‘hand socks’ (who needs gloves?), which keep Edna warm and protect my ribs from shocking ‘accidental’ encounters. We’re also using an oil space heater on her side of the bed in the winter, and a second fan, blowing directly on me in the summer. Yakity yak. We’ve instituted a ‘no talking about work’ rule—plus, to help avoid having to point out the rule, I always ask earlier in the evening about any stresses Edna might need to share. This has worked wonders. Hunger. For years I tried to wait out my growling gut, tossing and turning for hours until sleep pulled me under again. But I’ve started to hack my body a little. I now eat a lighter dinner, then take a heavy dose of protein and complex carbs right before bed (yogurt or Grape-Nuts). After big workout days, I’ll even keep a thermos of milk next to the bed to shut my belly up. When it all becomes too much: I now boldly go where I never went before: into my home office, which now has a day bed and an alarm clock. I’ll start out in the big bed, then move in the middle of the night if I need to. It’s brought me a lot more of those buzzy, blissful Zzzzs. Our sleep program is a work in progress. Two frustrated pillow plumps for every sweet toss and turn. We’ve found no way to cut down on Edna’s ablutions, for example, but Saturday morning sleeping in has gotten easier now that Ed, Jr. can fly solo with Netflix at 6:00 a.m. Of course, this brings up the bad-parent problem of whether he’s getting too much screen time. But I think I’ll let that sleeping dog lie for another column. Sean Toren loves living the full catastrophe in Minneapolis with his wife and son. He can be contacted at with thoughts or suggestions. Walker Art Center MNP 0813 2-3page.indd 1

7/11/132013 10:21 AM August 25

Family Day at the MIA: Backyard Buzz

peace games @ washburn Fair oaks park, Minneapolis



Wiggle your toes day

groovin’ in the garden @ como park Zoo


13 14 ———————— Bob and the ———————— Beachcombers @ the shops at ———————— west end ———————— ———————— ————————

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

4 ———————— ———————— ———————— ———————— ———————— ————————

opening day! Uptown art Fair



Okee Dokee Brothers @ 11:00 a.m. in Maple Grove


rockin’ the Bakken

saturday live! artstart’s scrapmobile


red House Barnfest in red wing

Free First Saturday @ Walker Art Center



16 17 War Weekend ———————— @Civil Historic Fort Snelling ———————— dakota day @ ———————— gibbs Museum of pioneer & ———————— dakota life ———————— opening weekend: ———————— renaissance Festival

8 9 ———————— Irish Fair (thru Sunday) ———————— ———————— ———————— ———————— ————————

Minnesota Fringe Festival opens (thru the 11th)

opening night: circus Juventas’ oZ

Sun Mon Tues Wed Thurs

August out About


Japanese Lantern Lighting Festival

19 20 ———————— ———————— ———————— ———————— ———————— Roe Family Singers ———————— @ Caponi Art Park

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28 ———————— ———————— ———————— ———————— ———————— ————————

7/18/13 1:09 PM


Offering performances, residencies and touring shows.

Puppet and Mask Theatre

31 ———————— ———————— ———————— ———————— ———————— ————————

23 24 Bellyrama ———————— @ Lake Harriet Band Shell ———————— ———————— ———————— ———————— ————————

30 29 ———————— ———————— ———————— ———————— ———————— Movie by ———————— Moonlight: Mary poppins

21 22 ———————— ———————— ———————— ———————— ———————— opening day of ———————— the Minnesota state Fair

In the Heart of the Beast

26 27 25 ———————— MMM Bop! see Hanson Free @ ———————— Minnesota state Fair Tee off @ today & tomorrow Walker on the Green ———————— ———————— ———————— ————————


Out About Parent pick

ongoing Uptown Art Fair ÎÎCelebrating its 50th anniversary, this three-day fine arts festival allows you to browse both professional and youth artist’s booths, watch live art and kid-friendly acts on the performance stage, enjoy activities at the family imagination station, nosh on festival food and beverages, win prizes at the Uptown booth, and more! When: 2nd through 4th Where: Uptown Minneapolis Cost: FREE Info:

Minnesota Fringe Festival ÎÎIf you thought the shows were all for adults, you’d be wrong. Over the years, the Fringe has welcomed more and more family-friendly acts. This year, the Fringe Festival is offering a whole host of shows that the whole family can enjoy together—making it a fast, easy, and affordable summer outing for families. Events include Ole Olson, Norwegian Boy Wonder; La Bella Cinderella; and Shine, among others. When: Various times 1st to the 11th Where: See website Cost: Kids 12 and under, $5, no festival button needed. Adults need button ($4), admission is $12 per show Info:

Parent pick

OZ ÎÎAudiences will encounter a curious gypsy-circus wandering a bleak and windswept landscape, sweeping along an enigmatic magician, an odious fortune teller, and an organ grinder with a mischievous monkey—but watch out for the Kansas-sized twister that will sweep you up, twist you dizzy, and hurtle you over the rainbow. Come face-to-face with acrobatic Munchkins and a glittering witch afloat in a bubble, and of course a ruminating scarecrow with no brain, a tin man with no heart, and a quaking lion with no courage. When: 1st through the 18th Where: Circus Juventas, St. Paul Cost: $14 and up Info: or 651-699-8229

28 August 2013

Vintage Band Festival ÎÎA four-day celebration featuring bands from across the US and abroad. Over 100 concerts will fill the streets of historic Northfield showcasing a variety of genres, heritage influences, and period-style performances. When: 1st to the 4th, beginning at noon Where: Northfield area Cost: FREE Info:

Irish Fair ÎÎThe nation’s largest free celebration of Irish culture is on Harriet Island. Performance and social dance, plenty of bands, sports, and cultural and music tents. When: 9th to 11th Where: Harriet Island, St. Paul Cost: FREE Info:

Open Eye Driveway Tour ÎÎAll summer long, Open Eye Theatre performs puppet shows in backyards, front yards, parks, and driveways— bringing communities together with original family-friendly theater. Four shows this summer, in rotation. When: Various dates in August Where: Across the Twin Cities Cost: FREE Info:

renaissance Festival Î King Henry and his court invite one and all to his 16th century European village featuring 12 stages of musicians, magicians, jugglers, and mimes. when: 17th to Sept. 29, 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. where: Intersection of Hwys 169 and 41, Shakopee cost: Adults $22; children $13 at gate info: or 952-445-7361

Minnesota State Fair Î The Minnesota State Fair is one of the largest and best-attended expositions in the world, attracting nearly 1.8 million visitors annually. See Hanson (26th & 27th); Okee Dokee Brothers (24th & 25th); Sean Emery (each day); The Choo Choo Bob Show (30th & 31st); more! when: 22nd to Sept. 2 where: State Fairgrounds, St. Paul cost: Adults $12; children and seniors $10 at gate info:

Walker on the Green Î Artist-designed mini golf, two eight hole courses in the Minneapolis Sculpture

Garden with garden gnomes, a scale model of a French chateau, gopher holes, and contours mapped from the course at the legendary Augusta National Golf Club. when: Open every day, though hours vary where: Minneapolis Sculpture Garden cost: $9 and up, includes gallery admission to the Walker Art Center info: or 612-375-7600

Art In nature Geocache Î Explore Saint Paul’s regional parks through geocaching! Geocaching is an outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices like smartphones, tablet computers, or receiver units. Natural Resources staff hides caches monthly from May through October with activities designed to encourage learning and exploration of regional parks. Participants who successfully navigate to the provided GPS coordinates, find the cache, and complete the activity described inside are entered in a monthly prize drawing. when: Through October 31 where: Saint Paul’s Regional Parks cost: FREE info: or 651-632-2455

Amma Parenting Center is the top resource for new and expecting parents. Childbirth classes, breastfeeding help, new parent classes, and the best baby boutique in town! Trusted by hospitals and families since 2009.


(952) 926-BABY

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Then now Wow renaissance Festival

Î 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. when: Ongoing where: Minnesota History Center cost: $6–$11; FREE ages five and under info: or 651-259-3000

Minnesota & the Civil War Î The Civil War holds a pivotal place in the history of the United States. Citizens of the new state of Minnesota were a major part of the national story, from being the first state to offer troops through their dramatic role at Gettysburg to Appomattox and beyond. when: Through Sept. 8; closed Mondays except for holidays

Helping Clothe the Twin Cities’ Newborns in Need Collects new and gently used baby clothes for distribution to disadvantaged infants and new moms.

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Proudly sponsored by Sam’s Club

Out About Where: Minnesota History Center Cost: $5 and under FREE; 6 to 17, $6; seniors and college students, $9; adults, $11 Info: or 651-259-3000

Disney’s Aladdin Jr. ÎÎTake a magical carpet ride this summer when Princess Jasmine, Genie, and Aladdin embark on an adventure filled with magic and mayhem. When: Through August 4 Where: Stages Theatre Company, Hopkins Cost: Admission fee Info: or 952-979-1111

1 Thursday Wendy’s Wiggle, Jiggle and Jam ÎÎFree music and dance in the park. When: 11:00 a.m. Where: Town Green, 7991 Main. St. N., Maple Grove Cost: FREE Info: or 763-494-6500

Moonlight Movie: The Avengers

2 Friday Movie by Moonlight: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory ÎÎFree PG movie in the park. When: Sunset Where: Town Green, 7991 Main. St. N., Maple Grove Cost: FREE Info: or 763-494-6500

Moonlight Movie: The Avengers ÎÎSee this PG-13 action movie outdoors on a 30-foot screen. When: 8:30 p.m. Where: Normandale Lake Bandshell, 84th and Chalet Road, Bloomington Cost: FREE Info:

3 Saturday Free First Saturday: Grassroots

ÎÎThis daylong extravaganza features dance performances and collaborative crafting—including a giant crocheted rug— as part of locally grown talent. 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

Red House Barnfest ÎÎA full day of folk, bluegrass, Americana, and blues music plus expanded Kidfest with children’s activities and even more music at the family stage! A fun event in a beautiful farm setting; food available too. When: 1:00 to 7:30 p.m. Where: Hobgoblin Music Barn & Outdoor Amphitheater, Red Wing Cost: $25 in advance; 12 and under FREE Info:

Saturday Live! Coyote Stories ÎÎNimisee the clown will tell some favorite trickster tales of that lovable scamp, Coyote. When: 11:15 a.m. to noon Where: St. Paul Public Library, Central Library Cost: FREE Info: or 651-266-7034

Free Family Flicks: Disney Nature Chimpanzee 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:

5 Monday Mike Monson ÎÎMike will demonstrate games, juggling and perform tricks for the entertainment of children. When: 10:30 a.m. Where: Moir Park, Bloomington

32 August 2013

Cost: FREE Info:

6 Tuesday Clicks, Claps, Clunks! ÎÎFamily Fun Series: Minnesota Percussion Trio will use simple or found instruments to unlock musical possibilities. When: 10:00 a.m. Where: Caponi Art Park, Eagan Cost: FREE Info: or 651-454-9412

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7 Wednesday Mary Hall Show for Pipsqueeks ÎÎEnjoy a lunch time concert. When: 11:00 a.m. to noon Where: The Shops at West End Arcade area, St. Louis Park Cost: FREE Info:

8 Thursday Paul Spring ÎÎFree danceable upbeat folk and fun in the park. When: 11:00 a.m. Where: Town Green, 7991 Main. St. N., Maple Grove Cost: FREE Info: or 763-494-6500

10 Saturday Saturday Live! ArtStart’s Scrapmobile ÎÎCreate wearable, recyclable art! When: 11:15 a.m. to noon Where: St. Paul Public Library, Central Library Cost: FREE Info: or 651-266-7034

August 2013 33

rockin’ the Bakken Î Fabulous science-related programming and plenty of fun for no charge every second Saturday of the month. when: 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. where: The Bakken Museum, Mpls cost: FREE info: or 612-926-3878

m i n n e s o t a p a re n t ’s EDUCATION FAIR

Free Family Flicks: Disney nature African Cats Î Enjoy 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:

Oct. 5 2013



Family Day at the MIA: Backyard Buzz

como park zoo & conservatory

visitor center

Peace Games Î Participants learn about Minneapolis’ diverse cultures through dance, art, music, sports, and snacks. This program is a partnership with MPRB’s Youthline program, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and many neighborhood organizations. Activities include India Henna painting, Chinese Calligraphy, soccer, Thai dancing, rugby, and Kufi hat making. when: 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. where: Washburn Fair Oaks Park, Minneapolis cost: FREE info: or 612-330-6474




when: 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. where: Minneapolis Institute of Arts cost: FREE info: 612-870-3000 or

12 MonDAY

free admission + door prizes + goodie bags

Fair MNP 0813 2-3page L.indd 34EdAugust 2013

Î Celebrate the great outdoors at Family Day and Peace Games. Collaborate on a work of art inspired by bees.

7/16/13 2:28 PM

Out About The Adventures of Don Quixote

Movie by Moonlight: Ghostbusters

ÎÎFamily Fun Series: An interactive, bilingual, and entertaining show about the adventures of the famous character from the novel by Cervantes.

ÎÎFree PG movie in the park.

14 Wednesday Bob and the Beachcombers ÎÎEnjoy a lunch time concert.

Preschool Private Public

Moonlight Movie: Iron Giant ÎÎSee this PG adventure movie outdoors on a 30 foot screen.


When: 8:30 p.m. Where: Normandale Lake Bandshell, 84th and Chalet Road, Bloomington Cost: FREE Info:



17 Saturday


ÎÎWhile the grownups get their groove on with some of the Twin Cities best bands, the kids will be entertained by a climbing wall, bouncy house, and lawn games. This week: Steve Sullivan & The Factory

ÎÎSee Civil War re-enactors, military drills, and weapons displays. Learn about the fort and slavery, the U.S.Dakota War of 1862 and Civil War events of 1863.

Okee Dokee Brothers ÎÎFree interactive bluegrass in the park from these Grammy Award winners. When: 11:00 a.m. Where: Town Green, 7991 Main. St. N., Maple Grove Cost: FREE Info: or 763-494-6500





Civil War Weekend

15 Thursday


L N.

Groovin’ in the Garden

When: 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Where: Visitor Center lawn, Como Park Zoo Cost: FREE Info: or 651-487-8200



When: 11:00 a.m. to noon Where: The Shops at West End Arcade area, St. Louis Park Cost: FREE Info:


When: Sunset Where: Town Green, 7991 Main. St. N., Maple Grove Cost: FREE Info: or 763-494-6500


When: 10:00 a.m. Where: Caponi Art Park, Eagan Cost: FREE Info: or 651-454-9412



16 Friday


13 Tuesday

Minnesota Parent’s Education Fair features a variety of schools:

1225 Estabrook Drive Saint Paul, MN 55103

When: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Where: Historic Fort Snelling Cost: $11 adults, $9 seniors & college students; $6 kids 6–17; Kids 5 and under and MHS members FREE Info: or 612-726-1171

Saturday Live! The Mystery of Chemistry ÎÎJoin a science educator from Mad Science of Minnesota and learn about chemistry in this exciting science demonstration program. When: 11:15 a.m. to noon Where: St. Paul Public Library, Central Library Cost: FREE Info: or 651-266-7034

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Out About Frogtown Fall Festival ÎÎFun for all ages, including youth football scrimmages, community resources, K9 unit, fire and police vehicles, jump castle, climbing wall, senior bingo, basketball tournament, entertainment, concessions. When: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Where: 685 W. Minnehaha Ave. Park and Rec Center Cost: FREE Info: or 612-462-1720

Dakota Day ÎÎA celebration of the Dakota people. Visit our Dakota village with summer lodge and seasonal tipi. Join us for the unveiling of an authentic Dakota hide tipi modeled after those used in the early 1800s. When: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Where: Gibbs Museum of Pioneer & Dakota Life, Falcon Heights Cost: $8 Adults, $7 Seniors (65+), $5 Children ages 3 to 16; FREE for RCHS members Info: or 651-646-8629

Free Family Flicks: Disney Nature Oceans 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:

20 Tuesday Roe Family Singers ÎÎFamily Fun Series: Old time sound with rock and roll passion. When: 10:00 a.m. Where: Caponi Art Park, Eagan Cost: FREE Info: or 651-454-9412

21 Wednesday Kid Power with Rachel ÎÎLive animals!

36 August 2013

When: 11:00 a.m. to noon Where: The Shops at West End Arcade area, St. Louis Park Cost: FREE Info:

Groovin’ in the Garden ÎÎWhile the grownups get their groove on with some of the Twin Cities best bands, the kids will be entertained by a climbing wall, bouncy house, and lawn games. This week: Chastity Brown Trio When: 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Where: Visitor Center lawn, Como Park Zoo Cost: FREE Info: or 651-487-8200

22 Thursday Tricia and the Toonies ÎÎFree fun family music in the park. When: 11:00 a.m. Where: Town Green, 7991 Main. St. N., Maple Grove Cost: FREE Info: or 763-494-6500

24 Saturday Saturday Live! Alan Johnson, Comedy Juggler ÎÎAlan wows the audience with a variety of circus skills. When: 11:15 a.m. to noon Where: St. Paul Public Library, Central Library Cost: FREE Info: or 651-266-7034

Bellyrama ÎÎ4th annual outdoor yoga festival for expecting mamas, postpartum mamas, and their families—and live music by The Voice’s Nicholas David. When: 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. Where: Lake Harriet Band Shell Cost: FREE Info:

Free Family Flicks: Disney Nature Earth 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:

27 Tuesday Dance to the Four Winds ÎÎFamily Fun Series: Mexican dances acknowledging the four winds in conjunction with life. Explanations of dance steps, too. When: 10:00 a.m. Where: Caponi Art Park, Eagan Cost: FREE Info: or 651-454-9412

28 Wednesday Groovin’ in the Garden ÎÎWhile the grownups get their groove on with some of the Twin Cities best bands, the kids will be entertained by a climbing wall, bouncy house, and lawn games. Pack the dancing shoes, spread out a blanket & join us for these FREE outdoor concerts & activities. This week: I Like You When: 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Where: Visitor Center lawn, Como Park Zoo Cost: FREE Info: or 651-487-8200

30 Friday Movie by Moonlight: Mary Poppins ÎÎFree PG movie in the park. When: Sunset Where: Town Green, 7991 Main. St. N., Maple Grove Cost: FREE Info: or 763-494-6500 •

The First Five Are Forever

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U n supe r vised Is your child ready to latchkey? By Jenny Hanlon


ipped from the headlines, the horror stories are many. Why would any parent allow their child to come home to—and stay in—an empty house when the world is so unpredictable? But there will come a time that your child will ask for more independence—

38 August 2013

like being allowed to return home after school versus going to an organized afterschool group or activity. And you will have to make a decision. They might believe they are ready, sure. But are they, really? Are we? Jeff and Liz Monroe of Stillwater were overly stressed with the cost of after-

school care and frustrated with the mad morning rush to get to work, as well as get their sons, Joe and Alex, ages eight and 11, to their supervised before-school group. “At about this same time, our two boys started hounding us about letting them stay home alone before and after school rather than going to the kids’



U-Pick Apples Berries & Pumpkins Hotline 952•873•3654

club,” says Liz. “Until the boys brought up the idea of staying home alone, it really hadn’t occurred to us that this might be an option,” adds Jeff. The parents liked the idea, but of course were worried too. “We wanted to make sure we weren’t just making


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Emma Krumbee's MNP 0813 H4.indd 1

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Sept. 14–Oct. 27 100 Scarecrows on Display Wagon Rides • Giant Haystack Jump Petting Zoo • Maze

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the decision because it would be easier for us,” Liz cautioned. “We wanted to know they were really ready for this step.”

State guidelines MN state law says that parents must provide their children with adequate supervision so they’re not left in unsafe CHILDREN’S YAMAHA MUSIC SCHOOL situations. According to Don Pelton, Celebrating Over 40 Musical Years in Minnesota! Community Services Supervisor for CYMS Edina: CYMS Roseville: Washington County, in 2008 the Citizens Edina Community Center Hamline Center 5701 Normandale Rd 2819 Hamline Ave N Review Panel published It’s Not Safe for • 612-339-2255 Kids Under 8, a set of clear guidelines for parents to refer to as they attempt to interpret the state law in terms of when it’s Children's Yamaha MNP 0113 12.indd 1 12/18/12 9:17 AM safe for children to be left unsupervised. The panel examined research regarding the ability of children to care for themselves, respond to emergency situations, and keep themselves safe. The guidelines from this study were adopted by The MN Department of Human Services and added to the statewide Maltreatment Screening Guidelines. These guidelines are: • Children under age 8 should not be left alone for any period of time.

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• Children ages 8, 9, and 10 may be left alone for no longer than three hours. • Children under the age of 11 should not provide childcare (babysitting). • Children ages 11 to 13 may be left alone for no longer than 12 hours. • Children ages 14 and 15 may be left alone for no longer than 24 hours. • Children ages 11 to 15 that are placed in a childcare role are subject to the same time restrictions of being left alone. • Children ages 16 and 17 may be left alone for over 24 hours with a plan in place concerning how to respond to an emergency and have adequate adult back-up supervision.

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Before your child stays home alone, consider the following: Do you live in an area with a safe adult close by? Do you feel you live in a safe neighborhood? Does your child know your home address? How to spell it? Will your child have access to a phone while home alone? Does he/she know how to use it? Do they understand when and how to call 911? Does your child have an awareness of his or her surroundings and the ability to be alert to potential dangers? Does your child consistently follow through with expectations and rules at home, school, sports, etc.? In other words, does your child use good judgment in all settings? Will you be able to rely on your child to follow through with the expectations and guidelines you set up as a family when he’s left alone? Does your child typically remain coherent with his or her judgment during stressful or scary situations? Is your child interested in being home alone? If you weren’t able to answer yes to all of the above questions, your child is likely not ready to be home alone at this time. For more information on assessing this possibility, go to qc7ogl6 or Especially for Children MNP 0413 H4.indd 1

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Assessing readiness Kristin and Bill Nielsen of Maplewood experienced a situation similar to the Monroes. When their kids were about seven and 11, their involvement in evening activities increased. “We could tell they were struggling to go from afterschool care to evening activities without any down time at home in between,” says Kristin. “For a couple of years we were able to negotiate some flexibility with our bosses to limit the amount of time the children had to spend in afterschool care,” adds Bill, but he noted that as the kids got older, he and his wife realized that they were becoming quite independent. “We both started to think they were probably ready to take on the responsibility of coming home on their own,” says Bill. “It’s extremely important for parents to understand and respect their children’s strengths and limitations to be able to assess accurately if they’re ready to stay home alone,” says pediatrician Kristin Davis of Allina Medical Clinics. “There are many children that are within the age guidelines that aren’t ready to be home alone due to impulsivity, mental health issues, behavioral issues, lack of focus, or simply lack of desire to be home alone. Parents are key players in making a safe assessment.” Davis doesn’t usually get too many questions related to supervision of children. However, she has begun to share the MN State Guidelines with parents and talk with them about signs of readiness. “I’m very honest with parents if I feel a child isn’t ready to be home alone based on what they’ve shared with me during an appointment.” One of Stillwater Medical Group’s Family Practitioners, Beth Adams, explains, “I recommend that parents ask their child’s teachers or other caretakers how they think the child would handle being home alone. For a child to safely stay home alone he should consistently follow through with directions, expectations, and use good judgment in all settings.”

42 August 2013

Tips for parents Leaving a child to get to school on his or her own or to come home to an empty house is a bigger responsibility than just leaving your child while you run a few errands. There are more variables involved when your child is leaving or entering the house alone. If your child is given this responsibility, it’s important that he has a strong awareness of his surroundings. Think about when your child gets off the bus, for example. Would he notice if there was an unfa-

miliar car or person near his home? How about if there is a car continuing to drive by or circle around while he waited at the bus stop? If your child lacks an awareness of his surroundings, he isn’t ready to be home alone either. Many times in life things go as planned—until they just don’t. As adults, we’ve learned what steps we need to take when something goes differently than expected. Children are very much concrete thinkers. It’s difficult for them to think and understand that sometimes

a secondary plan is needed. If you find that your child isn’t able to think beyond Plan A, then it’s too early for them to be left home alone. So, what should children know? Here are some ideas: • Who to call if something goes wrong • What to do if he or she has forgotten or lost a house key • What to do if someone comes to the door • What to do when the phone rings • What activities are allowed when home alone • Where the first aid kit is • What to do if a fire breaks out • When you’ll be returning

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Home alone success After much consideration the Monroes determined that their children were ready for the next step. “We started leaving the kids gradually. The first few times we only left them for short periods while we ran errands,” says Liz. “Then we allowed them to come home off the bus by themselves and eventually get on the bus on their own in the mornings.” They also alerted a couple of trusted neighbors, which provided a level of comfort for the family. When children are ready to be home alone, parents often see their child grow in confidence from the added responsibility. “We really noticed that both kids started to show even more responsibility once we gave them the opportunity to be home alone,” says Bill Nielsen, noting that, “they actually started taking on more household jobs without being asked and needed fewer reminders to get their homework done.” The two families continue to revisit and discuss how to handle situations that might arise when their children are home alone. They have set rules and guidelines about acceptable home alone activities and what things are not allowed. “We’ve had very few problems,” says Jeff Monroe. “I think taking the time to talk about it and gradually build up to it really helped. Our kids take it seriously and we’re grateful for that.” •

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Head lice ( J U ST I n C A S E ) Step one, don’t freak out By Julie Kendrick


are as many different types of parenting styles as there are parents, but there is one way in which we’re all pretty much the same: the minute we find out that our child has head lice, we Freak Out, big time. The questions, the stress, and the shame can seem monumental: How did this happen? How did I not notice this earlier? Does this mean our house is infested, too? How will I ever tell the other parents in the carpool? These days, though, freaked-out parents don’t have to deal with head lice alone. There are local services to help you calm down and get your kid lice-free, and they offer everything from in-salon treatment, to house calls, to herbal “lice repellent” potions to make sure this never, ever happens again. “The first thing I do when we see a family is get everyone ‘off the ledge’ of feeling like they’re in crisis,” says Gonne Asser, whose Minnesota Lice Lady salon is in the Sunnyside neighborhood of Edina. “I try to take the stress down and sympathize with the parent, who is feeling very overwhelmed,” she adds. Asser, the mother of three children, did research during her kids’ lice outbreaks, and found that she was eventually giving advice to friends when their kids were infested. “I have a background in human services, and I used to work with homeless youth, so I’m 44 August 2013


August 2013 45

kind of a crisis personality,” she jokes. The business development story is pretty much the same for Simply Nitty, an in-home lice removal business that covers the metro area. By the time her “lice magnet” daughter had suffered through a fifth outbreak, and she’d had two infestations herself, Dana Mead-Chapman began to feel like something of an expert on the creepy crawlers. That personal experience was the impetus behind the business that she founded 18 months ago with Krista Morley. “Both of us had backgrounds in the medical industry, and we threw ourselves into research on lice treatments, products, and removal methods,” says Mead-Chapman.

Beware of resistant strains The field of pediculosis (the official name for an infestation of head lice) is changing rapidly, and the Internet contains a great deal of outdated or misleading information, but there do seem to be some key facts that experts agree upon. One of the scariest prospects has to do with resistant strains. Asser says, “Lice are evolving faster than correct information is being circulated, and many over-the-counter products are no longer effective.” Mead-Chapman agrees, noting, “If you try an over-thecounter treatment and still see live lice after 20 minutes, it might mean that the treatment won’t be effective because your child is infested with a resistant strain. Most of our clients have already tried and failed with at-home treatments before, which is why they call us.” Have you started scratching your head yet? Here’s another grim thought—even if your kid isn’t scratching, that doesn’t mean lice aren’t around. Some children can be “asymptomatic,” which means that they can carry lice on their head for weeks— even months—before anyone notices.

1,000 lice: one mom’s story One such Twin Cities parent, who wishes to remain anonymous, recounted the story of her daughter, whose long, dark hair fell just about two inches above her elbows. “The infestation happened when she was in fourth grade. I had seen white flakes on her scalp, but I thought it was dandruff, especially since she never 46 August 2013

scratched her head or complained,” the mom recalls. “Then she told me one day that she had found a bug on her pillow in the morning, and, that afternoon, when we were driving together in the car, she took off her headband and said, “There are bugs on this.” I was sitting at a stoplight, using my phone to Google what head lice look like, because I suddenly realized that’s what was happening.” The mom, who took the child first to a pediatrician and then to Minnesota Lice Lady, says that the staff there worked for over three hours to remove more than 1,000 lice from her daughter’s head. The mom herself and the girl’s two siblings turned out to be infested, as well. “They told me she had probably been had head lice for months, and just wasn’t a kid who felt itchy.”

Schools, lice, and public policy While most schools used to operate under a “no nit” policy, which mandated that children remain out of school until all nits were removed, that is no longer the case in many. Multiple districts made a shift after 2002 revisions to policies from American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)

and the National Association of School Nurses (NASN). Along with a recommendation to strongly discourage “no nit” policies, the groups offered the opinion that classroom-wide or school-wide screening is not merited. The elimination of “no nit” policies was, strangely enough, strengthened by the No Child Left Behind Act, which tied school funding to absenteeism and 95 percent attendance records for standardized tests. Schools had more reason than ever to encourage every child to be in class, every day, so “no nit” policies were often struck down. While schools and classrooms are still free to conduct head checks, and while many local businesses offer the service at no charge to schools, this has become a problem that increasingly calls for parental, rather than school, detection and intervention. Indeed, the AAP noted, well over a decade ago, “Parents should be encouraged to check their children’s heads for lice if the child is symptomatic; school screenings do not take the place of these more careful checks.” Also, “It may be helpful for the school nurse or other trained persons to check a

Minnesota Lice Lady, Gonne Asser, with a client. submitted photo

Resources Simply Nitty 612-454-9011 Minnesota Lice Lady 3940 Sunnyside Road, Edina 612-564-0678 American Academy of Pediatrics statement National Association of School Nurses statement More information September is National Head Lice Prevention Month

student’s head if he or she is demonstrating symptoms.” But, “because of the lack of evidence of efficacy, classroom or school-wide screening should be strongly discouraged.” Additionally, in 2011 the NASN stated, “Children found with live head lice should remain in class, but be discouraged from close direct head contact with others. The school nurse should contact the parents to discuss treating the child at the conclusion of the school day. Students with nits only should not be excluded from school.”

How to check Okay, now are you scratching? If you want to round up the kids and do an immediate scalp check, you’re actually on the right track. Experts say that you should conduct routine checks with a professional-grade lice comb on everyone in the family. Mead-Chapman says, “LiceMeister and Terminator are two good brands with lifetime guarantees. When you conduct the check, look for evidence of live lice or white-ish nits, which are the eggs, and which are about one-quarter-inch up the hair shaft. If it feels like a grain of sand and it’s hard to remove, it’s probably a lice nit.”

Prevention Most lice are spread through direct head-to-head contact. Think of how your kids snuggle up with friends on the couch to watch a movie on TV, and you’ll get the picture. One prevention method that most experts recommend is to reduce that contact whenever possible, and to keep long hair pulled back in braids, ponytails, or buns. And while many lice repellents haven’t yet been subjected to clinical trials, lice are smell-driven and might be put off by a head that smells more like an herb garden than a kid, so they might be worth a try. •

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Real Life What’s your retail philosophy?

So much of what we claim to do in life—a job, the income, the house, the toys—is for the kids. I think my time with them is most important and the rest doesn’t really matter.

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Jim Henry

A love of kite flying was all the impetus Jim Henry needed to open Air Traffic, a locally-owned multiple location shop selling toys, games, kites, juggling props, boomerangs, and more. In business since his first booth at the State Fair in 1987, Jim has been delighting children (including his own) and adults with toys that encourage activity, interaction, and skill building. —Kathleen Stoehr Q&A How do you think owning and operating this chain of stores has shaped the way your kids [Max and Rebecca] are growing up?

They see both the fun and the challenges of owning a business. They get to see and test many new products and are pulled along at times to help move product from 50 August 2013

store to store, or help set up new stores. I think there is pride for my kids to be able to say, “dad owns the stores.” I don’t see it going to their heads too much. I hope we set an example of how hard work can pay off.  

I sometimes wonder if I’ve made a difference. I did not start Air Traffic with any real plan. Just, “here I am, I love this stuff, I hope you will too.” Like many people, there are those days when I question if it is worth all of the challenges. Yet, I’ve realized a couple of things: Many kids have worked jobs here, had fun, learned a bunch, and moved on. It is amazing when they come back to the store with their children in tow. Also, if the stores were not here, there are many who would not learn a new skill, gain the confidence that comes with it, and show it off to their friends. One mom professed how her son’s learning to juggle “saved” him from some real issues. We simply taught him how to juggle at weekly lessons. She said it gave him focus and truly brought him to a spot in the family he had never been. That is cool. I’m proud of what Air Traffic represents. I’m proud of my staff and what they represent. The stores would not be what they are without them. We engage; we teach; we have fun; we hope to make a customer’s day good. What’s your philosophy on work/life balance?

I wanted kids. Once I’d chosen that (and was lucky enough to have two healthy ones), I considered it one of the most important parts of my life. I am happy that I have been able to participate in almost everything they have been involved with. I make it a point to not travel too much, so I’ve been home for them. My work day starts when they wake up. I almost always see them out of the house for the bus, and many times am home when they arrive. This is important to me. They see me in the office, on the phone a lot. Yet they know I’m there for them. So much of what we claim to do in life—a job, the income, the house, the toys—is for the kids. I think my time with them is most important and the rest doesn’t really matter.

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